Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday fun at the Rud

Current mood: animated
Category: Music
Ray Rizzo is not only a brilliant musician, but I think he's psychic too. When I heard he would be in town and putting on a hootenanny at the beloved Rudyard Kipling on Boxing Day, I said, "Wow, that sounds fun. I want to play." And then my phone rang, and it was Ray, asking me to play.

I was expecting to play a solo set. Then my BFF, Peter Searcy, showed up to play bass. And we sweet-talked Señor Rizzo into playing drums with us, and BAM! There was a band.

I'm a spoiled artist. The first time I EVER played in a band with drums was only about six year ago, and I was a mere keyboard player in someone else's band. But the drummer: Ray Rizzo. Can you imagine that being your first experience with drums? I knew he was a great player, but I didn't get it at the time just how good he is.

On Saturday when we played at the Rud, he hadn't heard my tunes at all, but he nailed every one. My songs are not exactly user-friendly. I like a tempo change or a time signature surprise or mixing soul-verses with rockabilly-choruses. But Ray didn't miss a beat. He and Peter were locked-down in the moment, a kick-ass impromptu rhythm section.

It's funny (and ultimately a bad idea), but I really love keeping a revolving door of musicians in my "band." I'll probably never have an actual line-up that never changes. I like the thrill of the surprise and the excitement of playing with totally different players. That's probably from my jazz-training, and it's probably not healthy for a folkie-rockie-countrie-singer. Oh well, I like spontaneity. Does this mean I fear commitment? Hmmmmmm ..... maybe I've become a real musician, after all....

Anyway, thanks, Ray and Peter. It was fun playing with you.

Oooh ooh! Almost forgot to tell you about this kick-ass a capella girl group I heard. The Sandpaper Dolls. The music on their myspace page doesn't seem to be the 3-part harmony make-you-cry-and-melt-in-your-seat that I heard from their live show, but I hear they're working on a record. Go out and hear them live if you get a chance. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

And.... the 5th Annual Townes Van Zandt Tribute show is once again on New Year's Day.
The Monkey Wrench
1025 Barrett Ave
NO COVER (yes, it's free)
doors at 8:00 music around 8:30
at least 30 artists performing Townes Van Zandt songs
me, tim krekel, ron whitehead, paul k, alanna fugate, scott mertz, mickey clark, kathleen hoye ... should be a good time.

I'll be your frazzled hostess, running around, making sure everyone knows when to play.

brigid

p.s. happy birthday, to my utility player: Steve Cooley.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Observations and Teeth and Dreidels

Current mood: jolly
Category: Life
Things I have noticed since I turned 30 this year:

Apparently, I have entered a new age bracket to online advertisers. The men who used to appear in that advertising box when I logged into MySpace have aged considerably. I no longer see that cute 20-something indie-rocker who is so obviously laughing at our clever iChat conversation. Instead, I see a button-down shirt guy who probably has dental insurance.

Secondly, I now find dental insurance incredibly attractive.

Thirdly, I went to the dentist last week and discovered that one of my teeth has a dying nerve, as if I had been hit. All signs point to that one day when my 140-pound Great Dane mix hit his extremely large head in my face as we were canoodling.

Lastly, perhaps I should stop canoodling with my dog.

Merry Holidays to you all!

Brigid

Edit: Just for the record, after a few emails I've received, I must state that I have been to the dentist religiously twice a year since my teeth came in. I just have to pay for it myself. But I haven't had a cavity since middle school, so I guess I'm due for some dental work.

Some Chanukah cheer for you in "Dreidel's Day Out"


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Prairie Home Weekend

Current mood: hyper
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
My twitter account is now open for all to follow. www.twitter.com/brigidkaelin I kept it private for a while, so I could pretend like I needed my privacy. I really don't.

I wiggled a lot on my sleep last night. It wasn't tossing and turning because I wasn't stressed or upset. It was definitely more childlike wiggling in anticipation for the weekend's events.

It is absurdly cold in Louisville this morning. 1 degree. One degree. Fahrenheit. (Note to self: book Australia next January.) I can't find any winter hats in my house, and I lost my Sherlock Holmes hat when I was out hanging posters around Thanksgiving. (Louisvillians, if you find a Sherlock Holmes hat, it is mine; please return. And yes, Mom, I lost another hat. At least I'm consistent.) This morning, I was resigned to wearing a wide-brimmed baby blue Easter-esque hat that may have prevented some small percentage of heat escaping through my head. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

After warming up my trusty Volvo (why don't i have a remote start?!?!) and being thankful that Swedes understand the need for a seat warmer, I drove directly to Lynn's Paradise Cafe and had breakfast at the counter. Truly, what I wanted this morning was Challah French Toast from the Noshville and a cheery chat with my favorite Counter Queen, but Nashville is 174 miles out of the way. Lynn's sufficed.

I love dining alone. I also love treating myself with fancy breakfast on special days like this one. Really, I want a fancy coffee drink too, but I don't drink caffeine. Even a Chai would leave me with another sleepless night. Tonight, I need my beauty sleep.

I'm just about to head to a rehearsal with Shannon and Danny for A Prairie Home Companion. Then we're all heading to the Palace Theatre where we will join Garrison and the gang for a tech rehearsal for tomorrow's live broadcast.

I'll be tweeting from backstage. Blogging will be more difficult. If you're into Facebook, I"ll be around via my trusty iPhone.

Maybe Garrison will have a winter hat I can borrow.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Seasonally affected.

Current mood: embarrassed
Category: Life
Wow, when I don't blog for a while, I have too many things to say.

I will sum up the past couple of weeks. The theme has been: escape. I hate winter. It's cold, it's dark, and people are generally less cheerful. I've had SO much business stuff to do -- rehearsing, recording, releasing the Saw CD, planning future tours, going through piles of receipts -- and I haven't felt like socializing. So between battling my email, QuickBooks and DreamWeaver, I've been doing a escape-oriented things to maintain my sanity.

First, I've been playing a lot of piano. Bach, mostly. I love playing jazz, and pop, and rock, and writing my own songs, but sometimes the freedom of arrangements and songwriting just hurts my brain. That is why I love playing Bach. It's like practicing your scales, but much prettier. It's why I always liked math homework: there's a correct answer, and you know when you're wrong. I don't have any math books sitting around, but I've got loads of classical music. Crank that metronome and repeat. My mind just drifts away and stops worrying about the to-do list. It's awesome.

Secondly, I went to the movies a lot. I don't normally go to the movies, but I was again looking for a reason to relax and not think. And the best movie I found for not using a single brain cell? Twilight. It was wonderfully awful.

Which brings me to:

Thirdly, I read all four Twilight books. Four books in five days. Two thousand three hundred and seventy nine pages.

I can't believe I'm admitting this on my blog. I am obviously completely seasonally affected.

They weren't even good. The only vampire book I'd ever read before was Bram Stoker's Dracula. I skipped over the Anne Rice phase completely in high school. But for some reason, I just had to know what was happening with Bella and Edward.

Ugh, I can't wait until spring.

I feel better admitting that though. Anyone else out there fall for it too? Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?

What's wrong with me?

I feel like I should finish The Brothers Karamazov now to make up for my shameful reading list.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good music with good people.

Current mood: thankful
Category: Music
Short blog today, just to say how much I love playing music.

I always get stressed out before a show, and I don't think most people understand how much work goes in to properly promoting and putting on a good one. Will anyone be there? Will the sound guy understand how to EQ my accordion? Will anyone be there? Did the show get listed in the newspaper? (Velocity failed us this time, sadly, but LEO done good, good, good.) Will the opener start on time? Will anyone be there?

And booking a show six days in advance is especially tricky. But Shannon will be in his hometown for Thanksgiving, and he's a big shot now (stupid Major Labels stealing away Louisville's own!). So luckily, a show with the two us big enough news that the local media cares.

He and I decided to do one of those big Thanksgiving Eve shows. (Will anyone be there?)

I've played with tons of people over the years, but Shannon's voice and mad pickin' skillz continue to amaze me.

And because of the beauty of the Louisville music scene, he and I have approximately one billion mutual musical friends. I suspect one million of them show up to sit in tonight. It's gonna be gooooood.

Lookout for surprises, yodels, haikus, accordion solos, deep basses, high tenors, nostalgia, friends, music, magic, smiles, and lots of laughter, all the things for which one should be thankful.

See you there! (You'll be there, won't you?!?)
Monkey Wrench
1025 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
9:00 Douglas Lucas
followed by Brigid and Shannon
and friends
$7 cover. (or walk in with a guitar case and fool the doorman)

(Will anyone be there?)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Meeting my hero

Current mood: jolly
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
With all this blog controversy, -- and here I thought I was just posting a funny story about a break-up and my redhead temper being squelched by good-deed-doing -- I realized I haven't written about any adventures lately.

So in the category of Crossing-Off-Lifetime-Goals: I met John Prine on Friday!

I've known his band members for a couple of years now, just through various Nashville escapades and mutual friends. But I had never met the man himself. Most people know that one of my main goals as a musician is to someday play music with John Prine. I don't want to open for him (although, upon thinking about it, I think I DO want to open for him), but really I just want to play accordion or saw or sing with him on his music.

I love playing in other people's bands. And John Prine and Elvis Costello are my two favorite songwriters. It was a lifetime goal to play with them.

In May, I got to play with Elvis at the Palace.

On Friday, I didn't get to play with John Prine. But after the show, I met him backstage and introduced myself. He knew about me (how could he not -- i've told everyone near him that I want to play accordion with him), and he said that the next time he came through Louisville, he'd give me a shot. Whoo hoo!

