I already blogged about Eroticon. The weekend after that was the last home roller derby bout of the season. Announcing was once again a fun time, but I felt like I was also much more on top of things for this bout. Plus we were one home announcer short, and as much as I like working with him, it was easier to throw around the commentary among just three announcers (me, X Static, and visiting team announcer Sage, who also was a blast to work with and very "on it"). The girls lost by 2 points -- and honestly, I think they should have won by 20. I don't know exactly what happened but the game just slipped away from them, and it DID NOT have anything to do with scorekeeping shenanigans.
Anyway, we all put on a great show: much like Eroticon, enough of us have been working together long enough (both in and out of derby) that it's really not a big deal to host 700 or so people for an event. We just kind of make it work, and very well. There STILL are some sound issues to hammer out for next season. At the last bout and this one we had a bigger PA (it goes to 11 ... actually more like 13), but still no engineer to run it. Tony D. is a sweetheart, really enthusiastic, but we have never had someone to really fine-tune the sound once the bout gets underway. It's essentially tweaked based on guesswork and feedback from the crowd -- and there's no actual sound board with faders to work with, so there's only so much "fine-tuning" one can do with big knobs (he heh).
Ah well, something to work out for next season. My iPod playlist pretty much rocked socks. It helped a lot that once I had added to and edited it down to my taste at home, I was able to spend a couple of days listening to it at work and in the truck and then weed it down further, so that every track was both PG-13 and derby-appropriate. Hardly a clunker in the lot: 8+ hours of high-energy, knock-the-bitch-down rock.
Last night was the inaugural reading of a new series Joe and I have started with MATRIX. As I posted earlier, we're drastically scaling back our event schedule: basically no more monthly events other than the workshop ... and until we can get others to participate, it's just gonna be me and Joe, and we're okay with that. Every little bit helps.
But HARVEST OF VOICES last night went much better than I was anticipating. I'm always cautiously optimistic (realistically pessimistic? whatever...) about spoken word stuff I host. There's so much else going on to draw people's attention, especially in Bloomington, in October, last night in particular. And besides, the weather was normal (i.e., kind of nasty); a fairly high-profile (locally speaking) poet pulled out last week in a snit; and, well ... it's poetry. LOCAL poetry. How big a crowd can we get for the Waldron Auditorium anyway? As it turns out, plenty, enough to make it a bit more than "intimate," although that was the feel. (Love that room, and the lighting was especially warm, I thought.)
Patricia Coleman kicked it off. She's a little quiet and mousy, but I loved having her open. Dustin Nightengale I thought really stood out as our MFA in attendance, as did Nick Moore, who, I learned later, was super nervous, this being his first "serious," "big-time" reading. I think what he does (a mix of stand-up comedy and poetry, with GREAT delivery) is truly unique, and I'm always happy to share a stage with him, at any level. Joe was in good form, although pretty sick, and his protege Suzanne Sturgeon was great in her first-ever reading. I was ... pretty happy with my set, although it was all pretty somber material. That's where my head was at, though, so I went with it, and I debuted I think 3 pieces that I'm eventually going to be more than just okay with. Breshaun Joyner spoke silk as usual; she could melt me just reading a menu. And Norbert Krapf and Monika Herzig I thought made for a good pairing -- polished and professional, and brought the evening to a nice close -- although I personally think he is far too white (too German?) to pull off a blues poem about Etheridge Knight.
Speaking of racism, get this: So I'm walking to the Vid with Mars and friend Sam after the derby bout on Saturday. A group of (6?) urban youths were coming up the sidewalk towards us, and none of them make room so that we all can just pass by/around each other like ya do when a group of 9 people has to briefly share a rather confined public space. I mean it's a pretty common social interaction, right?
