Thursday, June 30, 2011

Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican lasso.

Many things have happened in the million-year interval since I last wrote. The biggest things:

1. Continued digging up of our yard.
2. U2 show.
3. Relatively last minute, brief vacation to St. Robert, MO.

I will try to sum up each item in three words, and then post a picture of each.

1. Continued digging up of our yard - scary, dirt, holes.

2. U2 show - standing, dry, waiting

3. Relatively last minute, brief vacation to St. Robert, MO. - relaxing, good, smiles

Could probably write a lot about each one, but don't feel like it. The vacation was nice, although brief, and it was wonderful to get down to my family's cabin at Mossy Springs.

Yesterday, the Jeanners and I were still both off work, so we seeded half of the front yard, patched some cracks (that the ants were using to get in the house) and cleaned up the bedrooms so we can get some more work done. Topped it all off with an end-of-vacation dinner at the Hamilton Tavern.

Today: cleaned some nasty vine out that was taking over the azaleas, watered the grass seed, and catching up on e-mail, writing and facebook. Going to go finish wiring an exterior light and then drill some holes in the dining room wall.

Friday, June 17, 2011


There are dudes with large pices of equipment in our yard digging up shrubs and excavating some large holes, what will eventually become rain gardens. I've explained what a rain garden is to numerous neighbors and relatives who have asked, and I don't do a very good job, so feel free to google it. Or even look it up on Wikipedia. Or, if it's a nice day in your area and you feel adventurous, walk to your local public library and look it up in an encyclopedia Brittanica.

So anyway, dudes and large equipment and digging up lots of shit. It's making me feel a little bit queasy. I'm trying not to watch.

Also, there was a car accident on our street this morning where a car turned over into somebody's lawn.

Crazy day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daryl Johnson Eludes Me Yet Again

Yesterday afternoon after work I headed down to DC to see Daniel Lanois' band Black Dub at the 9:30 Club. Got down there around 4:30pm, so I had a few hours to stand around and wait until the doors opened at 7. I was expecting there to be at least a few other people waiting around, but to my surprise I was the only one there except for venue people and crew people. I parked my car by the alley behind the club and just started walking around when I saw a guy come out of a back door into the alley. I went up and asked him if he was Brian Blade (he was), told him I was a big fan of his work and chatted a little bit about the tour (where they've been playing, where they go next), told him that Art Blakey was my favorite drummer but since he's dead Brian Blade has moved to the top of the list. Asked if I could take a piucture, took a picture, then told him I didn't want to bother him anymore and went back to walking around. Super nice guy. Here's the picture:

Well, because this happened within like the first five minutes, I was super pumped, thinking that the rest of the band would be coming out sporadically for breaks and I'd get a chance to chat with everybody individually and stuff. That didn't happen. I went back to meandering around, occasionally going back by the alley (I was told by a large venue person not to go back into the alley) or just hanging out by the front door, where people also seemed to be coming and going. At one point a guy came up to me and introduced himself as Mark (he looked like a younger version of Willie Nelson), and I asked him if he was Mark Howard, and he said he was. I was really surprised and a little bit blown away. Mark Howard is a guy who engineers a lot of Lanois-produced records, and also engineers, produces, and mixes a lot of records on his own. His resume is like a who's who list of my favorite artists. I told him that it was really amazing to meet him, and that I've seen his name on just about everything I like but never knew what he looked like. He said, "well, this is what I look like." He said I was down there really early for the show, and I explained that I got off work in Baltimore in the afternoon and didn't really feel like hanging out at home for a few hours so I decided to head down to the venue. He said I should stick around after the show and I'd probably get to meet the band, and asked if I knew the area or if I knew of any good restaurants around. I said I didn't. Again, super nice guy. Didn't get a picture.

A little later I saw a woman that looked like Trixie Whitley (lead singer, occasional drums, very occasional guitar) across the street taking pictures of the club. I would have gone over and said hi, but I wasn't sure it was her because she was dressed up in like semi-business attire. So I just hung out and very subtly tried to get in her pictures.

Not much else of note happened before the show. Got inside at seven, had a couple of beers, stood and looked at the inside of the place (which is actually really nice, I didn't get a good sense of it during the Josh Ritter show), was surprised at how it didn't seem to be filling up at all. After the opening act (Rocco Deluca) I was able to go pee (in the restroom) and make it back to my spot in the front row unhindered and with no pushing, elbowing, or shouldering. At most, for the entirety of the evening, the place was maybe half full. Very surprising to me and I'm sure somewhat disheartening for the band. Oh well. It made for a much nicer experience for those of us in the audience.

The show was great. Not a lot of chitchat, but I was close enough (about 3 feet away) to the band members to hear their conversations with each other and to actually have conversations (not really conversations, but sentences back and forth) with them. They're all really fun to watch. Daryl Johnson (bass player extraordinaire) was unfortunately absent, but the person who was subbing was pretty good and funny to watch. Trixie seemed unbelievably self-conscious, seemed at times a little morose or sad or something (maybe the half-filled house?), but has an amazing voice and really got into what she was singing. Lanois was wearing a hat and shades for most of the show, but seemed really warm and happy to be there. Surprisingly (to me) thick fingers. Like farmer's hands. He only played one pedal steel song, which was surpising to me and a little sad. The show lighting was mostly dim and a little dark for my crappy camera to get decent pictures, but here's on of him playing some pedal steel. And then one scary one where I accidentally used a flash (sorry, D.L.!).

Show ended, most people left, a few people (myself included) stayed around as the roadies cleared stuff away. The venue staff gently shoo'd us into the lobby, and a few minutes later, D.L. comes in the lobby. There's maybe 10 people left at this point. I go up to him and shake hands and tell him it was a great show and that I'm a big fan, usual fan stuff, and his handler-person asks if I want to get a picture with Daniel. I say sure and he takes the picture and then moves on to the next person. He seemed a little more interested in the ladies, to be honest. Which is ok with me, I understand. But I was bummed when he then invited two small groups of people (with ladies in them) to go upstairs and have drinks. I didn't get invited. Which bummed me out. Maybe he was insulted when I told him I'd been waiting to see him since I was 10 years old. Hmm. But really, going up and having drinks would've been beyond my wildest imaginings (actually, it would be equal to my wildest imaginings). So I went outside and hung out a little bit (in the hopes that Mark Howard, who was loading up gear into the bus, would see me and invite me up for drinks [no such luck]). But Trixie did come outside right near where I was standing, so I went and shook hands and told her what a great show it was, and how she was really badass on the drums, and she said it was really intimidating to be playing next to Brian Blade, and I told her it took a lot of balls to even be playing next to him. But that she did a really good job. She was really down-to-earth and pleasant to talk to.

Me and Mr. Lanois:

Anyway, it was a really great time. I got to meet some of my musical heroes (Daryl Johnson, I will see you yet!), got to have an adventure on my own in DC, and saw a really great show. I hope that the band is on their way to New York right now, reminiscing fondly about the annoying geek in the orange hat.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scratch my nails down your back...or something like that.

Just got back from karaoke at Mango Manny's. Jesus, it was awesome. After 10 years of looking, I have finally found a place that comes close to Kirksville karaoke with Wendy. An amazing mix of people, some songs I have never in my life heard, some black dudes in women's pants with large afro wigs, a woman singing a Mary J. Blige tune with a white dude that sings country songs dancing along with her. I don't know. It's just a really great thing to see. A very Baltimore mix of people.

The A-Train came out to jaraoke with us. She's a pretty perfect karaoke buddy.

The crowd seemed to like "Parents Just Don't Understand," but was luke warm towards "Born to Run." "Born to Run" was a little higher and faster than I'm used to singing but it felt pretty good, vocally. I wasn't quite drunk enough to go crazy with it, though. Oh well. It still felt good. Didn't get to sing Phil Collins/Phillip Bailey this time, but maybe next time. Also next time, maybe a duet with the A-Train?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

And I also enjoy...levitation.

