Monday, December 31, 2012

So ... What's New (Year's)?

People who know me have come to expect “happy new year” wishes from me many times a year, since I celebrate pretty much everybody’s version of New Year’s.

Jewish New Year, Chinese New Year, Diwali, and even the lamest and most forced of the New Yearses: The “celebration” of January first.

Yep, leave it to the US to have the boringest, just the first day of the month celebration. New Years Day is easy to ignore because January First has no meaningful rituals (getting drunk may be fun but it has no real cultural resonance).

No matter – I still take every possible chance to start fresh and celebrate new beginnings.

So while it may be lame to celebrate the turning over of a single calendar page, it really Can have possibilities – Every Single Day is a new beginning; you don’t need to wait for the first of the year or the first of the month or even the first of the week.

NOW is New Year’s. Every time you take a breath.

So what if sometimes you share your celebration with a bunch of idiots freezing their asses off in Times Square? I say make the most of it.


Just for fun, check this out – nice to know I’m in good company:

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

Mark Twain, writing in the Territorial Enterprise (Virginia City, Nevada), Jan. 1, 1863

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bob Hope's Garage Sale - This Weekend!

Not sure if he got a permit or not, but it looks like Bob Hope, dead since July of 2003, is finally getting around to having that One Last Garage Sale at his Toluca Lake CA home.

I'm sorry to say I don't think I've got it in me to brave the crowds.

Besides, I already have Raymond Burr's bathrobe.

Wait - Your'e a WHAT???

The short answer is I've been Mostly Vegan since February of this year.

The longer answer is that my doctor discovered pretty high blood pressure last December and of course said I needed to lose 20lbs. Plus it seems that in spite of all my denial (and efforts to the contrary), I'm actually aging.

I was alarmed by the blood pressure news and although I still believe the pig is god's most delicious animal, I agreed to try an animal-free diet - provided the food wasn't bland horrible sawdust, or the steady stream of cupcakes and French fries I've seen every other vegan eat. I've spent years delighting in making fun of vegans, so I was as eager as anybody to see how this caper would turn out.


What do you know? There's some really great foods to make and some swell restaurants like Sage, Mohawk Bend, Golden Mean, and even Cafe Gratitude. I cook and portion out (how my OCD loves this!) food for the week, and when I don't feel like a meal I throw some fruit and veggies in the Blendtec and have a delicious smoothie that delivers more protein and vitamins than that steak you'll be digesting for the next three days.

I've lost 10lbs and my blood pressure is down 20 points, into "normal" and sometimes even "optimal" readings. I already hated and avoided fast food, junk food, and most processed foods, so going vegan was a pretty natural progression.

That's my story (and I'm sticking to it). I eat maybe two or three non-vegan meals a month, and I feel GREAT. No more Food Comas. Greatly improved sleep. My skin (which was always lovely) looks better than ever. And when I went in for my "congratulations, you're 50" colonoscopy, both the prep and the test were super easy (and with great results).

The holidays are already posing a challenge - all that wonderful butter - but I'll do my best and that's that. There's no gun to my head, after all, but I have to say this all just makes sense. Plus it's been a lot more enjoyable than I ever imagined it could be.

Join me?

(Oh and I thoroughly hate these "conversion" movies with all kinds of disgusting footage of animal abuse, but I think "Vegucated" is a pretty good movie - and I fast-forwarded through the brief farm porn. It's streaming on Netflix for free.)

I was much cooler when I was 10.

I was much cooler when I was 10.

I read tarot cards, cast the I Ching, and was into astrology and numerology. I’d memorized the numerology table and could figure out numbers in my head.

I was way into both yoga (did you know I invented the Lotus Position?) and witchcraft, and was making wax dolls and casting spells on people.

I had purple bell bottomed hip huggers and platform shoes.

I read so many books we couldn’t keep count.

I wrote poetry and could make a perfect pie crust.

I had a purple shag bedspread and I could crochet.

I didn’t like my parents much, so I found a better set and spent at least five nights a week away from home, enjoying a much better deal. My new parents drove Porsches, shot pheasants, and had Christmas.

I put on Mom’s high heels and descended their staircase, belting out “Hey Big Spender” along with the record (primitive karaoke).

I didn’t much care for my name either, so I changed it to Cynthia Joann Lewis, and even wrote that name on my papers at school. (How the teachers allowed this I’ll never know, but I’m glad they just went along with it.)

Yeah, I didn’t have my own house or my own car or my own pets (and I wasn’t a blonde), but all in all I still think I was much cooler. I wouldn’t trade back, because being an adult is awesome, but….

Is Quicksand Real?

Is Quicksand Real?

The short answer is NO. Evidence shows that although technically quicksand does exist, it doesn’t behave in any way close to the crazy-ass manner we were taught it did in all those crappy movies.

But even without there being real, scientist-devouring quicksand, I’m pretty sure we’re all working against some pretty powerful Temporal Quicksand™.

Huh? Well, unless I’m being repeatedly abducted and returned by aliens, What the hell am I doing with huge hunks of my day? I couldn’t rightly tell you. All I know is that Friday after Friday goes cycling by and I have goddamn Nothing to show for myself, even though the amount of Actual Work I have to do at my job doesn’t nearly take up a whole eight-hour day.

I started this last week, on the day Zig Zigler died. I often quote him (or at least paraphrase) that every one of us has the same 24 hours per day. What differentiates Richard Branson from Octomom (from me) is how we choose to use those same 24 hours.

The only explanation is temporal quicksand. Assuming it produces both blindness and amnesia, and that I can’t know what I’m doing while I’m stuck in it, let’s at least look at what am I NOT doing –

I’m not Stumbling Upon, reading Gizmodo, BoingBoing or any other news aggregators (except for my Yahoo news homepage). With the exception of one hour at the end of the day (and ok probably another before bed), I’m barely reading the news feed on Facebook (although I do make a lot of posts to twitter on most work days).

I’m not reading blogs, I’m not on Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram, and I’m not watching tv or movies on NetFlix or Hulu. I do check email and sometimes troll or fancy, or look for something specific on eBay or Amazon, but those things are focused and short-lived.

I’m not reading an actual book haven’t been doing any real writing for probably a year.

I’m not exercising (although I used to be quite an enthusiast) and I’m not learning Italian.

My sole multitasking is setting twitter to populate to Facebook, which I’m ashamed to admit is how I communicate with a significant portion of my real-world friends.

And I do take a lot of photos.

Still, several times a day I must slip into some fuzzy, time-devouring bathrobe that adds nothing to me and in fact leaves me with an ever worsening vague but palpable malaise – you never get any time back and you never see the revolving door of temporal quicksand before it swallows you in a single swoosh.

As the end of any year draws nigh, it’s normal to take stock and resolve to make some Big Changes come next month. But unless we outsmart the temporal quicksand, all resolutions are doomed to fail.

It’s too easy to blame work, and besides that if work were the culprit there would be no temporal quicksand at home – and we all know there are huge portals of it in every room in the house.

I’m about to try mimicking school by breaking the day into scheduled and assigned periods and marking the time when I pick up the iPhone to check email or Facebook or whatever.

I don’t want my life to be a blur. I want to be in focus. I want to be productive and make a difference - and I want to stay as far as I can from the temporal quicksand.

I’ll let you know how that goes.