Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Year Has Been Too Deathy

They say death comes in threes. I hate cliches. I especially hate them when they come true. I would like to personally request (to whomever accepts such inquiries) that nobody else I know die this year. I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I am really very down.

Also, cemeteries freak me right the fuck out. I don't want to be buried to rot in the ground surrounded by a bunch of other corpses who I have no affiliation with, becoming a name on a stone amongst other stones. I wish to be cremated, and perched on my widow's mantle with a picture of me frowning appropriately. Also, no funeral but a memorial service.

I am freaked out by death, particularly sudden, unexpected deaths and terminal illness deaths (when people know approximately when they will die and plan for it like Diary of a Dying Mom). I think it hits me a lot harder than the average Joe or Jane.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I've been meaning to do an Aaliyah post for a while, but what spurred me to do it now was this article I just read on Yahoo regarding the plane crash involving Travis Barker and DJ AM. The article profiled musicians who died in plane crashes, but there was no mention at all of Aaliyah. That really stuck in my craw. Aaliyah was fairly (though not completely) mainstream when she died, and even without that, she had a huge following in R&B fans.

I remember the morning I woke up and found out she died. I am a person who takes death really hard in general, so I cried later that night at the suddenness of it and how her family must feel, especially considering that it was eerily preventable. The pilot had drug convictions and was not authorized to fly with that particular airline, the plane was majorly overloaded. Everything surrounding her death was just so sad. I remember her episode of MTV Diary had recently aired and she was laughing and joking around with one of her makeup artists who also died in the crash (Eric Foreman), and at the end she talked about death and how she would want to be remembered. Then, the beautiful end of the Rock the Boat video where she was wearing black and floating up is a striking scene. She and that video were featured on BET's Access Granted, so the days leading up to her death and the morning of the day she died are captured on film. I remember her looking out at the sunrise on that beach in the Bahamas and how peaceful she seemed.

The coverage of her funeral was so sad, I remember watching the footage and seeing how heartbroken her mother was...and hearing her friends and colleagues speak about her. I always admired how well-spoken she was, her grace and confidence, and how genuinely nice she seemed. Of course we don't know these musicians but in a way you feel like you do because you grew up with their music. Musically, it is a shame that she didn't get to promote her last album, titled Aaliyah, because that is a strong CD. It was a departure from her usual sound and it's a CD that, even now, I can listen to the whole way through. I always kind of cringe at her debut album cover with R. Kelly lurking nearby, and the song Age Ain't Nothin But A Number...yeah. That whole CD I felt didn't really fit her especially for the age she was. I did like Young Nation though. The tribute to her by various artists for the song I Miss You was nice, except Toni Braxton sexin' it up. Wtf, Toni? Oh snap, I just noticed Bubbles and Bodie from The Wire are in the video! I wonder what their connection was to Aaliyah? Anyhoo, here are my favorite Aaliyah songs/videos:

Hot Like Fire

This song was and is still so jamming. This was in the era of everybody appearing in everybody's videos chillin and having a good time.

4 Page Letter

I don't know why I love this video so much. It was just aesthetically pleasing, I guess. I loved the silver, her lipstick, the woods scenes, the dances, it all just works.

Aaliyah videos inundated the airwaves the time surrounding my freshman year of high school, and they combined to give that signature Aaliyah/Timbaland/Missy sound. Also from that time period: If Your Girl Only Knew, One In A Million, The One I Gave My Heart To (I love the video version versus the album version. She was singing her heart out on the video version!).

Are You That Somebody

Who didn't know and do the dance in this video whenever possible? It's actually a good workout, you should try it.

We Need A Resolution

I love the darkness of this video, the snakes, the dirt, the music, Aaliyah was gorgeous in this video. This final album is so fluid and cohesive that it's hard to single out particular songs. The album just flows nicely, if you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend it. I would have loved to see how she did on future musical works.

