Thursday, December 31, 2009


I've been blogging regularly for almost a year now. It all started when I decided to pick up where Muckrakers' Rob left off. He did 365(ish) days of blogging in 2008, and I admired his stick-with-it-ness. I needed a writing outlet and a routine, so when his year-of-blogging ended, I decided to write my own.

It's been much more difficult than I'd imagined, but I love that so many of you expect it from me. I even love your little evil messages when I've been absent for a day too long, and you knock on my proverbial door to remind me of my duty. It feels like a job, but a job that I like.

Have you seen that site The idea is that people post a list of 43 Things they want to accomplish in their lives. I'm a fan of setting goals and making lists, but I'm also a fan of getting away from the list-making and actually DOING things.

So rather than make New Year's Resolutions, I like to look back and think of all the awesome things I did in the previous year. It's much better to begin the year with a sense of accomplishment, rather than guilt. No matter how the economy's doing, how your own pocketbook is shrinking, or how crappy you're feeling, you should take a minute to think about the GOOD things that happened to you this year.

Here is my combination countdown/year-in-review:

10: Years since I graduated from college
9: Average time I woke up and got started with my day
8: Old friends with whom I reconnected
7: Years I've been successfully self-employed
6: Loaves of bread I baked this year
5: Text Messages I received from Elvis Costello
4: Songs I got to play live on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion
3: Fancy meals enjoyed in fancy restaurants
2: Trips out of the country (not including Texas)
1: Coyote killed.

Happy Roman Calendar New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A little about my dad.

On my mom's birthday, I wrote a blog post designed to make her cry. It was a cute story about how my grandfather was at a gig (he was a musician) while she was born, but he managed to get to the hospital during a set break and see his new daughter. Then he went back to the gig for the second set because, well, what else could he do?

Today is my dad's birthday, and I can't think of anything I could write that would make him cry.

I've never seen my dad cry. Not because he's a big macho insensitive man. He's actually kind of a softy who likes puppies and squishy pillows. He's good at not saying very much, and then suddenly saying the funniest thing in the world. He's also über-smart. You know how most children grow up thinking their daddy knows everything? And then one day they grow up and discover that actually their parents don't know much more than they do? Well, only since I've been a grown-up have I realized that my dad really does know everything. Seriously, I dare you to watch Jeopardy! with him and feel good about yourself after.

I've never seen my dad read a book that is less than 600 pages. And he reads 2-5 of them per week. When he was retired, ever-so-briefly, that number tripled. I can't go to the bookstore and buy him the brand new book about New York by that guy who wrote The Princes of Ireland because I'm sure he's already read it. Last month, I talked him into joining GoodReads, so I could keep track of what books he's ready, and within 30 minutes, he'd added 50 books -- all read in the past month or something.
He also loves cheese. More than anyone I've ever met. Everything he eats is some version of a cheese and bread. Like cheese and crackers, or a grilled cheese, or a pizza. You get the picture. He eats so much cheese and eschews fruits and vegetables, that I am convinced he has The Scurvy. Seriously. You can't even trick him into having a Vodka-Cranberry because that has too much Vitamin C. He's too smart for that.

He's also a liar. When I was six, he told me they'd painted the St. Louis Arch blue. Why would anyone tell their kid that? I believed him for 10 years, and repeated that in geography class in high school, to the laughter of teachers and students. Last week I saw the arch for the first time since I was six. It wasn't blue. I texted him that, and he wrote back, "The arch appears to be shiny and mirror-like in December due to the approaching solstice."

He's also a really good cook, and has kindly adapted all of his meaty recipes for my vegetarianism. Yesterday, he dropped off French Onion Soup for me, just because. He told me he made himself, but he lies a lot, so who knows.

That's enough about my dad. Happy birthday, Dude!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Seriously, being a vegetarian is not unusual.

I've been a vegetarian since I was about 16. I am not going to delve into my reasons -- they are mostly environmental and economic, if you need a general idea -- because I am not looking for an argument. Let's just say it's along the lines of religion: I'll leave you alone if you leave me alone. I've encountered many more evangelist meat-eaters than vegans in my life, and I am not interested in converting.

But that's not the point of today's blog.

It's been 15 years since I've eaten meat (excepting a bite of octopus when I was in Japan and a bite of conch in the Caribbean and a few unwitting broth inhalations, I'm sure) and I have never had a problem finding something to eat. Most food in the world is NOT meat, so I find it comical when people ask me, "What do you eat, then?"

Having spent the last week in Lubbock, Texas, however, I have a new love for Louisville restaurants. Lubbock was essentially first time in my life where there was truly nothing vegetarian on the menu. And not just at one restaurant, but at most of them. If there was something, it was loaded with cheese and/or deep-fried, probably in animal oil.

The family was thoughtful and considerate about dining options, thinking surely a Tex-Mex place would have something veggie for me. But I ended up having to invent something on the menu, eating more cheese than I like, and surely eating tortillas made with lard (I chose not to ask) and asking for extra lettuce and guacamole, and basically being that pain-in-the-a** diner.

I felt horribly guilty that the family had to keep my "condition" in mind, even though they were great about the whole thing and kept telling me not to feel bad. I just really don't like to make a big deal about vegetarianism. It's never been a issue, so it was bizarre.

Here's the thing: I know it's not just Lubbock. Surely it's loads of other cities. They are just cities I've managed to avoid, seeing as I've only lived in Louisville, Chicago, and New York.

I'm realizing how incredibly lucky I've been in my homes. My years in New York were easy as could be. Every dining hall at NYU had a vegetarian station, not just one option, but a whole menu, and every New York restaurant understands that a variety of cultures means they need a variety of options. Louisville has more veggie options than I can begin to count.

So, Middle American entrepreneurs, heed this: put some good veggie-options on your menus. It's a good business move. There is a vegetarian in the group more often than you think, and if you've got good veggie-options on your menu, then the entire group will go to your restaurant. The carnivores don't care where we go, but the vegetarians do. We're happy with just a few options. We stop at Burger King on tour all the time, purely because it's the only fast food place with a veggie burger.

Specifically, could someone PLEASE open a veggie-friendly restaurant in Lubbock? It would make holidays much easier, plus, there is clearly an open market. And while you're at it, please open a Taco Cabana too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Road trips, coyotes, and more inventions.

I spent Sunday in the car for 19 hours. We ran over one fewer coyote than we did on the way down there last week, so that was nice. The ride TO Texas was somewhat traumatic: it was exciting to see my first coyote dash across the highway, then horrifying to feel the bumps as he turned back and ran right in front of our truck. Ick. But Friend-with-a-Truck was an excellent driver and managed not to swerve the vehicle, a move that would have tumbled us off the highway.

A few thoughts from the road trip:

-Oklahoma has horrible roads. Can't Garth Brooks do something about that already?

-Historic Route 66 isn't nearly as auspicious as I'd hoped.

-Louisville is the only city in the country with a radio station like WFPK.

-The Taco Cabana in Amarillo is as closed as WallyWorld, no matter what the internet says. Don't go out of your way to get to Amarillo in search of Taco Cabana.

-Oklahoma City has a Taco Cabana, and has a glorious large billboard advertising just that. DO go out of your way to hit the salsa bar there.

-Audiobooks nowadays are much better-produced than audiobooks from the 1980s. Another blog to follow about that. We checked out Books-on-Tape, yes cassette tape, from the library before the road trip. And boy, did we listen to some gems.

-It takes 17 hours and 12 minutes to drive to Lubbock from Louisville, and that includes several pit stops and one coyote stop.

-It takes 19 hours and 30 minutes to drive to Louisville from Lubock, and that includes several pit stops, as well as sitting on I-64 in Corydon for 90 minutes at midnight when you are 42 miles from home, in line with about 500 other people because the cops have closed the exits and everyone else has slid off the interstate.

-No one except Friend-with-a-Truck knows how to drive in inclement weather. All the truck drivers on the highway yesterday were clearly drunk.

-iPhones are excellent ways to occupy your time and to try to find out why you're sitting in traffic, EXCEPT when the news websites and 511 have absolutely zero information as to why the 90-minute backup on I-64.

-CB Radios would be much preferable to iPhones in a traffic jam. Can someone please work on the CB App? Twitter's "nearby tweet" function is not a good substitute. But thanks for the sympathy tweets anyway, friends.

-If we have Twitter and CB Radio and iPhones, why the hell do we STILL not have flying cars?

Or in all seriousness, how is it possible that our cars cannot drive themselves? The airplane I flew in a few weeks ago was twice as old as my car, and IT can fly itself. I absolutely do not understand why it is 2010 and we don't have autopilot in our vehicles, and sensors that avoid all accidents, including black ice and floods and other cars.

And why don't all cars emit a coyote-repellent sonar blast? Poor little coyote. We hardly knew ye.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Has anyone seen my sweet tooth?

I always thought I had a sweet tooth, but this morning I discovered I must have lost it at some point. Apparently, the breakfast of choice today is mint-chip cookies and eggnog. That just doesn't sound good to me.

A bagel sounds good. So does toast. Or a breakfast taco. Or a biscuit. Even a pear or clementine. But I don't want pancakes or cinnamon rolls or cookies.

What's wrong with me?

P.S. Check out this picture of a few sticks of butter. I know that sounds crazy, but it's an über-good photo, along with a great Xmas cookie recipe, from The Oyster Evangelist.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Less jogging, more cookies.

I do not run. I prefer water. But I don't like water in the cold of winter, and I also insist on eating chocolate and drinking bourbon. So I walk a lot. Today, I went on a walk with a runner, who doesn't seem to think running is the most horrible thing in the world. He's not evangelical about it -- I hate it when people try to convince me that if I just gave running a try, and got good shoes, blah blah blah, and pushed through the pain, I would come to love it. That makes me feel like when I was in sixth grade and the Baptist preacher's kid told me I was going to hell unless I went to church with him, and once I did I would really feel good, he promised.

Anyway, in Lubbock, where I'm spending this Christmas, the tendency is to sit around, expend little energy, and consume many cookies. Thanksgiving here in Texas was not kind to my waistline, and since I'm clearly not going to cut back on the cookies, I decided I needed to go for a walk this morning.