He also was incredibly kind and seemed like the wise man I figured he must be. He graciously signed autographs for the folks in line, and he signed a ticket stub for my mom just before he left the theatre. My current profile picture is a lovely photo of me with John Prine as well as the amazing Tim Krekel and his amazing sweetie, as well as Dave Jacques, John Prine's bass player.

Adventures!

And more ... I haven't been able to announce this yet, and it's been killing me.

But now I can.

On January 17, you'll be able to hear me perform live on: A Prairie Home Companion, a radio show I've wanted to be on for years.

Even better, we're taping this particular program at the Palace Theatre, the same stage where I got to play with Elvis.

Good things are a'happenin'. Stay positive, be a good person, and ask for what you want.

***

DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING SHOW:
The Monkey Wrench
BRIGID KAELIN and SHANNON LAWSON and friends
9:00
$7
It's going to be a really fun show. Shannon's in town for the holidays, so come request your favorite Galoots song. Bring your incoming family. Get a babysitter. It's going to be a great night.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wow, you never know who’s reading your blogs...

Current mood: amused
Category: Romance and Relationships
Apologies to my readers for removing my last blog. I didn't think I said anything offensive in referring to "the ex," but apparently he reads my blog. Who knew?

I'll just write a country song to re-cap the general idea.

cheerio!

love,
brigid

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where’d my small town go?

Current mood: relaxed
I laugh about how everyone in Louisville seems to know my business (or some weird version of my business) before I do.

But the weirdest thing just happened. I went to my neighborhood microbrewery ... and didn't know anyone there!

First, I watched a movie at a friend's house, then came home, intending on going to bed before midnight. But my roommate is home. She is great, but I felt like being by myself. I've been like that a lot lately actually. (Sorry, gentle roommates, my winter hibernation is coming early, and I'd rather not subject you to my moodiness. I blame the weather. El Niño, perhaps.)

And when I feel like being by myself, then I go out. That probably seems odd to you, but it's something I learned in my years in New York: the art of going out alone.

Usually, though, when I go out, I see someone I knew.

But I just went up to Cumberland Brews, scanned the room to make sure I wasn't unintentionally snubbing anyone (it's a smalllllll town, remember?), and was surprised to not recognize a soul. So I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (stalkers, take note -- she drinks Pinot when she drinks wine, which is generally only when the pub doesn't have a hard-liquor-license), sat at the bar, and did the New York Times crossword puzzle from the LEO. Well, technically, I didn't complete it. But i worked on it diligently until my glass was empty.

Then I came home.

Weird. Where is everyone on this Saturday night at 12:15 am? How can I go out and be alone when there's no one to wave to?

I am such a bizarre creature.

It was really pleasant though. Cumberland has good Pinot. And it was nice to not have to tell anyone I was leaving. Still, it felt like Bizarro-Cumberland.

Goodnight.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hold the show? No way, baby.

Current mood: smitten
So you've read my blogs, and you know that I am spontaneous and unpredictable. I always say yes to a free concert ticket or an invitation to dance to Johnny Berry music or a last-minute road trip.

But I am a stickler for an on-time concert start.

I love Louisville, but my one complaint about the music scene here is that bands rarely ever start on-time.

It's a vicious cycle. The bands don't want to play to an empty room, but the room is empty because bands never freakin' start on time.

I should say right now that almost all Production Simple shows start as advertised, or within 15 minutes of said-advertised-time. Thank you, fine friends at PS for allowing we music-lovers to plan our evenings appropriately.

Can you imagine if you could really and truly catch several acts at different clubs all in one night? See _______ at 6:00! Then head across the street for ______ at 7:30! Then head across town for _____ at 9:00! And then call CitiScoot to take you (and your car) to see _____ at 11:00!

I've been obnoxious about starting on-time (and early), and last night's show at Gerstle's was proof that we Louisvillians can do it. There was a great crowd when Danny Flanigan took the stage at 7:59 (thanks, Danny!), and David Mead was on by 10:00. Beautiful.

I had a blast playing last night. It was a different set up. Me on piano, mostly, and Danny Kiely on upright bass, with some Peter Searcy thrown in on the cello. I might try adding some light drums to the mix and make that my alternate set-up.

Props also need to be given to the amazing crowd last night. Gerstle's was a listening room for the most part. The club owners turned off the TV's. Kevin, my favorite grumpy sound man, was all smiles because the music was fan-freakin'-tastic. I sat on the floor during most of David Mead's set (except when i was beckoned for a musical saw solo here and there), and I listened to him sing gorgeous songs off his To-Be-Released record, Almost and Always.

Another cool thing (sorry I'm rambling) about last night's show, was looking around and seeing so many of Louisville's musicians and songwriters in the crowd, mesmerized. So if you missed the show, or you don't know David Mead's music, please go to his page and listen. Or forget that, go straight to your local independent record store and just buy any of his five records (the pop/rock section, most likely). Trust me, and trust a room full of musicians, all listening intently, wishing we could write melodies like that.

And then today -- great Live Lunch by Todd Snider. I sat right up front (though not on the floor this time) and laughed a lot.

Tonight: John Prine. Don't know where my seat is yet. I'm flyin' solo, though, through a streak of good luck, so I'm betting it's front and center.

Cheers. Go buy that David Mead record now.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Screams, shouts, and text messaging.

Current mood: rejuvenated
In October 1996, I was living in Greenwich Village, at an NYU dorm. I was doing homework one night (surprise) alone in my dorm room, when I was suddenly distracted by a savage uproar. I heard a few individual screams, but it was mostly the sound you get when you breath heavily into a microphone, trying to imitate a crowd of people screaming. It was in stereo, coming through my window. My window faced an alley, and the shouts and screams of New Yorkers were echoing up the close walls. Someone stuck his head out of the apartment window across from me and screamed bloody murder.

I shut the window, terrified.

Had we been bombed? Was the world ending? What was happening?

Afraid to go outside, I called my mom, in Louisville, Kentucky.

She answered right away, and I told her what had happened.

"You really don't know?"

"No, there's no one around, but people are screaming. I'm not sure what's going on."

She laughed and told me I'd been working too hard before explaining the cause of the mass hysteria: "The Yankees just won the World Series."*

I hung up the phone and went outside.

Never had I seen such mayhem. It sounded like the zombies had attacked. People were running down the streets, screaming, shouting nonsense, climbing lampposts, attempting to run up the sides of buildings, standing on cars, and generally freaking out. I walked over to Broadway and witnessed taxi drivers tossing cigars out their windows at passersby. Strangers were hugging. The screams turned into joyous high-fives and chants. It was a beautiful thing, and I didn't even know it was baseball season.

Tuesday night in the Highlands of Louisville was comparable to October 1996 in New York.

The screams, the high-fives, the random guy-with-guitar walking up and down the street singing Woody Guthrie tunes at midnight, the cars honking and waving flags. The thrill of having voted for someone who actually won. It felt like a community, more than ever.

Yes, Kentucky is a Red State, and embarrassingly enough (to me) we were the first state to be called, which I was alerted to via text message from various friends across the country.** ("With 0% of the vote in, Kentucky goes to McCain." What's that all about anyway? 0%?) But thankfully, that was the only time that John McCain had the lead all night long. And also thankfully, I live in the Highlands, a beautiful oasis of blue in a desert of red. (Like Austin, Texas, I presume.) A place where they don't tell you you can't sing country music if you think recycling is important and you have friends of all races.

Anyway, it feels really good to be excited about doing something positive for the world.

Thank you to the wonderful messages from all over the world. It seems everyone in Europe and Asia was more concerned about our presidential election than most of America. Here's to the USA joining a forward-thinking, global community.

Maybe someday the entire world will be jumping up and down climbing lampposts and high-fiving Cuban-cigar-smokin' taxi drivers.


* I should point out that the Yankees won the World Series 4 out of the 5 years I lived in New York, and they've not won since I moved away. Something to think about.

**By the way, can I tell you how much I love text messaging. I was texting Austin, Boston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago -- Grant Park even! -- ... all... through... the night. Beautiful! I love immediate contact and information. I could feel the excitement through my wee little phone.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The World.

The world.
I am staving off a migraine. Unsuccessfully. It's going to have me within minutes, but I needed to write.

My mind has been in knots for months now, it seems, about this election tomorrow. I spent the last month in the UK, where everyone I met is globally conscious. And conscientious. And worried about how America will vote (or not vote) tomorrow.

I don't sing political songs. (Except for the occasional "Flag Decal" cover by John Prine, which is actually extremely political... hmmm...) I try to keep politics out of my songs for the most part because I enjoy the distraction of the stage.

What most of you don't know about this happy-go-lucky, smiley-faced, pippi longstockinged, pollyanna, is that my NYU degree is not in film or music. It is in: Politics. Specifically political philosophy with an emphasis on American political policy and structure. I am secretly obsessed with this stuff. I wrote a huge senior paper on why there is absolutely no reason we should vote --- and yet, how some undefinable factor in the equation tells us that we absolutely must vote.

So this is my little political blog. I'm restraining myself tremendously.

You know, forget it. I'm not holding back.

I'm sick and tired of hearing seemingly smart people say things like, "But his middle name is Hussein!" or "But he's going to be assassinated!" (And now for an appropriate use of annoying internet slang: WTF?!?!?) It's 2008, not 1958. It was bad enough back then, but for now, it's just embarassing. I'm a self-employed small-business owner, and I'm not afraid to vote for Barack Obama.

The rest of the world will be watching us tomorrow. Let's not embarass ourselves again.
At least go vote. I know I'm the millionth person you've heard this from. And, honestly, if you're reading my blog, then I'm probably preaching to the choir.

So thank you, smart, motivated, citizen.

And if for some reason things don't go right, I'm staring at the business card of the General Consul of Ireland. I'm gonna get me an EU passport, after all. Everyone over there was concerned about the welfare of the planet, not just a few Christian folks in America.

