Thursday, August 31, 2006


Since Abbey was kind enough to ask, yes. He had a good day. He survived. He didn't have any altercations of any sort. He gleefully went and gleefully returned home. I predicted he would crash out at 8pm. He stayed up until 10 because Mythbusters was awesome (exploding lava lamps are wicked cool! And also confirmed dangerous, in case you were planning on putting one on your stove. Don't Do It!).

I like all the kids in his class. He has an issue with one of the boys which carries over from first grade when they were last together. Geoff refers to him as his "Sworn Arch Enemy" so I gave his teacher a heads up.

He rode the bus, didn't want me to give him a ride. His school does a welcome back assembly for the parents on the morning of the first day, so the parents come with the kids to the classroom, discover seats, say hi to the teacher, (in my case give a note with cell phone number just in case she needs me), and then the parents go to assembly where the principal talks about the year and what is to be expected and how things will go.

The support staff then introduces themselves - gym teacher, music teacher, school counselors, art teacher, technology/media specialists, all that jazz. They're actually a wonderful batch of people -- and I like them a lot so it's good to go.

I had gone to Geoff's class to wait for him to get off the bus, spoke with his teacher for a bit. She informed me that his last year's teacher is her best friend so they "spent time this summer discussing stragegies that work for Geoff in the classroom." In otherwords, they talked smack about my kid. Heh. I know, I know... they probably dissed him a bit, but also talked about what really does work for him and I'm incredibly glad Mrs. 4th grade can turn to Mrs. 3rd grade to say "what the heck do I do with this kid!"

All told, I think it'll be a good year.

And without his knowledge, I taped a sticky note to the top right corner of his desk that read:

"Remember! Guster Says:
Be Calm, Be Brave. It'll Be Okay."

Which he thought his teacher put there for him and he said "My teacher likes Guster too!" I had to let him know I did it.

Jess had a good day too, I knew she would. She reports there are 11 students in her honors German class. Tight competition but she's looking forward to it. She likes her classmates there, and aside from Theatre Arts I think it will be her favorite class.

It is almost too easy having her as a kid. She is self sufficient, gets things done, I really don't have to ride her on anything. I don't have to ask her to get school work done the way I have to beg her to do things like load the dishwasher. When it comes to the academics, school is her bitch and she rules it with iron fists. I am quite proud of her, but feel somehow I should be putting more into her at this point.

But she's almost like on auto-pilot or something. Or it seems like she's already a college student the way she manages her workload and takes care of business.

Makes me feel useless and old.

Anyway -- day two begins. I need to tie this up and get out to the bus. Have a great day yins.

Oh! Yesterday I saw an Alberta licenseplate. So my Canadian provinces grows by one. I am still on the look out for Idaho, Nebraska and Arkansas. I will never see the elusive Guam again. Sad.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First Day Jitters is an understatement

For the past two weeks Geoff has been coming undone.

Litanies of "I can't believe summer is almost over" and "I can't believe school starts on August 30th. Why does school have to start and ruin my life?" and "We didn't do anything fun this summer, why didn't we go on a trip or go camping or do anything awesome. This summer sucks" and "I am going to miss summer! I cannot bear for it to end and school to begin..."

and so forth.

and so on.

So for the past several days I've been doing the usual Geoff Prep For Big Changes thing: Talking to him about school, helping him get organized, sorting through the clothes he has to decide what will fit this winter and what will never fit again. The teacher mailed a list of school supplies so I went and bought them and had him pack his bag. We went and got a haircut. It took me three weeks to convince him that he needed one. He looked like Wolverine. I didn't take a before and after picture this time -- I really should have. You would love the transition his hair went through.

He was all ready, supplies, clothes, hair. The whole nine yards. Then the anxiety kicked in for him and the past two days have been frantic.

Two nights ago he said he wasn't going to go, he was never going back to school.

Last night he said he was getting up at 5am so he could be ready and not miss the bus.

I told him "don't. you. dare."

He dared, and he did.

At 5:15 this morning I heard him running through the hall with his shoes on, talking about how he forgot to put gel in his hair. Five Freaking Fifteen. Out of my brain on the Five Fifteen.

I got out of bed and told him that he wasn't allowed to do this. But he was all dressed, all ready, teeth brushed, glasses on. Shoes tied.

So I sent him to sit quietly on the couch, please sit quietly, watch cartoons, read a book. Something. As long as it is quiet.

About ten minutes later I heard him banging around in the kitchen. Making himself breakfast. I didn't know toaster strudel making could possibly be this loud.

Doug's alarm went off ten minutes after that. And I have an incrementally set alarm that goes off at 6, 6:15 and 6:30.

I never did get back to sleep after he ran down the hall. I really wanted another ten minutes of dreaming about that dishy Brian Rosenworcel, but alas. Sigh. Reality. Then, someone opened the kennel door and I had a 20 pound puppy standing on my head.

Reality indeed.

I'm here, fully dressed, fully ready. Jess left at 6:50 to walk up to the bus stop. Brodie and Jack have been played with and Brodie will go back in her kennel after I put Geoff on the bus. I will drive over to the school (he doesn't want a ride - he wants the bus) for the "first day holiday" that they do. I'm parking two streets away and cutting through the woods because, lord knows, there won't be any access anywhere near this building from the front.

And it is four minutes to the bus. He's ready. I'm glad I didn't have to fight to get him out of bed this morning. I just wish he'd chosen to sleep until 6:30.

Gah. Pray for me.

We're off. Seeya.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It crossed my mind today that I never did tell you I found my car keys, did I? No, I didn't.

July 29th. I was looking for CD labels. My father in law was here in the study watching the Steelers 2005 road to victory DVD with Geoffrey. He wanted a grampa-grandson bonding moment. I was ruining things by ripping open boxes, rifling through their contents, and plopping them aside.

Suddenly, I opened a box and inside was a wedding invitation that I had misplaced (lucky for me, the marry-ee was very understanding and emailed me the info so we could indeed attend). I knew that the last time I saw my keys on moving day, they were very close to said invitation.

My heart lept. Honest to God, it did. Lept. Or Leaped. Depending on what spell check tells me when I run it at the end of this entry.

