Sunday, July 31, 2005

Two Aussies and a Brit walk into a bar...

"two Aussies and a Brit" is a phrase that appears in nearly every article I've seen on the Greencards.

It was Greencards Homecoming week in Austin. I first started going to see this band back in 2003, close to beginning of their existence as a band and they already had local buzz going.

Crowds were small at first when they still played the regular Sunday brunch, Sunday night gigs at Mother Egan's and Fado.

Look at that crowd! More interested in getting a date than the music, I do believe.

I was extremely impressed with their playing! Kym is the only mandolin player whose style reminds me quite often of Chris Thile, it's that soaring thing that goes in circles around my head. But he has his own style, (he was a four-time Mandolin Champion of Australia before moving to Austin) and was the best mando in Austin, in my very humble and meaningless opinion. Eamon is absolutely in the top class of fiddlers, even in Texas and now Tennessee, he's up there with the best. Carol has a wonderful sweet and distinctive voice with a high lonesome quality.

Also, they are very charming and nice people. You don't have to try hard to meet them, they are right there, saying Hi in between sets. Connection with the audience is so important to increasing your popularity! (Just look at Los Lonely Boys!! They connect. Big time. It has helped!) They are witty as well. Eamon used to be a Lounge Lizard and a Spanker, after all. And yes, the accents are delightful. Their fans are a really nice community, there are lots of hugs and handshakes among people, even strangers.

As a fan you sit on the sidelines and root for success, and it hasn't let up. Better venues, better times slots, touring with Kelly Willis, then Robert Earl Keen. A self-released CD makes waves on the Americana charts and in the music community. They were the Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards, appeared at the ACL Festival in 2004. The new CD, Weather and Water, is just first-class!!

When I am a fan of someone, I want to help, and it looked like they needed some help with their website which had a homemade look to it. No offense intended here but it was a darned good job for people who have no experience making websites... but, anyway... I offered my services and promised to be cost-effective. I love a challenge. Several months later, I ended up with the job. This was about a year ago. It's one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do, because I am the designer and webmaster. My name is at the bottom of the pages. The band went out on a limb to trust me to do this, especially since a website is such a vital element for anyone in any business. I appreciate it!! Many thanks to them! It also helps that they have a pretty good idea what they want it to be.

The guys moved to Nashville last Winter, and though we miss them in Austin, the truth is that they are on tour MOST of the time (the tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson just ended, and the Kasey Chambers tour will start soon, then there are festivals and club gigs all over the country). You probably wouldn't see them any more often if they still lived here, so just get out and see them whenever you can, wherever you are.
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Friday Feline

Pardon me, Roy, but I'm the cat who chewed your new shoes.


I warned him not to change my food.

I see dead people, you're next.

More captions?
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cactus candy

We saw Nickel Creek at the Cactus Café on Monday. I got there super-early, as I have a deserved reputation for doing, and we were first in line, taking the center-stage front table. I don’t think I’ve been that pumped up over a show for a long time, mainly because with the exception of Nickel Creek I get to see my favorite people play live on the average of once a month, and this wait of 2 years had pushed me nearly into a state of giggles.

They would normally pull a larger venue like Stubb’s (and a little bird suggested that they might play the Austin Music Hall this Fall), where everyone will be standing up for hours crammed next to the stage, but this was in the Best Little Venue in Texas, living room atmosphere, capacity under 200, always non-smoking. It’s an acoustic delight, and the audiences there are completely focused on the music, hardly ever a peep or heckle, or even a distracting clink of glassware from the bar in the back of the room during the songs, but the applause brings down the house.

The show definitely lived up to expectations! They played all the songs on their soon-to-be-released CD and then several more. The occasional faux pas or missed note was covered up by the band’s humor, and it made it seem even more living-roomy. There wasn’t an easy band-meeting opportunity at the show, so we headed out even though we probably could have hung around and made it happen. I wanted to give Chris a nice print we made of this picture taken at the 2003 ACL festival, but maybe next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hot on Thursday, with increased spiciness on Friday

The last half of July is really chock full o' shows! This week it was Storyville at Antone's on Thursday and Del Castillo with Monte Montgomery at Floore's Country Store in Helotes on Friday.

