July 30, 2007

Back from Falcon Ridge

I'm back, more or less. It will be another week or so until I am back up to speed; this week will be a pretty full one - putting out work fires, doing two days in RI with the zipsters family, a mentoring thing, unpacking and putting away my folk festival gear, etc. A bit lower profile.

Re: festival. A very different year. I was sucked up into a crew chief vacuum this year; and as a result spent most of the festival in a trailer. In future years we can perhaps offload the work, deligate, but for the first year I was too worried about letting go of some parts of it (perhaps for good reason). So not a lot of the usual falcon ridge stuff: sitting in front of the stage, hanging out at the campsite, etc. Some memories, however:

* I did hear LOTS of mainstage music, since our trailer was right off the mainstage.

* I got to meet and interact with lots of my favorite performers: Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, the Nields, Dan Lowen, Tracy Grammar, Chris Thompson, Marshall Crenshaw, David Massengill. To a one: human, unassuming, nice. I kept my excitement masked, but inside - way cool.

* Meeting showcase performers. So exciting to be chosen 1 of 24 out of 100's of submissions. Such an opportunity to perform for 1000's. So much riding on a short two song set. Some were delighted - selling 20 or 50 or 100 CD's. Others were disappointed as they checked out with just a few pieces sold. Lots of human drama right there.

* Best mainstage memory - Gandalf Murphy doing Peace Train, with Dar and John Gorka singing backup, the crowd on their feet, a dozen or two small beack balls in the air, and 4 stilt walking doves moving through the crowd. Second place - Dar commanding the hillside to douse their hillside lights (for the Iowa bridge) so she could bring her son onstage and then light up the hillside. I am reminded of both a mother's delight at mothering, as well as a child's perspective that one's parent is all powerful. The hillside light display - a moment of mass inspiration initially that never fails to delight me, and no doubt surprised and delighted Dar the first time she saw it - and no doubt was delightful again seen through the prism of her son's eyes. Third best - running over to join the crowd as the Kennedy's performed "Stand" on Sunday morning. Amusingly, a blog search for other FRFF bloggers turned up this document by Aldon Hynes, who has a wonderful summary of the folk fest, and singled out the same "highlights" (but with pictures!)

* Morning Yoga at the dance tent - four days straight. Apparently there is a small FRFF yoga crowd, although I tend to be finishing up my practice as they arrive. My 'student' was back for 3 of the 4 mornings, and this year he practice close by. I thanked him for last year and confessed to how it had moved me, and how I am myself moving towards formal teacher training.

* Serendipity - a wonderful sun hat courtesy of my friend Liz, a bag of ice from another friend, a filling meal when I needed it, a kind word. Just a lot of magic in the air.

* Left the festival grounds on Friday morning and Saturday morning for trailer and computer supplies. Part of the learning process. Unusual - typically once I am at the fest, I stay put. Good workout for Agatha, and nice to find some porcelein, some A/C, and a cup of real coffee mid-fest. Even with, being home is culture shock, I am still trying to get my legs under me - my own bed, a hot shower, the dogs, etc.

* The big merchandise spreadsheet worked well, with one big exception. Hopefully it can be ironed out today.

As is my custom, I spent my festival money on showcase artists - I still remember buying Dar's cassettes (pre-CD) at early gigs and how thrilled it must have been for her to sell product. I have not had the chance to listen yet, but I liked what I heard from the stage, liked their energy (having met them), and/or caught the buzz. For the record, my three showcase CD purchases:

* Joe Jencks - The Candle and the Flame. Just a likeable guy - he broke a strong as he started his showcase set and was unphased, and I sat down with him at lunch and he seemed grounded and healthy about this all. Looking forward to exploring his disk.

* Zoe Mulford - Roadside Saints. One of those "who is that?" moments as wandered around working during the showcase, her CD cover art drew me, and then, after pikcing up her CD, she sat down at lunch (unlike Joe, who I foisted myself upon as the one person with open seats at his table that I recognized) and we chatted for a bit.

* Lindsay Mac - I'm a sucker for a cello. Nice Catie Curtis / Ani DiFranco vibe.

I also picked up some small David Massengill books. He was so very charming in interactions in the merch tent and I have been a fan for eons. For Zippy - Tracy Grammar's new one Seven is the Number and Eddie from Ohio's two disc live set: Three Rooms. And, during check-out, Richard Shindell's new one "Waiting for Delia" (a gift from Mr. Shindell), the Nields new one "Sister Holler" (via CT Sun's addict / merchandise manager Patty), and Pat Wictor's "Waiting for the Water" (I bought his newer one at the FRFF preview concert back in the spring)

FRFF 2007 - I survived. Now back to the real world.

July 24, 2007

Packed to the Gills

Each year at this time, I test the limits of what you can actually cram into a 1996 Saturn for the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest. This year is no exception.

