Thursday, April 27, 2006

Elena at the Helm

PK is out of town for the weekend, so y'all will just have to be content with lil' ol' me. *grin*

Since travels seem to be the theme for PK right now, I figure it would be great to honor her with some linkies to favorite destinations my best gal pal and I have discovered in our many adventures. Food, culture, shopping, and more...

Part 1: Gastronomical be published tomorrow morning

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Something Just for Me

Do or do not. There is no try.

~ Yoda. The Empire Strikes Back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Today's Celebrity Sighting

brought to you courtesy of Jackson's Bistro in Hillsboro Village.

Kenny Chesney, who looked like he had been rode hard and put up wet.
Unidentified blond woman with a scraggly braid... wearing flannel. Her back was to me.

They were at the next table. No, I don't have photographic evidence. I left my cameraphone at my desk. Besides, despite the CityPaper's photographer making a living off snapping pics of Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Nashville is still a place where a celeb can eat his grilled chicken something or other with squash in peace.


The power of Rhapsody!

So it isn't iTunes... I don't have an iPod so it would be rather pointless to pay for iTunes, I think. I do get my weekly dose of South Park from iTunes, though.

Rhapsody, however... does work with my mp3 player... the device I can't leave home without. I think I should attach it to my keys. Maybe not. I am notorious about mis-placing my keys. But, if my mp3 player were attached, then I wouldn't lose my keys.

How did I live before you, little SanDisk player? How dull my life was before I had Pentaphobe, Amr Diab, Shakira, Peter Cincotti, Hakim, Alabina, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with me - all the time?

Now, with Rhapsody, I can search for oodles of dance music... buy just the track I want off that CD. I don't need the entire thing. Only one song on there is good for west coast swing. It makes me so happy. I don't think I will be getting up from this chair for about 3 weeks. Heh.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Birthday Blog Wishes

NashvilleIsTalking is one-year old today.

It is one of my regular reads. Without the NIT blogroll or the Mr. Roboto sponsored blog gatherings (which are a sort of by-product of the very first blog meeting sponsored by WKRN), there are a number of blogs I would never have found and people I never would have met.

Happy Birthday, NIT. Congrats to Brittney on her one-year anniversary in her job. It is harder than it looks.

Return from Motown

Elena and I travelled to Detroit for the wedding of Miss O'Hara and her Dearest (or whatever name she gave him. She kept changing it). It was a lovely affair, full of style, grace and a presence that only the lovely and talented Miss O'Hara could have pulled off - with the help of yours truly.


1) Michigan is very... flat.

2) When you tell people that you met the bride via a blog and that you've only met face to face twice before... "and you are a maid of honor?!" must be the standard response.
"Yeah. It's very cool the way people can connect and get to know each other. I'm thrilled to be here and meet her family and friends..." was PK's response. Smiling. Always smiling.

3) Maybe that post on BDSM wasn't such a good idea knowing that many of these people know who I am because of her blog. Maybe they didn't read it. Thank God no one said anything about it.

4) I think I found a place with drivers worse than those in Nashville. I never thought I would find that place. That place is Detroit.

5) I am SO GLAD to be at home... in my bed... with my pillows... My bedroom looks like a closet exploded since I just opened up my suitcase and dumped everything on the floor but... whatever.

6) Just because I'm from Nashville doesn't mean I know how to line dance. We very much made up the "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" dance that everyone joined in on. That's ok. You know why? Everyone had fun and THAT is the important thing.

7) Miss O'Hara and her Dearest were so cute dancing! They asked me for a critique and joked that I was laughing at them when they messed up. As I said to them "You had fun. You looked great. Who cares what I think? It is your day!" Though I did offer Miss O'Hara some advice in the middle of the waltz with her father. Heh. :)

8) I caught my heel on the dress as I took my first step down the aisle. I must have looked like a deer stuck in headlights as I was sure I was going to fall down. For all the walking I do in heels, it was rather embarressing.

9) People must not run around barefoot up there. After the ceremony was over and the pictures behind us, I took off my very painful shoes that no one could see anyway because of the dress. Every now and then, people saw my bare feet. My nails were done. There were no scabs or anything. I didn't go outside and play in the wet grass. Why was this a problem?

10) Spring just arrived in Detroit. When we got there Thursday, most everything was kind of brown and dead. 2 days of rain and when we drive back to the airport on Sunday, everything was green.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Things I wish I read earlier...

Kat's fisking of the Scene over the Bill Hobbs story. Spot on, dear. That's why you are one of my favorite peoples.

If I had, I wouldn't have picked up a copy of the Scene when I was at lunch.

I doubt my little statement will have any effect on anyone else's choosing to read either publication... but it is just about me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Biggest Compliment....

Last night I was at the studio for a marathon dance lesson. We are working on a West Coast Swing choreography and needed to really practice it. I think I've got it now. Just have to work on making my feet faster.

But before I go into the rest of the story, here's a bit of background. On Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, I go to the studio of the social dances. If a song comes on that I can belly dance to and am not otherwise occupied on the floor, I will run off into the corner or behind one of the posts and dance to it. I try to get out of the way of traffic but generally I wind up in full view of everyone.. there just isn't any place to hide, ya know. This past Saturday, they played "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani. It has a samba rhythm, and it happens to be a song I use for my belly dance practice.

So I took the choreography Linda and I have been working on and adapted it for that song. It worked out reasonably well and I had fun. That’s what matters.

David Hamilton (one of the owners… a 3-time US National Champion!) comes up in the middle of my lesson and says “Todd, I need to talk to you about your student.”

I’m thinking ‘uh-oh… what happened? I didn’t hit anyone in the parking lot. Have I violated some code-of-conduct I didn’t know about?!’ I started to get a little nervous.

“OK. What about?”

“She was so CUTE on Saturday night. What was it that I played, PK, a samba?”

“Yes. It was a samba…” now I know what he’s talking about.

“She just walked over there by the double doors and did her thing. Dancing all by her self. She didn’t care who was watching. It was great. I loved it!”

Now I’m turning 14 different shades of pink and red. So they may offer a belly dance class after all. Hee. We’ll see.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Question...

How many of those little plastic bar code things, like the Kroger Plus card, do you have on your key chain?

I have 5: Kroger Plus card, Harris Teeter VIC card, Metro Library card, DSW frequent shopper card (uh.. hello? shoes?), and the Pet Smart shopper card.

Everything is Fair Game....

Or nothing is. - paraphrase of Kyle of South Park- "Cartoon Wars".

I will revise the quote once I watch it again, but I have something to say about this episode. Aside from being uproariously funny (that fight that we've been waiting for years between Kyle and Cartman and the way Family Guy is written - brilliant!), Trey Parker makes the most salient point of his career.

Either you make fun of everyone - or you make fun of no one. We can't bow to pressure or the threat of violence if the First Amendment is something that you believe is a right. Actually, this isn't even about the First Amendment - it is about hypocrisy. Make fun of Christians, Jews, Scientologists all you want, but don’t make fun of the Muslims. Is it because they are attempting to be respectful or is it out of fear?

For the longest time, I didn’t watch South Park. I thought it was juvenile, base, crude, and something I shouldn’t put into my little brain. Not exactly the good and noble things Paul tells Christians to meditate on, ya know? Finally, I watched one episode. I laughed so hard, I cried. I don’t watch South Park for the spiritual encouragement. I watch it because it’s funny and one of the most libertarian leaning shows on the air. There should be no sacred cows. Everything should be fair game for satire. We take ourselves far too seriously.

I remember when I saw the episode several seasons ago where Cartman forms a Christian rock group to get a platinum album before Kyle.

Kyle: “You don’t know anything about Christianity!”

Cartman: “I know enough to exploit it.”

How many of us have felt that some of the Christian acts on the radio might not be Christians at all… that they only started making Christian music because they wanted a record deal and perhaps aren’t quite talented enough to make it onto mainstream radio?

