Archive for April, 2006

MySpace.com Owns Anything You Post, Including Your Music

There’s a new article entitled Myspace/Fox Artists Beware that’s reporting that MySpace (owned by News Corp which also owns Fox) owns and can use however they fit anything that gets posted to their site. This should be especially alarming to artists, in particular musicians, who regularly publish their songs for fans on MySpace. The article points to this statement taken from MySpace’s terms of service:

Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.
By displaying or publishing (”posting”) any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a back-up or residual copy of the Content posted by you may remain on the MySpace.com servers after you have removed the Content from the Services, and MySpace.com retains the rights to those copies. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services.

Personally, I don’t use MySpace — mainly because I don’t have time to network with other people, and if I did, MySpace wouldn’t be my first choice. However, I have many friends who use it. If I were them, I would high-tail it out of there.

Posted in Lifestyles | No Comments »

The Language of the South

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Today is the birthday of Harper Lee - the woman who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. I think it is always important to celebrate the life of our writers and to pay tribute whenever we get a chance. Though Harper Lee only completed this one book, I feel like her contributions to our culture (also notably through her work with Truman Capote) is innumerably measured. As a woman writing and living in (and becoming more comfortable admitting that I am, indeed, from) the south, her childhood in Alabama is a source of great inspiration. Southern writers have, indeed, always penetrated the basest sense of our humanity. They have, also (and very similarly to Spanish/Mexican writers), wrapped our southern heritage in a lovely robe of mysticism and romanticism that I think is not found in other American literature. I first discovered this, and that I loved southern writing, at the age of fourteen when I read To Kill a Mockingbird.

So, I think today, in memory of Ms. Harper Lee and in homage to her birthday, I’ll pick it back up and refresh my memory about what a simply fantastic story is told.

Posted in Writing | No Comments »

Mother’s Day Can Be Difficult for Those Experiencing Infertility

It can be particularly difficult to face the many emotional issues raised by infertility at a time when everyone is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood. RESOLVE urges men, women and couples who are experiencing infertility to plan ahead for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, acknowledge their feelings and prepare themselves emotionally to handle questions and comments from family and friends. The Coping with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day article has a list of suggestions to help those who are experiencing infertility get through the holidays.

For women experiencing infertility, Mother’s Day can also be difficult in places where they expect to get the most support — their church. Here’s a letter from an anonymous church member to her pastor describing what it’s like for her when mother’s are celebrated during the church service.

Dear Pastor,

It’s almost Mother’s Day again. They seem to come so quickly. I’m sure you are planning a very special service for all of the mothers. I know that it is such a special day for them, and I do not want to spoil anyone’s joy. It is important for all of us to rejoice with each other, and even those of us who are not mothers can give thanks for those who are mothers.

All I ask is that you remember that this day can be extremely difficult for a number of members in our congregation. For women like me who struggle with infertility, Mother’s Day can be the most painful day of the year. I’ve thought about staying home, but I know I need to be in God’s house.

The most challenging part of the service is when all the mothers stand and the congregation smiles and applauds them. It feels awful to be the only one still sitting. I want to be able to stand with them. I want more than anything in this world to be a mother. It’s something I have always wanted. I have carried children, but they were taken before they were ever born. I do have children in heaven, but I’m not a mother in the eyes of those here on earth.

So, on Mother’s Day I often go home and cry, not quite able to understand why I am unable to become what so many in the church consider to be “God’s highest calling”…a mother.

t is not only the un-mothers who feel lonely on this day. It must also be a painful day for single women who have never married, for mothers who have lost children, and for moms who have sons or daughters wandering from the Lord.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I pray that you will remember that it is not only a day of rejoicing for some, but a day of painful reminders for others. I know that God will help you to be a blessing to our congregation as you minister to us on this Mother’s Day.

Anonymous

From Bethany - Letter to My Pastor

Posted in Infertility, Holidays | No Comments »

Right around the corner…..

So today is the beginning of a beautiful summer for us. Joseph still has one month of school left, but John is officially on summer vacation. This is one of the perks to being married to a college professor - every once in a random while you get the gift of a summer off with pay. So he will just be working here and there for the next four months and, I, will be able to really get to work on my writing. I won’t be multi-tasking my life away. Aside from the ability to do more writing I want to take a family trip. This is something we have never done - ever. Sure, we get to go see the family in Florida, but we never take a trip just for pleasure.

I have really been wanting to go to the Smithsonian. I don’t know if this is the best trip to take with a six year old and a two year old, but I am dying to go. Especially now that they have a Hokusai exhibit up. This image (Boy Viewing Mt. Fuji) is one of my favorites.

It looks to be a really nice retrospective. Maybe we can get it in gear enough to go see that. We’ll see.

Ps. I have lost all my moving to-do lists. Typical.

