July 29, 2008

Thankfulness

One side effect of a few nights camping out at the folk fest is the litany of creature comforts and conveniences that one takes for granted most of the time, but savors upon returning home. My list:

* Turn a valve and get water on demand, without hauling a water bottle to a truck
* Turn the other valve and get HOT water....
* Porcelein and flushable toilets
* A real shower (totally luxurious)
* Having a comfortable, warm bed
* Having a roof over one's head that is unlikely to leak or blow down during a summer storm
* A place to put food and drink that does not involve fetching bags of ice periodically.
* Paved roads and sidewalks that do not get muddy, slippery, or rutted.

Think that about covers it.....

July 28, 2008

Skeletons in the Field

I was up on site today, counting and checking out performer merchandise, when I grabbed this shot, of broken and discarded pop-up frames littering the field where the merchants had lived.

The Falcon Ridge Hailstorm

Here's a Youtube video of the Sunday afternoon hailstorm that essentially ended the 2008 Falcon Ridge Folk Fest (in teh midst of Tracy Grammer's set - she comments on the video). The tent you see collapsing in the video is our staff / volunteer kitchen tent. Yikes!



I was safely ensconced in the merchandise trailer (where the hailstorm was loud but not too threatening - which we shared with a woman having a panic attack (and her husband, who was a big help storing the merchandise that made its way back into the trailer) and Patty Larkin and her kids (who were adorable even while terrified)

I'll blog more about teh folk fest as I have time....but this is pretty amazing!

The Circle, Unbroken

It was two years ago at Falcon Ridge that the seed for yoga teaching was planted. I was practicing daily up a the dance tent, and on Friday, a noticed one of the festival volunteers following my practice, way acoss the tent. On Saturday, he was there again, and came up to thank me and speak with me later - my practice was both helpful for him to follow and my postures very clear. Without my realizing it, I had been teaching....

Last year, he was there again, this time, practicing near me. I told him then of my plans (at that point tentative) to start yoga teacher training.

And this year, I led a gentle yoga class up in the dance tent, each morning from 7 am to 8 am. Although the practice often started with just a few souls, the class grew to 8-10 by the end. Quite lovely.

Some images, from my FRFF photos, soon to be uploaded to Flickr:

Above: I posted a small sign on the FRFF info boards and message boards.....


At right: My small Gentle Yoga sign - the rainbow colored GENTLE YOGA title ran gently over the coarse of the weenend due to rain and condensation.


At left: My pull cart filled with yoga mats (now in some need of washing, due to the dust and muddy feet), sitting outside the Performer Merchandise trailer where I spent most of the fest

On Saturday, I was bringing some product into the merchandise tent through the back entrance, and who did I see in front of me but Carissa, who taught my very first Intro to Yoga class. She was visiting the fest for the day with a friend (free pass). Completely out of the blue! She had seen my sign for classes but did not imagine it was me teaching them! So it was very nice to close the circle, so to speak, to have her pop up here at the folk fest, where my teaching career had its first sparks.

July 27, 2008

Back, Sort Of

The festival is over, kind of, and I am back home. I am headed back up there tomorrow morning to finish closing out the performer merchandise sales. About 1:00 p.m., the heavens opened up in a horrendous thunderstorm with wind and hail. Several of the major festival tents were knocked down or compromised, and the festival had to be ended early.

No major injuries (that I am aware o) and we spent a long and frustrating afternoon in the merchandise office / camper trailer, sorting through piles of soggy cardboard and damp merchandise, hastily thrown into boxes and thrown into the trailer.

We got most of the big artists and labels sent off - I have a few hours of computer work ahead of me (to update the merch spreadsheet) before I head back out to Hillsdale to finish the job.

Oy.

Lots of interesting things to report, which I will do a bit later....

July 23, 2008

Off the Grid

I'm headed out to 5 days of folk festival, in the hills of New York. Head to Great Barrington, MA, hang a left, and you're there. Look for the inflatable killer whale (aka "Fudgie") and the brown dining tarp shelter.