I've raised the difficulty points this year: I a taking along a cash register (on loan from the festival so I could learn how to program it and create cheat sheets) and a large tub of office stuff (printer, binders, papers, folder, etc. for the Performer Merchandise Sales crew).

Cutting the load - fewer chairs. A smaller guitar in a soft case. A smaller tent. A less bulky dining fly. Perhaps some tighter packing of the usual crap I bring.

Nonetheless, its gonna be a tight fit. I might see if I can borrow Zippy's truck.

I'm off the grid starting tomorrow morning; although I suspect I will have (and will answer) my cell phone if / when it rings.....

July 23, 2007

Please Pray....

...if that is in your toolkit, for Dr. William Petit. He's my PCP / Endo, and his family has been the victim of a horrible crime in Cheshire.

His wife and daughters have been killed, and he is seriously injured. I pray for his recovery, but mostly I pray for his spirit and soul. I can not fathom such a devastating loss. He is a gentle, kind, wise, and compassionate human being. Nobody deserves this sort of horrendous treatment from the universe. But some people do such good work and move through the world with compassion and healing, they should be excempt from such horrors.

Suddenly, the world is a very dark and evil place....

Bones and Muscles

One of my yoga teachers once gave me the imagery of my muscles wrapping my bones - and right now that's quite apt. I'm not exactly sore, but I can feel my muscles. I can feel where they are, I can feel where they attach to the bone, I can feel them individually - if I had my YTT anatomy class behind me I could probably identify them by name. A jacuzzi would have been nice, last night. I should have perhaps traded the hot shower (quite nice) for a long hot soak in epsom salts.

Not an unpleasant feeling, but it got me up early. Of course, now *I* am reading the new Harry Potter book (Zippy having finished it last night) so its not like I will be channel (or web) surfing.....

July 22, 2007

Just simmering in it

Yoga again today, Round III with Tias Little. I did 1/2 of Tias' workshops (one per day, rather than two per day) and by all accounts the afternoon / evening sessions were more restorative, but dang. Lots of yoga. And it was not the energetic, hot and sweaty vinyasa yoga that I am used to at WHY - it was just a lot of (on the surface fairly simple) postures, with much attention to detail. Below the surface, not so simple. In any case, I think I chose wisely in terms of the quantity of workshops (I am not sure I was up for 3 days, 2 workshops per day) nor would Zippy have been happy with it.

On the "new ground" front, Tias assisted me get up into a handstand on the wall on Saturday; today I got up with an assist from a fellow yoga (thanks, A!) and really not much of an assist. I am heading towards getting myself up there. And then later, Tias and A tag teamed to assist me doing a handstand off the wall. Which was pretty exciting.....so lots of beaming in between postures. And I had two of the deepest and most restorative savasana's yesterday and today that I have had in a long time. Delicious.

Tias appears to have a bit of an Irish accent, and so my inner fantasy is that he was an Irish Catholic priest who tossed over the cloth for yoga. Just had that sort of kindly priest vibe with a little bit of mischief thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed the workshops, he's delightful and wise. I will never hear the word Trochanter again without thinking of him (actually, I may never hear the word again, since it was a new one to me) but still.....

And seeing all the new faces - from near and far - makes me appreciate all the more my proximity and practice at the studio. A blessing to have it so close, a blessing to be able to practice there.

In other news, Zippy is on Page 635 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and is beaming about it) - we're pretty mellow on spoilers, so every so often ze breaks away to tell me some good part. I am not sure I will get to it this week (two days of lots of work and folk festival prep). In some ways I am just happy to hear the outcome (as if Harry et al were personal friends) - I'll get around to enjoying the writing and the story later....

I took a shower, I spent some time packing for Falcon Ridge, I popped over the office to load printer drivers on my laptop and catch up on artist merchandise sheets. Time to relax and let the weekend roll off my shoulders as I prepare for a biust few days.

Trochanter

Word of the weekend, courtesy of Tias Little


More info at Wikipedia, of course.

I'm Blogging This


Kudos to the young man (when did 30 become a young man?) in the New Park Stop n' Shop with the tee-shirt that said, simply, "I'm Blogging This"

Get your own, here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yes we have a copy. Zippy is reading it first; I'm rereading Half Blood Prince just to remember all the plot points I have forgotten. And yeah, we've bene spoiler surfing (and Zippy read the Epilogue last night before bedtime, lest ze not be able to sleep before finishing the book)

Colin has a good piece about HP and the NY Times (and Iraq) in today's Courant. He chastises the NY Times and others for early reviews of the book; and compares and contrasts this insistence on media truth-telling to the reporting en route to war. My thoughts:

Perhaps this is unconscious payback - Ms. Rowling has painted a rather bleak picture of the media (Rita Skeeter? The Daily Prophet?) as well as the government (the Ministry of Magic is at best incompetent, at worst, in league with the Dark Lord). Who can blame the mainstream media for being a bit passive-aggressive about the work.

