Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MN Zoo

Wild boar 

De Brazza Monkey

Amur Tiger

Sea Otter



Our first outdoor activity without a coat in five months!

Friday, March 28, 2014


This song has been stuck in my head for a week now. I discovered the video this morning; it was made in San Francisco.

Jim James, "State of the Art (a e i o u)" off this album, Regions of Light and Sound of God.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Riviera Nayarit: flora

Ti plant ("Muñeca") 

Plumeria by the beach


Two stages of palm fruit
The landscaping of the place we stayed used plants that were not all native, but they were beautiful.

Two weeks of amazing food in Mexico

While I was in Mexico, I avoided drinking most of the time, but on my last day, I indulged in a typical tourist drink, a "vacation-sized" margarita with Blue Curacao.
Our favorite part of the morning buffet (too much to do every day) was the freshly-made empanadas, prepared with fresh masa and fried in front of you.  I liked the ones with flor de calabaza (squash blossom) filling the best.
 Several kinds of bananas and plantains in the market in Puerto Vallarta.
 Lobster salad with grapefruit and mango, from our last dinner on the beach.
Oh my lord, medio kilo de camarones al ajillo "arriero."

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"You had one job!"

This is the week of FAIL on the part of the usual suspects: insurance companies, medical providers, homeowners association. Stress bombs, baby.

I don't mind it when people who make mistakes apologize and fix them. I'll settle for just fixing things without an apology. But that is not the track record with these actors. Instead, it seems that I am supposed to clean up after their messes, while remaining calm and cheerful. This is difficult for me when these communications trigger my symptoms. I find it especially  hard to handle communication with people who don't respond to any of my phone or email messages, unless I call daily for a week.  When I feel my anxiety level rising, with the jolts of adrenaline fear causing intestinal distress and trouble breathing,  I do my best to try not to slide into a hypomanic episode, or a full-blown panic attack, or some combination of the two. The moment when I am trying to fall asleep is the worst time; I have trouble breathing and feel as if I am going to die because I can't breathe. It is terrifying. I have a few strategies to try to interrupt this physical panic response.   Humor helps, a little bit.   ("...You had ONE JOB" was a line from one of the Ocean's 11 movies that got turned into a meme.) 

I can't get tax return done because the property management company has provided incorrect documentation to my accountant.

The evil Insurance company that (mis)handles my employers long-term disability seems to have lost my file, all the material going back to last October. Or maybe not--I can't tell, since the *new* claim manager is not responding to my daily voice-mails asking for clarification. I am trying so hard not to freak out because this person told me on the phone that she couldn't find anything after October, then sent me  the usual vaguely threatening/shaming form letter saying it is MY responsibility to get them all the documents they are asking the doctors for, but without telling me what or when.

The hospital where I had been going for day treatment for the past four months and one of the many medical insurance companies that is involved in the billing are having some kind of spat over how to code their bills, which resulted in me getting over-billed for Day Treatment program to the tune of thousands of dollars. This issue had, supposedly, been corrected, but then it started happening again. I finally reached a billing person, after four days of leaving messages, waiting on hold, talking to people who couldn't help me, the usual. She assures me that the new error will being corrected, yay! but I have some trust issues with this particular hospital, so I am still anxious.

I'm doing my best. It's not always good enough.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Dancing in the Movies: A Supercut

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to watch all of the movies included in this supercut of dance scenes, by the fine folks of Supercut Videos; they provide a list of all the films they included:

"Dancing on the silver screen has been happening since film was invented. From the big time musicals to the small quirky dances that pop up now and then. There are so many examples of dancing we could only fit 246 films in this cut, so a part 2 might be on its way for the 100+ clips we had left over. We hope you enjoy it as much as we've had making it and the Bee Gee's 'You Should Be Dancing' never gets old."

