Radio daze

Recently, I’ve been asked to co-host The Matthew Aaron Show with a sort-of former student of mine from DePaul University in Chicago. Actually, he was introduced to me via some friends who had him in their classes. Sure, I could go back and edit the first statement, but I’m too damn lazy and I don’t feel like it.

Tomorrow’s my birthday so I’m getting my birthday bitch on a few hours early.

Matt was kind enough to ask me to fill in as an occasional co-host a few weeks ago. The show is good and lots of fun, so I jumped at the chance. So far, it’s been a blast. I’ve met some great people and, most important, I’m keeping my skills current for ye olde job (pronounced ‘yob’) search. Now, I have zip radio experience, but I’m a true Chatty McTalksAlot, and I think I’ve intelligent things to say, some sort of wisdom to impart and a saucy wit that most folks seem to enjoy.

Who knows where this wild ride will take me–probably nowhere, but at least I’ll have fun gettin’ there.

Here’s a link to the shows. You can hear my sweet, dulcet tones in Episodes 1, 2, 4 and 9. Hopefully, I’ll be on again in the future. We’ll see what the Fates have to say about it.

Until then, enjoy!

 

Weller, Paul Weller

Some folks dig the Beatles. Others dig the Dead. Many like me dig Zappa and Mary J.

However, I dig Paul Weller most of all.

Paul Weller

Weller is an incredible song writer and a musician. Yes, he’s a rare bird–he sings and plays things like gee-tars–at the same time! It’s madness!

In this day and age with all of that horrible screeching that people consider singing (I blame “American Idol”), and the use of the shit-blanket auto-tune, it’s a comfort to know that singer/songwriters are somewhere … out there … still making great music. They might not be pretty, but hot damn, they know how to write great lyrics and play real instruments. Granted, he doesn’t have the best voice, but his talent as both a lyricist and musician make up for his sleepy voice.

Weller gets it right every damn time he puts pen to paper and a pick to strings.

Here’s a sampling, but I suggest you check out the album “Wildwood” — you won’t be disappointed.

Plus, he puts on one helluva live show.

The Weaver — lyrics by Paul Weller.

Can you put a smile back on, all these faces
Of all the people from such different places
And if you can succeed, what then will you achieve,
With a different tune to play, you’ve been saving for a rainy day

Will you heal the scar that’s on, the years been wasted
The tears spent of the past, just filling spaces
Or is love forever gone, banished to a smaller part
Hide behind your wall and start, to get to the very heart

An’ if you wanna shoot the moon, make sure that you know why
Careful, fly too soon, better let someone else try

I’m the weaver of your dreams, I get rid of your bogeyman
I’m here to smash the shell you’re under, an’ get you into another thing

I’m the weaver of your dreams, I put paid to the rocket men
I’m here to break the spell you’re under, an’ get you started with another plan

Could you put a kiss back on, the lips so twisted
Waiting for the chance to start, dipping into wishes
Or is love forever gone, banished to a smaller part
Hide behind your wall and start, to get to the very heart

And in the midst of the darkest night
Think of me and hold me tight
So that I might live to see
All the weaving of my dreams

Country — lyrics by Paul Weller

I know a place not far from here
Where lifes sweet perfume fills the air
And if you want I’ll take you there
If you want I’ll take you there

Into the light out of the dark
Where only love can heal your heart
And if you want I’ll make a start
If you want I’ll make a start

This place I say – half hour away
Is that so far to go – so near
And further on we’ll find the time
And lose the discontent we feel – that we feel

I feel the time we’ve yet to reach
Is not yet within our own belief
But I feel sure that time’ll come
If it goes on at all, said – if it goes on at all, whoa – if it goes on at all, 
hey – it goes on and on and on and on 

I know a place not far from here
Where fresh cut grass will fill your hair
And if you want we’ll lay a while there
If you want we’ll lay a while there
If you want we’ll lay a while there.

