who's the ECL?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Getting Back in the Beaded Stretch Velvet Saddle

I am feeling the bellydance bug again. It has been prolly over a year since I have put on any stretch velvet and shiny beaded hip scarves and given my abdomen, hips, and ass a good workout to some soul firing rhythms handed out on a doumbek.

Unfortunately, my work schedule keeps me out of bellydance classes until Saturday MORNINGS, people. You now how I feel about mornings. I may have to rework my clinic schedule. Maybe.

So for all you YouTubing readers of mine, feast your eyes, ears, and soul on some bellydance love. I don't know about you, but these make me wanna get up and dance, maybe even on a Saturday morning...

Jane Archer (my teacher) at Mendocino Camp

Souhail Kaspar drum solo with Layla Jamal

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Last week, the Stooges were over at Cookie's house for an evening of cable tv, Boone's Farm "wine," and Popeye's Chicken.


Apparently it was the season finale of Hell's Kitchen AND Age of Love, so we flip-flopped between the two. I've never watched either of the shows, but understand both of their basic premises. The chef show I wasn't too interested in, but the Age of Love show did have me at hello.

So for those of you who were not acquainted with the Age of Love, let me explain. Some handsome dude who I think was in the military decided he wanted not only a loving wife and partner who would bear his fruit and raise them, but also a little bit of fame and tabloid exposure. So he decided to let network television help him find his dream woman. Said network found a bunch of single, hot and sexy women, put them all in the same mansion, and sat back and watched the cat fight begin.

OHO!! But these network execs were clever when they chose the ladies: half of them were twenty somethings and the other half were forty somethings! It was like a science experiment! Would the older women who were more experienced, mature, and a little street-wiser beat out the perky little girls who didn't know a thing about life and still giggled about lip gloss? So much suspense!!

And even though all I watched were parts of the last episode, when predictably he was choosing between a "Kitten" and a "Cougar" (their descriptives, not mine) I really wanted the dude (who was in his 30's) to choose the Cougar. Mostly because I am now past the Kitten stage and like many single women older than 29 those little perky ones seems a little...threatening. Just like that Sex in the City episode where Carrie couldn't help but wonder if the Kittens were the enemy?

It makes my insecure non-Kitten ass feel old and wrinkly.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, he chose the Kitten. Boo. Cookie and I were not impressed.

As we mused post-show about the tendencies of men to lust for Kittens more than sexy hot mature Cougars, we couldn't help but wonder, if 20-somethings are the Kittens and 40-somethings are the Cougars, where did that leave us 30-somethings?

Cookie decided we're the Taints.

And, scene.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hey, Do I Still Have A Blog?

I think I have been forgetting lately that I have a blog that I wanted to keep up with.

Nothing very blog worthy has been happening of late. I am trying my best to rent and watch 8+ new movies from Hollywood this month. Maybe that's why I am not blogging much.

I got suckered into their MVP program, which actually was a smart move because I apparently owed them $50 in late fees that I had accumulated over the last 3 months of 2006. When they told me I owed them $50 in late fees I just stared at them blankly with my mouth open, and I am not embellishing to make a better story. I really did stand there, blankly staring with mouth agape.

These were the things that were going through my mind as I stared at them:
Fifty dollars!

In late fees!

What the hell!

So the boy servatron suggested signing up for the MVP at the mid level, because as a incentive they waive all late fees. So for 14.99, Hollywood video would waive my $50 in late fees, and I'd get to rent 2 movies at a time for 30 days for free. I could cancel at any time, like the next day, and I would still remain in the program for the thirty days.

So I did it.

That was last month.

However, I am still in the program because I waltzed in at the end of the month and wanted to cancel the program. But I was a day late and they had already automatically enrolled me for another month. (It's a 30 DAY program, not a monthly program, as I was reminded.)


So we canceled my subscription so that Hollywood doesn't have the chance to re-enroll me, and I am on a mission to get my money's worth.

I mean, I'm not mad nor do I feel taken advantage of, nor do I feel a need to rail against the corporate whores of Hollywood Video, Inc, I just want to watch a ton of movies.
    In the past six weeks I have rented:
  • Flannel Pajamas (SUCKED ASS)
  • Dreamgirls (Not so bad, just kind of long)
  • History Boys (enjoyed)
  • Hollywoodland (never ended up watching it)
  • Conversation(s) With Women (pretty decent, interesting premise, little depressing)
  • The Queen (I love Helen Mirren)
  • Extras, season one disc one (Ricky Gervais is brilliant at the uncomfortable monologue)
  • The Pursuit of Happyness (good movie, loved seeing the 'loin, that kid is fucking adorable goddammit)
  • The Last Kiss (intense, I thought it would be more funny, kind of depressing)

Wow! I've seen more than I thought!