The best part of the HP saga is that there is an army of young 'uns out there who have read the books and been primed to distrust (a) the govenmnent (the Ministry of Magic), (b) the media (the Daily Prophet), (c) authority (Delores Umbridge, Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgouer, et al), (d) empty suits (Gilderoy Lockhart? Horace Slughorn?), (e) the "right sorts" type (pretty much all the Death Eaters and Sltherin, headed up by the Malfoys). And of course, the books include a heavy dose of positive reinforcement for doing what's right, self sacrifice, friendship, loyalty, etc.

Ten or twenty or thirty years from now perhaps society will start to see the seeds that Ms. Rowling has planted bear some fruit. Somebody start polishing up the Noble Peace Prize for her, OK?

July 21, 2007

Tias Little

It's been a mixed experience, so far. Yesterday's class (lymphatic system) was difficult; and I was not in a good space physically - I had been not feeling well in the a.m. - to the point of coming home from work and napping and a 1 pm to 4 pm class just about hits my daily low point. So I was not really all there, and my practice evidenced that.

This mornings class, I was much more present and awake. Good, strong class - seemingly simple and not all that hot and sweaty, but dang, savasana was incredibly deep and invigorating.

One more class, tomorrow (backbends). Tias is charming and funny, I like him a lot. Got me up into a handstand against the wall, which was exciting......

Sun vs. Storm

Sue Bird played! But her time off was telling; she was not at full strength. She hit a three, and a few shots, and ran the floor, but you could tell she was not drilling the shots as in the past.

CT played from behind for the first half, started to get ahead in the 3rd, and blew it open in the forth. Lindsay (19) and Ashja (17) had great games; Lindsay from the start (love to watch her drive down the middle and score past taller rivals), and Ashja slowly caught fire. Katie (18) was her usual awesome self. Even Margo, who continues to be somewhat stiff, had 10, mostly from the field. She pulled down some def RBs too, mostly by being there.

Nykesha had a hard game (2 points) but was, in some ways, the turn-around key; she was fired up after the 1/2, and played incredibly fiercely before clonking heads with one of the Storm players, which put her out for the game. (Ashja also got an elbow to the eye early on but came back). Newcomer Evanthea Maltsi filled in nicely for Nykesha with 8 points. LeCoe, Jamie, Erika, and Kristen were all pretty quiet (although Kristen got her fouls....)

All in all not a bad game. Not a bad crowd at MoSun. We were up in the nosebleed seats at mid-court, which was not too bad (site lines) - not bad for free tix (our seasons ticket holding friends got some free passes)

July 20, 2007

Falcon Ridge Folk Fest

For those heading to Hillsdale NY next week for the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest - here's the ten day advance weather:

Wed - Partly Cloudy / 20% Chance of Rain / High 83
Thurs - Sunny / 20% Chance of Rain / High 85
Fri - Sunny / 20% Chance of Rain / High 87
Sat - Partly Cloudy / 20% Chance of Rain / High 83
Sun - Mostly Sunny / 20% Chance of Rain / High 83

Looking good! If you are going, stop by the CD & Merchandise tent and say hello to Jude (who will be up to her ears in spreadsheets)

July 19, 2007

Creative Cocktail Hour

A friend writes:
I just feel weird partying on the street where that boy was executed - and with the blood on the walls.

Yeah, me too. Not sure if I'll make it tonight.....

July 18, 2007

Turn Your Radio Down

A story this morning on NPR regarding NFP star Michael Vick and his legal struggles related to dog-fighting. At the top of the story, the announcer warned of graphic language regarding dogs being killed. I muted the radio for a bit.

Normally, I am not the squeamish type. But this sort of story hits me hard - Zippy and I have taken turns peeling each other (sobbing) away from Katrina animal rescue documentaries. So no, I do not want to hear about the SOB and his cruelty and callousness.

Sun vs. Lynx

Not a pretty game, no maam. But the Sun pulled out a win, following a 8 or 9 point rally a couple of minutes before the end. (Sparked by Katie Douglas who seemed to just get tired of being slightly ahead, put the team on her shoulders, and made some points)

High Points: Jamie Carey (who drained a trio of 3-point shots), Katie and Lindsey (both played good games), and the bench who were a bit more engaged and energetic than usual.

On the downside: Margo Dydek looked like she was in a funk - people were driving over and past her, she was not even reaching for loose balls, no blocks, no offensive rebounds, and sat most of the 2nd half. Nykesha also seemed down (although she hit a key baseline jumper at the end), and poor Ashja Jones could not buy a basket most of the night (she finished with 8 points).

For the Lynx, Seimone Augustus was pretty amazing (24 points)and Svetlana Abrosimova popped 5 three pointers (and also got popped herself by Ashja Jones near the end) - it was good to see Svet play even if she has abandoned her cute baby butch look from the Uconn days for a more mature femme affect. (ponytail.....that's so wrong!)

