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
March 12, 2012 - 11:17 a.m.
It's almost nine and I didn't write yesterday so I have a lot to catch up on and a lot to do today. I won't split the weekend up into two entries as it forms a continuous whole and I'm not posting the photos and videos today and they can be tomorrow's edition of Wise Madness
This was a We're About 9 back to back house concert weekend. On Saturday at Chris and Seth's and Sunday at Gene & Isabel's. I've done this many times. I've written about We're About 9 even more times including twice this year already. So what's my angle? Where do I start? I guess I start at the very beginning, No, that won't work. I'll just wing it.
Getting to Chris's is much harder without a car even though it's just one train. It's very long train ride that seems impossible to time. I got there quite a bit later than I wanted to. No disaster but I have to cook for a hour so I like to get there an hour before the pot luck starts, not 10 minutes. What do I have to cook? My famous chocolavinator, aka chocolate chip French toast bread pudding. I found a better way of packing it better in a small cooler and spilled much less than usual on the ride over. See I can learn.
The trip was torture. I get on something like the fourth stop and on a weekend the train is empty. There were three teenage friends that got on with me. Instead of sitting together two sat on one side of the car and the third right next to me. She then shouted across the car to the other two the entire trip. As the car filled up she shouted louder. She was darting her head back and forth to see through the crowd when the train became SRO. I was ready to kill her. When a crying baby sat on the other side of me I considered it a relief. The baby didn't know any better and I could amuse myself making faces at her trying to get her to stop. I never figure out why kids choose to not sit with each other but shout on the subway.
I was frazzled when I got to the concert and that might help explain some things I'll get to later.
I've known We're about 9 for almost ten years and I've known them personally not just as a band to see the entire time. I've known Chris a couple of years longer than that and some of the guests since the 90s. The common bond for most of us was Moxy Früvous. I guess I know Carolyn the longest, I met her in 97 or 98. There were so many people I know that I can't even begin to list them all. That would be all I'd have to write about. I'll mention Coco though since she's my secret lover or at least that's the rumor we are trying to quell, or is that promote? I run into her and her husband Bruce about once every week or two. I usually write about and always talk to Bruce. I'm not good at this discrete affair thing.
I ate about three tons of food. Grazing is my natural feeding mode. Can you graze on cold cuts and cheese? It's philosophical grazing if not literal.
Oh I'll mention someone else, Jenna since she traveled from South Carolina for the show and I haven't seen her for ages and she brought chocolate chip challah. She's in the challah business! We should become partners. I'll make the chocolavinator out of her challah. If she's around again for more time around a house concert I will.
To keep things fresh We're About 9 made a puzzle out of the set list. There was a clue for each song. You won't see Lady Gaga doing that. This is showmanship. A meat dress is just unsanitary.
There's tradition to WA9 at Chris's house. I always make the same dish and I always sit in the same seat. I just discovered that I don't always take videos. Apparently I never took a video of WA9. That tradition ended this weekend though you won't see one today.
OH we had a special one song opening number by Seth who just put out a six song EP.
I feel I just started writing but also see that I've written 748 words Maybe I will break this up into two entries. No I'll just become more succinct. Part of the problem is that I have some trepidation about writing what I'm coming to.
So here I was with a comfort band. Brian, Katie, and Pat are friends that I've know for a decade. I was surrounded by comfort friends. People I've either known for ages or see and talk to all the time like Gene & Isabel and Coco and Bruce, fellow Budgiedomer Paul. This should have been a comfort evening. But it wasn't, at least not the entire time. I had waves of alienation. During one of the times I wasn't feeling like that I had a great conversation with Brian, Gene, and someone else about the pleasure of hearing songs that you've heard a zillion times before. Brian put it well, that's what Brian does, put things well; It's being with other people experiencing the same thing you are in the same way. If you search through Wise Madness you'll find me saying the same thing. It's at the heart of a lot of entertainment, sports, and religion. It's the glue of society. We're social animals and we evolved to care deeply about such things.
The irony is that there were other times I totally lost that feeling. There were moments during the break and after party that I was surrounded by friends but felt I wasn't even in the same room. It felt like everyone was so far away that they were at the edge of visibility. Now I know that wasn't true. I know these are my friends. I know that this was coming from me, not them, but the feeling was powerful. Part of it was health. Maybe I overate, my digestive system wasn't right. There was one TMI that is too TMI for me. Then I had the bad trip there. And maybe most importantly I haven't been sleeping well. I had to listen to a lot of the show with my eyes closed. I wasn't sleeping but it is still more restful.
I have a question not for My Gentle Readers but for My Dear Friends at the show. Did anyone notice that I wasn't right? Did you see that I lacked my usual energy? Or do I cover over that when I'm on autopilot?
I didn't do the last one to leave thing like I usually do because I was tired and I had a long ride home and we set the clocks ahead and I had a lot to do the next morning. I still left later than most people because, well I'm me and even when I'm feeling alienated that's a general thing not one on one and I had to say goodbye to everyone.
I got home and of course didn't go right to bed. I should have but didn't. I figured I'd sleep late the next morning and was worried about missing Honor Finnegan, and The YaYas on John Platt Sunday Breakfast at around 10:AM. Instead I was up for the start of the show at 8:00. So I had another day without enough sleep.
I had to do more cooking as I am expanding my party food repertoire. I made the plantain/sausage soup in addition to the chocolavinator. Even though Gene and Isabel are on the Island that's much easier trip for me, both with and without a car. I took the bus to the LIRR. For some reason though I'm always on time I'm always one train late when Gene picks me up at the railroad. I haven't figure that out. Still like the night before being late meant not being as early as I'd like.
I'm not sure but I think I knew a smaller proportion of the crowd that show and I didn't know people for as long and I was even more sleep deprived but I didn't have the alienation thing at all. So it needed a perfect storm to bring it on. I was feeling up almost the entire time. I was feeling like me in my natural habitat which I was.
There was another puzzle encrypted set list. I actually looked at some of them before the show and actually got some right. That's pretty good since actually known the title of songs is usually beyond me, even a band I know as well as WA9. To me it's "Oh that song"
The soup was not a hit. I don't think I'll be doing that again. It didn't help that there was transport disaster. As I'm waiting for the bus to the LIRR I noticed something smelled really good. It was the soup. The soup was in a sealed container in a cooler. I should not have smelled it. The lid popped off. I resealed it. I put it down. The cooler fell off the bench and turned upside down. It didn't all escape but I had to reseal it again. I'm glad I washed out the cooler before I started. When I got to the house I just poured it all back into the container.
Seth did a longer opening set. I liked his last song best and of course told him after the show. He played it on guitar but in my head I heard Jerry Lee Lewis playing boogie woogie piano to it. I told Seth and he heard the same thing, that an horns, and I heard that too. And we both heard hollow bodies electric guitar not acoustic. Great minds work alike.
I had to take the LIRR back home too. I usually depend on getting a ride back but two nights in a row I couldn't. That wasn't bad though as it's a fast trip and had company on it, Andrea and Lisa took the train right into Penn Station. I get off in Jamaica.
When I got home I pretty much collapsed. I was too tired to do anything. I fell asleep watching TV and when I got the computer fell asleep sitting at my desk. So now today I have tons of work to do. Most importantly I have to grade my test.
Tomorrow I'll have pics and videos and a discussion of a division of artists and I'll forget half the things but might come up with some new ones. Now it's time for breakfast. I think I'm keeping it simple, poached egg on ciabatta. Tomorrow I"ll make French toast out of the leftover challah. I'm also being smart. I'm saving the leftover soup till tomorrow. I'll bring it to school and heat it before I go to John Platt's On Your Radar.
Now I have to actually get my day started.
The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good - March 10, 2017
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