We read the paper on the deck, worked in the yard, swam at the pool, played horseshoes and had dinner across the street at Rick and Monica’s. Rick cooked salmon on cedar planks and he made rice with cilantro and lime. We brought the salad. Monica made a blueberry pie. I told Rick that I had lost my jackknife. (I think it was at the theater during Hellboy) He went upstairs and came down with a black Swiss Army knife with the Kodak logo on it that he bought at the garage sale they had at our house after the previous owner died. He gave it to me so it is back where it belongs. We played with Rick’s new iPod Touch. I previewed some of our recent web pages. It was a perfect Sunday. Now I ‘m boning up on best web practices at Apple’s site. Gotta make sure our pages work on all of Apple’s hot new devices.
We started last evening at the Village Gate with extreme entertainment from Watkins and the Rapiers who were playing outdoors on the patio. We had planned to meet Rick and Monica there for a bite to eat but we got there too late for that and they didn’t seem to mind. Rick had already celebrated his last day at work with his fellow employees and then met Monica there. He asked if I could drive his car home so he could keep celebrating.
After their set Peggi and I headed over to the Public Market for Latin Night. They had a great turnout, mostly Puerto Ricans and us. Unless I’m missing something, Puerto Ricans do a lot better job of mixing the races than we do.
Our final stop of the evening was Abilene where a band with a lot of horns and no vocalist was playing on the back deck. Peggi and I both ordered a Scottish style ale in a can called “Old Chub” and talked to a Ron Stackman who had just returned from Stockholm. He told us he had seen Patti Smith perform there and she played the worst clarinet he had ever heard. We headed back to the Village Gate to pick up Ricks car. It is a stick shift Subaru and it was a lot of fun to drive. I followed Peggi home down Culver. It took me about half the trip to find the volume control for the stereo so I could turn it down. Rick likes Americana singer songwriter stuff. I this one lyric stuck with me. She went to school while I hung around. I ain’t never gonna leave my home town”. I was thinking of me and Peggi.
We did a little yard work today, mostly cleaning up after ourselves, and opened the windows so we could hear our stereo in the back yard. It rained for bit so I cme in to work on some web pages. I called Bill Jones for tech support. I’ve been doing this since the day I met him back at Publisher’s Workshop. I will never catch up to Bill.
Party Shuffle in iTunes was cookin’. The eighteen minute “Little House I Used To Live In’ from 1969’s Burnt Weenie Sandwich came up with Sugercane Harris’s violin solo. I remember learning the Art Tripp drum parts with Brad Fox. And then I remembered that someone broke in to the house Dave Mahoney and I lived in while we were out tripping somewhere in Bloomington. When we got back the stereo was gone along with our copy of “Burnt Weenie” which we left on the turntable. Th empty album jacket was still there. And then I put it all together that that was “the little house I used to live in”. This place was tiny. It was the size of single car garage. The bed was in the living room. There was tiny kitchen, just big enough to make peanut butter sandwiches and Progresso Minestrone soup, and a shower.
“American Gangster”, from Netflix, is waiting for us in the living room.
The whole time we were working on the stone wall out back I kept looking at the other end of our yard where, according to the neighbors, some Bosnians rebuilt the stone wall before we moved in. I can’t imagine how they did this but it puts our efforts to shame.
Rich and Andrea gave me a green, long sleeve t-shirt that had “Treehugger” written on the front. I wore it to Abeline on Olga’s birthday. Bobby Henrie & The Goners were playing. I was talking to Hermie from the Bug Jar and some guy came up to me and said, “You don’t have to wear that shirt. I could have spotted you a mile away”. He laughed and I laughed but it seemed kind of odd. And then a woman standing nearby said, “I am a treehugger. Have you ever hugged a tree?” I said no but I actually have. It was in jest but I remember the feeling.
When we were at Peggi’s high school reunion a few weeks ago two people told us we looked organic. This seemed sort of odd to us. We had never heard anyone refer to people as “organic”. Peggi wondered if it was the lack of hair dye or make-up and I thought maybe it was my shirt not being tucked in. But we really have no idea.
