Jackie P. Cuteness

October 22, 2012

Pumpkin carving parties
For this jack-o-lantern, life began as an homage to Paul Stanley.

Then we met Anya.

She was seven and dressed as Aphrodite. Insisting our pumpkin needed eyelashes, she renamed it "Jackie Puma Cuteness" and created a back story about evil witches turning little girls into pumpkins.

Best time of the year, y'all.

Hello Again

October 19, 2012

I want to tell you the truth.

This morning there was no coffee in the cupboard and I hadn't any idea I was going to renew my activity on this website. These two things might be related but I doubt it.

There are answers to why it's been 3 years and 9 months since I last updated my journal here.
Depression.
Frustration.
Computer problems.
Creative blocks.
Life in the real world.
Home ownership.
Too much sleep.
My cat.

But with all seriousness, over the past four years I've been profoundly depressed. At times I knew what was happening to me, but during most of it I couldn't see through my mental fog and wondered why life had lost its meaning and mystery. Brilliance became tarnish. Whispers were trumpets. Dance turned to stone and the river dried up.

I read so many self-help books, watched too many documentaries and TED talks, scribbled madly in my multiple journals...all with little result. A few months ago I made a commitment to keep my mind open to new experiences, new things. Two hours ago, when the idea jumped at me to revive this blog, it felt just new enough to qualify as a good idea.

I would be astonished if anybody sees this entry, considering how I abandoned the very wonderful people who used to read and support my writing, but in case anyone is out there; hello again.

T.

Best of 2008

January 23, 2009

The irony in posting my "Best of 2008" list on January 23 is best understood when I clarify that one of my top three goals for 2009 is to stop procrastinating. Well, at least now you understand why it's a goal.

What follows is my list of media amusements from last year. As with all my yearly best lists, these things were not necessarily released (merely discovered) in the last year.

ALBUMS
Aesop Rock - Labor Days
Yes it's hip hop. No, I'm not known for my progressive urban musical tastes. However, this is intelligent, meaningful, creative, and empowering music and I don't care that I "rap" along to it and fudge nearly every other word with my rhythmless enthusiasm. You will, too. It's amazing.

The Blow - Paper Television
Pretty much the soundtrack to the first half of my year. Also, my girl crush on Khaela Maricich is awesome.

Coldplay - Viva la Vida
I know. Massive band. Massive album. But that doesn't mean the music doesn't put shivers down my spine every time I listen.

Greg Laswell - Three Flights from Alto Nido
Alto Nido is a soaring, creative, heartbreaking collection of songs. I loved his previous album, Through Toledo, but incredibly, I love this album more.

Jesca Hoop - Kismet
In her bio, Jesca is described as a three-sided coin.

Yes. She is.

Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
Somehow an album with a single like "Sex on Fire" can also include the amazing song "Be Somebody" without cheapening either tune. This album is a whole lot of fun and has a whole lot of heart.

Muse - Absolution
Gotta admit, their roaring musical swells and bombastic use of the arpeggiator won me over. Unabashed theatrics and musical glee...with amazing chord progressions.

The National - Boxer
Simple, intelligent, emotional, evocative album with depths and layers to it that seemingly never cease to unfold.

SONGS
The Black Ghosts - Full Moon
Black Lab - Mine Again
Fredrik - Black Fur (The link takes you to their album page, not just the song page because the whole album is amazing, but I discovered it on December 30 and since it's not really fair to say that I listened to it in 2008, I decided against including the album on my best album list. But I couldn't NOT include this somewhere and wait a whole year before I tell the world how much I LOVE FREDRIK.)
Jay-Z - Moment of Clarity
Johnny and the Moon - The Ballad of Scarlet Town (Watch the video to hear the song...)
Kerli - Walking on Air
Prefuse 73 - Sabbatical with Options
Stereofix - A Day Without You
Yael Naim - Toxic (Yep, a cover of the Britney Spears song.)

FILMS
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The King of Kong
Lars and the Real Girl
The Last King of Scotland
Let the Right One In
Slumdog Millionaire
Touching the Void
Young @ Heart

TELEVISION
Carnivale
Dexter (Season 1)

BOOKS
A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer

* SPECIAL MENTION
Ninja Cat

= = = = =

If you'd like to read the complete list of ALL things that Filled the Void in 2008, I've archived the list here.

Best of 2007.
Best of 2006.
Best of 2005.
Best of 2004.

Things I love

November 13, 2008

A few minutes ago, I had the striking desire to thumb through old journals and notes. In the first folder, I pulled out a list of 175 things I love. I don't remember when I wrote it, but since I found it among other papers dated 1999 - 2001, it probably falls in the time. Here are some of the best entries...

rabbits
cats
chinchillas
Ireland
Galway rain
Galway cobblestone
chimneys
dim lighting
pictures of important moments
wrinkles around Kevin's eyes
tea when it's raining outside
the piano
hand drums
chocolate
warm bread and butter
synchronicity
woodsy flowers
driving on an open road
time travel stories
giving unexpected gifts
traveling in Europe
crepes
speaking French
nocturnes by Chopin
big, rootsy trees
autumn
smell of dirt
riding in trains
shiny bugs
dragonflies
dragons
grasshoppers
straightforwardness
seasons
heating blankets
silver
green velvet
big eyes
possibility
puddles
mirrors
sunlight on cloudy days
cleverness
cottages
turtles
french doors
anticipation
treehouses
warm, sleeping cats
rabbit ears
flashlights
twirling dresses
feeling connected
nursery rhymes
manual cars
converse shoes
ugly boots
Tahitian ocean
motorscooters with Kevin
imagination
laughing
ladybugs
veiny leaves
receiving letters
making lists
discovering new art
ice cream
basslines
curly hair
crying when I'm sad
working at night
taking naps

The sweet bit to note is that the list is titled "100 Things I Love" and apparently I had so much fun with it, I listed 75 additional things. Just because.

Transfer of power

November 05, 2008

With each year, I become less and less certain about what I am. This arises partly from the misunderstanding that what I am means what I do. And by 'do', I mean the work I've put into the world. Because, of course, everything about me is something that I'm doing or something that I've done.

And the work that I've decided to share with the world has been only the surface level of things I believe I am capable of creating. Somewhere in me is an album of music that people will resonate with, something I haven't thought of before. But until then, it's like searching in the dark for an unfamiliar shape.

Ever since I returned from tour, sprained my thumbs, and had my epic breakdown of humiliating proportions, I've been looking for a way to scratch my way back to the surface...to a place where hopefully there will be light. In an attempt to release my burden, the first thing I did after I fell to pieces was to dismantle my studio. Since sometime in September, the only things left standing in this room have been my desk with its computer, a chair to sit on, and a small bookshelf. I had to do it. To clear out the cobwebs. To signal to myself STOP.

So, for the last two months, I have been sitting in an empty room, staring at stripped white walls. I've sorted cabinets, washed countless linoleum floors, read dozens of books, and prayed that some spark of inspiration would snap me back to life. As of today, I am still waiting for the spark. However, I determined that one of the best things I could do to stay busy was to give myself a creative challenge. So I pledged myself to NaNoWriMo this year, for the first time.

What does this mean? This means that for the month of November, I'm setting aside the notion that I'm a musician and songwriter. For this month, I am a novelist; and let me assure you that over the past five days, I've been the most atrocious novelist you'll ever not-read. Because I'm not a writer any more than I am a synchronized swimmer. The sheer force of accepting the challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days is staggering. In fact, after my first two days of writing, the only thing I can focus on is word count. My characters are thin. My plot is nonsensical. My writing would make my Kindergarten teacher proud, but no one else. Still, I splash in this new challenge like it's the deepest pool I've ever had the luxury of swimming.

It's good to know that in twenty-five days from now, I will have hot proof in my hands (or on my hard drive) of a grand fabrication of my imagination. In the meantime, I will be sloppy, wild, riddled, and reckless for the first time in a long time...creativity without boundaries; permission to make goulash out of words; an exit strategy for musical depression. It's not enough to be an artist without an instrument. I dream of being an artist without a self-critic.

And that should pretty much catch you up to date on how I'm doing. Thumbs are much improved. Improved enough to type like a chatterbox for thirty days straight. Hallelujah.

You're never too old to be emo

August 10, 2008

When I was a teenager, I spent my days reading or journaling while sitting on the couch in my bedroom. The couch had belonged to my great grandmother and it was covered in crushed gold velvet. When I finally moved out of my parents' house, the couch wouldn't fit through the door so we brought a chainsaw into my room and, yes, cut it in half before tossing it out the window. It was awesome.

My mom seems to think that I was a difficult teenager. Moody. Dramatic. But I beg to differ because really how difficult can you be when the only thing you do is brood? Shut the door, problem solved.

Next, my twenties were a sea of numbness and confusion. A few really good things happened in those years, but mostly I was an idiot with a 9-5 job.

So it came as a complete shock to me when earlier this week my inner emo girl decided she needed some attention. One day I was a housewife with adorable hand splints and a positive My Fingers Will Heal Soon attitude, and the next day I suspected nothing short of amputation in my near future. The best part was when I was home alone at 2 am, crying into the carpet, staining little sections black with my mascara, ready to take out the xacto blade and do the surgery myself. I know you doubt stupidity like this happens in your thirties, but I assure you it does.

I spent the next 48 hours utterly delusional, convinced that by way of my sprained fingers, the universe was giving me a sign to stop living. I should clarify that for the past two months, I've been in pain. Aching pain, and the meds aren't working. And for the past month I've been on a largely liquid diet because I can't cut my own food and stabbing it with a fork is particularly humiliating. So there's the pain. And the hunger. And the utter frustration that I can't unbutton my pants because, dammit, these hot-looking jeans that I insist on wearing fit too tightly. Oh, yeah. And I haven't left the house in the past few weeks, except to go to the grocery for more liquid to drink and to go to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Breaking Dawn...don't get me started.

So these were all factors for you to consider when I tell you that I contemplated ripping down every happy looking photo of myself from our walls. Because. The happiness was mocking me.

And I contemplated tearing down my studio - because who can ever make music again when the universe is telling you to stop living? Next, I wanted to delete my websites so there was no digital proof of my existence before I set fire to this house and destroyed myself in the flames. Yes, life is just this miserable with sprained thumbs.

Sure, there was a removed part of my brain that was amused by my bad behavior, commenting, "This is the best entertainment we've had all year. I mean, this feels really good. We should do this more often. Maybe we'll blog about it in a few days. Don't forget to mention the part where we scream that there is no God. That's good stuff."

And then, last night my emotional fever broke. Suddenly I was all, Back to 1991 much? And I had newfound respect for my mother because I wanted to smack myself and realized how much self control it must have taken her to just shut the door between us. I could tell you right now it was good to get in touch with the angst, but that would be a lie because there are so many places on our carpeting and bedsheets that have little mascara butterfly stains and I'm a housewife at heart. Who hates stains. I'm just hoping that the few people I spoke with over the past few days will forgive me for contaminating their universe with my garbage. And so, with that said, I gladly publish the story on the internet. Because even though she's calmed down, my inner emo girl totally wants to put it out there.

Rockstar injury

July 16, 2008

On the way home from the doctor's office this morning, I was composing this blog in my head... full of wit and sarcasm. Just a moment ago, I sat down to type and realized that the many-word post I originally intended would be impossible. Why? Because of THESE. Splints.

I can't type, except if I do the exhausting "hunt and peck" method. And I certainly can't play the piano. Or get into many yoga positions. I need to wear these things 24 hours/day. Sexy.

What happened? My first rockstar injury happened. No, not from headbanging, from lifting gear, or from too many hours intensely playing my instrument. My injury happened because during all those hours driving on tour, I had been holding the steering wheel in a bad position and sprained both of my thumbs and aggravated my tendonitis. Since I've been home I've been in denial, thinking the pain would go away. But I haven't been able to open doors, screw a toothpaste cap, or pull up my pants for five weeks. Can you think of a wussier rockstar way to injure yourself?

Go ahead. I dare you to try.

E-team announcement: "Team Terami"

May 12, 2008

...Yes, this is a cross-post from my Myspace blog. The shame is overwhelming...but not overwhelming enough to not just copy/paste it into this blog. Forgive me for not writing something more personal for you regarding this fun news...

- - - - - - - - - - -

You already know I released my fourth album "A Broke Machine" last month. Right?

Maybe you already know I'll be on a small U.S. tour over the next few weeks. Possibly, yes?

But I know you DEFINITELY didn't know about my new e-team, "Team Terami", because it was just announced today. The purpose of the Team is for you to be able to help me promote my music...which is a weird sentence for me to write. Normally, I don't like to ask for help. It's a character flaw. The house could be on fire and I'd be fighting it alone with nothing but a teacup and some old collected rain water. However, I'm so excited to introduce my new music to you and everyone else, that I realize I can't do it without your help.

So, to celebrate the release of "A Broke Machine" and my upcoming tour, please consider joining the e-team, which will be holding contest-based missions to help connect new listeners with my music. To join, all you need to do is log in (or register) at the Terami.com message boards in order to see the "hidden" Team Terami forums. All the information you need is posted in those forums, including the first mission which was announced today! (note: You will not be able to see the Team Terami forum unless you log in to your message board account!)

If you are the skeptical-type, then you can read a handy FAQ about the Team on Terami.com, here.

...and now I'll leave you with the very exciting tour dates...and hopefully we'll be able to connect at one of these shows!

May 18 - San Diego, CA (Lestat's)
May 21 - Austin, TX (Austin Java)
May 22 - Houston, TX (Waldo's Coffeehouse)
May 24 - Pensacola, FL (Et Cafe)
May 28 - Philadelphia, PA (InFusion Coffee and Tea)
May 29 - New York, NY (Rockwood Music Hall)
June 4 - Chicaco, IL (Silvie's Lounge)
June 6 - Minneapolis, MN (House Concert)
June 7 - Davenport, IA (Mojo's)
June 12 - Park City, UT (Celsius Lounge)
June 17 - Los Angeles, CA (Hotel Café)

It looks like this

May 05, 2008

Last year, I briefly wrote about my aunt and uncle coming over to our house for a visit and spontaneously planting irises on our backyard hillside. Although a couple flowers bloomed in 2007, right now our hill is alive with their color - which is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in our garden.

In this photo, I'm trying to simulate a caterpillar-eye's-view... Cuz if you were fuzzy and all you had going for you were three thoracic body segments and thirteen thousand legs, wouldn't you look up at this scene and think it's the perfect day to become a butterfly? Yes. You would.

Kundalini is like wax-on

May 01, 2008

Last night was my fifth consecutive weekly Kundalini class. Yes, it's still ridiculous difficult for me to get all bendy; yes, I'd rather be eating chocolate than contorting my rigid bones and doing the breath of fire; and yes, for those 90 minutes, I feel like a giant panda trying to use scissors without opposable thumbs.

The whole experience is shades of unbelievable discomfort for me because I'm the girl in the class who is pausing while everyone else is holding their pose, which reminds me that joining the army is probably not a good idea for me. While we were doing some cobra pose variation, with everyone struggling to push through the pain, I completely collapsed on myself. My first thought was, "What if the yoga teacher was a drill sargeant? She would punish this whole group because I gave up. Oh dear. I am the weakest link." Once we were given permission to release cobra pose and rest on our stomach, little sweaty tears were dripping from my eyes as I realized I was that girl.

The yoga texts I've read all state that physical flexibility is only partially fueled by muscles, that the main support for poses comes from the flow of life energy in a person. So, when we have a blockage that keeps us from doing cobra pose (a-hem) it has less to do with our physiological lower back than it does with the spiritual and mental baggage which we hold as tension in that area. Oh, fantastic.

This yoga experience makes me wonder about why we have the continuing desire to pursue things that are not only physically challenging, but also completely without guarantee. There is no guarantee that after a year of doing yoga that I will be happier, healthier, or more capable of touching my toes. Sure, I'm hoping for all of those benefits, but it's just as likely that after a year of doing yoga, I'll only be slightly more capable and infinitely more frustrated. Yet, even though I weep my way through my poses, I can't help but put my faith in the boundless possibility that there is a way out of physical stress, mental cloudiness, and spiritual ache. Maybe the answer is Kundalini. Maybe it's something else. Or maybe it has nothing to do with what I do, but rather with how I open myself to my own potential.

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These are my albums.
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I make them at home.

A Broke Machine
A Broke Machine, 2008
Entropy 29
Entropy 29, 2005
To the Bone
To the Bone, 2002
All Girl Band
All Girl Band, 1999
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