Monday, January 30, 2006

Subconcious Longings

Saturday night, following the ZAP fest, I made a stop at a little store on Fillmore that I had passed earlier in the day. The DVD Station is a very cool and very efficient little video rental joint with nice little computer top tables where you can go searching for your stuff (rather than winding your way around racks and racks of videos). It's not as cool as KOZMO.COM used to be, where I could order a film (and even snacks) online and have it show up at my door fifteen minutes later, but then they went out of business (too labor intensive I think), so DVD Station will have to do.

I stopped in and picked up some titles, but it wasn't until I got home that I realized what I had...

Better than Chocolate
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Two for the Money

It may seem like stretching the point but my semi-bi-coastal life is showing through, and Nagin's ill-advised comment seems to have born fruit in the deepest centers of my subconscious.

So... I watched Better than Chocolate last night... What a fun, funny and poignant film... and a great soundtrack too. I love it!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Headlines from the Road...

I'll have more reflections on this, as a precursor to a documentary project that's been rattling around in my brain for quite a while, at Washington's Cousin, but for now all you've got is this.
this is an audio post - click to play

In the Zin Zone

Sipping and Spitting was never so good...
this is an audio post - click to play

One Thing

SO... first of all... I started this post about a half an hour ago, and I almost perfected it... kinda like life.

THEN, I got distracted and I lost my focus and I misplaced my plan.

Kinda like life.

But I remember something that I wanted to say...

It all comes from the fact that I was standing at the big Zinfandel soiree, talking to a guy who makes really great Zin in Lodi, when a couple walked up next to me and made the comment... "We're from New Orleans and we brought a whole group with us."

It was over... Lodi Guy was Chopped Liver... I turned from him to my newly discovered family (and I don't do that easily.. I've spent too much of my life cultivating my cool professional, sophisticated, cultural persona).

You're from New Orleans???

Yeah you right.... Everything in the room - and it was a pretty nice room - kind of disappeared.

Only ONE THING mattered; these were folks from home.

I've searched for that one thing most of my life, and I have been frustrated by its completely frivolous behavior.

But I'm starting to get it... When my heart jumps and my mind races and I know who my people are... I don't know if I've earned my citizenship, but I know where my heart belongs.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The City & The Crescent City

Or... My Tail In Two Cities Part Three

The first thing I did this morning, following my standard morning meditation, was to go to the computer, bring up iTunes and turn on Dr. John.

I'm completely delighted to be back in The City, as we call San Francisco around here (don't you dare call it Frisko!), and it very much feels like home to me, but a totally different home than the one I have in The Crescent City. So despite the fact that I had a great evening last night and that I slept well in my place, and I am excited to get to work on some of the things I've been putting off until I got back here, and I have consistently dependable WiFi and reasonably dependable bus service... I am content to hold a sort of dual citizenship.

There's still No Place Like Home, and THAT home, the place that really holds my soul, is The Crescent City I will return to on February 9th.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

If it's January, it MUST be ZAP!

I have been attending this event for 15 years! I went to their very first event and was the only media guy there... They've come a long way in 15 years, and so have I. In that time, I've gotten my teeth various embarassing shades of red, I've done articles, radio stories, had romantic fights, business conversations, friendly commiserations and just generally good times... all over a glass (or more accurately, glasses) of California's Grape!

I LOVE Zinfandel (which is NOT WHITE by the way)... and I love this fest.

this is an audio post - click to play

Honey... I can stop traffic anywhere... almost.

The drivers may be just as crazy, but around here it's the folks on foot that wield at least SOME of the power.

this is an audio post - click to play

The trucks are cleaner here...

Powell and Market... the virtual center of San Francisco, and three blocks from my office.

I never, in the 30 years I've been here, would have thought of this corner as "clean" before. All things are relative I guess.

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bright Night in the Not So Big City

A beautiful night and lovely walk.

Gordon Biersch was quite nice too, and I got to spend a few hours with my friend (and perpetually absent housemate) Alan for the first time since Katrina.

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, January 22, 2006

When I Grow Up...

I wanna be Uncle Lionel.