But a win is a win. We (Zippy and I) are also going on Friday, our season ticket holding fans gave us some free passes (nosebleed seats) for Seattle (no Sue Bird, alas). Also, last night was ball night so I got a (presently deflated) basketball, and also $2 hot dog and $1 soda night. Yum!

July 17, 2007

Quickies

I was supposed to go to Boston tomorrow with MYA but she called and apparently does not have an appointment. So I dodged that bullet....and can spend the day catching up.

I'm off to MoSun tonight to see the Sun vs. Minnesota Lynx. Highlight on Minnesota: Svetlana Abrosimova, albeit a more mature and less butchalicious version than trod the boards at Gampel. Also, $2 hotdogs and $1 soda. Like I need that..... and I think a promo Guida basketball. I'm going tonight with a friend extra seasons ticket) and on Friday Zipster and I are glomming onto a couple of free passes to see the Sun vs. Seattle. Let's Go Sun!

In other news, hot yoga this morning, work, lots of folk festival prep stuff. One of my favorite folkies (oh hell, most of them are my favorites!) called this morning to arrange merchandise shipping. That was kind of surprising. I'm also loading up the spreadsheet, prepping the binders, and working on the cash register.... and I took the cans back today. And I got a new scooter cover.

July 16, 2007

Fire the Grid

July 17, 2007 at 11:11 Greenwich Mean Time, 7:11 AM EDT. More info here.

July 15, 2007

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen


Life sent me this book a few weeks back - a yoga instructor was talking about reding it, and the same day, I heard an interview with the author.

Just finished the book. Quite lovely really, sort of like John Irving-lite - similarly colorful characters and outlandish circumstances and plot, but many fewer pages, a bit less sex, and no trannies. It sort of fits in, jigsaw-puzzle like, with other pieces of my unconscious - there are elephants (seem to be a recurring theme for me of late) and vets (we've been watching All Creatures Great and Small on PBS). In some ways the book is sort of like a Tracy Kidder book; there is a lot of information packed in there - you learn a lot about the circus train even as you enjoy the read.

I am struck by the recent trend towards posting English Lit-like questions at the back of the book. I read the book. Liked it. Then I get to the questions at the back and find that the backbone of the book is based on the bibical story of Jacob (never would have crossed my mind, even though the protaganists name is Jacob) so now I am going back to the bible and reading the Jacob story and comparing notes. I feel like I might want to sit down and actually write small essays in response to the questions to get the full nourishment out of the book!

I always (on some level) assumed that when english teachers came up with these sorts of parallels and symbolism that they were blowing smoke and the writer was just writing a good book; the parallels and symbolism sprang from the collective unconscious or something. But no, the author herself comments on the biblical Jacob parallel.

Harrumph. Damn writers. Always one step ahead.....

July 14, 2007

Run Around Jude

Mid-weekend catch-up.

I got back in town Thursday morning; caught a hot yoga class, and then to work. Mid afternoon, the early morning caught up with me and I crashed - Zippy and I snuck out to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. No major spoilers - it was not my favorite movie version, but conversely, Zippy, who expected to not like the film, and who has read this partiocular book about 20 times (its her favorite of the series to date) did not have a lot of complaints.

Friday morning - more yoga, then more work. I did a bunch of reports on Thursday night, and sent them out on Friday morning. Still have a bunch pending; might go into work on Sunday to catch up some more.

This morning - ballooning. Not too much wind, so a short flight from Southington into Cheshire. Some shopping, some errands, then Zippy and I took a long bike ride.

At Ocean State Job Lots, I picked up a small speaker system, the Altec-Lansing IMX2. It was designed for satellite radio receivers - but has an aux jack. So I can plug in my MP3 player. And for $10.....a good investment.

I also picked up a lounge chair for the back porch - Zippy has been reading and relaxing out there, and this past week, AC came by and we hung out there to beat the heat in the house. Quite lovely - we nee dto use the porch more.

Tomorrow, yoga. Some work. Somre chores. And dinner in Sturbridge with some of hte Zipsters friends.

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Glommed from Helen, of course. . A bunch of reasons why life, all in all, does not suck.

1. Partner in crime. The Zipster and I have been coupled for over 7 years now; we met at the True Colors conference in the spring of 2000. There are a lot of lonely people out there; and I am not one of them.

2. Health. I'm in my mid 40's; I have aches and pains, parts that are sore or tweaky or whatnot. But I do a pretty darn strenuous yoga practive 3-4 times a week, walk, hike, blade, bike. I know too many people in wheelchairs to not be thankful for my own health and mobility.

3. Employment. It's been over 11 years since I entered the self-employment / consulting world. I'm still at it, and I still pay the nut every month, and my work is interesting and rewarding, and perhaps makes the world a better place.

4. Flexibility. Despite a pretty full work life, I fit in yoga, mentoring, exercise, music, arts, film. It seems I have unconsciously crafted the sort of life that permits me to do stuff. At times, it seems as if I might have started retirement early - my life is that engaging and stress-free. Thanks, unconscious!

