I Predict: 2012

As I type away at Planet Linux, I feel 2011 slip away just a little more.

Thank God. Now, I’ve had some fab experiences this past year–gallery nights, meeting my neighbors, gaining a cat, completing my first book–but overall, this year has drained the life from me. 

I don’t know if 2012 will be better (hope will always spring infernal on New Year’s Day), but I’m willing to make a few predictions for the coming year. I’m no Nostradamus, but hey, it’s all in fun!

  • Governor Rick “Voldemort” Scott will continue to be creepy.
  • Taxpayers in Miami-Dade county will foot the bill for yet another sports/developer’s boondoggle. 
  • Books & Books in Coral Gables will bring great writers to the City Beautiful
  • Dead people will vote in all upcoming elections, at every level.
  • Televangelists will beg for cash, predict the Rapture, and make no apologies when nothing happens.

What say you?

 

Illustrations by Rahma Projekt

Simply freaking amazing!

Rahma Projekt is a brazilian designer living in Santa Catarina-Br. His illustrations are based in two ways: design and rock’n’roll.

By: Rahma Projekt

Posted by @pedrosalma

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My New Year’s soundtrack

Well, 2011 is coming to a close. Thank God. While this hasn’t been the worst of years, it’s been excruciating in so many ways.

I’m not going to ring in 2012 at the Fountainbleau (too pricey!) or the Setai (cost aside, I’m betting they practice vicious face control). In the Herrera household (my cat and me), I’ll see in the New Year by eating 12 grapes, and for New Year’s Day proper, fixing Hoppin’John (black-eyed peas with rice) and a side of greens–mustard if I can get them, but I’m not fussy.

And if I can, I’ll toast my beloved departed ones with a good cava, and eat in their memory.

But, if you please, I’ll do without “Auld Lang Syne.” Instead, I recommend these tunes:

“Some Of Them Are Old,” Brian Eno. The next-to-last track on Here Come the Warm Jets, this is a fey, marvelous song for the moment when the clock chimes midnight.

“As Sure As I Am,” Crowded House. Just an insanely wonderful tune, from the insanely wonderful album Woodface.

“Round and Round,” Paul Weller. The Modfather is quite perfect. So is this tune.

“Prince of Peace,” Galiano. One of the great gems of British neo-soul!

“Bridge of Sorrow,” Luka Bloom. The singer-songwriter captures the loneliness and heartbreak of New Year’s Eve so perfectly, and with compassion.

“Well, Did You Evah,” Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop. This trash-glam reversioning of a Cole Porter classic–off Red, Hot & Blue–is great, is grand, is–oh, hey, swellegant!

“Not A Crime,” Gogol Bordello. Not a New Year’s song per se, but this tasty bit of gypsy-ska-punk will keep the celebration from getting too precious.

“Thank You Friends,” Big Star. A loving tribute to friends, or a subtle kiss-off? You decide! Either way, it’s a catchy number.

“Grey Lagoons,” Roxy Music. Again, not a New Year’s song, but so essential. Yes indeed!

“I Know It’s Gonna Happen,” Morrissey. Such an encouraging song–perfect for the year to come.

“Call Me Up,” World Party. For that moment at three a.m., when you’re thinking of eternity, the meaning of life, and old friends.

I can name several other songs, but I’m thinking of saving them for another day.

Meantime, tell me what you’d like to play for New Year’s.

Bienvenidos a microlandia!