Posted in Lifestyles, Vacation and Travel | No Comments »

Drinking up History.. literally

I was mosying around a few websites looking for some interesting recipes this morning and came across an interesting archeaological find. Apparently some of the earliest recipes found, on cave walls and the like, were for beer.

That’s right, most of these recipes are for beer. In his book A History of the World in 6 Glasses, Tom Standage, technology editor of the Economist, estimates that beer was actually created sometime around 10,000 BC, predating civilization itself, and was probably the first complex chemical process refined and recorded by man. As homo sapiens moved away from hunting and gathering food — and toward the first attempts at organized agriculture — it was discovered that storing surplus grains in the earth or earthen pots could help stave off hunger in fallow times. But early storage methods were far from perfect: Water and heat would leak in, and the grains would soon begin to ferment. The resulting gruel was probably not very tasty, but its intoxicating effect would certainly have been noticed, and it was eventually highly prized. Thus it is found in the Sumerian epics of Gilgamesh, where it is served to a savage in order to civilize him, and the Hymn to Ninkasi, which details its production in verse. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it is even valued as an elixir with various mystical properties.

The most interesting part about this is that Kirin, a Japanese beer maker, is making an Old Kingdom beer that will follow the recipe from the tomb of Amenhotep II’s royal steward.

This is one of those quirky little facts that make me love human beings.. We’re such an odd species, no?

Bottoms up!

Posted in Cooking, Daily Living | No Comments »

Making a List.. checking it five or six thousand times..

I may have already mentioned that I am moving.  In fact, I know I had mentioned it earlier this month.  Well, we are currently in the midst of trying to sort through our apartment and making every effort to be diligently on task.  Humph.

So, I have been making lists.  If you know me, you might understand how laughable this is.  I am great at making them, but chances are, before I actually get to make use of the list I have either lost it or completely forgotten about it.  You may be thinking that I am a ditz, but I protest.  I like to think that it is because I have such a large brain that little things like lists get lost in it’s vastness.  (HA! yeah right….).  Whatever the reason, be it my brain or my shoes (sorry for the random Dr. Suess quote), I am trying to keep to my list making.  But, while I am doing so, I am realizing that me following a list is very much like a peacock trying to lasso a wild boar.  Such a ridiculously impossible task.  I am such a scattered individual and have such an odd way of multi-tasking that I am not sure that lists are for me.  I am starting to wonder why I am forcing myself into this weird little box that I have never fit in before.  I guess because moving is such an overwhelming task that if I didn’t, the liklihood of me getting anything done at all would be slim.

So, for the past two days, I have been walking around with a list in my pocket of things that have to be done every day for the next week to get us moved.  There is a copy on my refrigerator.  I am determined to try it out this way rather than my seemingly helter skelter usual way, for better or for worse.  So far, it hasn’t really been a big motivator or a source of managerial structure - but maybe if I keep looking at it and if I keep reading it, it may just work it’s magic on me yet.

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I MADE IT!

So the flights were smooth and I made it home alive! The trip with my mom was fun - seeing her around her family really gives me so much insight into who she is and what she has come from. I can’t say that I really understand it, but at least now I am starting to see why she and I don’t see exactly eye to eye on a lot of things. Getting to know her side of the family has made me much more sympathetic toward what my mom must have endured as a child. Good example: My grandpa (her dad) was insisting that the reason I have such “strange” ideas about the world is because I went to college. Wow. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying. Family reunions are funny little things.

Family

So, I am home. I am thankful I went, even though I was certain I was going to plummet to the Earth in a flaming jet plane (damn my overactive imagination). I got to reconnect with my cousins, whom I grew up with and haven’t seen in way too long (see picture) and see some aunts and uncles that I haven’t seen in, god, close to ten or fifteen years. And, as a bonus, I have collected enough material in these past three days to quite possibly fill an entire novel. Time to start writing, no?

Posted in Daily Living | No Comments »

Money Makes the World Go Round - and it makes people boring

A summation of my night with David Sedaris.. It was a wonderful time!  He is still a great writer and quite a funny fellow.. However, I sense that it has become difficult for him to keep his edge now that he is “comfortable”.. His earliest works were so bitingly hilarious because they were so true and reflective of being, basically, a royal F*!$ up.  Most people can relate to that.  I can anyway.

Someone in the audience asked the question whether it has become difficult for him to write since he is now living a wealthy life.  He admitted that you can’t write about room service in the Ritz Carlton being late and expect people to be able relate or be sympathetic.  He has to look a little harder these days for common ground.  I noticed it in his stories - they were riddled with sophmoric humor (curse words flying like bullets and lots of sex jokes that I could only laugh at once or twice).  Again, I had a great time but, this being the third time I have heard him read in the last four years, I have to say that something was missing.  He was more of a comedian than a writer this time and that was disappointing to me.

