Month: May 2005

Weekly roundup

My breadcrumb trail this week:

Why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? Flickr knockoff tags, freaky-cool Japanimated snack food spots and astounding Rubik’s Cube art. [All via BoingBoing.]

Author of the best list ever, writer of Onion headlines and a published New Yorker cartoonist? I hate you, Sam Means… [via McSweeney’s]

“Pardon me, young man, but I speak jive.” [via Urban Sherpa]

Cool gear, cool delivery system. [via Cool Hunting]

Finally, in my search for info on vlogging, I fell way, way down the Xiaxiu rabbit hole. Girlfriend (who does not vlog) is chatty as a magpie (well, she’s 20) and way too fond of pink for my tastes but she’s cheeky and brave and marches to her own damned band, which more than makes up for the pink-and-chatty thing.



So many things (I wish I’d done), so little time (left). [Via Old Hag & Ed Champion.]

  1. Stuck with piano, guitar, drawing, writing and acting when they were first introduced to me so I wasn’t spending my big, fat, middle age catching up.
  2. Campaigned for Kerry.
  3. Visited Berlin pre-post-wall.
  4. Gotten out of advertising and into acting while I was in a good theater town like New York.
  5. Gotten out of advertising and into acting while I was in a good theater town like Chicago.
  6. Flossed.
  7. Gone to see Elvis Costello and the Rocky Horror Show that summer of 1977.
  8. Smiled for the camera.
  9. Told that motherfucker to go fuck himself.
  10. Ordered the filet.

Pass it on.



Searches, we get searchesâ„¢

searchesOh, I have been busy and woeful, woeful and busy (not too mention woefully busy).

However, like a good sun salutation or a stiff belt of Glenmorangie, Searches is a powerful antidote to stress.

Breathe deeply, and relax…

how to make drugs in your own kitchen (Yahoo)

I can’t even begin to tell you how in the wrong place you are. However, if your travels prove fruitful, mi cocina es su cocina, baby…

colleen good (metacrawler)

But from the look of things, not great.

Baba Ghanoush shelf life (Yahoo)

Please do not put the Baba Ghanoush on the shelf. The Baba Ghanoush, he likes to be in the giant box of refrigeration.

there are 2 doors one leads to death and one to life. There are 2 people there one always lies and one always tells the truth. What question do you ask to find out which door leads where? (Google)

I dunno…maybe…“Who does your color?”

Vincent vanGogh’s wardrobe (Yahoo)

One pair pants, one homespun jacket, 40 headscarves…

alex trebek photo full length (Google)

Omigod, Alex’s people are soooo tired of fielding this request.

guitar cords soundtrack the godfather part 3 (Google)

Hot damn, man…when do we jam?!?

jane kaczmarek naked (Google)

How great would it be if this was the same dude looking for Alex & Vincenzo?

dasani tastes like (Google)



If I only had the nerve

Fear1_1I have never thought of myself as a particularly courageous person. On the contrary, given the staggering number of painfully weird and/or wholly irrational fears I harbor (returning items without a receipt! making an unprotected left turn! answering the telephone!), I’ve always thought of myself as a big, fat scaredy cat.

But for some reason, the subject of courage, mine in particular!, has come up in a couple of times lately, which has forced me to take a look at it.

Now, I know full well how people toss around the "c" word regarding survivors. I didn’t have cancer or survive a heinous car accident or crawl my way out of the rubble of 9/11 with an injured co-worker on my back. But I did have what they call an acute onset of Crohn’s disease almost 3 years ago and from the looks of me just before, during and after my hospitalization (skeletal! ashen! wild-eyed!) I can see why people thought I was going to die. And don’t get me wrong, I was very, very sick: my doctor will happily confirm that right before he lays into me for going off my medication again.

Fear3_1However…"courageous"? I don’t think so. The night before my sister tricked me into going to the emergency room, I actually lowered myself into a tub of icy water to bring my 104.4ºF fever down to a manageable 102º. That, my friends, is the act of a crazy person, not a brave one.

Of course, once I’d had my epiphany and calmed down enough to assess the situation, I did take certain steps that even I marvel at in retrospect. When given the option of staying in the safe, air-conditioned arms of the Cedars Sinai IBD wing or returning to my sweaty apartment to see if I could put on the weight they’d been unable to pack onto me, I elected to go home and put myself on a diet that (a) excluded 75% of the food that had previously made up my diet and (b) required me to cook everything from scratch (remember: skeletal! ashen! wild-eyed!) Which is still slightly insane, but does show a wee bit of, you’ll forgive the pun, intestinal fortitude.

Having scaled that small, 2-lb. hill (confession to Dr. Wolfe: I lined my pockets with coins and pebbles to trick the scale, and you, into giving me one more week), subsequent challenges seemed slightly less daunting. I "came out" to everyone I knew, updating them via email about my disgusting, poopy disease and, scarier yet, asking for help with everything from grocery shopping to taking my trash out. I started walking, first to the bottom of the stairs, then to the end of the driveway, eventually a full, two-mile walk. Scariest of all, I called my agent and told him I was taking three months off to recuperate, regardless of whether I felt up to pushing myself back to work sooner.

Then, when I was able to get out and about again, I actually did…with a vengeance. I went to events solo. I started checking the "40 & over" box on audition sign-in sheets in front of god (a.k.a. the casting director) and everyone. I posted a profile online (and another…and another…) and actually emailed them as much (or more) than they did me.

