Monday, April 30, 2007

RIP Bobby "Boris" Pickett

I was saddened to receive the news this weekend that Bobby "Boris" Pickett died last Wednesday from leukemia. I don't know much about him except that he wrote and performed one of my all-time favorite songs, "The Monster Mash."

This song always makes me sooooooo happy. I really love it and find that I usually have to fight myself to not play it every week on my radio show. I introduced the Badgers, of Brooklyn, NY, to the song. Inspired by Mr. Pickett's graveyard smash, the Badgers recorded an entire album of spooky songs and even made a video of the track "At the Creepy Dolphin." I remember begging Christa on more than one occasion to let me play "Monster Mash" on her radio show, Divaville. Sometimes, although reluctantly, she'd give in.

Speaking of radio shows, no more for me for awhile. I must let my foot heal and it seems that the only way to do this is by sitting still and keeping it elevated. I hope that I'll be able to get better before WXYC's summer schedule begins. Otherwise, it'll be fall before I am back on the air.

But I am not too down about that today because I GOT NEIL SEDAKA AND CHOCOLATE IN THE MAIL!!! Whoopee!! The chocolate is from my all-time favorite chocolatier, Jacques Torres. Woo hoo!!! And doesn't everybody dream of finding Neil Sedaka's Definitive Collection in his/her mailbox?!? I can scratch that dream off my list. (Thanks Fenna!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Keepin' It Elevated

Friday afternoon I kinda freaked out a little. I just couldn't figure out why my foot was still just as swollen and just as painful as it was the day I sprained it. So, I called the orthopaedic clinic. The receptionist put me through to the orthopaedic surgeon on call at the ER. I told him that it's been almost two weeks and I cannot put any weight on my foot and it's purple, painful, and swollen. Blah. Blah. Blah. He asked me where I was. I said that I was at work. He said that if I was not keeping it elevated *ALL* the time that I was prolonging my recovery. Sitting at my desk and hobbling around work was not helping. He told me that I must keep my foot elevated if I expected to get better quickly.

All week, I have spent every evening in this chair with my foot elevated in pain caused by working all day. Each morning, I feel better and go back into work where I stay until the pain forces me to go home, at which time I return to this chair. And then the cycle starts again. So, I thought I'd better keep my butt planted in this chair for the weekend. (I'm sad because I didn't get to go meet Charleen tonight, but I just couldn't drive to Carrboro with my ankle like this.)

Today, I spent the day in my chair except for laundry. The only way to get my dirty clothes from my bedroom to the laundry room was by crawling. I crawled the other day, so why not again today. So, I filled up the laundry basket in the bedroom and then got down on all fours and pushed the basket while dragging my crutches behind me. Once I got to the laundry room, I was fine. I managed to do three loads: the last of which is still in the dryer. I had to crawl the laundry back to my bedroom to fold it and put it away. But I did it. Woo hoo!!! (I betcha my Saturday adventure was more exciting than yours!) One thing I discovered while crawling around the house is that the floor in here is absolutely disgusting. As soon as my foot gets better and I get off these crutches, I am going to start cleaning my floors frequently.

Today, I also realized that people can see me sitting in here. Folks walking by are now waving to me. I guess that is nice & neighborly. I kinda feel like a window mannequin. There is a little preschool down the street and the kids seem to love and stop and scream gleefully at the stuff on my porch.... or maybe they are screaming at the weird crazy lady teetering on crutches in the window.

Last night, Denise came over and brought me food from the kitchen. We watched The Muppet Movie together. I haven't seen that movie since I was 8 years old. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw Kermit in the opening sequence playing the banjo!!!! I love Kermit. "Rainbow Connection" sounds like it might be difficult to play on uke. I also watched Louisiana Story this afternoon. I am convinced that Jim Henson and Ricky Leacock are geniuses.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Goddam Radiator!

I totally choked in a presentation at work today. It was awful. Really really really awful. And my foot was and still is pulsing with pain.

To make it all better, Craven sent me some videos. I just about wet my pants when I saw this one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ukulele Blues

So, for the past week and a half, I have sat here in my polka-dotted chair doing a whole lotta nothing. I go to work until I get the hammering-on-the-ankle feeling and then I return to my chair. I really do like looking out the window. .. the 'hood will be hopping this weekend. I just know it! So exciting!!!!

The banjo uke's been just sitting here on the coffee table along with some song books. I haven't really felt like playing. My pain and frustration squash my desire to do much of anything besides look out the window. I've played a little bit, but not a whole lot... I taught myself "Dinah" but I still need alot more practice.

This afternoon, I finished up The Jerk. I really loved it. It features this great scene where Steve Martin plays a ukulele. (I couldn't find a picture of him with a uke, so I posted this one of him playing a banjo instead.) After the film ended, I went back to the bonus features to learn to play "Tonight You Belong To Me" on the uke. The Ukulele Gal, Janet Weiss, shows you how to play it using the old-fashioned uke tuning in the key of D which is A D F# B. Trying to tune a ukulele is really really hard. Just the teeniest turn of the knob will dramatically change the note of the string. So, I thought... I'm not going to screw up my tuned uke. I'll just try playing the song in the key that my uke is already in, which is C (G C E A). The first note of the song is A6. How in the word is any human supposed to warp his/her fingers into that:

So, I gave up. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like retuning my banjo uke into the key of D. That way, I can play "Wabash Blues," in the old school tuning, too.

Ya know, the scariest thing about being alone and injured in the house is when I hear something weird in the other room and I cannot go investigate. It sounded like someone was just playing a steel drum in my kitchen... but it stopped. So nothing can be wrong, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Azalea Bedalea

I am really sick of being cooped up in this house. Here is a picture that I took as I came home from work of my azaleas. They look much better in photos taken outside the house rather than from my chair. I am surprised that the one on the right hasn't died. It's my Charlie Brown Azalea.

I just finished watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and I have to admit that I really liked it alot. I remember watching it when I was little with my brother... I think he liked it more than I did for all the crazy inventions in it. Tonight when I was watching it, I thought that toymaker looked alot like Benny Hill! Sure enough, it was. Do you remember the Benny Hill show? I loved the theme song. When I was in middle school, my neighbor dressed as Benny Hill for Halloween. Looking back on it now, it seems really odd that a girl would dress as Benny Hill for Halloween and no one thought twice about it. It seems kinda screwed up to me now.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This is one of my all-time favorite films. Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch made in Paris in 1978. I wish that the google video was not so pixely, but maybe it's just the limitations of my laptop. I remember the first time I saw it... it was a 16 mm print and it was amazing. It's about 8 minutes long... turn up your speakers for full effect. VROOM!!!!!

It's A Good Day

Today was an extremely painful day at work. I finally gave up at 4pm and came home to writhe in my polka-dotted chair. But instead of dwelling on how much my ankle hurts or how depressing it is to be confined to this chair, I'll celebrate some good things:
  1. I now have a water pitcher in the living room so that I can have a glass of water while sitting in my polka-dotted chair. (I couldn't figure out how to get a glass of water from the kitchen to the living room without crawling with it on the floor or filling a ziploc bag with water and carrying it with my crutches.)
  2. After rearranging some things in my kitchen, I can now maneuver around and actually eat something more substantial than cheese and crackers. I was able to heat up my dad's amazing bean and sausage soup and fix a glass of juice for supper this evening. I even sat at the kitchen table to eat.
  3. I ordered some crutch pads to help relieve my blisters.
  4. My Netflix movies will be here tomorrow. I am excited about seeing The Jerk again especially the ukulele section in the special features.
  5. I am really happy about the azaleas in my yard and my green grass!! My yard (as overgrown as it is) looks really good right now.
  6. I've got some books coming in the mail from Amazon, one of which should be here tomorrow or Wednesday so I can finally put down this lame memoir I've been working for the past month at a rate of a page a day.
  7. I am obsessed with looking out my front window. I took alot of pictures this afternoon with my camera phone. Once my foot gets a little better, I want to clean it to get a better view. I should open the blinds more often.
  8. I learned to play my all-time favorite song EVER, Dinah, on the banjo uke... after being inspired by an amazing old-time concert at the Q-Shack last night. I can sing that one in tune, too. "Dinah, Is there anyone finer in the state of Carolina? If there is and you know her, show her to me..."
I have an entire mix cd of all my favorite versions of Dinah. I haven't shared it with many people... just Christa and Lightnin' because they are the only ones who I think might appreciate my obsession with that song.

As I go back and read the contents of this post, I hear Ross McElwee in my head speaking the words. But when I read the title, I hear Kay Starr (pictured above) singing it. That's pretty cool. Or maybe I am slowly becoming even more crazy. Or maybe it's just the pain pills.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Afternoon TV

Today, I got up very early to get to Chapel Hill to get some work done for my clients. I needed to get there early to ensure that I got a parking spot right out front. Driving hurts like hell. Using crutches is not easy either. But I did it. Neither of my clients' offices are very well suited for a person with crutches or a cast. But I squeezed myself in there and got them all caught up. I feel a huge weight lifted by getting that done.

It's weird how no one would make eye contact with me as I hobbled on my crutches on Franklin Street. I guess people don't know what to do if someone passes by with a physical impairment. That sucks.

When I arrived at the salon, there were some customers standing in there who saw me struggling with the door. They were standing probably 5 feet from the door and they just stood there and watched... they looked at me as if I were some beast trying to tear my way into the salon. Once I got in there and the stylists greeted me, they eased the customers anxiety by telling them that I was the accountant. Whew! Ladies, your purses are safe.

After work in Chapel Hill, I returned home to my all-too-familiar green polka-dotted chair and searched for something to watch on TV. I decided on Terms of Endearment. What a mistake. It seems like a good enough movie, but I didn't need to watch a film about a woman with three kids in a sucky marriage who dies from cancer. Bleah.

So, I pulled out my credit card and joined Netflix. I figure that if I am going to be stuck in this frickin' green chair for the next few weeks, I need to have something NOT depressing to watch. And 95% of the shows on cable TV are absolute CRAP.

First three films in my queue are Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jerk, and Louisiana Story.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

You Ain't Going Nowhere

So, yesterday I was feeling relatively little pain so I braved the outside world and drove to Chapel Hill for my radio show. And then I drove to work and put in a full day's work. I ended the day having dinner and drinks at Alivia's with Maggie. I hadn't been to Alivia's yet and heard mixed reviews. Overall, it was great... service was not the best, but my margarita was awesome and the grapefruit champagne pie was delicious. And it was fun to catch up with Maggie. Last night, the Brightleaf area was so crowded that we had to park pretty far away and walk to the restaurant. My foot was feeling kinda tingly during dinner, but overall, I was proud that I made it through the day.

In my head, my goal was to get strong enough to get out of the house and be somewhat "normal" before I ended my Ross McElwee documentary marathon. I was happy that I had reached my goal yesterday... I was out and about and I still hadn't watched Bright Leaves yet. I felt like I had beaten my nemesis: my ankle.

I was wrong.

This morning, I woke to a little bit of pain and headed to the bathroom. As I have the past two mornings, I hobbled without the cast or crutches. (I put the crutches in the closet on Thursday, because I felt like I didn't need them anymore.) As I stepped into the dining room this morning, I realized that I could no longer walk. Putting even the slightest bit of weight on the fractured/sprained foot caused excruciating pain... Pain so horrible that I wished I had filled the pain medication prescription my doctor gave me. I didn't know what to do. The closest dining room chair was at least three steps away. My cast was in the living room. I had no choice but to get down on my knees and crawl the rest of the way. I then crawled back to bed and just laid there and cried.

I finally got up and crawled to the foyer closet to retrieve the crutches. Crawling really hurts my knees. I had to then crawl with the crutches to the closest chair, because I couldn't get up off the floor. After the ibuprofen eased some of the pain, I decided to take a shower. I suffered through it and now I am back in my chair.

So many emotions were stirred up this morning. Mostly revolving around helplessness. I don't like asking people to do things for me. Thank goodness for my dad who offers his assistance so freely. My mom and dad are at a luncheon in Chapel Hill today and are coming by afterwards. I am just waiting for them to get here so that they can bring me a glass of water and a sandwich.

Sitting here in my polka-dotted chair, I think about my grandmother who was pretty helpless towards the end of her life. She had around-the-clock sitters who helped her get up in the morning, made her meals, cleaned the house, etc. I remember that she had a spot on her couch where she would sit every day. There were tissues, the remote, papers, pencils, the telephone, her purse, all the things that she needed placed strategically all around her on the couch. I can't help but think about her while I sit in my polka-dotted chair surrounded by my own things: my purse, my mobile phone, my laptop, my remotes. It scared me to see my grandmother like that. It scares me to be helpless like that, too.

I've been sitting here in silence just looking out the window. I've been watching the breakfast crowd go in and out of the Mexican restaurant. Lots of folks have been walking down to the grocery. There were two guys who were walking by eating some sort of meat jerky out of a big plastic pouch. I'm waiting to see two of my favorite Lakewood characters go by. One of them is this very happy little man with a grocery cart who always smiles and waves to everyone who walks or drives by. There is another guy who pimps out bikes by duct taping car steering wheels and boom boxes to them and then spray painting his creation. He tried to sell me one last year for $75.

I am sad that I cannot go anywhere. I want to go outside. I want to go to the Farmers Market. I want to go to a party this afternoon. I want to go to marching band practice. I can't.

So, I guess I'll admit defeat. I tried to beat my ankle yesterday, and my ankle has put me back in my place. But once I finish Bright Leaves, I'll need to find another DVD box set to begin another marathon. I have a Fred and Ginger box set, but I have seen all those movies multiple times. I have a Busby Berkeley box set, but the stories are so lame, I just fast-forward to the dance numbers and I am not in the mood. Maybe I'll order the Stan Brakhage Anthology or something by DA Pennebaker. Or maybe I'll practice my banjo uke.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Radio Show, Friday, April 20 8-10AM

Gogi Grant - Wayward Wind
The Fifth Dimension - One Less Bell To Answer
Saint Etienne - Nothing Can Stop Us
Luna - 23 Minutes in Brussels
Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane - Street in the City
Martha Tilton - And the Angels Sing
Ella Fitzgerald - Air Mail Special
Mississippi Sarah & Daddy Stovepipe - Greenville Strut
Magnetic Fields - I Don't Want to Get Over You
James Yorkston - Steady As She Goes
Chris Bell - You and Your Sister
Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies - Oh You Pretty Woman
Brenda Holloway - When I'm Gone

I could barely finish my talk set when I announced that I had played Magnetic Fields' "I Don't Want To Get Off Of You." I started laughing during the talk set and it took every last bit of energy to finish the talk set without breaking out into a roar of laughter. As soon as I made it through the talk set, I was in tears I was laughing so hard. I almost ripped the mouse out of the computer because I got my cast tangled up in the cord.

Anyway, we recently got Ella Fitzgerald's First Lady of Song 3-CD set at the station. It is my favorite collection of her songs (besides her Louis Armstrong duets). "Airmail Special" is one of the craziest songs ever... she scats like she just drank a gallon of espresso. She even scats a little bit of "And the Angels Sing" in it as well.... I love that song.

Entire playlist can be found here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The End of Ankle Week

Today, I managed to drive to work even though it was only two residential blocks away. And it didn't hurt. I think I have finally turned a corner with this ankle ordeal. It's still very swollen, purple and stiff and my range of motion is just a fraction of that of my good foot. But I am in much less pain... I love my cast.

I woke this morning and heard the voice of Ross McElwee in my head narrating my morning routine. He was describing the granny rocking chair in my bedroom and the orange wool blanket on my bed. I was thinking... I've got to get out of the house and stop watching Ross McElwee films.

After work, I met my dad at home and we chatted a bit about doctors and what he's cooking these days. He was going to drive me to Whole Foods, but I told him that I wanted to try it by myself. I did it! It was hard... I had to take my cast off to drive the car and put it back on when I arrived at the grocery. Same thing for the drive home. How annoying. But I did it!! Once I got home, I celebrated my accomplishment by eating a sopressata sandwich and watching McElwee's Six O'Clock News. So for now, I'll have to deal with Ross McElwee's voice stuck in my head narrating my life as I hobble around the house on my cast. But this weekend, I am taking the cast off and getting the heck outta this house. My Ross McElwee film series will come to an end.Here is the picture out my front window as seen from from my polka-dotted chair. It's much lovelier in person. I've been enjoying it all this week while I've been stuck in this chair watching McElwee documentaries and eating ice cream.

Hey Charleen! See you next Saturday!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's Broken

The orthopaedist confirmed that there is a small piece of bone that was ripped off by the ligament. From the x-ray, it looked like the piece of bone is about the size of a a piece of gravel. (That photo of the x-ray is not mine, but the box is where my ligament ripped a piece of bone off.) He also was surprised by how bad the sprain was and that I was able to put any weight on my foot at all. It was a painful morning, but this cast rocks. My foot feels so much better strapped into this contraption. It's got these balloons around my ankles that can be inflated with a little pump. I'll have to stay in this cast for the next few weeks except when I sleep, shower, or do my exercises. I return to the orthopaedist in three weeks at which time I will possibly begin physical therapy. My ankle feels so much better in this cast, but unfortunately, I cannot drive. Although I might slip my cast off to drive around a little. I am already feeling a little bit stir crazy.

Although I have been continuing my Ross McElwee film series, I turn on the regular TV every now and then to hear about the details of the events at Virginia Tech. It's really hard for me to take in. I feel a bit guilty about blogging about something so insignificant as my broken foot and sprained ankle, but blogging about my sprained ankle is also a way for me to deal with my confusion and sadness. And Ross McElwee's film help remind me that the although there is sadness, we must all find strength to persevere.

Today, I finished Time Indefinite as well as Backyard and Charleen. The more I see of Charleen Swansea, the more I want to know. In many ways, I really admire her alot. She is the kind of strong Southern woman who I aspire to be. Smart. Unapologetic. Insightful. Kinda crazy. And she has a beautiful accent.

Every now and then I receive emails from the NC Film listserv about her documentary film series at the Carrboro Century Center. Her next film screening is coming up Saturday April 28th. I want to go. I'll slip my cast off for that.

In the film, Charleen, we meet Charleen's father in his factory office. Before you know it, he picks up and starts singing a song and playing a tiple! My jaw dropped. I was so excited! I rewound it and watched that scene over and over. I tried to take a picture with my camera phone, but it didn't come out so well.

If I go to Charleen's film screening, I gotta find out about that tiple. For one thing, how do you pronouce tiple?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ross McElwee Soothes the Ankle

I managed to get to work today for a couple hours, even though I woke to alot of pain. My foot has swollen even more... my toes look like little purple vienna sausages. I can't really drive with my foot & ankle like this, but work is only two blocks away, so I can manage. It's no more painful than trying to hobble to the kitchen and it's alot less painful than trying to take a shower.

I found someone at work to drive me back to the urgent care clinic to pick up some crutches since putting weight on my foot has become more difficult. I thought I was just going to run in and pick up the crutches, but the doctor wanted to see my foot again. She seemed even more concerned about it and was relieved to hear that I actually made the appointment to see an orthopaedist. Apparently, there had been alot of discussion among several doctors about the bones in my foot. It seems like there may be another trouble area. Who knew that tripping on stairs could cause so much damage?

But she said that in all likelihood that the treatment for the fracture(s) would be wearing this ankle brace for a longer period of time or getting a cast. Let's hope that's all it is. Tomorrow, my dad is coming to take me to the orthopaedic clinic and then we are going grocery shopping. Woo hoo!

I have been confined to this polka-dotted chair and ottoman on which I have four bed pillows stacked in an effort to get my ankle elevated over my head. My doctor said that I am supposed to be lying flat on my back and have my leg elevated with pillows. Uh... no. So, instead I sit in my new favorite chair watching TV, working, sending emails, and reading. But the most exciting activity during these ankle days has been watching Ross McElwee's films.

On Sunday right before this happened, I passed Ross McElwee who was napping in the hotel lobby of the Marriott. He was awarded the Full Frame Career Award and during the ceremony, I became more and more fascinated with him. Michael Moore said that there would be no Roger and Me if he hadn't seen Sherman's March first. When I discovered McElwee napping on Sunday, I was dying to take a picture of him with my camera phone. But since I still don't know how to use my phone, I thought if I tried to figure it out, McElwee would probably wake up and tell me to get lost. I keep thinking about McElwee napping on that couch and how funny it would have been for me to capture it on my camera. So I have been going through my DVD box set of his documentaries.

Right now, I am about halfway through Time Indefinite. He is such a brilliant filmmaker. Today, I feel inspired by the way he seems to find beauty in the everyday. I find myself getting lost in his films because each shot seems deliberate yet subtle and contains some sort of beauty or emotion whether it's Charleen describing her house or a shot of the trees above a hammock.

The color of the sky across my street above the Mexican restaurant just now was very beautiful. And the vibrant green of the overgrown bushes outside my bedroom window is one of my favorite things these days.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Documentaries Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Yesterday afternoon, I twisted my ankle as I descended some stairs at Full Frame. I thought... it's not that bad. It hurt and it was swollen, but I felt like I'd be fine. (I've never broken a bone or sprained an ankle before, until now.)

I woke up this morning and inspected my ankle and thought it looked alot better. The swelling was down and it seemed like my ankle was less purple. My ankle felt a little stiff but again, I thought I'll be fine!

Well, as the day wore on, my foot got bigger and bigger and eventually, my ankle bone disappeared completely. My foot and ankle turned a rainbow of colors and it started hurting. I tried to call my doctor, but I couldn't get an appointment because their power was out. So, I went to an urgent care clinic. The doctor there saw my ankle and suggested several x-rays to look for fractures. She came in later to tell me that she was shocked to discover that there were no fractures with such a severe sprain. At that point my foot was throbbing. I was sent home where I have to rest and keep my ankle elevated for the next couple days. I have to keep it wrapped in an ACE bandage and use this splint for the next SIX weeks! And I received this beautiful blue orthopedic shoe. SEXY!!!

No bowling or marching band for awhile. Now is the time that I wish I had a roommate.

UPDATE: The doctor just called and she and the radiologist discussed my x-rays and the is a spot of bone that they are concerned about. Basically, when I heard the big POP as I fell, it might have been my ligament tearing away from the bone and taking part of the bone with it. GROSS!!!! I have to make an appointment to go see an orthopedic surgeon. Holy crap!!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Radio Show, Friday, April 13 8-10AM

Beautiful South - Woman in the Wall
Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
Slim Gaillard - Cement Mixer
Various - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Erasure - Star
Of Montreal - One of a Very Few of a Kind
The Temple City Kazoo Orchestra - Kazooed on Klassics
Shirley Caesar - Soul Salvation
Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
The Chiffons - One Fine Day
Jesse Powell Orchestra with Fluffy Hunter - The Walkin' Blues
The La's - There She Goes

I have things to say about what I played on Friday, but I am too tired to type. My entire playlist can be found here. I've also just emerged from a dizzying weekend at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. I want to write about my amazing time there, but again, I am too tired and dazed to type. Since Thursday afternoon, I have seen 24 films (a new record for me) and sprained an ankle. I should've gone to an urgent care facility this afternoon after I fell down the stairs, but there was a film that I really wanted to see. So I came home, iced up the ankle, took four ibuprofen, convinced myself that it wasn't a big deal and hobbled back to the festival. It was worth it.

I'd post a picture of my disgustingly purple and swollen ankle, but I am too embarrassed about my toenails. I am way past due on a pedicure. That grosses me out more than the purple ankle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tippy Tippy Tiple

After returning home from a wonderful meal at Laura's, I decided to veg out and let my food digest and load some more music into Itunes. (The music on my Ipod is getting stale.) The most recent uploads include lots of New Order, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and the new Andrew Bird record. I also decided to pop in a CD that I received for Christmas which I don't think I've listened to until now. It's a collection of songs from the 1930s from the Spirits of Rhythm. It looked pleasant enough with songs I am very familiar with like "I've Got the World On a String," "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Nobody's Sweetheart." And I am familiar with Leo Watson who is in the band. He's this crazy funny scat guy. Love him.

The main reason I wanted to upload this CD to Itunes was so that I could here the Spirits of Rhythm version of "I Got Rhythm." Anytime I think of that song, I think of Gene Kelly dancing and singing with that charismatic smile. Ahhhh. Gene Kelly. ANYWAY, after I put the CD in, I skipped directly to the "I Got Rhythm" track. I was delightfully shocked to hear not one but two UKULELES! I squealed. I ripped open the case and tore out the liner notes and scoured them to figure out who was playing the ukulele. But there was no uke player listed for any of the tracks. But there were two tiples on this track. What the heck is a tiple and how can I get one? (It's not in my dictionary.) Whatever it is, it is beautiful on this track and many of the others on the CD especially with the vocal harmonies and the mesmerizing scatting. The guys playing their tiples are amazing. I dug around a little bit on the internet and found that the tiple originated from Puerto Rico and is in the uke family, but it has TEN TO TWELVE strings. I WANT TO PLAY A TIPLE. But for now, I need to conquer this banjo uke before going to anything fancier. I cannot even play four-string chords. How the heck do you play all twelves strings!? Maybe one day I'll find out. Aren't they beautiful?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Plantation Sitting

In the mid-90s, I worked in Raleigh with a guy named John who was the caretaker for this HUMONGOUS plantation in Knightdale called Midway Plantation. It was stunning. Catherine Bisher, an architectural historian, described it once as a characteristically restrained example of Greek Revival style with generous proportions and unpretentious portico entrance. (Sometimes I can geek out on some architecture.) Although it had alot of land behind the main house and the outbuidlings, the house was right on the side of Highway 64... which probably wasn't an issue when the plantation was built in in the mid-1800s, but it was definitely a problem in the mid 1990s. But god, it was so beautiful. And the huge old magnolia trees in the yard provided great shade for afternoon get-togethers. I remember thinking that the rooms were enormous... I feel like you could've fit my entire house in one room of Midway.

John lived there with his wife and their two kids. His wife stayed home with the kids and developed beautiful gardens on the property. When their family went on vacation, John would ask me to house sit for them: just feed the cats and water the garden. I always jumped at the chance to do it. I loved it. It felt so decadent. There was one night I was staying there and the wind was blowing really hard and it was storming outside and the house was creaking and I was trying my best to find ghosts, but alas none were found. I did kinda spook myself out though.

Anyway, I discovered today that there is a film about this plantation called Moving Midway. It's being screened at Full Frame this Saturday at 12:15pm. The documentary tells the story of the history of Midway and how the owners decided to MOVE it away from the side of the busy Highway 64 to a new location away from the Raleigh sprawl. I cannot wait to see it.

There are alot of other amazing films being screened this weekend at the film festival. Ross McElwee is being presented with a Career Award and lots of his films are being screened. I wonder how many films I can cram in between Thursday and Sunday. Woo hoo!

Monday, April 9, 2007

I'm Blue Every Monday Thinking Over Sunday

Today was a super-duper, extremely crappy day at work. I seemed to unintentionally piss off almost everyone who walked into my office. That really stinks. On top of that, I got absolutely nothing done. It was an overly frustrating day and it's only Monday!

Today's only saving grace was Ronnie Lane. Both Bill and Sara have recently played some Ronnie Lane for me and I loved his music. I didn't think I knew who he was, but Bill and Sara each reminded me that he was a member of the Small Faces and the Faces, bands that I love.

My obsession of the weekend has been Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance's "Roll On Babe." It is so beautiful. Wow. I get completely lost in a daydream listening to the guitars in that song. I played that song over and over in the car on the way to Burlington on Sunday. After work today, I had to drive to Chapel Hill to meet a client and "Roll On Babe" made everything all better. Well, playing it 5 times on the way to Chapel Hill and then again on the way back completely cancelled out the rough day at work.

I think I'll take my Ronnie Lane CD to work tomorrow and play it in my office. Maybe his music will help things run more smoothly tomorrow.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Can I Be A Band Geek?

Yesterday, I had my first performance with "my" band, the Scene of the Crime Rovers. "We're" a noise-punk, free-form marching band (drums, cymbals, flutes, horns, etc.) and I am in the color guard. For those of you not in the know, that means that I twirl a flag. The reason for the quotes around the first-person words is that I am not sure if I really feel like I am in the band. I have gone to two practices and one performance. And each time, I really struggled.

I LOVE the Scene of the Crime Rovers. It is really cool to see some folks all dressed up and marching in downtown Durham. If you have never seen "us," you should make every effort to get out and see one of "our" gigs. Your kids will love it, too. Yesterday, we performed at the grand opening of the Farmers Market Pavilion in downtown Durham. It was also the official opening of the Farmers Market season. YEAH!!!

But, I am not sure if I'm cut out to be a flag twirler. The idea of the performance was great, but the execution was a huge struggle for me. My mind does not work in a free-form way. I like things to be black/white or right/wrong. I like structure and rules. I also feel like I need to learn something about flag-twirling before I can just "do whatever" which is the instruction I had been given. Yesterday, I hit another flag twirler twice with my flag and I bonked myself in the head (only once though which is much better than how I've done in practice).

The most positive aspect of this experience is getting me out of my comfort zone. It's hard to twirl a flag standing in front of other people... even just in front of the other band members. The older I get, the more shy and socially anxious I feel. And it's also hard for me to just "do whatever" given that my brain just doesn't function like that. Because of this, I know that I must keep this up and continue trying.

If anyone wants to teach me some tips on flag twirling, please do. I would love the help. My thought was that being in the color guard would allow me to live out my Busby Berkeley fantasies. Va va va voom!

UPDATE: Christa took some pictures.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Radio Show, Friday, April 6 8-10AM

10cc - I'm Not In Love
My Friend the Atom - See You Again
Melanie - Brand New Key
Matthew Sweet - I Don't Want To Know
Slim Gaillard - Potato Chips
Roger Miller - Walkin' In the Sunshine
Bob Dylan - Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
Asylum Street Spankers - I'll See You In My Dreams
Debbie Reynolds and Others - All I Do Is Dream of You
Beck - E-Pro
John Martyn - Head and Heart
Lavern Baker - Tweedlee Dee
The Postmarks - Goodbye

I felt like I had a decent radio show today. I had forgotten that school was out, so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to park really close to the Union. As I got out of my car, a swarm of women in Carolina blue came running out from behind the gym. They looked like they were being chased by three people on bicycles, but then I realized that the bikers were coaches and the women were some sort of sports team. It was an odd site on a very quiet campus at 7:30 this morning. When I arrived at the station, I found half-eaten bags of potato chips around the library, which was another oddity of the morning. In honor of the mess, I played Slim Galliard's "Potato Chips" song.

I have no clue who My Friend the Atom is/was. WXYC received a seven-inch from them years ago and I fell in love with it. I used to fight myself to not play it every week. It is really pretty indie pop with a cute female voice... totally my cup of tea. The guitar part on "See You Again" gets stuck in my brain sometimes. But this week, it's been 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" stuck in my head and "I Don't Want To Know" by Matthew Sweet.

I played "Brand New Key" by Melanie because I had started to write a blog entry about it earlier in the week, but then I deleted it. I love rollerskating and I used to rollerskate alot in my house a few years ago. Cleaning, doing laundry, baking cakes, watching TV are all activities that can be fun on skates. Melanie's song was #1 on the Billboard charts the week I was born. If I had been born a few months later, it would've been America's "Horse With No Name." NICE!

I was most impressed with my segue between Debbie Reynolds and Beck. It worked!!! I am still swooning over Gene Kelly and I have to admit that I watched Singin' In the Rain for the umpteenth time late late late one night earlier this week. "All I Do Is Dream of You" featuring Ms. Reynolds is from that movie. I am addicted.

Noah gave me a Lavern Baker collection recently which I love. It's lost in my office right now... I gotta find it. But I have always loved her "Tweedlee Dee" song. I sometimes daydream of choreographing a huge group of dancers in yellow chicken costumes to that song. Yes. Chicken costumes. But the song would have to be performed live and Lavern Baker (RIP) or some other vocalist would have to wear a chicken costume, too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hokey Pokey Old

After a morning of meetings, I finally returned to my office to get some work done. I popped in a Wilco CD to listen to at my desk while I work my way through my emails. One of my employees walked into my office just a minute ago and stopped in her tracks and gave me this look like she had just encountered a really foul odor. I looked at her kinda shocked and said, "What's wrong?" She said, "WHAT are you listening to? Is this old music? Or is this somebody new that is trying to sound old?" I started laughing and so did she. Then, she said, "You know what I mean... like John Denver old or Kenny Rogers old." And then I about fell out of my chair. She said, "I like it. I like old music. You know. Like hokey pokey old."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

No Mail Days Are Sad Days

I first got an email account in 1995 back when I had some sort of 486 computer. (I am not really sure what the 486 stands for, I just remember that it was old.) I would go days and days without receiving any emails. I put a postcard on my computer monitor that said "No Mail Days Are Sad Days." When I did see a message in my inbox, it was such an thrilling event. Nowadays, I get probably 75-100 work emails a day (which for some people is low) and lots of personal ones and tons of spam. The days of receiving no email are over. And the days of being excited over receiving email are over. Reading and responding to emails are now a chore.

But regular mail is another story. I used to be such a good correspondent and wrote letters to friends frequently, but times have changed. No mail days are not sad days, but just typical days. The only mail that I receive nowadays include bills, pizza coupons and magazines. Who has time to sit down, write out a letter, address an envelope and find a stamp, etc.? I love letters, but I have just gotten out of the habit of writing them. It seems that the majority of letters that I write are post-holiday thank you notes. I also send out homemade mixes every now and then.... usually right after I go to the post office and stock up on stamps. Other than than, my old habit of writing letters is dead.

But it is so exciting to come home to find real mail outside on your porch in your mailbox! When I receive a letter in the mail with a real stamp and a hand-written address, I usually make a little squeal and do a little jig in my foyer as I rip the envelope open. Even better is when I come home and find a *package* with a hand-written address and a stamp. Over the past couple days, I have received three such packages, all of which had music inside: Donovan, 10cc, Woody Guthrie and a couple homemade mixes. GRIN!

Right now, I am listening to this 10cc collection. I love 10cc's song, "I'm Not In Love."

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Practice Pays Off

I have spent the majority of the weekend inside at my computer working working working. I spent yet another night working until midnight... not fun. Scattered all over every flat surface in my guest room/office are papers, receipts, bank statements, bills and 1099s for several different clients. BLEAH! But on top of these heaps of papers lie ukulele songs and chord charts.

My only relief from this toiling weekend has been dinner with Rossi, Ross and Maggie and practicing my banjo ukulele. I actually found myself taking breaks from work for an hour or more at a time practicing the ukulele. I have definitely seen some improvement and it feels good. I am actually having some luck with one of my favorite songs, "It Had To Be You." I have a uke arrangement for this song that isn't too hard. I can handle all the chords except for Adim which coomands that you twist your fingers into a position that I find humanly impossible. The Em chord is really hard too (you gotta use four fingers!) but I am starting to grasp it. I am moving more easily between chords, too. I think I have down G, D, C, A7, B7. My favorite is D7.... it just feels cool to make that chord.

But I seem to have lost my rhythm. It seems that I can either concentrate on my left hand on the fingerboard or the right hand with the strumming, but not both. And holy cow! I couldn't sing this song in tune if my life depended on it... I sound like a drunk old lady when I sing. I sincerely hope that singing in key comes with practice, too. I sound awful. Cliff Edwards sings "It Had To Be You" so sweetly. I want to sing like him.

I remembered the first time I discovered the banjo uke at the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention. I heard some of the most amazing music of my life at this festival. I highly recommend it. Old-time music is the most hypnotic music around. In June 2001, I was introduced to the banjo uke at Mount Airy and I thought it was the coolest instrument I had ever heard. I was soooo happy (see photo). It was then that I decided that I must to learn to play this entrancing instrument. But it has taken me this long to actually try. It will be a long time before I can play any old-time, but after this weekend, I am feeling a little bit more confident that someday I might reach that goal.

I am getting close to finishing up all this extra work for my clients, so that is good. I hope then, I will have more time to practice my uke.

Have You Ever Watched A Moonbeam?

I am not a very superstitious person, but I have a couple little beliefs that I have made up. None of them are too weird, I guess. One of my superstitions is that if pennies are good luck, then nickels must be bad luck. Never pick up a nickel off the groud. Besides, they are bulky and weigh down your wallet and aren't worth as much as the slim, more efficient dime. I always try to spend nickels quickly to get them out of my wallet. I never ever pick them up off the ground. Bad luck!

My other self-concocted superstition has to do with moonbeams. During the winter when the trees are bare, I receive alot of sunlight in my house during the day and alot of moonlight at night. The moonbeams shine like spotlights. It is beautiful and amazing. In all the other places that I have lived, I have never noticed how wonderful moon rays are. Moonbeams on a clear night emit so much light through my bedroom window that I could lay in bed and read by their light if I wanted. On particularly bright nights, I love to sleep with my curtains open so that I can soak up all the moonrays that I can. My belief is that on full moon nights, if a moonbeam hits you, you get to make a wish. (And your wish will come true if you sing the Harry Nilsson song when the light hits you.) On Monday night, I'll experience my last full moon of the wish season as the trees and the bushes are starting to bud and grow leaves. I won't have any more full moon moonbeams illuminating my bedroom until late November. And I haven't made a wish all moonbeam season! I'll have to make the most of Monday night.