friday random elevenish: “sinues and goats and such” edition

19
Oct

It’s Friday. Finally. It’s been a weird week; alternately dead time or total crazytown, and likely to flip minute by minute. That said, I have, at 6:50am as I’m typing this, completed all the required tasks on my day’s to-do list as I wrote it down when I left the office yesterday evening. At least until the next thing comes along and shits the bed, but whatever. For now, I’m a winner at project management.

The rest of the week’s been relatively quiet, I guess. With the weather change, I’ve been fighting off unpleasant sinus issues; basically living between doses of Tylenol Sinus and NyQuil. Biking’s been right out, sadly. It’s been work, sleep, occasional pokémon (hey, new gen 4s showed up this week), a few chores, and little else, at least until last night, which I managed to clear the head long enough to pay the bills, take care of a little bit of shopping, and buy a couple of tickets for the Dweezil Zappa show in two weeks. When Dweezil’s playing fifteen minutes from your house in a classic old theater, you go, and you plan to blow your just-learning-to-play-guitar teenager’s mind by taking him. It’s gonna be cool.

Also this week, sadly, my wedding band disappeared somewhere. Yes, it’s been big for a while since I lost the weight (I had a thing on it) and it didn’t cost much (we got matching claddagh rings a few years back at the Celtic Festival since she had to have her original gold band cut off because pregnant), but I still feel really bad about it, because important symbol and all that. I’ve searched the office and car and house high and low, but it hasn’t appeared. I fear it’s gone. 🙁

The coming weekend, however, is looking up. Tonight, we head out to SBC to catch Heathers, the stage musical, starring my kid as the Shannen Doherty Heather. I’m *so* looking forward to it. Saturday, the local kids have a quick dance performance at a festival across town in the morning, then the lovely wife and I head down to Raleigh for a “date night” to catch a couple of good friends playing a show (and nobody’s asked me to play yet – I might just get to watch!). Sunday the youngest is having some art in a show over at VCU, so we’re going to pop over and check that out.

It’s a busy one. I hope the sinuses hold out.

In any case, that’s the news from Lake Woebegone…um, it’s Live From Here with Chris Thile now (and it’s awesome)…um, never mind. That’s my time. All that’s left to do is introduce the random elevenish…which hits all the usual notes, along with a twelve minute live opus from a guy from Pink Floyd, a bunch of modern indie, and song from Modest Mouse I always forget about, until I hear it and realize how much I totally dig it. Every time:

  1. “Taken For A Ride” – Tally Hall
  2. “Sign” – Man on the Moon
  3. “Private Eyes” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  4. “The Night We Met” – Lord Huron
  5. “Revised Music for Guitar & Low Budget Orchestra” – Frank Zappa
  6. “Bitchin'” – The Donnas
  7. “A Little Honey” – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  8. “Real Love Baby” – Father John Misty
  9. “Anonymous Face” – Quix*o*tic
  10. “1999” – Prince
  11. “Float On” – Modest Mouse
  12. “Wonderous Stories”- Yes
  13. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Live) – David Gilmour
  14. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses

Oh, I guess one more thing. The amusement I got out of spending twenty bucks or so at You Goat Mail to send a mystery package to my kid at college was worth every penny and more. Five star, highly recommended.

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cancellations, missed connections, pets, brews, and setup

15
Oct

It’s Monday.

You might have noticed I didn’t post the usual random playlist thing on Friday. I had planned on it; in fact, I even had Pandora spinning in the office bright and early on Friday morning. That said, soon after I got to the office, I realized that while my building had power in the aftermath of Michael, a lot of the rest of the post didn’t, including the HQ building up the road. Also, just after I came to realize that because HQ was without power, so was the little data center, and I didn’t have phone or internet either, my mobile phone rings with the automated message that the post, because of significant power outages, was on a two hour delay.

Note that I was already here.

I had a couple of squatters come by from HQ who also didn’t get the memo, though they mostly moved on when there wasn’t any service here, and around 8:30am, my mobile rang again (as did everyone else’s in here) letting us know that we were essentially closing up shop for the day. I went home, sat in the chair with a cat, played some Fallout 4 (I’ve started up again after getting frustrated with it a few months back), and enjoyed the day off.