I saw a brief clip on Fox with a Christian pastor who was furious that Jesus was shown defecating on President Bush and the American flag (the Muslim retaliation for showing Mohammed on Family Guy). My thought? Get over yourself. If you can’t take a little heat from a secular cartoon show, how on Earth can you intellectually defend Christianity to a non-believer?

Stand up for our faith. Yes. What South Park did was in bad taste…. Almost everything they do is in bad taste. That’s why I’m not all up in arms about it. They are equal opportunity offenders.

Since it now known that Comedy Central censored the South Park episode this week, what are they going to do about the older episode called "Super Best Friends" where Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Moses and other religious figures team up to stop David Blaine? Are they going to ever air that episode again? If they do, will a little black box appear over Mohammed with a big red "CENSORED" tag?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dear Dance Bag,

Please come home. I don't know where you are... but I need you to come home. Or if you are at home, make your presence known. Shoes.. if you are mad because I've been cavorting with another pair - get over yourselves.

Dance notebook - PLEASE come back! It's like I've lost my right arm! I've been taking notes in my non-ballroom book and.. *sigh* it just isn't the same. We've been working together for almost 9 months. I thought I was treating you well.

Come home soon,


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Real Player is wacked.

I put in Millennium by Amir Sofi (if the artist's name didn't give it away - it's a CD full of belly dance music).

Real Player asks me if I want to save.
Clicks "yes."
Real Player pops up with suggested album titles....
Millennium by Amir Sofi


Linkin Park

Because Drum Solos sound SO much like Somewhere I Belong.

Monday, April 10, 2006

On Being Fat

Kat, Aunt B, and Winston have been talking about being fat - the struggles, the issues, the realities of it all.

As you all may recall, I have been on a weight loss program (and am now almost at the -50 lbs mark. So you all have some reference - that's a 6 year old.) Over the last few weeks as the constantly monitoring my calories wore on me, I stopped and ate what I wanted to, when I wanted to for about 2 weeks. I wanted chips? I had chips. I wanted the bean and cheese burrito at SATCO? I had two. McDonald's hamburger here I come! Pizza Perfect, you were next. The chocolate chocolate biscotti left over from the morning meeting? Mmmmmmmmmm....

I gained a 1/2 lb. To you that may not seem like much. It might have been more if I weren't walking/dancing/using the elliptical machine so very often. To me, it was a smack upside the head. It said "PK, to get where you want to be, you are going to have to treat this seriously. Elena has to monitor her blood sugar every day and take insulin. She will have to do that every day for the rest of her life. You are going to have to treat your weight like Elena treats her diabetes."

So, I went back to the food journal. Counting the calories. Adding everything up. And when I went for my weigh in last week, I lost 5 lbs for the month of March. The relief washed over me like a wave. I did it. I fell off. I got back on the wagon.

People have been noticing.

**My belly dance teacher: "You look amazing! I can really see the difference. Just be aware that as you lose the weight, you will have to re-learn some of this stuff because your center of gravity will change."

**Other instructors at the dance studio: "I can really tell that you have lost weight. You look great. Do you feel better?" (But not the one who sees me every week. Hrmph. But he may be trying to be polite - one never ever discusses a woman's weight unless she brings it up.. but he did say he loved the new practice skirt I've been wearing. Miss O'Hara found it for me online. I didn't think it would fit because it's almost a non-XL size but - yes! It fit!)

**My boss: "Your complexion is so much better."

**My former boss: "You look great!" "Thanks." "No thank you. I get to look at you!" She even sent me an encouraging note when she saw me walking around the campus the other day.

Friday, I took a look at this picture from October, shortly before I started this program but still down 15 lbs from my heaviest. I became physically ill. I felt a churning in my stomach like I was going to throw up. Elena sent me a very encouraging email that helped me to re-gain perspective. The last time I weighed what I weigh today was when I was a freshman in high school. That was 15 years ago. Half my life ago.

