Monday, February 28, 2011

Migraines, Oscars, and Topanga Lawrence.

Back when the UK v U of L game was before Christmas, I had a brilliant plan of going to the mall during the game. It was the best time to shop because the malls were empty. It's also a perfect time to go to the grocery store for the same reason. Last night, I got it in my head that it would be similarly genius to go to the movies during the Oscars. Logical, right?

It didn't work out so well, mostly because I've had a headache for over a week now (as has everyone else in the Ohio River Valley, it seems, according to Facebook statuses). I just wasn't interested in the Oscars this year. It was more fun back when I was in college and my film school major friends had severe opinions about the "films." (Don't ever call a film a "movie" around a film major.)

Since I was in bed by 6:30 yesterday, I tried my best to participate in the pop culture phenomenon that is the Oscars. Hopped up on migraine meds and ibuprofen doesn't make the awards show any easier to watch, however, so I ended up watching a few episodes of "Boy Meets World" on DVD. (Beware of what you put in your Netflix cue while drinking -- they eventually send it to you.)

A few notes:

1) Of the acceptance speeches I DID see, Randy Newman's was the only one worth watching.
2) I had never heard of James Franco.
3) I used to like Anne Hathaway.
4) I can't tell the difference between Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Hilary Swank.
5) What ever happened to Topanga?

Okay, that's enough. My head hurts, and I've got a lunchtime gig in about an hour. Game face: ON!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Royal Wedding Thoughts Part Two.


Back in January, I declared I was going to try to get really into the Royal Wedding. I've not been very good about this, mostly because I don't read magazines or gossip blogs. Thus, when a special about William and Kate appeared on TV earlier this week, I forced myself to watch it.

You may be laughing, but it really took a lot of effort to maintain my interest. You see, I used to produce cable documentaries for a living, so I have a lot of trouble sitting through them now. My thoughts aren't of the Royal drama, but of licensing questions: are you trying to fair use that footage? Did we pay for the rights to that photographs? Is that libel? as opposed to normal reactions such as: omg, where did Kate get that hat? Can you believe William dumped her for Isabella? Does she really not have a job?

I started thinking that, as we are planning a wedding, maybe this whole Associate Producer thing is affecting our wedding budget. Basically, my job back at CBS News Productions, in addition to doing cool stuff like research, writing, and interviewing, was to make sure we don't go over budget. I was constantly saying, "No, we can't do that," to the producers. "No, we can't shoot this on film. No, we can't afford to use a clip from Annie Hall. No, you can't fly to Tokyo for one interview."

Now I'm saying, "No, we can't have a chocolate fountain. No, we can't invite everyone we know. No, we can't buy $1100 cowboy boots for the ceremony." Okay, so I haven't vetoed that last part, but I'm afraid the producer within me would instinctively say so.

So not only am I envious of Kate's future as a Queen, but I'm envious of her $10 million budget and access to Princess Di's jewel collection. Any jewelry companies out there want to loan me some sparklies for the big day? I'll defy all journalistic ethics and blog about you night and day if you loan me a diamond tiara.

Read my groom's thoughts on the Royal wedding here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cool Stuff to do on Friday 2/25

I can tell it's spring because my weekends are getting busier. During winter I have trouble getting motivation to do anything, much less leave the house. My cabin fever is boring me, so it's time to fill up my dance card again. If you're looking to go out on Friday, read on for two suggestions:

If you're up for a road trip, head to Bowling Green to hear The Galoots at the Sloan Convention Center. They are the best bluegrass live show I've ever seen, hands down. Shannon Lawson can play all kinds of music, but I just love hearing him with his ol' Louisville buddies. I missed them in their heyday, but I've somehow managed to become friends with just about all the boys in the band.

Most of the advertisement for this show is on Facebook, so here's the link to the event. It's $10, and doors open at 6:00. The music probably doesn't start for another hour or so. Remember, Bowling Green is on Central time, so you Louiville road-trippers get an extra hour.

I'm told The Galoots will be recording this show for a live CD, so maybe if you yodel -- er, I mean scream -- loud enough, you'll hear yourself on a recording someday.

***

If you're not up for a road trip, you should head to the Frazier Museum downtown for the Young Survivors' Auction. Too many of my close friends and family members keep getting breast cancer, but thankfully because of organizations like Young Survivors, they have had resources to help them through the confusing and unsettling process of treatment and recovery. A family friend (and classmate of mine) started the Young Survivors several years ago after being diagnosed with BC at age 31. Since then, I've seen several other friends and acquaintances, who never would have thought they'd need an organization like that, bless her for starting it. Go there and buy stuff from the silent auction, eat green chili won-tons, and give them money.
It's Friday from 6-10 and $10 at the door. Frazier Museum.

Loueyville wrote a great blog post about this, so I'll stop babbling and link you to it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Guinness the chocolate monster.

I'm dogsitting for two beasts. One is clever, and one is good. The good one is George -- just about the happiest creature in the world. He's always glad to see you, takes his medicine without protest, fetches balls and newspapers, and never gets into mischief. He's sort of psycho, in that he won't go near a floor grate or up the stairs, but he's sweet. The other pup, Guinness, is less good. He'll go anywhere, and with a plot to overtake. Really, he's a philosopher with an attitude problem. He is devious.

One time when Guinness was younger, he was sent to his crate because he was being annoying. A few minutes later, I heard a the sound of a bag being opened following by crunching. Apparently, he had hidden a bag of Ruffles under a blanket in his crate, lest he should be hungry during a future isolation period. You see? A thinker.

Guinness has a flare for the dramatic, and when he doesn't get his way, he shows suicidal tendencies, in that he thinks it's a really good idea to eat all kinds of things he shouldn't. For example, last Saturday, I wouldn't allow him to sleep in my bed. So he went downstairs and ate 30 ounces of chocolate from our secret chocolate stash that apparently I hid so well from myself that I forget to put it on top of the refrigerator. (Guinness, being part Great Dane, can reach just about anything if he puts his mind to it.) It was truffles, candy bars, a chocolate frog from Harry Potter Land, some chocolate covered fruits, fancy champagne gels covered in chocolate -- all sorts of hedonistic delights.

My parents are probably flipping out while they read this, but Mom, Guinness is fine, I swear. I wasn't sure for a while. But I chased him around the house with a turkey baster full of hydrogen peroxide and forced him to puke several times. We followed up with some activated charcoal (yay, for emergency vet suggestions!). The piles of dog vomit were much more pleasant to clean up than you'd think because it just smelled like melted chocolate.

Really, it's George's fault. If he wasn't such a good dog, then there wouldn't have been such a fuss because they would have shared the chocolate. But George wouldn't dream of eating someone else's chocolate stash, and Guinness wouldn't dream of sharing his booty. So rather than eating half the stash, which wouldn't have been such a big deal (they each weigh about 150 pounds, after all), Guinness ate it all by himself and made himself sick sick sick.

Enough time has passed now though that it's kind of funny. Now I'm just annoyed that there's no chocolate in the house.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Is it possible to be Green without going broke?

When I printed my last CD, I spent over $3000 to have 2000 copies manufactured on 100% recycled (the tray case was made out of old plastic bottles) paper and plastic. It cost almost twice as much as jewel boxes would have, and that was without even having an insert page. It was a dumb business move, but I just really couldn't bear to put any more nasty plastic jewel cases into the world. In the past few years -- yes, it's been almost three years since my last record, ouch! -- the recycled packaging has gone down in price, but it's still more expensive. This angers me much.

I promise not to blog about the wedding too much over here (FWT and I both are doing that at LouisvilleKY.com), but I'm having similar anguish over trying to host a Green event. I posted this on the wedding site yesterday, but I think people are shy to comment and I'd like to start a conversation on this.