Next up: Notes on a Scandal.

I need a funny movie, pronto.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

At Least I'm In Sync With the Planets!

And lo, look what shows up in my inbox this morning...

Venus in Retrograde: Not The Summer Of Love
from Moses Siregar at Astrology for the Soul

Poor Venus. First she had to go into her Fall in Virgo, a sign much too hard-working and self-critical for Venus’s fine, mellow tastes; the ancient astrologers said this is where Venus is the most depressed. Then she had to retrograde on July 27th, the equivalent of her turning into a she-werewolf just in time for the Full Moon. On top of that, she’s currently hemmed between Saturn on the one side, and the South Node of the Moon (Ketu) on the other side. So not only is she a little depressed, self-critical, and overworked in Virgo, her normal energy is flowing backwards creating blockages to the normal flow of relationships and other things we love because she’s retrograde; and she’s also surrounded by big, mean planets that are making her feel even more rejected and criticized and alone. Poor, poor Venus.

If you’re not feeling especially down about something in your life right now, such as a relationship, your work, or something that you particularly love and value, then I’d say consider yourself lucky. This is more likely to affect people with an emphasis on Taurus and Libra, though, whether in tropical-Western astrology or sidereal-Vedic astrology. But it’s in the air for all of us, too.

As they say, something’s gotta give. Venus is an unhappy camper at the moment, no doubt about it, but profound changes often require an unusually challenging circumstance to trigger them. So we need to understand what’s going on.

Thousands of years ago a wise, old Chinese sage said, “Go with the flow.” And currently, Venus has little outward flow. Relationships and self-esteem are at a low point. The nectar of life tastes, in some important personal arenas, more bitter than sweet. Something feels austere, serious, and unfulfilling. So what could be good about that?

Maybe a few things.

When the pleasure principle is at her nadir, it can be very helpful to look within. In fact, this is a way of going with the flow of a currently inward/retrograde Venus. Take a step back from some of your relationships and some of the things you really love—you know, the ones that aren’t flowing right now. Instead, relate to your Self. Meditate regularly or do a yoga practice. Spend time alone in nature or reading spiritual texts. Because this IS a good time to connect with yourself. That’s a key.

Maybe your self-esteem or sense of enjoyment is a little less robust right now. If so, that’s okay. Don’t take it too personally. This makes it a perfect time to focus on the practice of humility. Spend time praying on your knees, or with your head on the floor in salutation pose. Read the Tao Te Ching. Contemplate how much more you have to learn and grow, and be less critical of others. Remember that a tree can be uprooted by a storm, but the humble blade of grass just bends and sways back and forth; there is a profound spiritual teaching and natural law in this. The meek shall inherit the Earth; I don’t think that means that we can’t be powerful and creative, but that our hearts should be light, forgiving, and positive while we remember there is a much greater power than that of our ego.

Maybe you’ve felt more criticized or rejected than normal. Maybe you can face some tough things about yourself through this, but otherwise know that that’s the planetary mood right now; so don’t let it get you too down. And realize that you too may be causing others to feel this way right now. So try to be a little kinder. Be a little gentler. The principle of love may be weak right now, and others may seem harsh, but that’s all the more reason to be generous and noble. Someone’s gotta do it.

Maybe the external world seems more like a harsh and grim place than usual. This is your reminder, then, to nurture your inner world. Re-commit to personal practices that uplift you. Surround yourself with spiritual teachings that inspire you. Open your heart and surrender to whatever you believe in as G-d. Bend low, and you’ll be spared the swinging axe that serves to chop off all the heads that have grown too big. Because with Venus so besieged, it's a more appropriate time to enjoy the inner life.

Maybe work feels like too much work. Maybe love feels like too much work. Maybe life feels like too much work. Hang in there, friend. Try to stay positive. Don’t go into self-destructive mode. Try to be thankful for what you have; that will always create more of what you want and need—another metaphysical truth.

And then there’s the possibility of a breakthrough, that thing that’s gotta give. Maybe you need to make a real change. If so, it’s probably going to take a heavy mood like this to really change your point of view. This too shall pass, but that doesn’t mean this too doesn’t carry an important message. Something IS off right now. Meditate on that. Sit with it, every day if need be. Calm your mind and let the answer and clarity arise from within you. Keep trying. Persevere and keep asking, and the answer you need will come.

Venus will be retrograde until September 8th. During this time, don’t be surprised if some important relationship(s) or something that you really love isn’t flowing. If so, you might want to take a step back, focus on yourself, and give yourself some time to reevaluate your goals and values. This is no small matter; it could be life-changing. But the beautiful thing about it is that we have an opportunity to check in with ourselves and become really honest about where we’re at. Then we can find a new reason, or a renewed reason, for being and loving.

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