June 2003 Archives

kirby derby

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To say that I haven't posted here in a while would be stating the obvious to a ridiculous extreme. So I will skip that part and just say that with Artscape a month away, I'm getting excited about the car again. Two nights ago I participated in a small event that really helped inspire me to work on the car and website.

kirby derby

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Whew, well I haven't posted in a couple of days but I had a great weekend. On Friday my friend Patricia wrote to me about a neighborhood parade in Raleigh called Kirby Derby that was taking place Saturday. I wrote to them (no phone number on the website) and believe it or not, they let me in the day before!

Saturday morning I did a bunch of repair work on some of the carpet that had gotten ratty. I thought I had given it enough time to dry, but apparently not. When I headed out for the parade, the strips of new carpet one by one flew off the car! What a bummer. I had to keep warning people not to lean on the exposed glue that was left behind.

Patricia and I had made plans to ride together in the Clayton (her hometown) holiday parade last year, and I had made the mermaid tail just for her, but due to circumstances beyond her control she didn't make it. Well I rode in the Clayton parade by myself and had fun, though I would have had more fun if Patricia had been there. Anyway I still have the mermaid tail so I brought it for her, she was really excited about it. She wore a bikini top so she would look even more like a mermaid. She's almost as short as I am so she had to crouch up in the seat for the effect to work, but it was worth it, she looked terrific. I teased her that she should have worn a clamshell bikini but she didn't know where to find one. We had such great fun! She's a good person to have with you on a parade -- not shy at all, really engaged the crowd. It was dark and drizzly throughout the event, but didn't start pouring until ten minutes after we left. What perfect timing!

The parade was small -- they said 30 entries but I only saw about a dozen and a half -- and short, only two blocks long, but loads of fun. They were late getting started so we had over an hour to hang out in the lineup area. These guys on bikes were right in front of us. After they posed for this photo, they asked me to take photos of them with their cameras -- three in all! Each one was different so I think I messed up a number of the photos, but I took a bunch with each camera so I hope I got at least one decent shot for each of them.

Behind us were these guys, who called themselves "The Bomb Squad: Homeland Insecurity." They were a lot of fun. They kept talking to each other on their walkie talkies (even though they were all standing together), describing other parade entries as they arrived. And they had an old school boom box on which they played the Beastie Boys and did some old school moves. When we started rolling, one of the bicyclists ahead of us fell off her bike. The Bomb Squad came running forward shouting "Secure the area!" and helped her up. Luckily she wasn't hurt.

Then these other guys showed up wearing orange shirts that said "Monkey Pyle" and attacked the Bomb Squad. First they threw Twinkies at them (still in wrappers, thank goodness) and then they started tackling Bomb Squad members. It was pretty crazy. I tried to get photos but the light was so dim I couldn't get a decent exposure & everything came out blurry. One of the Monkey Pyle guys came over and asked a little girl who was talking to us if she would throw a Twinkie at them during the parade, but she refused. We asked him what "Monkey Pyle" means and he explained that it means when everyone jumps on top of somebody in a big pile. I thought that was a dogpile, as in "Dogpile on the rabbit!" (which is, of course, from the "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" Bugs Bunny cartoon.) But apparently the expression changes depending on the part of the country.

Besides the rowdy Bomb Squad and Monkey Pyle, there was a poor goat which had to wear baby shoes, a bib and a diaper. The goat kept kicking off the shoes, so finally they cut the bottoms out so they could fit the shoes over his feet but his hooves still touched the ground. That seemed to mollify the goat.

Also this little boy dressed like Caeser, who was pulled along by the two dogs in a Roman chariot! My big regret of this event was that I didn't get to see the boy riding in the chariot. But that's the problem with being in parades: you only get to see the entries right before you and right after you, nothing else.

After I turned on the bubble machine these little girls hung out by my car for a while. The girl in white asked Patricia tons of questions about her mermaid identity, but Patricia had an answer at the ready for every one! (For instance, when the girl asked Patricia why, if she was a mermaid, she had legs, Patricia responded "Because I'm on land! Didn't Ariel get legs when she went on land?") Everyone was impressed. I took a picture of her with the mermaid tail, and offered to send her the photo if her mother would give me their email address. But I think she forgot to tell her mother.

This guy came out dressed like a scary cat, with lots of duct tape on his costume. But he wouldn't hold still for a photo. In fact he started jumping around more when he saw my camera.

The stars of the event were the Evil Clowns. They rode in an ice cream truck painted in stripes, with "Evil Clowns from Hell" written on the side. They had a huge entourage, including robots, a lucha libre, and a guy dressed like an evil monkey with a leather harness. It was a bit edgy for a parade with so many kids involved, but they managed to stay just on this side of the edge from what I saw.

The parade itself was on a very narrow street, crammed with people. It was a bit scary! We went around three times, and each time we had to inch forward, waiting for people (mostly kids) to get out of the way. Everyone was really nice and cheered us really loudly. One guy even walked up with a bunch of silk flowers and set them on the hood! That almost made up for the bratty kid with the Super Soaker water gun who got Patricia's hair all wet. She told the Bomb Squad to go get the kid, and they promised to clear the area of all hostile forces.

Anyway, an event like this was just what I needed to get my art car enthusiasm going. Less than a month now until Artscape. Good golly, I've got to get to work!

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The tattoo seems to be healing well. It hardly stings at all anymore, and it's starting to itch. I seem to recall that's a good sign. I was surprised to find that my neck and shoulders were really sore yesterday. I'm thinking that's probably from spending three hours with clenched fists, all tensed up & trying not to move. However, I'm feeling close enough to normal today that if I had to go back tomorrow for another session, I think I could do it. So I guess once a week will be fine.

I read the new Harry Potter book, enjoyed it a lot. It was a page turner, I read it too fast to really absorb the details. I'm going to read it again, probably over the weekend, and maybe post some comments after the second run through.

Been working all day on that intranet I mentioned earlier in the week. I'm happy with how it looks, though it still needs some polishing before the client reviews it at 3 tomorrow. (Actually there are a couple of major gaps in the code, but there's nothing I can do about that except pester the programmer and hope he finishes in time. So to be more accurate, my portion of the project needs just a little polishing.) I'm going to try to get that done tonight so that I don't have to worry about it tomorrow. Also so the programmer is free to work on any file without any danger of us accidently overwriting each others' work.

There's a new barbecue place in Durham, The Q Shack, run by Scott Howell (of Nana's and Pop's). It's remarkably non-snooty and unassuming, considering. I haven't eaten in the restaurant myself, because there is not a single side dish that works with low-carb -- it's all hush puppies, mac and cheese, french fries, etc. And I'm not doing the kind of low-carb where you eat a big plate of meat and call it a meal. I mean, that's just gross. Anyway, the Q Shack does take out, so tonight Georg brought home beef brisket and smoked turkey and we made some vegetables to go with it. The turkey is very good, but the brisket is out of this world. Really amazingly good.

