Monday, January 11, 2016

The Stars Look Very Different Today

I feel like this blog is turning into a collection of posts about my heroes dying.

I woke up this morning to the news that David Bowie passed away after a secret battle with cancer.  Obviously, all of Earth is mourning this great loss to music and art, but this is my selfish blog to talk about what the rock idol meant to me.

I have been a fan since I was born.  Or when I first saw Labyrinth, whichever came first.*  

*And let's be real:  we all know his puberty-triggering performance as Jareth the Goblin King is forever ingrained in the mind of every woman born in the 1980s.  

As I got older, I branched out and explored his true musical portfolio.  I remember arguing with my best friend about whether "Under Pressure" was a Queen song or a David Bowie song.  I remember jamming out to his music on video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band and feeling totally badass.  

Mainly, I just remember listening to his music and always feeling like it was the first time - who else could move you like him!?

Bowie is definitely in my top five all-time favorite musicians.  He was such a pioneer who was truly ahead of his time.  He made it cool to be weird.  He took it all too far - but boy, could he play guitar.

Friday, December 18, 2015

It Is The Force That Unites Us

I think I am beyond the point of apologizing for my constant bloglag!

It has been a whirlwind these past few months, between weddings and housewarming parties and spending time with old friends and new.  I am also branching out and taking a coding class to brush up on my skills.  Maybe I'll be able to touch up the ol' blog as well!

The long-awaited Episode VII of Star Wars was released yesterday.  Although I did stay up and attend the midnight release of the much-awaited Episode III ten years ago, I could not quite commit to that on a Thursday night at this point in my life!  I am debating between going to see it this weekend or just waiting until my humongous Christmas vacation, which starts next Tuesday at 3PM!

I have been going through and rewatching the movies to prepare, chronologically by film release, not by Episode.  I just finished the original trilogy, and I must say I am getting ramped up now!

Star Wars to me has always been more than just a film about space battles (although they are pretty awesome).  Like any good science fiction story, it is more a tale of the human condition, and the fantasy technology and aliens take a backseat.  Despite Empire being the fan favorite, mine was always Return of the Jedi because of the story of Vader's redemption.  I even wrote a paper in college about it!  Also, the whole opening scene on Jabba's sail barge is badass.

The rabbit hole of the Internet led me to this extremely well-done video, which cleverly juxtaposes scenes from the first six Star Wars movies with Charlie Chaplin's speech from The Great Dictator.  Whether or not you are a Star Wars fan, I challenge you to watch this video and not get gripped by the words, which still ring true just as much in 2015 as they did in 1940, and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Prompt This!

Have I created enough unnecessary and impatient build-up since my last post?

My apologies, Internet, but a lot has been going on in my life, and a lot of introspection has been in order.

One of the most important tenets of my life is such:  the unexamined life is a wasted life.  While I feel over-examination at the cost of experience is also a waste, I like to make sure that I am not only comfortable, but happy with my life.  I moved to Rhode Island primarily to freshen up the staleness that had overtaken me in New Hampshire; however, simply relocating isn't going to cut it.  That being said, I have sought out a couple new methods of self-enrichment!

Firstly, I have enrolled in a bellydancing class!  It is a progressive course, which means we actually grow and learn in the course, as opposed to a drop-in repetitive class.  I can't stress strongly enough how much fun this class is!  It is a total blast, and a great work-out for the mind, body, & soul.  After my first class, I truly wanted to quit my job and just become a professional bellydancer.  Realistically, I have a few more classes to go I think...

Secondly, I got a book-on-tape to teach me how to speak Italian when I'm in the car!  With as much time as I spend in the car, for reasons both personal and professional, that is sure to keep me busy.

Thirdly, I found something to keep me actually updating this blog on a regular basis!  It is a book called 500 Writing Prompts, and it is exactly what it sounds like.

500 Writing Prompts500 prompts to get me writing on a regular basis, and plenty of room to write in my answers.  If I did one a day, that would still take me well over a year to complete!  So, spoiler alert, this is my new project to fill up the blog with extra treacle.

I decided to kick this off with an easy one:

Name something that feels right every time you do it.

Swimming in the ocean.  As a claustrophobe, looking out across an endless horizon is about as good as it gets!  I never feel as free or as right anywhere else.  I love to get out past the breakers and float, or stay among them and dive into the waves.  The water has always fascinated me.  In another life (or maybe this one - there's still time!), I might have become a marine biologist.  Space may be the final frontier, but the ocean is the original!  There is still so much down there we haven't even discovered yet.  I know whichever path I may take, it will always lead me back to the giant pond.

We know it's not a Virtual Escape Artist entry without a tangentially-related YouTube video!:

And for fun, I wanted to include this awesome cover that a new friend introduced me to!  For those of you suffering from what I call "Stairway Overkill", here is a really incredible cover of it live from the Kennedy Center Honors, that is sure to breathe new life into your enjoyment of the song:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Check out my fancy new digs!  After 7 years, I've hung up Twirling Towards Freedom and become the Virtual Escape Artist!

This year has been my year of change, the Year of the Goat, the Year of Merry G.  And as much as I loved ol' TTF, I have outgrown it to make room for this new moniker, which suits me even better.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures, as I roll out the next phases of my site re-brand!

Monday, August 3, 2015

It's Official

I'm one of them now!

I will say of all the states I have lived in, Rhode Island has taken the most research and legwork to get all my automotive ducks in a row.  In order to register an out-of-state vehicle, you need all the usual stuff you might expect (proof of address, insurance, driver's license, etc), but you also need a title and a VIN verification.

The Marylanders back home may be saying, "Pfft, that's easy!  You get the title when you buy the car!"  Well, in pretty much every other state in the union, if you have a lien, you don't get your title until it is paid for.  And I'll spare you the details since it infuriates me to relive this, but I called my lender no less than 10 times trying to get them to fax the title over to the DMV, with no guarantee it would arrive.  Faxes weren't trustworthy in 1993, and they still aren't now.  Why do they still exist?  Eventually I got to the right lady at the credit union, who was kind enough to just email it directly to me!

Now, a VIN verification is something I had never heard of until moving here.  This requires a separate pre-DMV trip to a special station where a police officer has to verify your VIN, to make sure it isn't stolen I presume.  The office is only open from 9-2, and the service costs $15.00.  And you absolutely have to do it.

Toto, I don't think we're in Live Free or Die country anymore.

You also have to camp the DMV at least 40 minutes before it opens to get anything done in a timely fashion.  Last time I stood in a line that long wanting to get in somewhere this bad, the guy in front of me was dressed like Boba Fett.

I will say for all the hoopla, once I got in there the actual DMV process was relatively quick, inexpensive, and painless.  Not at all like this video: