Monday, June 30, 2008

The Ride

Last Saturday, I took Beanie up on a challenge - a day-long horse ride up a mountain. "It's a test," she said.

So, there I was bright and early, ready to experience loading a horse onto a trailer. Here's a tip: Watch those hooves! We loaded three horses in all - her Bob (1/2 Paint and 1/2 Clydesdale), Ben (Arab) and a white horse I've been riding lately, also named Bob (Arab). Just to make it confusing, we brought along a human named Bob - he's Ben's owner.

We hightailed up the road to Evergreen and tacked up our steeds. Sadly, my initial mount was something straight out of 'America's Funniest Home Videos' - I shiteth you not. My considerable ass did not land in the saddle as I intended but just behind it, on the horse's rump. God, how embarrassing. The good news is, I didn't panic and neither did my horse. It wasn't until Beanie yelled, in full exasperation, "For God's sake, slide off!" that the solution occurred to me. Heh. Oh yeah.

Once we all got our butts properly secured, we were off! And I mean m'fucking OFF! Normally, when I ride Bob, he is terribly slow so I was not prepared for his hidden turbo engine. They were all so excited to be out that evidently, a full-speed celebratory canter was in order.

I lost control several times and even yelled out "NO!", which is not becoming of a horsewoman. Still, I managed to stay on - a miracle. Once again, a completely terrifying and totally exhilarating experience.

As we headed up the mountain, the trail got steeper and the rocks got bigger. In trying to maneuver around two sharp boulders, Beanie/Bob had a little trouble but his sheer girth got them through it. The Bob/Ben duo did not fare as well. I watched in horror as Ben's hooves slipped and slid down the boulder and both my friends struggled. We all held our breath but thankfully, they did not slide down the mountainside. Both rider and horse were pretty scraped up but survived.

This is where being the caboose helps. White Bob and I agreed, we would take the long way around. From there, it was easy. I had a blast just climbing up and up and then, galloping through the trees. I have to admit, I love that bikers and hikers have to get out of our way when we walk through - kinda makes you feel like you're in a parade. Ever since Burning Man, I can't seem to get enough of parades.

Several hours later, we made it down the mountain and let the horses graze. I've met some hardcore vegetarians in my day but nothing that matches the passion that horses have for grass. In fact, a horse is capable of eating himself to death without much thought. (Dogs are the same way about running.)

What's really weird is that after you hang around horses enough, you start to see things as they do. Large expansive fields of green grass become more than picturesque - they look juicy and tender, like a steak. "Mmmmmm, that looks good," you think to yourself.

Since they were eating, we did too. We broke open the hard cider to wash down grilled chicken, pasta salad, chips, fruit salad and best of all, angel food cake with some intensely red strawberry/banana/blueberry compote. YUM. After the ride, it tasted even better, as you might imagine.

Until the rear end of White Bob, mere feet from me and my fork, dispensed with another load of manure. "Nice timing, bud," I chastised him. He just kept nibbling from his hay net and blinked his big brown eyes at me. Sigh. How could I possibly be mad? One cannot argue with extreme equine cuteness. So, I took another bite of cake, a swig of cider and relaxed in the sun.

It was another perfect summer day in Colorado.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Music in the Gardens

Last night was one of those perfectly balmy summer evenings that involved great friends, yummy food & wine, music legends, dancing children and ice cream cones. HDW & HDH graciously swept me away to one of my favorite Denver locations, the Denver Botanic Gardens for an evening of music with a very funny Loudon Wainwright III (pictured above) and Richard Thompson, whose guitar playing blew my mind.

Parking in a leafy neighborhood and carrying our chairs, blankets and dinner, we strolled into the gardens and, once again, I marvel at how much easier my life is since I moved to Colorado. The chirpy volunteers greeted us and said with a smile, "Have a good time!" Then, we found a nice, grassy corner and made camp. EZ.

HDW is one of my favorite Colorado Homegirls and being her friend is also very easy. When I travel to far off lands, she send me cards that welcome me home. When I get sick, she brings over 7-Up and bags of cold medicine. When she buys concert tickets for me/us, she conveniently "forgets" about the money I owe her. When I am eating the delectable fried chicken that she thoughtfully picked up from Whole Foods, she apologizes that it is "so messy." EZ squared.

She is married to the type of man that I love to engage in conversation: The Curmudgeon. All my favorite male buddies fit into this same category, I'm not sure why. I guess because they are naturally wired to be suspicious of all things seemingly ideal or perfect. Therefore, when spontaneous bursts of friendship and/or love do surface, they are often comical. Like the time HDH gave me a surprise hug when I came to the door. "Well, I was going out to get the mail anyway ... " he said. Cracks me up.

Anyway ... THE MUSIC! Oh, my. For any young 'uns reading this, you need to understand that these two fellows - Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson - are full-on legends who just happen to be alive. Loudon was hailed as "the new Bob Dylan" back in the 60s but he ended up being very much himself. He is a singer and very prolific songwriter but he is also known as a humorist and god, he's funny.

He sang one song he described as "a song about bad love that also includes death and decay! Whee! Here we go!" He then cheerily sang about being wronged by a lover only to have to ID their body at their morgue. Clever stuff. Wish I knew the name of it.

Randomly, Loudon is also the father of two other famous singer-songwriters, Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright - both brilliant and cheeky as well. Loudon also has random acting parts, which I always forget. He played Katherine Heigl's gynocologist in Judd Apatow's hilarious film, "Knocked Up" and also wrote the movie's soundtrack with Joe Henry.

Then there was Richard Thompson and holy bejeezus, the bloke can PLAY. HDH and I had to admit that we didn't know much about him but a simple Wikipedia entry cannot do justice to seeing the man work a guitar right before your popped out eyeballs. It's a weird trick - his fingers barely move yet there is all kinds of complicated fancy music coming out of the instrument. Not surprisingly, this British gentleman was named in the Top 20 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." I say, Eric Clapton - eat your heart out.

Thompson sang one song I especially liked, about how he lusted for smart women. I wish I could get a hold of it and especially, the lyrics to print here. It was brilliant and it made me wonder where are all other fellows who dig brainy chicks... ? Those are the ones I need to find.

Then, there were the children. For some reason, I LOVE the idea of young kids - who clearly have no idea who or what they are listening to - respond in the most natural way: boogying down. There was one girl in pink (of course) who was so enthusiastic about what she was doing that her own flailing kept knocking her down. One guitar solo after another, she would just pop back up and start all over again.

I think she would agree, it was a perfect summer evening.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Women A Go-Go

To my great delight, today's San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about my former dance troupe, The Devil-Ettes. This warms my heart and tickles my nether regions like you cannot believe. I'm thrilled that, after 10 years of shimmying, these fine ladies are being celebrated and that the great glitter-horned force continues to wow 'em in the City by the Bay.

Tonight, they're having a big show - a Prom Party Au Go Go! at the Rickshaw Stop. God, I have so many memories of insanely weird and incredibly fun gigs in random places. There's the time we opened the new drinking hole, The Hemock, by dancing - literally - on the bar. There's the Exotic-Erotic Ball ... the Saks Fifth Avenue gig ... street fairs ... 12 Galaxies ... and of course, Tease-O-Rama. Plus a few other gigs where the details are fuzzy but it was always a very low-tech, vaudevillian scene.

I do recall one gig that also featured cockroach races. Mind you, these were not the icky black bastards that we all know - these were very beautiful, exotic creatures from places like Madagascar and Morocco. Each bug had to have special papers as they were technically imports. They were also as long as my hand sporting streaks of green and gold - gorgeous. Made me look at the lil' fuckers differently after that.

This was the same gig where I agreed to be lowered into a giant vat of (cold) baked beans for reasons unknown. Ultimately, there were not enough beans to make it entertaining but hey, I was willing. Anyhoo, here's how we looked back in my day:

This was from a photo shoot for German GLAMOUR magazine. Such a life I led back then! I wouldn't trade these memories for anything. My character was The Rough Rider (named for my favorite President, Teddy Roosevelt) and my best pal was The Assasin - whom I love dearly.

They are having a big 10-year anniversary performance in February 2009 and I can't wait! Hopefully, they'll take me back for the evening; I've still got all my go-go boots and they are READY.

