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

July 11, 2013 - 11:27 a.m.

I'll Cross that Woodbridge When I Come to It

I just turned on the blogging machine and it's warming up. Just remember you can't just start writing full speed or you'll pull a brain muscle.

Yesterday I felt the need to write twice. You did read both editions, right? If not hit that "previous" button at the bottom of the page now. Then come back and read this. Yes I am totally shameless. Like you didn't know that.

Yesterday I headed into shallow relatively light New Jersey to see Caravan of Thieves as part of Woodbridge Wednesdays. curated by my friend Bill. My original plan was to go to school first and pick up my snail mail at the PO box but I left a bit late for that though too early for my train. I'd rather be early than late when dealing with NJ Transit so I went straight to Penn Station. No idea why but my NJ Transit phone app stopped working and I couldn't DL the update. That meant relying on the information at the station. That never works on NJ Transit. They actively try to stop people that don't take the train every day from ever taking the train. So I go to the machine and buy tickets to Woodbridge. Unlike the vastly superior LIRR and Metronorth they don't issue round trip tickets. You have to wait for two separate tickets to print out and a receipt even if you don't want one. Then comes the challenge of figuring out where and when your train is leaving. If you don't know which line you are on you are out of luck. Nothing tells you that. There are no paper schedules. There might be a system map someplace but I couldn't find it. And of course trains skip stops so even if you know the line it doesn't tell you if that particular train stops where you want to go. There are a couple of information booths. They hate giving information. I walk over and the guy at the booth has his seat as far from the public as possible. He wouldn't lean forward to hear me better or let me hear him. He actually leaned back, in the seat and didn't acknowledge my existence. I asked when the next train to Woodbridge is. He looked really annoyed then got up and walked over to one of the monitors in the tiny waiting room to check. He knows what line it is on so he could use that. Well maybe he knew, He comes back and tells me. Then he said, "Wood Ridge right? With an R." then as I was about to say yes he said, "Not with a B." There is a Wood Ridge too. He was sitting so far from me he couldn't hear what I said and didn't bother to make sure. By then he was so grumpy from having to check the wrong train he just told me to look it up on the monitor. I had to ask him which line it was. He grudgingly told me it was Long Branch. Luckily there was only one train going on that line soon, I went to the track ans saw that it stopped at Woodbridge. That was fortunate as it skipped many stops. It was the second one on the trip. Discouraging new people from using NJ Transit seems to be central to their mission. I take all three commuter railroads in the area and though I take them the least I've had the most trouble with them. None of that behavior was unusual. That's what you expect. Can you believe that don't give the person at the information booth a monitor with the information they need? Nobody is that stupid. This has to be deliberate right?

I got to the Woodbridge and have to just guess which end of the station to exit on. There are no signs saying what's on either end. I of course chose the wrong one. I had to use Google Maps on the phone to then find the park. The other end exits right on it,.

There was already a good crowd when I got there almost an hour before show time. I had my flat on the ground festival chair and everyone else was in regular chairs so I had to sit down front to see anything. Not that I mind that of course. I put down my stuff and went in search of food. I was told there was barbecue. I ran into Bill, talked to him , then got my pulled pork. Then I had to go to the bathroom. My tummy has not been happy for about a week. I didn't want to use the port-a-potty so I walked around the block to where I knew there was a pizza place and used theirs. I felt guilty so I ordered garlic knots. I think I should have just had dinner there sitting in a nice air conditioned restaurant with good pizza. The knots were excellent.

When I got back to the park I took my seat and waited for the music to start.

I have raved over Caravans of Thieves before. They are on my short list, They don't play in the City that often and I try to never miss them. I can place easily place them in music enjoyment space. They are quite far down the musical virtuosity and fun axes. That isn't a common combination. They play like demons, demons that want people to party. They call their fans "Freaks" and that sets the tone nicely. In fact I broke my rule. I bought a T-Shirt, why? It says "I'm a Freak." on it.

There are many ways of making great music and it's odd that so many of them dont' involve playing your instrument well, I'm not putting them down, Dylan who I would pick as the greatest singer/songwriter ever does not play the guitar particularly well, He plays enough to fill the spaces around the lyrics. I think the same can be said about the majority of the musicians I love. I think most of them know it. Anyone who went to see Moxy Frvous for musical virtuosity were fooling themselves. Caravan of Thieves can really play. They can really sing too. Carrie is a virtuoso on her voice. I'd pay to just hear Fuzz play guitar. There aren't a lot of people I'd say that about. The guitar is the instrument with the most mediocre players. It's easy to play serviceably. It's difficult to play well enough to entertain on it's own.

And they are way up the fun axis too. They are theatrical. It isn't the fun improve goofiness of Frvous , it's more along the lines of Bowie or Queen, just a lot sillier. It's Bowie or Queen with ironic detachment. It goes right down to the way Benjamin on violin and Brian on Bass stand, often as still as statues. It's Carrie holding her guitar over her head to shield her from Fuzz using it as a drum. It's playing while sprawled on the floor. It's everyone dramatically leaving the stage while Ben does a violin solo. It's them vamping when the trains pulled into and out of the station next door. You get serious musicianship combined with antics. They also have the best band description I've seen on a website since the Trachenburg Family Slideshow Players;

If Django Reinhardt, the cast of Stomp and the Beatles all had a party at Tim Burton's house, Caravan of Thieves would be the band they hired.

During the intermission Gail found me. Or did she find me when I got back from the garlic knows. Whatever it is I stopped and talked to her. She was the only one I knew there other than Bill and the people in the band. There was a lot of Fuzz's family in the audience,. I heard them talking.

Speaking of talking the guy behind me made a phone call during the show. I don't think he answered the phone, I think he made the call. He had an entire conversation while the music, and it was soft and lyrical at the time, was playing. How can people think, there is a god when the earth doesn't open up and swallow people like that?

Caravan of Thieves usually come into the audience for their finale, Raise the Dead. That wouldn't work in a festival setting like that especially as it involves having a hard floor to stomp on. Instead they had people in the audience join them onstage. Guess who couldn't resist that. For someone that can't sing, dance, or play an instrument I've spent a lot of time on stage singing and dancing. So far no instruments. I like having fun and that is fun.

The timing was perfect. They finished 9 minutes before my train left, That gave me just enough time to say goodbye to Gail and the band. As the station is right there I made my final goodbye to Carrie only 3 minutes before the train left.

When I got to the platform NJ Transit once again showed they have no idea how to run a railroad. There was no message board saying when the next train was coming and nothing telling you which track was to New York and which outward bound. If you don't know it they don't want you on their trains. I asked someone to make sure.

Good thing I made the train as the next one was in an hour and 13 minutes. I actually planned on missing the end of the show if things got too close. Do you like the 13 minutes? Do you know another commute railroad that makes times so odd? On the LIRR the trains are very hour or every half an hour or sometimes every two hours. But they always make it easy to remember when they are. NJ transit just doesnt get making things easier for the commuters.

I got back and got annoyed at Penn Station. I got off on the eight avenue end. I needed the eight avenue line. But the only water fountains are on the seventh avenue end. Why aren't there more water fountains?

Now it's time to eat then shower. I have no idea what Im doing today. I'll find out later.





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 July 11, 2013
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