March 31, 2008

Tax Season I

We've entered the procrastination period of tax season. This is when I get a lot done in preparation for and avoidance of actually doing my taxes.

This morning, I cleaned off my desktop, made a fair show of straightening, filing, and tossing the pile on the floor, and finished up a new website design for a client.

I figure another few days of this and I'll be mentally prepared to do my taxes.....

March 30, 2008

Springishness

Among the springish things that happened today:

a) I wore sandals to the grocery store
b) I bought springish clothes at TJ Maxx using my birthday gift card
c) We broke out the grill for dinner
d) I hung my yoga mats out for some air
e) I swept the back porch and cleaned off the table and chairs
f) I raked up the piles of leaves that Zippy gathered (he leaves little piles all over)
g) We took the dogs for a long neighborhood walk

Not So Bad....In Fact, Quite Wonderful

I got a belated birthday card from Mom (who forgot to bring it over to my sister's last weekend). In it she wrote "....I read your blog....it made me sad to learn how hard you have had it. Life doesn't seem fair!"

So I spent some time scrolling back through the blog, looking for evidence of a difficult life. And yeah, on one or two occasions, some of the less happy aspects of my life creep into my writing. And yeah, I *did* quote the Dalai Lama on suffering around my birthday. But were I to have quoted, say Mother Teresa or Jesus (both of whom, if I recall, have said some things about suffering) would that have been different?

Hey Mom, I love ya! And all life does contain pain and suffering. But that does not mean it is either hard or unpleasant. I am blessed in so many ways. I sleep in warmth and comfort, often snuggled by a small furry dog. I do not lack for food or clothes. I have crafted a life that provides both income and the time to nurture my spirit. I practice yoga almost every day! I am healthy, remarkably so for my age and genetics. I have been gifted with several years on this planet more than dad was. I chase hot air balloons, I play musical instruments, I camp out under the stars every year. I have been my own boss for over 12 years, and have never looked myself in the mirror and thought "well, you've sold your soul here"

Yes, I am not living the good life as represented by wealth, by a beautiful home, by cars. But that's, in part, my choice. I could go look for a job in corporate america. Face a daily commute. Spend an hour putting myself together in the morning, and an hour decompressing at night. Live in constant fear of down-sizing or transfer. Jump when the corporation demands it. Feel my spirit slowly ground down under the wheels of meetings and paperwork and the hierarchy. Not have time for ballooning or music or yoga.

In the production world, we have a little joke. When things suck: when we've got a 50 pound snake on our shoulder, or are down on our hands and knees troubleshooting an intermittant connection 10 minute before broadcast, or it's raining and we're out pulling cables - we look at each other, raise our thumbs to the sky, and say "I could have been an accountant....or a nurse.....or a marketing executive....but I CHOSE THIS!"

Yeah, life is not easy at times. But it's not easy for anyone. I've made my choices, and they work for me. Part of becoming who I am was letting go of some of the fear that I learned in our family, becoming less afraid of falling, becoming comfortable with some uncertainty. The me that might have been, who would have parked it on the lazy-by this weekend, watched some college hoops, and waited for Monday to get back to my corporate world. Instead of the me that is, who is headed down to the yoga studio this morning to do some headstands and take this body out for a spin.

Your Sunday morning video: It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go (Nanci Griffith)

March 29, 2008

Waterbury (not) Bashing

OK, I'm guilty of Waterbury bashing.

Waterbury Girl's camera reminds me of the parts of Waterbury that I have some fondness for, at her Waterbury Thoughts blog.

Her blog is quite wonderful too..

Saturday Morning Crunchiness

Cooked Kale with Chopped Walnuts and Rice Wine Vinegar

Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon on the stereo (by way of a 20 year old cassette, copied from my ex's already ancient album). I can still here the small pops and crackles and I feel nostalgic.

I opened up a crate of old cassettes I put away a few years back; specifically to find Aztec Two Step, but I'm finding other old friends....

Something Old....

This is a video made in 1938 showing the Great yoga teacher demonstrating asana and pranyama. He was the teacher of BKS Iyengar and Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, founder the Astanga style of yoga.

March 28, 2008

Getting a Paper Back

It's so rare that, as an adult, one gets ones work handed back so as to have an opportunity to see if one got it right. We do our work, we send it out there.

A few weeks back, a client asked if I could chart Dew Point on a standard graph we produce (showing Temperature and Humidity). I'm pretty sure we can, said I, so I popped over to Wikipedia to find out the pertinent formulae (reasonably complex), added some columns into my spreadsheet to calculate Dew Point, and added the Dew Point to the graphs. I had no idea if they were right at all, I just did the math.


Today, the client and I were talking about the site, and he casually mentioned "I think the software has a checkbox for Dew Point". I checked. Indeed it does. I was too dumb to look.

But the good thing is, I developed this spreadsheet and graph from scratch, and developing my own algorithms. And the result (as seen in the chart) matches the commercially available.

It's nice to get a paper back with a big fat 100% in red ink. Nice to know that I've still got it. At least as far as spreadsheets and math go......

Signs of Spring


A bunch of daffodils are pushing towards blooming in front of the office.

Meanwhile, on Newfield Street, a handmade sign announces another sure sign of warmer weather to come - the friendly neighborhood hot dog stand. HOT DOGS - MARCH 31

Oh, the Brass! Waterbury in Forbes

Props to Mr. McEnroe for this one.

Forbes magazine, in a short piece about Waterbury and its little problem with corruption, interviews the former governor:
Is the city's bad reputation going to be a problem? No, says the ex-gov: "People's memories only last about six months." Or else people just don't mind a little honest graft. The owner of a restaurant tells Rowland that his meal is on the house. The owner of a clothing store sees him eyeing a suit and says that he can provide a really good deal on it. "What do you think looks better?" Rowland asks. "Green or brown?"

Who knew the writers for Forbes had such a sense of humor, such a wicked needle full of irony?

As a former citizen of Waterbury (I take no great pleasure in that, I was a newcomer and outsider for all of the 12 years I lived there, although the grinders available in my Town Plot were pretty fabulous), it is to laugh. Waterbury is the punchline of so many jokes....try as it might to rise above that.

Green or Brown? How about both, in a nice prison stripe.....

Dharma the Cat: Philosophy with Fur


As drawn by David Lourie. A little something to tickle the fancy....

Website here. Blog here

March 27, 2008

Herb Peterson R.I.P.

Herb Peterson, who invented the ubiquitous Egg McMuffin as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald's restaurants, has died, a Southern California McDonald's official said Wednesday. He was 89. Courant story here

Personally, I've bit of experience with the Egg McMuffin. I worked at McD's in high school and co. llege - circa 1977 through 1981. So I've cooked my share of Egg McMuffins. This was back in the day before breakfast sandwich upstarts: bagels, croissants and biscuits, sausage and scrambled eggs. The Egg McMuffin is for purists - a fried egg, a slice of canadian bacon and cheese, and an english muffin.

The secret to the sandwich is the teflon coated ring which keeps the egg in place while it cooks and gives it the unnatural (but oh so packageable) round shape. Mr. Peterson is pictured above with one version of this; I recall a six-pack style metal rack with removable egg rings in them. You'd dab in butter with a brush, break the eggs into the rings, then crack the yolks. I think we covered them to cook, and heated up the bacon to the side. I remember cleaning these egg rings at the end of the morning shift, as the restaurant changed over to lunch.

No idea if McD's still cooks 'em this way. I've been able to simulate the Egg McMuffin at home - using a small pyrex bowel. I spritz in a little cooking spray, put an egg in, break the yolk, and zap it on high for 30-45 seconds. The egg cooks up nicely and slips out of the pyrex bowl, perfectly round and ready for a muffin.

McDonald's (rightfully) gets a lot of crap for being a corporate villian - related to consumer health, marketing to kids, rainforest destruction, and waste generating. But I've always admired the inventiveness and marketing savvy of those who worked for Uncle Ray, and think that the planet would be a better place if we could redirect some of that creativity towards things like energy conservation, sustainable living, etc.

Stroke of insight: Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.com

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness -- of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:44.)

Video here.
Transcript here.

Fellow yogis and Enlightenment Intensive attendees will recognize some of her language and experiences.

I'm realizing that my hands looked like primitive claws grasping onto the bar. I thought "that's very peculiar" and I looked down at my body and I thought, "whoa, I'm a weird-looking thing." And it was as though my consciousness had shifted away from my normal perception of reality, where I'm the person on the machine having the experience, to some esoteric space where I'm witnessing myself having this experience.


And at first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind. But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there.


One of the yoga sutras is Yoga chitta vritti nirodah. Loosely translated: Yoga is a calming of the whirlpools of the mind.

No need to experience a stroke to get to this place. Trust me....

But I realized "But I'm still alive! I'm still alive and I have found Nirvana. And if I have found Nirvana and I'm still alive, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana." I picture a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace. And then I realized what a tremendous gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be to how we live our lives. And it motivated my to recover.

Recession Not

In the whacked out world of my life (personal and professional) - the much feared recession appears to have skipped over my house. Maybe it was the lambs blood smeared on the lintel, but I'm swamped.

One client keeps sending me data with which to generate reports and analysis, all marked URGENT or ASAP (technical note: URGENT means today if possible, ASAP means a day or two). I have site visits pending for Brockton MA and St. Louis MO. And a possibly new client, looking for a proposal for a site visit (Oklahoma City....go figure), called today to inquire about my overdue proposal, so I'm pretty sure that one is gonna happen, maybe as soon as mid-April.

Nice to be busy. Wish I had time to finish my taxes (or even start my taxes).

The Signs are Everywhere

I know there is snow possible for Friday, but spring is inexorably creeping up on us.

I spied crocuses (croci?) in the garden at my office, and daffodils are also pushing up. I saw the office stray cat (which occasionally perches on the sill outside my window to catch the sun) heading across the lawn yesterday, fat and silky. Clearly she's got someone feeding her, or she has adapted well to the wild. And the birds are returning, each day brings a new call, a new flash of color.

I dug my scooter out of the mud in the backyard and into the driveway. remarkably, it started right up. I think its needs a tune-up (and not sure if I can manage that, or if not, where to take it) but regardless, it's nice to have it back on the asphalt.

A few more weeks of winter, no doubt, before the sun begins to warm the earth and new life is abundant. But it's coming, no doubt.....

Birthday Prizes

Was up in MA last weekend for Easter, and got some belated birthday gifts from my family.

My brother Kevin got me a few CD's:

* Melissa Etheridge / The Awakening
* Mary Gauthier / Between Daylight and Dark
* Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris / All the Roadrunning (I already had that one, so I get to go CD shopping when I return it)

I buy music so seldomly. I download 40 tracks from eMusic.com monthly (assuming I remember) - this past month it was Aztec Two Step, Catherine Russell, and David Wilcox. (which I burn onto eclectic 10-11 disc MP3 collections for the car). I pick up CD's at folk concerts, from the artists. And I usually have a pretty decent budget for music at Falcon Ridge. So it's nice to have some new tunes.

I also got a nice gift card for TJ Maxx - the best one around seems to be Bristol so I will have to get over that way when I visit MYA (maybe she can be my fashion consultant) and get some spring clothes.

March 26, 2008

Yoga Joke

Q: Why didn't the yogi buy the new model of vacuum cleaner?
A: It had too many attachments.

A sweet practice this morning, deep into the hips. I guess we did a few moon salutations, but no other standing postures. Just a long, hot morning of sinking into ourselves.

March 25, 2008

Looking for something

One of the recent visitors to this blog was searching for "how much does the taj hotel boston put on hold on credit cards upon checkin"

Uhm, I dunno. Better click through to someplace else.

March 24, 2008

Sweet Tooth


We stopped by Ocean State Job Lots the other day and I was surprised (and pleased) to find Madhava Agave Nectar - a sweetener created from the nectar of the wild agave plant (same plant that is used to make tequila). I ran into this stuff up at Kripalu over the winter; I figure if it's good enough for the yogis up there.....

Acording the to the website:
Because Agave Nectar is high in fructose, it enjoys all the benefits which continue to make fructose a preferred sweetening agent. It is sweeter than refined sugar (approximately 1.4 times sweeter); in fact, fructose offers an equivalent sweetness for nearly half the amount of carbohydrate calories. Fructose does not stimulate digestive insulin secretion as do other sugars. It is less disturbing to the glycemic index. In common parlance, it does not create a “sugar rush.”

Interesting stuff. And while agave is not locally grown or native, it is a nice alternative to refined sugar.

March 23, 2008

Hippies Gone to Seed

Zippy and I went to a concert last night at the East Hartford Community Cultural Center (EHCCC). Aztec Two-Step, who I have not seen in many years. Mad Agnes, a perennial favorite in this household, opening up. Add it all up - a delightful evening.

First the venue. EHCCC is a former school (by the looks of it) located a few blocks from downtown. Nice parking, nicely restored, with a wonderful auditorium. (Comfy chairs, good acoustics). The sound was a tad reverb laden as Mad Agnes started, probably because their crystal clear voices and precise music do not really need reverb, but the soundpersons pulled it back a few songs in. They do a lot of diverse concerts there (Zippy and MP see celtic shows there now and then) and so I suspect we will be back. A very nice venue for live music, to add to the other folkish places we frequent: Cheney Hall, Univ of Hartford (Wilde and Milliard), Roaring Brook, Audubon Center in Glastonbury, etc.

As a bonus, East Hartford's own Ten-Penny Ale (and Dirty Penny as well) on tap, along with a few varieties of wine.

Mad Agnes was in good voice and spirits, as Zippy commented, they are so adorable. Indeed they are. Margo broke a string on the opening number but that did not seem to slow them down much (they always have a stage full of instruments). I may have noticed that Mark was left handed, and also played the group's right handed bass (which they all take a turn at) left handed before, but it impressed me again last night (as a part time bass player, it's all I can do to play a right handed one as it was intended!)


And Aztec Two-Step. I saw them maybe 15 years back, at the Common Ground (a slimey little bar on Rte. 6 in Bristol, long since closed, that featured acoustic music on Sunday nights and a folk open mike on Mondays). I saw them again a few years back at Univ of Hartford, although I think they shared the stage with friends or family, and it was not an official Aztec Two-Step show. This one was, and it was wonderful. Amusingly, the one album I own and really know, 1993's "Of Age", did not get too much stage time, but their music is so pervasive in the folkie world and college radio stations we listen to that it was all familiar.

Rex is completely amusing and lovable, Neil completely reminds me of my friend Jon on guitar. (Jon's a big Aztec Two-Step fan, so I suspect he has consciously or unconsciously adopted Neil's style). Emusic.com has a few of their CD's available for download, and I'll add them to my queue, and I might invest in their first CD and/or their "See It Was Like This" compilation from 1989. Just because....

A Seed on An Everything Bagel


Colin McEnroe is in NYC and his take on the diverse populous of the city, and the beauty, poetry, music, and artfulness of living in such a place is truly wonderful. Go read his column right now. Then get out there and find your own painting to live in.

March 22, 2008

Stop Sending Me Catalogs

The Zipster and I get loads of catalogs. We kvetch often about them, every so often a vendor will get so annoying (sending multiple catalogs to slightly different names at the same address, etc.) that we take the time to call. But mostly we don't, and just add the paper to teh recycling bin. Now we can do something about that. CatalogChoice.org is a website wehre you can opt-out of many common catalogs.

Mad props to Kerri over at Real Hartford for the link. A recent post of hers also inspired me to drop by The Green Vibration (aka Alchemy) this afternoon for a Chai Latte instead of an unappreciative Dunkin Donuts.

Also, I confess that I lifted her Peep Show easter card to send to people who insist on sending me cutesy easter greetings.

Maybe I can hire her to keep my blog updated :) - she seems to be more motivated than I am lately.....

Feels Like Spring

Yesterday's wind and bluster has given way to a bit of warmth to go with the sun - coming out of yoga today it actually felt like winter might be giving up the ghost. We'll have another few days of snow and chill, I am sure, but I for one have officially declared it to be SPRING.

As I pulled into the driveway, a pair of small brown birds - finches I imagine rose into the branches of a bush. I sat in the car and watched them for a few seconds, twittering at each other, and I suppose, at me. I've already caught sight of robins, and soon will come the other flying fauna.

I spent some hours yesterday at the studio, mostly answering calls (are you open this weekend?) and setting up sign-in sheets for a couple of upcoming workshops (Tias Little in the fall, Jonathon Bowra in April). The doors were rattling and banging all day, at one point a window screeen blew off and took out a stone candle. Lots of drama - giving way to today's calm.

March 20, 2008

Upcoming Stuff

Not sure which (if any) of the following activities I'll be engaging in, but thinking that I *might* show up at some or all of these at least provides the illusion of a social life.

Thursday: Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways. Music by Catherine Russell (no relation), and preview of the Real Party art (which looks great, based on last night's quick glance). Always a good time. Nuff said.

Friday: Rutter's Requiem at the First Church of Christ, 250 Main Street
Wethersfield, Connecticut 06109 (7 p.m.) - orchestrated by David Spicer. Infomation here. I've always loved this piece.....

Saturday: Aztec Two-Step and Mad Agnes at the East Hartford Community Cultural Center. 7:30 pm. Info here.

March 19, 2008

Persepolis

I'd be raving about how great a movie Persepolis is, and how you really should go see it at Real Art Ways, except it was the last night. The animation was quite beautiful and unique, based on the graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi.

Oh well, there is always Netflix....

March 18, 2008

Not Ignoring You

Just got lots of work to catch up on, and lots of reading and writing for yoga teacher training, and not getting too motivated to blog. I shall be back anon.

March 16, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

AC, MP, and Zippy's dad joined us for a St. Patrick's Day dinner: Corned Beef and Cabbage and Baked Potatos. I picked up some rare (in this house) beer - a four pack of Guinness, and a six-pack of Harp for some Black and Tan's. (yeah, I know Bass is the preferred mixer). MP (who is an emigre from the Emerald Isle, brought over some homemade Irish bread and Irish Butter). He also brought the news that Corned Beef is not a traditional Irish food, but that it was perhaps the closest local alternative to irish bacon. Wikipedia concurs.

Nice meal, good conversation. My 50% Irish heritage rejoices. I'm going to yoga and healthy eating hell, pretty sure.

Kids being Kids

The True Colors Conference Tee, celebrating the 15th year of the conference, is below.

Small wonder that some percentage of the volunteers taped over the first set of quotes.

March 14, 2008

Mothering

My day started out driving - Hartford to East Haven, East Haven to Storrs. Then off to the True Colors Conference, this year at UConn in Storrs instead of CCSU in New Britain. Different venue. Same conference.

MYA was in East Haven - she was staying with her boyfriend. She has done that before, but this time was different. She and her mom had a fight the other night; a window got borken, and her brother called the cops. The police generally will separate domestic combatants - and it's pretty clear that when a mother with a young child and a 19 year old get into a fight, the 19 year old needs to leave. So, for the last few days, MYA has been homeless.

After the conference, more driving: Storrs to Bristol. En route home, I spoke with MYA about her mom. I talked of my relationship with my mom. I have not always had an easy time - I've been broke, been divorced, had a home close to foreclosed. I could lose my housing in the future. But throughout my life; I've always known that I could count on my mom - for a night in the spare bedroom or the sofa bed, for a warm meal, for a few hours of respite. Were I to find myself out on the street, I would only have to get myself up to MA and I know I would have a home. My mother's love and support has been one constant in my life. And so often, I have been able to take risks, to roll the dice, knowing she had my back.

And as I spoke of this, I told MYA that I recognized that this was not her reality. Her mom is not well, she's erratic and unpredictable, and financially treading water. She lacks the resources to do the right thing for her children. She is, in many ways, not the adult in the relationship with MYA. I told MYA that it broke my heart to know she did not have a home she could count on. Her mom loves her, but is not able to give her financial or emotional stability. And that I realized how difficult it was for her not to have that kind of support from her mom. And I told her that so long as I was in her life, she did not need to worry about a place to sleep, a warm meal - someway, somehow, we'd see that she was taken care of.

It's ironic really, before MYA and I were matched in the mentoring program, she had come to my workshops at the True Colors conference several times. The first one was one I did with my mom, about parents dealing with a childs transition. At the time, I wrote something about how healing it was seeing my own mom handing out PFLAG-ish hugs to the young transmen and women in the space.

Mothers. So often we take their love and support for granted. And it's not until we watch someone without that sort of mother do we realize just how fortunate we are.

It's a bit early for Mother's day, but this one is for you Mom. And for you, MYA - I wish I could make the world a safe place for you the way my mom has for me. The Roches singing "I Love My Mom"

Running on Empty

I've been in a pretty low energy place of late - as if I were running on batteries and trying to conserve resources. Part of that is financial; February's traveling has drained my funds and credit significantly, these will not be replensished until the checks start to come in. And a large client simultaneously slowed down (from 30-40 hours per month to 15-20) and also stopped paying the smaller checks without a lot of hassle and hand-holding. Very frustrating. Right now I have been assured that the checks that were due Feb 1 and Mar 1 are being processed - but only because I had to keep pestering them. Because without that, they'd still be in the twilight zone.

Things should be getting better there soon - I have two large checks pending from my reliable client in San Diego, my corporate client boasted that they had the money upfront for the recent gig in Carlsbad, and a bunch of others that should be dripping in. But it's been a thin time; one of those times we self-employment sorts remember as "the time I almost gave up and got a real job"

I also think the change of seasons, change of time zones (spending time on the west coast), changing the clocks, and the cumulative travel has drained my energy. I slept in every day this week; today is the first day I was up at my normal time. Zippy commented last night that he has been stuck with the dogs every morning (with me traveling and then sleeping in) and he has a fair complaint.

Heading to the True Colors conference this morning - MYA is down in East Haven with her BF - so Zippy and I are fetching his mentee in West Hartford and then heading down to East Haven, en route to UConn Storrs. Lot of driving.....gonna be a long day. I am somewhat torn - I am gonna pack my laptop for the conference and may just find a quite spot yto get some work done. It will be nice to see people, but none of the workshops is really all that exciting, and I am behind on a few things - would be nice to close out the day caught up with one particular backlog that lends itself to remote work.

