the extreme dream…

when i lived in l.a. i used to hear diana nyad reporting on public radio, really the only radio i listened to at the time. she has a rough, raspy quality to her voice with an unmistakable accent that you only find on a new yorker. (i should know. i was married to one.)

then last year i started reading about a diana nyad who was about to attempt an impossible 103 mile swim between cuba and florida. without a shark cage. she’d attempted it once before, more than 30 years ago and at the age of 60 had decided to give it another go. turns out diana nyad the reporter, was the same feisty woman who holds the world record for the longest open water swim without a shark cage.

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then the months rolled by and the swim never happened. apparently the favorable conditions needed for the swim never materialized and she had to abandon the attempt. amazingly, she spent another year training and finally at the end of last week, the window opened and after almost 2 years of planning and fund-raising and diplomatic wrangling between two antagonistic countries for  clearances and visas, she was in the water.

an agonizing almost 30 hrs later, vomiting, freezing, asthmatic, stung painfully all over her body by jellyfish and already way too far off course, she wisely opted to get back in the boat. to some it might seem like defeat, but as i start to contemplate my own mortality, realizing that i have lived more than half my life , wondering what i’ve achieved/will yet achieve and starting to feel the fragility of years of taking my body for granted, i am inspired and in awe of this amazing woman. yes, it was an extreme dream, but she not only dreamed it, she went to huge lengths to try to make it a reality and in the process she inspired legions. and i applaud her for that.

i was thinking tonight that the only way to try to achieve the impossible, is by not knowing that that’s what it is. whether one achieves it or not, the work to get there is not optional.

my own extreme dream at the moment has been initiating and taking on organizing the slutwalk in johannesburg and maybe if i’d know what a tough, frustrating, stressful process it would be, i might have thought twice. but here i am. i’m not alone. and it’s not optional.

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life’s greatest hits

so, back-“track”ing a  bit here (snicker, snicker!), but more on my radio stint. the coordinator at work asks me at the last moment a few weeks ago, if i’d be willing to be guest dj on “saturday night fever” with dewald noel on jacarandafm. i’ve actually always harbored a secret desire to be a radio dj, so next thing i’m talking to someone from the station. the person on the line asks me to send him a list of my favorite songs – preferably from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. cool, i think – time to share my rather eclectic music taste.  despite my computer and my ipod being at home and me at work, i come up with the following list.

ZABALAZA – BROTHERS OF PEACE (B.O.P.)
EVERYONE DESERVES MUSIC – MICHAEL FRANTI
WIKKID LIL GIRLS – ESTHERO
THE JOKER – BABEL SOUNDTRACK
TWISTED – JONI MITCHELL
FLAWLESS (SHAPESHIFTERS REMIX) – GEORGE MICHAEL
MARGARITA – SLEEPY BROWN
STARLIGHT IN DADEN (AURORA REMIX)- EKOVA
STIFF JAZZ – DZIHAN & KAMIEN
CANNOT CONTAIN THIS or SING IT BACK – MOLOKO
DON’T STOP or DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI – BRAZILIAN GIRLS
KISS – TOM JONES
I FEEL GOOD – JAMES BROWN
PUMP IT – BLACK EYED PEAS
DO YOUR THING – BASEMENT JAXX
CIBO MATTO – SCI FI WASABI
BIG TIME SENSUALITY/EARTH INTRUDERS/ISOBEL- BJORK

as i’m driving home, i get a call. “sorry, but we only have 3 of your songs on our playlist. could you please come up with a different list?” uhm, isn’t the tagline to the show, “your life’s greatest hits!”? oh sorry, you mean my life’s greatest hits as defined by your station! o-kay, just say so! the following is the list we come up with after going through the station’s playlist.

Flawless (in the city) – George Michael

I feel good – James Brown

Put your records on – Corinne Bailey Rae

Should I stay or should I go – The Clash

Sex Bomb – Tom Jones

Where is the love – Black Eyed Peas

Sisters are doing it for themselves – Eurythmics

Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band

Praise You – Fatboy Slim

Smooth Operator – Sade

(I can’t get no) Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

Englishman in New York – Sting

BACK-UPS:

American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

All I wanna do – Sheryl Crow

all really cool songs, but i just find the process a little amusing. i suppose that’s the reality of commercial radio – each station has it’s pre-selected, and often, pre-programmed, playlist.

now, my favorite radio station in the world, kcrw, 89.9, public radio in los angeles, is a fantastic anomaly. the dj’s actually get to play whatever tickles their fancy and numerous artists who would otherwise not receive airtime, eventually break through and get picked up by other more commercial stations. i can think of rachael yamagata, corinne bailey rae, katie tunstall, to name but a few.

i love the station so much that i volunteered for years during their various fund-drives. you sit in a little dungeon room answering phones when people call in to donate and you rub elbows with a vast array of angelenos; waiters, professors, actors, you name it – all equally passionate about the station. i used to listen religiously to morning becomes eclectic, first with chris douridas, then nic harcourt, (who also lives in topanga, my home for 12 years and still home of my heart). and i remember countless “driveway moments” brought on by “this american life” on a saturday morning. then there’s “chocolate city” and “the drop” and “metropolis”. not forgetting all the news and discussion programs and of course the sunday morning weekend edition with the puzzle section hosted by puzzlemaster will shortz, the guy who edits the new york times crossword.

damn, i’m just realizing right now, how much i miss it. at least i can still tune in online from here on the other side of the world!  check it out!