Friday, December 24, 2010

Song Saturday- Fairytale of New York

It's going to be a busy weekend at the House Rhuad. Yes the Solstice celebration has passed. We were extremely bummed to miss the awesome display due to cloud cover but baked and observed just the same. We still celebrate gathering. We have a large and diverse family and truly I see no need to cut out anything except the fat man in red. In my opinion he should not be allowed to replace the lesson that we are the hands that serve.

So I will be off for the weekend....okay, as far as I know, who knows what I'll do I may spend copious amount of time online. That's how I live my life, very few hard rules and plans. It drives people nuts sometimes but they fall in line.

Come by and check out the diverse and incredible offerings of seasonal articles this week at They will both uplift and make you cynical. Where else can you get that?

I leave you with my absolute favorite Christmas tune. It contains most things I love. Black and White filming, Matt Dillon,The Pogues, Celtic music, a trip to the drunk tank and most importantly the late great Joe Strummer who left us this year. RIP Joe.

Tags: holiday, joe strummer, the pogues, song sat, christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is a Comin' and The Geese are Getting Fat

Christmas is a' comin' and the geese are getting fat.
Won't you please put a penny in an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny than a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny then god bless you.

There are several variations of this song and I think a few more verses. But this is the one I learned as a child and it remains the first song I think of when Christmas time rolls around.

It's brings to mind snow covered buskers and easy comraderie. The idea that we should be giving if we have even a ha'penny. And if we don't we are not alone, people understand and know our struggles and call on the blessings of that which they revere for us.

It's getting harder out there. More people are displaced (read-homeless) and those who aren't are tightening the belt and re-thinking needs and wants in new ways. As much as I abhor commercialism I do celebrate Christmas after a fashion. I love those close to me, I want to be with them in winter's deep. I enjoy sharing time and traditions.

It's also a time when needs are glaringly clear. I cannot ignore it and neither can most people. But sometimes a ha'penny is all I have, like some of you, hell probably many of you. But it is enough, every little small bit is enough.

I have found in my life that the more I give away, the more comes back to me. This does not mean I am always flush when I give money to causes or people. But what it does mean is that I feel good and when I feel good I look for the good. I am blessed.

Part of this blessing is understanding those around me. How could we hope for comraderie if we do not share the burdens of others. And while we speak of ha'pennies let's remember that's symbolic. We have to share other things too, life stories, pain, hope, love, failure, redemption.

To me these are the things this season is about. These are the coins in our pockets, rattling about, waiting to be spent on something. Because coinage whether literal of figuative is valueless until it is spent.

This is what I love about this season, and if you haven't got a ha 'penny then may the god or spiritual light of your understanding bless you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 10 Movie List

Having blogged nothing in a while I thought I would rise to the challenge of The Late Mitchell Warren and put together my most current top 10 movies. Feel welcome to add your two cents.

First let me say that this was harder than I thought it would be. I found top 5 was easy, so was top 20, top 10 got dicey. So, on the strength of Mitch’s argument for Lion King I went with what movies both influenced me and stuck with me. I also went with what movies I can watch over again more than a handful of times. Oh and I cheated on one…sorry.
No particular order

1. In 1922 Forrest Ackerman saw his first “imagi-film” and he became a super fan. Before dying in 2008 he maintained the largest collection of sci-fi and horror memorabilia in the world. As a young adult I remember hearing that his all time favorite movie was “Metropolis” and lamenting that it hadn’t been re-released in several decades. I vaguely remembered it from watching Saturday Matinee at the Bijou on PBS as a kid but watching it as an adult I could see what he loved in it. It is beautiful. Full of Art Deco imaginings of a future time in which everyone is enslaved and worked below ground for the sky people, it is a very early (1927) Socialist statement. It’s easy to see why it was taken out of rotation in the following era of anti-socialist feelings. Who knows, it will probably be destroyed sometime in the near future given our current leanings. If you have a copy, hold on to it.

2. “Un Chien Andalou”- There are very few movies I can watch over and over and pull something different out of it and this 1928 piece of Dada is one of them. It is intentional, the ambiguity of the script, the Dada-ness allows one to feel and receive whatever they are in the mood or maturity for at the time.

3. If I were to pick a movie based entirely on its soundtrack, and I am, It would be “Repo Man” (1984) However not only does it have my favorite punk-rock driven soundtrack, It was also my very first non-mainstream movie, sending me on a quest for all the Indie deliciousness I could find.

4. Because this task was so hard I tried to look at genres, which is why I chose “Robin Hood”(Disney 1973) I remember this as the first movie I ever went to. I can clearly remember going to what amounted to a drive-in, but was really a walk-up in our little ghost town of Columbia, CA. dangling from the bleachers and memorizing every song. Yes, I know them all to this day.

