Music Post

Last night was Sio's last choral concert of her high school career. It ended on a high note (pun sort of intended): their own auditorium is currently under construction, so they performed at the Belding Theater at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center, which has much better acoustics than the auditorium at MHS.

I only wish I had captured the first number of the evening, it was an arrangement of Bridge Over Troubled Water, and it left me with tears pouring down my face.

The first number I recorded is the MHS Jazz Choir singing Satin Doll. The female soloist is none other than Sio! Unfortunately, something goes slightly wonky with the sound part way through:

Up next is the Song That Goes Like This from Spamalot!:

The next 3 numbers were performed by the MHS Roundtable Singers, a venerable institution at Manchester High School - next year will be the 70th anniversary of this award-winning, nationally top 10 ranked a capella choir.

Up first is Locus Iste by Bruckner. Sadly, the end of the song is marred by some asshole who didn't turn their cell phone off:

Le Rose Complete by Morten Lauridsen. I've only performed one other song by this composer, a beautiful composition of O Magnum Mysterium. He's definitely found some signature, sweet chords. This is gorgeous:

The last number I recorded is Gospel Train:


1973 Gil's Pub; 1970-1982 Irish American Home

Shiltone recently had a post up at If I Ran The Zoo , waxing nostalgic about the music in a jukebox from his (her?) childhood.

There are two jukeboxes that figure in my childhood. The first one was at Gil's Pub in Hebron, CT. When my parents moved to Hebron in 1969, it was a dry town, but sometime between 1969 and 1973, Gil's Pub opened up on Main Street. Every now and then, my dad would take me to Gil's with him. There wasn't much for a kid to do there - the pool table was usually in use, and the dartboard was off limits to me, but I do remember getting quarters for the jukebox, and even then, I was obsessive compulsive in the way I listened to music. I remember a couple of songs that I listened to, but the one that really leaps out is Tanya Tucker's recording of Delta Dawn. I would listen to that one over and over and over again. I learned all the words, and I would sing it when I went home to my mother.

The second jukebox was at the Irish American Home, which was a lot more fun. In addition to the bar, they had a big field for sports, playing cards, snacks, and drunk men who would give me money because I was Billy Howley's daughter. When I was very young, my favorite bar snack was sardines and crackers (cue my children: Ewwwww!), and I would listen to The Unicorn over and over again. Yes, my tastes as a child were not refined. I thought it was so sad that the unicorns never made it onto the ark.

I went through a phase of listening to Horse With No Name, You Are The Woman That I Always Dreamed Of, and one of the last songs I remember playing on that jukebox was My Sharona - after that, I deemed myself too old to hang out at the boring club with my father on Sundays after church.

6 days

I have 6 days to buy a car. I have $4100. If there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, please let His Noodly Appendages help me find something before the insurance company stops paying for the car rental.

(P.S. I traded in the behemoth. I was hoping to get a regular car, but all they had to choose from was a couple of minivans and a couple of big SUVs, so now I'm driving a minivan.)


I'm a sell-out

You will notice the prominent advertisement at the top of my page. I'm selling out, baby, looking for any source of income that is available to me. I will make sure to click ad links on all my favorite blogs from here on out, because I never really understood how it worked before.

I was wrong

My car is not fixable, I spoke to the insurance adjuster this morning, and my car, she is totalled.

I was thinking that we weren't under quite enough financial pressure yet, between paying for college and my choir job ending for the summer and Loki feeling desperate to get out of his job, so this should help.


I'm a bigger part of the problem...for now

I mentioned in an earlier post that my car had brief fling with a jersey barrier and came out the worse for wear. Well, on Friday, Loki and I took the car to the body shop, and we picked up the rental car provided by our insurance company.

Except it wasn't a car, it was a fucking behemoth SUV/pick-up truck mash-up. This, my friends, was a vehicle that says something about the man driving it, and what it says is "the man driving me has a micro-penis".

We asked if we could exchange it for something normal sized, but this was all they had, so we took it home.

I have to confess that it is nice to be up so high, and that my hip really appreciates the comfortable seating. My hip isn't so keen on how hard it has to work to hoist my fat ass into the truck, though. And the best mileage we've been able to achieve thus far is 14.7 MPG. That's criminal.