For now, I'm hoping this migraine is just cumulative stress of electoral angst. Funny, my first migraines started right around November 2000. Maybe eight years of them is enough...

My official endorsement: Obama/Biden.
And for Congress: Yarmuth, of course.
And let's finally get rid of Mitch McConnell while we're at it?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Puttin’ on a show.

Wow. Sunday was a crazy day. I got up early, walked up to Heine Brothers, did a bunch of work (yes, this seemingly glamourous life I lead is actually fueled by hours and hours of music business that involves computers and receipts), and went back home to work on my basement.

Having been out of town for a month, I had completely forgotten that it was the Breast Cancer walk. I didn't even know it was still October. My too-kind-not-wanting-to-bother-me mother didn't text me until after the walk to let me know she and my dad were at the Monkey Wrench.

So I took a break and joined them.

At some point, I discovered Dolly Parton was in town that night. You leave town for a month and are suddenly completely out of the loop when it comes to what's happening in town. But seeing as I had already failed the Breast Cancer walk, I figured I'd at least go see Dolly's Breasts. Dennie at the Wrench and I decided that we absolutely must find a ticket.

We did, of course, being the clever folks that we are. (It wasn't sold-out.)

I'd never seen Dolly before. Well, that's a lie. Back when I worked for CBS The Early Show, she was on with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (promoting their second Trio record). I was in charge of the Green Room that day, being the only one under 50 who knew their music. I remember as I was introduced to Dolly and was walking her to the studio, she said in that thick-holler-drawl, "Darrrrlin', I looooove that big red hair. Are you Swedish?"

I thought she was just kind of dopey at the time, but having seen her whole show last night, I think she must have been joking at the Swedish comment.

That woman puts on a show. Vegas-style. She's not afraid to talk, and although she must have been telling those jokes for years, they seemed to flow well.

My biggest complaint about seeing live music has always been that the musicians forget about the entertainment factor. Unfortunately, it's still show business, so you can't forget the show element. I'm not saying you need a light show and a joke writer, but at least act like you're happy to be there.

And Dolly's been doing this for a million years, so it's natural that she's got her stage show and it's more of a Vaudeville than a concert. Sometimes jokes emerge naturally.

Peter and I developed a few jokes on the road that came about naturally. No planning or anything. They just sort of happened night-to-night and became part of the act. My favorite one is when he introduces a song and says, "I wrote this one for my wife," and I interrupt him angrily and shout, "You have a WIFE?!?!!" Then the audience laughs uncomfortable and we all start giggling. It's really funny, I swear.....

Anyway, I had a good time at the Dolly show. She sang most everything we wanted to hear ("Jolene" was the third song in!), and she made at least four jokes about her boobs. Her 12-piece band was great. She played the auto-harp without apology. And though the tickets were expensive, it was a lot cheaper than a flight to Vegas and a hotel.

I had a few other adventures this week ... more to tell later...

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blog for responsible folks 21 and up. (Re: Scotch!)

Category: Food and Restaurants
I love whisky. I don't love drunk. I hate drunk, actually. I just honestly love the taste, smell, and follow-through of a good whisky. (Or even the occasional whiskey, if you prefer.)

It started with my mom, she'll be sad to know. She drank Maker's and Diets. The smell of bourbon reminded me of home. She doesn't drink a lot of them, mind you. Actually, these days she seems to drink white wine instead.

I was not one of those teenagers who snuck alcohol on the weekends. I didn't even drink in college. I think one time some friends and I bought a bottle of Heaven Hill and drank two shots, wondering what all the fuss was about.

I do remember that my 21st birthday was the summer after I graduated from NYU. It was a Sunday, and the liquor stores were closed in Manhattan. This annoyed me because I am someone who enjoys exercising my personal freedoms. I needed to legally purchase some alcohol, and said alcohol needed to be Kentucky bourbon because I was spending my first birthday away from home.

I took the PATH train to New Jersey for the sole purpose of buying a bottle of bourbon, just because I could. I also remember the guy didn't card me, and I made a big stink about how it was my birthday and he really needed to card me. I also remember I bought Jim Beam because it was all I could afford. I took it back to the roof of the building I was living in that summer, and I drank two Beam and Cokes before I realized I didn't really like Jim Beam.

That became a life-long quest to find whisky I enjoyed. And it's all because I was homesick that summer, living in New York, unable to afford my new passion: Kentucky Bourbon. Sipping bourbon. Bourbon that tasted like home sweet home.

Since then, I've become quite the bourbon lover, as anyone who knows me can attest to. I've visited every major distillery in Kentucky multiple times, and I have my own strong preferences as to how I like to drink a particular bourbon.

You may know my song, "Whisky in the Faucet." Noticed the lack of "e" in the word "whisky." That is because I was referencing Maker's Mark, a bourbon that was created by Scottish descendants. And Scotch whisky has no "e." Look at a bottle of Scotch or Maker's if you don't believe me. (And please stop emailing me to tell me I spelled "whiskey" wrong in my album -- don't you know me enough by now to know that I am completely OCD when it comes to spelling and punctuation?)

Two years ago, I made a New Year's Resolution to really get into Scotch. It didn't go so well. I tried both kinds of Scotch -- Johnnie Walker Red and Johnnie Walker Black -- but just didn't really dig them. Even with soda water, the drinks were bland.

In the UK, I had trouble finding bourbon. Every place had Jack Daniels (not bourbon, as we all know), and about half of the places had Jim Beam. When asked about bourbons, the bartenders were less-than-excited.

It occurred to me then. that it must be similar to our interest in Scotch. If all they have is Jim Beam White, then how can they get really stoked about bourbon? And, likewise, if all we have is Johnnie Walker and Glenfidditch, then how can we get interested in single malts?

The fine folks at Bluesbunny.com were the first to really give me a Scotch primer.

It was great. I do this lovely press interview with one of their writers, who introduces me to his editor, and suddenly we're all trying various degrees of Scotch. The editor of the magazine was impressed, to say the least, with my whisky-tasting abilities. "That's a man's whisky! No woman I know can drink that," he said, as I downed my second Lagavulin.

Lagavulin and Laphroaig were by far my favorites. Apparently, I enjoy the smoky-peaty whiskies, generally from the Islay region -- "not beginner's whiskies, by any means," according to my cohorts. I got some sort of smug satisfaction, knowing that girls can drink boys' whisky and like it.

It took me a few years to accomplish that New Year's Resolution, but I really think I understand Scotch now. It's too bad I still can't get any of the good stuff at any of the bars I frequent. Yes, I'm a whisky-snob.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Actual blog about the UK. Not just a video.

Category: Travel and Places
Someone emailed me and said he was enjoying my Travelogue YouTube videos immensely, BUT ... it's almost like watching the movie version of your favorite book. Not exactly as you envisioned the main characters. Not disappointing; just different.

So for today, I'm reverting to pen and paper. Or rather, aching fingers and a bizarro British keyboard where the @ is where the " should be and I haven't yet found the proper emdash.

Peter is watching "Shaun of the Dead" right now, as any good zombie-phile would be doing in October in Scotland. I am tempted to join him, but I've got so much going I'm feeling mentally constipated. I need to siphon it to a blog, so that I'm not thinking so much.

We've been here just long enough that things don't seem so strange anymore. I honestly enjoy driving on the left side of the road. It doesn't terrify me when a double-decker bus approaches me on a narrow cobblestone street. I still have a little trouble remember which way to look when I cross the street as a pedestrian. I just look both ways about four times each and all's well.

I am, however, planning on going on total detox when I get home. Touring has always been hard on the stomach, especially as a vegetarian. At home, I rarely eat dairy, but that's been nearly impossible on this trip. I haven't had much cheese, but it's all the other crap that is just commonplace in British lifestyle.

Breakfast is a massive heap of toast, eggs, and various fried animal parts or potatoes. Lunch is more fried things. And even my veggie burger I was thrilled to find at a restaurant last week came to me deep fried. There's a place here in Edinburgh that will deep fry anything you bring to them. I managed to find a vegan place in Glasgow, where I had vegan haggis with neeps and tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes). The Baked Potato Shop (tagline: "The hottest tatties in town!") is a vegetarian delight, with all sorts of treats to top off a baked potato. But I don't want to live on tatties forever.

A venue in Wolverhampton cooked broccoli and carrots for us (our rider asked for a homecooked meal -- cool!), and I about cried as I devoured a heaping plate of vegetables.

But mostly -- and I admit, it is a weakness of mine -- it has been: chips. No, not potato chips, my friends. Those are called "crisps" over here. Chips are french fries. But not just any french fries. They are divine wedges of tatties, deep fried to golden perfection, with the perfect crunch on the outside and mash on the in. It is impossible to resist them.

The British serve EVERYTHING with chips. I ordered veggie chili at a pub, and it came to me not in a bowl, but upon a pile of chips. My friend Danny ordered chicken curry ... and it came over chips.

They are sooooooooo good.

Thank goodness for all the walking we've done. Between the Scotch expert I've become (My Glaswegian friends couldn't believe I was able to drink not one, but two, of the "not-for-beginners-or-women" Scotches. At least that's what I think they said. It was hard to tell through that Glaswegian accent...) and the chip expert I have always been, I'm surprised my pants still fit.

But when I get home: vegan detox. I'm tired of my fingers and joints aching from all the crap I've been eating. First orders of business upon return: a massage, a pedicure, and a trip to Whole Foods.

Tonight, however, I'm going to dinner at The Sheep Heid Inn, the oldest Pub in Edinburgh, dating back to at least 1360. Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson frequented the pub. Tonight they'll be able to add two more names to the little plaque outside the building: Brigid Kaelin and Peter Searcy.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scotland is magic.

