Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Rules (Guys' Version)

I saw this on James's site today (actually it's tomorrow over there in Australia) and just had to post it here. Guys will laugh uproariously while reading it, and girls will slap the guys for said laughter, but it's all in fun:

Sunday = sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
Crying is blackmail.
Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
Most guys own three pairs of shoes - tops. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?
Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
You're not fat. Don't ask us if we think you are - we refuse to answer.
If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.
All men only see in 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. And we have no idea what mauve is.
We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.
If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really!
You have enough clothes.
You have too many shoes.
It is neither in yours or our best interest to take the quiz together. No, it doesn't matter which quiz.
I am in shape. ROUND is a shape.

(via The Daily Prawn)

Racqueteering: I played racquetball with Halfling today; I hadn't gotten to do this in a couple of months, but I felt looser and more energetic on the court than I ever had, I think. It's gonna be a regular thing again really soon; Halfling and I will play whenever we can, and Ben wants to play twice a week. As I said in a previous post, racquetball is a great workout for musicians because you don't have to do it every day to benefit from it, and it works out all kinds of different parts of you. Great fun.

As I type this, I just came in from getting the mail, which today included the annual envelope from the district concerning the lesson program. I found out we get a 50-cent-per-lesson raise for the fall (that usually only happens every other year), which translates to about $140 more a month for me. Sweeeeeeet.

Blow out the candles: Happy birthday to my sister Kristen in Austin. Hope I can make it down that way soon, since we missed each other on Schlitterbahn weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Apparently, There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

A pair of brothers whom I teach tipped me off this morning that the new Red Robin over by Super Target was about to open and was holding one of those cool promotions where they give out free meals during the training period. I had gotten to do one of these a few months ago with Stout at the new Chili's on I-30, and it's a really awesome deal for all involved. The employees get to complete their training by serving actual customers (as opposed to, say, corporate "suits" pretending to be customers), and the guinea-pigs-for-a-day are rewarded with free food. It also leaves a good taste in your mouth (literally and otherwise) about the place, which should lead to repeat visits after opening time.

I had heard that there were both afternoon and evening shifts, so I was hoping to score a dinner slot and possibly bring Halfling and Angie along, but the later hours were already booked (d'oh). They did say, however, that they could seat me right then and there. I pondered that for about, oh, .0037 of a second before taking them up on the deal.

The theme of the place is "gourmet burgers and spirits," with the expected loud-and-fun atmosphere. The burger was really good (I had the "sauteed 'shroom burger" in case you're curious), and the serving team was friendly and attentive; my Dr Pepper glass was never empty. They also serve "bottomless fries," which is a dangerous concept. The portion that comes with the burger is somewhat small, which actually encourages this practice, so I took them up on it one time but didn't finish more than half of the (considerably larger) refill. I felt a twinge of guilt about leaving the extras, remembering the "poor children starving in (insert name of poverty-stricken country here)" from my childhood. Perhaps I could've mailed them the fries, but...dang, no envelopes.

After years of having to go to Plano for everything, the dining choices in Garland just keep getting better and better. Red Lobster and Olive Garden are on the way soon (near Outback Steakhouse); it's just been confirmed that Firewheel Town Center will get a T.G.I. Friday's, Rockfish, Bone Daddy's and Macaroni Grill (sorry, it's a Friday and I'm way too lazy to put up the links to all those places). Finally, my part of town is getting more "civilized," and the Red Robin is a great addition to the mix.

The restaurant review is done; time for the music review: The gig went great last night. The vast majority of it flew by the seat of its pants, but sometimes the most spontaneous jazz turns out to be the best jazz. We mostly played "danceable standards," but the presence of some truly heavyweight players always adds new dimensions to even the oldest and tiredest of tunes. The band was indeed smokin' (some members literally so *grin*), and there was a big crowd and an often-full dance floor, so hopefully it'll turn into a regular thing.

Halfling and Angie were there for the first two hours and had a great time, and I was surprised when my old fraternity brother Wyatt dropped in (I had told him about the gig, but he lives in Ft. Worth, so Addison's not exactly in his backyard). He's getting his entrerpeneurship degree in December, with the objective of opening up live music venues. After our conversation last night, he's definitely the frontrunner for being the music-oriented business guy to run the future Kev-and-Halfling jazz club when the time comes. (Another Fun Fact about Wyatt is that he's the person who turned me onto Chipotle back in early '01. I have always said that if Chipotle were a pyramid scheme, I'd be a really wealthy man thanks to all the people I've "referred" to the place. In that same scenario, Wyatt would be obscenely rich for having referred me and could thus open jazz clubs in every major city on Earth.)

The club was really nice...not as big as Caravan but indeed possessing a similar vibe. I didn't get to sample the food menu, but, umm...the water was good. I've said before that Dallas needs more live jazz venues, so I hope this one does well. With any luck, I'll be squeezed onto that tiny stage again really soon, because last night was a great time.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "WE CARD UNDER AGE 39 1/2"--badges worn by the Red Robin servers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Next Gig

I neglected to mention this during the busy-ness of camp week, but I have a gig coming up tomorrow night. Shelley Carrol is reassembling his big band for a night at a cool-sounding new venue in the Belt Line/Tollway area. We'll be playing from 9 p.m. until midnight, and there's no cover charge, though you may have to buy a drink or two (I'm also pretty sure there's no minimum age but will confirm that this afternoon). This place is evidently set up like the late, legendary Caravan of Dreams, so it should be really nice. Hope you can make it out if you're in the area. I'm in the bari chair for this one, just like the last time we did this in Summer '01, and there should be a slew of local heavyweights up there as well. (Incidentally, note that there's now a space on the sidebar of this site for performance listings, for the benefit of those readers who don't usually visit the gig page on my other site.)

UPDATE: I made a call over there and was dismayed to find out that it is in fact a 21+ venue (boo!). I've ranted at length in a previous post about why this is a bad idea, but who in the business world has ever listened to a musician? For what it's worth, they did say that you could get in if you were with a "guardian" (anyone wanna take bets that my "family" gets a little bigger in the next 24 hours?). All I can say is, the Kev-and-Halfling all-ages jazz venue can't open soon enough...though we're still short a million bucks or so before that can happen. Donations, anyone?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Re-Birth of the Cool

No, this post is not about the early-90's Gerry Mulligan CD of that name, but rather a celebration of the fact that Casa de Kev once again has air conditioning. With camp finished, the guy was able to come over this afternoon and make pretty quick work of fixing things. The timing couldn't have been better--it was an unseasonably cool (60's) night here last night, so the house was at a comfortable 80 degrees for morning lessons...that's only two degrees warmer than I usually keep the place. As Angie's dad had guessed, the culprit was in fact the blower motor in the outside unit. The fix-it guys were in and out in an hour, interrupting lessons only the slightest bit, and now things are starting to get back to normal over here.

But since I mentioned the Mulligan CD, I do encourage all jazz fans to check it out. It's basically a revisiting of the classic Miles Davis Birth of the Cool charts with as many of the surviving players as possible, along with some intriguing substitutions (Phil Woods replacing Lee Konitz, for one). Since it's a bari player's album, Mulligan has more solos; the tracks are also sequenced differently from the original. One definite bonus is the presence of a much better singer on the vocal rendition of "Darn That Dream." If you can only own one "Cool" collection, go for the original, for sheer historical value if nothing else...but if there's room for more, this is a more-than-worthy addition.

A double trifecta of the healthy kind: Congratulations to Lance Armstrong, onetime Planonian and occasional Austinite, who rode into history yesterday by winning his sixth Tour de France by the convincing margin of over six minutes. I'm really hoping that next year, when the Discovery Channel takes over sponsorship of the current U.S. Postal cycling team for which Lance rides, the Tour will once again be available on basic cable...say, perhaps, the sponsoring channel itself? Or would that make too much sense?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Many people ask the question, 'How is that possible?' It's a great question, and it's easy to derive sensational answers. What do you do on a Christmas Day? January 1? Are you riding a bike? It's a full-year commitment; that's our secret."--Lance Armstrong, on how he wins the Tour consistently without doping. It also sounds a whole lot like the practice regimen that Halfling and I just pledged ourself to last week, so maybe the eventual reward is....a tour of France? At any rate, I do expect to have a horn in my hand come Christmas, and New Year's too, whether or not I have a gig.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Recovery and Renewal

Camp was great; it probably ran more smoothly than any previous year despite having more people than ever before. Even with five big bands, the concert only lasted two and a half hours last night. I was really happy with how my band played, and I think they all enjoyed themselves and learned a lot. (And for whatever it's worth, my band bought more CD's of last night's performance than any other band, which I thought was pretty cool.)

As I promised in an earlier post, I slept past noon fact, way past noon, finally crawling out of bed at 1:30. G called me a punk for doing that, but I reminded her just how seldom I actually get to sleep that late, ever. It's impossible to catch up on a week and a half of too little sleep in one fell swoop, but I do feel much more rested now than I have recently.

The downside of camp being over meant that this was the first day that I was actually home during the daytime since the A/C broke at the house last week. I've dealt with it this long by not being there except to sleep, and the sleeping part was made bearable when Angie's dad (an A/C guy himself) loaned me a window unit for my room. The rest of the house, however, topped out at 90 degrees this afternoon (it's a really weird sensation to walk from my room to the living room and just feel the temperature rising), so, needless to say, I spent most of my time in my room, which is also really weird.

The other result of the hot house was that I didn't do much of anything except for watching a Rangers game on TV. I ate dinner out because I didn't want to heat up the kitchen any more than it already was by cooking, and when it was still 89 at 10 p.m., I chilled (literally) at Starbucks for a while. I'm really hoping that the home-warranty repair guy can make it on Monday so I only have to deal with this for one more day.

Despite all this, the heat did not keep me from my primary mission: Day One of the new "practice every day for a year unless you're out of town" commitment that Halfling and I made on Thursday. I obviously moved my location from the studio to my room, but I got it done and may well do some more in a bit. This first day was critical; if I could actually practice today, a day after a week of musical immersion, I can do it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day...if this was a test, I passed it. There will be challenges during the year when I get really busy, but I really, really want this. Even if I don't hit the level of my camp-faculty section-mates within a year, I'll still be way better than I am now, which will only help me and the new combo we're about to launch.

And don't worry, even though I'm reexamining some of my priorities to allow for this extra practice time, this blog will definitely not go away or even decrease; I enjoy this outlet, and the online community that it's built, way too much. Other lesser diversions may fall by the wayside a bit, but Kev will continue to muse.

It's "cooled down" to 88 now; I think I may go play a bit more.

UPDATE: Halfling has done a night-by-night rundown of the camp concerts; I may do the same in a day or two, just because I've never done that and because it'd be cool to chronicle everything from my side of the stage.

Merging two parts of the Trifecta?? Krispy Kreme is evidently coming out with a liquid doughnut. Cool or scary?

(via Dave Barry's Blog)

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Byron Stripling was at camp today, and I think that the aftermath of his hourlong clinic will lead to one of those life-changing musical moments. Even though I always get fired up about playing after a week of teaching jazz camp, it's never actually led me to the one thing I really need to do: practice more on a regular basis. But now, I feel more focused than I have in a long time, and I know exactly what I have to do to accomplish my goals. Byron's clinic today was nothing short of amazing; it may well have all been information that I knew, but it wrapped everything in a neat little package that's easy to both draw upon and explain to others.

Sure, I've hit a certain level already (being a part of this great faculty speaks volumes), but I've always known there could be so much more, and I feel like there's a clear path to get there now. Halfling is of course on board with me for this, so it'll be a fun trip no matter how rocky the road gets at times, and once the TD/D combo gets fully realized, it's gonna be something else. I'm just totally fired up about my playing again, and I can't wait to see what happens between now and next summer at this time.

ORIGINAL QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You don't choose chooses you."--Me, in master class, in response to a camper's question about deciding whether or not to go into music as a career.

However, I defer to my esteemed colleague for the...

DEFINITIVE QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You'll find that people don't care so much about Britney once she starts to sag."--Byron, while discussing the reasons that image is not a key component for true success in music.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A Quick Snapshot from Camp

Camp is going great, and of course I'm swamped this week, with every day continuing pretty much nonstop from 8:30 in the morning until after nine at night. My big band is coming along, and I think the final program for Friday night's concert is set. All of the faculty concerts have gone well; performing with Kevin Mahogany is always a treat, and as was mentioned previously, I got to do that twice on Sunday. (He's also a really, really nice guy.)  Tonight was our tribute to Frank Mantooth; during what I could see of the commemorative video montage (we were playing at the time, so I only caught a few glances), it hit me again how much he'll be missed as a musician and a human being.

Last night, I got to play a pretty extensive solo (on a really weird arrangement that I'd never played before yesterday afternoon). G had her camera in the audience and took a picture, so here's a little stolen moment from camp until I get back to regular blogging:

I'll pop on again later in the week when I get another break, and then I'll have a Dingus-sized post after I wake up on Saturday, which will definitely not be before noon--that's a promise (both the long post and the sleeping past noon).

