The inspirational Wendy Davis

Am I the only one who thought of “Mr.  Smith Goes to Washington” during Wendy Davis’ magnificent filibuster? It was so Capra-esque!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6UbYHCkoZs

Builders with cojones

I have hiked steep trails where heavy railway tie similes of wood have been hauled up the sharp inclines, then inserted into sections of the trail, for ease of hiking and/or erosion prevention. It’s enough of a challenge for me just to hike wild terrain. I can’t imagine packing that weight up, and not falling off the side of the mountain.

Therefore, you can understand how seriously boggled my mind becomes when considering the mindset required in building the El Caminito del Rey in Spain in the early 1900’s:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Nd1qtk1Go

Yes, people have fallen to their death walking that disintegrating path.  But, what about the people who built it?!  Sitting in on those planning committee meetings must have been riveting.

There is the famous “hanging monastery” in Datong, China:

Hanging monastery

What were the job qualifications to build that?

And, in Antarctica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz2SeEzxMuE

How do you even begin to build in that insane weather?

Some heroes appear in the battlefield or crime fighting.  Others quietly work in high risk jobs that no one else will take.

I salute you.

Blowing kisses

cherie-2009062432211-157-originalI’m pet sitting for friends for a few days.  They live in the countryside, which includes rolling hills, orchards, livestock, and rusted out farm equipment creatively displayed in designed landscapes.

I took a long walk with my camera, periodically snapping moments that caught my eye.  It’s a breezy day, so I also shot a short video of an old school windmill easily performing its assigned task.

I received a call on my cell from a business networker “inviting” me to join their workshops.

She asked, “Are you in the wind?”

“Yes,” I laughingly replied.  “I’m strolling down a few country roads, and it’s a bit gusty in some spots.”

She advised it was difficult to hear because of the wind. I turned around, so the wind was at my back, and politely declined the workshop, but added, “May the wind take you where you’d like to be.”

She chuckled and responded, “May you create your own wind.”

“Uh, the good kind,  I hope.”  Yes, I’m a smartass.  But, she laughed, and I hung up.

After returning to the house, I turned on the laptop to check email, etc., and to see what interesting things were happening on hulu. This popped up:

http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/455789

Coincidence?  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Widows and Cows

A friend had received a new hairstyle, and I decided that I needed one, too.  She asked me to move my bangs around to see how I would look with them off to the side, and as I did, she screamed, “Oh, my gawd!  You have a widow’s peak.  I never noticed that before.”

Startled at her overreaction, visions of Eddie Munster danced in my head.

Marilyn Monroe had a widow’s peak, though, I remembered.  So, I’m going with her.

When I saw my hairdresser, I asked him about widow’s peaks, and he thought it may be a “generation thing,” because he hasn’t seen them on younger women. Anyone out there notice this?

Then, there is my strong cowlick – to the left of my widow’s peak. In high school, I had bangs with a part down the middle.  Between my cowlick and naturally wavy hair which caused a flip on either side, I was called The Flying Nun, until it occurred to me that I had other hairstyle options.

My hairdresser told me I have a couple of cowlicks on the back of my head as well, but I can’t see those, so I’m pretending they don’t exist.

I did learn something though.  When I told him the base of the cowlick wouldn’t color easily, he said it’s because there’s more heat there, and to simply put a little more color on it before finishing.  Now you know.

Steampunkin’

“When I was a kid, we had to use our imagination.”
–My father’s response whenever I complained there was nothing to do.

My imagination was certainly fueled by Dr. Seuss (dramatically read by my father), and The Flintstones (tipping a bird’s head down, so its beak acted like a phonograph needle!).  So, naturally, I’m intrigued by the quirky, science fiction/fantasy world of steampunk, set in the 19th century Victorian era.

Generally, steampunk refers to an alternate reality of “innovative” steam-powered machinery or “retro-futuristic” inventions that may have been conjured by 19th century visionaries, such as airships (think The Adventures of Baron Munchausen).  Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and contemporary authors, e.g., Terry Pritchard and his Discworld, easily imagined this creative landscape.