It's Bollywood night again on TCM, the last one in the series. Alas, tonight's offerings look to be a lot less fun than in previous weeks. They're all early films and from the descriptions, all sound really depressing. Like what if Satyajit Ray did musicals. I'm sure they're all excellent, important films, but I don't know if I'm up for a three-hour tragedy, much less three of them. Well I'm going to give the first one a try and if it's too much of a downer, I'll finish watching Junglee or maybe Gumnaan.

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Well I sat for my first tattooing session today. "Sat" isn't quite accurate, since I had to lay on my stomach so he could work on my back. I was supposed to wear a button-down shirt so I could turn it around, but he forgot to tell me that so I had to lie there topless. Felt a little undignified, but at least we were in a booth with the door closed.

Here's a photo of today's work. I really like the way the vine is shaded, and the colors on the leaves are perfect. The vine is a little bright for my taste, but I'm going to trust his judgement. Maybe it will look just right when the flowers are colored. I was hoping he'd do more outlining today so I could see more of the design, but apparently he can't stop in the middle of a shape -- hard to get the stencil in exactly the same place again -- and I think he was concerned about how much more I could take, so he switched to coloring after two hours. But I was determined not to be a wuss, so we ended up working for almost 3 hours. That was definitely my limit though, I was really ready for it to be over by then.

It hurt more than I was expecting it to. I have a small tattoo on my ankle already, about three years old, and I remembered that hardly hurting at all. I don't know if the ankle is less painful than the back, or if I had just blocked the pain out of my memory since the ankle tattoo was so small & didn't take very long. The most painful part today was right over my spine (duh), close second was up by the neck (again, duh). The part by the neck was more uncomfortable though, because the needle gun was buzzing right in my ear which was kind of weird. Also I wasn't sure where to put my head to keep it out of his way.

Funniest thing that happened: about an hour into it the shop's assistant came in, showed Rex (the artist) a small design and asked him what he would charge to put it on someone's "cootchie." (I don't think I've ever heard anyone use the word "cootchie" before. Except for when Grampa Simpson called his trampy girlfriend one). He asked, "put it where?" and she said "Right here!" and held the paper between her legs. They agreed on a price, she commented that if he was "going to have to get up in that" they should pay for it, and she left. He told me this is pretty common (!) and when I said I thought that would be really painful, he said some women get into it. A little too into it, he ends up needing them to calm down so he can finish the job! Eww! I bet it's the vibrations.

Second unusual thing: his girlfriend showed up at 3:30 and announced that they needed to "have a serious talk." She didn't look angry, but when he told her it would be another half hour or so she just stood there with a "that was the wrong answer" look until I volunteered that it was OK with me if he wanted to take a break. Keep in mind I'm lying there on my stomach with no shirt on! Though to his credit, he asked me if it was OK before opening the door both times.

Also I was happy with the level of sanitation. He took everything out of the sterile packaging in front of me, the ink cups were clearly single use, he changed his gloves whenever he touched anything, and when I got up to take a bathroom break & put my shirt on for a minute, he cleaned my back again for before getting back to work.

Rex wasn't very talkative, which suited me fine, since I spent most of the three hours clenching my fists and trying not to move my back. We did have a few interesting conversations -- about the "cootchie" tattooes as I mentioned, also he mentioned that he really enjoys Japanese designs & mostly does custom work. I'm sure that must be more fulfilling than having to do the same stock images over and over (he gave "fantasy dragon across someone's chest" as an example of something he'd just as rather pass on).

He also mentioned tribal as something he found really boring to do. I thought tribal was kind of out of style, but he said there are still lots of people getting it. He described it as the perfect style for someone who wants a tattoo but doesn't really know what they want. I guess that makes sense. Since a tribal design doesn't represent anything, you don't have to worry about the meaning of the image. It's pure form, no symbolism.

I told him about my first ever visit to a tattoo shop, about eight years ago I went with a friend while she got one on her shoulder. It was at Choice Peach, the now-defunct place in Carrboro, and he was running late. The customer before us was a woman getting a band around her upper arm. Apparently it was quite painful as she was screaming throughout. But to stop herself from screaming, she was also singing, any tune she could think of. So we spent over a half hour listening to this woman scream-sing things like the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme song. In retrospect I can hardly believe my friend Kim went through with it after that.

The artist said that they try to discourage customers from yelling like that, since it can be off-putting to the other customers, especially if it's their first time. I think it would be distracting to the artist as well! I wouldn't want to draw with permanent ink while someone was screaming their fool head off right in my ear. He mentioned that it's usually the big strong men who start bellowing like that. I can't remember exactly how he worded it, but he seemed to be saying that some of these guys yell on purpose because they think it's funny or something.

He says we should do once a week, but he's on vacation next week, so the next appointment is two weeks from today. I'm really happy with the progress so far.

He put a loose bandage over it and gave me some basic aftercare instructions. I had also looked up the rec.arts.tattoo faq online, so I had instructions at home as well. I had brought a light sports bra, but the thought of getting it over the bandage was a little daunting so I went "au natural" under my shirt. I figured who cares, it's a loose shirt and I'm just going from the shop to my car to my house. I started feeling a little woozy when I was almost home, I guess the adrenaline had started to wear off. So I pretty much lay on the couch all evening, reading and watching TV.

Later in the evening Georg helped me clean it off. It was kind of gross, because the artist had covered each area with Vaseline as he finished it. Plus there was a lot of excess ink sitting on the skin, mixing with the vaseline. Yuck! It's also a bit tricky to clean it, since you're not supposed to rub the area with a washcloth while it's fresh. But he gently blotted it with the washcloth, I think that was OK.Anyway we got all that cleaned off and then decided to put some lotion on it. Big mistake! Note to self: do not rub commercial body lotion into open cuts. It started to sting pretty bad, but he managed to blot it off again. After the lotion fiasco we tried Bactitracin. Ah, much more comfortable.

Then Georg taped a piece of plastic wrap over it so I could sleep without ruining the sheets. (Here I have to commend Georg on his foresight in picking up medical tape from the drugstore while he was getting the bactitracin.) Unfortunately, all we had in the house was "Festive Holiday Glad Cling Wrap!" You know, the kind that's pink. So I have a big sheet of pink glad wrap taped to my back. It crinkles when I move. I guess it doesn't matter what it looks like, no one is going to see it but me.

Now time for bed. Luckily I'm a side sleeper, so I don't have to worry about laying on it. It stings a little, almost nothing worth mentioning. The only time it's really uncomfortable is if I lift my arms over my head, or pull them back behind me. I guess that stretches or contracts the skin on the back too much.