But I will still need help with my make-up ... Jamie? Andrea? Doe?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Circle

Last Saturday was the Summer Solstice, the perfect day to hold the Summer Circle - a seasonal gathering of powerful women here in Denver. I hosted last year's Summer Circle and this year, Carley graciously made her backyard available for the celebration.

There are Circles going on all over the place but this one is led by the powerful force that is Miss Bliss. Rest assured, you have not met anyone like her. Smart, funny and gorgeous, she keeps the Circle rolling along with wisdom and laughter.

Each woman is so incredibly loving and down-to-earth; I'm honored that they include me in these gatherings as they have no idea how important they've become in my life; they help me stay connected to my new state amidst my traveling.

I also love that the girls care enough to get pissed when I make fun of my own advanced age. "GIRL! Knock it off!" yells Bliss, "You're blowing yer cover! Srrrrsly!" The gals are mostly early 30s, some are late 20s - something I easily forget about until they talk about spending three days at one concert and then I think wistfully, "Ah, those were the days ...."

True to tradition, we crafted our asses off and decorated flower pots with paint, glitter and some glue-on bling. Here is the lovely Ginger painting her flower pot with her favorite peaks in mind.

And here is Miss Amy Cobbs who still managed to be artistically brilliant despite a busted wing.

Here is the beautiful Carley, with my canine nephew, Leo. I was at Carley's house the day she brought Leo home as a puppy and he was small enough that I could pick him up like a baby, which I did at every opportunity. He still wiggles his butt with so much joyful intensity, it's downright inspiring. I'm completely mad about this dog AND his mama. (This year's Summer Circle actually hosted four dogs - two big, burly boys and two delicate blonde females. Funny how that always work out, eh?)

More than once, I thought to myself, "Wow, these are like mini-CCWs - all that same girlie lovingkindness but with more spiritual focus and fewer celebrity magazines." Y'see, this is what women are good at (among other things) - connecting. While not all gals can just sit down and open up, I'm always impressed with how safe we feel with one another despite little introduction. My favorite example:

Walking to my office one morning in San Francisco, I noticed a pretty young woman walking past me. Men were checking her out a little more intensely than usual (remember, SAN FRANCISCO, not a ton of heteros running around) and I thought it was odd. It was then I realized that her lovely springtime skirt was entirely see-through and she clearly had no idea.

I felt an overwhelming feeling of protectiveness and quickly fell in line directly behind her so at least 'the view' would be blocked somewhat. As I debated whether or not to confront her, another woman jumped in lock-step with me and said matter-of-factly, "So, are you gonna tell her or should I?" Ultimately, we halted the young girl mid-stride and, using our best Older Sister voices, gently explained her unintended exposure.

As expected, she was mortified and turned bright red. Lockstep Lady offered her a sweater cardigan she could tie around her waist until she got to her office. Poor thing! Damn dressing room lighting never tells the whole story.

I knew how she felt though - the Sisterhood saves my vulnerable ass all the friggin' time. The whole Network - it's like one big cardigan from a stranger. Srrrrsly.

For more Circle photos, go here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tragedy & Comedy

One of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, passed away yesterday and, for me, it was like losing a favorite uncle. His command of the English language was matched only by his legendary drug use and commitment to irreverent material.

When it was announced last week that Carlin would receive the Mark Twain Award - comedy's highest honor - Carlin had seemingly come full circle. A former hippie who was arrested for uttering his famous "seven dirty words you can't say on television" while performing in Milwaukee, was finally being recognized for his contributions to our culture.

However, I think Carlin's place in society was cemented the day my mother forwarded me a list of his witty observations and hypothetical musings: "If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted?", "Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" or "If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?" I was to receive the email probably 50 times again from various other folks over the years.

"Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck."

Rest in Peace, George. I hope you don't get stuck on the roof.


SMILE TRAIN UPDATE: The Rodents of Unusual Size finally counted all our money from our two benefit shows last week. Thanks to all the kind souls who donated and/or came to our shows, you'll be happy to know that we raised $1,319.00!!! That means we enabled FIVE WHOLE KIDS (and then some) to get their smiles set right!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Last night's Rodent show for Smile Train was a runaway success! We managed to score a healthy-sized audience - every single one of 'em generous to the bone. On top of the box office, we managed to secure an extra $100 or so just in on-site donations! Incredible.