No email, no blogging, no work, no nothing. I will have my laptop (to track artist merch, and yeah, it felt strange to pull that out last year), and I will have my cell phone. So text away....

I'm taking my camera - typically I am to immersed in the festival and living in the moment to take many photos but this year I will try to document my time on the land.

I'm outta here. Have a great week, catch up with you on Monday.

July 22, 2008

Laminating Love

Popped down to Kinko's yesterday for a few minutes with my favorite machine - the laminator. Every year, I laminate a few copies of the folk festival schedule for the tee-shirt (and now the teeshirt / performer merchandise) tent. With the hot days, occasional thundershowers, and cold nights, paper copies of anything get pretty ragged - so the laminated copies are wonderful. I also laminated some signs to post with the sticker codes for CD's and DVD's.

Laminating is one of those little clerical / organizational tasks that gives me great joy. It's mindless. It's helpful. It's something that can be done sloppily or with great precision. There is a process, a sequence, a recipe. You walk out the door with something tangible.

I loves me some laminating!

July 21, 2008

A Little Bit Behind

I am nothing if not really neurotic about preparing for my annual folk festival. Yet this year, I am strangely complacent.

Normally, I have all the camping gear out of the basement, sorted, and pre-packed by now. At the moment, its mostly still down in the basement, other than the things brought up for the Gemini party. I did go to the camping store, where I scored two more tent poles (for the dining tarp, which is getting an extension to go over the tent) as well as some additional tent stakes and some rope clips thingees.

Also, Home Depot for a new tarp, as well as some string for the dining tarp.

So far, not so much on the food / snacks front (a trip to Trader Joe's is I am sure in the offing) - we're going to bring some protein (hard boiled eggs, cheese snacks, beef log) especially for the Zipster who can not easily subsist on the carbs and veggies of the volunteer kitchen.

I also have books to assemble (for the performer merchandise tracking), signs to make (for performer merchandise tent), my clothes to pack. And work, of course. And yoga, I've been off the mat since Thursday, and am teaching tonight in Unionville.

Busy couple of days.....

July 20, 2008

Heading North

4:15 a.m. this morning found me sitting in the Sears parking lot at Corbins Corner, waiting for RZ and KB. We were headed up North to the Green River Festival, a music and balloon fest held each year, usually the week before Falcon Ridge (so I rarely make it). This year, I did, for the ballooning anyway.....



The field was somewhat misty - not quite socked in but hazy and with a low ceiling - so the flights were fairly short and not so scenic. KB piloted, taking a lesson from RZ, and I chased. Lots of pictures here

All in all a pretty decent day (although I thought I was on the point of freaking out when a solo pilot planted his balloon into a small grove of dead trees (with sharp, envelope piercing branches) and then proceeded to asked his rescuers to pull him into the road, a few 10's of feet from a 480 VAC line. Oy! His crew showed up and I beat feet, wanting to avoid any more involvement. I did scarf the remainder of KB's sour cream donut (I eat when I am nervous).

And the deferred plan to take some pictures of you friendly neighborhood blogger in yoga postures in and around balloons finally became reality.

Warrior II outside a nearby balloon

And part of extended warrior variation (with a bit of artistic license), taken inside the balloon.

I was not really all that happy with the pictures as portraits - I was not warmed up, did not have a dedicated photographer, was sneaking in postures in between inflating, and practicing on the wet grass or slippery balloon was not all that easy. But even though the postures themselves were somehat sloppy, I cropped out a bunch of interesting photos, here

And finally, we drove up north to Putney VT to Curtis's BBQ.

RZ and KB each had a full rack of ribs, hot. I opted for a half rack (mild). We split a bunch of sides: cole slaw, baked beans, cucumber and onion salad, and collard greens.


RZ and KB, preparing to indulge!


Curtis himself, manning the barbeque!

July 19, 2008

Decisions, decisions


Could not decide whether to practice yoga this morning or go hot air ballooning. So I did both. We flew out of Southington (Spring Street) and landed in front of the WFSB TV 3 studios. No television coverage (they did not see us come in, although they do have a remote camera on a tower for next time).