5. Also along the lines of genres, my favorite Musical to date is “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. The music is incredible and the story heart wrenching. However everything ends well as it should in a musical

6. We have a long standing disagreement at House Rhuad. Some people here hate Jude Law. They find his hands weirdly small. I was on the fence about him myself until I saw him in “The Wisdom of Crocodiles” (also released as Immortality 1999) which was an excellent portrayal of a Psychopath. I fell in love then and there. He was spot on and I loved and hated his character.

7. Another movie I love that looks into the psyche is “Secretary”. It is also probably the only thing I have ever liked James Spader in. It is not for the kinkiness that I love this move. Okay…not only the kinkiness. I love this movie because it shows so well the torment of people who don’t understand why they want what they do and try so hard in the wrong ways to address it. It also illustrates how embracing parts of you that may be socially unacceptable can set you free for more happiness. This movie is also on my therapeutic movie list.

8. I have to thank my friend Karla for this one. Without her it may have taken me a while longer to come across it. “Boondock Saints” is great good fun, full of everything I love, action, intrigue, comedy, and redemption, spiced up with stereotype. Lovely.

9. No List would be complete for me without “Fight Club”. Not a movie list, not a book list, not a soundtrack list. It is also I think probably the single best book to movie reproduction ever.

10. Okay, here’s where I cheated. All Quentin Tarintino projects. I can’t help it, I cannot choose. I have not been let down yet by something he wrote, directed or heck even lent money to. The guy obviously watched too much T.V. and movies in his lifetime and god bless him for it.

So there it is, I was sad to leave out two of my favorite genres; Horror and Comic Book flicks. I’m a sucker for both. However, when all was said and done those are pure entertainment that is fluid, my favorites in those areas change so easily.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Flash Fiction Prompts

It's been a while but feel free to make use of the prompt. Please post a link back to your work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why didn't you do your math? Wall Street Journal- New York State wildlife expert Richard Thomas found that a woodchuck could chuck around 35 cu ft. of dirt in the course of digging a burrow. Thomas reasoned that a woodchuck could chuck 700 lbs. daily.

We didn't do our math because we don't do math, we write.

Ask me anything

I never watched Lost, did I miss much?

What is this thing called "Lost"? We are tied to our computers and not allowed to watch anything. It's a sweatshop here.

Ask me anything

Ghosts of Abandonment

Lying beneath a million ghosts

I note the weeds beneath me

So much healthier than the intentional plantings

The hunger of abandoned places...

A phrase I have heard and remembered,

The hunger of abandonment,

It's what feeds the weeds

And makes ghosts of long lost stars

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog Notes from the Road

I'm working from the road this week. The 9-5 breadwinner in my household got a free room in exchange for attending boring conference discussions about paperwork and client service models for public mental health. So as it is in Monterey I packed up my laptop and jumped in the car. Free away from home writing inspiration for me!

My stereo went out last week so we had no music for the trip which worked out okay, we discussed the things tripping through my mind, like global human migration, worldwide responsibility for helping other countries and if we should if they clearly fucked up their own situation...We discussed indie music and my most favorite kind of musician the ones you can't describe, as in he/she plays this or that.

Also on my mind as we travelled were changes in the Monterey bay area. Santa Cruz has grown quite a bit and Monterey itself is filling up with strip malls like anywhere America. The old military base-turned college campus looks like it's tearing stuff down and selling space to Chili's and Bath and Body Works.

Monterey has lost some coastline, there is plastic on the shores in frightening proportions. I watched as a birthday balloon was tossed by a wave to the shore. I wondered where it had come from...what it's sad birthday story was....I always ascribe sad stories to trash at sea, it could have been a happy birthday, I don't know.

I began reflecting on these stomping grounds of Steinbeck which have changed so much just since the last time I was here, he I think wouldn't recognize or even feel comfortable here. Development wars for zoning seem to be being lost, I guess money can buy you whatever you want, at least ski-high hotels and Starbucks on every corner. Even the Hookers are displaced, had initially thought to go and look for where they may have ended up but alas some of my traveling companions necessitate a nixation of that plan.

I'm thinking of a write up, retrospective on Steinbeck, shall visit important Steinbeckian points of interest this week, which I'm sure will thrill the Brownies some of whom came with me, they are only interested in adventure, so I must think hard on how to sell it to them.

In any case This Day is beautiful sunny and warm, couldn't ask for better so off to walk the shores I go.
Oh yes and go check my article this week at which talks about a revisiting of Hurricane Katrina as it relates to Haitian relief and disaster relief in general. Also check out all the other juicy non-status quo stuff up for offer this week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Night Walk

The crack in the sidewalk showed Her life well.

I knelt and ran my forefinger from top to bottom, taking Her offered nectar.

It tasted of earth, leaves, full of smoke and almost a tannin flavour.

Yet bright and fresh.

