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
December 08, 2013 - 9:09 a.m.
Dateline Newbury MA: I don't have much time. I got up that early but I have the craving for writing so I'll do what I can. No pictures, no videos. Those will follow.
I'm in Newbury visiting Ethan and Robin for thePesky J. Nixon Holiday Show. Two years ago around Thanksgiving, that's two Thanksgivings ago, well OK it was closer to exactly two years ago played at Chris and Seth's house. You can read that here; I Am Not A Crook (sorry wrong Nixon). At the show Ethan told me that he wanted to do a holiday show like the one with The Muppets and John Denver. I told them I'm be there. This year it happened. I was there.
I left right from school on Friday. This is going to be tough to write because I have a lot of idiot stories and not a lot of time. After giving a test I went back to my office, did a few things, went to check my PO Box, went to the bank and headed on to the subway. I got on the platform. The first train to arrive wasn't mine. Then I realized I was traveling too light. I left my sports bag with all my clothes in my office. I ran back up. I ran back down. I couldn't get on the subway as you can't reuse an unlimited Metrocard for 15 minutes. I got someone to open a door for me and essentially snuck in.
I made it to the bus stop with 15 minutes to spare. Then the bus was half an hour late. It was drizzling the hole time. Good thing I had pleasant company. We got on the bus but now it was rush hour. It took a hour to get out of Manhattan. two hours later we were still in New York State. I called Kathy, who was picking me up and told her what happened. Google Maps got from that point on got my arrival time correct to within one minute. Pretty amazing.
I did manage to get all my grading done. I just have to add up the scores for about half the class. When I went to turn my computer on, once again it was dead. This seems to happen every time I turn it off and unplug it. Then it fixes itself. I tried jiggling the charger jack. That worked! So what is wrong with the computer. I am pretty sure the battery was not even dead but fully charged. Anyone have any idea.
OK now on to fun stuff. Kathy picked me up and drove me in what we decided was a wintery mix up to Ethan and Robin's. That's an hour drive. It became actual snow by the time we got there. I joked about going to the arctic but it was in the 50s when I left my house an did not bring my winter gear. Good thing I had layers. It wasn't warm enough but a hoodie and a spring jacket with gloves and a hat was adequate. I was proud of myself for remembering my umbrella when I got off the bus. This was despite the distraction of there being a random drug checkpoint. I drug sniffing dog was outside the bus and we had to wait for him to sniff the luggage in the compartment.
I had a great time sitting up with everyone talking. Ethan gave me dinner which was great as I had not eaten since 11:30 AM and it was now after 11:00 PM. I love just hanging out with friends late at night. That's pretty much worth the trip. When Kathy left she had to come right back in. Why? I left my umbrella in her car. Did I mention I'm an idiot? No I'm serious, did I mention that? I don't remember. I'm a idiot after all.
Saturday started with a breakfast that can't be beat. I wish I remembered the name of the restaurant on Plum Island. I think it was something like Martha's. It's in what looks like a private house. They know Ethan and Robin. It is a place that deserves repeat visits. I had an amazing caramelized banana French toast. Oh and with bacon. I know you'd be disappointed if I didn't have bacon. When we got back to the house my bag was missing. I thought I might have left it in the restaurant but a miracle occurred, I just left it in the car. Ethan started to believe that my idiot stories are not a literary device.
The rest of the day was setting up for the show. First we went to music emporium to get Ethan's guitar repaired. The luthier was a musician I met at Falcon Ridge, Ryan Fitzsimmons. Be impressed that I remembered his name. Then we went to Ethan's brother Eli's house to borrow his truck. We needed a truck because the next stop was Christmas tree shopping. This was my first time doing that. I was very excited. We chose the biggest and best one. I discovered that it takes some prep to package the tree. They cut off the bottom of the trunk. Then they put it through a cool thing to tie it up with monofilament netting. Then we got it on the truck and drove it to the venue. We were met by Ethan's mom, this was a family affair, Margaret, yes I remember her name. I'm an idiot that did very well with names this weekend, trimmed the tree. We put on lights and balls and I cut off the netting which involved going up on a ladder which I'm phobic about but work at overcoming. Amazingly it looked pretty good. Ethan came back and said, "You know you left your bag in the truck. I said, "yes that was deliberate." "Ethan came back with, "The truck I was returning. Good thing her rescued it. By now Ethan started to wonder how I function at all. When other musicians arrived and started to set up my job was to put together a holiday train set. I didn't have the instructions and didn't see the small picture on the box. the design for the tracks was a bit complicated. I tried putting it around the tree but no combination of the straight and curved pieces would work. I looked at the box again and saw it was an oval with a circle embedded in one end. There was no switching pieces so this seemed impossible and in any event wouldn't fit around the tree. I ended up making it a simple circle that fit around Newman, Ethan's chimpanzee butler. Then came trying to get the train to run. Dan finally got it to work. It just needed to have the wheels unstuck after many years of disuse. But in an effort to change the batteries the screwdriver on my keychain proved useful. Not that we could ever actually get the battery compartment open.
Then more people arrived. I got to meet Kara's girlfriend Laura. Yes I remember her name too. How? I picture her in Capri pants. If you don't get the connection ask Carey or Google Laura Petrie Capri pants.
Guess who did the merch? Guess who managed to not get too much in the way? Yes me. Scott brought the sound equipment and ran the board. This was the first time we've seen each other out of Falcon Ridge. We have never seen each other inside four walls and a roof. I loved getting to see Falcon Ridge/NERFA friends.
The show was of course wonderful. Kara opened. Jeremiah was supposed to play and had to cancel and they brought in a friend at the last minute. And damn, I forgot his name. But I was pretty good with names other than him.
Between the first two sets Ethan and Jake sang "Have Yourselves A Merry Little Christmas" ala Kermit and John Denver. That was worth the trip. During the second and third sets Jake sang "The Loneliest Jew at Christmas." I can relate!
Nothing says holidays and folk music like a laser light show. Scott brought one. I couldn't resist videoing so here is PJN"s version of "Hold On" complete with lasers. Yes this was not a wimpy show!
After the show I sold merch. I packed up the merch. I tried to keep out of people's way. I put back the train set. Robin discovered the missing pieces, they were hidden in the underside of the packaging. After the tables were put away and chairs set up I saw keys on one of the chairs. They were mine. Remember my fixing the train with my screwdriver on my keychain? I never put it back. I'm an idiot.
After we packed up everything and I said multiple goodbyes we headed back to Robin and Ethan's house, stayed up a bit talking. I went to bed. Woke up. Now I'm caught up. I better get ready to go out and have brunch.
Oh I almost forgot the most important thing. One of the Christmas tree balls broke. I'm blaming myself just so I can have a title for this entry.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
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