A Kiss to Build A Dream On

POSTED IN | 10:17 PM
So there it was...that special plant. Growing heartily. And stationed conveniently near the dog-walking path.

But as the story goes, I was all alone under that tree in the field. Only the Labs and Shepherd trio nearby. But the mistletoe gods demanded payment. I had to deliver.

Thankfully Molly volunteered and saved the day. And I'm glad she didn't reciprocate. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not so keen on dirt-mouth kisses.

Mardi Gras Blowout

The venerable 95th Division Army Reserve Band posted up in our annual showing at Shreveport's Krewe of Centaur mardi gras parade. Thankfully the temps were tame, making the six mile jaunt worthwhile. And it might be the last one we do there in Louisiana.

The entire army reserve is restructuring and reorganizing. So, soon our band will be in a new division and have a new geographic area to entertain. For us army bandsmen bearing the brunt of national defense, all that will change is our unit patch and the gigs we play. No biggie.

The Mighty Mississipp.

Parade route pass over.

Dennis taking in some light reading before the parade.

Loud warmup.

Sort of awkward.

Of course there was an LSU float. BOO, HISS. I realize, however, that I am bitter at them because A) I watched them beat OU in person at the Sugar Bowl, and B) they win bowl games at all. What a novelty...

Go O-U. We drew some stares...

Good times rolling.

Me and the Burger King...or something. Notice his cig and "coca-cola" in hand. The alcohol weighed heavily upon his breath. And other parts too. He was quite cheery though. Quite happy to have his picture taken with a lowly soldier.

There were 89 floats in the thing. And the sidelines were pretty much packed the whole six miles of the procession. Tons of LSU fans, lots of backwater accents, some Stars and Bars and of course the cheap-A beer. If I had a nickel for every 40oz brew I saw. A veritable Tall Boy alley for sure.

Post-game. Every quality army band needs some R&R to recharge following a raucous traipse in the South. Unfortunately, the old-school Clint Eastwood movies weren't helping me sleep on the way home. (that's why you don't let Tuba players pick the movies) I mean, A Fistful of Dollars...what a riveting display of cinematic excellence. How could you sleep through that?

But all in all not a bad way to carry out an army commitment. Seriously.

Emotional Wreck(s)

POSTED IN | 12:22 AM
I read in a journaling magazine once that you should write out every emotion you feel every day. It's supposed to help you know what's really going on in your life. Know exactly what you're feeling. Something like that.

I've never made an actual list before. For some reason I did today. I think it illustrates our active emotional lives. Or maybe I'm just an emotive 13-year-old girl in sheep's clothing.
No offense to the 13-year-old girls in the audience...

Emotional List, v. 1.0

Brief Angst
Self disappointment
Mild Gloom
Sudden Joy/Gratitude/Thankfulness/Encouragement
Aimless introspection (selfishness?)
Brief Alienation
Intellectually adventurous (is that a feeling?)


So. Quite the gamut of feelings. Or just a normal day-in-the-life of J.S. Probably the latter. The list is nice though. I think I'll do it again. Maybe you could try it too.

In pondering the list though, I feel like we're all emotional fibbers. At least I often feel like one. For every emotion I feel, probably one fifth of them actually reaches the surface and finds an avenue of eruptive expression (peaceful or otherwise).

I'm not sure if that's normal or good, but I think it's fair to say a large portion of society's emotions are filtered on a regular basis (read: husbands answering the "how do you like my new haircut?" question). Though I'm curious how you would rate your level of emotional filtration...

And yet, we'd probably all agree that we feel many, many emotions on a regular basis. Every day. Each hour. Minute by minute. I'm certainly an emo power plant.

But what are we doing with all these excess, un-addressed feelings? I don't really know what I do with all of mine. Or exactly how they affect me. (if we could only turn them into kinetic energy somehow...wow...the real clean fuel solution).

And while we all feel these sundry emotions, we can be rather brusque with how we let others express theirs. Or uninterested. And/or perhaps overly self-conscious with how we share ours. Or not self-conscious enough. Interesting how all that works.