Mr. Runner and I jogged for about 30 seconds before I remembered that I hate running, for multiple reasons. It hurts my body. My feet are wide and flat and designed for swimming, not for running. I have arthritic hips. Mostly though: it's boring.

I think, maybe, that if there were different WAYS to run, as there are different strokes for swimming, it might be more fun. If you get bored while you're swimming back and forth in the pool, you can change things up. When freestyle gets lame, you can flip on your back. Or maybe you can grab the kickboard and just kick. Or you can use flippers and hunt for treasure among the rocky bottom of the lake.

Running would be a lot more fun if there were different styles of running. You could skip, or run backwards, or side-stroke on land. Unfortunately, gravity is a huge limitation. And who am I kidding, I still wouldn't run even if I had those awesome bouncy shoes with the springs in them. Well, maybe for 30 seconds.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What do you do for Christmas?

I've been [over]thinking on this whole Christmas thing for the past few weeks or so, as you've probably picked up on. It got me to thinking what my family used to do on Christmas. Now that my cousins and I are grownup, we don't really do much. Although, I'm already missing my new Aunt Karen's Italian Cream Cake, which I've decided is a family tradition.

You all mostly think I'm Jewish, but my dad is Catholic. So we always had Christmas Eve celebrations too. I went to my cousins' house, played pool, ate macaroni and cheese, my uncles played with whatever new flight simulator game Uncle Tony had, and my cousin Nicole and I had our annual wrestling match with my Uncle Greg, who always let us win. Sometimes we made videos and choregraphed dances. One time, I wrote and performed a few holiday songs, and I only recall this because video of these songs has recently resurfaced. I hold my breath and await the Google Alert when these videos go live.
We left the Xmas Eve festivities around 11pm because the rest of the family would go to midnight mass. I golt annoyed because that meant Nicole got to stay up later than I did. My parents and I drove the long drive home, and usually I pretended to fall asleep in the car, complete with fake snoring, so my dad would have to carry me inside eventually. I was a stubborn child.

So Christmas Eve was usually pretty fun, but Christmas Day was sooooooooooooo boring. Granted, I get bored easily, but still ... after opening a few presents in the AM, I basically sat around ho-humming and lamenting the fact that nothing was open and all of my friends were busy. A few times in my childhood, we went to my dad's Aunt GeeGee's apartment, which smelled like stale smoke and old people. Christmas has never been my favorite day of the year.

Last year on Christmas, I think I went over to my parents' house and played on the computer. Then I painted one wall of my dining room and played some guitar at my friend Kelly's house.

This year, rather than test the limits of my boredom, I decided to go to Lubbock, Texas. I'll let you know how it goes.

What does your family do for Christmas?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Accessorizing is not my thing.

I am not a good accessorizer. Some people always have the perfect ring or anklet or purse, and that person is not me. I like jewelry, but usually, when I need to dress up, it's because of a show. And try wearing a nice bracelet/necklace/ring combo when you're playing the accordion. It doesn't mesh well.

A friend of mine, who doesn't yet have the perfect moniker, purged her closet and gave me the leftovers. I feel like I've won the lottery, and I think tonight I'm going to wear a "new" dress. It desperately needs a necklace, however, and I'm stuck.

This morning, I ventured to Celia's in the Mellwood Arts Center because she makes and stocks the most beautiful and completely affordable jewelry. I saw about fifty rings I wanted, and loads of other cool gift ideas too. Unfortunately both for me and for Celia, I remembered my spending moratorium and the fact that I need a new capo more than I need a new ring. Stupid budget.

So I think maybe it's time to just bedazzle the black accordion and wear it everywhere. Or maybe bedazzle that capo.

Anyway, if you're looking for last-minute gift ideas for a lady, there are tons of great options at Celia's. And if you get me one of those sparkly flower rings, that would be cool too.

Celia is having an open house at the store on Sunday, December 20, from 1-5pm with refreshments and music by none other than Steve Cooley. He's bringing the music, not the refreshments. Celia's 1860 Mellwood Ave Louisville KY 502 767 2222

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blogging woes. Songwriting v. Blogwriting.

This whole blog started as a writing exercise, a promise to myself that I would write daily. Writing prose is easier than writing lyrics, at least it is for me, and blogs are a special form of writing. They are visible to all, but generally recognized as a lesser form of the genre. At least it has been until recently, when bloggers lately are viewed similarly to columnists of yore.

It amazes me how many readers I have, and it amuses me how most of them nowadays know me more for blogging than for singing. It also makes me incredibly aware of what I write about, to the point that I second guess myself constantly.

Sometimes when I know I need to blog, but I'm having writers-block or just feeling uninspired, I will write about what's on my mind. Sometimes that stuff is personal, so I don't go into ALL the details ... partly because I know that people I don't know are reading .. and partly because people I DO know are reading.

For example, I've been worried about Monday's Christmas-Present Blog for the past two days. First, I'm worried that I upset my own parents by making it look like they deprived me at Christmas time (Mom said last night that I have "selective memory." I say she's the one with a family history of Alzheimer's, and I bought that Nintendo with my own money.) Second, it's bugging me that Friend-with-a-Truck's family will think I'm nuts, although that's clear enough if they read my blogs with any regularity.

It's easy to hide behind a song. Songs can be fiction, and a lot of mine aren't even about me. But the audience chooses their own interpretation and relate it to their own lives. I love that about music. Most people think "Future Mr. Used-to-Be" is about my life. I can tell you right now that it was inspired by a laaaaaaaame guy that my Best-Friend-from-First-Grade dated a few years ago. You may or not believe me, and that's okay.

When you're blogging, it's harder to hide. Now, obviously, I don't WANT to hide, or I wouldn't be writing a public blog. It's just that there are some parts of my life I don't want to advertise, and there are some friends of mine who don't need funny stories about them splashed across my public Facebook page. So they have monikers, like Friend-who-Cooks-Pancakes or Friend-with-a-Truck or Best-Friend-from-First-Grade. And I'm sorry if you wish I'd use their real names; I'm not going to, for their sake, not for mine. I talk too much as it is.

Anyway, the balance of all this blogging-real-life-stuff has just been on my mind. Maybe it's time to get introverted and start writing songs again. It's been a while.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Older blogs ... imported

Over the next few weeks, I'm importing hundreds of older blog into this site. I'm sorry if this makes your feeds go berserk or confuses you. Just check the dates so you don't suddenly think I'm in the finals for Nashville Star again:)

My band makes me laugh.

Here's a little secret: I rarely ever have band rehearsal. On some level, I envy those bands that get together twice a week, but mostly I like the element of improvisation that comes from little-to-no rehearsal. Blame it on my jazz background, but I prefer it that way. I love the communication that comes on stage ... when I play a 7th chord and my bass and guitar players know that means the next chord is up a 4th.

Also, I am just impatient and don't like to practice. It's like when you took piano lessons as a kid and you hated practicing, but you loved being able to play the songs. It's also why my band is made up of three killer professional musicians. Steve Cooley doesn't so much need a rehearsal, you know?

We got together last night for about an hour because I've got some new tunes that are kind of weird. I write a lot of unexpected chord changes, and it's not really nice to spring them on the band during a live show.

I was bummed because Scott (drums) couldn't make it at the last minute. I didn't miss his drums so much as I missed his jokes. He's the funniest person alive. Seriously.

Peter and Steve are good at making me laugh though, and they are also killer professional musicians. We could have absolutely played these new tunes without one minute of rehearsal, but it was really fun to get together. I love sitting around in a room, listening to Steve mess around with a new toy pedal and playing the perfect riffs when he's never even heard the song. And I love my total amazement when I realize that Peter, who is the new King of Pop, is playing a honky-tonk bass line like he's done it his whole life. I end up sitting there listening to them so much that I forget my own songs.

Anyway, it was nice to play music with the boys again. I should do that more. Sure do wish I could put them in my pocket and take them on the road. I'm not afraid of sounding like an a**: I've got a great band.

Come out on Thursday, Dec 17th, to the Monkey Wrench at 8:00. $5. MC Watkins opens with a few songs right at 8:00, then my band should be on by 8:20. Should be a good time, if you're interested in hearing the boys and me play: Brigid Kaelin, Peter Searcy, Steve Cooley, Scott Lankford.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wrestling with consumerism and feeling American.

This was a jam-packed weekend, but mostly I did Christmas shopping. Believe it or not, it's a pretty foreign concept to me. My family never really did anything big for Christmas or Chanukah. I'm an only child and didn't grow up really close to my few cousins. I was amazed when my friends would get 10-15 presents each, all big-ticket itmes like Nintendos or computers. I was happy with new underwear and a Hawley-Cooke gift certificate (and I still am, for those of you shopping for me. Except Hawley-Cooke is long gone, so if there's any way you can give me gift certificates for Library Fines, that would be awesome). Even in grownup life, my family is not big on the gift-exchange, and I haven't made a real Christmas list since I last wrote to Santa Claus.

But Friend-with-a-Truck's family is pretty big on the gift exchange, so I am learning how this works day-by-day. I am troubled by it, and I feel ridiculous that it's bugging me. You'd think it would be a simple concept, right? Not so for this over-analyzer. I'm confused by lots of things, but mainly it's the logistics. Are we supposed to buy presents directly from other people's lists? Doesn't that take the fun out of it? Or is the list truly a useful device, like a wedding gift registry, so they don't end up with 20 salad spinners or Wii Fits? What if you find the absolute perfect gift, but it's from a Thrift Store? Is that rude or weird?

Anyway, I spent the weekend wrestling with these questions and stressing out a bit over something that I know deep-down is really quite simple. Buy presents for people. Don't worry about it too much. It's the gesture that's important.

Oddly, I feel like I understand American Christmas much better now. I always wondered why people were stressed out during the holidays, or why they felt the need to buy-buy-buy, and this whole Jesus-Consumer Debate, which I never understood because, well, we were neither into Jesus nor Extreme-Gift-Giving, so it wasn't really an issue. I get it though, and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. It's a nice excuse to buy something reeeeeeeally nice for someone.

