Thursday, March 29, 2007


So, for the past 6 hours, I have been working on semi-annual sales tax refunds and non-profit cost allocations for a client. My mind is fried and my eyes are glazed. I was starting to feel kinda zombified, until just a minute ago, I heard a SNAP from the kitchen. All this week, I have dreaded hearing that sound.

On Sunday, I discovered that a teeny creature had chewed on a spatula in my utensil drawer. When I found the teeth marks, I was not only filled with disgust, but also with paralyzing fear. I knew what creature had invaded my kitchen and eaten my spatula... it was a mouse!

I am terrified of mice. I am not afraid of snakes or spiders or any other creature. But I have a horrible, stay-awake-all-night-in-panic fear of mice. This phobia developed when I was little and late one night in the dark I awoke to hear scratching noises in my bedroom. Night after night, I was awakened by the scratching noises which made me cry because I honestly thought that there were monsters in my room that were going to crawl up on the bed and eat my eyeballs out. This frustrated my dad because each night I would wake him up with my crying. One night, I went to a slumber party at a friend's house and while I was gone, my parents set several mousetraps in my bedroom. The next morning the traps were filled! Even the one underneath my stuffed animal bunk bed. I knew it!!! There were monsters in my room.

A few years ago, very early one morning, I heard my cat running around the house and she knocked over a dining room chair. When I got up to see what was going on, I saw that she had a mouse in her mouth. To my horror, she dropped it and jumped into bed to go to sleep. The mouse ran under the sideboard and huddled in the corner AND I PANICKED! I knew my dad went into at work at 7am, so I called him in tears. I told him what had happened and he suggested that I get a plunger. I asked "Dad, what do I do with a plunger?" to which he replied, "Just plunge it to death." I couldn't do that, so he suggested that I trap it with the plunger and a piece of cardboard and take it outside. So, after I caught the mouse and picked it up using the cardboard and the plunger, I really freaked out. The only thing separating this mouse from my bare hand was a piece of cardboard and I started screaming. At that point (it's 7:15am and I was wearing what I had slept in - a t-shirt and underwear), I bolted out of the house with the plunger and the cardboard screaming and crying and I just kept running down the street. I didn't know what to do. I finally stopped and threw the plunger, the cardboard and the mouse into the bushes. Some guy who was stopped at the stoplight jumped out of his truck and ran toward me saying "Are you alright!?! Do you need help!?!?" I was still crying but I told him that I was ok and that I had caught a mouse.

So, anyway, this week when I discovered the bite marks on my spatula, I called my dad who drove from Burlington on Monday morning to set mouse traps around my kitchen. (My hero!) I caught one on Tuesday morning. My dad had to come back to Durham to dispose of the mouse. I cannot get closer than 10 feet even to a dead mouse. This morning, I heard another trap go SNAP, but then I heard the mouse wrestling with the trap and it escaped. I inspected the trap this morning and found some blood by the trap. But just a few minutes ago, I heard another SNAP that jolted me from my accounting fog. I peeped into the kitchen and saw that I got another one. Dad, will you come over tomorrow to dispose of this mouse? I cannot go into the kitchen.

Maybe I need to get another cat.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Heart Mark Bittman

I first have to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who has recommended the Mark Bittman cookbook to me. I have been cooking sporadically over the past few weeks and some of my attempts have been flops. But tonight, I chose a recipe from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything and I totally scored. I made stir-fried chicken with spinach. But since I am still very much a novice, I have to add one hour to his cooking time estimate. Despite the time it took to prepare, the dish was divine. This recipe rocks. I could've added a little bit more ginger to the recipe, but the chicken came out tender and the flavoring was perfectly subtle, and delicious. All the chopping and grating really wore thin... but just like the banjo uke, it is all about practice, I guess.

A week or two ago, I decided that I wanted to make a pasta dish using some of the ingredients that I had in the fridge. I skimmed through the Mark Bittman cookbook and was able to modify a couple recipes to come up with my own creation of tomatoes and capers and onions! I did it all by myself. This is a major accomplishment for me since a pasta dish in the past has consisted of ragu + noodles. I think it is safe to say that I will never purchase store-bought pasta sauce ever again.

Tonight, I cooked while listening to a mix cd that I am in the process of creating, which was fun, too. Unfortunately, the meal was much better than the mix. I gotta keep working on the mix CD because right now it is BORING. But while cooking and listening to music, I have discovered that I am on a Ray Charles kick. I think I could put him on every mix that I ever make. And I also discovered that I love cooking chicken dishes.

Golly, working all the time really sucks considering all the other fun things that I could be doing. I love cooking to music and making mix CDs. I need to make more time for these sorts of activities.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Did You Lose Your Wig?

Today, I took a day off from work to try to catch up on work for some of my clients. I had a somewhat productive day, but I am still way behind. But it was really nice to work at home today because I was able to open up all the doors and windows and get a little breeze and feel the sunshine. My office at work is windowless and lit by overhead fluorescents and there is a constant stream of people in and out of my office all day. So, it was a nice break from that. I also ran alot of errands today, so I was able to get out and stroll down Ninth Street and chat with folks which was nice, too.

This morning when I left my house to run to Lantern, I saw a little black smooshed thing in the road. My first thought was "OH NO! NOT PAM JUNIOR!" But the lump in the road was too small to be a cat. And it didn't look like a once-living creature. So, I didn't think much of it and got in my car and headed out. But when I drove past this squished thing in the road, I slowed down to get a closer look. I just thought it was a black plastic bag or a plastic bottle. But it wasn't. It was a *WIG.* Well, I guess it was a wig. Is that a wig or a wiglet or a hair piece or what?

I laughed out loud when I saw it and continued on to Chapel Hill. But when I came home mid-afternoon it was still there! And then when I went to the grocery around suppertime, it was still there! So at that point, I had to go take a picture of it. I really wanted to add this wiglet to my scrapbook of Front Yard Found Objects and Art, but it's too creepy for me to pick up some random wig out of the road. Besides, rubber cement + hair = mess. Stepping out in the road to take this picture made me laugh. A car had to stop for me to finish the picture since I was having trouble with my camera. I think that the owners of the Mexican restaurant are now even more puzzled by their neighbor.

But what is the story of the wig in the road? What happened that someone lost his/her wig? Was there a fight and someone ripped it off his/her head? Did the wind blow it off someone's head and out the car window? Did someone decide to free themselves of this hairpiece on a trip to the Food Lion for a jug of milk? Did it itch horribly? Was it ever attractive? Is this some sort of sign or omen? And who wears wiglets!?! Where does one get a little wiglet?

I really like the word wiglet. But I can't imagine wearing one on a regular basis. Maybe just for special occasions.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ukulele, Lamp, and Fire Disjointed Post

All weekend, I played hooky from working... which is bad since I am trying to get tax stuff ready for some clients. Instead this weekend, I had fun. After spending several hours in Granddaddy's Antiques in Burlington and fighting the urge to buy a HUMONGOUS folk art boat made out of twine and tiny sticks, I went to Elizabeth's and played a little uke with a handful of folks. I really struggled at first... having to look down at my chord book for every single chord change and missing most of the notes. But, after awhile (and for the first time in my life) I felt like I was starting to get it. I could actually play along and be a part of the group as I struggled through "Folsom Prison Blues." Eventually, I got most of chord changes down and was able to concentrate on the rhythm and play along. And it felt amazing. Oh my gosh! What a rush. (The snip of whiskey helped as well.)

