I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

August 29, 2015 - 1:02 p.m.

Me Horvendile You Calamity Jane

I took a lot of pictures yesterday, should I edit them before I write? Nope, it's almost 11, I am going to write. I'm feeling anxious, I better jump into it or I'll keep putting it off.

Am I eating a lot? I seem to have to go shopping every day. Yesterday was Trader Joe's and today I have to go to Pathmark. I bought something new yesterday and had it with dinner, gnocchi. Is it too expensive? It was $2 but there's enough for two dinners. It said it will keep two to three days after the package is opened but I decided to make the entire thing and reheat it in the microwave. I'll see how that works out. Know the best thing about it? The way you know it's done; when they float in the water it's ready to eat. That took quite a bit longer than the two to three minutes the package said. I might have used too small a pot so the boiling water cooled off too much when I put it in. It's the biggest pot I have so it's not like I had a choice. I had the sweet garlic chicken with it, a pretty nifty meal even if I did overcook the chicken a bit.

Right after dinner I was off to see The Calamity Janes at Jalopy. Jalopy is one of my favorite venues. It might be my favorite venue. But it is obligatory to complain how hard it is to get to. Now it's just a short subway ride and a short bus ride from home. Why does it take so long? It's because I pretty much always have to wait forever for the bus. With perfect connections it would take half an hour, instead it took 48 minutes. I was hearing people talking about driving there. One person missed the entire set because she got lost, she couldn't figure out how to get past the BQE. It is surrounded by highways so is effectively walled off from the rest of Brooklyn if you don't know the secret entrances. It's Brooklyn's answer to the Hidden City of Gondolin.

I don't think many of My Gentle Readers know the Calamity Janes so I'll give you some background. About five years ago Seth and I saw them open for Crooked Still and loved them. They are an old time string band. Then they went on hiatus. That was it, one show. Stephanie Jenkins the banjo player runs in m social circles, I saw her around and we became friends. I had no idea who the rest of the band was. Then about a year ago they started playing again, though not often. I've seen them twice since then before last night. Just got a perspective thing. For most people seeing a band three times in a year is a lot. For me it's hardly seeing them. This was my first time them I've seen them do a full set as headliners doing their normal show. Before this it was as an opener, part of a festival, or a show where they were preparing for a Pete Seeger tribute show. Was it Pete Seeger? I could look it up but if I go on the web now I might get lost there.

I got to Jalopy eight minutes before show time. I thought that would be OK, I didn't expect a big crowd. I was wrong. The place was packed. But there was my usual seat available in the front pew house left. Yes Jalopy has pews. Hey it is a sacred place.

Stephanie walked by and said "Hi Gordon." The guy next to me then asks, "Gordon Nash?" Does this happen to you? Strangers know you? Is my pictures on post office walls? It turns out that his name is Adam Nash and noticed me on our mutual friends' Facebook pages. He's also a Met fan, that's how we started talking. I was wearing my David Wright Jersey and he asked me to not tell him the Met score as he was recording the game. He likes Old Time music and the Mets and his name is Nash, he must be a good person. Oh wait, so do I and I'm evil.

Adam and I were joined by a five-year-old girl who was apparently all by herself. She wasn't. her mother is Kari Groff the band's fiddler. Then she was joined by two more adults who knew her. Oh yes, one of them said, "I know you, I've seen you at shows." I really need to check that post office wall. When is Homeland Security going to catch up with me? Good thing they are now distracted by rentboy.com.

I had seen the Calamity Janes three times but had no idea who was in the band other than Stephanie. Yesterday I linked to the band's Facebook Page and when I did I glanced at the band's members and saw Kari's name. I had never met her, had no idea what she looked like, but I knew of her. She did an album Rockin' To the Fiddle with Kristin Andreassen. So she's in my circles too. The album is for children but I love it. I discovered it when I was doing merch for Kristin and she had one copy for sale. Guess who bought it. Then they did at least two songs as the Bright Siders also for children. Kari is a psychologist, I take it a child psychologist. On the Bright Sider songs there's a little educational skit that goes with the songs. Ah, here's a link where you can get it, The Bright Siders: Music for Kids. You have kids? You teach kids? You are a kid at heart? Check it out.