But I wonder how many people are hurting and we're simply unaware. Or people who are lonely, or in need. Or excited. Or joyful. But they're just stone faced. And we don't know it. I don't know it. And yet I do it sometimes too.

Certainly, I think we could do better at self-expression and also listening/accommodating others.

I like to think of it in terms of two simple declarations:

"Hey, big mouth, shut up and listen!"

"And you, mumbler, speak up!"

But I guess it's not quite so simple...

And I think about the importance of finding avenues of emotional expression. Finding your emo highway. Your stomping ground. Your sphere of influence. Your Tuesday night bowling league with the guys.

People, music, photography, writing, aerobic recreation. These avenues help me not a little. Others too.

Hmm. Been reading this book. Got me going on this topic.

So, yeah...the emotion post. Perhaps I should go do some thinking now.

One Random Memory Per Day

POSTED IN | 11:34 PM
"Fishing. Sort of."

I've always enjoyed fishing. It's relaxing. It's simple. It can be sociable. It can be lone wolf. You can think about other things while doing it. It's outside. You can get really dirty and it's okay. And sometimes...if the sand in the glass is right...you actually reel in something with a couple fins and some gills.

Growing up in Norman presented many fishing opportunities. My neighborhood in particular, with its three local ponds only a lure's cast from my house.

And so often we'd "go to the pond." My friend Daniel and I. We've been friends since we were five. He lived 256 steps from my house, give or take a shoe size.

The best days were the tube fishing days. We were about 15 probably.

We'd strap on our rubber flotation rounds and plod to the water. We'd see other tubers out there some days. Seriously casting with an air of professionalism. They would catch fish. We had no such pretensions. No stringers of fish. No loaves of bread.

But Mother Nature knows we didn't do it for the scaly, slimy booty. On a steamy summer day there's no better place to be than in a coolish, mirky pond, no? Eventually we'd get bored and drop the poles on shore along with the tubes and just swim around. Algae, reeds, frogs, snakes, turtles, non-catchable fish and all. Those were high times. Simple pleasures. I'd do it again today for sure.

And if you didn't know, nothing stains clothing quite like pond water tinted with hearty, red Oklahoma mud. Just ask my mom.

The End.

Hungry Poopis


I think Abby was trying to communicate something...

...I had an idea what she wanted...

...but I couldn't quite put my paw on it.



Ailing Asian. But why is he ailing?

Because he had a cyst removed not long ago. Too bad I don't have a pre-surgery shot. Hopefully it won't come back again this time, my friend. An apple a day...
Or perhaps a durian a day...whatever's more natural...

Random 'Hood Life


The ol' sign/sunset/moonrise combo shot.


Dumpster Diving Dog

Molly gets into the trash a few times per month at least. Basically she'll go dumpster diving anytime there are tantalizing scents wafting and the hi-tech rubber bands aren't keeping the cabinet "locked."

She especially loves all foods in the poultry family. Makes her crazy. She's a big fan of the holidays too. Cause you know, lots of carvings on the people table means a smorgasbord in the trash heap.

So yeah, she went diving again today. A fairly dramatic dive too, mess wise. You'd think we don't feed her with her passion for rubbish. I suppose it's just instinctual.

Either way. Bad, Molly. B-a-d.

Post dive. No mistaking what took place here. And she obviously never learned to eat her vegetables. Seems we've failed on multiple disciplinary fronts.

Guilt trip. The face of a condemned waste monger.


The day struck three p.m. and I had to get outside. Just to be outside. My frisbee golf discs were strewn about on a pile of my stuff (I'm moving house this weekend) and in sight, so frisbee golf it was. George Costanza style.

A trip to Colonial Park was made and some discs "thrown." I'm so terrible. Like really. But it's still fun. And that's not why I do it. It's mostly for the girls.

Ask yourself how many hotties you see latched on to the sculpted arms of frisbee golf champions.


Lighting it up.

Good lighting.

FORE! It was an impulse round, so I didn't have time to muster other teammates. I had to set the timer to get some pics. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Photographic results, that is. This shot landed in the soup.

I find my frisbees to be equally well adjusted for life on the land AND in the water. Amphibians you could say.

Majestic creek scenery.

Creek scenery with improper white balancing. Rookie mistake...

Hole three. I find my frisbee golf game is sloppy and wholly unpredictable but with marked moments of standout, unexplainable feats of greatness. Miracles, really.

Ice Catastrophe '07 hit the frolf course pretty hard too. Even more hazards for the novices to fight with. Glorious.

Sadly, when teeing off from hole 16 my entire arm flew off. You do the crime, you do the time, as we frolfers say. Notice the moon just beside my back.

Fortunately it was just a superficial limb separation. And studies show that a good war face adds significant distance.

Parting shot.

But hey, I need some more peeps to play with, so you should come out. I promise I'll go easy on you. The first time.

One Random Memory Per Day

POSTED IN | 12:57 AM
"Golden Glory"

In fourth grade I campaigned to be the school vice president. The whole thing is a joke anyway, but somewhere along the line, some administrators thought it would be fun to have class commanders-in-chief. It's all pomp and circumstance. A puppet organization. But whatever.

And I don't think I was ever interested in being Eisenhower Elementary's fourth grade vice-president (only fifth graders can go for president). But the challenge of the campaign appealed to me for some reason. (I'll occasionally get random projects and latch on like there's no tomorrow) And I wasn't too interested in making a name for myself on Elementary Hill.

So, I signed up to campaign. I wrote the speech, carefully memorizing every bit and bop. It was 24 karat stump-speech gold. It started with "Hi, I'm John Stuart..." and I don't remember the rest. But obviously a gripping oration.

Campaignees present their speeches in front of the whole school. One at a time. Down the line.

For my presentation, I cut out a two-dimensional sports car from a massive piece of cardboard. It was yellow with red flames. Kind of a '57 Chevy look.

For my entrance music, I had the DJ play 409 by the Beach Boys. "She's real fine, my 4-0-9..." Truly classic. And I borrowed my cousin's motorcycle helmet. The full get-up.

And so I shuffled out on stage, pretending to drive the cardboard ride with the music blasting. My friend Bryan was behind the car. He held it up during my golden keynote.

And I only messed up once. Mixed up some words. No biggie.

And that was it. My moment of fame. They tallied votes later that day.

I lost.

Teachers' kids won both the Prez and VP slots. Obviously it was rigged. My supporters called for a recount but their groanings fell on deaf ears. And there was an outcry for serious campaign finance reform, but it met a similar fate.
But honestly, I didn't care. I tried. And that's all I really wanted to do.

And thus, my political career went down in a blaze of golden glory. Cardboard cars, Beach Boys and all. And I haven't missed it since.

The End.

Good Memories

Pictures are amazing things. So many thoughts and memories tied into small packages. And small frames. It's sad to think about life without them. *tear* I find I quite like revisiting my photo archives of previous happenings. Previous trips and gatherings. And I get pretty sentimental.

It's interesting to look back at old photos though. Invariably I critique myself. Technique, composition, subject matter, emotion, angles, action, creativity, human interest, story telling ability. Sometimes I'm disappointed. "What were you thinking with that one?" Things like this. But it's good to know where you've come from. How your eye's gotten a little sharper. Your execution a bit more efficient. Photographic sanctification. It's a good thing.

But anyway, that's not overly interesting. Here are some good times shots from a superb trip.

-Paris, Aug. '05-

Picturesque residentials.

Arc de Tami. And she excels not only in mimicry. She's a bang-up tour guide to boot. And I'm glad somebody knew French.

A boy and his pigeons in Notre Dame's shadow.

Le Guide, choosing the next route. Notice her fearless stance and map-holding prowess. We followed her everywhere. If she said "jump!" we said "how high?"

Narrow way. Such a great street.

People watching. I like trying to guess where they're from.

Street thrills.

Death by Chocolate

POSTED IN | 11:42 PM

Molly would kill herself if we let her. So, instead we just taunt her with the idea of eating pounds of old Christmas fudge we're throwing out. And that's more fun anyway. Nobody likes a dead dog lying around. Even if she is a little bratty sometimes. She's a good pooch.

One Random Memory Per Day (ORMPD)

We're all walking around with a lot of memories. Some memories more vivid than others. Some long narratives, others just tidbits. So, for me, I've decided that I'll share one random memory per day (ORMPD) here. Or if not every day, just whenever they come, and in fewer than 200 words.

So, we'll go ahead and start today. How nice.

ORMPD No. 1:

In sixth grade (c. 1996) I was among the most naive kids around. Wide eyed, kind of oblivious, nerdy, really quiet (at school at least), decidedly out of the loop. One day on recess at Norman's Irving Middle School, I saw a cigarette carton on the ground. Huh. Curious, I picked it up. Egad! It had some un-smoked smokes inside! My programming kicked in. I dropped it, shocked, and stepped back. I looked around guiltily. Cigarettes were the devil.

As I backed farther away from the evil-emitting cigs, I spotted two guys sitting on the bleachers nearby. "There's a pack of half-smoked cigarettes over there!" I proclaimed to them, relaying my disbelief, as if tragedy had just struck.

This information sunk in with the bleacher boys, Chris Debusk and another dude (hooligans in their own right). Then, to my disbelief, they jumped off the bleachers and made a dash for the carton. They scooped it up and the smokes disappeared into a ridiculously large JNCO jean pocket (I NEVER wore JNCOs, for the record).

And so, just as quickly as I found those devilish tobacco sticks, they disappeared. With the hooligans, and along with my ignorance of mid-90s middle-schooler tobacco use.

The End.

Music Theory

I found an old music theory quiz from sophomore year, back in my music major days. We were studying fugues. I don't remember anything on the quiz really. It's sad. I miss those music theory classes. It's one of a small handful of things I missed after changing majors to journalism. But I'll say I did not miss practicing t-bone two hours a day by myself in a drab practice room. The musician life can be quite isolated...

But perhaps you could get some questions right. Especially you Bach superfans. Here are a few from the quiz:

1. A fugue is _____________.

2. "Fuga" means _____________.

3. What is the usual number of voices in a fugue? _____________

4. What is a subject? _____________

5. A recurring melodic line or fragment that accompanies the entrance of the subject throughout the fugue is called the _____________.


What is the coolest, hot-dogginest symphony orchestra instrument in all the land?

a. Trombone
b. T-bone
c. Slide horn
d. Sackbut

1) a fugue is the contrapuntal working out of most often a single thing called a subject over the course of the movement.
2) fuga means flight
3) the usual number of voices in a fugue is 3-4
4) a subject is the main motive in a fugue
5) counter subject

Thing 1 and Thing 2


Got milk.

The "Racing Game."




'Dina. And welcome home, Dina. (she's been in China for six months, studying in Kunming) Photo by D. Ling.

D & D.

Juancholo. Photo by D. Ling.

Singapore Holidays: The Ling family Christmas photo (plus honorary guest). I all but lost it when I saw this masterpiece. So good. Mr. Ling is proving an excellent photo understudy. Not a better padawan learner in all the Southeast. Or the West. Now, if we can only get him to re-ignite his blogging practices of old. We can merely hope and pray...
Photo by D. Ling.

Kansas, I'm Sorry...

POSTED IN | 11:02 PM
West Kansas has a pretty bad rap for its less-than-stimulating topographical features. And sometimes driving through it is close to excruciating. But I didn't mind the trip through the expansive plains too much this time as we headed back Oklahomaside. Even thought it was downright scenic on several occasions. I know.
So, Kansas, I'm sorry. Every place has its Shangri-La. You just have to see it in the right light. Literally.

...reminds me of the airplane scene in North by Northwest...