September 30, 2004



i've got no good reason to post this picture.

just humor me.

Posted by xta at 3:34 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

 nutritional supplements - lysine


i take 1 1000mg capsule daily (no established rda)

this might seem silly, but i started taking l-lysine after my vet suggested that it would help my cat get over an illness. she seemed to want to recommend it before resorting to an antibiotic; lysine can aid in destroying viruses. (for instance, many sufferers of herpes virus use lysine as a primary course of treatment. it is also used to prevent cold sores & fever blisters.) anyway, i liked my vet's holistic approach, and decided to look into lysine for myself.

from "prescription for nutritional healing:"

lysine is an essential amino acid that is a necessary building block for all protein. it is needed for proper growth and bone development in children; it helps calcium absorption and maintains proper nitrogren balance in adults. [...] it helps in collagen formation and tissue repair. Because it helps to build muscle protein, it is good for those recovering from surgery and sports injuries.

there are some kinds of amino acids that can be manufactured in the body ("nonessential amino acids"), but lysine is not one of them (and is therefore termed an "essential amino acid"). essential amino acids must be obtained through diet (food and/or supplements).

deficiencies can result in anemia, hair loss, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, irritability, reproductive disorders and weight loss. food sources include cheese, eggs, fish, lima beans, milk, potatoes, red meat, soy products and yeast.

Posted by xta at 3:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 29, 2004


"I know, unwaveringly, that violence is never the solution to humanity's problems, and that the real solution resides in the ethic and value of nonviolence. Nonviolence is not to be confused, however, with being passive or complacent. Passivity --like its opposite, aggression-- is a behavior of those controlled and dominated by fear. I also know that a committment to nonviolence requires an almost complete overhaul of our conditioned nature. It requires us to live differently.

Ultimately, all responsibility and all action begin with the individual, and so it is here that we must start. In its simplest form, nonviolence is rooted in knowing that we have the capacity to act violently and consciously choosing not to do so. Nonviolence is not succumbing to the sense of helplessness that has us decide, again and again, either actively of passively, to support the use of violence as an effective form of conflict resolution. Nonviolence means standing up for truth and compassion in the midst of confrontation -- and doing so without aggression.

As a soldier trained and seasoned in the savagery of war, I make a concerted effort, when talking and writing about war and violence, to be direct and succinct. Contrary to pessimistic or fatalistic opinion, war is not inevitable. Conflict is inevitable, but the degeneration of conflict into slaughter, mayhem, and the abject abandonment of truth is not."

- excerpt from At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace, by Claude Anshin Thomas

Posted by xta at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

 don't say i didn't warn you

this will make you cry

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September 28, 2004

 window seat

in a concerted effort to yank myself out of my restless aimlessness i've begun (once again) to research ways to build a window seat in my kitchen.

the easiest method would be to simply purchase stock cabinets from a home store and throw a slab of plywood (and cushions) on top, like this.

however, this method presents two problems:
1) i have an air duct that will need to be extended through the width of the window seat, and working with pre-built cabinets would require me to saw into them. i don't know how this would affect stability or appearance.
2) if this project goes well, i am considering adding on to the window seat so that it would wrap along the adjacent wall into an "L" shape. buying pre-buillt cabinets removes any flexibility i have about "adding on" at a later date.

ooh, i just thought of another problem:
3) it could be difficult to match the style of the pre-built cabinet to my existing kitchen cabinets.

ack! and here's another one:
4) it's probably prohibitively expensive to buy pre-built cabinets.

so there. i think i've just talked myself out of that option.

the other route is build it from scratch, using 2x4s and plywood. this will allow me to build around the air duct, re-use my tall baseboards, add the "L" portion later if i so desire, and save a buttload of money.

however, i've never built anything like this before. plus, i'm not big on precision, and pretty exact measurements would be called for.

still, i think i can do it.

Posted by xta at 9:59 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

 help me sleep

i haven't been sleeping well.

it's the falling asleep part that's tripping me up. the staying asleep part i can do pretty well.

for the last 3 nights i've been lying in bed wishing i could just drift off like a normal person. you know... put my head on the pillow, sigh with comfort, then commence with the dreaming.

but instead i lie in bed thinking things like, "why am i not falling asleep??!? this is so stupid. fall asleep... now. ok, that didn't work. maybe if i turn on my side... ok. now, fall asleep. do it!"

clearly, this tactic is not particularly effective.

so i inevitably get up at 2am, or maybe 3, and visit the medicine cabinet, rooting around for pills that will knock me out. the trick is finding something that will render me unconscious for just a few hours, so i can still get up in time for work and not be a drugged-out zombie.

but i'm already tired of this crutch. i'm ready to have non-medicated sleep, and i want your suggestions on how to accomplish that. so far a co-worker has offered tips on patterned closed-eye movements (up, down, left, right, crossed, then relax) and my mom thinks i should curl my toes, tightly, then concentrate on slowing relaxing them, then my ankles, then calves, and so on, upward, until i fall asleep.

the root of my problem --and i'm entirely sure of this-- is an overwhelming feeling of restlessness that's settled in upon me, plus a niggling desire to get a big house-project underway again... i can't stop thinking about these things as i lie in bed, staring at the ceiling. but until i get my ridiculous psychological issues sorted out i am happy to try your remedies. all suggestions will be considered.