I agree with Kat and Aunt B - people offer suggestions thinking they are trying to help. Or the snide remarks will somehow shame us into better habits. How often do you tell a smoker that what they will doing could ultimately kill them? Do you think the smoker isn't fully aware of that? It's right there on the side of the pack.

There isn't a warning on the side of the Big Mac box "WARNING: This hamburger is full of fat and cholesterol. In 20 years, you may die of a heart attack. Don't eat this. Eat carrots instead." Or some such non-sense. But I'm pretty sure we all know that a fried hamburger isn't as good for you as a salad. Honestly, do we need a label to tell us that? Though some study released this week said that people don't know they are obese. So they may not call themselves obese. They probably know they are overweight. I am in the extreme obese category. Do you think I actually *want* to know that? No. But do I know that? Yeah - I see it every time I look in the mirror. I don't need my Dr. or a government sign politely informing me.

For the record - the fried hamburger probably tastes better than the salad.

One of the things I'm worried about as I lose the weight is that I will become a weight-loss nazi. You know those people that whatever change they have made in their life (yoga, quitting smoking, running, dance -- yeah, I'm one of those people!), they become convinced that you should make it, too.

I pray that I don't because being a libertarian, I believe everyone has the right to choose whatever personal behaviors they want to... just don't go asking me to support it - morally or financially. You have to be willing to accept the personal responsibility for your actions. If that means you die from fatty arteries, lung cancer, reckless driving, or dehydration... whatever - that was your choice. The minute your personal choices start affecting me - we have a problem. I don't want to pay for anti-smoking ads or "eat 5 a day" commercials in just the same way I don't want to pay for studies that analyze the emissions from cows or the Department of Education. It isn't (shouldn't be) a function of government. See? Everything is the fault of the government. ;) Heh.

Back to the story at hand.... reaching this point and what I read on the blogs this morning caused me to think about why I was making these changes.

- Health. Both of my parents died before they were 60 from largely preventable causes. I'm not done - I don't think God has called me home yet. So if I don't want to leave prematurely, there are changes I need to make.

Elena put this in a very poetic way (as only the Poetess could do):
Just think of it as shedding physically all the stuff that you've been shedding spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! AND God had long ago set you free from your body being a prison, and now you're living out that reality. Your body is becoming a temple indeed. Your stewardship of it is improving and improving. And no longer will you be seeing your size as what you yourself and other people use to define you.
Some of you might be concerned that I will be/am a slave to food journals and calories. Believe me, I thought of that too. But... to expound on what Elena said - why would I want to trade one prison for another? I know what I should be eating. I know how many calories are in my lunch when I pack it. I don't write every blipping thing down anymore. If I watch my snacks - particularly at work and when I get home from dance - it's all good. I don't feel enslaved by it. More than anything, I'm incredibly annoyed (as I told my nutritionist) but... it is a part of my life. If I want to get to point B, I have to walk the road. One day at a time.

- Emotional well-being. Plain and simple: I'm tired of being fat. I've been fat my entire life. I know the odds are against me, but, I've never felt better in my entire life. I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been. I don't want to lose that.

- Appearance. I won't lie about it. I want to look better in my clothes. Though right now, I look like I'm hiding in a tent in some of my shirts that are 2 sizes too big and I hate - HATE - everything that is out for this Spring. Which is it: being in clothes that are too big for me or clothes that fit but I dislike?

Several weeks ago, I went into Charlotte Russe for the first time. I never went in there because I knew they wouldn't have anything that fit me. They had this little red halter dress in the window. Every time I did my walking at the mall, I would see it. I would stop and drool. It would scream "PK! You need me for salsa dancing!!!" For a month, I would walk by this dress, whimper and keep going. Finally, I went in. They had it in a large. Ohh.. it's stretchy... in a few more months, it might fit. It's $20!!!!! OH YEAH - you are coming home with me!

