I made a demo today. Three songs to send to Seattle. Now I have no excuses to get out there...
Friday, September 29, 2006
For months now I've been hearing the same song playing fromt he upstairs apartment. Somewhere over the Rainbow, the Hawaiian Ukelele version. I could not for the life of me figure out WHY my neighbor, who is on workmans comp and does nothing all day, would play the same song over and over all day.
One day I had a brainwave. Commercials. Of course. They'd play every half hour or more. So I've been watching lifetime, I mean, CNN, (nope -- really Lifetime -- old Will & Grace and Frasier Episodes) for weeks hoping that bloody commercial would come on. Nada.
Tonight It Happened. Just as I was about to mute the tv I heard that old familiar intro.
Organic Rice Crispies.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The off season has hit in full force. Today I spent several hours on my hands and knees in nylons and a short skirt no less, scrubbing table bases and the underbits of chairs. This part of work drives me insane. If I could only work, and make money, and then go home when there's nothing to do, all would be a lark. Instead, when people aren't there, I run around inventing things to do (ie: merge tabasco bottles) to look busy enough that the boss won't decide that I need to do something even "funner" and more useless (ie: scrub down the baseboards with a toothbrush and wood polish). Why is it unacceptable to stand and read a book? When all the sidework for the day is done, and there's nothing more to chop, merge, clean, polish, wipe down, pick up, squeeze, restock or roll, why can't one stand still? And since I spend almost two hours a day without pay getting to and from work, it stands to reason in my own brain that all non-customered time, after the sidework is done, should be guilt-free. Think of all the books one could read in between breakfast and lunch, otherwise spent picking lint balls out of the carpet.
Don't rub your eyes after merging tabasco bottles. Hurts like the Dickens.
Monday, September 25, 2006
A new fall promotion at work has prompted an afternoon of terrible gags. Our owner brought in fresh picked corn to hand out after dinner as a thank you to our fall patrons. How to gracefully walk up to a table and deposit a couple of ears of corn in husk was the topic of conversation. Ending in the following "flare" button ideas:
Wanna hear something corny?
Can you 'ear me?
Then we debated whether we should dress up like pilgrims, as we were already in all black, but we decided feather in our hair would be more appropriate.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
A man walks into the bar, carrying Dickens. I ask him what he's reading, he tells me. Have I read any of him? I think he's obviously paid by the word. I get bored in his full length works. What do I like to read? You can guess where that conversation goes. He's from Toronto, but has lived in Scotland, BC and the US, wants to go to Asia next. He's in Issaquah now, getting together a hot places to eat website so he can afford to travel and read. He's also well versed in Musical Theater.
Before he left he asked if he could take my picture. I assumed for his website, since he'd eaten in the restaurant. He said as a reminder that beautiful, articulate, smart, well read women exist in the world.
I let him take the picture.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The door opens. In walks a stranger carrying another kitten. "Is that a kitten?" "Yes, I found it on the side of the mountain." Speechless stares follow her down the hall.
The door opens, in walks my second roommate. "Doyou have a kitten?" "Nope, I wish."
Sigh. When did I become a mother? (PS, in case anyone is reading this that might report back to my father, the kitten will be out within a week)
Now that Atlas Shrugged is finished, I'm back to The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, volume 1. I'm about halfway through the letters covering 1905-1931. Most of the letters are to his Father or best friend Aurthur, with a few to his brother Warnie, and several classmates at Oxford. I've also check Jack, by Sayers, out from the church library to read concurrently. Yesterday I went to the Inklings Bookshop to buy Volume 3, but it isn't released until late November. I pre-ordered my copy, so Happy Birthday to me.
At this stage in Lewis' letters, he is an athiest, but beginning to reconnect to the mystical, or spiritual. He has recently read Chesterton and several years prior read McDonald, both of whom are huge influences to the writings of all the Inklings. Chesterton's Abolition of Man will later be credited by Lewis as his reason for conversion. He has also been introduced by letter to Owen Barfield, a fellow scholar at Oxford, and later a founding Member of the Inklings.
Lewis was an avid reader of the classics; reading many of them in their original Greek and Latin. He also could read fluently French, and less fluently German and Italian (at least at this point in his letters). As he peppers his letters with mention of his latest reads, it's amazing to me how clearly you can see themes develop which will later become the basis for some of his most famous books. For example, he discusses a poem that he is writing about the Greek Gods fighting "the gods of the air" which keep them out of contact with the Greater Good in space. (447) That will be a major theme of his Space Trilogy. Also some quotes from reading I've done and though, "wow, that sounds like Lewis/Tolkien/etc, have been quoted by Lewis. In Job is a line that reads, "Or who laid its cornerstone while all the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" (Job 38:6-7) Lewis quoted it as an example of poetry accomplishing more than prose.
Steve thinks I should chuck it all and become a Lewis Scholar.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand is the story of a society where industry and innovation are discouraged, and wealth is meted out by need, not merit. The heads of government and the media brand tycoons like Hank Reardon as individuals whose only interest is profit, at the expense of the “public good.” Under the new regime wealth is forcibly taken away from those who’ve earned it and given to people who are incapable of making it. Society collapses as one by one the business leaders give up and disappear.
Ragnar Danneskjold was one of the first to realize the futility of playing by the new rules, and gives up a dream of philosophy to patrol the seas, destroying shipments of cargo that had been legally stolen. He meets Hank Reardon, and tells him that if he could destroy one thing on earth, it would Robin Hood. Robin is immortalized as the man who “robbed from the rich to give to the poor … but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived.” (532) Robin Hood has been turned into a symbol, not as the champion of property rights, but of need as the highest authority. One does not need to earn a living, when a living is provided without effort to those who can prove their essential worthlessness. Those incapable of producing will have the producers indentured to them. The innovators will be shackled by the uncreative. Those who have talent will be forced to perform for the entertainment of those who have none, and the ones being exploited will have no choice in the matter.
The culture of entitlement is personified by Phillip Reardon. Phillip was content to live his life by the provision of his brother. Their mother tells Reardon that because Reardon is so brilliant his brother cannot succeed. His poor self esteem did not stem from lack of initiative, but because he could not live up to Hank Reardon. Therefore, by the logic of entitlement, it was Reardon’s responsibility to give Phillip a job for which he had no aptitude, so that his brother could pretend that he was standing on his own feet. Phillip was not to earn a job through skill or education, but because he felt he needed one. Likewise, Phillip, their Mother, and Lillian all depend on Reardon for the necessities of life, feeling it their due to live off his wealth. It is his responsibility as a large producer to provide for those who are “less fortunate” than he. The price for being successful is to be shackled with the useless, who don’t feel even basic gratitude. Supporting the three in the lifestyle to which they’ve grown accustomed is his penance for being good at what he does, and they can accuse him of being unfeeling even while lacking gratitude for their own status.
The first experiment of need based arithmetic on the corporate level was the Twentieth Century Motor Company. “Those whose needs were voted to be the greatest, received the most…It required men to be motivated not by personal gain, but by love for their brothers.” (301) Under the auspices of self sacrifice, self was indeed destroyed. The producers, the workers, the talented and the energetic quickly learned that they were to be worked beyond their endurance for the good of those who would not lift a finger to help themselves. Eventually life itself is devalued. Births are resented as adding to the burden of the already overworked. Death is preferred to lengthy and costly illness. In a hopeless gesture of self preservation, reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, the workers realize that the way to survive is to be just as mediocre as the person next to them; to pretend ignorance and incompetence, so as not to stand out. In Harrison Bergeron this mediocrity is directly imposed, in Atlas Shrugged it is the indirect consequence of need based policies. The company went bankrupt due to decline in production.
The culture of entitlement is imposed upon Reardon Steel by the government. Reardon develops Reardon Steel, a new product that is stronger than steel and cheaper to manufacture. The government rules that it is unfair for some businesses to have the advantage of Reardon Steel while others cannot afford it. Reardon is forced to sell equal amounts of his invention to each person that applies for it in the order the application is received. This equalization of opportunity negates the good of the invention, since no one is given enough of the metal to be of practical use. Those that desperately need the steel to keep their business afloat, fold while waiting.