A headstand works the early morning kinks out, in lieu of caffeine.


Note the adorable Smart Car in the background - our passengers mode of transport.


Handstand is starting to be less of a "maybe once in a while, on a good day, when I am really warm" thing, and more of a "hey, there's a wall.....gimme a sec" kind of thing. I'm pretty happy about that!

All of today's photos here.

July 18, 2008

July 17, 2008

The Plan du Jour

7:30 a.m. - Work
9:30 a.m. - Yoga (practice)
11:00 a.m. - Home / Clean Up / Change / Lunch
12:00 noon - Work
2:00 p.m. - Counseling
3:30 p.m. - Work
5:00 p.m. - Home
6:00 p.m. - Yoga (teach)
7:45 p.m. - Creative Cocktail Hour

One of those days where I could use a clone.

Economic Downturn

One of the quirks of my self-employed, freelancing, and economically on the margins life is that I tend to be immune from economic cycling. Or even inverted - when times are good, companies hire people and bring stuff in house, when things are thin, people lose head count and more things gets shunted off to outsiders. Big projects get cancelled or pushed back, resulting in continued work on existing gigs. And people start to panic, looking to do some additional marketing, press releases, visibility projects, etc. which often involves you-know-who.

So far, I have picked up a website to maintain, and another client is looking to cost-reduce some monitoring which means moving from a higher cost, full service vendor to a lower cost one (me). I've also picked up a last minute shopping cart project; one of my clients has been planning to outsource ticket sales for a couple of big events, but pulled it back in house at the last minute. So instead of simply linking to a third party site, I need to either rework last year's ticket sales code (some work, but not too bad) or develop a shopping cart (my preference, I think it will pay off in the future in terms of inventory control)

So, all in all, I've got work.....things could be worse.

July 14, 2008

Falcon Ridge Showcase Announcement

The following artists are confirmed for this year's Falcon Ridge/Grassy Hill Emerging Artist Showcase from 465 total applicants. This is the order in which they will appear on our mainstage Fri July 25 from noon to 4:30P.

Jenee Halstead - Boston
Ashleigh Flynn - Portland OR
The Low Anthem - Providence RI
Katie Sawicki - Portland OR
Robby Hecht - Nashville
Gretchen Witt - NYC
Michael Tiernan - San Diego CA
Lucy Wainwright-Roche - Brooklyn NY
Brad Colerick - S Pasadena CA
Carrie Elkin - Austin TX
Blue Moose & the Unbuttoned Zippers - Boston
Abi Tapia - Austin TX
Emily Mure - NYC
Rj Cowdery - Columbus OH
Danny Schmidt - Austin TX
Brooke Brown Saracino - Northampton MA
Blind Willies - San Francisco
Anne Heaton - Somerville MA
Amy Speace - NYC
Luke Brindley - Vienna VA
Juliana Finch - Atlanta GA
Ian Fitzgerald - Somerville MA
Erin Sax Seymour - NYC

Our thanks for a wonderful job to this year's judging committee, John Sanders from the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Cindy Cogbill of the North American Folk Music & Dance Alliance and producer/engineer Glenn Drinkwater, our own man behind the curtain at FRFF for many years. Much thanks to Jim and Tom at Sonicbids as well.

The FRFF Artist Showcase is celebrating it's 17th year and has become one of the most popular segments of the entire weekend. Thanks, Anne
_________________
Anne Saunders
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Always on the fourth weekend in July
20 years of Folk Music & Dance in the Berkshires

Morning Rain

This morning, right around 5:15, a brief morning shower. It reminded me a lot of morning showers at Falcon Ridge - lying in the tent as the sky starts to lighten, and hearing the rain on the tent roof.

We'll be camped out on that Farm in NY soon enough!

Biking in Northampton

Zippy went north for a meeting yesterday and I decided to tag along. Since he took the truck out for some exercise, I threw my bike in the back, and decided to ride around the lovely town of Northampton.

I took a few pictures, but really, one problem with being all zen and in the moment is that one gets too absorbed and interested in what one is actually experiencing to bother to take a lot of photos. I took a few (lower res, I left my memory card at home in the puter) and will post them once I get to the office where my USB cable is.