One of the honorees at the Best of The Beat awards last night was "Uncle" Lionel Batiste, the co-fonunder, bass drum player, and grand marshal of the Treme Brass Band, and general all around lady's man and man about town. The picture here really doesn't come close to doing him justice because it doesn't have him dressed in the perfectly presented suit and derby hat that he was wearing. It doesn't show the beautiful gold watch he almost always wears across his knuckles, and it doesn't show him sandwiched between two lovely women 1/3 of his age. You don't get the sense of the way all activity stops when people see Uncle Lionel walk in to a room, and you can't see the way he lifts the front of his trousers, perches himself on his toes and taps his feet to the beat.

I had the honor a couple of days ago to work with Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and Pat Jolly to move a bed into Uncle Lionel's new room at The Chrisopher Inn on Frenchman's Street (Katrina left him, like so many others, without a home) and the joy of watching him walk out on stage last night, accept his award and dance with the band.

I'm not joking when I say that I want to be him when I grow up, for to be so completely and universally loved, to be an icon of the city where you live, and to be so dapper, charming, humorous, and, let's face it, down right sexy at 76 seems like the way to live your life to the fullest.

Lionel Batiste IS New Orleans and he would not exist anywhere else in the world. Lionel Batiste is just one of a million (at least) reasons why New Orleans must, can, and will be back.

Oh... My God

Short post... halfway to bed.

I went to the Best of the Beat awards tonight and frankly it was simply a celebration of being home in New Orleans.

There is an enormous collection of more to say about it, but all that really needs to be said at the moment is that it started at 7:00 and it is now 3:00... That's 8 hours of celebration of the reality that New Orleans still exists.

It also happens to be the latest I've been up in at least 10 years.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Born a Yankee...

Just in case my last post was not clear about where my loyalties lie, I want to tell you about the concert I attended the other night at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Bob Malone
is a singer, currently (post-Katrina) living in L.A. but back in the Crescent City for some gigs recently and his appearance for Ogden After Hours was a balm to my sometimes withered soul. I'd never heard Bob before, but I loved everything that he did.

In particular, I loved what really must be the theme song of my life right now... "I Was Born a Yankee..." but you can bury me in New Orleans.

Pretty much says all there is to say really (at least for now).

You can find this (and other Bob Malone tunes) at iTunes by the way.

My Tail in Two Cities Redux

Last week at this time I was standing out on the corner of Louisiana and Claiborne picking up trash, sweeping up debris and filling 8 large trash bags full of crap on my own little personal corner of the world as part of the Katrina Krewe cleanup. I expected to be doing the same thing this week as it was not only a spectacular experience of getting something done (along with a bunch of other people) in a town where getting ANYTHING done right now is a significant challenge. But the rain has stepped in this morning and today's cleanup has been canceled. I'll be back in a couple of weeks though and it's not like the trash is going away any time soon.

On Wednesday I head back for San Francisco for two weeks and then I'll be back again to New Orleans by the 10th in time to catch some friends of mine in the Krewe du Vieux parade through the Marigny. They're even starting to put up the stands for the BIG parades along St. Charles and while it doesn't really feel much like Carnival right now, it is coming along. I am divided (as I usually am) about going back to San Francisco right now, but the fact remains that I actually need the break. After two weeks, and with my broadband connection at home down and the city's much touted FREE WiFi providing dubious coverage at best, I am finding it frustrating and difficult to get things done in a truly timely fashion. Work is starting to pile up as I take things on with the activity level I would have in California but with only about half the available resources and time.

EVERYTHING takes longer in The Big Easy... it always has. Now, it all takes A LOT longer. I am ready, even if just for a couple of weeeks, to be in a city where the buses run more or less on schedule (I NEVER thought I'd be saying that about San Francisco public transportation, but all things are relative I guess), where I have a steady and pretty much dependable broadband connection, where I can easily drop into a movie theater and see something on the big screen, and where I can have lunch (or a Margarita after work) with my daughter.

It will also be nice to hear news of something OTHER than Katrina. In New Orleans these days that is ALL you here, and rightly so. But there really is a whole world on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain... there's a war, and racism, and civic need in other places in the U.S. and around the world. Cleaning up Louisiana and Claiborne (or, as I did yesterday, helping Al "Carnival Time" Johnson move a bed into his new apartment) is the perfect example of acting locally, but I'm finding a need for Thinking Globally as well.

