ellyssian: (Default)
Food! Music! Food!

The Labor Day cookout will take place on Labor Day, September 1, 2008.

We'll have Cattlemen's Ribs and a few other goodies available.

Sign up here and list what you're bringing so others can see!

The Lefty Valdez Band will perform a song or seventy-two. Bring an instrument and play along!

If you need directions, contact me at my LJ name at gmail.com!
ellyssian: (Default)
Yesterday: [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I move a Mountain (Karate School) - the log dolly & 11' bed of the truck proved useful.

Today: Cookout at eldest brother-in-law & [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart's place

Tomorrow: Cookout at our place - although the ribs will be cooked inside, we've got a couple dozen ears of fresh, locally grown sweet corn that will be grilled up, so at least some cooking will take place out-of-doors! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
I posted the Labor Day Cookout signup post.

If you can get to the edge of the Pocono Mountains in Eastern PA, come on by! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
What the Musical Day Cookout is:
Music. Food. Friends. Family. Music.


You listed "music" twice, where you gettin' all that thar music-stuff from anywho?
You. Me. Them. Everybody.


Bring your acoustic instrument - that lectricity stuff is limited, and [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas hogs most of it - and come and play those jazz, funk, and progressive metal standards - like "Partially Written Tune in Some Key or Another" and "We Don't Have a Title for this Song" - along with the Lefty Valdez Band. Having fun is mandatory, musical abilities are optional, and percussionists would be nifty and if enough of them show up I can set up a fenced-in area for them to run around in while they're not playing.

Further details:
When? That'd be the 'today' of this entry: Saturday, May 31st. As much as I try to get things started early so clean up and shut down happens before dark, that never happens. What time will the event be? If you show up before 9am, maybe 10am, you'll probably sit out on the porch for a bit. Other than that, I'll fire up the grill around 1pmish or so. Music will start as soon as we drag all the gear down to the front porch, unless we decide to play up in [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas' room or unless someone starts playing something earlier than that.

We'll have all kinds of food, all the usual suspects (burgers, dogs, as well as sausages and/or chicken) and maybe some other stuff like ribs. Use the signup sheet (that'd be the comments for this 'ere post) to indicate whether you'll be coming, what instrument you'll be bringing, and what kind of salad-snack-drink-dessert-so-on you'll be contributing to the feasting. In that way, you'll be able to see what others have and can coordinate so everyone brings something chocolate or something. =)

If you need directions - or want to verify that I'm in the part of PA that isn't a day away from you - feel free to e-mail me (ellyssian at Google's e-mail service).
ellyssian: (Default)
Sign-up here!

What the Musical Day Cookout is:
Music. Food. Friends. Family. Music.


You listed "music" twice, where you gettin' all that thar music-stuff from anywho?
You. Me. Them. Everybody.


Bring your acoustic instrument - that lectricity stuff is limited, and [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas hogs most of it - and come and play those jazz, funk, and progressive metal standards - like "Partially Written Tune in Some Key or Another" and "We Don't Have a Title for this Song" - along with the Lefty Valdez Band. Having fun is mandatory, musical abilities are optional, and percussionists would be nifty and if enough of them show up I can set up a fenced-in area for them to run around in while they're not playing.

Further details:
When? Saturday, May 31st. As much as I try to get things started early so clean up and shut down happens before dark, that never happens. What time will the event be? If you show up before 9am, maybe 10am, you'll probably sit out on the porch for a bit. Other than that, I'll fire up the grill around 1pmish or so. Music will start as soon as we drag all the gear down to the front porch, unless we decide to play up in [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas' room or unless someone starts playing something earlier than that.

We'll have all kinds of food, all the usual suspects (burgers, dogs, as well as sausages and/or chicken) and maybe some other stuff like ribs. Use the signup sheet (that'd be the comments for this 'ere post) to indicate whether you'll be coming, what instrument you'll be bringing, and what kind of salad-snack-drink-dessert-so-on you'll be contributing to the feasting. In that way, you'll be able to see what others have and can coordinate so everyone brings something chocolate or something. =)

If you need directions - or want to verify that I'm in the part of PA that isn't a day away from you - feel free to e-mail me (ellyssian at Google's e-mail service).


Sign-up here!
ellyssian: (Default)
I cooked up some Rosemary Honey Chicken for dinner tonight, along with some butter noodles - I hit the noodles up with some French herbs1 but it made no difference in taste. I had decided too late that I wanted garlic mashed potatoes to go alongside the chicken, but, as I say: too late! Maybe next time?

Haven't had much time to cook2 lately, and I miss it. I was hoping some watching time with the Food Network might help, but so far, I've seen one pretty inspiring bit, a bunch of bits on soup3, and Emiril4.

Although last year's gathering schedule kind of fell apart, and I don't dare attempt a schedule for this year, I still do hope to have a gathering or two - certainly the Musical Day celebration on May 31st and Labor Day on September 1st are both very likely candidates. I might be able to get a Run-What-Ya-Brung or two in between those. Who knows? =)

All day long, I've wanted something but couldn't exactly put my finger on what it was. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] popfiend, just before making dinner, that something suddenly became some pastrami6, briefly. Still want one, and I imagine I'll have to go to the deli7 tomorrow. The supper today did hit the mark, even though I'm pretty sure that it wasn't the intended mark.

For some reason, I think the intended mark was some baby back ribs - not Cattleman's Ribs, but something done over an open flame. Or maybe a nice filet mignon, a bit of char on the outside and medium rare for the rest of it. Never been much for steak, but it might be fun to try... maybe with a little Hair o' the Cow What Bit You?

~ ~ ~

1: Garlic, tarragon, chervil, and so on.

2: "cook" may be replaced with "read", "write poetry", "write fiction", "write music", "play music", or anything else.

3: Soup is just not my thing, unless you're talking beef and barley.

4: Even with some of my daughter's dislike of Rachel Ray having rubbed off on me, I have to say I'd rather watch her - or anyone else, or go through brain surgery5 - than watch Emiril. His food has never seemed to interest me, even when he's cooking something I like.

5: Although I have to admit, I'd feel sorry for the patient, on account of me having zero experience with performing neurosurgery or anything even remotely related.

6: I shouldn't even have to say more than this for the rest, but just in case some people from another planet happen to be reading, when one says "pastrami" what the mean is "a pastrami on rye, spicy brown mustard, and a kosher dill pickle, accept no substitutions."

7: Sadly, the word "deli" here represents a great place8, but it's not so good for pastrami, and pales next to places in Brookline or, even, much closer, the West End of Allentown. While I'm sure there's a number of great delis in the latter, I've only been to one, and I wish I had enough time during lunch to make it over there...

8: Nice backroom with lots of Italian folks and local government types, really overloaded sandwiches for a beautifully reasonable price; great for Italian cold cuts or a BLT on a Portuguese roll or an antipasto salad or some sausage & onions & peppers...
ellyssian: (Default)
Nearly everyone at the Labor Day cookout asked when what was next, and those that didn't asked what was next when. Here's the remainder of the planned schedule for the year.

The December 22nd one remains extremely tentative. More details on the Full Moon celebration will be forthcoming.

The Hawkwatch days - one a month through the season - are just that: days to go sit on ridge along the Appalachian Trail and watch hawks. Company is welcome and encouraged and so forth. Lunch is bring-yer-own for the mountainside. Any other food - a warm breakfast (highly advised) and a warm meal after (also recommended, especially on the colder days!) - is strictly a matter of whim. These aren't planned feasts on my part. People can meet at my house or at the Bake Oven Knob parking lot. Any other details - or anyone wanting to cater a feast before, during, or after - can be worked out as we go along. There's a pizza place along the return trip, a winery a short distance down the road, and a diner that won't serve french fries for breakfast or home fries and omelets for dinner.