Fear4_1And here’s the goddam thing of it: I did all these things, yes, but the fear was still there. Still is. Seriously. I can (usually) ask the "stupid" question or introduce myself to a stranger at a party or check the old lady box, but I’m still afraid I’ll be laughed at, given the cold shoulder and never work again. I’m afraid to post blog entries, I’m afraid to bid out a job at what it’s really worth, I’m afraid to reveal my deep, personal self even to loved ones. I just, to paraphrase the cheesy book title that’s become an overused catchphrase, suck it up and do it anyway.

It may never get less scary to do some things and it will probably always be scary to undertake others. But I stand on the other side of years and years of useless, stultifying fear screaming this truth to you, regardless of whether or not you choose to embrace it or merely laugh at me and walk away:

It is worth it to try.

If it opens one door, if it makes one thing possible, even if it only teaches you something about yourself…

It is worth it to try.

Trust me on this.

Or don’t…and do it anyway.


Weekly roundup

Here are this week’s happy landings. Enjoy!

Rachel Salomon makes pretty pictures. (Via Mike Diehl, who’s designed more cool covers than you can shake a stick at.)

Stealth art is everywhere. (Via Josh Rubin’s Cool Hunting.)

What Would Yoda Do? (From Giant Mag, via BoingBoing.)

The amazing Grant Barrett introduced me to fifi. (via BoingBoing).

And, just for the helluvit, a big, fat, Mac shout-out to metafilter.


Searches, we get searchesâ„¢

searchesWhile I am busy sitting on my keister, not practicing piano, dozens of people are out there searching for knowledge…

Kossack cheat mode (Google)

Ah ah ah…cheaterskis never prosperski!

eunuch sundance channel (Google)

Okay, I’ve heard of the fragmenting of the cable universe, but this is ridiculous.

fancy lala transparency (Yahoo)

What the well-dressed overhead projector is wearing this year.

french swears zut alors (Google)

For ze not-so-naughty parlez-er…

coastal girl in skin tight mini dress pantyhose heels feeling kryptonite (AOL)

The poetry slam is two doors down, pal.

99 Seat Theaters For Sale In, Los Angeles, CA (Google)

For the love of all that’s holy: Back. Away. From. The. Checkbook.

Orange,colleen (Google)

Okay, now you’re just plain freaking me out, here.

online television xxx chanel (Google)

Oooo, baby…I love it when you wear that bouclé knit g-string…

“substitute for polenta” (MSN)

And communicatrix is the sole source on the interwebs! Touchdown!

sexy toenail long polish beauty pretty photo gallery (Yahoo)

Why do they have to be Polish?

powerbook G4 15 “smokin hot” (Google)

Oooo, baby…I love it when you talk dirty to me…


Piano hack

I am a bad, bad student. I took French for over 12 years and barely speak a word of it. I spent six weeks and 75 of my hard-earned dollars learning to sew last summer, and my curtains are still not finished. And while it’s true that I’ve forgotten more books than many people will read, I’ve actually forgotten them.

Still, when I took up piano/guitar lessons earlier this year, I had high hopes. It wasn’t panic-inducing like when I was 7 and had to learn hateful Dvorak (I crapped out before the recital). My new music teacher is FUN and crafts FUN, easy lessons for me to keep me practicing and progressing.

But you know, there’s a very real learning curve with anything new, and a month or so into the proposition, I noticed it was getting harder to get myself to practice. An hour? I don’t have an hour today. I’ll practice an hour tomorrow. Tomorrow is a much better day for practicing. And, well, you know how good a piano player behavior like that is gonna make you.

It doesn’t help that Irene, the woman whose lesson precedes mine, is storming through these classical numbers and has only been at it a year.

Anyway, I started finding excuses for cancelling my lesson, or being grateful when real excuses, auditions, colds, torrential rains that closed down the canyon roads, cropped up. Until I didn’t feel grateful, or rather, I felt more sad than grateful. Because I really do want to learn piano and guitar (music theory, really); I just hate the vast gulf I see between where I am now and where I’d like to be.

And then an email arrived from my teacher. It was so perfect, I’m reprinting it (almost) in full:

I’ve been thinking about your phone message the other day.

I think I understand very well how the “not practicing” thing is becoming a burden and the mental blocks are getting stacked very high. I have SOOO been there.

I remember a wonderful bit of advice one of my college French professors gave us years ago. She said we would make more progress if we studied 5-10 minutes every day rather than three hours one day a week. There is wisdom in this.

Rather than waiting for the “perfect time” to practice, or waiting until you have enough time to “make it worth it”, sit and plunk for 5 minutes while waiting for a kettle to boil or as you pass the keyboard on the way to the bathroom or something.

In fact, the next time you sit at your keyboard (today perhaps?) PROMISE yourself you won’t do more than 5 minutes. Set a timer even. But get your five minutes in. Eventually you can allow yourself to go “over” on days you feel like it (and some days you will feel like doing more).

Then, tomorrow (?) do five minutes of guitar. And, after 5 minutes, know that you have accomplished something, because you will have completed your assignment for the day. It’s a much better feeling than guilt about not practicing, yes? This isn’t supposed to be about guilt and burdens, it’s supposed to be about you being able to make your own music.

Coincidentally, I ran into Irene at an audition today. It took us a second to place each other, out of context as we were, but soon we were thick as thieves. As is my wont these days, I immediately vomited up my ugly hairball of truth, which didn’t faze her a bit; she’d been through her own version of it, as well. And she didn’t think she was a marvelous pianist at all! (She is; I’ve stood outside the door unnoticed and listened when our lessons overlapped.)

So…permission to hack. Permission to outright suck. Permission to NOT
play by the rules, but just to play. And maybe if I do, I won’t just get better, but I’ll actually have fun doing it?

Now there’s a rule I can abide by.