We finished our stone wall this evening. We started this project back in May. A few weeks went by when we were unable to get out there but it was a bigger project than we realized. Fitting the stones so they don’t wobble, keeping the two over one and one over two rule in mind, checking the level from time to time and just lifting these things only to find one in every five or so fit was a lot. It kind of looks like a mad man did it. But hey, it’s organic.
We’ve had over four inches of rain this week and that’s about all anyone around here can talk about. At least that is case with our neighbors. We haven’t left the hood in a while. We took a walk down Hoffman to see how “the fool on the hill” made out with all the rain. He was out in the road at the bottom of his driveway shoveling mud. Why the town ever gave that guy the green light to build on that steep slope is still a mystery.
It’s not not like it has been raining all the time, it has all come in these incredible tropical like downpours accompanied with thunder and lightning. We’ve lost power twice. We woke up to thunder this morning around three and shut the computers down ourselves before they got spiked.
Have you checked out Martin Edic’s global warming blog? There might be something to this.
We spent the day constructing Julia Nunes’ website layout at HostBaby (sister company to CD Baby). They have a easy access admin panel and all sorts of snippets with easy ways for novices to update their site without wrecking it in their basic package. And then they offer the possibility of a full access site with the snippets. They even have a friendly, knowledgeable help staff. Pretty impressive.
Bob Russell emailed from the Little Theater Cafe wanting to know if we wanted to play next Wednesday so I guess we have a date in the near future. I just set my drums up here for the first time since our WXXI gig. Peggi and I might play later tonight. I’m going to add that date to the Margo site when I finish this. Is it ok if I talk to myself here? I’ve sort of made a resolution to not put up any new pages until the section I’m posting to gets reworked from html to php. Eventually the whole Refrigerator site will be php pages with includes for the header with a navigation menu that I can update in one document and have it fed to the whole site. I am completely backlogged with stuff to post to the site and I can’t see updating only to have to rework those pages down the road.
So I created a new php index page for the Refrigerator and uploaded it. Peggi modified the .htaccess file to redirect301 the old index.html links to index.php. The only things in the menu are the few sections that I have reworked.
Peggi’s sister is coming into town next week to spend some time with her mom so Peggi and I are planning a trip to NYC. Another getaway idea is going up to Pete and Shelley’s place in the mountains. We met them twenty years ago on 8.8.88 at their “Digital Breakdown Party”, the day that Pete imaginged all tose old alrm clocks with flipping numbers relaxed and sat at 88:88. Maybe we can do both trips.
I don’t like comic books (except for Mad Magazine) or Science Fiction or action flics so what in the world was I doing watching a Cuban cigar smoking, Mexican beer drinking, red, over-sized, Shrek-like, action figure in the lead role of Guillermo del Toro’s really loud new movie? And was that Iggy Pop as Price Nuada? We liked Pan’s Labyrinth and Martin told us we should see this movie in the theater so we did. The air conditioned theater seemed like a perfect summer night destination.
We were in day three of our slow mo summer thing, deliberately skipping bands that people recommend, not answering the home line, scratching things off the To Do list, reading on the porch and doing everything in our power to sloww the summer down. We just got an invite to Janet Marshall’s summer party on August 2nd. The sound of “August” already scares me. We’re lying so low we haven’t even been to the pool in three days except to to check the chemicals.
I felt relieved when the ten minutes of three column credits started. I was really curious about who the Special Makeup Effects and Animatronics Crew was and the Prosthetic Makeup Artists did such an amazing job. I would like to hire the Seamstress Supervisor of Creature Suit Seaming Department for a little project I’m working on at 4D. And I was really surprised that Barry Manilow didn’t write that damn song (“Can’t Smile Without You”) that was featured in this new age classic.
We checked the movie line up at nearby theaters from our new Firefox “add on” to our igoogle home page. We considered “Mama Mia” but the previews were pretty bad. The previews for “wall e” looked good but it had already started at Culver Ridge so we went across the street to our neighbors to see what they had. They are in the NetFlix plan that gives them three movies at a time. We only have one at a time and ours is in transit. We came home with “The Dead Girl”, a dark mystery from 2006, which hopefully hit the spot.