Scotland is magic.
Category: Travel and Places
It's 3 am, and we've just driven back from our show in Glasgow to our flat in Edinburgh. No, we haven't moved in. It's a loaner-flat. Given to us by someone we only just met yesterday. The people here are completely amazing. It's enough to restore your faith in all of humanity. I mean, who just hands over the keys to a gorgeous Georgian building to a gaggle of musicians? A genuine person who knows that we're equally good people. We got home tonight, and he'd left a bottle of scotch on the table with a note that says: "Come on... it's not going to drink itself."

Scotland rules.

Highlights of the past few days include: vegan haggis, two baked potatoes: one amazing beyong all belief and the other merely pretty good, a wee Scottish boy who cried "that's my lassie!" until my heart swooned but he was really drunk so i didn't pursue it, a few Glaswegians who were supposedly speaking English to me, a train ride, a few more castles, a really terrific songwriter from Bath named Jane, a cello built in 1792 (not 1972), taxidermy from a hundred years ago, and my newfound love and knowledge of Scotch.

Goodnight!

More later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Travelogue: UK Tour -- Kenilworth Castle video

Current mood: accomplished
Category: Travel and Places

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7w3VB8t4Ho

I'm writing you from the lounge of the Hark 2 Towler, in Tottington. I'm told the ghosts haven't bothered anyone in a couple of years.

Today we sat in traffic on the M6 for over three hours. A stand still. The British never seem to be in quite the hurry to fix things that we are in America. Are we more advanced? or just more impatient? Perhaps we should just make tea and deal with the problems tomorrow.

Going to sleep now. Not feeling bloggy today. Enjoy our videos though. There should be 3 total. Do a YouTube search or subscribe to my YouTube channel on there if you can't find the others.

Cheers,

brigid

P.S. If you'd like to read Peter's blogs, check them out at http://blog.myspace.com/petersearcy. They are highly entertaining.

P.S.S. Peter's on the floor of the pub right now. Well, not exactly in the matter that you might be imagining. It's just that in England, pubs have rooms available for boarders such as ourselves, and we happen to be crashing in one of those rooms. And I've got hte couch, and Peter's got the floor. He's laughing because apparently I type a thousand words a minute (121 WPM, according to the test i just took because we were curious) and it "always sounds like you're getting so much accomplished over there" ... well, not really, just a lame blog.

Tee hee. Me and my crazy-fast fingers (really, it's just because I played those Bach inventions in piano lessons so many times) are going to sleep now.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Travelogue UK Tour (Prequel)

I'm going back in time a little, trying to re-create some of the glorious earlier blogs that were lost. If this confuses you, just think of it as a Faulkner-type-blog, where time isn't linear.

First class.
I used to be part of the "Poor People's Parade," but let me tell you how very little time it takes to become accustomed to the royal life. By the time Zone 2 boarded, we were already wearing our little comfy red socks on our kicked-back feet, sipping on champagne, and perusing our menus. As the proletariats squeezed by, we were debating what to have for our First Course: the Greek Salad with Cream of Asparagus soup? maybe Fresh Caesar with Crab Salad and Basil Tomato soup? Yes, please, another mimosa! Oh, excuse me, ma'am, those bathrooms aren't for economy class!

Peter drank Spanish red wine with his Steak and Shrimp. I had French wine with my Buttenut Squash Ravioli. Letting our attendant talk us into the Hot Fudge Pirouette Sundaes was possibly our best move on the plane. Having that nightcap was a close second, as we immediately recline our seats into beds, curled up with our pillows and comforters, and slept several solid hours, before a delicious hot breakfast was served.
***
Our first day in Manchester was less-than-average. Thankfully, Peter's superpower is his sense of navigation. He managed to find the venue under the high-stress-level of driving in a city on the left side of the road. Still, we both breathed a huge sigh of relief when we plugged in trusty "Jane," the British voice we use on TomTom, the GPS Navigational System. We listen to Jane at home. We put our trust in Jane. We rely on Jane, to an unhealthy point. Jane is indespensable. Especially here, on their mysterious roads, with their strange roundabouts (Look, kids! Parliament! Big Ben!)

****
Kirsty McGee and Mat Martin are phenomenal people and phenomenal musicians. Please make them your friends and listen to their beautiful music. It was serendipitous that we met them, and they have made our second and third days in Manchester well-above-average.

Peter, Kirsty, and I walked all over Manchester through the rain, popping into cafes for teas occasionally to avoid a downpour. A lovely way to see a city is to go from music store to music store. It took us through several different neighborhoods, where we met oodles of passionate people.

*****
Our first show was at a pirate-themed-pub in a village north of Manchester. The show at Hark 2 Towler was fun fun fun. We were up late late late, and we crashed in the rooms above the pub. The pubs close early here, around 11:30, but we locked the doors and played acoustically to the few people who remain, How brilliant are the English to have pubs offer rooms as well?

Peter took a long nap the next day.

And I can't sit still, as always, so I took the car out.

Wayne, our Aussie friend who showed up at our Tottington gig (how cool is that?), was also up for an adventure, so we decided to go to Wales. I mean, how often do you get to leave a not for someone after lunch that says: "Dear Peter, We have gone to Wales. See you at dinner. -heart- Brigid."

One of my best friends from childhood was born in Wales and I've always adored her parents' accents. I bought my trusty Volvo from her dad, and I've never taken off the Welsh vanity plate. So when the opportunity arose to go to Wales for an afternoon, I was rarin' to go.

England hadn't been the quaint beautiful countryside we were expecting, at least not in the area near Manchester. Honestly, it looks surprisingly like Kentucky as you're driving on the highway, except for the whole left-hand-side-of-the-road thing. But something magical happens as you see the sign: Welcome to Wales!

First of all, there is always a Welsh translation underneath, which reads something like this: "Llwyffglllenrrthhw i cchhhhhhhhw;lllf4h2" and is pronounced "CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCChhhhha!" I love languages, but Welsh baffles me.

The countryside changes dramatically as you drive from England to Wales. Suddenly, steep hills emerge and sheep freckle the landscape. A sunbeam shoots through the looming clouds bouncing rays of light off the stone cottages and ruined castles. It was really a magical place to ahve my first left-hand-driving experience.

We pulled into Llangollen (seriously pronounced "Clangoclan"), and I was immediately and unavoidably shouting things like, "Oooh! look! CUTE! Thatched cottage! Tea shop! Old cemetery! Boats on a canal! A 14th-century stone pub!" Just as I was sidetracked by a perfectly picturesque tea shop, it started to rain.

The tea shop could've been made for the Seven Dwarves, and it was the perfect backdrop for my first proper cream tea.

A whole other blog on cream tea sometime soon. This is getting long.


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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Travelogue: UK Tour

Category: Travel and Places
I know I promised to blog more. Believe it or not, I have written two splendid blogs, both of which have been lost to the evil PC laptop. I am a diehard macophile, so it is easy to blame this black shiny thing that constantly wants us to update Adobe acrobat or our Norton Anti-Virus software. I shouldn't knock it. It's doing its best. But it did destroy two of my blogs, so I remain mildly bitter.

We are in London now, staying with a friend of Peter's. Yesterday, we met her boyfriend, who when I introduced myself as "brigid," asked "brigid kaelin?" And right as he said that, I recognized him as a friend from 1st-grade. How absurd is that?

It reminds me of the time I went to Ireland, pulled into a parking space in the Dingle Harbor, and almost ran straight into my neighbor from the Highlands.

Is the world really that small or do I just know too many people?

We took two days to get from Manchester to London, although it's only a 3-4 hour drive. Peter had never seen a castle before, so we stopped at the dramatic red sandstone Kenilworth Castle, which was the cheapest castle to visit on our route. I've been to castles before. I love them. I love driving down the countryside, turning a curve, and suddenly seeing a 1000-year-old ruined castle. Kenilworth was in the middle of a quaint town, but equally impressive, especially when viewed from the main entrance.

Another historical obsession of mine is the Tudor regime. Elizabeth has always fascinated me -- her lovers, her rivals, her father, her religion, her pirates, etc -- so this castle was particularly interesting to me. It was her favorite place to visit, and she gave it as a gift to her favourite lover, Lord Robert Dudley. I think since dating is far too complicated, that I will instead choose to be married to my constituents/fans, and take on "favourites" as I see fit. And maybe someday I'll give one of them a castle, as Elizabeth gave Kenilworth to Dudley.

I love knowing that I'm walking on the same hills that these massive historical figures walked and looking at the horizon through the same castle windows. It is really a bone-chilling feeling.

Peter also showed off his joust-miming skills, and we engaged in a little mime-joust-match. He definitely knocked me off my horse, as I forgot my lance and instead tried to cut off his head with my imaginary sword. Oops. And yes, there is video, for a later date. We meandered around the castle so long that we almost got locked in. Seriously.

After Kenilworth, we hit Stratford-upon-Avon, at my request. It was already past 5:00 though, so Shakespeare's birthplace and gardens and Anne Hathaway's cottage (Shakespeare's wife, not the actress) were already closed. But it was still nice to pull up in the village (even though we parked in front of a Starbucks) and walk past the Tudor buildings that were marked "1485" in the woodwork and walk past the lot where Shakespeare lived. We had a pint at The Dirty Duck, and pirated the Starbucks wireless connection to Expedia a hotel to our south.

We woke up around 10:00, just in time for our 10:00 check-out, and thus confused the staff. It's funny how slow everyone around here does things -- except checkout time. They are serious about their checkout time.

We headed towards Stonehenge, being that I have always wanted to see Stonehenge. My friend Meredith used to subscribe to those Time-Life Reader series on Unknown Mysteries, and I always loved the one on Stonehenge.
Despite being only an hour away, we took another detour. This time, for two reasons. One, we were nearby Bath, a city I've been told to visit. Two, and probably more importantly, Peter and I were both hungry. We get on really well together, obviously, and are perfect traveling companions for many reasons. But when either one of us is hungry, we are irritable and unpleasant. In a pre-emptive strike, we stopped for breakfast in Bath.

Bath was absolutely beautiful, but certainly not the quintissential English town. It looks Roman, with it's white buildings curving up seven hills and shops running through the center of town. Most amazingly, the ancient Roman baths are still functioning, an amazing feat of 2,000-year-old engineering. After breakfast, we paid the 10.50-pound entry fee to see them, and it was worth the $20.

The audio tours over here are generally quite dull, but the Bill Bryson commentary on this one was particularly amusing. He doesn't really teach you anything, but he's funny.

Peter was the first to spy Stonehenge. It juts out of the countryside, just past a hill. Even though you know it's nearby, you're still never quite ready for the sight. It is amazing.

Ok, more about that later. Peter needs the computer, and we need to eat breakfast before anything dangerous happens.

Tonight, we play London. Tell your friends over here to come say hi at The Halo 317 Battersea Park Road,
Battersea,
London,
SW11 4LT


New video of our day in Manchester:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=778TSRwhxaI

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Video Blog One: Indie-Class meets First-Class

Category: Travel and Places

I wrote a fabulous blog, but the PC laptop we brought with us decided to eat it. That's what we get for leaving the macs at home. It's being nice now though, so I should really stop insulting it.

Enjoy Part One of our Video blogs.


Here's the link if it doesn't work ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTyvBE3R7fc

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quick Update

Quick Update

Oh, have I got some adventures for you!

But right now, a lovely English woman has just served me a brandy in her home. And it's warm. And she cooked a divine curry earlier. Two of the nicest folks I've ever met have welcomed us into their homes.

Their hospitality and warmth made me not even notice the sheets of Manchester rains. Well, not until my jeans were soaked, anyway.

Highlights:

-first-class to Europe is unbelievable.
-driving on the left side of the road is scary, but Peter's doing great
-what did we ever do before GPS systems?
-chips are better than fries
-umbrellas are for silly Americans, or people with straight hair
-more comments later...

Peter says hello. He has blisters on his feet, and he has broken his shoe. (Layla, you were right; he should have brought more than one pair.)

Longer blog promised soon. And some video. We've been having an absolute blast!

Check out Kirsty McGee's music below. She's a friend in Manchester.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Amish to Irish. Galas, Nashville, Namedropping.

Current mood: devious
Category: Parties and Nightlife
Still no power at my house. Day Eight of living the Amish life.

Actually, my week has been anything but Amish. I split town on Wednesday night, as I was long overdue for a trip to Nashville. I thought my love affair with that city was over, but it's really an out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing with me. As soon as I crossed the border, I felt electrified, and not just because Nashville happens to have power.

I went to a bunch of the shows for the Americana Music Conference and ran into about a million people I knew. Popped by the awards show at the Ryman on Thursday, where half the industry was there -- Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Joan Baez, just to name-drop a few.

Then I got antsy because I can't sit still these days, and grabbed a beer or three with an old friend around Lower Broadway. We went to this crazy private club where I'm sure there were lots of people whose names I should know, but I don't. I don't really care, either.

Come to think of it, I'm really really really bad about recognizing celebrities. When I lived in New York, I lived next door to Ricki Lake and saw her daily. It took six months before I realized who she was. I had a class with Christy Turlington and had no idea. Anyway, the point is that, it was one of those crazy Nashville clubs that would probably impress a reader of Country Weekly.

But it wasn't NEARLY as much fun as the Soiree Under the Spires at Churchill Downs on Friday, back in Louisville. Peter and I played a set during the sit-down dinner at the track. It was part of the Ryder Cup, and the party was just fantastic.

I learned that even really expensive champagne still gives you a killer hangover.

And yet again, Peter and I got our picture in the online photo gallery. I always feel funny when we're listed in the bold-faced-names/social scene section of the paper, even if it's just the online edition. I'm not exactly a Social Scene kind of Girl -- i never even had a bat-mitzvah, much less a debutante ball -- so having my photo taken at some fancy gala makes me think I'm hoodwinking someone. Tee hee. It's kind of fun.

I'd like to thank Kristi, my fabulous makeup artist for the night. And Layla, who let me borrow a dress and some electricity.

I also met several important folks in the Irish government, and I tried to talk them into giving me an Irish passport. They actually started the conversation with me, commenting on my red hair and freckles. They had no idea what they were starting by talking to me first ... I immediately told them my name was "Brigid. With a 'D,'" like you're supposed to spell it. This excited them more. I also happened to be sipping on a Jameson's, so I told them maybe they could bend that ancestry rule for me and give me a passport. No dice. But I got their cards, so maybe if I write them a novelty song about moving to Ireland ....

hmmmm...

Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lord of the Flies or Little House on the Prarie?

I love the Highlands.

On Sunday, when it was apparent we wouldn't have power for at least a week, several neighbors decided to have a singalong around a TikiTorch. Monday night, they played Scrabble by candlelight and told ghost stories when it was too dark to count triple-word points. I missed the party last night because I went out in search of vegetables and whiskey and chocolate.

Everyone has emptied their refrigerators. I'm thankful I don't eat meat. Of course, I lost all that vegan chili I made last week that was supposed to last me until Europe. I'm also noticing that these days it's just about as cost efficient to eat out every meal as it is to go to the grocery store, provided you're cooking for one. I think i might just completely give up on the grocery store, and grab bagels, falafels, and fruit as needed. I could probably survive on $5 a day. Maybe I'll sell my refrigerator and use that money to eat for several months.

It's very cute on my street. We all remembered that we already knew each others' names. For some reason, during reality of internet and cable and Nintendo, we conveniently forget that it is polite to ask about your neighbors' business. Now the question seems to be, "Where's the party tonight? Who's grilling out? Scrabble or Yahtzee?" That's what happens when you cant' drive anywhere because all the gas stations are inoperable, and you are stuck hanging out in your own neighborhood.

My roommate, who is from New York, is starting to worry that people are looting and turning primitive and crazy. But honestly, the Highlands is a lot more Little House on the Prairie than Lord of the Flies.

Here's my question: Does the rest of the country have any idea that Louisville was hit so hard? Or is just another example of Kentucky being completely off the radar?

I rather like being off the radar.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

All-powerful. Except of the electricity type.

My full band (aka Van Kaelin) played a rockin' show at the Highlands Festival on Saturday. It's my favorite festival of the year, and Peter Searcy, Steve Cooley, and Scott Lankford let me go through all my crazy antics, from saw-playing, to accordion/piano wielding, to yodeling Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song."

I forgot how much energy I expend during a show, especially when I play for a full hour in 90-degree weather in Louisville humidity. I was shaking after my show, but I downed several bottles of water. I had at least eight bottles of water between noon and 5.

Then I rocked out during Peter's set and immediately passed out in the back of my Volvo.

And do you know what I was most worried about? That I wasn't finished playing. I was supposed to play with Love Jones at 9:15, and I was sweating profusely, clammy, shaking, dizzy, nauseated, had a major headache, and couldn't muster the energy to talk. Several people thought I was really really drunk.

My drummer's amazing wife, Ashley, saved the day. She's a doctor. A REAL doctor. A surgeon, actually. And she ran to Walgreen's, got me all kinds of OTC amazing drugs, and fed them to me in the proper order. I puked after the Pepcid. But then, I was better. Weak, but better. It was awesome.

Love Jones was a few songs into their set, but I snuck onstage. I was weak, and Ashley continued to bring me club soda between songs. But there is NOTHING like playing music -- and especially playing fun, pop, jazz, swingin', happy happy happy tunes like Love Jones music -- to make you forget that you just threw up.

And after they finished, we broke down the set, and I bolted over to the Monkey Wrench to play an after-party jam session with Shannon Lawson and Love Jones.

I think it was the multiple Excedrin Migraines and the caffeine within that kept me going until 5 am. But I played my ass off, and I had a blast.

Thanks, Ashley.

****

And now ... I'm at Heine Brothers, which is apparently where everyone in the Highlands spends the end of the world.

It doesn't quite have that apocalyptic feeling up here because everyone is in a good mood.

For those of you not in Louisville:

Yesterday, I woke up, glanced at the clock, and saw it was 10:40. Then when I looked at the clock a few minutes later, the clock was off. No power.

I went outside and it looked like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz. I've never seen the trees bend like that, and the wind was singing like [insert fabulous simile. i'm too tired to come up with anything].

The plan was to head to the Monkey Wrench to retrieve my accordion, etc., but I ended up staying at the Wrench until 5ish. It never rained, but the wind was amazing.

Wow, I'm really not feeling bloggy today, so I'm going to cut this short.

Quick facts:

%75 of Louisville electric customers are out of power.
Seventy-five percent!
School's are closed.
A tree fell on a moving car, on my street. The person walked away with a scratch.
Everyone is out of batteries.
There was a line out the door of Heine Brothers Coffee.
People are freaking out because they can't charge their cell phones.
I brought two power strips to the coffee shop about an hour ago, and they are all filled up already.
Everyone is in a really good mood.
The electric company says it'll be two weeks before everyone's power is back on.
I'll be in Europe by then.
Crazy!

My dad is sitting next to me in Heine Brothers, waiting for me to post this blog. And probably waiting for me to unplug my laptop so he can plug in his cell phone.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done: Die Harder (The Sequel)

Things I’ve Never Done: Die Harder (The Sequel)
Current mood: animated
My week of things I've never done before was so popular that I've decided to see how many more adventures I can have. It wasn't a conscious effort this time. I just noticed that the past couple days, I've done some brand new things.

Also, I am in a constant state of anxiety lately, which is new for this well-adjusted overzealous redhead. I can't sit still. I've got a zillion things to do. I can't focus long enough to read a magazine article, much less a book. It's really really weird to me. I think it's because I'm really freaked out about the election. I can't wait to get over to Europe to hear what the rest of the world is thinking.

Anyway ... to distract me from existential angst, I am bringing back the feature: "Things i've Never Done Before."


Sunday, Sept. 7 2008

Played with an orangutan.

I met my cousin Shannon at the zoo to have lunch. She volunteers at the Islands exhibit. The Islands is one of my favorite parts of the zoo in the summertime because that's where they house the penguins. When it's 90 degrees, 100% humidity, and you've been walking around the zoo for an hour, the penguin exhibit is just about the best thing ever. Of course, usually the penguins are all facing the wall and staring at some unknown factor on the ceiling. I like to imagine they are doing Tai Chi, just verrrrry slowly.

Anyway, Shannon's colleague at the Island exhibit invited me backstage for a closer look at some of the animals. (I know it's not technically called "backstage," but I have always referred to behind-the-scenes tours as backstage, much like I refer to halftime as "intermission.") We saw tigers, Siaming babies, and several other bizarro animals, but the best part was going to the back of the Orangutan exhibit.

I had to wear a mask -- not for my safety, but for the orangutans'. Apparently, and sensibly, they can contract all kinds of airborne diseases from an icky human like me, and seeing as I haven't been vaccinated for strange new diseases, it was hospital mask time for me.

Amber, a sassy female, pointed at me, apparently curious about what was in my backpack. Tracy, the trainer, said she does this to all the ladies, and she coaxes many of them into emptying their entire purses. I shook my head at Amber and told her I wasn't showing her. So she went and found a stick for me and poked it through the gate. I went to take it, but Amber held tight. Then she took the stick back and smelled where I had grabbed it. Clever clever girl.

I could go on and on about them... but i've got some other days of new things!

Monday, September 8

My First Haircut AND My first National Radio Campaign

Don't get freaked out. It was only about 3 inches. But now it's even CURLIER, so it springs up and looks too short for my liking. But actually, it feels great, and I needed it desperately. Sean at Joseph's did a spectacular job. It helped that Stacy Stiletto brought me a Mimosa the second I arrived. My dad videotaped it, but it's honestly not all that exciting. It was nice to have someone else cut it though. Easier than doing the reacharound.

ALSO .. my record officially went for "Adds" on national Americana and AAA Radio today. And it got six right away, yay, literally from coast-to-coast ... many more stations to follow, I hope.

Tues, Sept 9

Frijoles Negros

Rob from the Muckrakers (one of my favorite fellow bloggers) emailed me a secret amazing recipe, and I've been cooking all afternoon. I've never actually had the patience to soak dried black beans properly. It was totally worth the wait.

*******

I hope you're all making plans to be at the Highlands Fest on Saturday!

12:00 Leigh Ann Yost /John Gage
2:00 Shannon Lawson (as in the Shannon who sings on my record)
3:00 The Ladybirds
4:00 BRIGID KAELIN BAND
5:00 Danny Flanigan and the Rain Chorus
6:00 Peter Searcy Band (me ..boards!)
7:30/8ish Tift Merritt
9:30-11 LOVE JONES (me ..boards!)

It's FREE. It's on the 900 Block of Baxter Avenue. It's going to be spectular. I hear that Kathy has an art booth there, so go buy some of her amaaaazing earrings.

Also, we are having an After-Party at the Monkey Wrench after the Highlands Fest. So many great Louisville musicians are going to be in town that we figured it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good night without jamming. It's going to be an all-star rockout, featuring Peter Searcy, Shannon Lawson, folks from Love Jones, me, our good friends, people rockin' out, etc. $5 cover, music around 11:30. Good times.

brigid

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

CATS Part 2.

Category: Pets and Animals
I love house-sitting. At NYU, when I had four roommates and no privacy, I relished the weekend because I was generally house/pet-sitting for some upper-middle class family.

Some weekends I lived on the Upper West Side, and walked sweet Chas, the Springer Spaniel, down Riverside Drive. I'd take the cash the families left me and eat brunch on Amsterdam Avenue before strolling over to Central Park West. Other weekends I would hibernate at 808 Broadway, just a block away from my dorm, but in a gorgeous pre-war building with high ceilings, the most amazing Egyptian cotton sheets, insane cable, and two sweet kitty cats whose names escape me.

I have a house now in a great part of town, and I thought my house-sitting days were over. That is, until I needed roommates. I love my roommates. There are no crazies here. They are each smart, motivated, creative women who rock. But I'm craving more and more alone time, and I spend hours in my cave of an unfinished basement because I can't get anything done with people around.

And so I have returned to house-sitting.

I love staying at the Searcy abode because they have a hot tub AND a drum kit. Plus, it's a fun area of town that I don't often frequent. I'm a Highlands snob at heart, so anywhere out of 40205-04 is like going to another country -- awesome to visit, but nice to leave behind.

A few weeks ago, another friend, who shall remain nameless, asked me to house-sit. I accepted.

What follows is an actual account of how I tried to let myself into her home and feed her cat.

Monday. 10:00 pm. Clifton area.

After a long night of rehearsal, I decide to skip Gerstle's Bluegrass Mondays and go straight to my apartment-for-the-week. I have been to said apartment on several occasions, and have scratched the kitty's ears. Only once previously did Roscoe the Kitty attack my ankles. It was funny, and it only hurt a little. Roscoe had been loving to me since that time, so I wasn't afraid.

I unlock and open the door quietly, tossing my purse on the sofa. Roscoe isn't to be seen. Suddenly, my toes and ankle are in searing pain, and I look down to find myself falling prey to what seems to be a miniature LION. This cat -- the cat that is the image of a sweet domestic traditional-looking housecat -- is DIGGING its freshly-trimmed claws and SINKING its teeth into my fair, freckled legs.

So I freak out. I'm sure I squealed or possibly even screamed. I shook my leg, trying to get the cat to detach, and he ROARS (seriously, he roared) while backing away a few feet. I scramble back towards the door when he attacks again, his paw reaching through the tiny crack in the door that I refuse to slam shut for fear of crushing the lion's toes. Were he not my super-good-friend's cat, and were I instead in a horror film involving domesticated house cats turning into fast-moving zombies (not like 1970's zombies, but like 28 Days Later rage-victim zombies), then I definitely would have slammed the door.

Obviously, I cannot stay here.

I call Peter.

"Kaelin, it's a ****ing cat. Get back in there and show the cat who is boss. No, I'm not going to come over there and help you. Goodnight."

Okay, he's right. Homo sapien versus Felis catus. I should totally win this boxing match.

I try the back door. Roscoe is not fooled, and he lunges toward my pant leg just as I close the door.

I'm about to get back to my car and leave when I remember that I have left my purse on the sofa!!!!

(Note: At this point, I need you, gentle reader, to imagine Elaine from Seinfeld as I walk you through my next movements.)
I search about the yard with my iPhone MyLite application and eventually find a stick. Slowly, I open the door. I am attacked immediately, but this time I have a weapon. I poke the kitty, simultaneously shouting gibberish that I'm hoping will translate into, "Get the hell away from me you insane beast! My Great Dane could step on you and you would be incapacitated, you Napoleonic twit!"

Roscoe pounces again, and I swear he was talking exorcist talk this time. I grabbed a Velocity that was on the coffee table and began crumpling it, waving it around madly until I could reach my purse. Then I threw the paper down and raced out the door.

Safely on the porch, I stared through the glass window that separated me from death. Roscoe was furious, and began beating against the pane madly. Seriously. I wish I had video-taped this cat, ferociously boxing, scowling, growling, glaring at me.

I felt safe outside, and I lowered my face to the glass to look at him. He went berserk. I got scared and ran away.

Monday. 10:35 pm. Gerstle's.

Bluegrass and bourbon calm me down, as I relay the story of the Killer Kat™ to Steve Cooley and the boys. They are not sympathetic. "It's a cat, Kaelin!"

So I went back to my basement in the Highlands and thought about how much I love my doggie.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On being a Grammar Snob.

Current mood: smart
My high school English teacher refused to grade a paper if it had any grammatical errors. He would simply hand it back to you if there was a single misplaced comma, typo, split infinitive, misused em-dash, or any other punctuation problems. He would not tell you where the mistake was; you had to find it yourself.

This may seem harsh to you, but I appreciated the value of a grammatically-perfect essay. It trained everyone in the class to love Strunk and White. It trained us to shudder at a misused "whom." We all became grammar snobs. After all, there must be order somewhere in this crazy world.

I've been writing bits and pieces here and there for Velocity Weekly, a mainstream Gannett-owned weekly newspaper, and I am irritated with them. For the past two pieces I've written, they have: EDITED OUT MY SEMICOLON!

I love a good semicolon, and, dammit, I know how to use one properly.

Does Velocity believe that its readers are not intelligent enough to understand the subtleties a semicolon can convey? Does the copy reader not believe that I used it correctly? Do they not care that it changed the meaning behind my sentence?

What i wrote: Sometimes the song works as a
nice, sweet goodbye; sometimes it's a nice, sweet
middle finger. Either way, it's always about keeping
perspective.

What was published: Sometimes the song works as a
nice, sweet goodbye, but sometimes it's a nice, sweet
middle finger. Either way, it's always about keeping
perspective.

The difference is subtle, but, to me, it's vast.

When I expressed my annoyance at being edited, a friend sent me an essay about the semicolon. The article suggests that the semicolon is "girlie," and that America doesn't use it anymore because of its nuances and complexities. Whatever.

Also, a few weeks ago, when I wrote a review of Nas's new record, the copy editor changed a possessive apostrophe. The type read: "Nas' record" instead of "Nas's record." I know you're going to fight me on this one. The rule, for the record, is that when it's an ancient name ending in "s", such as Jesus or Aquinas, you just add an apostrophe to create the possessive, as in Jesus' or Aquinas' With a modern name, such as Nas, you add the apostrophe-plus-s. The verdict is still out on what to do with Elvis. I vote for Elvis' because he's just that important.

Yes, I understand that grammar is constantly evolving and the rules are malleable. But just because the word "irregardless" is in the dictionary now doesn't mean that we should use it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neato videos. Health Care. Princesses.

Current mood: angry
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
What I really miss this time of year is a good syllabus. Does anyone have one out there? I'm looking for a specially-designed course that includes British History. It should be the cool stuff like Kings and Queens and beheadings and Holy Grails, not boring stuff like Industrial Revolution or the Family Tree of Hemophilia Carrier Queen Victoria. (Did anyone else out there have to do genetic trees of the royal family in high school biology class?)

I've been "reading" a lot of books lately. "Reading" because they are all audiobooks. I can't seem to sit still long enough to read a chapter, which is weird to me because I'm used to salling through a novel a week. Instead, I go on walks to the grocery store with my earbuds in.

I'm sure I probably snubbed you in the Highlands at some point this week. Please know it's because I'm completely engrossed in a book about Queen Elizabeth and her Rival, Mary Queen of Scots. I didn't see you by the avocados because I was worried about Mary's neck and Elizabeth's throne.

I'm also infuriated with my health insurance, as probably most of you are. My annual exam is, apparently, "not covered," nor are the random lab tests they do in a standard checkup. If I get one more bill from a doctor I've never met, I'm going to scream.

So how am I going to cope with this? My new goal is to somehow get an EU passport.

Do i have to marry someone to make that happen? How far back does your ancestry have to go to apply for a passport from some other country? I've got great-grandparents from Ireland, Russia/Poland, maybe Switzerland, as far as I know. Can anyone work on this for me? I'm ready to move to Sweden, just so I can go to the chiropractor.

Is Prince William still engaged? Maybe i can snag him while I'm over there.

Although, I think read somewhere that he has to marry a Protestant, and I am a half-jew/half-Catholic with no Protestant blood in me. Maybe when we meet and he wants to marry me (so I can get my back adjusted AND carry at sceptre), he can just start his own religion -- the Church of England V2.0™.

I hope that doesn't lead to my getting beheaded. But even if I do, at least I'll be able to hold my neck high on the execution block because I will have good posture from all those free chiropractor visits.


*****




Fun videos from Phoenix Hill on August 21 ... me with Seven Mary Three and an accordion (maybe that's why my back hurts!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fall is the real New Year. New things. 7M3. Radio.

Current mood: adored
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
It smells like fall here in Louisville. Oddly, it's smelled that way for several weeks now. I do love fall, but I feel mildly cheated out of the disgustingly hot summer. My tomatoes are not happy, but my zinnias are out of control.

Even though I've been out of school for almost ten years, I still run on the academic calendar. September always feels like the start of a new year. Maybe the Jews have it right, celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the fall. Fall is a much better time to take stock and start new projects. It's just too cold and depressing to do that in January. Who has motivation for anything when both the temperature and your bank accounts are in the negative? September, with it's perfect weather, fresh smells, garlic and gourds at the farmers' markets, is the time to begin anew.

I am SO excited about the Europe tour. I'm actually considering staying on an extra week, hopping over to the continent after the 19 days in England/Scotland. So, my friends in Amsterdam, Germany, Belgium, and beyond, let's put on some shows. A private house concert? I'm yours!

Other interesting notes:

My new record, West 28th Street is officially going to national radio on September 8, with an official "Add Date." Listen to your local college, independent, or public radio station -- whichever station plays my type of music (in Louisville, it's WFPK), the AdultAlbumAlternative AAA/Americana format -- and consider requesting my music. (Dad, not you! No family member requests, please.)
The AAA single is "Something Bad," and the Americana single is "One More Last Kiss," the duet with Shannon Lawson.
If you hear it on your station, please let me know! I still get giddy when I hear news like that.

****

Last night was a fun show with Peter Searcy and Jim Bianco at the Monkey Wrench. Jim brought along a friend, Garrison Starr, who rocks. That was a total surprise. She and I played a show together at Phoenix Hill about three years ago, my FIRST CD release party. I love how small the music industry is.

I played my Chanukah yodeling dreidel song, and a very nice man came up to me afterwards to talk about that song. He said that his wife told him I had written it, but that he knew better. "It's an old folk song," he said. I told him that, no, I had actually written it, but thatnks for the compliments, but I'm not sure that he believed me. He kept saying it was an old folk song.
Weird! I guess it's some bizarre sort of compliment.

***

The boys from Seven Mary Three all returned to Louisville for a great show at Phoenix Hill on Thursday. I sat in on accordion for a couple of songs with them. I love their spirit and vibe and energy and all that weird hippie-stuff that is hard to name without sounding weird. They're just generally good people -- all of them, even that wacky tour manager -- and I love to see a group of smart, beautiful, talented people, doing what they love. It makes me remember why I do what I do. Good music with good people, like I always say.

****

New things I've done lately:
-Held a baby alligator!
-Eaten my first cheese grits!
-Done a radio interview in the UK!
-Spent $427.50 in postage at the post office mailing CD's to radio (buy my record so i can break even!!)
-Learned how to yodel Swiss style, not just Western Yodel
-Gotten attacked by a housecat. Seriously, a HOUSECAT! (separate blog to follow)
-Played Mendelssohn's "Theme from a Midsummer Night's dream," on the accordion at a wedding.

****
Off to yodel, cheers!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I’ve Got the Beat.

Current mood: chill
I had no idea I had so many loyal readers. Thanks for the messages asking me to blog again. I've been introspective the last couple of weeks, which you'd think would make me blog more. But every time I sat down to write something, I kept thinking of all the things on my huge To-Do-For-Europe list.

I took a mental vacation the past few days, as I've been housesitting for a friend. A very good friend. One who trusts me with his hot tub AND his drum kit.

It's weird, but after leaving this last band (dotn) gig, I feel like I got out of a bad relationship -- one that I had no idea was bad while I was in it. The kind that leaves you emotionally drained and thinking about everything. You know, the kind where your friend surprises you on some bad TV Talk show, telling you how you need to extricate yourself from the situation immediately. And, of course, I'm compassionate and still worry and think about them all, far too often.

The FABULOUS thing about being all grown-up is that I am at an age where I understand that compassion can only go so far. It's nice to sit back and relax from afar, and know that there's nothing I can or should or even want to do. "Don't think twice, it's all right." Yay, for perspective!

Anyway, I'm always doing adventurous and exciting things because nothing else satisfies me. And this week: THE DRUMS!!!!!

There's a piano at Air Devils Inn because I can't play the drums. It's a long story, but it has to do with my dad working there when I was a kid. I would visit him and I always insisted on playing the drum kit of whatever band left them there the night before. Not having any idea how to play the drums, I wasn't exactly making mellifluous tones. So the owner brought in a piano, which I played all the time, and which is still up at Air Devils. I don't think it's been tuned since 1991, but I like to think of it as my piano.

I've also been convinced since then that I can't play the drums.

Thanks to the mild encouragement of the next-door neighbor (who may now be regretting his compliments, seeing as I have drummed daily all weekend long), I taught myself some KILLER beats this week.

Back in June, Paul Culligan graciously instructed me in the ways of the kick-on-one and snare-on-three ... but this weekend, I took it to levels above and beyond. I spent the last 30 minutes with The Beatles on my iPod, playing along with my earbuds cranked. I'm not sure I've got the silly-drummer-face down yet, but, hey, I'm a novice.

I can't wait until the next time we have one of those free-for-all music nights, where we trade instruments. I'm gonna freak them all out and take over the beat.

Okay, so I'm not really that great at all, but MAN is it fun!!!

What's with me lately? Shooting guns? Playing drums? It's like I've got internal anger to express or something. Hee hee. No, really, folks, I'm fine and dandy.

Now ... off to the hot tub.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 7: The Guy with 3 Names

Category: Music
I went out to a big ol' piece of land in J-Town on Saturday evening to see a concert: Bonnie Prince Billy, or Will Oldham, as you may know him.

I first heard of him while I was at NYU, when my good friend Danny bought me a Palace Brothers CD. I loved that record, but mostly because I was homesick. It was good to know someone from Louisville was known outside of Louisville. And as far as the songwriting, I didn't really understand why I loved it so much; i couldn't tell you what any of the songs were about. It was like early My Morning Jacket stuff -- you can't really understand what he's singing, but it doesn't matter because the overall vibe of the record is cool.

But I never really embraced Will Oldham like so many hipsters did. It just wasn't really my thing, and I think there are so many talented singer-songwriters from here, that his fame confused me.

His concert in J-Town was great. I especially loved hearing Danny Kiely rock out on the upright bass, and the beautiful Cheyenne fiddle away and sing sing sing.

It was a lovely evening ... perfect summer night, no rowdy drunks, early show that started on time, and the music was surprisingly beautiful.

SO much better than CATS!

******

Funny, my week of things-i've-never-done officially ended last night, but I somehow managed to do several new things today. I played at Forecastle. I wrote a song about the Kennedys while Robert F. Kennedy was speaking. I think technically, he opened for me, seeing as I started singing immediately after he finished. I also met a bunch of new people, and sprayed strangers with sunscreen. I'm a big believer in sunscreen. I wonder how many days in a row I can do new things? See folks, this is why my birthday doesn't bother me. To quote Cancer Boy from Kids in the Hall: "Every day's a gift!"

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 5: Annie Get Your Gun

"Kaelin, don't embarass me!"

That's what Peter (Searcy, of course) said as we were about to walk into the gun shop at the Knob Creek Firing Range. I got completely sick to my stomach as we walked in, but I managed to keep my Liberal comments to myself. I did think that pink gun was kind of cute. And when we were picking out a target, I thought the cartoon "bad guy" was funny.

I really don't want to get into any sort of Second Amendment debate here, but wow, was it really really scary. Also, our trip required a long drive down Dixie Highway, which was also scary in its own way. I don't know that I've ever driven down Dixie Highway before, so mark this up to two new experiences.

Before Tuesday, I had never even touched a gun before, or even seen one up close that wasn't on a policeman on the New York subway.

But in the spirit of trying new things, I agreed when Peter suggested we go to Knob Creek.

It amazes me that I could just show up, sign in, (no ID required), and start shooting. The guys next to me were shooting assault rifles. Someone had a machine gun. A nice couple was firing off those kinds of guns that you strap on your shoulder and hold near your waist. (I don't know my gun lingo.)

But the weapon that Peter guided me through was some sort of handgun, or pistol (is that the same thing?) -- called a Makarov, apparently the standard issue gun for the KGB. Historically, I found that cool. In the moment, I found it terrifying.

When I was standing there, pointing the gun out into the open field, I honestly wasn't sure that I was going to pull the trigger. The only thing I can compare it too is standing on the edge of the high diving board and preparing yourself for the jump. You're not quite sure what to expect, but once you do it, there's no turning back. I hesitated, while Searcy cheered me on, and the guy next to me fired off the loudest noisemaker of a gun I have ever heard.

I pulled the trigger. And the recoil wasn't as bad as expected, but i was gripping fiercely out of nervousness. I wasn't expecting the shells (is that right?) to come exploding off to my right. I couldn't even think about aim because I was getting over my fear and expectations. Apparently, I did hit the cartoon bad guy in the nuts, though not on purpose.

After maybe three rounds of me getting used to the idea that I was shooting a KGB gun, I decided to actually try to aim at something. We had set up two bowling pins, a water bottle, and a Welch's Grape Juice bottle, next to our cartoon bad guy target.

Searcy said, "Kaelin, take out that Welch's grape juice." Now, he had successfully destroyed two bowling pins, so I thought I'd try my aim. I hate Welch's grape juice anyway, so I didn't feel guilty aiming that Makarov. And I took one look at its evil purple label, and beady little twist cap, aimed, and blew that motherfucker away. (Pardon my language -- it's the power of the gun!)

Then, feeling cocky (ha ha ha! pun pun pun!), I turned my anger towards a bowling pin, called my shot, aimed, and took it down in one blow. And for my final shot, I nailed the cartoon bad guy in the head.

Little Annie Oakley would've been proud, so I started singing, "There's NO business like SHOW business like NO business I KNOW!! Everything about it is appealing! Everything that traffic will allow!!"

This obviously prompted another, "Kaelin, don't embarass me," so I quieted down and smiled at the nice Eastern European men with the assault rifles. They didn't smile back.

But Peter gave me a huge compliment and said, "'Looks like you might not be totally useless in the Zombie War after all, Kaelin."

He took out the bad guy some more, then when he noticed we only had two bullets left, he turned and said, "Welch's Grape Juice is the zombie. We have two bullets. You kill him, or we die. Got it, soldier?"

I took aim and fired. Low. The dust on the ground in front of Evil Welch-Zombie exploded, but the Juice didn't budge.

"If you don't kill him, we die," Searcy implored.

Last shot. I raised the gun slowly, breathed deeply (well, really i just inhaled because i think i had held my breath during every round), and pulled the trigger one ... last ... time.

And we apparently died because I missed. Although, really, I hit the ground RIGHT next to the bottle. If it had been an actually six-foot-zombie, from 50-yards-away, i would have TOTALLY blown his brains out.

I still hate guns. But it turns out, I'm a pretty good shot.

Stay tuned for the YouTube footage.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 5: SWORDS!!!

Current mood: pirate
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
Yesterday was a long day of milling about town, in and out of various meetings.

I had intended on going swimming at Lakeside, but was sidetracked by Ben wanted to go out to lunch. I can always be swayed by lunch. After City Cafe, we wandered into some stores along Bardstown Road. I pass these stores I pass everyday, but there are many that I have never actually entered.

And one of these stores held ... swords! Charlie the bass player (Roostarrrrrrs!) got a variety of them out from behind the locked glass, and instructed me in the ways of the ninjas, princes, and pirates who had come before me. Then there was a bizarro World War One trench knife that doubled as brass knuckles.

I don't understand why there must be so many weapons nowadays. Collectors, I presume. I mean, really, who needs a sword? Or a gun, for that matter.

But guns are another story ... i'll save that for tomorrow's blog.

I've got a birthday to go announce to the world!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 4: Ethiopian & Bad TV

Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
Yesterday's adventures were not that adventurous, but it reminded me of something. Even without trying, I seem to find something new everyday. I wonder if I could do this for a whole year. There's a lot of pressure on me with all y'all reading (thanks for the messages and comments), but when I stop thinking about it, something new falls in my lap.

I had a business meeting at Air Devils Inn. I don't think I've ever done that before.

Then my mom and I went to the charming Ethiopian restaurant next door to ADI, Queen of Sheba. Now, I have had Ethiopian food many times before -- it was a favorite when I lived in NYC. But I've never tried to take my family there, no had I been to this particular restaurant. Ethiopian (aka "eat-splar-with-your-fingers-food") is certainly family-food, but it's not for those whose favorite meal is spaghetti.

I should say that my mom was much more well-behaved than anticipated. She asked, "Where's the silverware?" when the food arrived. And she only protested once when I told her she wasn't getting any. The she persevered, tore off a piece of Injera bread and scooped up a bunch of red and yellow splar and ate it. Delicious! And so close to my house.

I had every intention of hitting the town last night, and I stopped by Jen and Charles's house on my way to par-tay. But they have the most comfortable couch.

And Jen gave me a hand massage. (My hands have been aching for days)

And then ... reality TV came on ... I saw my first ever episode of "So you Think You Can Dance," which, I must admit, was terribly entertaining.

So Ethiopian, Hand Massage, So You Think You Can Dance... tame yesterday, but Friday's going to be huge. It's already planned.

I wonder what today holds for me. Suggestions welcome. I've done everything touristy in this town, and I already own a unicycle.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 3: Amaro & Rhodes

All day long I thought I hadn't done anything new, when it turned out that I did something new at 5:00 am.

I was out late -- imagine that -- and went over to see a friend's recording studio. He played me a track off a record he's producing, and I just started playing along on the cool Rhodes. And of course, he was surreptitiously recording the whole thing. So anyway, I did a free session at 5:00am for someone I don't know. I hope whoever it is spells my name right on the liner notes. It was a cool studio though, and new to me.

All that before I even went to sleep.

Then last night, I had a drink of an Italian liqueur called amaro -- brand was Fernet-Branca, which Stacy referred to as "that weird Ferret juice you brought over." It's an herbal tincture, and it tastes like a weird tea/cough syrup sort of mix. It's effect was immediate and mellow, and surprising for only one drink. Really, it was kind of gross, even when Miss Stiletto mixed it with Kahlua.

But it was better than CATS!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 2: Ollie-Fries!

Yesterday's "Thing I've Never Done Before," wasn't nearly as traumatic as CATS! (I think, from now on, I'll start comparing everything to CATS, much like I used to blame everything on El Nino).

A few weekends ago, a Louisville ex-pat was in town visiting. We were darting around town, hitting a few hotspots, when he had an insatiable craving for an Ollieburger. I announced that I had never been to Ollie's Trolley, the charming tiny boxcar that sits on the corner of 3rd and Kentucky in Old Louisville. "Ollie-fries will change your life." We went there immediately, but alas! it was after 4:30 and they had closed.

So for the past couple of weeks, I've wanted to try these Ollie-fries.

I picked my dad up around 1:00 and we headed downtown. It's tiny, so we had to wait outside for the two people to exit the establishment. My dad got a dressed Ollieburger, and I got Ollie-fries. They were deliciously seasoned and tasted especially yummy when dipped in the Ollie-sauce.

Really, I think what I love most of all is that everything comes with the "Ollie" prefix. It's like "smurfy." I'm going to start applying "Ollie" to everything. I had an Ollie-day!

Thumbs up for Ollie-fries and their special seasoning.


Come to think of it, I did several things I've never done before yesterday:

- I ordered a Caramella from Heine Brothers. I've never had one before. It tasted a lot like a latte, except there was caramel on top of the whipped cream.
- I held a gun. It was a tiny little thing, like something I would strap to my wrist if I were a honky tonk pianist in an old Western bar, and it scared the crap out of me.
- I called someone I've never hung out with before.
- I was supposed to meet five people at Gerstle's last night, and didn't make it because of unforeseen bourbons. Sorry, Mom and Dad and new roommate and Dennie and Peter. At least I knew better than to drive. I guess this one doesn't really count as a good "Thing I've Never Done."

I have no idea what I'm going to do today. So far, it's been rather dull. I was out 'til 5am, so I slept until 11:00. I didn't my morning business finished. I ate breakfast at Twig & Leaf by myself, while blogging, then popped over to Heine Brothers because Twig & Leaf is kind of scary these days.

And I got an Iced Soy Latte, like I do on occasion. I've got to teach at 2:00, so I suppose today's new activity will be done tonight.

Curious!

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