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
February 06, 2016 - 1:29 p.m.
Should I just start in with what I did yesterday? I always do some sort of introduction; I never start with "Yesterday I … " But I have nothing clever now so I will. Just start. Damn! Too late.
I always check the temperature on my phone before I go out. It said "49° F." So I dressed for a bit cooler than that in case it cooled down, a spring jacket over a hoodie. As soon as I stepped outside I knew my phone was wrong; it quite a bit colder. This had happened one other time Weather Bug froze. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go back and change; I had checked with another app when the train was coming. When I got to the subway I cleared the cache of Weather bug. When I got off the train it gave the correct temperature, 34° F. Good thing my transportation apps were working well. I only had to wait 4 minutes for the bus. The House of Love is in Red Hook which means if you are anywhere else you can't get there from here. Well you can but you have to take a bus or walk a mile. I am a pro at this. Doors opened at 8:00, I got there at 8:00. I was not the first arrival; I actually came with two other people who I ran into on the corner. The sign with the street name was down and I was not looking at Google Maps so I asked, "Is this _____ Street?" and they said, "Yes are you going to the house concert?" I guess I just look like a house concert kinda guy. I figured they were going to the show too; the timing was right.
This was clearly a home games as I'm a regular with both Kristin and the House of Love. I even have "my chair." When I get there early enough I always sit there. It's the only comfy chair with a decent view of the stage. I know the host, Amy. I know Kristin's band, Stephanie Coleman, Jefferson Hamer, and Alec Seligman. I have seen Jefferson and Alec solo and with other people. I have never seen Stephanie solo. Does she ever do that? She should.
If I know people in the audience at the House of Love they are usually musicians, last night was no exception. First I saw James who plays in Jean Rohe's band. Then I saw Jean & Liam. While I was talking to the three of them Rachael Price came in. I have not spoken to Rachel in 6 years but I still recognized her. That's not as an impressive feat of memory as it sounds. I haven't talked to her since 2010 when Lake Street Dive opened for Crooked Still and I did the merch but I have seen LSD and therefore Rachel since then. Speaking of impressive feats of memory, Then I saw Adam Moss who I always saw around but finally introduced myself to at NERFA. There was one guy, Nick who I thought I knew. I was wrong but that got me talking to him and we had some fun conversations. That's always part of the fun at house concerts. The same thing happened with Heide who was sitting near me. I am very proud I remember both their names.
I remember one other person I talked to but that's sort of cheating, it was Lucas Amy's son. It's not a given that he'll be there now as he's in college. It is also cheating remembering here was there as he performed. I thought he'd probably be good and I was right. He passes the "I like talking to him" test. He didn't open, he opened the second set and had some accompaniment.
Lucas, Jefferson, and Kristin
I love the way that Kristin comes out of the light in that pic. She looks like an angel coming out of heaven or an alien emerging from a spaceship. Actually she looks the way those are depicted in movies.
Kristin is not just a favorite musician she's one that's easy to write about. That is not always true. I see Kristin often but new things will still come to me. Yesterday it was that listening to Kristin is like looking at a painting by Magritte. This is what it was like last night.
Kristin if the price is right that's your next album cover. Rachel you agree with me, right? I just said that so "the price is right" becomes a pun. Yeah, that's pretty much where my priorities lie. Amy has a dog Django who lay on the stage most of the show. He often does that. He's an incredibly sweet dog. How many dogs can be totally comfortable in a room packed with people and remain quiet, and friendly but not force himself on people. I always make sure to have some quality time with him. Most people that have dogs and give house concerts keep the dog locked up somewhere during the show. But Django roams free. Why am I telling you this? To justify the title. I told that's my priority. Pay attention.
Now back to writing about the actual topic. Kristin did some new song and a not so new one I don't think I've heard before. I might be wrong; I don't have a working long-term memory. It's called "My Butt is Hot" or is it "My Butt's on Fire." It's about a family that sits on a hot stove while waiting for the house to heat up. I love the silly side of Kristin. She wrote the greatest song ever written Thirteen Wolverines that I was so disappointed didn't make it onto Gondolier. It was the right decision, and that was my choice for top album of 2015 but that song needs to be recorded. I always saw it as an animated video. If we still had 45s Wolverines and Butt could be a single.
I love the band Kristin played with. Sure she can perform the songs with Alec's bass clarinet but once you hear them with it you know it belongs. Alec also played a little Cassio keyboard hooked up to an iPhone. That's pretty much the kind of keyboard I want. I would noodle on it, he makes music. Jefferson is like Emmylou Harris, he does great things of his own but that doesn't stop him from playing and harmonizing with others. He just brings something special to it. Don't ask me what it is. I told you I can't write about everyone. That’s' not quite true because what I am about to say about Stephanie's fiddling is also true of Jefferson's singing. Stephanie is a great accompanist. She doesn’t draw the attention to herself but enhances the lead so much. And I know that she can command the attention as I've heard her take front and center, I just never heard her do a whole show like that.
Let's go to the videotape. On I didn't video. Let's look at some pictures I took.
Jefferson, Kristin, and Alec
I did not make a quick getaway of course. I had to stay and talk to people. This almost led to me dropping Kristin as a friend. Her most famous song is Crayola. After knowing her for 10 years I finally thought to ask her the important question, "Did you own a 64 box of Crayolas as a kid?" She said that she remembers drawing with it but wasn't sure if she owned it. That's when I was ready to defriend her. If she owned one and realized that this was special and she was remarkably privileged; I'd be jealous but accept it and still love her. But to own one and not even be sure if you owned it, to not appreciate how fortunate she was I cannot accept. To be truthful I would have forgiven her … eventually but I'd never think of her the same again. But she then explained that she only remembers using them at school so it must have been the school that owned them. Whew! I want to continue to love Kristin without a shadow. Of course everyone is now rethinking their friendship with me; talk about a shadow.
I have that website that tells me when the bus is coming; as I was not dressed warm enough I wanted to time it close to exact. The busses run infrequently so I didn't want to miss it. I looked at my phone and saw the bus was leaving in 15 minutes. I started talking to Lucas, I didn't get a chance before the show. I'm not sure that I've talked to him since he started college. I must have but didn't realize he had started. He proved way too interesting and next time I looked the bus was coming in four minutes. I ran to get my hoodie and coat on. I said a very hasty goodbye to Kristin, and ran out the door. I walked very quickly to the corner. As I turned it I saw the bus at the stop two blocks away. I ran. I missed it. Arrgghh. I checked my phone, "No bus on route now." I went back to the house. I took off the outerwear. I checked the phone again. The next bus was due in 15 minutes. This time I set my phone timer to remind me to leave. I planned on giving myself four minutes leeway. I found myself talking to Jean and Liam. Right? Well I found myself talking to someone and I once again got involved in conversation. But this time I snapped out of it. I checked my phone, I still had a few minutes. So I kept talking. Then when the alarm went off I ran to get dressed again. I rushed so much I put my arms in the wrong sleeves. Don't ask me how, I managed it. I got it on right and raced out the door. I got to the bus stop and checked my phone. I had four minutes. I then had good luck with the train. As I got close to the station I checked the subway app and saw that the was due in four minutes. I figured that was just about how long it would take me. I went in and the train arrived as I got to the exact position by the front most door that I needed to be at. How much am I looking like an idiot in this paragraph. I missed a bus because I was talking and struggle putting on a jacket. Yet I'm still proud of my commuting skills.
OK, it's late, as usual. I have to make breakfast. I'm seeing Jean and Liam in the early evening tonight. I told her that I'm going to be disappointed if there's no dog laying on the stage with her.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
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