We'll do it all over again tonight and it will be a different show, entirely. Perhaps this time, we'll include fewer references to recreational pharmaceuticals, bongs, nads and colons; such is the risk when dealing with an organic entity.

One of our more popular games is, "Dye My Bitch" where three stereotypes compete to create designs for celebrity pets. Last night, Steve, playing a bully, won the competition for Paris Hilton's ferret. Please note Jeff as Paris and Emily as the ferret designed with a bully-skew. Guess you had to be there.

Maybe tonight?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Smile Train Benefit Show TONIGHT!

As previously mentioned, my beloved improv troupe, The Rodents of Unusual Size, have graciously agreed to host two benefit shows for my favorite cause, Smile Train, an organization that trains local doctors in Third World countries to fix the cleft palates of children. (These before/after photos are of Shivarudrayya (Shiva), who was born with a severe cleft lip and palate in a very poor, rural area of Northern India.)

We've been planning and plotting for several months now and hopefully, some folks will show up. (Tickets are $10 - which includes a drink - and show starts at 7:30 p.m. @ The Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Avenue in downtown Denver.)

Also, I sent a plea to my out-of-state folks and they've already donated nearly $300 through our Smile Train Donation Page! If you feel the urge to bring more smiles into this world, we are happy to be your enablers.

Admittedly, I'm a tad nervous. I've never done something like this before. What if no one shows? What if we're not funny? (Ha! Fat chance.) I got butterflies in my gut parts that feel like DC-10s but once we get up and running, I'm sure I'll breathe easier. Either way, it feels great to take what leftover face angst I still have (from numerous surgeries as a child) and channel it into something positive.

Hope to see some of ya'll tonight!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm hugely proud of my home state today as California officially allows same sex couples to legally marry.

Though I am a flaming heterosexual (much to my great frustration), I feel strongly that gay rights are my generation's civil rights movement. In the near-future, we will look back on this time period with a resounding, "Well, duh!" much like I did when I first heard about separate drinking fountains for blacks or laws that disallowed women to vote. These legal obstructions of basic American rights seem so ignorant and antiquated in today's Obama-Hillary world, do they not?

I know a few folks that disagree with this entire movement - those that don't quite get that homosexual humans are, in fact, humans. I once had a heated discussion on this topic with a dear friend over lunch who said, "But homosexuality is wrong, it says so in the Bible!"

First, I reminded her that the Bible and the Constitution were actually two separate documents and that Ben Franklin was an atheist. Then, I pointed out that the Bible also states that wearing mixed fibers and eating shellfish are also a big no-no.

Then I asked her about her new fancy coat (50% rayon, 25% cotton, 25% acrylic) and if she was enjoying her shrimp salad.

Also, I am still waiting for a decent answer from anyone about how two mature adults who want to make a lifelong commitment to one another somehow 'threaten' the sanctity of someone else's hetero-marriage. With a 50% divorce rate, I think there might be other elements at work here.

So, I guess I'm kind of an ass about this topic as I don't understand how anyone has the balls to judge someone else and determine that what they feel is not - COULD NOT - be real.

To all those happy couples today, a big fat congratulations! May you live long and prosper.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Never Say Never

Evidently, the theme of my Colorado experience is to tackle things I assumed I'd never do. Learning the guitar, for example. Singing in public - good Christ, I still can't believe that one. The latest is jogging.

I've often said, "I hate running. If I'm running, look behind me. There is probably a guy with a knife." I'm just too slow and clumsy plus I've got this giant rack that bounces around. I assume it's not pretty.

Well, somehow, I've got it in my brain that Denver's Washington Park jogging path is the only path for me. I even got up early this morning and ran before breakfast. Bizarre behavior for a woman famous for her sleeping-in capabilities.

I blame the State of Colorado. The culture and the climate pretty much insist that her residents be in tip-top shape so you can climb (insert mountain peak here) before noon!

Seriously, I keep waiting for Governor Ritter to knock on my door with a pair of calipers and an assistant bearing a clipboard: "Hmmm, it appears that your Body Fat Index is beyond the allotted amount for all bad ass Coloradans. I'm afraid you'll have to relocate to Kansas by Friday." Then, he'd move on to the next apartment while his super rugged helper would ask me to sign something while giving me a mixed look of pity and contempt.