It looks like it wants to rain outside. Please, please let it rain. It needs to cool the fuck off, the garden could use the water, and I noticed today that the grass is starting to brown. And I don't mind a nice brown lawn in late July or August, but June is just too early.

Ugh. It's been a bit of a crazy week. Sometimes I feel like I'm going a bit crazy, but I'm just at the very beginning part of it where it only seems like slight little changes that don't mean much. But then after a decade of tiny imperceptable changes you're completely batshit bonkers. "On Your Way to the Noble," I like to call it. (because the crazies like to hang out at the Noble.) Here is an example of a guy who is "on his way to the Noble":


I'm tired. Jeannie and I have been staying up past our bedtime (10PM) watching episodes of Mad Men's fourth season. It's really good. My favorite season so far.

I went for a run yesterday in the million-degree heat. I usually run down to Lake Montebello and around the lake and then home. And usually, during the summertime there are always a bunch of people walking or biking or running around the lake. Not yesterday. There were a couple of people on bikes but that was about it. I thought I was going to die a little bit. I only made it about 3/4 of the way around the lake and then I had to quit. I felt like I had stopped sweating, and my days of working at the power plant and learning all about heatstroke had taught me that that is a bad sign.

We're going to have some landscaping done. The dude might start next week. That would be pretty cool. Also, the house is just about ready to begin "Phase 1" of the insulation work. Also pretty cool. It will feel fantastic to get some of this deadlined work out of the way.

Yikes! The wind has kicked up and there is a nice little thunderstorm going on outside. Stupid wind.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hott az Balz

It has gotten summer-time hot here in Baltimore City. 99 today. Yep. So ends my weather small-talk.

The Beej was in town for about a week, and last Thursday night I headed on down to Chez Kilpatrick and played some geek games until 4 in the morning. Seriously! And then the children Kilpatrick woke up at like 7:30, and Teresa mercifully kept them upstairs for about 45 minutes so I got to catch a little more sleep downstairs on the couch. It was a good time. During the geek games, by the way, I stomped on BJ and Pat's weak spines. Which never happens. For those keeping score at home, the last time I played spades with BJ I stomped on his spine, and the last time I played geek games (geek games, by the way, is a really dorky card-based game put out by the history channel called Anachronism. It's actually really fun if you're a big ol' geek like BJ or even just a borderline geek like me.) with Pat and BJ, I stomped on their spines. Also, I ate about a bag and a half of Doritos and drank 2 litres of caffeine-free Coke. A good night.

Then, on Sunday, the Jeanners and I worked on our roof all day, from 9 in the morning until around 9 at night. And I was a complete bitch the entire day. Seriously. Tremendous bitch. I complained the whole day and was grumpy and complaining and grumpy. All day. I am glad and surprised that Jeannie didn't accidentally nudge me off the roof. So props to the J-Dog for putting up with my b-crap. Also, mad props to the J-Dog for finishing the job all by herself on Monday while I was at work. Monday, when it was much sunnier and hotter up on the roof than on Sunday when I was pissing and crying all day, and she did it with no complaining. One of a kind.

Monday night the Beej came up to our place for dinner (actually, he had been hanging out at the B&N all day while I was at work, which is probably only slightly higher on the sucky-boredom scale than actually working there), and the A-Train came over and we headed up to the Hamilton Tavern for some tasty burgers. Once again, the Hamilton Tavern did not disappoint, and because it was a holiday, it wasn't super-crowded in there. Then we came back to the house and talked a little bit, and listened to some Rick Astley, and tried to figure out who the hell Aimee was talking about when she was describing a guy with long dark hair, circa 2004, who had a video on MTV where he wiggled his eyebrows a lot. If anybody knows who it might be, please send me a message because nobody could figure it out. Jeanners and I also realized that the A-Train would be a perfect karaoke companion, so the next time we head to Mango Manny's for some splended B-More-style karaoke, we will be calling the Aims.

That is all for now. Yesterday I put up some drywall and sweated a lot and ripped the ass entirely out of my shorts.