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 big happy fun house


i check out big happy fun house every day. i always smile at what i see, but this photo took my breath away as i smiled.

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September 26, 2004


this has been bothering me all day:

while minty and i were lunching this afternoon, engrossed in conversation, a little old lady got seated at the table next to us.

this woman was clearly waiting for someone to join her at her table; i was watching her out of the corner of my eye as she craned her little grey head around the room. about a minute or two into her residence at that table, she interrupted our conversation by saying with a sly grin, "you'd better watch what you're saying because i'm listening!"

i think minty & i both awkwardly laughed, but --really!-- how ballsy!! sure, everyone eavesdrops in restaurants, but no one just comes right out and admits it!

thankfully her companion joined her just a minute later, but i really should have been more on top of it and spiced up our conversation for her benefit.

Posted by xta at 11:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

 you make me feel like dancin'

tonight i DJ'ed a wedding reception.

i've only done this once before, about a year ago. that couple found me through divaville... they listen all the time. tonight's couple are actually friends of that first couple... so i guess i did a good job that first time out. i got a referral!

there was one big difference between that first wedding and this one: the first couple wanted me to play tons of my divaville stuff, and only sprinkle in a handful of non-divaville songs that were meaningful to them (some beatles, bob marley, etc.), but tonight's couple --well, tonight's groom-- had me play from mix CDs he'd assembled for the occasion. he picked all the music himself. i was just there to push buttons.

which is fine. i mean, shoot, i'll take the paycheck either way. it's simply a little more fulfilling to be able to play what i want to play. but that's why i have my own radio show, i guess.

anyway, on my way to the gig tonight i thought, "i'd better drop a few divaville CDs in my purse, just in case." and man, am i glad i did.

the music the groom picked was extraordinarily varied... from grupo fantasma to pegboy. from the magnum pi theme to stuff from riverdance. and from balinese wedding music to huun-huur-tu. truth be told, i admire this guy for his chutzpah... it takes guts to attempt to educate your wedding guests.

however, no one really danced.

the bride from last year's wedding happened to be at this reception. she brought me some champagne & cake and said, a little confusedly, "what's going on?!" she didn't really didn't know how to dance to the ukranians. (you can imagine how lost ol' grandma & grandpa felt.)

so i reached into my purse and made a bold move: i put on some frank sinatra for her. suddenly people moved out on the dance floor. next came some nat king cole. when the groom came up to me i thought i was going to get chewed out, but instead he smiled and said, "i guess people didn't like my crazy music, huh?" he seemed happy to see people finally dancing, so i stuck to the divaville stuff while throwing in the occasional song from his mix. (peter gabriel's "in your eyes" was a good call on his part, as was sister sledge's "we are family".)

but i have to say, i find it immensely gratifying to see people dance to the music i've chosen. i readily admit, though, that i am a novice and do not have the foggiest idea, for instance, how many fast songs to play in a row before throwing in a slow song. i also don't have the knack for exactly which slow song will get everyone --even the people who hate to dance-- to dance. (an eric clapton tune from the groom's mix actually worked best.) i also wish i had brought some 80s mixes with me, because people went crazy when i played "girls just wanna have fun" during the bouquet toss.

i think if i ever do this again, i will of course solicit requests and suggestions from the bride & groom, but will insist that the bulk of the music be of my choosing. i just felt too much pressure tonight to appease the groom, while experiencing an opposing desire from the crowd to dance.

Posted by xta at 1:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

 a new knitting project


i figure it's never too soon to start on the christmas presents.

actually, that's not entirely accurate. i didn't intend to start thinking about christmas in september. but i bought this yarn on a whim when i was in cozy last week, and i wasn't exactly sure why i was buying it... i didn't know what its purpose would be. i brought it home and stared at it for a few days, then decided it could become a scarf. or two.

i know, i know... everyone has scarves already. i mean, who really needs another scarf? i think i'd personally laugh if someone gave me a scarf for a gift. but family won't mind getting a scarf. ha HA!

and family especially won't mind fuzzy scarves that leave hairs on your clothes.

family are suckers like that.

Posted by xta at 12:56 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

 where have i been hiding?

why did it take me so long to discover the polyphonic spree??!?

jeez... they're like an extravagant flaming lips or something. i'm totally digging this!

