Friday, July 28, 2006
tour of homes

BooMama had this great idea and here we are today, on the very day and date we are supposed to post our Tour-Of-Your-Home-Photo's. And all the links to ALL the Tours are over at BooMama' pass your cursor over her name right here and that will take you to her page and all the links to all the other people...Okay. So here is mine. I have two shots of my front door...One from outside, at night, (above) and one from inside the house, too! Here in the hills, it is a "must" to have Security Gates, I'm sorry to say. I tried to make them bearable by designing something that reflected the look of the front door and not like I am in a prison, you know? As iron gates go, I think these are rather pretty....but, they are what they are and there is no getting away from that. So here is the front door from the inside....I am sorry it is rather dark, but there isn't very good light here in this little vestibule...but as you can see, there are little windows on either side and the outside shot of the gate has these same kinds of panels going down each side. I put lights on either side of the outdoor gate to make it look more cheerful and welcoming.

Okay. Where I blog is pretty messy looking, but I know where everything is and this is how I like it. Looking at this, you would think that "Clutter" is my middle name. (lol) I blog in my bedroom. I've always worked in my bedroom. I painted more than 700 paintings of all sizes in this room and thousands of drawings, too. My bed is like my desk in many ways. (Not all the time, mind you...) And that's the way I like it, too. There was a time, before computers...yes, there actually was a time before computers....when I wrote in the dining room. In fact, I wrote all my plays on a typewriter there on the dining room table. But I write music, at this piano. This is the piano I grew up with and learned to play the piano on. In fact, all of my siblings learned to play on this piano. This is a corner of my living room, near the windows that face the city.

I was standing by the piano when I took this next picture. One of the things I have always loved about my house is how one room flows into the next and it is a very spacious house. As you can sort of see, though it is dark, the front door is beyond the living room, where there is a very wide and open hallway, almost like another room in itself....And here is the view looking from the other side of the living room back towards the piano which is on the extreme left of this next picture.... And you can see on the far middle right there is another little white piano....this is an electronic piano, and it looks just like a Baby Baby Baby Grand....and just beyond the little piano is the Dining I said, one room flows into another and it is a very open house...

And here is the little Baby Baby Baby piano, all by itself. Next, there is my Kitchen. This shot is just a portion of the kitchen. The light in there is really not great, but, I think you get the gist. I have not changed anything in this kitchen since I moved here 42 years ago, except the floor, and I repainted, but made the color of the shutters exactly as they had been before. I wouldn't have changed the flooring, but it was a must. Otherwise, all the appliances and woodwork is "original", and I love it that way! (I keep saying that, don't It's very "retro" they tell me.... This is a "lived in" Kitchen. This is a "lived in" house. I will show one more picture of the kitchen because I want you to see the fridge. You have to remember that my home was built 45 years ago. This Kitchen was considered fabulous, at the time! I mean a "pink" you don't see that too often and one that opens right to left, too! In fact a "pink' dush washer, too....This stove is Electric, (not so great with the power outages and truthfully, not so great for cooking, either)...and, it all sort of folds up and that four burner thingy goes back into the wall, so it all looks kind of flush. I leave it out most of the time cause it's just easier that way.

And last, but not least, one more photograph of an area of another room in my home. This is one wall of my Den/Library. I love this room....there is another full wall of books to the left of this picture with cabinets below for my stereo equiptment and 'records' and CD's, and some of my Sheet Music Collection. And there are more book shelves, as you can see, on the right wall as well....I feel like my home is very conducive to creativity. This room is kind of inspiring in it's way, just as each of the other rooms are, too.

This has been fun and I may do some more posting of some of the 'Objets' that grace the walls and tables...these things inspire me, too, and have deeply enriched my life with their presence. Hope you have enjoyed this "Home Tour" as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

More To Come, As Always....

Update: Two more Judging Envelopes arrived today. These two are for Acting and they are: Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series, and Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series. I have my work cut out for me for this weekend, so forgive me if I am unable to post and visit....more about this later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
emmy viewing - 2

Many of you have commented on me being chosen to 'judge' these Emmy panels and just so you understand, any Television Academy Member is eligible to judge any of the panels as long as they are not connected in any way to any of the programs they will be judging. Many members volunteer to do this and as long as you 'fit' into the prescribed rules set up by the are accepted. So, because I fit these criteria, I have been accepted to judge the different panels I have volunteered for.

An interesting thing about the voting in this particular category which I just finished watching, is the method of voting.
There are five levels which are available to you: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. (Which is somewhat different than some of the other category's). You must choose one of these five for each of the programs that are nominated. And in this particular category you could give each one a rating of 'Excellent', if that is what you feel about it. In truth, this category: Outstanding Variety, Music, Or Comedy Special, is an impossible catagory because it isn't fair to judge a very heavily produced show, such as The Olympics, against a much simpler production such as Bill Maher or George Carlin.

So I find that it levels the playing field quite a bit that I can give each of these programs an "Execellent" if that's how I feel. There will always be someone else who feels differently about these programs than I do and so in the end the Emmy will go to the program that recieved the most "Excellent" votes. It may be a very close call ultimately, and of course there could be a 'tie', but a decision will be made with this system. I for one am very grateful that in this particular category you are able to use the same 'rating' for all of them if you feel that way, and truthfully, all five of these programs are very very worthy contenders.

Danny Miller commented on my previous post saying he wasn't happy when one Awards show honors another Awards show with, in this case, an Emmy. He said it felt like we were congratulating ourselves---or words to that effect. Well, having just finished watching the Academy Awards Show I must tell you that it was great Television viewing, in every way, and right up there with the four other nominees, in my book. Frankly, I had forgotten what a truly terrific show this was and so the Television Academy's insistence that one must watch all the 'enclosed dvd's' even if you have already seen the program is a well taken point. (One must sign an affidavit to this effect, by the way...) It was stunningly produced and filled with humor, and some very moving moments which brought me to tears. Admittedly I am in love with the movies and always have been for all of my life, so one could say I have a bias here....but I assure you, there have been years when The Academy Award Show was not that great and was for me a dissappoinment. This was not the case this year.

And a number of you asked if I can tell you how I voted...well, no, I don't feel that I can tell you. After August 27th I will tell you, but I don't feel right revealing that on my blog, before the fact. I do take this judging job very seriously because I know how these Awards things can go, and often do. By participating in this process I feel that my own personal integrity is involved and I care very much about how I vote. I know this is not going to change any really important things like World Hunger, or the AIDS Crises, but for whatever it is worth, I know I have done my best to judge these programs fairly. And that's really all I can do. My Ballot for this category will be in the mail tomorrow. And I am now waiting for the DVD's to arrive for the next panel that I volunteered to judge....I thought they would be here by today, but hopefully they will arrive by Thursday.

Governor's Ball: Emmy's 2005

More To Come......

Monday, July 24, 2006
emmy viewing

On August 27th, 2006 The Academy of Television Art & Sciences will give out the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Television for 2005-2006.

Right now, in many homes, apartments, offices and hotel rooms, members of the Television Academy are perusing DVD's in any number of catagory's so they can vote on what each feels is the "best" in whatever catagory of panel(s) they have volunteered to judge. And at this point I am three quarters of the way through the first category I signed up to judge: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

The Nominees are, in alphabetical order:

The 78th Annual Academy Awards.

I of course watched this show at the time it was broadcast in early March of this year. But, I must watch it again, now, so that I am seeing it at the same time as I am seeing the other four nominee's and vote based on my viewing of this 'special' show today. This is the one DVD in this catagory that I have not watched as yet. I decided, since it is over three hours. (the commercials have been completely removed ....) and that of the five nominee's this is the only one I actually had seen already, that I would watch the others first....more on this show after viewing the DVD....

Bill Maher: I'm Swiss.
This is an HBO Comedy Special. I had seen little bits and pieces of it at different times, as HBO shows their programing multiple times for the convenience of their subscriber's,
but I had not seen it from beginning to end....I enjoyed this show enormously. It is beatifully produced and so it looks really stunning. I happen to think Bill Maher is one of our comic geniuses so I enjoyed the content enormously, too. It was for me, not difficult to watch at all, and the show seemed to fly by....For those who are not familiar with his is topical and political and though I depise these terms---it would be cosidered "liberal", which is just fine with me. He is tough on our leaders and our legislators and his subjects run from the Presidency and Foreign Affairs, to Domestic topics such as Gay Marriage. For those who haven't quite gotten the message yet, I agree with almost everything he says.

George Carlin: Life Is Worth Losing.
I had not seen almost any of this Comedy Special when it was broadcast. Maybe the last 5 minutes or so, but that was all. Again, this is an HBO Comedy Special and it too, has had multiple showings on HBO. This is a dark look at life and at the world in all it's ambiquities. It is not always comfortable to watch, but Carlin's view of the world is one that I personally find incredubly thoughtful and somewhat depressing, yet truthful and very funny, too. This is a very very smart man.
A thoughtful man who's cynicism comes from living on this planet a good 70 years or more and looking at the truths of how screwed up our culture and society really is...he skewers just about everything and all of his humor is very much based in his view of how crazy everything about our world really is. This show fly's by and is packed full of descriptive poetic language, if you will....there is Suicide, Reality Television, and Auto-Eroticism to name just a few of the topics he touches on....Carlin is in some ways remeniscent of Richard Pryor---that same "shoot from the hip" style---nothing is scared. Nothing. Production values are simple but top notch. The set is a graveyad and the show was taped 'live' in a theatre in front of an audience, (as was Bill Maher's show). The production is 'him', and that is as it should be.

