Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blues for Breakfast, Gators for lunch

I like to listen to John Lee Hooker on Sunday mornings while cooking a monumental breakfast. This morning it was scrambled eggs with onions, spinach and cheese on toast. I got all of this down in time to watch the LSU-Florida game on my computer through the slingbox at my parents house. I'm more than grateful to view the game in any capacity. Seeing it live is far better than not seeing it at all. But it's difficult to watch LSU football on a computer, alone, on a Sunday afternoon. It just doesn't feel right. I need to find some college football fans in Wellington to share my pain. There are few things in life that give me more pleasure than seeing LSU beat Florida. Florida's players are classless assholes (holier than though Tim Tebow being the glaring exception) and Urban Meyer is a wormy little shell of a man. Florida fans - even worse. I relished every minute of the Tigers 33-29 victory. I guess Tiger fans back home can afford to bitch and moan about Les Miles, Gary Crowton and Jordan Jefferson. From my perspective, they don't know just how damn lucky they are.

Mighty Mighty.
My tantalizing live music drought finally came to an end last night. I accompanied my room mate, Luke, who plays in a local band, to The Mighty Mighty. Located on the ever popular Cuba Street in downtown Wellington, Mighty Mighty is a quirky small sized live music venue that showcases mostly national and local acts. The two bands that played probably won't find their way onto my ipod anytime soon. Both had a garage rock sound with clear punk and grunge influences. But it was so very invigorating to hear original music again. Where I lacked enthusiasm in the actual music itself I found great enjoyment in the atmosphere of the venue.

Picture here we see a Vanilla Ice EP vinyl record sleeve. Opening it reveals the beer, wine and cocktails menu appended to the inside of the album cover. I would have photographed this, as well as the replica of the genie machine from Big, the fake palm trees sprinkled throughout the dancefloor area and the giant four foot disco ball, had my stupid iphone's camera feature stopped working.

As expected, a joint this peculiar is bound to attract some rogue patrons, creating quite possibly the most humorous people watching situation I've ever encountered. I was literally giggling out loud every time I turned my head in this bar at the ridiculous clothes, hairstyles and antics that I saw. But the patrons of Mighty Mighty were not pretentious or snobby. They didn't appear to desire attention, but were generally just having fun doing what they were doing. I left feeling sure that this would be a place I'd return to frequently.

It's better Live.

While I got a small dose of live music to reintroduce it to my system last night, the super sized value meals are now close on the 2011 horizon. Big Day Out will be a nice return to an outdoor music festival in Auckland in January.
I'm thrilled to see long time favorites John Butler and the Black Keys, who both have new albums to perform for me. And I'll get to see Edward Sharpe, Grinderman, Wolfmother, CSS, and Ratatat for the first time. Hopefully Andrew WK's plane will crash on the way to the event.

But the real prize, the one that makes the hairs on my neck stand up and that I'm absolutely salivating for is the Byron Bay Blues Festival in April.
This is a five day festival where most artists PLAY TWICE. I've never heard of any festivals in the states adopting this policy, although the ticket prices certainly warrant more than two shows from some of these so-called headliners. A quick look at the previous lineups has me buzzing at the possibilities for this festival.

My big bad Byron Bay wish list:

Personal favorites that I'm pining for:
Grace Potter. Gov't Mule. Levon Helm. Delta Spirit. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The Band of Heathens. Leftover Salmon. Yeasayer. Robert Randolph. Shooter Jennings. Porter Batiste Stolz. Dumpstaphunk. The New Mastersounds. My Morning Jacket. Railroad Earth. The Felice Brothers.

I've never seen them live so it would be really special:
Nick Lowe. The Derek Trucks Band. Phil Lesh in some form (The Dead, Further, etc). Joe Cocker. The Cave Singers. Stringcheese. Kenny Wayne Shepard. Joe Bonamassa. Cat Power. Lou Reed. Hot Tuna. Arcade Fire. Black Mountain. Steve Winwood. Mark Knopfler. Neil Young. Papa Mali.

I'll go ape shit:
John Hiatt. JJ Cale.


A coffee shop on Smith Street in Melbourne
Speaking of Australia, I got to visit the land down under a few weeks ago for the first time. Leaving New Zealand made me realize that the year 2010 is going to completely pass without me ever setting foot on American soil. This is a weird thought to get my arms around. Anyway, I spent about 6 days in Melbourne, Australia but really only had about a day and half to myself in the city. Melbourne is a true big city and I've not visited one since Auckland, which really doesn't count. So for all intensive purposes this was my first venture into a metropolis since the last time I was in the armpit of Texas, otherwise known as Houston in the common tongue. The size was overwhelming at first but I quickly got over this as I became re associated with A DEVELOPED NATION!!! High Speed Internet, reasonably priced food, IMAX theaters, four lane highways, stadium sized shopping malls, skyscrapers. Being in Melbourne was seriously like being back in the states and I tried to overdose on it while I was there.

From the Lonely Planet:
"Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic population, ever-ravenous for a bite of global culture. The result is Australia’s most accessible multiculturalism. Ornate Victorian-era architecture and leafy, established boulevards reflect the city’s history, and cutting-edge developments such as Federation Sq exemplify its enigmatic contemporary style. But, Melburnians still keep their urban frenzy to a deliciously sedate pace. Trams lumber back and forth on routes radiating out like spokes from central Melbourne, and cycling is a common way to get from.
Character-filled neighbourhoods, such as Fitzroy, St Kilda and Carlton, hum with life and the city produces some of the best art, music, cuisine, fashion, performance, design and ideas in the world. Melburnians are also devoted to their sport and they go ballistic around the Australian Football League (AFL; ‘footy’ to the locals) finals and during Spring Racing Carnival. They love to shop, eat and attend the myriad festivals that the city offers. You’ll even find them defending the city’s temperamental weather, and if you’ve ever experienced Melbourne’s inclination to plummet from searing heat to drizzling rain in the space of an hour, you’ll understand that this must be the true definition of unconditional love."

The AFL championship match was being played the Saturday that I was in town but I could not be bothered with this as I spent the entire day at Melbourne Central attempting to transform my wardrobe from Patagonia-sporting-backpacker to young semi-professional. I heard that the game actually ended in some kind of draw and would have to be replayed the following weekend, adding firmly to my ongoing case that international sports suck. I spent most of my free time in the Fitzroy area which is way to hip for me. I'm actually able to get away with walking through these places because the hipsters see my disheveled hair and an old sweatshirt and think that maybe I'm a little edgy. They don't realize that I'm too lazy to do anything with my hair and I wear the sweatshirt because I really am that cold. I liked the Fitzroy neighborhood because it was peppered with great record shops, book stores, and coffee bars.

Ya Heard.

Having relocated to Wellington, and recently visited Australia; I've observed some new slang that I hadn't noticed before. I strive on a daily basis to not change the way that I speak, but it is infectiously interesting to study different people's speech patterns.

"Aw True." This appears to be a unique kiwi phrase and it is used as a verbal confirmation of having received a particular message during a conversation. For example:

             Denise: "What did you guys get up to last night?"
             Me: "We went to Mighty Mighty and saw some bands."
             Denise: "Aw True"

I can't think of an American equivalent other than just saying "yeah".

"Gutted". I think this might be English in origin. It's hard to tell where the different catch phrases come from because english travellers tend to adopt kiwi slang and vise versa. They essentially use it to express (or over express) devastation.

             Luke: "They revoked my visa. I was gutted."

Once again, no obvious American equivalent other than maybe to say "I was devastated or I was pissed". And with that I should note that when they say "I was pissed" over here, it means "I was drunk" and not "I was very angry."

"Easy Peezy." This is a strange one indeed. It's used to express that some act is easy to accomplish. I would think it would only be used by middle aged kiwi moms or cheesy kiwi dads.......BUT......One of my new work tasks is to get the phone and internet situated at our new facility. When I asked a sales rep how difficult it would be to upgrade the proposed digital phone system to a full blown voice over IP system he replied:

                 Sales Rep: "Oh that would be easy. Easy Peezy."

Here's a funny video of guy doing a bunch of different accents. I've heard all of the british accents and he is spot on with each one.

Here's a link to a god awful New Zealand bank commercial that seriously has me considering a career change to a television writer.'llgo(banner2)

Rock on Mike.
 Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2010 23:18:35 -0500

We left dad on night duty last night. And since he has a snoring problem, the poor nurse had two patients. Michael was waving his arms - as much as you can when they are tied to the bed - like he was trying to tell dad to shut the hell up. Needless to say, dads job on night duty has been terminated. Effective IMMEDIATELY.
While chatting with Mike this morning, I asked if he remembered dad's snoring and he shook his head no. You know why? Because he wants to keep his position as the favorite in the family. I am pretty sure he will forever hold that title. But I am coming to terms with it today. I think he has earned it.
The ventilator settings are now reduced to where he is initiating the breathing on his own with the support from the ventilator. The doctors only intended to try this out for a couple of hours but Mike had other plans. He passed their test and we are leaving the settings the way they are! His blood gases are great which has allowed them to go from doing a blood test every 6 hours to once a day. They are slowly decreasing the sedation medicine which is allowing him to open his eyes - and to do a some grooving. I have a little Buddy Guy on for him right now - one of our favorites. Since his liver enzymes were elevated this morning, they did an ultrasound - we will receive the results tomorrow. He has been holding a normal temp for the past 15 hours. We are trucking right along.
Today I had happy tears for the first time since I have been here. Happy tears because I know there are people that love Michael as much as I do, happy because he tried to dance with me, happy because he has the most amazing nurse anyone could ask for and happy because today, I FINALLY feel with all of my being that he is going to make it.
I am eternally indebted to all of you for the prayers. It is because of ya'll that I will be allowed to spend more time on this earth with Michael.
More good news to come tomorrow.
Love to everyone,

Thanks to everyone for thinking about Michael.

Geaux Tigers!!

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