two or three places at once

16
Jul

It was a very, very busy weekend, as you might have imagined.

Friday was four hours or so of feis set-up and arranging, and ended up getting bitten by some show choir risers (the bruise on my forearm is *almost* faded now, though); the things I do for my family, I tell you. Saturday was about fourteen hours of running sound for stage two, lifting heavy things, running around making sure everyone had what the needed, gettting frustrated with schedules being off-track and adjusting on-the-fly, and generally being in the top five busiest people at the US Open Championships. Oh well, my family and friends did pretty well, all told, and people quite liked the new, hand-made solo dress my wife made for herself; this business plan of hers may just get off the ground soon.

Once the competition was out of the way, Sunday was relatively normal, though it involved laundry, groceries, cracking the whip on children who tried to convince me that they were ridiculously worn out when they hadn’t done nearly as much the day before as their old as dirt parents did so cleaning up and putting away and general straightening up got done, and wrapped up with my playing a game with myself to fill the 16GB USB drive I use to play music in the car with as much stuff as possible (I got some new tunes over the last few weeks) and leaving as little idle free space as practicable.

I ended up with 232k free. Sure, that’s like 100 Atari 2600 games, but only a few seconds of MP3 at a decent bitrate. I call it a win.

I also learned that while I was Dance Dad-ing, I received applause in absentia at Con-Gregate down in High Point NC, as I was present as backing track recordings during the Blibbering Humdingers show. That’s cool. I have fans and stuff, and was able to be a couple of different places at once.

Of course, I’m now paying for that sort of exertion; I woke this morning with a sore, scratchy throat, sinus headaches, and coughing up green stuff. Dammit.

Oh, and my kid is currently winging her way back across the Pacific, and will be home at some point today. I think it’s safe to say she had a pretty good time.

So…yeah.

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friday random the thirteenth – “duty calls…for prioritization” edition

13
Jul

It has been a week (well, technically, I guess every week is a week, but whatever). Besides the musical adventure I talked about yesterday, I haven’t actually done a hell of a lot beyond work, bike, and sleep, which is kinda what I do most of the time. Work has been the usual frustrations, with lawyers, contractors, developers, special integrated teams, and all the usual bullshit to disrupt schedules that don’t have a lot of slack in them, and I have to break some not entirely great news to someone who really wants to help me do very good things, but can’t because of all kinds of administrative obstacles. Outside of work, I’ve watched three friends have to deal with some pretty awful things; two beloved pets dying, and one being diagnosed with an incurable condition that’s going to take another beloved pet away before his time. It sucks. Go hug your furry or scaly friend if you’ve got one.

This weekend’s schedule is largely filled with Dance Dad Duty™ , as Saturday is the WIDA US Open Championship, and I have stuff to do while everyone else competes. That also means I’m spending most of Friday evening on set up and such. I don’t mind doing these things; it keeps me busy, and people appreciate it. If you’re in Richmond, there’s some neat dancing to see.

If you’re in North Carolina, however, there’s a couple of cool things I won’t be able to do, but friends and musical co-conspirators are involved with – the Humdingers are playing at the Art of Fandom Celebration in Raleigh tonight, and at Congregate 5 in High Point on Saturday (also there for the con – an increasingly me-less Dimensional Riffs, Metricula, Gray Rinehart, White Plectrum, and other performers and creators). I hear I’ll be present in the form of backing tracks and songs I had a hand in writing, so there’s that.

Otherwise, that’s it. Here are tunes; thirteen of them, to match the date. Mostly the usual stuff, but leads off with a neat rarity:

  1. “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Prince
  2. “New York City” – Punch Brothers
  3. “Island in the Sun” – Weezer
  4. “Advance Romance” – Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart
  5. “I Keep Forgettin'” – Michael McDonald
  6. “Heat of the Moment” – Asia
  7. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
  8. “I Dare You” – The xx
  9. “Kiss-and-Ride” – Bratmobile
  10. “Svarta Ankan” – Falconer
  11. “Turn Up The Radio” – Autograph
  12. “Fill in the Blank” – Car Seat Headrest
  13. “Under the Milky Way (acoustic version)” – The Church
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old man rocking

12
Jul

So, earlier this week I won tickets from awesome local indpendent radio station WNRN for a show in the city at Strange Matter (a restaurant/”underground music venue”); featuring up-and-comer Lindsey Jordan, aka Snail Mail, along with openers Bonny Doon (with Lyndsey sitting in on bass) and local act Sammi Lanzetta.

I’d become a fan of Snail Mail a few months back when my friend Dave (bass player for such wonderful acts as Hawthorn and Holly and Ashleytrix & the Wzrds) turned me on to the band; he’s always finding neat stuff. It’s very indie guitar pop from a 19 year old wunderkind who’s getting all sorts of buzz with her new album, Lush, so I was interested.

