Wednesday, March 28, 2012

*tick, tick, tick* countdown to the season begins

The nameless stars of the future are looking to break camp, head north and become headliners on M-Live and the GR Press. We are still in the host family program, and while none of our guys have yet made the majors, all have had memorable seasons living with us, and made our lives richer and/or more interesting for it.

Bless all my baseball sons, whether their season with us was long or short -- Pedro, Mike, Brett, Derek, Orlando, Michael, Logan, Ryan and yes, Hayden and Kody.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Typing Out Loud: blah, blah, me, blah.

One of my favorite "mirror" illustrations, Norman Rockwell's "The Prom Dress." I want to hug her.

So Mids was an amazing success. I thrived on the PR aspect, making sure I was visible and shaking hands, troubleshooting any potential problems, and had the honor of presenting the big Championship awards since Ann had a hoarse throat.

What I didn't like was the "celebrity" status from the news article that was online on Friday, then in print on Sunday. At first I was flattered by the attention, then happy that adult skating was getting the spotlight, then simply embarrassed by the whole thing. I don't know how celebrities do it, and I was merely on the back page of Sunday's section B.

Frankly, I'm tired of talking about myself. Yeah, ok, I skate and do some stuff that other people don't do, but I'm kind of over the self "awe" part of it. I've been trying to write a blog entry for a couple of days but have been dealing with the "who cares?"

So yeah, I'm done with "me" for a while.

But onto other things. The boy wanted to wear real underwear and use the potty today with great success. I slid him into his Brobee panties at 9:45, and no accidents as of about 6pm tonight. Keep going kid, let's hope this is the last case of diapers. I'll miss the boxes though, they are sturdy and hold a lot of stuff.

I got the telescope and steering wheel from Christmas installed on the back deck for the boy. Oh, he loves them. I also got slats from the deck pulled off and ready for the slide installation, but that is a two-person job that Dave and I have to do. I still held the slide steady so Will could take a couple trips down. We are going to have to sneak a couple buckets of sand for a safe landing at the base.

Weather is awesome, and I desperately wanted to pull a Ferris Bueller and call myself in sick on housework. Anal-retentive won, and I raced to get laundry put away, floors vaccuumed, the bedroom suite floor done so we could go outside and play. I sat on the deck, soaked up some sun and did my nails. Will played in his wading pool - on March 21 - and got really dirty/sandy.

I'm reading a few of the free books from Amazon on the Kindle. There's a reason some of these are free. I'm reading a Christian romance right now, and I'm about to throw my sweet, amazing device across the room because I'm 50% done with the book and there's only been TWO kisses on the forehead, and these were high school sweethearts reconnecting after 10 years apart, looking at wedding rings. OMG, just do it already, even the Little House books had lip-to-lip contact and some heavy flirting by that 19th century babe *sigh* Almanzo. Yes, a total fox circa 1885, do I need to illustrate?

Yeah, I'd go in for a Long Winter with him. *snicker*

 I'm still keeping up with the YMCA's March Madness although not being in it to win it, the whole thing has lost its luster. Also, I've maintained my weight after successive weeks of losing, so I'm kind of pouting about that.

The Monkee madness continues, and I'm still crushing on Peter Tork. Lessee, I'm 42 now, started watching reruns in probably 1975, so that means I have had a crush on him, on and off, for 37 years. As much as I love the Beatles, I never crushed on any of them. What worse, Tork is OLDER than my dad, and at 70, still a rather handsome man. I'm debating buying the series on DVD, I want them, but cheapie that I am, don't want to pay for them.

I know, right?!

My dear darling husband downloaded the entire Monkees catalog for me and I'm delighted to say I've found some fun songs that I either haven't heard or haven't listened to in a long time. A few more fun songs featuring Tork are Tear the Top Right Off, You Don't Know Me at All, and Do I Have To Do This All Over Again? Then there's his banjo playing on the Nesmith song You Told Me. I did watch via YouTube the TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, and what a bizarre, hot mess that was. Where the movie Head was an awesome deconstruction to the Monkee myth, this was, and I quote from IMBD, "the four of them shouting eff you to the TV for an hour." Still, there were great musical moments in the second half, including them jamming with 50s rock stars like Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. And Tork on the organ.

Adult Nationals is a few weeks away, and the official schedule has been released. I'm competing on Friday etween 4:30 - 6:30 and Saturday at 1:10. Bette and the Lunchlady live!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yes, That's Me

From GR Press - I had a photo shoot!

Link to article:
I'm that Comstock Park Mom Juggling

Mids is going well, but I have yet to skate myself. It's all over at 8pm! Logo, program, uTunes, birthday parties, etc. are a hit. Schedule is not. Can't have it all, even though adult skaters try.

Let's Ice On.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's Right with the World: Adult Skating

Yeah we competed against each other, but it was more like with each other.

It's finally here -- Adult Midwestern Sectional Championships unofficially starts with practice ice and the arrival of officials and peeps tomorrow, officially with event #1, Champ Men, Saturday at 8a sharp.

I'm completely exhausted, and I have a marathon to "run" until 8p Sunday. But I am exhilarated knowing that the medals are here, the programs printed, the competitors bags stuffed, media interviews completed, judges' gifts presentable.

Most of all, I'm looking forward to throwing our friends a great party. Friends? Yes, I consider most all of my competitors my friends. That is one of the great things about adult skating, the camaraderie of the ice and spirit of competition.

My first experience as an adult skater was the Grand Rapids Open, 2001. Scared as hell, I was in a group of nine skaters and trying to figure out a strategy. I was a pre-bronzer against silver and bronze skaters so I had no chance, so my goal was to not throw up. Easy enough, I didn't eat 3 days beforehand.

Having gone to a couple of adult competitions before, I knew the culture was to throw little gifts out of the ice, affectionately known as tossies or throwies. I had acrylic flowers and tiny teddy bears, and made sure I had something for each of my competitors. Most did the same for me. I came in 8th, got  my peach colored horse show ribbon, and made some new friends.

Oh, that list of friends has grown over the years. I'm proud to say I have friends from Hawaii to Maine and beyond (Mrs. Redboots and Sarajayne, UK representin'!). These are people who go out of their way to cheer, offer encouragement, and sneak tasty beverages in the stands. I've felt this kind of camaraderie before as a member of Phi Gamma Nu, but never before have I felt a part of such a unique and special tribe.

These are my people - adult skaters.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

RED + Pop-Up Gallery

Both together in Leep Gallery... soon to be seen at RED + Pop-Up Gallery in Jackson

"The yellow one"

"The blue one"

I'm VERY excited to share the news -- my two paintings "There Are Memories" and "Looking In/Reaching Out" were accepted into the juried RED + Pop-Up Gallery show, opening March 22 in Jackson!

RED Cross Art

I ran across the call for entries at the end of January, and sent in my submissions via email without giving it a second thought (and chickening out). The deadline for submissions was February 28, and with a quick show opening of March 22, when I hadn't heard anything by March 8, I thought to myself, "oh well, art is about rejection and you've just been rejected."

Then I checked my email on March 9.

"Thanks for your entries, both were accepted. I look forward to seeing them in person."

And just like that, I'm in.

This pursuit has given me a tremendous ego boost, which is vital given that "Book of Geno" progress has slowed and I needed an additional kick in the inspiration pants to complete the additonal 300+ pieces. I'm pleased these two pieces will be in a gallery again, if only for a short time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why Art Matters - Maggie's Kitchen

It's her!

Some people use pen, some paint, and others the stage to nourish their creative appetites. But when it's all said and done, we need nourishment of another kind, because we're hungry! And thank goodness that's when another team of artists takes over.

I first discovered Maggie's Kitchen on Bridge St., back in '98 when one of the graphic designers I worked with brought in a savory to-go container that made mouths water through the department.

The restaurant is named for Magdalena Garcia, who loved to cook as a child. Family run, the place is always busy, with the rich, seductive aromas assulting your senses before you even enter the establishment.

If you are a Taco Bell type of person, the prices will be a bit on the high side. But if you prefer authentic flavors that are still quite easy on the wallet, there's plenty to choose from. Daily specials make some of the more expensive platters a treat; today I had the tostada platter for $5.95. There's even a new kid's menu, and Will had his quesadilla with a side of rice and beans.  
Oddly enough, the challege eating there is every meal becomes a favorite, you crave it, and you get stuck in a rut. I ate the fajita platters for years until a torta special turned me onto the sandwiches. A tight wallet neccessitated a lunch of a single, generously portioned taco. And the tostada special brought about the new favorite.

Another feature of the restaurant is its support of local artists. I have been surprised on occasion to stop by the place, only to find it was closed for a gallery show. I'm eager to know what is going in next, as the walls were stripped bare today.

Oh, I could extoll the virtues of the place in very bad Spanglish, but it's better to just go place your order and settle into a booth with a grapefruit Jarrito and let the delicious wash over you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Playlist - dedicated to the prefabs and Davy Jones

I started the draft of this blog on 2/20, and am updating it for 3/1 publication. It's always startling to realize those you think of as living on forever are, in fact, mortal. Thank God we have the music. RIP Davy.

Blog entry 99, the discovery of The Specials remake of "A Little Bit Me," marked a resurge of Monkee interest in the house. To my complete delight, Will giggled his way through an episode I played for him on youtube. Dave has found himself a couple of times thinking "this is a great song, what is it?" Monkees! Dave and I also debated the pros and cons of their place is in music history, and if they deserve entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our discussion was filled with plenty of  if/then and contradictions. Even I'm not sure. The wikipedia description of their movie Head describes the conundrum perfectly:

Throughout the film... they try to deal with the fact that they're four real people in a real band that makes records for real people, but are also scripted characters in a fake TV band doing nothing except exactly what the director wants them to.

With that said, how do you recognize an innovation such as the Monkees? While the series was honored at the time, winning several Emmys for Best Comedy, it's the music that has endured. Countless reunion concert tours have happened in the last 45 years, I attended in 1986. I'm a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville and Daydream Believer are pop classics that are played on oldies stations. Peter and Mike were amazing musicians, and their playing was featured on even the earliest recordings. Not so surprisingly, their deeper catalog of work has been appreciated by artists and musicians across the spectrum: rap and hip hop artists have sampled Stepping Stone and Mary, Mary; Michael Nesmith is considered a pioneer of the country blues, and their songs have been remade by countless punk artists - Sex Pistols anyone? The Beatles loved them, and collaborated on several projects.

Rockers take note, girls like it when you smile

Other impressions? Michael Nesmith should really reconsider his self-loathing as he is a comic genius in the series. With girls, there's always the question of who your favorite member is - always, always, always Peter for me. Micky had amazing soul, and his vocals are vastly underrated by history.  Davy, the group would have been incomplete without him.

Open letter to VH1 - find some time in your lineup to drop the trashy reality whores and put the Monkees back on the air.

Peter! Peter! Peter!
He sang very little lead with the band, which is too bad. I've been listening to some of his Blue Suede Blues stuff and he's pretty good. Auntie Grizelda is crap, and just can't include it here. Instead, I will highlight his contributions as a musician and songwriter.

What Am I Doin' Hanging Round? - Peter going to town on the banjo.

The Girl That I Knew Somewhere - a tune written by Mike, with Pete on harpsichord and Micky's wistful vocals. Probably my favorite Monkees song of all. The "video" of the song features the four attempting to woo a beautiful laundress, played by Julie Newmar.

Words - one of the few songs that feature Peter in the role as a vocalist, and even then, it's in a call-and-answer to Micky's lead. There's two versions of the "video" from the series, and the second one is vastly superior to the one in the suits.

Randy Scouse Git - translation: horny Liverpool asshole. Scatting, big toms, some fierce Tin Pan Alley piano playing by Peter. Cool.

Daydream Believer - Pete on piano, and Davy's sweet vocals. Little known fact: Peter contributed those opening bars and wrote the melody. On drunker nights in college, one of those sing-it-out-loud with my sorority sisters at the bar, and everyone joined in. One our of favorite local bands had it on their playlist, along with Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia".

No Time - R&B by a pre-fab pop band? Co-written by Micky and Peter - let's blow that "dumb one" persona to smithereens. Badass, and funny too.

Six from Nez
Papa Gene's Blues -  I didn't appreciate Mike Nesmith until I was an adult; I discovered his songs and show clips on youtube back in 2006. How it started: I was looking for figure skating songs and discovered one on roller skating from Elephant Parts ("Lucy and Ramona, and their brother Sunset Sam..."), which led me to old Monkees videos. Six hours later, I found myself digging out my old Monkees cassettes, wondering why I bypassed listening to his country blues rock hybrids.

Sweet Young Thing - "I know that something very strange is happenin' to my brain, I know I'm feeling very good or else I am insane."

The Kind of Girl I Could Love - a great blend of music and harmony.

You Just May Be the One - "love bright as the sun."

Sunny Girlfriend - "she owns and operates her own sunshine factory"

Circle Sky - heavy bass, and pretty trippy for their teen idol status. In the movie, the band is torn apart by the audience to reveal themselves as mannequins. Whoa. Band remade the song for their reunion with Nez in 1997, rocked harder than the original, and made it on the modern rock charts.

Micky's Soul
Mary, Mary - Funk soul brother. Reportedly, Run DMC was surprised to find out this song was by the Monkees and not an obscure soul group from the 60s.

I'm Not Your Stepping Stone - wicked bass, psychedelic middle bridge.

Some Time in the Morning - ballad by Micky, and one of the sweetest episodes, when they take in an older, lonely woman as a boarder. Rose Marie imagines herself as a younger woman dancing with the band.

I'm a Believer - Signature song, and I would say their most famous. Remade a million times over, most famously by the band Smashmouth for the Shrek movie series. Infectious joy.

Pleasant Valley Sunday - heavy bass line, amazing vocals by Micky about subdivisions some 20 year prior to Rush. The PVS marathon in 1986 regenerated their career and legacy. Plus, this tune really rocks.

Porpoise Song - the mermaid fantasy/suicide/dream sequence opening to the movie Head. To me, sounds heavily influenced by the Sgt. Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour albums. Research into reveals a universal consensus that Head is the creative peak of the band as a band.

Ok, Some Davy...
Star Collector - first use of a Moog synthesizer in a hit song, a groupie homage that I think every band eventually writes.

A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You - it's been covered in blog #99, but it had to make the list.

Ditty Diego War Chant - the wry "eff you" to their TV alter image.

I listened to a podcast where two DJ's compared their five favorite Beatles tunes v. their five favorite Monkees tunes. Maybe I will do that in the future, to of course beat a topic to death. Roll credits, for Pete's sake.