September 2007 Archives

azteca grill


It's been great food all weekend. Not only Watts Grocery which I wrote about yesterday, also last night we made an excellent chicken stew with a sauce made of tomato, raisins and orange peel. It turned out great, definitely a recipe we'll try again. And may I say, cooking a wonderful stew with Georg, on one of the first cool evenings of the season, while listening to John Buzon Trio and pretending we know how to cha-cha, is just about a perfect evening.

Tonight after the show we had dinner at the Azteca Grill near Lakewood with Sylvia. The waitress spoke basic English, and Sylvia, who speaks Spanish fluently, was able to ask her more detailed questions about a few things on the menu. She asked about the sopes, and though I didn't understand the waitress' reply, it sounded like she said they were good. So I ordered sopes al pastor. They were great! It's a thick, handmade (sort of) corn tortilla, with a lip around the edge, topped with a generous amount of meat (al pastor is seasoned pork, not spicy), also cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. Georg had gorditas with lengua (tongue) and Sylvia had tacos with carne asada. We were all very happy with our orders.

I noticed they also had huaraches on the menu, which I've seen on Rick Bayless, and I may order that next time. It's sort of like sopes but larger, shaped a little bit like a shoe (thus the name). The sopes were very filling. I only ate about half of mine and took the rest home.

Now I'm having a cozy evening, watching Ninja Warrior and knitting a sweater. How fantastic that it's finally cool enough to knit, and I also have the time to do it. I hope this sweater turns out! I'm making this cardigan in Cotton-Ease. I'm really enjoying this knitting thing. Now if only it were easier to find reasonably priced yarn that didn't suck.

alien abduction

| No Comments

Making Light has a thorough, rational, and compassionate debunking of the Betty & Barney Hill alien abduction story. It's fascinating, a long read & worth every word. Don't miss author Jim MacDonald's conclusion in the comments thread.

watts grocery

| 1 Comment

Georg and I had a terrific time at the rubber duck race this morning with D. and S. I took lots of photos.

Afterwards we all went to Watts Grocery for lunch. The food was excellent. I had a chicken sandwich and everyone else had breakfasty things. S. got the grits bowl (choose three toppings, I think she had bacon, cheese and salsa) which looked so good I think I'll order it next time.

The service ... well the service reminded me why I never go to restaurants right after they open. Things went fairly smoothly, just a few minor glitches, until we tried to pay. They rang up our check with the wrong amount, and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to figure out how to refund Georg's credit card so they could do it again. I know people always overestimate time spent waiting, but I looked at my watch and it was a good 20 minutes from the time we noticed the error until we left.

Mistakes do happen, especially in the first few days, and I wouldn't give them a hard time about it. Except that it was handled very poorly. They pretty much completely ignored us during the whole problem. We sat there, watching the waitress struggle with the computer while the manager wandered over, wandered away to schmooze other customers, then wandered back. Most alarming were the times they both wandered away, leaving Georg' credit card sitting on the bar unattended. It would have gone a long way if they'd given us a little something, like a dessert maybe, for our troubles while we waited. Or offered to knock a few dollars off the check. Even just refilling our drinks, that would have been nice. Coming over and explaining what was going on would have been the bare minimum, and we didn't even get that.

The manager did come over and apologize eventually, while explaining that he was not able to void the charge and was going to have to do it "from the office." Then they went back to ignoring us, and didn't say goodbye as we walked out, right past them. We left without much confidence that the charge will actually be removed; luckily Georg can check online in a couple of days.

I have to say, if this had happened in a restaurant that had been open three months, I would never go back. But these guys have been open, what, three days? So I will cut them some slack. After all, the food was excellent. (Next time we'll pay cash.)

ETA: I just got a very thoughtful and apologetic email from the chef of Watts Grocery. I'm kind of surprised that she found this post, and very happy that she took the time to write to me. It speaks well of their concern for problem resolution, and I'm very much looking forward to going there again.

(Now I just hope they add the pastrami reuben to the weekend brunch menu so I can try it!)

minimum qualifications

| No Comments

me: Did you hear that Al Franken is officially running for Congress?

Georg: I think that's officially a mistake.

me: You don't think he can win?

Georg: Well, if Arnold Schwarzenegger can become a governor...

me: Not to mention Jesse Ventura.

Georg: There's Franken's problem. He wasn't in Predator.

stick shift


Saw something odd today: a car with STICK SHIFT painted on the back of the trunk. I wondered why they painted that on their car? The only explanation I can think of, off the top of my head, is to get people not to pull up so damned close when stopped on a hill. But then wouldn't "Stick Shift: STAY BACK" work better?

I have found that those who have never driven a stick have no idea of the tendency to roll when starting on an incline, and simply don't know how stupid (and risky, and rude) it is to pull up three inches behind the car in front of you on a hill. Then again, even if they did know most of them would probably do it anyway.

When I first learned to drive stick and still felt panic at having to start on a hill with a car behind me, a good friend advised me to watch for a car pulling up behind me, and roll back about a foot just as they got close. That would make it look like I was a bad or at least unpredictable driver, which would scare them into giving me a lot of room. I found it worked well, but only if they were paying attention. If they were thoroughly inattentive drivers and didn't notice, then I was just making it worse for myself by closing the gap even further.

When Georg learned to drive UMJ, I never could think of a better strategy for dealing with that particular problem. Which I do think is the hardest part of driving a manual transmission. We decided that if he had to stop on a hill, he'd just pull off to the shoulder and we'd switch places so I could do that part. Since he only ever drives UMJ on the highway on road trips, it hasn't even happened yet.

eponymous laws

| No Comments

We had great fun at trivia last night. The questions were unusually hard, and everyone did worse than usual. The hardest category was "Eponymous Laws," which no one even knew what it meant until D. explained: laws named after a person. He read the law and we had to name it. (When he described the category I was hoping he'd do Godwin's Law, but no such luck.) We only got one from that whole category, Sturgeon's Law. Major kudos to D. for reading the actual Sturgeon's law, "ninety percent of everything is crud," not crap as people usually say. I was impressed!

In any case, we got lucky and did less bad than everyone else. It seems to be an advantage to us when D. and S. write the questions, because we have enough common interests I guess. The only weird thing was at the end: when they read the scores, one of the other teams got all shocked and "wha???" And I stupidly thought they were expressing confusion at our team name, "Hail Fredonia," so I stood up on my stool and yelled "woo!" Which maybe sounded like gloating, which wasn't how I meant it at all. I wanted to stand up and sing "Hail, Hail Fredonia, land of the FREEEEEE" but I sure as hell can't sing like Margaret Dumont. Then one guy on the other team started yelling about how did we get a score so much higher than theirs. He went on and on and it was really kind of creepy. It reminded me of high school, and not in a good way. (Honestly it's kind of hard to imagine something reminding me of high school in a good way, but definitely not this.)

Other than that moment of weirdness, it was a fun evening. Dain's is a nice place. Especially when it's busy enough to be fun, but not super crowded and noisy.

the late late show


I think the show went really well! It was a wonderful experience for me to share the show with my dad, and I hope it was enjoyable for the listeners as well. Here's the playlist.

The editing wasn't perfect by any stretch -- how could it be, this was my first ever attempt -- but I do think that my effort was worth it & improved the show. I spent a lot of time working on the music, thinking about which tracks would go best with each talkset and how to weave them in. In fact I thought I was done last night, and then this morning I woke up with a couple of ideas, and went back and re-edited a couple of the tracks.

Which re-editing almost caused a disaster. I was working on one of the final talksets, the one where my dad talks about seeing the Count Basie Orchestra perform. One of my edits had introduced a big blob of noise into the music track which I couldn't get rid of. (This seems to be a bug in the Audacity beta, it happened in other tracks too.) To eliminate the noise I imported another copy of the music track, copied about a second of it and pasted it into the exact same spot over the noise. To my relief that worked, the noise was gone and there wasn't any pop or jump at the edges of the pasted snippet.

I had adjusted the volume on the music track, to quiet it under the dialogue, then bring it up again for a few seconds in the middle, drop it out again and then bring it back at the very end. I muted the duplicate music track since none of those adjustments had been made to it, and then exported the whole thing to AIFF. Here's my mistake: Apparently the "mute" button in Audacity is for the preview only. It doesn't work when you export. Which meant the music track was playing at full volume under the entire talkset, way too loud to hear the dialogue.

After exporting the file I burned everything to CD (which had its own complications, I had chosen the wrong options in the AIFF export and had to convert them all before I could get iTunes to recognize them) and then we went out to lunch. When we got home we had about a half hour to spare, so I decided what the heck, I'll just listen to every track one last time and make sure the CD is okay. Imagine my horror when I got to the next to last track, five minutes before we had to leave, and discovered that it was totally unlistenable. One of the best talksets, too. How awful it would have been if I hadn't discovered the mistake.

I was able to fix it and get the corrected track burned onto a CD before we left, so no harm done. Still, the whole drive over I kept having to remind myself to breathe. There's nothing like five minutes of sheer panic to get you going!

The show itself was the easiest part of the whole process. Georg came with me and manned the computer, just in case I needed help. It turned out to be much less effort than a regular show, and I could easily have done it all myself. Still, it was nice to have his company.

I had never done a show before where every track had been planned in advance. Instead of figuring out what to play next every three minutes, all I had to do was read the list, pull the next song, and stick it in the CD player. I wouldn't want to do it this way every week; I like the spontaneity of the regular shows. But I think it would make things easier if I had a short list of song ideas to draw from, rather than doing the entire show off-the-cuff.

If I ever have the opportunity to do another interview show, I think I'll spend less time on the "um"s and more time on mixing the dialogue together with the music. I think that was the editing task that I did the best with, that had the most positive impact on the show. I think I made it sound pretty good, and if I had had more time to think about it and work on it, I could have made it sound better.

Another thing I would do differently is to listen to it without headphones at least once. The headphones are invaluable for the "concentrating really hard to hear every detail" part. But it sounds really different without headphones, and that's how people are going to hear the final show. I would have made adjustments to the volume of the music under the dialogue (is there a name for that?) if I had previewed it that way.

I hadn't realized how nervous I was about this show, until this morning around 4 I had a classic anxiety dream about the radio station. I haven't had one of those in ages! Years maybe. In this one I dreamed that when I got to the station, I found out the schedule had changed and my time slot had been moved back 15 minutes. I was really upset about this because that's just long enough for regular listeners to decide that the show isn't on anymore, and tune out. They had also moved me to a new control room, really far from the MCR down a long long hallway. In the dream all of our equipment was steam powered, and the boiler was way back by the old MCR. I had to run all the way back down that long hallway and carry boiling water back to power my equipment. The only container I could find to carry the water was a porcelain mug. The porcelain was cold and by the time I got back to the new control room, the water had cooled down too much to produce any steam.

Thank goodness the actual show was easy and stress-free!


| No Comments

The "Dad Divaville Lounge" show is done. All the talksets have been recorded, edited, and musick-ed.* The whole show is timed out. I even planned it to make sure a talkset with a station ID falls on the hour.

This is by far the most involved project I've ever done for radio. I'm in awe of people who do this every week, even moreso a show that's all talk. How do they do it? This show is about 35 minutes of talk, and it took me all week to put it together. I hope the finished show is worth it. Tune in tomorrow at 3 pm and find out! 88.7 if you're local, if you're not.

*is there a word for that?

i got um


Audacity is great. I've been using it to layer the instrumental music under the dialogue. It's exactly what I need: a multi-track mixing and editing program that's easy to understand and use. I tried that program Deck, which seems to be aimed at pros, and I couldn't make head or tails of it. I found Audacity much more intuitive for what I need to do. Which isn't much: layer multiple tracks, insert silence, adjust the volume of an entire track or a portion of one, and fade in and out where the volume changes. There are dozens of other options listed in the menus, most of which I don't even know what they mean. And don't care really; the program is doing what I want.

On Thursday I listened to several episodes of my clients' radio show and payed attention to the editing. I was rather surprised to discover that they have tons of "um"s and false starts in their interviews. Tons of them. I was wondering if I was going about this all the wrong way, since they were the ones who told me "the more the better" as far as editing goes, and I have been following their advice. Then I remembered that most of their interviews are live, so of course it's going to sound looser than something prerecorded.

I did have Georg listen to what I had done, and he assured me that it sounded conversational, not overedited. I am taking his word for it and sticking with what I've got. Although today, I ended up adding one "um" back in. It had been a hard one to remove, the way the words ran together, and listening to it again I realized that I hadn't done a good job of it. There wasn't a pop but it sounded weird, you could tell something had been done to it. I think an "um" here and there is better than making it sound choppy.

