Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Additional Analysis ...

In the interest of science, I submitted another photo to faceanalyzer.com today.

The differences between this photo and yesterday's photo? I have longer hair in this picture, and I'm smiling with my teeth showing.

But, oh the differences in my analysis!

I have:
Average Intelligence, Risk, Politeness and Sociability.
Low Ambition and Promiscuity.
Very Low Gay Factor and Honor.
I make $30,000 - $50,000.

Now I am a Beta Artist. (I have a palette icon now; presumably I can't afford a cigar.)

My Personality Profile is thus:

"Your main drive is to be admired by those with similar interests to you. Money and influence is not of your concern. You are interested and may be active in certain political movements which you consider to be moral. You may act or dress in a unique way to reflect your eccentric personality. Your emotions fluctuate fairly often resulting in you going through incredible highs and devastating lows. When someone is attacking you personally you tend to ignore them, for you do not like to argue with those who you consider to be barbaric. You may however simply be fearful and timid. You generally enjoy interacting with other and have some acquaintances.

You may enjoy using drugs to escape reality and explore different perspectives. You spend much of your time doing what you love. You are employed for the sole reason of sustaining yourself. You may even be unemployed. But you may be great at your passion and making good money off of it."

Beta Artists are "Somewhat intelligent. Adopts styles like goth; styles that are unconventional and are intended to show their uniqueness. Expected Occupations: Social Worker, Chef, Music Producer, Theater Actor, Theater/Film Director, Physical Therapist."

So, if this photo is to be believed (and it's more recent than the one I submitted yesterday), I'm less of a whore, but more of an honorless, bi-polar drug addict.

Good times.

Monday, May 30, 2005

My Very Own Face Analysis ...

Inspired by Ellen McCullough's blog entry about her pug's face analysis (at www.faceanalyzer.com), I submitted my own photo this morning for some analyzation.

Happily, I was correctly identified as female.

Interestingly, I scored much lower on intelligence (so much for that Mensa membership) than I did on promiscuity (clearly, my evil twin is intercepting all the men I'm supposed to be sleeping with, because they're sure not beating down my door).

So, to sum up, I score:

High on Risk, Ambition, Sociability, and Promiscuity.
Average on Intelligence and Honor.
I make between $50,000 - $100,000!
And I have a Very Low Gay Factor.

I am a Beta Boss (which has a cigar icon next to it, so I guess I better start lighting up) and one of the occupation examples for a Beta Boss is Gangster. Now there's a gig that never turned up on all those personality and career profiles I've taken over the years.

My view of the Artist Type? "Artist types do not concern you for you look down on them, you believe they waste too much time." Which would be fine, if I didn't consider myself an artist. Oh, the heretofore-unknown self-loathing!

"Drifter Types tend to feel that you types are a bad tempered bully." But really, do Drifter Types like anyone?! And note the flawless grammar!

My Personality Profile is thus:

"You are a power driven risk-taker. Your desire to obtain power quickly propels you to take large risks, both financially and socially. You are so effective and confident when it comes to making short term decisions at crucial moments that it almost becomes contagious. Your high confidence level leads you to focus on the rewards of your decisions, rather than over-calculating. Your directness may make others think you are rude. You know what you want and you want it now.

Some people consider you a political mastermind as you are able to take advantage of peoples strengths and weaknesses so effectively, that it enables you to undertake and achieve monumental tasks. Others tend to characterize you as confrontational, but you take this as a compliment, and in turn you characterize these people as push-overs. You would rather stand up for yourself and those you care about and face confrontation, than avoid confrontation and give in. You act promptly when it comes to making big decisions and thus others look to you to carry the burden of responsibility."

Apparently, I'm Donald Trump.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Definition of a Bad Idea ...

Yesterday, I was in the city for voice class. My class is at 11 a.m., but at 11 a.m., I was holding my friend Jeannie's newly adopted daughter Maizie in her nursery.

"What time is your class?" Jeannie asked.

"Eleven," I said as she looked at the clock and then back at me. "But there's another class at 3 p.m. I can go to that one."

Maizie fell asleep in my arms.

Later, I met Jay for lunch. Told him that I was going to meet up with Music Dave later for a DVD handoff, and had the seemingly-brilliant-at-that-exact-moment idea of Dave attending class *with* me.

