Sleeping Gypsies and Stolen Newscasters

The Sleeping Gypsy and the Stolen Newsreader

The end of January, New York, New York. So. Alas, I have been tardy with my posts the past month or so but, for good reason. Due to the insane incompetence of a printing company that diddle-dawdled uselessly for 10 months (that’s right TEN months) of hair-splitting unprofessionalism and  lack of accountability and made a complete botch-job of a dear person’s beloved book project – I found myself starting mid-Dacember, 2012, working day and night to finish the typesetting, layout, design, copy-editing, proof-reading, and printing of a book.  From December 12 – through to January 11, guitarist Alex Skolnick and I worked our butts off to make sure that the release date (which had to be pushed back due to the previous firm’s incompetency) would be honored. He had written the book between 2008-2011 and it is a good 380 pages long. And a captivating read.

The book in itself is great – witty and introspective, Skolnick being a natural writer with an engaging, neurotic yet introspective style – and I shall be placing a review of it shortly on this blog, hopefully next month. It is the true-life memoir of one of the world’s greatest guitarists who started as a shy, awkward, introverted geeky kid – born into a family of Ivy League professor parents – who rebelled against his authoritarian father by becoming a heavy metal musician, before turning his skills to jazz. To know more on this book – before my objective review is posted – go to the book’s site: GEEKTOGUITARHERO.COM There’s a ton of stuff there – advance reviews, book synopsis, videos of his virtuoso playing (http://geektoguitarhero.com/music-videos/)and photographs and clippings from the book launch. Information on how to buy the book is also on that site.

Which brings me to the next part of this post. In a very touching speech prior to the musical piece featured in the following video, maestro Alex Skolnick (who plays jazz, metal, rock and world music with equal ease and virtuoso) thanked me for my help in getting the book together and printed in time for its release. And then he launched into this beautiful piece which he’d composed for me last summer……how touching is that? (Of course, as a fact geek I must mention that The Sleeping Gypsy (French: La Bohémienne endormie) is also an 1897 oil painting by French Naïve artist Henri Rousseau. It is a fantastical depiction of a lion musing over a gypsy woman sleeping in the moonlight.) But in this case (and I shall later get the video for the first part of this piece – the reason for Alex’s performance which he explains in the speech), the epithet is applied to the composition where the Gypsy sleeps in the first part of the piece and then awakens.

So here it is: “Sleeping Gypsy”- composed for yours truly – the Gipsy Geek – by the author of his new book “Geek to Guitar Hero.” It is a book not just for  music lovers and/or geeks and/or INTJs but, as the author has written in its foreword – “To anyone who has ever felt confused, alienated and isolated while growing up: let this story show that if you stay true to your goals and make the right choices, no matter how difficult, then things have a way of working out.”

 (Sleeping Gypsy by Alex Skolnick’s Planetary Coalition -best watched and heard in HD setting.)

Once again, check out the main website of “Geek to Guitar Hero” here: http://geektoguitarhero.com/

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And so, to end the month, a necessary non-sequitur. And that is the end of the news. Until next time.

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To all ye spammers – a Pythonesque April’s Fool

To all ye spammers – a Pythonesque April’s Fool

(the subtitles are for the foreign language spammers, since I got a few spams in Russian and Polish as well.)

Since starting this blog just a year ago, I feel lucky to have received hundreds of thousands of reads (and ever growing numbers each day), hundreds of valid comments from genuine readers, and personal heartfelt e-mails sent directly. I know – numbers could be made even higher through active advertising, ‘fan-pages’, soliciting etc., but I have consciously not done so, and feel very blessed that keeping an independent opinion-piece blog where I consciously decided not to place celebrity-gossip or fashion ‘tips’ or some loud, raving ideology still attracted many wonderful readers. A big thank-you of gratitude for putting up with my ramblings, and to those readers who placed links of some of my articles on boards in the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Village Voice and on various blogrolls.