And there was one other place where I had misspoken and I really, really wanted to clean it up, but couldn't. Again, the words just ran together so much that I couldn't separate them without it sounding really strange. I even tried rerecording that sentence (I think that's called "looping"?) but it didn't work, when I pasted it in my voice sounded totally different. I didn't want it to be like the TV shows where it's so painfully obvious when someone is speaking live and when they've been rerecorded later (ANTM is particularly bad about this) so I left it as is. Again I think an honest slip of the tongue, while awkward, is going to sound better than something that was obviously faked.

I finished editing the talksets last night, and I'm about 2/3 done with the music. It's been fun to search out the instrumentals to go with each talkset. Normally on the air I just pick an instrumental CD, and use it for every talkset that day. This takes much more time, and I wouldn't want to do it for a live show. But it's nice to have the chance to think about what tunes will sound good with and be meaningfully related to what's being discussed.

Just now I took a break for about an hour, a half-hour of which was a nap. Which I greatly enjoyed, and greatly needed. This being a new skill I'm just learning, and not really knowing what I'm doing, I'm finding it very tiring. It takes more energy than I would have expected (if I had thought about it, which I did not) to concentrate this closely for long stretches of time. I guess I'm not used to listening so intently.

there's always room for bacon


I just realized that I had bacon with every meal today. Except breakfast.

Lunch: chicken BLT salad from Wendy's.
Dinner: pumpkin ravioli tossed with bacon and parmesan cheese, and green beans.
Dessert: 2 glorious squares of bacon chocolate bar from Vosges.

I think I see myself, eleven hours from now, pulling out of the Bojangles drive-through with a bacon cheese biscuit. I don't see myself getting home before eating it.

in the swing

| No Comments

Since starting work on this audio editing project, I've been getting one talkset done a night. Which was alarming me just a bit this afternoon, since I had eight more talksets to go, only four days, and I still have to add the music in to all of them. I've already cancelled plans for the weekend to make time, and I've been trying not to envision my nightmare scenario of trying frantically to finish editing right up until the show on Sunday.

Well, I knew that once I got into the swing of this editing thing, it would start to go faster. And I did even better than I had hoped. Tonight I got 6 talksets done. Woo! Just think how fast I'd be if I had a clue what I was doing. I'm getting pretty comfortable removing the "um"s, though I still have no idea how to strip out any tapping or popping that happens simultaneously with dialogue that I need to keep. Is that even possible? I guess it must be, for someone who knows how to do this.

Even though I went back and decided the first talkset was clumsily edited and needs to be done over (it was my first attempt after all), I'm still in great shape. I can finish up the editing tomorrow night and then spend the weekend figuring out how to add in the music. My friend J. told me that Garageband might be the easiest way to do it.

Today I listened to The Splendid Table podcasts and tried to hear how they edit it. I think that show is actually a better example for me to follow than This American Life because it's more conversational, less likely to be Serious Narration About Important Issues Of Our Time. I noticed that on The Splendid Table they remove all the "um"s and false starts from the narration, and almost all from the interview segments (like the Sterns from Road Food who always start the show. And who, may I add, manage to sound like totally spontaneous and perfectly articulate people who never repeat words or say "um"). But The Splendid Table's editors leave a lot of that verbal throat clearing intact in the phone-in segments. I suspect they leave those segments looser to make it sound live. Though I'm pretty certain none of the show is actually live. I think they record those phone calls in advance.

It made me wonder if I should leave any of the "um"s in my dad's interview. My clients who work in radio told me to take them all out, but these other shows leave them in sometimes. I decided to leave one in tonight: when I asked him to choose which Peggy Lee song he wanted to hear, he paused for a moment to decide. I left in the "um" because if I took it out, it might sound like we had decided in advance which song we were going to play, and I was only pretending to ask him (which wasn't the case).

the thirteen report

| 1 Comment

So besides being a pain in my ass on car rides, how is Thirteen doing? Well, she's okay. Better than bad, worse than good. The vet was concerned about her itchy skin (which truth be told, I'm concerned about too) and prescribed a steroid. A couple of years ago when Thirteen had that bad cough, her other vet made a pretty strong case to stay away from steroids. But this vet assured me that we would start with a low dose and keep a close eye on Thirteen's reaction. There's also an antibiotic for the inflammation. Poor dog is on so many pills now that we got one of those little plastic pill trays with a compartment for each day. We got it for the pet sitter and I think we'll probably find it useful for ourselves too.

One thing I noticed Monday night during Thirteen's bath: somehow her right rear foot got turned under and she didn't even notice. I had to hold her leg and turn it back up for her. Imagine turning your foot forward so the tops of your toes are on the ground. Now imagine standing there with your weight resting on your foot like that, and not noticing. Her vet told me a while ago that's a sign of neurological impairment, when they can't tell where their feet are. So that's not good. Then again, it happened during a bath which is a high-stress experience and probably not a good test of her cognitive abilities. And it was the bad leg which has been somewhat lame for awhile. If it happened with one of her good legs, I'd be more concerned.

Thirteen's weight has been stable at 38 pounds for the past month. It's a relief that she's not losing anymore, but still I was hoping for a gradual increase in weight to get her back up around 40 pounds. And she's become finicky about her food in the morning, which is not so great. Not only because it could be a symptom of something bad, but for the practical reason that we have to sit there and coax her to eat and keep Jane out of her dish for longer and longer each morning. It has begun to interfere with getting ready for work on time.

The weird thing is that Thirteen is only finicky about food in the morning. In the evening she eats it all up without hesitation. The only difference in the food between morning and evening is that we open a fresh can for the evening meal, and then keep it in the fridge overnight for the morning meal. Yesterday the vet suggested that maybe if she didn't like the cold food, we could heat it up. Being careful of course not to make it too hot for her to eat comfortably. This morning I tried heating her food for 20 seconds in the microwave, and stirred it up to mix in any hot spots. That seemed to help; she ate almost the whole portion right away, then came back on her own and finished it off. We're also shifting gradually to a larger meal in the evening and a smaller meal in the morning, so that even if we can't get her to eat in the morning, she still gets the full portion through the day.

It feels kind of ridiculous to go through these lengths to feed her, but I guess that's how it is with an old dog. Someday that'll be me eating meatloaf and creamed corn because I can't handle anything crunchy, and complaining if it's a bit too hot or cold.