Enjoy.


The agony of defeat

I can’t believe what a fuck-up I am.

It’s astounding. I’ve been spent the past few days going over and over in my head, racking my brain, searching my memory banks, peering into the deep, dark, disgusting depths of my soul to figure why I am such a colossal fuck-up. Who in one of my past lives did I piss off? Was I a Nazi guard at a deathcamp and now karma is kicking me in the ass? Did I abuse orphans in Calcutta back in the day? Did I kick puppies or something? Who did I pick on when I was a child that caused the universe to sit up, take notice, and make a point of making sure I don’t succeed in anything at any cost? Was someone recently a recipient of a dirty look that wasn’t a dirty look, but a witness to my face when I’m deep in thought? Who the hell knows.

Or am I a complete moron who happens to be a wonderful actress and has oh so many people fooled?

Somewhere in between lies the truth.

I’ve been in LA for a little over a month and it’s been a huge struggle, not a challenge, a struggle. I’ve had a few painful-as-hell job rejections and sent out tons of resumes for jobs that actually fit my skills set — more so than when I was in Chicago — but so far, nothing. There’s more opportunity out here for someone like me — this town seems to ‘get’ me. I’m more comfortable here, and can’t see myself living anywhere else. (well, maybe San Fran or NYC)

But, who the hell was I to think I could get a job out here? How delusional am I? Quite, obviously.

On the plus-side, I’ve met some great people who are fun, inspiring and NICE. That’s huge with me — NICE.

I’ve also “met” a lot of folks via email who don’t like to return emails. Or phone calls. Lordy, I hope they’re never out of work and in need of contacts because, well, we all know how karma works.

I’ve come to the conclusion, however, that I do everything wrong. EVERYTHING. When I try to make things better for me, I get slapped down in the most obscene manner. It’s astonishing to me. My friends and family who are experiencing huge successes, I curse them under my breath. “Die in a fire,” is what I hear the evil Julia saying more and more. Some folks I know aren’t any smarter than I am. The bad part is, the decent and kind Julia is taking her own sweet time at punishing the Evil One. It ain’t pretty, but it’s the truth.

So, what do I do about this? No clue. My psyche is spent. Worn out. Frayed. Beat. Fucked. I’m down to eating one meal a day because I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t answer phone calls anymore. Thank dog for voicemail.

I might as well take up running — maybe I’ll be as successful as Jim Fixx was.

“Just call on me baby …”

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge Whitney Houston fan.

Let me rephrase that: I’m not a big fan of that type of poppy, over-synthesized, played-on-one-instrument-and-one-instrument-only music.

Sure, the tunes are catchy, but lack the complicated layers I’m used to hearing a la Steely Dan, old Elton John, CCR, Zappa, Aretha, Gladys Knight, etc. Also, I enjoyed Ms. Houston’s voice when she was singing without all of the vocal gymnastics — showing off her vocal range instead of keeping it simple. Even with a voice like hers, simpler was always better.

Ms. Houston had a huge fan base that encompassed the entire world — and that’s a huge accomplishment –which garners a lot of respect from a hard-ass like me. She has tried and true fans even though she cancelled shows and the years of drug abuse came through in her voice — thinning it out to the point where she almost sounded like Leonard Cohen on a good day. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but you catch my drift.

Here’s my fave Whitney Houston song — she rocks it. Having good lyrics will do that to a voice and it helps a lot that Babyface co-wrote ‘em. Plus the video is great too. She inspired me to buy and actually wear black velvet leggings back in the day.

Hope you find peace.

Happy VD

February. ‘Tis the month that celebrates Blacks, feeding birds, Kosovo’s independence and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Also, ’tis the month of Valentine’s Day and, of course, my birthday.

