Friday, October 28, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

hump day

Ordinarily, we celebrate the middle of the week by going out for dinner with Joe. It's the one of the night of the week that, for sure, Joe goes out and we usually enjoy it. Unfortunately, I think because of the weather (it's been raining and/or miserable here for days now), he didn't feel up to it tonight. He has arthritis and it really gets to him when the weather is like this.

He hopes to feel better tomorrow so we'll try for a Thursday dinner instead. Our original plan was to eat out tonight and do groceries tomorrow. We decided to reverse them and now I'm totally pooped. We didn't even do that much, we basically had two stops (one of them was a lotto ticket stop, it's up to $40 million!!) and came home. Something about schlepping around in the dark and damp just makes it feel like way more work than it should though.

If I'm feeling this pooped, I can only imagine how crappy Joe feels tonight. On a happier note, my dad got some very good news medical test results that he'd been waiting for so, yay, hooray!!

Oh, btw, this year, we'll be shelling out humpty dumpty potato chips on October 31, if you're in the neighbourhood. Be warned though, I want to see a real costume, one that requires some effort before I'll hand over the goods.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I haven't been around here much lately, well I haven't been posting. Things have been very hectic since we got back from New York and although I have all kinds of ideas and thoughts swirling around in my head that I'd love to share here, they never seem to make it into a typed format, suitable for easy blogging.

Even though she was 92 years old and had lived a good long life, I was saddened this morning to read about the death of Rosa Park. In recent years, I'd read reports of her suffering from dementia but that didn't diminish the contributions that she'd made almost 50 years ago when she stood up for herself in that famous act of defiance on a Montgomery bus.

My work continues to keep me really busy recently. There isn't the same kind of urgency to it that there in recent weeks but it's still kind of nuts. Of course, all of the little things that I'd let slide are now needing to be dealt with so....Yeah, yanno...I'll get to them eventually. Eventually, I'll actually, properly clean my messy house again too. It's all on the "list."

rest in peace

Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

Rosa Parks, a black seamstress whose refusal to relinquish her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., almost 50 years ago grew into a mythic event that helped touch off the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's, died yesterday at her home in Detroit. She was 92 years old.

Her death was confirmed by Dennis W. Archer, the former mayor of Detroit.

For her act of defiance, Mrs. Parks was arrested, convicted of violating the segregation laws and fined $10, plus $4 in court fees. In response, blacks in Montgomery boycotted the buses for nearly 13 months while mounting a successful Supreme Court challenge to the Jim Crow law that enforced their second-class status on the public bus system.

The events that began on that bus in the winter of 1955 captivated the nation and transformed a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. into a major civil rights leader. It was Dr. King, the new pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, who was drafted to head the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization formed to direct the nascent civil rights struggle.

"Mrs. Parks's arrest was the precipitating factor rather than the cause of the protest," Dr. King wrote in his 1958 book, "Stride Toward Freedom. "The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices."

Her act of civil disobedience, what seems a simple gesture of defiance so many years later, was in fact a dangerous, even reckless move in 1950's Alabama. In refusing to move, she risked legal sanction and perhaps even physical harm, but she also set into motion something far beyond the control of the city authorities. Mrs. Parks clarified for people far beyond Montgomery the cruelty and humiliation inherent in the laws and customs of segregation.

That moment on the Cleveland Avenue bus also turned a very private woman into a reluctant symbol and torchbearer in the quest for racial equality and of a movement that became increasingly organized and sophisticated in making demands and getting results.

"She sat down in order that we might stand up," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday in an interview from South Africa. "Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom."

Even in the last years of her life, the frail Mrs. Parks made appearances at events and commemorations, saying little but lending the considerable strength of her presence. In recent years, she suffered from dementia, according to medical records released during a lawsuit over the use of her name by the hip-hop group OutKast.Over the years myth tended to obscure the truth about Mrs. Parks. One legend had it that she was a cleaning woman with bad feet who was too tired to drag herself to the rear of the bus. Another had it that she was a "plant" by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The truth, as she later explained, was that she was tired of being humiliated, of having to adapt to the byzantine rules, some codified as law and others passed on as tradition, that reinforced the position of blacks as something less than full human beings.

"She was fed up," said Elaine Steele, a longtime friend and executive director of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. "She was in her 40's. She was not a child. There comes a point where you say, 'No, I'm a full citizen, too. This is not the way I should be treated.' "

In "Stride Toward Freedom," Dr. King wrote, "Actually no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.' "

Mrs. Parks was very active in the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and she and her husband, Raymond, a barber, had taken part in voter registration drives.

At the urging of an employer, Virginia Durr, Mrs. Parks had attended an interracial leadership conference at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., in the summer of 1955. There, she later said, she "gained strength to persevere in my work for freedom, not just for blacks but for all oppressed people."

But as she rushed home from her job as a seamstress at a department store on Dec. 1, 1955, the last thing on her mind was becoming "the mother of the civil rights movement," as many would later describe her. She had to send out notices of the N.A.A.C.P.'s coming election of officers. And she had to prepare for the workshop that she was running for teenagers that weekend.

"So it was not a time for me to be planning to get arrested," she said in an interview in 1988.

On Montgomery buses, the first four rows were reserved for whites. The rear was for blacks, who made up more than 75 percent of the bus system's riders. Blacks could sit in the middle rows until those seats were needed by whites. Then the blacks had to move to seats in the rear, stand or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Even getting on the bus presented hurdles: If whites were already sitting in the front, blacks could board to pay the fare but then they had to disembark and re-enter through the rear door.

For years blacks had complained, and Mrs. Parks was no exception. "My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest," she said. "I did a lot of walking in Montgomery."

After a confrontation in 1943, a driver named James Blake ejected Mrs. Parks from his bus. As fate would have it, he was driving the Cleveland Avenue bus on Dec. 1, 1955. He demanded that four blacks give up their seats in the middle section so a lone white man could sit. Three of them complied.

Recalling the incident for "Eyes on the Prize," a 1987 public television series on the civil rights movement, Mrs. Parks said: "When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "

Her arrest was the answer to prayers for the Women's Political Council, which was set up in 1946 in response to the mistreatment of black bus riders, and for E. D. Nixon, a leading advocate of equality for blacks in Montgomery.

Blacks had been arrested, and even killed, for disobeying bus drivers. They had begun to build a case around a 15-year-old girl's arrest for refusing to give up her seat, and Mrs. Parks had been among those raising money for the girl's defense. But when they learned that the girl was pregnant, they decided that she was an unsuitable symbol for their cause.

Mrs. Parks, on the other hand, was regarded as "one of the finest citizens of Montgomery - not one of the finest Negro citizens - but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery," Dr. King said.

While Mr. Nixon met with lawyers and preachers to plan an assault on the Jim Crow laws, the women's council distributed 35,000 copies of a handbill that urged blacks to boycott the buses on Monday, Dec. 5, the day of Mrs. Parks's trial.

"Don't ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday," the leaflet said.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, the announcement was made from many black pulpits, and a front-page article in The Montgomery Advertiser, a black newspaper, further spread the word.

Some blacks rode in carpools that Monday. Others rode in black-owned taxis that charged only the bus fare, 10 cents. But most black commuters - 40,000 people - walked, some more than 20 miles.

At a church rally that night, blacks unanimously agreed to continue the boycott until these demands were met: that they be treated with courtesy, that black drivers be hired, and that seating in the middle of the bus go on a first-come basis.

The boycott lasted 381 days, and in that period many blacks were harassed and arrested on flimsy excuses. Churches and houses, including those of Dr. King and Mr. Nixon, were dynamited.

Finally, on Nov. 13, 1956, in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on buses. The court order arrived in Montgomery on Dec. 20; the boycott ended the next day. But the violence escalated: snipers fired into buses as well as Dr. King's home, and bombs were tossed into churches and into the homes of ministers.

Early the next year, the Parkses left Montgomery for Hampton, Va., largely because Mrs. Parks had been unable to find work, but also because of disagreements with Dr. King and other leaders of the city's struggling civil rights movement.

Later that year, at the urging of her younger brother, Sylvester, Mrs. Parks, her husband and her mother, Leona McCauley, moved to Detroit. Mrs. Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965, when Representative John Conyers Jr. hired her as an aide for his Congressional office in Detroit. She retired in 1988.

"There are very few people who can say their actions and conduct changed the face of the nation," Mr. Conyers said yesterday in a statement, "and Rosa Parks is one of those individuals."

Mrs. Parks's husband, Raymond, died in 1977. There are no immediate survivors.

In the last decade, Mrs. Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. But even as she remained an icon of textbooks , her final years were troubled. She was hospitalized after a 28-year-old man beat her in her home and stole $53. She had problems paying her rent, relying on a local church for support until last December, when her landlord stopped charging her rent.

Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Ala., on Feb. 4, 1913, the elder of Leona and James McCauley's two children. Although the McCauleys were farmers, Mr. McCauley also worked as a carpenter and Mrs. McCauley as a teacher.

Rosa McCauley attended rural schools until she was 11 years old, then Miss White's School for Girls in Montgomery. She attended high school at the Alabama State Teachers College, but dropped out to care for her ailing grandmother. It was not until she was 21 that she earned a high school diploma.

Shy and soft-spoken, Mrs. Parks often appeared uncomfortable with the near-beatification bestowed upon her by blacks, who revered her as a symbol of their quest for dignity and equality. She would say that she hoped only to inspire others, especially young people, "to be dedicated enough to make useful lives for themselves and to help others."

She also expressed fear that since the birthday of Dr. King became a national holiday, his image was being watered down and he was being depicted as merely a "dreamer."

"As I remember him, he was more than a dreamer," Mrs. Parks said. "He was an activist who believed in acting as well as speaking out against oppression."

She would laugh in recalling some of her experiences with children whose curiosity often outstripped their grasp of history: "They want to know if I was alive during slavery times. They equate me along with Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and ask if I knew them."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

stolen guitars

the raveonettes
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
People just suck sometimes, don't they? I just got the following email and thought I should pass it along:

We are completely devastated.

Our gear was stolen on Friday Oct. 7 in Brooklyn, NYC. So much has been lost, but these 4 guitars & basses listed underneath are truly the things that matter most to us... like Wagner's Jazzmaster from 1961 that he has lived & traveled with, played & written on for the past 12 years. And Sharin's beloved Gretsch from 1967. If you see or hear anything about these 2 guitars and 2 basses please email us immediately at and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

Yours, Sharin

Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 1965 Guitar Orange V89V391 Fender Jazzmaster Guitar, Sunburst 55820 Fender Precission 1974 Bassguitar L. Tan 317392 Rickenbacker 4001 1974 Bassguitar OK 7546

Monday, October 10, 2005

Stolen from Bev

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you? Samantha Morton, Darius Rucker, Dennis Rodman, Stevie Wonder, Ritchie Valens, Harvey Keitel, Bea Arthur, Joe Louis and Arthur Sullivan.

2. Where was your first kiss? In the basement of a friend's house.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property? No.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? Oh yeah definitely but only ever in fun (oh, and that time I took the self-defense course and we got to pummel the shit out of a guy in a padded suit).

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Yes, in a church choir when I was a kid. Thankfully, my voice just blended in with everyone else's.

6. What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex? If they are taller or shorter than I am.

7. What really turns you on? I don't think you really need to know that, if you did, you would.

8. What do you order at Starbucks? I hate starbucks and would sooner drink battery acid than the swill they try to pass off as coffee. It's not made for folks who drink black coffee, over-roasted crap that it is.

9. What is your biggest mistake? I don't know if I'd necessarily say that it was a mistake, more of a fault, procrastination.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? No.

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I am so glad that I was able to sleep in this morning and that I don't have to go to work. Hurray for Thanksgiving!!

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? No.

13. Do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows? Nope, unless Spongebob Squarepants counts, oh yeah, and Arthur (I just love DW and Francine!!). So, actually, yes.

14. Did you have braces? No, thankfully.

15. Are you comfortable with your height? I am now. When I was a teenager I wasn't thrilled about it (I'm 5'9") but it doesn't bother me anymore.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Mark does lots of little things for me all the time so I couldn't list just one!

17. When do you know it's love? You just do and, I suspect, it's different for everyone.

18. Do you speak any other languages? No, but I understand a little French.

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon? Yikes, no!

20. What magazines do you read? We have subscriptions to e-week, Shape and Homemakers. The odd time, one of us will splurge on an expensive British music mag for a treat.

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo? Nope.

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? A friend of mine committed suicide in 1996. My Grandmother died in 1997 and my Grandfather in 1984. I have also lost numerous aunts and uncles over the years but I was closest to my grandparents.

23. Do you watch mtv? Not any more, they took it off of our cable package.

24. What's something that really annoys you? When someone complains about something that is bad or isn't going quite the way that they'd expect but they don't do anything to help themselves. I have no sympathy for complainers!!

25. What's something you really like? Sunday mornings with Mark, drinking coffee and watching three back-to-back episode (on tape) of Eastenders.

26. Do you like Michael Jackson? When I was a little kid, I had a huge crush on him and loved to watch the Jackson 5 cartoon (yes, I'm OLD!!) but once he started in with all of the plastic surgery (not to mention is odd behaviour the past 15 years or so), I lost any respect I once I had for him.

27. Can you dance? Yes but don't do it very often.

28. What's the latest you have ever stayed up? I've pulled all nighters, for work purposes and for fun. Unfortunately, the older I get, the longer it takes me to recover.

29. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? No.

30. Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? Yes!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

roadtrip report - part 2

It's hard to believe that at this time last week, I was standing in the middle of a crush of people, waiting anxiously for Belle and Sebastian to play. Given what the weather's been like, both here and there, this weekend, I'm so happy that it happened last weekend.

When we set off on Friday, I wasn't sure if we would get all the way to NY on Friday night but Mark sort of had that idea in the back of his head. Just outside of Marathon, NY, I found the Randi Rhodes show on the radio. It was a silly little thing but it made me really happy. We were about half-way there and I could hear Randi on the radio, not streaming through computer speakers. Unfortunately, we were driving through some pretty hilly areas (it seemed to be a big skiing area) so it cut out but, it felt like we were really close if I could hear Randi's voice!