Storyville is a band that I had never seen before but was listening to before moving to Austin about 5 years ago from St. Louis. Texas was calling me (as Texas will do) and the variety of CDs I packed around with me at all times had been filling up with more and more Texans: Eric Johnson (of course), Monte Montgomery, Shawn Colvin, Nanci Griffith, SRV, Patty Griffin, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Asleep at the Wheel, the list keeps going. But back to Storyville, I'd seen everybody in the band numerous times on their own or with other bands. They are all really good: David Grissom is a great guitarist, he takes most of the solos and plays the most prominent leads. David Holt is no slouch either. Malford Milligan is always fantastic, one of the most passionately soulful singers around, and of there's the legendary Double Trouble rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton who are most famous for playing with SRV. Tommy also played with one of my old top favorite guitarists back in the day, Johnny Winter. They put on a hell of a good show, although it was way too loud. My husband was front and center, but switched places with me because Malford was dripping sweat on him, and that doesn't bother me any. The pics from the event will be on my concerts page.

Friday afternoon I drove down to San Antonio, and I am always ridiculously early for stuff. I like being first in line and wanted to afford traffic snarls in a strange town in rush hour. I got to Floore's a full 2 hours before anyone else showed up for it, and camped out in the tiny patches of shade cast by parked pickup trucks. It was blistering hot under a big blue, nearly cloudless sky. Scorching and humid, and the show is going to be outdoors but luckily after sundown.

It turned out that the show was not crowded at all and a "line" never even actually formed. Wake up Dorothy, you're back in Kansas where Del Castillo is an opening act and there's no line for them (back in OZ-ten they had to start booking them at La Zona Rosa because Antone's was always selling out and LZR is twice the size) (and they will have acts opening for them that will headline in other Texas towns). The crowd made up for it in enthusiasm, it was a great crowd!! I had room to dance, which never usually happens, and I will use whatever I can get. I move when I'm at shows. It's impossible for me to not dance or play air drums, or just tap my foot if it's a slow folksy one. I have to express myself. They played a 90 minute set. I went over to say Hi to everyone and get my setlist signed. There were two things that more than one band member said:

"You're sweatier than I am" (OK, very true. I looked at myself in the mirror at break and my hair looked like a freshly-dunked string mop. I need to get dreadlocks like Malford, but with this extra-fine hair...ah me or leave me. I get sweaty when I dance, and I dance at shows. )

"I saw you dancing". (There's nothing like an old rocker to stand out in the front row, but lots of others were dancing too. I think I am just the oldest, dancingest one)

Monte is a great guitarist. his songs are very melodic and memorable; one listen and you're already humming them. I saw him for the first time back in St. Louis at Mississippi Nights before I moved down. I wore my Alien Love Child t-shirt and he surprised me by giving me a hug. He must have thought I had come up from Austin. Alien Love Child consists of Eric Johnson, Bill Maddox, and Chris Maresh who used to be Monte's bass player and still records with him.

At the Friday show, he brought out the del Castillo brothers, and the DC percussion section to play on "Took Too Long". It was a great choice, and man the guys were in an all-out battle to outplay each other! It was absolutely fantastic!! Then for the encore, he brought them out again, this time with Bert and Alex. They played "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (and who doesn't love love love the Beatles?). I have to say that this was really an unforgettable night!!

Next week, it's Nickel Creek and the Greencards (three times!!) so the fare this month is intensely acoustic.
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Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Furball

Duncan, the hunka hunka burnin' love

Here's my little 16 lb. bowling ball. Well he IS round and black. This little stinker pooped on the bed during his crazy hour yesterday. He does that pretty often so we have to keep an eye on him. He just gets too darned happy sometimes.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sweetie Dahling

The movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was OK. Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore were good. Not the best Tim Burton/Johnny Depp ever by any means. I think it was meant to be much darker but to me it didn't come across, except for Johnny's Michael Jackson which was pretty frightening, and the various types of kids and parents shown. Too much like real life. Just look who's sitting next to you in the theatre, and seeing it in a mall just enhanced the mood set in the movie.