Well, I let go of Mari's hand and left the sidewalk so I wouldn't actually bump into one guy, and he literally ran over her and just kept right on going. They all did, just barreled right into and past us all like we weren't even there. And when Mari scowled and said to the guy, "Hey, look UP!" because he wasn't -- he was looking everywhere BUT where he was going -- all of them turned and started yelling at us. Calling us niggers! Yelling at "your nigger bitch"! And on and on. I mean it's like somebody flipped a nigger switch and suddenly every other word out of their mouths was substituted by "The N Word." It was terrible. I felt so sorry for them, trying SO HARD for thug life but really coming off like dumb, drunk frat boys. They started goading me to "start something" but I just kept walking
Of course, not a minute later I was laughing inside because I had watched this video the night before with Sam, Andrew, and Mars, and laughed mightily even as it became more and more distrubing:
Ugh, what I wouldn't give to have had a 100-yard-long white limo to pop out of that night on 7th St., some fancy dance moves, and some butta-face booty bitches to rock their world.
In a word: Word.
Tonight, I'm taking it easy, I think. Irish session (haven't been all month), dinner at home (for once), sleeping in tomorrow (damn straight!). I feel like I've been fighting off a cold or something, and now that all my major October commitments are fulfilled I don't want to get sick just when Halloween is on my doorstep. Plus, a night in before a party night out tomorrow is definitely in order.
Also, I'm going up to visit with Dad tomorrow afternoon-ish, provided he'll be at home. Don't know why he wouldn't be. He opted out of the trip to DC my mom, sister, and bro-in-law took to see my Evil Sister, who is in town interviewing for jobs that will get her the hell out of the UK with new baby Liz and Bloke Daddy.
Dad's having heart trouble again, and hasn't felt "up to" much of anything lately. Chest pains when he exercises, apparently, and he had a checkup this week and there is some blockage. I'm not sure of the extent of it, but honestly, considering he had quad-bypass surgery ... 19 years ago ... and is diabetic ... and still works 40+ hours a week ... I think he's doing great, with some exceptions. He's going to cut back his hours (I'll believe that when I see it) driving cars for Enterprise, and get his carotid artery checked Monday to see what's going on there too. It's been a while. I guess he gave Mom some shit about everyone (doctors? family?) treating him like a spring chicken for the last 10 years when he's had "half a heart," he says, meaning the blockage he's experiencing now probably had been missed by some dumb doctor.
(Look, dude, you became REAL sedentary starting in your late 30s, until you had surgery in your late 50s. People MIGHT want to encourage you to do something in your 70s that you might enjoy besides work, eat dinner, and fall asleep in front of the TV by 7p every damn night. That's not treating you like a spring chicken; that's wanting you to enjoy what life you've got left!)
So I want to check in on him, home alone this weekend. My parents are old, gentle readers. I mean they've always been old to me, but now they are becoming elderly and it's showing. Mom and her diverticulitis last year; Dad's bad ticker. It sucks but it is inevitable. I intend to maintain a cool head (as much as I can) about it, while everybody else loses theirs. Good Sister vacillates between compassionate former nurse and fault-taking basket case when it comes to family member health problems. Evil Sister ever seeks to point out who isn't pulling their weight in the caring dept. (see a correlation there?). Mom, ever the optimist, says "pray we make it to our 50th" wedding anniversary (this year -- yesterday actually -- was 48th), and usually gets caught/crushed between Good and Evil.
Me? I don't have any answers at all. Stay active. Eat as well as I can. Keep a positive attitude wherever possible. Be friendly: keep friends who will have me and don't fret (for long) about the ones who won't. Enjoy life. I deserve it! As I have often said, the alternative is currently unacceptable.
That's a formula, though, not really an answer. So rather than freak out and fling it around, I'd rather just ... go check in on Dad this weekend, while "the girls" are away. Health problems aside, I think it'll be a good visit and I'm looking forward to it. Dad and I are on good terms, and have been ever since we "had it out" (well, at least I had it out, and got some things off my chest I really needed to yell at him about) over a decade ago.
Ah, also add to formula: worry about decrepitude when it comes. It's close to me now, a mere generation removed, and that is scary. But it's nearly Halloween, when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. A little real-life scare is perfectly appropriate, right?