We should find out tomorrow if the car is totalled or fixable (I think it will be fixable), and I can't wait to get back to my normal car. In the meantime, I have a call into the rental agency to see if we can exchange this monstrosity now that the holiday weekend is over.

Monday evening photo post


Things that are happening right now

1. I have insomnia...again
2. Something is burning
3. My left pinky is bleeding, but it doesn't hurt

Addendum: my left pinky was NOT bleeding, what appeared to be blood in the wee hours of the morning was actully red magic marker ink. I'm not sure how it got on my pinky, or why there was so much of it that it appeared blood was running from a wound, but it was not a stigmata, it was a marker.


18 years ago

18 years ago, my life changed inalterably for the better.

18 years ago today, I was in the hospital, eating the best meal I've ever had in my life - chicken on whole wheat bread, salad, chocolate milk, jello. It was the best meal I've ever had because for the 280 days prior to this day (18 years ago), I couldn't keep a bite of food down.

But that meal is not why my life changed inalterably for the better.

No, 18 years ago was also the day we welcomed Sio into the world. After a horrific pregnancy filled with constant puking, nausea, and fear*, out came this absolutely perfect, completely beautiful, sunny dispositioned infant. She was worth every horrible day.

This day 18 years ago started at 5:30 a.m., when I had my first contraction, which was followed 5 minutes later by my second contraction. Loki and I had a long drive to the hospital, although the person I spoke to in the doctor's office assured me that we had a long labor ahead of us, considering this was my first.

By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were already hard enough that I couldn't sit still or speak during them. The hospital checked me and and moved me up to a labor room. Every now and then, a nurse would come in and check how dilated I was, announce a pathetically small number (3cm!) and then disappear. At about 9:55 a.m., a nurse came in, checked my cervix, and suddenly, it was lights, camera, action - the room filled up with people. There was the doctor, the physician's assistant, and lots of nurses. I remember one nurse in particular, Teri, who took my hands and told me to squeeze them as hard as I needed to. It was only a few minutes of pushing, and *pop*, there was Sio.

Loki followed her around while they did tests, I think he wanted to make sure they didn't mix her up with any other babies. All mothers think their babies are beautiful, and I was no exception, although to be fair, I was also right - she was perfection, with a curl of soft black hair on her head, rosy cheeks and chubby legs.

And she was also the easiest baby. When she was hungry or needed a diaper change, she fussed a little, but didn't cry. She opened her eyes and seemed to be drinking in everything.

When we took her home the next day, we really didn't know what we were doing. We were armed with a used carseat, some blankets and hats, and a nurse who told us that no matter what, if we show the kid we love her, it would all work out.

And it has. I have many flaws as a mother - I am not a naturally nurturing, caretaking kind of person, and I know that Sio would sometimes like a normal mom, but she was born with a kind of independence that fit my parenting weaknesses well.

So happy birthday, sweetie, and many, many more.


You rocked, Veronica Mars

Tonight was the two hour season and series ender of yet another show that I loved like a family member, but no one else seemed to watch. Ordinarily, I would just go to the forums at Television Without Pity to commiserate with my fellow fans, but the forums have been rendered unreadable by all the fangirls and boys who don't seem to understand that Logan Echolls is a fictional character. (Yes, Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell had awesome chemistry, and Logan was trying to redeem himself, but he was still a little bit of a psychotic jackass underneath all the moping.)

Veronica Mars suffered from having a nearly perfect first season. I resisted watching the show at first, because everyone I knew who liked Buffy said "you'll love this show" - and I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Buffy, really, so I refused to believe that anything could compare.

But my curiousity got the better of me and I picked up the first season on DVD. In the first episode, we learn that Veronica's dad used to be the Sheriff of Neptune, CA, but was forced out of office after accusing a grieving -and powerful- father of killing his own daughter, Veronica's best friend, Lilly. We learn that the shame of that sent Veronica's mom packing, that Veronica went from being popular to being shunned, and the kicker, we learn that Veronica was roofied and raped at a party. We also learn that Veronica does not take shit from anyone, and I love her so much for that.

These mysteries play out through season 1, and even end up being revisited in season 2, although we do get plenty of answers in the last episode of the first season. After a nearly perfect first season, though, seasons 2 and 3 couldn't quite live up to the hype (you might have missed the hype, but it was there, brewing, quietly).

Season 3 was like the current Democratic Congress - too much compromise rendered it unappealing to nearly everyone. (Note: I still support many of our Democrats that are in office, I will continue to vote for Democrats, and Republicans still are a horror show). But I had hope that it could make a comeback, and I felt like the last two episodes really returned to the noir feel of season 1.

But that's all we'll get. I'm sad, because Veronica was kickass and a feminist role model, and now she's gone.


Over the weekend, I noticed this film showed up in my Tifaux queue, so I sat down to screen it on Saturday afternoon. Blow-up was Michelangelo Antonioni's first English language film, set in London in the swinging 60s. I love a nontraditional narrative, and I was hooked, right up until the moment when David Hemming's fashion photographer hands Vanessa Redgrave the wrong roll of film, which is when my recording cut off. Filmus interruptus. I was not happy.

New to blogroll

Under the heading of "Here I Am Now, Entertain Me", I have added Self-Styled Siren, a delightful cinephile blog that focuses on older films. She is an excellent writer and I have been reading her archives all evening, delighting in her critiques of old movies I've seen and some of the divine stars of yesterday.


Sick again

Once again, I am sick. I'm sure it's my own fault - I probably stayed up way too late too many days in a row, and damaged my immune system, but I woke up this morning coughing green crap out of my lungs and since then it has shifted entirely to my sinuses - my ears are closing up and itchy from the fluid in my head, my nose won't stop running, and I'm still coughing up gross stuff.

I had a fairly busy weekend - did some clothes shopping with the Monkey, who has outgrown every single item of clothing in her dresser and closet. We hung out at the bookstore for a while where I got caught up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and picked up Rufus Wainwright's new CD. I also spent some time with the DVR - I watched It Happened One Night (funny), The Dead Poet's Society (sob), and a rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream with a score by Mendelssohn, Dick Powell as Lysander, Olivia de Haviland as Hermia, James Cagney as Bottom and a quite young Mickey Rooney as Puck. It was very much a movie of its era - clearly on a soundstage, although there were some neat (for the time) effects with the fairies, and I thought everyone did their best with their roles, although Cagney was just a little too self-conscious to be Bottom, IMO.

I've taken some Nyquil, and we'll see how I feel in the morning. I'm so tired of being sick. I hate to complain too much, because there are so many people who have worse than a head cold on their plates, but I will complain a little - enough with the illnesses!


You're on the list, The Office

for stealing my joke.

Last night on The Office, Jan showed up with fancy new boobs, and in one talking head interview, Creed said he didn't like fake boobs.

Creed: au naturel, baby. Swing low, sweet chariots

Which is a funny line, but it's also a joke I've been making for several years about my own sweet (albeit pendulous) boobs.

Initially, I was kind of pissed that now I will never be able to make this joke in either an amateur or professional venue without people thinking I stole it from The Office. But now I'm thinking if jokes I make off the cuff are funny enough to be in one of the funniest shows on TV, then maybe I should try writing my own script. Which is why I've decided to sign up for Script Frenzy, the newest spin-off from the creators of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The challenge is to write a script or screenplay in the month of June.

One Day

It's funny how one day can change how you feel about yourself entirely. At about 11am this morning, I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown - Loki had a car accident last night (no one but the car is hurt), I got a call from Monkey's teacher because she hadn't done her homework in 4 days, I'm $13,000 in debt to WPI, and there are a few other serious things going on that I am not at liberty to discuss, because they are not my issues.

I felt like I was standing on the edge all day long - I could just give in and take another step and sob and scream and give in to the increasing panic. But I didn't. I calmed myself down and reacted like a normal, responsible adult. That may not seem like much to you normal people, but to me, this is a big step. I feel invincible tonight.


Inspiration needed

I'm thinking about participating in a Non-National Novel Writing Event this July, which is to write a play or screenplay. I can visualize these little snippets of a movie, I can hear a song and see it accompanying a film montage (especially 11:11 by Rufus Wainwright, which is just SCREAMING to be the music played at the end of a movie when the hero/ine has picked him/herself up, dusted him/herself off, and realized there is some hope for the future - my imaginary movie will have an ambiguous but hopeful ending), but I can't seem to get it all together.

I'm also mentally composing my memoirs - I'm thinking about calling it The Museum of Broken Things (which is a story that I will include in my memoirs...I keep pluralizing that word, and I'm not even sure it should be pluralized.)


The Vicodin Song

by Terra Naomi

my favorite narcotic, the only pain medication I've taken that really eases my pain rather than reducing it. I miss it!


Low-key day

We had a pretty low-key Mother's day today. My own mother does not like to celebrate, and we are on a tight budget so Sio can go to college this fall, so we just took the dog to the dog park, which was wonderful - it was a beautiful sunny day and it was just lovely to be on a park bench watching the dogs run around.

But I was pleased to find the following video when I looked on YouTube tonight - new material from Rufus Wainwright. That makes my mother's day complete.


My least favorite part of the whole sending a kid to college experience:

The figuring out how to pay for sending said kid to college! I have a feeling that I will be relieved when I get to the actual paying, because then it will just be a number of dollars that I have to give the school for each of the 10 monthly payments, not a series of percentages and rate reductions and deferments and tax benefits and interest and terms, etc., etc.

My head is spinning with all the loan programs and jargon and loan consultants and financial aid people that I've been hearing about/reading/talking to. We'll probably take on slightly more debt than is recommended, but I figure I'm young, I have a lot of years to make more money, and I have a pension that I will be fully vested in this July and a 401K that I haven't contributed to in the past 5 years but is still growing, so I'm not robbing my retirement.

But I feel like we are about to enter a precarious balancing act, and I hope we can all stay upright. We had a rough April, financially, and we are still digging ourselves out of that hole, and at the end of this month, my church job ends for the summer. I'm pretty sure I'm going to find a part-time job over the summer, and in the meantime, I'm just socking money into the savings account, paying all the bills as soon as they come in, and making a lot of pasta dishes because pasta is cheap.


From your first cigarette till your last dying day

When you're a Jet, you stay a Jet!

Last night, I happened to see a few minutes of a local newscast, an event I try mightily to avoid. The top story of the day was the death of Robert Stitt, which occurred while he was "battle dancing" with some of his friends - he attempted to do a flip and landed on his head, and then went into cardiac arrest.

It's the sort of news item you expect to see in News of the Weird, but here's how the local newscasters are handling the story: they are treating battle dancing like it's a serious problem.

Battle dancing.

They see this story, about a 39 year old man with a history of cardiac problems, who had been drinking all day, who tried to flip and landed on his head, as evidence that battle dancing is a problem.

Our media, folks. Can they get any stupider?


Dyslexic Random Flickr Blogging: 3566

"People wrongly assume that Peeps were created in the mind of someone in a candy factory," said Dana Elvetch of the Peeps Insitute. "Actually, we were inspired by the brightly colored Arco Iris, or Rainbow chicks of Xuitdeponcho, Ecuador."

Monday Morning Photo Post


Bionic Sister/Delicious

My younger sister had one of her hips replaced today. I talked to her a few hours ago, she was still a little groggy. I asked her if they had her all hopped up on painkillers, and she said they must, because she didn't feel like they did anything at all. If she's up for a visit, we'll go see her tomorrow.

I have more than just a passing interest in how her surgery went and how her recovery will go, since I will be getting my hip replaced in the nearish future (provided I lose this damn extra fat that's been hanging out all over my body).

In other news around here, Monkey and two of her friends from school have started a band called Delicious. I use the term band generously, since none of them are playing any instruments. However, Monkey did write a song called "The Break-Up" (because really, who knows more about the pain of breaking up than a 9 year old?) It's actually not half bad - if someone handed it to Beyonce, it would probably be a hit.

My favorite thing about this little girl group is that they have a theme song called Delicious. I had the pleasure of watching Monkey & Co. debut this song with the accompanying dance. An odd combination of feelings were running through me - I was smiling, and I almost wanted to laugh at the gorgeous innocence of these kids singing about something they don't really know anything about, but I was also really proud that they created something.