Monday, July 31, 2006

Audio blogging is enabled

I just signed up and tested the "audio blogging" feature of, and it seems to work. You should be able to listen to the post immediately below this one; it works for me, so let me know if you have problems. I will give Donita all of the particulars about this when I next call her, so that she can blog from the road if she wants to.

That's all for now, Jim signing out...

Jim's Audioblog Test

this is an audio post - click to play

audio transcription:
Hello, this is Jim testing out the audio blogging feature of, as per Billy Canary's suggestion. This should show up on the blog if I'm successful, and I will at the next phone call tell Doni how to do this from her cellphone. So, here we go. That's all for now, Jim signing out.

Heading for Odessa

Jim here (still). I just got off the phone with Doni; things are going pretty well. Her hands now hurt some instead of feeling numb. Not that that's an improvement, but it's a change. She talked with her doctor brother Dave, and he said it sounds like Carpal Tunnel. She's going to try to get some braces for them, and work out a painkiller/anti-inflammatory regimen.
The RV is still towing the kitchen trailer, but that's working out OK so far; she thinks they're working on getting another truck at some point.

There was no performance yesterday, and today they're also not performing, but they'll be going swimming. Regardless, of course, the meal staff works hard. Doni's having a blast, though, and really likes the people she's with. They're currently driving through Texas, enroute to Odessa, where they'll spend tonight. Tomorrow they'll perform.

That's it on the Doni/Paige front. Around here, everything is copacetic. Lindsay and Kyle saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" in a drive-in last night, and today they're in LA so that Kyle can go in for an interview with the company that makes pins based on cartoon characters. He'd be a pin designer, which would be a good interim job for him. This afternoon we hope his car will be done. Wednesday and Thursday we go to see Tally Hall!

Stan's doing well, his elbow is all cleared up and he'll be done with his antibiotics course for it tomorrow. The VA had scheduled another checkup for tomorrow, but I cancelled it since he's seeing his primary doctor in a week. We went to Coco's for breakfast, and it was a nice time.

I'll say more when there's more to say! - Jim

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Win in Arizona, breakdown in New Mexico

(Pic: Yamato rehearsing in Mo Val last week)
Hi, Jim here again. Doni called me this morning for an update. I miss her, but as long as I get daily updates it's good. Doni had some good news, and some not-so-good news. First the not-so-good news. In New Mexico in the middle of the night, about 200 miles west of El Paso Texas, the biggish truck that was pulling the kitchen trailer (a dang big trailer) suffered a major breakdown. In the rain. Eddie-san, the director of eveything besides music, and Doni's boss, was driving it. They couldn't repair it there and then, so they hitched the kitchen to the RV that Doni and the rest of the kitchen staff are living in, and drove on, down one truck. This had two effects: it really stressed out Eddie-san, and really smoothed out the ride in the very back of the RV, where Donita and her co-worker and new friend Liz sleep. So they got a really long and exceptionally deep night's sleep. Sleep is good. The other bit of not-so-good news is that Doni has been waking up with numb hands. We think it must have something to do with the amount of work she's been doing with her hands, but are concerned about them. Hopefully no permanent damage, etc. Doni was going to put a call into David Leece, her brother in law who is a doctor. I hope he can tell her what to do to alleviate the situation and make sure it gets no worse.

On the good news front, Yamato came in 1ST PLACE at the Glendale Arizona Show!

I'll update again after I hear from Donita again. - Jim

RCC show

This is what the band looked like while performing their show on Friday night. Paige is playing mallets near the center front, third from the left in front of the beefy judge-guy. Click on the picture for a larger version. (I edited the picture to get rid of the obnoxious back of a head that was in the bottom middle of the picture, but the band is outside of the edited area.) They are performing "The Elements," a four-part piece based on air, water, earth, and fire. Very cool and lots of neat mallet playing. But everything sounds great! They are very precise and the horns are very in tune, and it's got great energy. They came in third in their "class" at this show. Just an awesome show.