The Blue Christmas Party, last night, was great fun. Hearing John Dufresne, Diana Abu-Jaber, et alia read excerpts from the anthology lifted my spirits. (Of course, the blue mojitos, cake, and jelly orange slices didn’t hurt–neither did the friendliness of the audience. I ran into more than a couple of people I’d met earlier…)
Sunday morning rolled around, and found me in a funk. Took a little while to get up, but my cat, Ten-Ten, got fed, and so did I (peanut butter toast and iced coffee). Thankfully, I took an umbrella, or the squally weather would have kept me inside.
Divine Liturgy was good, though at several points I did feel that I might burst into tears. But the service passed without drama, and afterward, there was a rehearsal for the Christmas pageant–followed by lunch at Maroosh. The mezze alone were filling, and the kebabs (chicken and kofta) left me a little stuffed. Sadly, I did not snag any baklava or coffee, but that might have been overkill.
Came home, did a little washing, and took a nap, Ten-Ten curling into me. Woke up an hour later, got out. Tried to drop off a few DVDs at Ozzie’s–not there, so I just walked on.
I’ve been rereading Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, and mulling over the nature of this shadow sharer in my life. I suppose I’ve wanted to understand what this depression is, what triggers it, how it comes and goes, since I was a kid, and experiencing the pain and strangeness of my family’s disintegration. (Nineteen seventy-five was a traumatic year, let’s just say.) I’m not a psychologist, but I have learned a few things over time:
depression is pretty slippery and mutable; it never affects the same way twice; it has flared up around the holidays–and more recently, around the birth-and deathdays of my parents; it’s often accompanied by anxiety, which leaves me feeling dumbstruck; and I wonder how I can find a way to communicate what is going on.
People are kind (in the main), and when they advise me to take supplements, cheer up, buck up, yadada yadada, they do so with the best of intentions. Comforting, yes, but more often than not, frustrating. If I could flip depression off and on, oh, do believe I’d try to permastick the switch in the OFF position. It’s not as though I wake up and say to myself, “Hey, today I’m just going to spend the day shambling along like a sleepwalker. No–better yet–I’m going to stay in bed, sleep the afternoon away, and just pass time listless and apathetic. Call it a plan!” But I digress.
Working retail during the holidays has always been a draining experience. Between playing diplo with customers, fielding advice, the nonstop sensory assault of decorations, bad music, and the compulsory cheeriness that one must show in public, I’m surprised that I haven’t come to despise the season altogether. The last two Christmases have been stressful in their own way; I honestly did not want to spend the last one with D and his family. Not that they weren’t lovely or gracious, or that the dinner and company were horrible, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness that I couldn’t spend the time with my parents, my maternal grandmother, or my great-grandmother. Yes, it was wonderful to read Brodsky after the Nochebuena dinner; thoughtful to receive a cute bit of wall art; enjoy sangria and eggnog. But I wanted my mom. I wanted my dad. Kind as they all were, D’s family was not my family! And after the festivities, I felt guilty at the relief of not having to put on a face for company.
Moving along…
I wrote several micropoems today. I didn’t get much done yesterday with Set List, but writing lifted my spirits somewhat. I am toying with the notion of putting out a collection of micropoetry–but let me finish the first collection and get that published before I wear myself out! Since I have composed bilingual micropoems (Spanish-English, Spanish-Portuguese), Microlandia may make a great title. What d’you think?

Tonight

At Planet Linux Caffe in the Gables. I’ve found myself more than a little frustrated (and down) from lack of work, the feeling of being uninspired as a writer, and from living so close to the edge.
I feel that I have to force myself to move, never mind write, transcribe, or feed my cat. The dryness has left me fatigued. Yet I know that dry periods, like fertile periods, are not forever, and that to make even a little effort is to take a step toward better things.
At home, I have decorations up. No room for a tree, but I will probably get some evergreen branches and arrange them. Not a family tradition–but after 20 years, it has become my tradition. How to keep my inquisitive cat from noshing on the greens–there’s a challenge!
I’ve just composed a couple of gogyokha in Spanish–part of my “corona” series. Considering whether or not to compile my micropoems and publish them in ‘zine form (“How–retro–of you.”)
Tomorrow night, Books & Books is hosting a presentation on Japanese cooking. Saturday, John Dufresne, Diana Abu-Jaber, and other authors will turn out for the anthology, Blue Christmas. It looks to be an interesting weekend.