In two weeks I'll be ready to return and hit it again. I'll be sick of being around people who don't have a clue about New Orleans, who are too stupid, or too blind to realize that if we don't STAND together, we will SINK separately in the New America of Dubya and Dick, and I will long for news that feels like it matters to me personally. I will NEED a bowl of real Gumbo, and some fresh oysters, and Joe Krown; I'll want to see my friends.

I'll also be ready to wear some stupid plastic beads around my neck like they really matter, and I'll scream with the best of them for somebody to "Throw Me Something Mister!" And I'll be longing to get gloves on my hands and pick up the crap that's right in front of my face.

But right now... I'm ready to see the ocean again.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Real Preaching and Real Writing

In my washington's cousin blog yesterday, I provided a link to a snippet from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in which he demonstrates a much better handle on preaching and humanity than did Mayor Nagin on Monday. This morning I was listening to the podcast of the sermon from Epiphany Sunday that was delivered a week and a half ago by the Dean of Grace Cathedral, Alan Jones. In the sermon he speaks about his participation in The Genographic Project an exceptionally intriguing idea that I had not heard about before.

Jones speaks with beautiful eloquence of the kind of human commonality we all need, and in so doing he demonstrates, like Dr. King, what preaching is really all about.

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, columnist Chris Rose jumped on Mayor Wonka with a far more humorous take on the God and King dialogue than my rather more acerbic piece. It's a good and entertaining take on the event, and probably demonstrates better than most things that what we all really need right now is a good laugh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Now Presenting Reverend Ray Nagin

On Monday, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin decided to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by giving his best impersonation of a Baptist preacher. His speech however hit just a few sour notes...

Do not pass GO do NOT collect $200.


Okay... so my horoscope (from the SFGATE)this week reads thusly:

VIRGO (August 22-September 21): Who knows? You may become the world's best-known blogger. As 2006 progresses, Jupiter acts as your administrative assistant, adding zip and zest to communications. Go ahead: Take a shot at the title. You're a top contender.

Now I need help here. If I am going to do as commanded and take a "shot at the title" I need those of you reading to tell others about it. This is an "interactive medium" and it's time to start interacting possums.

And speaking of which, I need some more comments, so those of you who are still skulking on the sidelines, click that comment button and join the party. Some time in the future you'll be able to say, "I was there when Thom Butler became the Charles Foster Kane of the blogosphere!"

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Yin and The Yang of Renewal

While the shootings yesterday underscore the long way we've got to go (as human beings and not just as an urban "infrastructure") it seems important to me to point out that the kind of thing that happened yesterday is the exception and not the rule.

Here's a little bit of video I shot of the second line before the joy and music came to an abrupt hault because of a few pin heads.

Technical advisory: It's a 14 MB file, so unless you have a super fast connection you will need to be patient. But hey... it'll be worth it!

Ordinary Time Part Deux

The second line parade that I followed for a while after Mass yesterday didn't turn out like it should have. I guess as things get "back to normal" in The Crescent City some of those "normal" things that aren't so great return to haunt us as well.

There's a good story about the shooting that took place yesterday afternoon (rather reminiscent of a shooting I witnessed at the Muses Parade two years ago) at the Times Picayune website.

This was simply NOT the way to remember Martin Luther King Jr. on the celebration of his birthday. Clearly... we've got more than levees, houses and businesses to fix.

Ordinary Time!

According to the church calendar, the Sundays after Epiphany (the end of Christmas and, at least in New Orleans, the beginning of Mardi Gras) are the first part of what is considered "ordinary" time.

Well... the Sundays after Epiphany may be ORDINARY in other parts of the world; you know... shopping for specials, returning gifts we never really wanted, watching football and waiting for the belated Super Bowl. For those who haven't stopped attending church after their holiday inspired semi-annual participation in the Jesus cheerleading seminar, there is a whole other reality based on reflecting on the every day nature of our lives.

However, in New Orleans, ordinary is NOT a word I would use to describe the daily reality, at any time of the year, especially right now.

This Sunday I went to St. Augustine's Catholic Church in the Treme, a section of town, and a church building, that sustained some of the hardest hit reality of Katrina. This morning Donald Harrison Jr. played his sax, and directed most of the congregational music in a "Mardi Gras Indian Mass." Mostly it had to do with music from Harrison on sax combined with other musicians and the church choir in a sort of jazz mass celebrating the ongoing rebirth of the city.