(truth be told, i know where i've been hiding... in silence.) after spending 8 hours a day at a job where i'm required to listen to music i find i rarely turn on the radio at home, and thus rarely pay attention to anything on WXYC or WXDU. but my discovery of the polyphonic spree makes me wonder what else i've missed... please tell me what have i missed!!)

Posted by xta at 11:29 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

 nutritional supplements - fish oil

fish oil

i take 1 1200mg softgel daily

like evening primrose oil, fish oil is an essential fatty acid. they share a lot of the same benefits and are both good sources of omega-3s.

a note on my dosage: the fish oil bottle suggests i take 3 softgels a day... since i also get omega-3s from evening primrose oil, i only take one of each a day.

most doctors believe that you should eat fish twice a week. since most people don't (and not all fish is safe), fish oil supplements are a good substitute.

even though the FDA has not endorsed fish oil as a "rda" supplement, the american heart association has come out in favor of fish consumption.

oil of pisces is the best website i've found regarding the health benefits of fish oil.

Posted by xta at 8:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack



Posted by xta at 8:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

 david byrne @ the carolina theatre

DB_singing.jpgyes, last night was the big show. david byrne at the carolina theatre in durham. it was so satisfying to see the "sold out" sign on the marquee... it's not often that anything at that theatre is really and truly sold out. (1,016 seats! yay for david!!)

before the show, though, i invited our crew (there were 16 of us in our group) over for a cookout. not everyone could come, unfortunately, but a few other people who weren't going to the show stopped by for bacon-wrapped hot dogs on the grill. charlotte brought corn dog, the friendliest puppy on earth. we had booze & basketball, too. fun.

as 8:00 approached, we got our carpooling arranged and i threw on my red, heeled boots, and off to the theatre we went. we arrived a song or two into sam phillips' set. the lights in the concert hall had already been dimmed and the ushers were using flashlights to get us to our seats.

those seats, by the way, were in the first row. the theatre, in this instance, though, has two row "A"s... a "row A" of permanent seats, and a "row A" in the pit orchestra (these were simply temporary seats set up for this occasion). the usher pointed me towards the regular row A, and i pointed at my ticket and said, "this is actually in the pit". she said, "ohhh!" and very dramatically waved us into the area. hee hee. that felt great.

i really enjoyed sam phillips' set. she didn't have a lot of stage presence, but i liked her music. i had heard a few songs prior to the show (thanks, limewire!) and hadn't really been blown away. but in person i really enjoyed her stuff. sorta sad and subtly twangy songs. her voice is fine and clear. i think i'll be paying more attention to her music in the future.

during the intermission i mingled with a few folks and marveled at how many people were cramming into the hall. ray bought me a giant sprite from the concession stand, which came in handy throughout the evening. i was getting excited.

the minute the lights went back down i got giddy. i'd seen this tour earlier in the year and knew how good it was going to be. i took off my boots and got ready for some serious sock-dancing.

here's the set list:

Glass, Concrete & Stone (DB: Grown Backwards)
I Zimbra (TH: Fear of Music)
Aucensia (Cesaria Evora)
Finite=Alright (DB: Feelings)
The Man Who Loved Beer (DB: Grown Backwards)
The Great Intoxication (DB: Look Into the Eyeball)
Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place) (TH: Speaking in Tongues)
Road to Nowhere (TH: Little Creatures)
Nothing But Flowers (TH: Naked)
Once In A Lifetime (TH: Remain in Light)
One Rainy Wish (Jimi Hendrix)
Psycho Killer (TH: '77)
Don't Fence Me In (DB: Red Hot & Blue comp.)
Like Humans Do (DB: Look Into the Eyeball)
Dialog Box (DB: Grown Backwards)
What a Day That Was (DB: Catherine Wheel)
Blind (TH: Naked)
Desconocido Soy (DB: Look Into the Eyeball)
Life During Wartime (TH: Fear of Music)
Heaven (TH: Fear of Music)
Lazy (DB: Grown Backwards)

there's a great story over on david's tour journal (the september 6th entry in boulder, colorado) about how the concert promoter there refused to believe that people would be dancing at the show, and how a member of david's staff bet the promoter $200 that *everyone* would be dancing by song #7. of course at song #7 david looked over and the promoter was counting out $200 to the staff member. ha!

well, by song #2 last night we were all up & dancing. i acted like a crazy woman, there in the very front row, mere inches from david byrne, jumping up and down and shaking my big butt. i had such a good time. i think my bra lost all elasticity mid-way through the show, though... it just couldn't hold up to my incessant pogoing.

afterwards, though, my friend tony (who is even a bigger david byrne fan than i am) said that in the rear of the hall the security dorks were forcibly keeping people from dancing in the aisles... that even when their feet slid even a little into the aisle they got yelled at. what a crock of poo. that's terrible! let people dance, dammit! we all paid to have a good time!