5. Death at bay. The last time death got really close was 1979, when my father died. Since then, my family and close friends have not been touched. I am sure that will not last forever, but its been a good run.

6. New England. Goodness I love this part of the world - from the seasons to the people, from the local color to the progressive environment.

7. Hot Air Balloons. Once a week, this time of year, I end up in close proximity to one of these beautiful behemoths. If the size and color and grace of the craft itself does not open one's heart, the excitement and awe coming from the passengers will.

8. Dogs. We have three, and they entertain, amuse, accompany, comfort, protect. What mor eevidence of the divine does one need than a cross-species partnership or relationship that is so intimate?

9. Music. What an unusual habit - that we have taken this art, a form of worship perhaps, a communal prayer for comfort - and turned it into something that can be funny, beautiful, prayerful, delicate, grating. To have a collection of music, to be able to listen to it when we choose, to be able to go see musicians live - such gifts.

10. This time, this place. There are many things wrong in this world, but to be born a citizen on the united states, in the 20th / 21st century, is a blessing beyond measure. So many throughout history and scattered across this globe are given so much less.

Those are the biggies. This morning:

* The birds are singing
* The (decaf) coffee is fresh and tasty
* There is a box of granola in the cupboard
* The weather is pleasant, warm but not too hot and humid
* There is a hot yoga class this morning
* I'll be riding my scooter to the class
* I have a few uninterrupted hours to thing, to email, to web surf
* I am gonna go sit on the back porch

July 13, 2007

Boom and Boom

Summer in Hartford has always been a time of violence and tension, and this summer is no exception. Recently, two young men were gruesomely murdered over on Capitol Avenue, near Arbor Street.

Not sure what to say about this. Probably not a random thing; the murder weapon was a shotgun at close distance, not a drive-by. One has to imagine that a message was being sent. The victims have not yet been identified because their faces were so severely damaged.

And the location is troubling to the arts and culture crowd, so close to Real Art Ways where we go for regular films and events, and tainting the Parkville area where folks are working hard to try to lure the suburban crowd in for food and entertainment following the arts and culture.

Living in Hartford, I've never felt particularly unsafe; it seems like the demographics of the violence are limited to those involved in drugs or crime, or those unfortunate enough to be living in or hanging around certian problem areas. But I imagine all it will take is one random act of violence against a notable visitor to the area, and a lot of hard work and vision might come tumbling down.

Making It Up

You have to admire the chutzpah.

Scott D. Shefelbine has been out on bond awaiting trial for sexual assault of minors. While out, he is accused of conencting with (online), meeting, and proposing sex with a 14 year old at her home. Lovely sort.

The surreal part comes in the form of an alibi, provided by his parents, that he was with them on the supposed date. And photos taken, of the accused, on the steps of a Roman Catholic church holding a church bulletin with the date prominant (and visible in the photos). Specifically:
The photos purported to show Scott Shefelbine and his mother in front of St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in West Hartford on May 20, the same day the state says Shefelbine visited the 14-year-old West Hartford girl with plans to take her out for ice cream.

The photographs of Shefelbine and his mother include her prominently holding a church bulletin dated May 20 from St. Thomas, upon which is written in blue ink the message: "Gail and Scott were here." Gail Shefelbine testified Wednesday that an elderly nun at the church wrote that message.

Just sort of funny in a "bad television police drama" way - I can imagine this being hatched by a faithful Columbo rerun watcher.

And off to jail with him. If its true that he cannot control himself while out on bail, he deserves to be in lock-up. This guy has a problem.

Addendum: Oh nice. In addition to this little bit of alleged alibi fabrication, the defendents father whacked Erin Cox, a WTNH (Channel 8) reporter. Granted, the description of the incident makes it sound like a walk-by smack, while the footage of the incident shows that Ms. Cox was chasing him down the sidewalk in pursuit of an interview, and the hit may have been more of a shove in the form of "stop following me, b*tch". But sheesh, if you are gonna shove or punch someone, try not to do it with the cameras running, and maybe not a reporter with the bully pulpit of the evening news to tell her side of things.

Addendum II: Ho-boy. Logging in to AOL this morning, I see a blurb on the front page "Suspect's Dad Decks Reporter". Way to turn a state-wide story into a national one.....

July 12, 2007

Travel Noobs

Summertime travel is fun (not) because the planes are full of people who have not traveled in a year. This morning, at the BWI Southwest ticketless travel counter (you know, little automated kiosks with animated NEXT CUSTOMER PLEASE graphics) the sheep were standing at the head of the line waiting for a personal invitation to step up. Of course, since the point of these automated kiosks is that one employess can staff 2-4 stations, well, the personally invites were not coming. Finally, with a long line spilling out into the concourse (at 5:30 a.m. mind you) Southwest figured out they needed a dope-screening-agent to push people to empty kiosk spots.

If the travel gods permit, I'll be on the ground in Hartford at 8:15 a.m. clear BDL by 8:45 (baggage and garage exit), home by 9:15, and maybe, just maybe, a 9:30 a.m. power class with Nykki who I have not worked with in a while. I love a well executed plan......

July 11, 2007

Baltimore and Back

A quickie trip. The work went well and quickly - more or less of a confirm goodness, bless findings kind of thing. We got done early.

The good part - I got to head up to Timonium to visit my godparents. Have not seen them since last summer, and it was a really enjoyable visit. We did an Italian restaurant and had coffee and ocer cream back at the house. I stayed til 9:30.

Now, crazy travel wacko that I am, I am gonna hop on a 7:10 a.m. flight out of BWI for BDL, getting in at 8:15 a.m., which ought to get me back home in time for 9:30 a.m. power yoga. Mad, I say. I'm mad!

Now, to bed in the palatial (and pricey) BWI La Quinta.

Blogging from BDL

Off to BWI - a quickie flight. Good thing cause I drew the dreaded Southwest C boarding card and the flight is oversold. C'est la vie. My tool kit (always a bit of a wild card in terms of being overweight) was 47.0 pounds.

They are boarding, so I am off - blog ya later!

Balloon Guy


No doubt you have heard about Kent Crouch, the balloon guy who flew 9 hours, to an altitude of 13,000 feet, and traveled 193 miles in a lawn chair kept aloft with helium balloons. There is actually a website devoted to the hobby, which is called Cluster Ballooning.

Now, some may know that I have been in my share of balloons. I've traveled maybe 60 miles on a single flight, been up to 10,000 feet or thereabouts, watched passenger jets taking off nad landing below me. But it's always been with an FAA inspected aircraft, an FAA licensed pilot, etc.

I dunno - lots of things that could go wrong - the balloons go porous at a certain temperature, or expand too much and start to pop, or a support rope is not tied right. The FAA mandates oxygen above 10,000 feet, so there is a risk of passing out. Just seems like a practice that might earn one a Darwin Award before one wins any aviation titles.

Nevertheless, one has to admire the spirit, the desire, the craziness, the gumption. For every kid who has seen The Red Balloon, or jumped off the garage with a home-made parachute - well, cheers!

July 10, 2007

This and That

Have I mentioned that I am falling in love with The Kennedys? I downloaded one of their albums from eMusic a while back, and loved it. I recently downloaded another, which is now loaded into my MP3 player. Fun music, technically great music, bouncy music, and resonant with a lot of my spiritual stuff. I've seen them for years at Falcon Ridge but it took a full set at the Strawberry Park Folk Fest last summer to really light my fire.

Am excited to see them at Falcon Ridge - they are not obviously booked, but in fact they are 1/3 of The Strangelings (along with Chris & Meredith Thompson, and new Strangelings Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson). Pete and Maura are ubiquitous at Falcon Ridge. I am excited to see them!

In other news, all my vehicles are on the premises - I walked down to the sudio last night (while Zippy was on the phone with hir sister) to fetch my car. I am off to Bristol this morning for some official business with MYA. Hopfully back to the office this afternoon to get some work done - I still have quite the queue pending. Mentoring meeting tonight. Heading off to Baltimore tomorrow for work.

July 09, 2007

Operator Error

The reason my scooter would not start this morning: I forgot to move the little switch from the OFF position to the ON position.

I blame a temporary case of insanity related to yoga-stoned-ness. I went over a few minutes ago to try to restart it, realized me error, and it started right up. Now my car is over at the studio, to be picked up later.

Day to Day

I'm listening to WNPR, and I am hearing a live feed from Day to Day. Amusingly, the poor announcer (Madeline Brand?) is doing intros, and bumpers, messing up cues, etc. - they are supposed to be doing the news right now but I guess the local affiliate has the network feed live.

"Did I really say North Carolina?" ::pause:: ::big sigh:: "I don't know what's going on...."

I dunno, I am charmed. Like seeing behind the curtain and finding the gods are just like us.

Good News / Bad News

The bad news, my new (used) scooter is locked up behind WHY; it would not start. My guess vapor lock (sitting in the sun on this hot day) so I will go down later to try to get it started.

The good news, I ruled chakrasana this morning after a long a really hot sweaty class, and there was a photographer lurking around (one of the regulars) taking some candid shots for the web site / brochures. I was not really paying too much attention what she was shooting, but somewhere out there might be a picture of me shining my heart upward.

July 08, 2007

Get Yer Motor Runnin'


Doing my part to reduce my CO2 footprint. Or having a mid-life crisis. You decide. (It's the red one)

I've been half-heartedly scooter shopping for a while. While you cna pick up some off brand ones fairly cheaply, I was looking for something a bit lower cost and less desireable (in terms of theft). This older (1995) Yamaha Razz fits the bill.

So far I have driven it home from the owner's place in Wethersfield. And down to the gas station. Mostly, I am looking at it to get me back and forth to work, to yoga, and to the post office. With maybe some small side trips.

