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26 Dec 05
Once again doing my annual blog (this time on the day after Christmas) from the ranch. Hope everybody's Christmas went as well as ours did. No tsunamis so far today either. The Funky Munky has a New Year's Eve gig at Bentwood. We'll see if there's a club left the next day. Later, folks.
19 Dec 05
Monday night. A Monday night tradition for me is to watch Jay Leno's Headlines, which Jay does when the show comes back from the first break after his monologue. This is where Jay shows some of the odder headlines and ads that make it into print. Most are unintendedly on the lurid side and these are usually good howlers. One ad shown tonight was apparently for a hobby place where people could create their own glass Christmas ornaments. The caption at the top of the add said, "Blow Your own Balls". Jay opted to just show and not read that one. No further comment here, either. Maybe it was an act of defiance, but I said the heck with plumbing not being fixed at the Menard, house; I'm still putting up my three strings of Christmas lights on the porch. So up went the lights. I may post a picture of them here. Heck of a lot more work getting them up than what I do at the apartment for Christmas. That merely involves plugging in one power supply to this little bare looking tree that stays in the windowsill all year. It has some red, green and yellow LEDs on it that flicker. It's my answer the overdone displays I've seen around here. As advertised, I cranked up the pirate FM transmitter this last Friday evening, which I haven't done (according to my log), since early this year. Hope you were around to tune it in. I didn't play a shred of disco, either, which was unusual. Gonna have to do a "Rocky Retro Disco Show" to make up for it (or not). That's about all I know for the evening. Stay tuned for the next blog, and once again, I say Merry Christmas!!
16 Dec 05
I say "Merry Christmas!" to those trying to make these 'holidays' politically correct. And I also say the ACLU is being wrongly cited for much of the hoopla. Maybe that's a conservative stand, a bit unusual for me, but let's put this Grinch to rest. Thanks! I also say Happy Beethoven's birthday today. Last week my old house in Menard (yes, a Hoboken Hollow filming location) had a couple of broken pipes from the cold weather. Made things incredibly soggy in the upstairs bathroom and in two rooms underneath. But like the apartment water leak I had nearly three years ago, there still wasn't any small dog swimming across one of the rooms, as in the TV commercial. So I rented blower fans (for an outrageous amount of money) and managed to get things mostly dried out. Had to improvise some electric power for the fans, as power was off in the house due to the water leak. Was muddy son of a b---- crawling underneath the house as well, where I had to replace an ancient electric cable that had become wet and shorted down (hence the power problem). I had a very interesting and neat experience as I ran the new cable and connected it to the old panel in the house. I've mentioned Sam Wallack in these blogs before. He's the resident ghost who'd most recently made his presence known to cast and crew of Hoboken Hollow last spring (see my blogs from then). Well, it was my turn this time. As I was stripping the end of the cable to run into that panel, I felt a gentle friendly nudge on my right shoulder, and felt the odd familiar cold chills. So I asked "Sam is that you?" I told him it was good to hear from him again and wished him well. I finished wiring in the new cable, threw the switch and got electricity back on in the house. The beer can stay cold again. So now if I can get some local plumber to finally get around to fixing the busted pipes, I'd be most grateful. (Am about to say the hell with it, get the tools & supplies and do it myself!) May see if Sam can exert some influence there. And then there's Christmas shopping, of which I'll reframe from screaming about here. If you read this blog in time, please catch 100.9FM's broadcast this evening, starting around 1130PM. Stay tuned, so to speak. More later.
8 Dec 05
This last Monday night (5 Dec 05), I joined several other people from Angelo State University's United Campus Ministries, to go up to San Angelo State School to read some Christmas stories and lead a Christmas carol sing along. For those of you not familiar with San Angelo State School, it is a place where some 300+ people live that have various mental retardation and other mental challenges. I'd been out there twice back in the late 80's when I interviewed for a computer job and met with a few of the 'clients' as they ambled about during the course of my job application. This time we split into two groups who went through about seven of their dormitories each, reading some Christmas stories and then leading the songs. They absolutely loved us!!! I've had some previous exposure with the mentally impaired, and many of them are well aware that their minds work a bit differently than the rest of us, but they accepted us 'normal' folks without question, which is more than can be said about many in the general population. The chaplain and the music director both accompanied us on this endeavor, and they know most of these people very well. The staff members in these dorms go well out of their way, from what I saw, to take good care of these people too. It's a whole new world though, for some of us from the general population. A couple of us reading the Christmas stories were initially surprised with a few people who had some vocal 'ticks'. But during the reading of "The Night Before Christmas" I also heard many reciting the words. I brought along my acoustic 6 string Epiphone for our group to lead in the singing. The odd vocal 'ticks' went away as nearly everyone joined in the singing. As a musician, I noted that most of these folks matched pitch with us better than what I normally hear in the general population. That's gotta say something about us musicians, but I'm not sure what. Offhand remarks aside though, I felt that I'd contributed more to the Christmas spirit than I have in some time. It's left me feeling much better about the season this year. I expect to be back.
