Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tweets from the Past Week

I've been tweeting more than blogging lately. A 140-character limit provides an excuse not to elaborate or edit. Some would say that's unfortunate, and mostly, I agree with them. But when I haven't had the time to return phone calls and emails (I swear I still love you all), I definitely haven't had time to compose a thoughtful blog.

And so, blog-readers, today I'm merely reproducing my Tweets from the past week. If you would prefer to read them in real-time, my alias on Twitter is simply @BrigidKaelin, so follow me there if you like. If you have no interest in Twitter as a new time-wasting activity, then I hope, at least, the following deep thoughts and observations will entertain you. Consider them each a potential blog that I condensed into 140 characters or less.

Tweets from the past week:

*Just entered KY via Ashland, which looks a lot like Mordor.

*I think it's time for a grownup car, where things like, say, heat or 4th great, actually work.

*MaƱana is easier to type than tinierow.

*Why can't they put those heated stripes on ALL of the car windows?

*Always. RT @dancanon This gig would be so much better with a chocolate fountain.

*Playing keyboards and an iPad with Peter Searcy tonight at Gerstles. And iPa is lighter than a Hammond B3.

*Hey Bands, please start on time. I'm tired and aging and missing my pajamas.

*My iPhone has a better B3 sound than my fancy keyboard. So I am playing my iPhone tonight. I have wee fingers.

*Just bc your car has antlers & a nose doesn't mean you're excused from driving etiquette.

*The worst thing about "shuffle" is when "Heartbreaker" is not immediately followed by "Livin' Lovin' Maid."

*What kind of sick joke is this? Someone left "Eagles Live" in my turntable!

*Been trying to shop local all morning, but apparently local gift shop owners like to sleep in.

* The Starbucks line took twice as much time as the TSA line. Happy travels!

*Delta says you can't sit in an emergency row is you are likely to get distrac--- ooooh Sky Mall!!

*The entire Memphis airport smells like bacon.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On losing things.

Where have I been? I've been doing my best not to fall down any stairs or lose my favorite purple hat that I bought in Paris. I've lost it (and found it) about fifteen times in the past week.

When I was a little girl, I lost my mittens all the time. I think my mom came to accept it after a while. Now it's me who just accepts it as a part of life. I'm extremely organized when it comes to my taxes and business receipts, but my personal stuff is a mess. But I know that the gnomes in my house and my car will hide a mitten or a hat or my keys or my phone at least once a day. It's more fun when you treat it like hide and seek rather than a panic attack. (I must try to remember that more often.)

Anyway ... how's everyone else doing? Anyone find that perfect gift? I haven't. I'm making something for FWT, and it's clear that I'm neither Martha Stewart nor Tom Silva. But, on the bright side, I've only cried once during the crafting, so that's gotta be a good sign. Also, I've only fallen down once this week, while climbing over a makeshift fence at Jen's house in the dark. And, best of all, I've still got my purple hat. For now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why I Do Not Like the Liberty Bell


I'm a sucker for an historical marker, so obviously I liked Philadelphia. The sidewalks are dotted with interesting facts and things of yore. Even seeing the Liberty Bell in its glass house from the sidewalk outside was pretty exciting. We were all even more excited because it was free (hence the literal Latin "liberte," I suppose) to go in and see it. My excitement did not last very long, however, and I was over the Liberty Bell in about two minutes.

Now I admit that I always got annoyed in high school whenever Mrs. Nuff-in-her-navy-sweater-vest would ask me for a hall pass when I was clearly going to the library to return my arm-full of books. I also still get annoyed when the TSA forces me to take my accordion out of its case as they poke and prod at it. But I know that airport security is a little different than high school, and I never throw a fit while being felt up by TSA officials (though I don't like it when they make me play my accordion without at least tipping). I understand security and danger and whatever, even if it's bothersome.

But at the Liberty Bell, it just made no sense. There wasn't a metal detector at all, but there were more security guards than at an airport checkpoint. They made us lift up our coats, so they could "see [our] waistlines," which was dumb because I had on leggings and a sweater that covered my waistline. I had to spin around twice. They checked everyone's purse, but I didn't have one. My coat pockets, however, had all kinds of stuff in them. Nothing dangerous -- unless you count a few stale road snacks -- but I could have had anything in there. Don't try to tell me it's about safety and actual security when you don't have a metal detector or actually check my pockets.

It was very irritating to be put through that nonsense and be stared at by menacing guards while walking through the museum section of the atrium. Even so, I only pouted pouted slightly (at first) about the irony of the Liberty Bell making me feel like I was in a prison. Then some silly guard came over and told @DanCanon kindly (and I admit he was very polite), "Sir, please remove your gum and throw it in that bin over there." Seriously?

That's when I decided that I don't like the Liberty Bell. I didn't even want to go look at that stupid cracked broken symbol.

My compadres-in-tourism were not nearly as offended as I was, and I understand wanting security around this protected symbol. But the security they had there was just plain stupid. I could have had a can of spray paint in my coat pocket or any number of other things (yes, I know I'm surely on some government list now), so what is the point of paying twenty guards to harass gum-chewing tourists?

By the time we got to the actual bell, I was no longer impressed. FWT wanted our picture in front of it, but I refused to smile. The Ballerina took our photo and laughed at me for pouting, and my facade of anger cracked slightly. The whole scene was just plain funny.

Still, I am going to have to look for a new symbol for American Freedom because that bell just doesn't make me feel like a Lee Greenwood song. It makes me feel rebellious, which I suppose could be an American trait. (It could also just be a redhead trait.) Maybe something more modern, like my car. Although my car is cracked too, so maybe that's not a good example.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rules of the Road™, Part One

This weekend tour wasn't as long as my Euro-adventures are, but it was jam-packed with fun. I had a bit of difficulty balancing work with vacation. On the road, I've gotten really good at remembering that I'm at work, and I can't afford to visit every museum and every castle. The profit margin is so slim (if at all) that, as my friend and fellow musician Adam Brodsky noted, "Killing an afternoon at a movie can consume your entire profit." Touring just doesn't pay well, folks.

At the same time, we were traveling with FWT and a friend heretofore known as The Ballerina, and who wants to force everyone else to eat stale baguettes when you're in a cool ski village or a major city filled with terrific restaurants? I tried to give in to vacation-mentality before we even left Louisville, which I admit was difficult for me, but I did have a really fun weekend road trip. I'm glad we had the company, and it's sometimes fun (though I know not very business-like) to think of these tours as a really cheap vacation rather than a really expensive business trip.

We still slept on air mattresses and ate fast food while driving a total of 27 hours of the weekend, so it wasn't exactly glamorous. But we consumed delicious microbrewery stout, ate three different types of Philadelphia Veggie Cheesesteaks, had challah french toast, breakfast burritos, and drank wassail in an 18th century Tavern. It was perfectly delightful, and I'm glad we indulged.

You know I'm not exactly the type to skip a meal. Sure, sometimes it's just stale baguettes and a wheel of brie, but I always eat. Also -- and this is maybe my most important Rule of the Road™ -- it's important on the road to eat at regular intervals. You DO NOT want to accidentally stumble upon that moment when everyone in the car is suddenly ravenous. It's not pleasant. I think that only happened once this trip, and it wasn't nearly as disastrous as it could have been. I thank the Ballerina for keeping us giggling during that adventure, and I thank @DanCanon for placing the phone call the carry-out. (I get anxiety attacks from doing things like ordering pizza on the phone.)

Anyway, I've got a few stories to share from the weekend, but this blog is long enough for today. This week on Rules of the Road™: "Never Take Advice Anyone Whose Beard is Over 4 Inches," "Always Meet Up With Old Friends," "West Virginia Can Be Awesome," and "Why I Hate the Liberty Bell Now."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm not graceful. Also, I'm playing WV and PA.

I fell down the stairs this morning. Not like a Scarlett O'Hara somersault tumble, but a slip-on-your-robe and pretend you're on a bumpy sliding board. It was not graceful. And yes, that's the second time I've fallen down stairs this year. I should also note that they were two separate staircases, so likely I am the problem, not the architecture. I wasn't texting, drinking, or really doing anything at all. I'm just clumsy.

I'm okay though. Nothing broken, but some gorgeous bruises developing. I had about 20 minutes of vertigo-induced nausea, and the room spun while my ears rang for several minutes. But I didn't bump my head or anything, and I have plenty of padding on my booty to protect me. I'm wondering if my elbow infection from a couple of years ago will return because I bumped that same elbow at least once-per-stop, and right on my funny bone. I've also got some good-looking carpet burns on the wrist that tried to stop my fall.

You should all be very proud.

In other news, I'm hitting the road tomorrow, bruises and all. Do you have friends or family in West Virginia? Please tell them to come to my show tomorrow. I don't think I know a single person there, and I've got that holy-crap-is-anyone-going-to-be-at-my-show awful feeling (could still be the Vertigo).
Friday, Dec 10: The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia. 8:00. $7
Saturday, Dec 11: Xtreme Folk Series House Concert in Jenkintown, PA (outside Philadelphia) 8:00. $10. Email xfsrsvp@xfsmusic.org for directions.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A theory on S.A.D.

Most everyone gets sad because of S.A.D. in the winter, me included. I was thinking yesterday about how I tend to get overly happy in the summertime, perhaps to overcompensate for my winter depression. Scientists say that it's the lack-of-light that makes us feel sad, so I guess the long days make me skip down the street with an ice cream cone.

Ergo, what if, magically, the days were shorter in the summer, but July and August were still super-hot? And what if the sun didn't go down until 10:00 during the winter, but it was still 12 degrees outside? Would we all just be average, well-tempered, people? No dramatic mood swings or twelve-hour naps? Seems like a decent compromise. This whole freezing-cold AND dark-at-five-o-clock thing is just plain mean.

Deep thoughts, folks. Deep thoughts. I think it's nap-time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mid-winter reading has come early this season.

Winter. Blegh. Some of you claim to like this cold weather, but I think it's just because you have cute winter boots and coats and other accessories that you can't wear in July. My favorite winter accessory is a good novel. Around mid-January, I always get a hankering to re-read Wuthering Heights. If you're going to be freezing cold while sitting in your own living room, then you might as well imagine that you're out on the moors with Heathcliff and Catherine. At least that's got some tint of romanticism, however depressing it may be.

Mid-January has apparently come early this year, as I've already dealt with both frozen pipes AND the lack of a cute winter coat. This weather made me go to my GoodReads page and realize that I haven't read nearly the amount of books that I'd meant to this year. I was on a roll, up until my first European tour. That halted me for a month, as I just didn't have time to read. Then I'm not sure what happened. As far as I can tell, August was just a few weeks ago.

I've read 27 books this year, most of which were novels. My goal was 75. To put that in perspective, George W. Bush read 95 books in 2006 -- while he was the President. Granted, I've never seen a list published, so who knows just what kind of books he was reading. But still, if he had time, you'd think I could find time.

Maybe it's a good thing that mid-winter depression has set in early this season. I've got a lot of catching up to do.

What's your favorite winter-reading list?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Playing music with friends tonight!

Music! Tonight I am going to play music! I have decided to stop filing receipts and make today all about songs. It's either art or it's business, left brain or right brain, and today I'm siding with good rather than evil.

Tonight at the Vernon Club should be a really fun evening. I just found out that my ol' pal Shannon Lawson will be playing with Trent Tomlinson (the headliner), and I'm thinkin' that since he'll be around anyway, maybe we can talk him into singing a song or two during my set. I'm also stoked to be playing with another ol' pal, @DanCanon. Between these guys and my regular band members, I sure do get to play with a lot of fantastic musicians (and fantastic people, at that).

Details for tonight: doors at 8:00. It's $13, I believe, which I know is kind of steep, but it's rare to see a CMT artist in an intimate venue nowadays. Trent Tomlinson is on the road in a fancy tour bus, and gas is expensive, hee hee. (I think if my fame ever reaches tour bus proportions, I'll get a vegetable-oil-powered coach. Of course, that will require re-fueling at restaurants that do really great french fries, so I'll have to do my part of eating fries.)

Repeat: doors at 8. it's 18+. JD Shelburne at 9:00. I play at 10:00. Trent plays at 11:00. The Vernon Club. 1575 Story Avenue.

I'm going to do something drastic now, and change the strings on my guitar. Maybe even on the mandolin ... CRAZY!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Princess Movies as a Genre

Last week was relatively crappy, but I learned something about myself. When the time comes to escape reality, there is nothing better than a princess movie. I know it's a bad stereotype and something we shouldn't force upon young girls and all that, but I still like them. I like them whether they are animated, real-life, musicals, action, or star Julie Andrews (or not). So because my mom and I were sad about losing a good friend last week, we went to go see the new Disney princess movie, Tangled.

It made me smile and laugh a lot. The music wasn't as good as the last Disney princess movie, but that's because it stars Mandy, not Randy. I kind of think Randy Newman should always be in charge of writing the score to everything, but that's just me. I don't really remember any of the songs now that it's been a few days since I saw movie, but I still really enjoyed those 90 minutes or so.

Also, the prince in Tangled happens to be an exact avatar of FWT. @DanCanon was the first to bring this to my attention, but it's pretty much a fact. It's kind of creepy, actually, and it made me slightly jealous of Rapunzel at times. I got over it eventually, though, because Rapunzel is quite likeable.

Anyway, now for a few thoughts on princess movies:

My favorite princess movie of all time is The Princess Bride, of course, and I would venture that it's also your favorite princess movie. Even you Sportscenter-Lovin' folks out there have to love that swordfight between Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes, all set to Mark Knopfler music. Then there's Roman Holiday and Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite musicals. I also really liked The Princess Diaries but that's mostly because Fraulein Maria co-stars.

Basically, I really like princess movies as a genre, in general. They are silly, cute, and completely unrealistic. I won't be entirely happy, however, until I see a princess with curly hair*. THAT, my friends, would be true fantasy.

*Don't try to convince me that Princess Tiana has curly hair -- she has a few waves, but clearly, her hair has been carefully styled. Maybe that's why I like The Wizard of Oz so much, even though it's not a princess movie. Judy's got plenty of curls throughout...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First Crazy Night!

I thought I was so clever earlier this month, using Hanukkah candles on FWT's birthday cake when I couldn't find birthday candles. (I also thought it was funny how the other Jew at the soiree totally noticed what they were, but that's another story.) Anyway, now it turns out that I have to pick and choose which nights to light candles, which is probably a good thing anyway seeing as I tend to forget after a few nights anyway. I blame that on my dad being Catholic.

It snuck up on me this year, as it always seems to do.

Anyway, here's the DREIDEL VIDEO to cheer you up if you haven't seen it:

Oversharing, overasking, and Benyaro music.

This house-renovation thing has been all-emcompassing, and boredom has set in. I've been using miter saws, measuring baseboards, estimat...