But it brought up an interesting discussion between me and my husband.  Does money make you boring?  I wouldn’t know, I have never had any.  So it is truly more than a rhetorical question.
Hmmmm. Something to mull over today to distract me from my impending flight this afternoon.  Still a nervous wreck, by the way.  Funny thing (sort of, but not really) - for the last 24 hours, everything I have done I have thought “that will be the last time I do that”.. How very crazy is that?  Seriously.  I fed the cat this morning and I actually thought “(sigh)that might very well be the last time I feed my kitty”…  And of course, to aide in my new found crazy brain fear of flying, it is storming today.  Thunder, lightening, random downpours.  Just the thing a lady wants when she is about to get on an airplane.  Geesh.

Think happy thoughts.. think happy thoughts.. think happy thoughts…
Send your good vibes upward around 135pm today - I’ll need ‘em!

Have a great weekend!  Be back (hopefully) Monday!  :)

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Flying the Friendly Skies

I have always loved traveling.. Being in airports and being in airplanes was not only never a source of anxiety but it has always been a very inherently positive experience for me. Flying has always been oddly comforting. I was born moving - my dad was in the Army so we never stayed in one place very long.

So, tomorrow I get on a plane for my cousin’s wedding. It is the first time I have flown in almost four years. For the first time in my life, I am terrified. It started out with a little nervousness last week and now, a day before, I am wondering if I should go get some kind of relaxant from a psychotherapist….. weird, huh? Not sure what all the fuss is about - my husband has suggested that I have post 9/11 jitters.. I have flown since then, though, it can’t be that. I guess I just have more to lose now than ever before. When I was a young college student, I literally had nothing to worry about. Now I will be leaving everything behind - my kids, my husband, all the things that make me a happy girl. And I think getting older has made me much more aware of my mortality. I know I am not invincible. I guess this is just one of those little obstacles to get over so that I can keep living the rest of my life. People fly all the time - of course, the second I type that, the next argument that arises is that “yes, people fly all the time and there has not been a plane crash for quite some time.. that increases your odds”… god, when did I become such a morbid little thing????

Alright, enough of that. On a positive note: I will get to see my family (cousins I grew up with and aunts and uncles that I haven’t seen in YEARS) and will get to spend a weekend with my mom. This will be our first trip together without the rest of our crew - should be buckets of fun. She’s a fun lady, my mom. It’s bound to be a raucous good time!

Wish me luck with the plane rides!

Posted in Vacation and Travel | No Comments »

Speaking of the Past…..

My husband and I are having fun introducing our six year old son to our favorite childhood movies. We have both been anxiously awaiting him being old enough and mature enough to understand the content of some of our favorites from the 70’s and 80’s - but, hoorah, the time has come!

Since we don’t have a television, movies are a huge treat and a nice time for us to all sit around and just chill out for an hour or two. For awhile he was watching movies that we didn’t mind but certainly weren’t excited about. Finding Nemo can only be charming once and, like any child who find a movie that they like, he picked it for a frightening four weeks in a row.. Thank god, we are now on to movies that my husband and I get embarrassingly excited about. It all started with Labyrinth. David Bowie in a unitard singing with puppets - what’s not to love! My son ate it up. We then moved on to The Dark Crystal. I thought that it might be too scary - it was for me when I was his age. Then, on his own accord, he picked it out at the video store and we took a chance. Not only was it not scary, but he has developed an even deeper passion for puppetry from it. Frank Oz and Jim Henson revolutionized the art with this movie - it is so visually remarkable and a great story to boot. The Secret of Nimh was next - this was my all time favorite as a little girl. I can remember sitting in front of HBO every time it came on and getting sucked in. I still think that this movie has everything to do with my deeply rooted animal rights crazies - in fact, I hold it completely responsible. Two Days ago we checked out Flight of the Navigator from our library - again, another big hit. This was another one of my favorites - my brother used to watch it religiously and I got hooked with him.

Not to sound like a cynical old person but they just don’t make kid/family movies like they used to. I can remember when our entire family would sit down and watch these without anyone getting bored. I can hardly stand most of the new movies that my son wants to bring home for our weekly movie date. Of course there are the exceptions (The Incredibles, March of the Penguins) but for the most part the new movies have little to nothing to do with real fantasy and a child’s inherent need for high imagination. We were lucky as kids to have people like Jim Henson around and for Space travel to still be a thing full of wonder rather than the backpage news it has become. So much has changed in the world - how lucky we are to still have these lovely little gifts from a time when it was important to dream big and push the boundaries rather than to just be “marketable”.

Our next rehashing will be The Never Ending Story - I can’t wait to see the look on his face.

Posted in Activities, TV and Pop Culture | No Comments »

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