I want to once again thank the friends and family who came to see the show including Stacey and Scotty and their kids, and Drew and Mindy and their kids, and Stan, Rory, Kyle, and Lindsay. I know that it meant a lot to Paige to have you there while she performed the best she ever has.

You might be able to watch this film clip. I apologize if it is unviewable on your computer. It is a 25 MegaByte short Quicktime clip of the pit section rehearsing at Moreno Valley: Click here for video clip.
(I hope to be able to post a few more videos once I figure out how to handle some of video's idiosyncrasies.)

Next: update on the Arizona and New Mexico legs of the tour; Stuff happened!

Pix from Paige's BDay

Hi, Jim here again...

Here are some photos from around lunchtime on July 24th, Paige's birthday, at Valley View High School during lunch at a Yamato rehearsal.

Here are some of the female Japanese band members mugging for the camera while waiting for their lunch. They are so cute!

This is Isaac, the chef, and Uniko (sp?), a Japanese girl who, although she's a band musician, is part of the kitchen staff this year. Isaac is 24 years old, and a very good, creative chef. When he cooks for Yamato on tour, other bands come by and ask to eat with them. The other bands tend to have more mundane food on their tours. Doni said that Yamato would like to have the Food Network do a Drum Corps Cookoff show next year, and thinks Yamato would win it.

Here is Paige with a new friend. I think it was her birthday, too. The little festivity at the bottom of the shot is on a crepe that they birthdayified for Paige.

Shots from the Riverside show next...

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Big Show Is Tonight!

Hi, Jim here again (that last post was Donita, in case you didn't notice).

The big show at RCC is tonight! Donita says both Yamato and Paige are fantastic in their show, so I hope many of you can make it! The details are here.

It was really nice visiting with Doni yesterday. I was already missing her, and the next two weeks I'm really going to miss her. But the outlook for the tour is good; she's having a good time, and working her butt off, literally!
I just talked to Doni; she's enroute to RCC. I'm going over there to drop off a few more things for her. She says it's still going well.

Good news about Kyle's car, it looks like it'll only cost him around $750 to replace the head gasket. It'll be done tonight or Monday.

I hope to see you all at the show; box office opens at 4:30, gates open at 5:30, show starts at 6:30, and Paige's group is on at 8:30.
See You There!!!!

- Jim

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home for the night

I'm home right now and I'm exhausted. I've never worked so hard in my life! It's almost non-stop. We get up at 6am and head down to the "kitchen" (which is the snack bar next to the football field at the highschool) and fix breakfast. This is breakfast for 60 people. Then we clean up and if we're lucky we'll get about an hour break. Then back to the kitchen to fix lunch. Then (maybe) break and then dinner. Then break (maybe) and then snack. Isaac, our chef, is young, energetic and creative. Damn, the food is good! But it's also labor intensive and creates a LOT of pots to wash. I'm the slavey. I do most of the cleaning. There's also another cook, Liz, who is Isaac's friend. She and I got off on the wrong foot but now things are pretty good. She's a Mojave indian. She's kind of like the indian Rosie O'Donnell. She's pretty bossy and crude but she can be pretty funny and she has good intentions. She and I work well together.

Ah yes, the heat! Holy shit! We've had several kids come to the kitchen with heat related problems. Yesterday on of our favorite boys came to us and said he had stopped sweating. We whisked him off to the band room, which is very well air conditioned. We put ice packs on his neck, head and under both armpits. We put wet towels on his legs and set up a fan to blast his with air. He cooled down pretty quick but it was a scary situation.

Keeping the ice chests stocked is a difficult task. There's a lot going on at the school with painters, testing, cheerleading practice and public swimming. Doors that are supposed to be unlocked are frequently locked. Policies change with every custodian you meet. I'm telling you, it sucks. Especially since we need ice so badly. Our kids are working very hard and it's been ridiculously hot. Yesterday I was ready to kill somebody if we didn't get ice soon. Finally a couple of the cooking staff went to buy some. We have to be able to cool the kids down when they get too hot.