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I spent the day at the office today. We're working on an intranet, using a commercial product, and Marc (the programmer) agreed that it would be a lot easier to figure out what we were doing if we were in the same location for at least one day. It was actually nice to be back there. I was a little concerned that it might be hard to get work done, but everyone seemed to realize that I was there for this project and left me pretty much alone. Also I think it helped to have my iPod -- the headphones sent a pretty strong "go away, I'm working" signal. It was hard work, a bit draining, but we got enough done that I don't have to go back tomorrow.

Which is a good thing, because my day is totally booked up. I already had the tattoo appointment in the afternoon. Then this afternoon the guy I split Tuesdays with at XDU wrote to me and asked if I could cover for him tomorrow. Well I didn't really want to, but it's not like I couldn't, and besides the more you help people out, the more likely they are to help you when you need a sub at the last minute. So I said yes, and now my day is going to be really rushed. I'll be on the air from 9 to noon, then run over to Wellspring and eat lunch as fast as I can, then hope I make it to Raleigh by 1 in time for my appointment. If it were two work committments I'd just skip lunch until after the afternoon appt, that would make things a lot easier. But it's apparently really important to eat a good meal before tattooing. Something to do with blood sugar or something.

So Georg had pre-ordered the new Harry Potter book from Amazon. Apparently they express mailed all the pre-orders, so we got our copy on Saturday! Georg is reading it now & I'll read it when he's done. It's probably a good thing that I'll be out all day tomorrow. If I was home I'd most likely end up blowing off work all day to read Harry Potter.

I was going to start posting WXDU's weekly RPM top ten, wasn't I? Last week wasn't great for RPM at the station. The top album was Ralph Myerz at #26. Last week we had something in the top ten -- Ralph Myerz now that I think about it. Well, a bunch of good RPM went up this week (some of it reviewed by yours truly: the fabulous new one from Karsh Kale; a silent movie soundtrack by Cinematic Orchestra, more jazz than nu-jazz and I really enjoyed it; and something I'd never heard of before called Red Room, who sound a lot like Massive Attack or Goldfrapp [which you'll know is a good thing to me, if you're familiar with my taste in music]) so I'm hoping for more plays next week.

# ARTIST Recording
1 RALPH MYERZ AND THE JACK HERREN BAND A Special Album
2 AUTECHRE (CURATED) All Tomorrow's Parties 3.0
3 FOUR TET Rounds
4 SAULE Saule
5 TRAVELER '03: A SIX DEGREES COLLECTION VARIOUS ARTISTS
6 NOBUKAZU TAKEMURA Songbook
7 SOLID STEEL PRESENTS HEXSTATIC Listen And Learn
8 TORCH: A SIX DEGREES COLLECTION OF MODERN TORCH SONGS VARIOUS ARTISTS
9 IDOL TRYOUTS: GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL VOL. 1 VARIOUS ARTISTS
10 ANTIMATTER Antimatter Vs. Antimatter

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Okay, I'm pretty sure Junglee has supplanted Amar Akbar Anthony in my estimation as the greatest movie ever. Well, maybe it's a tie. Which would you rather have: a Bollywood Huggy Bear jumping out of a giant Easter egg while singing a kick ass tune, or a Bollywood Elvis body surfing down the slopes of Kashmir while singing a kick ass tune? Thanks to TCM, we have both!

As mentioned in a comment on the previous entry, the song "Yahoo" from Junglee is really one of the most amazing things I've seen a long time. The link above gets you the audio, which is fabulous in itself, but you really have to see it to appreciate the full effect. I hope TCM reruns these films!

I've started running a few days a week (well, I'm pretty new at it and the route is hilly, so I do a fair amount of walking still), it's nice to get out of the house and around the neighborhood. I wish I could take my dogs with me. Lina would love it, but Thirteen is way too frail for it. I tried to take them once, but after the first half-block, even as slow as I run, she was so exhausted that we had to turn back. Then it started raining, as it does every damn day in this monsoon season we're having, but she had to walk so slow that we all got wet. So that experiment was a total bust.

Anyway there's one place where I go down a dead-end road, that connects by a short foot path to another dead-end. When I come out onto the other road, the second house has a cow statue in its yard. Every time, I see it out of the corner of my eye and think "watch out! big dog!" Then I get a better look and see that it's just that cow statue.

The cow still kind of gives me the creeps. They have it positioned in an odd place: not in or near a garden, just in the middle of the grass, kind of looming over the sidewalk. Menacing, if you will. Kind of like the hedge animals in The Shining. On the way back last time, I noticed that the cow has a not entirely pleasant expression on its face. And I couldn't remember seeing that expression on its face before. Which made me think even more of The Shining. Maybe I am overthinking this. If I can't stop getting freaked out by the cow, I'm going to have to change my route.

Got some good news a couple of days ago: Artscape is giving me a $125 honorarium! That will pay for gas money, an oil change, and even help defray the cost of the work I've got to do to get the car in shape for the parade. It's on July 26 and I should have started work a month ago. The problem is this incessant rain. I don't have a garage, and the carpet on the car tends to hold water, but in order to apply glue the surface needs to be completely dry. Which means I either need a couple of days without rain, or at least a really hot afternoon when I don't have work to do. Well I haven't had either of those things in weeks. Argh!

However I did finally start work yesterday. Did 3 hours of beading; a decent start but not as much as I had hoped to accomplish. If I can get that whole section done this weekend then I'll feel like I've done well. I can't leave all the car work until the last minute like I did last year, because we'll have a local friend with us during the parade, and she has environmental allergies, you know, toxins and chemicals are a big problem. Last year I thoughtlessly left an open can of polyurethane in the car the night before the parade. I felt terrible about it and I want to make sure to be more careful this time.

This morning we helped our friends Christa and Ray move into their new house. It's a great place, with a lot of character, and is going to look even better when they finish fixing it up. Best of all, one of the other friends there had locked her keys in her car, and I took her home to get her spare key, thus missing a lot of the really heavy lifting. Timing truly is everything!

This afternoon we're off a baby shower slash kickball game for one of the WXDU djs. Should be fun, though I've been feeling a little over-social lately. I guess that's proof that I really am still an introvert at heart: even though I do a lot more socially than I used to, too much still tires me out.

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Met with my tattoo artist today. I'm having some work done on my back. He had shown me a rough sketch yesterday, which to be honest I didn't really care for. It wasn't at all like the design I had brought him. But today I went back to see the finished sketch and I love it. It's basically the same design, but seeing it all neatly lined & finished made such a big difference. I'm going back on Tuesday for the, you know, tattooing part. Also today I showed him my copy of VRT, so he could get an idea of where my head is at aesthetically.