Gwen, my teacher, is totally cool about guests in class, but all guests have to sing, too. No one sits in that room silently. Cool, right? Dave's a musician. Dave's a singer.

Seconds later, I realized that if Dave came to class and sang, that meant I'd have to sing in front of Dave.

Yeah. We went to Starbucks.

Where, actually, he sang a bit, to illustrate a point about a U2 song we were discussing.

It's odd and perplexing that the man who inspired me to sing again after a long, self-imposed silence would be the last guy I could sing in front of. Even in class, where we're supposed to make mistakes.

Credit Where Credit's Due ...

My dear friend John has a daughter, Ellen. I've never met Ellen, but John recently sent me her blog URL, and I'm reading this woman's rants and I'm crying from laughing so hard.

So, while it might seem odd for me to point people away from my blog, you really must visit Ellen's and enjoy her gifts. Find her link to the right, with my other links.

Hats off to Ellen!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Guess who I got a note from today?!

Kevin Spacey!

I sent him a letter in January, after seeing him at the House of Blues in December (actually wrote the letter in December, but finally sent it in January), and today, I got the mail and thought, "Hmm, this must be from Gemma" based on the handwriting on the envelope, and then saw that the address had "USA" at the bottom of it. Weird. Thought it might be from Fabio, a guy I once dated who lives near London. Then thought it might be from Iva, a musician pal from Australia.

But no!

It's from Kev!

I'm very pleased.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What Is The Point ...

... of short-sleeve sweaters?

'It's Like Taking the SATs' ...

That's what my friend Marlea said about answering the personality profile for eHarmony.com.

She wasn't kidding.

I took the time last night (and it took a lot of time last night) to fill it out. It's an interesting exercise in self-reflection, to consider your personality traits in detail.

A few of my friends have tried eHarmony and have had mixed things to say about it. You don't always receive matches right away, I was told.

Well, last night, I had five. This morning, I had four. One of my matches had "closed communication" with me. Not interested. He offered to reason. OK. Whatever.

I turned around and did the same thing to another match. One of his "Five Things I Can't Live Without" was "guns."

Uh, no thanks. Lest you think I'm shallow or too quick to deny someone their Second Amendment right, one of his other "Five Things I Can't Live Without" was "Taco Bell." Rounding out the list was "Money" and "My golf clubs" and one other thing I can't remember.

So we'll see if eHarmony strikes a real chord or not. I left it open to matches from around the world. I've never believed that the universe is benevolent enough to put the love of your life within five miles of your house, as so many people seem to expect on dating sites. In my mind, the quest for a soulmate knows no borders.

And even if I don't find the love of my life, I should have some good fodder for blogging! eHarmony eXploits, as it were.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Click Here, Click Here ...

No, really, I mean it. Click the headline. Well, OK, click it once you're done reading.

I can take no credit for this bit of hilarity -- unintentional hilarity, perhaps my favorite kind -- but I can do my part to share it with the world.

My cousin Patty in NYC was kind enough to share the site with me, after it was shared with her.

As I wrote back to her, "I wish someone would remove my clothes, give me a hub and say 'Thank you!' "

Click and read the three points under "Have Fun with CatPrin" and you'll see what I mean.

CatPrin. Tailor of Cat. Cheer or yell!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Can Someone Please Explain ...

... why the marriage of Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau is being covered by "Entertainment Tonight"?!

ENTERTAINMENT?

Better yet, can somone explain to me why "ET" paid a reported $800,000 for the rights to the story?!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

United we rant ...

Two days ago, I sent my Albom anger out into cyberspace. Almost immediately, I heard from Bill in Miami. We were united in our distaste for the Detroit Free Press and the pathetic spin it's trying to put on the Albom situation.

He's a photojournalist and, as I have great respect for photographers, I asked him if he had a photoblog, such as my friend Jeff does.

Bill replied that he did not have such a blog, but wondered where he could set one up, asked me about mine.

So I told him just how easy it is to join the blogosphere, and today, he's one of us.

This is a plug to drive traffic to his site (linked, at right): randompixels.blogspot.com.

Let's all make him feel welcome, shall we?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Increased Albom Ire ...

I don't know, outside of journalism circles, how many people care about the fact that Mitch Albom wrote a column in April in which he pretended to be at a basketball game -- a day before it even happened -- that he didn't attend.