September
Sun 23 - First Day of Autumn/Hawkwatch

October
Sun 13 - Hawkwatch
Sat 27 -(slightly past) Full Moon Costume Party

November
Sat 17 - Hawkwatch
Sat 24 - Thanksgiving (not a turkey day substitute! =)

December
Sat 15 - Hawkwatch
Saturday 22 - First Day of Winter
ellyssian: (Default)
Busy weekend.

In short: Friday, hosted a couple of bikers. Saturday, invented music. Sunday, moved mountains. Monday, cookout!

My brother and one of his brothers stopped by on their way across the country. Talked a bit, ate some food from Trainers Inn, and looked at their route. They spent Saturday night with my grandmother, and were in the Smokey Mountains for Sunday night. I expect there somewhere between there and Phoenix at the moment.

The Lefty Valdez Funk University Band had a practice session on Saturday and new & existing tunes were worked on, and a brand-spanking new tune was created.

Sunday, Justin and I relocated some two thousand pounds (conservatively estimated) of books from the garage to the cellar. Lots of other stuff went downstairs or upstairs or moved horizontally to make it all happen. My guitar rack was de-spidered and set up and still sounds as great - and, unfortunately, as unreliable - as ever.

With some research, we discovered M-Audio keyboards. They have a couple of exceptional instruments, and, conveniently, they're reasonably priced. Justin's saving for them, and I've added them to his wish list. I was guiding him towards their simpler semi-weighted digital piano, but as soon as he heard the vibes and strings on the hammer-weighted model he made up his mind. The 61-key MIDI controller would be a later addition that, when paired with a computer (a laptop, most likely), would give him exceptional capabilities for a variety of sounds.

Monday, we enjoyed the company of [livejournal.com profile] noone234, [livejournal.com profile] kk1raven, [livejournal.com profile] thefrogger, my future sister-in-law-in-law [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart & my brother-in-law, my niece, my father-in-law, and one of our neighbors. Food was simple fare - burgers, hot dogs, sausage with built-in onions and peppers, grilled corn - along with some homemade salsa from [livejournal.com profile] noone234, lemon cake from [livejournal.com profile] kk1raven (we officially gave her permission to try some other kind of cake for next time, provided she also brings the lemon cake! =) [livejournal.com profile] thefrogger brought some truffles that went over very well, and our next-door neighbor made some spinach dip that was very good.

After the meal, the Lefty Valdez Band set up on the Front Porch Stage and played through the portions of tunes we know. We did a little bit of work, extending [livejournal.com profile] noone234's bass parts in The Kraken and Sorrow's End. We also worked a bit on getting Rachel a clarinet part for Breezy. Justin and I both caught our nicknames on our first session - indeed, I haven't played the right-handed-bass-strung-lefty since then, so Lefty doesn't directly apply. I suppose it's still funny, considering I'm the only Righty in the household (Mr. B. is still Undecided.) Valdez referred to the vast quantities of valve oil needed for the trumpet - which is now in the shop and will hopefully not apply in the future. Yesterday, we coined names for the other two band members. Rachel's nickname came up from her occasional blasts from the clarinet - usually when she's frustrated, but sometimes by accident as well. She is now Squeaky, a name which Mr. B delights in calling her over. And over. [livejournal.com profile] thefrogger actually suggested [livejournal.com profile] noone234's name when he mentioned a flub - thus, we now feature Flubber on alto sax, electric bass, and - someday soon - C sax.
ellyssian: (Default)
The Labor Day cookout will actually be on Labor Day - Monday - this year. Grill gets fired up at 1pm.

We'll be providing hamburgers and hot dogs and that kind of main-course picnicy cookoutie type stuff. Sign up here!

