Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Crashing in My Dreams

Last night, I wrecked yet another car while sleeping... Not at the wheel - in my dreams.

For the past several years, whenever I'm feeling out of control, I have a dream about crashing a car... Now, there are varying degrees of this, in order of worst to best. They seem to indicate the level of control I'm feeling in real life.

1) I lose control while driving a vehicle that isn't mine: For example, in one dream, I was moving a huge dump truck (for reasons I don't remember). I was driving down a slight incline - and many of my friends were lining the road. My old landlord (who apparently owned the truck) was watching... I kept slamming the brakes into the floorboard, but nothing helped. The truck picked up speed. I distinctly remember starring at my friends one at a time. Where I never specifically asked for help, I told the landlord I couldn't stop. He merely watched me coast by and did nothing.

2) I lose control driving a vehicle I used to own: For example, one night, I dreamt (dreamed? What IS the past tense of dream?) I was behind the wheel of my old Nissan Sentra. I was driving down a gravelly, snake of a road that descended a mountain. The car skidded on gravel, and my car (backwards) - careened off the road and down into a steep ravine. I remember the car landing. I was unhurt, but frantic about getting the car back on the road.

3) I lose control driving my current vehicle - the one I have right now in real life: These are the best of the crash dreams... because it seems to indicate that I'm at least feeling like I am responsible for what's going on around me in real life, even though the situation that summoned the dream is difficult... I know life's getting better if I can lose control of the car - and in the end, regain traction and position on the road.

These dreams came en masse years ago, sometime before I left a crappy job... - I crashed a vehicle every night for months. When I told a friend about it, she looked at me and advised, "Kelly - get out of the car!"

Eventually, I quit my job, and have been crash free for several years... (My dream insurance rates have returned nearly to the rates I had pre-crash dreams.)

Until last night.

(I'd explain what situation I'm feeling out of control with, but it's a work thing - and it's nasty...)

In the dream, I was packing from a video shoot - I was having trouble getting all of my equipment back. The location was a hotel terrace, post party. Everytime I organized my equipment, some of it would be moved by hotel employees. When I straightened out one pile, I 'd return to find my staff goofing off, and another pile would be gone.

Eventually I loaded the SUV (not mine - not even a vehicle of someone I know). I began to back out of the parking spot, but the brakes weren't working - the car started to move forward and hit a parking median. I was angry... and in my haste, I slammed the car into reverse, and crashed into a Jeep.

That just sucked - in both the dream, and my waking life.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

What's Success?

I used to do live television - and I always marvelled at how chaotic it could get in the production truck or studio - when the viewers at home never noticed anything wrong... I remember working a football game where the color commentator had a flight to catch immediately following the game. (He coached a high school football team that was playing in the state championships that evening.... Unfortunately, it was not the state we were in...) - The game we were televising involved the most played rivalry in college football... Regardless of how the teams fared in regular season play, they fought their hardest at this game.... Naturally, this meant double overtime. Color commentator was flummoxed, upset, nervous, and tense. Every three seconds, he had me call the airport to attempt (like it was possible - this was before the days of near-guaranteed flight delays) - to hold the flight.

Meanwhile, the director had arranged for police escorts, complicated only by the fact that the football game was in a different jurisdiction as the airport... It would be like a Minneapolis cop escorting a high-speed getaway to an airport in St. Paul... The cops kind of shrugged, and said they'd see how it went...

The scene backstage was chaotic. To viewers at home, however, the only chaos anyone noticed was on the field. The broadcast proceeded exactly as planned. The color commentator never issued as much as a rushed thought, expletive, dangling participle, or unfortunate stammer in his delivery. No one had any idea his heart wasn't in a Division I game, but in an itty bitty high school championship he had no intention of missing.

(I'm told, btw, that he made it to the game)

There is a fine line between chaos and order... And if you're really good, no one will notice the line, where it occurred, or even if it ever got fixed. ( It makes one wonder what the mark of true success - running a flawless event from the audience/client/viewer perspective, or running a tight show backstage... )

Maybe I aim low, but I tend to believe that what matters is the end product, but you decide.

I photograhed a wedding last night... Now, I never understood why anyone (excluding the availability of the hall, caterer, church, and staff) would plan a July wedding. Even the best tuxes aren't lightweight enough to withstand the soaring temperatures -and say what you will about not wearing pantyhose, bridesmades and wedding dresses are made for neither comfort nor ventilation. In July, a wedding party is nothing but a sweat-trap.

So already, this bride was off to a rough start. To boot, there was some confusion about certain elements. The bride's family was responsible for decorating the room where the ceremony took place; the family thought they ordered extra flowers, but didn't... The bride thought she ordered gold chairs (not the black ones that were in the room). The caterer swears by his copious notes that she didn't pay extra for them...

Then, the crazy July Thunderstorms we've been having around here changed the location of the buffet stations. Originally planned to be outside, but the food had to be moved to an indoor location down a long hallway...

Of course, when the wedding ended, and the guests wandered the hallways looking for the receiving line (the bride escaped to a bathroom to bussel a complicated gown), they immediately found dinner, and started eating, therefore completely bypassing the butlered hor's Deuvres they were SUPPOSED to be enjoying. The caterer just shrugged - and buttlered dumplings and bruschetta throughout dinner.

The bride was kind of upset. I mentioned to her that her guests were having the time of their lives. She acknowledged that and just shrugged it off...

Later, during formal introductions, the DJ introduced the bride and groom to a song no one had chosen, nor had I ever heard used to introduce any bride and groom - EVER. In walks the bride with a "What the....?!!" look on her face as the DJ played, "I believe in miracles... You sexy thing..." Then, a few minutes later, when it was time for the bride to dance with her father, the DJ played John Denver when he should have been playing Ray Charles.

I noticed the bride, trying to laugh it off - yet wiping an escaped tear from her eye.

I'm hoping the bride found some comfort during the toasts - a stream of heartfelt confessions:

The best man/brother of the groom acknowledged that he thought he'd never be more proud of his brother than when he won the state football championships 15 years ago (what is it with high school football?!!) - but professed his beaming pride and love for every moment he could spend with his brother...

The maid of honor/sister of the bride winged one of the lovliest speeches I'd ever heard: "We were so competitive growing up, and it took me years to realize how much fun you are - and how you are my very best friend..."

The father began with his long-awaited confession, "I'm giving this speech because I'm told I'm not demonstrative enough with my feelings, particularly around Christmas. I just need you all to know I'm grateful for the gifts - especially when the polo shirt has the proper three buttons... I liked it really, but I don't give a damn about material things - What I care about is in this room right now... I'd do anything for anyone here - and I can't tell you how much it means to me that you're sharing this day with us."

Maybe it's age, or wisdom - but the dad was right. When nothing goes according to plan, the chairs aren't gold, there are less flowers than you would have liked, and the entire family is letting off steam by yelling at the caterer - yet you still have those you love close by - laughing, dancing, and enjoying themselves - it's hard to say the event was nothing but a smashing success...

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Grief Observed

I know I've been kind of silent about the time after my nephew, Jay died in December. It's been difficult - sometimes a combination of weepy tears and laughter... many times, I just ache - or suddenly feel overcome by a wave of missing him...

But nothing really prepared me for a story my sister, Jill, (Jay's mom) told me the other day.

My eldest nephew, Ian, got inexplicably dizzy the other day. Jill decided to take him to the doctor. Not wanting to miss anything, the Doc ordered an EKG.

My sister watched as they attached all the diodes to my nephew. They determined Ian's problem was not his heart - But soon noticed Jill, who was starring in horror at the image of Ian's beating heart on the monitor.

Previously, Jill hated all things medical. Until Jason came along, she shied away from needles, blood, and of course, any imaging of the innards... After Jason, it was a different story. She watched all sorts of monitors, machines, and procedures with rapt attention. It's just that Jill had only ever seen Jason's malfunctioning heart move - where the valves barely opened, and the heart struggled with every beat to pump oxygen and blood.

She never realized until she watched Ian's healthy heart - just how sick Jason was - nor what a healthy heart was supposed to do.

She burst into tears (as did I when she told me the story) and had to leave the room...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hide The Stache

Please tell me that moustaches won't be in style for long... sigh.

Summer of stache
There's a fine line between the boy and the man. In some cases, that line is lopsided and hairy.
By Monica Corcoran, - Thurs., Jul. 13, 2006
There's a fine line between the boy and the man. In some cases, that line is lopsided and hairy.
"Every guy wishes he could grow a mustache," says Jay Della Valle, 26, an actor and filmmaker who devoted a documentary, "The Glorius (sic) Mustache Challenge," to spawning a furry revival in the under-30 generation. "I plan to bring the stache back. It's a revolution."

Not exactly. But clearly, there is a movement afoot--or aface. Jack Black's bold inky mustache nearly stole "Nacho Libre" and Adam Brody has recently been spotted with a fuzzy upper lip. In the new French film, "La Moustache," a Parisian architect shaves off his trademark mustache to cause a stir, but no one -- including his wife -- takes any notice.

People are duly noting Colin Farrell's Fu Manchu on billboards for "Miami Vice," though. It's the type of droopy, lascivious mustache that likes to peel out of parking lots and lurk near high schools.

"Personally, I don't want to see a movie star covered up with facial hair unless it's for a Western or a period piece," says one studio exec. "And I don't like the stache."

Neither does Jim Wiatt, apparently. He disdains facial hair so much that he once sent a WMA employee home to shave. ICM, too, has an unspoken rule against hirsute agents.

Surely, CAA partner Rick Nicita must be more sympathetic to the cause; he sported a Barney Miller-like stache for almost a decade.

The agency declined comment.

If you're aspiring to grow your own hood ornament this summer, start small. "Keep it trim and close, so you won't look like one of the Village People or a porn star," says stylist Martin Samuels, who has groomed Johnny Depp for recent photo shoots.

Depp could become the next Charles Bronson, who once deemed his mustache his "meal ticket." Richard Donner has admitted tricking Gene Hackman to get him to shave off his mustache to play Lex Luthor in "Superman."

"For me, the stache is like my business card," says Della Valle. "When I was with ICM, my agent wanted me to shave it off, but I refused."


Restaurant Reviews

The owner of a swanky restaurant in the Midwest once told me, “People will tolerate bad food if the service is good. However, people will not tolerate the best food in the world if the service is bad.” He’s absolutely right.

Overall, I’m told I’m an easygoing girl – but one thing I cannot tolerate is bad service at restaurants. Maybe it’s because I have a friend who’s an amazing caterer – who taught me how fantastic good service should be – I don’t know.

I figure if I’m paying for food and a place to sit, I should enjoy the experience.

The other night, my friend Becky and I went to a popular (and crowded) downtown brew pub. We waited a long time for the server to take our drink order. We waited a long time for the cocktail to be delivered... We waited a long time for the server to return... we waited a long time for the food we ordered… which bothered me.

Occasionally a server would rush by and assure us that our food was on its way. Eventually, it came…. It was good food - really good, in fact. However, when I finished both my cocktail and my water, no one noticed. I waited for my server to walk by. He was nowhere to be seen. I finally asked another server for a glass of water. He looked at me as if I had curly locks growing from my nostrils, said ‘certainly,’ and sauntered off.

Ten minutes passed.

I asked another server if it would be possible to get a glass of water. She too, noticed the invisible nostril hairs, agreed to get water, and disappeared forever.

Ten minutes passed.

I finally see MY server, ask for water, and wait. (nothing...) After awhile, I finally get up to get my own water, when he comes around the corner with my glass.

I won’t bother telling you how long it took for the bill to appear… but I will tell you that I had to go and find it myself. As I’m standing at the register, I mention to the host that the wait for food was longer than necessary (it wasn’t filet… or soufle' - it was pub food) – and that I had to ask three servers for water.

“I’m sorry – we’re just swamped here…”

I explained to him that where I understand, it’s not my fault that they’re understaffed. I will go further to note that had they given me the option and told me service was slow, I would have made an informed decision – and whether I stayed or left, I would still have a high opinion of them… I explained that where I’m not a bitch, I wasn’t impressed. I tried to be nice about it… and normally, I’m okay – but I just felt I’d received really shoddy service.

“We’re sorry,” they said. I'm not sorry. They're not the only restaurant in town.

Last week, after I watched my sister’s cat, she and my brother-in-law took me to dinner. “We have a gift certificate to Red Lobster!”

I hadn’t been to Red Lobster in many, many years. I guess it's just that the idea of chain seafood doesn't sit right with me, I guess. The thing about this particular restaurant was, the parking lot was always jam packed… Lunch, dinner – there were always a million people there – and I had no idea why… When we arrived, I waited about 20 minutes for a table, and we sat down to order.

The food was pretty mediocre and certainly overpriced... But the fact of the matter was – that the servers were so nice, so attentive, so unassuming and so well trained that I didn’t even care. I was enjoying my restaurant experience.

After dinner, our waitress noticed that I hadn’t eaten my shrimp/scallop dish.

“Was there a problem with the shrimp?” she asked.

“Well, I didn’t like it….”

My sister, who had the same dish agreed, “Yeah. It was kind of metallicky”

The server, without a beat, asked, “I’m so very sorry! Can I get the chef to make you something to take home with you?”

“No, that’s okay.” But we ordered dessert instead.

I now understood why the parking lot was always full – it was because everyone who came to Red Lobster was treated with respect and genuine attention.

So I’m giving 5 cat butts to the brew pub, and even though the shrimp tasted like lead (and I won't likely return), I’m still giving a thumbs’ up to Red Lobster for the pleasant evening.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another Duh

Last night my sister, Jill and nephew, TJ came to hear the tail end of my gig. I haven't seen TJ in awhile, but for his birthday, I sent him this cool clock I found at the Discovery Channel Store. Instead of batteries, it's powered by two liquids - water, and any other beverage or gooky solid of your choice. He's been particularly thrilled with this gift - which makes me extremely happy.

The other day, he decided he needed to show it to my sister's chemistry professor. The professor was so thrilled, he asked where he could get one. "I could have used this in class the other day. This is perfect..."

I asked TJ if he knew what to tell the professor. Yeah, I know where you got it," he gloated...

And without missing a beat, he said, "China..."


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Thursday, July 13, 2006

If I Could Raise One Eyebrow...

Yesterday, a client (or more succinctly, a client of a vendor of mine) asked me if I had a nickname... and then demanded at length to know what it was. Does anyone else think that's odd?

Since when do I need to tell a professional colleague that my family calls me "______________?"



Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Blissful Oldlyweds

NOTE: Here I go again - talking about faith issues. My beef isn't with faith, hope, charity, love, forgiveness or righteousness.... It's about Christians (I can hear HP chanting, Preach it, sistah!)

More specifically, it's about Christians who want to make other Christians in their own image... Ok, I'll shut up about it and just tell the story.

At a recent church social, I found my near 30 friend "Tina" near tears. "What's the matter?"

"Oh," she began, "Another married guy came up to me and said, 'If I were only single I'd ask you out!' - It just hit me the wrong way - I'm wondering why jerks like him get husbands and I don't.... Bob and Lisa want to pray with me."

The hair on the back of my unwed neck stood on end. Single women should never, as a rule, let married people pray for them in the event they're unhappy with their singleness. It just gives the blissful oldlyweds something to misinterpret...

"I'm coming too," I said as I ran to catch up.

Once inside the prayer area (a storage closet), Tina repeated her story. I looked at Bob, his eyes full of pity and sympathy (note I did not say empathy. I'm pretty sure Bob has been married since he was 12. He's normally an empathetic man - but he was clearly out of his league.)

"Dear Lord," he began - and then prayed that Tina would know the man of her dreams was out there... that she would be patient and understanding...

Screw that, is what I say.

I prayed, "Lord, help Tina remeber that she's not a second rate citizen, is a whole person, and that there's nothing wrong with her. Help her understand that she's not too picky - but just picky enough. Amen."


The next day, I wrote Bob an e-mail telling him that being single at my church is a difficult, if not ridiculous thing to be... That I want a buck for every blissful oldlywed who approaches me and says one of the following things:

"Kell, you're so smart and talented. Why aren't you married?"

"Kell, you're just too picky."

"Kell, when you want me to stop praying for a husband for you - you just come up and tell me so..."

"Kell, do you ever think you could just settle down and love one man?"

"Kell, meet Gary. He's single too!"

"Kell, I know you live in America, but I have a friend who lives in Russia who's visiting - and since I know you like travel, why don't you come to dinner and meet him?"

"Kell - are you gay? If you are, it's okay..."

"Kell, you look good... My wife also looked good 40 pounds ago..."

"Kell, I'm sorry I didn't say hello to you the other day. My wife gets angry at me when I talk to you..."

"Maybe God will bless you with children some day..."

Bob simply laughed at me - which is distressing, as where the above comments are kind of funny en masse - they didn't feel all that great at the time they were delivered.

Why isn't Bob reminded that Jesus (regardless of what the DaVinci Code says) was single? Paul was single? Blissful unweddeds throughout the centuries - with the exact same amount of baggage as the dis-blissful divorcees, (un)happy oldlyweds, and transient migrant workers - have fallen in and out of love, made a difference in their worlds, and even survived people who said idiotic things like, "Hey. Tina's still single. She must have baggage. What's wrong with her?"

I once pondered making t-shirts with slogans that say things like "No, I'm not interested in your husband," or "Less Baggage than the average Bear..." or something like that.

What's wrong with the blissful oldlyweds? It seems to me that they, of all people, should understand that everyone is not exactly like them...

So hang in there, Tina! We love you just the way you are.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Clicking My Heels - There's No Place Like Home

Has anyone read "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel? I checked IMDB to verify a rumor I heard that M. Knight Shymalan secured the rights to this book and wrote the screenplay - I'm interested.

Here's a cool excerpt from "Life of Pi..."

"What is the meaning of freedom in such a context? Animals in the wild are, in practice, free neither in space nor in time, nor in their personal relations. In theory - that is, as a simple physical possibility - an animal could pick up and go, flaunting all the social conventions and boundaries proper to its species. But such an event is less likely to happen than for a member of our own species - say a shopkeeper with all the usual ties - to family, to friends, to society - to drop everything and walk away from his life with only the spare change in his pockets and the clothes on his frame. If a man, boldest and most intelligent of creatures, won't wander from place to place, a stranger to all, beholden to none, why would an animal, which is by temperament far more conservative? ... There is no more happenstance, no more "freedom," involved in the whereabouts of a lizard or a bear or a deer than in the location of a knight on a chessboard. Both speak of pattern and purpose. In the wild, animals stick to the same paths for the same pressing reasons, season after season....

But let me pursue for a moment only one aspect of the question.

If you went to a home, kicked down the front door, chased the people who lived there out into the street and said, "Go! You are free! Free as a bird! Go! Go!" - do you think they would shout and dance for joy? they woludn't. Birds are not free. The people you've just evicted would sputter, "With what right do you throw us out? This is our home. We own it. We have lived here for years. We're calling the police, you scoundrel."


I've lived in the same place since 1994 - the same region anyway... I never thought I'd root here. I had no intention of staying. I thought my first job in the area would last just a few years.... It lasted many more than it should have. After I left there, I tried to fly the coop. Honest, I thought DC would be a wonderful place to live. I thought life in NYC would have a shelf life, but I could probably survive a few years there... I even pondered Philadelphia (a city I don't have a great affection for - although it's growing on me). For the right job, I might even experiment with Boston or Chi-town...

But I never left. When offered a poor paying job with a less than living wage in Virginia, I actually thought about taking it. I figured I could always freelance and survive and within a year or two move onto bigger I found new jobs right here. I made my friends right here. I fell in love here (I can remember a time when this occurred several times a day)

It seems that in my make-believe fantasy Johari window quadrant labeled "unknown bird flipped to everyone," I believe I'm a transient, world traveler, with interesting stories to tell - Well... In the words of the immortal Howard Hill, "I got my foot caught in the door."

I don't think I'm going anywhere - I think I've found my territory - and I doubt I'm moving. Despite all the things going on at work that I don't always like - despite all the people I don't understand - and despite my desire to see the world and make an impact everywhere I go...

So I guess my band's world tour consists of Eastern PA, New York and New Jersey...

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Things I Didn't Know About Sleep

These came from a longer article by Jason Stahl
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 07 | July 2006 | Mind & Brain

- Chronic snoring can be treated by uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a surgical procedure that tightens the tissues of the soft palate and throat. Possible side effects include changes in voice frequency. Another option involves injecting the palate with a chemical to harden the soft tissue. This is called a snoroplasty, derived from the Greek word plastos, meaning molded, and somewhat lamely from the English word snore, meaning snore.

(This is interesting because I'm a bad snorer sometimes. I figure it's just better to admit it. But if I got surery - what would that do to my singing voice? Didn't Barbra Streisand NOT get a nosejob because she wondered the same thing? I wonder if she snores.)

- Baaaa'd idea: A 2002 study by Oxford University researchers concluded, brilliantly, that the traditional practice of counting sheep is an ineffective cure for insomnia. The mental activity is so boring that other problems and concerns inevitably surface.

(I never believed anyone actually counted sheep. I always figured it was a snotty thing parents said to their children to get them to go back to bed.)

- In 2004 Americans filled more than 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills.The number of adults aged 20 to 44 taking pills to help them fall asleep has doubled in the last four years.

(I rarely can't sleep, but the other day, I accidentally took a non-drowsy Claritin in the afternoon - and I was up all night. Duh.)

- More than 100,000 car crashes in the United States each year result from drowsiness. Drivers talking on cell phones increase the rate by 6 percent, so don't call someone if you get tired. In 2008 Volvo plans to unveil a system that will monitor a driver's eyes and head, along with the movement of the steering wheel. If a driver seems to be nodding off, interior lights will start to flash.

(I fell asleep once on the PA turnpike. I woke up heading towards the median... That was too scary. After that, I learned to stop, eat, drink, listen to music I hate - but usually stopping proves the best. Regarding the '08 Volvo - what happens if you're just bopping around, singing along to your American Idol CD? :)) (I don't actually HAVE an American Idol CD - but I'm sure somebody does.)

- A six-year study of a million adults showed that people who get only six to seven hours of sleep a night have a lower death rate than those who get eight hours. Maybe it's those late nights watching QVC.

(I ask - what group of scientists are *SO* slick as to actually get someone to pay for this kind of study? How nutty.)

- In a gesture of integration with the European Union, Spain has launched a campaign to eliminate the tradition of siestas, or afternoon naps. Thanks in part to their afternoon naps, Spaniards sleep an average of 40 minutes less per night than other Europeans. Spain also has the highest rate of workplace accidents in the EU and the third lowest productivity rate.

(You know, as I watched the San Fermin festivities, all of the Spaniards I saw running with the bulls looked DARN productive)

- A Muslim couple in India is being forced to split up after the husband uttered the word talaq, the Arabic word for divorce, three times in his sleep. According to Muslim law, the "triple talaq" is an actual divorce.

(Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!...)

- Dreaming is connected to bursts of electrical activity that blow through the brain stem every 90 minutes during REM sleep. Over a lifetime, an average person spends more than six years dreaming, clocking more than 136,000 in all.

- Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.

(I'm wondering if Wes Craven's movies had any effect on somniphobia. Where are the slick scientists? Where are the grants? Where's the money for this nutty study?)

Enjoy your day! I'm off to tackle Mt. Kell (laundry, if you're new to this blog)


Saturday, July 08, 2006

College Flashbacks

There's always something worth talking about and people worth talking to at my salon. I like to go early in the morning - because early risers are often the most interesting. So I get my haircut this morning at 7 AM ("Kelly, you ARE going to let me recolor, aren't you? asks my hairdresser, also named Kelly) - The usual suspects are there - "Joyce" greets Mike, the salon owner with a "How you doin, cutie pie?" I just looked at Mike and said, "What? You're a straight guy who owns a salon - what do you expect?"

Joyce begins to discuss film. She mentions she loves Keanu... (I'm so not a Keanu fan... when I expressed my opinion that watching Keanu movies usually just angers me, Kelly the hairdresser encouraged, "Don't hold back, Kell... Tell us whatcha really think!")

After Joyce left, Elaine came in. She's a school administrator, and I've had salon conversations with her forever.

We begin discussing the Andy Warhol exhibit... The conversation stirred memories. I once met an artist named Louis Delsarte. A Pratt graduate, Delsarte lived in NYC in that golden era of the Factory. He lived in the same building as Robert Mapplethorpe and Patty Smith. "He was into some crazy weird stuff..." quipped Louis.

"That's amazing," says Elaine.

Then came the memory of my one and only Robert Mapplethorpe "experience."

I was in college in Michigan during the time Robert Mapplethorpe's work was causing a big controversey. So of course, everyone in school started looking at his artwork (nothing like a censorship argument to get people interested in art...) I started with RM's flower photos.... (say what you will about "Bob," as Louie called him - he took the lovliest calla lilly photos I've ever seen). I saw the self-portraits with the horns, I saw his portraits of famous people - I saw the mixed media stuff, and his photos of statues... Then came the controversial photos - The one that made me understand the controversy featured a penis nailed to a board. After that, I didn't really go looking for more Mapplethorpe photos. I got it, I got it.

At that time, I worked in the Communcations department at my school. I worked with a wonderful office coordinator named Suzanne - and a handful of other students - I was a video class aide... Russ did AV - there were a bunch of us.

One of the communcations majors who was taking the class I worked for was a guy named Dan. He was the campus Hippie. He wore a hat with soda cans knitted into it - and a homemade jeans jacket (meaning, he cut the crotch out of a pair of Levis, sewed the waistband together, and voila! New Coat!.) I had been in several photography classes with Dan for a couple of semesters, and always enjoyed his company and his outlook on life Anyway, he'd seen the Mapplethorpe photos - and decided to take a stab (bad word choice, sorry) at something similar.

He enlisted the help of my co-worker. He shot a roll of film featuring a nude Russ. Dan then developed them, cropped out, and nailed 5 little naked Russ' to a board (Think Mapplethorpe, and you've got a good idea of where the nails were). "Kell, how do you think Robin (our professor) will like my project? He showed me a side of Russ I hadn't seen before.

I just kinda smiled and nodded... "Wow," I said. He said he thought it was some of his best work.

I left Dan, and stopped into the communcations office, where Suzanne greeted me, "Hi, Kelly! By any chance, have you seen Russ?"

I just looked at her, kinda quizzically.

"What's a matter? You look like you've seen too much of Russ."

I'm not making this up - I wonder if she knew.


Friday, July 07, 2006

What Tree Did YOU Fall From?

I found this on Dakota Knight's blog - And it gleefully reminded me of an afternoon I had in college, sitting in a guy named Jeff's apartment with my long-lost friend, Cyrene. We discussed what kind of tree we would be for a good hour or so - maybe less... I think I either said I'd be an oak or a willow... but now, I know the truth:

DISCLAIMER: I know I've preached the gospel of anti-zodiac... but maybe I've now stumbled across the perimeter of Hornbeam Wisdom... I now know how I fit in! (tee hee)

NOTE: It's strange, but Dave and I (even though our birthdays are June 7 and December 7, are the exact same tree.)

WHAT TREE DID YOU FALL FROM? Find your birthday and then find your tree. This is really cool and somewhat accurate. Then send it to your friends, including the one that sent it to you, so they can find out what tree they fell from, but don't forget to change the subject line to your tree. Find your tree below and see what you are like...

Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree J
an 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) - Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 - Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 - Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 - Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13- Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 - Fig Tree
Jun 24 (only) - Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13- Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) - Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 - Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) - Beech Tree
Dec 23 to Jan 01 - Apple Tree

TREES (in alphabetical order)

Apple Tree (Love) -- quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented,, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (Creative) -- has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (Inspiration) -- vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (Confidence) -- of rare strength, knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (Honesty) -- of unusual stature, impressive well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) -- strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (Noble-mindness) -- pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.

Fig Tree (Sensibility) -- very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals, sexually oriented, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish, many friends, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) -- charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (Doubt) - intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (Melancholy) - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Abandoned Because?

The other day, Dave and I decided to go and see the famous Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival. We thought it would be fun to walk around, look at cows, participate in the world famous Ox Roast (If you're a vegetarian or member of PETA, I'm kidding - but it's worth mentioning because they make a big deal out of it - so I will too.)

I ask you - What festival closes its gates at 5PM? Yeah. That's right! The Kutztown Festival. I'd never have imagined it could possibly close at 5 PM - but when Dave and I arrived at 6 PM to a virtual ghosttown of a festival (meaning: There was a tractor-drawn wagon full of Mennonite boys picking up the trash, a few vendors cleaning up, and a pen full of Palomino Ponies - and just about no one else.) Why, oh why didn't I take my camera in?

You may ask yourself why I didn't call first - Here's my reasoning: Never ever in my wildest imagination did I imagine that a festival COULD close at 5 pm. I had no clue. In fact, I ask myself many times - Am I responsible for the things I can't fathom?

Anyway, when we asked the lone vendor why the festival was closed. We expected something exotic like 'bomb threat' or 'water main break...' Instead, he waxed poetic about attending this festival since he was 11. He was now 48 - and as long as he could remember, at 5 o'clock, the festivities simply ended. He waxed at length about traditions of the festival - and in the morning by 9 AM, thousands of cars lined up for miles down the highway - just to get in. He waxed eloquently about the throngs of people that filled the pathways around the cattle judging, the quilt barn, and the festival stages... He waxed and waxed and waxed as Dave and I backed ever-so-slowly away.

We decided to investigate. Empty festivals seem perfect fodder for Stephen King novels. I looked at Dave and said, "Kinda creepy, huh?"

"This is the kind of thing that makes me wanna hightail it back to Philadelphia, Kell."

"But you hate Philadelphia."

"I know!"

We walked the empty aisles for a bit longer, and noted all the fun we may have been having, had the shoofly pie booth been open - had the lemonade stand been vending, and had the mule-drawn carousel been circling. It was eerily quiet. We half expected an ambush by the "IT" clown - or worse - Raymond the Amish Comic.

We headed toward my car, clearly curious as to how such a phenomenon as a festival closing at 5 pm could possibly happen.

Such pondering makes one (or at least two) thirsty, so we headed for a local restaurant. We asked our server, "Why does the Kutztown Festival close so early?"

"You know," she replied, "I've been asking myself the same thing for years. I've lived in Kutztown forever, and I've never been able to go because I work all day..."

When she returned with our drink orders, she reported that she discussed the matter with her co-workers. As it turns out, the Kutztown Festival has no electricity outside - so the lack of lighting forces everyone out early. Ok, if all the food is cooked with gas grills and the beer tent is cooled by generator - Maybe... but how crazy is that?

I'm thinking this is the most absurd thing I've ever heard - A festival that runs in the evening would make a lot more money...

But maybe the farmers, carousel drivers, and lemonade squeezers don't care about that... I guess that also explains why they had no fireworks show...


Monday, July 03, 2006

Look Who's Visiting!

It's Chrissy, the only cat I like - here for a vistit while my sister is galavanting about. I took some photos of her this AM by the window. She's pretty cute... pretty um... advanced in years, yet still a good lookin' kitty.


Extended Weekend

After dealing with my seventh call from work on my day off (I have an "Indispensibility Theory at work... where it's good to be nearly indispensible... If you're completely indispensible, you get a lot of phone calls on your sick and vacation days... If you're nearly indispensible, you've either prepared well and left the adequate amount of information before leaving the office, or do work that your co-workers can figure out... Either way, "nearly indispensible" is the way to be.), I finally got together with my two out of town friends, Audrey and Brad, and went to a local vineyard, where we sipped wine, and took in some lovely views. (I'm pretty sure I now want to live in a vineyard - or at least right next to one.)

The vintner (is that the word for "wine maker?") at this place was a chemist, which explains the formulas for some of their wines: "Meritage® symbolizes the winemakers blending the classic Bordeaux grape varieties. This Red Meritage® is made from 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc grapes all grown in our vineyards. The free run of these grapes were fermented separately, blended together, and aged in new French oak barrels for 12 months." How one arrives at 73% over 75% is beyond me - but apparently they know what they're doing.

Following wine tasting, we left for my gig... It went well - and I'm learning, that when you have fans who come and see you at multiple gigs, you really have to accept that fans come with a certain bill of rights that they sincerely believe. One is making requests. On Friday, a fan insisted that I need to sing "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia..." She told me this repeatedly. Another fan (and this is the first time this has happened), actually purchased a CD for me. On the back, in black marker, he wrote "Kelly," and circled the song he wants me to learn.

I discussed this the next day with Carl, the guy at the music store. "You know, fans around here come with entitlement. They make demands I've never had anywhere else." said Carl. "It's not like that in New York or anywhere else. Believe it or not, that's why I stopped playing full time!" (Where I understand the sentiment, I don't actually believe that is why he stopped playing music full-time, and now works in a music store, but that's just my guess. I could be wrong - Carl is an extraordinary player, but living where we live and being a FT musican probably takes more travel than perhaps he wants to do... or he couldn't get the amount of work he wanted - but quitting because of the fans? How very, very Britney of him!)

On Saturday, Audrey, Fran, and I went to see the Andy Warhol show at the museum in town (it was on-loan from Pittsburgh's Andy Museum, which I recommend, should you ever find yourself on that side of PA). I kinda like Andy Warhol... I don't get him, but I like him. Did you know, for example, that Andy Warhol (real name: Warhola) kept a warehouse worth of "time Capsules," or boxes of miscellaneous hoo hah? They held newspapers, scribbles, notes, ticket stubs, ephemera - whatever crossed Andy's desk... When the box got full, he filed it away and began filling another. My favorite thing about Warhol is his attempt to float light. He couldn't figure out how to do it - so instead, filled several mylar pillows with air, and set them in a room with several fans in it. The pillows simply floated around... Very cool.

Ok. That was the weekend. Happy 4th, everyone!