Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey! I found your dentures!

Couldn't resist this logo seen on the trailer of "Big Jon Plumbing." And you thought you were having a shitty day at work.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conspicuous name-dropping and shameless promotion

Above: The view of the Texas Union at UT by the light of the full blue moon, the building that houses the legendary listening room, the Cactus Cafe. The Longhorns had a win that day, hence the orange tower in the background (trivia note: that's the same tower where Charles Whitman made news as a sniper in 1966).

Kevin Welch "Andaman Sea"

Getting a little behind posting on current events here in the live music capital of the world. We've been doing less (as far as hitting the clubs) but have had a small flurry of activity lately. November 20 we went to see the outstanding singer-songwriter Kevin Welch at the Cactus Cafe. Check the video on the right, above, for a nice live recording done by Music Fog earlier this year in Memphis. Kevin is technically local now, living down the road in Wimberley. The Cactus gig was just him and his son Dustin, who's also one of our favorite local singer-songwriters. It was quite a treat. We had room at our table up front, and Earl Poole Ball +friend needed seats so we were happy to share. Earl plays honkytonk piano with several bands around town, and his recording résumé includes Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Nelson, Marty Robbins, Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds, Carl Perkins... but the part that stands out is the 20 years he spent in Johnny Cash's band. Really nice guy. I love this town. Anyway, Kevin has a new album out called "A Patch of Blue Sky", we just bought it on "Small Business Saturday" at Waterloo Records, and it's a good one.

Wednesday (Day before Thanksgiving) we had The Greencards show at Threadgill's. Don't watch this video unless you want to hear beautiful mandolin, fiddle and guitar acoustic instrumental music.
The weather was outstanding, balmy warm breezes blew in to where you didn't even need a jacket at night outdoors - then the next day it turned really chilly. I have been working in a supporting role for this band since 2004 (and fans of theirs since 2003), and have recently passed the torch. It was time, and it's all good. We will always be friends, and they are so talented that it's mind-boggling. Here's a jam that I caught with Phoebe Hunt (from Belleville Outfit) sitting in. I think this is Cazadero but not 100% sure (I tend to get corrected on song titles by people who know better, and I don't mind that). They are launching a new campaign to make a record on their own (without a record label being involved) where fans can "Buy a Brick" (which will get your name imprinted on the CD insert) and support independent music - from the heart in every direction. Click here for more info.

The day after Thanksgiving (AKA Black Friday) has become a new traditional holiday at Momo's, and it's the birthday of the Band of Heathens. They are one of many local bands to have been hatched in that venue. Actually, you can go to their website link above and download a free MP3 of the song "Millionaire," which was written by the aforementioned Kevin Welch and made a bit more famous by Solomon Burke. Awesome song. Anyway, back to the show. The opener was James Hyland (pictured), and he sounded great. At one point I looked around and realized that I done websites and/or CD art for 2 of the folks onstage and one other person standing next to us... and it really feels like the end of an era (kind of like what I felt on Wednesday). Changes... every five years is like an eternity. Everything comes and goes.

Back to the Band of Heathens, which we all just call "the Heathens" (even though that bandname is technically taken by someone else in another town). This is one of the best live bands you can see. They are steeped in red dirt, bayou, gospel, all kinds of soul from Memphis through Texas. This one is called "Right Here With Me" and is a fun one to watch. Gordy (in the middle) gets a little off-key on one part and cracks himself up. It's a home town crowd though, and they are among friends. It's all good.

My feet are still recovering, and all is well. Put the tickets for next year up for sale and I will buy them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Only not Lonely

With Thanksgiving nearly on us, it's a good opportunity to bring up sibling topics such as birth order. Heard this one on NPR: How Much Does Birth Order Shape Our Lives? It was a pretty good piece and very interesting, but like much of the other literature on this topic, it completely skips over the "onlies."

I guess only children are thought to be rare enough so that they get left out of the discussion... and it's easier to have the Big Three, first, middle, last. Here's another article: How Birth Order Changes Your Life. 1 - 2 - 3 - done. I think they such assume that onlies are just like firstborns. Not correct.

An entire article from the Sunday Times (UK) mentions only children just once, to state that onlies are more likely to be obese than children with siblings. They are not exactly including us in the main topic.

Aha! There's an entire paragraph for onlies in this one: First Born, Middle Child or Last Born?The one below, though, had some really valuable comments.

Birth Order
Prepared by Judith Graham, Extension human development specialist. She has referenced The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are. New York Dell Publishing. Leman, K. (1985).
Like firstborns, single children are often treated like little adults—sometimes to the point of feeling they never had a childhood. The labels describing firstborns also fit the only-born; but preceding each label—perfectionistic, reliable, conscientious, well-organized, critical, serious, scholarly, cautious, conservative—add the word super.

When the only child falls victim to perfectionism, she usually moves toward one of two extremes. Either one of these roads can lead to becoming the “discouraged perfectionist.”

He may become very critical, cold-blooded, and objective, never tolerating mistakes or failure on his part or on the part of others. Or she may become everybody’s rescuer, the one who agonizes over the problems of others and always wants to move in, take over, and solve everything. Discouraged perfectionists are usually very structured people who hold very high expectations for themselves and others.