Time to feed the dogs, have some breakfast, and jump in the shower. Long day ahead.....

March 12, 2008

Family & Friends: A Benefit Concert

Cynthia & Alan Wolcott & Guests
Featuring roots music to Rogers & Hart, Fiddle tunes to 4-part harmony

Sunday, April 20, 2008 @ 4 p.m.
Universalist Unitarian Church
433 Fern Street
West Hartford, CT
860-233-3669
Donation $10/adult and $5/students

Proceeds benefit the Rape and Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN)

Cynthia is a friend from the studio; I am looking forward to hearing her sing!

Spring is Coming


Watching out my office window, I see four fat robins are digging for worms in the soft ground. Spring is coming!

March 10, 2008

Thought for this Day

"...on your birthday people usually say 'Happy Birthday!', when actually the day of your birth was the birth of your suffering. But nobody says 'Happy Birth-of-your-Sufferingday!"
- The Dalai Lama, as quoted in the book "The Art of Happiness"

Came across this quote today en route home from San Diego. Its appropriate, today. I'm back home, and although I spent the day in shuttle vans, airports and airplanes, I did not suffer too much.....

Mission Accomplished

Well, the corporate gig went fine. People ask me "Whaddya do?" and I always reply "Whaddya got?" and this gig qualifies for that irreverence. A break from my usual engineering - I put together a powerpoint presentation for an after dinner talk / skit. Yesterday was a travel day and set-up. Today we rehearsed, did the gig, and struck the set. Tomorrow, travel back. Skillset required - the ability to crank out PowerPoint quickly, a fair level of graphics and web surfing skills (to find stock photos and templates and stuff) and nerves of steel to change the slides during the presentation.

The audience view of things. The conceit was that the executive was running for president (of the USA) so it was a patriotic color scheme, a fake campaign speech (with funny slides), and a finale with a balloon drop, confetti cannons, light ballyhoo, and the Rocky theme song.....

My view of the proceedings, from backstage. I watched the gig on a small monitor. Mostly, it's many hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of frantic revisions (during rehearsal) and minor terror (during the show, when a lot of the timing of the show falls on my fingers and instincts, since the audience reaction changes the dynamics and the timing a lot.

Highlights of the trip - yoga by the pool this morning, overlooking a beautiful valley. Also, Robert Klein was the entertainer; he was hilarious. Lowlights, the weekend's food was pretty unhealthy (burgers, sandwiches, quesadilla's), although we had a wonderful meal last night (tuna steak and asparagus with a romaine salad).

Off to bed - I've got a 7:20 a.m. flight tomorrow.

March 08, 2008

Wasted on Me

I'm holed up at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad. It's quite lovely; I'm completely outclassed. But the gig is here, the client is here, so I get to stay here for a couple of nights.

Mostly I'm trying to avoid the staff, who are uber helpful and friendly. But I just want to get away, yanno?

I don't have to be anywhere until tomorrow at 2 p.m., so I plan to throw down my yoga mat right about here. So I got that going for me....

Off to San Diego

With far too few hours of sleep under my belt. Kirtan last night; I rolled out of the studio around 11:45 pm, and had my alarm set for 3:30 am. Got to Bradley in plenty of time. Hoping to catch some Z's on the flights. One connection, in Cincinatti. I get in to San Diego before 11:00 a.m. local time.

This is hopefully the last trip in a while; it's been a busy stretch. I have some projects waiting at home that have been neglected - work for clients, cleaning my office, getting my taxes done, and stuff around the house. Will be nice to just get back to a routine.

We're staying at the posh Four Seasons Aviara - which advertises "Complimentary fitness clothing". Hm. These high end places intimidate the heck out of me; not that I am actually gonna have much time to enjoy. But I do hope to throw down my yoga mat for a bit.

Plane is boarding; I better log off!

March 07, 2008

Stuff White People Like

I dunno, because I am feeling ornery today. Funny. True. Here.

