Sunday, October 17, 2010

Political Strategies and Perspectives for 2010

Yep. That pretty much says it. "This is you, Bill Brady." "No, this is you, Mark Kirk". (Well, substitute the name of your candidate..)There has always been a degree of mudslinging in election campaigns, but this year it's really gotten out of hand. 2010- The Year Things Got Silly. It reminds you of something you'd hear in a Grade School playground during recess.

Makes you not want to vote for anybody.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Roger U Roundly: Paragon of Virtue

This is the eighth day of my eleven-day stretch of vacation. Most all my vacations follow the same basic pattern: two or three days feeling numb, then a 'ground level zero' relaxation kicking in(didn't get that this time)followed by a period of industry, more sloth and then a flurry of some kind at the end.

We are currently in the 'period of industry' phase of things. I changed the air filters for the furnace(what with Old Man Winter around the corner), changed the sheets on my bed, took out the trash, and did much cleaning up to and including the major transformation you see in the pictures.

My sleeping hours are all outa whack this time out, which is probably why I haven't had the sahaj samadhi experience of waking up on that third or fourth day feeling all those tensions lifted away. Maybe I've just got more tension to lift away this time.

Three more days. And the house is getting cleaner.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taffi Tuffkrak

Ever heard of her? I wish I had a picture to post. Seems like I heard this name some years ago, and again just recently. She may have been one of those one-hit wonders, the hit being, "Liq m' luv krak, Jack". The band was, let me see- Spaz Attack. Spaz Attack featuring Taffi Tuffkrak.

Well okay, I just made all this stuff up. Just wanted to see what Taffi Tuffkrak would look like in print, and now I know. In person, I imagine some sort of amalgam of Janis Joplin and Wendy O Williams, with maybe a sprinkle of Melissa Etheridge thrown into the mix.

Okay, that was my original vision.. My revised one is more of a Pat Benatar/Avril Lavigne mix- with, yes, still some Melissa Etheridge in there for good measure. And yes of course I'm thinking Spandex. With a name like Tuffkrak, c'mon!

And of course, lotsa attitude. An upper lip permanently curled into a contemptuous sneer. A chick singer I hope I never ever work with. Taffi Tuffkrak, lead singer with Spaz Attack.

Ye gods, what hath I created?!
Actually, upon review here, I'm convinced. Avril Lavigne is Taffi Tuffkrak.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

..but I'm a Wheel watcher

Yes. Most TV does, in fact, suck wind. Thank goodness there are always those few exceptions -in our era: Jeopardy, the news, a very short list of comedies and dramas- and Wheel of Fortune.

I got to watch them film the show back in 1985. Even got my picture taken with Vanna. I was a road musician at the time, with a group based in LA, and our singer had a connection with somebody on the show, so we got passes. They filmed in Burbank at that time, in a dump of a studio and did three or four or more shows in a day's time. Probably concentrated it all in a couple days' work I remember that the Big Winner for the episode we saw was a guy named Chuck, who wore three-toned shoes and said 'indubitably' an awful lot.

During the 'photo session', which ran all of about 5 seconds, I tried to talk to Vanna, but she was basically this plastic smile for the 5 seconds it took to snap the picture and that was it. I wasn't offended in the least.

Pat came out and talked to the studio audience for a moment before they started filming. Even though he's a bit on the curt side with his guests at the very end of the show as I've seen them on TV, he seemed like he was probably a nice guy in real life. I did hear him say, though, in a moment of boredom or exasperation, "time flies when you're doin' a game show. "

And time has flown. I think they're on the 26th year of doing Wheel of Fortune. Both had other ideas as far as show business back when they started, but Pat's talk show fizzled--he didn't have it to be Cavett--and Vanna's film career similarly tanked. She was a 'no show' for Monroe. But what the hell. Ride the ship that'll take you as a passenger. Both of them look like they're hanging in there, although Vanna does look a bit tired when they flash to her after the Big Winner has won.

Personally, as a viewer, I like the show. Sometimes the puzzles seem too simple, and others I get stumped myself. I don't like it when the contestants yell out 'big money!' and think if anything they should be penalized when they do that- but otherwise have no malice toward those involved, and have their best interests at heart, including seeing them win big money.