There, in the bottom, under the dog choke chain, the wedding invitation, two credit card bills that I didn't pay (but we were paid ahead so it didn't matter) some legal documents for the sale of the house, there were my keys.

I whooped a victory cheer and my father in law thought I had lost my mind. I hadn't lost my mind -- I'd found my keys.

Now I just need to find the access key card to my office and my alarm clock, and life is in order. God will be in his heaven and all will be right with the world.

Nearly a week has passed since last I harassed you. No one is surprised to day to learn that John Mark Karr's DNA doesn't match anything found at the scene for JonBenet Ramsey's death.

I told you he was lying through his creepy-assed teeth.

Now, put him on a plane, coach - not first class! - send his creepy-ass back to Thailand and let him serve the time for whatever it was he was in jail for in the first place. The get out of Thai prison free card has been played, you lose. Go face Thai justice instead of Boulder justice, you lying freak.

I'm sick of his shenanigans.

I'm sick of all the attention he got.

I'm sick of the whole thing.

Someone quickly ship him back to his destiny. I hope he chokes on a prawn.

I am really pissed off about this Pluto thing. Pluto getting dropped from the roster isn't as bad as say Tom Brady getting dropped from the Patriots, but it messes up all that I hold sacred in our little nine-planet solar system.

A great big F-You to all you scientists who voted it off the island. I say Lieberman and Pluto return as independents. They'd both get my vote.

Speaking of Thailand, I don't want to hear another human being on this planet say "That guy needs to go back and serve time in a Taiwanese prison."

I heard it said a few times today, once in person, where I raised my finger and said "Thai prison. Thailand and Taiwan are two completely different countries. If that guy, meaning Karr, is going to go back anywhere, it would be Thai - Thailand. Not Thai - Taiwan."

And I wanted to say "Get a fucking Atlas of the World and get educated. Moron."

And I got the "uh, okay ma'am" look back from the person who said it.

If you cut me off, don't sit there and stare at me coasting at two miles an hour. Looking like I'm the crazy bitch when you have just cut me off simply makes no sense.

Honey. If you cut me off, step on your accelerator and do not make eye contact with me because my laser beam eyes will burn you to a crisp. If you cut me off. Go. Just go. Don't sit there and stare slack-jawed at me. Don't give me this fake wave like you appreciate me for letting you go when I didn't have a choice in the world.

Step on your accelerator and get the hell away from me as fast as you can. Just test me, see if I'm lying or not. (insert buzzing noise of my eyeballs heating up).

Today I was driving home from work and saw something that makes me go mental.

There was a boy, about Geoff's age, maybe a tiny bit older, riding his bike with his helmet fastened... to his handlebars.

It was just out there, dangling back and forth as he pedaled. I couldn't help myself. I turned down "Keep it Together", rolled down my window and yelled to him as he biked by my car "Your handlebars will survive a crash. Your head will not. The helmet belongs on your head. It does its best work there."

He looked over his shoulder at me and said "uh, yeah. okay ma'am."

He probably didn't stop around the bend and put it on.

Seriously -- this makes me flip my gourd. I cannot stand seeing this. I know kids who leave their houses and take their helmets off when they get around the corner. I've stopped kids that Geoff knows who have their helmets fastened to their handlebars, or who have their helmets on but not fastened under the chin and I've politely informed them to get the helmet on or I'm calling mom and more likely than not, I've got mom's number in my cell phone and all I have to do is press a button.

I also hate it when I see parents riding without helmets and their kids are behind them with their helmets on. Yeah, when you get killed in the accident and your kid survives he or she will have a happy pleasant life without you as a parent. Get. A. Helmet.

Geoff goes nuts when I demand that he wears one, but I swear to you as my witnesses standing beside God himself, I catch that boy riding without it and I take the bike for good. End. Of. Story.


I was trying to think of more random confessions to make to tell you all, seeing as the monkey wine bit and the I love potholders bit got so much attention. Really trying to figure out what would be good to share next that isn't too personal or ... creepy.

Not that I ever do anything creepy. No. Never.

Not much else to report really. The Wasabi Mobile does well, we drive around and crank Guster and BNL. I'm in the market for some Guster bumper stickers to go with my BNL oval. Back in the day, I bought two of them, one for each car. Doug didn't want an oval on his VW. So I have one in a box.

And if you've never heard Guster Plays Hockey, please go to my myspace page and listen. It's campy and silly and it is by the world's greatest hockey rock and roll band, The Zambonis. And it's my new favorite song.

Guster and Hockey: two great tastes that taste great together.

And I forgot to mutter yesterday because we were back-to-school shopping. Cue "It's the most wonderful time of the year" music. I got Geoff a haircut today. Remind me to get a picture of him. He looks awesome.

Alright. That's about it for me. It's 9pm and I need to floss and brush and sleep. The kids start school on Wednesday, so our nice long nights of Play Station and You Tube will soon come to an end. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hot Like Wasabi

I thought about taking one last picture of the truck, or at least my BNL and Geocaching ovals on the back bumper, but I just let it go. I let it go... good bye Quimby.

subaru logoDoug found the title with ease yesterday afternoon and we went up to pick up the car once I made it home from work. It rides like a dream, excellent pickup, even for a 4 cyl. car, and it is very quiet inside. So I don't have to turn my phone up to 11 to hear it ring when I am cranking Ben Folds Five or Guster or BNL or Black Crowes or Cake or...

you get the picture.

Last night we drove from the dealership all the way to 93 and then went to Borders to indulge in some book look action. I still have some of the books left over from my spree at the beginning of July so I wasn't in need, but it was still fun to look. We threatened to take Jess clothes shopping at Old Navy (she refuses to wear their stuff) and then came home relaxed, happy, and satisfied with our purchase.

Today I drove to work and then grabbed MB to go get coffee. At lunch, I took my girl C to the Marblehead light where we sat and ate our lunch and looked at the harbor.

It felt good to get out of the office and be able to park in downtown Marblehead for the first time this summer. The truck didn't fit anywhere other than the lot at Crosby's, so it is a nice change.

Tomorrow I'll be driving down to get Geoff from Grandma. I called him to prepare him, so he understands the truck is gone. He is open and receptive to this new vehicle, and I think he'll really like it.

When we were at dinner the other night, Geoff ordered pizza. Normally, the boy just gets mushroom as a topping. He's not big on any other kind of toping. Mushroom is a little weird for most kids, but both of mine a huge fungi fans.

The waitress took his order and he asked for "mushrooms, pepperoni and black olives."

I was stunned -- I nearly fell out of my seat. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to order pepperoni and black olives too.

"Mom," he said in very serious grown-up boy voice, "when one is growing up, one's tastes change and mature. My tastes are changing and maturing. And I am sure I want pepperoni and black olive."

Had someone simply placed a pizza in front of him six months ago he would have SCREAMED about the black olives, and picked the pepperoni off to hand off to the dog.

He has been handling change a lot better, he's able to see positive when something happens that isn't 100% the way he wants it to be. Sometimes... not all the time.

So his openness to the new vehicle, like openness to black olives, is a relief.

He ate all the pizza too. And, he will love the new car. I know he will.

Finally, all our cars have names. You know that, don't you? Follow this link back into the deep archives of (a)musings, when it was the way out inn, and enjoy the thousand dollar car entry. Read past my bit on Sting being a total shill for Windows XP, and how my sister's friend had his picture taken with Aerosmith, and then totally love the history of our cars.

They all have had names. Since I've had this journal, we've had Rudy the Red Saturn, Joy (a little blue chevy 2 door thing that we gave to Aaron and Michelle when we didn't need it anymore), The Doug's Mom's Clone Car, Quimby the Mayor of Trucksville, our VW (which we just call VeeDub) and now this car.

Jess and I talked about it last night. We decided since it was green and was from Japan, we would call the car...


Yes. It is the Wasabi Mobile. And I'm hot like wasabi when I bust rhymes and take exit ramps at 80mph. Yo.

It's a good name.

I had thought about opening it up to the masses and asking your opinions, but we had such a hard time picking a name for the dog and this just came so organically, so quickly, there's no going back.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Feel The Freedom

It's been a long time in coming. Last night, we traded in our pick up truck.

truck drop offWith things considered, such as my commute 26 miles each way every day, the price of gas, the fact that it had run out of warranty, the price of gas, it handles like a truck, the price of gas... we decided at the beginning of the summer that this could not be my primary vehicle.

We looked at buying a used VW for not a lot of money and keeping the truck in the yard for when we would need it, a couple of times a year.

We looked at buying new and trading in. Buying used and trading in. Who had the best car with the best rebate? Who had good mileage and enough room for dogs and kids and junk? Honda Pilot? Toyota Rav4? A Subaru?

We did a lot of thinking and came to the conclusion that if we could get 6-8,000 for a trade in it would be worth it. I wanted to keep our monthly payments under $300 if at all possible. We went to Subaru because of a deal that Doug gets through his professional organization. They gave us $7000 for Quimby the Truckster, factory invoice pricing, the discount for his professional organization, and a $2000 rebate. We couldn't say no.

Last night we picked out a 2006 Subaru Outback. It is green with tan interior. We test drove it, we liked it, we crunched numbers, we did the deal. We have to find the title to the truck (it is in a box, somewhere in this house. Jesus help us lay our hands on that thing) and we can pick up the vehicle today after work (or, tomorrow if we need more time to find the stupid title...).

I'm kinda sad to be losing the truckster. When we got it, it was "my" birthday present. I always wanted a pick up truck... and I got it. When I had no commute or a 3 mile commute, this was the awesomest vehicle in the universe. Now that it is costing me over $100 a week just to feed him, it is killing me. The raise I got at the beginning of the year doesn't even cover the annual cost of my commute. That's sad.

We had a lot of wicked good times with that truck. Got stuck in some good mud in Maine, drove to Pennsylvania and back several times. Let's not forget the awesome trips to Bar Harbor and to North Carolina. That truck hauled our stuff and our dogs and our asses all up and down this fine country's eastern seaboard.

I would have loved to have kept it just to have a third vehicle handy. Jess will be getting a license in 2 years, we are constantly in need of moving large boxes of crap and picking up furniture and moving things around. I doubt I could have moved Amy's couch and the couch that we got last weekend with the Subaru Outback. I'll miss having it. I'll miss camping with it (it fit all our gear and our dogs and firewood and our kid slept in the back of it at night...).

But it's time to move on.

Had we kept it, our payment would have been over $450. That's just nuts. So we opted to set it free.

My hope is that someone who doesn't have to drive great huge long distances to feed the beast will take him someday and give him a great loving home, full of dogs, firewood, bug spray, and little kids who will drop pretzels all over the back seat.

I love ya Quimby. Thanks for your service. This morning and this afternoon will most likely be our last time together. I'll cherish it. Thanks for the memories.

That's sappy. I'm sorry, dear reader. I'm gonna miss him. That's about how it sums up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm freaking out!

Allegedly, BNL fan club members were supposed to receive an email with access codes for music today dot com sometime yesterday. This would be for the presale for the Fall/Winter tour supporting the release of the new album, Barenaked Ladies Are Me (aka BLAM, which cracks me right up).

No email yet. 24 hours late. Hence the freaking.

And I know it will come. I know we'll all get our happy frappy emails and the presale won't be for another couple of weeks and all will be well. They are probably ironing out arenas and details and all kinds of back end crap.

But it doesn't stop me from checking the BNL official Spout board, the Barenaked dot net board, and both of my email accounts ever 30 seconds.

Can you tell I'm looking forward to this?

Anyway -- I'm still high from the Guster experience, and so cannot wait to see my boys from Canada. I have serious problems. Wait here, I have to check my email again.

Abbey, I'm sure you're doing the same. Every. Three. Seconds.

So last night I was shocked to hear that Fox News Reporter Steve Centanni and his cameraman were kidnapped in Gaza. They were kidnapped on Monday.

I know a lot of people aren't big Fox News Fans in general, because of Bill O'Reilly and others, but I like their reporters in the field like Steve Centanni and Jennifer Griffin. They do a pretty good job.

Too bad it wasn't Geraldo.

Anyway -- this happened on Monday, and I think that he is probably the highest profile reporter to be kidnapped (correct me if I'm wrong) to date. Highest profile meaning Fox/ABC/CBS/NBC kinds of reporters.

I think Fox has been keeping this on the low key side of things while negotiations are ongoing, but still it seems like the kind of thing that people would... report on. Think about how much attention Jill Carroll got when she was initially kidnapped. This has been hush hush hush in comparison. It's kind of odd.

Couple that with the fact that some jackass lying through his creepyassed teeth comes forward and claims to have murdered a 6 year old beauty queen 10 years ago and you know where America's Obsession Towards The Absurd goes. It always goes to the helpless damsel blonde in distress or peril. This John Mark Karr guy is so lying... the fact that any of this made it on the news baffles me.

Dude obviously did something very very wrong in Thailand (hard to imagine getting in trouble for something like child rape in a country that welcomes and establishes the safe haven for pedophiles) and was on the verge of landing in a Thai prison for the rest of his life. He'd seen "Brokedown Palace" and "Midnight Run" and knows that US prisons are a much nicer place.

Dude was obsessed with the JonBenet murder, researched it, fantasized about it, lived it breathed it ate it up like I do Guster and BNL (obsessions are obsessions, true -- healthy and not healthy, where do I fall? hmmmm something to ponder) and he probably had enough street cred to make some sort of crazy claim to get the attention of the US investigators and get a "return to the USA free and avoid Thai Prison" card on the Monopoly board game of life.

Dude is full of crap. He didn't do it. He just wants to not be in Thailand anymore.

There are thousands of open or cold cases of murdered children in the world. None of them get this attention. And it makes me sick.

When I was 13, there was a little boy in Manhattan named Etan Patz who went missing. I remember the news media feeding frenzy surrounding his disappearance. It was the first time I ever recall finding out what a kidnapping was, and I cried every night thinking that someone was torturing or hurting this little boy. He had a sister named Shira, and she shared her name with my neighbor's daughter, a little toddler I babysat and loved dearly. I kept thinking about all the little kids in my neighborhood, including my little sister, who could at any moment go missing, just. like. that.

Etan Patz still haunts me to this day. I can see how people get worked up about JonBenet. The case impacted a lot of people the way Etan impacted me. But there are so many children who are missing and gone. I hate that the media gives this much attention to this one case.

It makes me ill.

Anyway. I'm happy it is the weekend. Let's move on to more cheery topics, shall we?

Geoff has a birthday party today at 1pm and we need to get a gift. It is one of the little boys who was here on the morning of absolute chaos last Saturday. I think I'll be staying at the party and helping out. Just in case mom needs an extra set of hands.

Tomorrow we're taking Geoff down to my parents' house where he will spend a few days chillin' in Grandma's Crib, yo. She's got a nintendo game cube, so he's already looking forward to it. I may burn him a Guster CD to bring with. He's been walking around singing Jesus on the Radio for the past few days, and it cracks me up.

"Mom, which Guster cover song should my band Pie do? Should we do Airport Song, Jesus on the Radio, or Nothing But Flowers?"

"Well, considering Nothing But Flowers is a Talking Heads song, Pie would be doing a cover of Guster covering another band. So that's not really a Guster song per se."

"Oh. Okay, scratch that. Airport Song, Jesus on the Radio, or Red Oyster Cult?"

"Does Pie have a good bongo player? If so, you can do Airport Song."

Good thing that is settled. I look forward to what Pie has to offer.

Right then. I've got nothin' else. Gotta get a shower, get cleaned up, do some laundry, buy a birthday gift, get Geoff's bike fixed (his brakes aren't working, which is X-games cool in one way, very uncool in another) and go get Jess because she slept at the Kaylas last night.

More later.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oven Mitts

"You can put your hand inside one and your hand might feel snugly covered in cloth, but when you're talking about a single layer between your flesh and the racks inside a 500 degree inferno, things that say "Guster" on them should be immediately discounted as options."
-Brian "Thundergod" Rosenworcel

It is true confession time again. I love oven mitts.

Bill recently wrote about his Ove Glove experience. I love Alton Brown and how he's always talking about making sure you use the right kind of super duper hardcore Steel Workers Union oven mitts when grilling. I was leafing through the Guster Road Journal and came across Brian's entry about his mother and her Guster oven mitts from 1998 and started laughing. I have a kind of oven mitt fetish. I love oven mitts.

Oven mitts are something I have a hard time resisting when I am in the Bed Bath and Kitchen Supply Beyond Depot. I have had a vast assortment of them over the past 20 years. For a wedding gift, my friend Amy in Arizona gave me cactus potholders, and I thought that was the nicest gift ever. Because she knew from my fetish and fed the madness. That is a true friend.

I have, in fact, considered attaching a Travel Bug Tag to a potholder and putting it into Geocaches. The theme would be that you need to cook something, and wear the oven mitt, and then take a picture of it in action.

Oh I should get on that immediately.

Anyway -- yes. I do love oven mitts, and I thought it was sweet beyond reason that Brian's mother still uses her Guster branded oven mitts from 1998. And she whips them out, cotton flying all over the place, each time he visits and probably opts for safer hot-food-handling items (like an ove glove) when he isn't around. Moms are cool like that. I bet she still has potholders he made at camp when he was 8. Way to go Mrs. Rosenworcel.

Oven mitts are hot. Pun intended.

When we moved, I purged a lot of things. And among those things were ... a large assortment of really battered and bruised and burned oven mitts and pot holders. I was at Bed Bath and Kitchen Supply Beyond Depot recently and bought just two oven mitts -- they have stripes on one side, and crazy circles on the other. The fact that I walked out with only one set is my testament to my amazing strength in the face of temptation and adversity. I could have walked out with 50 sets. And thought nothing of it.

I am feeling the desire to go back, go deep, and buy large amounts of lobster themed oven mitts, more colors, more whorl-covered things, mitts with fingers, mitts with kevlar. MMmmmmmmam, Kevlar..

Maybe even a Guster mitt. That would rock.

Anyway -- wow. What a week. Is it Thursday already? Earl and The Office are on in a little while and I wanted to whip out an entry.

Oh yes. Football season is upon us. And I cannot wait. Just a few short weeks and my Steelers, my Patriots, my NFL Sunday Ticket on DirectTV will be burning up the airwaves.

The sad thing is that means pretty much that it is the end of summer. Sniff Weep. But what can you do. Yet another summer comes to a close here at amusings dot net slash way out inn (for you long termers) and we're okay with that. Queue Fiddler on the Roof with the Sunrise, Sunset business.

Kids start school in 2 weeks here. Let's see if we get the boy to agree to a haircut between now and then.

Anyway. That's the update. Just wanted to share my fetish with you, the way I confessed to monkey wine. Hoping it frees you up to confess similar obsessions you have. The comments are open, bitches. Pitch in.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Girls' Day Out - Guster at BOA Pavilion, Boston

Yesterday was the long anticipated Girl's Day Out with Kayla and Mrs. The Kayla (Suzanne), Jessica and myself enjoying a day of pampering, food and rock. The morning of absolute chaos (yesterday) turned into the evening of absolute fun. And I'm here to tell ya all about it.

Suzanne and Kay picked us up at about 2, we went and got pedicures (and the girls got manicures, but S and I don't go that route). My toes look fantastic, thank you very much. I sat in a massage chair and think that I suffered permanent neurological and skeleto-muscular damage to my back. Either that, or the damn thing just bruised me right in the middle of my back. Felt good at the time but last night it started to hurt pretty bad. Feh!

Anyway -- after toes it was down the highway where we feasted at Bertuccis. We got to the Bank of Whatever Bank is Giving Naming Rights Pavilion and relaxed by the harbor, enjoying the sunset, chatting and chilling, refusing to buy 8 dollar beer but having a good time nonetheless.

The crowd was very unlike the Drunk Matthews Band (heh) fans. There were tons of little kids there (in the back of my mind I'm really praying they don't do Manifest Destiny because of the massive F bomb in the second line, just for the wee one's sakes -- in case mom and dad haven't bought or heard the new album yet). It was fun to people watch, and we didn't want to head to our seats as the first opening act Rogue Wave performed their set.

They were okay. Not really my thing. I didn't enjoy them that much. But it was okay -- because I was psyched to just be at a concert and enjoying the company of the girls. And they didn't suck so badly that I wanted to vomit. It was backgroundy, kind of WB or UPN series tunage. Meh. Not what I expected after I visited their website. Their drummer was awesome though. He really kicked ass.

We headed to our seats and Jess and I were pleasantly surprised to have 10th row seats. God bless you, Guster presale tickets and God bless you too maa3120 (mary anna!) on the BNLboard for posting the presale info when you did so I could get tickets for the show. I was thrilled to see where we were sitting -- and had the camera ready for what I hoped would be some awesome shots.

Next up was Yonder Mountain String Band. Dude. Wow. These guys -- four men, four instruments -- blew the roof off the tent. Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar and upright base. Newgrass with a punk edge. They did a couple of very traditional bluegrassy sounding songs, but they had this filter on the bass that fuzzed it up and made it rock, and their guitarist electrified the acoustic and just ripped that thing to shreds. I loved their mandolin player -- he reminded me of Jon Svetkey on moonshine. Lots of hair, glasses and energy. Loved him. I'd see them again in two seconds flat, and I nerded up and added them to my friends on myspace. I'm such a fanwhore.

And then Guster came out to play. The lights go down, and "Born to be Wild" starts cranking out of the sound system. The crowd goes nuts. The guys come riding in on Segways with Members Only jackets and helmets on (the helmets had flashing lights on the back and they were hysterically funny). They ride the circuit around the arena, and take the stage.

Again, the lighting continued to be abysmal, only slightly better than the opening acts. Not at all what I'm used to seeing. Really needed some more up front lights. The stage seemed to be mostly back-lit. Lots of great colors and whatnot, but really nothing focusing on the band up front. Adam had this huge guitar solo at one point (I forget which song) and the spots were all on the keyboard player who was cranking away, but wasn't the focal point of that place in the song. Jess and I were both like "uh, hello? Spotlight on guitar rock god there please?"

Overall the performance was like a Greatest Hits night. Except for FaFa they played every song I wanted and expected to hear. They even pulled out (Nothing But) Flowers, the Talking Heads cover they used to play a bit more of. Geoff would have had a heart attack if he had been there because it is his favorite "Guster" song. They did the Airport Song, complete with a crazy vocal augmentation for Ryan's part on the second verse where it made him sound demonic and scary. We died laughing, and then the lights hit the disco ball. And the wild rumpus bongo fiesta raged on and on with extra super exciting power. It was so awesome. Beyond imagination. Loved it. My head just about exploded at that point. No lie. No hyperbolic exaggeration. I'm not sure what prevented my head from exploding, but somehow I was (and the people around me were) spared.

The setlist is on the side there, thanks goes out to whomever posted it to the Guster board. I didn't write everything down even though I was prepared to.

All told -- a fantastic night of rock.

While I was in the ladies' room, my cell phone rang and it was my buddy Aaron calling from Washington State. I told him where I was and there was a long pause.

"Guster?" he asks with total incredulity. "Well, that's a whole bunch of posers up on stage in one place now isn't it."

Dude has no taste. I have no idea why I'm friends with his sorry lame ass (heh).

Anyway -- my pictures came out horrible, my relatively wonderfully close seats were nothing to compensate for how the band was lit. Compared to the Dave Matthews band shots I got two weeks ago, when I sat in Cleveland while they performed in Hartford CT, these could have and should have been so much better. I'm not sure if it is the band or the venue... not sure who should prepare to feel my wrath in the form of an incendiary email, but man. That sucked. Big time. Like I said -- there's better lighting in my living room.

gusterI'll include only one picture here. This one was a total fluke.

I was trying to get decent a picture of Adam playing the trumpet at the end of Ruby Falls.

Someone near me was using a flash, and hit the back of the guy in the Tufts shirt.

Kinda cool, considering their history and how no one else picked up the flash impact, just Mr. Tufts shirt. I like this shot, even though Adam looks like a blurry trumpet-weilding blob. If you'd like to see some much much much MUCH better Guster show photography, by all means click here and check out Germ's shots of the Friday night show. His came out as great as mine are sucky.

And remind me please to take a picture of the poster Jess bought at the show. It features the Gusters rescuing pets from a burning building and running for their lives. It is hysterically funny. And really shows what kind hearted boys they are. Sniff. Weep.