I went all over town - north on King, and south on Pleasant as far as the highways, west to the small park where they used to hold Pride (now sporting a skate park). I started on Riverside Road, out past the fairgrounds and near the airport. NoHo is the sort of town one can ride a bike down the main streets pretty safely, but I also meandered through backroads and neighborhoods.

I was quite charmed by the town, in many ways. On the backroads, I saw many quaint homes that looked like they might have been moved from the beach. Many beautiful gardens (often of the wildflower variety) and upper floor porches lush with potted and hanging foliage. My highlights:

* Seeing people porch sitting. Must have passed a couple of dozen homes with people just sitting out on the warm Sunday afternoon.
* The old architecture and buildings, ranging from in need of care to beautifully kept up or restored
* Waving hi to the old guy getting some sun outside the senior center
* Seeing a neat old diner on King Street
* Parking under a tree in Lampron park to enjoy an orange
* Parking my bike at the end of the runway and watching a few planes depart
* Riding around the fairgrounds
* Seeing a pack of skaterdudes, first at the skate park and later heading home en masse
* A small veggie stand, selling home grown carrots, kale, and some other stuff. I ended up picking up some corn at a stand on the way out of town.
* Seeing a dad playing ball with his kids in the driveway
* Watching a kickball game assemble at one of the town fields
* Stopping at the State Street Fruit Market for a bottle of juice and a rest

It was a lovely day. I was pretty grimey and sweaty by the end of it, and I'm gonna do a lighter yoga practice this morning to unwind from it all. It would have been nice to have someone to hare it with, and maybe next time I will take the rail trail that goes north from Bridge Street, or hustle out to Look Park (a longer ride, but probably a pretty beautiful place to just hang out).

I could live in Northampton, no doubt.

July 13, 2008

Ballooning

A beautiful track, north from Southington (the Aquaturf) over the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir, to an office parking lot in Farmington near I-84.

I like this launch picture, for the way the trees frame the balloon, and the way the sun (to the East) is lighting up the sky.


Returning to earth, notice the balloon reflected in the office building windows. A good chase crew is right there when and where the balloon comes to rest.

More pictures from the day's adventure here

A Dream Deferred

Since I've started yoga teaching, I have been struggling to get some pictures of me, yanno, doing yoga. For websites, brochures, etc. It's not an easy task.

There were a bunch of photographs taken during yoga teacher training - a photographer came in during one practice, and again during an entire training day, and 100's of great pictures were taken of the class in various postures. But was there even one picture of me practcing? No. I am a vampire (according to Michael, my fellow trainee who took a bunch of pictures at a cooking class we had) - it's impossible to photograph me. I was even pulled aside to get a couple of non-candid photos, because they could not find 2-3 reasonable ones of me for the class book we assembled for our teachers.

Part of that is my consciousness of the photographer - I tend to be aware of who is taking pictures, and where, and even if I am tring really hard not to notice, I look - myhead turns, my eyes blink, my focus diverts. I also tend to have evolved some tricky psychological camoflage - as Barbara (our teacher) noted during the training, I'm pretty good at hiding in plain sight.

I remember a dinner we had years ago, with an ACOA / codependency group I was in. Two of the group members (a husband and wife, who were the hosts) had cameras and spent most of the evening taking pictures. It was pretty annoying, on a few levels: being photographed at a therapy thing, feeling like I was part of someone's attempt to fabricate evidence of a social life, feeling that the photographers were not "living in the moment". I (cruelly, mischievously, passive-aggressively) quipped "You know what Bob (our shared therapist) says about taking photographs? That you are not living in the present....." which was not true. Well partly true; he later confronted me about that, and reported he said "Well, I do believe that, but Jude has never heard me say it...."

So, me and photography - we got baggage.

In any case, I was gonna hit the fields of Central CT this morning, in my yoga duds. And practice yoga inside and around an inflating hot air balloon while my friend Kristen took some pictures. I got the 4:30 am call, jumped in the shower and donned my one set of classy yoga clothes, but a follow up call brought bad news: the wind had kicked up, and there would be no flying. Perhaps sometime soon.