After the two hour church service, I participated in a second line parade that brought together a whole collection of the city's "social aid and pleasure clubs" to focus on "bringing New Orleans back." Then, later in the afternoon, I had pizza and wine with friends before going to Monk Boudreaux's Indian paractice at Tip's.

The weather was gorgeous, the food is, like always, spectacular, and the Mardi Gras celebrations are ever so slowly beginning to make themselves manifest in this world of tears.

THIS is New Orleans... There is NOTHING ordinary about THIS ordinary time.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Jennifer!

I just realized as I was shutting down my computer that it's past midnight (well it's not QUITE midnight on the west coast, but it's good enough for me) and THAT makes it my daughter's 24th birthday! Twenty-four years ago right now I was trying to stay awake while Jen's mom struggled with wanting desperately to go to sleep as she moved into something like the 25th hour of labor at UC Hospital in San Francisco. Nine hours later Jennifer was born and I was treated to the single most amazing moment of my entire life.

That moment has now stretched into 24 years and I have to say that I am not happier, prouder, more satisfied or pleased with ANYTHING that exists (or has ever existed) in my life, or the rest of the universe, than the light, joy, serendipity and life I have received from my wonderful child.

Happy Birthday Jennifer Ann Butler!

I am so very glad you were born.

Oysters... Joe... and my friend Mary

Not necessarily in that order mind you.

It's so good to be home. A friday night in the Crescent City has come to mean three things for me and each one has meaning beyond their limited dominion.

Oysters at Le Bons Temps Roulez on a Friday night are the best oysters I've ever had in the world... and NOT just because they are dished up for free. They are as fresh as it's possible to get and they are shucked right in front of you in the dark corner by the cooler while you wait and prepare your sauces. Small, perfect and just damn good. Oysters at Les Bon Temps IS New Orleans on a Friday night.

Joe Krown is the keyboard third of Sansone, Krown and Fohl and both a fabulous B-3 player and a boogey woogey piano player that will make you smile, laugh and tap, tap , tap your toes. He's not here EVERY Friday, but when he IS here, the oysters taste a little bit better, the beer's just a little bit colder and life is just a little bit easier to take.

Finally... there's only one thing to say about Mary (but I'll say more anyway)... It's a smile, a phone call, an email... it's a ride someplace that helps out just a little (or a lot) and a steadfastness and integrity that rises above any stated, potential, or implied disagreements.

Actually I was right the first time... there is one thing to say about Mary (and a very select collection of others who I think, and hope, know who you are)... It's just really good to have friends.

Friday, January 13, 2006

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor...

New Blues Routes is up! It's a tribute to Lou Rawls who died from cancer a week ago. I meant to get the show out sooner, but it took a serious amount of work to pull that one together. The guy was nothing if not prolific.

You can find it here, or as usual, get it in the iTunes podcast directory.

My Tail in Two Cities

My daughter Jennifer told me recently (while we were discussing preferred beers) that I needed to PICK ONE. She also informed me that I needed to pick one city (among a short list of several other either or options). The thing is, I've never been particularly good at self-imposed limitations of this sort, even though I am inclined to think that in the long run such choices would probably be better for my sanity.

My present situation however is even more interesting because it grows out of having quite intentionally done just that. On August 5th of last year I moved to New Orleans BY CHOICE. I PICKED ONE CITY - New Orleans - as my new home after 28 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. But the universe, or the weather, or the goddess, or SOMETHING had other plans for my ass and so I eventually found myself back in San Francisco. Subsequently I have had a number of fortuitous things bring about changes in my life that I have needed for a long time. One of those things is the opportunity to build a mixing studio in downtown San Francisco. Another is the opportunity to work on a series of audio production projects (through my recording company SpeakLo Recordings), and even some music recordings in New Orleans.

It's really kind of interesting that after five months in limbo I am now coming to be more or less settled in this bi-coastal reality and I'm enjoying it a lot. I LOVE being in New Orleans, but things remain dicey and questionable and I don't know how long what I'm doing here will be a sustainable endeavor. In addition, after a few days (maybe as much a couple of weeks) life "on the island," as Harry Shearer calls it, becomes discouraging and depressing and it's really kind of nice to get back to some sort of reasonably functioning civilization. So my base in San Francisco gives me some solid ground and a bit of seemingly sustainable sanity (at least until we get hit by a major earthquake). There are new buildings going up around the downtown area near my office, the transportation system works like the dream I have always held in my heart for quality public transit and there's a movement and excitement that I definitely groove to.

