Monday, November 18, 2013

Typing Out Loud: A Peek Thru My Johari Window

So some info is flying around the internet I let loose. What else is there to know...?

There's a little thing sweeping facebook right now, where your internet friends ask you to 'fess up to X amount of factoids about yourself that maybe many people don't know about you.

My facebook friend list is comprised of people I've known forever as well as people I've never met in person, being friends of a friend or people I've come to know via the internet, so some of this is either forgotten information or new information I'm releasing to the masses.

It was an interesting exercise to see what info about myself I was willing to share, and why. I think it goes back to the communications/psychology device, the Johari window. The Johari window is comprised of 4 panes: known to me and others; known to me but not others; known to others but not me; and the unknown. As transparent as our lives have become online, I have enough decorum to know there are some things, thoughts, experiences and knowledge that belong only to me. At the same time, I am intrigued by those things known by others but not me about me.

Anyway, here's the list I posted about myself:

I won my grade school spelling bee, which led to me representing the school at the Knights of Columbus county spelling bee. I hiccuped saying "k" for the word "kindergarten" so it came out "k-a" and thus I went down in flames.

I wanted to be a writer early in my life, I can't even pinpoint the exact early influence. My first book was about Anna and Joe, who found a cave on their farm. There was a girl who lived in it, the cave being a portal to alternate realities and adventures . Pretty heavy for 8 years old, but I was embarrassed of it by age 10 and decided to throw it away. I can still see its orange cover flying through the air at the dump and that lump of regret is still in my gut.

I also knew I wanted to be an artist as early as kindergarten when I created a snowman out of clay with arms and legs so he could play with us. When my teacher remarked snowmen didn't have legs, I smarted, "mine does." I also got in trouble in 4th grade because I refused to make a Christmas collage, preferring to draw. "A collage is NOT art!" I protested. Hm, perhaps it's more accurate to say I learned to be a temperamental artist early...

If I had to be perfectly honest, in reality, I'm rather shy. A lot of things I've done in life like reading in church and studying communications, is direct combat against my natural inclination towards being an introvert.

I was a radio DJ in my younger years. I was a guest on my great Uncle Joe's weekly program "Polka Time" on WIBM and WKHM for about 4 years. I DJ'ed college radio at Lansing CC and Ferris State.

I have been contemplating grad school for years. I have 11 credits towards a masters in communication, but haven't mustered the enthusiasm to go back. I'd love to get my masters in fine art but in the last few years have found I don't need the degree to create.

While you all know about me becoming a skater and a runner as an adult, there was a third sport I took up as an adult. For two years, I was a member of the O'Fallon Parks & Rec Fencing club. I was pretty good at foil, and was moving onto saber. I was asked to join a renaissance fair team, but declined when I joined the synchro team, and quit.

Biggest fears: car accidents, speaking in public, something happening to Will or Dave. Last Thursday was definitely no picnic as 2/3 happened.

Bonus: while I have lost close to 40 pounds in the last two years, I admit it's a struggle, daily. Every day is either an opportunity to eat healthy and exercise or the chance to read a book and eat a box of Timbits. Some days you have to listen to your body and rest, and some days I have to force myself to get off my ass.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Art Matters: Whoopi on Broadway

I have been told, frequently, I am funny enough to have become a comedian. A nervous bout of stage fright coupled with the craving to be universally loved and adored while knowing that never happens put to bed any delusions this may ever happen. Also, when I was a teen, I was exposed a bar  raised so high, an accomplishment so great, it seemed almost foolish to try. Probably the single, greatest stand-up one woman shows ever created.

Whoopi On Broadway.

The show originated as The Spook Show, a series of character monologues. The show was picked up by director Mike Nichols, and debuted on Broadway, renamed Whoopi on Broadway and ran for 156 performances, one of the shows taped and rebroadcast on HBO. She won a Drama Desk award for this performance as well as a Grammy for best comedy album. Her performance led to her role in The Color Purple.

But what made it so poignant?