So I'm sitting here in my yoga clothes, blogging, while the dogs eat breakfast and use the facilities. Then off to bed for a few more hours of sleep. I'll catch the 8:30 yoga class, and try to remain in the present. And get some pictures of me practicing yoga another time.....

July 12, 2008

12 Hours, Bottle to Throttle

That's a mantra for pilots, who must stop drinking 12 hours before getting behind stick of a plane. My friend RZ says it often, as his fixed wing responsibilities (teaching, or just recreational flying) often get in the way of a post-balloon flight glass of champagne. We (the crew) take on the chore of toasting the passengers....

That being said, I had two glasses of vino last night at Tisane's (getting home around midnight). The ballooning call came at 4:17 am this morning.

Judy is not a happy camper this morning. And the damn Dunkin Donut's in the area do not open until 5 a.m. ::grumble::

July 11, 2008

Blog Shy

Pardon the lax blogging. Life has been coming at me quickly of late, and burying me at times. This was a week of digging out - doing invoices, catching up on reports, teleconferences, and sundry work stuff.

I volunteer down at the yoga studio (work study) and studio manager A was out this week, so I went in two days (Monday and Thursday) to cover for her. I also taught three yoga classes (Monday and Thursday evenings, Friday at noon). Nevertheless, I did put my nose to the grindstone at work, cranking out 7 or 8 reports (I was pretty behind), doing my invoices on Monday. Still a ways to go to be caught up, but I'm no longer in a huge hole.....

My Thursday night freebie yoga class is over - I've fulfilled my certification requirement in that regard as well as the "teaching for money" thing. Still a bunch of things remaining - book reviews, assisting, and a national workshop.

This weekend is a fullish one - meeting a friend at Tisane's this evening for a drink. Balloon crewing in the morning (look for pictures!). A Theaterworks matinee, Rabbit Hole, tomorrow (just had to use my subscription tickets, this play is almost gone!). Sunday, no real plans - probably yoga in the morning. Zippy is heading up to NoHo for a meeting and I might tag along just to hang in NoHo. Or not....

Svaroopa!

During yoga teacher training, we spent some time on ethics. We talked about various ethical aspects of yoga practice (yamas, niyamas, etc.) but also some real world situations that yoga teachers might encounter. Our teacher tossed out some hypotheticals (drawn from her own years of practice, teaching, and running a studio) and we were given a chance to talk it out. You have a student who draws you into long private consults after every practice - what do you do? A student has a problem with body odor and other students are complaining - what next? You get the idea. Each of us got a question, and a chance to provide our insights, before the question was opened up to the group.

"Jude" she asks when it was my turn "You're opening your own studio that would be competing with the one you are teaching at....would it be right to talk it up during your classes, or collect email addresses from your students while you are teaching?"

My response got a big laugh. "Well, if I were planning to open a studio, I'd be sure to have hacked into your computer to get your mailing list and student database, so I would not need to solicit student emails" Helluva big laugh. Of COURSE I would not be fishing for students while I was employed by someone else.

However, my response must have planted a seed regarding my abilities in the area of nefarious database collection. Yesterday at the studio, I was tasked with building a database of local yoga teachers to use for a mailing list. I found an online listing of teachers - a public list on an industry wide certification website, but one that was not particularly mailing list friendly, one would think deliberately so. However some simple, targeted directory searches, some cut-n-paste magic from the browser to Excel, and some spreadsheet wizardry to mine and clean up the data, and we had a list of 3000+ yoga teachers for the Northeast (NY and New England).

So I spent the afternoon giggling to myself at how efficient at doing that kind of work, and at particularly creative and effective string functions to separate last name from first name, or city, state, and zip. It took maybe 90 minutes, start to finish. Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

Within the contact data (name / address / phone), each teacher's registration level and specialty was listed. So I got to see a good a sampling of yoga specialties: hatha, vinyasa, Bikram, Baptiste, Forrest, Viniyoga, Kripalu, etc. My favorite, just in terms of language - Svaroopa. Such a fun word. I spent all afternoon just randomly saying the word!