I'm staring at a corner of my house which is now piled up with packages (and lots of packaging, which makes my stomach turn a little as my mind drifts to landfills and all the wrapping paper that will be used and thrown away this year) and I'm feeling a few things. First, I am sick at the sight of all the packaging and gift wrap and I'm wondering how weird Friend-with-a-Truck's family will think I am if I try to recycle the wrapping paper or if I wrap all of their gifts in the Sunday comics like my dad always did for me. Secondly, I feel oddly American and looking forward to seeing a big Christmas morning. Thirdly, I'm kind of excited to give these folks their gifts, to play with some of these toys. Fourth, I clearly need to get more presents for my parents. I really think the Library should sell Overdue Fines Gift Certificates; that would be perfect for them.

Off to the shops!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Single person food.

You know what I'm talking about ... when you haven't been to the grocery in weeks, or maybe you just don't feel like cooking even though you bought all those ingredients. And somehow you are perfectly okay with eating noodles with butter. Or just a big bowl of frozen broccoli (microwaved, of course). Or peanut butter and apples with a toasted cheese sandwich -- not grilled, because that would involve getting out the butter and dirtying up a pan that you definitely don't feel like washing. It's a genre of food in its own right, and it's something you certainly don't talk about with your friends.

I was in Nashville a few weeks ago, staying at my attorney's place (I hope someday when I'm hugely wealthy and someone is interviewing my attorney for the story of my life, she tells the story of how the poor, struggling artist used to crash at her house after shows because hotel rooms weren't an option, even though, really, we just liked to hang out and drink bourbon and play Tori Amos songs on her piano.). Anyway, I was there, along with her husband and my Friend-with-a-Truck, and we were trying to figure out what to do about dinner. Nothing sounded particularly good, and we didn't feel like going out. Problematically, there wasn't quite the right variety of ingredients in her refrigerator. There were some great options, just not quite a whole meal.

Then someone suggested we just eat "Single-person food," and somehow, we all immediately relaxed.

We've all eaten single-person meals before, but there is much progress in being able to eat Single Person Meals in front of another human being... to admit that you're perfectly okay with noodles and butter (which is what I ate) ... or with toast and just-past-the-expiration-date gouda ... or better yet, with boxed macaroni-and-cheese.

It's nice to feel that relaxation of not having to put together a perfectly balanced meal just because you may have an audience. At the same time, maybe it's time to go to the grocery store?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art, money, tortured thoughts, and tours.

I was explaining to some new friends over the weekend (yes, while I was in The Bahamas ... sorry I couldn't resist mentioning it just one more time) how touring is neither glamourous nor profitable. I love being on the road, and I think I'd travel non-stop if I could afford it. But that's just it: it's essentially a non-profit venture. Unless you're playing a big festival with expenses covered, you're generally not making any money. Then my new friend said, "Why do you do it if you don't make any money?"

This took me off-guard because it's really a valid question. Clearly, I'm not an artist for the money, but I felt like an a**hole to respond with, "Art is not about money." So I paused to think about it for a while. Why DO I do this? I was on the fast-track to a Network News Producer when I was barely 20 years old, and I left it behind ... to be a musician? That's crazy. Maybe my friends were right. Besides, booking tours takes so much time and energy, not to mention all the press calls and posters you then have to mail, then the actual time and money it takes to travel. But it's just not an option to not do it.

As an independent artist in an age where people expect music for free, being on the road is one of the only ways to keep your name out there or actually sell a product. But that's not why I play either. That's over-simplification. I really have this bizarro need and drive to sing for people. In public. I will never be one of those artists who focuses on the record, and writes in their basement all day, and never performs. I can't do that. Sometimes I wish I could. But recording is my least favorite part of the business. I absolutely love being able to connect with an audience.

It's clear to me that for my own sanity, I need to tour more. That makes me laugh because I sound like a weirdo hippie artist who just needs to create and perform. But it's a question of what makes me happy, and apparently, entertaining a crowd with music makes me happy. Seems so simple, right?

So with that in mind, I'm very much looking forward to next week's show in Louisville. I might even bake cookies for everyone to show just how much I appreciate y'all letting me entertain you. Chocolate chip or sugar cookies? Those are the only ones I do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bahamas Gig.

Greetings from Freeport. I write you today from one last day of sunshine, as I sit five feet from the pool, and 40 feet from the ocean. The house where I stayed is equally as impressive as when I arrived, and I can't imagine ever taking this place for granted. I can even get behind having oceanside property AND a swimming pool, which was confusing to me until I saw a jellyfish yesterday just below the boat dock. Sometimes you just need creature-free chlorinated water.

The gig on Saturday night went really well. You never know how they will go when you're out on the road (or even when you're at home, for that matter ... will anyone be at next Thursday's -- Dec 17 -- Christmakuh show at The Monkey Wrench?). Most of the time, people haven't heard of you. It's especially when you're playing a pub. People aren't there for live music. They are there to talk to their friends and drink a lot.

But the room full of folks in Shenanigan's, -- which looks exactly as you might imagine an Irish pub to look, except for the palm trees just outside its doors -- were, for the most part, quiet and attentive. They laughed in all the right places, and they were involved in my stage banter. They even asked to hear original songs, which is a rare find in a bar setting.

It got me to thinking why I don't do this all the time. For the most part, the business plan has been to tour where you get the most radio support. Things like Islands' gigs and cruise ships just aren't my thing because I've been doing the original music trajectory, and most places like that want cover songs and singalongs. But I had a blast in Freeport, and it seems that I'm welcome back -- to sing MY music. Unexpected good news. Several folks asked when my next show in Freeport is so they could bring their friends.

I guess it's time to book a little islands tour. I'm thinking it might be more fun to be a rock star in The Bahamas than in Iceland.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bahamas Day One

I love my job. I've got a gig in The Bahamas this weekend. Hopefully it'll make a much better blog than my oh-so-exciting Cleveland tour blogs. The musician life is really not that glamorous, but it sure does feel awesome this weekend.

You know that scene in Annie when she first arrives at Daddy Warbucks's mansion? They show her around briefly and ask her what she wants to do first. She looks around thoughtfully and replies, "The windows. Then the floors. That way if I spill..." Then all the servants laugh heartily and sing a song that explains to her she doesn't have to do any work and her mind is absolutely blown.

Well, that's how I feel when I saw the house in the Bahamas where I'm staying this weekend. Except no one sang to me. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Yeah, I know, it's cold and crappy in Louisville and most other place in the US, so you might not care to read about the High of 81/ Low of 79 weather we're having here in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Sorry 'bout that. I'll be returning to reality on Monday, when I'll surely begin the yearly spiral into Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'll get my due.

For now, though, I don't play until Saturday night, so I'm enjoying palm trees and oceans and Bahama Mamas. All in the same time zone as Louisville.

I spent the whole plane ride chatting with my cohorts on this adventure and therefore got no sleep on the plane. Vacation mode kicked in in the Atlanta airport, as demonstrated by the spicy Bloody Mary. Tyra talked me into another cocktail on the second flight -- I love to fly, but lately I haven't been so good with the turbulence. Vodka helps.

Immediately after arriving at Tyra's house here, and ogling the beautifully decorated rooms and stunning views, we headed for Banana Hut or something. Unfortunately we couldn't find the boat key, so we had to take the car. No one's in a hurry here, so we sat at a picnic table on the beach for a long time (in American minutes) before the server brought us menus.

We ate lunch and rather than waiting around for our check, we walked out to the beach. And laid down. And put our toes in the water and our towels on the sand. I was a bit dehydrated after the Bahama Mama I'd had with lunch, so lying on the beach wasn't the best move for me.

But it was glorious. I've never seen water that turquoise, and Tyra tells me it's all muggy in comparison. Pity me, right?

(meant to post this yesterday, but we only just got the internet on, sorry!)

Cute Film at Village 8 tonight.

Going to the movies tonight?

I'm not sure what's going on in Louisville this week because, well, I'm playing a gig in The Bahamas (poor me, right?). But I do know that a cute documentary is playing at Village 8. It's called They Came to Play, and it came recommended by a film producer friend in New York, who sent me a screener copy to preview.

In my pre-musician days, I was a documentary producer for CBS and The History Channel, so I've got a softspot for non-fiction films. But admittedly, lots of docs are long, dreary, and uninteresting. They Came to Play, however, reminds me of fun documentaries like Wordplay and Spellbound, and it made me laugh out loud multiple times.

Based around the International Piano Competition sponsored by the Van Cliburn Foundation, They Came to Play tells the story of several different competitors from all over the world. The amateur pianists may be amateur performers, but they are hardly amateur players. Some are dorky doctors, some are creepy old ladies, some are charming pilots, some are adorable Germans, and they've all got fascinating stories. Laden with some of my favorite music -- from Bach to Gershwin -- the filmmakers were able to interweave gorgeous music with characters galore.

My screener copy crapped out just before I found out who won the competition, so I don't know how it ends. And I almost with I wasn't in the Bahamas -- almost, I said -- just so I could find out who won.

Anyway, it's playing tonight at Village 8, and it's entertaining and fun, especially if you've ever had to take piano lessons. It made me want to go practice, partly because I've played half the songs in the documentary, and partly because it's really inspiring.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Travels, Festivals, Films, Presents, Gigs.

I'm rackin' up the frequent flier points this week. Having just returned from Texas yesterday, I wake up at 5:00am tomorrow to catch a flight. I know what you're thinking: Poor, poor pitiful Brigid, always flitting and fleeing. 'Tis the life of an adventurer and musician, and don't pity me too much... tomorrow's early morning flight is to The Bahamas. I'm playing there this weekend, so if you've got any friends in Freeport, send them to Shenanigans.

Come to think of it, this'll make the third country I've played in a bar called "Shenanigans," having also played one in the US and one in Liverpool (Go Gerard!!!). Maybe I should do an entire world tour. Could someone please compile a list of all the world's Shenanigans? And maybe also get booking info and detail a sensible routing? Maybe THAT could be my Nouveau Thoreauvian memoir ... in which Brigid spends a year traveling and playing pubs called Shenanigans. What sort of sponsorships could I get out of that one? And by the way, please don't steal that idea ... I think I'm on to something...

