Don’t think I forgot how gorgeous Youngstown can be in the autumn—that is why I brought my camera, after all. I had a fantastic time running around on the porch with the dogs, and taking pictures outside—just a few days before the snow came.
The man three seats down is watching Boogie Nights on his laptop—without headphones. I’m pretty amused. Someone else, across from me and a few seats the other way, is devouring a fast food dinner. McDonald’s, with various dipping sauces. Pittsburgh’s wifi is free, and I like that. My mother bought me chicken noodle soup before I went through security. Who knows how long it had been sitting in that warmer before it came to me; I ate a few bites, slowly, and let Dad have the rest.
I have four snack bars in my briefcase—funny Kashi TLC things, cereal bars I guess, crunchy and pretty good. They don’t taste like sugar, or additives. That’s kind of awesome. Maybe I’ll have another when I get on the plane.
I’m sleepy, I’d guess, because of all the refined stuff I ate at the Italian restaurant in Girard. It was a cute restaurant, but it served restaurant food (of course) and although the shrimp and mussels were delicious, they came with your usual run-of-the-mill bread and pasta. (That’s like a joke! Run-of-the-mill! I kill me!) The further something is from the ground it grew in, the more havoc it seems to wreak on the joints in my hands. Ow. Refined wheat and sugar seem to be the worst culprits, but it’s more complicated than that. I haven’t quite figured it out, but I will.
Vixen told me this weekend about Casa de Luz, which apparently specializes in macrobiotic cuisine—all real, whole organics. And I think Christopher Barzak said something about wishing for higher quality cuisine in Youngstown. God, if Youngstown had someplace like that, I would have eaten there all weekend. I know these places must exist somewhere in or around the Mahoning Valley, short of Cleveland or Pittsburgh. I would love to hear about them. And if they don’t, it’s certainly time to bring them in, don’t you think?
It’s time for my flight to board. See ya’ll in Houston! (Well, for an hour, anyway.) ;}
This past Saturday I spent the day at the Texas Renaissance Festival with Marty and Vixen. It was an intensely enjoyable day, and I took pictures. Here are a few of E Muzeki, whose music is as beautiful as its musicians:
We also were privileged to watch the unbelievably skillful offerings of Shunyata Belly Dance, which boasts the company of alarmingly talented (and adorable) Silvia:
I posted some other performance-related thoughts at my mezzo blog, if you’d like to take a look.
As you might suspect, I have sex on the brain. (If you didn’t suspect it, I don’t know how else I might have warned you. Sorry!) Having just read that part, you may also suspect that most of the links in this post might be less than work-safe, unless you work somewhere extra awesome. (If you suspect that, you’d be right.) Click carefully! ;}
Anyway, so many neat things have been happening. Far be it from me to keep them from you! I mean, you deserve to know. You must not be left in the dark! This is my sacred duty, dude. Or something. Where do I start??
In addition to all of that, I also had a great time reading her initial tinynibbles post about Digita Publications, because she has a lot to say about why she went in this direction after being traditionally published for many years, why she chose the anti-DRM route and how she hopped over some minor obstacles (cough, iTunes) along the way. Extremely excellent.
Yes, there’s more. Kiki started a new sexblog and it is awesome. She writes really well and if her first three are any indication of future posts, I am expecting super fun content. If you like sex-writing and related material, you might even enjoy it as much as I do!
So you can see how the sex-centered part of Megan’s brain is just doing backflips lately.
You also won’t be surprised to find out that my situation got worse (better!) when Apple posted this fantastic high-res tour of their new OS. Because, you know, me and sexy technology…
Two words: Time Machine. Whew!!
Update: I have been informed that any energy spent drooling over Time Machine is a result of the graphics, not the functionality. Apparently the functionality has been around for awhile—but dude, the combination is luscious!
And I almost forgot: In alarming proximity to the moment I started searching for sexy halloween movies to watch this week, Violet’s most recent SFGate article went live: Bring on the lesbian vampires. It just doesn’t get better than that. (And it’s a hell of a list!)
DRUMMOND. (Honestly.) I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure that language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.
~ Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
This post has been a draft for months, waiting to be polished and posted. I’ve been preoccupied for at least that long, trying to think of what I would tell you about my mother.
For a large chunk of that time, it only contained two words: lip gloss.
But lip gloss isn’t all there is to say. I’m going to tell you the rest, too. About the lip gloss, yes, but about the rest, most definitely. Anyway, I’ll start with the lip gloss.
When I was growing up, my mommy always had little colored pots of Rachel Perry lip gloss in her purse. Mostly, I remember it being cantaloupe. I think she had mint too, and grape. They were flavored and very tasty. When she let me use some to make my lips soft, I would inevitably sneak some onto my tongue, too. I think she did tell me that lip gloss was not for eating (I was that kind of sneaky kid). Cantaloupe lip gloss wedged itself in my childhood consciousness and stayed there long, even until my mother found those same pots at the local health food store and gave them to my sister and I for Christmas. These days, I don’t eat it. But for using as lip gloss, it is awesome. And it reminds me of my mom. Anyway, I did try it, just once. It still tastes the way I remember it. I’m just… not into eating lip gloss anymore. It makes me think of mom’s purse, and being little.
My mommy has always been warm and smooth. Often crazy (I inherited that from her, no doubt) but also sweet and good and loving. My mom paid for my rehearsals and bought me concert gowns when we were subsisting on cold cereal and canned soup. She put my photos in the paper, wrote the articles and sent them, hung my performance fliers in her office window and gave her clients my business cards. She has always been so proud of what I was doing, always wanted badly for me to do even more.
She videotapes my shows, brings audio recorders to concerts (whether or not I approve, and that’s the way it is). We always seem to have something to listen to or watch later, something for her to show people, something to show off a little. Though I received quite a bit of financial and emotional support for the trip to Wales, from many corners, she was absolutely instrumental in pushing it through, making it work, and inexplicably managed to cart herself there too, with father and grandmother in tow—to Wales. She helped me pay for all the bizarre comforts that soothed and strengthened me, helped me do incredibly well (and I am pleased to say that I didn’t disappoint her!). She’s still pushing, with articles in the paper and photos pinned to her office wall, and without her, who knows what I’d have gotten done by now?
From my mother I am strong and stubborn, and not only a little brilliant. She made me an artist and a musician in many ways, and encouraged me to do the things I did so well when my friends’ parents were grousing and insisting they look to “real” careers. My mother always knew what I was capable of. She never doubted it for a moment.
Many difficult years and it can be hard to remember these things. But they’re all true.
When I wanted to read, she bought me books. Growing up, I had so many books! Even now, buying books is a habit I can’t throw off, and wouldn’t want to. She made reading and learning a dear drug (a dear drug, indeed! How much did I spend on new reading material this month?) and always kept me moving forward, even when we barely had the means. And if any of you have managed not to notice (what, are you living under a rock?) I’m running or helping to run more than one business, building my own projects, engaged in creating myself, making the whole world into what I want it to be. This is due in no small part to my mother. I can’t say it elegantly. It’s too simple. I love my mom a lot.
Someday, I will make a lot of money. I will buy my mom pretty things—I want to buy her clothes and carpets and furniture. I want her to have time to keep a garden. For now, the only thing I can do is love her a lot, and let her push me forward. The further I go, the better I am. She knows what she’s doing. It’s making me better and better—driving me faster and building me up stronger.
That’s what my mom did. Anyway, today is her birthday. I love you, Mom!
Sunday afternoon I tagged along to BookPeople with Vixen to hear David Linden talk about his book, The Accidental Mind.
I hadn’t heard of it before, but having already delved into Stumbling on Happiness (Daniel Gilbert), I was instantly curious. I might truthfully have a meta-brain, which wonders about itself; if this is the case, I’m not in bad company.
You won’t be surprised that in discovering his blog, my interest in Mr. Linden was increased. He even made an entry about the Electronic Orifice Orchestra, part of Arse Elekronika’s sex & tech offerings earlier this month in San Francisco (something else I have a mad interest in). It’s odd and wonderful that in the blogosphere I can often see clearly if a writer’s attentions intersect with my own. He also made the following post in September:
The Elevator in my Shanghai Hotel…
...has a sign which announces the following (as an ad for their spa).
“Foot soaking in Springtime will strengthen Yang and reinforce vital energy. In Summer, it will dispel disease caused by heat and dampness. In Autumn, it will lubricate the intestines and in Winter, it will warm the pubic region.”
Well, I’m sold. Dude, sign me up.
David Linden, I think we can be friends.
And so it was that on a sunny day in mid-October I went downtown to Texas’ most esteemed book-selling establishment to sit in a surprisingly comfortable folding chair, scribbling notes and listening intently to the musings of a man that reminded me strangely of Pittsburgh and Todd McCaffrey, for different reasons. He had a regional accent that I couldn’t quite identify, and he was decidedly charismatic as a speaker (at least from where I was sitting).
I took a veritable deluge of notes; when we arrived he was just launching into an explanation of the brain as accidentally functional, rather than expertly designed. We covered structural qualities, experiential development, and the sexual behaviors of animals as compared to their human counterparts. (I told you it was good.) This part of the discussion was particularly interesting, though we eventually found our way on to other topics.
“It’s not just porn,” he explained—“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
As animals that can think about themselves thinking (that’s us), we sure do have a complicated system to consider. There are so many details, and scientists have probably begun to understand only a small fraction of them. That said, Mr. Linden seems to be pretty sure of his ideas, and he communicates them well. As creatures whose brain development depends on experience (the reason our childhoods take up such a large portion of our entire life spans as compared to other creatures, as I understand it), it’s very interesting that we are built to create narrative. Our telling of stories is more important than we may realize—even if most of our details are, well, edits.
A lot of Linden’s discussion had nifty hooks into the material I read in Stumbling on Happiness and I can’t help but wonder if the two books might not turn out to be complementary. That said… I still need to finish the Gilbert book, at least before jumping into the next! But it’s on my list, and it looks like it will be quite interesting—especially if the fabulousness of the author is any indication.
Remember yesterday’s Intangibles post on the Virtual Magpie blog? Well, I couldn’t just overlook the rest of Brooke’s comments! So here you go: Brooke’s top five most incredible things happening in Youngstown. I was a shrew to only give her five slots, but I had to start somewhere… ;}
I think that the most incredible thing happening in Youngstown is intangible: the energy. The amount of excitement and opportunity, and that swell of feeling that envelops everything as people start to realize what opportunity really looks like. It’s the acknowledgment that there is so much we can do and nothing holding us back (or at least, nothing that we cannot change in order to get what we want).
Link (Virtual Magpie).
The Oakland Center for the Arts
Another thing that Brooke talked about being super excited about—and justifiably biased for—is the Oakland Center for the Arts downtown. This is a case, she said, of a Youngstown-based non-profit with a lot of years behind it still putting up a fight, changing to keep up with the times, pushing to offer more to the community.
[...] When every other theater has a 5-show season, we push for 7. We choose contemporary shows. We look for offerings that reflect real people and have a strong connection to issues that genuinely concern this area. At the same time, we’re learning to grow our off-stage opportunities as well, like our art gallery and open mic nights.
In all of this, the thing I can’t stop thinking about is the open mic night. It sounds like far too much fun—just look at the variety of acts they’ve hosted: drag queens, drag kings (stop my heart), Broadway belters, local bands, solo acts, spoken word artists, comedians, tap dancers, painters, even film trailer debuts. I haven’t been able to tell exactly when the next might be, possibly because the most recent was so recent, but wow. It actually makes me want to coordinate my next Youngstown visit based on their schedule!
She also mentioned that the Oakland is starting to do more outreach with other non-profit and creative groups, like First Book (I can only assume she means this, and Tyler Clark talks about First Book Mahoning Valley here) and the YSU Poetry Center, which looks awesome.
(Update: Ah-ha! The next open-mic—they call it The Stage, which I think is such a great name, is Sunday, October 28th (“Stage Fright!”), a Halloween edition—hee! Brooke has a post about it here. Dude.)
The Youngstown Arts Scene
I’m in Austin now, but even I’m excited about Youngstown’s art scene. There seems to be a lot of conversation from all corners about pushing the creative edge in the Youngstown area to get the right juices flowing, and that’s so exciting—hell, that’s one of the big reasons I moved, to get access to a city with that creative edge. If Youngstown starts moving in that direction (and from close accounts, it seems it may already have begun) it would bring a very particular kind of awesome energy to community efforts. James Seckler had me start reading Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, and it’s providing some really interesting arguments for the role of creativity in economic prosperity. Not to mention, I’d love to visit family for Christmas and have an exciting arts scene to explore! The value is there—the opportunity is ours to nourish it, help it become amazing. Brooke also mentioned that the new Mahoning County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau is targeting area arts, and I love the sound of that.
I love that I cannot book an event at the Oakland without triple checking to see what else is happening…
Brooke pointed me to Valley24.com’s FABULOUS Events section. Give this thing a try—it looks really nicely put together (and it has an option that lets you support local bands).
New Businesses in Youngstown.
New businesses. Man, don’t get me started. I wonder if the businesses in Youngstown realize what an incredible opportunity is being handed to them. Brooke mentioned Ohio Vintage—owned by Aspasia Lyras, who did the costuming for a ton of my high school productions at Ursuline, eek!—and how exciting it is to see the business grow, and network, and build community. My list of things to see and people to visit is getting so long! And businesses are popping up like that—all over the Mahoning Valley. (Also: Aaaah! Vintage clothes! Glee!)
Dude!! Aren’t you excited just reading about it?? I’m very grateful to Brooke for getting back to me, because her answers really got my brain turning. She also suggested that I contact a few other prolific Youngstown minds—I rather think I will. Anyone want to volunteer? ;}
Note to Self: Cut sunflower sprouts before eating. It was misguided to think I could eat them like a salad. Too springy. In a bowl with salad dressing, eating one end results in the other end hitting me in the face. Eating many sprouts on a fork results in many other ends hitting me in the face. Dressing everywhere. Suggested nom: “Salad of Retribution.” Incredibly frustrating to eat!
Not a lot to aggregate this week, ‘cause I’ve been working like a dog, but plenty to report upon!
- Virtual Magpie: Cloud Nine Musings. Directionless rambling about awesomeness. New things happening, feeling awesome about meetings and arrangements, wondering who else loves their job this much. G’ness.
- Virtual Magpie: Planting Seeds. Information on the connection paradigm! This is so cool! If you only read one thing today, read the thing I link to from this post…
- Pretties. Scott Westerfield, second book in the trilogy. I have the next book too (all borrowed from Vixen) so I am scooting through these. I did say I wanted fiction…
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Michael Pollan, incredibly engaging. This guy is… I don’t know. I mean, he certainly seized an opportunity, but he does it with a lot of flair.
This Week, I…
- Got rained on at Chuy’s. Marty and I went Saturday, and sat outside. It was nice and cool, and there weren’t a lot of people crowded outside—probably because of the threatening rain, ha ha. We got drizzled on, but Marty valiantly continued to eat his Elvis Presley Memorial. Yeah, like rain is going to stop him.
- Had awesome, awesome meetings. Monday especially was a crazy day for meetings—one with Ragen and then a general Cloud Nine “excitement” meeting (very accurately named). Monday was a blast, dude.
- Had friends over for yoga! Kiki happened to be in town, so Robert brought her along. Even on about five hours of sleep, it was really enjoyable and excellent.
- Saw Sharks 3D at the IMAX! Last night Marty and I met Vixen downtown and we put on totally goofy 3D glasses and learned about sharkies! It was pretty great, actually.
- Ate at Jimmy John’s. Omg! I was worried about having to eat a sandwich but in honor of Atkins addicts they have this thing called an unwich—wrapped in lettuce instead of bread! It was surprisingly yummy (if a little messy).
- Made a ridiculous sundae at Amy’s. Kahlua ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallows, reese cups and heath bar. No, I didn’t eat all of it. But it was delicious for the first ten or fifteen bites…
To Missy, Monday morning:
8:54:17 AM Thing in the sink that eats scraps…
8:54:21 AM not “ejector seat” but…
8:54:24 AM “––––––––”
8:54:25 AM DISPOSAL.
8:54:28 AM Got it. Nevermind.
When I doled out those dashes, I didn’t know what word I was looking for, or how many letters it had. Clever little unconscious.
Today is my Daddy’s birthday!! He is a FANTASTIC number today, which is 60. It is a nice even number to help showcase his awesomeness. (Next year, when he is 61, I will say: “It is a nice odd number to help showcase his brain-damaged-ness.” My dad is so awesome, he is awesome for even AND odd numbers!)
Please read this post that I made for Father’s Day in 2005. It is all about my dad and how awesome he is. And, here are some photos from his birthday last year, when I visited him!
You should read this post, too, about me and my dad having dinner with Mom and Grandma in Dublin last autumn. It is about tape worms, and how to ambush them with sausage and a hammer, and how my dad keeps me sane.
My dad has the best songs and the best ideas. He also gives the best presents, because they come out of nowhere and make you feel the most best good in the whole world. He gave me a headlamp once. You should read about that, too. Also, here are some pictures of me wearing it.
Dad visited me in Austin in July. I got to have him here for two weeks! We ate lots of delicious food, except for when we ate lentil soup, which he likes (but I don’t). He stayed on our comfy couch and had a nice vacation. It was awesome! I want to go to Youngstown to visit him soon, but I need $250 to do it. I miss my dad. I want to watch the first season of Dr. Who with him. I think I have mostly bonded with my dad near a television, which is kind of funny and amusing. :P
When I was growing up, sometimes we would watch Henry V. This is one of Dad’s favorite movies. It has Kenneth Branagh in it, and was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, too. That makes it extra awesome. Dad’s favorite part is the St. Crispin’s Day speech. It’s my favorite part, too. Henry V was Welsh, like me! When I watch Henry V, it makes me feel safe and comfy and happy. (I feel that way when I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, too!) It is the same when I watch Kingdom Hospital, or read Stephen King books, or study French. Those are all because of my dad, and that makes me happy.
I have tons of pictures of my dad in my office. He is all over the place! I have a bunch of pictures with him that I like the best of anything. There is the picture of us when I was little and we had matching hair. And there is the picture of us with Mom in Apple shirts. And there is the picture of us at dinner when my Aunt Joan visited us. And there is the picture of us at the sushi restaurant when my Aunt Cheryl visited us, and a picture I took of us while we were on a train traveling across England, after our trip to Wales. And there is the set of photos I made from when we ate at a tapas restaurant in Swansea and he made lots of faces trying to get his handheld to access the internet!
There are also lots of photos of him being proud of me when I sang in Swansea, and I like those photos a lot. (There are also more pictures of him being silly. I like those a lot, too!!)
See the awesome?? I love my dad a TON. I hope he has the bestest birthday in the whole world and I promise to come visit him soon (or fly him here to visit me, or take him to Wales or Ireland again, or have a nice picnic, or all those things!) I think he is pretty much niftiest dad ever.
Happy Birthday Daddypie!
I am all over the place, man. Once upon a time, I had a Status Page that solved that problem, but even the Status Page isn’t quite cutting it these days. (Noticed any updates lately? Nope, me neither!) So I’m going to start making Information Dissemination posts every week—dissemination collections, as it were. We’ll see if this makes a difference! Let me know what ya’ll think. ;}
- Green: So it’s come down to this—posting in Marty’s blog, too. I have no shame.
- On a Stick: Visibility is a real riot, sometimes. A Virtual Magpie post about fried potatoes.
- Marge Adler and Forbidden Broadway: Marge Adler is musical-directing Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit through December 2nd, and it looks awesome. And what can I do when something is awesome, but blog about it?
- Megan Elizabeth Morris @ SquidWho: I built my own SquidWho page, because Seth told me to. (And I, as we know, am a Seth fangirl drone. Shameful.) Definitely not finished yet, but coming along!
- worldmegan @ Squidoo: And here are things I am interested in! I really like this nifty Squidoo thing. But also—not finished, either. Hmmm.
- Cloud Nine @ Squidoo: Cloud Nine Staffing has a new Squidoo page. I helped!
Notable Reading Material…
- Uglies: Scott Westerfield. Finished yesterday, surprisingly fantastic and awesome!
- Free Prize Inside!: This book has started me on a long, gleeful journey full of Seth Godin reading material. Definitely recommended.
This gets me sort of up to date, at least to start! I’ll post another on Friday to collect items between now and then, and onward as seems appropriate. This is also probably an awesome way to post links I don’t have time to write about. I think we should call this blog “Megan on the Learning Curve”...