One big piece of advice we’ve gotten from friends and magazines like, is that we need to make a list of our priorities. Other than being surrounded by family and friends and having a live band (duh), a major factor for us is being as Green as possible. Sure, we could just buy carbon offsets, but it’s important to us that we not be wasteful, either in food supply or oil miles.

Some things are less expensive when made more Green – buying a used wedding gown, for example, rather than spending cash on an imported dress that’ll only ever be worn once, or growing your own flowers. Sadly, we’ve found that the majority of things are much more costly. Printing invitations and programs on seed paper is expensive, and even buying vintage postcards to use as Save-the-Dates (reuse!) is proving more pricey than just ordering something brand new from a printer. (I’m holding out hope that a nice vintage lot of old Kentucky postcards will appear on eBay soon.)

Still other Green options aren’t even easy to find. The one caterer we’ve met with so far seemed confused when I asked about serving locally grown food or non-processed goodness. Our wedding is in July, so it didn’t seem out of the question for me to ask about locally-grown tomatoes (it’ll be the height of tomato season, after all, and who wants a caprese salad with cardboard tomatoes?), but the caterer said all she could do was “ask.” Surely we aren’t the only bride and groom to have ever inquired about using local produce, so why is it so hard to make that happen at a reasonable price? And when asked if we could get a discount on a menu if we chose not to serve the meat that was included in the price, again, “Probably not, but I guess I could ask.”

I’m learning that in order to have the wedding we want to have, we are going to have to make a lot of difficult choices. I’m not just talking about slashing the invite list in half (a whole other blog, ugh), but about when to splurge and when to save. It’s funny, but when you start talking about saving time, I couldn’t care less. Tying ribbons around programs for hours or whittling my own centerpieces doesn’t phase me. But when it comes to saving dollars and cents, I’m much more stingy. I’d rather save money than time, I suppose.

Maybe I should just start planning my vegetable garden better and just grow all of our wedding food in my front yard.

Suggestions on how to have a Green wedding or vendors that understand what we're talking about … I’d love to talk to some caterers who care about oil miles and health.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recording studios and the telephone.

I haven't looked at my site statistics in ages, but this morning I noticed that today alone, people in at least eight different countries have looked at my blog. Amazing. This also makes me think I should try to remember my audience more.

A lot of musicians hate performing live. They love their basements and recording studios, and only start to play shows when their records are finally finished.

I'm the opposite. I dread the recording studio. Don't get me wrong, I love doing studio work and playing on other people's records (I'm always for hire!), but recording my own stuff is just not that much fun for me. It means making decisions and laying down definitive versions. It means playing one song -- or even one verse -- at a time.

More than anything, it means there's no audience.

Believe it or not, I'm not as much as an extrovert as I seem. I despise the telephone, and I get anxiety over calling for a pizza. When I go out on the town, I have to make a conscious effort to be outgoing and convince myself that I don't care what people think. But when I'm on stage singing, it's totally different. The crowd makes the show, and even though I'm often blinded by lights and can't see them -- I know they're there.

I think I need to remember that when I'm writing. Or maybe I should just stop with all this blog nonsense and get back into the dreaded recording studio already.

But hello to my readers in France, Denmark, India, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and Japan. Does anyone in your country still buy CDs? :)

Read the wedding blog at: http://louisvilleky.com/category/weddings/

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another secret -- and another website.

Yesterday, I revealed the big secret that, while in Paris, I visited EuroDisney. Well, today I'm going to reveal another big secret. I've purposefully avoided talking about my personal (aka love) life for many reasons, but mostly because my blog just didn't seem like the place to talk about that sort of thing. It's a lot easier for me to sing about certain subjects than for me to talk about them. My blog is scatterbrained enough, but mostly contains funny stories and travelogues -- I wanted (and still want) to keep it that way.

Anyway, when I got back from Paris in November, FWT had built me some cabinets underneath the built-in bookshelves (that he also built). After I galloped over to the cabinets to open them by the beautiful brass fleur-de-lis knobs, I found an even more beautiful emerald and diamond ring inside. Since I think that FWT is pretty much perfect, I didn't hesitate to say, "Yes."

So, yes, I have been sitting on that for over two months now, not purposefully being secretive. We just wanted to share the news with families and friends before they read it in a blog.

Nonetheless, I'm getting backlogged with funny stories and deadlines, and it seems my biggest stress-reliever is: writing. Don't worry, I'm not going to inundate this blog with wedding-related hysteria. It'll remain whatever it is.

Instead, if you're at all interested in reading about the hilariousness that is wedding-planning, then don't fret. We have decided to just be open about the whole thing and blog away our funny stories. It's an amusing process, and we're just getting started. But where, since it clearly doesn't belong on brigidkaelin.com? Add www.LouisvilleKY.com to your bookmarks (or feed or whatnot), and click on "Weddings" to read our specific blog. FWT is also blogging there, which adds some manly insights to this whole process.

If you haven't been to www.LouisvilleKY.com yet, you should. It's Rick Redding's new site, where you can also find general news stories and op-ed columns by a terrific collection of Louisville writers. The "Weddings" section is the fun fluff that FWT and I are adding.

If you're not from Kentucky, you can still read the blog at LouisvilleKY.com, but it's also at this site, which might suit out-of-towners more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Really Big Secret Revealed.

I've held on to a big secret for the past two and a half months. There wasn't a good reason for not telling, other than I've been slightly embarrassed to share it. Please don't think any less of me when I tell you.

Last fall, when I was playing shows in Scotland and spent a couple days in Paris ... oh, man, here it goes ... (deep breaths) ... I went to EuroDisney.

There. I confessed. It's true.

It was Halloween Day, and I'd already dragged Tyra (on foot) all over Paris for days. We were tired, and Tyra was missing her children. Who can blame her? Halloween in Paris isn't exactly the same as seeing ghouls and goblins and princesses over here, so we decided to feed the homesickness with something about as American as you can get.

Apparently now it's called Parc Disneyland, but I think EuroDisney is more fun to say. I hadn't been to DisneyAnything since I was wee, so really I just thought it would be a funny story to share when we got home. You know, a can-you-believe-what-we-did?? How stereotypical is that?

But it turns out that EuroDisney is, um, actually really fun. I think it was especially fun because we didn't have any kids with us. Also, the whole thing is in French. The Haunted House ride -- le Phantom Manor -- isn't scary at all because we had NO idea what the Vincent Price-esque voiceover was actually saying.

Sadly, Disneyland is also the mosted visited tourist attraction in all of Europe. What's weird is that we didn't run into any other Americans. It's as if we were the only Americans foolish enough to come all the way to France, then go to Disneyland. (Oh wait, that's probably true.) Everyone was European, and pretty much everyone had kids with them. I guess all kids like Mickey Mouse, so I can understand its popularity.

Still, I felt pretty guilty about it. But the pictures of me embracing Tigger would prove otherwise, I think... Also, check out the creepy little French toddler in the Evil Mustache.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Computers, breakup songs, and live music.

Today is exciting for many reasons, but most of all because the Computer Vs. Jeopardy! Champs episodes begin tonight. Of course, I'm going to miss today's show because I'll be heading down to the Rudyard Kipling in an effort to not spend the evening in front of an electronic device and rather in front of live people playing live music.

That's not a judgment; it's more of a reminder to myself that I should go out more. Staying at home with a book or Jeopardy has become far too common this past year, and it's made me forget just how inspiring and important it is to hear live music. Sad, I know, but it's been a really rough winter.

Still, I'm pretty excited about seeing the computer versus Ken Jennings.

Hope to see you at the Rudyard Kipling tonight. I'm playing accordion on a couple of songs with The Coal Porters, but mostly just hanging out for once.

Also, I'll be on State of Affairs on www.WFPL.org today from 1:00-2:00ET. You can stream it live. It's a talk show, and today's topic is: Best Breakup Songs. What's your favorite?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebrities and a good show on V-day.