Anyway, just a few thoughts before I leave town:

1) Quit hatin' on HullabaLOU. So it isn't aimed at your target demographic, so what? When something big comes to Louisville, I think we should support it and quit all the factions. So Richard Marx isn't the hippest guy ever. Who cares? Churchill Downs is über-cool for using its venues for more than just horse-racing. (That Stones concert in 2006 was one of the best concerts ever.) And now Louisville's got TWO big music festivals in the same month. We should be telling our friends all over that our town rocks.

2) I got a press copy of the film They Came to Play, (go watch the trailer!!) which is showing one-night-only this Friday, December 4 at Village 8. I'm not sure why a cool indie-flick like this is at Village 8, but apparently The Village, as we called it in middle school, is branching out. I haven't finished watching the film yet, but it's awesome so far. It's about the International Piano Competition for amateur pianists. If you've ever taken a music lesson in your life -- whether you were forced to or it was your choice -- you should check out this film. It's won all kinds of awards, and it's charming and entertaining. Can't wait to finish it... and write a full review. Perhaps from the Bahamas...

3) I like when I get press copies of things. You should send me things. I'll blog about them, and then a few thousand people will hear about your stuff. Especially send me things like chocolate and bourbon. Remember, I'm still working on my annual Holiday Gift Guide! PO Box 5803 Louisville, KY 40255-0803. 'K, thanks!

4) Mark your calendars now, please, for Thursday, December 17 at 8:00 pm. My band is playing an intimate show at The Monkey Wrench. It's our Christmakuh Party! Dreidels on the tables and ornaments on the bass player.

Off to look for my swimsuit ... I'm going to go meet me some Bahamians!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogs I read ... what about you?

I spent the weekend in Lubbock, Texas, where I did very little besides re-heat pie and attempt to learn how to play Bridge. I didn't have my laptop with me, and it seemed inappropriate to sneak away to blog. But after a few "where are you, Brigid?" messages, I thought I owed you one.

Just in case this happens again, -- I happen to be singing in The Bahamas this weekend (rough life, ain't it?) -- here are some of the blogs that I read regularly. Look to them for some entertainment if I'm not providing it for you. and

Both are charming blogs by Joy Manning, who is a Food Writer (Philadelphia Magazine) and author of the cookbook Almost Meatless. I haven't seen Joy in ten years (we were at NYU at the same time), but I was thrilled to find her on these glorious interwebs. Her blogs are always entertaining, and she's a great writer. The photos on her new site, The Oyster Evangelist, are stunning, and the recipes are awesome. Although, admittedly, I've only ever tried the vegetarian ones.

Right Sister Roscoe
One of my favorite people in the world is an ol' Lakeside pal, Chris. He's currently finishing up his third year of US law school, but is studying this last year in ... get this ... Montpellier, France. He writes about various things like law and being an American in France. I prefer the latter, but I read it all.

Lauren Titus at Velocity
This is a blog I wish would be updated more often. I love reading Lauren's rants and raves, even though she sounds dysfunctional most of the time. In real life, she's not so wacky. She's wicked-smart and a most excellent writer.

Erin Keane at Velocity
Another clever lady over at Velocity. She seems to know more about pop culture than anyone I know and always has a witty opinion to offer her readers. Erin makes me laugh, and she posts fun videos. Plus she's always going on or planning an adventure. I like reading about them.

What other blogs do you read? I'm curious ... and looking for more feeds in my Google Reader.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can you get tired from doing nothing?

I just felt guilty that I haven't blogged this week. I went to Lubbock, Texas, where I have sat around and done very little since we landed on Thursday morning. I've done little more than reheat queso and pie, yet somehow, I have needed a daily nap. Am I three?

Today's nap was somewhat warranted, however, as I spent the afternoon at a family Sportscenter for a 5-year-old's birthday party. There was a lot of time spent in the splash pool, but even more time spent playing Dance Dance Revolution.

I'd never played before, but I've been intrigued since I saw it in some Lindsay Lohan movie. But I now need to know where I can play it in Louisville.

So that was a fun new thing I learned. I also learned how to play bridge last night, which was much less-tiring. But I think tonight, I'd rather play DDR.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bank tellers are awesome.

Does anyone out there still go to the bank? I still work for cash or checks, so I don't have any fancy direct deposit stuff like most of you do. I do, however, appreciate its ease and time-saving capabilities and often wish I didn't have to put "bank" on my errands list.

The upside of having to go to the bank a few times a week is that I have an actual relationship with the tellers. They are around my age, plus or minus five years, and they are always friendly. I was there a few weeks ago with Friend-with-a-Truck, who commented after that I was awfully open about my finances and life stuff with the friendly bank teller. That's true, but really, they know how much (or rather how little) I make anyway, so I figure we might as well have a conversation.

I often worry that I'll get them in trouble when we gab about how Ophelia*-the-teller is going to Vegas with her boyfriend and how I'm going to the Bahamas next week (more about that next week hee hee) or how I'm shopping for a better interest rate or what kind of new car Desdemona*-the-teller just bought or how Bianca-the-teller's* boyfriend is a musician and what kind of advice do I have for her on that front?

Hmmmm ... you can see how much of a time-saver that direct deposit would be for me, eh? But I really like my trips to the bank. I feel like I have these secret friends whom I never hang out with, but they know a lot about me. Maybe that's what working in an office is like. I guess trips out of self-employed land are good for keeping me ground.

By the way, do they even call them tellers anymore? I am so out-of-touch.

* Bank Teller names have been changed to protect the innocent from being fired for being too chatty with their customers. They have been changed to Shakespearean names for absolutely no reason, other than I like themes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

insomnia, Gift Guides, and my Chanumas party.

I am up early. I even took Nyquil last night because I was feeling congested and was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep. So why did I bolt upright at 5:45? Unfair. I considered going running, but then I remembered that I never run and that I think running is for suckers. And running at 6am is for crazies.

So what should I do? Apparently, it's possible to get caught up in emails at 6am. I've been a terrible correspondent lately, mostly because I still insist on writing real messages, not just a two-word reply. I should really get better with the two-word reply because the brief acknowledgment is better than the week-long delay. Anyway, this morning I've written several loooooong emails that were looooooong overdue.

I'm also writing a stream-of-consciousness blog while checking Travelocity for some last-minute deals. Jamaica is on sale from Louisville, if anyone's interested.

Also, I'm working on Brigid's Could-be-Annual Holiday Gift Guide. Suggestions, anyone?

Oooh oooh, I wanted to have a holiday party this year, but I wanted to invite everyone. And so rather than cleaning my house, I'm having it at the Monkey Wrench. And it is in the form of a show, and my band will be playing there. So mark your calendars, friends: Thursday, December 17. I'm thinking early, like 8:00.

Okay, maybe I'll try to go back to sleep now. This 7am thing is weird. Nyquil, anyone?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Graffiti in two dungeons.

Last week, I watched some of the travelogues from my UK Tour (available on my YouTube Channel). One of my favorite videos is from the Tower of London, where Peter and I encounter wall graffiti that is 500+ years old. It's carved in stone. I know they were traitors and theives, mostly, but it's cool to see "Robert wuz here 1412," you know?

I got a text from my neighbor last week. She goes to my old high school (Atherton), and she was exploring the stage there when she found my name scrawled ... in multiple areas. With a name like mine, it's hard to deny that I did it.

Let me explain that I am not a vandal. I just did a lot of theatre there, and it was tradition to sign your name once for every show you did. My junior year, the theatre arts teacher created a new tradition and painted a small square for each production where the cast would "graffiti" their names, hoping to contain and bring some order to the chaos. I guess forty years of paint-your-name-in-the-dungeon was catching up, and the changing areas looked like a 1980s subway stop. We didn't like it at first, but at least it kept each cast together and looked pretty.

Apparently there's a new theatre-arts teacher now. I don't know who it is, but my high-school-student-neighbor tells me there are plans to paint over ALL of the old names. I'm sure it would look much better, but I hate the idea of just whitewashing history. Maybe I should go ahead and get really famous so the administration will think it's a bad idea to paint over my autographs-of-yore. I mean, I paid $35 to see the Tower of London graffiti. If I get famous enough, Atherton could make a lot of money off those dungeon tours.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Evil Ka.

I'm a pretty positive person. I remember that "hate" is a bad word, and I should reserve pessimism for when I want to wallow. But there is a product that stirred up angry feelings and not-good knots in my stomach every time I see one: a Ka. I hate Kas.

You probably don't know what a Ka is. I'm not talking about the Egyptian ruler, which is what shows up when you first Google "Ka." I'm talking about a car, as in they are homophones if you're from Boston.

Luckily, I don't have to see any Kas on the road in America. They are tiny Gremlin-esque Fords that have wide rear windows and remind me of the mushrooms on Super Mario Brothers. And when Peter and I were road-tripping/touring through the United Kingdom last fall, they were EVERYWHERE! Peter has since forgotten his own hatred of the Ka, but I'm hoping that image will remind him of their evils. Beady little autos, always zipping in and out of traffic, and always a bad omen of traffic jams ahead and road rage.

I am so glad I don't have to see them here. Except those Toyota Yaris cars remind me of the Ka, and I feel my blood pressure rise every time I see one. I don't think the Yaris is evil though, just a little mischievous perhaps.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free LEGAL downloads from Earx-tacy.

First, they painted the exterior walls Miami Vice coral and teal ... and now Earx-tacy is giving away free music? I thought the project might fall by the wayside when Jason got sick. But no, he's a trucker and managed to get it together in between cancer treatments. And voila!

It's like a little mix tape, sans tape, of 18 Louisville artists with plenty of new and unreleased tracks and a few old favorites. I was worried it would be all Christmas songs, but it's not Christmas music at all ... just a few great songs by a few great Louisville bands. (Okay, so I'm a little biased because one of the free tracks is mine, but hey, that means I'm losing money too by offering freebies. )

Everyone knows that independent record stores are going out of business left and right -- the direct affect of illegal downloading and file-sharing. Earx-tacy knows it too, but look how kind they're being by offering you 18 tracks for free. Download the gift, but also please consider hitting up earx-tacy or another indie-record store for some of your holiday shopping this year? Someone on your list loves music. The the people who don't love it are just plain weird.