I have lived a little like Charlie myself from time to time. My Air Force dad would sometimes be gone for a year or two, leaving us with only a little money sent home for support, and he was not an officer so there was a very small income to divide up. Once we lived in a tar-paper shack in Southern Illinois for about a year. A little rotting-wood house with that brick-looking stuff stapled to the outside and an outhouse in the back. My mother would get up early to chop wood for the iron stove, which was for heating and cooking (no electricity). We had more than cabbage to eat because she made a nice garden in the backyard with corn, beans, and even strawberries. Our water supply was a garden hose hooked to the neighbor's faucet and poked through a hole over the sink in the house. Hot water was heated in a pan on the stove. The sink and the bathtub were both those galvanized tin tubs that people (including us) now use as rustic flower pots. We slept on quilt palettes laid out on the wood floor. Mice ran freely through the place. It really didn't bother me though, I figured I would always be poor and had accepted it. I was only in first/second grade. To add to the ambience, the house was right next to the railroad track, and to make it more Burtonesque, the house was the only one of its kind on the block. The rest were fairly average-looking typical small town middle class brick homes.

I learned to resent spoiled people who had it all on a silver platter, especially when they looked down on me. I was a "have-not" from Day-One whether I lived on base (where housing and social facilities were segregated by rank) or in the civilian world where we were dirt-poor. I don't appreciate being called a military "brat", believe me. I was anything but spoiled. It's always a good idea to have a little sensitivity before calling anyone a name.

Should have gone to the Alamo Drafthouse instead of the REAL Alamo! Last time we went to the IMAX in San Antonio, we must have waited until the movie was a couple of weeks old, because our seats were dead center in the theatre, where we like to sit, and I must have forgotten that they were reserved seats.

If you are going to offer reserved seats in a movie, then offer the customer seating choices. People have all sorts of preferences for movie watching, and I HATE sitting in the back, especially the very last row in the theatre (if I wanted the screen to look smaller, I wouldn't travel 2 hours each way to come here and pay extra for the movie, you dopes!!), I like being closer to the screen than most people seem to like, but not front row either. When they sell these tickets with reserved seats, I would bet that the earliest ticket buyers would be rewarded for their trouble with front row seats (and in an IMAX? give me a break, that's hardcore). I'm sure there were people sitting in our ideal seats, wishing they were further back. This shouldn't be done like a concert, that's boneheaded. Boneheaded!! Grrrrrrrrrr.

Next lesson: Don't EVER park in that parking garage when the mall is about to close. Cars were not moving waiting to leave, so we kept going back in the the mall and back out to the garage checking for progress and there never was any. It took us 2.5 hours to get out of the damned parking garage. Our parking ticket had been validated but the fee was still $6 (it would have been $10 without the validation, the attendant told us).

We drove home for 2 hours in the rain, which put a final polish on the mood.
Rant Over.

Comfort food was consumed. My diet is just going to hell.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Del Castillo is Chingón!

Hard to believe I hadn't seen the band since April, 3 months exactly! This was one of the Antone's 30th Anniversary celebration shows held all week, and it was a great show! It was nice to see them back at Antone's too. La Zona Rosa is better for bands but worse for fans.

Rodriguez always brings in some variety and you never know what to expect. Usually it's something to do with one or more of his movies, this time it was a live performance of some of the Sin City music. He and Johnny Reno (the sax player) rehearsed it in Rodriguez' vehicle while I was standing in line (rehearsing was really just listening to a recording of it and going over stuff without having instruments), and that was pretty cool. In another show he brought out George Lopez as a surprise guest, and he played with the guys, forcing them to play things like "Whole Lotta Love"... now you probably won't experience THAT again! Then he made the crowd catch him, thankfully they did. Then there was the Bruce Willis Chingon donut thing that all got filmed (look for some of it on the Sin City DVD), and the one with the fabulous Tito Larriva, and the one where they played the theme from "The Godfather" for Clifford Antone. Mostly, I like having the opportunity to hear Cuka Rocka and Malagueña Salerosa, and maybe to hear the guys play electric.