Around Scranton, Mark suggested that I call the hotel we were booked into (for Saturday and Sunday) and see if they had a room for Friday too. They didn't have a room free that night, but, when I asked if they could suggest something in the neighbourhood, they did. I was a little ticked when I lost my cell signal in the middle of the call but as luck would have it, I found the name and number of the place in my trusty CAA guide book. The guy I spoke with assured me that they had many rooms available and didn't need to take my credit card to hold one for us. I thought that this was a little odd but it was after 8 p.m. so I didn't think much of it.

Sometime around 10 p.m. or so, we got into Jersey City and found our way to the Holland Tunnel. Admittedly, we got sort of turned around in Jersey City but I blame it on a) it being after 10 p.m. on a Friday and us having been up since 5 a.m. that morning; b)us having missed dinner c) being stupid Canadian tourists. Once we found got our bearings and found the tunnel, everything was fine. We got into Manhattan, found the Manhattan Bridge and made our way into Brooklyn. We were tired and hungry but we were almost there!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Photo Meme!

Spotted at Alison's and it looked like fun...Do a Google image search of the following and post the first (or favorite) result for each:
* The name of the town where you were born
* The name of the town where you live now
* Your name
* Your grandmother's name (just pick one)
* Your favorite food
* Your favorite drink
* Your favorite song
* Your favorite smell

Where I was born:

Where I live:

My name:

My grandmother's name:

My favourite food (mine's normally a large #14):
Noodle Soup

My favourite drink:

My favourite song (this week):
Lazy Line Painter Jane

My favourite smell:
Fresh Coffee

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

roadtrip report - part 1

Last week at work was a bit of a mad blur. The past few weeks have been like that actually and I was getting myself very stressed out. Like, extremely stressed out. Actually, like I had a total meltdown at home last Tuesday after work. On Wednesday, I talked to my manager about it and she was terrific. Offered some helpful solutions and, basically, a rope to hang on to. Perspective was what I needed, that and to know that a light does indeed exist at the end of the tunnel.

So, New York. Back in August (or late July?), when I first heard that Belle and Sebastian were playing at a festival (Across the Narrows - more on that later) in New York, I was interested but not confident that I'd go. For starters, I'm not a big fan of festivals because many of them (in these here parts anyway)involve sitting on blankets, in farmers fields, and portable toilets. I'm too old (imho) to deal with insane mobs and no real bathrooms! I discovered that this particular festival was taking place in the very civilized, Keyspan Park on Coney Island.

I talked to Mark about it because we had already planned a December trip to New York (we wanted to be in Strawberry Fields on December 8). He was really excited about it because he'd not been to Coney Island in years and I'd never been to Brooklyn so it would a neat adventure for us, in addition to my finally getting to see Belle and Sebastian. Over the years, I've had many "near misses" with seeing them but it never happened. I got us some tickets, I booked us a hotel and we starting making plans. We didn't have a set schedule of events for the weekend, just certain things we knew that we wanted to do in addition to the concert (like going to the Carnegie Deli and shopping in Chinatown).

Our original plan was to leave on Saturday morning, check into the hotel sometime that afternoon, have a night out on the town and go to the show Sunday. Monday would be our return trip travel day. A couple of weeks ago, Mark suggested that we leave on Friday after work. We'd drive into the wee hours on Friday and would most likely be dog tired but, we'd be waking up on Saturday morning in New York. I liked that idea, a lot. As work went from crazy to insane last week, I started questioning the sanity of the trip: should I be going away in the middle of this busy-ness? Will I be able to relax and enjoy myself? Lots of doubting thoughts kept popping in and out of my head but one thing kept me going, I was going to see Belle and Sebastian!!

Friday, I left work at noon. Mark worked until 3 and this gave me just enough to go home, pack us up and do a few things around the house. It all worked out perfectly, he arrived home, about 15 minutes after I'd finished packing and I was ready to go. We crossed the US border without incident. I don't know why but those guys always make me feel nervous. For the first time ever, we had a guy with an actual sense of humour. It was refreshing. Once we hit the I-81 South, I started getting excited. Neither of us had eaten lunch so we stopped for a quick (ie drive-thru) chicken sandwich and an ATM stop in Pulaski, NY. We had decided, because we were staying in Brooklyn (instead of New Jersey like we usually do), that we'd take a different route. Instead of getting on the thruway in Syracuse, and heading east to Albany, we stayed on I-81 and headed toward Binghamton.

...when I have time (hopefully tomorrow?), I'll get into part 2. I know it's not the most exciting thing that you'll have read but I'm doing this more for me than for you. So, there!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

back in town

We're ba-a-aaaaaaaaack!!!

We just got back from our long weekend in New York and I'll have lots to tell about it after we've had some sleep and some food. While you wait to hear our oh-so-exciting tales from the road, I have posted a few pictures up at flickr.