I wrote a letter to the ombudsman of the Detroit Free Press and to Romenesko, the go-to source for all things journalism, where we news types can sound off in a Letters forum. I was not kind. Here's what I wrote then:

I understand ethics policies. I used to work at the Chicago Tribune. I had to sign one every year. So when I read Ms. Hutton's April 23 online letter to readers about the Free Press's decision to allow Mr. Albom to return to writing his column, I couldn't help but click on the hotlink to read the paper's ethics policy.

I laughed out loud, a snort of disgust.

Quoting, then:
"1. We tell the truth
We don't mislead readers. We do not publish made-up material ... We
don't imply we have witnessed events we haven't seen or been in places
we haven't been."

How is it that Mr. Albom could so blatantly ignore the very first item in the ethics policy and be rewarded with retaining his high-profile, high-paying job? Is the Free Press's ethics policy worth the virtual paper it's written on?



And then today, the Free Press published another story about Mitch and the findings of its internal investigation into his work. Turns out, he doesn't think it's a big deal to attribute quotes to the correct sources, but that, while wrong, didn't rile me. Something else did.

So I wrote another letter to the ombudsman and Romenesko:

Forgive my language, but I am a whole new level of pissed off.

I just finished reading the Free Press's piece, "Albom probe shows no pattern of deception."

And I just learned -- for the first time -- a very, very key detail of the Albom saga that somehow eluded me until moments ago: Mitch's now-uber-famous April 3 column (which, interestingly, is nowhere to be found in the Free Press's archives) began with a St. Louis dateline.

Excuse me?!

Journalists far and wide have debated the seriousness of Albom's offense. (I wrote an earlier letter to both the Free Press and Romenesko in which I questioned if the paper's ethics policy is worth the virtual paper it's written on, as Albom clearly ignored the policy's first item about telling the truth and not misleading readers. I, clearly, am not on Albom's side.)

But to imagine that Albom sat in his office, in front of his computer -- in Detroit -- and began his column with "ST. LOUIS - "?

That is simply indefensible.

And what's worse: The Free Press refuses to disclose what punishment has been meted out to its media darling, which leaves us wondering if, beyond his one-month "suspension," he's been subject to any discipline at all.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Jeff Bezos, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us ...

Even though I don't think to buy anything from Amazon.com that's not a book, CD, or DVD, I understand its mission to become the online retailer of everything under the sun.

But it was much to my chagrin that I saw today, when searching for a Beatles album, that Amazon.com features a line of exclusive jewelry designed by Paris Hilton.

Hear that? That's the sound of me groaning.

If you're interested, you can buy a Paris Hilton belly chain for $95.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Oh, now we're screwed" ...

Tonight was my fifth Springsteen show in 2 1/2 years.

Tonight was also my favorite Springsteen show in 2 1/2 years because it included my favorite Springsteen moment.

During one of his encores, he dedicated "Land of Hope and Dreams" to The Greater Chicago Food Depository, his local cause. About halfway through the song -- maybe to the bridge -- a string broke on his guitar. "Oh, now we're screwed," he said without skipping a beat, and then started singing a capella. And then the audience (sensing just then would be a good time to ignore his opening remark about not clapping along) put their hands together and kept time while Bruce finished the song. His guitar tech brought him another guitar, but we kept clapping. It was simple, but thrilling. For just a few moments, we became Bruce's backup.

I saw him in Detroit, too, so going tonight felt a bit like going to see a movie a second time. Still, tonight was a much different show. Much of the same banter, but the setlist held a few surprises.

The setlist from Detroit:
Reason to Believe/Devils & Dust/Youngstown/Lonesome Day/Long Time Comin'/Silver Palomino/For You*/Real World*/Part Man, Part Monkey/Maria's Bed/Highway Patrolman/Black Cowboys/Reno/Racing in the Street*/The Rising/Further On (Up the Road)/Jesus Was an Only Son*/Leah/The Hitter/Matamoros Banks/This Hard Land/Waitin' on a Sunny Day/My Best Was Never Good Enough/The Promised Land
*=piano