Dog Mauling Owner Gets Re-sentenced

I remember first reading this story several years ago in a women's magazine; as you can see it has stuck with me ever since. I remember Dianne Whipple, the victim, was walking to her apartment when the Presa Canarios attacked (they had gotten loose). The description of what happened was very graphic, all her clothes were torn off, it was clear she tried to struggle and fight them off. The owner, Marjorie Knoller, never called 911 while this was happening and her and her husband showed no remorse. I remember thinking about the victim's partner and how horrible it must have been to come home to that grisly scene. I remember there were similar reports about how dangerous the dogs were reported by other tenants and nothing was ever done. One of those true-crime/court justice shows featured the story a while ago, and now the follow up. She deserves every bit of that sentence. Here is the Yahoo article that was posted in the past couple of days:

Woman whose dogs mauled neighbor gets 15 to life
By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 22, 7:44 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - A woman whose dogs viciously attacked and killed her neighbor in the hallway of their apartment building seven years ago was sentenced Monday to 15 years to life in prison.
Marjorie Knoller was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2001 mauling death of Dianne Whipple, but a judge later reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter and sentenced her in 2002 to a four-year prison term.
But the California Supreme Court last year said the trial judge was wrong and sent the case back. Last month, Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard reinstated the murder conviction, for which Knoller was sentenced Monday.
The case is the California's first murder conviction connected to a dog mauling, prosecutors say.
The case turned into a tabloid sensation because of the viciousness of the attack — the dogs tore all of Whipple's clothing from her body and left her with more than 70 bites — and the seemingly cavalier attitudes of Knoller and her law partner and husband, Robert Noel, who blamed Whipple for the attack.
The couple also said they were keeping the canines on behalf of a white supremacist accused of running an attack dog ring from his state prison cell. The couple eventually adopted the prisoner, Paul "Cornfed" Schneider, as their son.
Knoller, who has served three years in prison, will have to serve 12 more years before she can apply for parole.
In denying Knoller's plea for probation, Woolard noted that Knoller didn't call 911 or otherwise try to help Whipple during the 10-minute attack. The judge said Knoller knew the dogs were dangerous, ignored numerous warnings to train them and hasn't expressed remorse for the attack.
"She has blamed the victim and has held her dogs in higher regard than humans," Woolard said.
Whipple's partner, Sharon Smith, addressed Knoller before she was led off to jail. Smith called Knoller's relationship with the two dogs and the prisoner "perverted" and expressed satisfaction with the lengthy prison sentence.
"It is very hard to find forgiveness for someone who doesn't accept responsibility," Smith said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Silver Lining

It's a nice day at work/school today, with a breeze blowing. The squirrels are abundant. They're just frolicking to and fro, chasing rainbows, singing songs that squirrels sing. Even though I know that given the opportunity, the squirrels would probably kill me and everyone I care about, I can't resist their charms.

More Ike Fallout-University of Houston




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

After Ike

Jesus Tapdancing Christ, this weekend was stressful. My power went out around midnight Friday night/Saturday morning. My mom's power was restored mid-day Saturday so we crashed on the floor over there. There was really nothing to eat until the Galleria food court opened Sunday.

There's a lot of tree damage all over Houston and I'm hearing horror stories from my best friend (much of her roof is gone, her family has to move out for a few weeks) and one of my co-workers (much of her roof is gone, her husband's business is destroyed). At my old house, the power line post in front of what was our backyard basically broke in half and is blocking the street. The woman across from the house had a tree fall on her garage with her car inside. Nobody has any gas and everyone's car is low on fuel including mine and my husband's. Stores, if open, are bare.

Galveston, Kemah and similar areas were hit very hard. This was just a category 2 hurricane; I am very afraid of future hurricanes that will inevitably be stronger. Much of Houston is still without power. Today needs to be focused on clean-up, not reporting to a job where you can't do anything. The library in my office suffered a ceiling leak so the carpet is soaked and my nose is clogging up from the result of the mold and whatever else is under there. The building next to us has major flooding/roof damage. Some of my husband's family suffered water damage as well. It could have been so much worse and I am so sad for those who lost so much.

