Saturday, April 30

The planet Laloo

Now for the domestic part of this blog. I discovered that collard greens make a decent substitute for seaweed in miso soup. I usually use fresh spinach, but I was out this particular night and really wanted to make miso. So I tossed in the collard greens to see what would happen. They were a bit on the crunchy side, but definitely edible. And I found the Southern/Asian combo funny.

I went garage sale shopping with my roommate and her mom this morning (early this morning) and came home with some rather exciting bargains: two cool vintage scarves, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a stack of vintage 50s Christmas cards (design inspiration), Pyrex, and a PG Wodehouse book. I think the grand total was $2.90.

Some of my best finds from past garage sales include Caedmon's Call's 40 Acres, the first two Harry Potter books, and The Austere Academy and The Hostile Hospital. It's a very satisfying experience to know that you saved yourself a ton of money, and you usually finish by 9 or 10 and have the whole rest of the day in front of you. I highly recommend it. If fact, we'll be hosting a sale ourselves next Saturday, so please do come buy our junk.

In other news, one of my favourite musicians, Andrew Osenga is now blogging as well. After reading almost the whole thing one day, I went to bed and dreamed one of the most transparent of dreams. In it I was talking to Andrew, and somehow the fact that I'd worked at Twin Lakes came up. He said "Oh yeah! Well we love Twin Lakes..." And I thought, "Yes! I'm cool in Andy's book!" I didn't remember it until I put a Twin Lakes t-shirt on to go running the next day. Suddenly all became clear. I had worn another camp shirt the day before (hence the Twin Lakes reference), and in the dream Andy had said "Well we love Twin Lakes" in exactly the same tone I'd over heard Derek say to a fan at the MC show "Well we love RUF..." At the time I probably made a mental note: RUF=cool in Derek's book. Obviously my subconscious was working out how to get in good with Andrew. *Sigh* Just one nerd trying to impress another. : )

Besides, I happen to know that it's not just the fans that dream about Andy. Andy dreams about the fans too.

Thursday, April 21

'Scuse us, Mr. Schwump

Two funny things happened today.

1. I was tallying up the votes for (among other things) the favourite ice cream shop among the readers of the magazine I work for. One woman's entry caught my eye. It was

Basket and Robin.

2. At the post office, I saw a man with a very bad toupee. He looked like Mr. Schwump. It was amazing.

Sing hey!

Continuing the DC trip...on Saturday we happened onto a Whistler exhibit in the basement of the Freer gallery which, out of all the art we saw, inspired me to most to really paint. These were tiny oil paintings on wood panels with the grain sometimes showing through. Very painterly, and once again, reproductions of these don't come anywhere near to conveying how luminous and subtle they are.

We ate lunch in the Air and Space Museum which housed the Spirit of St. Louis. Looking at that early plane I thought, "Lindbergh had to have some nerve to get into that flimsy piece of metal and fly it across the Atlantic." As far as I can tell, there wasn't a way for him to see straight ahead; the only windows were on either side.

The American History Museum had an exhibit including dresses from past first ladies, including one of Nancy Reagan's I recognized instantly, thanks to all the time I spent with my Nancy Reagan paper doll growing up. This particular dress had Ronald attached to it (they were dancing), but I used to bend him back behind her when he wasn't wanted.

They also had Julia Child's kitchen, which I'd read about in an article recently but didn't remember that's where it was. What a funny lady.

By this time we were absolutely exhausted and stumbled into the Capital City Brewing Company for dinner. Oh, and how happy that we did! I knew it was a good restaurant when I saw one of my favourite Simpsons quotes printed on the menu. It was happy hour, and a Capital Kolsch for each of us was just what we needed. Now I understand the appeal of a pub that Tolkien and Lewis felt after a long day tramping about the countryside. I don't know if anything's ever been more welcome than sitting down to that cold beer. Pippin was right:

O water cold we may pour at need
Down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed
But better is beer if drink we lack
And water hot poured down the back!

Wednesday, April 20

Lord have mercy on the Frozen Man

Last weekend I took a field trip to Washington DC with my parents. We nearly walked our feet off in our attempt to take in as much as we could in four days, but it was worth it. It's not every day you get the chance to see Rembrandts, mummies and a Tyrannosaurus, but that's just what we did see on Friday. Thanks to an early start from Jackson, we were in DC by lunchtime, and walking into the Museum of Natural History shortly afterwards. Our hotel was so close to most things that we could walk. It was amazing to step in off the street (the Smithsonian museums don't charge admission) and see a real Triceratops skeleton (he was my favourite when I was little). Upstairs were the mummies and an exhibit on the frozen man found in the Alps (who was my height and weight when he died). Oh, and the Hope diamond.