I loathe Valentine’s Day. Always have, always will. My hatred of this day has nothing to do with whether or not I have a dear one in my life. It has to do with the over-hyped worshipping of a pervy, nekkid little kid wearing wings and carrying a bow and arrow who is all about shooting folks in the ass so they’ll fall in love — usually with the first person they spy with their little eyes. Also, the whole if-you-don’t-have-a-Valentine-on-Valentine’s-Day, then you’re a pathetic loser who has probably done something to deem yourself unworthy of love. If you’re single on Valentine’s Day, then you suck out loud.

HOWEVER, during my daily news search, something crossed my path that has made me reconsider my feelings about Valentine’s Day. I now see it as a lovely, bright spot on this rancid rock we all call home. It’s worth celebrating now because of couples like this:

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks.

Body shots

It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘musings on random shit’ post. It’s not due to a lack of material because I’ve had some choice stories fly through my RSS feed. Sadly, I’ve been neglecting my writing since arriving in LA because of more pressing issues — both good and bad, of course. Today I decided it was time to dial up the snark and loosen up the reins. So, while I was browsing the news items earlier, I came across pieces that caused various reactions.

Have fun!

First, I love fashion. It may not look like it by the way I dress, but I admire those who design odd frocks that people want to wear. Wait … wait .. design EXPENSIVE, odd frocks that people want to wear. I understand that most haute couture pieces are works of art. I get it. I don’t admire those who wear these pieces — please. You’re not all that special. Those who deserve props are the designers. After all, they’re the delicate geniuses who came up with the designs in the first place. That, my friends, takes huge cajones.

So, imagine my surprise while I’m listening to the Dead and combing through fashion week photos on the Internets when I spied this lovely humdinger of a dress or … I … don’t … know …

Will someone please remind me to get my high beams checked? Thanks. Come to think of it, it IS a bit nippy outside today. BOO YAH! Does this dress make me look fat? Hey now! Time to pack my hips in ice. Whoa now!  I don’t know what else to say except that boobs are lost on some people.

And this photo reminds me too much of this shot. And no, I’m not cooking meth in my kitchen. Or snorting blow fish, I just have one of those types of imaginations.

Onward.

There are all sorts of fitness crazes out here. So far, I’ve run across the basics like yoga and boot camps, but I’m thrilled to see more and more MMA places joining the fray. Same with Pilates — not the fake, mat Pilates but the reformer, hardcore kind. However, during my travels, I’ve had fliers stuck on my windshield for different pole dancing schools in the LA area. Yep. My car. Not kidding. If the poor sap who’s being paid 8 cents an hour to litter cars with these brightly colored sheets of paper actually saw me, he’d probably run screaming from the parking lot and douse his eyes with bleach the first moment he had… just to get my visage out of his mental Rolodex. Can you blame him?

But I digress. I gotta give these ladies credit. It takes a lot of strength, flexibility and guts to do these moves. Couple that with being all nekkid and greased up, being pawed at by fat, married dudes from Rancho Cucamonga and you’ve got the recipe for major emotional fuckwittery. I’m sure what keeps these lasses going are the bills that get stuffed into their delicates, and the fact they get to wear some choice footwear. However, this little idea some uptight scaredy-twat is pushing inside the Beltway has bummed some of the ladies out big time.

Why didn’t I think of this?  Sometimes I don’t know where my head is at. Most electronic tablets only need one hand to use … yeah, you know where I’m going with this.

Next time I go to Florence, I’ll be sure to hit this museum because sometimes I’m not grossed out enough in my everyday life. Wonder which exhibit I’m speaking of? Here you go. Feel free to read more about it here.

 

 

I spy

I’ve been in LA for about three weeks and much has caught my eye. While most of what I’ve witnessed/experienced constitutes normal differences that are expected between two major metropolitan areas of the US, the stuff that stands out appears to be unique to LA and California.

Food stuff.

