Angela Bocage

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the ADD category.

Music crushes…one’s already fulfilled…

For sooo long I haz had a crush on my friend The Musical Instrument Cat Lady’s lovely warmly golden varnished wood lap steel guitar. Even unamplified, its sounds have entranced my ADD brain as I held it lovingly on lap and stroked its strings…and now that my friend has a really gorgeous new shiny black one with better features ‘n’ all, my just-the-perfect-lil-awesome-crush-object-instrument came home with me, late Monday night! I had never taken the Chinatown bus to NY, we were going to see music at Jalopy Sunday night, but by the time I got there we were pretty late. Thank goodness we decided to go anyhow! I wanted to live there. All the performances we saw were cool, first a dobro-harmonica duo whose name I am sorry I could not hear, then deadpan-atavistic vocalist Elizabeth Butters with sis Emily singing harmony and a kickass banjo player, and a group called George [couldn’t hear it] and the Phantoms that blew me away. The lead singer/hollow-body guitar player had contract-with-the-devil pipes that could do it all, the piano player was magic; Hank Williams would’ve smiled at the way his lovesick blues were accompanied and sung. I love love love the venue. Lots of old musical instruments on the wall, including examples of my current unattainable lust, the BANJO. The banjo player from the Butters’ band was even kind enough to start telling me some things I ought to consider once I am able to banjo-shop seriously, but my three comrades were leaving and the other two were kind enough to give TMICL and I a ride back to Manhattan, so I had to apologizerealfast and run…but the musicky goodness just never ended: later we listened to Sonatas for Viola da Gamba by J.S. Bach, an astringently pretty CD of mostly-solo oud, some cumbias, and the Ghanaian koura record Yasimika. When a cool new friend shared some gorgeous images of Palo Duro Canyon, juxtaposed with Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting of crows in the same landscape, the memory of  Yasimika’s ecstatic voices and Bach’s ethereal pipe organ accompanying the violas da gamba poured back into my mind. TMICL is going to burn those for me to share right back with her, which seems fitting.

My music-theory-for-bassists book quoted the saying “Music is humanity’s defense against the arbitrary…” It’s the first time in my experience an aphorism’s mutated into an earworm! My earworm panacaea’s Some Other Time, from X’s Wild Gift, better listen asap!  I’m so thankful to live in a world with music like this. And unlike it, too: Kirtani, klezmer and gamelan! But also a world in which “painting” could be substituted for music in that phrase, where there are Giorgio Morandi, Diebenkorn, O’Keeffe, deserts, rivers, skies that turn blue from grey, and the beautiful brains of my friends.


Scary stuff…people.

I have been on Facebook for several days. It reminds me of a wonderful gossip like Perez Hilton or the Go Fug Yourself girls, except it’s about people I know and like. So I’ve been fairly fascinated. Okay, obsessive. But it is also terrifying in a way. People I knew in San Francisco, and before that, Santa Cruz–undergraduate, for fuck’s sake–I can actually communicate with. Like time travel. Even though I have ALWAYS been absolute CRAP with people–awful at returning letters/calls/emails, awful at all those little ways of keeping in touch that my partner is so brilliant about. Not to mention saying things other people think is odd. I later thought it was probably because most of the people I knew day-to-day at UCSC were Southern California people and I was a Northern California person. But really I was just very weird. And even now I am capable of getting extremely shy and clumsy around people. I think I’ve gotten better in recent years…but still don’t always remain centered in groups of more than three max. My partner has been a great help; I just realized it today when a coworker took a picture of me and kind of channeling my sweetheart, I laughed and said, “Wait! You shoulda taken one where I’m picking my nose!” I told her about it later and she said, “Or you could’ve said, ‘Wait! You shoulda given me time to write ‘fuck you!’ on my forehead'”! See? THAT’S what I call real ‘people skills.’

The great lockout of 2007

As I may’ve mentioned, my spouse has been working like an automaton, so one weeknight recently, I left Philadelphia at a reasonable hour on the train when it looked like she might be there for several more hours. My pup would be lonely and want to get outside. Remembered to call the local taxi guy well in advance of arrival. Made sure there was taxi and train money in my wallet. Completely forgot that since losing my original swipe card at work I didn’t have a house key attached to the replacement. The secret place she hides the extra key was barren. I called her at work and scared her to death with the idle suggestion that I could try to break in, but I knew as well as she does that we can’t afford a glazier at the moment. There was, however, an even more secret key stashed away, she admitted. It was in a coffee can under a certain tree. Buried maybe six inches deep. She’d interred it there shortly after she bought the place eight years ago. The tree or shrub she’d indicated had grown a great deal in eight years, and I once again thanked the spirits that her last girlfriend had been a gardening fiend: we have every tool invented, so I should be able to whack through the thick brush and dig down to the coffee can in no time. After several sessions of brisk aerobic exercise, I was dripping sweat and exhausted and that had proven not to be the case, despite deployment of branch pruners, cultivating tools, shovel, trowel, and the chainsaw-lite she calls a hedge-trimmer. Perhaps after almost a decade of the heavy storms this region endures both in summer and winter, the buried treasure had shifted. The roots of the trees and shrubs in that area of the property had certainly grown thick and tangly. My partner’d asked me to call her when I’d found the key and gotten in, so instead I called her to say I was giving up, but that it was fine: it wasn’t raining, it was a nice summer night, I had a swell book to read; the sound of my bewildered dog barking mournfully from inside the house hurt but I didn’t mention that. In fact, I noticed that my prime concern seemed to be making my darling think being locked out was nothing. She’s so overburdened, dealing with so many worries, I just didn’t want to add more, especially as I’d already freaked her out earlier with my musing about forced entry. So I acted way more cheerful than I felt. When the rain started, I sheltered in the garage, which has a lightbulb so I could continue to read. When the mosquitoes etc. had told all their friends and relations of the human feast in the garage and begun to partake, the rain had finally stopped so I took a walk. Back in the yard, the trees and plants and my newly planted beds of herbs and watermelons and pumpkins and flowers were so fragrant and rain-fresh and lovely, I meditated with them and was so grateful for the beauty of the earth and the plants. Real serenity about it all eluded me, though, because of worries about all the tasks I needed to get done, and because of the sad pup I couldn’t comfort. All in all, it was really fucked up. It was dishonest to pretend to be so cheerful…espcially when what I really wanted was for her to see through the cheerfulness and appreciate my tragic martyrdom in not asking her to stop working and come let me into the house! I was disappointed in myself that my serenity in the situation was such a shallow veneer. Sitting in the garden on a summer evening…how bad could it be? Not that bad, except for one’s imposing a negative interpretation upon it? Nah. Pretty bad, when puppy’s sad and you’ve got 8,932 things to do.

Know where keys are at all times….know where keys are at all times….know where keys are at all times….

Oh, and my beloved is hardly responsible for any of those bad things I recounted in my last post…it seems to me that at work this is sometimes how she’s treated, however. I worry for those I love. Both my spouse and my children often seem so stressed and pressured by demands of life that aren’t even necessarily of their own choosing. I’ll just keep trying to be better support for them.

I have a good idea: buy some art. Also, see a shrink. And remember your keys.

When my beloved says, or I say, the words “I have a good idea,” the other replies without pause: “Uh-oh.” I suppose it’s a way of acknowledging that many things that “seemed like a good idea at the time,” e.g. putting your fist through a door’s glass panel to impress a cute girl at a party (hers) or skipping any interviews with big “corporate” law firms despite being top-10-and-Law-Review cause you just wanted to help the downtrodden (mine) turned out not to be so good.

But this here is a darn good one: Wanna buy some art?! I’ve decided to take commissions again, after having done one just because our friend Peggy is so wonderful I couldn’t say no to her, even though kinda terrified. But it turned out amazingly well!

I just did a huge four-panel cartoon on commission for my Peggy, my wife’s old bandmate, for her main squeeze’s birthday, all about his early history flying at what she has referred to as “a cartoon airport” (so this present was a natcheral, see) whose planes had names like Gimpy, Polky and Turkey and whose flight teacher was so beloved by students that his WASP (a women’s division of the Air Force) students from the fifties and sixties still kept in touch with him for decades. It was a revelation–I don’t think of myself as drawing landscapes and heavy machinery too well, but it ended up absolutely beautiful. Though given excellent photo reference for the planes and the gentlemen in question–thank you ever so much, Peggy–I basically had to plan and write the sequential narrative pulling all the elements together. Using multiple colors of ink, I couldn’t believe how much fun I had. I hadn’t used colored inks in I don’t know how long. I’ll put up some pictures of this and other cool stuff soon. But there you are, I’m ready to take on such challenges.

God, I love my shrink. If you live/work in Center City Philadelphia, are an artist, or have ADD, or love dogs, Dr. Jeffrey Bedrick, who is a real doctor and thus can prescribe the pharmacopeia so necessary to modern urban life, could be great for your mental health and functioning. I’m increasingly skeptical of the knee-jerk dissing of Ritalin, dismissing ADD as a mere scam by big business–haven’t enough large scale studies shown the structural and functional differences in our tricky brains? Hello, hippocampal hypertrophy?! I worked on AIDS News Service back in the day, so nothing’s news to me about the tangled relations between profits, politics, science and the FDA’s pharmaceutical approval process; for many like me, benefits may outweigh risks, and I’m deeply thankful I can get helpful medications. And really really super thankful for the smarts and wisdom of Dr. Bedrick, who’s active in canine rescue!

Finally, let’s all remember our keys. Okay? I’ve kinda run outta time here but far far sooner than my last regrettable posting-lapse, I shall tell you the story of the Great Lockout of 2007 and why my spouse caused Legionnaire’s Disease, the near-extinction of the rare Florida blue-tongued vole, the Indonesian tsunami, and possibly even the hanging chads precipitating W into the residency!

“My life is an open comic book…”

I strode into the underground post office in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station, proud of my new get-organized plan: I’d keep up with my  financial obligations by getting all these envelopes together and stamping and addressing them, even writing the checks and sealing them in there, in huge bunches ahead of time! And it was the first day they were selling “forever” stamps! So I stood in line for……some time.

