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Monday, April 30, 2012

Reviews and Other Useless Things

The Hunger Games is a YA (young adult) book, the first part of a trilogy, by Suzanne Collins. A bestseller on several lists with good reason, its adaptation is currently a blockbusting movie. In a dystopic future US, "Districts" must offer up two teens each year for The Hunger Games, a reality show mandatorily watched by the populace as the "Tributes" kill each other off until only the winner remains. Tight, great writing. So vivid and plausible that it evokes emotions as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 did, only with a younger set of characters and the protagonist is a girl. A 16 year old girl whose life thus far has trained her well to survive. I don't want to give too much away. It's a fantastic read and holds other levels to those who look for them. Collins did a wondrous job here and I can't wait to read part two.

Caught the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie movie "The Tourist" last week and have nothing but good to say for it. I don't know why it was a wash at theaters. It's very well written, acted and directed. Vaguely Hitchcockian, a bit of mystery with a lot of action. And easy on the eyes, with Depp and Jolie both in good form.

As I'm a B-movie horror buff, I also enjoyed "The St. Francisville Experiment", about a group of paranormal researchers who go to a haunted house and get what they came for. This was one of the "Blair Witch Project"- inspired bombs, but it's a fun ride.

As usual, I have 3 books going now. I never finished Keith Richard's autobiography the first time, so that's on my nightstand along with Peter Grant, The Man Who Led Zeppelin and part two of Stephen Fry's autobiographies, The Fry Chronicles. It must be biography season again. I find people's life stories engrossing, what can I say.

It seriously looks like rain and my books call me.

Happy Beltane, if you observe it. It's a good night to watch "The Wicker Man". The original, not the pitiful Nicolas Cage version. ;)

Big Think Monday

Big Think has put out one big idea or report after another the last few days. Relieve your Monday apprehension, boredom and stress by informing yourself with some new and interesting things. All of these were originally from the Big Think daily emails:

Keep your brain young
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120427163335.htm

Analytical thinking lowers religious belief
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21749-analytical-thinking-erodes-belief-in-god.html

Antidepressants more harmful than good
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/do-anti-depressants-do-more-harm-than-good?

Neural algorithims can replace spinal cord!
http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/bionics/algorithms-replace-the-spinal-cord-in-a-new-approach-to-neural-prosthetics

Traumatized kids do age faster
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/kids-in-violent-homes-really-do-grow-up-faster/256371/

Humility the best of all virtues/habits?
http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/27/humility-a-quiet-underappreciated-strength/?iid=hl-main-lede

How paranoid should we be?
http://nplusonemag.com/leave-your-cellphone-at-home

Clearer thinking through using a Second Language
http://www.psmag.com/education/second-language-translates-into-clearer-thinking-41740/

City Mouse and Country Mouse

For most of my life I was a nabe in one of the towns in the boroughs that make up NYC. I never lived in The Bronx or Queens. Just not me. And most of the time I was in Brooklyn or Staten Island I wanted to be in The City.

In every neighborhood I lived in I found the best view of Manhattan across the water. I cut school to go to the women's room in the pre-Trump Plaza Hotel, hoping to meet the famous. We walked out of the all-girl Catholic school I was in for 1/2 of 10th grade and went to the Algonquin Hotel to have lunch there. Fruit salad was 12 bucks there in 1973! Peggy and I ordred oe and split it. The waiter was very sweet. I don't remember how much we tipped him but we left for home right after so we could use our transit passes. We were in our uniforms, too. And the ubiquitous Catholic school raincoats.

Anyway, each neighborhood in each borough was its own town. It probably is still that way. Every block is a village within that town. That's where everyone knows your business if you're a family, and speculates if you're single.

Living in a country town is the same thing, only different. There are less people. You're not really anonymous, ever. Neither is anyone else. And there's more time because there's less going on, so gossip is the second-favorite indoor sport.

I had sharp edges when I moved here. My boss used to call me off people who were being asses dressed as customers. These weren't just customers. They were free to criticize and be nasty because they were O-So-Special Coop Members and they owned us here. I was a new widow. I'd gone from making 60K a year to making $6.07 an hour. After years of working at The Magickal Childe I took very little from people anymore. It was a tough adjustment and there's a different work culture here. It's a small employment pool and you can be blackballed. Which means you suck up however you're treated and go find somewhere that better matches your mood. For me that was The E St Grocer, a rundown convenience store in a crappy building in a buggy area. But it attracted a clientele I could handle, young thugwannabes, the old, the drunk, the poor, the violent, the crazy. Every night was a show. It was exhausting and nuts but I worked off my Cityness there. You get to saturation point in drama and never saw such dramas in the City. I'll never forget the little girl who came in night after night, never spoke, and would play Space Invaders while crying and shaking. My boss said her stepfather was raping her. And though everyone talked about it, nobody did anything. Yes, very different to the City.

Adjusting to country life has become easier. I see how things run because a while ago I decided to shut up and watch. It's awfully akin to the politics and power plays that I saw in the City. Again, the same thing only different.

Wherever we are, it's always like that. Humans don't differ all that much. We congregate, we define our tribes, we care about our corner of the bigger corner of the world, we suspect each other, sometimes we care for each other. Whether in the City or Country, the mouse is still a mouse, for all o'that.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In the Bucket Seat

Granted I've only been thinking about this for a couple of days but I never thought about a "Bucket List" ever before. And in thinking about it, I've already done a lot of the things that matter to me. I married someone I adored, I have the best daughter anybody could ask for and I have a wide and wild variety of friends and experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything.

There are things that I'd do that are out of the question now. One of life's ironies that when you have the time you don't have the other things you need to do what you will. Physically I can't do the traveling I'd wish, so that'll have to wait for the next time around. So will going to Oxbridge and reading English.

Publish at least one book. Yes, that's still in the works. I tore it all apart and started over again in February and March, and then put it aside in Gregmania. Time to get back to that.

Lose the weight. Also still in the works. The amount of weight I gained while on the opiates and being stuck in that "luxury downtown living" building didn't go on in 6 months and won't be lost in 6 months.

I'd like to meet Greg again, if for nothing else than to show him the tat.

I'd like to meet Jimmy Page, too.

I just don't have a bajillion longings to do/see/have. I've already seen a lot. I'm pretty content with my life. If there were anything at all possible, I'd get a time machine and travel back to make more of what I've already lived. Starting with every MSG concert I ever went to and adding in a few I didn't get to see.

Life's been strange enough without seeking much more. 

What would you guys put on a Bucket List?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Go Figure

There are times when I think my hobbit house has a life of its own when I'm not around. I just came in after a short afternoon outing, and I swear either someone was here or this place came to life while I was out. The mail slot was open, which I know it wasn't when I left, a couple of papers on my desk were on the floor (coulda been the Beest)... but nothing's missing and nothing's really amiss. It's weird, it just feels like something went on when I was out. Or someone was here. Ya know that feeling?

And I just had a flurry of phone calls. So many people in transition. People leaving jobs, people wondering what they'll do next, people having issues at work and with those in their lives. It seems the Year of Living on Edge has bled into a Spring of Uncertainty. So very much uproar and discontent going around. I have no answers. I listen, commiserate, then sit and worry about everyone.

Thank gods for AlkaSeltzer.

The pix I ordered from the concert arrived. Even the most puzzling of days holds little niceties. I'll get a set together for Strider and send her a small surprise.

Me, I'm going to sink into this old wingchair, put something engrossing but meaningless on the idiotbox and hope for the best.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Week that Was, or What Next?

It's nine p.m. Friday night, quiet and cool in the Shire. Beestowitz has belly-wobbled off to the bedroom after eating all her food. I'll follow in an hour or two. Near the end of The Hunger Games (good read, BTW, I'll be reviewing it) and I want to see how it ends.

I'm going through a post-dream come true kinda what- let down? Deflation? After something incredible happens does the rest of life always seem like some mix of stress and boredom or is the recent memory being so huge what makes regular life blah?

Is this a "how ya gonna keep em down on the farm after they've seen Pa-reeee?" thing? Seriously, it's been many years since there was such a huge deal in my life. Mission accomplished, aside from the thank you (and explanation) note I'll send Greg. And it was a great ride, beginning to end.

Guess I need a new mission. Hmmm.

The Ongoing Goings On

The day's business is over; quicker than I thought,  bing-bang-done. Today has been pretty damn productive, all things considered.

The Beest has allergies and every few minutes does quite a performance, hitching and making faces to let a couple sneezes go.