Svaroopa!

July 07, 2008

Busy Work for Monday

[X] Replace 60 watt bulb in studio rest room
[X] Make sign-up folder for Desiree Rumbaugh workshop in August
[X] Make sign-in sheet for tonight's core-abs class
[X] Pick up the phone messages
[X] Call some people back
[X] Crawl up into the attic for paper towels
[X] Check in the 12:15 gentle class
[X] Take out the trash

What else ya got?

July 06, 2008

Falcon Ridge Excitement

Spending hours this weekend loading up a spreadsheet with artist music for the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest. So I'm getting a little preview of the artists, especially the showcase artists. Some thoughts....

* I'm excited to see Patty Larkin at the fest - it's been too many years. Going through her discography, I recall purchasing 95's Stranger's Running and 97's Perishable Fruit when they were brand new - so we go back a ways.....and somewhere between then and now she seems to have come out. Well, so did I ::smirk::

* Excited also for Lucy Wainwright Roche - both for her music (which I am sure is wonderful) but for her pedigree. I'm a huge fan of both her parents, and having that energy around the fest is gonna be a wonderful thing. Sloan Wainwright played the fest a few year back but would be lovely to see Rufus, Suzzy, Loudon or any of the clan in site.

* Amazed at how many of the showcase performers have top notch web sites. Also interesting how many are simply represented by Myspace pages.

It's quite heartbreaking to realize how many talented people are putting it all on the line for the music. The 24 Showcase Performers have won the lottery, in a way - being chosen out of 100's of submissions to play three songs (or thereabouts) in front of 1000's of Falcon Ridge fans. And yet, as the merchandise tracker, I get the awkward task of cashing them out at the end of the fest - some sell many copies of their CD's, but some, not so many. It's sort of like being the cancer doc or the STD counselor, breaking the news that the test results are bad. Sorry, aspiring, worthy, and hopeful singer-songwriter - there were 20,000 people here this weekend but you only sold 3 CDs.

Kind of breaks your heart. I keep an eye out for showcase performers that touch my heart and maybe are not selling so well, and make a point to buy their CD.

July 05, 2008

Curse this goofball weekend....

I've been checking the Courant website all morning waiting for Colin McEnroe's weekly column to get posted.....

Of course, the column will not be posted until Sunday morning, and its only Saturday...

#)*&*^%^%#^ three day weekend

Small World Department

I'm spending some time this morning working on the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival - updating the master spreadsheet for tracking performer merchandise. So I have a master spreadsheet with worksheets for each artist, and on these worksheets, list contact info as well as all the merch (CD's, books, shirts, etc) they are expected to bring. Then we track the number brought, the number taken at the end, and calculate the sales, commission, etc. so the artists can get their money.

First up on the Showcase performer stage is a woman from Auston named Abi Tapia. So I visit her website (very nice) and grab her contact info as well as info on her three CD's. She has a blog, so I click through to see if she is chatting up the Folk Fest.

Lo and behold, she wrote the music for a new film (formerly known as Best Kept Secret, now called Trinidad). I've been to Trinidad a few times myself, and Dr. Marci Bowers (one of the "stars" of the film) is both a friend and a client (I do her website)

Huh...small world. Looking forward to meeting Abi at the folk fest!

July 04, 2008

Just Another Friday

This holiday is kind of "the suck" as far as I am concerned.....

Not big on parades, or picnics, or going to the beach, or seeing fireworks. Today was yoga, hanging out at the studio, running some errands with the Zipster, chilling at home, watching an episode of Six Feet Under, making some chicken salad, running some more errands for myself, and heading off to Real Art Ways. Nothing particularly worthy of a national or cultural holiday.

Tomorrow is probably more yoga, some work, and hanging out with MYA. Maybe hit Theaterworks and burn some of my subscription tickets. Sunday, possibly a hike with yoga buds (Bear Mountain, Salisbury). Possibly balloon chasing. Possibly more work....