McCartney In St. Petersburg.
This was a Network Broadcast Music Special which I had not seen any of...though there was another McCartney 'Special' last year or the year before that was on HBO or Showtime...I cannot remember which...which was part of this same catagory the last time I judged it. That 'special' was quite memorable and beautifully filmed and it was longer than the one I watched this weekend.
This one had been an hour long, but without the commercials it was only about 40 minutes. In all honesty I found it difficult to watch because the entire 'special' was in that MTV Style of camera shot of anything throughout the entire show was longer than 2 seconds...maybe a few shots in that 40 minutes were 3 seconds. I personally find this kind of camera work very hard on the eyes and my concentration is poor too, because I don't get a chance to really 'see' or focus on anything long enough. Especially given that this was St. Petersburg, I thought there were missed opportunity's to be a lot more creative than what I saw. Another kind of boring thing about it was that all of the mucic was in a certain 'beat' with almost no change of pace and almost every song was in the same key so that it almost seemed like it was one l-o-n-g 40 minute song...! I found this aspect truly boring. So, this was a very dissapointing show for me, especially since the previous McCartney Special was such a surprisingly artful and beautifully musically rendered show in comparison to this shorter and less creatively imaginative one. This show did not fly by for me.

And last, but by no means least:
The XX Olympic Winter Games-Opening Ceremony.
I had not seen this program either. Not a moment of it. And this was a beautiful production in every beautiful, in fact, that in brought me to tears. This particular program falls into the "Variety" part of this catagory. It had everything. Music, Dancing, Shooting Flames, Beautiful Costumes and the camera work was fantastic....most satisfying, in every way. Nothing was missed. So as I watched this program I felt I was there in the stadium, and better, too, with close-ups and at times when they used the overhead cameras in the blimps, it was breath taking to watch. The home country for these games was Italy, as you may recall, and the Italians did a masterful and moving job of these opening ceremonies, particularly when the Olmpic Flame was finally lit...that was an awesome moment not soon forgotten. And it is a real plus to be able to see a program like this without any commercials. The cumulative impact is much greater when you are not interupted by the glory's of "Preperation H" or some other advertising...I would have to say that the Production values of this program were 'top notch' superlative!

So, sometime today and or tomorrow I will try to watch The 78th Academy Awards and then make my final decisions on these five programs. I should be recieving the DVD's for the second panel I am judging today or tomorrow, depending on the mails....and then there will be more "uninterupted viewing"....

More To Come.....

Friday, July 21, 2006
euphorbia ingens 1986-2006

The rather small plant way over on the right and almost against the side wall of the house is a Euphorbia Ingens. A beautiful wonderful plant that grows fairly quickly because it is not a Cactus but more of a Succulant. This photograph was taken early on in the beginnings of my Cactus Garden. So this photograph was probably taken in 1986-87. Here it is, about 4 or 5 years later...and you can tell how small some of these other plants were then...that sort of white fuzzy in the foreground is the plant that has all the Penis Flowers each is taller than me now. And the spiky one at the left, the Yucca Rostratta is also taller than I am now, too. Here in the picture above the Euphorbia Ingens is really growing bigger and better....this is probably 7 or 8 years growth....then in the picture just below the of E. was probably taken about seven or eight years is healthy looking and getting bigger and bigger...the arms are growing straight up as you can is around 1998 in this picture.... This next picture I took in February of this year...and it is as big as it ever was....though the tops are not standing up as straight as they should...some of the little newer arms are kind of drooping, as you can see here... In this close-up picture of the top arms, below....

you can really see, the little newer arms drooping somewhat. And the interesting thing is, it flowered profusely this year! They say that sometimes this happens when a plant is is a closer look in the picture below at the flowers already on the way to seed....I can't get over the incredible abundance of flowers this year...but...but...but.... About 2 months before my birthday, I noticed that there was some "brown" creeping up from the bottom of this plant that did not look good, at must have already been doing that, but none of us had noticed it because the bottom of that plant is already very woody and was only when I looked more closely and carefully one day that I saw this strange thing appeared to have crept further up one of the arms and I finally realized there was a big big problem....I talked it over with my gardener and he tested those lower arms and it was indeed, very sickly. We knew it would have to be cut down, but I couldn't face another loss of another big plant....I said, lets wait till after my birthday.

Having made this decision, I took some pictures of the creeping "brown" just to have a record of it....this was taken on July 7th.... This is how bad that creeping "brown" had become by the 7th of July. I knew the time had come to do something about this poor dying plant...So, on Wednesday, July 19th they came with the electric saw, and began to take down this once beautiful plant that was a little more than twenty years old. The one man cut off the arms, a little at a time so as not to let anything fall and possibly destroy some other plants...(I had told the Foreman guy that it was very very important to me that nothing would be broken or damaged, and if anything was, I would not pay them...) Another man, Carlos, was up on the roof, taking each piece and carrying it to the edge and throwing it down on a tarp they had put down for just this purpose...And here is Carlos, throwing a piece to the ground... Then, down below, there were a couple of men waiting to take each piece and put them in the truck, where another man took a machete and cut up these pieces so they would fit in the truck better, and then be carted away. And then the pieces went to the truck... And in this next picture below, you can see the Euphorbia Ingens is a lot more spindly because there are fewer and fewer sad to say.... And here below, you can see that it is now, shorter, yet again... And here, as this man Sikell used the chain saw to cut these pieces off, you can see little bits of the plant flying in the air...Oy! And then Sikell would hand this other man on the ground another piece as this plant got smaller and was painful to see this even though I know it had to be done.... And here in the truck is that really bad sickly looking arm with the creeping "brown" on it's arm.... And it is clear why we didn't see the problem sooner, becauuse if you look at that arm over on the left side of the picture you can see the woody part of it before the creeping "brown" started....

And then in this picture below, this once beautiful plant is almost, mo more.... And in this next shot, all that's left is the rest of the root which he has leveled off so it is not even a stump.... Then, this morning..Thursday, July 20th, another man came and used a kind of pick ax to get the root out.... Once that was done, all that was left was the sawdust from all that the chain saw did the day before...and a few of the cuttings from the Amak which we had to cut down in January which are in pots rooting now... It is surreal to me to see this space empty. As if nothing was ever there. No real evidence that a little plant that became a beautiful big tree in twenty years was ever there at all. No arms to save...(too much sickness in the system of the plant) cuttings that will grow and become a new and beautiful plant/tree from that mother plant. Now, it's just an empty space...lonely looking and sad....
Rest In Peace dear Euphorbia lived a good life and you were a beautiful amazing plant. You will be greatly missed.

This post will stay up for a few days....I have a lot of DVD's to watch for The Television Academy At-Home-Judging...and there is a deadline if I don't come round to visit you, please forgive me...

More to come....

Thursday, July 20, 2006
tuesday nights blooms

This is the cluster that I mentioned in my last post...and they weren't wide open yet...and here below, another closer shot of this bunch. Gee, I think these flowers are so fantastically magnificent! I know you all must be bored with me waxing on and the like, but I just cannot help it! below, is another shot of this cluster-bunch.... The above picture is at a slightly different angle. I needed a ladder to get the full impact of all of these opened flowers....they were up higher than that first group from the last post...Now I wish I had taken my little step stool to get their full inner beauty.

And one single beautiful perfect flower in this next picture...Oh, and btw, no moth last night....drat! Sometimes it's hard to pick out the pictures I want to post because there are so very many interesting angles...So here below is another group-bunch shot...a slightly different angle, yet again.... It was so very lovely and quiet out there last night....just the flowers, the night, and me...! (And the hope of possibly being joined by that very important moth, lol)... And because I am deeply, below, is another "bunch" shot...I know, I know, I just can't help it!! Be grateful I'm not hooked on Porn and an exhibitionist to boot! And last, but not least....another sweet dear single flower in all it's glory...I hate that this only happens one night once a year... ....because the window of time to actually see these elusive spectacular flowers even when there are 60 little fuzz balls, is so very very short. Nature gives so very much to us in the miracle of all plants and flowers....but some, like these, do seem touched by some special other worldly impossible-to-truly-understand magic...the hand of a mysterious presence that is completely devoted to the ephemeral....

And to finish this is the "bunch" today....daytime...They are closed up and over, in terms of the beauty of them as we understand it....But, I personally think that there is great beauty in the rest of the journey...this picture below just being the first day of that particular part their journey....

More To Come....

UPDATE: 12:50pm. Please do go over to visit Mort at The Octogenarian. What he has written about the current crises in The Middle East is important and very very enlightening. It explains so very much that is misunderstaood and has been misunderstood for years and years and years....

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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