From there we went to the National Gallery of Art for the exhibit of Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. Rembrandt is one of my absolute favourite artists, and seeing his work in person was amazing. Looking into the face of this self-portrait, I was arrested and moved by the expression in his eyes so much that I wanted to cry. It felt like no one else was in the gallery except he and I. You could never guess from a reproduction all that he conveys with just paint on a canvas.

More to come.

Monday, April 11

Isn't she a peach?

It took a lot of phone tag to make it work, but I went to the opera with nine other people Saturday night to see The Mikado (for free!). This is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known works, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was strange to see the very British play in its Japanese setting with a 21st century Mississippi twist. It’s tradition to insert references that the current audience will understand, but it still felt odd to hear Pooh Bah referring to Jackson mayor Harvey Johnson and asking the audience, “What’s in your wallet?

"Three Little Maids from School" is one of my all-time favourite songs; I’ve grown up hearing it from the scene in Chariots of Fire where Harold Abrahams first sees Sybil. When my parents watched that movie Daddy would call “Caroline, three little maids!” and I’d come running in just for that part. So I wished that he could be there so I could lean over and say, “Didn’t I tell you? Isn’t she a peach?”

Wednesday, April 6

For the loser now will be later to win

There is such a lovely sense of unity and like-mindedness when you realize that many of your favourite living musicians are friends with one another. This occurred to me as I was lingering at the foot of the stage after Derek Webb's show Monday night at Mississippi College.

Derek's best friend and wife Sandra McCracken opened with "Springtime Indiana," followed by "Sunday Morning" and "Age After Age." The band joined her for "Trade My Love" and "Now and Then." It was fun to hear those two rocked up a bit. Sandra closed her set with an acoustic rendition of her "best attempt" at an old hymn, "Awake My Soul." Sandra's isn't instant gratification music. It took me months to fall in love with Gypsy Flat Road, but now I'm head over heels and think I'll stay that way.

Steven Delopoulos, formerly the front man for Burlap to Cashmere, got everyone's attention the moment he began fingering his acoustic guitar, and he held it until the last note was played. I'm not familiar enough with his music to give you a playlist, but seven songs later I think many of us were contemplating a visit to the merchandise table.

It's no coincidence that Derek began his set with a cover of Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changin.'" The only solo acoustic song of the night, it was a message to the audience: don't expect to hear what you've heard before. The band (Will Sayles, drums; Cason Cooley, keyboards, and I forgot the bass player's name-of course!) joined him to break into "I Want a Broken Heart" Here is the rest of the playlist:

Saint and Sinner
Somewhere North
I Can't Lose You
Rich Young Ruler (This is a new one written for the next album, which could be out as early as this fall)
The Blood of the Lamb (Woody Guthrie)
Ballad in Plain Red (I've wanted to hear this one live since my first listen on iStud)
Wedding Dress
Lover Part 2
I Repent

After the show, I summoned every ounce of courage and approached Cason Cooley. If you aren't familiar with Cason's late, great band The Normals, please do yourself a favor and enrich your life by buying one of their excellent albums. Cason's also involved with the Indelible Grace cds as well as countless others. This is what I meant at the beginning about musicians being friends. I love to read the band credits and thank you's on cds and trace the family of faith through the lines. Anyway, Cason was very nice as I practically trembled with shyness and tried not to gush too hard about my love for The Normals.

As a postscript: I have some Derek Webb promo materials left over... Email me or leave a comment if you're interested.

If everybody else jumped off a bridge

Although I registered this weblog almost a year ago, it has primarily served as nothing more than a small html playground in which I amuse myself (“What happens when I do this?”) from time to time. That is, until now. Perhaps I will find I have nothing worthwhile to say after all, at which point I hope I’ll quit blogging. The last thing the world needs is another tediously self-centered blog.

As for the name, it’s part of a line from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Upon discovering a bevy of beautiful maidens, the pirates sing

Here’s a first-rate opportunity
To get married with impunity
And indulge in the felicity
Of unbounded domesticity.