Also, it's Friend-with-a-Truck's birthday today. Because he reads my blog, he'll know if all you got him was the Earx-tacy Compilation. I already got him that Yankees World Series, so I think I'm off-the-hook for the next ten birthdays or so. Happy birthday, anyway!

And has anyone seen Friend-who-cooks-pancakes lately? He has disappeared.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We are living in the future.

When I get a migraine, then only thing to do is take a sleeping pill and snooze through the pain. Back in February, I took an Ambien when the migraine hit. Not only do I not remember the migraine, but I also don't remember creating my own Wish List. I blogged about it on the ol' MySpace blog and had laughs over the things I put on that list: a garden gnome, a $1500 keyboard, the entire Oxford English Dictionary, some cross-country skis (I will never ski), and various other ridiculous items.

But now that the holidays are approaching and I was asked to make a legitimate list, -- something I haven't done since I was six -- I started re-thinking my Wish. It's actually kind of useful.

Friend-with-a-Truck and I went shopping this weekend. I say "shopping," but we didn't really buy anything. Instead, we went armed with my iPhone and the App. This is the MAGIC part: whenever I saw something I wanted, I just took a picture with my phone. Almost immediately, Amazon found the item and added it to my wish list. Seriously, is that not crazy futuristic stuff happening RIGHT NOW??

My list is growing rapidly, and I suddenly worry that folks will think I'm greedy, when really I'm just technology-mad. All I really expect out of Chanukah/Christmas is a small gift certificate to a bookstore, not the silicon muffin cups or the Kurzweil SP2-76key digital piano that I Wish-Listed. But that pink capo would be nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving deliciousness.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, probably because I absolutely love food. If I could eat ten meals a day and not be both obese and uncomfortable, I would. Thanksgiving equals food, so I'm in.

Now comes the standard, "But you're a vegetarian!" Every year, I get the same reactions from people who have no earthly idea how one can function without animal flesh. The funny thing is, though, is that everything at Thanksgiving is vegetarian EXCEPT the turkey. Gravy and stuffing, of course, are made of turkey-goo or something, but those sides don't matter to me anyway. Gravy grosses me out, and I always hated stuffing UNTIL my dad made a vegetarian version, which was magically delicious. I have no problem eating myself uncomfortable with all the options available to me on Thanksgiving day, without chowing down on tryptophan.

On Friday I'm going to a toga party at a friend's house that is also doubling as a Thanksgiving Potluck. I cannot wait. I think I'm going to stick with desserts as my dish -- I'm a reigning Bakemaster™, remember? -- but I'm hoping my dad brings Mac-n-cheese. And surely we'll have some mashed potatoes and probably several green been casseroles ... and various other cheese-n-vegetable yumminess. Who even cares about turkey?

Okay, I'm hungry. That's enough. What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Focus, Schmocus.

I have trouble focusing. As I sat down to write today's blog, I couldn't figure out what to write about. The folks who have clear focus to their blogs always have a topic, for example, the Julie & Julia thing, or sports blogs, or music blogs, or on-the-road blogs. It must be so easy for them. I wonder if the same goes for musicians who always write a certain type of music. I've got that same problem in my songwriting ... I like a lot of different styles, and I write in a lot of different styles. So am i going to write a jazz song, a country song, a cabaret song, or a pop song today? So many options. It's actually kind of awesome, and it makes it more interesting for me in the long run.

As my psychologist friends say, it's not a disorder unless it's disruptive. I don't sense any chaos, so I prefer to keep it this way.

But what to blog about...

About a year ago, I did a Week-of-Things-I've-Never-Done-Before. I was thinking about doing some similar Week-long specific blogging. Here's my short-list: A week of living Left-handed. A week of eating every meal at home (this seems impossible). Reading a book a day for a week. A month of visiting every library in town (I like this one a lot). Writing/recording/posting a song-a-day for a week. Any ideas?

Hmmmm .. I'm babbling now. Time to go start my day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Louisville's Own Lilith Fair, but better. Sunday @ Jim Porter's.

I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't really understand the idea behind all-female music festivals these days. Don't get me wrong, I have as many Tori Amos records as any other girl who grew up in the '90s, and Carole King is my songwriting hero. And there's nothing hotter than a chick bass player. It's just that I like diversity in my lineups when I go to a festival. So when MERF (the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund) asked me to perform at "Viva La Diva," coming up this Sunday, Nov 15 at Jim Porter's, I was less than enthusiastic.

(Big ol' "BUT" coming up, so don't freak out...)

Before the Viva La Diva folks get on my case, let me tell you that I'm actually really looking forward to Sunday's show, much more so than I would look forward to a Sarah Mac/Tori Amos/Ani/Indigo lineup. That's saying a lot, right?

The MERF Benefit on Sunday is not limited to one or two genres of girl music because Louisville's the kind of town that has no artistic boundaries. There are blues singers, pop singers, ladies-on-drums, yodelers, lounge singers, rockers, as well as your classic sensitive singer-songwriters -- all from Louisville. They all just happen to be lacking an X chromosome, that's all.

I'l be trading songs back and forth with Andrea Davidson, Kathleen Hoye, and Leigh Ann Yost, at 8:45 in the Ballroom. Since the time is limited, I think I'll just play piano ... but i might bring an accordion or musical saw or guitar just to stir things up a bit.

Doors are at 5:00 pm, and there will be ladies galore. Talented, smart, music-lovin' ladies. So much talent in this town of ours. I also think it's beautiful to see all these women supporting each other, rather than trying to compete. Music's a tough enough career choice without bringing politics into it.

So forget the idea that it's going to be some sort of angry grrl-power event. It's purely a celebration of Louisville's awesomely talented ladies. See you there.

Since a few of you seem overwhelmed by the lineup and asked for suggestions, here are mine: Blue Umbrellas, Marilyn Kingston, Kelly Wilkinson, Rebecca Williams, Alanna, the LeighAnn/Andrea/Kathleen/Brigid set (obviously), Tanita Gaines ... oh hell, this list is getting long. Just come check it out. It's gonna be a good show. See you Sunday.

Info as follows:
Join us for MERF's 1st ever ALL FEMALE SHOW!
$7 donation gets you ALL THIS........

3 rooms at Jim Porters will be rocking all night!

Doors at 5:00
5:45 N'style
6:30 Blue Umbrellas
7:15 Kimmet and Doug
8:00 Most Wanted
8:45 In the round with Brigid Kaelin, Kathleen Hoye, Andrea Davidson and Leigh Ann Yost
9:45 House Band with Karen Kraft, Marilyn Kington, Robbie Bartlett, Sue O'Neil, Martha Brewer, Jennifer Lauletta and Linda Sparrow and GRAND FINALE WITH EVERYONE (you won't want to miss this!!)

Melody Bar (middle room)--
Doors at 5:00
5:15 Alanna
5:45 Walker and Kays
6:15 Kelly Wilkinson
6:45 Troubadors of Divine Bliss
7:20 Rebecca Williams
7:50 Katy Rene
8:20 Amanda Lucas and Audrey Cecil
8:55 Marion Dries
9:30 Ashley Burchette
10:00 Jaime Duvall

Good Time Room (nearest Lexington Rd)
Doors at 5:00
5:30 House Band (da Mudcats) with vocalists Angie Sandage
5:50 Carly Johnson
6:10 Daphne Luster
6:30 Cole Kiser
6:50 Maiden Kentucky
7:10 Amy Johnson
7:30 Dee, Tina and Blaze
8:45 House Band eith vocalists Patty Butcher
9:00 Sheryl Rouse
9:20 Rachel Stump (solo)
9:50 House Band with vocalists Artie Wells
10:10 Patty Cain
10:30 Tanita Gains

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Own HGTV Show.

My parents went out of town for two weeks, and they left me in charge of house and dog-sitting. I think the best part of this whole prank thing was that I know they obsessively check my Facebook page. Despite their making no public appearance on all of the prank suggestions, they were all-the-time reading and wondering what mischief I was up to.

Someone suggested that I switch the kitchen drawers around. I went a few steps further.

My "prank" was this: David and I made our own HGTV "While You Were Out" episode, except we forgot to film it. Basically, when the kitchen was last updated -- in the 1950s or 1960s -- someone put cabinets directly over the only two windows in the dark, tiny room. I always wondered why anyone would do that, and so I took this opportunity to take down those cabinets completely. We re-hung them on another wall.

Yeah, we didn't just switch drawers; we moved cabinets. Suddenly, the two windows were revealed and just poured sunlight into the room. I also got ambitious and started to refinish the cabinets, but only did one because sanding hurts my finger joints. So I just replaced all the hardware and cleaned. David, the might handyman, put in a fancy electrical outlet and light switch for a new light fixture over the sink.

Mom was happily surprised, but dad seemed kind of pissed. Come on, Dude, at least I didn't put rubber bands on the sink sprayers or beef boullon cubes in the shower. I'm hoping he's happier now that he's seem the kitchen in the gorgeous morning sunlight...

I wish I had photos to post now -- I've got the before, but I'm not ENTIRELY finished with the project, so I'm going to wait to post them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clarification on y'day's blog. Advice to young artists.

I'm not depressed. Quite the contrary, I've never been happier. The reference to "Depression" yesterday was a reference to the country as a whole, and how people pull themselves out of the tough financial times with creativity and the help of friends. For example, when people are forced into "self"-employment, they often discover their inner inventor or entrepreneur out of the struggle to survive. That's what I find so exciting: we must find never-before-done methods and be innovative.

So thank you for all the "chin up" emails, but I'm definitely not complaining about my current state. It's a beautiful place to be -- self-sufficient artistically, but with opportunities all around to do more .

I'm also going to combine this with another blog I've been meaning to write. I get messages ALL the time from young artists asking for advice.

Two seemingly simple things come to mind:

1) Learn your art. Practice. Be good. Don't suck. It seems obvious, right? But your art needs to be great before you can go around promoting yourself to others. Think of how many people are doing the same thing you are doing. You need to be the best you can be.