I'm busy as can be this weekend. My parents have gone out of town, and I am house and dogsitting for them. These dogs are the fattest Great Dane and Labrador Duo you have ever seen, and they each have psychological disorders. Guinness has separation anxiety which manifests itself by destroying and eating all things left in his reach the minute his loved ones exit the front door. George won't walk go near a floor grate and feels horribly guilty whenever Guinness eats the couch.

Also, I'm doing two recording sessions for various people and have yet to learn the tunes.

Tonight, I'm "celebrity wait staff" aka volunteering at the 43rd Annual Cystic Fibrosis Celebrity Dinner Party. I'm not exactly a star basketball player or a Grammy-winner, so I'm expecting a lot of, "Who are you again?" from the attendees. It's a fun event, though, at the Mellwood Center. Cocktails are at 6:00. Details are on some website somewhere.

On Monday, which is Valentine's Day, I'm going to sit in with Sid Griffin's group, The Coal Porters, over at the Rudyard Kipling. They are coming all the way from London, England, and heading to the Folk Alliance in Memphis. But seeing that Sid is a Louisville native, it's only appropriate that they stop in Louisville for a show.

Details for this show:
Monday February 14 7:30: Sid Griffin and the Coal Porters from England play Bluegrass for sliding scale admission--$5 to $10! A Sweet Adelines Quartet seranades The Rud patrons; A prix fixe dinner by chefs Sheila and Tim to celebrate love and romance. There'll be gumbo on rice, slaw, and cornbread for $7 and glorious cherry cheesecake for $3 more; bluegrass and zydeco are beer brothers. There'll be vegan beans, etc., also. The most romantic Valentine in town! We'd love for you to call 636-1311 to make reservations.

The Coal Porters are an excellent group. I tried to catch then at the Americana Conference in Nashville last fall, but had to return to Louisville unexpectedly early. So though I've seen Sid solo before, I'm really looking forward to hearing the full band.

Sid has this just ridiculous musical biography, full of big important names that I should probably drop in the spirit of promotion (people who are actual celebrities, not people like me who are just being called "celebrity waiters" at wonderful charity dinners hee hee). Really though, it doesn't matter who he's written about or used to play with (piqued your interest? find out at www.SidGriffin.com) because he writes and performs good music with good musicians. That's good enough reason to hear them live.

I'll write more about the show on Monday, but just in case you're stressed to make Valentine's plans...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old treasures and sentimental trash.


I remember when Garrett's parents sold their house in the suburbs of Chicago and downsized to a condo. We were all living in Brooklyn at the time, and he had to go back to clean out his old bedroom. That meant throwing away a lot of stuff.

I've never had to do that because my mom is a packrat. She bought her parents house in 1974 (and her parents bought it in 1950), and even let them keep most of THEIR stuff there. So that house is filled with old photographs and sentimental curiosities. Nothing valuable, just things that have been sitting in drawers so long it is now impossible to throw them away. Every time I go over there, there's an I-remember-that! moment, as well as an I-can't-believe-you-still-have-this moment. Mom gets annoyed with me because I tend to just throw things away when she's not looking (last week I found my letter from NYU telling me who my roommates would be that semester -- it's scrapbooker's heaven over there').

Lately, however, she's been getting back at me by making me get rid of stuff that's been sitting in her house since I moved out in 1996. A few weeks ago, she shoved a box at me, which just sat in my trunk until I needed to make room for other stuff this morning. It's full of old pictures from school trips and about fifty mix tapes.

I must admit, it's a lot harder to throw them away than I thought it would be. This would be much easier if they'd made me do this back in 2000, like Garrett's parents. Maybe that condo in Florida that Mom is threatening to buy isn't such a bad idea after all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What are you listening to?

Several people asked me to compile Best of 2010 lists for albums. It occurred to me as I saved-to-draft each reply, rather than actually replying, that I have really not been listening to much music.