The other thing I really like about Wheel of Fortune has nothing to do with the show itself but rather when it's aired. For some years(and, I hope, more than a few to come)it's been on every weekday at 6:30. This is a perfect viewing time, since I'm either starting or finishing dinner. I've already seen the local and national news, am somewhere in the process of having my dinner, thus finishing the afternoon's activities before commencing with the evening's.

Wheel of Fortune is, then, the dividing line between afternoon and evening. Once they're in the Bonus Round, I'm saying that wistful goodbye to the day, knowing that it'll be night soon, It's not just a game show. Wheel of Fortune is the portal between the two parts of my daily existence. It helps define my way of life!

evil TV

I've got one of those TVs and VCRs in my bedroom which are fast approaching Stegosaurus status as far as workability. The VCR is currently stuck on cable channel 40, which is MSNBC. I sometimes watch the news and have an occasional morbid curiosity about the show "Lock Up".

So I've been watching the channel 40 fare of late, while I figure out what to do with the recalcitrant VCR, and on comes a show called "To Catch a Predator". On it, sexual 'predators'(or those who could be termed "predator-curious")are lured to a domestic location, a private home, wherein the show's host, Chris Hansen, then appears like an Evil Allen Funt, to let them know what's going on. From there, upon leaving the premises, the show's 'guests' are arrested and booked.

Personally, if it were my show, I'd have some kind of sound effect when Chris Hansen came out to greet the guest, something like the doorbell from The Addams Family(or was it The Munsters?). And unless they had a prior record(or a prior appearance on the show!)I wouldn't have them arrested. I mean, being on national television for something like this is enough punishment, I should think..

So I really need to get this VCR fixed. Or set to friendlier programming. I don't think Allen Funt ever had anybody arrested on Candid Camera, did he?

the hump-day of vacation

I'm on blessed vacation at the moment, eleven consecutive days free from the rigors of daygig. Now on day # 6, which puts me at the exact midpoint. Five down, five to go. This is the hump-day of my vacation.

Every three or four months I manage to have enough leave hours built up in there to cut myself loose for a week or so. At this point, I earn 12.5 vacation hours every month, which gives me a week(37.5 hours)every three months.

This is a slightly longer vacation period than my usual-and-customary five days, one I waited a bit longer to enjoy. I'm trying to adopt the 'type B' approach of less frequent but longer stretches, over my heretofore 'type A' burn-it-as-you-earn-it policy. Longer waits but more time to work with once you get there. And you can make the wait a big epic thing: I had weekly sticky notes with descending numbers starting with 8 to mark my increasing proximity to the goal.

Next time out, I've decided, is a full two weeks. Sixteen consecutive days free from the rigors of daygig. I'll have to wait until March of 2011, which is a haul, but can be done. A distance that can be traversed. Talk around the office(a place not without its fun, but certainly not without its stress either) is that you need two weeks, since the first is spent just unwinding- decompressing is another term I've heard used.

My old work environment of the last 2 and a half years was less stressful, and thus you didn't have the unwind, decompression time to get in on your vacations. So when you took a week off, you didn't spend the first couple days in recovery. I took a week off every third month, like clockwork, and my system, my threshold was set to a quarterly vacation schedule. I'd start "needing" that time off every three months.

Coming back to a more stressful(but fun!)work environment, I realize that my threshold was set on WUSS. So I'm pushing that envelope. Less frequent but longer vacations. I'm still enjoying my eleven days, even though it is just a glorified week, a week that knows somebody. But becoming increasingly aware that a week just ain't enough, at least not in our office. Readjusting how I do things, how I need to do things.

The hump-day of my vacation. We'll see what, if anything, the second half brings, but the first has been spent unwinding, decompressing. As far as any musical or blog ideas(including this one), I've felt some muffled stirrings, but pretty much a climate of recovery, of convalescence. The stirrings will be more audible to me as I gain recovery, I'm sure. Unless they've gone and sought out another host body...

It might just be that my entire vacation is spent unwinding. If so, then so be it. At least I'm 'un-wound' to the degree I was able to unwind. Sometimes it just takes awhile. I gotta say though, it has been beautiful outside every day I've been off. Still unwinding, but not unappreciative, as far as that goes.

The mind is its own place, and can make a Heaven out of Hell, and a Hell out of Heaven.

Still on vacation. Still unwinding. Five down, five to go.