This evening while I was washing dishes I saw a luna moth against the kitchen window. It was so huge, bigger than my outstretched hand. Because it was against the window with its body towards me, I didn't get to see the full markings, but even still it was strikingly beautiful. I ran to get my camera but by the time I got back, it was gone.

Bollywood month continues on TCM. Last week's overnight film was Sholay, a spaghetti western from 1975. It wasn't quite as much fun as Amar Akbar Anthony, probably because of the grittier, more violent tone. However, it did have music by R.D. Burman, including the fabulous song "Mehbooba O Mehbooba." Did you know you can get that song as a ring tone for a Nokia phone? Makes me wish I had a Nokia phone.

Right now we're watching Junglee, a rock and roll romance from 1961 featuring "the Indian Elvis." It's fabulous! Only five minutes into the movie and I want to have its baby. Can't wait for the big number where he skis down a mountain while singing.

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Well my day has been kind of crazy. Was about a mile from home when I heard a disturbing "thwap thwap thwap" noise. I wish I didn't know what that sound means! Pulled off the road as soon as I could and sure enough, the left front tire was flat. Called Triple A to get a tow, then called the radio station (where I was supposed to be in ten minutes) to let the on air DJ, Keith, know that I wasn't going to be showing up on time.

The tow truck showed up after about 45 minutes. In the meantime I sat in my car reading catalogs that weren't useful enough to bring into the house last time I had picked up the mail, and wishing I had a book with me. Another tow truck drove by about fifteen minutes before mine arrived; I jumped out of my car waving, and stood there muttering "wait, come back!" to myself as he blew right by me.

But my tow driver did get there eventually, and he was really helpful too. He got the spare out of my trunk, which was totally gross because the trunk is full of car art supplies and there's apparently a leak, so everything was soaking wet. When he put the spare on, it was mostly flat too. So he followed me to a gas station to put air in the spare. He had to jack up my car to get the spare to inflate (I didn't understand this part, but he seemed to know what he was doing), and he even paid for the air! I guess tow guys spend all their time helping people out of jams, but that still felt above and beyond.

OK, so with my car finally running on the spare, I made it to the station about an hour and a half late. Keith was really nice about having to stay so late. I was feeling a little stressed, as you might imagine, so my show was a bit discombobulated. I didn't really have my groove on. But at least I got through it without any flubs.

After the show I took my car to Merchant's. There I got the good news: not only is my flat tire irreparable, but the back tires were almost completely bald. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I had been noticing more skid than usual, especially when it's wet (as it is all the time these days). I asked them to check the alignment while they were at it, and it was due for an inspection as well. So it's going to be a fairly hefty bill.

However, the silver lining was that, when the guy behind the counter asked me for my phone number, I offhandedly said "well I'm going to be walking so why don't I give you my cell number." He offered to drive me home! He said that he saw my address in my customer record and he didn't want me walking that far on a rainy day. He ended up driving me home in his own car. I couldn't believe it. I'd probably still be walking if he hadn't brought me home. What a nice man.

On the way to my house we passed a guy at an intersection asking for handouts. The tire man (I'm embarrassed to say, I don't even know his name) mentioned that recently he had seen a guy like that with a "Will Work for Food" sign, and had stopped and offered the guy a job sweeping floors and moving tires at the shop. The guy begged off, saying he had a bad back and couldn't do physical work. I have to wonder, what kind of work does a guy standing in an intersection with a cardboard sign expect to be offered?

It reminded me of a woman I used to know who, when stopped by panhandlers on Ninth Street, would offer to buy them a slice from the pizza shop there. She said that sometimes people were quite rude about it. I dunno why they would be offended, maybe they felt like she was belittling them by offering to buy them food? I thought it was a friendlier gesture than just handing them a buck. But I've never been in that situation so what do I know.

Anyway, I'm home now, the car will be ready this evening when Georg gets home from work. And I am tired. So tired. It wasn't that stressful, it shouldn't have tired me out more than a day running errands. And yet, so tired. I think I may take a nap.

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I set up a fax machine at home today. I've been resisting the idea, because jeez, a fax machine? at home? It seemed kind of ridiculous. But lately I've been finding it a problem not to have one. So, I bought a fax machine. I ended up getting a laser machine, it cost about twice as much as I was expecting but I understand that laser is way better than thermal, works better and toner costs much less than thermal ribbons too.

Because we were using the voice mail that comes from the phone company, but that won't work with a fax machine. So that meant buying an answering machine. To my surprise, they don't seem to make stand-alone answering machines anymore, only ones included with phones. What the hey, I hated that phone in the study. So now we have a new cordless phone, new answering machine and new fax machine. More of an investment than I was expecting. But it always seems to work out that way.

I was a little concerned that the fax machine and answering machine would conflict with each other; I just didn't understand how that would work. Well, I know the answering machine works because I just got a message. And the fax machine works because I had HKB send me one earlier this afternoon. So I guess I'm fax-capable now. Or is that faxable. Hey, I'm faxable. Send me a fax. Go on, I dare you.

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This evening we pulled up the carpet in the hall. Well, I call it a hall, but it's actually a small square that connects the living room to the study, bathroom and bedroom. I always think of a hall as being shaped like a corridor, so I never know what to call ours. Georg sometimes calls it the "square-tunda" but that hasn't really caught on.

So anyway, this evening we pulled up the carpet in there. Well, I say "we" but Georg did the lion's share of the work. He got the ball rolling, pulled up most of the carpet, and pulled up the tack strips. I helped pull up the rug and carpet pad, and helped pull up the staples. Of which there are an insane number. It's like someone handed a staple gun to a small child and told them that it was important to staple down the carpet pad really good. Seriously, they are so close together we can sometimes pull them out two at a time.

I also did a lot of sweeping. It's almost scary how much dirt was in and under that rug. Also the carpet pad kind of came apart, and shreds of it got stuck under the staples. So we're constantly having to pry these nasty bits of dirty old carpet pad out from under the staples, in order to get the pliers around them. It's so gross. My fingernails are so gross.

Anyway, the carpet is all up, the tack strips are all up and the staples are almost all up. I almost forgot to mention, when we pulled up the carpet we discovered a big chunk of the hardwood floor had been patched. Very badly. There's a rectangle about 2 x 3' right in the middle, with totally different (might I add, crappy) wood, different color, very little attempt to match it with the existing floor. Good thing we have the Ikea carpet to cover it.

Right now I'm watching a special on the Trio channel, about Bill Hicks. Who I think was the damn funniest comedian in decades, and I have no idea why he remained relatively unknown. I never even heard of him until after he died in '94. How come Denis Leary could hit it big ripping off Bill Hicks, but Hicks never caught a break? This show, about censorship and how it negatively impacted Hicks' career, is darker than the other one I saw on Comedy Central a few years ago. That one if I recall correctly had more of a tone of "whee, check out this outrageous comic! He's so cool! Oh, and he's dead. But still funny!" That one also had interviews with David Letterman talking about how great Hicks was and how sorry he was that Hicks' relationship with the Letterman show had ended on such a bad note (his last performance was cut because of the content & then Hicks died soon after). This one did not have the cooperation of the Letterman show. They couldn't even show clips from that performance that had been censored; instead they showed him performing the same material in a club right before he died.

