Saturday, April 29, 2006

K.T. TUNSTALL... huge over the water in Scotland, Ireland and the U.K. and is now seeping into the U.S.A.'s music world. I heard some of her music being used as background for U.S. TV's "Desperate Housewives". (How big can you get?) So I suppose her music isn't a secret anymore.

I awoke one Saturday morning to a Scott Simon interview with her that made me run out and buy her collection of songs ("Eye to the Telescope"); the first music I've bought in I don't know how many years.

Her radio performance knocked me out, but also her presence, background, musical techniques, all of it; the whole package.

I've just been watching some of her videos on the internet and have to say I'm sorry so many music videos have been homogenized into pap. When MTV first started, the videos were exciting and creative and fabulous. Now: pap or soft porn. Or maybe I'm talking out of my (ahem) hat--I haven't watched MTV for years.

BUT I do recommend watching her "Under the Weather" and "Suddenly I See" videos. They are fun.

Like in films, books, and everything else, I guess we have to hunt for the good stuff.

I need to be patient
And I need to be brave

I need to discover how I need to behave
And I'll find out the questions when I know what to ask.

But I speak a different language

And everybody's talking too fast.

(From "Miniature Disasters; Minor Catastrophes")

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I guess I like jobs where you see it all: like the hotel employees in Dirty, Pretty Things. I used to work for the police department and loved all the stories about human behavior that I couldn't even dream up if I tried, as nasty as it can be.

Now I have a mid-level civil service job where I deal with regular folks as well as crackheads, drunks, three- and four-party conversations, screamers, stutterers--all on the phone, thank God. It's a living, a wage with benefits. But when I told my tax lady what I do for a living she looked at me and said, "They don't pay you enough."

Some days, like today, it's really a hard job to do. I try to compartmentalize and dream up creative thoughts. Surf the net and find 14th century woodcuts or yarn made from soybeans. Anything to keep myself sane.

Started reading the Wandering Scribe blog.

At first, I wanted to log on to PayPal and send this poor woman some cash. But then doubts crept in.

This text is remarkably well-written for someone who is going through a "breakdown". (I've been there myself and I don't think I was especially coherent at the time.) Of course, everyone is so very different, and she'd have nothing to lose--the ultimate freedom.

And I've been to the UK and can't see the local police (or neighbors, certainly) allowing someone to live in a car on the outskirts of a city. Is this blog a scam? It seems almost sacrireligious to question what may be a poor homeless woman at the end of her tether. But it might be a clever young writer creating a new character-based artform. How can one know? Have the Scribe cut and paste her PayPal account onto her blog to show s/he isn't collecting lots of money from sympathetic readers? What other course do young writers have?

Heard on the radio last night of a big book publishing deal (half a million dollars) given to a 17-year old Harvard student who hadn't even written a book yet, but had a good idea for one. Yeah, right. If only life were so simple.

After her book was published, it was noted that whole passages were lifted from another writer's works and a plagiarism suit was pursued.

More details:


Part of my post-weekend malaise was seeing two crap movies: Vanity Fair and Pride and Prejudice. Something is so "off" with these Hollywood type productions. Even when the acting is excellent, as in P & P, the direction or editing or something kills the story and you feel dissatisfied after watching.

On a whim I rented Dirty Pretty Things and watched it last night.


That's the kind of story I love. A real city story, where you feel like you are in London, a real London, not a film set. Actors who are the characters, not actors playing characters. And a terrific story. A believable thriller/romance with not one kiss between the two lovers.

It lifted my spirits. There is hope after all.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Although my ddil doesn't want photos of the kids on the blog, I figure this one of newborn Nema is okay because he has changed so completely since it was taken almost 2 months ago. He is smiling more now, especially when his belly is full. He has always reminded me of a miniature balding little old man.

There is always this struggle: if you work enough to make enough money to get ahead financially, there's no time to enjoy your home and family. If you take the time to enjoy home and family, you're stressed out about not having enough money.

I discussed this a bit with my son and ddil who are both burning the candle at both ends. I watch the economy tighten until it almost cracks, our money doesn't go as far as it did. I feel for younger folks. They've grown up with the tsunami of consumerism that tells them buy, buy, buy more and you'll be happy.

I just discovered on the BBC a serendipitous article about a homeless woman, living in her car, but keeping a blog called

The fear of homelessness is behind a lot of us who work jobs we dislike but tolerate. When my son was young and complained about us not having enough money to buy him fancy basketball shoes, I'd take him down to Mission and Fifth Street and tell him if he wanted to live in that neighborhood, we would have more free cash. He understood.

Friday, April 14, 2006


If I don't post photos of my little grand-angels, I'm kinda at a loss here... Oh my God, I'll have to be creative!

The eldest granddaughter-in-law is four-year old Papaya, one-quarter Nigerian, half Peruvian and one-quarter African American. She is expressive, explosive and full of life, a Force of Nature. Tall, lanky and long-legged with a head full of wild curls.

Next is my blood granddaughter Munai, three years old in May of this year. Her genetic background is one-quarter Persian, half-Peruvian and one-quarter Scots-Irish (me). She inherited my blue eyes and is short, petite and can walk on her toes . She's my child in that she hates crowds and noise, loves books and crafts, spends hours playing by herself, and has mood swings from giddy to silent.

Eight-month old grandbaby-in-law Matthew already weighs 24 lbs and is half-Cuban, half-Peruvian. He loves his food and is a Watcher. If he isn't where the action is and watching it, he isn't happy. Everyone thinks he is at least one year old.

The newest grandson is Nema, my other blood-grandchild, only six weeks old. Born with almost no hair (?) unlike his sister and daddy. His eyes are deep brown and he eats like...well, like a boy. He weighed nine lbs. at birth. Temper, yes. And he is a grunter. All night long, he grunts in his sleep.

I'll try to "Monet" them w/Photoshop and see if that gives me any luck...

It's pretty sad when you're so afraid of pedophiles targeting your babies that you can't even put them up on your blog. But what IS it with these pedophile people anyway? Recently a veteran Berkeley firefighter was caught viewing kiddie porn with himself doing the deeds AT WORK!!! Trust me, I work for Berkeley. They go through very thorough vetting and background checks of their employees. What is going on in our world?

But then during the Crusades, good Christian Knights and soldiers skewered, roasted and ate infidel children (source: Terry Jones of Monty Python's THE CRUSDADES DVD). I don't know what is worse: killing, killing and eating, or raping? Another conundrum.