Off to the internets to find a manual.....

July 07, 2007

Front Row Seats

Back in the early or mid 90's, I was blessed to have gone to see the Roche's at Tarrytown Town Hall. It was a last minute thing; I was out of town for work, got back in time (and in energy) to make the drive from Waterbury to Tarrytown. When I got there, I went to the ticket window, and found they did not take credit cards. So I wandered off to find an ATM. When I got back, a gentleman was standing in front, and asked if I was looking for a ticket. "I don't think you will be disappointed" he said. And I was not - he had a pair of front row center seats. The full sonic force of Maggie, Terre, and Suzy remains one of my fondest musical memories. (And perhaps, one of the first times I noticed my guardian angel at work.)

Tonight, however, was another such night. Seeing Margo, Adrienne, and Mark (of Mad Agnes fame) in a small, intimate space. Just delightful! That they closed with my personal favorite, Dougie MacLean's Caledonia, was simply icing on the cake!

I am very blessed. But we knew that.....

Cell Phone Refusenik II

Back in Dec 05, I blogged about my friend C who is a cell phone refusenik (this despite having a small tutoring business wherein she drives to client's homes and yanno, having the ability to call from the road and receive calls while on the road MIGHT be a good thing and also completely deductible). But no. Luddite, she.

She called this morning (while I was comatose) to tell me she was planning to come to Hartford for a support group meeting, and maybe want to stop by here. Of course, the meeting is the 2nd Saturday of the month and this is the 1st Saturday. So....no meeting. And since I was dead to the world, it went to voice mail until about noon when I was functional.

I called and left a message on her home machine. But no cell phone, no way to contact her. She might show up here. Or not. But of course I am gonna resume my campaign to cellularize her.....next chance I get.

Mad Agnes and Tired Judith

We're off to a smallish house concert this evening with Mad Agnes. They are a delightful trio of talented writers, singers, and musicians. I have been a fan for eons (seriously, I think I first saw Margo co-billed with Brooks Williams in New Haven (maybe) or New Britain or something back in the early 90's. Margo was mostly playing keyboards back then; I picked up her cassette tape. So I have been a bit of a fan over the years - watching her solo, then as she became part of Madwomyn (Madwimmen?) in the Attic, which morphed into Mad Agnes.

So, an exciting night to go see 'em in a small space.

In other news, today was a collapse day. I fell into bed last night at 8 p.m. I was up and down but mostly in bed until close to noon - think my body just said ENOUGH and demanded some catch-up. I started to come back to life this afternoon: a shower, some minor chores. I'm in the middle of cooking dinner and will be bringing in some laundry in a bit. Zippy had a bug or something over the 4th; maybe I caught it. In any case, I'm feeling better now and hopefully will be OK tonight and tomorrow.

Trivia Note: Agnes is my mother's name. She's not often Mad (in either sense of the word) however.

Anti-christian Bigotry

Reading the advocate event listings today, I came across the following:
JesusFest: Sat., 6th-annual festival featuring live Christian entertainment (crucifiction?) and a special Youth Night (insert all the priest jokes you want right here), Tolland Country Agricultural Center Fairgrounds, 24 Hyde Ave., Vernon.

Obviously, the parts in italics were inserted by a staffer trying to be cute. (Er...it's crucifixion). Made me smile. Wonder if the mischief maker got canned. And of course, KC, its anti-christian bigotry.

Bad Blogger

Been a few days, apologies.

Thursday was a trip down to Brooklyn for work. A mixed experience - there were a lot of problems to be found and fixed (satisafying) but there were also three experts on site so there was a lot of hanging around chewing the fat, waiting for the machine to be ready, and sort of negotiating troubleshooting process and findings. A long day overall; I am still catching up on sleep and energy.

Friday was morning yoga, and lots of work. I signed up for three workshops with Tias Little in a few weeks:

* Lymphatic Yoga: Supporting the Immune System
* The Heart of the Legs
* Freeing the Bird of Prana: Backbends

Tias is also doing Teacher Training at WHY the week of July 23-26; I'd sign up for it if I did not have FRFF that week. But really, three days of workshops is enough; I usually grab maybe one workshop with visiting national teachers

I was tired (and bored) last night and jumped into bed at 8 p.m. - now its 3 a.m. and I am awake (fairly predictable) - the dogs got me up. But I am headed right back to bed.

July 04, 2007

Independence Day

Quick catch-up. Today's activities:
* Great yoga practice
* Lunch at the Spot Eatery
* A walk around Reservoir #6 with a friend
* Coffee and a treat at Gold-Roc
* Home for a bit with the Zipster
* Dinner with Zippy and AC at Chili's
* Home
Not much holiday stuff, but its a weird holiday (mid-week / rainy) and I am not all that excited about the stars and stripes this year.....

July 03, 2007

Funny Money

Just add my anecdote to the pile of "scratching my head about the messed up state of health care in the USA" stories floating around out there.

