Summer Tour 2012

Hello cats and kittens! Miss me? I’ve missed all of you.

It appears I took the month of May off. Hmm. More like I blinked and it was gone.

April was a fun blur. I am still getting a lot of traffic here due to the Herculean Blogging from A-Z Challenge, which is all kinds of awesome. May was full of kids’ music recitals and PTA-planning for end-of-year school events. I’m pretty sure there is a 10th ring of Dante’s Hell reserved solely for PTA in which doomed souls volunteer eternally. But I digress. Onto the month at hand – June.

Work gets busy for me as the festival season heats up. Here at moe. central, we consider Memorial Day to be the start of “Summer Tour”, as the band has hosted the Summer Camp Music Festival for the past eleven years.

Ah, Summer Tour. There is nothing quite like it. It doesn’t matter what genre you are a fan of, or whether the venue is a 700-acre field or a town park…music in the summer is always magical.

Summer Tour

As moe. rolls into various towns and cities, I’m the little gremlin behind the scenes paying the bills so they can have their pimped out tour bus and the fans can have their pretty swirly lights, etc.

I adhere to the phrase “work hard, play harder”, hanging up my music biz boots and trading them in for my own fan boots when my favorite bands hit the road. There is a giddy excitement about jumping in a car with friends (or hopping a plane to meet faraway friends) and heading out to shows. (Yes, that’s plural.)

Iron Maiden Fortune Cookie

This summer I’ll have the good fortune of catching 4 Maiden shows in 2 countries. Sometimes less is more!

Most anticipated summer venue for me: The Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club in Manhattan. I cannot wait to check this place out! moe. plays 2 nights here June 26th and 27th.  Beach in Manhattan, you say? Yep, on the East River under the stars on a 200-ton sandy beach. You can lounge on couches with your feet in the sand, or show off your skills over a game of pool, foosball or ping pong. Concerts are held in the 10,000 sq. foot open-air beer tent with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge as your backdrop.

Thanks to the never-ceasing miracles of technology, summer tour can now travel to you! First we had the Tupac hologram eerily appear during the Coachella Music Festival. You can see it with your own eyes here. The creators of that hologram are working on an Elvis one, but I’m holding out for a Jeff Buckley one to appear in my living room. Weekly.

And speaking of living rooms, another hi-tech phenomenon sweeping the live music world is “couch tour”. Pay-per-view TV has been taken to the next level. Sites like couch-tour.com and iClips Summer of Jam offer you oodles of streaming festivals and shows on subscription – with no bathroom lines or beer lines! No need to sit on Facebook listening to the crickets and feeling sorry for yourself while everyone is at “the show”.

This weekend, I watched in amusement as several friends began posting their pictures and music schedules (which of course can be planned via app on your phones now) from their actual Bonnaroo weekend. Phish. Radiohead. Fans standing in a dusty field looking hot and tired. Then…up popped the virtual Bonnaroo weekend “Couch Tour” photos on Facebook. Who needs to fly to Manchester, TN when you can attend in your PJs, five feet away from your own fridge full of sanely-priced cold beer and a toilet that actually flushes and can’t be tipped over in the middle of the night?

one fan’s front row view of Bonnaroo…from Boston.

A Facebook friend posted the above picture on her wall – she tagged a number of friends (probably those she normally goes to concerts with in 3-D real-time real life). And the place tag: “MY LIVING ROOM”.

Is this the end of Summer Tour as we know it? Nah. I don’t think so. It’s a convenient way of saying “been there, saw that, bought the T-Shirt” but music fans will always want the real Summer Tour experience: the sweaty, grimy, unpredictable weather-related, beer-sloshed, fun-soaked concert under the blinding sun or the blinking stars. With the pretty swirly lights from the band on the pimped out tour bus. (Yay, job security for me.) ‘Cuz that’s a big part of what rock n roll is all about – along with the connections and memories of the people you meet and the places you go on tour.

Wishing you all a safe and stellar Summer Tour!

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C-O-F-F-E-E

C is for Coffee

Gimme some sugar

  As part of L’Aussie Writer’s APPRECIATING THE ZEALOTRY Challenge, I am re-posting one of my favorites from the April A-Z Challenge.

Pour yourself a cup, sit back and enjoy!

38 seconds.

That’s the time it takes from pushing the button on my Keurig to taking my first morning sip. I know this because I timed it. Yep – 38 seconds. That’s about as close to instant gratification (instant caffeinification?) as one can get. Unless someone invents an IV-drip.