What Can the Discouraged Perfectionist Do?
  1. Start each day by giving yourself permission to be imperfect (perfection isn’t achievable). Make a conscious effort to go easy on criticizing yourself and others.
  2. Learn to accept. There is no way you can change anybody else’s behavior. Stop trying.
  3. Memorize “I was wrong,” “I’m sorry,” and “Will you forgive me?” and use them often.
  4. Don’t be so quick to put yourself down, and when others criticize, don’t be so quick to react. Perfectionists are sensitive—be aware of your sensitivity, admit it and cope with it patiently.
  5. Take small bites of reality. Perfectionists often overwhelm themselves with the BIG picture, so work at doing one thing at a time.
Making the Only Child Birth Order Work
  1. Pay attention to all the ideas in Making the Firstborn Birth Order Work.
  2. Exercise extreme caution. Be ruthless with yourself in regard to making too many commitments and expecting too much of yourself.
  3. Make time for yourself. Is time and space for yourself really built into your schedule? Most only children are the type who need some time for themselves.
  4. Choose friends wisely. As a rule, only children get along better with people much older or much younger than themselves. Try to arrange experiences with both groups because these are the personalities you are most likely to click with and the people who will give you more strokes and argue with you less.
  5. Do a self-inventory. Only children are often labeled selfish and self-centered because they may never have had to learn to share with brothers and sisters. Take an honest inventory of your life. How self-centered do you act around your spouse, friends or fellow workers? What specific things can you do to put others first, help others more and be less critical of others?

I hope this is the craziest damn thing you read today

While Screaming Bible Passages, 'Ugly Betty' Actor Kills Mother With Samurai Sword (with video)

MSNBC: A neighbor told WPIX that he heard a man shouting Biblical passages "like repent, repent, repent."

Brea, 31, was later taken into custody, WPIX said.

The New York Daily News reported that Yannick Brea, 55, was stabbed repeatedly with a sword. WPIX reported that she was found decapitated.

Religion and insanity: deadly mixture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

This day in American history should never be forgotten, even though we can never know the whole truth about what happened, why, and who. Past observations here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doctor Christmas

BBC America, which provides us Yanks with episodes of Doctor Who (albeit a few weeks later than first-run in the UK) is giving us the new Christmas episode ON Christmas Day! The 11th Doctor is continuing the 10th Doctor's Christmas Episode tradition. I love the treatment of the holiday that is used in Doctor Who and also the Harry Potter series... all the trappings are there, plus some dark themes, monsters and impending disaster... but no sign of baby Jesus. So refreshing. It really is a secular holiday now, the traditions surrounding it are as far removed from a baby being born in a stable as they can possibly be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They also have good mulch.

I love going to the Natural Gardener for any reason, it's like the gardening candy store - wonderful colors in plants and paint and gotta-have sculptures and structures. The little cottage above is not open to the public, it's a work area and is also equipped with screened outdoor cat runs attached to the building. What an inviting-looking place! I want to go in, but I'm sure the outside is probably more appealing than the inside. I'll never know unless I get a job there someday. Click anything to view larger.

I love beautiful entrances and exits. The one below is the rear entrance/exit to the butterfly garden.
This is the entry to the area where they have a Tipi (which I have always spelled "teepee") and a labyrinth (Debra, take note!). I was going to visit it, but they were doing maintenance on it. It's mapped out in plants, and the whole thing was covered in plastic (some kind of setup to help them grow). The bottom pic is a closeup of the entry arch. You can see some of our "Fall foliage" here. Mostly green with a few autumn leaves here and there as a garnish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Restore sanity or keep fear alive? This time it's personal.

Well, it's been quiet around this blog for awhile. Just dealing with a lot of life changes and stuff, it's been difficult to blog. I become so easily overwhelmed with worries, and only some of them are worth the stress. Yes, you CAN worry yourself to death.

I've always been prone to panic attacks, or variations of them. I guess I need some kind of therapy - doctors or meds - but I've had some really unpleasant and frightening experiences with both of things before. Not really willing to head down that road yet. They have evolved over the years, and the recent ones have been really kind of scary.

No need for you all to worry about me, though. I will make it. I'm trying to get more sleep, or at least, rest. There is less going on, intentionally. I am less busy. Not scouring the Chronicle or the Club listings to see who's playing tonight. Not even doing the easy stuff if it's a weeknight. Yes, I know... I'm missing a lot. I've even missed my favorite bands, on purpose. I need downtime, relaxation, indifference, even laziness. Every Sunday night, the success of the weekend gets measured by how much stuff we got done. If things were left undone, I am disappointed in myself... but shouldn't be... really.

By the end of this year, I should be back to working just 40 hours a week for an employer with virtually no freelance clients. I have dearly loved being part of what makes the music happen (even though I can't play a note), but I will now be able to check some things off the list. Did some things I always wanted to do, did a pretty good job, and it's time to pass things along, sit back, take things in stride... and above all... DON'T PANIC (even when things are going to hell in a bucket).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Steve Martin and Sarah Jarosz

Last April we won a lottery drawing to get "space available" entry to the Steve Martin/Sarah Jarosz Austin City Limits TV taping. That episode debuted this past Saturday (check your local listings for reruns on PBS) and we both had loads of audience cameos.

And the other person on the bill was the amazing Sarah Jarosz, who was about 13 I think, when we first saw her and she is now 18. It was an amazing show!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rough night

...and waking up in a strange place. What the hell happened and how did we get here, people?

{photo: Museum of the Weird, 6th Street, Austin}