First off, I am insured, and I am healthy. Being self employed, there was a time when I was uninsured, but in recent years I have been covered. This past February, I switched over to an HSA (Health Savings Account) wherein I am covered for diagnostic and preventative things, I pick up the first $1250 of everything else, and I pay a helluva lot less of a monthly premium ($230 vs. $450). I also get to stick $2850 a year into a savings account (pre-tax) to use for the deductible as well as other medical stuff, it also rolls over into future years, and becomes something like a medical retirement account. All good.

Earlier this month I had a mammogram (clear, thankfully). My insurer sent me a claim recap. The procedure list cost was $572 bucks. My insurer covered 100% (diagnostic) but the recap documented their negotiated payment to the provider: $188.

So, being insured, I paid nothing. My provider got a measley $188 for the service. But had I walked in off the street, uninsured - my bill would have been $572. No wonder the uninsured are getting screwed; that medical costs are driving people into dinancial ruin.

I've had to pay for a few other visits, plus my prescription drugs, and in both cases, the insurance company negotiated rate was significantly lower than list price. And honestly, the whole "free market" thing worked for me; for years, I never really price shopped my prescription drugs - until I actually had to pay for them (out of my HSA account) - and so I switched from CVS to Target; the Target total prices are about what the CVS co-pays used to be when I was insured. I just went where it was convenient before; now I am price-shopping....

July 02, 2007

All Heck Breaks Loose

Must be a new month thing or something.

By mid-morning, I had gotten a core dump - a bunch of new sets of site data to analyze, a first site from a new client, a conference call, a couple of potential site visits. One top of long standing reports due, an overdo site analysis, some website updates related to a special event.

Oh, and start of the month invoicing. I have 6 to send out (which will not go until tomorrow, most likely)

Nice to be busy, I guess.....

Ratatouille - The Movie

Over on Colin's blog, Tom the Toy Designer wrote: "Ratatouille is an allegory about immigration. I totally missed that...."

Yeah. me too. Linguini and Remy seemed to be co-heroes, each incomplete without the other. A weird, skewed version of Cyrano de Bergerac. Linguini woos Collette with his (actually, Remy's) cooking, and seems wholly undeserving of success (except by birth). So I was busy deconstructing all that and missed the immigration stuff.

Interesting though, in a typical Disney "happily ever after" wrap-up, Linguini would be the comic foil (maybe find a goofball love interest), and Remy would end up with Collette. We'll let them into our kitchens to cook, but they can not marry our daughters. Then again, he (Linguini) has got real talent as a roller skating waitron, so maybe that's his happily ever after - he discovered his real talent.

Also, "short" seems to be the trademark of villains these days - the evil chef in Ratatouille, the evil king in Shrek I, and Simon Bar Sinister, played by Peter Dinklage in a preview for the new live-action Underdog. (which seems much cuter than the animated version ever was, and does not have to reach all that far to be smarter - Underdog was no Rocky & Bullwinkle....

Anyway, its only a matter of time before little folk start to recognize their being typecast and start to object. And with good reason. Hollywood has created villianous stereptypes based on race, on nationality, on orientation, on gender expression. Now it's little people in the queue. Ugh.

July 01, 2007

Oops, We Killed God's Son and Now He Hates Us

Colin McEnroe made me laugh so hard tonight I leaked. Read his latest Hartford Courant editorial here.

Sore and Achey

It ended up being a VERY FULL DAY INDEED. Starting with my morning DIY yoga, Zippy and I decided to do a longish walk (3-4 miles) immediately thereafter. My legs were a little creaky, but no problems. Then, 1/2 way to Bristol to pick up MYA, she called and cancelled (not feeling well) so I came home. Zippy was not interested in going to Pride in Bushnell Park but when I suggested we bike down (its perhaps 3.5 miles each way, although we took a slightly longer but less trafficy route) ze jumped at the offer. So we rode our bikes down.

We initially came upon something at the pavilion which was definitely NOT a vibrant pride fest (wedding? church picnic?) and feared the June pride was a bust - but found the real celebration at the other end of the park:
Sister Funk at Hartford Pride 2007

We hung around for a bit, said hello to people, shared some festival food (meat on a stick for the Zipster, fried plantains and fresh lemonade for me) and then rode home. I got a bit too much sun and both of us pushed it in terms of calves and knees....

Last night, we traveled to Artwell Gallery in Torrington where a friend of ours had an opening / show:

It was good to see Mark, saw some Hartford friends there, and one weird out of the blue serendipity moment - a blast from the past (an ex's boss from 20 years ago) reintroduced himself. Good to see him again, turns out he lives in Hartford, and is as charming and cute as ever. Yowza.

Today - sore from all that exercise, sun, and fun. Gonna hit the mat on my own this morning, the normal Sunday morning hot practice at the studio might be a bit much for my tired body, and Zippy wants to go visit hir sister in Manchester this morning, so I will probably tag along....