Oct 31, 2008 :: boo.

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Looks like things were much scarier back then.

Mr. Rainey and I are off to the ABC Halloween party in a bit, $1.20 vintage monkey masks in hand. (No reprise of the Joker and Henchman getup. We're holiday-lazy.) Have a sweet, scary night!



October 30, 2008 :: my I

Once upon a time, I was a bit of a daredevil. I spelunked, unguided and untrained, through northern caves. I scaled a treacherous quarry wall, no tresspassing signs blaring, to fall, intentionally, into 80 feet of crystal-clear water. Spun front-wheel drive sedans backwards through cornfields, gravel roads, icy parking lots. Spent endless winter school-nights launching over moguls, sliding face-first into ice, racing boys down black diamonds. I piloted banana-seat bikes, no hands mom, over bumpy crags into knify stickers, twisted metal flying. I jumped, I climbed and swang, I barrelled full-force, headlong, arms flailing, fearless, beat-the-devil wild into countless possibly dangerous situations without a single thought to life, limb or insurance premiums. I hardly came out unscathed. Busted elbow skin, chunks missing from knees (still), broken nose, black eyes, fractured fingers, rug burn, road rash, concussive blows, broken eardrums, chipped teeth, toes snapped like twigs. I loved every second of it.

It's still in me. The rollercoaster-loving, fast-driving, "yeah..that thing I have no idea how to do? Let's go!" me that sits here and writes about crazy furiousness more than she actually lives it can still feel the adrenaline rush, the heartbeat rushing her ears--just now during the first song of the set, in front of the design class, at the restaurant trying the thing she can't pronounce. But today, I found out its even more "in" me than I knew.

About a week ago, I went to the local el-cheapo eyeglasses chain to get a couple random pairs of frames filled with a new prescription. The doc in the box checked me out (one or two? three...or four? better....or....worse?), and then began looking perplexed. Broke out the magnifying loop. Shone the SUN into my eyes, one by one, then asked me if I had insurance.

Fortunately I do, I said. Good, he said, because I see something weird. Pigment crystals floating in your eye fluid, clogging the natural drain, possibly causing glaucoma. I heard "pigment" "fluid" "BLINDNESS" then that earful of racing heart.

Before I go on - My eyes are mismatched in color, you should know. Left: 90% brown. Like a giant birthmark on my iris. Right: greenish blue - clear as a well-chlorinated pool. It's odd, yes. It's also, for the rest of you, humerous to be asked if you "know" that your eyes are two different colors. No. Had no idea. Eesh. Anyway, I'd heard about pigment before from eye-guys. That the retinal surface in my dark eye is full of pigment stalagmites. That it's beautiful - and maybe dangerous...just come back next year so we can check again.

Today, I went to the "real" eye dude to find out if my vision will go the tunnel-route prematurely. Or dudes and dudettes, may I say, as five different technicians administered nearly a dozen tests and poked and prodded my runny, massively sensitive, angry eyes (notice I do not wear contacts? It's because my eyes explode into watery, red, blinky craziness if I get anything even near them. Everyone at the Dunwoody eye clinic understands this now.) trying to figure out if I have this, or something else, or nothing.

The verdict: I've been whalloped in the head.

Not surprised, you say. Yeah - me neither, since I remember a winter day 17 years ago, my pink K2 165s razer sharp and waxed to atomic speed, rushing across the bottom slope at Perfect North and then....blackness and tumbling, as an out-of-control dude twice my size slammed into me at 30-some mph. His elbow? Shoulder? Knee? connected squarely with my left browbone, fracturing it, and knocking me into a binding-popping, pole-chucking, head-over,heels flip. (He wasn't any luckier, you may be interested to know. I walked away. My skies sliced his very nice Rossi's into several paper-thin layers, and he was carried off on a backboard.) Apparently, that concussive force knocked a bunch of eye-color loose in my left eye, splattering some pigment abstractly against the lens, and leaving more to float free and clog eye-drains. Where some people have screws-loose from concussions, I have a rainbow loose in my head.

Say it like that and it still sounds exciting, but not nearly as scary. I'd say that describes my adventure-life these days perfectly. And I still love it.



October 27, 2008 :: A pretty great joke.

My goodness, I love Halloween.

I also love slathering clown makeup on Blake and torturing him with eyeliner pencils. The suit, though, that was all him. Who owns (and has, in regular rotation in their wardrobe) a purple velor single-breasted suit jacket? My husband, that's who. There was no question who he should be for Halloween.

I, by the way, was a very scary be-masked henchman. Photos exist, I'm sure. I remember the flash-pops.

Happy Hallowe'ening!