as far as the music goes, the biggest surprise of the night actually came when david announced he was going to do a cole porter song. many, many years ago he recorded "don't fence me in" for the aids awareness album, "red, hot & blue" and i have NEVER heard him perform it live. i don't even think he's done it on this tour yet. it stunned me. it was a first. it's such a great, uptempo version of the song... charlotte turned to me and said, "ok, david byrne is officially cool now!" (like, duh, charlotte! :-)

about that time my cell phone started vibrating in my pocket. i pulled it out and saw it was a call from lulu, my sister-in-law and david byrne fan in her own right, and though i couldn't hear a word she said i shouted into the phone for her to just stay on the line as long as she wanted and listen to the concert. i think she heard at least 2 songs... i hope the sound was good.

as i was dancing i'd occasionally turn around and get a view of the entire hall bouncing up & down. even the people in the upper balcony were dancing! it's so steep up there! i'm terrified to even walk up those aisles... those people must've been moved --pretty fucking moved!-- by the music to risk their necks like that.

tony (uber-fan) had told me that at a recent show in austin the crowd was so incredible that david actually did a third, unscheduled encore: "un di felice etera", one of the opera arias from "grown backwards". i held out hope that we were a fabulous crowd, too (i know the front row was a fabulous crowd!) and my heart skipped a beat when, during their final bows, i saw david mouthing some words to himself. i thought maybe he was refreshing his italian or something. but no such luck. that final bow was, in fact, the final bow. boo hoo.

afterwards a bunch of us mingled in the lobby. tony had told us that there might be a chance that the band would make an appearance out there. (did i mention that tony and his wife, mary anne, have all-access badges for this tour? they go to any show they want --free-- and have access to the backstage area and after-show parties. yeah, i'm envious.) but alas, the band didn't come out. then tony suggested we wait by the tour buses... they had to eventually come out there.

well, we waited and waited and waited. probably close to 45 minutes. and it was COLD outside. band members came by and we thanked them all for the show. the friendliest was percussionist mauro refosco (scroll down to the 4th & 5th photo), who came out, saw us, pointed, and said, "oh! front row!!" we all laughed... i guess we were all making such fools of ourselves that we were easily recognizable after the show.

tony & mary anne kept popping in backstage, then coming back out to tell us what was going on. they said that david didn't really feel like meeting anyone tonight. tony said to david, "but the entire front row is out there! and they're such BABES!!" i'm still laughing at that.

so yes, david finally caved in and very briefly made an appearance outside by the buses, but he only stayed long enough for molly to get her set list autographed and then he ran away. (molly, i might add, is 8 months pregnant and danced her little heart out all night long. what a trooper! she also took some clandestine photos which are posted below.)

by that point it was close to 1am and we were all totally wiped out. i came home and noodled around the house for an hour, trying to get the buzz to wear off. when i finally slept, though, it was a beautiful, deep, happy sleep.

and this morning i woke up feeling so energized! for the last couple of weeks i've been aimless, listless and generally down in the dumps. this concert lifted me up and gave me a new energy. invigoration.

i wish i could see some more dates on this tour! my budget won't really allow a trip to south america, though, and the florida dates are during the fundraiser at work. phoo. maybe there will be other dates announced soon.


[other concert mentions: georg, sarah (w/photos!), lisa]

Posted by xta at 2:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

 In search of the Holy Foreskin

my brother called me today. we only had a few minutes to talk... he primarily seemed concerned about the weather situation here in durham. i quelled his fears, saying our forecast just called for lots of rain.

we chatted for a few more moments, when suddenly he said, "do you know there are a group of orthodox christians who worry whether jesus really could have ascended "wholly into heaven" because he had been circumcised and his foreskin was still here on earth?"

why, no. i didn't know that.

here... this article on "the holy prepuce" makes for a really entertaining read. more than you ever wanted to know about jesus' foreskin. (you'll never look at saturn in the same way...)

Posted by xta at 5:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

 do you think they're talking about themselves?


is this an example of the "royal we"?

Posted by xta at 5:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

 this weather makes me tired


today was my first day back at work, having taken most of the week off due to this nasty cold-thing i've had lingering in my throat/nose region.

it's always hard coming back to work... basically because you've been doing nothing but complaining for 3 days. i felt pretty wobbly driving in to the station, and now that i've finished my air shift i'm totally exhausted. all because of the weather.

today's weather has been, uh... busy. the EAS machine spat out reams and reams of paper, alerts for ivan-related tornadoes, storms, floods... we're required to listen to each one and select which warnings to air.

my shift is usually music-filled and quite relaxing. not so today.