2) Learn the business yourself. Don't let someone sweep in and take over your career before you've had time to learn the ropes. It's amazing to me how many of you assume I'm on a label. I was, briefly, but never released a record there. You must realize how much you can accomplish on your own BEFORE you start signing dotted lines.
That said, I am NOT against labels at all, and I might very well sign another deal. But I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have done everything yourself at some point in your career. You need to understand what the people DO who end up working for you. YOU care more about your success than any label ever will, and whether or not you have a record deal, you will always be your own best champion. Aside from that, labels want an artist who is able to talk business and do things for themselves. They just don't have the staff or capacity to do it all themselves anymore.
Before you go telling me that I've had people doing things for me, let me tell you how my three biggest accomplishments to date happened ... questions I get asked ALL the time:
-The Dreidel video? I shot it myself on a crappy MiniDV recorder and edited it on iMovie and threw it on my YouTube channel. No, it doesn't look fancy, but it caught on and a lot of people watched it.
-How did I get on NPR? I sent them a CD. Myself. Not from some publicist or manager. From me.
-How did I play with Elvis Costello? I asked him.

Believe me, I know a lot of it is luck. But you have to be ready to jump when luck finds you. And if it doesn't find you, at least you have the tools and know-how to truck on and do your art, and it won't matter if anyone else is paying attention. Please, if you want to be in this business for the fame and glory, quit now, and leave room for the folks who MUST make art and will continue to do so whether they're dining in a private restaurant in Manhattan or eating ramen cooked on a hot plate. I've done both, and they're both delicious as long as I'm happy. Which I am.

Thank you so so so much for the great emails I got on yesterday's blog, and let me promise to you that there's no way I'm leaving this business. I've got loads of new songs, and I will record and I will tour whether there's money or not.

Now ... off to practice what I preached. Practicing the piano and sending some follow-up emails to venues in England for a tour next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When in a Depression: Create and be with friends.

I would very much like to make a new record. But I'm at a weird crossroads, and I can't decide whether to continue to forge ahead on my own or sign with some sort of small label. We artists know that we can no longer make money by selling CDs now that everyone just downloads them, mostly illegally. For the few of you who don't understand just how much illegal downloads have affected sales, remember my huge viral hit "Blue Dreidel No. 9" back in Chanukah 2007? Despite the HUNDREDS of emails I got from around the world -- and the 1000 YouTube hits on the first day alone -- from people telling me they'd put my song on their iPods, I've collected only $36.10 in digital sales to date on that record. Kind of shocking, don't you think? Luckily I don't have to split that hefty profit with a record company. I'm not fussing at you, kind supporter of independent music. I think folks just don't realize how much effort and cost goes into putting out a CD.

Despite the frustration and expense, however, it's thrilling to me that there is no longer a standard way of releasing music. I get to be extra creative and try all kinds of new things, and I'm not limited to "Record. Duplicate. Do Press Release. Have Show. Tour. Repeat." This blog, for example, in addition to being a daily writing exercise, has been a really great way of connecting directly with people, during times when it's just too costly to be out touring. (To those of you who just read my blog, it might interest you to know that I am first and foremost ... a musician! Shocker, in the blogsphere, I know.)

I like the idea that I get to be creative, however, and I do know that I have extremely loyal and supportive fans. So I'm trying to be creative about making my next record. Whether I take some cash advance or not, I'm still going to have to make this next record on-the-cheap. And on-the-cheap means being inventive and working with friends. Luckily, that is my favorite way to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grownup Student Council. But really cool.

The weekend was a friend-filled few days of fun, including a trip to the track, two firepits, several mimosas, a bouncy castle, barbecue, an 18-hour nap, lots of dog drool, and a Neighborhood Association Meeting. Today I'll focus on the Neighborhood Association Meeting.

Friend-with-a-Truck is one of those do-gooder types, and he wanted to join our local Neighborhood Association. I admit I've always been curious. When I lived in Schnitzelburg, I loved reading the monthly yellow newsletter that always included a recipe from Old-Lady-So-and-So. Said recipe always involved a can of creamed corn and a cup of marshmallows, which intrigued me to no end. My current neighborhood is a bit more upscale, but the newsletters aren't nearly as interesting. Nonetheless, it was easy to convince me to go to the annual meeting, held yesterday afternoon.

As expected, we were the youngest people there by many years. There were only a couple of wheelchairs, and most people were just genuinely concerned (and probably former student-council members) folks who cared about the community. It was a nice atmosphere full of cookies and lemonade. As the president spoke about volunteer opportunities, he eyed us enthusiastically and mentioned needing help with websites and email. Clearly, our age demonstrates that we speak HTML fluently and often.

There was a cool presentaion from the sewer company that explained why all those trucks had been digging holes in our neighborhood, and discussion on rain gardens and what we can do to help our community and the environment.

Next, Metro Councilman waved and said he was here to answer questions.

Then there was the "election." It was time to elect six new board members, but only five folks had volunteered. I kept poking Friend-with-a-Truck and giggling, and was about to nominate him, when some nice lady in front of us finally agreed.

Then came my favorite part: The friendly local police officer read the crime report for the past month. He practically giggled as he read the report. "OctoberXX, 10:00 pm. iPod stolen from unlocked vehicle. OctoberXX, 7:00pm Car drove into fence." And my personal favorite, "OctoberXX. 9:00pm Soda can thrown at vehicle."

Wow, the crimes in my neighborhood are pretty disturbing, eh? Someone threw a soda can at a car! Call the police! Put the house on the market! Okay, I shouldn't joke about that, but it's nice to know that those are the biggest crimes of the month.

Sadly, the president was pleased and punch with the turnout, which was apparently double last year's. It's a big neighborhood, and there were maybe 30 people there. Considering there are 18 board members, that's not a very large number of consituents. That made me sad, and it made me want to go back to next month's meeting, with friends.

Have you ever been to your Neighborhood Association Meeting? Or do you just walk into your house, New York style, and ignore your neighbors? Find out when those meetings are, and wander in to see what's going on. (This is a link to the Louisville neighborhood list, sorry to all you out-of-towners.) You'll thank yourself the next time the power is out for a week, and you actually have some neighborhood support. Plus it's a cool way of making a big city feel like a village.

I love my neighborhood, and it's nice to know who prunes those roses on Bardstown Road, and who plans the ice cream social. I think it might be my new priority to liven up those meetings. My block is filled with interesting people who have spontaneous hootenannies and grow heirloom tobacco plants on occasion. I wonder if the Neighborhood Association would pay for a bouncy castle block party next spring?

Friday, November 6, 2009

To My Parents: Do not read this.

My parents are out of town, and I am housesitting for them. I've considered all kinds of pranks, but most of them just involve too much work. A few days ago, I put the question to Facebook: What kind of prank should I pull on my parents while they are out of town? Hilarious responses ensued, and I share them with you now.

-short sheet the beds.... move things around in the freezer, get a cat and leave it

-Fill up an entire room with balloons....

-N1H1 quarantine posters on the door. Chalk outline of a body in the driveway. Posters about a missing 20ft snake in the neighborhood.

-Rearrange the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom use soap to write a message on the bathroomirror so when it fogs up when they get out of the shower it looks like a ghost left them message

-lput a rubber band on the sink sprayer trigger..... my new favorite prank.

-crime scene caution tape

-Simple is better. Leave a huge garbage bag full of empty beer cans near the back door. They'll think you had a big party and forgot to remove the evidence. Ha ha!

-tell them you had the mice killed while they were gone

-Oh, Bridget . . . gotta put a 'For Sale' sign in the front yard; not only will it get the parental units, but the neighbors, too!! LOL!

-make a furniture fort out of every stick of furniture, with all of the linens from their beds and linen closet. make a fort city out of it complete with poster signs for hospital, city hall, school an jail.

another idea involves the following:
-1 or more plastic buckets.
-every single piece of cutlery and cooking utensil in the house

This last one should be self-explanatory.

-lA friend of mine took all of the labels off of all the canned food in her sister's house. No idea what your opening until you open it!

-chicken broth cubes in the shower heads... or beef brother. your choice!

-ketchup packets under little pads of the toilet seats. it's just icky and mean.

-Tell'em you're moving back home.

-Love the rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer! Improvise, do several; booby trap the whole dang place, then they'll let you have it for free!!

-Shake up all the jars of peanut butter in the pantry. That way, when they open one of them ... BOOM! peanut butter explodes all over the place.

-I like the idea of taking the labels off the can goods but can also switch labels :)

-My favorite was always to put a small pin hole in the bottom of the egg and blow out the contents - nothing like empty eggshells in the carton for breakfast on Sunday. My parents really loved it when I did that!

-Wow! I'm gonna have to write these down! I had several good ideas, but I see they've already been included :) plus some other genius ideas. Next time I'm asked to house sit for someone--will be the last :0

-When I was a kid, I used to use electrical tape to keep the kitchen sink spray nozzle thing in the "spray" position. Just point it, and as soon as someone turns on the water, they get soaked.

(Dad, I KNEW you would read it!!!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You're welcome, Yankees fans.

I know some of you hate me because the Yankees won last night. I admit it, I got some angry emails over this one. But mostly, I got lots of other requests, for things more important (relatively) than the World Series. (Except for that one request from Friend-with-a-Truck for a Dallas Cowboys Superbowl win. That seems a little greedy of him, don't you think?) It appears that occasionally when I blog about something, it comes true.

So what should I blog about today? First on my mind is a health care plan that doesn't cost a fortune and actually encourages people to go to the doctor, rather than suffering through aches and pains just in case it's nothing. I am an educated woman, and I know that I really should go to the doctor over a few things ... but I also know that Anthem has denied every doctor's visit so far this year -- except a cosmetic mole removal, oddly. And so I never go to the doctor. Some friends of mine who chose not to go to the doctor when their symptoms first arose, are no longer with us. This angers me to no end.

So with my powers, I would like to find an affordable individual health insurance plan that covers preventive services and actually applies my payments towards my deductible, rather than just saying "they don't count, sorry." That's not asking too much, is it?

Also, I'd like to find a vegan cheddar soy-cheese that actually tastes good. They've done well with the mozzarella and swiss, but all cheddars I've tried have sucked.