Music will be performed on the Front Porch Stage, unless its absolutely pouring out. Bring 'em if ya play 'em (acoustic instruments advised, as the outlets are all accounted for and very intolerant of hard work!)
ellyssian: (Default)
The Labor Day cookout will actually be on Labor Day - Monday - this year. Grill gets fired up at 1pm.

We'll be providing hamburgers and hot dogs and that kind of main-course picnicy cookoutie type stuff. Sign up here!

Music will be performed on the Front Porch Stage, unless its absolutely pouring out. Bring 'em if ya play 'em (acoustic instruments advised, as the outlets are all accounted for and very intolerant of hard work!)
ellyssian: (Default)
Musikfest's opening weekend is coming up, and to celebrate/mark/ignore that event of great reknown (at least, that's what I was told it was when, upon first moving here, I exclaimed that I had never heard of it), we're having a Run-What-Ya-Brung cookout this Saturday, August 4th.

The grill will be ignited around noonish - note the earlier time! - so that if folks want, they can head down for the festivities that night. The headliner Saturday is Ludacris with Lil' Mama - I'm guessing folks who come to this event just might prefer the Sunday headliner - B.B. King and Al Green - or the Friday night one - The Black Crowes - a wee bit better. Those who are in for the week can check out, the following Monday through Friday, Meat Loaf, The Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Deep Purple with John Kay & Steppenwolf, and Joe Walsh. Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy play Saturday, and Stone Sour with Sydonia close out the fest on Sunday.

That's just the main stage. The Yellowjackets, Joan Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, The Manhattan Transfer, The Yardbirds, and Petula Clark are playing the Performing Arts series on August 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

More critical than all that, Philadelphia Funk Authority play Friday the 3rd, and Brother plays Friday the 10th and Sunday the 12th.

Over 300 different acts will be playing at a variety of venues, most within walking distance of my old house - about a 45 minute drive from where the cookout will be.

Back to the cookout... =)

Run-What-Ya-Brung basically means potluck-to-be-grilled : bring enough food to cover the appetite(s) you bring, I'll toss it on the grill and we'll serve it up. As much fun was had at the Musical Day Cookout, acoustic musical instruments are, once again, welcome and, even, encouraged.

Sign up here and indicate what you intend to bring! If you're LJ-less, you can still post, but make sure you indicate your name so I have some clue who it is! If you need directions, e-mail me at ellyssian at gmail dot com and I can send a PDF on its way.
ellyssian: (Default)
Musikfest's opening weekend is coming up, and to celebrate/mark/ignore that event of great reknown (at least, that's what I was told it was when, upon first moving here, I exclaimed that I had never heard of it), we're having a Run-What-Ya-Brung cookout this Saturday, August 4th.

The grill will be ignited around noonish - note the earlier time! - so that if folks want, they can head down for the festivities that night. The headliner Saturday is Ludacris with Lil' Mama - I'm guessing folks who come to this event just might prefer the Sunday headliner - B.B. King and Al Green - or the Friday night one - The Black Crowes - a wee bit better. Those who are in for the week can check out, the following Monday through Friday, Meat Loaf, The Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Deep Purple with John Kay & Steppenwolf, and Joe Walsh. Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy play Saturday, and Stone Sour with Sydonia close out the fest on Sunday.

That's just the main stage. The Yellowjackets, Joan Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, The Manhattan Transfer, The Yardbirds, and Petula Clark are playing the Performing Arts series on August 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

More critical than all that, Philadelphia Funk Authority play Friday the 3rd, and Brother plays Friday the 10th and Sunday the 12th.

Over 300 different acts will be playing at a variety of venues, most within walking distance of my old house - about a 45 minute drive from where the cookout will be.

Back to the cookout... =)

Run-What-Ya-Brung basically means potluck-to-be-grilled : bring enough food to cover the appetite(s) you bring, I'll toss it on the grill and we'll serve it up. As much fun was had at the Musical Day Cookout, acoustic musical instruments are, once again, welcome and, even, encouraged.