After playing the ukes, Elizabeth, Noah and I rode over to Hillsborough to see my inspirational friend, Lightnin' play some amazing stuff not only on a regular ukulele, but also on his BANJO UKULELE. He makes it look so easy and sound so good. Just thinking about him playing the ukulele makes me want to keep trying no matter how much I feel like I suck. My goal is to get "Wabash Blues" and "12th Street Rag" down... but that is years off at the rate that I am going. Lightnin' tells me that he's been on a Donovan kick, too. I'd like to learn to play some Donovan on the ukulele, but again... that is YEARS away.

So this evening, after an afternoon of bocce and a tragic basketball loss, I tried practicing my banjo uke and I suck all over again. The freakin' tuning is just messing me up. The "standard" GCEA tuning just doesn't sound right to me. For some reason, I seem to prefer the outdated Roy Smeck tuning of ADF#B. I don't understand how one tuning can sound "better" than another, but somehow that is what is happening. I really tried to play some GCEA songs tonight on my own and it was really discouraging. But I know, I need to keep trying. AND HOW DO YOU KEEP THIS THING IN TUNE!?!??! I think I need to make more of an effort to make it to Uke Jam Night at High Strung. I need some major help... even if it is just sitting and watching other people play while holding my uke in my lap.

Oh, and where the hell did this lamp come from? I walked over to Elizabeth & Kevin's house (Different Elizabeth and not Ukulele Elizabeth) to watch the basketball game. I left during the last minute of overtime because it was just too painful to watch. When I got home, I found this lamp on my porch. It is kinda ugly, but I also kinda like it. I don't like the shell finial, which is actually cut off in this photo. If the finial were an olive shell, I'd like it more. But is this lamp really ugly? I might like it with the right shade.

Follow up to the fallen tree: Elizabeth took this photo of the tree that caught fire last weekend. I was a little doubtful about the tree catching on fire, but this picture proves it. Never a dull moment in our neighborhood. Whee!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Radio Show, Friday, March 23 8-10am

Andrew Bird - Heretics
Stereolab & Herbie Mann - One Note Samba/Surfboard
Dean Wareham - Falling Out of Love (With You)
Beirut - Elephant Gun
Dean Martin - Just In Time
The Dominoes - Sixty-Minute Man
The Style Council - You're The Best Thing
Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto - Do I Make Myself Clear
Maria Taylor - Clean Getaway
Louis Armstrong - If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
Gene Kelly - I Got Rhythm
Chet Baker - Like Someone In Love
Lefty Frizzell - Look What Thoughts Will Do
Georgia Gibbs - The Hula Hoop Song

Lots of favorites played today. I played Dean Wareham's "Falling Out of Love" because he is playing at the Cat's Cradle Saturday night. Although that is one of my favorite songs to dance to in my underwear, I doubt he'll play it. Even if he did play it, I most likely would not dance in my skivvies at the Cradle. I won't be there anyway. Lightnin' Wells is playing at the Masonic Temple in Hillsborough on Saturday... I sure hope he brings his ukulele! I am so excited!!!

This morning when I was pulling music for my show, I noticed a new Georgia Gibbs CD in the Jazz section, so I pulled it out. I looked like 1950s pop stuff and I thought "eh, I'll try it." And I totally scored!!! That hula hoop song was nuts! I loved it.

When I was in New York, Ewald introduced me to Beirut, and I have been obsessed with their song "Elephant Gun" ever since. It reminds me of a cross between Arcade Fire and Vetiver. I put the song on my most recent mix cd and I have been listening to it over and over. Beirut's EP Lon Gisland is rotation at the station right now and that makes me very happy. It is a very rare occurrence to find something that I really really obsessively love in rotation.

Although, I am still obsessed with Gene Kelly. I cannot get enough of him. So dreamy. Sigh.

The entire playlist can be found here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Type Type Typewriter

I have this severe problem about trying to get ready to go out of town. I have a conference that I have to leave for at 5:45am tomorrow. BLEAH! Instead of being good and staying at home and packing, I have been out drinking beer at the Federal where I've been discussing feminism in Marshall Tucker Band songs and typing on a typewriter and discussing the moon while listening to a guy play guitar. So random.

The typewriter was very cool. Plunking away on the keys brought back memories of typing class in high school, which was one of the hardest classes that I can ever remember (besides high school AP English and UNC's Comp 14 and most recently pottery class). I remember *cheating* in typing class because I sucked so horribly. I would go to Elon College and check out the teacher's manual and type all my assignments at home because I couldn't keep up in class. I was afraid that I would fail typing and ruin my GPA! In college, I used a typewriter to type up my papers... until I rebelled my senior year and decided to handwrite everything. These days, I rarely compose anything by hand except for the very rare journal entry or a letter. But the typewriter was very cool. I wonder if my parents still have their old typewriter.

But it was such an odd evening... drinking beer with Mary and then have this random guy play guitar while people typed on his typewriter. I loved the bright DING at the end of the line. I didn't have much to type except that I loved pork products.

Ok. Now I have to pack. Business casual clothes. YUK!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Crash! Bang! Boom!

Friday night, I went to David and Jennifer's rehearsal dinner, which was fine until these female lawyers at my table starting talking about how great their work is, why living in the Triangle is not fun, and then giggled about how their doctors told them that their eggs were old (even though they were 31 and married). How depressing. So, I left. I came home, grabbed a beer and a blanket and watched Gene Kelly movies. I finally went to bed around 2am.

Around 5:30am or so, I heard this huge CRASH! A few seconds later, I heard another crash at which time I saw a flash of light, right before the power went out. I heard a car outside, so I thought that there was some sort of car wreck on Chapel Hill Road and that maybe they hit a light pole. I was groggy and the house was really cold since I had turned the heat down very low, so I just turned over in bed and went back to sleep. I finally got up around 8am at which time I heard chainsaws. I went into the kitchen and looked out my window over the neighbor's fence to see two guys in cherry pickers. They were working on the light pole and cutting a tree that was lying across James Street. I immediately called Myers (who knows everything in Lakewood) and asked what happened. A tree in my neighbor's yard was BLOWN OVER and hit another tree and a light pole and caught fire!!!!!

I couldn't believe it. This was a huge old oak tree that was blown over from the wind. Was the wind really blowing that hard? We were all lucky that there were 4 or 5 houses extremely close to this tree and it didn't hit any of them. It took the power crews until sometime Saturday afternoon to restore power to the 'hood. I had left for David's wedding at that point. The tree was left in the road all weekend.

This morning when I was leaving for work, I heard more chainsaws, so I guess the tree will be removed from the road today. I would really hate to lose one of my trees and I know that the James St streetscape will miss this one, too.

David and Jennifer's wedding was really beautiful on Saturday. The ceremony was one of my all-time favorites. I gave them my latest mix CD for a wedding present. I unknowingly included a Beatles song that was played during their ceremony!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

America's Number One Peapicker!

Today, I attended another Duke Non-Profit Management class. This class really didn't resonate with me, so I was easily distracted by the guy sitting behind me. He looked ***EXACTLY*** (please note the extreme emphasis here) like Tennessee Ernie Ford. This guy had a big quaff of black hair and a teeny strip of a mustache right above his lips. Even the curve of his cheeks were like Ford's. Now, he wasn't dressed like Ford... he had on pleated khakis and tassel loafers (ugh). But from the neck up, it was Tennessee Ernie Ford reincarnated. I was dying to ask him if he could sing "Sixteen Tons," but I figured that might freak him out. I also wanted to take his picture with my camera phone and post it hear for all y'all to see, but that would be freaky, too. So, I just stared at him wide-mouthed. (How does one take a photo with a camera phone discreetly?)

Now, I just clicked on the official Tennesse Ernie Ford's website, which says that he was America's Number One Peapicker. The biography doesn't offer any explanation for this title... I didn't know one might be worthy of greatness by being a peapicker. But upon further googling, I found out that on his top-rated television program from 1956-1965, he coined the phrase "Bless your little pea-picking hearts" which became a household catch phrase. Ford released eighty-three records on Capitol between 1949 and 1976... that's about 3 a year sometimes 4! Busy man! He put out alot of gospel songs that are kinda schmaltzy for my taste, but his country hits are great. AND he has a couple amazing duets with Kay Starr. "You're My Sugar" is one such duet that has so much intensity and bounce that when I play it in the house, I end up screaming along to it and dancing like a lunatic. It's great. I searched the classroom for a Kay Starr lookalike, but none were to be found.

I am going to a wine tasting tonight... maybe I can find me a Kay Starr lookalike there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dylan Hears A Who!

My friend, Lightnin' sent me this link and Apostropher posted about it as well. Although I am still learning to be a Dylan fan, I think that these songs are quite wonderful.

UPDATE: It's a spoof or mashup. It's not really Dylan. It fooled me. I still like it.

RIP Bob Groves

We will miss you, too, Starlite.

RIP Betty Hutton

What sad news for so early on Tuesday. I am in shock. We will always love you, Betty. Always.

Pesto With Gene and Maria

Wow. Wow. Wow. This evening was so amazing. First, I decided to continue on my cooking spree and I made pesto! It was really tasty... I mixed it in with some pasta. This whole weekend was a cooking extravaganza! In addition to the pesto today, over the weekend, I made: vegetarian chili, meat chili, baconfat salad, and fig & anchovy paste. I was definitely inspired being with Lee and Ewald in Brooklyn. And Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is a huge help, too. I love to cook!

Anyway, after I finished my pesto, I decided to see what the DVR had picked up. I watched a Colbert Report and then I remembered that IT IS GENE KELLY MONDAY!!! So, I turned to TCM and watched some of Singin' In the Rain. Debbie Reynolds is hot. Donald O'Conner is hot. Gene Kelly is EXTREMELY hot. And when they sing "Good Morning" all together, it is sheer bliss. I have this movie on DVD, but it is always exciting to stumble upon one of your favorites airing on TV... it is a special treat.

After that, I ventured out to Local 506 to catch Erie Choir and Maria Taylor. Ms. Taylor blew me away again. She played all my favorites from her album 11:11 but then she did the best cover ever. Just imagine hearing one of your all-time favorite songs sung by one of your all-time favorite voices. Maria Taylor covered "At Last" which was popularized by the great Etta James. This version was stripped down to just Taylor's whispery, delicate voice and her brother playing bass. It was dreamy and chilling and beautiful. It was so moving that I got tears on my shirt. I get chills just thinking about it. Holy cow.

I hope the rest of my evenings this week go as well as tonight. I have some other Gene Kelly movies on the DVR and I have this recipe for sesame noodles with peanut sauce and tofu that I want to try...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Classroom Anxiety

So, it seems that each time I attend one of the Non-Profit Management courses at Duke, the instructor has undoubtedly heard of my non-profit and uses it OVER AND OVER for examples of the point that he is trying to prove. And the instructors always namedrop... "Oh, how is XXXX doing? I remember working with XXXX on a presentation at the Durham Chamber of Commerce." I don't care. No one else in the class cares. Ask me about this at lunch, not in front of everyone. Just shut up and get on with it already!

At separate sessions, two different instructors jokingly said to me in front of the entire class, "Well, I don't know why YOU are in this class, Charlotte. You are a Controller and you probably already know all this stuff." Now, a part of me takes this as slightly insulting. If I did know all about strategies for developing social enterprises or non-profit cost allocation, then I WOULDN'T HAVE SIGNED UP FOR YOUR FREAKIN' CLASS!

And since the instructors seem to know all about my work and they think that I already know everything that they are going to teach, they CALL ON ME TO ANSWER every single question. Now, this would be fine for someone who doesn't suffer from a slight case of social anxiety, but not me. This past Friday, I finally clammed up and couldn't get anything else out. Even when the rest of the class was floundering and couldn't find answers, I just kept my mouth shut. But he kept calling on me. When he would call on me to answer questions, I would just say "I don't know" even if I did know the answer. He wouldn't let up.

This class brought back memories of high school, when I put in an amazing amount of effort to NEVER be called on in class. I would talk with my teachers at the beginning of the school year and beg them to never call on me... I would do extra credit work or whatever. I just didn't want to have to speak in front of the class... it petrified me. The main reason for this was to hide my stutter. I still stutter, but it is not as severe as it was in middle school and high school. But even as an adult, I am still teased!!! But at least now, I have the courage to tell people that mocking me is offensive. And that my stutter is not "cute."

My next Non-Profit Management class is on Wednesday. The topic is Project Management. I hope this instructor doesn't know who I am or who I work for. I just want to blend in.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

No Radio Show Again

So, I am sitting in the airport waiting on the plane to arrive so that I can get on it and fly back to NC. To pass the time, I watched NC State beat Duke in overtime in a crappy airport bar. Go Pack!

I am excited about tomorrow because I don't have to go to work. Instead, I have another Non-Profit Management class all day. This one is going to teach me about generating new sources of revenue. Whee! But I am sad that I will miss another radio show. But Tim has agreed to cover my shift again, but this time in exchange for a mix CD.

For some reason, this mix CD makes me nervous. He is a dj and a good one at that who has professional sounding talksets and doesn't play track after track of silverware being thrown down a stairwell or camels farting. (Yes, there are CDs of this stuff at WXYC.) He has a really wonderful show, which makes the task of putting together this mix CD a little bit daunting. I started playing around in Itunes last night and put together a rough draft, but I am not satisfied yet. It sometimes takes me several drafts to get a mix CD just right. I guess it is an art form that probably very few folks consider to be an art form.

I once gave a mix CD a title of Fifth Draft simply because it took me five attempts before I got it right. I doubt Tim's mix will take that long, but I never know. Lee and Ewald kept playing new stuff for me that I want to add to the mix.

Gotta board the plane!

Hunk of a Man

I was emailing Skip today asking him what the big deal with cable was. It seems like the 400 channels that are in the Durham Time Warner Cable area kinda suck. I don't see anything that I would ever want to watch. He suggested that I try the Turner Classic Movies Channel. So, I looked up their website to see what was coming on in the next week or so. And as it turns out, Gene Kelly is the Star of the Month and they are having Gene Kelly Mondays on TCM. Swoon!!!

I first fell in love with movie musicals in the summer of 1995, during a Ginger Rogers film series at the NC Museum of Art. When I saw the charming and dapper Fred Astaire swing Ginger Rogers effortlessly around the dance floor in her flowing gowns, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I thought Astaire was the dreamiest guy I had ever seen. I fell more in love with Fred Astaire than I did with Simon Le Bon when I was in the seventh grade or so it seemed at the time.

This film series included Swing Time, Top Hat, Shall We Dance and others. I don't think I had ever seen a musical before and certainly not one on the big screen. And the best part for me was viewing these movies outside (before the museum constructed that big outdoor setup that they have now which makes outdoor moving-watching there a huge pain in the ass). In his love scenes, Astaire's characters are always a little bit shy and awkward and his dancing is flawless, delicate and graceful. I remember telling Craven at the time"Fred Astaire is the kind of boyfriend I want." And this was true... until I saw Gene Kelly.

I think the first musical that I saw featuring Gene Kelly was The Ziegfield Follies. Or maybe it was An American In Paris. I don't remember. However, I do remember my jaw dropping the first time I saw him dance. Gene Kelly is HOT. Move over Simon Le Bon, Fred Astaire, Brad Pitt and hello Gene Kelly. Holy cow. He is an absolute hunk on the dance floor who dances with athleticism and masculinity (in contrast to Fred Astaire who dances more gentlemanly). And don't get me started on Gene Kelly's ass. Oooh! Christa and I have spent several evenings viewing Gene Kelly films and watching particular dance sequences over and over while squealing at the screen. She introduced me to his film Anchors Aweigh in which he has the most sexy telephone conversation I have ever heard.

I highly recommend that you catch some Gene Kelly films this month. Ooo-wee. I know I am.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

No More Backfat

When I was last in Brooklyn in early January of this year, Lee, Fenna and I went on a walk around their Windsor Terrace neighborhood. On our walk, I saw graffiti tags on just about every stationary object that said, "Backfat." When I asked Lee about it, she said that the mysterious Backfat had been tagging everything in sight and that the neighborhood listserv was in an uproar. At one point, I counted six tags alone from Lee and Ewald's apartment to the end of the block.

Lee and I tried to envision what this tagger might look like. We thought he would be young, since his tags are not that intricate or unique and some of them are just plain dumb. "Your girl is wack." "The pen ain't shit." We also thought he was short since alot of his tags were on low surfaces.

Lee and Ewald told me that Backfat was probably trying to imitate a well-known graffiti artist, Neck Face, but I don't know. But Backfat's reign has now ended. Charles Abamo, 21, who relocated to Windsor Terrace only a year and half ago from Seattle, was finally caught in mid-January. He was charged with two counts of criminal mischief and scrawling graffiti on a public library and a commercial establishment for which he faces up to four years in jail, if convicted. Since his arrest, many of his tags have been painted over or scribbled out. Backfat's short-lived terror has ended. But I photographed some of his tags on our walk yesterday. We'll miss you, Backfat.

It's funny that when I was researching for information about Backfat, several of the articles ended with a definition of backfat. So, I'll include one here (via NY Daily Times): "
Backfat is slang that refers to the rolls of fat caused by an ill-fitting bra, particularly on someone who is overweight."

Monday, March 5, 2007

Maria Taylor at Local 506

In January 2001, Bill called me up and said, "Charo, I have found your favorite record of the year!! You are going to love this." I couldn't wait to hear it, because I can always trust Bill's taste and he is always spot on with what he recommends for me. It is a very rare and precious relationship that we have.

Anyway, this record that he informed me of was the debut record of a duo called Azure Ray. The music was dreamy, sad, and beautiful... traits important to me in my indie pop. Formerly of Bright Eyes, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor got together with Eric Bachmann (currently of Crooked Fingers) to make their self-titled debut. The first track of Azure Ray's album, called "Sleep" became my Obsession of the Month for a good portion of the winter of 2001.

In 2005, Taylor and Fink each put out solo records. I am not sure if they officially split up, but I haven't seen an Azure Ray record since, so who knows. Although I never really warmed up to Orenda Fink's solo record, Maria Taylor's album 11:11 became one of my favorites in 2005. Her voice is so captivating and bittersweet and dreamy. The track "Song Beneath the Song" became another Obsession of the Week. (You can listen to it on her myspace page.) AND, I just read that she has a new record coming out tomorrow called Lynn Teeter Flower. Woo Hoo!!

I saw Maria Taylor at Local 506 soon after 11:11 was released and it was one of those beautifully mind-blowing shows (like that Vetiver show I saw last month). I cried. She ended her performance with an ethereal cover of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." I just melted. It was a great show... it wasn't too crowded, not too smokey and the audience was really into it.

She is performing on Monday, March 12 at Local 506 again with the local pop group Erie Choir. That is one week from today. I hope to be blown away again.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sorry, No Hot Dogs Today

I'm in Brooklyn visiting my friends, Lee, Ewald and Fenna for the next week. Today, the four of us went to their friend, Max's fourth birthday party. I swear when we walked in there were kids bouncing off the walls, chasing beach balls, playing soccer, dancing and screaming, and having a BLAST. It was very intense and mesmerizing. The calming voice of Patsy Cline coming softly from the speakers seemed to have no effect on the insanity in that space.

I had never met Max before, but he somehow knew about my passion for hot dogs. Max stopped playing to come over and tell me that unfortunately, there were no hot dogs being served at his party, but he did have birthday cake to offer me. He told me that he was going to be five on his *next* birthday. He assured me that the cake was going to be really good because it had writing on it and a big soccer ball.

UNC vs. Duke at 4pm today... last game of the men's season. Ewald and I are psyched. Fenna and Lee couldn't care less. Go Heels!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Friday, March 2, 2007

Radio Show, Friday, March 2 8-10am

Shins - Australia
Big Maybelle - Jinny Mule
Squeeze - Tempted
Maria Taylor - Birmingham 1982
M.I.A. - Galang
Unknown Artist - Curly Toes (from Songs in the Key of Z)
Gladys Knight and the Pips - The Nitty Gritty
Lena Horne - It Had Better Be Tonight
Josh White - One Meatball
Ray Charles - Just For A Thrill
Uncle Dave Macon - Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy
Summer Hymns - Way You Walk

I was in Whole Foods the other night and decided to grab some vegetarian fettuccine with sun-dried tomatoes for a quick supper. The woman behind the deli counter asked, "Would you like a meatball with that?" I chuckled and said "No, thank you. But there is a great song by Josh White called 'One Meatball.'" She said that she knew the song, but didn't know the Josh White version. She used to listen to the song on 78 when she was little and thought her recording was by the Inkspots. Gotta love running into music geeks in random places.

Entire playlist can be found here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Chapel Hillian in Durham

In 1994, I made the bold decision to move to Durham. I had been living in a rat trap apartment behind the Wendy's in Carrboro and was desperately searching for a new place to live. Everything in Chapel Hill and Carrboro was SO EXPENSIVE! My friend, Craven, just got a job in Durham and we decided at the last minute to look for an apartment in Durham. I didn't want to live in Durham. But the houses were beautiful and the rent was cheap. We ended up with a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment in Old North Durham in a historic house that had orginally been built as a duplex. We lived upstairs where we had hardwood floors, a fireplace, french doors to my bedroom, and TWO balcony porches. I think that the rent on that place was $400 when we moved in.

However, I hated leaving all my friends in Chapel Hill. I felt isolated in Durham. No one that I knew lived in Durham. I went out almost every single night in Chapel Hill or Carrboro. It was a good 25-30 minute drive! But at that point in my life, I claimed that I was not a Durhamite but a Chapel Hillian who lived in Durham. In the mid-90s, it was impossible for me to just bump into friends around town. Every now and then I would run into someone I knew at Schoolkids on Ninth Street, but that was rare. I missed being able to just run into people on Franklin Street or in a restaurant or bar. My Chapel Hill friends considered it a chore to have to drive all the way to Durham for anything. My social life in Durham consisted of renting movies from the Carolina and that was about it.

But over the years, my attitude drastically changed. There are tons of bars, restaurants, hangouts, and music venues minutes from my house. I travel less and less to Chapel Hill for social activities. So many friends have taken the plunge as I did and have settled down here. And Durham has definitely become a place where I can run into a handful of friends at the grocery or walking down Ninth Street.

Take for instance, last night after returning a DVD to Avid Video, I wandered over to Bull City Records where Chaz recommended some new music and was excited to do so! (He didn't make me feel old and out of place when I asked for music-buying help.) With a Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and a Fruit Bats CD in hand, I stopped into Cosmic Cantina for supper where I ran into Rebekah. After finishing our burritos, we decided to keep the evening going so we drove over to the Federal for beers where we ran into even more friends. It was an accidental night out, which was so exciting.

I gave up on claiming to be a "Chapel Hillian who lives in Durham" ten years ago. I am truly proud to call myself a Durhamite. Durham rocks.