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September 16, 2004

 a better cure than orange juice

i'm slowly beginning to feel better. i drugged myself last night to ensure more than 4 hours of continuous sleep, and that really helped. i feel a bit cotton-headed today because of the drug hangover, but at least my throat feels better... less like 40 grit sandpaper and more like 180 grit.

i'll tell you what's really making me feel better, though: david byrne. he'll be performing in durham on sunday. i'm having a hard time keeping myself from tinkling with excitement.

a big group of us are getting together at my house before the show for a cookout and some booze, which should be fun. (wanna come? the show's sold out, but you can still come hang with us beforehand if you like.)

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September 15, 2004

 nutritional supplements - glucosamine


i take 3 375mg capsules a day of a 'glucosamine with chondroitin' supplement.

my orthopaedist insisted i start taking glucosamine when i told him about my bad knees. (i'm sure you remember how i complain about my knees.) i've been taking this supplement for a few months, and i have only noticed the slightest of improvements... but slight is better than nothing.

from "prescription for nutritional healing:"

this is one of a number of substances classified as an amino sugar. unlike other forms of sugar in the body, amino sugars are components of carbohydrates that are incorporated into the structure of body tissues, rather than being used as a source of energy. glucosamine is thus involved in the formation of the nails, tendons, skin, eyes, bones, ligaments, and heart valves. it also plays a role in the mucous secretions of the digestive, respirator, and urinary tracts.

and this is about all The Book says about glucosamine. but this is an interesting page with more information. i see now that i'm possibly not taking enough glucosamine... this and other websites recommend upwards of 1500mg a day, and currently i'm only getting 1325.

look, i'm learning something!

Posted by xta at 1:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

 i'm sick

i've got a throat that feels like it's coated with sandpaper.
i've got a head that aches.
i've got some nasal congestion.
and i've got a sense of exhaustion that just won't go away, no matter how many 4-hours naps i take.

Posted by xta at 1:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

 what, me worry?


so, looking at this map, i'd say there's a decent chance that we here in the triangle will experience bad weather this weekend. that last little red circle at the end of the red line indicates where the eye of the depression is expected to be on saturday.

of course the blue area is the margin of error... if the prediction is a little off, the remnants of ivan could easily be right over us on saturday.

saturday marks the one year anniversary of my house being crushed by a tree as a result of hurricane isabel.

Posted by xta at 2:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

 nutritional supplements - vitamin c

ok, here's an easy one: vitamin c

i take 1 1000mg tablet (1666% of rda)

you can't ever take too much vitamin c. if you consume more than your body can handle, you just end up peeing it out. i take a tablet every day, and if i feel myself getting sick i just take more.

from "prescription for nutritional healing:"

vitamin c is an antioxidant that is required for tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and healthy gums. it also aids in the production of anti-stress hormones. it protects against the harmful effects of pollution, protects against infection, and enhances immunity. vitamin c enhances the absorption of iron. it also may reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and it protects agains blood clotting and promotes the healing of wounds and burns.

fwiw, alcohol, antidepressants and oral contraceptives may reduce levels of vitamin c in the body, as does smoking. taking vitamin e and vitamin c together helps both work more effectively.

also, if you're not getting enough vitamin c you may notice poor wound healing, soft and spongy bleeding gums, edema, lack of energy or joint pain.

to me, vitamin c is a no-brainer. it's cheap, too.

Posted by xta at 1:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

 shoe shopping cures all

whenever i find myself even remotely in the neighborhood of the wide shoe warehouse i make time to stop in. even if i'm not feeling great. it helps.

here are my latest purchases:

red_shoes.JPGthese red things are actually the same exact style as these.

i had never before worn flip-flops until i bought that black pair a few months ago; now i'm hooked. i don't know why i was so scared of the toe-thong thing... perhaps just because i never found a pair that was comfortable.

anyway, i decided to buy these after i threw out my old red sandals in a fit of frustration a few weeks ago. those bastards stained my feet one too many times... there has clearly been too much rain this summer, and too many puddles to accidentally step into.

beige_shoes.JPGthese beige shoes were a total impulse purchase. i'm becoming addicted to slip-on, pointy-toed, heeled shoes. i think these will look good with jeans. i hope so, anyway.

in addition to the fact that they're really stretchy, these shoes are also cut slightly asymmetrically. it's probably too subtle for anyone to notice, though.

one final note about the wide shoe warehouse... they are going to stop carrying men's shoes. so if you're a man, and you've got wide feet, you best get yourself to their store right now. they're actually having a 60% clearance sale on their men's stock. so go.

Posted by xta at 1:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004


the pizza palace has reopened!!

Posted by xta at 6:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

 i've lost my L

my N and S are about gone, too.

where did they go? i must've been carrying around bits of them and not even known it. maybe they went shoe shopping with me. or out to dinner, and decided to stay. more likely, they're on the cats.

this happened to my last ibook, too, over the course of a couple years... but i've only had this computer for 3 months.