I’d never been to the venue before, though it’s your pretty typical RVA hipster bar: open space, flat black paint, neat old bar, stacks of vintage arcade machines in the back; typical rock club (though the restaurant menu for when there isn’t music going looks pretty great and worth trying), not all that different from the places I used to go see bands play in the mid-90s. Walking in, it was pretty clear we were some of the oldest folks there, except for the couple that walked over to chat with us and working to determine who was actually the oldest person in the bar (turns out they had a few years on us), and after a few minutes, we discovered we both got in via WNRN membership, which was cool.

Also, apparently, high-waisted mom jeans are back as a fashion thing that’s come back around for the college and twentysomething crowd.

The show itself was kind of up-and-down, Sammi Lanzetta and her band were high-energy and engaging (even if their sound was horked up – not uncommon for an opener); kind of an upbeat version of Hole/Liz Phair filtered through the Go-Gos. Really dug it. Bonny Doon was pure hipstery indie rock with a bit of a country edge; right in my wheelhouse, though a bit less frentic. Definitely going to dig through their recorded output.

Snail Mail was…okay. She and her band sounded great (she’s got some serious chops), though as a performer, I’m not sure she’s quite done cooking yet, if you know what I mean. I understand that it’s the typical thing for young indie rockers to do the shoegaze thing these days and not interact much with the crowd, but I kind of felt the energy was off – I’m used to lots of give-and-take with the audience – as a performer, I know I draw energy from the crowd, and they draw it from us on stage; that wasn’t happening with the headliners last night. The youngsters in the crowd were, however, into it, though the band kind of looked a bit bored. I think some of it has to do with Lindsey’s inexperience and relative age, though seeing her sit in on bass with the previous act, she was bouncy, engaging and having a blast – but I didn’t get the sense of fun when she was out front. Oh well; I expect in ten years she’ll be amazing once she gets a few hundred more shows under her belt and a bit more life experience.

Or, you know, I was just and old man up past my bedtime watching music being performed for and by folks my eldest daughter’s age ( and who was also kind of distractingly shorter than my ten-year-old), and just didn’t get it.

Who knows…I can still rock, right?

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if one is quaffed, two will fill in it’s place

10
Jul



(H/T to the Dragon*Con (unofficial) discussion group)

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thirty-five

06
Jul

As you might surmise, this is not my age.

It is the number of miles I rode today on the Virginia Capital Trail. My goal all summer has been to work up to riding, essentially, from Richmond to Williamsburg on the trail. Originally, that idea was the entire 52 mile length. On my 20 pound mountain bike, that wasn’t going to happen. And, there’s a great trailhead within a fifteen minute drive of the house that makes for a good parking/starting point, about ten miles into the trail, and there’s another one just on the edge of Williamsburg that shaves a bit more off.

I did not ride from Richmond to Williamsburg (I shall explain why shortly), though I did ride the equivalent; I just went out half way and turned around. Going to Williamsburg requires my lovely wife driving out and picking me up. This didn’t, and she is very busy making dresses and performing alterations ahead of next weekend’s WIDA Open Championship, and I did not wish to take her away from that. This way, I didn’t have to bother her.

As I said, I took Friday off, because nobody was there anyway. I hit the trail around 8:10am, and finished up just shy of 11:30. Seventeen and a half miles out, seventeen and a half back. I did great for the first thirty miles. The last five hurt, though I did it. Bucket list achievement unlocked.

For posterity, here’s photographic documentation of the before and after, left to right:

I look a bit less chipper in the after image, but I was still rather happy with my accomplishment.

According to a calculator I found online, I burned approximately 1800 calories, which makes the beer I’m drinking right now (Hardywood Tropication IPA) *free*. The next one’ll be free too, but I don’t know what that one’s gonna be just yet. We shall see.

That has been my day, other than a run out to the store to buy a couple of pairs of shorts, because it’s ridiculously hot right now, and I only had one pair of non-bike shorts in my current size, and I’d donated all the others. Got caught in the rain on the way back, but whatever.

Anyway, I feel good about it. I bragged about it to my kid, who’s currently unfolding in Sydney airport after sixteen hours crossing the Atlantic (she time-traveled via the magic of timezones and the international date line as well, which is bad ass.). She’ll be in Adelaide tomorrow.

That’s been my day. I won.

