Monday, September 25

Stay Tuned: Falling off things + technical difficulties

In case anyone stops by while I am getting my sh!t reorganized, or in the event that someone thinks I've died and sends a search party to find me before my dog devours my corpse... uh, I'm still here. Haven't fallen off any cliffs yet. I did go out of town, and have a lovely party, and have done tons of fun (and not-so-fun) stuff that I'll probably never get around to sharing. Like you care anyway. You've heard it all before.

I have been having some trouble getting my posts confirmed, and added to the fact that I've written several things that immediately make me want to vomit, I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks. Once again, I have plenty to say when I'm in the shower, or the car, or at work---everywhere, in fact, that I can't post from. But my thoughts wither when I'm in front of the computer. I've also considered posting about that, but (ironically) there seems to be little to say about having nothing to say.

Maybe it's an existential crisis. Coincidentally, I've been around more religious people in the past few weeks than I ever am. It's always coming up at work, too, which makes me uncomfortable. Sure, Jesus is everyone's friend and all, but you don't take him to work. Rather, take him wherever you like, but don't make it my business, please.

A re-post from the Art Butcher: september 28, 2006 this thursday at otherlands at seven pm there is a poetry reading to benefit burke's bookstore there is a $5-10 suggested donation at the door otherlands coffee and beer available the participating poets include tammy parker darrell hugueley heather dobbins corey mesler and myself [dwayne butcher] Just passing along the word---do not consider this an endorsement, since I approve of Burke's in theory, but find them superior and unhelpful in practice. Imagine: Dwayne reading his poetry. You've got to want to see that, right?

Monday, September 18

Let's break a few rules

Hello, and welcome to my little world.

I had a fabulous, fun-in-the-sun weekend, and wore myself out so thoroughly that I didn't do sh!t all day yesterday. It was a great feeling to do nothing for a change, after I've been scheduling every moment of my days and evenings lately. Thanks to one of the prevalent Davids for helping me find my way home Sat. nite, and thanks to everyone who made it out to my little soiree. Or who tried to make it out and ended up getting lost on the way.

So as soon as I just put up a post on trying to follow some guidelines for blogging, in hopes of being a better blogger---or at least care to read my own writing again---here I am breaking rules. I'm not talking about my friends, or sex, or politics... I can talk about religion, though. The reason for that is that there's some new people in my life who actually have religion in their lives. For a change. It seems there are actually a ton of people out there, even in my age range, who go to church and love Jesus and stuff. Not that you guys don't love Jesus, cause who doesn't, right? But I don't know too many people in my age bracket who go to church every Sunday, much less on Wednesdays, too. It makes me feel weird talking about who I really am. As if I know who that is, either.

It's so strange that I feel so different, or like I seem like such a different person, and some people don't even notice. Not just my hair, or new glasses, but I just feel like my motivations and goals have really changed since I've started working full-time again. People at work still think I'm all out for a good time (which of course I still am, most of the time), and my friends think I'm a stick in the mud (ditto last parenthetical statement), but I'm really enjoying my life so much more now that I feel different. Last year was a crappy one all around, and so I'm a little less cautiously optimistic than usual about how cool this year has been. I think because I feel the world owed it to me. I know adversity builds character, but smooth seas are nice for a change. I appreciate my life so right now that not only am I carpeing the diem, I am looking forward to the next day at the same time. No regrets, y'all.

Tuesday, September 12

Serrabee's worst investments

Off the top of my head, and in no special order, they were:

  • Car/home/medical insurance. The thousands I've spent would have been better spent at the casinos, and I can't even play a decent game of roulette. It's like some weird superstition: I actually believe that as soon as I drop or reduce my insurance coverage, something bad will happen. Not so if I just buy cheaper coverage, somehow.
  • My tickets to the Beale St. Music Fest this year. Three of us thought it would be fun to hang out down there all weekend, no matter how crappy the bands were. Not that I'm saying Bryan Adams was crappy; we're apparently too old to get our @sses down there for all 3 days unless there's a great performance expected. Won't be making that mistake again.
  • The new windshield I had replaced just weeks before I crashed my car, doing 75+ down I-55, back in the day before my car insurance was quite so high. I think I still have some of the glass in my body from that wreck.
  • The Journey boxed set. I've listened to it on one liberating road trip, during which I sang my heart out. I don't think I've had it in the cd player since. And it didn't even come in a real box.
  • Copious amounts of clothing I wore once & discovered it didn't fit/made me look like a box/gaped at the buttons (you know where) or just had to buy for that black-tie event. Anyone need a black cocktail dress, size 4, 6, or 8---only worn once? I've got a dozen or so I'm sure I'll never wear again.

Sister's got a brand new bag

Some of you know of my penchant for volunteering. I've never thought that makes me better than the madding crowd, except as far as it could improve me as a person. I was raised to believe in giving to charity, and that money is sometimes less valuable than time. I've volunteered at a slew of places:

  1. the Library---my 1st volunteer job. I spent 10 hours a week at the library in high school when I realized colleges would look at crap like that on my application. I suppose I just could have lied & they'd never have checked up on it, but I kind of liked shelving books. (This may be why people still think I look like a librarian when I wear my glasses.)

  2. Dismas House---a halfway house where some college girlfriends & I would cook once a week, until one of the residents absconded with the cookware we'd been using. That was depressing as hell.

  3. The Crisis Center---a volunteer-staffed, local, 24-hour hotline for people in dire straights. I'm just not sure that the people calling were the ones who really needed or wanted help, or if they were happy to be crazy. I hated working overnights, especially when I didn't know my partner for the shift.

  4. Various one-time events for charity---races, registration tables, holiday fundraisers, you name it. No bachelorette auctions or 3-legged races, please.

  5. Dress for Success---a great concept: helping women get clothes & skills for interviewing. In my current company, we have new hires come in to work in the medical field and if they're not in scrubs, they don't seem to know how to dress themselves. "Businesss casual" isn't as self-explanitory as I always thought it was.

  6. House of Mews---more fun bleaching cat bowls and litter pans than I'd ever thought to have in a morning. It's very hard to get on their schedule, so if you want to go, you'll probably have to go to Tom's Town instead.

  7. Mpact Memphis---the best way to mingle with people outside your homogeneous group who are still like-minded in many ways. I used to be really involved with them, for several years, but a while ago it changed. It wasn't people looking to explore the city & make it better; it was people all out for themselves. Like Paul said:
I don't know... it's nothing against the group, nothing at all. But I just stood there among all the "young professionals, 21-40" in their plaid button-down shirts and their neatly-pressed khakis and their nice shoes doing their "networking," and quite honestly, I was bored. "Young professionals" can be so stuffy when they get together in a group. They usually wear "business casual" attire to events like these. Some wear suits. Because I have the personality to pull it off, I can get away with jeans. But it bothered me that I put on long pants of any fashion on when it was 100 outside, in an attempt to fit in and impress people that I really didn't care about impressing.

He's right; it got very uppity. I dunno, maybe it's better now than it was. I went to an event they had last month, and it was great---a great speaker (Ekandayo of Hatiloo), good subject (black rep theatre), wonderful concept (we watched 10 mins. of rehearsal). Plus I got to see several of the folks from back in the day & had an interesting conversation about Memphis race relations with a transplant from Brooklyn.

Now I have a new volunteering gig with my swing dance group. They are letting me help out as I learn the ropes of a few of the more basic dances from the 20's, 30's and 40's. It's a steep learning curve, as I never had any dancing lessons in my childhood, and know little to nothing about partner dancing. I will persevere: In fact, I'm going to my first bootcamp this afternoon, one dealing with swing moves & alternative music (that is, non-traditional, non-swing stuff).

Saturday, September 9

Cotton, paper, or china?

I missed my own anniversary.

A couple of them, acutally. I started blogging two years ago this month. Six years ago this month I quit smoking. And I missed it---didn't give myself a card, or the traditional gifts, or anything. Fortunately, however, I'm not holding it against myself---I understand how busy I've been lately, and don't take it as a personal slight.

I'm thinking of going on a blogging diet. What exactly to I mean by that? Good question. I want to stick to Tony Pierce's How to Blog guidelines as much as I can:

1. write every day.

2. if you think youre a good writer, write twice a day.