The setlist from Chicago:
My Beautiful Reward**/Reason to Believe/Devils & Dust/Lonesome Day/If I Should Fall Behind/Long Time Comin'/Silver Palomino/Incident on 57th Street*/The River*/Part Man, Part Monkey/Maria's Bed/The Line/Reno/Paradise*/The Rising/Further On (Up the Road)/Jesus Was an Only Son*/Leah/The Hitter/Matamoros Banks//I'm on Fire (on banjo)/Land of Hope and Dreams/The Promised Land/Dream Baby Dream**
*=piano
**=pump organ

Early in the set, Bruce mentioned "Devils & Dust" and then quickly cut off the beginning smatterings of clapping: "No, no. I don't want that sycophantic applause." Sycophantic. Time magazine called him a "rock poet," you'll remember; no slouch in the intellect department, this guy.

Jeff Zaslow, this part of the post is for you: Bruce did a beautiful rendition of "If I Should Fall Behind." I thought of you and Sherry. I wish he'd done it in Detroit. I've never heard it sung more beautifully.

And he did -- again! -- his amazing "Reason to Believe." Second song this time, not the show-opener, but every bit as mesmerizing as that night in Detroit. I hung on every note.

Before the show, a woman in the row in front of us asked generally, "Do you have any idea if he'll start on time?" As she made her way down the row to the aisle, I said, "I saw him in Detroit, and he started about 45 minutes late. You have time."

Her eyes got huge. "You saw him in Detroit?! How was it?!"

It was amazing, I told her.

"What did he open with?"

"Reason to Believe from 'Nebraska.' "

Again with the huge eyes.

"But you've never heard this song before," I told her. And then filled her in on how he performs it.

"If you hear semi-orgasmic noises from me later, just throw something at me to shut me up," she said.

After the show, before we filed down the stairs, I made my way through an empty row in front of her and asked "Was it good for you, too?"

She smiled. We gushed about how great it was. She asked if it was like Detroit. I told her it was a much different show. She said she wants to scalp tickets for the next few cities, to see how he does the show differently. And then she hugged me. Bruce fans. Just go with the flow.

As he was performing a song I can't remember at the moment, I found myself thinking about death. Not in a morbid way. But something he was singing about made me start to ponder, and I realized that I'm happy with my life. There are still many things I want to do, but if tomorrow becomes my last day, I'll be OK. I have amazing family and friends. I know the experience of truly loving someone. I've recently conquered a long-standing fear. I have nothing in my life I'm ashamed of, nothing I can't answer for. Leave it to Bruce to convey a life lesson to me during one of his little inter-song chats. He was talking about making choices, and said, "What gives those choices meaning are the things we give up when we choose." I grabbed a pen out of my purse and scrawled that down on the back of my ticket in the dark.

Too much to remember. Too important to forget.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Newest Latest Favorite Book ...

I don't like everything I read.

I have a lot of respect for writers, authors of books. A book. It's such a big thing to accomplish. The writing, the rewriting, enduring editing. But in the end, when it's published, to be part of the world of published authors ... It's one of my goals in life. A book with my name on the spine.

I love picking a new book. I've never lost that grade-school sensation. Library day was always a big deal for me. I loved the library at my elementary school. There were hot spots: Girls knew right where to head each week to see if they could score a Judy Blume book (across from the librarian's desk) and the National Geographics were by the door leading out to the playground. You could tell which issues had pictures of bare-breasted African women or naked men. They were always well-thumbed.

So each time I pick up a new book, I'm eager to love it. Sometimes, I'm drawn in from the first sentence: The characters beckon and don't let go ("She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb springs to mind). Sometimes, I can't bear to see a book end (if "Memoirs of a Geisha" had a bibliography, I would have read it; anything to not have to come to the endpaper). Sometimes, I'm disappointed, but think that if I read long enough, a book will redeem itself, and by the time I realize that that just won't be the case, I'm often so far along that I can't bear to not finish, but sometimes the notion that by reading the drivel at hand I am wasting time in which I could be reading something else, something I'd really care about, wins out and I close a book, unfinished ("The Fourth K" by Mario Puzo is one such let-down).

A couple months ago, before a business trip, I perused my bookshelves for a book for the plane. Plane books must be paperback, not too thick, trade-size, please. I pulled one off the shelf and read the first page. Then another. Then another. I eventually found the right book.

When I got on the plane, I settled in with my new book and started to read. I was rapt. Amazing writing, some of the best use of simile and metaphor I'd ever envied. Many pages in -- sixty or so, I believe -- I turned the page and thought, "Well, that doesn't make sense." Flipped back. Read. Turned the page. Continued reading. Nope. Made no sense. But maybe the author had something in mind. I read on. Then it happened again. And again. And I realized the pages were in the wrong order.

Can you imagine? The book I was reading was a debut novel. It was a review copy from a publishing house, but it wasn't a galley. It was a finished copy. Can you imagine the horror of your first book hitting the shelves with the pages in the wrong order?

I was sad. It was too hard to flip through the book to find the proper pages, so I put the book away. The rest of the flight was boring.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a new copy of the book, flipping through it in the bookstore to check the turns (end of one page, beginning of the next) to make sure everything flowed. It did. I bought it.

I'm reading it now. Enchanted as I was the day on the plane. "The Tiny One" by Eliza Minot.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

My stage and screen debut ...

Today, in class, we picked up the DVDs of the show at Davenport's.

I don't know about most of you, but if I'm going to hear myself sing on a recording, even if I'm alone, I still cringe in anticipation. I know it makes no sense. No one's around to hear me but me, but then again, I'm my own worst critic. So maybe it makes sense after all.

So a few minutes ago, I popped in the DVD. Dan, who edited the whole thing together, did a spiffy job, and everything's divided neatly into chapters, so I was able to skip from singer to singer (no, I didn't skip right to myself first, thank you very much). I got around to me and Brigetta and thought, "Well, I shouldn't have worn that sweater on camera."

The good thing about this DVD memento is that now I can appreciate what happened on stage that night. As I wrote earlier, it all went by so fast (and I was nervous, so time seemed even faster than normal) that I didn't really have a chance to soak it all in.

So I watched.

And yep, I don't sound so great -- just like I remember -- at the outset. Nerves. Damn nerves. But as the song goes on, I get stronger. And I remember forcing myself to smile (just a bit) while I was singing, and that was a good thing. It makes me look like I'm not so nervous.

Being that I was in a duet, I'm part of a bit wider shot than I would have been in had I been standing alone. I think I'm glad. The medium shot for the soloists seem a bit too tight for my taste. I don't know that the world needs to see my face that big on screen.

Which means, for now, I am not ready for my close-up.

But I'm glad to have video proof that I did this brave thing.

And now I have something that can be used to embarrass me someday when I'm really, really, impossibly famous (!) -- just as long as I'm not on Leno. I vow to never do Leno.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"A Love Song for Bobby Long" ...

Saw the movie last week. Liked the movie well enough. Good performances all around. But I was really taken with the music.

Blues and folk-y stuff. Not my usual musical diet. But I made a mental note to check iTunes to see if I could buy the album online. Tonight was the night. And there it was, although it didn't feature the artists for each song, listing instead "Various Artists - Original Motion Picture Sountrack." I wanted to know who the artists were, though. (John Travolta sings a couple brief tunes in the film.) So I went to Amazon.com and looked up the album, went back to iTunes to import the album, and then with both screens open (my 17-inch monitor does come in handy ...) I keyed in the artists from the Amazon list into my iTunes list. Printed out the liner and presto!

It's on my stereo now. Loud.

I highly recommend it. Even if you don't think you like blues.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I Don't Love Paris in the Springtime ...

Or any other time of year, for that matter.

There's a New York Times -- New York Times! -- piece on Ms. Hilton today in which she utters several words beyond "It's hot" or "I'm hot" or "That's hot," among them, "You should give me these for free," about a $1,000 pair of pumps that she spied and liked. She told the sales people that if she wore the shoes, everyone would start talking about them and buying them, and so the store gave them to her.

One could argue that that's how the rich stay rich, by never having to pay for anything, but the whole story left me shaking my head in sadness.

Paris Hilton, the embodiment of vapidity and excess in this country, who's famous for being famous, who should have seen her 15 minutes of fame expire several years ago, continues to thrive because the collective IQ of this country is so frighteningly low that they continue to buy into her shit. Health clubs? Perfume? Hotels that are pink? A CD?! The woman can't sing!

I'm sorry, but could we possibly reward someone with, oh, say, talent?!

And by the way, her boyfriend's name is Paris. How much more narcissistic can she get?