I’ve actually perfected a method of sloshing in a dollop of milk from the jug while my cup is still brewing so as not to waste an additional precious 2 seconds. Full-on fast-fix coffee junkie.

The Keurig is a cool little vampire of a machine. It neatly and efficiently impales the K-cup and sucks the lifebrew out of it. Sweet black ichor drains into my cup in 38 seconds!

cup o' caffeine

cup o’ caffeine

Lately there’s been a lot of brew-ha-ha (LOL) in the New York Times and other media regarding the actual price of coffee per pound for single-serve machines. “You’re paying $50 a pound using that thing,” according to my mother-in-law.

Did I mention…I get my coffee in 38 SECONDS?

I am the only coffee drinker in the household. This is my luxury. Still under a dollar a cup. Show me the person who can walk into Starbucks and spend less than a dollar. I’ll admit, I did buy the little fill-your-own filter thingy because I am feeling slightly guilty about all my empty K-cups piling in the landfill. I haven’t used it yet, but I plan on trying it soon…as soon as I wake up one morning and find I am out of K-cups!

Yes, I have allowed convenience to compromise my coffee-consuming rituals. I used to grind (burr mill is better than the blade types) and scoop and measure cold filtered water and blah blah 38 SECONDS blah. And most likely I will do so again, once summer comes and I can make and store iced coffee to drink whenever. But for now…it’s K all the way, baby.

Please don’t tell my dad. He is a freshaholic coffee freak. He not only grinds each cup as he goes, but he also roasts his own beans. In a popcorn popper. True story. He orders the raw beans online (they are green, for the record)  and researched this home roasting method. It takes a very specific kind of popper that isn’t as easy to find on the market anymore. He’s burned through a couple of them already. The coffee tastes great, but let me tell you, the smell while it’s roasting is foul. Like burning tires. It’s got to be carcinogenic. (Now there’s a C word!) Once he grinds it, it releases the wonderful “coffee” smell that even non-coffee drinkers admit smells pretty darn good. And there’s no denying it is the freshest cup around.

But it ain’t no 38 seconds.

Enjoy this catchy coffee-sipping song…I’m off to brew!

Around the Web in 26 Days

Congrats to all my fellow Blogging from A to Z Challenge comrades – we Arrived, we Blogged, we Commented. And we conquered – 26 alphabetical posts in 26 days! We are a crazy and creative bunch.

A to Z Survivor

When I created this site last October, I chose the tongue-in-cheek title “I’ll Blog When I’m Dead” as a play on the phrase “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”. I had a mountainous to-do list prioritized, and blogging seemed like a frivolous afterthought. The sold-my-soul-for-rock-and-roll day job often seeps into my off-hours, the 10-year old has a social schedule to rival Zani Gugelmann’s and the book, as they say, ain’t gonna write itself.

I also thought – who wants to read my ramblings? As I wrote in my very first blog post: My pearls of wisdom are costume jewelry at best and I’m like a little kid playing dress-up. I write FICTION, not State of the Union. How could my site possibly contribute to the blogging pool at large? It will be just a drop in the bucket.

After completing A to Z, and discovering so many amazing and entertaining blogs, my reflection has changed. I still see a drop in the bucket…but I also see the ripples, widening in the blogging pool with each click, post and comment. Very cool.

The A to Z Challenge reminded me a bit of an Around The World party in the college dorm – but with less vomit in the stairwells and no one’s dorm furniture on fire outside in the middle of the quad by night’s end. But seriously, it was like a big party where you move from room to room, sampling different party foods and drinks and meeting all sorts of people as you traveled through.

One of my favorite parts of the month was landing in a “room with no guests”: arriving on a fresh blog post with zero comments. You know the host behind the post is a lot like a host at a party – nervously hoping people show up and have a good time. No one wants their visitors just standing around, not talking or sampling the spinach dip. So it was always fun to make the first comment on someone’s post, and come back later in the day to see how the party had grown.

I’m a stats junkie, so it was also fun to watch my April stats skyrocket in views – over 2,500 views for the month! That kind of high puts you on a high.

Some of my favorite discoveries and personal highlights: Bibsey, a UK new mum living in Spain – her blog posts were so clever and once, when she was at a loss for an “R” topic, she took inspiration from my blog. What a compliment!

I also became totally enamored with The Death Writer. She’s a non-fiction writer who truly has a gift for writing clearly and elegantly on all different aspects of a topic many may consider morbid or uncomfortable.