In contrast, New Orleans is laid back and funky just as it always has been. That's a good thing most of the time, but it takes some getting used to each time I land. It takes me about twenty-four hours to settle back into a New Orleans saunter rather than the crisp clipped steps I use as I walk down the streets South of Market in San Francisco. I have to take long slow deep zen breaths while I wait for people in the deli or the restaurant to get around to serving my food, and I need to lower my expectations of what I am going to be able to accomplish on any given day (or week), but on any given night I can amble into any of a dozen clubs (or, like last night, into the Ogden Museum of Southern Art) and hear live music, of almost any genre, for FREE.

In New Orleans, when I pass people on the street, we look each other in the eye, smile and say "hey" or "how're ya doin'" or "Where Y'at?" Or maybe we just nod and say "Awright." In San Francisco, more often than not, passing strangers don't even make eye contact, even if faced with staring at each other's ear lobe from two inches away on the street car after work. But things move fast, and things get done and there's an expectation of accomplishment and a satisfaction in activity.

In San Francisco I can stand at the edge of the Pacific Ocean (or even grab my boogey board and wetsuit and jump into the swell) and find an astonishing peace in the chaos of fifteen foot waves powered by far away winter storms. In New Orleans I can stand at the edge of the Mississippi River, slowly ambling its way south toward the Gulf and watch the ships, the ferries and the paddlewheels float by.

BOTH of these experiences feed my soul.

So, quite unexpectedly I now find myself the resident of two very different, yet very similar, cities. I have, after over 40 years, begun to answer the old Firesign Theater question first posed for me when I was in college, "How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

Quite easily it seems... and with growing delight.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Back on the Street

Some things just don't change.
this is an audio post - click to play

Deep In the City of the Saints and Fools

The first thing I noticed this morning - after I got up, made coffee and started up the computer - was a sound I haven't heard in almost a month... Helicopters.

Bruce Cockburn's morning greeting to the Big Easy is particularly appropriate to my feelings of being home. I've already begun to "study the faces and study the cars" in the hope of finding out bits of information as to how things stand three weeks after I last left. After an incredibly long day of travel (and a nearly four hour layover in Atlanta), I still got out of the taxi at close to midnight, opened the apartment door and turned on the late night news so I could see what you can't find out ANYWHERE else in the country (as far as I can tell). Dubya's in town today as well. I thought that was kind of funny, but hopefully his showing up will put a renewed focus on the issues (for however briefly)in the country as a whole.

I've been told by more than one person, in more than one place, that "Katrina is over." Well... in New Orleans, Katrina ain't over baby!

Like the lyric in the song, "I've got this thing in my heart, I must give it today."

Time... again... to go to work.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Glimpse of LIfe As It Is Now...

I am preparing to head back to New Orleans on a quick trip of ten days to two weeks

"You are as loved as you were before the strangeness swept through our bodies, our houses, our streets" is the lyric in a song from Bruce Cockburn's album "Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu" and it's a pretty good descriptionn of what I am feeling as I return home yet again. Each time it's a process that feels like starting over, yet each time it feels like I'm starting over from just a little bit better footing.

I think that's the way it's probably feeling to a lot of people in New Orleans right now.

Four of those people talk about all of this on Harry Shearer's Le Show this week and frankly, it's the best hour of discussion about New Orleans that I have heard in the entire four and a half months since Katrina. If you REALLY want to know what's going on, and you REALLY do "know what it means to miss New Orleans," or WANT to know... you need to listen to the show. Harry is always great. This week he's spectacular.

I'll catch you from the Crescent City.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Three Kings Day

So we made it through Christmas


Now it's time to GET SERIOUS!

Are you ready y'all!?!?!?!

Twelfth Night

Here we are, at the end of Christmas and right on the verge of Carnival. In my opinion, no matter what you think of the various rituals of the holiday season (or their related commerciality) the point of all of it is to PAY ATTENTION. There was a great op-ed piece in the NY Timmes on Sunday about this very thing and how it relates to the turning of the year. You can read that piece here, but the thing for me is that it isn't just about something like the changing of the year. It's all of the seasons; it's watching - and accounting for - our lives as we move through the dance that comes and goes and comes again.