For someone who loves multi-tasking, I don't think I'm capable of absorbing more than one art at a time. Either I'm really into music, or I'm really into reading, or I'm really into painting/drawing. I've been a reading fiend for the past six months, but I've only purchased one CD for myself. And I haven't even listened to it. How awful is that?

Help me, please. What have I missed? What's out there? I need to tear myself away from these escapist novels and listen to some good tunes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Louisville Post ... yay for new Library app!!

When's the last time you went to the library? Sure, I know the shiny, unbroken spines beautifully displayed at Carmichael's and Border's are enticing, but the library is much more fun. Really, it's just about my favorite place in Louisville. Thousands and thousands of books on ANYTHING you want ... and all yours for the borrowing.

I remember being taught how to use the card catalog in the mid-1980s, just as computers were beginning to integrate our homes and classrooms. I loved the huge pieces of furniture that held tiny index-card-sized drawers. But I remember being a library aide in 8th grade -- 1991. I was given the task of peeling off barcode stickers and entering each book's information into a computer program that would one day, perhaps, be a searchable card catalog on our computers.

Since then, of course, libraries have built wonderful websites and sold off those gorgeous oak card catalog to who-knows-whom. Louisville's own library website has been very useful, although kind of a pain to use from my phone. I have been awaiting not-so-patiently the day that they would develop an App that would literally deliver the catalog to the palm of my hand.

And it's today, folks!

Wanted a streamlined and easy way to find out which branch had the latest book on dinosaurs (see? ANYTHING you want!) or the sheet music to great love songs of the 1920s? Done. Want to see how many books you have checked out to you already so you can start searching under your bed? Done.“The Library App is not some watered-down version of the library’s web site,” said Library Director Craig Buthod in the press release. “It’s a fully functioning mobile tool for access to the library, its collections and its services. I think people are going to love the convenience of it and the ease of using it.”

It's a free (wow!) and easy-to-use app that I found with a quick search on my iPhone, though it's "compatible with Internet ready mobile devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPod Touch, iPad, Palm, and Windows Mobile (Windows Phone 7 coming soon.)" You can find any book they have, locate it, place a hold request, and even see how much you owe in late fees/my-dog-ate-this-book-fees. (It happens, folks. Guinness once ate "Puppies for Dummies," no joke.)

Only complaint -- and I'm betting this will change in future app updates (and please correct me if I just couldn't find the link to pay your fines!) -- is that I'd like to be able to pay my fines on the app. Currently, it's super-easy to pay your fines via credit card on www.lfpl.org, thus eliminating the shameful check-out procedure where the librarian alerts you to your $3.60 fine. So if you've been avoiding the library because you're embarrassed, just go to www.lfpl.org and pay your fines. Then you can go to the library with a clear conscience and get that book on how to play the guitar or the travel guide to the Bahamas (always a nice pick-me-up for February reading).

Anyway, it's a great app, and I love being able to browse the card catalog at any point -- even while I'm already in the library. http://lfpl.boopsie.com/ to download, or just search your phone's app store.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What makes a classic?

I'm not ashamed to admit that I really liked The Da Vinci Code. It was a page-turner, and I like history, art, puzzles, and Masons. But recently at a reputable bookstore, I saw a display of "Classics" that included Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, and The Da Vinci Code.

My gut tells me that putting Dan Brown with Melville and Fitzgerald is ridiculous. But I also remember the first time I heard Nirvana on an Oldies-type station, I objected. Maybe my gut feeling is just telling me I'm getting old.

What are the requirements of something becoming a classic? Wildly popular? Taught in high schools? So deep that no one really understands it but is afraid to admit it?

How long does something have to exist before it's labeled classic?

Also, I swear a few weeks ago, I saw Cliff's Notes for The Da Vinci Code. But I've been having trouble discerning reality from my dreams lately, so I can't confirm that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deep Thoughts on Top Gun.