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Film List:

Nine and a Half Weeks
Risky Business
Mrs. Doubtfire
Anchors Away
Alpha Papa
Silver Linings Playbook
Along Came Polly
Clerks 2
Save the Last Dance
Tropic Thunder
White Nights
Billy Elliott
A Day at the Races
A Clockwork Orange
Pulp Fiction
Adventures in Babysitting
Stir Crazy
Short Circuit
Slumdog Millionaire
Austin Powers
500 Days of Summer
An American in Paris
Dirty Dancing
Mr and Mrs Smith
Back to the Future III
Mr Fair Lady
My Best Friend's Wedding
Scent of a Woman
Coming to America
Gulliver's Travels
Star Wars : ROTJ
High School Musical
Addams Family Values
Back to the Future
A Knights Tale
Pride and Prejudice
Groundhog Day
Beauty and the Beast
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Rock N Rolla
The Matrix Reloaded
Encino Man
Wayne's World
Bio Dome
Haunted Honeymoon
Something Borrowed
Robin Hood - Men in Tights
House Party
Home Alone
Uncle Buck
The Muppets
Revenge of the Nerds
Bolero Raque
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Make it Happen
Sin City
Grindhouse - Death Proof
From Dusk till Dawn
Magic Mike
P.S. I Love You
The Full Monty
True Lies
We're the Millers
Mamma Mia
Muriel's Wedding
Mean Girls
Coyote Ugly
American Beauty
Mystery Men
Romy and Michelle High School Reunion
Dance Flick
American Pie 3
Saturday Night Fever
Boogie Nights
Charlie's Angels
Starsky and Hutch
Night at the Roxbury
Iron Man
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
The Mask
The Karate Kid Part II
Friday Moon
Reservoir Dogs
Party Girl
Pretty in Pink
Memoirs of a Geisha
Damn Yankees
All that Jazz
O Brother Where Art Thou
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Little Miss Sunshine
Step Up
Shaun of the Dead
Office Space
Do the Right Thing
Funny Face
Band of Outsiders
Sweet Charity
Center Stage
King of New York
Forest Gump
Jailhouse Rock
Swing Time
The Artist
Scooby Doo 2 Monsters Unleashed
Mary Poppins
Puss in Boots
The Jungle Book
Beau Travail
Black Swan
Billy Madison
It's a Wonderful Life
King Kong
Lord of the Rings - ROTK
Love Actually
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Royal Wedding
Never on Sunday
The Last Boy-scout
The Blues Brothers
The Gold Rush
The Little Colonel
The Ringer
Top Hat
The Big Leboski
Napoleon Dynamite
Weekend at Bernie's 2
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Human Traffic
Kevin and Perry Go Large
Take Me Home Tonight
Spiderman 3
You Don't Mess with the Zohan
The Cable Guy
Despicable Me
Reality Bites
The Fantastic Mr Fox
13 going on 30
Teen Wolf
Old School
Once Bitten
Flying Down to Rio
Almost Famous
Road Trip
The Breakfast Club
The Inbetweeners Movie
She's All That
The Worlds End
To Sir with Love
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
White Chicks
You Got Served
Stomp Honey
Step Up Revolution
Blast from the Past
Take the Lead
Romeo and Juliet
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Shakespeare in Love
Shall We Dance
Strictly Ballroom
The King and I
The Godfather
The Mask of Zorro
A League of Our Own
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Kung Fu Hustle
Glenn Ford
Urban Cowboy
Jackass Number 2
Three Amigos
Summer Holiday
Moonrise Kingdom
Singing in the Rain
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
The Music Man
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
The Wizard of Oz
West Side Story
The Wiz
The Sound of Music
The Producers
The Red Shoes
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Broadway Rhythm
Knocked Up
The Jerk
Young Frankenstein
Stormy Weather
42nd Street
The Fisher King
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Swing Kids
Moulin Rouge

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Colin Stetson, "To See More LIght"

I'm completely in love with all fifteen minutes of this performance by Colin Stetson, "To See More Light." I had never heard of him until I got this track as part of the Top Songs of 2013 from the music blog Said The Gramphone.
He is able to perform using circular breathing, overblowing, and other techniques that enable him to sound as if he is playing multiple tracks at once. Here, in an interview  for the show Studio Q, he talks about how he makes music.
"Montreal based saxophone wizard Colin Stetson has collaborated with the likes of Arcade Fire, Lou Reed and Bon Iver, and this year his solo album was short-listed for the Polaris Prize. Colin Stetson is in Studio Q to chat about the origin of his mighty bass sax and how he divides his time as a hired horn."

He  performs the piece "Judges" live, on the bass saxophone:

In this clip, he shows how he layers the parts and plays them together,  with mics that pick up the percussive sound of the keys themselves, and a throat mic to pick up a vocal part:

I still have not seen "Twelve Years a Slave," and apparently a piece of his music is part of the score. He will be at the Cedar Cultural Center April 17, so I'm going to make sure I go see him perform this amazing music.