Random other thoughts: I was completely taken off-guard last night when Matsui used a translator for his MVP interview. Then I thought that it was really bad-ass of him to not speak English, even thought he clearly understood every word of the English-speaking interviewer. Even more awesome, however, was Matsui's translator. When translating the responses, he put so much inflection into it, like he really felt the excitement of the World Series win. He is a great actor, and I anticipate his next career move.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More baseball?

(World Series SPOILER ALERT!!)

So several weeks ago I blew the surprise and announced on my blog what I got Friend-with-a-Truck for his upcoming birthday: another World Series for the Yankees. I can't decide, however, if I want them to win tonight or tomorrow. I had planned on them winning tonight, the first game back at New Yankee Stadium. But now it appears that FWAT has a late soccer game, and he will miss much of the baseball game.

So what do I do? Do I let the Phillies win one more game tonight just so FWAT can watch the Yankees win tomorrow? It seems like that would be kind, but then it makes tomorrow's game all the more stressful.

Hmpf. I guess I'll make a pro-con list and see where it leads me.

By the way, these games are MUCH more relaxing to watch when you know the outcome.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My favorite place.

My favorite place is in the middle of a good novel. My least favorite place is the minute it's over.

Fall is here, winter is near, and I'm deep in the middle of reading season. I started _Pillars of the Earth_ a few weeks ago, but only seriously started reading it last week. Now I'm in my favorite place, which is annoying because I cannot simple hang out all day long and read. I'm also sad because I'm going to finish it soon, and I don't have a fantastic novel lined up next.

So, obviously, I'm going to my second favorite place today: the library.

Hmmmm ... now that I'm thinking about it, I have a lot of favorite places. On stage with a great band is pretty awesome. So is Amsterdam. And so is the moment you find that perfect internal rhyme. I think I have a superlative problem. Or I just have a lot of favorites.

Do you have a favorite place? Or moment? Or book?

Monday, November 2, 2009

A funny story of yore and some namedropping.

I wrote most of a book once. It was spring of my senior year of college, and it was for my independent media study. I was a 20-year-old intern at CBS This Morning (nowadays known as The Early Show), and I wrote about 200 pages of a memoir. It's somewhere on a hard drive in my parents' basement, and I'm kicking myself for not trying to get it published then. It's a bit outdated now, but back in the late 1990's -- before the wild success "The Nanny Diaries" and countless other 20-something memoirs -- it might have been innovative. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that file is lost, which might be for the best because who likes reading what you wrote 10 years ago. Recently, however, I found the journal I kept during that internship, which contains pages and pages of anecdotes of this 20-year-old Kentucky girl's encounter with all kinds of celebrities, big and microscopic.

Since I'm not feeling creative today, and since the original manuscript is long-since gone, I thought I'd share with you a straight-up, unedited journal entry from the day I hung out with Walter Cronkite:

October 13, 1998
You never know who you're going to meet. That's one of my favorite parts of this internship. Sometimes you have no idea who these people coming on the show are -- and those people usually go crazy when you ask their name, as if I should have had a 3x5 and a sharpie in hand when we were introduced -- and sometimes they are the most important figures in history.
Walter Cronkite came in this morning with his Chief-of-Staff, a very friendly lady named Marlene.
Mr. Cronkite was enjoying the green room, and I was keeping him company. CBS doesn't have a particularly impressive green room spread -- just a fruit basket and a tray of bagels, of which I have sampled every flavor and determined to stick with plain bagel, plain cream cheese, with the bagel-innards intact. (Eleanor [Mondale] and most of the celebrity guests scoop out the bagel innards to save carbs, but I just can't do that to a bagel.)
I'm talking with hard-of-hearing Mr. Cronkite, when he bites into his intact bagel and comes out with a huge wad of cream cheese on his mustache. So here I am, still starstruck and not believing I'm having a conversation with Walter Cronkite and he's talking about NASA and John Glenn and the traffic at his appointment at UN Plaza, and he's got this massive blob of cream cheese on his face. How do you tell the most trusted man in America that his mustache is dirty and he's about to go on national television? You don't. After we sat there uncomfortably for a while, he grinned, and wiped his face clean. That must be why he is the most trusted man. Maybe he was just checking to see if he could trust anyone else to tell him. Obviously, he can't.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Painter's Elbow and why you should support local businesses.

I spent over six hours scraping, sanding, and priming my porch yesterday. I know this because I listened to an entire audiobook while I was on the ladder, stretching, and scrunching up my already arthritic fingers. But I was more worried about my elbow.

The last time I did a considerable long stretch of manual labor (painting and tiling), I woke up with a badly infected elbow. Remember that blog? Where the doctor freaked out and put me on antibiotics and told me to pray that it didn't spread or I'd end up in the hospital having surgery? I got better, but it certainly gave me a fright.

When something dramatic is going on in my life, I don't mind telling the world. Usually it's something funny, so it makes a good story anyway. So when I was out with my red an swollen elbow back in August, I needed to go to my favorite local paint store, Dages. I go there for all my paint needs because the owners are awesome. Not only are they huge fans and supporters of local music, but they also help me make decisions. One time I walked in and said, "I want to paint my dining room some sort of goldish color. Can you please pick one out for me?" And it looks awesome on the walls. Well, it looks awesome on the two walls I've actually managed to finish painting.

Anyway, I was in there with my swollen elbow because I needed to get a color matched to touch up a few spots in the kitchen. I brought in the paint chips, went out on a coffee run, and when I came back, David handed me a quart of perfectly matched paint. Since it wasn't a color I had on file there (they keep a file!!), he had to come up with a new name. And what did he name it? Yellow Elbow.

So yeah, I've got a paint color inspired by my elbow infection.

It's a lovely light yellow, perfect for a kitchen. So if you're looking for a new color to brighten up a small room, maybe I suggest you go to Dages and ask for "Yellow Elbow?" It should be in the Brigid Kaelin file.

Now I'm just hoping nothing becomes inflamed because of yesterday's manual labor. Don't worry, I don't plan on doing any more of that for a long time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Rosencrantz: I don't believe in it anyway.
Guildenstern: What?
Rosencrantz: England.
Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?
-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

I'm booking another tour to England and Scotland right now (for May 2010, those of you in the UK, message me with your city-venue requests), and my favorite booking tool isn't one of those ArtistData or Sonicbids or Reverbnation websites. It's a map.

I love maps. Old maps. New maps. Political maps. Even student-made topographic maps. My parents subscribed to National Geographic, and each month the magazine came with a fold out wall map. I kept all of them, plastered my walls with them, and obsessively learned my rivers and capitals. In high school, when we had to master all 54 nations in Africa (at least that's how many were on the map in the 1990s), I hung the wall map of Africa on the bathroom door, facing the toilet. I think my parents probably learned a lot more geography than they were expecting those few weeks. But I know the difference between Cameroon and Chad because of those maps.

I've had a lot of trouble locating a wall map of the United Kingdom. Shouldn't be that difficult, right? But the ones I have found online all ship from the UK, and they are expensive. I hung my folding road map on the wall, but it's only got half of England -- the other half and Scotland are all on the backside. So I ordered a duplicate and am doing lots of cutting and pasting to create my own wall map of the UK and Ireland.

It's the best tool for tour booking because you can actually get a sense of where these cities are and how far you're driving. GoogleMaps is useful, but it's hard to really get the feel for how far you're traveling when you're staring at the laptop screen. I need push pins and flags and highlighted roads.

I think I might start subscribing to National Geographic again. Or if you subscribe, and you have a wall map (not road map) of the UK, hang onto it for me, please?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another irreverent thought.

Last week I was cleaning the basement to store the yard-sale-stuff (it's clear I'll have to wait until spring to have one), when I came across a box of curiosities. I giggled as I pulled out a silver mixing bowl. It's desperately in need of polishing, but I could still make out the letters, "BRIGID KAELIN - AHS 1996 - 12 YEARS PERFECT ATTENDANCE."***

Yes, we all know that I am a big nerd, but now we all know that I am also a big HEALTHY nerd. I think my all-powerful immune system is due to my parents Jewish/Catholic intermarriage. The biology of love says that you are evolutionarily attracted to people with different immune systems from your own, which will thus lead to strong offspring. The Jews are an in-bred tribe and the Irish-Catholics as well (sorry, mom and dad, but you're both in-bred), but my folks branched out when they made me, thus creating a redheaded rock of immunity.

Usually, I'm not worried about getting sick, but with all the swine flu and general flu freak-out this year, I am in battle-mode. I refuse to get sick. There is no time for illness. And so I am armed with Airbourne for me and Hand Sanitizer for those kids who come over to my house for piano lessons and touch all over my keyboard. And multi-vitamins and extra Vitamin C tablets. And an apple a day.

My stupid health insurance always denies every doctor's visit anyway, and Airbourne is cheaper than Anthem. Maybe I should tell them about my Perfect Attendance Silver Bowl. Think they would discount my premium?

*** The Jefferson County Public School Students from the Class of 1995 with 12 Years Perfect Attendance each received a trip to France. I got a silver bowl. Hmpf.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ice storm babies.

About nine months ago, there was a massive ice storm in Kentucky. I was without power for 10 days, and the city was just about shut down. Nine months later, a lot of my friends seem to be giving birth. Babies are cute and all, but I'm suddenly really glad my pipes were frozen that week and I wasn't able to drink the water.

That's all for today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It feels like Scotland outside.

Remember that time back in June, when Friend-with-a-Truck and I decided to go to Amsterdam for the weekend? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might want to scroll back in blog-ville. It was awesome.) I was just thinking that I apparently have a propensity to take last-minute awesome trips. I say that as I stare at the gloomy fall sky, listen to the rain on my roof, worry about money-troubles, and imagine I am in Scotland.

The first time I went to Scotland was when I was 19, and I'd never even had a drink before, other than surprise bourbon when I took a sip of my mom's "Diet Coke." It was my second year of college, and flights to Louisville for spring break were around $500. (This was 1998 dollars too, so that's, like, $2000.) Lyzz and I had decided to just stay in New York for the week. But then we saw flights to London listed in the Village Voice for only $150. Yes, it was cheaper to fly to London than to Louisville. The next thing we knew, we were at JFK; then we were flying over Greenland with the entire West Point Rugby team and watching them drink the plane dry; then we were in London.