I saw Top Gun last week. You may not be impressed, so let me tell you next that I had never seen it before. I remember when it was the hot movie. I was 8 years old, and my piano teacher had me play that terrible love song they used to play on MTV over and over again. Really, I mostly remember that the tune had five flats, which didn't seem fair at the time, and it took me forever to pass (but I can still play it from memory).

Maybe I've held a grudge against Top Gun -- or all Tom Cruise movies for that matter -- because of D-flat major. Whatever the reason, I have a few observations:

1. Lots of boys quote that movie. I felt like I'd seen the movie before, all because of macho references and boys referring to each other as "Goose" and "Maverick."

2. Along those lines, did the quote, "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," REALLY originate with that movie? I suppose I must give it props for pop culture infiltration, but I find it hard to believe, nonetheless.

2. Lots of boys also think that leaving a woman (a woman who is obviously interested in you) on the porch without kissing her is a strong move. I've even recently heard a 29-year-old man pat himself on the back for pulling a "Top Gun Move" on a lady friend. For the record, I don't think that's a very strong move. (A better move would be pulling a "Princess Bride," by dressing up like a pirate and rescuing a lady friend from an evil conspirator.)

3. In general, I don't think it's a good idea, guys, to get your moves from Tom Cruise movies.

4. It's possible to write a hit song with such daring and provocative lyrics such as, "You've lost that lovin' feelin' and now it's gone, gone, gone, whoah-oh-oh-oh." I'm going to start working on my new hit, "Whoah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh" .. wait, isn't that an NKOTB song? Clearly, I'm over-thinking my own lyrics.

5. Just who exactly were they fighting against at the end? There were these unknown enemies, who did tricky flight maneuvers in planes that I kept getting confused with Tom Cruise's plane (single engine, double engine, what's the difference, hmpf), and caused nothing but death and the loss of expensive planes. Why did they even have to cross enemy lines? Seems like Val Kilmer should have just stayed on that nice boat in the Indian Ocean. I guess that's a bigger philosophical question, though, about war. Jerry Bruckheimer wouldn't have much of a movie without unknown enemies.

That's all I've got. It was a good movie, I guess, but it seemed incredibly predictable and cliche in this world. Probably I'd feel the same way about The Sound of Music if I hadn't seen it when I was wee. I'd probably be, like, "Oooooh, so THAT's where 'Doe-a-deer' came from! How blase."

Also, one more public service announcement: Pump Up the Volume is not nearly as good as you remember.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whisk[e]y on a stick!

On Monday I blogged about "whiskey," deliberating hard in my head about which spelling to use. Both spellings are correct; it's just a question of geography. Refer to a March 2008 blog for a Public Service Announcement about whiskey vs. whisky and other know-it-all facts if you need details. To simplify, a pretty good rule of thumb is that Scotch Whisky has no "e" (as well as Bourbon distillers of Scottish heritage, e.g. Maker's Mark Whisky), and drinks not of Scottish-descent use an "e."


And now a recommendation to those of you who have a whisk[e]y fixation -- not the grammatical fixation, but of the drink itself. If you are one of those people who loves whisk[e]y and wants to hear details of various brands, you'll enjoy this podcast and blog. If you are someone who wants to get into whisk[e]y but has no idea where to begin, you will learn much from this podcast. It's called WhiskyCast, and so far there are over 300 episodes, each the perfect length for a walk on the treadmill (it's like dangling a carrot/bottle of bourbon from a stick in front of the treadmill as incentive).


I met the podcast's producer/star on a sunny day last May, while tuning up my musical saw by a thousand used Maker's Mark Barrels. You see, many bourbon barrels are reborn as Scotch Whisky barrels, and in this case, they were sunbathing on the Isle of Islay. (Redundant nomenclature, but charming nonetheless.) Anyway, Mark was interviewing the Distillery Manager of Laphroaig for an episode, and he ended up recording part of my performance for use in one of his episodes.


