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
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
May 19, 2013 - 3:06 p.m.
Late start today and I didn't get enough sleep. Let's see if I can make this as interesting as it was in head last night. The parts that were the worst for me might be the most interesting to read.
Last night I made an expedition to Port Washington to see Nellie McKay and Red Molly at Landmark on Main Street.. That's a bit of an expedition to me. It took me two hours; walk to the subway, to Herald Square. Walk to Penn Station (ok that's only a block). LIRR to the last stop, Port Washington. Walk to the venue. I thought the walk to the venue would be long. It was only 10 minutes. That's just two minutes more than the walk to the subway and I think of being right by the subway.
It's Red Molly so I did merch. When I got there I said hi to Sharon, who runs the Landmark. She admitted that she forgot my name and then I admitted I forgot hers. Things work much more smoothly when people admit these things. I had to wait a bit then joined Red Molly in the green room. I miss that. I used to do that all the time when they played more often in the TRI-STATE AREA. Carey laughed at that. I have been seeing Nellie longer than Red Molly. When she was getting started I used to sit with her mother in small venues. Then she hit it big and I haven't talked to her since. She was 16 when I first saw her and somehow in the interim she became an adult. An attractive adult. She remained brilliant, talented, and weird, so of course I arranged with Laurie and Abbie to talk me up to Nellie so that she's propose to me when I came in. The best laid schemes of mice o' men gang aft aglay. I got there before Nellie.
I got called to duty from backstage. I hadn't realized that the doors had opened and I had to sell merch. That's easy for Red Molly as it's pay what you want. I don't have to make change. I'm there to answer questions. There were a lot of them. "Light in the Sky is their newest album" "Buy Love and Other Tragedies because I came up wth the title." "That song is on James.
It isn't like the old days when I'd know everyone at a Red Molly show. Other than John Platt there weren't any old school fans there. The people I know were from WfUV or music fans I met seeing other performers. Is it possible that Fred and Marie were my only Facebook friends there in an unofficial capacity?
When the show started I went to find my seat. It was seat J1. I neglected to find it earlier but I knew that it would be on the side of the theater the merch table was. There was only one seat available in Row J on the side so I took it. I couldn't see the seat numbers. Then someone claimed the seat, it was J9. Someone was in my seat and the show had started. I talked to an usher and then just took an empty aisle seat. Then the fun hit, and anxiety attack. I tried to fight it by closing my eyes and focusing intently on the music. Here I was totally in my own world when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Someone claimed the seat I was in. The woman in my seat insisted it was hers. Rather than fight I sat by the merch table. I've done that before there. If I move it a bit back so I can see the stage it's a good seat and I have a lot more leg room. But that didn't make the anxiety go away. It then morphed into alienation. That brought images of the entire room getting distant in all directions. I recognized it as my imagining of what traveling in hyperspace would be like if it actually existed. You'd move perpendicular to all three dimensions. It's how I'd like to see it depicted in film and TV. The spaceship would just get smaller till it got too small to see, That got me thinking of how I disliked the engines on Serenity on Firefly which are depicted as rotating turnbines. That's an absurd interstellar drive. And then I thought about how thinking about this brought me out of the depression/alienation/anxiety and went back to focusing on the music.
Red Molly did an odd set, mainly new songs not on any album. I think they only did two songs from James and one older than that, not I remember which one. That doesn't bode well for album sales. And that's why they play the games and not decide them on paper. it was the briskest album sales I've ever seen. The only competition was when I sold for Jonathan Coulton. Good thing I didn't have to make change because the CDS were going as fast as I could grab them form the box and put them out. I answered a zillion questions. That makes me feel useful as some person from the venue couldn't answer them. The band came out and helped and I needed it. Molly ran the credit cards. I won't share the finances, let's just leave it as we sold a lot! When I asked them to do merch the very first time I told them that I wouldn't steal more than they could afford. Now that it's pay what you want I could steal and they'd never know it. Me and my stupid honesty. That's why I'm not a zillionaire.
I love it when it goes like that. It gets my adrenaline flowing. It's like when all the phones ring at WfUV.
I started Nellie's set by organizing and counting the money. Because people just throw the cash in a box it's all mixed up. I have to collate it. When I finished with that I moved the chair back to where I could see the stage well and enjoyed the show.
Nellie is one of the performers I super connect with. She has an amazing voice. She plays the piano well enough to be a concert pianist. Neither is the biggest reason I love her. It's not even her songwriting per se though that's invested with what I love. It's that she plays constant mental pinball. Her thoughts move, hit a bumper, and abruptly change direction. I have often said that the people I feel closest too are the ones I can play mental pinball with' the ones that can keep up with me. Nellie plays all by herself. In many songs she'll keep switching the voice she sings with. Not just in terms of the sound but her metaphoric voice It's different characters interacting with each other. it put me in mind with what Paul or was that Storm said about Bernie in Da Vinci's notebook; "How many people are in there with you?" There are a lot of people in Nellie's head. She'll start singing one song and then switch to another. Her patter goes off on tangents. Her tangents have tangents.
Like Terry Pratchett I'm surprised that other people like something so obviously custom made for me. But they do. The only reason I don't see Nellie all the time is I can't afford to.
She disappeared after the show and with that my plans to marry her. I said my good byes to the Mollys when they drove off. I was lucky, the timing worked well for the train. The next one left in half an hour so I'd only have a 20 minute wait. Then as I wsas walking through the auditorium I saw Nellie and went to talk to her. It's been like eight years, I had zero expectations of her remembering me. I told her that I used to sit with her mother and her mother was there. She asked if I bought her a drink. As she didn't remember I said, "Yes and I got you flowers too." I'm good. So it's all set now. I'm going to marry Nellie and even though they didn't help I'm inviting the Mollys to the wedding. At least that's what I texted Laurie.
Talking to Nellie made the timing even better. The train was in the station and boarding when I got there. Thanks to good train connections I got home in less than two hours.
I finished grading my final on the way to the show. I haven't calculated the grades yet. I'll do that after writing this and showering. I only brought half the tests with me, the ones I hadn't finished. Exactly half of them passed the final. That is better than I expected. It's because I let them use calculators. Some could answer questions that they didn't really know the methods to solve. If they showed no work they didn't get credit but some didn't seem to really do enough work so the calculator most of done it for them.
I'll keep to one rant. Why can't students just pick up the way I do and write out problems? My teachers never made a special effort to say, "this is how you lay the problem out." We'd just do it the way we were shown. My students can't deo that even when I say, "make sure to write the coordinates of the endpoint of the terminal ray" when finding the trig functions of general angles. I even repeated that before the test started. Three people listened to me. The vast majority made mistakes because they didn't do that simple thing.
One thing hit me while grading. People that can't pick up how to use radians, even if they can work around it, and that have to go through heroic efforts to solve simple problems shouldn't be planning careers where they need to use this math. I know they won't be albe to do a lot of calculus problems because they don't have any real understanding of what's going on. If they are given any sort of novel problem they couldn't do it All they can do is regurgitate the exact problems they've seen before.
OK plenty to do today and then I'm going out tonight for yet more music.
Oh music, I knew I wanted to talk about something else. As much as I love Red Molly and Nellie it killed me that I had to miss Pesky J. Nixon and Kara Kulpa at First Acoustics. That's a definite home game. I want to be there to support PJN, Kara, and Coco, I want to be there to enjoy the music, and I want to be there to enjoy the company. My best Red Molly fan friends were there, Chris, Gene, & Isabel. It's funny that I think of PJN, three guys as the constants, two of them burly, in very much the same way I think of Red Molly. They are my boys just as Red Molly is my Girls. The Chicks with Dip are my girls too. I'm music/socially promiscuous. I helped promote that show. I didn't do a good enough job. I have to find a way to get my world to discover PJN and First Acoustics.
Now I'm going for real.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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