For more coverage/aftermath:

It's been interesting seeing the national media cover the storm. Many times Houston and Galveston were used interchangeably. We are two separate cities with two very different effects from the storm. Also, Houston is huge. You can't just show one freeway underwater and have that represent all of Houston....a lot of headlines/pictures made us look like Haiti. It is bad here, but it is truly something you have to be a Houstonian to understand what's really going on. Anderson Cooper was in downtown Houston Friday when the storm started to come. At the time (probably around 6 or 7) he was reporting there was nothing happening yet; everything was calm. The funny thing was the wind was actually howling pretty bad where I was but I think the buildings downtown broke up the wind so you couldn't feel anything there yet. So Anderson was totally not on the ball. Also: Houston ABC 13's Wayne Dolcefino=crazy. Loads and loads of crazy.

We found out our electricity was back on around 11pm last night. I was so happy that I wanted to throw an electricity party, giving away free lightning bolts and shit. I kept thinking that the downside of owning a home was having to deal with all the tree damage that happened. Then I thought about River Oaks and the other rich-ass parts of Houston and realized they probably didn't have to clean up, as they surely have a unicorn dispatch team on standby to deal with any debris.

I would love to see where UH president Khator is today. Probably touring with George Bush over the "devastation". Even TSU which is like, right next to us, is closed today. This Houston Chronicle letter, from a UH law student, pretty much sums up how EVERYBODY who had to be here today feels about the situation.

Even with people running stop signs/stoplights everywhere, and the frustration felt, it is still very nice to see neighbors helping each other clean up, and people posting what gas stations are open. People are really opening their arms and houses and whatever else is necessary to those in need, and that is very comforting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike-in It Up

Last night, my husband and I hit up Target to grab some thangs to get us through Hurricane Ike. I turned down the bread aisle first........they left us nothing. Not a slice. Most of the shelves were bare. A single tear glistened on my cheek. In the soda aisle, there was hardly a soda case to be found......I did find a six pack of mini-Dr. Peppers with a mini 7-up somehow in the mix:

What hath God wrought?

I imagine people were so desperate to get soda, and someone just needed one more mini-Dr. Pepper to make it through the hurricane, so they said fuck it and exchanged the sodas and ran off.

Anyhoo, we got what we could and got out. Later that night, we went to Whataburger and saw some military men with their military trucks full of water and other things. There were lots of evacuation buses waiting on the freeway. Currently, it is cloudy and hot, but with a stiff breeze kickin' up. Galveston is already getting battered with wind and waves. I'm expecting power to go out between tonight and tomorrow but I really hope it doesn't. Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston pretty bad in 2001; I still have vivid memories of all the water and damage, so we'll see how Ike compares.

*Update: 7:15pm, the wind is starting to howl now.

10:15pm, several of my friends and family are without power.....ours is obviously still working. For the last few hours I kept hearing what sounded like a motorcycle revving up and I was getting so irritated.....just had a *duh* moment and realized it's the wind. Ike is currently 1 mph (wind speed/strength) shy of being a Category 3 hurricane. A tiny bit of rain so far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Didn't Cha Know

This is one of my favorite songs. The music, the sample, the melody, this song is another that just envelops you and is very peaceful. Erykah Badu (my second favorite artist next to Amel Larrieux) is one of those unique people who are so talented. She has many years of making music ahead to add to her surely forthcoming legend/classic status. She already is, among her hardcore fans. I hope to see her in concert in a couple of weeks (!) in Austin, but time will tell!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Like A Tattoo

How many people in your life will die without you knowing them as you should have? How do you escape the kind of regrets that weigh heavily on your existance? How do you live around forgiveness if forgiveness may or may not be possible? Is depression something you can be aware of in self; conscious of? How do you get life right; really take control of it?

This song, by Sade, is lovely live; but when you are feeling in a similar mood as this music, you can turn it up loud and it really fills your atmosphere. Some music is a substitution to the emotions you don't want to express.

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