The end result of a culture that rewards mediocrity and discourages creativity; which exalts need as the ultimate good, and calls anyone selfish who wants to profit from his labor, is the collapse of society. Being civilized requires a certain standard of value of goods and services. In order to live peacefully in society and survive there must be a standard which allots a certain amount of goods in trade for a certain amount of work. The only alternative is descent into violence, where he with the biggest weapon takes what he wants at the expense of the other. This is the end of the logical progression of Atlas Shrugged. The final image is a lone man in the shadow of the ruins of a factory, dragging a plow behind him.
Today we see much of the culture of entitlement. Our welfare system, originally intended as short term relief, has become bloated and ponderous as multiple generations of families have grown to depend on assistance, and lost the ability or desire to work. Programs to end the dependence on welfare have mixed success. Agencies force welfare users into short term employment where the paycheck does not depend on the actual quality of work, and altruistic employers train people with no skills how to have a job. The individual attitude of entitlement remains. Like Phillip Reardon, instead of direct assistance, we are now meting out jobs not due to skill, or a desire to work, but because we feel that is what their self esteem needs, not hand outs, but unsought work.
Danneskjold wishes to rid the world of Robin Hood, as he has survived in the cultural memory. But Danneskjold and Robin Hood are like-minded in purpose. Robin Hood did not steal to relieve need; he merely took back what already belonged to the populace. Robin was not an altruist, but in early versions is said to have been a nobleman, the lord of Loxley who was deprived of his lands by greedy churchmen. When Danneskjold, John Gault, Fransisco D’Anconia begin to rebuild the world, rather than eradicate Robin Hood, he should be reclaimed as the symbolic ancestor of their philosophy.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Yesterday, Aimee picked me up from work and we went into Seattle to see the opening night of the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour. It was amazing! I mean, aside from the scores of teenie bopper girls in skimpy outfits screaming at the top of their lungs and holding signs asking Travis to have their children. The dancing was spectacular, great music, great costumes. I was really glad I got to go. The Latin dances and couples dances were my favorites, and the Broadway (even though it was Fosse). The costume group dances were well choreographed and big crowd pleasers.
We spent the night at Bill's house in Seattle. He treated us to homemade chocolate mousse when we showed up at almost midnight. Today we woke up late (or Aimee did. I slept in a bit and then worked on my scholarship essay, having finished the book during intermission and waiting for Aimee to find me after the show) and went to lunch at Coho. I had the best semi-Waldorf salad with strawberries I've ever tasted. We visited Pacific fabrics, the Mad Scrapper, and the North Bend Outlet stores.
Now time for another flogamockers.
Today is the day I've been working for and dreading all week. I must begin my scholarship essay for the Ayn Rand competition, due byt he 15th. I have an essay topic in mind, but I don't believe I'll be able to twist any of the proposed questions to fit it.
Off to outline.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Last night I had Aimee over. We were supposed to watch a movie at her place if I could get enough done, but her depressed roommate was in the living room watching....Nascar....and so we opted for mine instead. We were talking musicals (ok, we were talking Hugh Jackman) and I pulled out my old VHS of the Cameron Mackintosh concert where Hugh makes a brief appearance singing Oklahoma! which had just been re-opened in London. We both said at the same moment, "That's Wolverine singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning."
Not enough progress on the book last night. I'm only to page 720. But it finally because uplifting after two dozen chapters of hopeless struggle. I'm interested to see how it resolves, but I'm afraid that given the author's philosophy, and that this is a contest for the Ayn Rand foundation, I may not be able to write any sort of essay that they'll want to read.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I finished section two last night around midnight. Three hundred pages to go. It is a difficult read, not because of its length, but because the main characters are so close to happiness and so close to the truth of what is happening, and they keep grasping after the determination to keep what they've built going, even at a loss and to their own detriment. Dagny has almost been convinced to let her railroad run itself into the ground twice, but every time the death toll rings, she runs in and saves it for a few more months at greater cost.
I'm still allowing myself limited doses of C.S. Lewis' letters over breakfast. The hero of his first full length book in old English was named Wan Jadis. Jadis was later used as the name of the witch in The Magician's Nephew and The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe. He and his best friend Arthur have had several discussions about religion. Lewis strongly advocates that scientific discovery proves and all myths are grown up superstition and educated men need no longer believe in them. It's very interesting to read arguments that he will later refute in Mere Christianity.