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hot, Hot, Hot

OK, I'm back from Indiana and ready for camp in the morning...except I'm still living out of a suitcase.  Say what?  Well, I got back from the airport and promptly walked into a 94-degree house.  The air conditioner is blowing air, but the air's not cold...and of course, it happened on a weekend, while I was away, the day after our first 100-degree day of the year, and right before jazz camp to boot.  The luck of Murphy, huh?
So I was all set to do a post about my weird, multi-pronged air travel and all that, but it'll have to wait until things get back to normal.  Tonight, I'm at Halfling's (he brought me home from the airport, walked into the hot house with me and immediately offered me hospitality; best friends pretty much rule that way). Having opened up just enough of a window for Tasha to get fresh air without escaping, I basically took the weekend's dirty clothes out of my duffel bag and replaced them with new ones for tomorrow, and we'll go from there.  Realistically, though, I can't see anything being fixed before Monday, and even then I'll have to send Halfling over there to wait for the service guy, since camp takes up my whole day. 
Despite all this, one of the busiest (but most fun) weeks of the year starts in less than 12 hours.  Tomorrow, I play with Kevin Mahogany twice (at Kris's church and of course at the nighttime camp concert) and we start the regular long days on Monday at 8:30 in the morning.  Blogging may be sparse this week; depends on exactly how long of an afternoon break I get.  Here we go...

Friday, July 16, 2004

Kev, Live from Evansville (Summer Edition)

This is just a quick one from one of the computers in the upstairs office at the headquarters.  I made it here fine yesterday and am having a good time, getting lots of stuff done.  Saw Anchorman tonight; wow is that funny.  When we got out, it was monsooning like crazy and the road leading out of the theatre was nearly underwater.  I was happy to be riding in a really big truck.  Oh yeah, and there are live coyotes on the loose up here, but nobody's been far.
I'm back tomorrow and will tell stories of my "tripod" flights and so on.  Hope everyone has a great Saturday until then.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Indiana Bound

As i've mentioned, the next week and a half is really, really busy. Yesterday, however, was the proverbial eye of the hurricane, as I got to go to Six Flags with Halfling and Angie and Dingus and Cassi. I finally got to ride the Titan after looking at it longingly on the way back from Rangers games for a couple of years (in fact, the line was so short that we rode it twice in a row). The extreme heat kept the big crowds away, with the result being that, even though our day was limited to eight hours instead of the full twelve they were open, we got to ride pretty much everything we wanted to. Afterwards, we chilled at Cheddar's across the street until rush hour was over. I can't believe I was able to move an entire Wednesday's worth of students (it's my longest day of the week) to do this, but some days, it's just all about the hang.

And today, after a quick morning of teaching, I'm off to Indiana for a Sinfonia conference. For the first time in a while, I'm not flying out at the crack of dawn, but I do have to contend with a three-legged flight (Dallas-Tulsa-Cincinnati-Evansville) both ways, and I almost spend as much travel time as I do conference time. If nothing else, I'll have a full Friday there.

I'm back on Saturday night, and then Jazz Camp starts Sunday. I would say that blogging will be sparse during that week, but I'm pretty sure I have a substantial break during the afternoons, so I'll pop in from time to time.

QUOTE OF THE (YESTER)DAY: "That lady looks like she just had puppies."--Dingus, as we drove into the Six Flags parking lot, referring to a rather large lady with, well, a litter of kids trailing behind her.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

OK, so one of my favorite foods isn't very healthy. Your point is....?

Jazzy G posted the link to the Chipotle nutrition calculator on her site the other day, and I bit the bullet and checked it out. Sure enough, my usual burrito (chicken, rice, pintos, corn, cheese) is pretty calorie-laden, but I was none too surprised. I mentioned last year about how the Food Police had declared open season on Chipotle and its "fresh-Mex" brethren; that didn't change my eating habits, and neither will seeing the stark reality of the caloric content of my Tuesday night dinner. The fact is, I went there over once a week last year, and I haven't gained a pound (in fact, I'm a few less than a year ago). I must be doing something to burn it off, be it the extra walking I often do when shopping, running around between schools with my horn and a load of music, or the all-too-infrequent racquetball games.

We did find out some interesting things when Halfling and I compared our respective burritos (mine out-calories his by about 300 or so). I have the pinto beans; he has no beans. I have the corn sauce, while he has the green tomatillo. I expected the beans to add calories, but, as the site owner points out, sometimes the fat is what gives food its distinctive taste. (I've tried the black beans, which have less calories and fat, but I can't hang with the taste or the mushiness, though Dingus is a recent convert to them). I was surprised, however, to find that the corn salsa alone adds nearly 200 calories; that's even more than the sour cream I recently jettisoned from the mix.

So we haven't really come to any big conclusion here; none of us is exactly gonna give up the big burrito anytime soon. The site is interesting in that it lets you figure out the fat/calorie content of any possible combination of their ingredients, so it is possible to decide what to leave out if you're trying to cut down a bit without sacrificing flavor.

Oh, and doing all this also drove home the point that there is no way I could actually ever be on some sort of regimented diet. I do want to lose some weight, but I'll do so by increased activity and moderating portion size. If I had to actually count (or even worse, log) my daily calories...umm, no. The day that eating becomes math is the day that eating stops being enjoyable.

Blow out the candles: Happy very-slightly-belated birthday to Steven I., my old bowling buddy and former Combo Too-er (it was technically yesterday, but as I always say, it's still "today" to me until I go to bed).

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Break's Over...Back to Work

OK, I'm back from the roadtrip and getting ready for the two busiest weeks of the summer. On Thursday, I fly out to Indiana for at least part of a Sinfonia conference (I'm coming back a day early), and then Jazz Camp starts on Sunday (the reason for said early return). Save for a fun excursion on Wednesday of this week, the next two weeks will consist of almost nonstop activity. I can only imagine how late I'll sleep on the Saturday morning after camp is over.

Needless to say, the trip came at just the right time. The highlight of the weekend, of course, was Schlitterbahn on Saturday, where we spent a good eight hours and, despite the crowds, were able to ride pretty much everything we wanted to ride. It rained on us for maybe ten minutes, but there was never enough lightning to close the park, and the rain time was mostly spent on the tram between the two halves of the park as it was. The rest of the day was mostly sunny, but since our experienced lifeguard Halfling had bought some of the good stuff for us to put on, we didn't burn a bit--not even the light-complected Dingus. At one point, we thought we had each "missed a spot," but it turned out to be rubber burn from the inner tubes..

The rest of the trip was pretty much just spent chillin' around Austin--seeing the sights, eating some really good Mexican food on Friday night, and enjoying our free hotel that night that normally costs way more than we could've/would've paid. The only downside of the trip was that I lost my shades in the raging river at Schlitterbahn (yes, that's right, the river; they stayed on my face during all the high-intensity rides and fell off only when my inner tube overturned on one of the mildest attractions there). We spent a good deal of time trying to find them, but no luck. Fortunately, I had bought them at a store with lots of locations all over the place, so I stopped at one down there and they were able to call up here for the info and make me a new pair before the drive back. We spent the intervening time browsing for jazz CD's at a couple of places and then capped off the day with a Trifecta in Round Rock before the trip home.

It was great to hang with Halfling and Dingus for an entire weekend (since, besides being my best friend and another of my closest ones, respectively, they are going to be my combo-mates in the very near future), to bond even more than we already have and to confirm that we travel quite well together. There's more of this to come, too, as there are several concert roadtrips (to hear people who are playing in Texas but not Dallas) on tap for the year ahead.

And now for a big couple of weeks...

Oh yeah, and the cookies that Cassi sent with us were awesome. They definitely powered the trip down there; we were all set to stop for a stretch break around Temple, but we busted out the cookies, and then...zoooom!!--energy to spare. We were in Austin before we even knew it.

Friday, July 09, 2004


I'm off to Schlitterbahn with Halfling and Dingus this weekend, so no posts for a few days. This is pretty much the only vacation I'm going to get this summer (I think), as well as the first-ever roadtrip with the soon-to-be TD/D combo's horn section, so I'm going to enjoy it to the hilt. Hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A quick comment on comments

OK, so Blogger is being really weird lately, especially with comments; there have been some double- and even triple-postings on this site. I think the deal is that, if it doesn't post your comment right away, just let it be for a bit, check the site later and it'll come up eventually. From what I recall on the Blogger support page, the one thing you don't want to do is hit your browser's back button and try the same action again; that's what results in the multiple posts.

(Speaking of comments, be sure to read the ones from the previous post, where we learn a whole bunch of cool Aussie terminology.)

Other than that, nothing much new around here; just teaching two full days ahead and getting ready for the Schlitterbahn sojourn with Halfling and Dingus this weekend.

Baaaad art? You know those big Pegasus statues that have been painted in bright colors by various artists and are all around Dallas? Pittsfield, Massachusetts has done the same thing with sheep.

(via Dave Barry's Blog)

Monday, July 05, 2004

Three Two-Day Holiday Weekend

It's always weird when a holiday like the Fourth of July falls on Sunday. With nearly any other holiday, the official celebration would just be moved to Monday to make a three-day weekend. But since the Fourth is better known as "the Fourth" than by its official name, Independence Day (say the latter to most people, and the first thing that will come to mind is the movie), you can't just change the day. The Fourth has to be on the Fourth, just like Christmas is always on December 25, no matter which day of the week it occurs.

So is today, Monday, a holiday or not? It depends. For banks and government offices, yes. For retail, usually not. For entertainment venues, no way (Halfling was surprised to find out that his parents both have the day off today on a day he has to work). As for me, my oppressive boss (a.k.a. me) decided that if anyone wanted a lesson today, I'd happily teach them. About 2/3 of the people scheduled today decided to take me up on that, so it's a pseudo-busy day at best. (UPDATE: One of them already forgot this money for Kev.)

Since I am working a bit today, I celebrated the Fourth on its proper day, and it was a good one. I went to Halfling's for swimming and a cookout with his family and Angie, and then Dingus and Cassi joined us for a sojourn to Garland's Star Spangled Fourth. It was the most crowded I had ever seen downtown Garland. We mostly wandered around, took in the sights, and had floats made out of this righteous homemade root beer (true to form, it was served out of a gigantic barrel). The fireworks show was good, if a bit brief and partially obscured by a tree branch where we were sitting. Halfling noted that the Disney fireworks blow everyone else's out of the water, but considering the cost of going to Disney (lots) vs. Garland (free), this would do for now. The country music resumed after the fireworks show, so after few tunes into Tracy Byrd it seemed like our cue to leave.

So yeah, it was a great day, having totally negated the potential pitfalls of being single and living in an area with no blood relatives.. Though I've had places to go the past few years, I almost used to dread the Fourth in college because I frequently spent it alone (seems like I'm always single on that holiday, along with Valentine's Day, but at least the latter usually has TMEA to pass the time). But now, thanks to Halfling, my "brother from a different mother" (yes, there's probably a song or CD title in there) I do have family in town again (remembering that everyone has two families: the one they're born into, and the one they choose), and that certainly made yesterday as fun as it was supposed to be. Only the presence of my next girlfriend (and eventually, wife and kids) will make the picture any more complete than it is now.

When we were very young: The Daily Prawn has a well-written ode to being ten years old. Since the site is Australian, there are a few unusual terms to us Americans, but I think I have some of them translated: "footy" is football (is that soccer or Australian rules football?); "mozzie bites" are mosquito bites; I'm guessing that a "takeaway shop" is something like a 7-Eleven. There are some great names for food treats, too: Choc-top, Funny Face, Paddle Pop, Red Pole and Mr. Whippy cones. I'm not sure about certain games that are listed (billy carts, elastics, bullrush, catch & kiss), but maybe James will chime in and help us out since he reads this site now.

QUOTE OF THE DAY (classic edition): "Do they have the Fourth of July in Switzerland?"--multiple students in the summer of '99, before my trip to the Montreux Jazz Festival, after I remarked that I'd be spending the Fourth of July over there. I explained that yes, they have the day (it's not like their calendars just skip from the 3rd to the 5th, obviously); it's just not a special holiday over there. On that particular Fourth, half a world away, I hiked down from the top of the mountain Rochers-de-Naye, wearing my Old Navy flag T-shirt in the process, a tradition that continues (wearing the shirt on the Fourth, that is, not climbing the mountain) to this day.

I sure hope we get to go back there next year... *crosses fingers*

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Tour de Rants, Year 2

The Tour de Lance France is underway again, and, just like last year, I have to miss most of it. Why is it that, if they're going to air the whole thing on a piddly little cable network that nobody gets without a satellite dish, they can't partner with a bigger network like they did until a year ago? Ehh, I griped about this at length last year, so I'll send you there if you missed it rather than repeating myself.

At any rate, the pride of Texas, Lance Armstrong, came close to winning the Prologue stage today and did leave his main rivals (Ullrich, Hamilton, etc.) in the dust. Along with most of America (the ones who know and care, anyway), I'm pulling for him to get the unprecedented sixth victory this year. Now if only I could watch it...

(Incidentally, it was really funny/weird seeing Lance's cameo in Dodgeball the other night.)

Friday, July 02, 2004

This 'n' That

A week that started out with a random-stuff post ends up that way as well...

Heard any good lawyer jokes lately? Ken of CrimLaw weighs in with a humorous piece on his site called "New Regulations for the Hunting of Lawyers." He's an attorney himself, so he can get away with this, just like Aggies make a killing by selling Aggie joke books.

Cart-racing grannies: Jazzy G has posted an AIM conversation of ours from last night on her site; she got a real kick out of a play on words that I made. We also had an interesting one today, and since turnabout is fair play, I'll post this one:

G: i carted grandma to walmart
Me: literally, in the cart? ;-)
Me: that sounds like fun
G: ... maybe YOU should take her sometime
G: ;-)
Me: dang, if i still had a grandma we could have grandma cart races
G: !!!!!!!
G: i'm envisioning grannies with old-skool biker helmets and goggles
Me: heh exactly

I could see that as a film short on some website, actually...

Close-by coffee: The new Starbucks opened today in the parking lot of Super Target. It doesn't have a drive-thru as we initially expected, but it is the nearest one to me until Firewheel Town Center opens next year. It's not open as late as 15th St., but it's better in terms of location, location, location.

Lucifer adjusts his parka: Recently, we've had all kinds of hell-freezes-over things happen in the Kevosphere: Halfling updated his blog, Angie updated twice in a week, Woody updated, and Miles got on AIM (I'm expecting a Miles-blog any day now). Anyone else gonna break their online slumber...Coop? Zack? (I think Coop forgot his password, actually.)

Instant party, just add friends: I ended up having an impromptu two-plus-hour hang at my house today, as Halfling and Angie stopped over after work, Halfling to jam and Angie to listen for a sec. Dingus was already there mowing the lawn (for a burrito, of course), and Coop stopped by to get the pair of shades he left in my car on Spidey night. (It was quite a relief to know that if anyone had started to drown in my living room, we had three still-in-uniform lifeguards ready to spring into action.) Before we knew it, it was evening. Halfling and I never did get to jam, but we'll just double up next week; sometimes the best get-togethers are the ones like this that just "happen."

( I know now why I only include the links to my friends' sites on occasion, especially since they're on the sidebar as it is.)

Anyway, it was a good day, got lots of stuff done (a rarity in this most fun of summers). I'm expecting to cross several other things off the to-do list tomorrow as well, then I can kick back even more for the Fourth.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

It Really Does Fix Everything...

After many years of service (going all the way back to college!), my old Vandoren alto ligature broke today. It's not necessarily broken for good, but the one remaining screw snapped off when I was tightening it. Even after the first screw stripped a long time ago, I still didn't replace the ligature, because the metal in it is so much better than in the ones they make now. I'll go ahead and get a new one eventually, but I'll probably try using the new screws in the old one first just to see how many more years I might be able to squeeze out of it.

But in the meantime, I needed something to play on today. The Rovner that I use on my jazz mouthpiece is too big, and I don't have any spares around the house. I also don't have enough rubber bands to try that particular jury-rig trick, and twist-ties are too small. There was only one possible answer...

Duct tape.

That's right, this trained professional performer/educator is playing on a ligature made of duct tape. So far, it actually works--it holds the reed fairly snugly, puts out a half-decent sound, and the mouthpiece cap even fits over top of it without sliding off. Sure, it's not as outrageous as the duct tape prom dress, and I'd never play it on a concert (me, a classical concert? Heh.), but it'll do in a pinch for now. Everyone who came in for lessons today was pretty amused, and three of them noted that it had to be true--duct tape really does fix everything. Halfling is hooking me up with a spare for the interim, so the tape won't actually have the chance to become one with the mouthpiece or anything.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: (a dialogue with an incoming sixth-grader during lessons)

KID: OK, I know B and A and G and C. What notes am I gonna learn next?
ME: The next thing you'll learn will be F and E.
KID: Wait...what is it called?
ME: The next notes are F and E...right here. *points to notes on page*
KID: Ooooooooohh. I thought you were saying there was a note called "Effin' E."
ME (horrified that the kid knew what that meant): No, no, I'd never talk that way during lessons. The two notes are F, and E. F....and.....E.

Out of the mouths of babes...