Okay, so I'm making the situation sound awful, and it isn't really that bad. Thirteen still seems alert, aware of her surroundings, and happy. The cognitive problems are pretty minor.

to um or not to um

| No Comments

Got Peak installed last night. It's much more powerful than the other program I was using, with a learning curve to match. I spent over an hour reading the manual last night, and I'm not typically a manual-reading person. After reading the manual I got the second audio segment edited. I also found out that Peak does not handle multiple tracks. The same company makes another program, Deck, to do that.

Deck is set up to look just like a mixing board. Which would be great, if I had ever used a mixing board before. I'm going to poke around online and see if there's anything else which will do what I need and might be a little easier to work with.

Several years ago I heard a segment on This American Life about how they prepare the show. They said most listeners would be surprised by how much editing they do: not just the obvious things like cleaning up the "ums" and false starts, but even lengthening or shortening every pause to maximize the impact of each word. I've been listening to back episodes of TAL and trying to hear the editing. One interesting discovery: they don't actually remove all the "ums," false starts and repeated words. Mostly they do strip them out. But they leave them in when the speaker is excited or, more surprisingly, when the speaker is not overwrought but is talking about something emotionally important. They seem to have highlighted the key moments by leaving in the "um"s. It's interesting that a bit of linguistic sloppiness is used to convey emotional intensity.

Tonight I had grand plans to get straight to work on the audio and get at least 2 segments done. Then Thirteen struck. She's been growing more and more difficult on the car trip to and from the vet. Whining, loudly, the whole way. She usually rides on the floor, and this time I thought sitting on the seat might make her feel better and not whine so much. Alas, it backfired. She still whined constantly, but now she was sitting too far away for me to reach back and pet her, which temporarily stops the whining. And she's so nearly deaf that I can't calm her with my voice. Tonight she got so worked up that she barked for about the last five miles. Have you ever tried to drive a car with a dog barking in your ear, over and over? It's maddening. Earsplitting. I went from telling her to stop, to snapping at her to stop, to yelling at her to stop. Once or twice I think she might have heard me, but mostly all I accomplished was scaring poor Jane and worsening the headache I got from all the barking.

So much for my grand plan. I feel basically okay now, but not up to normal. The way I'm feeling now is called "every symptom of the headache except the pain in my head." Which may not make any sense at all, but I know what I mean. I'm going to give it a try and see if I'm up to working on the audio now. If concentrating on listening to audio clips turns out to be too much for my head, I'll go to bed early and try again tomorrow.


| 1 Comment

The show this afternoon went great, if I do say so. The phone rang like crazy. I had 12 requests, and a couple of the callers didn't even make requests! (To be fair, most of the requests came over the website. Still, there were a lot of phone calls.) I prefer it this way. It's more hectic, and also more fun and energizing. I talked again to the fellow who told me the Andrews Sisters were Afro-Cuban. This time it was clear that he was joking with me and never expected me to take it seriously. I was playing Wayne Newton and he told me that Wayne Newton is really K.D. Lang. Which is pretty funny, the young Wayne Newton does kind of look like K.D. Lang. I shot back "Did you know that Louis Armstrong was Irish? I thought you should know that." Then he told me that Condi Rice is really Morgan Freeman in drag! I'm really glad he called back after that other time. Now I know he was sharing a joke with me, not having a joke at my expense.

After the show this evening, I started working on audio editing for next week's "dad divaville lounge." My clients who work in radio recommended Peak, and I want to download the demo and try it. If I can learn it well enough to use it effectively for this show, I'll buy it so I can use it for future interview shows. In the meantime I've got a much more limited audio editing program called Fission, which I bought for a few bucks because it was bundled with Audio Hijack Pro. It's working pretty well for the fundamental editing. This evening I broke the audio file into separate segments for each talkset, and then got started on editing the first segment. The main problem was that I must have had my headset turned down too low, as my voice was much quieter than my dad's. To my relief that was easy to fix. Then I trimmed out the "ums" and a few false starts on my part, things like that. Also I moved one chunk of dialogue to an earlier place where I thought it would sound better. I must admit, I felt pretty proud of myself for doing all of that. I think the first talkset is pretty much done, unless Peak turns out to be so much better at audio editing that it's worth doing over.

The one thing Fission is not able to do is multiple simultaneous tracks. I always play music under the talksets, and so of course I want to do the same with the interview. I could just do what I normally do, stick in a CD with instrumentals and hit play just before starting the dialogue on the air. But if I can tweak the music and the dialogue on the computer, I know I'll be able to make them sound better together. You know, time them out properly, occasionally pause the dialogue and bring up the music for a moment, things like that. Anyway, Fission can't do that and I'm really hoping Peak can.

av geeks: schoolhouse scandal


September 14 movie: AV Geeks: Schoolhouse Scandal. Our friend Walt was there, as well as Jason! and his wife. And another couple, some friends of theirs, brought cupcakes. I think this is one of the best AV Geeks I've seen. (Not just because of the cupcakes!) It was all short films from the 50s from one company that addressed various interpersonal problems high school students might face. First was "The Outsider," about a girl who didn't fit in. This one I actually didn't enjoy. Watching a lonely girl stand in the hall by herself looking sad while the other kids make plans to do fun things that don't include her, well to be honest it made me a little queasy. Not that my life was ever like that or anything. Surely not!

The rest of the films didn't hit home like that, & were much easier for me to relax and enjoy. There was one about a bully, one about a disruptive class clown, and one about a school full of prejudiced snots. That one was interesting because they never show the object of the prejudice, or explain what it is the other kids hate about him. It could be race, religion or class. At the end, the victim of the prejudice heroically saves the life of two of the kids who hate him, and is injured in the process. (Prompting Georg and I to whisper to each other, Well, Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life.) Most of the kids realize the error of their bigoted little ways and rush to the hospital to give blood. But two of the kids decide that it doesn't change anything and they still hate him. That was more subtlety than I would expect from a fifty year old short educational film.

Each film ended with questions for the audience: what can you do to make an outsider feel more welcome? How can you prevent a class clown from getting out of hand and disrupting your school? Did the students make the right choice in dealing with the bully? It was interesting that they put responsibility for how to handle these situations on the kids. In some cases (like a vicious bully) I don't think there is much other students really can do. Still it reflected the different world view of 50 years ago, the expectation that children could deal with these problems without adult intervention.