Posted by xta at 12:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

 anchors aweigh

gene_kelly_anchors.jpgi've been feeling a little under the weather these last few days, and my sleep cycle is all screwed up. i cooked a pot of potato soup last night around 10pm and collapsed in front of the tv afterwards.

while rooted on the couch i stumbled across a gene kelly movie on TCM that i'd never seen before: "anchors aweigh". i guess i'd always put this one off, thinking it would some sort of trifle compared to "an american in paris" or "singing in the rain"... but i have to say i enjoyed "anchors aweigh" far more than either of those films. (and more than any of his films!)

maybe it was just the cold medication or delirium from lack of sleep or something.

the film kept me up until 2:30am (i told you my schedule was all screwed up) but my attention didn't waver for a moment. to be honest, while i really like "an american in paris" and "singing in the rain" their extended, fucked-up ballet sequences turn me off. they're just too weird for me. (i know, i know... they were "ahead of their time.") "anchors aweigh" didn't have one of those quarter-hour ballets... instead it had him dancing in a dream/storytime sequence with a cartoon mouse. and somehow it worked.

my favorite things about "anchors aweigh":

* gene kelly's ass. oh my god, it's beautiful.
* the way he practically makes love to a telephone. (4.1MB mpg file)
* the whole dancing-with-a-cartoon-character thing. cool!
* lots of classical music. (but don't let that scare you off...!)
* he somehow manages to make a totally sissy navy uniform look sexy.
* oh yeah... frank sinatra.

Posted by xta at 11:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 8, 2004

 nutritional supplements - chromium


i take 1 200 mcg tablet of "chromium picolinate" daily (167% of rda)

this is the most recent addition to my regimen of nutritional supplements. i've only been taking it for a few weeks. i read that the average american diet is chromium deficient, then i read more about why chromium is essential... and i was convinced.

from "prescription for nutritional healing:"

because it is involved in the metabolism of glucose, chromium is needed for energy. it is also vital in the synthesis of cholestrol, fats and protein. this essential mineral maintains stable blood sugar levels through proper insulin utilization, and can be helpful both for people with diabetes and those with hypoglycemia. it can also promote the loss of fat and an increase in lean muscle tissue. studies show it may increase longevity and help fight osteoporosis.

a deficiency of chromium can lead to anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance, inadequate metabolism of amino acids, and an increased risk of ateriosclerosis. however, if you have diabetes DO NOT take supplemental chromium without first consulting your doctor. this supplement can affect insulin requirements, so you will have to monitor your blood sugar level very carefully.

finally, some people experience lightheadedness or a slight rash when taking chromium. if you experience these side effects, discontinue use.

chromium occurs naturally in beer, brewer's yeast, brown rice, cheese, meat, whole grains, mushrooms and potatoes.

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September 7, 2004

 fashion rules

on this day every year i find myself scratching my head over what not to wear.

as a young lady i was told that it suddenly becomes improper to wear certain items of clothing after labor day. white shoes, for example... strictly verboten after the beginning of september. and though i'm certainly not any kind of fashion maven, this weird rule has stuck with me all these years.

luckily i don't own any white shoes (except for athletic shoes, which trump the rule) so i don't have to worry about breaking this particular commandment. but i think labor day also marks the final day you are allowed to wear several other items of clothing. am i right? like sandals, maybe? cropped pants?

of course, if you have "winter white", that's safe. you can wear that all year-round, i think. (except no "winter white" during summer, probably... but what do i know?) but no open-toed shoes after labor day, even if they're "winter white". right? or are open-toed shoes ok as long as they're pumps and not sandals??

gack! these rules seem ridiculous! i mean, it's labor day... in north carolina the weather is still pretty warm. labor day in wisconsin, however, is not. how is one rule supposed to be applied universally?

mary & i decided we'd make up our own rules... at least regarding sandals ('cause neither of us have white shoes to worry about). we now decree that we are allowed to wear our sandals until the high temperature for the day falls below 75 degrees, regardless of whether labor day has passed.

that seems fair. i think. i might need help with the other rules, though... especially cropped pants and capris. that's all i've been wearing this summer.

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September 6, 2004

 save our starlite

Save Our Starlite!On Sunday, August 22nd, the screen of Durham, NC's Starlite Drive-In Theater burned down.

Bob Groves, owner of the Starlite, is determined to rebuild-- but because the screen was not insurable, he needs community help to reach that goal.

Community is exactly what this theater is all about. It's an essential part of the history of Durham, and for years it has been bringing people together from all walks of life.

Please click the logo to make a donation...