I found a website with a partial transcript of the Letterman performance, written by Hicks himself. It's funny stuff. My favorite part is how, if people are going to tell their kids that a giant rabbit handing out chocolate has something to do with Jesus, why don't they just go hog wild and say that a goldfish left Lincoln logs in their sock drawer.

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Just got back from a radio station outing to the Durham Bulls game. It was fun! I hadn't been to a game since they were in the old park. The old park had more small town charm, but the new park is a lot nicer, the seats are more comfortable, the concessions are better and there are way more extras (like two display boards, games for fans to win prizes at every half-inning, and fireworks after the game). However, the scoreboard is still old-school. Not a lighted display panel but actual numbers that someone behind the scoreboard was sliding into place. We could see the scoreboard person watching the game through the space for the ninth inning score.

The "hit bull, win steak" billboard is still there, but I think it's a new one. Because the old one had a tail that moved if I recall correctly, and this one doesn't, just the eyes that light up and the steam that comes out of the nose. Also this one says "hit grass, win salad" at the bottom, which the old one definitely didn't have. They've also moved the bull so it's now possible to hit a home run and hit the bull. In the old park it was just over the foul line in right field. When we went to the old park, we used to sit on the grass right by the bull. Now there's only a tiny area of grass, in the middle of the outfield, and it's really steep so I don't think it's intended for spectators.

The games between every half-inning were a trip. They started with two little girls encouraging the stands to cheer for them, the girl with the loudest cheering won a free haircut. Then came the "Crawl for Gas," in which a young man had to crawl blindfolded towards a small tent with the gas company's name on it (BP I think?). He found the tent and won $25 worth of free gas. Another highlight was when a little boy had to race Wool E. Bull (the team mascot) around the bases. He won -- personally I think Wool E. threw the race, I dunno, just a hunch -- and won an indeterminate "prize package."

But our favorite was "Termites in the Trousers," sponsored by a termite company. A boy (young teen I think) wore these big loose pants, and a ballpark staffer used a big slingshot to fire giant rubber termites into the air, which the boy had to catch in his pants. No I am not making this up. He actually managed to catch two out of three! I don't think they said what his prize was. So it was probably a T-shirt or something.

Fellow DJ Lew was telling us that in San Antonio, the local minor league team had a game called "Puffy Taco Tackle." In which a representative of a local taco restaurant dressed up in a puffy taco costume, and a child had to chase the taco and tackle it. One day it was a little girl, and when she tackled the taco and knocked him down, she started hitting and kicking him! He said they had to pull the little girl off the puffy taco to stop her from pummeling the poor guy. Ah, those are the moments you treasure.

One thing I was really looking forward to was Lucky the Wonder Dog, an obedience trained dog who runs the bases. Because I actually know Lucky, in fact I'm working on his owner's website right now. Lucky performs at all weekend homes games. But to be honest, it was a bit disappointing. All he did was run around the bases, and he actually missed first. But at least I got to say hi to Lucky and his owner Gene (I saw them walking into the park before the game).

The game itself was great. We won 7-4, and we were ahead throughout the game, but it was actually more exciting than you would think from that description because the other team (from Ottowa) got close several times during the game. We had great seats, behind first base and really close. They didn't have a bullpen, so the relief pitchers warmed up right in front of us on the sidelines. We noticed that there was an extra guy just standing next to the catcher, a few feet behind the first base coach. It took us a few minutes to figure out that he was there to make sure the catcher, whose back was turned to home plate, didn't get clocked by a stray foul ball.

I was wondering if the rules are any different between the minors and the majors. Because I saw several plays that I would have considered an error (the defensive player catching and then dropping the ball), but only one error showed up on the scoreboard. Georg said that if they think the batter would have made it even without the error, then they give the batter credit for the hit. I don't remember that from when I followed the Phillies, granted that was a really long time ago. I'm not sure if that's because the rule is different in the majors, dropping the ball is less common in the majors, or if I just didn't know about that rule at the time.

It was also nice to go with such a large group. At one point they showed the names of all the groups on their display board, and when "WXDU" flashed on the screen we all cheered as loud as we could. I heard someone off to my right say "That's a lot of people to be here from a radio station!" The bonus in our group is that Matt, one of the DJs, used to work behind the scoreboard. So he knew the inside scoop on a lot of things. One of the display panels stopped working after a little while and Matt, thinking that they might have been understaffed, went to help out. But as it turned out the display was actually broken.

There was another guy in our group, the boyfriend of one of the DJs, who seemed so totally unfamiliar with baseball that I wondered if he was from another country. I heard his girlfriend telling him how to read the scoreboard, and explaining why all the fans got up at the seventh inning. And Georg heard him ask Lew (who seems to be a real baseball fan) why the pitcher was standing on a little hill. They decided that they didn't know why the pitcher's mound is elevated, but speculated maybe it was to add velocity to the throw. Anyway, the guy's accent sounded American, but are there Americans who have never heard of the seventh inning stretch?

So, all in all it was a really fun evening. I'd like to go back again before it gets really hot.

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Tuesday night I went over to Christa's to help paint a room in her new house. They're moving in about 10 days and there's tons to be done, so she really needed the help. Lisa was there too so it went quickly. I bailed after about 3 hours because my neck was bothering me, but they were already on the second coat so I didn't feel too guilty.

While we were painting Lisa and I talked about what we're going to do to replace Buffy night. We had been talking about running a "Joss marathon," showing a couple of Buffy episodes written by Joss Whedon every Tuesday night. That might last all summer, until the new Angel season starts up.

But on Tuesday Lisa had the idea of doing a Prisoner marathon. Which would be great fun. I used to adore that show, but I haven't seen it in years. I think the last time I saw the Prisoner was when the second Austin Powers movie came out, they showed a few episodes on TV Land. But if I recall correctly, they were on really late at night, and they only showed my least favorite episodes. So it would be nice to see the good ones again, especially with friends who also like the show. Lisa pointed out, and I agree, that the Prisoner had one of the best opening credits sequences ever. I love how the entire premise of the show is communicated non-verbally (at least until he gets to the island).

So I've discovered a problem with the Ikea carpet: it quickly shows dirt and dog hair, and since my two dirty, sheddy dogs like to sleep on it, it needs to be vacuumed constantly. It takes about a day for it to start looking gross, and after four-five days I'm cringing every time I walk on it. I don't have a regular vacuum cleaner, just a hand vac I use in my car. So there's lots of crawling around the floor to get the rug presentable. Fortunately the hand vac is powerful enough to handle it.

In other gross dog stories, this morning when I got up Thirteen had something hanging out of her mouth. Which isn't that unusual, I figured it was just a twig or bit dead grass or something. On closer examination it was actually a piece of thread. I pulled it out, and pulled, and pulled ... over two feet of thread came out of the poor girl's mouth! It was kind of comical, like the magicians who pull yards of silk hankies out of their mouths. But at the same time it was horrifying, because it's really dangerous for an animal to swallow a long piece of string. It can get tangled up inside them and cause serious injury. She coughed and hacked a bit while I was pulling it out, but it didn't seem to hurt her, thank god. The whole morning I've been telling her not to scare me like that again. And promising myself to be more careful about throwing away the scraps and loose threads when I'm sewing.

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Had a nice dinner with my friend Lisa. We're both kind of geek girls, so we spend a lot of time talking about technology. This evening it was mostly relating to Lisa's impending pilgrimage to Roswell. But we've also somehow simultaneously decided to explore the "girl" in "geek girl" so the conversation was a bit girly as well. An important consensus was reached that a) Lisa's new glasses are extremely cool and b) if you're going to go to the trouble of putting together a nice outfit, your handbag as well as your shoes should coordinate.

Right now I'm in software heaven because I finally upgraded to Photoshop 7. I'd been using version 5, woefully out of date. For over a year I was using system X but all my work software was still running out of Classic. It didn't bother me because I hadn't used the native X versions, so I didn't know any better. But when I finally started upgrading, I started to notice how clunky the Classic apps were by comparison. Luckily, thanks to VRT I had the money to do some upgrading (and I felt justified spending the money because it's a legitimate business expense).

Photoshop is the last major upgrade; I'm all up to date now. Well, except for Quark Xpress. Which I may never upgrade, because it's obscenely expensive and they have such rotten customer service, I hate giving them more money. I don't use it every day so I don't mind going back to Classic for it.

I'm not on the air this week. Instead I'm going out to a client's tomorrow morning, to do a photo shoot. He's a dog trainer and he wants photos of some of his best clients with their dogs. I'm a bit nervous about it because first, dogs are hard to photograph well, even by a professional photographer; and second, I'm not a professional photographer. However I have warned the client of this fact. And I do have a good camera. So I'm hoping the photos will turn out OK.

I thought it would be fun to post the stations' top ten RPM list that I just turned in to CMJ. So here it is, the 10 most popular electronic releases at WXDU Durham last week:

# ... ARTIST ... Recording
1 ... ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES 3.0 ... VARIOUS ARTISTS
2 ... IDOL TRYOUTS: GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL VOL. 1 ... VARIOUS ARTISTS
3 ... PREFUSE 73 ... One Word Extinguisher
4 ... PEST ... Necessary Measures
5 ... SOLID STEEL PRESENTS HEXSTATIC ... Listen And Learn
6 ... NOBUKAZU TAKEMURA ... Songbook
7 ... CHRIS CLARK ... Ceramics Is The Bomb
8 ... IKEBANA: MERZBOW'S AMLUX REBUILT, REUSED AND RECYCLED ... VARIOUS ARTISTS
9 ... MOUSE ON MARS ... Glam [REISSUE]
10 ... INVISIBLE CITIES ... VARIOUS ARTISTS

They make us enter the compilations with the album title under "artist" and "various" under "title," which is sort of backwards, because in the magazine they only publish the artists names, not the album titles. So if we entered "various" under the artist name, all comps would show up in the magazine as "various artists" with no other information. Which wouldn't be very helpful! You would think their software would be smart enough to automatically reverse title and artist whenever the artist was "various." You would think that. But making things easier on stations doesn't seem to be too high on CMJ's priority list. And who knows, maybe there's some programmatic reason why it couldn't do that.

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Georg did the world music show yesterday afternoon at the station, so I went over with him to work on reshelving the RPM section. It's kind of a mess, and I wanted to familiarize myself with the collection anyway, so why not.

Reshelving is time-consuming and tedious, but kind of fun in a weird way. In two hours I got through one bay. I was hoping it would go more quickly, but I had brought my computer with me so I could a. write down the names of labels I want to contact, and b. rip good albums. Did pretty well at both. I got a good list of labels who used to send us promos in years past, but haven't sent much recently. And I got some choice albums. Both things I already knew I liked, and things that just looked interesting.

It's kind of funny how you get to know the musical tastes of the various reviewers. So that eventually you know that if one guy loved a CD, you'll probably love it to, but if another guy loved it, you'll probably hate it. There are a couple of RPM reviewers who left the station before I got there, so I never actually met them, but I feel almost as if I know them through their reviews.

Afterwards we went over to our friends Christa and Ray to see their new house, which they just closed on a few days ago. The house is amazing. Roomy, with lots of nice features like two fireplaces, built-in cabinets, and a huge kitchen with a totally retro fifties stove. They're a bit close to the interstate, but we couldn't hear it inside the house and they're about to put up a big sound barrier wall so that will help outside too. The house needs some renovation and Christa was hard at work pulling down wallpaper when we got there. She took time out to give us the grand tour, but we didn't stay for too long since she clearly wanted to get back to work.

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TCM is doing a series on Bollywood movies this month, every Thursday night. We taped this past week's movies and just watched the best of the bunch, the 1977 film Amar Akbar Anthony. The title refers to the main characters, three brothers who are separated at a young age and raised as a Hindu, a Muslim and a Christian, respectively. It features an insanely convoluted plot, Hong Kong-style kung fu fighting (so badly done it's wonderful), a lovable scamp as male romantic lead (Anthony) who makes bootleg liquor and dresses like Huggy Bear, and of course more songs than you can shake a stick at. About midway through the movie there's a dance number in which Anthony jumps out of a giant Easter egg, dressed vaguely like Abraham Lincoln, and sings this song. That scene, along with the final dance number in which Amar, Akbar and Anthony impersonate a one-man band, a crochety old tailor and an itinerant priest, had us proclaiming "best movie ever!"

Akbar, the Islamic brother, is a qawali singer, which provides more realistic opportunities for dance numbers, less contrived than people just spontaneously bursting into song. Which could be good or bad, depending on your point of view about musicals. The film also included Shabana Asmi (a star so big even I've heard of her) as one of the heroines, a petty crook with a heart of gold.