As usual Skip saved the best for last: Dance, Little Children, a short film about the evils of premarital sex. Skip said this one had been chosen in honor of Jason! who had seen it when he was in high school. (Which made me wonder: I thought Jason! was about the same age as me, which would have put him in high school in the early 80s. Why was his school showing 30-year old educational films about sex?) Jason! described the movie as, "It was supposed to scare us off sex forever, but it actually made us feel like everyone else was having much more fun than we were." The movie follows a Health Department investigator in a small town as he tracks and stops the spread of syphilis among the teen population. Who were, according to the movie, having sex constantly, everywhere and with everyone. Structurally the movie was kind of like the Dragnet of teen sex. Except that unlike Joe Friday, the health department guy was completely nonjudgmental. Plus, like every doctor in the movie, he smoked constantly. There were a lot of awesome things about this movie, and the best was the title song. That's right, a movie about syphilis featuring a catchy rock-n-roll tune called "Dance Little Children." It really doesn't get better.

I almost forgot, the film strip at the beginning was also one of the best I've seen. It was all about how the skills in conformity and complaisance that you learn in school will help you in your future career, whatever it may be. Hi-larious.

hello muddah, hello fadduh

| No Comments

This afternoon my dad and I recorded an interview for Divaville Lounge. He talked about when he first got interested in swing music and hot jazz, told stories about great concerts he saw back in the day, and introduced some of his favorite songs. I think it went well! I tried to strike the right note between maintaining a conversational tone, and letting Dad talk without interruption. He had notes to read from so that he wouldn't get stuck, and I think he did a good job of not sounding like he was reading a script.

The technical side worked out well. I didn't want to do the interview live because I thought it would just be too much stress. And I didn't know how much time the interview was going to take & wanted the ability to edit it if necessary. Most importantly, I have no idea if the instructions on how to patch in a phone call even work. (In fact, just a few days ago another dj reported that it doesn't work. Thank goodness I had already decided not to do that way!)

Instead my dad got set up on Skype, and we talked over our computers. The sound quality was much better than using a phone. I used Audio Hijack Pro to record the conversation. It's a terrific program which can be set to only record audio from a specific program, not any other source. Which was great because I didn't have to worry about accidently making my computer beep and that getting into the audio file. I used the highest quality setting for the recording, and the resulting file, for 45 minutes of audio, was 500 Mb!

At first it was strange, to be sitting at my computer reading PSAs and saying "You're listening to WXDU Durham" as if I was on the air. I joked to my dad that I needed to close my eyes and pretend I was standing in front of the board talking into the big mic. Still, I got used to it pretty quickly, and I think we both sounded comfortable. I have no experience with looking at printed dialogue and figuring out how long it will take when spoken, so I had no idea how we were going to do on time. As it turns out, we were pretty close to my goal. I'm going to time it out and make sure we have enough time to play all the songs we talked about. I'm hoping I won't have to cut anything.

I'm going to edit the interview over the next week, break it into tracks and put them on a CD. The show will air next Sunday, September 23. I hope everyone will tune in for my dad's on-air debut!

fall tv


Alicia posted her planned fall tv schedule, which made me realize how incredibly lame my own tv viewing habits are:

Every night: We usually watch Ninja Warrior during dinner. Because we can both agree on it, and it's guaranteed not to include anything we wouldn't want to see while eating (not true of other shows like Tony Bordain). Plus it's on eleventy-thousand times a week and will fill up the DVR if you don't stay on top of it.

Monday: I Wanna Be a Soap Star. I've already written about what delicious trash this is. I forgot to mention the editing device which I absolutely love: Like all judged reality shows, they maintain suspense by coyly showing only part of the judge deliberations. For instance showing negative comments but not revealing who the judges are talking about. But on this show, after the loser "has been killed off" (yes, that's how they say it on Soap Star) they go back and reveal exactly and clearly the reasoning behind the judges' decision. If the judges disagree, as they did this past week, they'll show several minutes of conversation while they come to a consensus. (It's probably staged, but I still appreciate them explaining so clearly.) It's really, really interesting and I wish all judged reality shows would do it this way.

Tuesday: Nothing good on. I usually watch a movie or more Ninja Warrior.

Wednesday: America's Next Top Model. I can't resist this show no matter how much it goes downhill.

Thursday: Survivor. It had gone way downhill, then got really good again the past couple of seasons. Here's hoping that trend continues.

Friday: Probably a movie.

Weekends: Movies, Gardening By the Yard, and catch up on the week's soap operas. I started watching the week's soaps all in one go because I wasn't finding time to watch them every day during the week. And I find I enjoy them more this way. Mainly, I think, because I'm totally spoiler free, and saving up five episodes means 80% fewer cliffhangers. Plus with 5 hours worth of shows on the DVR (actually 3 1/2 hours without commercials) I feel much freer to fast forward the characters who annoy me. Sometimes the show just flies by!

Also, on Sunday night we usually watch Rick Bayless during dinner.

Looking over my schedule, I realized that I'm not watching any nighttime TV dramas. I can't think of the last nighttime drama I watched. Firefly I guess. I've been thinking for a long time that I should watch Battlestar Galactica on DVD, everyone says it's so terrific.

que maravilloso

| No Comments

The massive indexing project is done! Whew, finally. There weren't as many loose albums left to add as I had thought a couple of days ago; mostly the time was in checking them all.

I think I am going to go ahead and write a simple web app to search the database online. The flat files have worked great, but this last big push has increased the flat file size to the point where it's hard to load the pages. (1.6 Mb each, to be precise.) It won't take long to write a simple search function, and then it will group the results better than the flat file could do.

Of course I'll still have to add new material as I buy it. Which I'm trying not to go nuts with, but to be honest I have been buying at least 1 new CD a week. My latest acquisition is ¡Sabroso! by Mongo Santamaria. He's more of a jazzman than a Divaville Lounge kind of guy, for instance he wrote "Afro Blue" and had a big hit with "Watermelon Man." But you know, it's from the right era, and I try not to be super rigid about defining the show, and I had heard a couple of excellent songs from ¡Sabroso! on that Internet radio station I like.

The CD only arrived last night and I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet. (I'm alone in the office this afternoon, and I wish I had thought to put it on my iPod!) What I've heard so far is fantastic. My rule of thumb is not to buy an album for just one song, no matter how good it is, if I haven't heard the rest. That's just too much of a risk -- if the rest of the album stinks, you could end up spending $15 or more for just one song. But 2 songs, if they're this good, and I've been humming them for weeks, and the album only costs $8? That's a bargain.