Another blog I found myself landing on almost daily was the whimsical Clay Baboons. I have a droll love for clay people making weird facial expressions that dates back to old SNL Mr. Bill skits. Oh no….! Clay Baboons’ ABCs in clay were killer!

Finally, I was totally blown away by the sheer number and quality of the “writer’s tips” blogs out there. Some were informational, others merely inspirational. But they all reminded me that I was never alone in my quest. Moody Writing was always very thought-provoking. And Steven Chapman‘s blog always gave me a kick in the writing pantaloons when I needed one. Plus, he’s a good one to have your back during the zombie apocalypse. Through comments, we agreed: he’s bringing the crossbow, I’m bringing the sandwiches.

If I am up for the Challenge next year, I think I will develop a theme. It was certainly a good exercise to pull a random topic out of the air each day, but after seeing so many cohesive themes this year, I feel inspired to come up with one and stick to it!

Out of my random ramblings, I had a few personal favorites, if you care to peek:

C – Coffee

G – Got Gray?

H – Helium

L – Library Lions

R – Rock and Roll Riders

X – Xigua

A final thanks to all the folks behind Blogging From A-Z, and to Stephanie Haefner over at The Writer’s Cocoon for bringing the Blog Hop to my attention in the first place!

Zoas…?

I had the best intentions to write my Z post on William Blake’s The Four Zoas.

If I had had a brain in my head, I would have written that “Z” post during that first, fresh week and squirreled it away. But I didn’t. And I didn’t.

And now I have zero idea of where I wanted to go with that post. Zip.

So here – I will at least show you a pretty picture of his Zoas – Tharmas (sense), Luvah (love), Urthona (imagination), and Urizen (reason).

The Four Zoas

Literary scholars have spent their lives’ work studying this unparalleled yet uncompleted prophetic vision of Blake’s. So I’m not sure what I thought I was going to accomplish with one small blog post, coming on the heels of 25 other blog posts about random crapola:

A – Author

B – Butterfly Kisses

C – Coffee

D – Details

E – England

F – Fact or Fiction

G – Got Gray?

H – Helium

I – Idiopathic

J – Jesters

K – What Writers KNOW

L – Library Lions

M – Meat

N – Ni! and Neee-wom and Noodles 

O – Operation Organize Office

P – Playing the Part

Q – Quixotic

R – Rock and Roll Riders

S – Sun Kink

T- Training to be a Dirty Girl

U – Review of Amanda USEN’s ‘Scrumptious’

V – whose post has VANISHED into thin air – creepy!

W – Writers’ Retreat

X – Xigua

Y – Yodelittle

Z – wasn’t really about the Zoas at all. MAYBE NEXT YEAR!

I hope everyone had fun blogging and reading from A to Z! And I hope to see you on the blog hop next year. Until then, feel free to stop by this little corner of the web to say hi.

Zee ya latah!

Yodelittle

I almost got tripped up on letter Y. One day away from the finale – I can’t be fresh out of ideas! All I kept thinking was yogurt. But I didn’t want to write about yogurt. I do eat it every morning (greek non-fat vanilla mixed with non-fat plain to cut the sweetness) but that is WAY more info than you need to know about me and yogurt!

Then I thought – Yodelittle. It’s like a yodel, in that it’s a song that easily gets stuck in your head. (I’m sure most of us are all guilty of crooning  “Ricola!” at odd times in our lives, am I right?)

Yodelittle is a ditty about a little lady, written by Al Schnier and performed by his band moe. It’s a charming folky-funky earworm, with a chorus that warbles:

Yodelittle lady who

Yodelittle lady that I love

Yodelittle was one of the first songs I ever heard moe. play live, and I thought it was so catchy and clever. It made me fall in love with them. As I started researching it today, I was astonished to realize 2 things:

  1. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of this song – if first appeared on their debut album, Fatboy
  2. I was in the audience at the first known gig where it was performed

According to Phantasy Tour, an impressive website that tracks a crazy amount of stats on jambands, Yodelittle has been played live 303 times to date. It debuted on 2/15/92 at the Scrapyard in Buffalo, NY. And was played most recently at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore on 3/10/12. It is still a crowd favorite, and I love hearing the fans roar in approval when they recognize those opening notes being picked out.

The show list was fun to peruse. I had forgotten about that little gig at the long-gone Scrapyard. I love that it was played at 14 of their 24 shows at the legendary Wetlands Preserve in NYC (if I’m counting correctly.) In the early days, it was played at Frat house parties, like Pi Kappa Alpha at RPI in Troy, NY. But it’s also been played at venues as large as the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto, Canada.

