Wednesday, October 29, 2008


For those of you lucky enough to still live in the promised land (no irreverence, thus no caps, intended) The Whispertown 2000 is playing in Portland FOR FREE!
November 13, 18:00 at Music Millennium, Portland, Oregon. Go, even if it's only for me, stuck in the desert land where they have no tour dates planned as yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Whispertown 2000

Gillian Welch has been releasing her own albums on her own label, Acony Records, for some time now. Today Acony introduces a new band, The Whispertown 2000. It's a great listen, though there is a layer of static over the whole record that's a little hard to get used to. The band is talented and I'll look forward to hearing more from them, but I'm most excited about hearing more from Acony Records. With Gillian Welch and her good taste at work I'm sure Acony will discover many interesting new artists. My review of The Whispertown 2000's album, Swim, is here. (Yes, I did mean littoral, not literal. I got a little word of the day crazy there.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quiz Show

Oh so many months ago, when Zeb and I first moved in together, I envisioned our evening unwinding time would be spent cooking together, reading books out loud to each other, talking for hours, or some other highly interactive activity. That is my idea of decompressing. And I'm sure that those of you who have been married any amount of time are laughing by now and you know what's coming. Zeb's definition of relax is a wee bit different than mine. He shakes off the drudgery of the day with a few hours of computer time. I'm not quite sure what rhyme and reason plot his virtual path, but it roams anywhere between online poker, Wikipedia articles on Civil War generals and R.E.M. videos on YouTube. At first this highly annoyed me and I wondered if we should start marriage counseling because, you know, first it's excessive computer time, then it's magazines in the bathroom, then next thing you know he's dealing drugs on the side. Pretty sure what I would have found out in marriage counseling is what I eventually and more economically figured out on my own - mine is not the only little world in existence. My way is not the only way. Zebulin is not me (somehow I get us confused sometimes) and he needs to be respected and admired for the preferences that make him he. Just as he does not ask me to account for why my bare feet need the protective barrier of my slippers even walking on a freshly mopped floor, he should not be questioned on what he considers relaxation.
That being said, we have come up with ways to overlap our chosen relaxation methods. Zeb gets to sit squarely at the computer and research away while I stay close with a book or make dinner. If, in the course of my reading, I find a word I don't know he dictionary.coms it for me. Often the recipe I make is online and he cooks with me by reading me the recipe over the course of an hour. If any question crosses my mind, like when is National Free Ice Cream Day, I put my handy dandy researcher to work and he googles it for me. Every time he laughs at the computer screen I ask him what's so funny and he reads the joke or calls me over to watch the video. Sometimes we play a game kind of like six degrees of separation for the internet. I'll ask him what he's looking at right that minute. It's usually something like the Wikipedia article on The Loch Ness Monster. Then I ask him how he got there and he has to go backwards and trace his trail of links for me (it's amazing, he'll start with burritos, pass through transcendental philosophy, and end up at Ninjas). This game works well because he gets to stay in computer world, and I get to hear his thought process.

These concessions on both sides have made the comp versus convo methods of relaxation workable, but it wasn't until this week that I actually began to really appreciate Zeb's researching hobby. See, along with being exceptionally curious about everything under the sun, once he learns something, he never ever forgets it. He can give names, dates, and details about everything, including every instance of me forgetting to turn off the stove. All the facts (minus the stove thing) floating around in his head make Zeb a highly prized teammate on trivia nights.

Team trivia nights. I had never heard of it before we moved here where trivia night draws as much enthusiasm and as big of a crowd as Monday Night Football. If one were addicted there is a trivia night available at different venues (bars) every night of the week. I suppose the fact that we've been twice this week means we might soon need TAA or whatever you might call a group for addicts of this kind. But it's such a pleasant, if competitive, way to spend an evening. You gather round a table with five of your smartest friends and a bottle of wine and the Kahlua/honey drizzled baked brie that my sister's got me hooked on, and you pour forth your useless knowledge. And it feels so good. It gives us self esteem when we win (even though I didn't answer any questions I still win if I'm on the team, right?). It gives us that little boost that will get us out of bed to go to work the next morning. But we could stop any time we want to. We probably will after we try a few other trivia nights, just so we're making a really informed decision to kick the habit, you know.
And now for an unrelated photo of our neighbor's lovely yard:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quite a Show

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of seeing Dana Fuchs in concert. Did you see the Beatles' musical 'Across the Universe?' It was OK, as a movie, the connections were a bit of a stretch. However, the interpretation of the Beatles' songs? Brilliant. Bono singing 'I am the walrus...' and Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite. Then there was Dana Fuchs. She was by far the strongest character, though she was a supporting character, in the movie. She was a strong, voluptuous, outspoken women who simultaneously defined, mothered and challenged the other characters. When I saw that this presence was coming to our sleepy little sailing town I signed up immediately. I didn't know anything about her, aside from the movie, but I figured unless they completely fabricated her voice in the movie, she'd be worth hearing. And she was. Her songwriting was a mixture of cliche and incredibly original folk/rock, but her voice was gripping. In a mesmorizing way. This girl is intense. She sings most songs at a 90 degree angle to the stage, bent over backwards screaming out throaty yet high notes with her long curly copper hair swinging and flying through the spotlight. Watch for thirty seconds and you'll get the picture. And see her if you ever get a chance.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hitting Close to Home

The recurring question round the world is, 'Are you worried?' Two weeks ago we would have said no, not really. But things change so quickly. Both the boy and I work full time at real estate offices, and I pick up evening shifts at an outrageously priced restaurant. In the last week we find ourselves with reason to worry about all three jobs' security. We're not quite living on beans and rice yet, but we're certainly changing our course a bit.
There are many things I'd love for this season of my life, I'd love to be trying out new recipes on friends gathered 'round our table, I'd love to be camping, I'd love to be unaware of the time, wrapped in a scarf on the front porch drinking spiced apple cider, I'd love to lay my head down at night and feel it resting rather than spinning. But this season's gonna be, to put it quite bluntly, about the money while it can be. It will be extra shifts and long hours away from the things I love, on sore feet, feeling like some precious moments are passing me by because I just don't have the time to capture them. It will be less writing (here and elsewhere), less time with family and friends (virtual or actual), and fewer parts of me engaged with my own life. It will be me coming to terms with these things and trying not to feel guilty or fragmented. And then come January I expect I'll be working very little. Though that won't be by choice, it will be nice and I will feel that I have earned it. I'll spend my long hours on the couch instead of my feet, and I'll read and write again, and I'll call y'all and maybe even write you a letter. We still plan to set up house in Philadelphia in the near future; we might actually move on up a little sooner than we'd thought. All of those details will begin to order themselves around the end of the year, we hope.
Because I'm deciding to see this not as bad thing, just a rearranging (less time now so that there will be more time later) I'm OK with it, I just wanted to let you know. Nearly on the topic, here's a tidbit from The Onion that made us lol this week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Marriage 15...or 20.

Several things: #1, I turned the air conditioner back on this week. While everyone, everywhere else, is talking about Fall and the crisp smell and tights and tea, we are still in this awful miserable purgatory of waning summer which just means that it's a few degrees under 100 and we will go from tank tops today to snow tomorrow. Probably. Give me moderate weather! Yeah right.
#2, on one of the days that there was a nip in the air last week, I enthusiastically pulled out my favorite pair of gray corduroy pants. There is one distinguishing, defining fact about these pants that I must mention, besides the fact that they are gray and corduroy and MY FAVORITE PANTS, that fact is that they were acquired pre-marriage. That is, they were purchased at the height of caring about attractiveness and toned shapeliness. They were the smallest size of pants I'd ever fit into. A year and a half later I pull them out, thinking I know I'm on the 'curvy' side of the scale but these are my favorite pants and I must wear them now during my favorite season. I get them on (I must admit they're about 70% cotton and 30% spandex). I think, they're on! I'm doing all right here. I do a bit of contortioning, bending knees, sticking out butt to get them really situated and they rip from waist to knee. Moaning, wailing, and a little bit of crying ensues. Zeb says (the dear) 'Well, corduroy is a notoriously flimsy fabric.' We both know that is not the issue.
The point of the story is... um, that I'm not exempt from whatever Murphy's type law says the more you swear you won't gain weight after you get married, the quicker you will? Or that the indulgent, conscience free honeymoon year should finally give way to the exercising and healthy eating that I actually want to mark my life? Or that I get new clothes? Yeah, the new clothes one (also, the other two). So I did. I held my nose and went to the mall for about 4 hours too many and emerged with three pairs of pants that are actually my size, that is, about 4 sizes larger than fifteen months ago when I entered this blessed state. That's the trade off? Gain 4 sizes in exchange for this amount of happy? I'll take that compromise any day.
#3, However, three pairs of new pants could not quite shake off the feeling that I might be getting too careless about superficial external things. I'm a bit afraid I might be, dare I say it? Frumpy. I've accepted the fact that it's coming, the frump, I just wanted to ease not jump into it. So I got myself bangs as well. Because that makes me feel hip and relevant. And every time I say that Zeb asks me what does that even mean and I really don't know so I shoot back in an insulting tone that his face is hip and relevant. See what I mean? That's even a frumpy come back. It might take more than bangs to save me.