She created characters that were funny, engaging and thoughtful. There's the drug dealer (with a PhD.) that stumbles upon the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. The surfer girl who discovers she is pregnant and all alone. The little black girl who wishes to be white with long blonde hair. The Jamaican companion of The Old Raisin. The physically disabled caregiver who dreams of agility and the man who falls in love with her and takes her dancing.

There is an art, a grace to creating characters you can laugh at while you fall in love with them. There is a truth to these characters that reaches deep inside you. I've been the little girl who wore a slip on her head, pretending to have long, luxurious hair. Someone who limitations may not have been physical but were felt nonetheless. One who finds friendship and sorrow in the unlikeliest of places.

It's recommended watching.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Playlist: Trip Through Your Wires


Saying you're a U2 fan is akin to saying you like breathing. While there are a few naysayers who aren't impressed, 80,000 of your closest friends at one concert can attest to the ongoing popularity of the boys from Ireland.

I was aware of the band in their early days, introduced like most via MTV playing Sunday Bloody Sunday and Gloria. And like most, I fell in love with the band when The Joshua Tree went huge.

They have been and still are in some cases, punk, earnest human rights advocates, arena rock, electronic, roots, disco and straight ahead rock and roll. Even they will admit they became so huge, they became parodies of themselves.

My play list will try to avoid the obvious, but sometimes the obvious are obvious for a reason.

Trip Through Your Wires - Filthy harmonica, and one of the most overlooked U2 tracks and most certainly the most overlooked track on the Joshua Tree album. Very bar band.

Bad - The drug addict song. The build up of drama in this song is intense and delivers.

Bullet the Blue Sky - song pretty much showcases the awesomeness of every single member of the band.

Angel of Harlem - People like to dis Rattle and Hum as some sort of vanity project, but it works. The band has said this was their learning period of the history of American music, and this tribute to Billie Holliday is as fine a sing a long song as any.

Far Away (So Close!) - There are days when my body craves this song. It creates in my mind a smoky bar with not a lot of patrons, the house band, and the girl who loves them.

All I Want is You - In the song Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own, Bono sings in tribute to his father, "you're the reason I have operas in me." All I Want is You is a prime example of a U2 opera, maybe even a symphony. Damn thing clocks in at about 7 minutes. It starts quietly, builds, swirls, soars, comes down, goes back up, and the coda takes you for a desperate ride courtesy of The Edge. Even the video is a swirling operatic storyline, the midget ringleader for an Italian circus in love with a trapeze artist. Someone dies, maybe two, who knows, it is completely ambiguous and up to you to decide what the hell happened.

Elevation - After their ride through the 90s doing European rock, electronica and disco, they claimed to apply for a role as the biggest rock band in the world. Application accepted. I still want to skate to this.

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me - U2 became so big, Bono felt the need to adopt an additional persona on stage, thus becoming The Fly. Do what ya gotta do. This song is from one of the Batman soundtracks, the video itself comprised of the members of the band becoming comic book characters. Hell hath no fury like a primary rendered Larry Mullen Jr!

Mysterious Ways - it's one of the first songs Dave and I shared in those early courtship days. It's an amazing tune that opens your eyes a little to a bigger world view. Plus Bono laying on a Moroccan tile floor is pure sex.

Numb - The Edge's only lead vocal hit. A weird monotone song off the wildly imaginative Zooropa, it goes through the emotions he was feeling from his divorce. Video by Godley and Creme, they of the extreme avant-garde closeup.

An Cat Dubh - Off the first album Boy, it's simply a loud, crashy tune that sounds like a polished mess. I have no idea what the title means.

Fast Cars - Track only found on special editions of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb that has a particular tango feel to it. I think I have stated before, if I ever make it to the point I need to pass a solo free dance, it will be to this.

Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl - As punk as they would ever sound, this song was featured as a bonus track on I don't know how many albums. On their last big US tour, they were hauling girls up out of the audience to perform a song request. This was the song the girl in Chicago requested.

Sweetest Thing - Bono misses a birthday, and writes a song in apology to his wife, becomes international hit. The video is delightful.