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fridaythursday random elevenish – “beware the drop bears” edition

05
Jul

second Civil War aside, I had a very low-key 4th of July, other than a long, barely populated drive out to Amherst and back, dropping the eldest off with a couple of her professors and a cadre of her fellow students who will, quite likely by the time many of you read this, be on a very long journey to the land of Vegemite and dangerous animals, Australia, for a week or so of attendance at an international dance conference and hopefully some very cool experiences. The price was largely right, and given the fact that I had no such opportunities at her age, we made sure she could be capable of having such an opportunity herself. My summers during college involved eighty hours a week of driving catering trucks and peeling potatoes, which, while not an awful experience, pales in comparison to being able to travel to the other side of the world, meet people with shared interests from across the planet, and pet baby koalas.

As a parent, these are the kinds of things you gotta make happen for the kids.



This week, given the 4th being on Wednesday, has made my office pretty much a ghost town all week; to that end, I’m taking Friday off (thus this Thursday entry again), because it makes sense to do so. I could use the mental health day, and I’ve decided, more or less that tomorrow is going to be my big VA Capital Trail ride – given how busy my spouse is with prepping costumes and and such for the WIDA US Open Championships the school is hosting next weekend (it appeasr I’ll be running sound for one of the stages, as expected), I think it’ll be a 15-17 mile out and back thing, rather than a “have the wife pick me up in Williamsburg” thing, which is fine, as the return leg always feels shorter anyway. It’ll feel good to get that crossed off the schedule.

Getting that out of the way will also clear the decks for the plans we have Saturday (I won’t feel so guilty about skipping a day if I did 35 day prior), which is to attend the Compassionate Action Conference downtown, which is a day of speakers about animal welfare and cool stuff like that; also, The Kitten Lady will be there, and we’re all big fans of her work, and especially some of her rescue kittens. It’ll be cool.

Otherwise, life is life, which, if you are keeping track, is not the best it could be right now for me (so much stress), but whatever. Gonna get through it, which is all we can do.

Anyway, tunes are the thing. Pretty standard; lots of indie, two generations of Zappa, and the Wang Chunk single that’s better than the one everybody knows anyway:

  1. “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” – Frank Zappa
  2. “Eyes Without A Face” – Billy Idol
  3. “Sublime” – What I Got
  4. “June -N- July” – Cadallaca
  5. “Stolen Dance” – Milky Chance
  6. “Dance Hall Days” – Wang Chung
  7. “We Belong” – Pat Benetar
  8. “The Torture Never Stops” – Dweezil Zappa
  9. “Slepp Meg” – Lumsk
  10. “She Sells Sanctuary” – The Cult
  11. “Pompeii” – Bastille
  12. “Photograph” – Def Leppard
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friday thursday random elevenish: “struggling to conquer cynicism, kinda winning” edition

28
Jun

Setting this loose today, because I’m off the clock tomorrow as mentioned, and probably won’t be locked to a computer while things load and compile, so…

Anyway, the week, as a mentioned, has been relatively quiet – I’ve got a couple of conversations that have to happen today before I cut loose for the week, some of which offer tantalizing possibility, but are more than likely going to get scuttled once the higher-ups get in the way of progress. I’m going to have to manage expectations, and kick the can down the street a ways until I can get the boss back and talk about strategies, because the savings could be huge if they let me do it.

Also, they are *finally* starting to migrate our organization’s email over to the Department’s Enterprise Email service (long overdue; we shouldn’t be managing our own), though the instructions and information regarding prep (mostly locally sourced) are not particularly clear or thorough. I am supremely glad I am not here tomorrow to witness the carnage.

I hate that I’m that cynical, but my experiences trying to do my job in a way that fits with my values of not wasting the taxpayers’ (read: you and me and everybody else) have not been positive the last few years.

Grrr.

It’s hard for me to not be cynical and outraged at anything happening in government right now (save a couple really great victories in Democratic primaries, which give me some hope), what with daily pictures of crying kids in cages and the news about Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement yesterday, pretty much timed perfectly for maximum craziness. We’re in for an interesting couple of months, certainly, but then, it’s been an interesting couple of years.

Oh well, I’m going to do my best to improve things from where I’m sitting, offer help and support where I can, and try to maintain some sort of positivity, in spite of our being part of what I’ve increasingly started to consider a Nation In Decline™

Oh well; I’ve gotten over fifty miles in this week (had a nice twelve miler yesterday), weighed in at *exactly* 220lb this morning, have a nice opportunity to make music with my friends tomorrow, and what looks like a nice Saturday afternoon spent with friends to look forward to, and the weather guy on the radio this morning talked excitedly about no rain in the forecast for the next five to seven days and how things will “dry out” (not that I didn’t enjoy slogging through six inches of mud, uphill, the other day, but it hurts) soon, and as I said before, this week, Thursday is my Friday.

SoI shall find the positive where I can.

