Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Thursday and Moody Blues Day

Going solo (because of pricey tickets) to see them tonight at the Moody theater. Can you believe it? It's not, in any way, named after them but how could they resist playing there? It's the same venue where the Austin City Limits TV show is taped, and (unlike Tuesday for the taping) there will be seats in the house. I managed to snag a 2nd row seat out of pure luck of the draw.

During my middle-aged crazy phase (have you gone through yours yet?) I was focused on this band to the near-exclusion of all others, and I would travel around a bit and see them maybe 5 times a year. It took me to all sorts of places - some that are nice to visit such as Las Vegas, Cape Cod and Santa Barbara... and some in the other category such as Moline IL, Merrillville IN and Kalamazoo MI (in February! a.k.a the frozen tundra tour). It was proven to me that you can have a good time anywhere if you are with friends and/or kindred spirits. We were like air-conditioned gypsies or Dead-heads with frequent-flyer miles and nice hotel rooms.

All things must pass. I still love the Moodies, but am over them now. Too many others out there to see, especially in this town. In fact, I recoiled at the ticket prices (even though I used to routinely pay much more - back when I had $$$ and obsession) and almost didn't even go to this show... but they are an entity that will not last forever, and I wanted to see them at least one more time. They've still got it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You knew these were coming!!

You just knew that getting the long form released wouldn't be enough. There is often some real creativity in the crazy brain.

Flogging Molly on Austin City Limits

We had a great time at the Flogging Molly Austin City Limits taping last night. The use the new taping venue now, and I do think that, based on the limited experience of 2 tapings in the legendary previous venue, that this one does not quite measure up. Yes, the sound is wonderful, but the lack of bleacher seating (or any other seating for the floor area) and complete lack of line management are a definite negative in my book.

Anyway, the band really rocked and it was our first Flogging Molly concert. Also, the lead singer (Dave King) pointed to my t-shirt and talked a little about during the show!! It was a great Willie Nelson shirt of mine with a large picture of him on the front. Dave said, "There's an Austin shirt! I used to have hair like that!" and a bit more that I don't remember. I hope the editors keep that banter in so I can see it later on TV.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Austin City Limits taping tomorrow

We've got one hell of a music week coming up. Too tired to lay it all out at once. Starts tomorrow with this band (Flogging Molly) at the Austin City Limits TV show taping.

More on the rest of of the week coming up soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Caturday events

Old Henry likes to howl a bit during the nights and early mornings - then he's all worn out. Sometimes he's switch from one comfy spot to another one. Good way to face the day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New DCCC ad

Someone needs to tell voters that the Republicans are only trying to stop government spending. Spending itself (OUR out of pocket spending) is going to go waaaay up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Goin' South

Encounters at the End of the World
This film has been out for a few years but I only just discovered it and had Netflix send it over. This is a documentary by Werner Herzog about the South Pole, the people who spend time there, and the reasons why. We watched it first on the smaller TV with just the TV speakers, and enjoyed that but realized that we really needed to see it on the bigger TV with the sound system (like our second viewing). Make sure you do that. The visuals and the music in it are gorgeous, just stunning! (Don't watch it on your phone if you have other choices.)A few images from the film that I snagged online.
Science, adventure, art, culture, passion, eccentricity, extraordinary people, places and creatures. Lots of stories.
Human extremophiles, kindred spirits to Herzog himself. If you rent this, make sure you check out the extra features, especially Under the Sea and Over the Ice. Those are just trippy-beautiful scenic short features with great music in the background. Hope I remembered the names of those correctly.

There is a really good podcast from Wisconsin Public Radio that is on many of the same topics, called Polar Stories, which covers both poles. Our local NPR affiliate doesn't carry this show, called "To the Best of Our Knowledge," so I listen online occasionally. It's always an excellent program.

It is already in the mid-90°s here, so maybe all these icy stories are extra refreshing to us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fire stirs up questions

They have arrested the man who has claimed responsibility (and that is an ironic word to use) for the massive fire yesterday. He is a homeless man who started a fire (to cook some eggs) in this wooded, suburban area... then left the fire burning while he walked to a convenience store to buy some beer.100 acres was burned, along with many houses... at least 8, maybe 10 houses 100% destroyed, and many more that will no longer be habitable. The damage count varies, there were people who evacuated their undamaged homes last night to find them burned this morning. It is just very dry and windy - what they keep calling the perfect storm for fire. And then there was all the fire retardant that was sprayed everywhere via C-130......and the leftovers.
It's really hard to have clear feelings on this. There's a good post on the local paper's charity blog about all the issues surrounding this event. We are in extreme drought. There is a burn ban and there has been for some time - but do we think that homeless people know these things? I think that some do and some don't. I don't think you can make one true statement about everyone. It is certainly a terrible idea to leave a fire going where there's a lot of dead brush and it's windy. Was it arson? Was it stupidity? Was the result intended? They also mentioned on this evening's news that they found more than one of those campsites in there. The truly ironic part of this is that the man who started the fire now has a place to stay. It's jail, but it's still shelter. A lot of other people, on the other hand, now do not have homes.Anyone can become homeless. We are like chairs, take away a leg or two and we can, and probably will collapse. Some of the fire's victims will not recover, esp. if they had inadequate insurance, home-based businesses, or are now sans transportation.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Big fire

This is just a couple of miles from the house. This fire started up and turned raging fast - has (as of this writing) burned about 100 acres and 10 houses (destroyed), lots more houses damaged. On the news they said someone is a suspect. Not sure what that means yet.

We are in extreme drought here. That's the official term for it according to the US Drought Monitor. Humidity has been very low and was only 9% on Friday (can't even fathom humidity that low) plus this weekend it's been very windy. Perfect conditions for fires. With the beautiful temperatures we've had lately it's hard to imagine the hells of massive fires. It's going to be a long, hot, dry summer.

(no worries, we are not in any danger... not as this is being written anyway)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Record Store Day

Today is Record Store Day, so if you are fortunate enough to have a brick and mortar record store, get out there and buy something, dammit! There are lots and lots of exclusive and limited releases coming out today. Vinyl has been roaring back with a vengeance over the last few years!

We are going to head over to Waterloo Records to get some CDs signed by Eric Johnson this afternoon (and buy a few things in addition, plus The Toadies are playing afterward but that will be a zoo). He (EJ) is releasing his latest record, Up Close, on vinyl, and is doing an in-store (signing only). I am not planning to buy the vinyl version because - truthfully- I am not big on vinyl. Yes, I know that the sound of virginal vinyl is much better than digital can achieve. You need some good listening equipment for it, and the medium itself requires a music-lifestyle discipline that I have not been nurturing [for better or worse].

I still have most of my old vinyl, and when it gets played [by MrB - I don't play vinyl] it is a bit torturous. Popping, crackling, skipping, and that muffled fuzziness that comes from the dusty needle and just plain wear. I did not take care of it when it was in active rotation. Abused, is what it was. In the 60s I used to stack my naked vinyl in a dining chair (at least it was padded, and was, itself, vinyl) and would be constantly sorting through it feverishly to keep the music going for what seemed like a constant party... no time for or inclination towards tucking them back away in their sleeves for protection. Even now, knowing what I did wrong, I don't really want to start collecting vinyl again.

Still, I celebrate its return. Vinyl has a market, and will produce sales, and these things are a blessing to musicians as well as to the brick and mortar record stores. Huzzah!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


This is a few months old, but I just saw it for the first time today. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dark Matter

Ain't it the truth? I'm really going to have to check out some more of this channel!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More flowers and stuff

We are deep into Spring! It's been warm a lot lately, generally in the 80-90° range. Last month's Blackfoot daisies are joined by a bunch of Shasta Daisies.

The emergence of the gorgeous Red Yucca blooms have brought at least one hummingbird back into our little habitat. I had been feeling sad knowing that both store-bought hummingbird feeders had been routinely maintained for some time without any "customers."