The two amazing songs, by the way, are "Que Maravilloso" and "Mambo de Cuco." Sylvia told me that "Mambo de Cuco" was probably named in honor of someone, likely one of the performers. The liner notes don't list anyone named Cuco. Maybe it's a nickname.

jazz, episode 1

| No Comments

September 13 movie: Jazz, Episode 1. Netflix finally got the first episode of the Ken Burns jazz documentary. There was a lot of background to cover before they even got to the creation of jazz. Which seemed to encourage the tendency towards pomposity, especially from Wynton Marsalis. We found him in general really interesting when he was talking about the structure of music, acting out the styles of different musicians. And really annoying when he was pontificating about culture and so forth.

The introductory material meant that they spent less time talking about music in general and jazz in specific. Still, I learned a lot from this episode. The story I was most interested in, and found most tragic, was James Reese Europe. He was part of the transition from ragtime to jazz, led a military band during WWI, was a war hero, and was murdered right after the war. The movie made it sound like he would have changed the face of American music if he hadn't been killed so young. Europe also shows up in one of the other episodes we've seen. And I really want to learn more about him. The Durham library has one book about him -- non-circulating! How annoying. Amazon has one CD of his (actually 2 CDs of the exact same recordings, packaged differently) which I might buy.

it's not all bad

| 1 Comment

So, I just found out I messed up our state taxes and we owe about $200.

And, the USB headset I bought for my dad conked out. (Did I mention that I'm going to interview my dad on my radio show? I got him the headset so we'd have decent sound quality in the interview. I've been plugging the show for weeks; I can't put it off.)

Also, I just now finished the massive indexing project, and found out that I'm not finished. I thought all the comps were in iTunes, & so were part of that big XML import I did at the beginning, but a bunch of them aren't there. I don't know how many yet. A lot.

And, I spent the day taking a crash course in Ajax. Gave myself a killer headache and by the end of the day was a total bitch to everyone I work with.

But it's not all bad. Ajax was kind of cool. Well, today not so much. But it will be as I learn more. And I got to take a nap when I got home. That felt good. Best of all, Georg brought me dinner from the Q Shack. What a guy.

let's go bulls

| No Comments

Just got back from seeing the Bull's game with D. and S.. It was a playoff game, and exciting up until the very end. The last game we saw was seriously mismatched. Near the end of the game the Bulls actually batted around in one inning, which I had never seen before. This time the visiting team (the Richmond Braves) were really good. Their starting pitcher was especially strong. The Bulls lost by 2, and had the winning run at bat several times. I have to say I'd rather see a well-played, tense game, even if we lose, than a blowout where we win by 10 runs.

I love the games in between innings: the kid racing Wool E. Bull around the bases, the sumo wrestling, the t-shirt gun shaped like a giant hot dog, the guys racing to change a diaper on a doll. My only disappointment this time was that they didn't do "Ants in the Pants." This is a game where they put a kid in a giant pair of pants, and then an employee uses a slingshot to throw big plastic ants at the kid, who has to catch the ants in the pants. I think the prize is a t-shirt or something.

For a long time I've felt that the games were the best part of minor league baseball. Although I am developing more of an appreciation for the game itself. Tonight I made myself a bit hoarse by cheering so much. Our seats were so close -- fourth row, behind home plate -- that we could cheer encouragement to the batter and be reasonably sure he could hear us. S. liked to call out the batter's first name, which seemed nice. The other nice thing about our seats was the older man sitting just behind us, it looked like he was there with his adult son. He seemed to know a lot about baseball and I really enjoyed listening to his conversation.

It was terribly sticky hot when we first got there, but when the sun set it cooled down pretty well. Bats also came out after it got dark, and wheeled around above the field for the rest of the game. I thought they were birds at first until D. explained to me. Duh! The bats must have a nest somewhere in the stadium.

high society

| No Comments

September 9 movie: High Society. I have deeply mixed feelings about this movie. In general, I'm not so crazy about remakes. Especially of movies I love. And one of the changes is seriously problematic: giving C.K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby here) a successful career makes him a much more positive character (unlike Cary Grant's idle wastrel version), and makes Grace Kelly's contempt for him come across as pure snobbishness. Which renders her character fairly unpleasant. Plus, Kelly's overly mannered impersonation of Katherine Hepburn is incredibly irritating. After a point I was cringing every time she opened her mouth. Whose decision was that? Bing, though not much of an actor, is refreshing in comparison. At least he's playing himself rather than imitating Cary Grant.

First the bad, now the good. As I said, Bing is at ease playing himself, and has several good songs. Frank Sinatra also has several good songs, and his acting is great -- Georg pointed out that he's actually better for the character of an ordinary working class guy than Jimmy Stewart. Celeste Holm is very good in a part originated by the wonderful Ruth Hussey. And of course, the best thing about the movie is Louis Armstrong. I watched the "High Society Calypso" number from the beginning three times before starting the movie.

this could be the night

| No Comments

September 8 movie: This Could Be The Night. I loved this! Really, really enjoyed it. Jean Simmons stars as a schoolteacher who gets a part-time job as the secretary for a nightclub full of colorful, and not quite respectable, characters. It's basically the "bad boy myth" writ large: not just the love interest (Anthony Franciosa) but the entire organization is reformed by the influence of the nice girl. Much of the comedy comes from the staff figuring out that Simmons is a virgin -- though of course they never come right out and say so. The closest they come is "greenhorn" and "no runs, no hits, no errors." Anyway they realize she's a virgin and then Franciosa spends the rest of the movie trying to protect her from ever being alone with any man in the place. My favorite subplot involves the strip-tease girl who wants to become a chef. Also there was excellent singing by Julie Wilson, who I had never heard of before. I will definitely watch this again next time it shows up on TCM.

it happened in brooklyn

| No Comments

September 7 movie: It Happened in Brooklyn. This was a fun, inconsequential movie starring Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford. We wondered if this movie was where they met. Sinatra had several good songs. Jimmy Durante was in it too. And that's really all I have to say about this one. Watch it if you're really into Sinatra, or Durante.

tell-tale signs

| No Comments

How do you know someone is a super geek?
Because you have a meeting with this person, and their method of reviewing a bunch of information is to keep it all in separate text files, sorted into directories that indicate their status, and use the command line to read the files, rename them and move them around. Very fast. Almost no use of the mouse.

