December 31, 2007

Family History Stuff

My sister Kathy emailed me this. I decided to post it. Some of it is obviously quoted from a document she must have on her computer.

The Marino's and Ranelli's
On the left is my grandfather Papa Frank Ranelli, not sure about man in center of picture, the right is Zio Onorfrio Baldone

My Father's Mother, Maria Marino Ranelli, came from a small town in Sicily called Sutera. Sutera is on a hillside near the farming village of Campofranco in Southern-Mid Sicily. My Father's Father, Francesco Ranelli was from Campofranco. The Raneli's used to spell their name with one "L" - another was added in America, I am not sure why. The Father of Maria Marino - Giovanni Marino had agreed to a marriage between his daughter and the son of Francesco Raneli. Then an argument occured between the two fathers and Giovanni called off the marriage. Young Francesco was already smitten and ready to marry so he and his friends went to Sutera and got Maria. She and Francesco were married without her father's permission - something quite rare in those days in rural, European culture. They had not been married long before they decided to leave Sicily for America. Francesco would leave first and go to New York to stay with a cousin and see.

Buteras and Giardinas.
I spoke with Mom recently and she said that they got grandmother Sara Giardina Butera's name wrong on the Ellis Island records.
Great-great grandmother Teresa had a daughter Rosalia who was 18 but the manifest also says there was another Rosalia who was 22, but this was actually Rosaria - like the Rosary and she was called Saria or Sara.

07. Teresa Varca (Giardina) 49yrs - Husband died (Maybe Charles or
Carlo)and she gathered up all her children,
including married daughter Rosalia (Rosaria called Sara) Giardina Butera and her Husband
Andrea Butera, his daughter from a previous marriage Rosalia (Lily)
Butera -6yrs and Sara and Andrea's baby boy Guiseppi -1 yr old.

08. Teresa's daughter or daughter in law, niece? Rosalia Giardina - 18
yrs - perhaps Ramiano's wife?

09. Ramiano - 16 yrs perhaps a cousin? Maybe married to the 18 yr old

10. Teresa's daughter Croce - 13 yrs

11. Teresa's son Paul - 11 yrs- married step-niece Lily - one son Big
Charlie Giardina - had Rosalind Giardina Ranelli married Big Frank

12. Teresa's son Mike - 9 yrs

13. Andrew Butera 34yrs married her daughter Rosalia (Rosaria) called Sara

14. Rosalia Butera - 6 yrs - Andrew Butera's daughter from a previous
marriage - Called Lily and married step-brother Paul - one child - Big
Charlie Giardina

15. Andrew and Sara's first Son Joe 1yr

16. Teresa;s married daughter Rosalia (Rosaria)Giardina Butera - called Sara 22yrs

My Giardina Family came over on this ship which you can find at
Date: October 22, 1898
Ship of Travel: Victoria
Port of Departure: Naples
Manifest Line Number: 0008

On that ship manifest - the Victoria, arriving on October 22, 1898 were My
Great-great Grandmother Teresa Varca (Giardina) but they mispelled her
name when transfering it to text - the text document spells her maiden
name "Karea" but it is really Varca (Giardina.)

My mother says that
Teresa's husband - I am not sure of his first name, but probably Charles,
Paul or Michael - He had a grain Mill in Sicily on a river. One night
there was a storm and he knew that he should go out and grind some wheat
while the river was moving so fast. When he got there, he sliped and hit
his head on a rock and died. So the widow, Teresa Varca Giardina, gathered
up all of her children, including her oldest daughter Sara (Rosalia) and
her Husband Andrea Butera and came over on the Victoria in 1898.

On the ship manifest, ,they put down that their destination was New
Orleans so may they have gone to New Orleans after that for a while, but
evetually ended up here, in Birmingham, Alabama. They were a lot of
immigrants here from her town of Bisaquino and she probably had friends
here. She stared a pasta factory and opened a general store where she sold
all kinds of food and also the pasta she made as well as Italian products
which were probably from New Orleans. She and her Daughter Sara and Son-in-
law Andrea also bought property in Ensley and rented the small houses
that they bought - and were quite wealthy.

Check out the ship's manifest and you will see several Giardina's
(Teresa's children) and a few Butera's (Sara and Andrea's children.