But on April Fool’s Day – I’m going to dedicate this one post to the THOUSANDS of spam mail I get. Thank you, thank you, thank you Akismet for your highly effective spam filter – I get around 10,000 spam comments a month and would have gone insane if this filter did not exist.

No, dear spam sites, I do NOT need a penis enlargement (in fact the last time I checked, I did not even have a penis), I don’t need to know all the benefits of acai berry, be concerned with Justin Bieber’s hair, or ‘boost seminal fluid naturally’, pop ‘testosterone pills’, need ‘starwars games’ (actually that one’s nice, but sorry – you’re a spammer so I can’t place your comment), go to a site for ‘saving accounts rates’ and ‘mortgage rates’, need your ‘anxiety exercises’, nor your ‘penis pump’, or view different variations of ‘free porn’. My colon is doing just fine, thank you – and doesn’t need your ‘colon cleansing equipment’. I’m also not going on your ‘online casino’, nor do I need ‘relationship advice for Christian women’, I’m reticent to imagine what ‘free slots’ exactly means, and my boobs are doing just fine, merci beaucoup!  I think I will also skip the ‘Hitachi magic wand’ whatever that means. These and countless other solicitors that send spam about cars, colons, games, houses, sex organs and many other ‘items’ – this post is for you for all the trouble you took to jam my spambox.

Hence I offer you, my dear spammers, Monty Python’s ‘spam, spam, spam, spam, spam and spam.’ And perhaps, only on this particular post, I’m tempted to place your spam comments, but on second thoughts – NO – it’s going to take away all the good ones in the ‘recent comments’ list on my side bar. So – I appreciate your efforts to sneak in, and your tenacity. But darn – you’re tenaciously irritating. And I can’t thank WordPress’ Akismet filter enough.

April – here I come. A Happy April to all my readers from this gipsy, geeky  Fool.

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The knights of Akismet Spam Blocker who have protected my blog from spammers.

For a list of all posts, published so far:  https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/index-of-articles/

Saltationism of Silliness

September. Sepian. Septimenal.  Saccadic. Sapphism. Salinger. Sequela. Saccular. Secular. Secund. Sideral. Sidewalks. Silenus. Silly.

I’d read somewhere a while back, a thought that often crosses my mind on the virtues of silliness, but more eloquently written by this lady: “Too often we give up our wonderful childhood dreams and silliness that is an inherent aspect of the true self because we believe that it serves little purpose or is at odds with the role modeling and indoctrination we experienced as we matured. We might play, yet we fail to lose ourselves in the process. Our imaginations no longer has free reign because we regard the product of carefree creativity as being of no value.” Dr. Neddermeyer goes on to add : “Unabashed silliness is nourishment to our vitality and youthfulness. We take in this nourishment by giving ourselves permission to lighten up and embrace silliness for silliness’ sake. Silliness constitutes a vital aspect of human existence on a myriad of levels. Ethereal bliss is often a consequence of our willingness to dabble in what some might deem outrageous, nonsensical, or absurd.” So true….er, I’d simply summarise it as ‘ Silliness is  Sublime.’

Do you remember the time when we’d skip and carouse or pirouette on a sidewalk for no apparant reason?  Don’t know about you – I certainly did. Even as a grown-up along with two of my best girl friends from architecture school when for no reason all three of us would break out into a silly jig and shuffle  sideways on a snowy sidewalk ‘stead of walking straight and proper; or swing from a tree for no other reason than the fact that it exists. and therefore must be climbed; or whistle a silly ditty in a midst of a dead-serious meeting; or randomly let out barnyard animal noises – a bleat or a quack – in the midst of a rabid crowd….(ok – I confess, I have done all this and then some. And still do.  Silly, silly stuff, but oh-so-liberating!)

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always loved the genius of Monty Python so much. Or The Little Prince. Or comedians and artists who dare to be ridiculously silly on the surface yet are  so profoundly clever and insightful underneath.