Lot's of stuff does not fit (for example, teh whole vegan / whole foods / organic stuff - I might aspire to it but its not me). But there is also a lot of stuff approp to my life:
#83 Bad Memories of High School - Hey catholic school, class brain, feh
#77 Musical Comedy - Roches, Nancy Tucker, Christine Lavin, et al
#74 Oscar Parties - I missed it this year
#64 Recycling - Yeah, we're pretty neurotic about it
#55 Apologies - I even apolgized for this blog post once, kind of !
#53 Dogs - We have two, down from 3, and have owned 5 in total since we've been together
#44 Public Radio - I'm a junkie
#43 Plays - Hartford Stage, Theaterworks, I am even on a few out of town mailing lists, I went when I was out of town for work
#42 Sushi - Yum!
#39 Netflix - Hooked
#36 Breakfast Places - Mo's Mid-town, Quaker Diner, Spot Eatery, not to mention all the places we go after ballooning
#28 Not Having a TV - well, we have a TV. But basic ass cable so we can kvetch about it
#25 David Sedaris - More public radio / This American Life addiction
#21 Writer’s Workshops - I've been to a few, as well as community college classes
#15 Yoga - yeah, well. Guilty.
#1 Coffee - Used to be, and I still drink way too much decaf.....

March 06, 2008

Missing in Action

Me, the blogger, that is.

Just busy, sorry 'bout that. I'm headed to San Diego (Carlsbad, to be specific) for a corporate powerpoint gig this weekend. So I've been knee deep in backgrounds, fonts, photos, and animation every night (the client tends to send me things around 5 p.m. and I've been turning it around in the evenings).

I'm also getting prepped for Kirtan tomorrow night - we practiced on Tuesday and I've got my guitar and bass out and am warming up the fingers. Set up tomorrow afternoon, and we play tomorrow night. Kirtan will break around 11, it will take us a while to schmooze, strike and pack up, so I doubt I will be in bed much before 1 a.m. And, oh by the way, my flight to San Diego departs at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Sheesh. Who does this to me? Oh yeah, that's right. I do.

My only solace is that since we'll be staying at the Four Seasons in Carlsbad, and may have some down time on Sunday morning (the gig is not until later than night) I may find a lovely resortish patch of ground to throw down my mat. Maybe under a palm tree.

On the bummer side of life, I got an invite this afternoon to assist at the Open House free yoga classes this weekend. Which I *really* would have enjoyed and learned from. Hopefully, there will be other opportunities....

West Hartford Yoga on the tube

West Hartford Yoga's Community Yoga is featured on a Better Connecticut (WFSB) feature. My friends Alison and Shankara are featured.

In which Scott Haney spills Alison's age, but says she "looks amazing". And yeah, she does. But then again, she *is* amazing!

March 05, 2008

Headstand / Sirsasana

I took some video with my el cheapo digital camera at the studio on Sunday. Now I am messing around with various means of posting things (without buying software to convert MOV files to AVI files) Try not to laugh....

March 04, 2008

Just Catching Up

I'm barely having time to breath here (frantically scrambling to get my March 1st invoices out today)....but here's some stuff on my schedule:

Guerrilla Girls on Tour: Feminists Are Funny, with Julia Child, Aphra Behn, & Eva Le Gallienne
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 / CCSU Torp Theater
7:00 PM / Free & open to the public
Information here

Friday night is Kirtan at West Hartford Yoga - if you go, say hello! I'm the one with the guitar and bass.

Saturday is Open Studio at West Hartford Yoga. Free classes all day, food and refreshments, raffles, and discounts on class cards. I'll be en route to Carlsbad CA, so you won't see me there, but go, enjoy!

And the weekend of March 14-15 is the True Colors Conference - at UConn Storrs this year.

March 03, 2008

Bill Curry on Where We Live

Listening to Where We Live this morning while I work. Bill Curry is on, talking politics. He made the comment about Barack Obama's campaign running an artful, subtle, and effective negative attack on Hillary Clinton. Look for a podcast later....

Wonderful point, and more reason to vote Obama. I was always a big fan of Bill Clinton's intelligence, his ability to play chess, to outthink opponents both domestically and internationally. So to hear someone as experienced (and Clinton connected) as Bill Curry describe Obama's campaign as "artful" makes me eager to see that same level of intelligence and craft at work in the White House.

If only because Clinton does not seem to have foreseen this particular form of subtle attack, nor does she seem to have an effective defense or response, makes me think she's just a wee bit less competant in the ways of politics...

March 02, 2008

Musical Friends

My Falcon Ridge camping mate and friend Victoria Bouffard got some nice press in the Gloversville Leader-Herald (which really does vibe Garrison keillor's "Herald-Starr"). Her CD is called "All the Reasons" and we're happy to ave it (cause then we can sing along with her when sh eentertains us at Falcon Ridge!)

And unlike this crankster, Victoria apparently LOVES Las Vegas.....