I get home, hang it on my closet door and stare at it. Well... let me see how much more I need to lose before it fits. I pull it on.. and it goes on. All the way on. Now, it doesn't look good and I wouldn't wear it out right now... but by the end of the summer? You bet baby. I am wearing that dress out. I jumped up and down. WHOO-HOO! I am wearing a LARGE!!!!! Not an XL. Not an XXL. Not a 1X. A LARGE! Hot ****! Talk about your positive reinforcement.

That chocolate biscotti can't hold a candle to this red dress. I need to remember that the next time they bring that tray of goodies down.

I don't know where else I was going but... there ya go.

Friday, April 07, 2006

C.S.A - The Review

Now that it isn't playing in Nashville and that I've had the opportunity to really think about the movie, here's what I thought:

As a movie, it was good. As the director said in his talk while in Nashville, it could very easily have gone way overboard on satire and not been effective in challenging people to consider the continuing issue of race in America.

My questions for Kevin didn't really gel in my mind until the very end (when the Q&A portion was over, of course)—Wasn't all of this the fault of government intrusion into the personal lives of individuals? When does it become the responsibility of the state to make moral decisions? Should they be making moral decisions? Can a state even make moral decisions?

You say that we shouldn't be trying to impose our culture on other countries [this came out in a question about what was going on with American policy in the Middle East and how that paralleled with the film and its 'Tropical Empire' plans the Confederacy had] but as Vox Day pointed out over a week ago, where are those complaining that the British were wrong in ending the practice of widow burning in India?

You say the end of slavery was good but in the same breath say that we shouldn't 'export democracy' or our way of thinking/life to other countries and cultures. Should we not export the Western value that ALL types of slavery is bad? There seems to be a serious problem with sexual slavery across the globe. People might say that is a human value but you can't say since not all humans have the same values. Ted Bundy didn't value the lives of young women the same way, oh.. Mother Teresa did.

You are right in saying that when a prime field hand was worth the equivalent of a luxury car. When the government attempted to take individuals luxury cars, there was going to be a fight. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. There is no fight. By sucking the taxes out before we get our pay checks, people don't think about it. That money was never theres. Yes it was. You earned it. It should be yours.

(Side rant: I love DC's comment that the IRS is like the mafia.. except that the mafia tells you how much you owe them up front. The IRS gives you forms, makes you fill it out and if you do it wrong, they will beat you up. People who think that they still own their property ought to not pay their property tax... see how long they own their property then.)

Other things that I took away from the screening: a room full of white guilt mixed with the anger of black people. One woman admitted that after seeing the movie that for the first time she wanted to beat up some white folk. Several white folks got up and stated that they felt guilty for what happened. I was probably one of the few people in the room completely indifferent to the whole white guilt tidal wave.

I didn't do anything to cause slavery, Jim Crow laws, or the like. Therefore, I have no reason to be or feel guilty over something that happened in the past. The only thing I can control is my attitude and response - now.

Also, as a Christian, guilt and shame can become tools of the enemy to trap us and hold us down. How many people do you know that are held hostage by guilt over something?

Don't mistake this for being cavalier about it. I'm not. Yes, there are racial issues that need to be addressed.

I applaud the director for also saying that liberals are just as much at fault for covering everything up with politically correct language that the lingering hurts, pain, continuing discrimination cannot be openly and honestly dealt with.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You know...

I was going to say something, but I forgot what it was.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PK's Rules of Sidewalk Etiquette

When you and your party are walking in a horizontal line, thereby using the entire sidewalk, the person(s) walking into oncoming traffic should move to either the front or back of your little group before I knock their butt down because you are in my way.

I do not have to move off the sidewalk to accomodate your conversation about... whatever it was you were talking about.

Hope your shoulder is OK. Mine is still a little sore. But... you should have moved.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Question for my fellow libertarians

Why is it that in debates about social policy, we come off sounding like callous, un-caring folks that 'don't care about the poor'? Is there a way that we can structure what we say and the message of "the government may be here but it isn't here to help" in speaking of helping the poor and less blessed in society?

Or has American society just gone too far in to the sense of entitlement that the libertarian message of self-reliance (as well as you help your neighbor voluntarily) will forever be lost?