Friday, December 18, 2009

I'll Be Seriously, Wicked Famous. Soon. Very Soon...

Though I will be sitting humbly in the shadow of the great and powerful BECKY RULE, the television show I taped with her in September as part of the NH Author Series is finally going to be aired. You should clear off your calendar, warm up your favorite TV seat, and start popping popcorn now. As far as I know, there is no other place in the world that you will be able to hear Beck Rule say "Boogah" with her lilting, melodious Yankee accent. In fact, if memory serves me, we spent a lot of time discussing boogahs. I'm not sure why, but that seems to happen frequently when I talk to people. It is also, as far as you know, the only time I have ever worn make up.

This once in a lifetime event will be broadcast twice on NHPTV, because, frankly, once in a lifetime simply isn't enough.

You will be able to witness this glorious spectacle on December 27th at 9 pm and  again on December 28th at 8pm. After that, it will be streaming online, dribbling across the internet for all eternity.

Of course, I'm going to recommend that you tape the show and then watch it every day thereafter, as well.  Commit it to memory, then you will be able to reenact it for everyone you meet in case they didn't see it. If they did see it, you can ask them to join you in reenacting it. It will be a delightful performance for you to share with your friends, relatives, and random strangers you meet in the street.

My suspicion is that the show will be the most watched television event in the history of the universe. Fifty years from now, you don't want to find yourself  being asked by your great grandchild, "Did you see The Event?"

And you'll have to say, "No... Um... I was... well... actually, I was watching a rerun of Spongebob Squarepants."

Then you will have to face the heartbroken disappointment welling up in the eyes of your precious grandchild as his soul is shattered into a million pieces and he loses all respect for you.

Seriously. Don't risk it.

And, by the way, as I don't actually have TV, could somebody tape it for me?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Cheer With Steve

I have mentioned in the past, the thrilling musical shows that I do with my buddy, Steve Blunt. I have also spoken warmly of Steve's whimsical habit of varying the set list mid performance. Typically, he will casually sidle up to me between songs and whisper, "I have a great idea for a song to do here. You don't know it, but just follow along. You'll get it. No problem."

This habit of his keeps my toes curled with excitement.

And by excitement, I mean soul blistering panic.

We were hired to do a show of holiday songs at the public library in Fremont, NH last night. Steve decided to eclipse all our previous efforts at glittery musical extravagance. We scheduled a rehearsal for Wednesday at Steve's house, but the 14 inches of snow we got that day made unnecessary travel something to be avoided.

Personally, I did not find traveling for rehearsal unnecessary, but Steve is a big-time, hot-shot musician who laughs in the face of musical challenge. The musical challenge in this case, is me.

So yesterday morning, mere hours before our grand holiday gala, Steve emailed me a set list comprised exclusively of songs I have never played before.
Reading the list filled me with with a warm glow of gut-wrenching holiday horror.  When dressing for the performance, I selected stain fighting clothes specifically for the inevitable barrage of tomatoes that the audience would no doubt be armed with.

We arrived at the library early and took our time setting up so that we were left with 20 minutes for a leisurely rehearsal through 60 minutes of music I had never played, including one song on a musical instrument called "BoomWhackers". They are loads of fun and produce a delightful musical tone when you strike Steve over the head with them. The problem with the BoomWhacker song was that it required Steve and me to play actual notes together, as part of the same composition. He also decided it would add to the excitement to invite a kid from the audience to play part of the song, too.

I thought that was a brilliant idea, because when I messed up, I could blame it on the kid. Sadly, as it turned out, the kid he picked was great and left me no opportunity for blaming my mistakes on her.

We practiced as diligently as we could for 20 minutes, then opened the floodgates and let in the crowd. As they settled into their seats, we regaled them with stirring renditions of "Deck the Halls" and "Chorus of the Bells" played on jaw-harps. Really, nothing says "Merry Christmas" like two guys drooling through their jaw harps.

We then went right into Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, with me wailing away on my harmonica.
Occasionally, things go wrong in performances. I think that is actually why so many people enjoy live music. There is always the very real possibility that something will go dreadfully wrong.

Being a drummer, I am woefully ignorant about music in general.  "Me hit things." about sums up my musical aptitude. By the time we were a few measures into Rudolph, even my drum-damaged, musically impared ear could tell that something was very, very wrong.

Steve stopped playing and laughed a merry "Ho Ho Ho!" He looked over at me and I crouched to make a smaller target for the inevitable barrage of tomatoes. "I'm in the wrong key!" Steve laughed.
"Ha Ha Ha!" I laughed, wondering what the heck a key is.

I know, in theory, that songs come in different keys. I also know that when the instruments are not in the same key, they sound awful. Even worse than Hannah Montana or The Jonas Brothers.


So Steve made the adjustments he needed to make and we carried on. The audience was wonderfully enthusiastic and we wound up having a great time. I think the audience did, too, as I didn't get hit with a single tomato.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Decorating Tips from the Pros

Basically, the tip is:
Don't do what I do.

My attempt at showing holiday cheer, emulating Rudolph by sticking tree lights up my nose, was met with less enthusiasm from my family than I had anticipated.

To make it even worse, Kerri wouldn't touch the lights afterward and I had to finish stringing them on the tree all by myself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No. I'm not on Facebook.

I'm not on Facebook and somehow I still manage to wake up and face each day, carry through, and do what needs to be done. I know. I know. It seems impossible, but it can be done.
Somehow, in the face of my extreme deprivation of not having a Facebook page, I am alive. I will go further and suggest that I am actually thriving.
Friends are constantly imploring me to get a Facebook page so we can stay in touch.
"We are talking right now," I will point out helpfully.
"But other people you know could find you easily," the friend will argue, making a swift tactical shift in his efforts to crumble my Facebook defenses.
"If you do a quick Google search for my name, I am the first choice. I have a web site and a blog, both of which tell people how to contact me. Easily. Plus, I'm in the phone book." I counter brilliantly.
I will then try to shift the conversation in another direction, often employing some shock and awe method designed to confuse the friend and get him thinking in some other direction.
"Hey," I will say to the friend, "Want to go visit my duck?"
"You have a duck?" the friend will say.
"Yeah. Its name is Duck. It's a brilliant name because it's descriptive, simple, and easy to remember."
"You could show people a picture of your duck on a Facebook page," the friend will say.
"Or we could just step outside and see the actual, real-life duck," I will say.
"And then you could tell people about it on your Facebook page," the friend will suggest.
This leads me to my biggest problem with Facebook: The idea that people now seem to think everything they do is worthy of announcing to the world.

No, the irony of me posting this point on a blog is not lost on me, but this is MY blog, smarty-pants.

My wife is on Facebook. So are all my friends.
So is my mother.

I've seen the updates people make:
"I'm washing the dishes!"
"It's cold out. I'm putting on a sweater."
"Mummie wuvs her wittew puppies, yesss she does..."
"I'm bored."

Frankly–and I'm sorry here, my friends–I just don't care.
I love you all, but I don't feel the need to get a written notice every time you clip your toenails or eat a cookie or break wind.

And the little things my wife gets like this:

"Some random person who went to the same elementary school as you challenges you to a squirt gun fight."


Or the slightly more disturbing:

"Someone you took a class with in college once, but don't really remember, sent you a hug."

Keep your creepy cyber-hugs. Send me a dollar or a cookie or a gift certificate for my favorite pizza place.

Compounding the desperate situation in which I find myself–being the last human on the face of the planet not on Facebook–I further ostracize myself from members of my species by:
1. Not owning a cell phone.
2. Not watching television.
3. Never, NEVER, NEVER shopping at Wal-Mart

"But... HOW do you survive?"  my friends ask as they check the messages on their cell phone one more time, just in case someone more interesting has tried to contact them in the 8 seconds since they last checked.

I do other things. I write. I paint. I read. I draw. I bike and hike and talk.

So, if you want to be my friend, don't bother trying to add me on Facebook or sending me a cyber gift or a cyber hug or a stupid smiling kitten picture. Send me an email or a letter. Draw me a picture. Take me out for a pizza. Come visit my duck.
Just turn your cell phone off first.