Anyway, tunes. This week’s list is lots of indie, perhaps the most used movie trailer/commercial tune of recent memory (and was a big hit on my college campus in the early 90s), and some good old hair metal. I also let it expand a bit beyond the legitmate definition of “eleven-ish”. Oh well. Fine with me:

  1. “Pibroch” – Jethro Tull
  2. “Gone” – Day Wave
  3. “If You Leave” – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
  4. “Electric Feel (Video Mix) – MGMT
  5. “Einharjar” – King of Asgard
  6. “Cherry Pie” – Warrant
  7. “Send Me On My Way” – Rusted Root
  8. “Alone” – Heart
  9. “Electric Band” – Wild Flag
  10. “One of these Days (Live 1988) – Pink Floyd
  11. “Jump” – Van Halen
  12. “Mascaria” – Slant 6
  13. “Someone New” – Hozier
  14. “So Young” – Portugal The Man
  15. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears
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lulled into a false sense of security?

27
Jun

So far, this week’s been relatively painless. As Independence Day is on Wednesday this year, the whole of next week (starting, say…this Thursday afternoon) is essentially treated as a holiday weekend by everyone in my occupational orbit. With people taking leave everywhere, it’s tough to reach a quorum for anything, so the usual meetings are being cancelled more often than not.

I had five emails waiting for me when I got into the office this morning. Five. And none of them were relevant; all of them system generated cruft. This never happens.

As the title suggests, I wonder if the universe is attempting to dope me into complacency before dropping the hammer. it’s got today and tomorrow to do so, because I’m taking off work on Friday. Partially because I need a mental health day, and also because I’m playing a Humdingers show at the Hillsborough (NC) Public Library on Friday night, and wanted to be rested and take my time with the drive. Music-making is always a good thing.

Also, as of last night, I have almost 40 miles biked this week so far; twenty-two on pavement (VA Capital Trail) and seventeen on mud (my usual park at Dutch Gap, which was *very* muddy). I came out of Monday’s ride feeling relieved and refreshed. Tuesday’s ride in the mud *hurt*. The sky is threateningly cloudy today, but the rain’s supposed to hold off – I’m looking at taking a somewhat shorter (under fifteen) on the pavement today, nice and slow, to “play through the pain”, so to speak, but not aggravate my muscle stress.

Anyway, we’ll see what the next couple of days hold…

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friday random elevenish – “trying to be my best self” edition

22
Jun

It has been, shall we say, not my best week.

Coming off of some very difficult stuff at work*, the stress and anxiety of Father’s Day (yeah, it hits me hard), adjusting to the kids being home from school, some weird weather, and frankly, outrage fatigue from the news cycle this week, I have not been my best. I’m trying to do better.

My best times this week were all on the trail; especially Wednesday’s twenty on the Virginia Capital Trail. ‘Twas relaxing, rejuvenating, and had the favor of the gods, as the rain didn’t start until the moment I finished racking the bike on the car after finishing. It also seemed like I was going downhill both ways, which was weird, but I’ll take it.

I’m hoping the weekend provides some relief; we’ll see. The big girls are heading out for a dance competition on the shore of the Great Lakes this weekend; it was going to be all the girls, though the youngest started running a fever last night. We’ll see how that impacts male bonding time (we still might get out to see Deadpool 2, I dunno). Sick kids are tough, though. Anyway, the weather looks like hell this week, so I’m probably just going to accept that the biking isn’t happening and pick up again on Monday.

As for this week’s playlist, I like it; equal parts 80s pop and modern indie. Works for me.

  1. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
  2. “Young Presidents” – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
  3. “Santonian Shores” – Eluveitie
  4. “Ophelia” – The Lumineers
  5. “Mythological Beauty” – Big Thief
  6. “Killer Queen” – Queen
  7. “Phantom Limb”- The Shins
  8. “Jesse’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
  9. “Dangerous Veils” – Jethro Tull
  10. “Home” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
  11. “I Wanna Go Back” – Eddie Money
  12. “Dickie’s Such and Asshole (live)” – Frank Zappa

Oh, and finally, since Pokemon Go rolled out the friends/trading business finally, my trainer code is 2766 8892 1979; if you’re playing, let’s be friends.

__________________________

*- management of resources, belligerent developers, the boss out in training when I really need some input, contracting woes, one really long day to support meetings, some senior folks in the department dangling money in front of me to get projects I want done done, though knowing that other people in the program office are going to stonewall me because my successes point out their deficiencies, and hearing the words “under investigation” whispered about an unrelated program; which doesn’t surprise me in the least, but is going to get in my way of getting stuff done. I really need to get out of here…

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nineteen

19
Jun

happy birthday, kid…

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