We started Saturday by eating cherries and reading Thursday’s and Friday’s New York Times on the deck. It seemed like a nice day even though they were calling for a thunderstorm so we decided to mix mortar and grout the cracks between the stones that we had reset under our deck. Everything was going along fine. iTunes was doing a great job with the party shuffle. I mixed a small batch of mortar and we used it up in a few minutes. I mixed a big batch in a five gallon bucket and I had just spread it all out when the rain came, more rain than we have had all summer. We tried putting a tarp over the job site but everything was already under water. It dried out in an hour or so and Peggi sponged off the stones. The mortar looks ok. Whether its strength was compromised by all that water or not, we will find out.
There is something to be said for a hard day’s work of manual labor. Something like, “We’re tired”.
I checked the link in Andrea’s comment to my “demand destruction” post (below) and found the grizzly pope talking the same thread. “Pope Benedict XVI says insatiable consumption scarring planet”. So I guess I’ll give that a rest and let him bang his head against the wall.
We kind of played hooky today and didn’t do all that much 4D activity. We worked on our stone wall project out back and then went down to the pool for a dip.
It is Peggi’s mom’s birthday so we scooped her up and brought her over to our house for dinner. Sparky stopped by and we sat on the deck for while. We sang Happy Birthday and Sparky launched right into a second verse that none of us had ever heard before. It had something to do with a thousand good cheers, a thousand beers, getting plastered and a line where he would have said bastard but he didn’t and everyone laughed instead. I had marinated chicken all afternoon and we cooked it in the backyard. Peggi made an angel food cake and put fresh strawberries on it with three candles and three little plastic ballerinas.
This all sounds pretty mundane and that’s the way we like it. In fact we were talking about tying to slow the summer down even more.
What a relief. We may be turning the corner and it never felt so good. Economic theory holds that prices can only rise so high before customers are no longer willing to pay for a product, a phenomenon called “demand destruction”.
So the phenomenon has a name and now it needs momentum. Oil is only the beginning. We need demand destruction across the board before we consume ourselves.
The Phil Marshall Trio may not really be a real band. The official name may now be “The Horse Lovers” but the players are the same and Phil’s songs are are just as sweet. Even the new songs feel like old friends and the players are old friends so their performance on WXXI’s “On Stage” last nigt was especially enjoyable. Ken plays a different kind o bass in Margaret Explosion and all three of these guys played with Colorblind James. My favorite part was when Jimmy Mac did the chain drop on his snare drum for the big beat during their minor key, revamped version of “America The Beautiful”. Phil’s song, “Walking To The Opera”, written for his late brother is a flat out beautiful. There is an acoustic version of it on Phil’s MySpace page. While you’re there check out Annie Wells singing, “Guide Your Sweetest Dreams”. Watch out though. There’s a few Phil Marshalls in the MySpace world.
We were traveling with Rick Simpson in John Gilmore’s car last night so the night was still young when the XXI show ended. We walked into Adeline as the Tar Box Ramblers were startig their second set. We got talking to Rita Coulter at the bar and then got sidetracked at the pool table where John Gilmore was playing the night watchman from the Little Theater. When we finally got out back the bass player had set aside his stand up bass to join in on drums. The woman doing the door told us that the band reminded her of Phil Marshall. She was right. They did a nice versio of “Good Night Irene”.
I started thinking about Marky Ramone and how I liked his angular playing in the Voidoids but didn’t think he could match Tommy’s succinct playing with the Ramones. That was pretty much a non-sequitur. Here’s another one. Did you know Ken Frank is a mean chess player and an enigma.
Irondequoit moved a 180 year old cobblestone building from it’s original location on East Ridge Road near Culver to the grounds of the town hall. Leo, our 91 year old neighbor and his lady friend, Bette, watched the move and they were both quoted in this morning’s paper. Leo remembers watching men shoe horses in the old Blacksmith Shop after school. Bette’s father ran a service station there in the thirties. Bette still lives nearby in the house she was born in.
Maureen called us to see if we might want to join her while she watched them take down the power lines and traffic signals along the route. We were too beat. We sat on the porch and read the weekend’s newspapers. And the whole thing just makes me sad.
The building was too close to the road and the Winter salt was coroading the foundation. It coud be because that portion of the road is now five lanes wide. It might also have something to do with the value of that lot to a Walgreen’s or Wegman’s competitor. It seems like only yesterday that Suburban Hair was standing where Walgreens is. Maybe the town hall can “charge the people a dollar and half just to see” it in the new location.
We walked around Cranbrook Academy on Saturday where the Head of the Architectural Department, William Massie, has constructed his “American House” on the grounds. I thought it was really beautiful but I was certain it was something from the nineteen sixties. It’s not. The Detroit News did a video tour of the place.
Peggi had a ball at her reunion and I had a ball watching her have one. “The Townsmen”, a band from her high school days, reunited for the affair. Peggi went to the Junior Prom with the lead singer. Mary, in the brown in the photo above, rides a Harley and told us about these ferries that cross the Saint Claire River at Algonac and Marine City. We stopped at Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak to buy a map of the Great Lakes and choose Marine City. It was an amazing experience. We found the ferry and drove right on it without stopping. They pulled up the gate behind us and we were pushing off in seconds. I still had the car running.
Customs was a breeze. We stopped and picked rasberries on the Canandian side. We drove through a section of Canada with working oil wells in the fields and then crossed into the states at Lewiston. Instead of the thruway we drove along Lake Ontario on Route 18 which has to be one of the prettiest roads in New York. The dreamy small towns all have inlets from the lake with boats slips and funky houses. We stopped in Olcott where they were packing up the rides from their summer carnival. The other side of the road is lined with fruit orchrds and the short little trees were laden with cherries.
A few of the pads on Peggi’s soprano sax were sticking so she took the horn into Shuffle Music on East Avenue so Carl could look at it. Peggi mentioned that the horn is also slightly out of tune with itself. Some people notice that sort of thing. Carl suggested that she call Wally at U-Crest in Buffalo to see if he had any reconditioned sopranos in his Shop. He did and he FedExed out one that day for Peggi to try. This is the way they do things today.
The horn sounded great but the arrangement of the lower register keys was different. Peggi’s hands weren’t big enough to reach them. So she decided to take it back. We were planning on driving through Buffalo on our way to Detroit for Peggi’s high school reunion so thought we would hand deliver the thing. We found the place and hopped out of the car with the horn but couldn’t get in. They’re closed Fridays during July and August just like the sign says. Wally’s got a good thing going here. There was a nice one story brick house attached to the store on the left and a small kidney shaped swimming pool was behind the fence on the right. So we continued on to Detroit with the horn.
The expressways near the border have electronic signs displaying the wait times at the three bridges. Rainbow was only a half hour so we headed there. The cars were backed up for miles. We spent a lot more than a half hour looking at other people trapped in their cars and studying which of the lines were moving the fastest. The roads in Canada which used to seem so neatly maintained and fast moving were all chopped up. The 100 km speed limit seemed slow by NY Thruway standards and we were in a construction zone all the way across the top of Lake Erie. We had heard that the bridge up at Sarnia was less congested than Windsor so we took that route. We waited again for over an hour to get back in the US. We watched Homeland Security search the trunk of the car in front of us.
We drove by Peggi’s old house and then directly to a party in Troy. The people who were hosting the party were both in Peggi’s class. They reconnected a few years ago and got married. There was a band playing sixties music in the backyard. The guys were all from her high school but they looked older than Peggi. “Dirty Water” sounded pretty good. I picked a Mexican beer out of the kid’s swimming pool that had been filled with ice.
Peggi had a blast warming up for tomorrow’s reunion. She called her old friend, Leslie, from the party and we drove over to her house in Royal Oak where we spent the night. Leslie was wearing a Detroit Red Wings t-shirt when we got there. We sat on the porch while she smoked generic cigarettes. There was Doctor Bronner’s soap in the bathroom. In the morning we watched a locally produced horror movie that her son, Casey is in.
There was nothing green in the Green Room at WXXI (unless you count Peggi’s shirt). The management and staff were pros and they treated us like kings (except when Pete and Shelley were caught pouring beer from the tap before they had officially opened the bar). Between songs during the performance Julia Figueras asked about the Scorgie’s days. After the show, Gary Trainer from The Atomic Swindlers said, “Forget about Scorgies. This is the best club in town.” We had a blast.
We are supposed to be over at WXXI today at 2:00 to get set up and sound check for the taping of Margaret Explosion’s segment of the OnStage Series. We gave WXXI a guest with ninety names on it and they told us we were at the limit. It might have had something to do with the free drinks and appetizers before the show. Los Lobos is playing for free tonight in the park downtown and some of our friends found it hard to tell us that they were opting for Los Lobos. I wish I was one of them.
Pete LaBonne came into town last night and will be joining us tonight on the five foot grand. We had a rehearsal where all went well except for when Pete and I headed off into a lounge section in “Beautiful Iraq”. It will be really interesting to see how we get from one song to the other tonight because we are used to talking amongst ourselves between songs. We’ve been doing this for years, sort of clearing the air before we start the next song. Another thing we’re used to is people talking while we play. We shape our songs around the din. I don’t think anyone will be talking tonight.
As far as I know, we are the only instrumental band on this list. The songs are sort of abstract and the host, Julia Figueras, will try to get concrete answers to her questions between songs. I see an interesting collision coming. I hope it plays well on tv.
We woke up at 5:30 to what sounded like fireworks out back. The cats who sleep at the foot of our bed had their heads pointing in the direction of the road down below us. The sun was not quite up and I couldn’t see any trees in the road in front of our property so I went back to bed. I hadn’t fallen back to sleep when I heard sirens. So I got up again and noticed a car with its headlights on stopped near our neighbor’s property. I opened the garage and got my chainsaw out and headed down the hill. I was standing under our sagging power lines when the firemen showed up. One of them had a magic wand like thing that he waved at the downed lines that were stretched across the road under this huge branch. “These are live,” he said, “get out of here. We’re calling RG&E”. So I headed up the hill and went back to sleep.
We had just sat down with some coffee when our neighbor came to the door. He thought we should grab the wood that RG&E had stacked up down there but his pick up truck was full of scrap metal pipes from the repair job we did on one of the of our drains. (We didn’t find this out until we moved in but we own our short street and so we pitch in to keep it up.) We headed off to Krieger’s, the junk yard on Portland, to recycle the scrap. But first we stopped at our big footprint neighbors where we picked up the steel tubing from their old trampoline.
Krieger’s (now renamed Metalico) was a trip. If I was half awake I would have had my camera with me. It looked like the final scene from Road Warrriors where the whole world was a junk heap. People were lined up at the scales in overloaded pickup trucks with refrigerators and bycylcles and anything metal. A guy in a bright green suit held a magnet up to the stuff in our truck and then waved us on. We stopped in the office on the way out and waited in line with the sorts of people that do this thing for a living. We watched some junkies unloading their car trunk with a microwave and all sorts of appliances. We got forty seven dollars cash for our load and we didn’t get a flat tire in there.
We had a good time listening to an ABBA cover band a few years ago. It was interesting and a hoot at the same time. The Leonard Cohen movie, “I’m Your Man”, only had one song performed by him in it. They should have just made an MTV video. Cover bands are usually sort of sad.
Everybody was saying how much they enjoyed Billy’s Band at the Jazz Fest but I kept thinking about how much better Tom Waits would have been in person. Even when the band is the same but the main dude is missing, it just doesn’t work. Van Halen without David Lee Roth? After Sun Ra died, Marshall Allen took the Arkestra on the road but Sun Ra without Sun Ra?
And we broke one of John Gilmore’s concert going rules this evening by listening to a recording of Chuck Cuminale playing solo at Rising Place in Rochester in 1976. John says, “Never listen to a bands’ cd on the day of the show”. I missed Chuck Cuminale tonight at WXXI and maybe that was the idea. He had a perfect sense of rhythm and timing in his guitar playing and vocal delivery. This is all laid bare on this solo performance. And then of course, he was a poet.
Musical director, Ken Frank organized other former CBJ members (Rita Coulter, Phil Marshall, Charles Jaffe, Jim McAvaney, Bernie Heveron, Rush Tattered) and Chuck’s son Mark for this performance and their stellar performance almost made Jaffe’s wood inlay Chuck portrait (propped up behind the band) come to life. Julia Figueras asked Mark what he thought his father’s legacy was and he said “it has something to do with truth”.