The Williamsons. My English Great Grandparents. My mother's mother's parents.
From the Ellis Island records:

First Name:Mary Elizabeth
Last Name:Williamson
Last Place of Residence:Ashington
Date of Arrival:Mar 28, 1901
Age at Arrival: 21y Gender: F Marital Status: M Ship of Travel:Teutonic Port of Departure:Liverpool
Manifest Line Number:
First Name:Thomas
Last Name:Williamson
Last Place of Residence:Ashington
Date of Arrival:
-->Mar 28, 1901 Age at Arrival: 24y Gender: M Marital Status: M Ship of Travel:Teutonic Port of Departure:Liverpool Manifest Line Number:0010
Thomas Williamson came to Alabama to work in the coal mines. He worked in Coal Mine number 8, behind their house.

Fun Stuff 2007

Jan 1st - Chili Run, Cartecay river. Level 2.6 ft. Pics HERE. Trip Report HERE.

Jan 4th - Mulberry Fork. Level 2 ft. With Glen Davis, Joan Steed, Heather Sutton, and various other paddlers.

Jan 13th - Town Creek. Level 280 cfs. With folks from the Huntsville Canoe Club. Trip Report HERE. Pics HERE.

Jan 14th - Mulberry Fork. Level under 1 ft. on the bridge, approx. 570 cfs (low!). With Joan Steed, Tara and Jim, Gray and Troy, and others.

Jan 27th - Locust Fork, to Swann Bridge. Level 2.9 ft. corrected. Guy almost swims under House Rock. Incident described HERE.

Feb. 10th - I think - Chattooga Sec. 3.5. Level 1.5.

Feb. 23rd - Diamond Caverns. Commercial tour.

Feb. 24th - Mammoth Cave. National Park tours: New Entrance and Historic Broadway.

Feb. 25th - NPFF.

March 17th - Ain't Louie Fest.

March 18th - Middle Tellico,
level 1.9

March 24th - Locust Fork Whitewater Classic race.

March 25th - Rappelling, Palisades Park, then boating on Oak Mtn. Lake. Jimmy's first day on the water after his surgery.

April 1st - A little solo roll practice at Oak Mtn. in my Wavesport XXX.

April 7th - Work on Graves' Cave gate.

April 14th - Caving with boy scouts in Tumbling Rock Cave.

April 20-22nd - Geezerfest 2007. Tellico at 1.1? With Dave and Rick.
Pics HERE.

April 28th - Coosa River, 3300 cfs., with MarthaMaria, Elmo, and BCC paddlers.
Pics HERE.

May 4-6th - Buffalo River with the B'ham Grotto.

May 12th - Cahaba Lilies in West Bloction, Al. Pics HERE.

May 20th - Coosa River, 3300 cfs, with the Birmingham Canoe Club.

May 27th - Rafted entire Ocoee River, upper and middle.

May 31st - June 3rd - SERA 2007. Swimming at the lake with kids. Diving boards, went off the slide headfirst. Went to Lost Creek Cave. Pics HERE.

June 9th - 10th. Hiwassee, BCC class. Handpaddling. First trip on the H with the Wavesport triple X. Pics HERE.

June 16th - Coosa, minimum release. Triple X and stick. Fun fun fun. Trip report HERE.

June 23rd-24th - Hiwassee. In the Triple X. With the BCC for the Old-Timers trip. Here my camera died. But I posted the last pictures it took, magenta error and all, HERE.
I have subsequently bought a new camera that is one step up in model from my old one, but still not made anymore, on closeout from Wolf Camera for $145.

July 1st - Coosa, minimum release. With my sister Kathy, my friend Donna Farmer, my friend Dave Howell, my niece Sara and my nephew Elmo (Sam). Unfortunately, no picturi

July 8-15th - Ottawa River, Canada. Pics HERE.
Trip Report, HERE.

July 21-22nd - Hiwassee, B'ham Canoe Club Beginner "Fast Class". This was the first iteration of a new beginner class format, 3 days of paddling in a row, first day on Ocoee lake and a brief class I section below the commercial takeout to the private boaters' takeout.
Second and third days on the Hiwassee. I was present for the latter two days. This class was a great success! Pics HERE. Videos HERE And HERE.