I've even recruited a cheerleader for my new habit. Sharon is such an old friend that she's like family. She lives in Southern California and is a bad ass in about eight million different ways and one of them is running. Via email, she is giving me tips and says I am inspiring her too. For what, I'm not sure, but all that matters is that we're off and running.

Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

What a tragedy for his family and also, for the American people who have come to rely on his measured journalistic hand. He was one of the few I trusted.

Damn. I can't believe he is not going to be around for this campaign outcome. It will feel very weird without him.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let The Bounty Begin!

Ya'll may remember the blazing success that was my garden last summer. It gave me 8 million or so salmonella-free tomatoes and zucchini as big as my arm, not to mention endless amounts of sweet-smelling basil. Therefore, I'm giving it another go.
This year, I'm sharing my special landlord-made garden box with my favorite neighbors, Tim and Erin. They are from Minnesota, which means they are required by law to be super nice and hardworking.

Here is how it looked on June 7 - full of evil weeds. I pulled every one of them bastards out despite being exhausted from my crazy work week. Geezus but I find weed pulling highly satisfying - instant results but it does smack of ethnic cleansing somewhat. I mean, who am I to decide who should live and who should die? Anyway ...

Being the giver that I am, I tried to help as much as I could ...

The three of us had a ball, planning what yummy goods we wanted and we agreed on pretty much everything: corn, tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, eggplant, mint, basil, cilantro, onions, cucumber and squash. Now, there are three of us hovering over it, assassinating any weed that dare poke it's ugly head.

As the cost of living gets meaner, homespun activities like this aren't just a hobby - it's become more of a necessity. Plus, there is nothing better than coming home after a big adventure and messing around in your own dirt.

Once again, it's good to home. I'm looking forward to a fruitful and vegetable-ful summer here in Denver.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Now Taking Applications for Dating Fluffer

Were I to suddenly become flush with cash, I would immediately outsource all the icky tasks in my life: house cleaning, laundry, taxes and especially, dating.

Last year, when Kath retrieved me from the airport after SXSW, we concocted the idea of a Dating Fluffer - someone who knew you well enough to date on your behalf so you could spend your time doing something really worthwhile, like practicing guitar, bathing or enjoying whatever Netflix brought you.

Of course, I love my life but I'd also like to share it with someone. I have no special requirements, it's all negotiable. But, it'd be extra nice if he could make me laugh and appreciate music as I do. Unfortunately, at this late stage of the game, it is slim pickens. Everyone is Married or Divorced, I got that. (Which is a BIG improvement on Everyone is Gay or Unaware They Are Gay, which what I left behind in San Francisco.) Suddenly, it feels like my life was one long game of musical chairs when, in fact, I thought it was a dance. Evidently, I was supposed to sit down - somewhere, anywhere - a long time ago.

The few dates I have experienced since I moved to Colorado have not gone well. There was the fellow who fell asleep on me at the drive-in ... at 9 p.m. (I was forced to watch 'Evan Almighty' with a snoring soundtrack.)

There was the fellow who had recently dumped his wife of 25 years and decided it was time to trade in. He couldn't wait for me to meet his mother and move into the new house he had purchased. All this on the first (and last) date. Evidently, he was under the impression that one woman could simply be replaced by another - no problem.

Of course, there was the guy who was perfectly charming until half-way through the evening. Then, his eyes got all weird and laser beam-y and he began saying things like, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" and "You do know that Jesus is The Way, DON'T YOU????"

Jesus Evan Christ Almighty, I could not get out of there fast enough.

So, it's been over a year and I suppose I should give it another shot. My friend, Laura, just moved here from Chicago and she's convinced me I need to try eHarmony. Taking the opposing view, Miss Bliss says, "Girl, you're crazy! You don't need that shit! They'll reject you if you're not Christian!"

Then, Linda chimes in from her married post in Conneticut: "I looked into this, the secret word is 'spiritual' so try that." Linda also likes to cruise Craigslist for available men in Denver and send me the links with guiding insight such as, "This one sounds sweet but crazy. Your call." I swear, I have not asked her to do this.

I don't know what to do but I wish I could hire someone to go out there and fish around for me. Believe it or not, I've experienced this before and it worked out great.