I quite enjoy the podcast -- yes, even the ones that don't feature me singing (which just so happens to be Episode 257 "Laphroaig") hee hee hee, featuring "Whisky in the Faucet" of course, but also a "Scotland the Brave" duet on the musical saw and dulcimer (Butch Ross.)


I have many episodes to catch up on, as since my iPod broke, I've been bad about putting podcasts on my phone. Although I just checked and discovered that they have a fancy iPhone/Droid app that would eliminate that problem. Time to get on the treadmill, I do believe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feast Day Celebrations!

Today is my Feast Day. My Dad is Catholic, so when it's convenient I get to feel proud of magical things like Patron (or Matron) Saints, and Stained Glass windows, and Leprechauns. (Let's not even get started on the combination of Catholic-Jewish guilt that lurks deeply in my Irish-Russian genes.)

I like celebrating St. Brigid's Day, though, because it's not really Catholic at all. It's very pagan, as I guess most things are. But it's not a dance-around-the-fire-and-do-it-with-boys-wearing-antlers kind of holiday. Instead, it's called Imbolc, and it means: SPRING!!

Someone very kindly posted a link on my Facebook page this morning, a link that offers one of the best explanations of Imbolc I've ever read.

In addition to explaining that the Feast of St. Brigid represents the onset of warmer and lighter days, this site declares Brigid the patron (matron) saint of: babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle farmers; children whose parents are not married; children whose mothers are mistreated by the children's fathers; Clan Douglas; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travelers; watermen.

I like how "Ireland" is just thrown in there -- no big deal.

Sorry, I had a whole blog about whisky/whiskey planned for today, but sometimes you gotta be spontaneous. It's my feast day, and it's my blog. So there. But don't worry ... I'll be watching out for all you dairymaids and watermen and illegitimate folk. And all of Ireland, of course. And here I haven't even finished celebrating my half-birthday/Burns Night. So much celebrating to catch up on before St. David's Day on March 1!

Whisk[e]y on a stick!

On Monday I blogged about "whiskey," deliberating hard in my head about which spelling to use. Both spellings are correct; it's just a question of geography. Refer to a March 2008 blog for a Public Service Announcement about whiskey vs. whisky and other know-it-all facts if you need details. To simplify, a pretty good rule of thumb is that Scotch Whisky has no "e" (as well as Bourbon distillers of Scottish heritage, e.g. Maker's Mark Whisky), and drinks not of Scottish-descent use an "e."

And now a recommendation to those of you who have a whisk[e]y fixation -- not the grammatical fixation, but of the drink itself. If you are one of those people who loves whisk[e]y and wants to hear details of various brands, you'll enjoy this podcast and blog. If you are someone who wants to get into whisk[e]y but has no idea where to begin, you will learn much from this podcast. It's called WhiskyCast, and so far there are over 300 episodes, each the perfect length for a walk on the treadmill (it's like dangling a carrot/bottle of bourbon from a stick in front of the treadmill as incentive).

I met the podcast's producer/star on a sunny day last May, while tuning up my musical saw by a thousand used Maker's Mark Barrels. You see, many bourbon barrels are reborn as Scotch Whisky barrels, and in this case, they were sunbathing on the Isle of Islay. (Redundant nomenclature, but charming nonetheless.) Anyway, Mark was interviewing the Distillery Manager of Laphroaig for an episode, and he ended up recording part of my performance for use in one of his episodes.

I quite enjoy the podcast -- yes, even the ones that don't feature me singing (which just so happens to be Episode 257 "Laphroaig") hee hee hee, featuring "Whisky in the Faucet" of course, but also a "Scotland the Brave" duet on the musical saw and dulcimer (Butch Ross.)

I have many episodes to catch up on, as since my iPod broke, I've been bad about putting podcasts on my phone. Although I just checked and discovered that they have a fancy iPhone/Droid app that would eliminate that problem. Time to get on the treadmill, I do believe.

Fixing things and gardening.

Wee Angus running through Dages Paint! Have y'all ever flipped a house before? I am sort of doing that, except that it's a renta...