They're doing full run-throughs now and the show looks great! Paige is an absolute demon on those mallet instruments now. Those of you who come to the show on Friday will get to see how amazing she is.

That's it for now. You probably won't hear from me until after the tour. I'm soooo tired and my feet hurt but I'm having a great time.

prskml- a rhythmic passage, kind of like a paradiddle but more chaotic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Less heat and getting ready for visit with Doni

Hi, Jim here again.
It's about 99 degrees on our back porch by our thermometer at the moment. This is cooler than it's been in about a week. It'll probably clear 100 today, but not by much. I'm sure that this is good for Paige and Doni.

Tonight is a "free night" for Yamato staff, Donita tells me, so she gets to come home for the evening. I'm planning to pick her up at 5:30, take her out to the restaurant of her choice (probably BJ's, she said) and bring her home to do laundry, shower, and sleep in her own bed. I imagine she'll check her email and perhaps blog a little. This is all good. Today I'm handling a few things, including getting our powerful "air mover"-type fan working (the switch had asploded) for the Yamato kitchen trailer, re-recording some CDs that turned out too soft (???) for her trip, and clearing the laundry area so she can easily do laundry when she gets here (I need to buy some bleach). It'll really be nice to have Doni around. And I'm sure it'll be nicer for Doni! She's been living a somewhat acetic life, working, napping, working, napping, sleeping in group on the floor, etc. We both think it's a really cool thing she's doing for both herself and Paige, but I'm absolutely sure she'll have had way more than enough of it by the end of the tour.

Stan called me at eight this morning, and said, "could you do me a favor?" to which I foolishly replied, "sure, what?" Never do that. Find out what the favor is to be first. He wanted me to accompany him to the front of the farm and count bugs in a trap, because he feels that Bud's people under-counted. Luckily, Bud called just after we finished his morning meds and convinced Stan that the numbers he has are reasonable. Stan trusts Bud, but doesn't trust Bud's people to do a reasonable job. Doni has warned me repeatedly to not get involved in farm-related tasks, so I'm glad I dodged that one. Bud's coming out to spray for bugs tomorrow. (By "bugs" I suspect Stan means pine-tip moth, but he never used any term but "bug".)

Kyle and Lindsay visited yesterday, and we did a lot of calling around to find a semi-trustworthy mechanic to look at Kyle's car, which probably has a blown head gasket. After numerous phone calls (Kyle's dad even interviewed a couple of mechanics, which I'm really thankful for, because it was a lot on my shoulders; this repair is certain to be upwards of $1000 and Kyle has about a month's worth of savings before he may be forced to get a job as a medical file clerk, which could alter the arc of his life; I sure don't want to do anything to bring that event closer to occurance! However, I think that Kyle's dad will take up a substantial portion if not all of the cost, whew.) Kyle and his dad and I all agreed on a mechanic about 10 miles from here (in MoVal) who seemed to be knowledgeable about such matters as well as being honest. We called the tow truck, and led him out to the shop ("The Honda Shoppe," heh), talked with the mechanic (he seems like an aging hippie type, sharing his business with his son; kinda cool), and then came home. Stan had left a message that he urgently needed to fax some EDD state tax form to his tax guy; I'm pretty sure it could have waited, but I couldn't convince him of that, and he wanted to go with me (to get out of the house and the heat) to fax it. So I took him to Kinko's and battled fax technology there for about a half hour ("don't you have all this at your house?" "No, I don't have faxes from home set up." "Oh, well I do.." ahem... "what do you do when you have to fax something?" "I almost never do, but I use Kinko's". "Oh.") then dropped off Stan, called our mechanic who had been replacing the front brake pads (and rotors; I waited too long to have 'em serviced), so now the van works good again, which helps. Then I got Round Table pizza for Kyle, Lindsay and I and then they left for Kyle's house and I went to bed. Fretful night; I just didn't feel comfortable, so I didn't sleep much. But I'm doing okay today.

Anyway, maybe Doni will post here tonight, and I'll post tomorrow for sure. Ta ta...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yamato blog

Hi, Jim here again.
Yamato's director, Eddie, seems to be keeping a blog here.
I don't know if he'll keep it up once the tour is underway, but he is adding to it this week, anyway.

Today's report reads:

"As members of Yamato moved into their camp facility, you could sense the excitement by both members and staff to get on with the camp and finish the show before the first competition. Day 1 of the camp started at 9 am with the visual block to learn the closer drill followed by the afternoon music block and ended with the evening's ensemble block. Unlike most years, Yamato's staff decided to work their way back from the closer to the opener. Commenting on his first impression of this year's corps, music coordinator Tony Lanzino said, "this is the most talented group of kids we've had in the six years I've been with Yamato. Its going to be an exciting season.""

Paige's big Yamato show this Friday

Paige's only performance with Yamato in Riverside is this Friday.
Having heard what she's doing and knowing the group she's in, this is sure to be an amazing show.
If you want to see it, here are the details.

The show is Drum Corps International's Western Corps Connection II.
It is this Friday, July 28 at
Riverside Community College WHEELOCK STADIUM
(that's their newly-renovated football stadium on the northwest corner of the RCC campus
at 4800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA)

At 4:30 pm the Ticket Booth Opens, and at 5:30 pm the Stadium Gate Opens.
Paige's corps, Yamato, is scheduled to perform from 8:45 to 9:00, and perform an encore at 9:30.

The show is $10/person, and you're supposed to be able to order tickets by calling (951) 924-9215, but there seems to be a modem or fax machine attached to that line. You're also supposed to be able to get tickets on the web here:
yamato Riverside show tickets page
but I don't think that they tested their interface. I told Doni to tell the Yamato director, but I think I'll just get tickets at the door.

The web page for this event is here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday intense weather and a visit to Doni.

Holey Moley it's hot!

Wow! What was that???

At 7:30 this morning, the thermometer read 90 degrees.
By around four, it was 112 degrees at my back porch.
Donita had called earlier in the day with a list of stuff for me to buy or bring from home for Paige and her, and I was going to take it to her in MoVal. I had said that I was planning to be there around 2:30, but I also tried some repairs on the big fan she wanted. Anyway, just before I was going to get in the car, the thunder started. I had been considering what to do with the dogs. Once I heard the thunder, I decided I couldn't leave them out alone in the heat with thunder, so I put them in the relatively-cool studio with the A.C. on a little bit. When I went out to get in the car, the thermometer read 115. Never in my 20 years in Riverside do I recall it reaching 115. I'd be curious about record highs, here, I guess. As I got in the car, I heard thunder and saw occasional lightning. As I drove by the Plaza, huge raindrops started to occasionally fall, muddying the car, and the lightning and thunder intensified. When I passed Chicago and Central became Alessandro, the sky started turning intense yellow. Then the wind got stronger, and all of a sudden several tumbeweeds flew by the car. Then the road got really yellow-dusty, diffusing the landscape. As I got to Mission Grove, the wind really kicked up, and the van was swaying. Then that calmed down as the T&L started going off all around me; the thunder sounded like the really loud fireworks booms from a mile or two away, I'd guess. Then it really started pouring; rivulets were running down the road. The temperature suddenly dropped from 115 to probably 95. Being up on the MoVal plain made the lightning a bit more... ...thrilling. Anyway, when I got to the school, it was probably 90 degrees there by then because of the weird storm.

I talked to Doni for about 10 or 15 minutes. It's mostly going good; some painters that are painting rooms they use are messing with them by locking doors and gates to make it impossible to get to places like their sleeping quarters. But it's getting handled. Doni's keeping a journal, I'll let her fill in details when she gets back. Mostly, she thinks it's going to be a really good experience. Today was so hot that the meal crew almost couldn't handle it. Doni helped herself and a few other people by making neck coolers for them. I took her a box fan and Paige two battery fans. It was cooling down and breezy as I left. I think they missed most of the storm, but it was moist, windy, cooling and weird there too.

When I got home the thermometer read 100, the pets were fine (Katie was in the studio too). There is debris everywhere, but it's mostly small stuff. The air smells like a musky pine forest in a thunderstorm, which I really like.

It was a long hot day. I'll probably go out there again Monday, Paige's Birthday (sweet sixteen!). Goodnight,

- Jim

Friday, July 21, 2006

Donita incommunicado and general update.

Hi, Jim here. Donita is now officially "on tour" with Paige, although they are actually residing at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley until next week. Doni and I decided that I'll blog to her blog about topics usual for this blog in her absence. I'm a "guest blogger," I suppose.

Yesterday morning, we dropped Paige off at RCC so that she could go with the drum corps and welcome the Japanese musicians at LAX as they arrived. Then we took Doni's dad to the Loma Linda VA hospital for a foot checkup with a podiatrist. In the VA parking lot, a guy with cerebral palsy lost control of his electric trike, and Doni rescued him. She might have more to say about that when she returns. Anyway, Stan's feet are okay, no diabetic neuropathy evident, and they asked him to come back in a year.

We dropped Stan off at his home, and then Doni and I went out to BJ's for lunch on the way to dropping her off at Valley View HS. It was a very nice moment alone for us. Then I dropped her off.

Donita left a message this morning (while I was at a restaurant with Stan) and said everything's going fine.

Lindsay and Kyle just returned from the San Diego Comic Convention, where most everything went well for them.
Kyle started for home, but his car is having coolant problems, so he's on his way back.

Stan is watering the Christmas trees, which is supposed to be handled by Bud Lyons, the Christmas tree farmer who is working with him this year. I'm not about to tell Stan what to do in that regard, but his water bills for the last two months were both around $1000 (mostly due to plumbing leaks which have been fixed). I understand that Bud feels the trees only need watering a couple of times a week, and Stan feels that they need watering almost continuousuly in warm weather.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yamato tour schedule

Thursday the Japanese kids arrive. Then we start a week of "Fun Camp". Gonna be intense. Then...

Friday, July 28- RCC show (A on map). Yamato is hosting the Western Corps Connection event. Eight bands will be performing. Immediately after the show at 11:30 pm we'll head out for Glendale, Arizona (B on map). And away we go!

Saturday, July 29- Arrive in Glendale 5:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, go to stadium, do a show, 11:00 pm depart for El Paso, TX (C).

Sunday, July 30- Arrive El Paso 5:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, pack and load, depart for Odessa TX (D).

Monday, July 31- Arrive in Odessa at 1:00 am. We don't know where we're sleeping yet. Get up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, POOL PARTY, lunch and dinner in there somewhere, 10:00 pm depart for Frisco, TX (E).

Tuesday, August 1- Hmmm, arrival time at Frisco not on the schedule. Get up at 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, head for stadium, show at 7:00, dinner, depart for Van Buren AK (F) at 11:30 pm.

Wednesday, August 2- Arrive Van Buren, AK (F) at 4:00 am, University of AK Fort Smith, wake up at 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load. head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Jackson TN (G) at 11:00 pm.

Thursday, Aug 3- Arrive in Jackson (G) at 6:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Ottawa IL (H) at 10:00 pm.

Friday, August 4- Arrive in Ottowa (H) at 6:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, LAUNDRY! Depart for Dubuque IA (I) at 10:00 pm

Saturday, August 5- Arrive in Dubuque (I) at 12:30 am, sleep in an elementary school. Get up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, snack, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Michigan City IN (J) at 10:00 pm.

Sunday, August 6- Arrive in Michigan City (J) 2:30 am, sleep in another elementary school. Wake up at 9, breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, head back to elementary school at 11:00 pm.

Monday, August 7- Wake up 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, dinner, depart for Reedsburg WI (2nd A) at 7:00 pm, arrive at 11:00 pm. Go to bed.

Tuesday, August 8- Wake up at 7, breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, head for stadium, lunch on bus, show, go back to housing, dinner, rehearsal, go to bed.

Wednesday, August 9- Wake up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, head to Madison (B), competition, LAUNDRY AGAIN, pizza for dinner, go back to housing, go to bed.

Thursday, Aug 10- Wake up at 6:30, breakfast, head to stadium, Semi-Finals, lunch, Quarter Finals, dinner in there somewhere, back to housing, go to bed.

Friday, August 11- Wake up at 9, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, dinner, head to stadium, Semi Finals, dinner, Go back to housing and go to bed.

Saturday, August 12- Wake up at 8, breakfast, head to stadium, Finals, lunch, finale and awards, dinner, depart for Foxboro, MA (it says this in the schedule but it CAN'T be right; probably Foxboro Wi (C)), DCI World Championships at 6:00, go back to housing. Ok, this is screwed up.

Sunday, August 13- Yamato Banquet and free day in Milwaukee. Um, what do I reeeeally want to see in Milwaukee? Go to a beer and cheese museum? I'll be in Wisconsin, home of James Sensenbrenner and Bernie Griffin (Jim's dad's mega-bitch girlfriend). Two people who should never have been born. Just hearing that accent makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

Monday, August 14- FLY HOME!

Tuesday, August 15- Crawl into bed in my darkened bedroom (A) and sleep forever.

(Jim here; I added references to the map points on July 31. I hope they help.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another great Yamato weekend

No big emergencies this time. Just lots of hard work and sore muscles.

I took some strings of fairy lights and put them up on the easy-up over the food table. The kids liked them. They made the late-night snack more festive. I'm going to take some on the tour along with some other decorative trinkets to add some fun to mealtimes.

Hooooo lordy, it was hot! On Saturday afternoon I had about 3 hours to kill so I decided that Yumiko and I should go swimming. Heh, heh! I basically forced her to do it. She speaks almost no English and she's so compliant it wasn't too hard. She hadn't brought a swimming suit so I grabbed Paige's bathing suit top and let her borrow it. She rolled up the legs of her pants and we headed off to the pool. I climbed right into the deep end and she followed me. I saw that she was hanging onto the side and I realized I might have made a big mistake. I said, "Yumiko, can you swim?" She smiled real big and shook her head no. Ok, let's go to the shallow end and hang with the splashing, rotten little kids. I showed her how to float and tried to teach her how to tread water but you couldn't really call it a good swimming lesson. Still, it was refreshing. We spent about a half hour in the pool. When we got out I gave her my towel (I had to strongly insist) and gathered up my stuff. My sunglasses were gone. Grrrrrr. Some asshole stole my sunglasses! I had to spend the rest of the weekend working in the bright sun with only my hat. Oh well, at least they didn't steal my bag.

I don't get to see much of Paige when I'm working Yamato. I say hi to her in the food line and I'll see her when I'm walking back to the band room to take a nap. I try to make sure she's got enough sunscreen on. Other than that, I'm not doing the mom thing. Sometimes I'll watch them practice. I'll tell ya, Paige is turning into a kick-ass musician.

These two band camp weekends were good for figuring out what I'll need on the tour. Paige and I need to go shopping. We've got 3 days to pull it together.

I came home last night and went through my e-mail and was treated to Kyle's latest song. Awesome! I can't wait to start working on it! I'm taking my uke with me on tour so I can practice. It's a long drive so I'll have plenty of time. Oh! Here's another piece of news. All of us support staff were going to ride in a 12 passenger van but Eddie has gotten us a big ol' motor home instead. Ok, fabulous comfort and luxury BUT there are 3 men and 3 women riding in this thing and we have 3 double beds to sleep in. Hello! I'm sure we'll work something out.

Jim took care of Dad this weekend. He had a bit of a hard time making sure he got all of his meds. Dad was out with Drew and Stacey going to ball games and even when he was home he didn't follow directions and take his pills.