'Twas many years ago, that I stated to my dear friend, Lisa, that the time had come for me to, well, come. We were at a work party (we were waitresses in a pizza joint) when I issued the following warning: "If I don't have sex soon, Lisa, furniture is going to get broken and I cannot be held responsible."

"Okay, just stay here," she said, all-knowingly. "When you are like this, you make bad choices so let me pick for you. Now STAY PUT!"

I did what I was told and fidgeted in my chair while Lisa cruised around. It seemed like an eternity but she eventually back with a fellow in tow. "Heather, this is Bob. Bob, this is Heather."

And that, more or less, was that. Bob and I were together for over two years. (It only ended because I had to go on my walkabout which took me out of the U.S. for a year.) Bob was a wonderful guy and I may not have met him on my own as he is quite shy. Lisa knew better.

Gins said to me one day, "I think your picker is broken" which sums it up nicely. The men I have had relationships with have been wonderful, loving souls but it's those colossal fuck-ups in between that have worn me down. After about 825 emphatic disappointments, I have become cynical and have my dating responses down pat:

"Wow, your ex-wife does sound evil. Sounds like it was definitely all her fault."

"Weird to think that the whole Internet thing happened while you were in jail the past 10 years. That must be a trip."

"I see, so you used to be gay until you went to Christian Camp. Wow, the power of the Lord, eh?"

Anyone up for this job? I don't have much money but I can deliver a batch of homemade ice cream in any flavor you desire. I highly recommend the Chocolate Mint Chip.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dazzled and Frazzled

On Wednesday evening, while dining at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, I gazed upon this fabulous piece by glass artist Dale Chihuly and thought, "My God. He's captured in the inside of my brain just perfectly." There are so many threads and spirals going in so many directions that, at this point, I long for boredom. Lately, it's all I can do to catch my breath before the Next Thing demands my focus.

Here's a gross understatement: Last week was a blur. My work life leads up to a big annual event and it sucks every cell of my being to ensure its success. It did and it was. Though it was exhausting (I'm still trying to catch up on sleep) it had some highlights.

Living in a fancy hotel for several nights helped to ease my homesickness. The Fairmont Hotel is an historic San Francisco jewel atop Nob Hill. Black-and-white photos of movie stars and presidents, all previous guests, line the elegant hallways. Best of all, I had cocktails in the room where Tony Bennett debuted a new song in 1962 called, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Evidently, it caught on.

Another perk of these events is eating and drinking above and beyond my usual fare. Fresh oysters, artful cheeses and lots of things with Italian names all washed down with superb wines and champagne paid for by Other People - my favorite flavor! When I left for the airport eight million years ago, I'd only been home for three days from my previous adventure. Therefore, I didn't see the point in grocery shopping and my fridge contents consisted of a not-so-fresh watermelon, a gazillion water bottles (all antique as I reuse them religiously) and a sack of potatoes. On the road, my meals become someone else's job and these folks are at the top of their game.

And speaking of game ... here's me at the Legion dinner, enjoying eensy weensy Quail drumsticks. What's great is that when the meat is gone, the bones make excellent toothpicks.

One of more bizarre aspects of the week was making the acquaintance of MC Hammer, who turned out to be a very smart, funny and incredibly nice guy. Hammer's life story is a strange mix of elements - pro baseball, military, music, fame, bankruptcy, religion and now, technology and business, which is how he came into my orbit.

One evening (god, I have no idea which one), it ended up being four of us - Hammer, me and two of my friends - one of whom is also a well-dressed bald black man who was constantly mistaken for Hammer, much to his great annoyance. ("What is it? Can there not be more than one handsome bald black man in a room??? I do not understand," he said.)

Many, many times throughout the evening, I observed one drunk person after another approach Hammer and slur a heartfelt request for a photo. Each and every time, Hammer obliged with the utmost graciousness and generosity. Then, he would find his way back to our little group, "Now, what I saying? Oh yeah, Twitter. I LOVE Twitter!" Keep in mind, Hammer's big music fame occurred nearly 20 years ago, which means, he's been having his conversations interrupted by drunk people for almost two decades. Yikes. Just one more reason why I only want to be famous 'in certain circles' and leave it at that.

