Thursday, September 29, 2005

MP3 Player Update

I bought one. And...I got the Creative Zen. I found a really good deal with VERY cheap shipping and a rebate that made the 40GB cheaper than the 30GB ($163.00 total). I'm happy to have made a decision, and I feel good about the one I chose. I also found Creative's very highly rated portable speakers with an excellent rebate. Now all I need is an FM transmitter and car charger and I'm set!

I was REALLY having a hard time with the control mechanisms by Apple. I realize Apple isn't as much "the man" as Microsoft, but anytime control is taken away from the consumer, we have two choices. We can bow down and go along with those mechanisms, or we can purchase from less comsumer-hyped brands.

Also, I was hanging out with some friends last night and mentioned I got an MP3 player, and one of my friends blurted out, "Please tell me you didn't get an IPod!! Mine was sent back three times in the first 6 months!". A little affirmation never hurt anyone.

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback (even if some were my consumer-hype driven friends of "the man"...shame on you Liz and Ellen).

So where's my toy was shipped yesterday...I want it NOW!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Here they are...the Nomad Zen vs. the IPod. They're both beautiful...but the IPod is definitely cuter...and more fragile.  Posted by Picasa

HELP! IPod or Creative Zen XTRA?

I need some feedback from the peanut gallery over this one. For Christmas, I'm getting an Mp3 player...and I'm completely TORTURED over which one to buy. I was originally looking at a 20BG, but now am probably heading towards a 30GB.

I'm torn between the IPod and the Creative Zen XTRA. Here are some pros and cons. Anyone who has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

IPod 30GB
Sleek and pretty
Trendy (I didn't think I'd be as swayed by that as I am)
User-friendly software
Easily adapted for car stereos
Color screen to view digital photos

So hot that people become victims of violence and theft over them
Non removeable battery (you send the IPod and $60 every 1-2 years for service...the biggest con in my mind)
Twice the cost of the Zen (about $350)
Can only use ITunes
Apple is very controlling with how it can be used (can't remove music to other computers, etc.)
Easily damaged

Creative Zen XTRA 30GB
Less expensive (around $200)
Can use any music software
Good reviews
Removeable battery

Less hot (IPods may be so widely used because of the name)
A bit bulkier
Not as user-friendly software (but other types can be used)
No color screen...can store digital photos, but cannot view them

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

No Use Crying Over Cracked Eggs

I had a great idea last night. Not really a great idea, but a master plan. I was making hardboiled eggs for my breakfasts this week, when I proposed my plan to the Boyfriend.

"If I shake an egg, will it scramble inside and boil that way?"

He looked up from his book, the corners of his mouth curve up ever so slightly in a smirk. "No, it's all liquid inside..."

Too late, I was shaking, bobbing, jumping...doing everything I could to get that raw egg scrambled.

I'd shaken it for what I considered to be far longer than it should have taken to merge the white and yolk, so I went for a Sharpie. I felt it necessary to mark which egg I'd experimented on. As I reached across my desk, I felt the very beginnings of what was to be a tragic accident. The slippery and cool shell slid from my hand and through the space between my hand and the floor.


Yes. The egg splatted onto my grandmother's red Oriental rug. Sad. I wiped it up and used carpet cleaner and it came up just fine. But the test of science had come to an end (I very much appreciated that through his laughter, the Boyfriend never said "I told you so", he was too busy trying to express how adorable he thinks I am...I'm so glad we found each other).

In conclusion: That yolk was completely intact on that rug.

Mesmerizing Hair

I saw this woman at the gym last night with amazing hair! I usually don't go for short hair (and by "go", I mean admire...not actually go after the person), but hers was absolutely mesmerizing. Short, black , thick, shiny, and really curly. The curls were like perfect little rings...and they looked really soft and springy.

It got to the point that she'd caught me looking one too many I had to say something. I told her I loved her hair. She started laughing and told me it's funny to hear people say that (and others have). She was bald until last February, which is when she ended her chemo for breast cancer. Before that, she had stick-straight hair (but had always secretly wanted curly hair).

With her treatments done, her hair started to emerge...CURLY! She attributes the thickness to pre-natal vitamins...because she found out she was pregnant 3 months ago! She described the whole year as quite a whirlwind, and she was very upbeat.

It's strange to imagine her sick with cancer, bald from chemo...and just a few months later she's working out and pregnant...WITH FABULOUS HAIR!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spooky Moon

I drew a lot when I was a kid...crayons, markers...whatever. There were a couple common themes amongst my creations. Having gone through them as an adult, I think I'd be concerned about my kid if they drew some of the dark subject matters I tackled (and I'd hate to have been in on my Parent/Teacher conferences). I will focus today on my favorite, and less creepy themes (and I also prefer to think that a child with dark ideas is ahead of their time...perhaps the mark of a creative mind).

Horses: I drew endless numbers of horses...although they often looked the same. Side view, straight mane hanging down it's neck. I did full views, but mostly I enjoyed the close-up of the head and neck.

Ponds: Usually the same. Sun to the right, trees framing the page, cat tails all around the pond...perhaps an occasional bird in the sky. And grass...lots and lots of grass.

Spooky moons: Dark sky with a moon, each picture had moons at various stages, depending on my mood. Without fail, there were always hazy clouds skulking across the moon...jagged edges and sometimes a couple stray bats...spooo-ooooky.

Oh, and the whole reason I wrote about this is because I saw one of my spooky moons in real life for the first time last night! It looked almost exactly the same...except the clouds were a little taller than I'd have liked.

Sad that they didn't reach my level of artistic vision...but I wasn't the artist of that one.

Burning Man: The Deep End

The Deep End was by far my favorite camp at Burning Man. We were a large theme camp, located on the corner of 9:00 and Delirium...they shared the adjacent corner. We didn't understand what they were setting up the first couple days we were there...only that there were very cool white structures on top of frames (the dance platforms...which by the way, held up better than any of our structures in the dust storm).

And then it started...boom boom thump boom. They were a daytime dance club. While we pounded rebar and erected domes, we had constant entertainment...the throbbing music coming from the DJs across the street.

At one point, P and I couldn't take it anymore. We held hands and ran toward freedom (the techno music) across the street. After a dance break, we'd hold hands and run back across. The camp is HUGE, they have to have hundreds of people in it...and from the website, they probably have 12 or so DJs...each rotating in a shift.

Fabulous costumes, beautiful people, and lots of dancing.

At first, I'd have my work clothes on...but the costumes started getting pulled out so I could look fabulous too...and P was no exception...I started tying the back of his shiny pants to make it into a thong-like creation. There was something about this dance floor that instilled confidence, unity, and a connection with people I'd never talked to. I felt like I'd never danced that well in my life! What is it about that place that stripped away inhibitions and social anxiety?

Certain songs reminded us of upcoming choreographed dances that had been planned by the camp. I will never forget the Banana Phone dance with boys in yellow vinyl...bananas to their ears...enthusiastically lip-synching and dancing in unison in the desert heat.

We felt we were getting so much from this camp, so we started giving gifts We put the ice in bowls and prowled the crowd, asking if they'd like some. Each exhausted dancer scooped a piece out and put it in their mouth, down their shirt, on their head...whatever. At the end, I had only ice cold water...which was always poured over someone's head. In exchange, I received a gorgeous bindi, and some spray-downs with lavender water (as well as offers of "special brownies"...I could have been high off my ass...all for some ice!).

When we returned to St. Louis, I felt something was missing. Gone was the thumpa thumpa of the turntables and walls of speakers...from 11 am - 8 pm...all is now silent.