Del Castillo is the best band in Austin in my opinion, and would stand up well against any band anywhere. Yes, you all know how much I love Eric Johnson, but he's not technically a "band", is he? I was chatting with the guy next to me in line and Eric's name came up, when I said that I really liked Eric too he said "So it's all about guitar for you?". I said that it was more about virtuosity, and beautiful music. I could have added "passionate", and music with heart, soul and spirit. Also, it really helps for me if I think that the musicians are decent people. It shouldn't make any difference, but to me it does. I wouldn't go near a Ted Nugent concert, he might be the greatest player on earth but he's not getting a dime or a minute of time from me. Ditto Toby Keith. The guys in Del Castillo are definitely good guys. The shows are family gatherings for them, and they make their fans feel like family too. Patricia Vonne is a real sweetie too, and her new CD is good.

I'll probably see Del Castillo next week in Helotes with Monte Montgomery (another opening act gig, but an interesting pairing making for a night of flat-out, pedal to the metal acoustic guitar). After that it looks like September will be the next opportunity to see them because the Keep Austin Weird Festival in August is a conflict with already planned Eric Johnson. It really is an embarrassment of riches (thanks to ev for applying that perfect phrase to the delights we have in Austin).

Lots of pictures from this show and others are posted here.
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Friday, July 15, 2005

There's no "i" in TEAM but there's one in LIFE

Mark Morford, you are playing my song! Why Do You Work So Hard?

The “day-job” thing is quite frustrating. You would think that with needs as simple as mine, I would be able to get into a suitable situation, and if not follow my bliss, at least preserve my sanity.

I am a recovering workaholic. Being a Virgo (even a cuspal one) makes this almost inevitable, and I was raised by a Virgo who was raised by another Virgo! Worker-bees, all. At least I ended THAT cycle! (No kids). (All three of us were un-Virgo-like cluttery packrats instead of neat-freaks, but the code is more like guidelines, really... these aberrations happen)

Like a lot of people, I lived to work during my 20s and 30s, especially my 30s. That's when you think you've got your eyes on the prize, you can almost taste it... it's a matter of "OK, what will I have to do to get that all-important promotion? Work 60+ hours a week? Get another degree? Do them at the same time? Give up my family? Oops, my husband and I don't know each other anymore. Ah, hell with him, it's his fault for working that 70 hour a week job. The least he could do is try and get one day a week off with me. No? Not even my birthday? No. Sorry. There are important things that must be done" PRIORITIES!!

It was unfortunate, but it wasn't just that we had no life together. We didn't... but the real problem for me was that I had no life. I poured myself into various geeky obsessions that were not really fulfilling, but didn't even know who I was anymore, didn't know what I liked to do, mainly because I had no spare time.

I gradually started to get enlightened about what my career really was about. I was a meaningless little piece of lint in the pocket of the fat-cat corporation's trousers. Even more so, given my line of work... how do think the in-house art department ranks on most corporate org-charts? And if you are not a manager of same, your name will be damned close to the bottom, right above the department where people run copiers, collate and staple (if your corp. is big and bureaucratic enough to have a department just for that... otherwise the art department or administrative assistants do it, and in that case the A.A.s rank higher than you do). Even the lint particles go through the same brainwashing bullshit as everyone else, we will try harder, work faster, be more productive in a never-ending spiraling cycle of happiness and profits through better teamwork. And what's the reward for all those years of gung-ho workaholism?

I want to work, I want to feel good about whatever it is that I'm devoting my time to, I want flexibility so I can be there for those once-in-a-lifetime events that are worth more than gold, and would like to sleep 6-7 hours a night... enough to stay healthy, and to not be stressed to the point of illness, and spend time with my second husband. It's not worth my time anymore to spend the day with assholes, backstabbers, and people who don't see the point in taking their vacation time because they will somehow disappoint the corporation. Life is too short.

So, who will hire me? I've got skills out the wazoo, I want to work about 30 hrs. a week, and don't want to harm animals or lie about my idealogies in the process. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Belle of the Balls

Made a trip to St. Louis last weekend to attend a nephew’s wedding. I hadn’t been there since I moved to Austin over 5 years ago. I can’t say that I miss it, really. I moved there right after high school, really loved it for a few years, then, by the time the big-city gleam wore off I found myself to be too poor to move away... it takes balls to leave a place where you have a job and other pesky attachments, when you have no job or living arrangements waiting in the new place. Besides, I figured one place was as dead-ended and depressing as another, so why bother? I didn’t know Austin was even out there, and that I would actually ......gasp..... feel at home and even thrive in a different place.