October 8, 2008 :: On/In the Air

Despite the books on my shelves, I've been kind of a lazy reader lately. When I was a kid, I could plow through a book a week; a book every three or four days, if I were so motivated. I've skipped school to read Stephen King, shooed away summer games of kick the can for Orwell, stole secretly into my mother's stash of books I was "too young to read" and to find The Handmaid's Tale. (Why she was hiding Margaret Atwood from me, with all the feminist ideology and the strong women fighting back between the pages, I'm not sure. I think she thought I might not get the references at twelve. She was wrong.) I have a Bachelor's of English Literature (and 4 straight years of 4-hour Anthology-reading sprees a night under my belt). I don't know, maybe it burnt me out a little, all those years in my parents' backyard on a lawn chair, on couches and in coffee shops pouring over texts looking for hidden meaning, those hours in airports in limbo between shoots and interviews. Reality is, the internet probably did this to me. I've got a single-serve attention span these days with focus just as long as your typical All Things Considered soundbyte. The sad truth? I've read, fully, three whole books this year, and am now scrambling to make time, working on both 100 Years of Solitude and Blood Meridian at once. I felt guilty and a little overwhelmed (why didn't I go with Harry Potter and Dan Brown?). My brain may explode in revolt.

Fortunately, I think I found a nice middle ground this week. A way to satisfy my need for words and my need to be doing something else constructivce (i.e. not sitting) while consuming them. The almighty podcast.

To be honest, I thought those dang things were pretty useless until now. Years ago, pre-iPod revoluion, the ex-mister had a subscription to Audible, which he'd use to listen on the job to science fiction novels while he made pictures move on screen. He may still do that, but I work in words, so other people speaking in my ear while I'm writing them is intolerable. Singing works ok, usually. But not speech. But then, I stopped having a car commute and began a train and walking one, and needed some diversion. Since I listen to music all day, I missed the talking.

Thank you Steve Jobs...problem solved. This week I discovered WNYC's On the Media. And Soundcheck. And RadioLab. And that you can subscribe to This American Life. And TED talks speeches from years past. And nearly anything else that strikes your fancy. I had no idea I'd be so enthralled with having people yammer in my ear. I was actually pretty sure I'd hate it. The interesting, unexpected consequence of this is that I'm now speeding up the actual reading too. 50 pages of Fortress of Solitude last night, uncoerced (Blake's been begging me to read it for a while now). NY Times book reviews this morning. Vonnegut novels on CD for the trip to Indiana this weekend. I'm on a roll. I think I'll listen now.



October 3, 2008 :: I have a confession to make.

About a month and a half ago, Mr. Rainey and I hauled ourselves and our friends (and Blake's bandmates) Kevin and Blake P. and their significant others (the lovely Alli and Mariela) to hot, steamy New Orleans to play a couple shows. We were met there by other people from Atlanta and some friends from NOLA and surrounds, and things were set to be a great time. French Quarter hotel rooms were booked, maps were printed out, bags were packed and unpacked. An ordinary working-musician's vacation.

But then, on the second day, Blake and I took a ferry ride across the Mississipi to Algeirs, signed some paperwork, solemly swore a few things, waited a couple hours, and married. Not your ordinary working-musician's vacation.

Nobody knew beforehand except my best friend and our two witnesses. Nobody in our families knew until a couple weeks ago. And now, you know too.

For two people who are not traditional wedding-folk, this arrangement (in a pink wedding chapel in the French Quarter, with one tattooed drummer and one tattooed bass player as witnesses, with no scripture or promises to "obey", with little planning, in comfortable shoes, with some of our favorite people waiting across the street at a bar called "The Three-Legged Dog") was absolutely perfect. The best wedding I've ever been to.

I think everyone should think that about their own wedding. If you don't, do it again. You deserve that.

We laughed until we just about cried. (From left to right, our witnesses: Blake P. {My Blake's best friend since first grade} and Kevin, Mr. Rainey, the new Mrs. Rainey {that'd be me}, and Reverend Tony - our awesome officiant.)

We signed some legal stuff. (Blake P signing, the rest of us posing).

We tried to look (and act) all kinds of solemn. (We're both giddy and nervous at this point. Blake looked so sweet and happy.)

They gave us a Sharpie and a dollar bill.

Which we both signed - a tradition.
And then stuck to the ceiling with a long pole to celebrate with hundreds of others.
Kevin and Blake blew some bubbles as we left.

It was the best day. Ever.



October 1, 2008 :: Still Processing

Above: Young Antiques at the Star Bar. CD Release for Soundtrack to Tear Us Apart. 150-some people. Lots of loud. More to come.