How do you know you're a super geek?
Because you spend the entire meeting watching this in silent admiration.

i could kick myself


A few days ago we had dinner at that Thai restaurant across from the Q Shack. On our way out we saw the most amazing car in the parking lot. An Edsel Bermuda station wagon. The colors were fairly subdued -- tan and cream, I think -- and the paint job looked pristine. In fact the whole car looked pristine. Whitewalls so clean they could blind you on a sunny day. Nary a speck of rust. Perfect upholstery. The owners manual sitting neatly on the front seat. I could have kicked myself for not having my camera on me.

Today Kip_w posted about it being the 50th anniversary of the Edsel this week. Following links I found out that the Bermuda wagon is really rare. We saw the 6-seat model, of which fewer than 1500 were ever made. (There was an even rarer 9-seat Bermuda, with fewer than 800 ever produced).

Now I really want to kick myself for leaving my camera home that day.

le fantôme d'henri langlois

| No Comments

September 4 movie: Le Fantôme d'Henri Langlois. This was a fascinating documentary about Henri Langlois, founder of the Cinémathèque Française film archive. I didn't know much about Langlois before watching this. He comes across as having seen film preservation as a calling, having been incredibly passionate about that calling, and incredibly good at inspiring people to share his mission. Unfortunately, not so good at the ongoing work of his mission: maintaining the films, handling the details, running a large organization. The movie is kind of defensive about this issue, but mismanagement of the Cinémathèque was clearly a problem.

Still, Langlois' contribution to movies was enormous. According to the movie he invented film preservation, invented the revival house, brought together the people who became the French New Wave movement. Okay, I'm not so crazy about New Wave movies, but for those other two, I'm in Langlois' debt. I think the most thrilling part was the early stuff about Langlois and his partner, Mary Meerson, literally risking their lives to protect movies from the Nazis. According to the documentary, Hitler was intent on destroying all copies of the German language version of The Blue Angel. Langlois saved the movie by cutting a deal with an SS officer who was a Marlene Dietrich fan.

The big bummer of the movie was when they walked through Langlois' museum. An amazing collection of film artifacts, collected and displayed in innovative ways. When they got to the original set from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I burst out, "We have to go to France so we can see this museum!" Immediately (literally, right after I said that) the movie explains how there was a fire in the building that opponents of the museum used as an excuse to dismantle it "temporarily," twenty years ago. So sad.

along came jones

| No Comments

September 3 movie: Along Came Jones. Decent Western starring Gary Cooper as an ordinary guy who gets mistaken for a notorious outlaw, Loretta Young as the woman who saves his life, and William Demerest as Cooper's sidekick. Young gets the best line: "What I aim at, I hit! And what I hit, that's what I was aiming at!"


| No Comments

September 2 movie: Gidget. In catching up on the weekend's movies, I almost forgot about Gidget. It's a cute, fun beach movie which embodies a staggering array of ugly stereotypes about male-female relationships. It's really kind of amazing. Stars Sandra Dee as Gidget, James Darren as her love interest "Moondoggie," and Cliff Robertson as "The Big Kahuna."

the simpsons

| No Comments

September 3 movie: The Simpsons. What fun! I haven't seen a movie in the theater in ages, and this was great. It can be difficult to translate a TV show to the big screen, especially a show that's still on the air. They did a great job with it. My only quarrel with the movie was that, as I was watching and enjoying and thinking to myself what a good movie it was, the thought popped into my head that this explains why the show has seemed so stale lately. All their creative energy must have gone into the movie.

in a lonely place

| No Comments

September 2: In a Lonely Place. This was dark, complicated psychological drama starring Humphrey Bogart as a Hollywood writer with, um, anger issues, and Gloria Grahame as the woman who falls in love with him. There's no way for me to write my thoughts about this movie without major spoilers, so I'm just going to do it, behind a cut.

one, two, three

| No Comments

September 2 movie: One, Two, Three. I saw this movie a couple of years ago and hated it. Then I read a review on another website calling it Billy Wilder's funniest movie. That's quite a statement to make about the director of Some Like it Hot and writer of Ninotchka and Ball of Fire. Okay, I've been wrong before, I was willing to give it another try.

I've been wrong before, but not this time. It was amusing at times, made me laugh out loud once, but for the most part, no. Way too shouty. Also too stagey -- I mentioned that to Georg and he said "Do people keep walking in and out of doors?" As a matter of fact, they do.

I'm not sorry I saw One, Two, Three, but I don't think I would see it again. And I have to wonder about someone who would call it Wilder's funniest movie. Have they not seen Some Like It Hot? Stalag 17 isn't even a comedy and it's funnier than this.

top hat

| No Comments

September 2 movie: Top Hat. Another old favorite, and one that I never get tired of. What luck we happened to turn TCM on just as it was starting. There's so much to love about this movie. The whole cast -- of course Fred and Ginger, and also Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore, and Eric Rhodes -- were so funny together.

duck soup

| No Comments

September 2 movie: Duck Soup. Okay, Monkey Business is great but Duck Soup is still the Marx Brothers' funniest. So many hilarious routines that describing them all would take as long as watching the movie. My favorites are the justly famous mirror scene; the fight between Chico and Harpo the peanut vendors and the mean lemonade vendor; and Chico's description of tailing Firefly. "Tuesday we go to the ballgame but he fool us: he no show up. Wednesday he go to the ballgame but we fool him: we no show up. Thursday was a double header: no one show up. Friday it rained all day, there was no ballgame. So we stayed home and listened to it over the radio."

Kevin's comment is well-taken about Monkey Business being comedy gold because the Marx Brothers were completely unrestrained by plot. Duck Soup has a plot, but I don't think it gets in the way of the comedy. I think the comedy is diminished in the later movies when the scripts start depicting the brothers as a positive force trying to help people. It's especially a problem for Harpo, who is funniest as a sort of happy anarchist who loves destroying things. Trying to shoehorn his shtick into a helpful character with a positive goal, as they do in movies like A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, does interfere with the funny.

the feminine touch

| No Comments

September 1 movie: The Feminine Touch. Romantic comedy starring Don Ameche, Rosalind Russell, Kay Francis and Van Heflin. Ameche plays a college professor who goes to New York to sell his book about advancing the human species by eliminating jealousy. Which he has attempted to do in his own life, to the intense frustration of his wife, Russell. Ameche spends the movie throwing Russell at lothario Van Heflin, which drives Russell insane because she doesn't want Heflin's attentions, and drives Kay Francis insane because she does.