3. dont be afraid to do anything. infact if youre afraid of something, do it. then do it again. and again.

4. cuss like a sailor.

5. dont tell your mom, your work, your friends, the people you want to date, or the people you want to work for about your blog. if they find out and you'd rather they didnt read it, ask them nicely to grant you your privacy.

6. have comments. dont be upset if no one writes in your comments for a long time. eventually they'll write in there. if people start acting mean in your comments, ask them to stop, they probably will.

7. have an email address clearly displayed on your blog. sometimes people want to tell you that you rock in private.

8. dont worry very much about the design of your blog. image is a fakeout.

9. use Blogger. it's easy, it's free; and because they are owned by Google, your blog will get spidered better, you will show up in more search results, and more people will end up at your blog. besides, all the other blogging software & alternatives pretty much suck.

10. use spellcheck unless youre completely totally keeping it real. but even then you might want to use it if you think you wrote something really good.

11. say exactly what you want to say no matter what it looks like on the screen. then say something else. then keep going. and when youre done, re-read it, and edit it and hit publish and forget about it.

12. link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you're trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if youre full of shit.

13. if you havent written about sex, religion, and politics in a week youre probably playing it too safe, which means you probably fucked up on #5, in which case start a second blog and keep your big mouth shut about it this time.

14. remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. similarilly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song youre listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day.

15. dont be afraid if you think something has been said before. it has. and better. big whoop. say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. just let it out.

... blah blah blah...

18. before you hit Save as Draft or Publish Post, select all and copy your masterpiece. you are using a computer and the internet, shit can happen. no need to lose a good post.

19. push the envelope in what youre writing about and how youre saying it. be more and more honest. get to the root of things. start at the root of things and get deeper. dig. think out loud. keep typing. keep going. eventually you'll find a little treasure chest. every time you blog this can happen if you let it.

20. change your style. mimic people. write beautiful lies. dream in public. kiss and tell. finger and tell. cry scream fight sing fuck and dont be afraid to be funny. the easiest thing to do is whine when you write. dont be lazy. audblog at least once a week.

21. write open letters. make lists. call people out on their bullshit. lead by example. invent and reinvent yourself. start by writing about what happened to you today. for example today i told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.

2. when in doubt review something. theres not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

23. constantly write about the town that you live in.

24. out yourself. tell your secrets. you can always delete them later.

25. dont use your real name. dont write about your work unless you dont care about getting fired.

26. dont be afraid to come across as an asswipe. own your asswipeness.

27. nobody likes poems. dont put your poems on your blog. not even if theyre incredible. especially if theyre incredible. odds are theyre not incredible. bad poems are funny sometimes though, so fine, put your dumb poems on there. whatever.

28. tell us about your friends.

29. dont apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again.

30. read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.

I'm sure everyone's read these, but it's like your favorite book: every time you go back & re-read it, you get something new out of it---or at least have a renewed appreciation for it. I want to try to adhere as closely to these tenets of blogging as closely as I can. Obviously I'm already screwed on #5, and therefore #28, so maybe I should go to #13 and start it all over again. How long would it take people to figure out I'm me, if I were to do that? Y'all know I'd talk about Memphis, and the same places I hang out, and with the lovely Memphis blog opml feed. Maybe I'm doing it now & that's why my posting here has been so light. You will just never know.

Links: My first post to Rock'n'roll Minor Planets. Meets none of the above guidelines, except perhaps #s 5-9.

Thursday, September 7

Just so ya know: I'm no better than I should be

I'm no better than I should be. Tonight I skipped my 1st dance lesson. I went to the opening of Rhodes' new theater and they ran out of wine---something went haywire with their rsvp count and they had twice as many people as expected, and it was many old peoples. And you know how they like their wine, so of course the white wine was gone by the time I showed up (after 7pm, post-disco-naptime).

Anyway, this was all to explain that I missed dancing because of a single (really strong) vodka tonic. I did see the Pesky Fly for a sec but only as long as it takes a fly to light & take off again. Then I heard a lot of gossip & found out that some of the theatre dorks from back in the day still hang out at the P&H on Thursday nights. If you are interested, perhaps I'll see you there next week after Drinking Liberally (I'm determined to make it sometime this month!).