26 Nov 05
So far no further word back from John Aielli for permission to post his E-mail on my web site. I can forward to anybody who wants to see it though. Just let me know. Next topic; Last weekend was one of the very occasional times that Dan Calhoun Band gets together to jamm, drink beer and see how many big chunks of rust we have in going back through some of Dan's originals. Surprisingly, most of it came back without too much trouble. I do have to mention one incident during that weekend. We parked just outside of Dan's yard and along the fence out there was this pan of used motor oil. Dan said it was from the last oil change on his truck. He said he'd left it out there because skunks will drink the stuff and go off and expire. (After the skunk story from nearly two years ago, I could see decided reason for doing this.) Well, leave it to an unnamed keyboard player trying to navigate the area in the dark after a few beers. Yep, he stepped right in the middle. So my photographed evidence shows the splash and subsequent left footprints in the grass. Another picture shows a right white shoe and a left black shoe. Our keyboard player was a good sport, though and we all went nearly into hysterics. I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. All in all we had a good jamm and then went our separate ways. Back to another band of mine now. Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was the gig with the Funky Munky and we had a late crowd who kept the dance floor full. Thinking about this now, the old disco/retro music would be of similar vintage to us folks now in our 40s as would the big band swing music have been to our parents when they were about our age. And each generation continues to ridicule the subsequent generation's music (hence my opinion of hip-hop). Well, comments aside on generational music, I'm playing a gig tonight (Saturday) with the current incarnation of NDC at The Oasis. Let me know if you read this blog in time and make it on out. Hope to see you there. Stay tuned.
19 Nov 05
I received a reply from KUT yesterday, actually a personal reply from Mr. John Aielli himself regarding my comments on his Veteran's Day edition of Eklekticos. Mr. Aielli was very concerned, despite his intentions that I'd perceived a disrespect towards our veterans. I assured him in a somewhat verbose reply that I did not. I did say that during the time I was listening, I didn't really hear anything lending honor and thanks to our veterans. But as I said, I didn't listen to the entire show. I thanked Mr. Aielli much for his reply and concerns, and mentioned that I'd like to see another live remote version of Eklekticos from San Angelo, such as what they did for Los Lonely Boys (they played in the same venue as our Friday night Latin Rhythm Aces gig). I'll post John Aielli's reply here if he say's it's okay to do that. One more topic to discuss in this blog. So far 'Hoboken Hollow' has been shown at some screening in Santa Monica, CA and was completely panned by some cheesy horror movie aficionado who didn't even bother to get his facts straight about who was cast as what (please see clarification in imdb.com). To his credit, this reviewer raises a point about a person (albeit one of the 'slave' workers) who has axe in hand, who ought to be able to trump a villain wielding a cattle prod. The reviewer mistakenly called the cattle prod a taser. (In another scene, which I watched filming of in my Menard house, Junior refers to it as his 'scepter'.) Attention Mr. Critic: Mad Magazine pointed out some 25+ years ago, that horror films do not have to contain logic so your point bears no merit. But enough for now, critics and all.
15 Nov 05
Friday was Veteran's Day, which surpassingly enough is not a holiday with my employer, but that is because they give us the Friday after Thanksgiving instead. Not a bad trade, but since our office takes off on Veteran's day (it being at an Air Force base) I opted to take leave. Just as well as I was getting ready for a gig that night, which I will discuss in a minute here. I listened to KUT that morning of Veteran's Day as John Aielli began his show Eklekticos, a music program consisting of many eclectic songs, hence the name. It seemed that his idea for Veteran's Day music selections were to be mostly of the anti-war folk and protest variety. He drug out some great protest songs and I was familiar with many from a couple of years ago when I was compiling and downloading music for our feeble attempts at a protest rally against the beginning of the Iraqi misadventure. However -and this is a big 'However'-, I felt that this day was not a day for protests, but rather to honor the lot of our soldiers who have served, died, and otherwise bore the brunt of being out there on the front lines for our country, regardless of politics. And I sent an E-mail to KUT, stating that quite directly. I looked at the song lineup on the web page later and it appeared that they played some songs toward the end of the program that were more toward honoring our veterans. But that was after I'd changed the radio station (switched to XM). So far no reply to my E-mail. I promise to mention it in a future blog if I do hear back from KUT. As I mentioned in my last blog, I was sitting in on bass on a few songs with the Latin Rhythm Aces for the show that night at the Cactus Hotel. It was amazing. Two of these folks are also members of the Funky Munky (my disco band!). Along with the great music, were several dancers and some gymnasts performing. The crowd loved all of it and gave us an impassioned standing ovation at the end. Later that night and the next day I had people stopping me around town saying how much they enjoyed that show. It was great to sit in with these folks. Well I guess that'll be it for this blog, but I have several more things to cover, to include AISK stuff, when I get to it. So far nobody 'fessing up to tearing down my beloved barn back at Sleepy Hollow VA (probably wise that this person doesn't). Thanks again for reading, and let me know what you think (my E-mail address is on my main page). Later folks, and happy Turkey Day next week.