I'm wicked behind on work - have not even got my June invoices out yet, and I have a long queue of reports due. Also, Falcon Ridge is a mere three weeks away, and I have to finalize the 2008 merchandise tracking spreadsheet (functional stuff) and then start to load it with this year's artists.... I also probably need to send out some bulk emails to the artists / management regarding merchandise sales.....

No rest for the overcommitted :)

Picking Up a Check

Today, down at the studio for the traditional holiday morning yoga class (always a treat, in terms of communal energy). Emerging from class, I am handed an envelope.

My first official paycheck for teaching yoga. (I also got a check from one of the other teachers this week for subbing her classes)

I am not wealthy enough to leave it uncashed (although it's only enough money to fill the tank) - but I *did* make a copy of it, for display purposes.

Professional Yoga Teacher. Sounds nice.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

What a hilarious movie. Wikpedia here. IMDB here. Real Art Ways here.

Just a wonderfully funny and well-done French send-up of James Bond films - completely authentic in reproducing those early Sean Connery films, and completely funny in a way that Austin Powers might be without the over the top silliness. Closer to the original Pink Panther movie (subsequent sequels got silly as well)

My favorite parts:
* The euro-centric, pro-colonial attitudes and statements, so obviously proven wrong by history. The hero keeps handing out photos of the French president as keepsakes to Eqyptians, and silences a muzzien's morning call to prayer (for waking him up) sparking an local crisis.
* The guy in the fez, faithfully tailing and reporting on the hero's every move, without actually doing anything
* There is a scene in an embassy were 4 "spies" are all talking, in complete non-sequitors, the humor of which is amplified by the english subtitles.
* The homo-erotic subtext / male bonding scenes (including a male-on-male beach scene a la From Here to Eternity) and simultaneous homophobia (on the hero's part). Just subtle enough to be amusing without offending.

At Real Art Ways through July 10th, although it was such a good crowd tonight that I suspect it might be held over.....

Highly recommended!

July 01, 2008

Six Feet Under

Zippy and I have gotten obsessed with this series on DVD. We have uber-secret basic cable, so no HBO or Showtime, and not event things like A&E or Bravo where something like this might have a second run. For us, it's DVD, courtesy of Blockbuster.

We've finished up Season 1, and starting Season 2 tonight.

We're pretty happy with it all so far. Nate is cute and conflicted. Brenda is likeable but complex. David is interesting in a coming out and dealing with his sexuality sort of way. Ruth (mom) is amusing and lovable. Claire (sister) is plyed by a wonderful actress. It's all pretty great. Will be interested to see how the show evolves and if the quality holds up over the run.....

Constriction

So, my tightness in the middle back and heartspace has morphed overnight into full blown constriction. It's just really limiting and at times, downright uncomfortable. Sleep was not easy, and I got up at 5 to feed the dogs and then uncharacteristically crashed for another 3 hours....

I've had more than a few "Am I having a heart attack?" thoughts (I'm 47, yanno), but really, listening to my body and recalling the past 24 hours, I'm pretty sure that I got this from chaturanga - dipping too deeply as I lowered down, and digging too deeply for that upward dog (without coming to rest on the ground). Those, along with a couple of times muscling myself into wheel in the past week (usually, I tend to pop up with a bit more of weightlifting jerk motion) and then working through 3 practices yesterday (as I demo'd and joined my classes in various forms of sun salutations). Turned out to be a bit much.....

In addition, I had some bodywork on Friday with Nykki, and I asked her to work on my shoulders - she really dug in between the shoulders and ribcage, loosening up fascia, and so maybe I should not have pushed so hard afterwards - the newly freed muscles, without the supporting network of fascia binding them to other muscles, perhaps had their first real workout in a long while.

I've been really pushing my shoulders of late. I can feel, and almost imagine, the muscles and tendons holding my shoulders in place - those on the back anchoring my shoulder blades to my back, those anchoring my shoulders to my ribcage, all screaming ENOUGH. Time to back off a bit.

And take a couple of Advil....my first in 2008 (that tells you how infrequently I have any sort of bosy discomfort, and how cranky this really is)