Sign up at the almost identical looking post that allows comments - over here - and indicate what you intend to bring! If you're LJ-less, you can still post, but make sure you indicate your name so I have some clue who it is! If you need directions, e-mail me at ellyssian at gmail dot com and I can send a PDF on its way.
ellyssian: (Default)
Cast of Characters:

Front Porch Stage:
Mr. B - percussion and loops
[livejournal.com profile] tewok - concertina, shuttle pipes, percussion, silly faces to entertain Mr. B, and chocolate
[livejournal.com profile] noone234 - alto saxophone
Josh - chanters, keyboard
Justin - keyboard, trumpet
Me - guitar, flute, chanter, recorder, flute (guess which one I can *actually* play? =)

Back Deck Stage:
Aaron - guitar
Michael - bass
Darin - guitar

Much fun was had, much music was made, some of it was even listenable! =)

Sekrit message for [livejournal.com profile] tewok - we wound up getting out all the wind instruments later on - not sure, but you might have been able to hear Justin play the trumpet from wherever you happened to be at the time! Actually sounded pretty good, considering he's only played it twice in the past four years or so. On the other hand, my handling of the wind instruments was only slightly less scary than if I had decided to sing. In other news, the album sounds great! We went inside and listened to it after the bugs proved to be an unappreciative audience.
ellyssian: (Default)
On the last Saturday of May, we'll be hosting our Musical Day Cookout.

Here be the official signup sheet. =)

The menu will most likely be traditional cookout fare. Salads, desserts, chips, drinks, and so forth will be up to you! Post here with what you'll be bringing.

The musical portion of the day will involve all manner of acoustic instruments depending on who comes and what instruments they bring - pianists, harpsichordists, and organists, no need to worry about lugging out your portable baby grand or pipe organ console, bellows, and piiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeepsssssss, Justin's keyboard will monopolize the electrical supply and will be available. The purpose is fun, so no worries if you don't have one or more songs on the Top 40 and have yet to be featured on the front cover of Modern Ocarinist magazine (or whatever the appropriate journal for your instrument might be).

Saturday, May 26 - grill ignited @ 1pm (earlier if crowds demand it!)

  • [livejournal.com profile] pete_wisdom & mom (tentative) - unspecified food - "off-key bargain-countertenor"
  • [livejournal.com profile] tewok & Jo - something chocolate - piiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeepssssss? harp? concertina?
  • [livejournal.com profile] jenjiyana & [livejournal.com profile] wintermorte & Prof. X - eggplant balls - triangle & baby rattle
  • [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart & Jefferey- pasta salad of some kind - comb kazoo & guitar
  • [livejournal.com profile] dragonflypug & Aaron - something - guitar
  • [livejournal.com profile] noone234 - (help Chris decide - see comments!) - sax & electric kazoo (unplugged? =)
ellyssian: (Default)
On the last Saturday of May, we'll be hosting our Musical Day Cookout.

Here be the official signup sheet. =)

The menu will most likely be traditional cookout fare. Salads, deserts, chips, drinks, and so forth will be up to you! Post here with what you'll be bringing.

The musical portion of the day will involve all manner of acoustic instruments depending on who comes and what instruments they bring - pianists, harpsichordists, and organists, no need to worry about lugging out your portable baby grand or pipe organ console, bellows, and piiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeepsssssss, Justin's keyboard will monopolize the electrical supply and will be available. The purpose is fun, so no worries if you don't have one or more songs on the Top 40 and have yet to be featured on the front cover of Modern Ocarinist magazine (or whatever the appropriate journal for your instrument might be).

Saturday, May 26 - grill ignited @ 1pm (earlier if crowds demand it!)

I'll be postdating an identical copy of this for May 26, so it should be easy to find - I'll edit that one with a list of who's coming and what they're bringing as I find out! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
From Dan Kunkle, at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center:

This is a reminder about our Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 21. Here is the schedule.

7:00 a.m. -- bird walk, looking for early spring migrants such as thrushes and Palm Warblers along with our resident species.

9:00 a.m. -- Habitat Garden and invasive plant removal session. The weather has been very uncooperative, and there may be little to do with the gardens, as things have not started growing yet. We will remove some invasive species on the refuge, and will do what we can with the gardens, including making plant labels.

11:00 a.m. -- Native Plant Workshop and Sale. Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery will be with us again for a native plant workshop and plants will be available for purchase.

7:30 p.m. -- Join Scott Fisher, who will bring his astronomical telescope for some night sky-watching. Other amateur astronomers are welcome to bring their telescopes. (WEATHER PERMITTING, of course.)

Thanks. Hope to see you at the Gap.

Dan
ellyssian: (Default)
Well, the full moon decided to skip out on the feast yesterday - honored guest, no less. Bah, guess being made of cheese already it had no desire to stop by for a bite of Deeper n' Ever.

Clouds harried Deb and [livejournal.com profile] noone234 in the astronomy business. Justin and I delivered Deb's scope to the front yard but damned if I could remember which axis was supposed to be aimed north. As I explained to [livejournal.com profile] kk1raven, that ain't my shtick. I seemed to keep pointing the thing into the trees, which is more my area of expertise, but that wasn't all too helpful: the trees were much more clearly seen without the benefit of being flipped upside down in an astronomical telescope. They did get some stars in focus later, I heard, and so [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart went out to take a look - but I never heard back on more detail.

The Deeper n' Ever went quicker n' ever, with only a few mouthfuls left over from two generous dishes (each dish normally provides this family of 5 with two meals...) Deb and [livejournal.com profile] dragonflypug whipped up a salad that also went in the blink of an eye - the tomato monster Mr. B polished off at least one whole box of cherry tomatoes on his own. [livejournal.com profile] noone234 provided the Riesling - my personal favorite form of grape juice - and that gave a nice finishing touch to the meal. After a short while - and the attempted setting up of the telescopes - we brought out the delicious lemon cake made by [livejournal.com profile] kk1raven as well as the chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate covered peanut butter balls made by [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart's daughter.

The prelude to the feast involved a guitar lesson, and that went well - much practicing involved on the part of the student since her last lesson - and towards the end of the evening settled into a jam session of sorts. Justin and I played The Kraken a couple of times, Jack Sparrow/A Jug o' This once, and then did some improv as well. Later on, we worked on a few of my tunes. It was some consolation for me, as the lungs didn't want to go along with the planned events involving outdoors and winter air - the bronchial tubes kept complaining about the cold stabbity-stab of the air or something - and by that time, I had pretty much exhausted energy reserves. Hopefully, I was still able to be moderately entertaining, even if planted upon the couch.

And yes, the recipe for Deeper n' Ever will be posted posty hasty, for those inquiring minds.
ellyssian: (Default)
Come by in the afternoon for a few rounds of Kubb, followed by a meal of Deeper n' Ever, and an evening of full moon gazing!

At least one type of gourmet hot chocolate will be available to help warm up (unless current weather conditions continue, and then we might need ice tea and lemonade!)

Bring your binoculars or telescopes for the evening portion of the event.

There will be two couches, one cot, and some floor space available if emergency crash space is needed to avoid dark, snowy winter road-type-crashes - bring sleeping bags and pillows just to have on reserve.

Please let me know here or via e-mail if you'll be coming, and what your contribution to the feast will be!