It's not been a great week for everyone in my life, as I heard that a former coworker's daughter died, she was only 33. Terrible. Another friend had to quit her job, too much stress. Good and bad, nothing lasts forever.

My new tattoo is healing. He really inked me; the skin is sore and I'll be shedding for a couple more days. But it looks good.

Good news- Robin Gibb has woken from the coma!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/apr/23/robin-gibb-waking-coma

The first 2 pix I ordered from the concert have arrived; there's more coming, though. The prints look better than the shots did online. Perhaps this weekend I'll get around to framing and hanging stuff. We've been back 5 months and I'm still not settled in!

Stevil is on the air with Jim Maxwell. It's so nice to have things back to normal after the year of fire and flood. I'm surprised at how long it's taking us to get back to where we were, but we're getting there. Maybe it's a minor miracle we've gotten anywhere near close to where we were when so rudely interrupted. I guess we don't bounce back as quickly as we once did, but we still do bounce back.

May we all keep bouncing.

A Very Windy Friday

Looks like the clouds are blowing over. It's still too chilly to put the plants out but my tomato plants are getting too big to keep indoors much longer. Since I lost a whole day to being hungover and feeling like death on a cracker there's a lot to catch up on today so I'll go to the news and get to the rest later.

The House passed CISPA, of course
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/27/cispa-cybersecurity-bill-passed-senate

The stars played a part?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424095659.htm

Rupie is under scrutiny on several fronts
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/news-corporation

Ringo and Paul together again
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/television-review-change-begins-article-1.1067953

Pete Fornatale has died
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/pete-fornatale-pioneering-nyc-rock-radio-deejay-writer-dead-66-article-1.1068146

There's a peacock running around my neighborhood
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120426215653800

Seems the whole Edwards team was corrupt
http://www2.scnow.com/news/2012/apr/27/ex-edwards-aide-retake-stand-5th-day-ar-3684648/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Broke my Party Bone

Well, that was a birthday I won't remember. Is it just me or does everyone get tanked on very little to drink and no food?

I do have a tattoo, and it looks terrific.

This is Recovery Day. Aside from the basic functions and what the lizard brain keeps operating I'm totally incapable. It seems nobody's dead (there are no bodies laying around and no crime scene tape) so nothing irreparable happened. Some days that's enough.

Damn, it's tough getting old! Thank you for all the good wishes. Hopefully, I'll be back to 'normal' and will resume regular broadcasting tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One for the Cable Guy

Last year a cable guy was here to fix things and a story came of it:
http://austanspace.blogspot.com/2011/07/perfect-explanation.html

Here was the pic of Greg in 74

I don't have the pic of Strider in the computer, but it's b&w and from a few years ago.

This has become a running joke and I considered telling Greg the story but there just wasn't the time or place for such a thing. But yesterday when I showed Gal Friday this pic of Strider, Greg and me


She busted a gut remembering the cable guy.
I almost want to call for service so he can see this one.

(And that's the sig that'll be the tattoo, too.)
(All these photos have been color-adjusted and cropped by our Stevil, btw.
Thanks, Bunky!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deer in the Headlights with the Tiger in the Spotlight

Well, there we are. Someone we know and love "adjusted" this shot to be a closeup and I love what he did. (Thanks Bunky!) I wouldn't call this series of pix the most flattering. But I treasure them. It's one night I'll never forget, a dream come true, engineered by someone who loves me. Under those circumstances I don't care if I looked like the Sea Hag.

I may get tattooed tomorrow. I have an appointment and a plan to go, but knowing how prior birthday plans have gone I'm not entirely counting on it. I dread birthdays, not because of getting older, but because of the BS involved. It's one of those things where other people have formed and promulgated plans and schemes only to renege on or ruin the event. For the last 3 years I've refused all plans for that reason. But the matter at hand is that I have a Sharpie signature that won't last forever and needs to be made permanent before it's damaged. We'll see what actually happens...

A and E

Awed and Exhausted, that is. How the hell does Greg Lake do it? I went to one show and I'm still shot. No amount of coffee or hours of sleep seem to be helping. And I'm years younger than him. He's doing 2 or 3 nights in a row and one day off, week after week. And traveling every day. Meeting and greeting people every night in the VIP deal. How the hell does he stand it? Where does he get the stamina?

Sure, he's not meeting his idol, and after being a rock star for 40+ years you must know exactly what people are like at these things. The nuts, the stupified, the ones with motives, all of it. Can't be anything new. We're a parade that goes by every night.

But how does he do it, at this age and not in the best of health? He's going on 65. He partied pretty damn hard through his youth ("To live reflected in a spoon" anyone?). He's a big guy, and has arthritis, apparently. I don't care how many staff are with him and doing things, he's still the one who has to get up there and perform every night.

He's got to be superhuman. Regular people can't do these things.

Still - After 2 Days!

Man oh Manischewitz. It's Tuesday and I'm not recovered. What the hell? Good thing I didn't drink, I'd be down for a week!

While I've been otherwise occupied, continuing stories keep rolling on and new stuff pops up.

Wait, he's still running?
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election-2012/newt-gingrich-hints-quit-presidential-race-article-1.1066502

Pot, meet kettle
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/mitt-romney-art-lie-article-1.1062570

Bradley Manning's lawyer wants a dismissal- fat chance of that
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/24/bradley-manning-lawyer-case-mishandled

John Edwards, the Biggest Loser
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/24/john-edwards-campaign-funds-trial

Why kids draw monsters and adults don't:
http://bigthink.com/ideas/killing-creativity-why-kids-draw-pictures-of-monsters-and-adults-dont?page=all

The dirty dozen
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/secret-service-prostitute-scandal_n_1447616.html

I can't believe there's a question of insanity here
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/anders-behring-breivik-trial_n_1448275.html?

Well. There are many things to do and I gotta do 'em.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome Back My Friends...Part 3

Bear with me, I'm reeeaally dragging today but this is the last part...
Dennis The Dude had told us to stay in our seats while the audience cleared out and we'd be called to go backstage for the VIP meet & greet. The audience cleared, and there were 33 (Strider counted) of us going back. After a while a guy called for us to show our passes or pink bracelets (they must've been the $200 package people) and off we went.

We go up some stairs and around and down a hallway and into the backstage area. There are catering tables to the right, but that's not part of our deal. Ahead of us to the left is a table and chair with a black "Greg Lake" backdrop, obviously where Greg will be seated for the photos. And there's a line forming, like we're waiting to see Santa Claus. Where the end of the line goes round a corner, there's a Santa chair, in fact. I covet the chair. The Dude comes around handing out the "GL" tote bags that hold the signed poster, the cd, and the instructions for downloading the pix they'll be taking. Nobody whips out their own camera back here. What the photographer takes is what we'll get, online. Shit. I'd bet anything Strider's a better photographer than the guy they have. The photos will be available 1-2 days later, meaning today or Tuesday since it's almost midnight and we're still in line (haven't had time to check yet). The Dude comes around offering wine, which we decline. And we wait. We're about midway down the line. It winds around and down another hallway. The roadies are bringing Greg's equipment right through the line and we keep having to get out of the way. The organizer in Strider is getting annoyed. This could be done better. I smile.

The VIP crowd is a motley crew. There's a guy who reminds me of Rick Moranis in "Ghostbusters" trying to pick up the 3 aged groupie- types with an invitation to a "Very, very fun party". There's a guy randomly citing 60s pop culture bits out loud. There's a big, tall guy in tie-dye doing one-liners. And there's an MTA cop (his Levi jacket has MTA 9/11 patches as well as ELP) right behind me. "Somebody did too many drugs," he mutters. "Somebody took the brown acid," I say. "Wavy Gravy told them not to..." he smiles. Eventually we're moving along and get to see what the crowd has been waiting for. Greg seated at the table, official photographer taking a couple of shots of each person with Greg as he chats and signs things. I really only care that he signs one thing- me. And I've determined, since he's Greg, to just ask for him to sign my arm. I asked Strider what I should say (my brains long gone) and she gave me the perfect intro line. I'm next, behind Rick Moranis and his pal who babble incessantly at Greg as he smiles with a desperate look in his eyes. He looks up at me, smiling. I lose my mind. They leave. Strider says I should pull up and sit down on my walker next to him, and I do.

