friday random elevenish: “um…no” edition

27
Jul

It’s not even over, and it’s already been the week from hell.

I’m not even going to get into the work bits, because I don’t want to get ridiculously angry again. The weather’s been a mess and I haven’t managed to get *any* biking in this week at all, and also, Lady Sif is still missing; we’ve done everything we can (looking around, keeping food out, checking with the shelter, etc); but I’m kind of accepted she’s not coming back – I always had kind of bad feeling that she, being pretty much the runt of her litter and being a little sickly here and there, wouldn’t be with us really long (and the anecdotally-proven habit of animals wandering off if they know their time is short doesn’t help). Anyway, if she comes back, I will be amazingly happy, but my brain has already kind of gone into mourning – it’s been two weeks with no sign whatsoever.

Miss ya, kitten. My shoulder is a lonelier place.

Yeah.

I’m kind of a mess, to be honest. Beyond my spur-of-the-moment adventure Wednesday night heading out to Isley Brewing for their conveniently-timed open mic night, which wasn’t my best set ever, but was far from my worst (the guys at the bar said they liked what I tried to bring, even when I wasn’t thrilled, and insisted I come back) and a couple of minor, fleeting moments of okay (like when Luke Cage said “Where’s My Money, Honey?” on TV)it’s been crap all over. That little adventure helped for a while.

I got nothing planned for the weekend. Pfft.

Anyway; here’s some music; I don’t feel much like commenting other to day that the mix is bog-standard “meh”:

  1. “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” – AC/DC
  2. “Hang Me Up To Dry” – Cold War Kids
  3. “Take It Off” – The Donnas
  4. “My God” – Jethro Tull
  5. “Starman” – David Bowie
  6. “Officially Dead” – Veruca Salt
  7. “Going to California (Mandolin/Guitar Mix)” – Led Zepplin
  8. “Nothin’ But A Good Time” – Poison
  9. “Mr. Green Genes (live)” – Frank Zappa
  10. “That’s All” – Genesis
  11. “Run Fast” – The Julie Ruin
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challenging my positivity

24
Jul

I am going to remain positive today.

I am going to remain positive today.

I am going to remain positive today.

I was copied on a work email yesterday after I left for the day containing an obviously long-existent, complex and largely complete document providing a description of a supposedly undocumented process I’ve been asking this exact person for for two years with no success (everyone said it didn’t exist), which was provided happily and without drama when someone else made an off-hand comment.

I am making rude hand gestures at my computer screen.

{{{deep breath}}}

I am going to remain positive today.

I am going to remain positive today.

…..

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friday random elevenish: “feis funk” edition

20
Jul

This week, I tell you…

While the family dancers didn’t have a bad showing overall at the US Open this past weekend, I somehow ended up picking up a bug from all the kids wandering around; started with the headaches and sinus congestion, went through some serious lower GI issues (I shat away seven pounds in 24 hours; I got well under 220 there, but that’s not the way I’d prefer to do it), and general aches and pains. I think I’m mostly coming out of it now, though I’ve basically just been muddling through work (which is shit, but I’m not going to talk about it , because I’m trying to be positive today), then coming home, eating something or other, then collapsing. I’ve been a week off the bike, too, because I don’t have the energy or lungs, frankly, and I’m missing my “two-wheeled meditation” as I call it. I was, shall we say, a bit salty yesterday, especially after coming off some work crap I said I wasn’t going to talk about, yesterday.

But yes, I forced myself to be a bit more active on Wednesday, as it was our big 2-0 wedding anniversary. According to the googles, “China” is the traditional gift, but we’re not exactly traditional; I got her an espresso pot and a set of neat cups and saucers to go with it (maybe that is china? I dunno), she got me a Kindle Fire 7 to replace my dear departed ancient kindle that finally died a few months ago. We also had a nice dinner out at Capital Ale House, a favorite resturant of ours (which just happens to be down the street from the dance school, where we’d previously dumped the children because dance classes, of course), and did some poking around stores nearby afterwards.

Also, yeah, we got all the kids back Monday night, as the eldest was retrieved from her trip to Australia. She’s largely sorted from the jet lag and all, and had an amazing time.

Also Monday night (likely during the late-night return of the eldest child), the kitten (well, not kitten, but she’s still tiny), Lady Sif, somehow got out, and has been out doing rumspringa all week, and while I’m sure she’s probably hiding under the neighbor’s shed like Shamokin used to, but I’m still a little worried, and that’s been a low-level stressor all week as well. If she’s reading the internet, come on back, Sif, okay? We have treats.

Otherwise, I’m just trying to get through my day so I can go home and put this week behind me, and get onto the weekend. As it stands now, I need some energy and constitution, as dear friends are coming to town to do an ad-hoc brewery/cidery tour through Scott’s Addition. We personally love Blue Bee Cider and Isley Brewing in the neighborhood, but there are almost a dozen other craft breweries/cideries (plus a meadery and a distillery) in the mix as well, and tons of food trucks and events at so many of them. I expect we’ll have a good time.

Anyway, that’s life from here. I’m trying to focus on the positive things, as there’ve been a bunch of non-positive things tossed my way this week. I’m going to, if not always, try to look on the bright side of life for the rest of the day. Hoping I can manage it.

Anyway, tunes. Not a bad mix – some new faces, twice the Frank (and probably the best version of “Stairway…” I’ve ever heard…seriously), and a bit there in the middle that could read as a playlist from the early days of MTV. It’s made the morning sound okay as I dig through spreadsheets.

  1. “The Voice” – David Arkenstone
  2. “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” – Frank Zappa
  3. “Sossity You’re A Woman” – Jethro Tull
  4. “Gold on the Ceiling” – The Black Keys
  5. “Thelonius” – Jeff Beck
  6. “Round and Round” – Ratt
  7. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  8. “Little Red Corvette” – Prince
  9. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
  10. “The Great Salt Lake” – Band of Horses
  11. “T-Shirt Weather” – Circa Waves
  12. “Rock ‘N Roll Suicide” – David Bowie
  13. “Stairway to Heaven (live)” – Frank Zappa
  14. “Heart it Races” – Dr. Dog
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twenty

18
Jul

Twenty years ago, we got up in front of some people and said some words.

In the time since (and actually, for quite a while before; it took us a while to get to the whole official business, but that’s okay), we’ve put up with each other’s insecurities and quirks, supported each other through tough times, celebrated victories, laughed quite a bit, helped each other (most of the time) to be our best selves, and generally faced the world together.

And, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you, my dear. Let’s do another couple of decades, at least, huh?

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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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