July 28th - 29th. CreekFreak Fest. We borrowed a raft and Creekfreak, visiting from Oregon, guided us down the Upper, Olympic, and Lower sections of the Ocoee. Pics HERE, videos HERE.

August 4-5th. Hiwassee with Juliet, Mark, Amanda, and friends. And kids! Finally got Juliet back on the water after a 6 year hiatus, in a 2Fun! Pics HERE.

August 8th. Rolling practice at Oak Mtn. lake. Fer got a roll! It was crazy how he did it, but he came up. Lots of hip snaps off the bow for everyone. I found my sweep roll, I guess it had been hiding with my missing socks. Good times.

August 18th. Grotto Splash at Spring Valley Beach in Blountsville. Pics HERE and HERE.

August 25th. Nantahala. Low release (IMHO). With Snacker55, Dneesh, psychicmidget, and others. Got a combat roll playing at surfer's rapid, and discovered that nobody saw it. ;-) Did a weird far river right line on the falls, easy-schmeazy. Watched a forest fire devouring a mountain top, camped with Atlanta Whitewater at Nantahala-Wesser campground.
This was a new campground for me and I really like it

Sept. 1st. Second Annual BCC Youth Paddle. Hiwassee River.
Dislocated my right kneecap trying to roll a Riot Astro 54. Youch.
Sept. 2nd. Hiwassee River. I've now dubbed my Wavesport EZ "Old Faithful". Guess I need real thighbraces not pockets like on the Riot boat.
Sept. 3rd. ELF Run of Chattooga Sec. IV. Level 0.9. My first ever foray past Woodall Shoals into the magical realm of Sec. IV. With Kevin Pickens and Chuck Neese. Swam in potholes with goggles. Awesome.
PICS of the youth paddle and the Sec IV trip are here.
Here is a video of Kevin swimming through a long underwater pothole at 7 foot falls. I wouldn't do it, but I took video... lol.

Sept. 8th - DLF's 40th b'day.
Sept. 9th - Oak Mtn. Lake.
Glen there.

Sept. 15th.
Mulberry Fork. Low water - lowest I have ever paddled it, I think. But it was LOCAL WATER! W/ Dr. Wendy

Sept. 23rd. Oak Mtn. Lake.

Sept. 29th. Oak Mtn. Lake.
This was at the upper fishing lake. W/Nathan and Bronson.

Sept. 30th. Cathedral Caverns. With the Ellenbergers. WORLD CLASS show cave.
Pics Here.

Oct. 5-8. TAG Fall Cave-In.
Pics HERE.

Oct. 13th. BCC Fall Colors Trip. Hiwassee. Pics HERE. Movies HERE.
Oct. 14th. Hike on John Muir Trail, upstream of the Apalachia Powerhouse on the Hiwassee. Pics - see pics link above for fall colors trip.

Oct. 20th. Anniversary of Shane's death. I can't believe it's been a year.

Oct. 20th.Surprise kayak gift for Juliet's birthday. Pics HERE.

Oct. 21st. Mrs. Miller's Cave. Pics HERE. Trip report HERE . and HERE (I wrote it in two installments).

Oct. 25th-28th. GAF 2007. Pics HERE.
Activities: Mtn. Biking at Tsali, found an eastern hognose in the parking lot at Tsali, kayaked Nanty on Saturday, hiked to Wayah Bald and drove to Wesser Bald on Sunday.

Nov. 3rd-4th. Green Narrows Race and hiking Tallulah Gorge. Pics HERE.
Unfortunately, my pics from Oceana - the end of the hike were not on my camera when I got home. ;-(

Nov. 10th. BCC Cave Trip to Tumbling Rock. I had 3 takers on the trip, along with Grotto members Jason Wall and Andy Zerbe.

Nov. 17th. Carnival Season reunion at The Nick. Well hell yeah! Earlier in the day I went to the Tannehill Trade Day - last one of the year.

Nov. 24th Graves Cave. I had an accident. Fell. Mild concussion, busted nose and chin, sore jaw. Helmets work. With Dave and Valerie Howell, and their daughter Shea and her boyfriend ???. Wish I could remember names better. Jonathan perhaps? I made it out of the cave without mishap. 300 ft. crawl, oh boy. Pics HERE.