Amar Akbar Anthony must be seen to be believed, so I hope they rerun it. Also last Thursday they showed a couple of other films. The first one was OK, didn't impress me too much one way or the other. The second one, Bombay, was a much more serious film about riots that broke out between Hindus and Muslims in the early '90s in Bombay. I watched about the first hour and the film was quite good, but of course not easy viewing like the comedic romp Amar Akbar Anthony. Bombay also featured music by A.R. Rahman, always a good thing. I hear next week they'll be showing 2 films featuring Aamir Khan, the star of Lagaan, a huge star in India. Also Sholay, an older film that's apparently based on spaghetti westerns. Set your VCR!

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Sean and Pam have gone away for the weekend so we're watching their dog Nutty for them. It's great when Nutty gets to stay here because Nutty, Lina and Thirteen grew up together and they're always happy when they can be together. Lina and Nutty have both developed aggression problems towards other dogs, but they still love each other. Of course I love having Nutty here too, and spoil him rotten. We don't let our dogs on the furniture, but Nutty's just so cute that I can't say no to him.

The good thing about Nutty being here for a few days is that his aggression problem has manifested against one of Sean and Pam's other dogs, Dennis. Dennis is four times Nutty's size, so picking fights with him is a futile endeavor, but that doesn't stop Nutty. It's gotten so bad that half the fur on Nutty's back is still growing in from having to get stitches from his last fight with Dennis (not to mention the scars on Sean's arms from breaking up the fight!). They have to keep them separated at all times now, so Nutty stays inside a crate whenever he's in the house. So I'm really happy that he can have a few days to hang out with dogs he gets along with, and be inside the house without having to be crated.

My dogs eat once a day, but Nutty gets fed twice day. So this weekend everyone's eating twice a day. (Actually twice a day is supposed to be better for them, so maybe I'll take this opportunity to switch Lina and Thirteen to a twice-daily schedule.) After all I can't very well feed Nutty and give the others nothing. Especially since Nutty shows a level of disinterest in his food that I have never seen in another dog.

He supposedly missed last night's dinner, and I fed them breakfast almost an hour ago, but he hasn't touched it. Lina likes to stand guard over her food for a while before she eats it, but she's always highly aware that it's there. Nutty on the other hand doesn't seem to care. Since Lina and Thirteen would both be happy to eat Nutty's food, I have to carry his dish around with me so it's always in my view.

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I got a letter from the IRS yesterday. Two letters actually. The first one was the scary kind. (Having done payroll taxes for Stoneline for what, eight years now? I've lost track. Anyway having done payroll taxes for so long, I've learned to recognize the scary kind of IRS letter by the envelope.) The scary letter says:

"We Have Reduced Your Estimated Tax Penalty"

as I read this I'm thinking, penalty? oh god oh god oh god ... wait. It says they've reduced the penalty. Wha?

"We reduced or eliminated your estimated tax penalty because we changed the figures on your form 2210 (underpayment of estimated tax by individuals, estates and trusts) for the above tax period. When we changed the figures, it lowered your penalty. As a result, we increased the amount of overpayment reported on your income tax return."

Since I have never filed a 2210, now I'm seriously confused. The letter goes on to show the same figures for tax withheld, tax owed, and refund that were on my tax return, and $0 penalty. The second IRS letter is my refund, in the full amount.

The only thing I can think is, on my return I had asked them to hold back a big chunk of my refund as an estimated payment for 2003. But instead I got this notice and a check for the full amount. I had never made an estimated payment before, so maybe I did it wrong?

I do need to make an estimated payment for this quarter, because of the deck royalty. I think I need to call the IRS. I'm kind of nervous about cashing the refund check until I find out what this is about. I wish I had (or could afford) an accountant.

[Update, about 1/2 hour later]
I called the IRS and talked to someone who was actually nice and helpful. Come to think of it, the last couple of times I've had to call for Stoneline they'v been much more helpful than they used to be. Maybe those Congressional hearings a couple of years back actually accomplished something.

Anyway it turns out I wrote on the wrong line on my 1040. Instead of asking for money to be set aside for a 2003 estimated tax payment, I wrote it in under "estimated tax penalty," the line below. So it makes perfect sense that they sent me a notice reducing my estimated tax penalty.

I still need to make the estimated payment, so I just have to find out how to do that. Luckily my royalty didn't come until the second quarter, so I'm not late on the estimated payment.

Whew!

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I never got a chance to talk about the amazing thing Georg got for me. An iPod! It is so cool. It's 15 Gb, I've been installing music on it for days and it's still only about 10% full. We were amused by the packaging: the manual came inside a box labeled "Enjoy," but the iPod had a decal on it that said "Don't steal music" in several languages. Aren't those two things mutually exclusive?

As would be expected, the iPod works really well with iTunes. All you have to do is select the playlists you want to download, and then whenever you plug in the iPod it updates automatically. So far I've had a great time using it to transfer music files from the old computer to the new one. It looks so cute next to my computer.

But the best part is using it in the car. As you may recall my car stereo was stolen a little over a year ago. I replaced it with an MP3 compatible stereo, thinking that I would make super-long MP3 CDs for long trips. Well I never got around to that, but the car stereo also came with a little jack marked "MP3 Input," which I ignored until now. Well, add a $4 cable from Radio Shack, and the iPod plugs right into the car stereo! This is going to make road trips so much easier. No more lugging a giant binder full of CDs in the car, no more fumbling to get CDs in and out of the stereo. Of course I will have to push the buttons on the iPod to change albums, but so far (just driving around town) it seems easier to manage than dealing with actual CDs. Yay!!

Water heater update: It looks like the thermostat is still bad, what it's doing is overheating the water and then shutting itself off. That's why it got so hot all of a sudden, and then we had no hot water two days later. So we're pressing the reset button every day or so, which seems to be working fine. Unfortunately the water heater is in the crawl space, so that means lots of trips under the house by Georg. Bleh!

A handy person I know mentioned that sometimes thermostats stop working because some dust or a dead bug or something is stuck in the coil. So he suggested getting in there and jiggling the temperature setting back and forth a bit, then setting it ten degrees cooler, and see if that makes a difference. I think I'll try that tomorrow. If the weather's nice, that is. It's been raining so much here, I don't want to be spending a lot of time in the crawl space if it's muddy and wet.

I'm thinking about setting up RSS syndication for this diary. Supposedly this would allow Livejournal users who read my site to add me to their "friends" list, which would make it easier for them to follow the diary. I started researching it last night, but it turned out to be more than a trivial task, and I was more tired than I had realized from a bad night's sleep the night before. So I went to bed early instead.

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I had a great show this morning. Really fun. I was concerned that after doing an hour and a half all spring, three hours would seem too long. But it was fine, there was plenty of good stuff on the playlist. In fact my problem was trying not to play too much playlist. (the music director Alicia has to read every flowsheet, all hand-written, and enter all the playlist tracks into a spreadsheet. It takes her hours every week. I didn't know that until recently so I used to play as much playlist as possible. Which I feel really guilty about now.)

