Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Another Cold Tuesday in River City

It's 30 degrees today in Austin. Phew. That's cold for us down here. When it gets below 40, I cease to exist. Yup. Carol's Little World folds up, packs itself into a suitcase, and takes up residence on some distant tropical island. Either that, or I'm planning on moving to Equador. It must be warmer there; it's closer to the Equator. It must be closer to the Equator, since it has the word embedded in its name. So, it's off to Equador I go. Although my father says, "be careful. There are mountains there. It might get cold." He's probably right as he's very good with geography. He's good with other stuff too, but he's very good with geography.

Speaking of all things good, it's time for me to give some opintions. It's too cold to do anything else. OK, so here goes.

Equador good. Iceland bad. Right now, very bad.
Hawaii good. Alaska bad. Pretty, but bad. (Good in the summer, however)
England good, Italy better. France ok except for the people. Africa very good except for the ebola. China good. Japan good. India very good. Especially the beach and the gardens.

Coffee good. Tea good. Water good. Colombian coffee better. Earl Grey tea really good.

Rice cakes good. Doritoes better. Baked ziti really good. (I am actually a good cook, which will leave as a topic for another day.)

Tao Bo good but bad (painful) the next day. Running good, bike riding good. Walking good.

Photography good. Art good. TV bad. Reading good (especially fantasy and good, classical fiction)

I think that's enough opinions for one Tuesday. At some point, I will rant on with more details but, until then, my tea is finished brewing and it's too cold to type in here so....

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Creativity is its own reward

I recently read a good article on blogging by Adam Curry (of MTV fame). Check it out. An interesting quote (in case you do not want to follow the link:

"[...] If you write everyday, your writing improves, your thinking improves."

Right on! The magic of blogging revealed at last.

Its brain-training.

So, I suppose it's good to know that not everybody is so hyper-critical of blogs. I mean, not everybody creates and updates a weblog because they want to be some rich, famous, writer jaunting off to exotic places on book tours. Some of us maintain and update our blogs simply because it's good practice. It is a simple way of improving our writing. Something simple we can do every day to make our lives a little better. Like exercising, as he implies, or like brushing our teeth. Because I brush my teeth every damn day does NOT mean that I want to be a dentist when I grow up (whenever I may happen to reach that point and actually grow up, but that's a topic for another blog. :~) I'm glad to see somebody finally gets it because, frankly, I'm sick of reading stories about weblogs where the author implies that our [webloggers] brains are all made of Swiss cheese and we really should throw in the towel and go back to watching cartoons.

A point he seemed to miss though. Some of us like to keep weblogs as a means of self-expression. This aspect has a really big reward system intrinsic for me. I have said before that art is it's own reward. The best side-effect of creativity is that nobody can take it away from you and it contains, (sometimes) deeply embedded inside of it, it's own reward. Nobody can renege on a reward for doing. Once you have done, once you have completed, once you have created....well....nobody can take it away. There's pleasure in that for me. Just having done something, like a weblog, that I can look back upon and re-visit whenever I want; that I can enjoy and share with my friends and family; that is its own reward. I don't need or want web-awards or recognition, in fact, I probably would not welcome it at this point. I'm not writing Carol's Little World so that folks in Peoria stand up and take note of me. I'm writing it because I enjoy writing, I enjoy the catharsis that comes with writing as an extra side-effect, and because blogger provides me with a form of self-expression which I would otherwise not have. For me, this makes all the difference. I could care less (no offense) about folks in Peoria, media types in LA, VJs from MTV or whoever else happens along to my little corner of the web.

I guess I secretly hope that Carol's Little World doesn't get too crowded and nobody looks to long in my face. If you know what I mean. There's enjoyment and pleasure in anonymity. Although it is not quite rewarding as art. Actually, come to think of it, I much prefer art. But, the best part of it all? I don't have to decide. I can have my surreptitous postings and get what I have to off my chest in the same weblog.

Isn't life wonderful in Carol's Little World? Wish you were here but I can't let you in. Best I can do is say, "get your own damn weblog. This one is taken. Sorry, only one to a customer. You're welcome here as long as you do not stay too long," etc. etc.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Paint my own Picture

Well, it seems most folks have gotten their W-2s from Ci2i. This is a good thing. A lot of folks from Ci2i have moved to Seattle for some unknown reason. Am told it always rains there. I don't know, as I've never been. There are many places I've never been on this planet and a few I would really like to see someday. I suppose Seattle is one of those. Imagine it would be good for a Cowboy Junkies fan, since it fits in so well with the visuals I get of bleak, barren landscapes, emptiness, and isolation with snow capped mountains in the distance.

Speaking of visuals and places unseen, have you ever noticed how all things exotic seem to lose their luster when you get up close? I once read an article, actually an interview, with Eric Clapton where he talked about coming to America. He was going to buy an old car, a cadillac and drive around the south. He specifically spoke of a car that smelled of cheap booze and sex in the back seat. He had this image in his mind of the old south, the real bluesmen, the gin joints, the domino games, the mint julep tea on the front porch kind of south. The real thing never lives up to the fantasy.

I remember the first time I went overseas, it was like that for me. I had grown up listening to Clapton, the Beatles, the Stones. England was the far away place that seemed so exotic. Different money, different clothing, different food, different culture. It was like never-never land only it actually existed. Like you could walk up to Rockaway Beach, look out over the horizon, and an image would form in your mind. It was out there just waiting to be found. When I actually stood along the river, gazing at the Parliment building, it seemed like such a let down in so many ways. Fantasy is the best part of reality. Whoever said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery got it wrong. Imagination is. Imagination truly is the most sincere form of flattery.

When you permeate my dreams, when you seize my fantasy, when you grab Carol's Little World by the neck and throttle it, only then have you truly known it. How does that old expression go? Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats forever? What happens when you teach a man to dream?

These kind of sentiments make Carol's Little World seem almost unnecessary. Sure, it's nice having my own little corner of the web and all but, when it really comes down to it, everything in Carol's Little World is self-made, self-defined, self-envisioned. It's safe being the wizard behind the curtain because you get to pull the strings. But, do you ever wonder what's on the other side of the curtain? Hmmmm.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Here's a cool link to save for later. Or maybe read now. Whatever

Funny Sayings

META Blogging

OK, I know in the past I have said that I would not post about blogging, but I cannot refuse any longer. After having read this article on blogging, I just feel that a lot of folks are missing the point. For example, the author says,

Linabury and Scofield make clear that they love weblogging, but the Anti-Bloggies are their way of "making fun of the whole genre of blogging," Linabury said. "One of the things I don't like is the blog where someone says something like, 'Today I had a cheese sandwich.' That's the kind of thing you see in most of these blogs. You know, fascinating. I don't give a flying ... whatever what you ate. Don't tell me you have a flat tire. And if this is how boring their writing is, I can't imagine how boring they must be to talk to in general."

So what if my blog is boring? Isn't the web big enough for my boring crap to be included too? I view the web kind of like art in an art gallery. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Don't walk around for hours talking about how "it's crap." Either go make your own better stuff (whatever or however you define better) or just get on with your life. The world doesn't end because somebody has posted about a cheese sandwich in a blog. And not every blogger aspires to be a professional writer. Some of us do it just because it's here and it's fun and it's an easier way to keep a journal. We don't expect anybody to actually read our blogs and we don't care. You are too self-centered if you do. While I'm sure there are professional writers who post and publish regularly polished blogs, that are valid websites in their own, I sit at my desk and post and publish whatever I feel like because I can and I want to and it's fun. It's a form of entertainment and self-expression for me that I would otherwise be able to access. And "I don't give a flying......." about whatever blogs you choose to read or critique or enjoy on the web, buddy. Because you don't exist in Carol's Little World.

There, I said it, now I'm going back to my regularly scheduled blogs, my Earl Grey tea, my blues music, and my cheese sandwiches. Not everybody wants filet mignone, you know?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Send in the Fluff

I suppose I should get a bumper sticker that says, I survived the Cowboy Junkies since I am now over them, at least for another week or so. For me, music always seems to go in cycles. I will listen to something for a short-term, get really into it, and then, poof, onto the next thing. I do have a latent desire for Ricky Martin music, Ken. It's not all sad songs. Although, I'm the first to admit, it's probably his butt that I'm attracted to, so I will probably just go for the visuals. MTV does have its good side. Er, maybe everybody on MTV has a good side. Yeah, that's it. Oh and, Ken, if you are reading this, today is the anniversary of the first KISS album, I believe, so you should go home and listen. Or watch some MTV, maybe they will wake up and play some real music for a change.

And, speaking of MTV and all things fluff, I heard this morning on the radio that Britney Spears is going to star in Sex in the City. She is going to have a recurring role as somebody's sex starved neice or something. I have never seen that show, so I cannot say for certain, but they were talking about some "brief nudity" for her as well. Yes, it's true. Britney is going to show off those new implants. Oh joy. For just $10,000. you too can have killer headlights.

Actually, I am quietly plotting and craving HBO. I have only Encore and, except for the action channel, it just isn't that good. I mean, a girl does need her fix of Jackie Chan movies, but I would like to see an occassional love story or something that's been in the theater in the past six months. Especially since I never go to the movies. I refuse to pay $6 or whatever it is these days to see a dud. I'd rather just wait and talk to my artist friends and find out what's really good. Heck, I don't even own a DVD player. Although I am seriously thinking about getting one. Yeah, maybe the same day I get my flat screened TV.

But, back to HBO. There are a lot of good shows on HBO. And now we have this new HBO on demand so you can watch stuff when you want to see it. I think that's mega-cool, since I get home late from work all the time, have to take time to do my Tao Bo (which takes an hour) and then I'm too tired to do anything other than watch TV. So, yes, even though I am a highfalutin most of the time, I do have my "fluffy side." And, these days it seems, anybody can turn on a dime. Maybe even show off a "fluff" side or two. Pass me the bubble gum, por favor.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Sad Songs and Chocolate

Happy Valentines Day! It won't be that happy for me. I cannot seem to shake my Cowboy Junkies habit as of late. Yes, it's true. I'm not only addicted to blogging, but I cannot seem to shake my penchant for listening to sad music. And it's St. Valentine's Day. I'm supposed to be cheerful and happy and, well, downright giddy in love. Instead I think of winter, snow-covered barren landscapes, isolation, desolation, and sad songs. Guess I've been paying too much attention to the lyrics. That and, I have yet to open my chocolates.

"I've been told that it's just the way life goes"

But, this brings me to another question. Is it really blues music if it makes you feel good? How can something that makes you so happy be considered so melancholy? What is attracting me so to these songs of despair at this point in my life? Why can I not simply cheer-up and get over it?

"I have heard about the lives of small swift birds.....legendary journeys made on fragile, hollow wings."

Maybe it's the symbolism that attracts me so. I mean, deep down inside I wish I were a poet. I wish I could put into words, or turn a phrase so that everybody would know what I'm feeling and there would be some kind of catharsis that turns my deepest emotions into a brilliant work of art. But, instead, I settle for blogging. And hoping that nobody reads it, I suppose. That and photography. Hmm. Maybe I should go photograph some black birds. They never seem to get off my damn deck.

"The wisdom of a lifetime always disappears in fact......Paradise once give....will always be taken back.....and the love you hang your life upon.....will start to slowly crack."

Yipes. If live truely is a box of chocolates, I want to swallow it whole. Every last one. I need all the chocolate I can get. It is, afterall, Valentines Day.

Oh, and here's a cupid for you. View at your own risk, but enjoy!

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Greetings from the Middle of the Week

Today is Wednesday. Not Monday but certainly not Friday. Oh how I miss the weekend, especially when it's been so nice outside and I can enjoy the 80 degree February days. Especially when Sunday is my day to catch up with HIM and see how HE is doing. And the news of late has all been good.

For all of those folks from Ci2i/US Creative, I finally got my W2 yesterday. It arrived safe and sound. So, now you know. If you have not gotten yours yet, I'm certain it's on the way, in the mail, about to fall in your lap, whatever. I don't see what folks are making such a fuss about. You do have until the middle of April to pay Uncle Sam, or get a refund if you are one of the lucky few.

I found out today too that I did something I should not have done. I left the blogger window open and went to lunch. I'm told I'm lucky that somebody from work did not sabatoge my blog, seize my terminal, and post all sorts of kinky stuff about me. Or, maybe they have and I have yet to notice. There's an advantage to living in Carol's Little World and that is the fact that I get to define my own boundaries. Nobody else has a say in them. So, you see, what might be kinky to the folks I work with might be ordinary to me. Then again, maybe not. It's all part of the fun of posting a weblog. And you are never certain that it really is me. Anybody could guess the password (since I've had the same one for a while now and it's my old Tivoli password, which they are still using for some production servers.) And I have already blogged about me being my alias and the possible existance of multiple Carol objects running around instantiating themselves all over town. Hey, it could happen, it could create total chaos, but, then again, maybe nobody would notice. Maybe all the Carol's in the world, in Carol's Little World, could slip around unnoticed and silently, reaking havoc as they go without being checked. Skating without being checked. It's the best way to travel. Even if you are traveling outside of Carol's Little World.

Don't mind me, I'm thinking about the north country. I do that sometimes in winter, when it's cold outside or my thoughts ramble towards that direction. Maybe it's the Cowboy Junkies I'm listening too. That bleak, barren sound of an empty landscape dappled with a hard, driving wind in your face. Or just the leaves on the trees remind me of that direction. The wind seems to drive me down that way. Down to the cold north face of the Adirondack mountains where I almost froze to death waiting in the snow. I don't like the cold, but there's something about proving your worth, something about conquering it, that makes you feel alive. Even on a Wednesday afternoon.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off and turning up her collar.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Sweet Graces

This morning, I hear on CNN that we may have killed Osama bin Laden with a drone. Which would be a nice, pleasant surprise. Score one for the good guys, for a change. And, with a drone. What a fitting way to go. I've seen his video tapes, I can attest.

But, that's not all that falls under the "oh so happy and joyous" news, I had a grand old time with HIM this weekend. First off, on Saturday, I went to Wimberly, TX to enjoy some window shopping and another great 80 degree (February) day. What a day I had. It was beautiful and I enjoyed getting out of town and getting some fresh air in these old, tired lungs.

My good news does not end there; however. WE met for coffee on Sunday and had a chat and it seems HE has grown tired of the relationship and wants out. Seems HE was talking about how HE wants to break up with HER. Yes, it's right, you heard it here first. There is trouble in paradise. The relationship is on the skids. And the best part? I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Nope. Can't pin it on me. HEEHEE, I was busy blogging. Or, um, doing whatever. Tae Bo with the doctor, perhaps? You can pin a lot of stuff on me but not that. Nope. Not this time. Yes, it's true. SHE will be out of the picture. Adios. Goodbye. So long. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya. "Owwww. You can do better than HIM anyway. There are plenty of fish in the sea." BLAH BLAH BLAH. HA HA HA! Yippie!

Now the only trouble is....do I pretend to be saddened by this? How can I possibly pretend to be upset when, deep down inside, I am jumping for joy? How do I be gracious and offer a shoulder to cry on? And what do I do about my current "main squeeze"? Ah, the sweet complexities of life. How must I enjoy them so. Help me if you can. I need it now more than ever. Grant me patience and preservence so that I may continue. And grace. There is seldom enough grace in the world. I have the good sense to wait, please grant me the patience and grace to survive the waiting. It's all I ask.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Spring Fever in the Dead of Winter

My friend Ken has officially chastisted me for not blogging in several days, so I am back with a big, bag blog. First, he wanted me to blog about Ted. Now he just wants me to blog about something so he can read it. Well, Ken, here it is.

It's cold today in Austin. Not the kind of cold that it has been. I am beginning to feel a renewed interest in some of the things I had stopped doing. Like photography. For some reason, my photography always seems to echo my personal life. When I was shooting mostly black and white and running my own darkroom, I was wearing all black and feeling especially connected to the art world. When I run color, I feel more upbeat and have a strong desire to travel. When I do portraits, it inspires my business sense and so on. It's an interesting idea that, until recently, wasn't helping me much because I wasn't doing much photography. I have decided that I need to start making time for myself and take time to do some of the things that I enjoy, such as taking pictures. I can't help but fight the feeling that it's almost spring and the economy is just about to re-bound. I suppose I have come down with an early case of spring fever but, as I sit and lookout over the cold, dank, dark Austin skyline, I have this little thought in the back of my mind. Little like the bud of a first crocus.

Soon the flowering bulbs will bloom.
The winds of spring have cast upon my winter cruft
The skies and the seas are no longer barren
with the waves of my discontent

Not exactly poetry but it sums up how I feel at the moment. Not exactly tired of winter but, looking at it with a critical eye, a knowing glance that soon it will be gone and the world will become a happier, prettier place. And I will enjoy the Texas bluebonnets all that much more. When you want something so badly that all you taste is desire, does it make the hunger that much more satisfied when the bread is washed down with a fine wine? Or is there really hunger in the chase?

So you see, Ken, Ted is not upon my thoughts, for my yearning is for something all that much more satisfying. I crave something deeper, something of substance. Something that looks more like.....well....spring. Of course, people do fall in love in spring, but that's mostly in Paris. Where love is in the air as much as spring fever. But, you never do know and you never can tell. Until it's too late. The crocus, (and possibly Ted, I suppose,) sneaks up on you and pounces, hitting you in the most tender place. Your heartstrings. Good luck trying to fend that off.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.

Friday, February 01, 2002

You Can't Run From Days Like These

Yesterday was the kind of day your mother warned you about. Sure, it started so innocently. Little did I know at the time of my morning blog what was to happen. Let's see, to start off my morning one of my co-workers, Leslie, came in and announced that his car had gotten broken into and they stole his stereo. They ripped out the back seat, broke the window, and stole stuff out of the trunk too. In economic times like these bonehead goons will rule, I suppose. It just sucks. Can't these wrotten punks just go get welfare or something and leave us all alone? Hey, if an unemployment check is good enough for 90% of my friends, why are there dufuses running around breaking into cars? As if that were not enough, we had a "downsizing" at work. It involved only a small number of people but then, I work in a small office. To follow up this spectacular day, I went home to find I now have new neighbors. Seems my old neighbor has rented out his house to four fellows living together. Oh joy. I hope I can still find a place to park. I can almost hear myself saying to Cedar Park's finest, "but they seemed like such nice party animals. Who knew?" Life in high-tech Austin as of late sucks but I suppose it's still better than the alternative.

So, my next question becomes, when you've had a bad day, and you know you have, what do you do? I went home and did Tao Bo until it hurt and then fell asleep on the couch. But, that's what I do on most days, so how was it really any different? Kind of like that old joke about trees falling in the forest....if you have a bad day and refuse to recognize it, is it still a bad day? Or does it become something more, something sinister, something truely evil that has risen from the bowls of Hell with the intention of destroying me at a later date? And, I certainly cannot wish some of this evil on others. Can't go around saying, "have a bad day?" So, exactly how are you supposed to get rid of it? Does it just crawl back from whence it came? And, if so, where exactly is that? Not that I'm really anxious to find it, mind you, just want to know for curiosity sake. (Nevermind the cat. Today's he's a jester anyway.)

Hmmm. I believe it's time to get some tea. Oh yes, and drive carefully, don't fight with your neighbors, get plenty of sleep, and eat your veggies. Wouldn't want you to have a bad day now, would I?

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in "Carol's Little World" signing off.