This is it. I'm sitting with Greg. I'm a deer in the headlights. His eyes are showing how tired he is and he's trying hard to hold patience with all of us nutjobs. I say, idiotically, "I spoke to you last week on a radio show about the CalJam dvd." He sighs. "Oh, I speak to so many.." This is going south. He looks down at the table. "You must talk to hundreds a week..." I lamely offer. "Yes, and have senior moments," he says. "Were you there, at CalJam?"  "No, I was in New York; I saw all your shows at Madison Square Garden." "Ah," he says."Good shows." So I get to the point with Strider's line. "Greg, four months ago when we got these tickets I was hoping you'd sign my arm so I could have it tattooed." and I offer up my Sharpie and left arm. He sighs. "You know this is permanent, for life?" he says, in a rather fatherly tone and with warning eyes. "Yes, I have 2 others," I smile. He takes my left arm in one hand. "Hold very still. You're shaking," and he smiles at me, right in the eyes. Those eyes. Those eyes. His hands are huge, with noticeable arthritis, and he uses his calligraphy talent to write in Big Bold letters "Greg Lake" and under it, "xxx" around my arm. I'm ready to black out, and in fact I sort of fugue. I call Strider over, I think, at this point; it's blurry. She's been standing to the other side of the hallway watching with a great big smile. She comes over. We take pix. One or two of just Greg and me, a couple of Greg and Strider. What's racing thru my head is "I'm touching Greg! I'm touching Greg!" His white silk jacket under my fingers and him under that. And the photographer tells us to get in close for two of the 3 of us together. Some guy in line yells, "I want one of those!" Greg takes the cd she hands him and he asks who to sign it to, and she gives my name. What a daughter I have. Strider leans over the table, says something, and he holds her hand smiling The Big Nose Smile, eyes twinkling, and chuckles. I thank Greg again. He looks up and very Britishly says, "Goodbye." And that's it. The MTA guy moves into position with Greg. We take off into the night.

Later I ask Strider what she said to him. She got the Big Nose Smile, the one where his eyes twinkle like Santa Claus and his smile's so wide it disappears under the end of his nose. Nobody got that smile but her. Nobody. And she tells me, "I said "I have to be honest, I'm not here for you, I'm here for her. But it was  lovely show." That's what made Greg smile like that.

I love him more than ever.

Welcome Back My Friends... Part 2

Greg sat down and started a question and answer session. A lot of hands went up and the guys with the mikes (Andre and The Dude) ran around the orchestra. Standard questions and statements..."What happened to the Angel Pendant?" "How did you play 'The Sage' and can you tell me the chord progression?" One woman complained that we weren't all up and screaming. Some were ticked they didn't get to ask their questions but there was a time limit. I think it could've been a whole show by itself.

Then Greg went into his Jimi Hendrix experience. Starting with the well-known trivia that ELP were almost HELP. And he told us about the first time he saw Hendrix play, when Greg was still with The Gods, "A baaad band." as he said. Hendrix was playing after them at a gig. Greg was expecting a soul, sax-playing band, because that's what black dudes were playing then. And here he saw big stacks of speakers with an amp on top, and out comes Jimi Hendrix. The crowd booed him for tuning up in front of them. Jimi tore into "Foxy Lady." The band watched, stunned, as a sort of shockwave went thru the audience and Greg said he thought, "This changes the game." When Hendrix threw his guitar down, Greg said, "That was the worst thing. That sounded better than I was playing." His band went home in the van in silence. Greg looked grim. The audience laughed. He then played Jimi's "Bold as Love." Which was truly great. I wonder if that'll be on the new album.

Next, Greg began talking about Paris, which he loves and has lived in. That he loves Edith Piaf (who doesn't- only about 4 people made a noise, though). And that a French singer named Johnny Hallyday had a hit with "C'est La Vie", which is unusual- an Englishman writes a song that translates to French and becomes a hit there. Of course, he then sang "C'est La Vie." In mostly English. ;) And beautifully.

The "Lucky Man" story is one that every ELP fan knows. When they were recording their first album they needed one last song to make the time on the record that the contract required. Greg offered up a song he wrote when he was 12. Which was "Lucky Man." Here's a clip about the recent Quebec shows:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u-xds7eROM
"Lucky Man" became ELP's first big hit. And it was a big hit with our audience, too.

But the biggest surprise was when Greg put the guitars down and sat at a keyboard. I'd never in all these years seen him play keyboard until this tour. Sweet and low-key, he played and sang "People Get Ready (there's a train comin')". You coulda heard a pin drop in the house. And after, while everyone was standing and applauding, he said "Thank you very much. Goodnight," and walked offstage. Of course we weren't having it. A couple of minutes of whoops and whistles, solid applause. Would he do an encore? I was just about to start yelling "Encore!" When he reappeared.

And the sound system blared the first keys of "Karn Evil 9." Holy crap, the place roared (to me, the best sight in it was Strider standing up whooping here). His voice is  absolutely perfect for this song now. Deep, growly bits that he couldn't do when he was young and had a higher, tenor range. Now he really sounds like a jaded carnie.

Then he left the stage, to much noise. The house lights came up.

Part 3 in a little bit. Sorry, but it's Monday and there's business to take care of already.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome Back My Friends....Part 1

I don't know how he does it. I'm exhausted. Strider's on her way back to ME, I've made a pot of coffee so I could post at least some of what happened, and the Beest is back on the desk leaf, purring. It's over. I'm sad it's over, but can't quite wipe the smile off my face.

From the hotel, where the desk clerk warned about the crime scene on our floor and we found a bullet mark in the window glass, we set out via the GPS directions and got a bit lost. But we made the show in time, just as Dennis the Dude was going to call me to see what was up. He really was kinda like The Dude, too, just missing the sweater. We collected our passes and found our seats, which couldn't have been much better, and I perused the audience. Yep, same crowd, just older. Lots of guys, but with the wives this time. A few old groupies. I think there were 3 people under 50- Strider, a guy with an older guy, and somebody brought a granddaughter. A lot of the old hootin and hollering was gone, but enough good will filled the place. I'm sure there will be Youtubians posting, as I counted 8 cameras up and down, snatching bits of performances. Blessedly there was nobody singing along until Greg asked us to sing "Hey! You've got to hide your love away!" with him. But I'm ahead of myself.

The house darkened and stage lights went up, somewhat a mini-version of the old ELP shows with smoke machines and synchronized spotlights. And King Crimson followed- the original "Moonchild" was played, which went into the Kanye West song that samples "21st Century Schizoid Man", where Greg appeared and sang the whole song as the opening number. And from "Works Vol 1", "Lend Your Love to Me Tonight". Then he began talking. About how he was drawn into rock'n'roll, about learning to play guitar and how he and Robert Fripp grew up in Dorset learning the same things from the same teacher (Don Striker) and practising together. He sang "From the Beginning" to big applause. Then he told a story about seeing Elvis in Tahoe, with women fainting and the place looking like a bomb had gone off at the end, with the band "falling apart" after Elvis left the stage, and the lights coming up with the announcement, "Elvis has left the building." He was awed by Elvis' presence and effect. And then he launched into "Heartbreak Hotel".

He spoke a bit about King Crimson and the original line-up. He said the band was unusual or odd (I'm fogging there), which brought laughs from the audience, and he ripped into "Epitaph" followed by "In the Court of the Crimson King" and " Talk to the Wind." I was crying. Not sobby-sob, but overwhelmed, where tears just kept running from nowhere. Gone was the eye makeup and any pretense of coolness. He then talked about The Beatles phenomena and touring with Ringo's All-Stars. About asking Ringo, "I've had a few hits, but you had 200. How did that happen?" and Ringo telling him that Paul and John would walk in with 2 songs in a morning, and they'd both be hits, and that was just how it was. That's when he got us all yelling/singing, "HEY! You've got to hide your love A-way!" And it was suddenly Intermission time.

Strider went out to the car and I stayed in my seat, chatting with the nearby folks for the next 20 minutes. Where these intermissions used to find us smoking, toking and critiquing what we'd just heard, we now sat discussing whether he'd ever tour again, the traffic getting there, and our various health issues. What a difference 35 years makes!

I'll let Strider tell about her intermission, if she wants to. ;)

The lightshow came up again, reminiscent of the "Romeo and Juliet" lights of yore, and Greg did "Touch and Go". This is when fistpumping started and I noticed that the drummers down the other side of the aisle were stomping their invisible bass drums and hi-hats.

Then Greg did a simple, shortened version of "Trilogy" with a wistful "Goodbye." at the end. Blew me away. Again he got another guitar (he played a different one for each song) supplied by Andre the Roadie, and sang, "Still... You Turn Me On." The women got up. Much whooping and yells from the balcony.

And there, for today, is where I have to leave it. There is much more to tell, but tomorrow. Yes, Greg signed me. That'll all be in Part 2. I'm so tired and still sorting it out. It all went by so fast. Much too fast.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

From Senator Bernie Sanders

On the fly but wanted to share this from Bernie:

At a time when the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing and the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, many Americans are wondering whether this country is moving toward an oligarchic form of government where a handful of very wealthy people control the economic and political life of the nation. At a time when the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million people, it was not surprising to learn from a recent study that between 2009 and 2010, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers. Additionally, it is extremely disturbing that because of the absurd Citizens United Supreme Court decision, many of these billionaires are now using their money to strengthen their political hold on the country. "This is not what democracy looks like. This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like," Bernie said.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Final Thoughts

Once Strider's here there won't be time to blog. So this is it. Almost 4 months of planning and checking everything twice comes to fruition. I'm not shaky; there are little bursts of butterflies and the motor revs as the hours drag by slowly. My biggest fear now is that he'll be less than the really nice guy I've always imagined. Which would just disillusion me forever.

The coordinator emailed me with the final instructions. Everything's in place, I'm almost packed. Maybe my nerves are just shot and beyond responding, but tonight I'm okay. Things will fall into place. Or as Strider wondered, it's the calm before the storm. Who knows? :)

Thank you all for bearing with me through the last months of freakouts to get here. You rock. And you'll all be with me when I walk into that concert tomorrow. Wish me luck. I'll report on it Sunday when we're back home. Til then, Prog on. x

What the F*CK?

OK, so now I can't use Blogger without installing Goofle Chrome. Though I hate them with the white hot hatred of a thousand suns, I did. Except now I can't "sign in" to my account, though I am signed in, and I can't look at anything but this page or my own blog page.

I'm really glad I'll be outta here for even a little bit. Between this and the cat, I need a break.

Anyway, until this is sorted out, I don't know if I can respond to comments or see what anyone posts who's not on my front page. Jesus.

Tomorrow is Greg Lake Day

All's ready except for the last-minute packing. Some changes in plans, but nothing drastic. Between the excitement and the nerves I can't sweat the small stuff. I'm afraid to eat anything, but by tonight I'll be so hungry it'll win over the nerves. The hair is dyed and braided, the girly-prep is done; the only poo in the pastry is that I broke a nail just when they were all nice and even. Quel dommage, eh? If only all our troubles were that small.

It's pretty damned silly that I'm so keyed up about meeting him. But I'm thinking it's not just him being him. It's all these years that his music has followed me through life. Being a Progrock fan isn't something you can share, since about 1979. Music goes through fashion changes in culture and when what you really love falls into the black hole many of your fellow fans abandon ship. Just recently I've begun talking about it to friends, none of whom are Prog fans, natch. Here in the 21st century, in this area, there are few who still love Prog, if ever. This area is all about singer-songwriters and guitars, crafters of meaningful life experiences put into words and music. That's great, and what most of music is about. But it's not my be all and end all. The other part is that Prog was/is mostly a guy thing, and in my experience, guys who aren't musicians themselves. So the guys who were into it 4 decades ago probably aren't caring much about it now. People wane on music as they age, if they don't see its relevance to their lives. I'm sure there are still Progheads around, but it's not like there are festivals to go and meet them. And so it's a pretty singular pursuit, and after a decade of punk, rap and hip-hop I just stopped mentioning it. I kept all the music dear to myself. Maybe that's why it's such a big deal to meet Greg now. Or it's the supercrush I've had on him for so long. I don't know.

In any event, tomorrow is G-Day. I'll post about it Sunday night when we're back home. This will be a story, whatever happens. ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

RIP Levon, Jonathan Frid

Levon Helm is gone. He left us this afternoon, peacefully.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P202C3mm8g

Jonathan Frid, best known as the original Barnabas Collins, died last Saturday, but the news of his death is just going around now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgBMZOHZVLo

They will be missed.

Fear and Loathing in Connecticut

It's been a week since Greg started this tour. So of course every human with an iPhone is posting bootlegs on YT. There are 2 things wrong here. First, this isn't a show that will translate well via phone vid so they all look and sound pretty lousy. And more importantly and rottenly, people are SINGING ALONG.

So I'm issuing the dictum right now. Anyone sitting near me who starts singing is gonna get a clout on the head that'll shut you you up. And if it doesn't, I'll knock you out to spare us all your bullshit. Strider and I have not gone through 3 1/2 months of expenses, effort and planning to hear YOUR sorry ass sing. This is not Madison Square Garden where no matter how loud you get you won't be heard. These are small venues and if you open that piehole you're gonna ruin the show we've all come (and paid!) to see. Nothing personal, but if you're Anywhere near me and pull that shit, I'll get you. I will. You don't know it, but I'm a woman on the edge. Don't do it.

So yes, if you're reading this and going to the Ridgefield Playhouse show, keep your damn mouth shut and your ears open. That's your only warning.

Thursday Ketchup

I'm way behind in reporting news of this weirdo world we live in. So here's some ketchup, we'll see if there's anything to relish later.

Much as I hate to give this piece of filth any notice, he is in the news
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/18/anders-behring-breivik-serb-nationalists

Gone to the eternal Bandstand:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/apr/18/dick-clark-life-in-clips
(thanks for the heads up, Niecely)

Things to not say to a sick person
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/apr/18/10-things-not-say-when-ill

NASA's looking for a few good ideas
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21711-nasa-requests-inspiration-for-new-mars-quests.html

Materialism and depression
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-15/health/31317905_1_consumer-materialism-experiments

Here, feast for your eyes to make up for all the ugliness
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2012/apr/13/self-seeders-sun-shade#/?picture=388577914&index=0

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mitt the Twit and Nuge the Stooge

Sometimes you just have to hand it over to the gang at Green Mountain Daily. A lively bunch of lefties, this is a state Democratic Party blog, a group effort, and does a sometimes hysterical run on news stories. I don't post there anymore, but I read it when something relevant happens. The story about Mitt Romney and Ted Nugent is too perfect.

This is GMD gold.
http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/8679/breaking-mitt-romney-accepts-endorsement-of-pedophile-who-threatens-life-of-president

Evil People

I've tried, for the sake of my sanity and heart, to avoid the news the last few days. There is enough going on with people I care about to keep me well occupied. However, when you see a headline that says, "GOP Rep. Wants Tax Hikes For The Poor, Says They ‘Don’t Have Skin In The Game’", the heart pounds, the ears pin back and it can't be ignored.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/04/18/465999/tiberi-defends-tax-hike-poor/

Is there any breathing being who can't see these suckups to their masters, the uber-rich, for what they are? They're worshippers of money. They're greedy flunkies for the greediest. Protectors of the corrupt. Destroyers of the middle class. These are the people who blew the $2 trillion surplus that we had after the Clinton years, and went on to spend another $13 trillion we don't have, in the last decade. They are ruining our country. Check out the national debt:
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Still thinking about voting Republican? Hope you've got several hundred million tucked away, then, because they won't be representing you if you don't.

Love to Levon and Robin

A few days ago it was announced that Robin Gibb had gone into a coma and was losing his battle with cancer.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/apr/15/robin-gibb-in-coma-pneumonia
And today comes news that Levon Helm is also in the last days of life.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/apr/17/levon-helm-musician-terminally-ill

This is entirely sad. Levon Helm is one of my drumming idols and Robin Gibb is Robin Gibb- vocalist, musician, good friend of John Bonham. We all have to go sometime but it's tough to lose the musicians you grew up with. Seeing the article headline about Levon unexpectedly threw me. I thought he'd beaten the cancer.
Ah, well.

Love to Robin and Levon, comfort to their loved ones.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4 Days to Greg!

Anyone know how to lose 35 unsightly years in 3 short days? If so, please email ASAP.

Nah, it's fine. I'm a way-blessed person in this circle of hell. This morning feels calmer, and I didn't sleep like Rip Van Winkle so things can be handled.

What's really nuts is that 3 people have been shot dead in the last 4 days in NH. One in Chesterfield, close to home. And Mitt Romney is gonna run for Prez. That's so nuts I can hardly believe it's true.

In the big picture, I'm sitting in my caved-in wingchair, cuppa in hand, here in The Shire. Come Saturday night, Strider and I will be sittin on a rainbow.

Little else matters. I'll have news for you later. Enjoy the morning. Oh, and if you're like me, among the 12 people who haven't seen this yet, enjoy:
http://textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/

Monday, April 16, 2012

All's Well that Ends

It's after 9 p.m.! How'd that happen?
The rest of the day went on like that, things and panics and stuff, with the last pal outta the house at 7 p.m. That's how that happened. Everyone's out and about in this swelter and Mercury went direct with a vengeance.

Either today has knocked the Beest out too, or I should be concerned. She's been sleeping on the desk leaf without any bitterness or needless hostility for 2 hours. On her side, facing me. She's breathing; hell, she's dreaming. Her little toes are twitching. This sudden bout of sweetness scares me.

Ah, I go get a drink of water and come back and she wakes up, walks over me with those finger knives and goes to her food. She's fine. She'll do something terrible or annoying post-dinner. Maybe it was a fever. Or she did it just to freak me out.

Me, I did get to shower today. No hair dying but 1 outta 2 ain't bad. Why does your hair change color, anyway? I was born with honey blonde hair that went thru changes, some by my own hand. But why's it going gray -and white!?- at all?

I'm sure a lot more went on today and I recall Daryl telling me about him catching the robber (Jesus H!), and kinda bitching at the VWC woman, and Mac never calling me back (which pisses me off) but the rest is a blur.

Oh, I hope tomorrow is normal. I'm heading to bed early and try to be normal tomorrow. Beest is curling up on the couch. I'm gonna go read Rolling Stone, even though they piss me off, too.

Monday Times 4

It's all my own damn fault. It's usually my own damn fault. Somehow, I slept in this morning, even with bulldozers outside the back door. That's never a good way to wake up, already behind the 8-Ball. I spent way too much time in Pottermore yesterday, and trying to arrange fellow nerds into getting it together to have a Sorting Party, or for them to get sorted beforehand and have a House Party. Yes, I was sorted. I'm a Ravenclaw. It's no secret now.

So onto the usual morning hoohas, cat needs and coffee, and settle at the desk, already rattled because I'm so far behind in my day and it's 90 degrees in mid-April and I'm PMSing just in time for Greg Day to be even more stressful. And I open my email to see 74 in my inbox. At least half are political actions and various causes. The rest are from real people. And half a dozen have shit-hitting-fan things happening. Triage. Delete all the politics and causes. If it's anything crucial I'll get another. Answer the crises. Okay, down to 20+ to answer. Piece of cake. I get a dozen or so answered and get up for a second cup of coffee, somehow I've managed to get a tablespoon of grounds in each cup. No time to fart around with it, I'll just deal. The catbox is reeking but it'll have to wait for Gall Friday tomorrow to take it up to compost. And that's when friends start showing up. Which is fab; I love my pals, and I even get a present of a much-needed nice wooden storage cabinet from Paul. All good. But I'm not even out of my nightgown and robe yet. Well, we're all pals. Hopefully nobody thinks I'm a slob, still in my robe at noon, 1 p.m., 1:30... Then as the last pal toddles off to her appointment, the chili I made last night decides to clean out my intestines. Fine, except that there's something psychologically disturbing about having such an episode when there's a man working in a dirt pile right outside the window you're sitting next to, a mere 3 feet away. It's not really conducive to getting in the shower to have workmen just outside the blinds, either. I'll wait til they're done at 4, it won't be long now.

Okay, back to the desk, down to 13 emails to answer. Ack! The folks I replied to are replying back! And there are at least a dozen comments on this blog to answer! And everyone's been posting on their blogs! It's 1:48 in the afternoon and I've accomplished nothing- wait! I was supposed to call my brother at noon! Dammit! Gotta go.

My SIL answers and they're having the same kind of day, so she'll call me back in a half-hour. Let's see how many things I can get done before then, because we haven't talked in a month and this will be a call that carries me to the end of the workday, when I'll go shower and dye my hair, which I originally planned to do at 8 this morning. Maybe my hair will be dry by bedtime. Wait- skirmish with the VNA about getting Gal Friday tomorrow. I promise chocolate to the office (make note to order next month) to make sure I get Gal Friday. Bribes, but WTH can you do. It takes what it takes to get shit done. The phone's ringing. More coffee! Later!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another Good Sunday Mystery

I don't know if they still do, but the NY Daily News used to run a true crime story every Sunday. Loved those. And it fostered a love for a mystery every Sunday in me. If all else failed, our grandfather, Pop, would tell us a crime story from Dickens' time. Later this would lead to the NBC Sunday Night Mystery series and then Mystery! on Masterpiece. So when I see a mystery story on a Sunday it makes me want to curl up with a big pot of tea and disappear into the story.

Here is a mystery crime story. The facts were that a woman died in her home. She was an heiress. And nobody seems to know just how she died.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/15/harriet-staunton-penge-murder-jenkins

The Blog Headline that Made me Smile

http://broadcastunionnews.blogspot.com/2012/04/standard-poors-is-their-standard-to.html

It amazes me that nobody's ever said that before, or that if they did, I never heard of it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14th is a Big Day

Not just because my hostas have sprung up, either. Though that's very nice, and a relief. I've been worried about how all the yard life survived the flood and all the toxins in it.

No. Today is especiale. Today is Strider's Birthday. She's not here and I'm not there. But we talked for a while and made further plans for next weekend. And we had a very bitter and hilarious conversation wherein we agreed that it all sucks and there's nothing meaningful to be done because it sucks to the core, and even past the core. So just do what you do and try to have fun where you can.

And in further non-fun reality... today is also the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It was legend in our family, because my grandfather knew a couple of people who were aboard her and always toasted them on this day. And a really sweet little story from the BBC goes along with the remembrance
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17680697

Okay, I'm off to shower and start my Saturday night. I just remembered Stevil is on the air after a year's absence! Shit! Ah, there he is, "How High the Moon." At least I didn't miss the whole thing. However, the station's back, hopefully for good, so there'll be many Saturday nights to come. Glad you're back, Stevil.

Good, Economical Eats

Today I'm making a long and involved split pea soup with the hambone leftover from last Sunday's roast. It's necessary to make every food dollar stretch these days so that you can afford little luxuries- like asparagus- for holidays. This will make roughly a gallon of soup. Along with boiling off the meat still on the bone, I've added carrots, celery and lots of onion, all still affordable, a couple bay leaves and some worcestershire. The split peas were on sale- 99 cents for the pound and a half. After it cools I'll freeze it in pint containers and have hearty soup that will still be good come the Fall. I'm an ant by nature. My freezer is my friend. One bit of meat may live in my freezer in 3 incarnations before it's gone.

First, I buy in "bulk" sizes. Chicken leg quarters go on sale for 99 cents a pound, in a 6 or 7 pound package. At home, they get wrapped individually and frozen. Two legs later are defrosted and baked. After that dinner, leftovers (bones and all) go into a pot with seasonings, bouillion cubes and vegetables that need using. Remove the bones, season the broth and voila! Dinner number two. The remaining soup will be divided, frozen and later defrosted and thickened into stew with the addition of potatoes, or rice, or topped with dumplings. Dinner number three. And so on with the rest of the legs, with them ending up at last in tomato sauces, burritos, a la King... always started as plain chicken, always ending in a combo dish. Getting 3 meals from a cut of meat is ecological as well as economical.

Living alone, I'm searching around for simpler things. Spring is here. I've been cooking for 45 years. I don't always have it in me to go through a big procedure. And so I'm happy to see ideas like these pop up-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/apr/13/tinned-fish-recipes-sardines-anchovies
Tuna has never been my favorite thing, and now that there's so much tsuris with the mercury and the practices and the shortages, I'm happy to go for mackerel and sardines. Usually cheaper anyway, they're small fish so no mercury issue, have those good fatty acids, and most are governed by fishery management agencies. However, some areas are being overfished
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/25/mackerel-fishing-curbs-imposed
so there's always that problem. Honestly, if I could, I'd go back to being vegetarian. But this old body doesn't function well without meat, it's just the way it is. So I try to make the most of what I get.

