Friday, April 30, 2010

All Things Must Pass, I Guess

Last night I channel surfed from news station to news station, from Orbit Plus which runs all the US news shows (from the earliest of the early morning news shows through Nightline) to BBC World, to Al Jazeera, over to CNN--back and forth. I was even tempted to look in on Fox but didn't have the stomach for it. 

Now and then I'd run to the computer and check out news Tweets, World Wildlife Tweets. 

Then 'round midnight, the over-the-counter sleepy time meds kicked in and I dragged myself to bed convinced there would be no new news till morning.

"What's going on?" the missus axed as I slid myself between the sheets, snaking my legs through lumps of snoring cats, careful not to wake them.

"Looks like it won't hit landfall till tomorrow, maybe Saturday."

How like August 29, 2005 it all felt.

Gather round children, we'll be saying for years to come. This here is what it used to look like.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me from the Cowboy Junkies

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Forget about it Jake.

At the end of my yoga class, there is always a cool down moment of breathing when we clear the head of thoughts and let go. Gently, flowing, droning sitars and Om'ing chants perfume the air with wellness, inner light, beauty and truth. Our child of nature ashram living loving instructor ghostly whispers here and there "breathe"   "let go." "breathe" "let go."

Breathing I can do.  But tell me--how do people  stop the mind chatter?  How do people "Let go?"

Driving 'round here.

Yes, you need to have some sort of license to drive. No. You don't necessarily have to be familiar with motor vehicle operations. What you do need, what separates you from this world and whatever lies beyond is 360 degrees peripheral awareness and the ability to "Let. Go". These two requisites are ought to haves if one wants to make it through those troubling moments when trying to get from A. to B. in a motorcar. . . 'round here. 

The first one I have in spades. Years of undiagnosed and unadderalled hyperactivity and, according to a 10 question Facebook personality test, a slight tendency to Obsessive Compulsive behavior, have given me the gift of hypervigilence.

But it takes more. You also have to know when to--Let. Go.

The roads in fancy new civilization include drivers and their driving cultures from a hundred countries, from all the world's castes, classes, tribes, clans, lineages and blood types. We have right side drivers. We have left side drivers. We have every man for himself side drivers. People from neighborhoods lined with two car garages. People from villages that are a week's hike down mountain passes to reach the nearest road.  People from places where you undergo rigorous testing to qualify for a license to people from places that don't know what they're missing until they have to queue up at the DMV. We have  drivers who sit behind the wheels of 18-wheeled tractor trailer rigs whose only means of transportation prior to coming here was either on foot or by wrangling beasts of burden.

We have fellers who come out of nowhere, speeding up behind you to within millimeters of your bumper, flashing lights, blaring their horns, going berserk lest you dishonor their grandfather's grandfather by forcing them to apply their brakes. 

And we have round-abouts. 

Granted. Round-abouts in theory are safer than those suicide lanes we have in the U.S. where only painted stripes, painted arrows and faith in humankind maintain the breath of life. But the round-abouts are  U.K. doohickeys that help to keep the traffic flowing while people negotiate turns and U-turns. And any country that has a national health probably thinks two moves ahead when considering preventive health and safety measures, so my guess is that Britishers probably have to undergo draconian processes before being allowed to drive. Negotiating round-abouts HERE is another story.

I'll skip the list of all the possible round-about horror stories and go straight to my favorite. 

A round-about has three lanes. One inside lane for making a U-turn. A middle lane to make a left hand turn or continue on. An outside lane to take a right. Fewer people on the road make U-turns so that lane is usually the least trafficked. Being the least trafficked however encourages those who think of having to apply their brakes as one of life's "Why should I's? What's innit for me's?" to take to the lane and accelerate with a vengeance, even if they have no plans to make a U-turn.

This is where hypervigilence and 360 periphery comes in handy. If you plan on using that middle or outside lane to continue on, what you must always assume is that someone will materialize out of nowhere, on your left and will shoot in front of you as they speed across three lanes of traffic to take that right hand turn. 

This happened to us a few days ago. Slammed on the brakes. Let him make his turn, but I wasn't going to let him go. I wasn't going to Let. Go. I went after him.

I flashed my lights and blared my horn until he pulled over. The missus said she'd deal with it--speaking Arabic and all, this was for me a wait-in-the-car moment. She got out. He got out. They squared off. Arms gestured wildly. Voices tried to outshout one another, and the situation looked to me like it was about to go beyond words. The missus has been known to slap an opponent in a near driving mishap shouting match, which, in cultures east of the Suez, west of the Bay of Bengal, women can get away with. In public. If she's a believer. Even a lapsed believer. Even if she's a lapsed believer from the wrong side of the aisle of believers. A returned slap from a man, not her husband (or if she isn't his maid) would mean jail and probably a series of interrogation room beatings for a man.

I should have stayed in the car, but my inner-asshole had other ideas. No.  I didn't beat on the feller. I'm too old. Too out of shape. But I am loud. Scary, mean, mad dog loud. And that scary mad dog mean loud chased him back to the safety of his truck. That'll learn him.

No harm done except I did get my ass chewed out by the missus an hour later when I was still ranting about it.

"Why," she asked, "can't you just let things go?"

Good question.

When the lights go down in my yoga class, and we lay there like slugs in the candlelit room, taking deep breaths to the soft strains of a droning sitar and we are told to let  go, I'd like to. But I don't know how. Sooner or later the lights will come up, we'll have to change and I'll have to drive home.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Too Tired to Eat

Another AUS Global Day has come and gone. There's something I wanna say about last night's experience. While I'm thinking about it, I'm embedding my latest fun with bootlegged backing tracks computer room/studio doodles. I have a new short attention span goal--recording soud tracks for the thousands of photos we have of our many, many cats waiting in the land of nod for their next feeding time.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Not quite a blog entry

As I take baby steps towards resuscitate my blog with what I hope will one day soon reflect an original thought, I'm moving up one rung from embedding a Youtube post and counting that as an entry; now I'm pasting in a mass forwarded Email that I'd like to share.

This concerns the seniors' tax rebate. I am a tax exile of sorts (bless my li'l ol' IRS form 2555), so I don't really keep up with the US taxation ballyhooing and boohooing or who's hewing whom.

But you can't argue with this logic. Well, maybe you can. But I likes it!  

Just in Case You are a Senior and Get a Check for $250...
Seniors may again receive an Economic Stimulus payment. This is a very exciting prospect. I'll explain it using the Q and A format.
Q.  What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A.  It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q.  Where will the government get this money?
A.  From taxpayers..
Q.  So the government is giving me back my own money?
A.  Only a smidgen..
Q.  What is the purpose of this payment?
A.  The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q.  But isn't that stimulating the economy of Asia ?
A.  Shut up or you don't get your check.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:        
1.  If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, your money will go to China . 
2.  If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to Saudi Arabia . 
3.  If you purchase a computer, it will go to India .  
4.  If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras or Guatemala. 
5.  If you buy a car, it will go to Japan or Korea . 
6.  If you purchase useless plastic stuff, it will go to Taiwan . 
7.  If you pay off your credit cards, or buy stock, it will go to pay management bonuses and be hidden in offshore accounts. 

Or, you can keep the money in America by:
1.   spending it at yard sales or flea markets, or     
2.   going to baseball or football games, or     
3.   hiring prostitutes, or     
4.   buying cheap beer or     
5.   getting tattoos.
These are the only wholly-American- owned businesses still operating in the US .

The best way to stimulate the economy is to go to a ball game with a prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day until you're drunk enough to go get tattooed