The Old West was set during this time as well, so steampunk can be seen in the classic 1960’s TV show (and, years later, film), The Wild, Wild, West.  Who could forget mad scientist Dr. Miguelito Quixote Loveless’ devices for his plots of revenge?  Television today offers Warehouse 13 for steampunk fare.

Guy Ritchie incorporates steampunk into his Sherlock Holmes films, and gamers can find related themes as well.

You can “steampunk” gadgets such as cell phones, typewriters, and computers, using brass, copper, glass, wood, and, pieces of clockwork.

Fashions are appropriately designed: gowns, corsets, bustles, petticoats, suit vests, top hats, goggles, pocket watches, and monocles.  Prada even came out with a steampunk men’s line for the fall of 2012.

Photographer André M. Hünseler

There are fairs and festivals, magazines, comic books, and even music.  Rush’s new album, “Clockwork Angels,” delves into the steampunk world.

If you’re looking for a different type of escapism, steampunk may be your ticket.

Irreverance for Silence

I live on a busy street, and the single paned windows in my duplex do very little to block out the traffic noise. In addition, across the street is a 5 foot high embankment, which creates a sort of noise amplification tunnel. 

Periodically, I wear noise reducing headphones which help somewhat. Lately, however, I feel the need to sit in a place of stillness. Finding such a location has been challenging.

The public library? Nope. People think they’re at home and gab loudly, without any reprimand whatsoever from library staff.

I walked to a church a few blocks away, thinking a church would have to be quiet. I’m not Catholic, but I was pretty sure they wouldn’t mind. It’s also a grade school, so when I arrived, the doors were closed to the room where services are held, as the pews were filled with school children. Instead, I walked down the hall to the chapel. It was a small room and there were four or five parishioners seated. Almost immediately, the priest’s voice giving instruction to the children could be heard quite clearly through the walls. And, of course, the singing that followed was also clearly heard. A woman entered the chapel with a loud, crackling trash bag which she continued to crackle after sitting, as she rifled through it. The slow, steady breathing of the woman sitting behind me indicated she had fallen asleep. Every time someone moved around in their chair, it could be heard throughout the room. Obviously, acoustics had not been considered in the building specs.  When the gentleman walked in the room, turned on the light, and sat down, I decided to wave the white flag and left.

School had let out by this time, and as I walked through the lobby area, I noticed it was infinitely quieter than the chapel, so I took a seat. For 15 minutes, I sat there wondering what happened to the sanctity of healing silence.

Krazy for Karaoke

Your name has been called. Tossing back another swig of your drink, you focus on the front of the room. One step at a time, you head toward the man with his arm outstretched, ready to hand you the microphone. You wonder what the hell you’re doing up here. Don’t look. But, you do. A roomful of faces looking at you, waiting to judge. This is worse than waiting to be picked for the basketball team in high school. You look at the monitor where the lyrics will be cued. You don’t even remember what song you selected. Oh, yeah. It’s okay. I can do this. You hear the first few words melodically surf out of your soul, which sound a lot different than when you’re in the car or in the shower. Do I really sound like that? Well, can’t stop now. Somehow, you get through the song and hand the mic back to the man behind the machines. Is that applause? Are they seriously cheering for me? Smiling bashfully, you return to your bar stool. Can’t believe I did that. Okay. Well, I might do that again.

Karaoke is fun and addicting. It’s playtime for adults that’s legal and doesn’t discriminate.

Singing is a way of escaping.  It’s another world.  I’m no longer on earth.”  – Edith Piaf

Terrible, moderate or professional singing abilities, karaoke unifies everyone in the room, regardless of their background, faith belief systems or political views. 

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam appeared on the Sundance Channel’s “Iconoclasts.” It was a couple of years ago, so I’m paraphrasing, but he said that when he looks out over the audience, he thinks, “For the next couple of hours, they all agree on something.”

When a roomful of strangers joins in your song, it’s a phenomenally natural high.

What’s been your favorite karaoke experience?