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
July 18, 2015 - 12:57 p.m.
I just stopped reading the Times to write this. I'm way behind schedule .I slept late today. I am going to see Rhiannon Giddens at Prospect Park today and I want to get there very early. 3:30 at the latest. There's going to be a lot of people there. It doesn't help that I slept late. I can read the Times when I'm waiting on the line. I didn't write yesterday and I have to catch up.
The reason I didn't post yesterday was that I went up to New Paltz to visit my sister Alison for my birthday and to see Kristin Andreassen. Kristin was playing at the library two blocks from Alison's house and Alison goes to the concerts there anyway. I did not know that last part. But I was pretty sure we could walk to the Library. This was too many good things coming together at the same time.
I took the bus up there on Thursday. I got in at 3:30 and walked the half block to Alison's house. There are advantages to small town living. We then planned a day of fun. Oh god. What the hell did we do before the concert? We took a walk through town, We saw the old stone houses from when the Huguenots settled the area and walked through a park which had a community Garden right in the middle of a meadow. Don't they know you build community gardens on vacant lots between buildings while it's waiting to be built on?
As Alison friend Linda (I remember a name!) runs the concert series and Alison helps out getting people to sing a petition to support the library she asked if I wanted to help set up. I of course always do that sort of thing. I actually went to the library before Alison. She had to search for her keys. She's my sister. Oh they were in her bag. I told you she was my sister. We should just blame our parents.
I helped set up the chairs. Those were the heaviest stacking chairs I've ever moved. I had to bring them up from downstairs too. Alison objected to me calling it downstairs. I had to walk up five steps carrying a chair to get to the courtyard where the music was. If I have to walk down stairs to get someplace in a building it's downstairs. I'm sure you are all with me on this one. You should make sure to comment on Facebook when I post the link there and tell her that.
I have to write about two days. I'm in a rush, and I've written 444 words and the musicians haven't arrived yet.
This was the Kristin Andreassen trio. She was joined by Alec Spiegelman bass clarinet and Stephanie Coleman on fiddle and banjo. I'm not sure I ever saw Stephanie on banjo before.
This will save time. I see Kristin often. What was it 12 times last year? I see Stephanie and Alec often. I write about them. I wanted to make sure that my sister saw them. Do a search you'll see how many times I said I love them. So I don't have to go into detail.
I have known Kristin for nine years but the first four it was just from playing in Sometymes Why. The first time I saw her solo was exactly five years before this show. I already knew her well enough that I did the merch then even though it was a free show and I didn't need to get comped. I just liked Kristin. But that's not the point. The point is that in the five years that I've seen just about every show she's done in New York this is the longest set I ever saw her two. There were two 45 minute sets. You just don't get to do that many places in the City. So I saw a different show than I usually see. She pulled some new rabbits out of her hat. Though she didn't pull one of her usual rabbits out. There was no body percussion. She went Old School and did Crayola to playing patty-cake with Stephanie while Alex played bass clarinet. I took pictures.
I was pretty sure I never saw Stephanie in a gown before. During the break I asked her .This was her first time. Very elegant especially for an old time fiddler. I never saw Kristin in a long dress like that either. Alec clearly didn't get the memo. That' how Alec always dresses.
Kristin started as a dancer. She always clogs during shows. This time I got a video of her clogging to an old fiddle tune.
I of course sold the merch. Not really of course, we didn't decide that till I got there. Once I knew Alison was busy getting people to sign the petitions I figured I was free to do that. It's my natural habitat.
After the show I help put things away, said bye to the musicians, then Alison and I went for dinner. There's a place right outside of town that specializes in wursts and pretzels served as appetizers. Once that was an option I didn't need to hear the others. That was great. They came with homemade potato chips. That's right on the way to NERFA. I have to see if I can talk whoever I'm with next year into stopping there.
We got ice cream in town on the way home. The place was actually closed but the woman who runs it was still there and served us even though the register was closed. She said that Alison could pay her next time and that mine was free for my birthday.
On Friday Alison and I went on a real hike. I borrowed a pair of my nephew Max's boots. He leaves them there for when he visits. His sneakers don't fit me but the boots fit better than any pair I ever owned. I don't get that. We went to Lake Minnewaska State Park. I went there on vacation ask a kid. Alison was in college so she didn't go. We did about a five mile hike. I didn't think of turning on Map My Walk till after we had walked about a mile. Here's the part I recorded Walk at Lake Minnewaska
It was a nice workout. Looks like the vertical climb was about 700 feet. No it's more I didn't start recording till after were on the steep part up from the bottom of the stream bed. We had a sing down while we walked. We took turns thinking of songs that mention birds till one of us gets stuck. Alison always wins. She won. I did win at least once. She doesn't remember it. .
I somehow got my finger in front of the lens on most of my pictures but a few came out and somebody took pics of me and Alison. I didn't take many pictures. I was too busy walking, looking around, and coming up with songs.
After the walk we went back to the house for a bit then to lunch. There's a little shop village with restaurants. We got hot dogs and Belgian fries and iced lattes. Yes you know I have to tell you that. Here's the menu. Which one did I order? If you know me this is easy.
You can't really be having trouble with this can you? No you all know it. I got this.
That's right I ain't nothin' but a hound dog
Alison treated me for my birthday. I'm a cheap date.
I took a few pictures walking through town both days. There's a saurian theme to this.
Someone is trying to ensnare me
The last one is a stuffed one of Max's that I put in my bed so I can say I woke up and found it in my bed. This was a very popular pic on Facebook.
We went home, relaxed for a bit, then Alison walked me back the half a block to the bus stop and waited with me. Some Hassidim asked if we were Jewish. I said know but Alison fessed up. We talked to them for a bit. They live in Crown Heights like me.
I took a window seat on the bus but had to move to the aisle because the person in front me had his seat all the way back. That's still an unresolved social question. What's the rule with reclining seats on busses and planes? Do you have the right to lean back even though that takes up space from the person in front of you? I couldn't open my computer with his seat back. I could just move so that's was a simple solution. If I couldn't could I ask him to move his seat up? I try to not put my seat back unless it's late and many people are resting with their seats back.
OK I better finish this then make breakfast. It's almost one so we'll call it brunch.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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