St. Louis is a Corporate town, very elitist, and people don’t seem to mind that. I think most people actually prefer supporting their local Corporations rather than nurturing weirdness, because Corporations mean jobs, careers, wealth, cars, more garages, higher status. Who do you work for? What’s your position there? Does it pay well? And the first thing you’ll be asked in a St. Louis crowd... Where did you go to High School? At the wedding in the bar line we were discussing whether a local microbrew would be preferable over a Guinness, and the guy standing behind us (who obviously lives for his career) suggested that the best choice would be a nice, fresh Bud Light. (Note that he even used the word “fresh”! Gah! Where’s the remote? How do I zap a live commercial?) I imagine that any other Anheuser-Busch product would have been equally acceptable.

I always had very few friends there (and the ones I had have left) and almost never met anyone that I had ANYTHING in common with. Also, the good neighborhoods are disgustingly conservative, and the funky, interesting neighborhoods are also known as “high crime areas”.

Anyway, the family (the in-laws) all looked fantabulous, they’ve got great genes. I wouldn’t even have recognized some of the kids, they are starting to look like movie stars. The bridegroom, we decided, looked a little like Ben Affleck. And his cousins could make a fortune as models, or even actors. They wouldn’t even have to be great actors. Compare to Hayden Christensen:

A couple of my nephews

The reception was held in the same building as the City Museum, which is actually a fantastic, funky place. The outdoor playground (suitable for all ages) which we could see from the veranda was open. There were a bunch of twisty metal cagey tubes to crawl through, spiral staircases, slides, and a big pit of rubber balls for jumping around in. We though, what the heck? This is our last chance to try this, so hoping that we’d be gone long enough to miss the band’s rendition of “Proud Mary” we gave it a shot… and very inappropriately dressed as well.

When we got back, they were just starting to play “Proud Mary”, so our night, and our visit to St. Louis was complete. Some things never change.

On the flight home from Houston, I could see this out the window:

Google says "San Antonio" but it's much closer to Austin. It's made from trees, and apparently is the name of the landowner who did it to be able to keep his property away from the government. It can be seen from space, and in fact is used by NASA as a measurement device. Now that is wicked weird! I love it!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kinda Sums it Up

This is one of my favorite movie sites: The Four Word Film Review. There’s no news on upcoming movies, no trailers, no professional critiques of anything, no useful information whatsoever! The idea behind it is to write and submit a movie review containing no more than four words. Profanity is fine, bad taste is fine, tacky, catty, offensive, politically incorrect... all acceptable. The more creative, the better. Here’s a list of the reviews I’ve submitted and have had accepted. I’ve had even more rejected by the powers that be over there. There are maaaany more better than these, but you’ll have to look those up for yourself.

Note: These and the other reviews on FWFR contain spoilers!!! So if you didn’t already know that Darth Vader is Luke’s father… DOH!!!

Alamo, The (2004)
Billy Bob Alamo'ed.

Alexander (2004)
Alexander the Gay.

Auto Focus (2002)

Before Night Falls (2000)
Depp does booty duty.

Blue Velvet (1986)
Orbison music made creepy.

Boondock Saints (1999)
Willem turns into Wilma.

Collateral (2004)
Death cab misses cutie.

Cry-Baby (1990)
Depp teaches French kissing.
Prison tattoo produces tear.

Day After Tomorrow, The (2004)
Dennis's menace is ice.
Ice unites nuclear family.

Ed Wood (1994)
Glen Glenda genda benda.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Iraqi horror picture show.
Seven minutes of Duh-bya.

Finding Neverland (2004)
Depp pens Pan.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Geckos hate Titty Twister.
No cursing for Keitel.

Hard Day's Night, A (1964)
George meets future wife.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)
Dementors suck face.
Ron's rat is fink.

Hellboy (2004)
Firestarter finds fire-proof boyfriend.

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The (2005)
Zaphod Dubya Beeblebrox.

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)
Bugs instead of snakes.
Whiny bimbo cracks fingernail.

Interpreter, The (2005)
Kidman is Penn pal.

Johnny English (2003)
Bean bares Bishop's bottom.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Sword is carry-on luggage.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Broken heart kills Bill.

King Kong (2005)
King Kong Brody.

Kingdom Of Heaven (2005)
Knights in white habits.