One of my favorite stories of the week came from an unlikely place. My sidekick, Maria (also the inspiration for this blog) was my partner in all of this. Together, we kicked ass on the event and tried to keep each other from passing out from exhaustion.

Early in the week, we were making small talk at a cocktail party with two high level executives. Inevitably, politics came up. Standing on my left, Maria let her Loud Liberal Lioness out while on my right, Executive Guy countered with his searing Conservative Commentary. I gingerly backed away and left them there, fully engaged.

This went on throughout the event and whenever I could not find either one, I knew they had gone off to a place where the arguing could continue. In the end, the exec admitted that he totally appreciated Maria's active rage and that many women he work with are afraid to debate or disagree. "I mean, it's not 1955, y'know?" he said. Then, he meets Maria who openly points her finger in his face, "ELITIST!!!!" and he loved it.

I'm pondering the exec's strange gender observation against the backdrop of Hillary backing out and seeing the "Sex and The City" movie and yes, I got girlie thoughts. Alas, it will have wait until the next post 'cause I have to lie down again ...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Caught in Corporate Vortex - Please Hold

Just FYI: I'm amidst a highly intense work event this week in San Francisco. (Partied with MC Hammer and his entourage last night and awoke to a speech from Lech Walesa this morning ... brain still processing. )

Anyway, I'm frantically shoveling coal to keep the lights on. Posting will be light until the weekend.

Unless things get more bizarre and I can't contain myself any longer ...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Inspiration in a Backyard

Last night, at the invitation of Kath, I attended a backyard screening of "Everyone But You", a auto-biographical film by musician and first time filmmaker, Eric Shively. Located in a quiet leafy neighborhood known as Highlands, I approached the porch and had to chuckle at the red carpet that came down the front stairs. The porch keg already had a gathering around it.

Of course, I'd arrived before Kath so I knew not a single soul. Things like this never matter here in Colorado. I awkwardly mumbled something about being 'a friend of a friend' and the hostess merely asked about my wine preference, "Red or white?" Kids, dogs, babies and lots of cool adults swarmed the backyard, gathered around snacks and observed the backyard screening-room set up take place.

When dusk fell, we gathered to face the outside wall of the garage which had a giant projection screen hanging from its roof. A Mac, poised high on a ladder, contained the film. Camping chairs and patio furniture were arranged in anticipation. I didn't know what to expect but I had seen a short video by Eric giving a guitar lesson. As a struggling guitar student with a soft spot for quirky folk, I took to him immediately.

Eric's film, "Everyone But You" is the story of Eric's determination to follow his dream of finding a place for himself in this world. To his great amazement, he makes good on his promise to himself. He buys 40 acres in Alamosa, a smallish town in Southern Colorado. Then, he rents a trailer to live in while he plans his dream home/recording studio. The film follows his challenges, his defeats and joys along the way.

We meet his beloved dogs, his funky friends, the folks at the County Planning Department, talented musicians and at least one object of Eric's affections. His struggles as a musician and his determination to make a living out of his art are admirable. Like real life, the film has moments of great hilarity and spells of outright sobbing. Mostly, it is a joy to watch this amazing man do things his own way.

He could not possibly understand how much this film meant to me personally. As some of you know, I harbor a dream about buying some land and living in a yurt until I can have my own straw-bale home built. My family (with possibly the exception of my brother) think I am bat-shit crazy. My friends (with the exception of Gins) think that it might be the most outlandish idea I've had yet.

Eric's narrative voice alludes to this reaction from others in his life. I'm so impressed that he ignored them all and did what he wanted. But what really spoke to me was how often he admitted that he didn't know the first thing about what he was doing. That is my biggest fear for I have little to no skills in the Home Depot section of my brain. My only hope is that I will make friends (my only skill, really) who know more than I do and are willing to help. Or that by some miracle, I will magically acquire home repair skills simply out of sheer necessity.

Later this summer, Gins and I are taking an exploratory road trip - going shopping for places where all this might be possible. I'm looking at the Durango/Pagosa Springs area. I'm forever grateful that Eric has reminded me what I knew deep down, that just because you are doing things differently than everyone else, does not make you crazy. In fact, who's to say that you are not the sane one after all?

Eric's film, "Everyone But You" will be featured at the Jackson Hole Film Festival June 2-5.