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
November 11, 2013 - 7:21 p.m.
I got six and a half hours of sleep last night! That counts as sleeping in after NERFA. I'm at school without any of my notes or the program so I'm still not ready to write about the music. I also have to edit and post my pictures. I have a lot of NERFA homework ahead of me. I have to also contact and Facebook friend a slew of musicians. Special praise to Michael Laureanno and Savannah King who took the initiative and friended me. Savannah did it within a few hours of our meeting. I'm not very important but you do that with people who are and it can help your career. And treating the unimportant people as if they were important is pretty much a good rule for life.
Today I'm going to talk about some nuts and bolts and people. I of course waited to pack till Thursday morning. I know it doesn't take me too long. I only missed one small thing so that was not an issue. I actually left the house early. John offered to give me a ride so it meant getting up to the Fordham campus. I can do that in my sleep. In fact I usually do as when I volunteer at WFUV I arrive at 6 AM. I had unfortunate timing. I missed a train by seconds. It was one train earlier than I had planned on so it wasn't a big deal. It gave me a chance to get some food. Then I got on the train that pretty much had perfect timing. It was supposed to get to Fordham at 12:40 and we were supposed to leave at 1:00. Then the train had mechanical difficulties and we had to switch trains and didn't leave till 12:40. Still not a problem as it is only a 17 minute ride plus a seven or eight minute walk to the station. And John had some last minute work to do so I didn't feel guilty about making him leave late. The people at the station are such good friends. I asked Linda if I could have a poncho as rain was forecast and I had given mine to a lady in distress a few weeks before, knowing I can get one at the station. But there was a problem as the key to the closet was misplaced. I figured I'd just do without it but as we were leaving, after we left the building Pilar came running after me and handed it to me.
John and I had a really easy ride up, virtually no traffic. We talked about music the whole time and got so involved that we missed the last turn. I had to use the GPS on my phone to get us there. We parked and I passed four groups of people that I knew from the car to the door of the hotel. That is one of the beauties of NERFA. It is a family reunion. I wasn't confident that I was going to be registered for the conference or my room till I checked in. I had a lot of problems beforehand. Things worked out because of President Cheryl.
Of course things didn't go smoothly. I checked in fine, went to my room, and they key didn't work. I went back down to the lobby and hey reprogrammed the key. I was told this happened to everyone. Then I went back to the room and the key still didn't work. I went down again and they reprogrammed the card again and this time gave me a physical key. I went back up to my room. These were not short trips either. I got to the room the card didn't work. I shrugged and used the metal key. It didn't work. There are two locks a top and a bottom and it only fits the bottom and the top one remained locked. I was going to go back to the lobby again but as I said something to someone in another room, it turned out that he wasn't a guest but the lock guy from the hotel. He tried the keys, both electronic and metal and couldn't get me in. The key only works the dead bolt so he made sure that was open then slipped in the plastic key between the door and the jam and got me in that way. I then had to wait in the room till he came back with tools. He disabled the main lock and I used the dead bolt for the weekend. That meant remembering to lock the door every time I left. He then gave me both metal keys which made no sense as I had a roommate coming. I told him to leave it at the front desk for him.
I then got to start hanging out with people in the lobby. I went to dinner and followed my usual rule and sat with strangers. Some of the strangers became friends before the weekend was over. Not exactly sure when but I went back to the room and met my roommate. This is terrible, I forgot his name. He is a musician. The thing is we were hardly ever in the room both awake at the same time. That's why I didn't care who my roommate was.
I have come up with a few NERFA hacks that make it much easier to deal with the hectic pace. One is take advantage of the pool and spa. Did you even know there was a pool and spa? just go down stairs from the tower. I only used it once this year but it helped. I prefer to use it at least twice. You take a few laps to stretch out your muscles and sit in the whirlpool and that makes up for a lot of lost sleep.
My first NERFA my feet were aching at the end of the day. It felt so good to take my shoes off. So why where them at all? When the quads or DJ showcase is over I go back to my room and switch into my sleeping clothes, sweat pants, t-shirt and a hoodie. I often have to take off the hoodie when room gets hot. Most importantly I never wear shoes during the guerillas. I am wearing my slipper socks. This year they were bright blue. I feel so much better like that. Don't feel self-conscious about it. Do you think less of me because I dress like that? Well why would anybody think less of you. Sure if you are a performer and you have a certain look onstage that's another matter. But for anyone else, including many performers give it a try. If you feel better you'll perform better. Nobody has ever snickered in front of me and if they are doing it behind my back what do I care? As Richard Feynman said, "What do you care what other people think?"
When I start to feel sleepy I stop by the Ripton Coffeehouse room. In the hall outside the door they serve the best coffee at NERFA. Way better than you get in the dining hall or the snack bar in the lobby. One cup there gets me through the night.
I was going to write more but I am off in a few minutes to see Karen Dahlstrom. I did not get enough of her at NERFA even though she had a DJ showcase.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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