Some Suggestions:
  • beverages (Riesling wine goes nicely with Deeper n' Ever, and mulled wine or additional varieties of hot chocolate might help with any cold weather!)
  • salads (pasta/mayo salads won't go, but tossed greens and a non-mayo dressing would work nicely)
  • appetizers (minimal/no cheese)
  • desserts (I personally tend not to eat desserts, but I know there are a few chocolate fanatics out there...)
ellyssian: (Default)
February
    Sat 3 - Midwinter Feast

April
    Sun 22 - Earth Day

May
    Saturday 26 - Musical Day Cookout

August
    Sat 4 - Musikfest/Run-What-You-Brung Cookout

September
    Mon 3 - Labor Day Cookout
    Sun 23 - First Day of Autumn/Hawkwatch

October
    Sun 13 - Hawkwatch
    Sat 27 -(slightly past) Full Moon Costume Party

November
    Sat 17 - Hawkwatch
    Sat 24 - Thanksgiving (not a turkey day substitute! =)

December
    Sat 15 - Hawkwatch
    Saturday 22 - First Day of Winter

* The April and December gatherings are still up in the air, thus more subject to change than all the rest combined, which are entirely subject to change. More details on each as the time approaches. The hawkwatches are just that - dinner is not planned, although further arrangements (shared order of pizza, invading local restaurants, someone else offering to cater the event, and so forth) may be made closer to the time or even while on site. *
ellyssian: (Default)
I'm still working out a few details, but the information on the first gathering of this year should be up soon - the short form of it being a Midwinter Feast on Saturday, February 2nd, and involving ancient Viking games in the snow and telescopes and a full moon.

The schedule for the year is going to be tentative at best, although there will only be six to eight events. I'm still negotiating the details. The only other definite day to reserve is May 26th for a musical extravaganza (bring yer own acoustic instruments.)

So, if I didn't get the schedule done, what exactly did I do with a whole week off of work? Certainly not updates here - I was actually online a rather minimal amount of time. I did manage to repurpose myMySpace "Top Friends" to center around music - most of the folks I had on there also had a page for their band. So, lots of bands, particularly prog or power metal. I still did retain some of the old order - the first five or six bands are actually folks I know personally, ranked by how long I've known them.

I added a handful of small sections on to the piratey story, although I've definitely fallen behind in posting the finished bits for review.

I've been working on some songs with a keyboard player - somewhat of a first for me. True, back in Vision, Chris Walsh had keyboards, so the three of us (Todd Allen, guitar) often noodled around on them, but not at the same time as playing a song. Sort of. My live debut included a keyboard player, but that was more me fumbling around in surprise at finding the guitar-bass-drum trio supplemented by said keyboardist and two jazz vocalists and the percussionist that did Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Anyway, Justin and I worked on a fairly basic arrangement of The Kraken from Pie Rats of the Carob Bean II: The Monkees Strike Back. Justin handles the low-end on grand piano and I get the rest, doing crunchy power chords and other fun stuff. To show my maturity as a musician, I did what no other living guitar player has ever done: I turned the solo over to the keys. We had originally had me doing all the cephalopodic noodling around while he did the bass pedal line on grand piano, but that wasn't working well for either of us. The bass pedal - transcribed up a couple of octaves - sounds pretty good on the guitar, and the solo works best as written, so he plays that with the pipe organ. Our only alteration to the short form presented in the sheet music is to repeat a "verse" at the end to beef it up a tiny wee bit and a tag ending borrowed off of ol' Joey S. Bach. The organ part already eludes so much towards the Toccata & Fugue in Dm BWV 565, that the bit fits in nicely and provides a good ending to the tune.

I had originally opened up the tune with a solo on the melody for Ye Mar'ners All, but some quick experimentation found a better home for that jammed into Jack Sparrow. It fits thematically as well, for the song is alternately titled A Jug of This and Jack is definitely the type to "pop yer nose in a jug o' this!" The key lined up nicely as well - although the time signatures differ, with Jack in 3/4 and a Jug in 5/4. We haven't done a lot with it yet, but it shows promise. Deb's not impressed as Justin was playing the same two bars for most of it, which got on her nerves and called the festivities to a halt. We've since corrected that, although Justin will have to learn the variations that he plays for the opening, and then we'll have to go from there.

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