Monday, June 25, 2007

Weak in the Knees (let's try this again)

Well, I had penned a longer entry (as usual) about all this stuff, but then it somehow got lost in the ether, so here's the truncated version:

Friday was good, great, then shitty: Company picnic. Croquet. Home brew. Irish session. Hanging with Joe. Poetry bidniz. Fall reading tour. The future of MATRIX.... Then his GF's yippy li'l kick-me dog bit me! Looks like a chupacabra got me. And when I left, someone had egged my truck ... but it bounced off the rear tire and only splashed up into the wheel well. LAME! Worst. Egging. Evar. I'll recover from the wound, but next time Erma comes at me I'm gonna punt that mutt.

Saturday was fine: Wandered the rainy farmers' market then went to a wedding with Mars. Her roommate from Penn State and here (for a while) got hitched. We also hung out with her composition prof and his lovely wife. Good peeps. Weddings are enjoyable affairs again. It helps that I didn't really know anyone involved. Last year I got snubbed big-time at a friend's wedding. A table of peeps who had un-friended me (not in that passive-aggressive myspace fashion but very real-time, I guess to make some kind of Statement -- or maybe they simply didn't like me and now have no reason to put up a facade ... anything's possible) totally ignored me ... except for Thom, who said hello, chatted about what we're doing now, commiserated a bit ... then he returned to the Table of Fellowship, mission accomplished, his conscience clean. Good for him. Now I just go, eat a bunch of tiny food, eat some cake, and drink a bunch of wine. No big whoop. I love Beatles weddings. Especially oompa-brass Beatles weddings.

Sunday: sleep/rest/recoverzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I skipped a nontet concert on campus because $12 admission + going by myself = not enough fun to coax my tired ass out the door on a dreary afternoon.

This morning I jogged a bit. Only about 20 minutes. I want to work up to 45-60 minutes over the next few weeks. Does this mean I now need to get up even earlier? Guess so. Hrrmm. The running part was fine but my knees are killing me. I stopped doing the roller derby dry-land workout because my patellae felt like swollen donuts ... and not in a good way. Too much hopping, and the stair climbs were murderous. The cardio of running is great but the impact feels pretty severe later on. We'll see if I can keep this up. Old high school football injury. No shit. Maybe I should just bike instead?

So much for truncated.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A chicken walks into a pub with a bodhrán under his wing....

Good night of deedle-di at the Golden Ace in Indy last night. It's pretty sweet being the only bodhránai in the room. No competition, and I think that's partly why the regulars there have been so kind to me. There's not a lot of bodhrán love to go around, you see.

There's also this ancient Irishman, Scotty, who has become progressively involved in the music since I've been going semi-regularly. First he just tapped along on the table; then started playing spoons occasionally; then he would sing a song or two (real ribald stuff too; his wife I think was a little embarrassed); last night I walk in and he's pumping away on a small accordion and trying to keep up.

I was told by the uilleann pipist that my playing is "respectful," "restrained," and "reserved," which is pretty flattering. Granted, we were in a discussion about letterpress printing (he retired from typesetting in the early '70s, back when it still actually involved moving type around) and so were kind of in a chummy mood. But he could have said anything ... or nothing at all ... so I did what I have learned to do with compliments: acknowledge, say thank you, and move on.

I have since I started this new percussive venture attempted to play WITH the music, not in spite of it (or all over it). I'm the only one in the room improvising (though I'm gradually learning "my part" in various songs with which I've become familiar), so I'm careful not to overplay. Plus, I'm playing with people who have been mastering their instruments for a long time ... some as long as I've been alive. So yeah, respectful, restrained, and reserved.

I also usually sit next to my lady violinist friend, who is hot and a total shredasaurus on her axe, both of which take some heat off me. It almost makes up for the bow tip that occasionally comes RACING TOWARD MY EYEBALL!!! GAHH! Seriously, I bet we look like a Warner Bros. Silly Symphony cartoon from across the circle.

So in researching my instrument, I've found all kinds of sound files and video tutorials online, some very helpful. Many, though, are just wank-fests to me. On YouTube, there are hardly any bodhrán vids that aren't just solos. (Where's the rest of the tune, please?!!) Very few feature good playing WITH other musicians. As technically intricate as some solos are, after just a few of them (lo-fi too) they all sound same-y to me: endless scales and volume changes. There are exceptions, though.

"Pressed for Time" by Flook



Comas, one of Jackie Moran's bands, at a pub in Belgium



ANYWAY, some time ago I was introduced to the Bodhrán Joke, of which we bodhránii are often the butt. There are a million of these ... and actually they are the same jokes I've heard for years, just substitute Bassist or Guitarist or Lead Vocalist, etc. To wit (ganked mostly from http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/jokes.shtml):


Fellow walks into a pub in Belfast with a plastic bag under his arm. The bartender asks, "What's that?"
"Six pounds of semtex," he answers.
"Thanks be to Jaysus; I thought it was a bodhrán!"

A bodhrán player was sick of the band abusing him, and decided to start his own. He walked into a music shop, planning to buy the first instruments he saw.
"Give me the red saxophone and that accordion!" he said.
The assistant said, "You play the bodhrán, don't you?"
"That's right. Why?"
"Well, the fire exinguisher I can sell you -- but the radiator stays."

How do you know when there is a bodhrán player at your front door?
The knocking gets faster and faster and faster...

Why do bodhrán players find it difficult to enter a room?
They never know when to come in.

How is pre-mature ejaculation like a bodhrán solo?
You know perfectly well what's about to happen, but you can't do a thing about it.

What's the difference between a bodhrán player and a drum machine?
You only have to punch the rhythm into the drum machine once.

In Dublin, a bodhrán is sometimes made from the skin of a dog. Then it is called ... a bow-wow-rán.

Then there was the bodhrán player who remembered that he had left his bodhrán in his unlocked car. Rushing back, he opened his car door to find two more bodhráns in the back seat.

Mantra

This was just handed to me ... via a poetry slam Yahoo! group sig line ...

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act. It is a habit."
--Aristotle

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just How Busy Am I?

Let's take stock, shall we?

IUP projects (book composition):
Taliaferro: Breaking Barriers from the NFL Draft to the Ivory Tower
Long Journey Home: Oral Histories of Contemporary Delaware Indians
The Grace of Four Moons: Dress, Adornment, and the Art of the Body in Modern India
This Place We Call Home: A History of Clark County, Indiana

MATRIX (the arts):
Hosting a writing workshop tonight
HIATUS from events this summer
Hosting a reading at the Waldron in October

Bleeding Heartland RollerGirls (derby!):
Review the rules
Learning opposing team rosters
Announcing my ass off
Recruiting volunteers for the first home bout in August
Help SOME with bout production BUT
Layout of bout program (2-4 weeks before 3 home bouts this fall)

The Same Page (freelance work):
Educational Horizons (copyediting, ongoing; summer issue nearly done)
Hanapin Marketing (content editing in late June)
Edit/prep class materials (8 design/layout classes in Oct, Nov, and Dec)

Personal Creative:
Lit:
Edit and submit (I'm about 2 months behind BUT have several subs out there...)
Reading in Indy June 30 (Triage Arts Fest)
Possible collaboration with letterpress/silkscreen artist???
Drum:
Play bodhran/bones min. 3 hours a week (no problem here!)
"Gig in the Woods" July 20-21
Foley:
Nothing on the horizon. Humph.

Personal Misc:
Yard sale in July
Moving in August
Schedule eye appt.
Acquire passport
Learn to bake naan

General:
Making lists! (Well, I find it helpful.)
Fulfillment and contentment!
Spend QT with Mars (aka maritime)!
Travel someplace cool this year (where? when?)!

Finally:

Never hurry, never rest.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Yet Another Observation (I seem to be full of these, among other things...)

When someone says, "I just want you to be happy," what they really mean is, "I want you to do as I say." Clear communication kills bullshit dead. Dead. DEAD.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Congratulations, you're normal.

So: I had a bunch of blood work done recently after a checkup with Mein Doktor. This would be my first doctor's visit since ... 2002 ... which was for a sinus infection. My last actual Check Up had been 1999, so yeah, I was due for a tune-up, check my fluid levels, air up my tires, etc. I've experienced many life changes since then and a goodly amount of stressors and environmental changes. What's up with my body these days? is what I wanted to know.

But speaking of checking my oil, I also experienced my first prostrate prostate exam, the first of 40-60 or so I shall likely endure from here on out. Hey! Using the whole hand there, Doc? I was a little nervous, since the attendent, upon learning from me that I wanted a doctor's finger(s) up my ass, "prepped" the appropriate accoutrement ... including SEVERAL latex gloves and a FUCKING MOUNTAIN of lube. eeep! If I'd known it was that kind of party I'd have brought my own smock, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Long story short, Mr. Prosty is right where he oughta be, full of vim and vigor, and my lady doc has some ... rather slender fingers....

Oh yeah, the blood work:
Negative on all STIs
Electrolytes and liver functions are normal
My thyroid also is normal (There was some concern there but I'm good.)

Also of note: I've gained 20 lbs. since 2002, which everyone tells me is normal. I'd still like to drop 5 or 10 lbs. I think finally being off my Bachelor Diet (i.e., beer and frozen pizza, exclusively) and walking/biking to and from work should take care of that. I've also taken to doing the dry-land portion of roller derby practice, which has been hell on my knees but great for everything else.

And I learned I'm only 5' 10.5" Here I've been going around thinking I'm 6 feet tall ... but, like many of my vitals, I think that was a holdover from high school footbal, when my stats were, ahem, inflated to make me appear more intimidating (on paper). Seriously! According to my senior year roster, I was 6' 1" and weighed 165 -- but I bet I didn't even tip the scales at 155.

May in general has been a wellness month for me. Getting to the doctor, honestly, has been on my to-do list for about ... 2 years. Yeah, pretty lame.

Next up: Dentist. Actually I'm good about that (no reason not to be), but somehow I'd not received a cleaning notice from Doc Arnold ... and when I finally called them, we learned that by the time they're available to see me it'll have been about 2 years since my last cleaning. Ick. Fortunately, I'm pretty good about flossing.

After that: Eye appointment. I just got new glasses (and contacts) last April, so I'm only a little past due on the annual exam. I'm thinking about getting new frames again, though, even if I don't need new lenses. I get red sores something fierce on the sides of my Big Nose from the li'l rubber nose guard thingies. I DO NOT, however, think I could stand myself in those dark emo frames. Plus, I'm not a librarian,so what's the point of looking like one?