Anyway, the show was really fun and I got a bunch of calls. My good friend Kevin called to ask about something I had played (John Fahey), and then Beth, the woman I used to split with last spring, called to ask about something else I had played (Melon Galia), and two people called when I offered tickets to Israel Vibration at the Cradle (too bad I only had one pair of tickets to give away), and three people made requests, and a student even came by the station to find out how to become a DJ. I had him write a note and put it in the training director's mailbox. Whew! It was great to get so much feedback. I think I'm going to like Tuesday mornings after all.

Unfortunately, I wasn't actually able to fulfill any of the 3 requests. One of them (Shocking Blue) I couldn't find at all. Another guy requested a song by Velvet Underground which we didn't have. We only have one VU album, which I found bizarre. So I played something off that album. Then the third guy requested something from Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. Get this, we have 7 Thinking Fellers albums and not one of them had the song he wanted! So I played something else by them. I invited them all to call back with another request if they wanted, but none of them did.

After my show I had a lunch meeting with a client at the Mad Hatter restaurant. I got there a bit early so I set up the computer. Checked (as I always do) for an open wireless network, and what do you know, I found one! I downloaded my email, practically rubbing my hands together with glee at the thought of being able to go there in afternoons when it's less crowded and work.

Alas, I tried to send Georg and email and it bounced back with a "relaying not allowed" error message. After that I couldn't get anything: couldn't get on the web or download email. I wonder if trying to send out that email caused me to get shut out of the network or something? Oh well, guess I won't be doing the coffeehouse computer thing, at least not at Mad Hatter.

This afternoon I caught a bit of a show on the Style network called "The Look for Less," which is about recreating high fashion looks on the cheap. Thus the name. Since I'm used to buying clothes at Goodwill, or Marshalls, or making them myself, to my point of view the show's idea of inexpensive is often kind of a joke. I'm sorry but a casual shirt, jeans and shoes for $125 (for example) is not "the look for less." But I still watch it sometimes to get ideas. Anyway, one of the features they have on the show is to give a minor celebrity $100 and send them shopping for an outfit, usually in a trendy (i.e. overpriced) vintage store. Today the minor celebrity was Alexis Arquette. Who if I recall correctly, was one of the main subjects of Wigstock. The show called him the "most outrageous Arquette" and talked about his "wild fashion sense" while carefully avoiding the term "drag queen." Which did not surprise me, but what did surprise me was they showed a couple shots of him in full drag. He shopped for men's clothing, and pretty lame men's clothing at that, which was a bit disappointing. I would really liked to have seen Alexis Arquette come up with a drag outfit on $100. That would have been something worth tuning in for.

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Georg fixed the hot water heater! Georg fixed the hot water heater!

It turns out it was the thermostat after all. After waiting a couple of hours for the tank to heat up, I took a long, long shower this evening and I have to say I have never had a better shower in my life. As Georg said, "Civilization may have its disaffects, but this isn't one of them."

We're going to go ahead and have the instant water heater put in anyway; the old one is all rusty, so who knows how long it would last, and it wasn't producing much hot water anyway. But this way we're not under any urgency to get the plumber et al in as fast as possible. The plumber has to come in and do the initial setup, then the electrician and the heating company come to do the thermostat and the gas line, respectively, and then the plumber comes back to move the water line to the new heater and get it all running. The plumber is trying to fit us in around other bigger jobs, so there may be some scheduling involved. But it's OK, because we have hot water!

In other news, I got a photo of our new table with the tablecloth and candles (also courtesy of Ikea) all set up. The new sideboard is visible in the corner of the room. We're still using the mismatched thrift store chairs, but I kind of like that.

Also I finally got back on the stick about reviewing for the radio station. I gave Georg 3 reviews to turn in (I was busy with the aforementioned shower so I wasn't going anywhere). Good stuff too: Torch, a collection of downtempo/nujazz torch songs from Six Degrees; a terrific new album from some dreamy Norwegian electronic group called Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band; and Dimitri from Paris' classic Sacrebleu for backfill. Unfortunately, I was a bit late getting them printed out and taped to the CD cases, and by the time he got there they had already finished printing labels. So my reviewed CDs won't go up until next week. Ah well. I'll try to review a few more before then so that next week I'll have tons of reviews and people will think I've been really industrious.

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Due to overwhelming public response (well okay, two people asked) I am posting photos of my vintage mod pattern collection. This is most of the patterns, plus the clothes I've made. If you find clothes boring, you might want to skip this entry.


This is the one that got the whole mod thing going for me. A basic A-line minidress in "so tacky it's cool" copper and black fabric. I didn't make it; I bought it in a thrift store in Tucson about 7 years ago. I'm pretty sure it was handmade by someone though. It's a bit ratty, the seams are coming apart in a couple of places, but I love it to death. Just recently started wearing it again & decided to go mod for all my summer clothes this year.

I call this one my Petula Clark dress. The pattern came with a big sash but I don't wear it; all that bulk makes me look a bit thick in the waist. It's made of upholstery fabric, which is sometimes the best bet for retro prints. Unfortunately it can be a bit heavy and I don't think I'll be wearing the Petula Clark dress again until fall. This is the pattern it came from.

I made this one in a bright green leafy print, but the print is so busy I couldn't get a good photo of it. I made the one on the far right. Actually I'm not crazy about the flared skirt, it's not really my style. I might try to find some long fringe and make the middle version, it's kind of flapper-ish.

This is my "stewardess dress." Believe it or not, I was actually trying to match the print, but I don't usually work with printed fabric so I did a pretty bad job of it. This pattern came together really quickly; I think I'm going to make at least one more of it. Here's the pattern. The version on the left with the pilgrim collar is really hideous, but I love that wide standing bias collar on the right.


This is the dress I'm working on now, that I talked about a couple of days ago. Here's the pattern again if you missed the earlier entry. Having it fully lined makes it feel more tailored and formal (not to mention heavier), so this is probably going to end up being a special occasion outfit. It's almost done; I just need to put in the sleeves and zipper, and then hem it.

This pattern will be my next project. The pattern didn't come from Ebay, but from someone from the radio station who also collects and trades vintage patterns. How cool is that? I would never have known if I hadn't recognized her Ebay screen name. Anyway, it's hard to see in the photo but this pattern has a nifty curved seam all the way across the front.

At a 32" bust I'll probably never be able to wear this one, but it's so amazing I had to get it anyway. Maybe I'll figure out how to alter it at some point.

I wanted to make this one now, out of that green linen, but I read the instructions and they were so complicated I couldn't follow them. Most patterns have 15-20 steps; this one has 57. It's that diagonal seam down the front, way too advanced for me. I'll have to take a class or something so I can get some help, and then try it in wool for winter.

OK, well that's my mod pattern collection. I have a few others but these are the highlights.

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