Monday, May 18, 2015

Musical Monday: Brandi Carlile

Making a return trip to this blog is Brandi Carlile, with this excellent, relatively new song:

Very nice, that song.

What news of me? We're heading into the real lasts of the Catbird's high school 'career'. This week, she's got her final conference champion track meet (though not her last track meet; she qualified for sectionals in the 800 and 1500). She now has less than 20 days of school left. Wow.

The Magpie continues to thrive in Japan, though the end is also in sight. She booked her return flight, which caused quite a bit of sticker shock. Last fall, she flew out, non-stop, on a Dreamliner for under a thousand bucks. A non-stop return flight would have cost her almost 5 grand. Five thousand freakin' dollars. Instead, she booked a flight for roughly what she paid to get there, but this one stops in Hong Kong and will keep her traveling for something like 22 hours. Ugh.

Making steady progress now through the WiP. I had printed it out and spent a couple of weeks going through it, making notes and scribbles and sticking post its all over it (what fun!). Usually I start with the last version of the document, do a 'Save As' and make changes following my notes on the printed copy. This time, I started with a brand new, blank document and have been typing the whole thing back in. As a result, I'm making even more changes than are noted on my pages, which I think is making for a better revision--at least I hope so!

Not sure if this marks my return from sabbatical or not; we'll see. How's everything with all of you?

Friday, May 8, 2015

We Interrupt this Short Break...

...for a chestnut update! As you can see, the little tree is starting to join the rest of the vegetative world in these parts. Daffodils are up, violets are blooming, even some wild strawberries. And now, the chestnut is starting to leaf out.

I'm glad to see that the brutal winter we had didn't kill it and I'm hoping it really takes off this year.

I'm enjoying my blogging break and expect to return, maybe by June. Hope you're all well. Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Musical Monday: Me and My Uncle

Whoa, how did it get to be Monday already? I'm not ready.Going back for more coffee. Have some music.

Me and My Uncle was written by "Papa" John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas. Phillips was apparently mystified when he started receiving royalties for the song from Judy Collins' record company. Turns out he wrote the song in a hotel room one boozy night in 1963 or '64 while hanging out with Collins and others. He didn't write any of it down; fortunately, someone had a tape recorder running. Collins somehow ended up with the tape and began performing the song shortly thereafter, and released it on an album in 1964. Phillips would later record the song himself; he joked that he remembered the song more with each royalty check.

The Dead, they started playing the song in 1966. According to those who keep track of these things (and there are, indeed, those who keep track of these things), they played Me and My Uncle more in concert than any other song, performing it over 600 times. 

Bah, that's all I got today. How was your weekend?

Friday, April 24, 2015

A(nother) Matter of Perspective

Many years ago, a friend told me something his little cousin said whenever someone called the kid a drip. 'Drip' is not big on earth-shattering scale of insults, at least not now; even then, it was pretty uncommon. Still, I guess the kid heard it enough that he had this pat phrase, just in case:

"A drip is a drop, a drop is water.
Water is nature, nature is beautiful.

Thanks for the compliment!"

I don't know about you, but I just heard that in my head in the sort of sing-songy voice of an 8-year-old. I digress.

I imagine at the time I kind of chucked over the phrase, but as "drip" is really not in use anymore, I never had occasion to use it myself. It just sort of got incorporated into my memory, to resurface once in a blue moon just to let me know it's still there if I ever need it.

The phrase--it's not really a phrase, I guess, but I'm not really sure what to call it--came to mind again yesterday after an exchange with another friend. He's a sarcastic sort of person who forces you to watch your every word. He will take you quite literally just to prove a point. He's a lot of fun to be around, though he can also be quite exhausting.

He's been volunteering to help set up an event that my organization is running this week, and he was giving me the business over me spending "a disproportionate amount of time" with someone who dropped things off. In explaining why it took me so long to extricate myself from this person, I said, "I don't want to come off as an...."

"As a what?"

Now, lots of people might not think the word 'asshole' is a swear, but it's also not a word I throw around in conversation with everyone, everywhere. I was hesitant to use it, even though my friend had used the word "fuckhead" just the day before in relation to a common acquaintance. I tone down my language considerably among some people and in some situations. But I said it.

"I don't want to come off as an asshole," I said.

"Why not?"

This pretty much stopped me in my tracks. Was he really asking this question? Seriously? It took me a second to answer, because I was looking for the hole I was undoubtedly about to fall in. Finally, I just said, "Who wants to be seen as an asshole?"

He said, "You don't want to be indispensable? Reliable? Efficient? I would think it would be quite the compliment!"

"I never thought of it that way before," I said. It seems we can put a positive spin on just about everything, doesn't it? Have a nice weekend, all.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Musing

I missed my regularly-scheduled posting time last week. Work was busy, with a huge project deadline looming. On the home front, there were 3 things last week happening in the evening hours. When I had nothing on Friday morning, I thought, "I'll do it tonight," but we had a meeting that kept me out, then I had a work event on Saturday that wiped me out. Once I get past a certain point, forget it, I'm not posting.

I think I'm in that funny phase of writing known as "recharging" or "filling the well," or insert your own metaphor. I also skipped my writers' circle on Sunday, using the excuse that I was tired and that we were doing a lengthy spring cleaning. Both were true, but the other truth of it is I just haven't felt a whole lot like going lately. I've been valuing the socializing aspect of it more than the writing lately. The writing (mine, that is) has been rather pedestrian; I haven't been enjoying it quite as much, so it may be best to stay away for a little while. The big project, the current novel, has comments from 2 readers now, both full of excellent insights and commentary. I'm not burned out on THAT writing and will be diving back in this week. How quickly I can turn it around and get it in Agent Carrie's hands? I don't know. I was hoping to be able to be submission-ready before the dead days of mid-summer. We'll see how that goes.

As for the blog, you know me--I'll threaten (promise?) that I'm shutting down for a little while, and then I'm back with little or no interruption.

That's all for me, for now. How's everything by you?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend Update

Greetings, all. This will likely be a short post today.

-Big news for me, one of my betas sent me back my latest last night. Funny how it is, she made two very raving (in a good way) comments on Facebook over the last couple of weeks, and the first line of the e-mail (which is visible in the subject line) starts with "I absolutely love TITLE"--but I still haven't read it. My wife doesn't understand how I can let these things sit. I am a ripper when it comes to removing Band-Aids, but not when it comes to stuff like this. We've been over this ground before. I always have to work up to stuff like this.

-This weekend, my organization ran an Earth Day-related event. It was very well attended and seemed quite popular. When we were walking out the door on Saturday morning, it was breezy and cold, and a few very tiny bits of snow were seen flying around. That kind of weather actually helps attendance, I think. In April and May around here, if the weekend weather is halfway decent, folks are out doing around-the-house work on gardens, lawns, the house. Yesterday ended up being sunny and somewhere around 60. Very nice to have that kind of day finally.

-At the event, I received a very nice compliment from a woman about the series of occasional columns I've had in our local paper. It's always great to hear something like that.

-Because I'm always behind on these things, I finally started watching The Walking Dead last week. I had seen the first two episodes when it first aired, but lost track of it and let it go. Gruesome stuff, but pretty good overall, I'd say. The question is always, "Can they keep it up?" (In this case, I guess it's more, "Did they keep it up?")

-The Bruins pulled a colossal fail and missed the playoffs, as they dropped their final three games of the season. All year long, even when they had dropped out of a playoff spot, I thought, "They'll be fine, they'll make it." But heading into those final three games, I was less sure. The Bruins had just won five straight games, and the last time they did that (March 7-14), it was followed by six game losing streak. They had also lost six straight in mid-February, so there was a pattern there. We'll see whether the coaching and management staff pays with their heads. I'm not so sure they should, but professional sports has become very much a "What have you done for me lately?" industry, and few are afforded a down year like this one.

And I think that's about all I've got to say this morning. How was your weekend?