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 anyone have a lighter?

the horrible church i posted about last week has a new sign:


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 the fambly

cool_roxi.jpgas always, my brother's visit was far too short. (of course, if he stayed for a year it would still be too short..)

the whole family (rob, lulu & baby roxi) stayed with ray & i. it was wonderful having the baby in the house. she's a total dreamboat, as you can see.

when the tusselwuppers arrived friday night we went right to el rodeo, rob's favorite mexican restaurant in durham. the mere mention of the place causes him to drool. it appeared as if they've changed their menu, though, which disappointed him (the "vegetarian combo #1" no longer consists of the same stuff) but what he ordered as a replacement was still quite good. we walked down the courtyard to offbeat music afterward and i bought a few CDs for divaville.

on saturday the tusselwuppers went to visit lulu's grandparents, who also live in durham. rob sneaked out mid-afternoon, though, and he & i went to the crossings to play 9 holes of golf. i didn't do very well (likely because i was playing with my own clubs, which suck. i do better when i have a rental set, oddly enough.) but we still had a lot of fun together.

saturday night we were all invited to a fancy dinner at the forest at duke, hosted by lulu's grandparents. also in attendance were lulu's mom and aunt, who both drove down from virginia for the tusselwupper's visit. it was a big fun party and i thought it was wonderful to meet lulu's relatives. i feel like my loving family is bigger now.

when we got back home, rob & ray played a game (or 7) of HORSE in the backyard while lulu & i sat inside and chatted over a batch of bacon grease popcorn.

sunday morning the 5 of us drove to mebane to visit with some old friends & roommates. it was great catching up with everyone, even though the parents (everyone but ray & i) were pretty much only interested in talking about their kids. (there were a couple of attempts to discuss other things, but nothing really stuck.) kid-talk can be entertaining to listen to, don't get me wrong, but it's not a conversation i will ever be participating in. still, it was a beautiful morning.

hunger struck as we were leaving and we decided steak & shake was in order. god, how i love steak & shake. rob & i both ordered the same thing: patty melt. drool.

the tusselwuppers headed back to lulu's grandparent's house for the evening, and when they got back rob & ray were rarin' to play more basketball. lulu and i were rarin' to drink a bottle of wine. we were their cheering section, too. it was a beautiful, mild evening. very relaxing.

(relaxation was needed, i might add, because ray & i were preoccupied with hurricane frances all weekend. ray's family lives in florida... his mother in satellite beach, two siblings in palm bay, a brother just north of orlando, and another sister in sarasota. with the size of that damn storm, his whole family was in harm's way. we watched the weather channel all weekend long.)

this morning we got up early and trucked over to elmo's for breakfast before they had to leave for the airport.

i cried big sobbing tears as i hugged rob & lulu goodbye in the parking lot. it's so sad to see them leave... i love that family so much.

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September 3, 2004

 bathroom walls

several years ago i began a collection of what i fondly call "bathroom scrawlings"... witticisms you see written on the walls of public restrooms.

random people have been submitting things to that list (if you google "bathroom graffiti" --which many people seem to do-- you'll find my page) and these submissions have been piling up in my inbox for ages.

anyway, i finally updated the bathroom page today, if you're interested in that kind of thing.

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 he finally comes out swinging

thanks to ruby for this... i didn't watch any of the RNC, and also hadn't heard about kerry's remarks last night after the convention ended:

"I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq."

"Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney, and it's not going to change."

i don't want this to become a political blog (primarily because people like ruby, todd, and the fine folks at americablog do it so well), but i do want to say that i'm encouraged to hear kerry is finally swinging a little harder.

sock it to him, man.

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 anticipated interrogation

a friend is reading "marriage shock". i read the introduction and felt a deep connection with what the author was saying: that marriage, while idealized in our culture, actually tends to rob women of happiness, rather than delivering it to them on a sliver platter.

this quote sums it up for me:

"Within a year of marrying," one put it, "I no longer resembled the woman I was before I married."

this is precisely what i've been saying to people who ask me, "when are you & ray going to get married?" i say that the institution of marriage would change our relationship. i say that i see no need to become a "wife". i say that i am happy with who i am in this relationship... and, finally, i say that neither of us see any need to get the church or the government involved in our relationship.

i don't want to disparage anyone their desire to get married... i think if a couple is honest about what marriage means to them then they've overcome a big hurdle that the rest of us face: how to deal with the societal expectations of what a marriage is and should be. i simply choose not to even touch those expectations. leave me out of it.

now, that said, i have another issue: babies.

ray & i will be spending sunday morning with three couples who are married and who have babies. this means we will be the only couple there who are not married, and who do not have children.

in an ideal world this should go unnoticed. but i know it won't be. i know to expect "when are you going to...?" questions, because in our culture apparently something is wrong with you if you don't go along with what everyone else is doing. the fact that i question the validity of choosing marriage for myself seems to be offensive to married people. and choosing to remain childless comes as a horrifying shock to people who have chosen to have babies.

i'm already getting defensive about this gathering on sunday. i'm getting mad. i know i'll have to defend myself and my choices, and there's no reason i should have to. i've actually already been thinking up comebacks in advance of the anticipated line of questioning. i've got the prepared speech for the marriage question (see above), but i haven't settled on anything for the baby-question yet... any help here would be appreciated. the only retorts i can think of right now begin with the words "fuck" and "off".

but maybe, just maybe, it won't come up. i can only hope.