I have known people who believe that jealousy is a blight on humanity, and that they are more evolved because they don't feel it, and I find them incredibly annoying. I also think they're probably lying (maybe to themselves as well as to me). I only know one person who claims to never feel jealousy who I completely believe.

That said, I can't get behind the movie's premise that love isn't true love without jealousy. Kay Francis sums up the movie thus: "How could I know I wanted a man if I didn't hate everybody else who wanted him?" Gosh, Kay, maybe you know you want him because you want him? I dunno, just a thought.

that's good eating


As Georg mentioned we had a lovely weekend full of relaxing and good food. We went to the farmer's market and bought chorizo sausage and cubed lamb. Both of which were fantastic. The lamb was a bit more expensive than from Whole Foods, and worth every penny. Beautiful color, nice clean cuts, not a lot of fat to trim off. (Now that I think about it, with a piece of lamb shoulder from WF, you sometimes need to trim so much away that the cost might even out, or at least come closer.) Really fine lamb. The package says it was slaughtered in Siler City and certified halal. We did a sort of improvised korma in the crock pot with lamb, yogurt gravy, crushed cashews, lots of curry spices, diced onion and potatoes. Yum.

The chorizo was really good too. Georg grilled it and we had it with sauteed vegetables and tortillas. Not as spicy as the chorizo from Whole Foods, just a little zing. The farmer's market chorizo was very crumbly, I think it would be good crumbled into a dish like the chorizo-chayote casserole in our Rick Bayless cookbook. Mmm, maybe we should make that next weekend.

There are also people selling beef and goat at the farmer's market. We thought about getting some goat but decided we wanted to find a recipe before buying it. All the meats were advertised as locally grown, pasture raised, etc etc. (I'm kind of surprised the lamb people didn't advertise the halal certification but maybe they figure the people who care about that will ask.) Without knowing what "pasture raised" actually means (for instance I was dismayed to learn that "free range" chicken means the birds have enough room to turn around in their pen) I can't make any assumptions about happy cows and lambs frolicking in fields. I can say that the resulting meat is excellent.

After the farmer's market we had a very nice lunch at Piedmont. They had just reopened after their summer break. Everything there was wonderful except the annoying people sitting next to us. There should be a rule that when you eat someplace terrific, you are not allowed to complain about your diet. Really, if you want to talk incessantly and loudly about dieting, and how every bite going into your mouth is bad, bad, and you are a bad person for eating it, and you should feel sick from eating because you ate so much, because you're bad, and the fact that you don't feel sick just shows how much is wrong with you, and at home you time your meals, and you are not going to eat another thing for the rest of the day, you mean it, and waitress, another mimosa please? If that is your idea of appropriate conversation at a place like Piedmont, then please do us all a favor and SHUT UP. Really. I would feel sorry for a person whose relationship with food is so deeply damaged that she's incapable of enjoying a meal like that, if she hadn't been doing her best to try and keep me from enjoying mine too. (She failed, thankfully.)

I did work this weekend too, sort of: while lounging on the couch & watching movies on TV I made tons of progress on the massive indexing project. I'm up to Sinatra. I think I could have finished if I'd spent all day today working on it. But this morning when I got up, I felt that familiar dread at the sight of the CDs. That's a good indicator that it's time to put them away and do something else. Like read a hilarious web comic all morning and then go to a movie.

And buy a bed! I keep forgetting that before the movie we went to the Original Mattress Factory and bought a mattress set. I've felt like we needed a new one for a long time. Their lifespan is supposed to be about 10 years, and this one is 11 years old, and was cheap to begin with. In fact, I bought it from some guy selling out of a Stor-All for $300. (Sounds gross but it appeared to be new, wrapped in plastic and all. He was selling a bunch of them, and I've wondered ever since why the odd selling arrangement. Did the mattresses fall off the back of a truck or something?) It was a good deal when I couldn't afford anything better, and now it's long past time to replace it.

I had read in Consumer Reports that you should lie on a mattress for 15 minutes, that's a pretty good indicator of how you will like it after sleeping on it all night. I felt kind of silly walking into the store and lying down, but the salesman seemed to expect it and was good about leaving us alone, not coming over until we got up. I bet they work on commission and so I really appreciated that he wasn't pushy. They're going to deliver it next Saturday.

strut! redux

| No Comments

Looking over last night's post it occurs to me that it probably makes no sense to anyone who hasn't seen the Mummer's parade. So here's a brief overview:

The Mummer's Parade is a New Year's Day parade in South Philadelphia. It's been around for just over a hundred years, and I think it existed in some unofficial form for several decades before. The parade comprises four parts:

  1. The comics. My impression is this is the least formal part of the parade. Folks dress up in funny costumes, often but not always in large groups. I think there's generally no performance except that they do the Mummer's Strut (a dancing walk traditional to the parade). Here's a cute photo of a comic club, and here's another.
  2. The fancies. These are sort of like small floats or big costumes. Lots of ostrich feathers, lamé and mirrored surfaces. Some are on wheels, with the person inside pushing; some are smaller and are carried by the person the whole route. I seem to recall that there are lots of rules governing each type of fancy entry, for instance they have to include certain symbols like diamonds or horseshoes. I found a Flickr stream with great photos from 2007 including a large fancy and tricolor fancies.
  3. The string bands. The string bands, for me, are the best part of the Mummers. They put on elaborate performances with dancing, a musical medley and elaborate costumes on a theme like "Jungle Jam" or "Toyland Comes Alive." The music is mainly banjo, accordion and sax, although I don't know the entire band lineup. Like the fancies, the costumes feature lots of ostrich feathers, lamé and sequins. I think the string bands would probably seem somewhat familiar to anyone who's seen the New Orleans Mardi Gras krewes. This is a nice photo of a string band. It's fun sometimes to try to guess the theme based on the costumes: are these guys supposed to be Peruvian? And here's a costume closeup, of a guy wearing baguette epaulettes because he was in a Paris-themed performance. That is so Mummers.
  4. The fancy brigades. The fancy brigades aren't actually in the parade route. They perform at the Convention Center after the parade. They're a lot like the string bands -- a competitive music and dance competition with big shiny costumes -- but since they don't walk the parade route, the props are much bigger and more elaborate. And I think they use recorded music, not live string band music. I couldn't find any photos of the fancy brigades on Flickr. Just someone who posted dozens of fancies mislabeled as fancy brigades. Here's the photo album from Shooting Stars, one of the biggest fancy brigade clubs.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2007 is the previous archive.

October 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives