Thursday, June 22, 2006

Behold: The First Fruits!

It's the first tomato* from the garden!

*I admit I can't remember if a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, but "Behold: The First Veggies" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. I'm sure there's a reference librarian somewhere who can clear this up for me.

Got these from Roger*

When I'm bored or blocked or don't have time to get anything else done or clearing out my backlog of stuff, I do things like this.

Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.
You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.
You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

That's kind of a laugh, actually. I'll accept the first sentence, which is pretty much true, but the rest? Ha! Trendsetter? Write my own meme or survey? Ha! I need to write more actual posts before I move on to stuff like that.

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

This, on the other hand, is much more accurate.
*The fact that he mentions me by name today has nothing to do with this post. Honest. I decided to do this yesterday. Honest.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Just a few more....

Last set of Del McCoury pics.

Me, the UPS Guy and Del.

Del (guitar), Ronnie (mandolin), and Rob (banjo) McCoury. Neighbor's car in background.

And one final shot of Del McCoury!

Pictures! Finally!

Well, Blogger started cooperating a little and then stopped, but here are some of the pics from the Del McCoury performance. Keith couldn't get in range of the Amazon cameras, so most of the shots are profiles or feature the back of my head. I'll put the rest up as soon as I can.

Me and the UPS Guy watch Del.

Del and the boys, plus the camera dude. Band Members: Jason Carter (fiddle), Alan Bartram (bass), Ronnie McCoury (mandolin), Rob McCoury (banjo), Del McCoury (guitar)

And down the street, the Secret Service! (Actually, they're the UPS PR folks)

The man himself, Del McCoury! Singing! In the street! In front of my house!

Del and Ronnie McCoury. Still in the street.

Another shot of the band. You can see everyone but Rob McCoury, the banjo player.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Special Del-ivery

Take a look.

The dude in the middle holding a CD is me. The guy at the far left is the UPS guy who delivered the CD. The guys with the instruments are bluegrass legend Del McCoury and his band who recorded the CD and came along with the UPS guy to deliver it. We’re all standing in the street in front of our house, where the band has just performed a mini-concert for me, which accounts for the look of dumb-founded astonishment on my face. It’s been several days since it happened, and that look has yet to leave my face.

It all started with a phone call from Last year, for their 10th anniversary, they did a promotion where select customers got stuff delivered by the folks who wrote/starred in/recorded it. They filmed the delivers and put them up on their site.

They’ve just started an online talk show with Bill Maher and they revived the special deliveries as a segement of the show, in collaboration with UPS. You can see some of the recent episodes and deliveries here. (Links to just the delivery segments are at the bottom of the column on the left.)

So they called me last week and told me that I had been selected to receive a delivery, based on an item on my wish list, if I chose to participate. Naturally, I said I would, so I signed their release and agreed to be home on Wednesday at the appointed time. They asked if I wanted to know who was coming, and I told them I wanted to be surprised, which Keith just could not believe. I thought I would be more convincingly surprised on camera if I didn’t know.

In the time in between the call and the delivery, we trimmed the trees and bushes in front of the house, cleaned the house (or at least the living room), and tried to guess who might be coming. I was a little nervous that it might be some author I wouldn’t recognize in person and I’d come off like a dud on camera. On the other hand, it might have been Grant Morrison. Since my wish list is, for lack of a better word, pretty extensive, it feasibly could have been anyone.

Thinking about it some more, I realized that the date they gave me was the same date that Del McCoury was going to be doing an in-store appearance here. It was also the day after his new CD dropped. It kind of made sense to me that they would work to set something up with someone who was already going to be here, but it was just a wild guess on my part. While we were cleaning, we kept referring to it as “getting ready for Del and the boys.”

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon, there was a knock at the door and I opened it to a UPS guy and a camera crew and a bunch of other people. I signed for the delivery, and the UPS guy told me to follow him. That was kind of odd, because on the special deliveries they've already posted, the person making the delivery was right there with the UPS guy. Now my curiosity was way piqued. He takes me around to the back of the truck, camera guys in tow, and says: “Here to help with this special delivery is…”

“…The Del McCoury band!” And he opens the door and they all pop out of the truck, instruments in tow. At this point, I’m amazed that I had actually guessed right, completely shocked that they’re actually there, and desperately trying not to sound like a babbling fool. I’m pretty sure I failed at the last part.

They sang the title cut off the new CD, standing right there in the street in front of my house. People across the street were popping out of their houses to check it out. They asked me if I had a request, and I asked for "1952 Vincent Black Lightening." On the one had it’s a lame request, because everyone always asks for that, but on the other hand, it is my favorite Del McCoury song. I always get chills when I see them do it live, and this time was certainly no exception.

Every time I’ve ever seen them perform, I’m always struck by how genuine they are, both in their love for the music and their appreciation of the audience. I always imagined they would all be really nice guys to sit and chat with. I’m really happy to say that I was right about that. They were all as nice as they could be through the whole thing, even though I’m pretty sure I was just babbling like an idiot.

We chatted a bit, they signed the CD and a picture for me, Amazon interviewed the band and me and the UPS guy, the neighbors kept staring, we posed for pictures, and then everyone left.

After all the housecleaning and stuff, it was a bit of a bummer that they didn’t actually go in the house, but I think the way it ended up was a lot cooler. I’m not sure our living room could have held everyone—Del and band and instruments, camera guys, etc. Not to mention that it would have taken forever to set up. I am really glad we trimmed the stuff in front of the house!

Since I plan events as a part of my job, I was really impressed with the smooth way everything came off. I got a kick out of noticing the little details—Del was miked, so was the delivery guy. They were very careful to get the UPS truck in as many shots as possible. Logos and brand names kept coming up in coversation. I had to hold the CD a certain way. It was really fascinating to watch.

The small army of folks that were there was fun to watch too. There were Amazon folks, of course—the host of the special delivery segment, the segment producer, the camera crew—but there were UPS PR people too. (They all stood way out of the way and had on suits. Keith and I joked that they looked like Secret Service people.) I think that there may have been a rep for the band there too, but I’m not completely sure on that. It’s a completely different world from what I’m used to, that’s for sure.

Keith took the pics you will eventually see here, once Blogger decides to do the right thing again. He had a hard time getting a lot of shots because he had to stay out of the way of everyone else. I feel bad that I didn’t introduce him to everyone. I was in such a daze and he was running around with the camera. I just wasn’t thinking about it. I feel a little bit like a jerk for that.

Honestly, I think I’m still in shock over the whole thing. Del McCoury stood in front of my house and sang songs for me! Wow!

Monday, June 12, 2006

If Mine Eyes Be Damned...

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised at the post office to receive a package containing a surprise mix CD from Lefty Brown. I knew it was coming, because he had been hinting about it in his blog, but had no idea what was on the CD, other than a few tantalizing tidbits.

It’s a great thing to get a disc out of the blue like this. It’s an even greater thing when it was created specifically for you. But, the greatest thing of all is when the disc has your own name in the title!

Songs Eddie Mitchell Should Own*

*And If Not Damn His Eyes!

Before I go any further, I just have to give a big “Thank You” to Chris for thinking of me and putting this together. It was an incredibly nice gesture, and I really do appreciate it. It’s brought me many hours of listening enjoyment so far, and will doubtless continue to do so.

Lefty told me in an email that he thought this was one of his best mixes. He’s definitely right about that. He’s also right about something else; this is music I should own. The only song I’m a little iffy on is Dar Williams’ cover of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. (I’m just not sure anyone can cover Pink Floyd and do it justice.) But, it’s from a CD I should own, so I can overlook it.

Every other cut is phenomenal! As Gordon would say, this is an instantly listenable mix. The flow is great and the songs fit together so well, you’d think they were cut especially for this CD.

I don’t normally do song by song reviews, but I think I will this time, given the title of the disc and all. (Plus, Chris said he was really curious to know how many of the songs I actually do own.)

Empty Shell (Cat Power): She has a phenomenal voice and is a favorite of mine. This is a good song and sound to open with. I do not yet have the CD this comes from (The Greatest) but it’s on my List of CD’s Released This Year to Get (

I’ll Come Around (The A-Sides): This group was totally new to me, until the last Mixed Bag exchange, when both Chris and his wife Kelly used their songs. This is now the third time I’ve been confronted with the A-Sides, and I’m convinced I need this CD. Great pop sound these guys have.

Comfortably Numb (Dar Williams): See above for comments. I do love Williams though. This CD (My Better Self) is one that got by me last year.

O Mary Don’t You Weep (Bruce Springsteen): The Boss does a great job with this traditional tune, rocking it out, but being true to the roots of the song all at once. I love that kind of stuff! Don’t have this one, yet, but it’s almost at the top of the LCRTYTG.

Jesus Was a Crossmaker (The Hollies): Great song. Loved it on Thom’s mix and I love it here. It’s from the Elizabethtown soundtrack, which I still gotta get, since E-town is down near where I’m from in Kentucky.

L’Accord Parfait (Autour de Lucie): It’s catchy, retro, jangly, strummy, poppy and very very French! And I totally love it! Will definitely be getting more from them!

Hold On, Hold On (Neko Case): God, I just love what she can do to a song, and the sounds she creates here give me chills. Don’t have Fox Confessor Brings the Flood yet, but it’s on the LCRTYTG.

Chicago (Sufjan Stevens): This is another one I missed last year. I must have been unconscious or something. I know I bought a lot of music last year, but it looked like I missed a lot too. Great song!

Air Pollution (Page France): Never heard of ‘em before. Definitely going to be getting more. Reminds me of some of the sing-songier stuff from Air or Polyphonic Spree. These are good comparisons in my book.

The Littlest Birds (Be Good Tanyas): At last, something I actually own! Love what these ladies can mix up with traditional sounds. Case in point: the jazzy stroll in this number. It’s catchy and I find myself humming it a lot now.

Finlandia (Indigo Girls): Can not ever go wrong with the Indigos in my book, and this solemn accapella hymn is just lovely. And it’s another one I do have.

Rebecca Go Home (Lost Dogs): Totally unknown to me, but not any more. Great, great alt-country sound to this one. Lots of weepy guitar.

Wide River to Cross (Buddy Miller): Got this one! Got this one! Buddy is the man! One of my favorite CD’s from a couple years ago. And is that Emmylou Harris on harmony? I do believe it is! Good call, Lefty!

Deep Blue Sea (North Mississippi All Stars): Another great modern take on traditional sounds. Don’t know why I never had anything from these guys before. Must fix that. Love the percussion!

Daylight (Drive By Truckers): Love the Truckers. It’s amazing how much this sounds like a U2 song, though. I think that may be because Patterson Hood is not doing the vocals. I don’t have their new one yet, so I ain’t got this one either, but will get it.

Master of Disaster (John Hiatt): John Hiatt can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes. Kick ass songwriter. Kick ass song. Got this one. Off one of last year’s best CD’s.

Handbags and Gladrags (Rod Stewart): He might seem like an odd fit here, but it works well. It helps that this is an older song and not some of his American Song Book crap. I don’t have enough good Rod Stewart in my music collection.

Girl in the War (Josh Ritter): I can say I have this one, because Lefty says he got it from a Paste Magazine Sampler, which I do have. If it had come from the actual Josh Ritter CD, I’d have to say I don’t. Gotta love Paste! Great song—sharp pointed commentary and I like that kind of stuff. “Talking to God is like Laurel asking Hardy for a gun.” Ha!

Travelin’ Thru (Dolly Parton): Dolly’s another one who does no wrong, as far as I’m concerned. Well, maybe she’s done a little (letting Whitney Houston cover I Will Always Love You comes easily to mind), but she more than makes up for it with everything else. This song from the Transamerica soundtrack (which I do not have) is one of her best, and a real upbeat hopeful note to close on.

Well, by the final count, I’ve only got five out of nineteen songs! Pretty bad. I guess my eyes are damned. But my ears are very very happy!

Thanks again, Chris.

Whole Big Bunches of Odd, Unrelated Stuff

First off, thanks to Gordon for his nice review of my Mixed Bag 4 disc. Glad you liked it, Gordon!

Speaking of Gordon, I was one of the winners in his blogiversary giveaway. That sounds impressive, until you learn there were only two entries. Oh well, I usually don’t win stuff, so it’s still kind of neat to me.

Don’t think I’ll ever get the garden done. A friend dumped a flat of impatiens on me and I’ve not had time to do anything with me. The small beds I’ve got are full, and I’ve just not had a chance to work on anything new. Did have a chance to put up a couple of hanging baskets, though. Somehow they added something that I didn’t know was missing from the whole garden experience.

I’m not sure how much of this I can mention, but something neat is going to happen at my house this week, courtesy of a certain online retailer.

It was a pretty good weekend for comic and music shopping. Went to the LCS to find very little in my file—just a Lulu collection and an issue of Age of Bronze. Not real surprising, actually. So, I got a chance to browse a bit in the comic section and the music section. Picked up the new Meat Purveyors release. Picked up the Action Philosophers collection and some CD's. Haven't bought any music there in a while.

Then we headed over to Half-Price Books for our bi-weekly payday stop. I found a couple CD’s there and a complete Vertigo mini-series from several years ago. I’ve got my eye on a couple books, but think they’re still priced a bit too high for my taste. They’ve been there a while though, so I know the mark-down is coming!

Friends of the Library had their book sale this weekend, too. I always love to go, because there’s always something interesting there. I found one of the Top 10 collections and the first two volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub. Pretty cool.

Jaxon is dead. Damn.

Joe from GLA has a blog now. He’s a pretty nice guy, so check him out.

June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month! The ASPCA has more info. They’ve also got an article about making your backyard safe for your pets.

Once they’re through trying to screw around with my relationship, what will the GOP do next? Mojoblog has the answer.

Actually, they are going after PBS again. Sigh!

It’s a good week for concerts, Del McCoury is doing an in-store to promote his new CD, and Marshall Chapman comes to town Friday. She’s got a new one too. So much new music, so little time…..

Support your local independent bookseller! The battle against chain sellers may be older than we (or at least I) knew, but the situation is worse than ever now.

Mowing the grass is my job around here. We bought a push mower when we first moved in, because I thought the yard was too small to mess with a gas mower, mainly because of the pollution. It’s also turned out to be better exercise for me as well. Find out more about ways to care for your lawn that decrease air pollution. (Last two bits courtesy of Utne)

Gotta run!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's Been One Year

It's been exactly a year since I wrote this post. I can't believe it. Some days it feels like it's been forever. Others, like it just happened.

I spent today at home working in the yard. Dad always had a small container garden at his trailer. It was always kind of funny because he didn't like vegetables at all, but he grew tomatoes and some other stuff. He always gave them to my mom.

I finished putting in my petunias and marigolds. The other day a roadside plant seller marked down a bunch of pansies that were pretty much dead. I found a flat that had the most viable flowers on it and bought it. I put those out too.

Keith found an old wooden bench sitting out for junk pick up. It's in the back yard now. We're going to put the containers holding his herbs out there.

My dad never got to see our house, which is too bad. He would have liked the backyard. It's starting to look really nice.

I miss him.