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September 2, 2004

 nutritional supplements - iron


i take 1 25 mg tablet a day (136% of rda)

before i launch into any of the educational stuff about this mineral, i have to personally stress that if you're a menstruating woman you really need to strongly consider how important a role iron plays in your health. given your monthly blood loss, iron becomes essential in rebuilding your hemoglobin and keeping up the oxygen level in your blood cells. without a steady supply of iron in your blood you could become anemic. (i was, and now i'm religious about taking my iron supplement.)

from "prescription for nutritional healing:"

iron is required for a healthy immune system and for energy production. iron deficiency symptoms include anemia, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, digestive disturbances, dizziness, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, imflammation of the tissues of the mouth, nails that are spoon-shaped or that have ridges running lengthwise, nervousness, obesity, pallor and slowed mental reactions.

BUT YOU MUST BE CAREFUL ABOUT TAKING TOO MUCH IRON. read your labels and get as close to 100% of rda as you can. too much iron results in free radicals, and could also lead to heart disease and cancer.

iron is also found in eggs, fish, liver, meat, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains and cereals. if you eat a lot of these, you may want to consider getting a supplement the provides less than 100% rda.

the iron supplement i take also happens to contain mangnesium. this helps aid iron absorption into the body. (also helpful is vitamin c... it can increase iron absorption by 30%.) however, excessive amounts of zinc and vitamin e interfere with iron absorption.

finally, do not take iron if you have an infection. "the body 'hides' iron in the liver when an infection is present. taking extra iron at such time encourages the proliferation of bacterian in the body."

iron is tricky in that you NEED it... but if you get too much, that can be bad.

i'm guessing that most of the people reading this are women... and i hope you all take the time to research how important an iron supplement can be.


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September 1, 2004

 my stomach as science project

i ate a bunch of mold today.

i didn't mean to. it's just that i wasn't looking at what i was eating (a breakfast cookie which had perhaps been in my pantry too long), and by the time i thought, "hm, this tastes kinda funny" more than half the cookie was gone.

surprisingly, i have felt fine all day. up until now, anyway... some 8 hours after consuming the green fuzz. now i feel a little queasy.

i'm drinking some peppermint tea. i have to believe it has curative powers.

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 turn the world around

ray & i have been watching the muppet show on DVD.

while each episode provides a wonderful trip down memory lane, certain episodes --and certain guest stars-- are better than others. the harry belafonte episode is far and away the best we've seen.

brian henson (son of jim) introduces the episode by saying, "after you meet harry belafonte your life is forever changed." i believe it. he has that glow... you can see his spirit. it's written on his face.

belafonte of course does a wonderful version "the banana boat song (day-o)" on the show, but the singular moment --the one that most fills my heart with joy-- is the closing number, "turn the world around."

listen. (6 MB Mp3)

(the touching epilogue is that belafonte performed this very song at jim henson's memorial service.)

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me_glasses.jpgthis morning i went to the eye doctor.

i try to go every 2 years, whether or not i'm noticing a change in my vision. sadly, the driving force behind this particular visit was a dinged pair of glasses... my blue metal frames have a chip in them, which results in a big patch of silver appearing where a lovely shade of blue should be. (i attempted to remedy this with a sharpie, but, shockingly, i'm not thrilled with the results.)

anyway, since i've been thinking that i need to replace the frames, i figured i might as well get my eyes checked, too.

it turns out that my prescription has changed a bit. nothing to jump up & down about, but enough to warrant a new pair of lenses. (and frames, too :-)

i've been wearing glasses all my life.

that's no exaggeration. i was born cross-eyed, and had 3 corrective eye operations before i turned 3. i've worn glasses ever since. thirty-plus years. it's really become part of who i am, and how i define myself. "christa wears glasses," people say, without thinking twice. glasses have become a simple fact of my life... practically part of my facial structure.

but since my hair makeover, i've been considering whether contacts might be an option for me. notice in this photo that i'm not wearing specs at all. i was surprised at how good i looked. (of course, a lot of that is the hair and makeup!) i think i appear more approachable... more open... more friendly, somehow. maybe i should stop wearing glasses altogether and consider contacts.

this is actually quite a big decision for me. i talked a long time with my doctor about it this morning. he understands, i think. he didn't push me towards contacts, and in fact commented that i'd never see quite as crisply with contacts as i would with glasses. ("though your peripheral vision would improve, of course.")

i'm also quite woogity about the idea of putting my finger in my eye, but i realize i'd get over that fear quickly.

anyway, the crux of the matter is that i'm unsure whether this is something i really want to do... i see this as a potential identity change.

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