No hummingbird photographic evidence available (all the birds leave ASAP when we go outside), but here's a weird bug that looked a little like a bee or a wasp - but after looking at those eyes I decided it had to be a fly. Turns out this is some kind of a Hoverfly (a.k.a. Flower Fly), and is beneficial for gardens for pollination and aphid control.

"Don't swat me... please??"

Friday, April 08, 2011

Not exactly IMAX

Does anyone out there watch movies on their phone? The ads that are shown on TV for phones and networks like to display a phone which is playing a movie - and the phone looks HUGE! I mean, it looks great because the picture is so big and so clear, and it makes you want one... but the phone they are showing is the size of the TV screen! Of course it looks big and impressive!

I dunno... I don't think Inception was designed to be seen on a 3 to 4 inch screen. What do you think?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

A "Modern Spiritual" for your Sunday

Yes, DO watch it all the way to the end to hear Lawrence Welk describe it in those words. This reminds me of something that happened in this same timeframe (around 1971). I've had more than my share of really goofy aunts, uncles and cousins.

One uncle (call him "E") was quite a strong religious fanatic of the Pentecostal variety and married a woman named Carol who was made of the same stuff. She was a real corker. There she is, on the left, and don't you worry, her hair is not cut off, it's wrapped up in a bun like the Lord commanded. She went around tongue-wagging and bad-mouthing a woman, one of her cousins-in-law, for shaming herself and being indecent. The way she had shamed herself was by wearing a pantsuit - Pentecostal women were only permitted to wear dresses (and obviously this cousin was not of that strain of Christianity and was therefore of the devil). This complaint didn't sit well with much of anybody, so one day Carol was sitting in the front yard in a dress that was a little short - and my mother (who loved to stir the shit) and a kindred spirit of a neighbor across the street started hollering as loud as possible, "I see England, I see France, I see Carol's underpants!!" The other thing Carol was famous for was showing up at potluck dinners with no food - only empty containers to take food home - that, and showing up uninvited right at dinnertime with husband and 3 kids in tow. I guess Uncle E was just as much to blame for that one, but he was never quite right so we forgave him.

Some funny things from Uncle E

Once he was stopped by a policeman for running a stop sign. He told the officer that he knew good and well that he could not have committed that offense, and the reason he knew was because he was a Christian!! As the officer wrote out the ticket, Uncle E started to pray out loud "Oh Jesus!! Come right now!!"

Another time he was looking for work and had filled out some forms with an employment agency. One of the questions asked had to do with driving experience and he was supposed to estimate about how many miles he had driven. He put down "a million miles." When he got tired of having no luck in the job hunting department, he called up the woman at the agency to yell at her, and told her that maybe she should be looking for him a job on the moon because she wasn't doing him any good down here on earth!

Uncle E once showed up at our door with a religious tabloid magazine claiming that Richard Nixon was being falsely persecuted... JUST LIKE JESUS WAS! My mother had some real giggles over that one. Neither of us could stand Nixon, and my mother liked to say "He thinks his shit smells like pineapples!" (meaning Nixon, not her brother).

One day, the phone rang. I picked it up and said hello, but all I heard was that song playing, "One Toke Over the Line" by Brewer and Shipley. I held the receiver up in the air so she could hear too, and we were both very aware of the definition of 'toke' and were giggling like mad and rolling our eyes. When the song ended, Uncle E finally spoke up on the other end. He said he wanted to make sure we got to hear that song because it was about Jesus!

I still think about that and laugh when I hear that song, and apparently Uncle E wasn't the only one who was taken in by that Modern Spiritual!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Helloooo weekend!

First of all, life's too short for Coors Light. Second, be careful out there and don't drink and drive, text and drive, or drink and text. Third, always remember... you are probably being videotaped.

Have been working long days in the office all week, plus commuting. Feeling tired as hell and looking forward to not hearing the alarm at 4:30AM tomorrow. Next week is another crunch. Glad to have a job though. Glad to have a job... Glad to have a job... Glad to have a job... repeat. in. head.