Saturday was pretty quiet; I mostly did laundry and went to the farmers’ market, though I did a quick stop by the new Petsmart they opened up in town (ostensibly to look for cat nail clippers) and came home with the nail clippers and a couple of Serpae Tetras to fill out the school – after a few years of keeping these gorgeous guys, I’d lost a few and was down to three, and being schooling fish, they like large groups. They all started schooling immediately and really brightened up their color within half an hour. Nice.

Sunday the spouse and youngest child had an adoption event with the RSPCA (where they volunteer a couple of times a week), at Ardent Craft Ales in Scott’s Addition, and they totally twisted my arm to come along, where I spent a few hours in the beer garden trying some local brews, chatting with RSPCA volunteers and other folks, and petting dogs. It was a nice afternoon, and Ardent’s Baltic Porter is amazing.

After the Ardent event, we walked over to Isley a couple of blocks over, because word on social media was that Curry In A Hurry (definitely one of the top food trucks in RVA for my money) was supposed to be there, but it turns out they weren’t. Oh well.

That’s the weekend rundown, other than the fact that my new laptop arrived Saturday, and I spent most of the afternoon/evening setting that up to my liking, with the restoring files from backup, installing the applications I need and getting rid of the bloatware I don’t. It’s a nice machine so far; I think it’ll do the job. One day this week I’ll set the recording rig up and see how the sound card plays with the rest of my gear.

Not sure what the week ahead holds for me – the weather’s seriously cooled off; I’ll try to get some biking in (digging out some cold weather gear, I guess), though it’s also still pretty damp. I could use a few low-impact days, as the coming weekend’s going to be busy.

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long weekend, longer week

11
Oct

Here it is, Thursday, and it feels like I’ve been at the office for two weeks since Tuesday. That’s the way these long weekends work, right?

Anyway, I’ll make it through, though it appears I have all the meetings today, though I don’t have much to add to any of them other than “my guys are still staffing up.” Whatever.

Otherwise, life since I last committed pixels and bits to this space has revolved around sorting out the new phone (We just upgraded to Samsung Galaxy S9s, and it’s pretty nice, especially since I shut down that damned Bixby thing), trying to get some biking in before the remnants of Michael work their way through, and playing a pretty good open mic set Wednesday night.

Yeah, last night was…interesting. I sort of injured my stupid middle-aged body mountain biking after work Wednesday afternoon trying to avoid a fall and stretching muscles on my right hip in exactly the wrong way (it’s still sore today). I didn’t fall, but I was limping. All the same, I did drag the guitar over to Isley Brewing in the city to play the every-other-week open mic. Very few musical folks showed up last night, so I ended up playing almost an hour’s worth of tunes, sitting down because it hurt, and it went surprisingly well. I was expecting to play three songs or fifteen minutes as usual, but there was time to fill, so I filled it – largely playing out of my binder of songs, since my musical brain is mostly filled with 100-odd bass arrangements for Humdingers tunes and doesn’t have room for lyrics, even those that I wrote. There were a bunch of folks from the “mug club” there drinking, so I had an audience, and being loaded up on Choosy Mother, most of them were pretty appreciative, and I’m kind of becoming a regular with the staff and some of the other folks who show up to sing, at least for open mic nights, which is kinda cool – I haven’t been that for quite some time.

My musical community is expanding – that’s never a bad thing.

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contractually obligated weekend recap

09
Oct

Happy Monday Tuesday (for a moment, I forgot I had off Monday for “let’s recognize a conquering white guy” Day -see Doctor Tirado? Conquest of Paradise is still stuck in my head 26 years later!). It doesn’t feel like I did much Monday, though if I take the inventory, I knocked out a bunch of chore sort of things, made a killer lasagna, introduced the youngest to Monty Python (look on netflix – it’ *all* there!), and gave a ukulele lesson, so I guess I did.

