Thursday, April 29, 2010

Way more than you think

Whenever people ask me about playing in a band, I always have to mention how much fun it is. The whole process is fun: practicing, writing songs, buying show clothes and rockin' out.

I love playing my guitar loudly. It's powerful.

Last Saturday, my band, Riveter, played a pig-roast barbecue at Peach Street Distillers.

If you haven't been out to the distillery and enjoy vodka, gin, bourbon and the like, make haste. I love vodka and used to drink Skyy, now I drink Peach Street's Goat Vodka and it's lovely.

My only warning about drinking at the distillery is that they pour stiff drinks. One Bloody Mary or Dirty Hippie has the equivalent of at least two or even three shots of vodka. And their drinks are so tasty, you could find yourself drunk there on a Sunday afternoon without even meaning to. Not that that's a bad thing.

We played to a great, big ole crowd Saturday and we kicked all kinds of pig-roast ass.

One of the things that makes playing with my band so a kick in the pants is my band mates. Kelley, Laurena and Scott are exactly the kind of people with whom I want to be spending my time. We get along amazingly, so much so that we and our spouses are celebrating my 40th in Vegas together.

We love to tease each other. Like if I saw this picture:
Instead of deleting it because it's not a nice picture of Kelley, I've been posting it around the Internet with comments that Kelley was having a fit. Because one thing Riveter is, is not very nice. And also because that shit's funny.

Our practices are most always a giggle fest and no one can beat a joke into the ground like we can. Our favorites are ones with dirty words. Recently we all saw this on the Internet:
Now, we try to say that to each other as much as humanly possible, even if it doesn't make sense which, of course, lead me to type this to Kelley yesterday: "Shut your whore e-mail."

Most of the stuff we say might not be funny to everyone (or Scott — who does a lot of head shaking and meditating during our practices), but we think we're hilarious.

And if you don't agree with us, well, you can just shut your whore mouth.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Discovering the best worst band ever

I read a discussion on a mommy blog somewhere about whether or not parents should force children to go to college.

Personally, I think forcing an adultish child to go to college is a bit fruitless. But what about other endeavors? Say, would you force your children to start a band?

What about if your superstitious mother had a premonition that you would have daughters that were in a band? Then would make your kids quit high school and start taking voice and instrument lessons?

Yeah, me neither. But that's exactly what Austin Wiggin Jr. did in the late 1960s.

In order to fulfill his mother's prophecy, he took three of his daughters, Dot, Betty and Helen, out of school and insisted they spend their days and nights practicing music and doing calisthenics.

They wrote songs and played gigs at the town hall and local nursing home for several years. Austin even used the family's savings to have the girls record an album titled “Philosophy of the World.”

When Frank Zappa heard that record, he claimed they were better than the Beatles. And even Kurt Cobain listed this girl-band as a major influence on his music.

So who was this band?

The Shaggs, of course.

Yeah, I had never heard of them either until this week when I saw this pictures:

I was immediately intrigued by this girl band from the 1960s of which I’d never heard, but served as inspiration to some serious musicians. Upon doing some web research, I came upon this article by Susan Orlean. It’s a thorough history of the three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire.

I find the story compelling, not just because when I listen to their music, I find it atonal, awkward and well, … just plain bad, but because many who are involved with outsider music, they find the off-beat, tone-deaf sounds of the three young girls to be epic.

Being in a girl band (uh, I mean, a mostly, all-girl band), I am always looking to be inspired by other female musicians. I believed since I could do it, anyone could. Then l I listened to The Shaggs’ Who Are Parents?

Knowing that these girls practiced day in and day out, playing Saturday-night, town-hall gig after Saturday-night, town-hall gig and yet they could never synch the drums and guitar makes me believe that some prophecies are better left unfulfilled.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hooray for Main Street and delicious sweet-potato fries

I just got back from having lunch with my mom at the Dream Café. For those unaware, the Dream Café is a delightful breakfast/lunch restaurant on Main Street.

Oh, I can hear the sighs and see the eye rolls of those who are avoiding Main Street because of the construction. And to those I say, come on down! Main Street is awesome, construction or not.

Yeah, you might have to walk a little further, but my mom did it and she has cancer in her bones, so …

And really, is walking a little further really such a bad thing? I like walking and especially like walking amongst the beauty of downtown.

Oh, I hear and see more sighs and eye rolls, but I think Main Street is still beautiful even with the construction.

I’ve enjoyed watching the workers transform the worn planters and sidewalks into their new, fresh incarnation. Plus they have left some of the original planter areas intact and they are full of spring flowers.

And they are working all the time. They are working evenings and weekends to get the job done. And for that I am thankful to all of them. It’s the busiest construction site I’ve ever witnessed.

The best part of the construction is that the stores, galleries and restaurants are still open and waiting for our business.

I know it’s got to be a struggle for those merchants to have construction hindering traffic, especially in a down economy. So I have made an effort to visit downtown more than I normally would.

One of the sacrifices I’ve made is eating often at Dream Café. OK, OK, it’s not a sacrifice. It’s a delight.

The café — which has made its home at the former location of the Crystal Café — is, in one word, yummy. They have several variations of Eggs Benedict, which are amazing. Plus their cinnamon rolls are crazy-huge and decadent.

Today, I had the Portabella mushroom sandwich with the absolute best sweet-potato fries I’ve ever had. Mmmm mmmmm!

So I’m still a big fan of downtown Grand Junction and encourage everyone to head on down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The key to a clean car

A few Fridays ago, Bill and I decided to get our weekend started right by going to the gym after work.

It seemed like a good idea at the time (now that just seems crazy and we've learned our lesson).

As we sat in the turn lane getting ready to pull into the gym parking lot, we got rear-ended.

Luckily no one was hurt. Our rear bumper did was it was designed to do, as it took the impact and left the rest of the car unharmed.

The very nice lady who hit us was also unharmed, but her car took more of the damage.

The big hole in her bumper is from our rear tail pipe. Ouch.

The other driver admitted that she looked away for a minute and when she looked back, blammo. We all stayed calm and recognized it as sucky, but we were lucky no one was hurt and our cars were still drivable. It could've been much, much worse.

After the accident, we pulled into the parking lot, looked at the damage, exchanged information and Bill called our insurance. They recommended we file a police report which we did.

Then a miracle happened. Without us having to do much, the other driver's insurance arranged an appraiser to come to my work and assess the damage. They sent the appraisal to the auto body shop and reserved a rental. And another miracle happened, I received a check made out for the entire appraisal price with a promise to pay more if more work was needed.

Just like that.

The only problem was the rental car. They gave me a white "crossover" — which essentially is a station wagon. *shutter*

But it was only going to be for two days, so I didn't sweat it that was until I went to turn it on the first time.

This was the "key" that worked the ignition:

Notice that there isn't actually a key there? Yeah, it's just a plastic end that goes into the ignition on the dash.

That was weird and felt a little un-American, even though it was a Dodge.

But the car drove nicely and I liked some of the interior features. Others left me a bit baffled. Like this button:

What the heck does that button do? It looks like a pig snout to me. I pushed it a couple times, but couldn't figure out what it did. And then before I could further investigate, my car was ready to be picked up.

Here's the after picture of our car:

Good as new and you know what the best part was? The auto body place not only washed the outside of the car, but they also cleaned the INSIDE. They cleaned the whole inside of my car which was filthy.

A new bumper and a clean car, who knew a rear-ender could turn out so well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just say no to fake heart attacks

Just look at those lovely flowers. Bill gave them to me the day after our 10th wedding anniversary last week.

No, he didn't forget. He never does. He just couldn't get them delivered on time because he was in the hospital.

Last Tuesday, Bill was on his way out the door to take Margaret to school when he doubled over in excruciating chest pains. My mom insisted that Bill go the hospital (when you lived with a husband who had heart disease, you know chest pains are no joke).

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. After two days of extensive testing, Bill's heart was deemed in excellent condition and he probably has an ulcer or some such malady. He is now feeling very well and raring to go. I chose to refer to the whole ordeal as "Bill's fake heart attack."

I, however, did not fare so well. After picking Bill up from the hospital, we stopped at the pharmacy to get some Prilosec. Apparently buying digestive medication is my last straw, as I announced in no uncertain terms right there in Rite Aid, that I would not be taking anyone (expect Margaret — nice of me to give exclusions to my own child) to the hospital ever again. Also I wouldn't be going to any doctor's appointment, tests, etc. any more in the future. I claimed I was done with sick people in general and everyone was on their own.

Then I went home and cried.

After three years of sickness, sadness, heart disease, cancer, death and wellness, taking sick days and vacation days to tend to those in need, it got the better of me.

But I knew even then when I was claiming I'd never set foot again inside any health care facility, that I was just whining. Once I got over my bad self, I discussed with myself that life happens. There isn't anything we can do about and sometimes it just plain sucks.

The trick is, of course, how you life your life in and amongst all the crappy parts.

So this weekend, Bill smoked the bejezus out of a whole host of food items in his new smoker (a gift from his whinny wife on the occassion of their uncelebrated 10th anniversary). We had friends and neighbors over. We rode our bikes. We went to see some live music even though we were really too tired.

Unfortunately, I was also stuck grading the exams I didn't get completed during the week while I was dealing with Bill's fake heart attack — but I did so while sitting outside in our backyard and enjoyed the glorious weather.

So when life hands you a fake heart attack, make smoked salmon ... uh, oh, ... you get the picture.