Guster Set List, 8/12/06

Barrel of a Gun
The Captain
I Spy
Manifest Destiny
Airport Song
The Beginning of the End
Ruby Falls
Center of Attention
Come Downstairs & Say Hello
So Long
The New Underground
Keep It Togethe

The morning of absolute chaos

This morning, I had totally forgotten that I promised Geoff that we could have a playdate with his friend Chris from class. Chris and his family moved into our town in March. At the end of last school year, Geoff bemoaned that he would not be seeing his friends for months. I happened to cross paths with Chris' mom, and we picked today.

This morning, Brodie decided she would raid the garbage and ate maxipads and tampons IN MY BED. Which is probably the most disgusting thing ever that a dog can do. Missy did this once, years ago, and I thought I would die. So once again, on the verge of dying, there I am at 8am stripping my bed and thankful beyond all belief our washer and dryer can handle king sized comforters. Gah.

This morning, I walked into Geoff's room, figuring since I was stripping beds and doing wash anyway I may as well do all the beds. I discovered that he had dumped out every single yet-to-be-unpacked box onto his bedroom floor. The floor was covered with books, magnets, ball bearings, tiny little pieces to lego insanity, matchbox cars, more books, some schoolwork from last year, and a million mister potato head pieces. Realizing that we had less than 1/2 hour until his friend showed up to play, I demanded that he help me clean up. In less than 1/2 hour, not only did we clean up, we also put away more than 1/2 of the stuff that was poured out upon the land, and had it all in its appropriate place.

This morning, with about five minutes before the friend and his mom show up, I jump in the shower. I wash my hair. I wash my body and then think "Did I already wash my hair?" Not remembering if I had done so or not, I washed it again. Just to be safe. Sometimes it is a good thing to just be safe.

This morning, I got out of the shower and was half dressed when I heard the dog doorbell ringing. That meant visitors were here at the door. I threw on the rest of my clothing. I ran downstairs to meet not just the mom but all four of her kids. She explained that the oldest wanted to come for a walk, she's 12 and autistic. The boy's older brother by 1 year was a little jealous, and the youngest is 2, and autistic. So they were all here. She was incredibly apologetic, but I was beyond fine with it. It was absolutely fine. And it was great to meet everyone and we had a great visit, all of us together.

This morning, I forgot to brush my hair. And now it is fully dried, and I look like one of the Weird Sisters from the Harry Potter books.

This morning, the mom left with the oldest and youngest of her brood, and left the scheduled playdate boy and his older brother, because all three were playing wonderfully together, and that was fine by me. They are sweet and nice and Geoff is having a great time with them. All three of them have the same learning disabilities, so this morning has been full of me being "on" and paying attention because I know how Geoff is in new places, so two boys in a new place learning and discovering with Geoff at the helm -- Lord help us all.

This morning, I was sitting with Doug in the back yard, talking about the next subject (see below) when I heard crying. "Is that real crying or fake crying?" I called up to the house. I didn't get a response, so I went inside to find one of our guests standing in the kitchen bawling. "Did the other boys hurt you or exclude you from a game, honey?" The answer was no. My house guest decided to come looking for me and opened the side door to the house, the door we usually have closed because it is the one door that isn't part of the fenced in yard. Both of my dogs left. He was devastated, and couldn't find me to tell me what had just happened. The dogs were three houses down the street at the Catholic Priest's house, visiting him as he was weeding his garden. I was able to retrieve both. Boy was consoled and Macaroni and Cheese was suggested for lunch. The perfect diversion. Food.

This morning, Doug decided to paint the garage and shed. Doug purchased a Wagner power painter, and two gallons of paint. He had trouble getting the thing to obey him, and a few hours later, both cans of paint were gone and the garage was painted on one side. Doug reckons the wood hadn't been painted ever, he should have primed it, because it was stained or untreated in the past (which is why we have Carpenter Bees). And now he'll probably need eight more cans of paint to complete the projet. At $43 bucks a gallon. He was pissed.

This morning, after the painting situation was abandoned, Doug decided to mow the lawn. Doug burned his hand on the lawnmower when he was trying to get it to obey him. Doug stood in the kitchen with a huge bottle of vodka taken from the freezer pressed against his palm.

This morning, I am finishing up this entry with a sigh of relaxation and relief. I am meeting K and K's mom and they are coming with me and Jess to go see Guster tonight. It's a girls day out. We're getting pedicures and having an early dinner and then heading into the city to rock out to the mad musical stylin's of Ryan, Adam, Brian the Thundergod and Joe. When I bought these tickets back in... May?... I thought August is soooooo far away. How will I be able to wait that long? But it is here, and now I'm thinking "what the hell happened to my summer?"

This morning, I'm feeling I missed something or got robbed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tarantulas on a Hydrofoil

For months now, a lot of blogs and journals that I read have been referencing Snakes on a Plane, a new movie scheduled to be released August 18th.

A lot of people think it is hysterical, other people think it is the dumbest premise for a movie ever.

Monday morning I was listening to some guys on a rock and roll radio talk show program as they were arguing about this movie. One of them was in a complete and total tizzy about how ridiculous this movie is and how he couldn't believe an actor of Samuel L. Jackson's caliber would ruin his career by taking this role. Another guy said "It's a joke. It's a farce. Don't you get it?" And the debate raged on and on and on until the first guy was frothing and apoplectic with rage about this movie.


I saw a commercial for it last night for the first time, and fell out of my chair laughing at the overt silliness of it all. And I'm not sure that I thought it was funny because it is funny, or that I found it amusing because of all the debate, interest, comments, thoughts and the aforementioned radio guys fighting over it that I've been exposed to up to this point.

Rotten Tomatoes has a series of trailers and interview clips, if you want a good laugh, watch the first one where Samuel L. Jackson talks about how they worked with snake experts to make sure that the snakes would indeed go nuts and bite everyone if on a plane like that. Click here, pick a media player, and enjoy. Lots and lots of swearing in the first one. NSFW.

All I have to say is that the commercials and the interviews and trailers totally make me laugh, preconceived notions or not. I love the Samuel L. Jackson action hero parody of himself that he's doing. I love the stupidity of it all. The over-the-topness. It is probably going to bomb totally because people just don't get satire and farce.

The title of this entry is from a sheet of paper I found in the livingroom when I came downstairs this morning. Jessica had written several things like "Tarantulas on a Hydrofoil" and others which leads me to believe she watched David Letterman last night and he did a top ten list of sequels to this movie, or, Conan O'Brien was making fun of it. I know Guster was on Conan last night, so she stayed up to watch.

Tarantulas on a Hydrofoil cracked me up the most.

The past few days have been a little stressy at work. I thought I was totally going to be fired for some errors and mistakes that were made in the past few months, some of them my doing, some of them not my fault. The phrase "getting thrown under the bus" was bandied about as I wondered if it would be me or my poor boss who would take the hit.

So far, I still have a job.

Suffice to say, my job is detail oriented and demands a lot of careful attention. I take great pride in making sure I have all my shit straight, my ducks in a row, my I dots and my T crosses all there. I do know I make mistakes once in a while, and work incredibly hard to make sure that they are on the far minimal end of things. I take it personally though if I know I didn't make a mistake but there is still a problem. I don't like thinking that I may take a bullet for someone else's error. And there was a little of that feeling most of the week.

I was whistling "Wheels on the Bus" yesterday at my desk as there was a big huge meeting in the morning discussing what happened.

My boss informed me that things were trying to be pinned on us, but that they couldn't stick. We're not teflon, but I was relieved that in the end she was able to make it clear that there were problems but not with what she and I did.

Whew. God bless the boss lady.

I do still need to focus more carefully, concentrate on what I'm doing, stop rushing to get ahead, stop working when people are standing behind me talking (which happens a LOT LESS FREQUENTLY now that we took over additional office space across the hall) and just really make sure I've got all my ducks in a row. Again.

I normally never talk about work, but this has been eating my soul the past few days. So I had to let it out. Like that Cat Stevens song from back in the day. Sing along if you know the words.

Anyway -- I had best get ready for work. Geoff's ready for camp, the Brodie Puppy needs a shot today and I'm debating whether I go now or wait until after work and just leave at 4 to get back to get to the vet. Hmmm. Which to do.

More later.

Monday, August 07, 2006

(started at 7:15am, finished at 10pm)
When last we spoke, I told you it smelled like geocaching, and this weekend, my nose knew.

GCV3HV - trail skullWe went out both days. My legs feel like jello, like my knees perhaps won't support me if I jump up suddenly (for instance, if a racoon falls through my ceiling at 4 in the morning. That would be a sudden jump up, and I might fall right down. Adding to the comedy).

It felt really good to get out on the trails. It wasn't too hot, just hot enough to break a sweat while walking in the sun, and nice enough to enjoy when slipping into the deep shade of a little forest at the edge of a hot meadow.

There was a nice breeze, and we went from hill to forest to meadow to black raspberries to a prep school campus all in the span of a few hours. All told, I think it was 3 miles of walking on Saturday, another 4 on Sunday, and only one geocache not found. Not a bad haul.

Our count is up to 478. I had hoped to hit 600 by this time, on the pace we were enjoying last year. But this year the move slowed us down, and the weather was uncooperative. So we'll be lucky to hit 550 by the end of the year.

The big thing that struck me is how very much I love a certain smell this time of year. I'm not sure I can describe it. I'm not sure you've smelled it but if you have, you know it.

Usually it is found in pine-heavy areas late in the summer when it has been dry a little while. There is this smell where the sun has been hitting the wood and the dry pine needles. There isn't any damp in the air. It is fresh and crisp and very sweet. Almost overwhelmingly so.

It smells like summer and camping and all kinds of goodness to me. I know near to this place good kindling for a nice fire is to be found. No amount of cologne purchased in any fancy store will ever smell as nice as it did yesterday walking through the woods of southern New Hampshire. Even if Derek Jeter feels the need to market it. They'll never catch this smell.

And yesterday was full of it, and I am still smiling because I remember how wonderful it is.

Yesterday would have been the perfect camping day. I felt as if I should be on the green folding chair with extended foot rest sitting by a small fire at 7pm enjoying the last vestiges of the sun slanting horizontally through the pines while Doug cheffed up something for dinner over the flames and small Coleman burner.

Sigh. It felt like geocaching, it was geocaching. And it was good.


We got home semi-late last night and our neighbor came and invited us for a swim. We haven't seen much of her lately, we've all been so busy. So it was nice to go jump in and chat and have the boys play. By 9pm Geoff was wiped and put himself to bed rather quickly.

He's still fast asleep at 7:30, so that is one tired boy. He is usually up, eating or finished with breakfast, and asking if it is too early to go dribble his basketball right about this hour. So it is nice to let him get some extra sleep.

If he's not up in 15 minutes I'll get him up. In the meantime, I'll gladly take him to camp late.

Yesterday morning my mom called me to let me know my uncle Buddy down in Florida passed away. He'd cheated and beaten back death a few times in the past couple of years. I didn't really know him. He moved away when I was rather younger, and I never really felt like I had much of a relationship with him.

My dad had two brothers who did this. Herbie and Buddy. He had a sister who moved away to California, who now lives in Arizona. Left behind were my dad, and his two sisters Mary and Esther, and his brother Jimmy who passed away in 1992.

I always was very close to Mary growing up. I feel like I don't know her at all now. And my aunt Esther had been close to our family for a while, then wasn't, and then moved in next door to my parents where they were living in NY so the past several years she's been a staple in relationship. When I was little my uncle Jimmy drove a delivery truck for Newsday and I remember he always brought us boatloads of school supplies every year. He also teased me relentlessly. In a lot of ways the teasing said I love you. Because the moving away to Florida and never communicating with my family the way Buddy and Herbie did didn't say I love you.

My sister is really good at staying in touch with people in the family. I'm proud of her for that. And I'm glad someone does.

My uncle Jimmy's ex-wife Margaret also passed away this weekend. I was incredibly close to her when I was little. I really loved her a lot growing up. When she and my uncle Jimmy split up, I totally lost knowledge of where she was. Like I said, my sister is good at keeping in touch, and she and Margaret reconnected a couple of years back but to no really substantial chick-flick movie like end.