(See pictures below)

The main dance floor...on any given day you could find me in the crowd, sweating and dancing. Posted by Picasa

Dancing platform above the regular dance floor. I was too shy to dance in it. Posted by Picasa

Dancers at The Deep End. Posted by Picasa

I don't know this dude, but that's the bar at their camp. You walk up and they give you a cash exchanged anywhere at Burning Man (except for ice and coffee at Center Camp...all that money goes into the community of Gerlach, the nearest's tiny). Posted by Picasa

This is the dance floor at The Deep End. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Comedy of Catastrophes

I had a TERRIBLE day yesterday. I was up most of Sunday night (the time of my last post was 4:19 am). Right before I went to bed, after my second snack, I stubbed my big toe on the vacuum and split my big toe nail (which looked lovely from a shimmery French pedicure I'd done the day before) really far down. I had to bandaid it so I don't snag it before it grows out enough to cut.

I got up for work feeling WRECKED, and a little dizzy. I showered, went into the office and attended a training session on our new phone system. I will never get that hour of my life back. I think Luna (our crazy old white cat) could have figured out how to use it without the training(probably not Jack...unless there are shiny components).

I told my supervisor I was going home. I was tired, sad, confused, and ready to get out of the office...which is exactly the opposite of what I should have done. I spent the rest of the day on our couch watching bad TV and feeling lonely and on the verge of tears. But let's go back a tiny bit...I was robbed. Yes, I left the office to find that all my cash and change were taken out of my purse while I was in the training. For the purposes of this posting, I won't speculate or accuse.

So I have a miserable day, and by 7 pm I'm feeling worse, so I go to hang out with some friends. A freakishly bad storm ensues...complete with gusts, lightening, and fences overturning. As I leave to go to my car, I fall into a 5-foot deep trench that had been washed away. It was dark, and I was shocked, scared, and grateful that nobody else was around. It's ok, you can laugh, I won't know.

I realized, as I scrambled out of the shoulder deep trench, that my shoe was still in there. I went back in for it. I got in my car (I didn't bother to clean up....I was too frantic) and cried all the way home. When I got in my car this morning, I would have believed that a sheep dog had shaken muddy water off him/herself in my driver's seat.

So I got home, I walked in the door, droppped my purse, waterbottle, and muddy jeans. The boyfriend's welcome home smile melted off his face, he put his book down, and ran to give me a hug. I gently brushed him aside with, "I need a shower...sob...I just feel so defeated right now".

As I washed the mud away and assessed the damage (I have a pretty nasty abrasion on my hip), I heard him bustling about. He hid my jeans and t-shirt so the sight of them wouldn't upset me (I'm sure I'll be much more upset when I see the mayhem in our hamper from that action...but I appreciate the effort), he'd cleaned my Doc Marten sandles (and got teary doing so...he said, "It's just so...heehee... sad. Please, heehee...don't look at me with that...heehee... face...I feel so bad that this...heehee... happened" with nervous laughter strewn in the sentence). When I emerged in a towel, he was scrubbing the last evidence from my purse.

I hadn't eaten during the day and was starving. He made me cut up tomato, smoked salmon, Dubliner and crackers (I always call it Berliner because I forget which it is), and camomile tea. We chatted, listened to music, I got a massage, and I drifted off to sleep.

Wow, what a CRAPPY day!

Monday, September 19, 2005

On a Sunny Afternoon...

I already wrote about S tonight (topic: forgiveness). As I quietly move around the house, the boyfriend's soft breathing as he sleeps punctuating my lack of sleep, other topics buzz around my brain.

Someone that I considered a friend killed himself last week (with him living in another city, the news didn't get to us until tonight).

A friend called to tell me, and I appreciated it. What makes someone close enough to mourn? Do you need a certain amount of years under your belt with them? Do you need to have shared secrets with each other? Or do ya simply had to have had sex with them to be deemed close enough? I had none of those things.

I met Brett (we'll call him that, because that's his name. Normally I use first initials, but I'm using his name) at Interfuse this year. It was a small regional burn, which was leading up to my first Burning Man experience (see previous post with Interfuse in the title). He was wearing a Boyscout shirt and kilts. He had a firm handshake and an infectious smile.

He hung around our camp and I got to know him a little. Not a lot.

We got to Burning Man and there he was, once again in his Boyscout shirt. He was friendly, entertaining, and easy to be around. He came in and out of our camp, and it felt natural for him to be walking about.