Sometimes I feel like such an asshole.  For very good reasons. For no good reason, in the early 21st Century I dated two psychiatrists in a row.  I bonded with them over common interests unrelated to their profession, and of course their lustful carnal attraction to my tempting self. Both of them, as you’d naturally expect, were crazy. But from one of them I learned about ADD. He had it, and got me to see that I did, too. (You will have observed from the gendered pronoun why there was no good reason for us to date, my being gay as a picnic basket.) I light up the charts like Las Vegas for the ADD diagnostic criteria, as a really good psychiatrist, whom I did not date, confirmed. However, it was clear to me from my acquaintance with Shrinkdate One that most of the attributes of adult ADD, which I have, and which he had, were identical to the attributes of adult assholes. We’re really messy, forgetful, disorganized, and pretty darn irresponsible. My son, however, tells me that according to a book he’s reading, The War of Art (“It’s about resistance, Mom”) ADD wasn’t defined by doctors, but by Big Pharma in search of a syndrome to medicalize the faults of the most people and sell them the drugs to “treat” it. Yeah, let’s give all the irresponsible assholes speed! Make that the irresponsible-assholes-insecure-enough-to-go-along-with-being-medicalized. Today’s a bad tired day, in a bad tired week……

I didn’t write the wonderful summing-up I used as the title of this post; Peter Kuper did, as the epigraph of his graphic memoir Stripped, which I recommend if you’d like to learn more than you imagined possible about liberal middle-class boys coming of age in the ’70s-’80s. It’s funny and sour/sweet and the very epitome of overshare. So when I feel like oversharing,  I remember about how much I used to do that in my comics, oy gevalt, did I ever, and I remember Peter’s epigraph.

A young male’s harem! Older females’ infected brains! Is this, like, a late April Fools…with Whales?!

A nature show my sweet wife left on TV for white noise was addressing creodont-to-cetacean evolution, but once that had hooked my ADD brain in, it soon enough pissed me off with a description of a whale male joining a pod and fertilizing some female whales as “he forms a harem…the writhing bodies stimulate the young male.” And then, describing the pod structure of pilot whale life, no sooner does the plummy-toned O.W.M. narrator grudgingly admit they’re organized around experienced adult female leaders than he launches into speculation that the older females lead the pods to suicidally beach themselves because of ear and brain parasites. Oy.

Hey–look at lions. I did a teeny comic about them once in a 3D cartoon anthology, so trust me a minute here. What’s lion life really like? The girls choose what guys they keep around, which ones get to reproduce, which ones even get to eat, that’s what. “King of Beasts served by his harem” my luscious ass! Leo’s a big ol’ baby and Leonie and Leah do the real work! 

So what did this baleen orgy really look like? I psychically tuned into the female whales to find out. The young ladies, it turns out, were sayin’ to each other–all of this in far more expressive and nuanced Whalish of course, but I’ll go ahead and render it in my own native split-personality English–first one says, “Ladies dontchu even think about leavin’ me alone with the sperm donor fogoshsakes!” And then another goes, “Whatta you tawakin’, we only let ‘im come neeah the pod for a few houahs a yeahh, stahhp kvetching-g–we’ll awwl be theah just like awwlwayz!” And then they’re all rubbing and swooping around. “Ah swayah, is he evah gohna git duhhhnnn?!” asks the third rhetorically. Then the water fills with a cloudy liquid, the gals roll around in it, and then they’re out of there. They’re not no harem–they’re cetacean sistahs who are sharing a donor, hello!

All this is me bein’ pretty silly, perhaps. But the leader of my pod, if I had my druthers–and was a pilot whale–would be the brilliant thealogian*/scholar-witch Mary Daly. Mary has had to time travel, a lot, in both directions, to hook up with Matilda Joslyn Gage and the future-Amazons of Lost and Found Continent, and what she’s learned thereby is now available to all of us women and critters caught in the truly messed up world of the early 21st century in her most recent book Amazon Grace. She lays it out: animals, religion, the environment, runaway anti-Biotic technology…in her inimitably spirited, poetic language, she presents an uncompromising philosophy grounded in the ethic of loving life. Don’t just get this book–read it aloud in good company, and similarly, all its predecessor works: they’re available at Tell her I sent you! (*not a misspelling!)

“–Look, a rose-breasted grosbeak!”

 That’s the back of the t-shirt. The front is, “They say I have ADD. But I think…”

I decided to make a change. I have too many things going on. I want to talk about playing bass, or a great new book, or a  site where you can find great stuff for dogs, or other items that didn’t seem appropriate to my original vision of this blog…so I started another one. So far, it’s mostly the beauty and skincare info from this one, but not entirely. So, from now on, if you want the info on skin care, hair care and beauty, without all the other things I want to write about Philadelphia, animals, books, the law, ADD, et cetera, I started a separate blog just for that purpose. For pure, lovely, friendly, fun Dyke Beauty….my other blog’s devoted to just that: OK, animals do enter into things as well, but that’s the “dyke” part–isn’t it usually the case that we who were blessed with the lesbian gene also have the Dr. Doolittle one?  🙂 

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