I was not really broken up or otherwised consumed with a burning desire to be in touch with the dying. I feel as if the past 30 or so years they've been living their own lives apart from our family, so their own lives can take care of their dispatching from this plane.

Is that callous? Cold? Empty? I don't think so really. It is what it is. And it makes me ponder more deeply what the ties of family are.

People are dropping like flies around here this summer, and it has nothing to do with the heat.

That's about it. I meant to get this uploaded and published this morning but Geoff turned out to be a little copy monkey. Yesterday Jess refused to get out of bed, and told us that she just wanted to sleep. Why do we keep harassing her? Why do we keep making her go hiking.

So today Geoff decided to see if that'd work for him. It didn't. He was awake, just unwilling to get out of bed. He has started his woe is me mantra a bit early "Summer is almost over, it'll be no fun anymore, I have to go back to school in three weeks..."

In trying to convince him that he needed to be up at at them (who's Adam? He asked me) he wasn't buying my arguments that one must seize the day and get out of bed in order to live life. And just because his sister is a pain and fights with us about getting out of bed does not give him license to do so as well.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Newsflash! Playground slides get hot when the temperature rises!

The heat finally broke on Friday. I drove to work and it was 68 degrees outside. It was lovely. But for about a week there, which is one of the reasons why I was not writing here because I knew I would be absoloutely relentless in my maliciousness towards anyone whining, everyone went absolutely out of their minds. Everyone - especially the television newsblatherers.

We all know my disdain for the purely sensationalistic hyperbole that is the nightly local newscast... If it is possibly going to snow, they go into a frenzy and everyone runs to the store to buy up all the bread. Like it will never be made again!

With the heatwave that engulfed the country over the past few days, they really didn't have many visuals to show to illustrate the carnage that was befalling us. It isn't like you can use a ruler to stick in the snow on the side of the highway as the state snowplow crews go down I-93 through Andover.

So they went out and measured the temperature of the playground equpiment to see how hot that stuff gets. And they were... surprised!

If you read the quote to the left here, Dr. Deanna Lites of WHDH went out and did "unscientific tests" with a "non-contact thermometer" to find out what the surface temperature of playground equipment was. Her unscientific findings are listed to the side.

Well ain't that something.

Metal slides DO get really hot when the sun beats down on them or when the temperature rises. I think my back-end learned that in second grade (1972!) and the temperature was around 70 degrees.

So why were parents letting their children play at the playground! Well, look over there! It's the frog pond, filled with water and respite! And kids have boundless energy all day, so getting them out, even when it is like one million degrees, is sometimes the best thing ever. Run over there, jump in the pool, get out, run over to the swings (running over that cork ground cover, which could be natural dirt and grass but things just can't be natural anymore) and then play and come over here and get a drink and go over there and get in the pool.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Slides get hot. Wow. Please tell me something I don't already know.

Reporting news stories like this forces my snarkiness level right up off the charts.

This falls into the category of me being sick of the Weather Channel being my mommy and telling me what to do. I want the Weather Channel, the National Weather Service and the News to report what is going to happen with the weather. What's the temp going to be, when is it going to stop being ungodly hot...

I do not want the weather report to tell me to make sure I put on enough sunscreen, drink a lot of water, get to the senior center to take advantage of the air conditioning (which is set at 80, in a room filled with bodies that are putting off a lot of heat. I may as well sit at home and swelter in front of my own fan if that's what I have to look forward to)...

My friend Peter left a comment reminding my oh so often knowitallish self (heh), that others may not be as conscientious as I am and know what to do in the heat.

He's right you know. I do tend to be a big fat know it all.

A lot of people are indeed suffering from the temperature rise, and sometimes the government has to remind people what to do and where to go.

He is correct -- of course. But still. Where did the days go when the news was just reported.

When did the collective mentality whoosh straight into panty-bunching insanity?

Was the world like this pre-911? I seem to recall reporters always being slightly over the top, but it feels as if it has just reached a level of epidemic ridiculousness.

Peter pointed out that this was the first heat wave since 2002. But to be honest, it gets hot all the time in New England in July and August. New York too, Pennsylvania. Maryland. All over the place. It gets hot this time of year. "Heat Wave" or no wave.

Forecasters were screaming that it would be over 102 Oh My God! degrees on Wednesday and it ONLY got to 98! So the record didn't get broken! It was still hot.

It was hot at 92.

It is hot at 102.

It. Was. And. Always. Is. Hot. In. July. And. August.

Additionally infuriating to me is all the continuing babble about the Heat Index. Ooooooh! The Heat Index is going to be 109! Combine the humidity with the heat and do math and carry the one and divide by three percent and ... and... and oh my GOD we are going to broil like scallops.

It's all about what it is going to "feel like."

News flash - It's hot. It feels like hot. This is what 98 degrees FEELS LIKE. It doesn't FEEL LIKE 106 based on math. It. Feels. Hot.

99 here vs. 99 in Texas. It is still freaking HOT.

I am going to fall over with an aneuyrysm right now because of all of this. It makes my head explode.

It's hot. It was hot. It is hot. It is summer.

We look forward to this, remember that people. We whine all winter that it is cold. It is sleeting. It is snowing. Harvey, when is the sun coming out? Chikage, when will it stop raining! Kevin, you're so handsome and cute but please make it be warmer!

And when it gets over 80 everyone cries that it is too hot. It is heat indexy. The FEELS like is too brutal for us to deal with.

I hate New England.

I hate that no one can deal with the weather if it isn't between 72 and 78 with a very gentle sea breeze. Everything else is certifiably whinable.

And that makes for about 300 days of the year in my "non-scientific" guestimation.

So between all the frothing about the temperature and the word Hezbollah (I am weary of the whole Israel/Hezbollah/UN is going to issue a resolution that this better stop! garbage. Do Not Get Me Started On That.), between all that I've just turned off the TV and am playing hand-held Yahtzee and surfing flickr.

It is Saturday. I'm happy to have the day off and it is right where I like it temperature-wise. It isn't pouring. It isn't 178 degrees on the cork ground cover. It isn't snowing. It isn't too windy or not windy enough.

I can tell you what it FEELS LIKE.

It feels like geocaching.

More later.