I stayed out really late on a couple nights out there, and the day after one of these nights I was pretty wrecked. All I wanted was to hang out under our bar's shade structure and talk to people passing by. Brett spent his day under our shade structure also. We had some couches, chairs, water, energy drink, and cocktails. We all lounged about and talked, enjoying the break in the heat, grateful for the beautiful sunny afternoon. Occasionally a good song came on at The Deep End (story about The Deep End to follow soon) and P and I would run over for a dance break. Brett went over for a couple with us.

I enjoyed my time with him that day. It seemed like any other day. I guess I wasn't as appreciative of the time I spent with him then. When we left the playa I hugged him goodbye, telling him I'd hopefully see him before the next Interfuse.

Does this small snapshot of time spent with someone make it ok for me to cry? Because I am. I feel sad that this shiny, vivacious, sunny person was here a couple weeks ago. And now he's not. Nobody else gets to spend a splendid summer day in the desert with him, or anywhere else for that matter. I feel sad that he's not someone I could have EVER imagined would kill themselves (but do we ever?). I'm also sad that those around me that were really close to him are upset, and maybe that they were lucky to have had time to get to know him better.

Whatever the reason he took his life, I won't judge him. I kind of feel like everyone gets to decide what they want to do with their life. If he chose to take his, I hope he got what he wanted from that decision. I hope he's gotten relief from whatever pain he was so obviously in.

I do feel good that I had all those small encounters, but mostly that afternoon. I'm also grateful I got a picture of him waving at the camera in front of an art car...his infectious smile beaming at the camera. He ran over at the last minute to jump in the picture to satisfy my need to have people I know in every photo. We giggled when I told him about my childhood trip to Colorado when I returned with pictures of nothing but glaciers. He humored me by telling me it's a sign of a good photographer to have people in them (does that mean the glacier pics sucked?).

Anyway, I don't have a good way to end this post. I just hope he feels better.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

To Forgive or Not to Forgive, That Is the Question...

So anyone who knows me at all knows of the demise of my closest friendship with S last December.

We became friends during a transitional time for me, I was struggling to get my life together, and he came into it like a ray of sunshine. Having changed people, places and things, I didn't have any friends and was pretty lonely, and pretty broken. He became my friend despite my daily struggles, despite my feelings of worthlessness. I felt like I didn't deserve friends, much less one that seemed to like me so much.

We went on to develop a very intense relationship (plutonic...I wasn't his type...not having a penis and all, and he wasn't my type) that was devoid of sexual tension and competition. We made each other laugh, we shared common interests...and I realize now, we were both broken.

We became each others companions (we both had committment and intimacy issues, so this was pretty convenient), went on yearly and sometimes bi-yearly trips together. Our last was to Ireland in November of 2004. He spent Thanksgiving with my family in 2004, as he did most years. Mid December of 2004 would be the last time we'd speak.

Out of the blue, he stopped returning my calls. I called, emailed...repeatedly...finally expressing concern that something had happened to him. I finally wrote one begging for closure, that I wanted to move on with my life and that this pain felt ugly, dirty, and I wanted it gone. And then I stopped contacting him. I realized after that email, that I couldn't expect any type of reply from him, that I would HAVE to find the closure I needed from within myself.

And then he replied. Tonight.

He explained ashamedly the cause for the fracture in what had been a deep and meaningful friendship...a missed phone call, which he was waiting at home for, to let him know I was ready to go Christmas shopping with him. Having just received a promotion, completely overwhelmed with my new responsibilities, and stuck in a meeting, I made that phone call later than he'd have liked. And that was the end.

He profusely apologized and repeatedly asked for forgiveness...admitting that he didn't expect, nor did he deserve it. He took full responsibility for not resolving the situation when I so clearly tried, and expressed excitement at the idea of renewing our friendship sometime in the future.

And so, to forgive or not to forgive, that is the question...

My first response to the email was to immediately write back, excited to be reunited with him. On the other hand, I don't think I could possibly get past his behavior. It's been almost a YEAR!

And so, I'll wait.