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(CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE) The FACT behind FUR somewhere in China which lands on the glamorous catwalk in that fur coat in NYC. "One by land & two by sea" -indeed - as the trapper would say. http://www.furkills.org/

(CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE) The FACT behind FUR somewhere in China which lands on the glamorous catwalk in that fur coat in NYC. “One by land & two by sea” -indeed – as the trapper would say. http://www.furkills.org/

As I trot along the sidewalks of this sultry, ‘sexy’ city, the saliferous air of September’s Fashion Week that has turned parts of the city’s sidewalks into an ultra-chic-conscious catwalk, as Vogue magazine’s senescent Anna Wintour gushes about why her cause of Fashion’s Night Out should be supported, as she hosts her dinner at ‘the most happening romantic resto of town’ named One if by land, two if by sea an event for which, I end up getting a facebook invite and choose not to attend (mostly out of laziness, my quasi-schizoid-crowd-free-joys and the fact that classic-narc Wintour  supports and glamorizes fur in fashion indirectly means endorsing the skinning alive of mammals), as a stream of stanchion and super-gorgeous superlicious supermodels with  steely uber-serious stoic Zoolandress expressions catwalk around the city (the poor girls are told how to pose, mind you, it’s not their choosing and often times they are too young to oppose the anti-smile look) – all I can think of, for the silliest of reasons, is the giraffe-legged John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks. Why bother for exorbitantly priced outfits where fur is seen as ‘fun’ in the name of some sinister ‘sexy’ silliness when I have me good ‘ol legs to entertain in silly joy?

Masters of the stream-of-consciousness style narratives, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_consciousness_writing) Monty Python is timeless. This is the second MP sketch I’ve placed on this blog. The first is The Architect Sketch– with John Cleese once more. Some claimed to see in this sketch a satire of government projects. But in the book The Pythons, members of the troupe indicated that they considered the whole scene nothing more than pure silliness. There is a certain type of people who get the genius of Python. Mostly these are the ones who barely watched the series Friends and found it rather witless, but enjoy Seinfield and Curb your enthusiasm.  And I must admit too that I’m in that second group. My cup of tea has always been Pythonesque.

The only complete version of this sketch available on youtube is with Spanish subtitles….hopefully that’s not too distracting.

Sidetracked Alert: Hey, did you know there is actually a word –squatterarchy? It means : ‘government by squatters; squattocracy.’ Sounds more like the beauracracy joke to me. I am also suddenly gripped by the alarming thought that perhaps my reluctance to party comes from the following condition:  ‘ scopophobia‘ or ‘scoptophobia‘ = a fear of being looked at.

Not to be confused with scopophilia which means ‘obtaining sexual pleasure from seeing’  ;-)

(Go ahead, ogle below. I’m not judging you….I’m rather for those who can appreciate the sensuousness of a genuinely real  gorgeous woman in all her beauty than those who think that wearing fur of animals skinned alive is a source of pleasure or status. *shudder*)

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Perhaps, SHOWING SKIN IS BETTER THAN WEARING SKIN. One does not need clothes made of animal products, and especially fur, to feel sexy or secure or even silly. One doesn’t need fur to appreciate the stunning beauty of a woman. Support cruelty-free clothing as fall and winter approaches. Boycott stores and brand names that sell fur and boycott cruel unempathetic women and men who wear fur or think it’s sexy. Endorsement of farmed-fur-for-fashion is akin to endorsing murder in the most brutal way. We live in the 21st century for goodness’ sake and there are tons of options available for winter clothes!! We do not need to endorse these barbarian practices! Support REAL beauty and the beautiful beasts of the wild not the bestiality of humans who skin innocents alive for wearing their skins in voguish vanity. Don’t endorse cruelty. Don’t endorse psychopaths be they male or female. There is NO excuse; no rationalization for these heinous acts of torture.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of  weakness or despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.” Kahlil Gibran

or in my words: “I’d rather be ridiculously silly and kind, than remarkably ‘happening’ and cruel. And I’d rather strut around in a metallic home-made bikini than flaunt ‘fall-fashion fur.” [Okay – I may not look like Yamila Diaz-Rahi (who also studied Economics – and is no dumb beauty but a smart, classy woman in real life), featured above in her metal straps, but a metallic bikini sure fulfills my inner geek Star Wars Princess Leia fantasy ;-) ]

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P.S. A dose of Blunt Truth: I think that shit-brown and yellow huge Louis Vuitton logo handbag that I see many women tout because it was so in vogue is absolutely hideous. I’ve never bought one, even when I made a six figure salary and I will never buy one. I’m a designer myself, who had her own firm in my very early 20s and then as a consultant with the man who recently won the Order of Canada (among 50 other awards) for his artistic sensibilities and architecture – so I do know what I’m talking of, should you question my aesthetics. I also designed an entire 16 sq. mile eco-city a few years back in West Palm Beach and many other design works, so I do have some wisdom of the world to say the following, sensitivities be damned : That LV/ YSL bag is awfully ugly – there I said it – had to get that out of my call-a-spade-a-spade truth-serum system. The ONLY reason women spend hundreds and thousands to buy it blindly is because those who endorse the skinning alive of animals endorse it and like herds it is bought without questioning because ‘everyone has it!’. It’s ordinary. Ugly. Extremely inelegant. Frumpy. HUGE. Same for those leather and skin Gucci bags. UGLY. There I said it! (And what a relief after years of politically correct silence.)  Yes – that bag emperor has no clothes – only blood and the skin of deer, crocs, foxes, rabbits, dogs, cats and many other inncocent animals. And marketed to insecure women to make them feel ‘special’ like clueless accomplices to murder.

Give me Cleese’s silly walk any day. I’ll take that over that bag any day. I’d rather laugh than carry that massive elephantine bag and look as though I’m a depressive in an anti-smile mode. (Actually the price and the weight of that bag is bound to lead to depression – so it figures.)

Not murder? Check this out (warning – not for the squeamish…disturbing reality) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rhFj2NfBsI

The 2010 Gucci bag. Disguised murder.

2010 new YSL bag. More murder.

Fur from an animal skinned alive is ‘sexy’, no? The pinnacle of monstrosity disguised as ‘chic’.

I have no idea why or how this shit-coloured monstrosity of a Louis Vuitton bag and its variations became so popular and ubiquitous. Were they testing to see how a brand name could be used to market this visual and ethical garbage? There I’ve said it – as a say-it-as-it-is-emperor-has-no-clothes pointer can. This by far is the most popular yet the ugliest bag. ever. I’d prefer buying a lifetime supply of toilet paper than buy this piece of overblown kitsch. If you want to feel ‘French’ bellas, don’t buy this shit-brown bag; learn about Rene Magritte or read Rene Descartes. Or even Blaise Pascal if you know some math

Is there an alernative? Yes. Buy purses and handbags made by your LOCAL artists, small business owners, that kind girl in the farmers’ market who makes her own handicrafts – purses made of man-made materials, tie-and-dye fabrics. Or even those spectacularly beautiful handbags of spangles and ethnic cloth that are self-sustaining, women-empowering handicrafts made by resident women in the villages of Kutch and Rajasthan – a centuries-old tradition which was revived in the past century after the colonists had crushed the trade to sell their factory-mill-made cloth. Now supporting, buying and endorsing those products is really cool. And truly beautful. And above all, far more ethical. Or else, buy from the discount store, a smart no-nonsense man-made-material purse. But DO NOT endorse this skin-and-fur cruelty.

It’s a simple equation : Not succumbing to intoxicating glossy adverstising + No demand = No supply = No slaughtering. Show kindness and love to the REAL furry animals instead of gushing over fake soft toys, often made out of the fur of the real ones skinned alive.

Beauty is found in many things – in the sunset, in flowers, the magnificence of a forest, an act of kindness, genuine love, moving music, a baby’s smile, a puppy’s eyes, the blowing seeds of a dandelion in the wind, the pleasure of eating delicious fruit, the endorphins generated from a good run……why do you need a handbag made of a tortured, abused animal’s skin and fur to feel ‘beautiful’? That’s not beauty – that’s cruelty and ugliness, no? The sad eyes of the fox and raccoon that is skinned alive is not much different than the eyes of your own dog or cat. It’s so logical, so obvious – why is it so hard to see? The halogen lamp above a glass shelf on which that bag rests in a chic boutique on 5th Avenue is just an illusion to hide the gut-wrenching truth of its making. Does omission of facts take away reality? No it doesn’t. Truth remains truth. Objective. Hard. Real.

Do you know what carrying a $900 – 3500+( goes up to ridiculous prices of $10,000 ++) hideous oversized brand name handbag really tells about you? It says – “Look at me! I’m an insecure girl/woman whose sense of self-worth is derived not by who I am but by the stamp of approval needed by what some brand name gives me! Even if I may become a ‘celebrity’ or just another party girl, I am a nobody without endorsing what is considered ‘cool’ by the Hiltons and Lohans of the world! I am so crazy about looking ‘cool’ and ‘hot’ before my friends and strangers that I don’t care if I’m carrying the skin and fur of animals cuter and gentler than my teeny lap dog! No, boys and girls, all I care for is your approval, your validation because on my own I am nothing without my brand name items. And I’m willing to let millions of animals die for me. So that impressed by my status symbol my girlfriends will adore me and some equally clueless guys will fuck me!”  That’s what it reads as before objective Truth. And the truth is more than 32 million mammals are killed for fur alone each year.

Go ahead – watch Stella McCartney give the inside story of where or rather how that fur trimming that you hold in your hands comes from :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rhFj2NfBsI Or this: http://www.freewebs.com/shawtyxli/furisdead.htm.  Really. Do your life this favour.

The following video shows Unfathomable cruelty (actually showing a skinned animal alive with his eyes looking on in pain and trying to lick his blood, and how the animals are hit on the head to knock them out before the skinning). This video has been removed from youtube and many other places due to extreme pressure from very high authorities of the design world. They do not want you to see this. I’ve managed to track one of the very few places that still has a copy, though it might be soon removed. You can watch this only if you have a facebook account though: (Or google ‘people who love brand clothes..see how really they are made’ if there are still any more copies left.)

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=130719592342&ref=mf

Any men reading this post, next time you think buying a fur coat/hat/bag for your wife or girlfriend is a sign of ‘love’ please show this video to her first. Good luck and good night.

Excuse me, for I have to go for a silly walk now. To clear my head from the remarkable ridiculousness of the world we live in. To find solace in unabashed silliness. Where a ministry of silly walks makes far more sense than the mega-mall-endorsed senseless slaughter of innocents.

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If you want to see what ten years of unbridled shallowness does to you, look no further. Here’s the end result of a decade of purse-crazy ‘fabulousness’: https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/sweatshops-for-your-sex-the-city-too/

Next.

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Fly-in-the-Circus

MONTY PYTHON  – THE ARCHITECT’S SKETCH (FROM ‘THE FLYING CIRCUS’)

because sometimes we all need to ‘lighten’ up and ‘shake hands’ after ‘rotating knives’ and yelling out the frustrations of a ‘struggling artist.’

Unfortunately, the only video available with the entire sketch has Swedish subtitles. But unless you read Swedish, it’s not too distracting. Also, never have an upper floor office without having a bucket of water in a corner handy.

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Sidetracked Alert : For a simple approach to sketching through life and learning, check out ‘101 Things I learned in Architecture School.‘ And yelling like Cleese certainly wasn’t one of ’em, although  we wish we had – but that’s the old school way that could get you in trouble these days for being ‘politically incorrect.’ Sigh. http://www.amazon.com/101-Things-Learned-Architecture-School/dp/0262062666

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