Frozen in Grand Central

Kudos to Helen Boyd (shameless shill for NYC, can you blame her, she is stuck in Wisconsin with 1200" of snow) for spreading this gem. Brought to you by the geniuses at Improv Everywhere - whose Best Gig Ever mission (documented on this American Life) remains a classic.

OK, here's my idea, which has been churning for a while. Take the Creative Cocktail Hour crowd. And set up a text-message system where, at noon of some regular day (not the third thursday, well let CCH remain as is) we spread the location of a venue to invade (warning the venue so as to have staff and alcohol and maybe even entertainment available). A way to keep the CCH magic going without the corporate sponsorship, parking problems, and huge crowds, spreading the CCH love to other neighborhoods and venues in Hartford, and ratcheting up the undergroundness and coolness of the evening. I have to believe that we would only capture a small percentage of the CCH scene (but it would be a particularly cool percentage).

March 01, 2008

A Ride to the Airport

While I was in Vegas, my friend Robert called. Cell phones are great - we talked for a few minutes before he relized I was not sitting in my office. He's heading out west on Sunday morning for a week of skiing. Before he was a balloonist, and a private pilot, and a dad, and had a real job, he was a ski bum. In fact, I think he got into ballooning in the first place because it seemed like a job that would not interfere with skiing. Now he sneaks in ski junkets every other year or so, when he can get away.

He asked if I would mind giving him a ride up to the airport, if his other options fell through. Not a problem - it might shuffle my Sunday morning yoga plans a bit, but no biggie. I like doing favors for friends.

Afterwards, I got to thinking. I have rarely asked for (or gotten) a ride to the airport. I drive myself, put my car in storage. I can think of maybe 2 instances in the past decade where I got rides. Just not my style.

And, coming out of security at airports, I often see folks waiting for passengers - friends, relatives, parents, kids, loved ones. Sometimes there is a sign, sometimes flowers or a balloon. Often I pass by a small huddle of hugs and laughing as a reunion takes place right there. Nobody has ever met me at the airport. Never. I've met plenty of people: friends, sig others, ex's, clients. But I've never walked out of an airport to find someone standing there, expectantly scanning the tired passengers and busy travels, waiting just for me.

Not sure what it all means. I guess I am the rugged independent sort, John Wayne with a yoga bag and mess of curls. Maybe I'm just too afraid of needing other people. Maybe I just don't let people in.

A long time ago, in a different life, I once quipped to a acquaintance on the cusp of becoming something more "I don't dance unless I am drunk, or in love". Some time later, as we danced at some wedding or other function, I was asked "Are you drunk?". Thinking it might be an inquiry into my ability to drive, I insisted, no, I was sober. Only later did I realize that I was, indeed, in love.

That was a long time ago. Dancing is not a big deal anymore: with friends, lovers, by myself or with strangers. I dance drunk or sober. I dance at the drop of a hat. But meet me at the airport sometime - and I'm all yours.....

Home Again

Rolled in BDL around 12:40 a.m - wby the time I got my luggage, fetched my car, and hit the snowy roads - it was 1:30 a.m. Long travel day. Fortunately, the Southwest direct flight was less than 1/2 full - I had the last row to myself at the back of the plane (I think the flight attendants wanted that row - when I moved there one of them made a big deal about the seats not reclining). Too bad.....I was able to stretch out and snooze a little. I also took some cloud pictures, just for the heck of it.


Also, the Parking valet mashed my wiper cleaning the snow off the car. Lovely. I'll sned them a quick note and a picture, see if they will take care of me for a new wiper blade or a freebie or something. This stuff happens. I'll let them know I'm not happy but it's not gonna ruin my day.


Felt good to be back in my own bed (even if it is a relatively hard futon with sheets that need to be changed) - Elo came to visit once I turned in, looking for reassurance that I still loved him (I do) before crawling under the covers to curl up in the crook of my leg. It's nice to get back to my pot of decaf, my bowl of fiber filled whole grain cereal.

Not so nice to get back to the Zipster, who is in a foul mood this morning. I'm home to help with the snow shoveling duties (for a change) but he's as usual livid about the next door neighbor parking on the street during snowstorms. The impact on us - minimal (yeah, if they parked in front of our house, it would impact the plowing, but they park in front of their own house). They have too many cars, too many adults in a single family home - so they park on the street. But he just can't seem to get the serenity prayer clicking in his head. Instead, he's talking about calling the town; trying to get the local cops to ticket. A recipe for neighboorhood strife if there ever was one.