If I were to email him now, I'd say, "I'm sorry for not calling you, thank you for the closure." But that's really a bitch move, and I don't want to be the bitch...especially since I feel he has the market cornered on that currently.

What I want is to grow from this experience. Yes, I'll forgive my own time. I'm not done detesting him yet for putting me through this. I'll let him stew in his own juices for a bit, like he made me do for almost a year...not to spite him, but because I deserve the time to figure out the terms of my forgiveness.

I won't forgive him for him, I'll do it for me, and I'll do it when I'm ready, when I feel good about it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I'm beyond frustration at the bullshit Anonymous posts from marketers. I turned on the word verification function. The only difference will be that to post a comment, letters need to be typed in by a person. This way, automated systems cannot send out auto-posts. If this doesn't solve the problem, I'll turn off the option of leaving comments, which will be very sad to me. (Q, do you have any suggestions beyond using the letter verification? I know you've had the same problem).

This is the temple that burned on Sunday night. By the time it burned, it was covered in notes, wood blocks with notes, and markered messages to loved ones that had passed away. Posted by Picasa

I loved this art car. I saw it everywhere...from the back you could tell it was made from a VW Bug. Posted by Picasa

Priate ship art car. Most of these had gigantic music systems with bass that rattled things from a block away. Posted by Picasa

Scary art car. Posted by Picasa

Mother and Child sculpture. There were giant footprints behind them that were lit on fire at night. It was very beautiful. Posted by Picasa

I loved this at night. It had a ton of LED lights inside, so it glowed in different patterns. Keep in mind, there was no moon over the playa, so it was completely dark except for the lit art. Posted by Picasa

Building a dome. Our domes were smaller...this one may have ended up as a dance club. Posted by Picasa

This is actually one of two bikes that look like eyeballs rolling down the street. I never saw them individually. They looked difficult to ride, the person riding the bike barely had their head peeking over the top to see. Posted by Picasa

A desert sculpture. Posted by Picasa

There were events set up for different interestes...including stilt-walkers. I like this photo because the costumes are CLEARLY coordinated...perhaps they came from an entire stilt camp? By Mike Heacox Posted by Picasa

A closer view of the purple head (that wasn't the actual was far more psyche/spiritual). The biker in the background gives an idea of the scale. By Mike Heacox Posted by Picasa

These were erected on the playa and had fire coming our of them at night (as many things do). By Mike Heacox Posted by Picasa

Back From the Desert

Obviously, I can't recount my days at Burning Man in one was TOO HUGE! I had a fantastic time and, honestly, I'd kind of like to still be there. There was so much stimulation (art cars with DJs, art in the middle of the playa, costumes, naked people, bikes dressed as cupcakes, etc.) that things seem a little gray back in the real world. While there was a tremendous amount of preparation to get there, I was completely free to do what I wanted once there.

We set up camp: pounded a TON of rebar, assembled our chill and Moroccan domes, put together our kitchen, showers (not that many people actually showered), tall-bike jousting area, and our actual tents that we lived in. That took two days, then we were on our own. We hosted a couple parties, but that didn't mean camp members had to actually be there.

I think I'll compile a list of my favorite or most memorable aspects of the experience and write little posts about them. I'm going to start posting photos, although mostly they're from links that fellow-campers have sent me, and mostly of art. I'm afraid I put one of my crap disposable cameras through the baggage check, and most of my best photos were on it. I'll gather pictures from friends and eventually get more personal photos of me and my camp up.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Looks like it's swirling pretty fast. Posted by Picasa

Not as big, but very ominous Posted by Picasa

This picture is so different from the others. Some look really "hot" and churning. This looks cool, serene, gliding along. Posted by Picasa

These colors are amazing. It had to be terrifying to people living underneath it. Posted by Picasa

So big.  Posted by Picasa

I'm wondering if any tornados were produced. (As most of you know, I was at Burning Man during all of this...I didn't find out about it until almsot a week after it happened.). Posted by Picasa

This one doesn't even look real to me. It looks really powerful. Posted by Picasa