If you can still afford beef and lamb, get creative and find ways to stretch your meat dollar. Meat will only get costlier and less eco-friendly. It behooves us to use every bit of it, to make the most of our food budget and to learn the ways to get the most value and nutrition we can from our purchases.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Week and a Day to Greg

Next Saturday I'll be beside myself, as Strider and I get ready for the trip to Connecticut to see Greg Lake. I'm already flippy, with that under-the-tongue and back-of-the-throat-stomach-turn semi-panic mini-dry-heave feeling. It's been pumped up a lot after I read the review from Montreal, where the set list included "Trilogy".
http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2012/04/13/concert-review-corky-laing-and-greg-lake-tell-their-stories/

ELP in their heyday only performed "Trilogy" twice, as it's a damn hard piece to do live. Vocally it's all over the place and I don't know how Greg's gonna do those octave shifts. But if he does it, I'll lose my mind. That's the song I've always wanted to hear live. Always.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt-sfNULEzE

He's not the tall blond Adonis he used to be
http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Photos+Greg+Lake+Montreal+Ges%C3%B9/6448326/story.html
but I'm not the tall auburn chickie I was, either. He's still Greg. And he still turns me on. Have I made that clear enough? :D

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Humans Ain't Half Bad

Humans do remarkable things. This week we saw children rush to stop a schoolbus and try to save their bus driver. Unfortunately, the young man, who suffered a heart attack, has since died.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/washington-bus-driver-passed-behind-wheel-dies-article-1.1060618
But those children showed all that's good about humans.

In hardship, Greek town goes to bartering to keep each other afloat
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17686384

A woman's courage
http://traffickinginindia.blogspot.com/2012/04/trafficked-womans-story-of-indomitable.html

You may have never heard of Nujood Ali; I never had til a friend referred her book
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/nujood-ali-12-year-old-di_n_485952.html

Wanna be a hero yourself?
http://www.wishuponahero.com/

Ramble On

Things keep happening, bad and good. A bit of the bad; my friend Babalu let me know that Julie Waters has passed on. If you didn't know Julie, you missed something. We've lost a multi-talented gal with a Parker wit and an even sharper eye for nature photography. Very sad.
http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/8652/julie-waters

Santorum has bowed to Romney. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. And the Romneybots start hunting for a Vice:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/11/mitt-romney-vice-presidential-prospects

Obama uses the "Rose by any Other Name" tactic; makes me nauseous
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election-2012/obama-evokes-a-gop-legend-urge-congress-pass-buffett-rule-call-reagan-rule-article-1.1059800

Greg was on Q104 in NYC and they filmed it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6GgSFsyeg

In local news, the stepson of the current/leaving District 3 Legislator and son-in-law of the prior Legislator in that district is running for the warmed seat of his family.
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120411133413859

Pix that changed millions of lives, by Lewis Hine
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17673213

And in the good news column, our community radio station is back!
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/2012041020453969

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BBC America- Why Bovver?

Apres le deluge, when we all moved back in November, our cable system offered us a good package that included BBC America. I was overjoyed at that- imagine! All the great BBC shows, even if they were reruns, they're new to me, and I was psyched.

But the reality bites. BBC America plays wall to wall Top Gear (a show I hate almost as much as I hate its host, Jeremy Clarkson), or wall to wall Gordon Ramsay, another freak show. There are treats here and there- a Dr. Who, a Graham Norton Show... but day after day 12-14 hours of Ramsay or Clarkson? Why? And more to the viewer, why bother? If you've seen either of these shows once, you've seen them all.

And why are we denied the really terrific BBC shows? Certainly there are enough stockpiled old shows that have no purchase in rerunning in the UK.
Is BBC America a throw-away channel, so much pink slime used to fill out the roster of channels promised? And even if they played them delayed by a few weeks, it'd be better than a couple of nasty old non-queens doing their superiority schtick. Oh, here's what we don't get- from just BBC 1 in one week
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/programmes/schedules/london/this_week/ataglance

If this is the best that BBC America can do for us, they may as well keep it. It's no better than Fox and in some cases, worse.

10 Days to Greg!

It's almost here. Things are all in order. One and a half weeks! Yipes! My only plan for the rest of the time (aside from keeping on losing weight) is to avoid all illness and accident. For that reason, I'll be covered in bubble wrap, lying motionless in bed, having no visitors who've interacted with the public starting Friday. I'm not taking any chances. I'm going all-out girly for this like I haven't done in years. Grew my nails, did the hair, makeup, everything. No hands in the dishpan, careful with the nails. Can't draw cuz the carbon blackens nails and paints and pastels dye them and I'm not wearing polish. So it's Act Like a Lady Week all around. Even though I'll still look like a Vermonter in a Connecticut concert, I'll be a Lady Vermonter.

This is really gonna happen. I don't think I'll really believe it til I'm in it. And one of those things in life that you always wanted to do, but which got put far down on the list because life was more important, will actually happen.

Life is surprising. And when it's good it's very, very good.

Lawless' 2nd Blogaversary

My friend Lawless at
http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/search/label/blogaversary
is celebrating today. I wish we could have gotten it together to throw a grand party as she did for Gary
http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/2012/02/happy-5th-anniversary-gary.html
but maybe next year. 3 is a magic number.

Lawless writes about many things in many forms. She's in the A to Z Challenge right now, giving recipes and advice about cooking under many dietary restrictions. She's also a descriptive poet, aka word artist. And she goes all over the place in her blog from one liner observations to reporting family news to the volunteer work she does in her local cemeteries for people trying to trace their families. Check her out.

She's also really truly good people.

So Happy 2nd Blogaversary, Lawless, and many happy returns of the day.
x

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Tattoo Quest

It's not as easy as you'd think to find a tattoo artist. Brendan Kennedy, who did my last tat in 1999, is nowhere to be found. I asked on iBrattleboro for recommendations and got nothing. I tracked down a tat shop near the concert venue and emailed them, and never got a response. This is a big part of the whole Greg weekend. I don't know how long an "indelible" Sharpie's ink will last and I'll need to shower for cryin out loud. So it's gotta be someone local, who's open some day between Sunday and Tuesday, and won't charge a fortune to do 8 letters. Besides, I have a Coney Island Freddie tattoo to show and tell about. All tat artists love to see and hear about that and him. It's a bit of tat cultural history.

Finally, I looked in the Yellow Pages. And there, right uptown on Putney Road, is a place called "Viking Tattoos and Valhalla Gift Shop". Kismet, methinks. I've left a message. I hope hope hope this works out.

UPDATE: Donna at Viking Tattoos called, I can walk in anytime on Sunday, the 22nd after noon. This so rocks! Strider can see me get the tattoo!

Today's Heroes

Y'all know how I love hero stories. Well, here's one I just found while on coffee break.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17666740

Prayers to the bus driver, love to those great kids.

No Snow, No Gal Friday, No Pipes Allowed

Maybe it flurried while I was sleeping, but there's nada on the ground to show for the hoopla about snow. The VNA is up to its old tricks, lying about Gal Friday to me. I was told she was out this week, a lie, as I emailed with her last night. For whatever shenanigans they're up to, I get to have a woman who jumps on my last nerve today, and not get done the involved projects that GF and I are in the middle of doing. Good going, VNA. Send me someone I can't work with and see how little you get to bill for, cuz I can't use her for more than an hour.

Vancouver has banned the pipes
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/canada-city-ban-is-major-blow-for-bagpipes.17264882

Breivik wasn't nuts, they say
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/10/norway-massacre-suspect-not-insane

Overcome Procrastination
http://bigthink.com/ideas/2024

Of course it hurts
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/08/heart-attack-pain-has-positive-role

Martin's Killer begs for $
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/trayvon-martin-case-special-prosecutor-call-grand-jury-article-1.1058605

Are you a Believer?
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/atheism-easter-atheister

Monday, April 9, 2012

Snow? Oh Come On!

I leave the window cracked open in the bathroom and when I was in there earlier, I smelled snow. Ya know that smell? A bit of freezer, a slight whiff of ozone, a little sting to the nose. I thought, "Oh, I'm hallootinootin. Can't be."

So I go look at the weather widget on iBrattleboro
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/weather/index.php

Yes. Snow. On and off, tonight through Thursday. No wonder the hip's been a gorilla. Here we go, winter in April. Very freakin lovely.

The Noises of the Beest

The last time we had a tortie in the family was about 30 years ago. She was vocal but meowed like normal cats. Hildebeest isn't a normal cat. The only time she meows is when she wants food. The rest of her vocal repertoire is definitely not catlike. Makes me wonder what her life was like and what she lived with before she joined our family. Because...

She goes, "Raun raun raun" in a descending scale when she bites herself.

When she walks up to my side in bed at night she says, "Ngach."

Her growl is very low, a bass-baritone, that then climbs to a tenor and finishes in a hiss. Reminds me of that vocal lesson skit on "Frasier."

When very content, as she is now lying on the desk leaf, she purrs and hums at the same time. Well, not really a hum, a kind of chant, but very nasal. Like a throatsinger.

She'll reach out and lightly touch you when she wants to be petted. This will often be accompanied by a short, high pitched, "Meh."

If you scratch her in just the right spot, she closes her eyes and says, "Ngo, go, go."

I've no idea what language she's speaking. Perhaps it's a lost tongue of an ancient alien species, perhaps it's a dialect of a modern language. But I've never heard it before.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Well, Dinner was Nice

Had a relaxing good dinner with Stevil. The pork roast was luscious and I braised the brussel sprouts with it. We chatted and bitched, watched "Nanny McPhee" (quite a stinker of a movie) and ate pie. A very nice day.

Tonight, not so nice. But the least said about that, the better. None of the 3 involved are dead. That's the best I can say after a rather nasty scene.

I brought a covered dish to my neighbor but she didn't answer the door and it's still sitting there. If it's still there in the morning I'll call her. If there's still no sign of life I'll call the office and ask them to do a welfare check.

Mike Wallace, one of my childhood heroes, died this weekend. He was 93. He was a truly good journalist. RIP, Mr. Wallace.

And so another Easter/Passover weekend goes into the books. I'm sick of holidays being wrecked by one person. I won't be anyone's dumpster, for whatever reason. And now it'll be a while before I'll get the Beest back to the progress we were making. Really not thrilled tonight.

Ah, soothing music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-X9JkM9Bgo

A Game of Peeps

This morning Stevil at
http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/
posted a shot of Peeps doing a scene from Game of Thrones. This so delighted me that I had to go looking for the rest of them. And I found them.

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/editor/2012/03/a-peep-of-thrones.html
(if you can't guess the scene, click on the pic, the file name will tell you)

Just had to share that bit of silliness. For all the peeps who get a kick outta Peeps.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

It's been so long since I made this that I forgot how easy and yummy it is. The whole production takes less than half an hour, no baking involved.

First make your crust to chill while you make the filling.
22 graham crackers
6 Tblsp salted butter
Toss them into a blender or processor and crush til fine and well blended. Press into a pie dish evenly. Chill.

Whisk together
1 c. whole milk
3 egg yolks
and let stand to warm slightly.

In a large (non-reactive) saucepan mix together well
1/2 c. white sugar
3 Tblsp. corn starch
then stir in til evenly dissolved and smooth
1/2 c. lemon juice (3 lemons should do it)

Add your eggs and milk to the saucepan, and stirring constantly, heat on medium until thick. As soon as it reaches thickness, remove from the heat and completely stir in
1/4 c. room temperature salted butter
Let stand to cool.

When cool, whisk in
1 1/4 c. sour cream
Pour into crust. Level off the top. Cover. Chill until serving.
That's it. And it's really gooood.

Rites of Spring

Though it's been decades since I followed Christianity, the holidays remain as tradition. So tomorrow I'll make dinner for Stevil and myself, and make a plate for my neighbor if she's alone (I try to keep some distance there). I have a fresh bone-in pork shoulder roast and will make sauteed asparagus, steamed Brussels sprouts and whipped sweet potatoes. Today I'll make a lemon sour cream pie (haven't made that in ages) after getting the household chores done. It's slow going today; whatever the "pain index" says, it's about a 7 from my hip index.

Hildebeest, like The Dude, abides. Since the cone's been off she's gained about 5 pounds in an eating frenzy. It seems to me that corrective measures to stop her obsessive biting herself only serve to cause more stress so I've backed off. What she needs to do is calm the hell down and being squirted or yelled at isn't going to do that. In time she will straighten out. It's stressful to me to see the chewed tail and clean up the hairball-gakking. But I'm supposedly the grown up human here so it's shut up and deal.

In other news, Special K has gotten a place here at The Shire. The buildings that were closed since the flood last August have been refurbished and are being reopened for habitation next month. Many of the former occupants won't be returning; they've gotten new apartments, or been sent to nursing homes, or have joined the Choir Eternal. So May and June will see a number of new faces around the Brandywine's banks. I've heard that only 4 of the original Hobbits will return to fill the 20 reopening cottages.

Speaking of cottages, Thomas Kinkade, painter of the insipid, has died. He was only 54. No word on what turned off his lights.

There's other news but it's mostly bad and I'm determined to celebrate Spring. I just wanted to pop in and wish everyone Happy Passover, Easter and whatever else may float your boat this weekend. Enjoy the blooming.

Dona nobis pacem.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Our Singing Librarian

Our town library isn't huge, but it has many wonderful things to see and read. And some fabulous people work there. One of them is Debby Tewksbury.

http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120405224306245

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Poetry Month or Potty Mouth?

My eyesight's getting questionable. Even worse than my early-morning typing. Lately I've misread a lot of things on the first pass, which evokes some initial surprise and lots of yukking when my focus comes back.

Here are some lines I got lately, I'll let you fill in what I saw in the first go-round.
"You're a little curt today."

"My pens broke right in half!"

"It was an old-fashioned funk party."

And then there are the simple typos that cause a double-take:
"I balled all night when she died."

"He pissed over me."

"She's nine and never saw Beauty and the Breast before."

"Still no tomstone." (talking about my brother Tommy's grave)

So just as I was starting to bitch about how unfunny life has gotten and how nobody's bantering or has a sense of humor anymore, Mother Nature shows hers. Growing older has its redeeming qualities.

Back to Business

The news today? Oh boy. Did you ever do that school writing exercise where you take the viewpoint of an alien who lands on Earth and reads a newspaper, then writes a report for the bosses back home? There'd be some freaky conclusions drawn from today's stories.

Naomi Wolf has a point
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/05/us-sexual-humiliation-political-control

Oh the pain, the pain...
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/painkiller-sales-soar-fuel-addiction-article-1.1056490

The real hunger game
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/05/greece-rise-suicide-rate

Everyone gives everyone a bad name
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/04/mta_disputes_cl.php

We still enslave our own
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/world/asia/india-shaken-by-plight-of-13-year-old-maid.html?_

The species is doomed
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/on-facebook-some-friendly-energy-rivalry/?

I Talked to Greg!!!!!!!!!!

I called several times to get through but I talked to Greg Lake. I talked to him. Told him my daughter and I were coming to see him and he chuckled. Thank gods the producer gave me questions because when I got through I went brain dead. But I got to ask the first question (they were pressed for time) anyway and then they dedicated "Court of the Crimson King" to me!!!! I asked if the ELP CalJam performance would ever be officially released. He told me to ask him again when I saw him. I'm a happy camper tonight. After all these years, I spoke to Greg. Holy crap. Ya never know what a day will bring. Wow. Totally can't wait now. I feel like I'm 17. Wow.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Okay Then!

Today is the fresh week of Rob Breszny's Real Astrology. I've been following Breszny now and then for 20 years or so. Who cares if it's "real", it's always a bright observation about something and sometimes hilarious.

Take for instance my SACRED ADVERTISEMENT for the week:

"The Mystic Chaos Wizard Helper says: Close one eye. Tap your forehead twice with your left palm. Think of a memory in which you found something you'd lost. Lick your lips and murmur the words "Love Whisperer." Insert your middle finger in the "Delight-O-Meter" slot. Keep your finger there until the "Passion Lamp" turns on. Flash. Flash. Flash. Thank you. Now write the first thing that comes into your heart's mind."
Okay then!

What's not to like?
Read Breszny at
http://freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/
http://freewillastrology.com/home.shtml

BTW, astro-types say you should read your "rising" sign, not your sun sign. I don't care, they're all funny. I pick the one that tickles me the most.

17 Days to Greg!

Seems impossible. 100 days ago Strider surprised the hell outta me and bought our tickets. Thereafter- 93 days ago- I started eating to lose weight. I've lost weight. Not as much as I'd hoped but enough to feel good and look better than I have in years. And here we are, April 4th, and in a couple weeks I'll be sweating bullets when I meet the guy I've been wanting to meet for almost 40 years.

A few weeks back the whole thing receded from view. It stayed in the background, not out of mind but not right in front of me. This morning Strider and I emailed back and forth a bit and with a rush it came back. The dry mouth, sweaty palms, butterfly stomach, racy heart, burping, jaw clenching, butt squinching panic. I'm going to meet Greg! I'm going to meet Greg! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!

Okay. Getting a grip now.

This has been months in prep. Much thought, much effort. The dress and jacket are hanging in the closet, the shoes are in the mail as I write, the new cosmetics in the makeup bag ready to go. Overnight bag ready to be packed. New indelible non-toxic Scriptos in pocketbook. I've experimented with hairdos and my nails are growing out. So much more girly than I usually am, all this fuss. But this may be a once in a lifetime deal. I'm as ready as I'd ever be. And I'm knock-kneed petrified.

Please don't let me be a fool. Please don't let me faint. And please don't let any of the nightmares I've had about it come true.

Workers Center meeting; they've just pulled up. Back to the here and now...

NEWSFLASH
Greg will be on
http://www.rocklineradio.com/
tonight at 11:30 EDSFT. From his own website:
Fans are encouraged to speak with Greg by calling 1-800-344-ROCK (7625). For a station near you and for information regarding how to log onto the Internet for the broadcast go to www.rocklineradio.com. This broadcast will be available for two weeks on the Rockline website beginning the day following the show.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here, Show's Over

The above title is what NYC cops say to people standing around looking at any spectacle, from a drunk to a dead body, to get them to disperse. My Dad liked to stop on a sidewalk and look up, which always got others to stop and look up too. Once there were 3 or 4 people looking up and others stopping to ask what was going on, he'd walk away chuckling.

Which has little to do with today's news, aside from catching the eye.
Is this good news?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/apr/04/beatles-next-generation-possibility-mccartney

Here's using the ol' noggin
http://www.technologyreview.com/business/40013/

The walls have ears
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/03/web-surveillance-legislation-dangers-letter

Jesus H!
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/marine-veteran-kenneth-chamberlain-sr-killed-clash-police-responded-medical-emergency-article-1.1055569

A much more important movie than Hunger Games
http://www.foodmatters.tv/

Okay, time to get ass in gear.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Midweek Maladjustment

Some of the good folk of the VT Workers Center are coming here for lunch tomorrow. Got in the cold cuts and potato salad, some bread and veggies for sammich trimming. Used Marge the Sarge's jar-opening trick, so the pickles are open. I'll put up a pot of coffee. Should be fine. It's as ready as can get but I gotta say I'm tired of meetings. Even meetings with food. Especially meetings with food.


And from out of nowhere everybody's sitting in a cloud of doom. WTF? Is it the weather? Something in the water? A sudden zeitgeistical ennui? I could swear my parents weren't as miserable as a group as my pals and I are at this age. They were out dancing or having seances or running around with their friends. Of course, they had health. And a little money. And their friends were all alive.
Well. That took a crappy turn.


Never mind. In today's not so great news...


http://www.anh-usa.org/antibiotics-may-be-contributing-to-the-obesity-epidemic/


http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-data-mining-but-were-afraid-to-ask/255388/


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/ibrain-a-device-that-can-read-thoughts.html?_r=2&ref=technology


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/tornado-emergency-reported-dallas-texas-repors-twisters-massive-damage-article-1.1055217


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/03/kony-terrorised-villagers-rebel-attacks


Belly up to the bar. Hemlocks on me.

The Wall Won

Okay, I'm done. For today, anyway. After hitting the physical wall, I had to deal with Amazon worrying that my card was expired so not accepting my order and my not-so-local-anymore bank being unhelpful because the PO still insists that I'm not where I live and told the bank my address was bad. I just got a callback from the "customer service center" which used to be "Mrs. McDonald" (aka Tammy whom I've known for over a decade) and is now a perky and young "Theresa". After much explanation and tsuris, they will be mailing me a new card today. Now let's see if the PO, who have been delivering mail to me here since November, deliver it. Really, it's days like these that make me glad life is short. Add that to the several "Because You're Moving" packets that Comcast keeps sending me no matter how many times I've called to tell them I'm not moving, and I'm glad we all die young in my family. I'm not thrilled with the misinformation highway we live on these days.

That's it. I'm taking my dusty disgusted derriere outdoors and look at the daffodils and hyacinths. Somehow, they made it through the flood without being made homeless and without the PO claiming they aren't there anymore.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning

It's time. Since moving back 4+ months ago, I keep looking at the closets and heaving a big sigh. My bedroom has been a wreck since right after the holidays, when I decided everything should go into the big bedroom closet, but never actually put it in there. Cartons stand in stacks down one whole wall of my bedroom. Luckily I'm not a clothes horse or I fear I'd be drowning in a sea of uncloseted tops and dresses. The full press moving-back-in process halted around the third week of December and has been a slow dribble since. Time to go full throttle!

This won't be a one afternoon, one day or even one week project. I live in a Chinese puzzle. When one thing is moved all things must be moved, and moved again and again until they are all in the place they should be. That's what happens when your entire living/storage/shared-with-an-animal space is less than 400 square feet. Which in itself gets discouraging. This is also not within the realm of Gal Friday's job description and I won't put her on the spot by asking her to do it. She goes above and beyond in important ways. This is my own mess to clean up. Time to put on the Big Girl Pants and just do it.

If you're in the same mode but just need to sort out your clothes, here's a good inspirational article without a lot of psycho mumbo-jumbo and handholding:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/apr/01/lauren-laverne-spring-clean-wardrobe

If you're of the gardening mind, here's an organized look at what needs be done (it's a March article, but applies to my zone now). Gardening is on my list, but not for a few weeks. Indoor first, then outdoor:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/04/gardening-jobs-for-march-dan-pearson

Okay. I've made my list of what to do first and what to keep an eye out for (things are still MIA), where what is going and how to get it there. It takes more organizing when you're a gimp, but it's not impossible. Operation Closet starts in the morning. I'll blog when I take midday break or hit a wall, whichever happens first. :)

Chocolate that Leaves a Bad Taste

My old friend Wayne brought up a salient point about chocolate. In West Africa, the production of cocoa often includes child and slave labor. West Africa produces the majority of chocolate that the rest of the world enjoys.

A simple overview of what's going on is here:
http://slavefreechocolate.org/2011/12/the-101/

Here is the list of ethical chocolate makers, provided by slave free chocolate.org.
http://slavefreechocolate.org/directory-chocolate/

Chuao
Denman Island Chocolate
Divine Chocolate Co
The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
Equal Exchange
Green and Black’s
Health by Chocolate
iChoc
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
La Siembra Cooperative (Camino)
Max Havelaar
Mayordomo
Montezuma’s Chocolates
Newman’s Own Organics
Original Hawaiian Chocolate
Plamil Organic Chocolate
Rain Republic
Rapunzel Pure Organics
Seed & Bean Chocolate
Shaman Chocolates
Sweet Earth Chocolates
Terra Nostra Organic
Theo Chocolate
Tony Chocolonely
Trader Joe’s Organic Chocolate Bars
Vivani Chocolate

I'm disheartened to see that my three favored brands, Ghirardelli, Callebaut and Lindt, are not among them. I also note the absence of both Hershey's and Nestle's, maybe the largest international chocolatiers, and M&M/Mars. So much for hugs and kisses. So much for Cadbury eggs. So much for Snickers. Until these companies do the right thing, I can easily pass up their "treats".

A more detailed list of companies that use slave-free cocoa or are working on getting there is available here
http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm
(at least Callebaut is working on it)
Note that there are several "green" and PC-type companies on the non-recommended lists.

Well, this changes some things. The Easter chocolate I was going to gift will take a bit more effort to locate. But knowing what I know, I can't happily give a gift that's been made with slave and/or child labor.

Thank you for the heads up, Wayne. We all do better when we all do better.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Us All

It's a contentious weekend here in the Shire. Both The Beest and I are feeling poorly with some bug. I told her to go to bed and she hissed at me. Such is life when everyone's sick in a house. Reminds me of being a kid, everyone moping around and grumpy. The weatherbees are calling for sleet. Just as the first daffodils are up! Lovely. It's cold. Not untypically cold, just the kinda cold you don't want when you're not well. Everything hurts. Stomach, questionable. The quest for comfort is first order. If I had junk foods in the house I'd be eating them today. Just as well I don't. 21 days to Greg...seems a long way off right now. But then, this evening seems a long way off. Why is time elongated when you feel like pants?

There is some good news. Regular chocolate eaters are slimmer. And fast food makes you sad.
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/chocolate-is-slimming-fast-food-depresses?

A tiny lamprey-like robot could be swimming through your system soon
http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-living-micro-robot-that-could-detect-diseases-in-humans

Tonight the game continues
http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/mar/31/game-of-thrones-returns

There's never too much chocolate, IMHO
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/30/truffle-cake-mocha-creams-recipes

When I get to England...
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/studio-tour-opens-rich-world-rowling-making-harry-potter-london-article-1.1053616

Leave Batman alone!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17564941