You should also check out the Calamity Janes. I didn't see my therapist this week so I needed an extra dose of music therapy. They did the trick. They do it old style, gathered around two condenser mics. Whoever sings or plays lead gets closer to it. And they are great. I'm trying to learn the other members of the band so I'll help myself by writing out the personnel.

Kari Groff: fiddle, vocals
Steph Jenkins: banjo, vocals
Betsy Plum: banjo-uke, fiddle, vocals
Mimi LaValley: guitar, vocals
Jared Engel: bass
I gotta learn bass Jared gets to be the only guy in a girl band.

Old Time music is rooted in the Appalachians. It's the music of uneducated people. It shows how education isn't the same as intelligence. It's quite complex and appeals to the Bach part of my brain. There's always a lot going on and everything keeps changing. It's not just verse and chorus repeated the same each time.

The Calamity Janes aren't just great musically but they are one of the bands that you enjoy because you see how much they are enjoying themselves and enjoying each other. They are fun! And they got the best shill, Kari's daughter screaming with delight right next to me.

Before the show started I saw only three people I knew, Two from First Acoustics and Stephanie. No not that Stephanie, this Stephanie. Oh you can't see who I am thinking of. This is Stephanie who plays Old Time music. On that doesn't help either. Stephanie Coleman was in the audience. You might remember I was talking about her last month when she was playing with Kristin Andreassen. It's a very small world. I often see Stephanie and Stephanie at the same place. Now you might think the plural of Stephanie is Stephanies. Or if you got fancy you might think it was Stephani. But it's actually Stephana. Don't blame me I don't make this stuff up. I just hallucinate it.

They celebrated Betsy, the banjo uke player's birthday. They brought out two cakes with candles. During the break they served the cake. I went back to get some. The lovely woman said, "There are two kinds of cake, chocolate and not chocolate. When there's chocolate around that's all that matters." I do not have to tell you which I chose. Do I have to tell you that she and I are now married? I really should tell her, she doesn't have a clue. And I don't know her name. I don't know if she's already married. I don’t know if she's straight. But I do know that that was a binding wedding ceremony in my book.

The next band up was Stillhouse Serenade. It's hard getting home from Jalopy late but I decided to stay because hey, it's new music. What do they play? I think party music is the best way of putting it. It's all acoustic instruments including the two instruments of torture, accordion and banjo. One a piano song they sounded like Jerry Lee Lewis. They covered rocks songs. They were also a lot of fun.

I went to the back to go to the bathroom. I also wanted to talk to Stephanie, Jenkins, the one in the band, but couldn't find her. But I decided to watch the show from the back for a while. I saw the back of a head I thought I knew. I'm blind so I wasn't sure. That could have been awkward as I was staring at her. But nobody noticed. Between songs I got closer and saw it was who I thought, Karen Dahlstrom from Bobtown. I told you it was a small world.

Something odd happened when I was sitting up front for Stillhouse Serenade. There was some bad feedback. I am always very sensitive to that, I jump out of my skin and cringe. Then usually I laugh about my reaction. Last night it triggered anxiety. I did my usual calming things, mainly breathing, and it help but did not go away. That along with the fact that I often have to wait a long time for the bus got me to leave early. I doubt I missed more than ten minutes of the set, my guess is less. But my app said that the bus was coming and I didn't want to have to wait for the next one. But then I got distracted, there was some chocolate cake left. I had to cut myself another piece. I did. I ate it. But that slowed me down. But things worked out perfectly, I arrived at the bus stop simultaneously with the bus.

Wow I didn't think that I had that much to say today but this is my 1761st word.

Poached eggs on the menu today. I have to figure out what to do for dinner. I'm going back to Jalopy tonight, this time to see Alex Mallett. You should join me.





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile August 29, 2015
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