For those of you familiar with Graves Cave, I fell on the 9 ft. climbdown after the long crawl. My estimate is that I fell 3 ft. I was climbing down and lost grip of the handhold I had chosen. My next 'project' is buying a bolt to put there for a handline. Some of my caving buddies have generously agreed to help me by installing the bolt. Installing bolts is not a skill I possess.
I'll NEVER do that climbdown without a handline again.
I had on an Elderid helmet, 661 2x4 elbow pads, and Dirty Dave knee pads. Saved me from broken bones, and possibly from a broken neck!

Dec. 2nd Moundville. Marjorie and I visited Moundville, an amazing archeologcial site. Pics HERE.

Dec. 9th Vertical Practice at Palisades.
I didn't get injured, yippy! Pics HERE.
Later Andy Z. and I went to check out a lead in Centerpoint that didn't pan out.

September 8, 2007

NOC instruction blog has a paddling lexicon

NOC's Instruction Blog has a very cool paddling lexicon. (in addition to lots of other useful info).

Here's a link:

For those who might not know, NOC stands for "Nantahala Outdoor Center", a mecca of SE boating and one of the best kayaking schools in the world.

August 28, 2007

wildest dreams

I have a song by Moody Bluegrass, their rendition of "Wildest Dreams". It's really a lovely song, and Moody Bluegrass does a great version of it. It makes me think of you.

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time
Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

August 14, 2007

The Beatles

The Beatles

Yes, I will go on and on about The Beatles. I am re-watching The Beatles Anthology DVD box set. Episode 2.

It is remarkable to me that they performed 'Twist and Shout' for the Queen Mother, all of the Beatles of course in their suits and ties... hell yes. Rattle yer jewelry, that did.

It's the songs that get me, though. It always was and is.

I have this faint memory circa 1973 of this girl asking me and a cousin what our favorite bands were for a high school class project -for a survey she was taking. I say 'high school' because she was asking 7 year old kids what our favorite bands were. It could have been college, though I question her methodology if so. It could have been a secret gov't project. But I suspect it was high school. In my memory she had long blond hair, and we were standing on the sidewalk. Anyway, she asked us what our favorite bands were.
My cousin said, "Three Dog Night". I said, "The Beatles". He mocked me. She said, approvingly, "Alright, The Beatles...". I don't know why I remember that so vividly. I was mocked, after all. I just think she approved. But what a tender thing to admit! What a piece of my heart to expose. An ancient, defunct band like The Beatles. 2 years broke up, 3, what was it? And amidst mockery. Story of my life, Amidst Mockery. Anyway, yes I said The Beatles. Of course I did.
Now, this is not to say I was Some Enlightened Child, because I have enjoyed my share of Treacle and Drivel, including several disco hits as they arose... after all I was a Child Of The 70's And Early 80's, and I loved the same things my compadres in age loved. And an early appreciation for Quincy Jones' production is not to be discarded...
But somewhere around 1982 something happened. My sister Kat had a cassette tape that someone, I think Morris, gave her, of the Beatles (she will read this and correct me if it was not Morris). It was Revolver, Rubber Soul, some of Yesterday and Today... I still have it BTW. I really do still have it! They could Make Cassette Tapes back in those days. Sturdy things. Anyway I 'borrowed it' and never returned it. It does not have the stuff Ringo sang on those albums, so it's not a complete collection. Anyway, I played this cassette relentlessly, and I memorized it. Memorized it to a point that I got obsessed with it. Memorized it to a point that I can still sing the first line of the next song on the tape, in key, after the last song I hear, though without Ringo's songs it's not accurate to the song order on the vinyl, so I'll get some wrong if you go by the original song order. I remember, even back then, how I could annoy people with talking about The Beatles. Oh yes.
And realize this - I had no Internet. Easy 'footage' of The Beatles wasn't at my fingertips. It wasn't the cute lads that got me. It was the songs. Do you see what I mean? The SONGS, man. The MELODIES! The CHORD CHANGES!!!
And it's still the songs, you know, even at me ripe old age of 41. Though they were very cute lads, lol. And I still love them. Esp. John Lennon, dammit.

July 27, 2007

Remarkable Thing

A remarkable thing happened to me last night. I was in Spin Class and I had had a tiresome day at work; comptuer kept crashing, After Effects was being bitchy. I don't know what was up with that. It's usually quite stable. Anyway I went to Spin Class and it was an Inteval ride. That means that you do short intervals of high energy then you remove all of the resistance from the bike and try to lower your heart rate and recover. The last interval was a high resistance sprint and I just went for it.
For the first time, ever, I sweated drops off of my forehead and face onto the bike. I just don' t sweat like that, y'all. The instructors do. I really pushed myself and I think I found my 92% threshold, which was 174 beats a minute. I maintained that for about 20-30 seconds and had to back off the resistance. I could stick at 170 beats a minute OK, it was kickin my ass but I could keep doing it, so I think that is my 85% number.
It was an awesome thing to work like that, and an hour later I was still glowing from it.
I just wanted to share.

July 25, 2007

Everything That Rises Must Reverb

Itty Bitty
Current mood: amused

I have started a new music project (I don't know how else to describe it) that I am calling Itty Bitty. So far it's just me and that may very well be all it is. And I haven't recorded anything, and that may end up that way too. But that's just how it is, as I am an eccentric person.
I am calling it Itty Bitty for two reasons. The first reason is that the words itty bitty make me laugh. The second is that I keep writing little pop songs. In major keys. Without any kind of 'seriousness' or 'heaviness'. It's just where I am in life right now I reckon. I also got a new (to me) 1980's Japanese strat to play with.
The things that I like to explore about songs are clever transitions (chord changes?) and writing appropriate and melodic solos.
One thing I am trying to not get hung up about is worrying that I'm making up something that is already a song, because it seems that part of every song is part of another song, kind of like "I Saw Her Standing There" is uh, inspired by "The Saints Come Marching In", and how many songs are based on Rhythm Changes (Summer Place, The Flintstones theme, and a plethora of others). The problem with this is I am hung up about it, I'm just trying not to be.

Other stuff - I am home from Ottawa, where I went to five days of kayak school on the Ottawa river. It was my vacation and it was awesome. I had never paddled five days in a row before. So I feel quite strong, lol.
I've been lifting weights three nights a week and doing a Spin class twice a week, and paddling on weekends. My hope is to get strong enough to do some flatwater tricks in my kayak. It's not common for women to do these sorts of tricks, because skill alone won't make it happen, you have to have some serious core ab strength. I'm also hoping to further along the process of de-belly-fication. Ontario is a very sparsly populated place. In Beachburg, which is where the whitewater sections of the Ottawa are, people ride their lawnmowers down the street to do errands, and the one restaurant in town sells 'Chinese and Canadian' food. I didn't go there, and wish I had. There are nearby towns with other places, particularly the delicious and cool Middle of Nowhere restaurant.

OK enough pictures of restaurants - the Ottawa is world-reknown for its big water, and here is me punching Sattlers Hole on McCoy's rapid. It was so big my brain would go into shock and I'd have the mantra, "Just don't think about it, just don't think about it" until I got to the bottom of the rapid, and the adrenaline would have me shaking. Oh man that ruled... anyway there was nothing hard about that line, I'm just not used to water that big.

Here's a beauty shot of the Ottawa. In between each rapid it's like a lake.
Here's another with some kayakers in it.
Whoo-hoo! Iron Ring Rapid!
One more - Lower No Name Rapid, this was a canoeists' line that the kayakers decided to take.

Tonight - roll practice at the lake, with the new kayak students. I wish I could roll as consistently as some of the people I've taught to roll! Kayaking is such a mental sport. Your attitude is a huge huge part of it, and your belief in your own abilites.
I've got to swap out boats as my Wavesport xxx is in my sister's garage, and I need it for the lake. Hey, that boat was all the rage in 99.
Well, I'm just meandering, so that's it for now.

June 26, 2007


Yeah I know, people don't write letters anymore, they write emails or blogs. Still, it's something special to get a letter, on real paper.

What was that? Oh, I was going to tell you about what happened after I sent a letter that I regret sending, but in a way I don't, because I was telling the truth. Consider this - that much of civilization consists of not speaking how you really feel, unless you really feel positive about something. Feeling negative about something, or someone, and needing to vent, isn't polite. So I wasn't polite. Unfortunately I was cruel.

After I sent you the letter, lots of things have happened. First off, my father died of cancer. I have had my heart profoundly broken two more times. Then I had a serious episode where I should have snagged this hottie but he went off and got married to someone else. It is for the best because he did not appreciate my sense of humor. That's a way for me to say I could have sold him the brooklyn bridge, he was so gullible to my wiles. I need someone more cynical than that. So no I never did get married.
Nor will I! Unless he's a boater. Gotta be a boater. Well, a boater would be best. See, I started kayaking, and like Frost,
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference"

I took a whitewater kayaking class, and fell in love. And it has taken the measure of me, and pitilessly... I have had two right shoulder dislocations and surgery thereon. I have been stuffed in an undercut and worked in a hole. I have felt fear I never thought possible to feel. It's amazingly alive, being in the moment as kayaking puts me. Like nothing else. It's THE BEST.
I know I know I get poetic about it. You rolling your eyes yet? That's fine. I'll always be intense.
Lessee, I also go caving. Caving is like being in a secret passageway in a fine old Victorian mansion. The passageway leads to a room filled with glittering jewels. There is much mystery in caves, and much comfort, too. I feel very comforted deep in a cave. There are bats and mud and water, tinkling waterfalls, quiet safe dark encompassing all, no light, no sound, the best peace there is. I think you might like it. But you have to get dirty to get to the best places.
I also go mountaineering. I'll describe that later.
What's needed here is a Quick summary - I rolled my truck on the interstate and walked away from it physically unscathed. This was less of an epiphanic moment than it deserves to be. You get really philosophical for awhile, then life gradually takes over and one day you're grousing over being out of peanut butter and other mundane things, just like you were before the wreck.
I work at the same place, I'm doing motion graphics and compositing on Avid DS. I wouldn't trade my job for any other except Lottery Winner or Rock Star.
My sister Kat survived breast cancer last year, she has had a double mastectomy and reconstruction.
I have vitiligo.

Oh by the way, of course I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for many reasons, but one of the major ones was when Kat got diagnosed. I don't want to read in the paper that you've died. I don't want to find that out from a website. It rips me apart to think of that. But on the other hand, there are plenty of people I never want to hear from or talk to again, and a couple that I will be quite happy to read their obits. People have their destinies, and only so much time. Why waste time on someone whose company you detest?
I was laughing with a friend about that, about how there is this certain woman that I'd like to call and say, "Listen you annoy the piss out of me and I really don't enjoy your company, nor do I want to talk to you after this, but are you doing ok?"
As this is a prerogative I enjoy, it is also your prerogative. So I don't expect a reply but it would be nice to get one. I didn't expect, or want, a reply to that last letter of course. I had kicked you to the proverbial curb.

Back to being sorry though - I am.
Another thing that happened was Shane dying in Little River Canyon. I have a PFD he sold me - my first - and I have a brilliant image of him in my mind in the Garage cafe when I told him I was taking the beginner kayak class, back in 99 - he said, "If you flip, try to roll up". He was a magnificent boater and a good friend. Several aquantiances of mine have also died in the past two years. It makes me wonder what I would say, if I could, to them if I had known the time left with them was so short.

So see, I wonder, because you come to mind rather often these days, and I have no idea why. Should I be concerned for you? Is this an omen? A sign? Are you in fact fine? Or is there something I could do to help? You, being a sensible woman, might laugh and say that we are worlds apart. But I remain concerned, for you, for unfathomable reasons, at least I haven't been able to probe them.
John Muir said, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe", and Leonardo Da Vinci said, "When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come." And John Lennon said, "I believe, yes I believe. More I cannot say. What more can I say?" And R Shackelford said, "I refuse to date a man with bigger breasts than mine." See, if I stack enough quotes in a row maybe you'll smile.

June 22, 2007

Pucker Unconcerned

I got this line in a spam email in the poem made of spam email lines listed in another portion of this blog.

Let's sing it to the tune of the chorus from the aptly titled, "Judy's turn to cry":

pucker unconcerned
pucker unconcerned...

"fashioned him an anus" fits the song as well. OK not as well as pucker unconcerned but wtf. Apparently doctors fashioned Fidel Castro an anus at some point in his recent medical care. I'd rather be fed sleeping pills until I died, but who knows, having an anus fashioned out of some sort of organic material might be pleasant.

I made this song up a while ago that is a rip of a slow version of Dancing Days by Zep. I made it up so I could do a solo that started at the low portion of the fretboard and went all the way up the fretboard to near the tippy top. This is 'cause a certain relative always complained that I would do solos on the lower frets. So of course I like to do them. Contrariwise. I'm talking to my intimate friends here. So lissen up.

So anyway, I found, or was led to by someone wise on here, those Bonham solo cuts in MP3 and think I might play along to one, even though they aren't, any of them, Dancing Days.

Another amazing fact about me - I can't really bend strings near the tippy top of the fretboard, they hurt too much. Maybe if I switched to 9's from 10's I could, but 9's are for pussies.

May 26, 2007


I have been diagnosed with Vitiligo. I'm not happy about it.

What is vitiligo you ask? It is a skin disease whereby I am losing pigment. My aunt and a couple of cousins have it as well, though a genetic causal link has not been established. 40% of people who get vitiligo will have a relative with it.
My vitiligo is bilateral, under both arms, in spots. It may stay this way for a long time; it may spread to all or part of the rest of my body; it may go away spontaneously though that is a rare occurence. Yes, this is what Michael Jackson also has.
Treatment options vary; there is no cure; but I am applying a medicine called Protopic and am leaning towards going to get excimer laser treatment. Protopic is an immunomodulator.
Some doctors believe vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, whereby the immune system attacks and kills melanocyte cells in the skin, causing loss of pigment. Protopic reduces the strength of the immune system in the areas it is applied, therefore allowing the body to repopulate the skin with melanocytes. Results usually take 3-6 months to show; I apply it twice daily. I haven't seen any results but I'm only on my third week.
The excimer laser is a laserbeam of focused UVB light. Some patients respond well to UVB light, and have home light boxes that they stand in (prescription only - your neighborhood tanning bed won't help). However my father had skin cancer so it makes no sense to expose my entire body to UVB. The laser will target just the spots under my arms. When I start this treatment I will have to go to the dermatologist 2-3 times a week for a quick session with the laser. The laser treatment could continue a few months to get results. I say 'when'. It's still 'if'.
2 problems with the laser - having to go to the doctor so many times a week, and fear that insurance will not pay for it. It is expensive.

Insurance companies sometimes argue that vitiligo is cosmetic and thus not a medical condition. Tell it to someone who has vitligo all over their body. My cousin has it on her arms, torso and neck and told me she has had people ask her if she was a burn victim. There is also the fact that melanin-free skin will sunburn very easily.

OK there are worse things to have, but that doesn't make this cool.

Anyway, that's my rant o' the day. It's actually June 21st as I type the rest of this (I typed the first sentence in May as you can see at the top of this post). Blogger needs better managment of dates and times.

March 30, 2007

Spam Email poetry

I'm collecting some nice subject headers for poetic reasons.

consolidate aimlessly
pucker unconcerned
Journey, into the Italian band Lord paw of them that
in his journey, and instantly electrifies his heels and puts such
beater the hypocritical that statewide or
austin oat derogatory doris
the ebony in gestapo but exhibit it's lath be crystal
dreamlike dolphin
dreamlike necromancer
furtively put socks in trousers

March 10, 2007

Blue Cheese Blog

We just got a Whole Foods Market in B'ham, and to my delight, they sell a gazillion kinds of blue cheeses.
I decided to keep a blog of the ones I've tried and my impressions of them.

Saint Agur: French, apparently made by a major dairy, and expensive. VERY delicious, creamy and tart without too much salt or bite. This is a double cream, decadent, fat-laden yummy cheese.

Forme D'Ambert:
Unpasterized French cheese. Firm, lots of blue, tart, salty, but mild.
Update: I've had this cheese for a couple weeks now, and I'm just not digging it. I don't know why, either. Its kinda bland. The blue in it is more grayish blue; maybe this means that the culture in it is a different strain or something than I'm used to, but it's just not doing it for me.

January 21, 2007

My friend Katie has a new blog/ where I've been blogging mostly

Just thought I'd say - I don't see a way to make 'link to friends' in my dashboard so I figured I'd just make a post. Check it out!


Mostly I blog musings on my myspace page, so here's the link: