Musings and Mirth

About Me

I spend way too much thinking about me. This is the blank space where that paragraph should be.
My Friend Rain

My Friend Rain

Pic above from a story in the Ojai Post about Rain

I’ve known Rain Perry since high school. We were in French class together! And in the drama club. We used to hang out in Upper Ojai, wandering the streets that threaded through the hills of the mostly redneck community. Rain wasn’t from there – had an educated and artsy father. Most of the folks who lived in Upper Ojai back then were either hippies or country folk, with an oddball or two here or there. But Rain was very different. She’d come from Colorado but you could really say she was also a city girl. Rain knew about things other people didn’t, which was what attracted people to her back then. It also made her a bit of an outsider among those folk. But she found her way – and remains, to this day, the most popular friend I have – meaning – she has more friends than anyone else I know. She is kind and thoughtful, bright and talented. Rain lost her mother when she was a small child. And she was raised by her father — who was a force of nature. He traveled all over California in search of some kind of fame — he had girlfriends that Rain became attached to, and then the girlfriends would go away. He was a great guy. I knew him well and believe me, he is not a guy you forget.

He died a while back — and before he died he threw himself a funeral.

I spent a lot of time with Rain and her father — I probably overstayed my welcome. I was kind of like a stray cat growing up. I sort of lived with other people, other families. Looking back on it now, as an adult with my own kid – those families were so kind to feed me and let me sleep at their houses. I was hardly ever home.

Anyway, Rain and I had many adventures together — to detail them now would be, well, embarrassing! But I will say that Rain once patiently tried to teach me how to sing. It didn’t work, but she tried. Rain has been a singer/songwriter ever since I’ve known her. She started out as a girl with a guitar at an alternative high school in Colorado. She kept singing and playing – and continues to sing and play.

But the reason I’m writing this is because, after many concerts, after marriage and kids, after a long life of kind of working steadily as a musician – one of Rain’s songs was chosen for the CW’s show Life Unexpected. It is a big deal when something like this happens. Rain is now going to have so many fans. It could not happen to a nicer girl or a more talented artist.

Brad and Angie More Breakup Rumors

This came from Howard Stern’s radio show, posted by someone over at ONTD:

While listening to Rosie Radio this morning Howard Stern popped in for a little surprise talk and they got on the subject of Brad and Angelina. Howard said that they are no longer together and Rosie asked Howard if he actually knew that or was just going off of the tabloids and Howard said the he knows that. Rosie asked how and he said that he knows people and knows things and that he can pretty much say for sure that they are no longer together.

Howard said that even though Angelina Jolie is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen that Brad should have known better since Billy Bob Thorton, a man who has a fear of antiques and only eats orange food, said that she had too many problems for him.

So there ya go. Howard Stern is a pretty honest guy and I believe pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth.

I hope it isn’t true. Maybe they’re just taking a break from each other. But all those kids – relationships have a hard time staying healthy when just one kid comes along, but that many kids in that many years?

Their relationship, as lived through our eyes, moment by moment, picture by picture, detail by details, seemed like a fantasy. The births in Africa, the flying lessons, the international adoptions, the twins, the animal-noises sex, the big house in France, the sexy photos for W magazines, the red carpet displays of affection – that yellow dress at Cannes. It was a moment for our time – and why is it poor old Brad Pitt is always the guy who has the girl and they become the couple that defines our time?

A trip down memory lane:

Dairy Farmer Kills 51 Cows Then Himself

Dairy Farmer Kills 51 Cows Then Himself

This story has to be one of the saddest ever:

COPAKE, N.Y. – State police in New York say an upstate dairy farmer shot and killed 51 of his milk cows in his barn before turning the rifle on himself.

State police found the body of 59-year-old Dean Pierson in his Copake barn on Thursday. A visitor found a note Pierson had left on the barn door that said not to come in and to call police.

State police would only say that Pierson was having personal issues.

The Columbia County hamlet of Copake is about 115 miles north of New York City.

Local farmers buried the cows outside the barn Friday. They would not discuss Pierson or what had happened, but one of the men said these are hard times to be a farmer.

iSlate First Look

The Apple Insider has a pretty picture of what the iSlate will look like.

Nestled in an aluminum shell that leverages the Apple’s expertise in unibody construction but thinner proportionality than the original iPhone, the tablet reportedly sports all of the same buttons found on the handset, right down to its iconic home button — which, like the volume toggle, is missing from the rendering.

