Friday, October 26, 2007

3 for 3 in October

I feel as if a great weight has been lifted off me. October is usually an extremely busy month socially speaking, and I also tend to make lots of artsy commitments too. This year was no exception, and I was really starting to feel stretched thin. Everything I had lined up was at least reasonably successful, though, for my part, so it was worth it. I'm ready for the Big Autumnal Wind-Down into Winter, though.

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 wit mah biotches with my lady friends. I was pissed. I mean HOW LAME to literally run into someone on the street and then start spewing racial epithets ... to a white girl??? Yeah, I totally see what was going on there: hopeful reverse discrimination, or something like that. But I/we were about as white as you could get. Mars was even still in her derby garb (for the stink-n-drink, right?). How fucking stupid of them. Grow the fuck up.

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?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PSA

Cruising around the Showers Bldg.?

Thinking of cutting through the grass just north of the big bike rack?

Be advised: I think the city has gone green and is fertilizing the grounds with ... repurposed dog turds from those dog pile stations around town.

That, or every stray dog on the near west side craps in the same 10 square feet of turf.

Can you say MINEFIELD?!?!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Showering with a Trash Can, and Other Exciting Weekend Adventures

Friday, I convinced Mars to go back to PromptCare and get x-rays of her shoulder, wrist, and foot, after her car-bike accident on Thurs. Actually it was her own damn choice ... once she'd determined that her insurance would pay for the film. Nothing broken, just some deep bone bruising (he heh) and a pretty fucked-up TREK (although it is being repaired).

Then I went to some friends' play at the Waldron (Mourning Lori). A comedy ... about suicide! I enjoyed it. Not as funny as I thought it needed to be to undercut the heavy topic -- though parts were laugh-out-loud funny -- and, as always, I had trouble swallowing some of the "theatre dialogue," which to me always sounds more stilted than it means to be. I think there's an effort made for clean diction or something; it just doesn't always work for me, and it comes out sounding less conversational. ANYWAY, great show, excellent ending, and an important work for Joel: his first writing and directing project for stage, and while the circumstances were completely different, I think he was working through some stuff re: his own mother's recent death (not a suicide).

Saturday was Eroticon, my 11th year of these type of events in B-tizzle. This was one of the best ones in recent memory, and considering we had ONE org meeting about two weeks ago, I think it came off (again: he heh) famously. Most all the stage acts were arranged via e-mail or online; I was DJ/music director, as always, and hadn't even had contact with one of the DJs until he called me Saturday afternoon. Talk about laid back!

After 11 years I think I'm finally getting the hang of the DJ thing. Virtually no clunkers, and lots of good feedback, though no one really danced until towards the end of my shift. (I generally take the first block, 9-11p.)

I was reminiscing with friends about the "early days," when I would pack up most of my entire CD collection (and a few prepared cassettes and an album or two) in several milk crates and haul that shit to Jake's/Mars/Axis/Walnut St. Tap/Jake's. This was back before MP3 players and file sharing were common, to me anyway. Plus there weren't too many (if any) DJs in Bloomington or Indy at the time, unless you needed tunes at your bar mitzvah, so I would spin by myself for 6+ hours. Good times!

On Saturday, I had HALF of a single, small CD case full of discs I'd compiled for the occasion (in the other side were my cans, illicit camera, spare cords, and my iPod as a backup). On disc alone: 10+ hours of hand-picked music, ready to rawk. I know, I know. I'm a total square luddite n00b. The other DJs had full-on hard drives, and probably have for years -- albeit one brought a frikkin' 486 TOWER we had to cram in the booth somewhere. Regardless, it was SO NICE to scan through a half-dozen or so discs of choice tracks rather than dig in the dark through piles of jewel cases looking for ONE track on ONE CD, never to be used again that night.

had an absolute blast Sat night. Packed house. Great stage shows. The Edible Beauty was quite edible. Mars look FABULOUS before and after her chocolate adventure. (I'm so very lucky!) Tons of eye candy everywhere. Much flirting with friends old and new. Even got to top a cutie I had to deny at last year's show (duty called, DAMMIT). That was definitely something new for me, or relatively new, at least in public. Wow! Of course, I was dead tired by the end of the night ... which was about 5 am, after tear-down and traipsing up and down Walnut looking for someplace that would FEED TEH MARI. (Finally settled on Awful House.) My feet/legs were killing me, having been on them for most of the day and ending with 6 hours of stomping around in cowboy boots, which were actually quite comfortable, but hard heels on concrete all night hurts my old back something fierce.

Sunday ... after sleeping for Jesus until noonish ... made brekkies for Mars and a rollergirl who slept over (in the guest room, ya pervs!) so she didn't have to drive home. Then Mars went to practice while I ... bumbled around a bit and then ... got a cleaning bug and decided to do a couple of projects I've been threatening talking about doing for a while: cleaning the sticky, rather disgusting bottom shelf of the fridge (and ultimately the maple syrup-filled cavity beneath it), and detailing the kitchen trash can. (Yeah, I could buy a new one but that just seems lazy to me.)

When everything you put in the fridge makes that stuck-to-it sucking sound when you remove it ... and then leaves stain rings on the kitchen counter ... there's a problem. And Mr. Trashy was starting to look a little green around the gills too.

So with no garden hose to work with, what's the easiest way to clean big stuff like that without making an even bigger mess?

What's that? Clean it in the bathtub? Who has a bathtub??!

Shower with it, silly!!

Dude, it was so hot. The water I mean.

Next Projects: making an iPod playlist for the roller derby bout next Saturday and getting my announcer shit together. Oh yeah: got a bibliography to edit this week too.