After a day and a half in London, Lyzz's dad (who was coincidentally there on business) got sick of us, and bought us each a ticket to Edinburgh. We hopped the train and intended on spending one or two days at the most in Scotland. But our hostel was hopping, and it was St. Patrick's Week, -- I definitely had some Guinness that week, although my love of fine Scotch wasn't discovered until my third trip to Scotland -- and we had to race back to London at the end of the week barely in time to catch our flight back to New York.

I've considered planning another spontaneous and awesome trip, but that sort of defeats the purpose. Although, reading Pillars of the Earth definitely has me searching daily for cheap tickets to the UK.

If the week continues to look like Scotland outside, you may get an entire blog on Scotch Whisky. I think I'm going to go add some single malts to my public Amazon Wish List.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Weird ... a baseball blog from Brigid?
I lived in New York for five years. The Yankees won the World Series four of those five years. I'm sort of a good luck charm for them, I admit. The year I moved there, 1996, was the first time the Yankees won the World Series since 1978 (incidentally, the year I was born -- see, I brought them luck even in the 1970s). They haven't won since I left New York. I also haven't paid one bit of attention to Major League Baseball, other than a few Kevin Costner movies on TBS, since then.

Friend-with-a-Truck, however, loves baseball. He also loves the Yankees. As a birthday gift to him this year, I have decided to give the Yankees another World Series. So I've started watching the playoffs, and as you can see, my former charm and influence over their wins has returned. I still think the Twins got a really bad break in that one game where the ref called foul when it was obviously fair and thus prevented them from scoring in the extra innings. But it was fun watching that fiesty little runner steal bases right under poor Joe Nathan's nose. (I think there should be an old-timey song called "Poor Joe Nathan.")

During the past week of watching playoff games, I've also decided there should be option on your TV to "Watch with Brigid's commentary." You know, just like on a DVD when you can watch with director's commentary. I think my comments are much more insightful than the boring sports announcers'. I like to talk about all kinds of things while I'm watching a baseball game.

Here's an example of Brigid commentary during MLB games:
I think Johnny Damon looked much better with long hair. Also, I think he's a traitor. I used to go to Yankees games with a bunch of Red Sox fans. It was scary. I think it's horrifying they are tearing down the Metrodome and its cool retractable roof.** I went to a Twins game in 1988 with some relatives in St. Paul, and the Metrodome was brand new. How environmentally irresponsible is it to build massive-yet-disposable stadiums? Did they tear down Yankee Stadium yet? Hey!! That call was ridiculous. How can that umpire sleep at night? Seriously?? No do-overs? That's just mean to walk A-Rod. Give him a chance to hit, I mean, come on. Even if he did cheat on his wife. But then, that was with Madonna. Don't you think he probably said to his wife, "Hey, give me just this one ... I mean, it was Madonna! Wouldn't you have done the same?" But still, he cheats on his wife, he probably cheats in baseball too. Oooh ooh! Home run. That's awesome. I really like it when they break the bats. What do you think they do with the broken bats? Do they recycle them? Or give them to fans?

Come to think of it, Friend-with-a-Truck is really tolerant to watch anything at all with me. Still, I think it's a pretty cool birthday present to give him a World Series for his team.

** I have since been told they are not tearing down the Metrodome. Whew! Relief! And apparently, it doesn't have a retractable roof. Hmpf, I always envisioned it with a retractable roof. Probably another one of those lies my dad told me that I gew up believing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My new job.

I remember one day in college, sitting around Garrett's room, perusing the Giant Book of Internships. It was sophomore year, I think, and I was anxious to do something besides go to class and my work-study job. Although I ultimately took an internship at CBS News, I remember one opportunity that stood out. I think Garrett found it, and I don't remember what the company was. I do remember that the job description included "generating ideas." We found this wildly hilarious and imagined ourselves sitting in wee cubicles all day long saying things like, "Eureka! I've got an idea. A blanket with sleeves!" It seemed like the perfect job. Someone else could take care of all the details; all we had to do was be creative and make lists.

Ten years later, this still feels like the ideal job to me. I'm thinking about starting an Idea Generating Company. My first hire will be a scribe to follow me around and write down my brilliant ideas.

Here is my most recent one: It's based on the Roomba, you know that vacuum robot that rolls over the floors and knows when to turn corners, etc. Rather than a large floor robot, it's a tiny version that you stick on your legs in the shower, and it roves up and down your legs and shaves them. There will also be a face version for men.

Seriously, I think Idea Generator would be the best job ever. Let me know if your company is hiring.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blogs you may have missed plus my utility bill.

Facebook has been screwy lately, and in addition to not letting me sign on at all, it has somehow not imported a few of my blogs. So if you are wondering what you missed, check them out at :

Today's blog is about being cheap versus being a conservationist. Sometimes the two do not go hand in hand. Often, I spend much more time (which is money, of course) than seems reasonable to compost and recycle, just so I can avoid creating garbage. It's a fun challenge. I haven't had to put the garbage can on the curb in several weeks, which is good because I always forget anyway. My recycling bin, however, is generally overflowing within days of its being emptied.

Sometimes, however, being a conservationist saves you money. Like waiting until the last possible minute to turn on the furnace. Snuggies™ can save you weeks of furnace energy, if you shrink wrap your windows early enough. I haven't shrink-wrapped yet, however, so I did turn on my furnace. It's set to 64 -- rather luxurious, I think. I'm a grownup now, so I figured I don't have to suffer with a home below 60 degrees.

Another thing I do is turn off the lights when I exit the room. Shocker, I know. But this is my first full month in several years that I haven't had a roommate. And roommates, however fun they are, do not always have the same energy-saving mentality as I do. Last October, my gas and electric bill was $350+. This year's bill ... wait for it, wait for it ... is $31.

I feel like I've won the lottery. I mean, I've been baking bread and cookies and using the gas stove for all those meals I'm now eating at home. I've even taken longer showers than usual. Hell, I've actually been home for a month. But somehow ... thirty-one dollars?? I really feel like a winner.

Maybe tonight I'll just use my pop-up booklight that came with my Snuggie™ when I'm reading, rather than turning on the overhead light. What are y'all reading, anyway? I'm reading _Pillars of the Earth_, which I say publicly so that I have incentive to finish the tome.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I love my job.

For those of you who asked where my gig was last night, it was at the absolutely gorgeous home of Bill Samuels, who is bourbon royalty, and the guy whose name goes on every bottle of Maker's Mark. The winding drive there featured typical pastoral Kentucky, with views of trees dipped in the red wax of autumn. It was a lovely drive, with fall all around, views of the Ohio River, and those simple wooden fences designed to keep in horses.

After the music part of the night was over, and I waited around while the guests used my PA system for speeches, I was killing time near Mr. Samuels's liquor cabinet, which just happened to be in the room next door to my microphone. What kind of liquor does a bourbon royal keep on display? Maker's Mark, of course, but not just any ol' bottle. In tiny handwriting, and signed by every factory worker there in 1958, was the very first bottle of Maker's Mark ever produced. The red wax, of course, was still intact. There were also a bunch of older bottles of bourbon, one I noticed dating back to 1881. Pretty cool.

Anyway, it was a fun night, and a beautiful drive out there. Probably the best part of the night was getting to play with the spectacular Steve Cooley. I've played with him for years, but it's always been during short sets of my own tunes. We played for about two hours straight, not taking a break because we didn't want to. I made him take far more solos than is standard, mostly because I love hearing him play. It made me realize I really need to start going out to Gerstle's on Monday nights again. He's really something special, and anyone who plays a stringed instrument should be forced to hear him live. He makes me want to practice my scales. Hope he's not reading this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another theory on Snuggies.

I wrote a whole blog this morning about my Snuggie™, but then as I flipped through my favorite blogs this morning, I noticed that Lauren wrote about Snuggies™ yesterday. So you should go read her blog about Snuggies™. I'm not sure I agree with her theory on why adults like them though. I'll just say a few things...

I remember seeing the commercial sometime around Thanksgiving last year. I was at my parents' house, and I guffawed when it came on TV. It was so ridiculous: a backwards robe you could wear at sporting events. I was at the Back Door several days later, and I pulled up the commercial on my phone while my friends watched in disbelief, some saying, "That's a robe!" and others saying, "I saw that too! Who would buy that??"

The past year has been full of Snuggie humor and lots of opportunities for gag birthday gifts and such. But now that fall has set in and winter is looming, suddenly Snuggies™ (Sidetrack: if they ever make a Snuggie™ musical, they should use that song "Suddenly Seymour" from _Little Shop of Horrors_ and change it to "Suddenly Snuggie" (Bigger sidetrack: Last week I went to see some friends in the live-action stage musical _The Rocky Horror Show_. At intermission, my dad turned to me and said, "Where's the plant? Where's Seymour?" He seriously thought we were there to see _Little Shop of Horrors_. Awkward...)) are actually proving themselves useful to those of us who received them as gag gifts. My dad bequeathed mine to me. Just last night I was shivering on the couch, trying to figure out how to maneuver both a blanket AND a book, when I pulled the Snuggie out of its hiding place. It was perfect.

Really, though, I think the Snuggie popularity is not because it makes us feel swaddled and childlike, nor because it's just a gag. I think its because it symbolizes that old transcendental idea of the American Dream. Not only did someone come up with this idea, -- probably when they were absurdly high -- but they actually MADE the prototype, and then PITCHED the idea to someone, got backing, went into production, and made a brilliant commercial. Thus, if an idea as dumb as a backwards robe can make someone an instant millionaire, then all the rest of our dreams could still come to fruition.

I type this theory to you from my old purple couch, holding my laptop and sporting my Snuggie™. I don't have the fancy zebra print or pink one. I have the original Cult Maroon color. But it does the job, and I'm hope it will keep me from turning on the furnace until the absolute last possible moment. I mean, last year, I was able to sleep here during the Ice Storm Power Outage until the temperature inside the house dropped to about 46. But with Snuggie™ Power, I might last to 42. Unless they come up with this new prototype (hint hint, folks): A Snuggie with fingerless gloves attached. I might make it to just above-freezing if I had one of those.