I'm off to work. Saturday mornings are usually very slammed. Perhaps there's money to be made today. If not, I've had an offer to go down to Palm Springs for six months and work in a winter resort for snowbirds.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm now officially halfway through the book, chapter wise. My goal is five more chapters tonight.
I bought my vintage brown fur hat with brown grosgrain ribbons. On my way out I found a white rabbit tam with a poof on top. I bought it, too.
Today, after I dropped my car off I read for an hour in Essencia. Then I walked to the bank to withdraw cash, but it wouldn't open for a while, so I walked back to the park on 2nd and Yakima and read there for an hour. Then I accomplished my banking and walked eight blocks to church to use their restroom, after passing all my vintage stores that weren't open yet either. Another half hour of reading in the back parking lot by the roses. I ran into Tamera on her way to Mops and scheduled lunch with she and her husband a week from Sunday. Then back to the vintage shops. Lunch and errands with Mom, then she had pity on my nomading and drove me home. I did some more reading and Dad took me back when my car was ready.
And it only cost my $50 more than I'd expected. My serpentine belt was about to go out on me. That's apparently a fancy way of saying fan belt. And I need four new tires. $600 more to save by Thanksgiving.
Poofy, frizzy big hair is back in again.
Belts this year are worn cinched around the waist over the top of your tweed suit or sweater set (hurrah. I look good in that).
Fur is in. (Think I will go buy that vintage fur hat I couldn't decide about before)
Smoky eyes and glossy lips are trendy, but makeup should look natural otherwise.
Compassion International has added a new icon to their search for children page. Now, a red heart indicated a child that has been waiting more than a year for a sponsor.
Heifer International offeres shares of all of its high priced items. Can't afford a llama? You can still contribute to part of one (which will be combined with other people's donations -- not shipped to peru in pieces. Gross)
Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sophia Coppola looks like it is going to be a beautiful movie. Vogue ran a beautiful story about the teenage queen, and then a photo shoot with Dunst. Beautiful costumes, and beautiful haut couture dresses.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
An excruciatingly slow day turned into a nice little lunch rush.
On the way to work I vented my sunroof (which hasn't opened in two years) to let out a giant mosquito eater, and opened all the way and got stuck. Denise and I drove to work with the sun roof open and the heat blasting. On the way home, at 100 degrees, hitting the close button worked. Darn it. I don't dare try again or I'll be driving to work in a parka all fall.
I'm on page 362 or 1100. Chapter 11, section 2. Tomorrow, while getting my 100,000K tuneup I intend to get to section three.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Another Labor Day in the service industry under my belt. I ran my feet off Sunday afternoon on the patio and yesterday. I served breakfast and lunch, then my boss asked for a volunteer to stay through the dinner rush. I made good money. Not great percentage-wise, but Heather told me to expect that on monday. All the campers are out of money and stiff you.
I'm sitting at my folks' house waiting for my insurance company to deliver my new phone. Mine took a spin in the delicate cycle. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I have to complete an essay on it by the 15th for a scholarship I'm applying for. I've asked the church for help, but no one's told me if they want me to come talk to a committe. Kurt said to type up my letter again and he'll make sure the right people see it again. I'm hoping to start the CS Lewis class within the next few weeks. Hurrah for scholarship. Steven thinks I should forget theology and go back to school as a Lit major and become a foremost Lewis scholar. Hmmm.... appealing.
Another financial report. I'm planning for working through the fall. Right now I'm making enough in tips to live on, and able to divert entire paychecks into debt payoff. If I can contine that through Christmas, I'll have reduced my debt in half again by January 1st. Here's hoping. I'd rather have it over and done with, but I'm doing my best!
The Scobells sent me volumes one and two of the collected letters of C.S. Lewis. I'm pouring through them at night. He was a bit of a twit as a kid, but obviously brilliant. It's really exciting seeing him discover for the first time things that will become life themes for him. Recently he's discovered Chivalry in Mallory. His textbook was on the development of Chivalry in medievil times. In another passage, he discusses a book he's just read, loving the evocative names and the creatures that existed with 'sons of men but loved them not.' I caught myself thinking, "Oh Lewis! You would have loved Tolkien!" Which of course he did.
I'm off to do laundry and read. I'm 32 pages into Ayn Rand, and I hope to have a good chunk done by dinner.