Food prices are cheaper out here. While LA is near the top with its astronomically high rents — about twice the national average — food is cheaper than in Chicago. At least the food I buy — mostly fruits and veg, chocolate and panther piss-esque booze. Perhaps that’s because most fruits and vegetables are grown in this state, so the price of transportation, storage, etc. isn’t tacked onto the product. However, residents are zapped for other expenses like transportation (you need a decent car out here) clothing and entertainment. Gas isn’t too bad either, but I’m sure it’ll get more expensive as the warmer months approach and Angelenos emerge from their well-appointed, cozy lairs, don their full-length mink coats (hey, it gets cold here at night! Around 50 degrees!) and get moving. So far, the city doesn’t appear to have its hand out for every little thing, every little service. Of course, I could be wrong. I just haven’t witnessed it yet. In Chicago, it’s a different story.

As for restaurants, there are shitloads of vegan/vegetarian eateries out here. I’ll write more about this at a later time.

In-Your-Face-Nature. A few days ago, mockingbirds woke me up around 3 am with their yap-yapping, trying to be all clever with their mocking ways. This little pest was in the citrus tree right outside my bedroom window and he just … wouldn’t … shuttie. I finally had to open the crypt door and tell Mr. Mockingbird and his cadre to sit down. Did they? Oh for about 10 minutes, yes. But soon they were taking requests and recruiting members of the audience to join them on the branch. I finally gave up and retreated to the living room to read. Seriously though, I don’t mind mockingbirds because they like to mix it up AND they’re sassy as hell. Total brats.

The mockingbird is somewhat of a milquetoast of the fauna I’ve encountered since landing at LAX. The weirdest was the brightly colored snake I startled while leaving my apartment. It was chilling out on my porch, and was gone before I could snap a photo of it. So now I traipse around the outside of my apartment with care these days because who knows if the snake is considering a comeback and moving into my mailbox. Or recycling bins.

The brat of the bird world.

Let’s chat about hummingbirds. A tree in front of my place is festooned with them. They’re everywhere — yesterday I spied a wee nest, not much bigger than my thumb, tucked in the crook of a tree branch. I follow the “No Moleste” mantra of my wildlife loving friends and family, so I don’t gawk and try to become one with the tree to get a better look. Plus, hummingbirds will pull out the big guns to defend their territory and I’m not into getting pelted by tiny beaks. Maybe 20 years ago, sure! But now? Nah. Not so much. I find their frenetic, squeaky speech hypnotic — except when they’re coming after me as I’m leaving my apartment.

So, as the song goes, Let it be.

Beautiful Buteos.

I haven’t spied anything shocking with four legs yet — like a cougar or a woolly mammoth — but once I do, I’ll write about it.

LA is lousy with birds of prey. They’re everywhere. Illinois is too, but it doesn’t have Harris Hawks. Apparently, there is a pair of these hawks living in the hills at the end of my street and like to cause trouble with their tag-team hunting ways. Last week, the pair snagged some sort of varmint and the cacophony of bird squeals and squawks was almost too much for me to take. One of my neighbors informed me that this pair has been here for quite some time and they’re left alone.

That’s a huge relief.

You'd better watch your ass, or we'll git ya.

Cops. Yes, cops. The po-po, fuzz, 5-0, the Men in Blue, donut patrol — or whatever monikers kids these days are giving G-men. I’ve noticed that LAPD officers are in much better shape then their brethren in Chicago. Perhaps the tough fitness requirement the department has for wannabe cops is carried over once one becomes a member of the force. Or, perhaps this is Hollywood and everyone is vying to be the next big thing.  Since it’s alllll about what you look like out here, the need to be attractive no matter what your profession is constant. Also, cops out here tend to become the news. (note: Zsa Zsa’s cop was from the BHPD). The cops trolling my neighborhood are also easy on the eyes — they’re kinda cute in that jack-boot thug kinda way. It’s tempting to get arrested. “Really, Mr. Po-leeece man, you can tighten the handcuffs more if you like … Aaaand your night stick?”

Now I’m done.