Twelfth Night ends our celebration of Christmas. Yeah yeah I know, most of you who celebrated it at all were happy to see it go at sunset on December 25th, but it is the playing out of the days that lets us - that requires us to - pay attention; that asks us to reflect and think, and be... just for a little while... before we jump into the turmoil once again.

And speaking of turmoil... My friend, Joe Gendusa is making a big star of himself in the Crescent City as everybody is taking the Hurricane Tour and asking Joe (a tour guide for Gray Line and a lifelong resident of New Orleans) what he thinks.

Well... frankly, I KNOW what Joe thinks, and all I can say is...

We're on the verge of Carnival... and I said some many weeks ago, back in the dark days, that there was going to be a party in the Crescent City. We're not quite there yet, but I think it's time to start practicing anyway. THAT is what paying attention is about... practicing the good even when you don't quite see it coming.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Nothing else to say... and frankly, I'm afraid that if I say any more, I just might jinx it.

Well, actually, there IS one other thing. There's a Whole Foods Market about a block from my office and they make one heck of a seafood gumbo. It's not QUITE right... but it's pretty damn close, and it will CERTAINLY do in a pinch.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Well Hallelujah!!!!

A new Blues Routes is up and running here. It only took me twelve freaking hours to create the ten minute show, but it's the best one since the one about the song Strange Fruit. That show has actually been BOUGHT (you really don't want to know how embarassingly little they pay) by several NPR stations around the country and I think this one sets the show on the course I've been trying to get it to for the six months I've been working on the damn thing. I think we're finally ready to rock!

The show is a ten minute feature on the life and music of Clarence Gatemouth Brown, who died shortly after Katrina. Not really BECAUSE of the storm, but the storm (and the fact that it destroyed his house) certainly exacerbated the illness he already had. Beyond that bit of info... well, you're going to have to listen to the show.

You can of course subscribe to the whole series in iTunes by going to the podcast directory and searching on BluesRoutes or Blues Routes. You can also load it directly into iTunes by cutting the URL and droping that into the "Subscribe to Podcast" feature in the Advanced button at the top of the iTunes screen (okay okay... too much info I know).

I apologize to those of you (especially e) who I promised to call yesterday, but I really haven't had my head up since early yesterday morning.

It's hard work... but this stuff really does make me happy. Now if I can only get somebody to PAY me for it!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Rain Rain... Go Away

The incessant (or very nearly incessant) rain that has overtaken California has me, of course, thinking of home. But then it doesn't really take MUCH for me to think of home. It can be a glance at my DEFEND New Orleans sticker now hanging in my office window, or a song on my iTunes, or the Blues Routes show I'm currently working on (Gatemouth Brown show and 2005 wrap up coming by the end of today by the way), or Michael Murphy's wonderful film "Make It Funky" (well, wonderful except for the idiotic segment with Keith Richards)which I purchased at the Metreon and watched on my computer last night.

Right at the moment it's Harry Shearer's column in the HuffPo, coming from New Orleans this morning with the perfect answer to the "How is New Orleans?" questions I keep getting from people whose eyes glaze over within seconds of my attempt at an answer.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Kissing Wendy Goodbye...

The musical theme of my life for the past year is best described in the Tom Petty song (sung here by Melissa Etheridge) Refugee. Long before Katrina blew me into honest to God refugee status for four months, I was living in that mode and that mindset. I HAD been living in that mindset for a long time. There have been many times in the last few months where, with that weird feeling one gets after a string of bad luck, I had been feeling like I had brought it all on myself. Even the last two weeks of non-stop rain in Northern California were beginning to feel like my fault. But... last night, when it was supposed to rain, it was a crystal clear night, and while foggy this morning (it IS San Francisco after all), it isn't raining (at least not yet) and I am choosing to take that as a sign.

So I've got a new theme song for this new year... also by Melissa Etheridge; one with a much more positive spin on things. And I've decided to adopt as my litany, and my motto, for the coming year, this quote that seems to have been dogging me for the last month or so. I don't know what galaxy it blew in from, but frankly, I'm planning on letting it stay.

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a beer in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'Woo Hoo.......What a Ride!!!'"

So... you can kiss my ass Wendy... I'm going to the beach!