How cool that it was played in the middle of the ocean twice – once in 2004 aboard the Norwegian Sun, and again in 2007 on board the Norwegian Jewel; two fan cruises that moe. orchestrated.  Fans in Yokohama and in London have heard it live in their cities.

It was also played on 4/23/01 at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. This holds a special memory for me, as it was the night I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. (No wonder my legs felt so tired while I was dancing up a storm to Yodelittle!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little stroll down Yodelittle memory lane and the song’s ongoing legacy. Do you have a “Y” song, or any song, that you love and would like to share?

X is for…Xigua (and what did we do before the Internet?)

A few months ago, two other mothers and I took our daughters to the bowling alley. The girls have been friends since preschool, the Moms enjoy spending time together, and we often go out as a group on weekends.

Although all three are in fourth grade, they now attend different schools. One girl brought her homework assignment along, thinking it would be fun to complete together. “I have to write down a healthy food for each letter of the alphabet,” she explained. The other two quickly jumped in. Apples! Bananas! Cereal! (That one is debatable.) Just as the Blogging from A to Z Challenge has sparked our creativity beyond the average ABCs, this list became the highlight of their day…over the crash of bowling pins and greasy pizza.

I can’t remember their choices for every letter, but I do recall being astonished at how varied their vocab was, and their favoring the exotic over the everyday (tilapia over tater tots). And did I even know what kale was at ten years old? Had kale even been discovered yet?

Then we got to Q. The girls made a real effort. (No, Kumquat starts with K. But has a Q in it. Nice try!) So we moms gave them some gentle hints (Quince won out over Quinoa, as it was easier to pronounce and spell) and we rested back on our laurels.

Until… X. Between the three of us moms, we had 6 college degrees combined and a collective 130 years’ life experience. But could any of us think of a freakin’ food that began with X?

I think one of us may have come up with xanthan gum. Not exactly a food.

The girls were determined. They needed to complete this quest. Bowling was abandoned. The pizza grew cold on its plate. X! We need an X!

Being the only female present in possession of a smartphone, I pushed a few buttons and announced to the group, “Xigua. It’s a Chinese type of watermelon.” Relief, elation! Everyone could sleep that night.

Funny that this post comes on the heels of my singing the praises of a digital sabbatical. But seriously, what did we do before the Internet? I received my Masters in Library Science right before the 90s ‘Net boom, so I know how to research old-school with the best of them. It would have taken me a bit longer than three seconds, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to do it in the middle of a bowling alley!

I tried to impress upon the girls how much more difficult and time-consuming research was before we had the internet at our fingertips, but they were, in the end, unimpressed.

I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of our parents telling us they had to walk barefoot to school, ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways…

Writers’ Retreat!

(This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Wellins. He’s not a writer and he’s not retreating, but everyone should have a Wellins in their lives!)

W is for…wow. Almost there! Like scheduling a spa day after a grueling workout, I’ve got something to look forward to after a long month of blogging (and other) deadlines: a writers’ retreat. My first!

This weekend, eight members of the Western New York Romance Writers will converge to brainstorm, to laugh, to eat and drink but mostly, to write. We come from all backgrounds – working women, stay-at-home-moms, even Grandmoms – and we all write different genres: from chic lit to erotica to category to women’s fiction. But one thing I think we all have in common: we are very dedicated to our writing, and we never have enough time in our “regular” lives to pursue it.

I relish the prospect of writing on my own schedule for two straight days; it’s a rare luxury. No playdates to supervise, no carpooling to undertake, no laundry. No alarms in the morning, no…wi-fi!

This last thing will be a good thing. I have my Smartphone for email, and for “quick” reference checks if I must. Rest assured my blog posts will be finished and scheduled! Other than that, and my writing medium of choice (laptop, Word doc), I am officially taking a “digital sabbatical”. I first heard the term a few days ago, when blogger Katie Testa of Watch This Space used it in her U is for Unplug post. Imagine – time away from almost everything electronic to study and rest. I don’t know about your world, but my world has been taken over by what I call digitalia. Digital everything! Its fed by everything, and it feeds upon everything. Daily. Hourly. By the minute.

Time to take back my world.

So I have high hopes for these two days at the writers’ retreat, with my fellow authors. I hope we all meet whatever writing goals we set, as well as reap the benefits of sharing space and breaking bread together. Quality time with good people, and limited time sucked away by faceless technology. I am ready. Write on!