The Moon almost full to deliverance shined through a break in the clouds.

Radiantly orange and yellow against their whiteness.

Swiftly, they moved across Her.

One shaped like a Roc flew directly over, seeming to linger.

It was an omen.

Good or bad, must wait to see.

An owl had tracked my path in the still of the night.
I could hear it; it's wings soft but audible on the clean cold night.
Good omen this; the gentle whoooo imparting wisdom which my deeper self will recall as needed.

Remembrances of a different owl, so long ago.

I reach the creek swelling slowly from recent rain.
It's cold breath I can feel.

Ophelia Wept.

I can hear her, not for you my attentions this night my sister.

This night,

My Sister,

Sleep softer.

Soon I reach my destination, where warmth and light await.
I slow my step savoring the cold's bite.

I am a creature of the night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Blog for the Day

So an hour and a bent and pulsing shoulder later I think I am starting to figure out this Blogger arena, which is not as complicated as I first figured.

However I do like to just sit down and write so figuring anything is a pain in well...numerous body parts.

You will notice you can now follow me on twitter which is cool if you like random insults mixed with what I feel passes for wisdom for that day, which could be anything from good to horridly bad.

You can also follow Subversify Tweets, which you should as it will keep you updated on our collective wisdom and upcoming articles/events. One of the most exciting of which you will also now find on my blog, Subversive radio, thanks to staff member Astra Navigo for spearheading and making happen. We will soon have inteviews and other spoken word up.

In case you aren't familiar with our E-Zine which is possibly the best in cyberspace it can be found at or just follow the myriad links I have on the page.

Enough from me today, I am now going to go figure out how to use my new voice recognition technologie on my phone which is supposed to translate all my ramblings to blogs, so we shall see...

G'Night All.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sharpen Your Pencils Everyone

I was in my child's 3rd grade class earlier in the week reading out loud to the children and monsters a book about Unicorns, or more correctly a book about a Unicorn about to be born, which in no way sounds like fun to me especially given the mother of the Unicorn in question is a Horse.

Thankfully the teacher was otherwise occupied and not really paying attention because it gave us all time to talk about what we thought might happen in the case of such a supernatural birth and what exactly it means to be "in foal" know important stuff.

I really do not like reading a loud to anyone, it is just a weird quirk I have. Mostly because it distracts me from my own imaginings, so it always surprises me when rapt little faces look at me and beg me to continue. I have been told that I "do voices" of which I am entirely unaware, but it must be because that is how I hear things In my head when I read.

But that is neither here nor there. We finished the prescribed chapter and though we all wanted to go on and learn more about the fearsome owner of the horse, and her kindly young girl caregiver and most importantly the foal, which we secretly talked about maybe more than we should-how did it get in there? -because it would be Unicorn was it magically conceived?- Did the Flaxen cord have anything to do with it?-what exactly is Flax? You know important stuff.

Anyway after reading I was asked to help the kids with their drawings of geometrical shapes, yay, I always love it when kids have to draw things according to prescription...NOT! This is how I found out the rule of the class was you could not under any circumstances sharpen your pencil during class. What the Hell? Really? So if you break your pencil, use it up, or in the case of one child the absent minded teacher steals your pencil you cannot sharpen one because....why? The earth may fall out of rotation?

It is these sort of rules that make me feel like I really should be in class more often. If only to bring in freshly sharpened pencils everyday like a bouquet of flowers. Now I know it can be a distraction that little children and other monsters will use to sharpen their pencils and avoid a task, but really, maybe they need that avoidance minute.

Or maybe they need a really newly sharpened pencil. I was thinking to myself how when I was a child and computers were not yet the norm, a new sharpened pencil made me want to do new things. Somehow I was more excited about math, spelling and yes even geography when I could write beautifully and precisely with a nice sharp point. We all have our thing that makes us feel good and I think maybe some of us should re-think our rules around distraction in order to make others feel good.

So I sharpened pencils in the "NO SHARPENING PENCIL TIME" The teacher after all could not tell me not to, and I think everyone should have something that makes them feel empowered.

I don't know why, but the teacher still looked to me for help on the "GUM ISSUE" after that, (GUM ISSUE=Absolutely no gum at anytime for any reason) Since I have older kids she wanted to have me back her up regarding the "Universal GUM LAW" in school, apparently she thought the kids would quit it if they knew their Miley Cyrus aged cohorts also couldn't chew gum.

So Naturally when she asked me if kids in Jr. High and High School could chew gum I threw her a bone and answered with a quote from one of my favorite Gurus: "Chewing Gum is Really Gross, Chewing Gum I Hate the Most"~Willy Wonka.

I think from the giggles that the quote will work out in her favor. You just gotta know how to relate.

And bring your sharpened pencils.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writer's Block and This and That

I had meant to do an end of the year write up, however then I got sidetracked with researching sticky legal issues here as well as an article I am working up for Unfortunately one of the side-effects of filling my brain up is over-thinking everything and living with an ongoing circular argument in my head, until one side or the other wins out in this argument (figuratively of course, there aren't actual people in my head...usually) I also usually come down with a bad case of writer's block.

While it has consistently been proven to me that curing writer's block requires writing, NO MATTER WHAT, I like someone who wants to lose weight and not exercise and eat cream and butter, persist in dreaming it will go away on its own.

So that is what I have been up to, sitting on my favorite fireside chair gobbling books and making pasta and walking, and reading some more and worrying about my schizophrenic cat (seriously, not just in the normal cat way, he sees thing and attacks his own tail when it gets dark out, does anyone know a cat whisperer or psychic who will work for free, nobody is sleeping at night and he has learned how not to swallow benedryl.) and reading some more.

I will be around for now, But I will also be spending more time away, the 'zine is taking up a lot of time and with people taking off, valuable folks that I want to talk to are now more scattered.

I know I didn't get around to a complete write up of my year, but here is one in brief.

2009 was hard, personally and politically and while not financially for me, that rug was pulled out several years earlier at my house, I did spend a good part of my year teaching others what I had learned as they woke up from their dreams of prosperity.

I fell in Love with Amanda Palmer this year, You can check out her music, performance art and blogs HERE.

My very favorite book of the year is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson which is really too good for me to give any of it away, trust me on this one and read it. It also lead me to read The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri again and I am working on my second translation of it now just to see what the differences are.

My favorite Movie of the year was Watchmen-in the theatre and my biggest disappointment began early in the year with Benjamin Button which they thoroughly ruined. See my review HERE

As you know all plans for the summer were thrown out when I severed the tendon on my foot. It is all healed up now and I just stopped going to Physical Therapy, which was horrendous at first but I miss now because at the end it was more like having a free exercise trainer. (Shhh, don't tell my insurance agency!) I still can't wear heels though my big toe won't allow me, it gets all cranky and I still have a big knot of undisolvable stitches in there that I have to decide if I want to live with or go back in for them. Having had two surgeries this summer I am not excited about it and probably will put it off as long as they don't bother me. But I am happy to report I am in all other shoes and only slightly afraid to trim the rose bushes.

I did do one trip to the Coast at Thanksgivingtime as always. I was going to write it up but really, it was Ocean, it was sunny we saw lighthouses and played ghost hunters and ate copious amounts of chowder in search of the best bowl.(Which we never found and I ended up having to make.) It was relaxing but there is not a lot to say other that we enjoyed the family.

Clam Chowder Recipe:

5 or 6 biggish potatoes-cleaned coarsely cut and unpeeled

1-2 lbs of fresh clams or 2 cans clams

2 (or to desired consistency) cups of half and half

1 sweet onion

2 Tsp fresh ground pepper

1 Leek

2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter ( you decide, I don't know what you like better)

1 lbs of bacon chopped and cooked or 2 lbs of your favorite sausage ( the sausage I just tried as a joke due to an Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode, I used Italian Sweet)

Kosher salt to taste.

In a dutch oven or large soup pot sweat onions and leeks in olive oil or butter with a pinch of salt, when most of the water is out but not yet browning add potatoes and enough water to cover, cook until potatoes are "Irish" (slightly underdone) and add clams, if fresh just cook until done, if canned just warm up.

Drain Potatoes saving stock. Add the Potatoes back into the pan then add everything else and stir together. If not soupy enough for you, first add back a cup of saved stock then a half cup of half and half until you reach desired consistency.

Serve with favorite bread.

Be aware this is the first ever written recipe of this, if it doesn't work out for you too bad, you'll have to come and watch me that's how I learned it. It's also how I learned not to drink too much while you are making it and forget the potatoes, they tend to burn...Burnt things taste bad and you have to start all over. Don't be afraid to make it yours, by adding whatever, if parsley is around, I'll throw that in, If I don't have a leek but I have everything else, I make it without, cooking should be fun.

Oh I did fall in love on that vacation with my second favorite book Wraeththu by Storm Constantine. It is a fat book which in the end gave my arms cramps, but I was delighted with the world created. I should warn you, if you are slightly homophobic in the least it will not set well with you, all of the bad reviews I read had to do with people "not getting" or "not being into" the hermaphroditic love. Which I find strange because hermaphrodites are not strictly male or female but it turns out a lot of men have a hard time with this, if reviews are anything to go by.

In any case the New Year started out well for me and I'm sure with the right mindset will continue to BE, no matter what comes. The top picture by the way was taken from my back yard on New Years Day, which I thought was fitting.

Now I am hoping this fufill's my HAVE TO WRITE for today and my brain block will start moving like a spring ice flow, but less chilly and loud.