Matrix Reloaded, The (2003)
Name 'Smith' more common.

Meet The Fockers (2004)
Baby's first word, 'asshole'.
CIA-equipped RV.

Once Upon A Time In The Midlands (2002)
British cowboy not convincing.

Polar Express, The (2004)
Another Tyler plays elf.
Hellish icy roller coaster.

Robin And Marian (1976)
Robin wins old maid.

Saint, The (1997)
Russian confusion over fusion.

Secret Window (2004)
Double Depp and nuts.

Shrek 2 (2004)
Banderas coughs up hairball.
Puss, ass cuteness contest.
Shrek gets pussy-whipped.

Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow (2004)
Robots won't obey Law.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Webbing preferred over wedding.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
Darth Vader is hot!!
Mr. and Mrs. Sith.
Rise Darth Frankenstein!

Story Of The Weeping Camel, The (2003)
Camel likes sad songs.
Mom camel gets Intervention.

Troy (2004)
Achilles gets Legolas'ed.
Achilles kills with ease.
Sand Pitt.

Two Brothers (2004)
Little Thai grrrrs.
Little tigers stage cute-fest.

Waking Life (2001)
'Slackers' with hallucinogenic drugs.

War Of The Worlds (2005)
Red weed is PEOPLE!!

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
A 600 lb. Grape.

Yellow Submarine (1968)
Peace, love, dope Beatles.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yankee Doodle Doo Doo

Today is the birthday of George Dubya Bush, and in his honor I'd like to provide a link to this very laughable but sad quote page from the American Taliban,(a link I found on J-Walk, thank you). This is not the American who joined the Taliban, it's a bunch of well-respected and popular folks in this country who don't seem to realize that they are promoting the very same type of society that they claim to be against. It's scary stupidity.

I keep getting an awful feeling of dread that the world is being plunged into another Dark Ages, but then I realize that it's mainly this country spiraling downwards in spite of the fact that we should know better. This is a very excellent sermon on Fascism delivered by Dr. Davidson Loehr, one of my personal heroes. I heard that he received a standing ovation after delivering this one. I've only read it online, and it is provided here with some nice links in it as well:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Nickel Creek, Texas. Population, 2

Here is the luscious goodness, a ticket for 2 to the only Nickel Creek appearance I think they've scheduled in Texas since 2003! And it's limited access (radio ticket winners only).

They were supposed to play Shady Grove on September 13, 2001... but you-know-what happened right before that and there was no transportation available and people weren't in the mood for concerts anyway. They got really, really popular in the months to follow, and by the time the first ACL Festival happened they rated an evening show on one of the big stages.

People usually start describing them by mentioning how young they are. Two of them are now 24, or will be this year, and the other is 3 years older, but they made their first record when the youngest players were 9! It's a kid's record of old cowboy songs, but they play and sing pretty well on it! Chris Thile, the mandolin player, put out solo records at age 13 and 16... and I swear that his playing on those is as good as anyone else I've ever heard... anywhere! Also he wrote all the songs except for a few old standards, and they are great! They call him the "Mozart of the Mandolin", and I don't know if such a thing is possible, but it's a pretty good moniker. They are all prodigies, extremely talented and making the most of it from practically Day One.

They have insisted on sticking to their creative guns and haven't let labels (record or genre) or stuffy traditionists tell them how to sound. It also helps to have the clout of record sales to back up their efforts, and it's nice when your last genre-busting release wins a Grammy.

This show is part of a tour of small venues where the tickets must be acquired through certain radio stations, and the setlist will be the list of songs on their next release. Cool, huh? Yessss.

Now, if they played regular concerts here more often, I might not be in this raging Creek-freaked deprived state (which also describes Texas). After all, they are named after this place.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Batting fourth

It's the 4th of July weekend, and some folks who know me a little bit might think I'd be up there be-bopping at Willie Nelson's picnic in the 100+ degree heat, or maybe at a variety of other searing outdoor activities. Air-conditioning was much more appealing, so we started Friday out by seeing Spielberg's War of the Worlds. It was absolutely frightening and thrilling, and I want to see it again soon. There's nothing like an alien invasion to reunite estranged family members. Pretty intense. Thumbs up all around.