The rest of the weekend did include some adventures worth reporting too – Saturday was family day at SBC, so we went out and spent the day with the eldest, eating some amazing Indian food nearby, and spending a few hours helping to build sets for Heathers coming up in a couple of weeks. And Sunday the lovely spouse and I visited the newest cidery in Scott’s Addition, Courthouse Creek, which was *very* good (we did the standard flight; we especially liked the Samurai Sour and the Cherry one I can’t remember the name of) as well as hitting The Veil a couple of blocks away, where I originally only meant to show her the neat, eclectic taproom, though we ended up having a couple of short pours, me finding a quite interesting and tasty specimen, the Salted Caramel + Oreo Hornswaggler chocolate milk stout, which tasted like I was drinking a brownie (a full 12oz pour would’ve been too much), and she finding a beer she actually rather liked(?!?!) in Nevermind, a “triple fruited” plum gose, which is leading her to re-evaluate her “I don’t like beer” stance, as she’s staring to realize she likes at least the gose style.

I also managed to rehab that old Washburn acoustic guitar the middle child brought into the house; cleaned up with fresh strings (after having to drill out one of the bridge pegs!), it’s got a really nice tone. I’d love to lower the action a bit, but I’m kind of leery about doing so, as the bridge itself appears to be pulling a way from the body a bit on the low side of the string course, and torqueing the truss rod to bring the strings closer to the neck would just put more tension on it (the original problem, of course, was that this guitar, like the rest, got dumped into an uninsulated clapboard shed for years uncased and without slacking the strings first). We’ll see how it holds up over the longer term.

Oh, and I finally got ’round to seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was perfectly fine, given that I went in with no expectations. They went a little hard with explaining *everything* about Han (and having almost all the iconic elements, from hooking up with Chewbacca to the 12 parsec Kessel run, happen in the span of a couple of weeks at most), though Donald Glover as Lando was perfect, and I kind of like the fan theory I saw kicking around that, assuming these “star wars story” movies keep rolling, they’re essentially going to be stealth Qi’Ra series, because she was, without a doubt, the most compelling character in this film, and they succeeded in setting her up with some intriguing potential going forward.

Also on the rental list this weekend was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which was cool because dinosaurs (we all love Blue, especially the youngest child), but was kinda meh to me, other than any time the vet girl was on screen, because she was really funny.

So this week? Hoping to get some biking in, at least today, because they’re calling for increasing rain chances as we progress further into the week. I’m also planning on hitting the Isley open mic again on Wednesday evening, and otherwise will be checking the Dell website for laptop delivery updates and figuring out the new phones (we’re upgrading to Galaxy 9s, and passing the current 7s down to the kids); my spouse is ridiculously excited; Androids are her jam.

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friday random elevenish: “best and worst part of the day” edition

05
Oct

The worst part of my day, is, by a large margin, the moments after my alarm goes off each morning, and I have to spend the next few minutes working up the gumption to get up and start my day. It usually gets better, but those first few minutes are the worst. This week, anyway, the best parts of the day have been after work when I’ve been enjoying the decent weather we’ve been having by riding the bike on my favorite trail (which I’ve gotten to do every day since Sunday, and plan on doing today). Helps me clear my head.

Not sure why that’s where my head’s at right now, but that’s where it is. Better than agonizing over jock frat bro asshole Supreme Court nominees, I guess.

The week, as such, hasn’t been the worst, necessarily. My time at the office has been split between working to get my new contractor up and running and writing multiple drafts of my year-end “self assessment”, trying to be as efficient in my language as possible, but still get my “I’m really awesome and you should give me lots of money” point across, because late-breaking guidance indicates that the folks who are judging us have complained about having to read words in order to evaluate employee performance.

Oy.

Other notable events of the last few days have included the influx of music “gear” that’s come into my home thanks to Andrew and his friends cleaning out a shed in someone’s back yard to make a gaming space/clubhouse/whatever. Some of it’s actually useful, like some microphones and stands; and some old stuff like a cassette 4-track and a PowerMac from 1999 with a SCSI interface digital audio interface. What’s got the kid most excited is an old Squier Bullet Strat guitar I was able to clean the schmutz off of, solder some bad connections, and make into a reasonably operable instrument for him. The guitar thing, since he started taking the group class this year, has really started sticking with him. Also included in the batch was a sorta beat Washburn Acoustic (which I plan on trying to rehab tonight), and not-entirely-innacurate off-brand copy of an Ernie Ball-Music Man Stingray bass (made out of surprisingly good materials) that only needs a little bit of TLC.

I don’t need these instruments, not really, but they were going to get trashed if I didn’t take them. Some of the other gear is junk, but worth taking a look at first. Oh well.

Also, while I was out running errands Thursday night (including buying strings for the aforementioned bass), I found a cheap (less than 40 bucks) used Line 6 amp for the kid so he’s not borrowing mine. I used a version of the same amp for years until I upgraded; it’ll serve him well.

This weekend includes “Family Day” out at the college, so we’ll be heading out to spend the day tomorrow. It’s also, incidentally, the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival, which is a blast, but I won’t be going to this year, though my fellow Humdingers, along with Hawthorn & Holly, Brian of Draco and the Malfoys, and Ashley Trix will be providing entertainment again this year (I already miss them, but I get to spend the day with the college kid, so I’m okay with that). If you’re in the area, it’s a great time – the whole town goes all-out to make a great event.

Anyway, tunes. Usual mix; nothing special, but still a pretty good listen:

  1. “End of All Hope” – Nightwish
  2. “Our Solemn Hour” – Within Temptation
  3. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  4. “State Trooper In The Left Lane, Nattles” – Cold Cold Hearts
  5. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” -Crowded House
  6. “Village of the Sun (live 12-9-73)” – Frank Zappa and the Mothers
  7. “Undone (The Sweater Song)” – Weezer
  8. “Chicken: 30” – The Coathangers
  9. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine
  10. “24 Hour Ride” – Emily’s Sassy Lime
  11. “Life on Mars?” – David Bowie
  12. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
  13. “Gold on the Ceiling” – The Black Keys
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uncomfortable collision of work and life

01
Oct

I greet you, the reader, from the beginning of the new public sector fiscal year. It appears that my section of things will be spared shutdowns at least, though other parts aren’t quite so lucky. This is the world we live in.

I am reminded of this, because it seemed that the contracting shop didn’t even try to start working the contract to support my corner of the world until late Friday, requiring me to spend a bunch of my weekend time on my work laptop reviewing things for technical acceptability and dealing with last-minute pricing evaluations. The good news is I apparently have a team this year. That bad news is that I don’t have any development money, so I basically only get to adjust the status quo instead of innovate like I wanted to. Oh well, me and the new team (who is part of the old team) will work through it and come up with a thing that works for us. Bleh.

Otherwise, the weekend was a mixed bag. Beyond all the interruptions from work through the whole thing, the family had a pretty good day at the dance competition; my lovely wife danced the ghillies right off a bunch of teenagers to take first one of her events, and advanced to the next level of competition. Yay. Afterwards, since we were most of the way there anyway, we popped up to Center of the Universe Brewing Company for the annual release of El Duderino white russian stout, which is one of my favorite things that comes out every year; my friend Chris and I call it “our pumpkin spice latte”. I’ve also received requests from friends in other states to procure some for them; just a matter of getting things in their hands, which we’ll make happen.

Oh, and I woke up Saturday morning to find that my personal laptop shit the bed. It’s toast. I cracked it open, and found the board crusted with smelled like dried cat pee. Awesome. I yanked the hard drive and stuck it in a USB enclosure, though, and found it functional, so at least I didn’t lose all my data. I broke down and ordered myself a new one (I have a pretty decent credit account with Dell with no penalty for pre-payment), an Inspiron 7000 (series 7570); essentially budget gaming machine, but it’s got a dedicated video processor, which is nice and tends to speed things up all around, and is a step or three up from what I had (which I’d had for six or seven years…I guess it was time); but I’m essentially without (except for a MacBook from 2009) for a week or two. I’ll live.

I also got a nice bike ride in on Sunday, which felt good – weather and stuff kept me out of the saddle for about two weeks. Looking like good weather this week, and I’m set to hit the dirt again after work. That’ll feel good after the nonsense I’m sure to hit today.

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friday random elevenish: “triggered” edition

28
Sep

It is, at least the last time I looked at a calendar (for today,not 1982). Just checked the lower right corner of the computer screen. Yep, Friday.

Anyway, yesterday was strangely emotional for me. I was moved by Blasey Ford’s testimony (I was tearing up at her reading her opening statement), and I actually had to stop listening to Kavanaugh; he was sparking outrage – as I’ve said previously (like pretty much all week in this space), he came across as the embodiment of all the jock assholes (especially the active Catholic ones – it’s a special category, interestingly enough, in my experience) I knew in my youth who got held up as exemplars of good by adults in authority; the same authorities that looked the other way or made excuses when they got up to exactly the kind of stuff Judge Kavanaugh is being accused of, and he and his friends describe in thinly-veiled code in those yearbook blurbs. His cadence of speech, his expressed emotion (mostly anger) in his opening statement…all that stuff came flooding back.

It actually caught me by surprise how much it affected me; I really thought I had gotten past all that stuff I experienced, and I especially feel bad that I’m feeling this way about it, because on the whole, my experience being bullied as a fat nerdy kid was (I’ve at least convinced myself) probably mild compared to some. Also, I don’t want to put my being bullied and teased by those types on the same level as being sexually assaulted (or worse) as Dr. Blasey Ford, and so many others that have shared their stories over the last week or so (and the many more I’m sure haven’t), but as my wife told me yesterday afternoon while we talked through this (as we do), those feelings and things that others went through don’t invalidate my experience – it’s not a zero sum game; I shouldn’t feel guilty for having the experience.

Now that we’ve wrapped this episode of “Chuck works through his mental and emotional issues in a relatively public forum…”, let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming:

This week at work has been quiet, but weird all the same; last week of the fiscal year is full of wrap-up things, though I’m working through winding down two contracts, and waiting for procurement to get their act together to get a replacement in place so I can have a staff next week to keep pressing onward with this frustrating project. Plus, it’s also time to start dusting off my bullshit spinner and write up my year-end self-assessment so the compensation boards can decide if I deserve more money next year. Last year my boss and I were pretty successful; hopefully we’ll be so this year. I’ve got a week to spin that up; I expect I’ll mostly let it germinate in the subconscious over the weekend and start writing Monday. It’s such a crap process, but it’s the world I live in now.

Otherwise, it’s dance competition weekend, but not one we’re hosting, so all I really have to do is sit and watch and carry things for the family. This afternoon will involve me driving west on 460 to grab the eldest, since she’s competing as well, but I’m not really minding – it’ll be nice to have her home for a day or two.

That’s it, really, other than the fact that I played a pretty good set at Isley’s open mic on Wednesday evening; I was actually pretty proud of it, and the folks in attendance, tipsy as some of them were, really enjoyed it.

Tunes this week are pretty stock; neat mix devolving down to the standard stuff (Zappa and the Donnas make appearances), though I’d not heard the song in at #5 before, and I really kinda dug it. It also closes strong with a ton of Nordic headbanging, which I may or may not have banged along with:

  1. “You Make My Dreams” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  2. “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley
  3. “No Surprises” – Radiohead
  4. “Love is a Battlefield” – Pat Benetar
  5. “On Your Speakers” – Damone
  6. “Wasting Time” – Day Wave
  7. “Rock of Ages” – Def Leppard
  8. “Dodged a Bullet” – Alice Jemima
  9. “Wig-Wam Bam” – The Donnas
  10. “Wowie Zowie”- The Mothers of Invention
  11. “Nothing Can Stop Me” – Heavens To Betsy
  12. “Skip Under Lide” – Lumsk
  13. “Iron” – Ensiferium
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unpleasant old feelings

27
Sep

I’ve probably been paying more attention to the current Supreme Court business than is healthy, and the salaciousness of everything is certainly increasing the coverage this particular reality show being put on by our government is getting. Mostly, though, I’m hating the fact that here, in 2018, we’re where we are as a society, that in spite of all the stories we were told as children; that those in charge would be mature, responsible adults we could trust; really aren’t; they’re the same preppie jock assholes who casually abused all of us who weren’t in the “in crowd”.

This piece that Lili Loofbourow wrote for Slate this week really gets to the heart of it; the bullies who tormented the nerds and harassed the pretty girls, the ones we were all told would be pumping our gas someday, are in charge of this asylum we call America, and no matter how successful those of us who weren’t the popular kids become, seeing guys like Kavanaugh, who I’m sure gave his share of wedgies and knocked his share of books out of the nerds’ hands in the hallway, getting away with this shit, in the highest eschelons of power; dredges up all sorts of repressed feelings I thought I was over years ago.

My particular discomfort, I freely admit, is not particularly significant compared to the sexual assaults these sorts of people inflicted on women like Dr. Blasey Ford, the other women who’ve come forward, the many more I’m sure haven’t, and all those I’ve seen revisiting and re-experiencing their own experiences this week, but nonetheless, I find myself feeling things like rising resentment of all those folks who teased me for being the fat kid or the nerd or whatever. It doesn’t matter that I’ve found success, if not fulfillment in my career, raised a wonderful family, and developed a wonderfully supportive network of creative and wonderful friends and collaborators, and even get to be, on the occasional weekend, a bad ass rock star; when this sort of thing (particularly that yearbook stuff) comes to the fore, I’m an awkward, overweight fourteen year old getting teased by the damned jock assholes (that the adults seemed to think were above reproach) again.

I really don’t like feeling this way. Damn it all.

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job interviews on the national stage, and broken societal standards

25
Sep

If you know me, you pretty much know that Bret Kavanagh and I are not particularly in line politically. All told, I’m not generally supportive of his nomination, though given the current administration, someone of his ideological stripe being nominated is pretty much par for the course. That said, in terms of his resume at least, he’s qualified for the position, which is enough to get you the interview.

Getting an interview, however, as any of us who’ve ever sought employment or promotion, doesn’t guarantee you the job, even if you’re a well-to-do conservative white guy with a prep-school, ivy-league pedigree, especially when the interview process turns up areas of concern, which, in the case of this guy, there’s definitely concern, even before the most recent headlines get considered; there are definite issues of integrity and trust to consider.

Kavanaugh’s statements the Fox interview he did Monday night kind of confirm that. In that interview, he characterized his high school and college self as a virginal Christian student-athlete. This does not correspond with the prevailing Georgetown Prep culture (as described by his friend’s memoir and other sources, like his high school yearbook), and certainly doesn’t agree with the allegations (up to three publicly at the time I write this) of his sexual misconduct in high school and college.

Now, we’ve all done things in our youth that we’d rather we hadn’t. Youthful indiscretions happen, and in many cases, given proper contritition and rehabilitative maturation, don’t reflect the adult version of ourselves (a great contemporaneous example is congressional candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas, who’s up-front about his history, and his ability to overcome it, and how it doesn’t reflect who he is today), and wouldn’t, in most cases, reflect on our present-day suitability for a given position.

That, however, doesn’t appear to be the default position of white republican men in our country, which is a shame. Kavanaugh, by doubling down on the denials of any instance of behavior of the sort he’s been accused of, especially when given the various permutations of defensive strategies leveraged on his behalf by fellow rich white conservative men, ranging from flat denials to vast conspiracies involving mistaken identity and maps of MD houses downloaded from zillow dot com to (most concerningly) justification and normalization of sexual assault/attempted rape as normal “boys will be boys” behavior leading to acceptance of such things, is, frankly, of great concern regarding the Judge’s suitability, and a severe defect in our culture that such a thing is considered acceptable.

Which leads me to the political cartoon I’ve shared above.

The cartoon, by Mike Smith, which appeared in the Las Vegas Sun on September 20, has been making the rounds on social media, and really gets right to the heart of what I think is actually the most important issue here, that, as a society, large swaths of us here in America continue to believe the double-standard that sexual assualt/harassment/rape/whatever, is, variously, a thing that men aren’t really responsible for, and that sort of behavior is, at best, youthful hijinx, and at worst, the fault of the female victim.

This, frankly, is ridiculous. Why we as a country continue to perpetuate the “well, she must have been asking for it” business, and excuse men who engage in such things (and frankly, *most* of us have no problem not sexually assualting people, and in fact, often worry that we’d ever inadvertently make anyone feel offended, uncomfortable, or threatened in that, or any other manner, and if we did, we offer unconditional apologies and would like any advice to avoid such things in the future) is completely unfathomable to me. I just can’t get behind it, and it really bugs me that this is a kind of thing that continues to happen on the public stage, in our government, in 2018, where we should all know better.

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all the bands

24
Sep

As I posted on social media last evening:

So, that’s Ravencon 13.5 in the books. Having performed with Dimensional Riffs, Metricula and her Friends with Benefits (including the Misbehavin’ Maidens and Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit), sitting in with Dirty Metal Lefty (who’s awesome – check her out!), and even myself just a little bit, I guess the emerging legend is true….I am in *every* band.

And ya know what? After the day/week/month/year (♫I’ll be there for yo-ou!♫) I’ve had, I really needed it.
Thanks to all your great performers and creators who helped make my weekend better (those I performed with, and those I didn’t – Angela Pritchett, for example – she’s also awesome). You’re awesome, excellent, and I really appreciate you; I need y’all to know that.

Ravencon 13.5, the smaller, off-cycle version of the usual April endeavor (only back in Richmond, which was one nice thing) that came out of the wreckage of Ravenconcert, a cool idea, that never ended up happening because reasons, is over and done. It…existed, and mostly functioned. There were definitely some problems, as many of us expected, but as most of us kept saying, we made our own fun.

The ‘Riffs shows were…okay. I thought the energy on Friday night was right, even if the proficiency wasn’t, and pretty much the opposite happened on Saturday. Certain members of the group disagree with that assessment, but I was sober; I trust my opinion. There was some behind-the-scenes drama as tends to happen with these kids, but those that turned up enjoyed the shows, which is what really matters in the end. I like making music fans happy.

As indicated above, I also backed up my buddy Metricula for her set on Friday night on bass as part of the “Friends with Benefits”, which was a blast, getting to play her stuff, including the first live performance of our cover of Intershellar’s “Dreamland” that we recorded for Streamer Song Swap earlier this year, and the debut of “Polticians Make Shit G-Y-Ns”, featuring the amazing Misbehavin’ Maidens. I really hope the “Friends with Benefits” becomes a regular thing; it’s great fun, and again, the audience really enjoyed it. Also, the whole thing *might* be streamed online someplace, if you’re into that.

I also ended up sitting in with local singer-songwriter Dirty Metal Lefty on Sunday morning, who does some really great, personal tunes and has a great style. Seriously, check her out; she seemed to appreciate the riffs I was laying down on top of her compositions, and since we’re if-not-exactly-neighbors-but-still-in-the-RVA, I’m hoping we’ll get to play together again sometime soon.

And yeah, I got to hang with my friends the Maidens again, as well as some of my usual con buddies as indicated above, as well as several who weren’t. Also, like I said to great length in previous posts in this space, last week was pretty much hell on wheels, and while the con itself lived up to the Trash Fire™ expectations, we made it fun for ourselves, which is all you can do.

While it occasionally felt like work, I always left feeling better having made some music; I was worried it wasn’t going to work out that way this time. And, for a great many people, I became a story for the con, as I’m apparently in all the bands.

I’ll take it, especially since I found dreaded “possible government shutdown planning under way” emails in my inbox at the office this morning. No serious indication it’s actually going to happen, but it is just a couple of days from the end of the FY, and there’s no budget or CR, and most of the government is laser-focused on Kavanagh and his wandering hands (and other things) at the moment, so who knows.

I’m gonna coast on the positive vibes I carried out of the weekend; should last at least until mid-day.

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