It takes a lot to blog, it takes a train to cry

Apologies to Robert Zimmerman, but I have had that running thru my head all day. I keep having strange dreams at night---or really in the morning, in the hours before I wake---that seem to signify nothing. This morning I was on some tour bus with a bunch of elderly people. Nothing happened, just conversation. Perhaps I'm getting old and my dreams are telling me so.

I've acutally never had a recurring dream in my life, at least that I can remember. I dated a guy who had one dream where he was running from something, he never knew what, but it was always the same. Just running---and he'd wake up all sweaty, heart pounding. He thought that was about getting older & not having achieved everything he wanted. He wanted to be mayor, or king, or something important. But most of my dreams consist of me doing mundane tasks and feeling very busy, then waking up exhaused, with the feeling I had nothing to show for all my efforts. I suppose effort still takes energy, even if you are just carrying it out in your head, right? You're still thinking, planning, worrying away in your head.

Maybe tonight I will dream about something and do it in my sleep. That would be a good use of my time.

Monday, September 4

Theoretically, Labor Day is the end of the summer---your last chance to wear white shoes, go swimming, or cook out. As anyone who has lived in the South will tell you, this has never really been the case. I remember when I flew to England for 2 weeks in Sept. years ago, and disembarked wearing dark pants, a button down, and a jacket. I removed the jacket but still just about sweltered to death waiting on my friends to pick me up outside. (Of course I had to wait outside, as I still smoked in those days.)

But this year is different from any in my adult memory. (I've been living in Memphis most of my adult life, and high school is so long ago as to be a little hazy.) This past week has been fallish, pleasant and seasonable. I've even walked to lunch a couple of days and we sat outside most of the evening yesterday. The traditional Labor Day cookout in Memphis is hotter than anything we see for Memorial Day, but I am loving the temperate weather this weekend. Thanks, Mother Nature---I know you get blamed for a lot, like hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, and mudslides, so I wanted to express my appreciation for a change. Hope you are all having a happy holiday weekend, too.

technorati tag:

Saturday, September 2

I finally watched Mrs Henderson Presents last night, incidentally, and it was a sweet movie. I always watch films based on historical events with an unwillingness to completely suspend my disbelief. Either make it up or do it according to fact, I always think. But I like films about non-traditional women, and I love the fact that there are still some fun roles for women past middle age. I get really tired of just seeing 20-year-old starlets (a la LiLo and the Olsens). Not that there's anything wrong with them; it's just that enough is enough already!

There's been a lot of talk about Katrina: 1 Year After on the airwaves lately, and I'm never one to miss a good bandwagon, as many of you know. But it all seems so overwhelming that all I can do is be sad about it. I was a big proponent of the Love It & Leave It tactic, because I just didn't (and still don't) see how NOLA can ever be a viable city. There's not been industry there since the oil companies hightailed it for Texas decades ago; and no, I don't count tourism as a viable industry. It provides below-living-wage jobs and gives people help working permanent life issues like addiction (e.g. alcohol, drug & gambling). It just can't work long-term. Anyway, now I am not all passionate about what they need to do---I am just sad for all those people whose lives were screwed because no one ever took the trouble to fix the levee system or slow growth there. I am also sad that I think a lot of those hurricane refugees have made it up to Memphis, where they still have no opportunity for helping themselves climb out of the dung heap their lives have become. Now they are jumping up our crime rate, since people without jobs would almost all rather risk getting caught robbing someone than the certainty of starvation.

Now I'm depressing myself. I keep having all these great ideas for blogs while I'm showering, and many of you know how that works: By the time you get yourself dry, your ideas have dried up as well. I think it's partly a function of having too much crap swimming around in my brains. I tend to forget things when I'm this busy, unless I write them down. Let me just say how much I love the Google calendar here. I haven't missed an event for anything other than sheer exhaustion since I started keeping it a few months ago. Now that I think about it, maybe my new calendar addiction is the reason I'm so tired; when I was missing stuff, I got more rest.

Speaking of events, I gotta go buy my cousin a birthday present to bring to his party tomorrow. That is, besides our granny---while it's a nice gesture, I want to do something more lasting to mark the passing of his 30th birthday. Any ideas?