10 Nov 05
Well this is nearly halfway into the quarter and I've finally archived last quarter's blogs and started on at least one here. Too much time spent on other stuff to get back to this. So here's my attempt to catch things up. I went to the AISK reunion (see web link off my main page) in Washington DC last month. We had a great time and I could go this entire blog talking about it. It was probably just as well I didn't have a big role in the music end of it this time. For the dinner/dance they hired some young DJ who had a fleeting knowledge of music from our impessioning period. However on Thursday night, there was an informal gathering for us folks arriving early in this club up on the roof (called the SkyDome). The DJ played a heap of retro stuff (much of which is in our set list for my band Funky Munky). So when he cranked up Sister Sledge's "We are Family", all of us AISKers were on the dance floor, probably thinking how much that was the case. Van Auburn, one of the attendees, had just returned from Kabul and brought back with him a bunch of naan (the Afghan flat bread, for those of you unacquainted). It was passed around and consumed, bringing about comparisons with that of communion. Mary Pyburn, another fellow AISKer raised that point, although I thought of it too. I hadn't been back to the DC area since 1973 and Virginia itself, since 1978. So in some free time, I had to find the old places where we had lived. I found 209 N. Evergreen without any real difficulty. I saw that it had been expanded by a few rooms. I had planned to get a few pictures and go about my way, when the current residents drove up. I was invited in and spent nearly two hours talking with them, I even got a picture of where I'd written my name and year in the concrete of the back patio when we poured it in 1967. It was heartwarming to see the place again and to see it was so well taken care of. However, it wasn't two for two when I visited the other place where we'd lived. What was left of Sleepy Hollow (we called it Hackberry Hill), this farm out near Purcellville brought about thoughts of the Thomas Wolfe book "You Can't Go Home Again". It was bittersweet to revisit. The property is now a subdivision and has at least six other houses on it. The old farmhouse is still there, with some poorly planned additions (one that was there in 1978 the last time I'd seen the place). The exterior looks less cared for than my fixer-upper in Menard. Paint was peeling, clapboard had sagged and several window shutters were missing. The house looked as if to be sad to see the encroaching urbanization. I'd been somewhat prepared for this after seeing the keyhole.com (now Google Earth) aerial photos of all the other houses, but on the photo, from last year, the barn had still been there. That's how I recognized the place, when I found the barn. Now the barn was gone. I took a picture of some of the remaining rubble of the barn (apparently much of the lumber had been hauled off) and I swore if I caught up with the son of a bitch that tore it down, I'd drag him behind my 79 Cheyenne 10 pickup. At least he could have let me say good bye first. Most damning was some modern looking barn/house thing going up where the corrals had been. Big plate glass window and some rooster weather vane on the top. Topping that off further was the no trespassing sign. The irony of what was being trespassed on was too much for me. If it wasn't for the homeland security folks, I'd say that barn/house thing needs a case of dynamite. So I thought of that song by the Pretenders, "My City Was Gone", except in this case it was a beautiful farm that was gone. But it wasn't gone entirely. There's now a weeping willow tree in the field going to the stream where I used to play. And I told that tree yes, I'm weeping too. Now the stream is a bit overgrown with small trees and brush, but I thanked it for still being there and bringing back better memories and some peace of mind that were still good to me. I was consoled on my drive back through Leesburg to find the old school I had gone to still there. I got a picture of the windows of my old classrooms, now surrounded by several temporary buildings. The place had been added onto more, to include a gym and a track. The portable buildings tell me that further expansion is on the way. It left me feeling that most of northern Virginia had become far too urbanized. I heard the voice saying "Go west young man, go west." I figured a jetliner or two would take care of that the next day. In the meantime on my way back to DC, I stopped at the Air and Space Museum near Dullus. The amazing array of aircraft and spacecraft did much to inspire and divert my mind. Once again I could make this blog even longer winded. I continued back to DC and joined the gathering of remaining AISKers who had not headed home yet. We went to an Indian food restaurant (owned by an Afghan!). The food was excellent and of course, very hot! I was concerned as to how that would affect the trip home the next day, but my innards took it better than they have many a mexican jalapeņo enhanced meal. Well, darn but this blog could be four times the length, given my continued thoughts.. Got a gig tomorrow as a guest bass player with the Latin Rhythm Aces. Hope to see you there if you read this blog in time. More later on a heap of more topics. Until then, g'night!! Take care.
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