Similarly, the tablet is said to sport all the same in/out connectivity as the current iPhone 3GS, including a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack, built-in speaker grills, a microphone, GPS, 3G connectivity and a 30-pin dock connector. Like the rendering, its 10-inch display is framed by a black border that bleeds into its wrap-around aluminum enclosure.

This is exciting because that damned iphone is almost enough to be able to use remotely — just a tad small. So this little bugger is perfect to take anywhere and have laptop connectivity. It would be perfect, for instance, for covering the DGA Awards, which I’ll be doing at the end of the month. As it is, I’ll have to use my iPhone or else perhaps my wireless card, if I can find a good one.

Phoebe the Hummingbird Gives Birth

This is the most amazing thing. A teeny tiny humming bird built her little nest – which is about the size of a golf ball, if you can imagine that. And inside, are two little humming birds. They have to be about as big as a fingertip. I recently learned much about the precarious lives of humming birds on this PBS Nature episode, Magic in the Air.

Sad little facts about hummingbirds:

They have to eat nectar constantly or they can’t even survive the night.
They can hover, mid-air.
They have to lower their heart rate and puff up at night to prevent their own death.
They are great nest builders and the males have some really really cute behaviors for attracting a mate.

So, I got tipped off to the Phoebe-cam where you can watch her sitting on her little hatchlings.¬†¬† She’s so cute. Such a good little mommy. She must fly off, eat some food, fly back. I haven’t seen her feeding her babies in real time yet. But I’m sure I will at some point.

Here are some screen caps of the little babies:

Mourning the Death of a Friend

This is one reason why it’s great to have a blog. A few months ago, I found out my uncle Keith had died. He was my age, or just a year older, and we were more like friends than uncle and niece. He was an odd duck, nicknamed “Rass” by my departed grandmother, a severe alcoholic, and called Rass by all of us until he reached adulthood, when it was abandoned for his real name, Keith Sellers. He was a troubled soul, no doubt about it. They didn’t call him Rass for nothing. Named after Rasputin, Keith could be a real renegade and tyrant. He wasn’t so much mean as he was without filters or boundaries. He would say whatever he felt like saying and didn’t feel like softening it for anyone. Life got really hard for him in his last days.

He was only 45 when he died. He died in his sleep. Or so they say. But he left a very strange last update on Facebook about being lied to by someone he thought loved him. He was living in his car. He died on someone’s couch. These are details of his death. The details of his life weren’t much better. This past summer we had to talk him down from suicide. He had thought things through and decided this life wasn’t worth living. Funny thing about life – it can really seem like a drag if you don’t have a reason to live. Some of us have our children to keep us trying to live as long as possible. Some of us have our religion. Not me, but others of you out there, I’m sure. Some of us have an undeniable desire to survive because we’re hard-wired that way. But if you have no kids and you keep losing your job, you have no money and you basically have no one in this world who loves you — what have you got?

But what’s weird is that Facebook, I think, gives us a false sense of community. Yes, we are in touch with each other but what does that mean really? When he died, his identity, or avatar, lingered on Facebook – still lingers. His emails are still in my mail app. I can find comments of his from Facebook. He was a scary friend to have because he said anything he felt like, even if it wasn’t “PC,” especially if it wasn’t “PC.”

Even now, when I write something I expect one of his snarky replies. It is almost as if we have gotten in a fight and are ignoring each other via social networking. But no, he is gone. His real life body gone and burned to ash. We aren’t really so capable of understanding the complexities of this new dimension of relating to each other. We try, but what does it all mean? Anyway, I miss him.

Here we are as kids. Me in the orange shirt, Keith in the blue.

We did get in a fight a few times before he died. One, he had posted a really seriously hideous photo of me and had tagged it. Since I have a lot of followers of people I don’t know, naturally it felt invasive. It was a real low point for me anyway, after a terrible breakup. I had gained too much weight and couldn’t even bear to look at the photo, let alone have it on Facebook for all of my 500 and something friends to see. I told him to untag it. He refused. I asked him to take it down. He refused. So I defriended him. After a while, I refriended him but he never put the photo back up. I wish I wasn’t so weak of mind and soul sometimes. But I am, Blanche, I am.

His doctor had told him he only had a very short time to live and that he could die at any time. He didn’t really take care of himself. He was jobless – always getting fired for saying mean things to people — and homeless; he was sleeping in his car. He died on a friend’s couch.