Saturday, KGSR started their all-weekend long contest to offer a chance, once an hour, to win tickets to see Nickel Creek at the Cactus Cafe, which is a very intimate venue with great acoustics. I was prepared to be listening and calling round the clock if necessary and was envisioning still having the old FM Walkman plugged into one ear with the phone in the other on Monday night as the contest ended. So I was thrilled when my husband won tickets on Saturday morning!! I am so excited, I'm like Gollum regaining the Preciousss. Creek has not played in Texas since 2003 and we are seriously deprived here. Nickel Creek is one of favorite bands.

Sunday, someone filling in for the regular pastor at UU talked about children's books, and pointed out how Disney has reinterpreted some really great literature in their versions of same (giving "The Jungle Book" as an example), and should be avoided. Good point, and well made. Damn the dumbing down, the commercialism, and pounding everything in existence into a formula.

Sunday evening we visited the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony flyout. It's a uniquely Austin experience! Tomorrow (Monday) is the 4th of July and I think it will be pretty low-key. I'm saving my energy for all the July stuff coming up: Storyville, Del Castillo (twice!), Greencards (up to 3 times), and the already mentioned Nickel Creek... plus there's that wedding we are attending in good old St. Loo. He will go up early and be able to catch the Greencards opening for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson while I cat-sit (see "You had me at "Meow"). Good for him.

When we all wave the flag on the 4th, I hope that folks will remember the freedoms that this country is founded on, to live and let live, that America is a melting pot, 1984 is a scary book, and what the welcoming message on the Statue of Liberty says. Let Freedom Ring.

Friday, July 01, 2005

You had me at "Meow"

At some point in time we made the transition from being cat-people to crazy-cat-people. Our lives are ruled by cats. Our house has a cat motif: cat salt and pepper shakers, coat hooks, candle holders, various little beds with just the right fleece, litter pans, etc. The floors are mostly tile so make cleanups easier (if you have any cats, you know about the cleanups, cats are clean but they make messes), furniture the color of, covered in slipcovers or just made of something wipe-clean.

We can't travel if it will take both of us away more than one evening. The routine and requirements of this gang are beyond the patience of the most conscientious cat-sitter on earth. I'm certain of it. Alex and Jax are not permitted to meet each other. It would result it bloodshed followed by someone's demise, probably Alex's since Jax outweighs him twice over and is half his age. Also Jax is a trained killer with 7 years experience from before we took him in. Neither Alex nor Jax can co-mingle with Henry and Duncan unsupervised. Usually their peaceful time time together lasts about 10 minutes tops before someone starts a hair-pulling scream-fest. Duncan and Henry are pretty good buddies, having only an occasional spat of wrestling and slapping. At night, Alex gets our bedroom, the Boys get the run of the house, and Jax gets the cat room. Then at 5am (when the first mandatory feeding must take place) Jax and Alex are exchanged while hoping that one doesn't get a good look at the other. The rest of the time that we are home, we all play musical cat rooms. Everybody gets exchanged with everybody else, all litter pans are cleaned several times a day (certain cats will refuse to use it if another cat has already ruined it for them), and dry food that has been sitting out for a few hours will be shunned, and one cat will not eat the dry food that is at the edge of the plate, so one of us primates must rearrange the chow to make it more appealing. One cat has indigestion or some unknown ailment that he's had for years, and pukes nearly every day. He likes to puke ON something: shoes, purses, phones, remotes, magazines, the bed, the bed especially if you are in it, or maybe down the side of the couch. Steriods are the only thing that has helped at all. Another one poops on the floor or bed sometimes, just because he felt like it. It might be because he's happy or having a crazy hour. He's not sick, or pissed off at us, he's just plain goofy. Another one has allergies and needs frequent pills. The last one has an OCD that causes him to lick off his belly and leg fur.

Swab, poke, wipe, scoop, isolate, pet, comb, clip, launder. These are our babies, and that's how they are treated. I wouldn't trade them for a trip to Paris... not Paris, Texas anyway.

The more cats you have, the more subservient you will be. Since primates and cats have existed, felines have possessed the deep-down intuitive ability to press our buttons. More about my lovely little god-creatures later here at the Oasis, but you can get a look at them here: Silly Cat Valley. Who says there's not enough love to go around?