The fog is getting thicker. When I went over there this morning he was pretty confused. His pill box wasn't in the bathroom. When I asked him where it was he said, "I don't know! You took it about two months ago and I haven't seen it since!" I told him no, it was here yesterday. I found it in the kitchen. When I tested his blood he kept asking what we were doing. He wants all the steps of the glucose testing written down and taped to his mirror. He was worried that Jim might not be around to help him in the mornings. I told him Jim will be here and he said, "But what if he isn't?!?" I told him that we've got it all worked out and that Jim is planning to come over and help him every morning. "But what if he isn't here???"

I wonder how long Dad will be able to live on his own. I also wonder if Jim will be completely nuts by the time I get home from tour.

The Japanese kids are arriving on Thursday. Everyone is going to the airport to meet them. I had Yumiko write my name in nihongo (japanese) on the brim of my sunhat. Looks kinda cool.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Julia and Jill (and Stan)

Last night we saw Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobule at the Largo. Oh man, it was a great show! Jill played guitar and sang and Julia told stories that sort of related to Jill's songs. Jill is a kickass guitarist with a dynamite voice. There was another guitarist there, don't remember his name (sorry, dude, you were really good). She's a pretty amazing songwriter.

Julia is, well, Julia Sweeney. Her performance was similar to the way she is in God Said Ha!, but more animated and high energy and totally spontaneous. Her stories were fun. She dished some SNL dirt. Cool! Both she and Jill are just as cute as can be. We laughed our asses off. Maybe Jim, Lindsay and Kyle will post some comments describing the show.

They're doing another show in August. I hope we can go.

Today I took Dad to the VA. His elbow is acting up again. It was a typical VA hospital ordeal and it took hours. Dr. Griffin drained his elbow and sent us home with Vicodin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and a lot of bandages. Jim will have to deal with it this weekend. I'll be at Yamato band camp.

When I took his evening dose to him we had a bit of a fight about the meds. He wants to keep everything at his house but I know how that would go. He'd either OD on something or he'd lose everything. I left his late night dose in a little plastic bag taped to his mirror with a note explaining what it was. He called me twice asking what he needed to take tonight. It doesn't matter how simple you think you're making things for him, he'll still find a way to fret over it.

He keeps getting foggier and foggier. Today he was fretting aobut the trees getting enough water and I reminded him that Hector was taking care of it. He said, "Oh yeah, Hector's on Bud Lyon's payroll now." I said, "Yeah, but Bud isn't going to pay for Hector to fix your plumbing." The other day Dad had Hector here for HOURS ripping up his bathroom trying to find a leak. Turns out the leak was coming from the outside faucet and seeping inside.

Jim, Lindsay and I saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie today. It has some pretty good moments. Great special effects!

Yamato this weekend. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Lorenz's come to Riverside

We just spent a wonderful weekend with Dave, Nancy and Amelia. What a great time we had!

They came down to drop Amelia off at CalArts for a 4 week art program. They arrived Wednesday evening. We did a little hanging out at our house and then went to dinner at BJ's. Then they checked in at the fabulous Turn Of The Trick Hotel on University. Oh dear. Nancy said the action went on all night long. She was pretty tired the next day. We went to breakfast at Simple Simon's and then Nancy and I hiked up Mt. Rubidoux. It was soooo hot. Still, it was a good walk and Nancy got to have a Mt. Rubidoux experience.

They checked out of Hotel Hell and got a very nice room at the Marriott. Jim and I joined them there in the afternoon for a swim. Ahhhh..... That night I fixed a big dinner. Paige was at Yamato practice so I sent Lindsay and Kyle to pick her up. I was trying to work out the timing so they'd all be home in time for dinner but it turned out that Paige had to stay late to help load equipment. They showed up at around 10. Lindsay and Kyle looked pissed. Um, ok, let's go to Disneyland!

So, that's what we did yesterday. It was a great day! First we went to the new and improved Pirates of the Caribbean. They added a Jack Sparrow puppet. It's pretty good, it moves just like Johnny Depp. Just before we got to the first waterfall the boat snagged. We were stuck just under the chattering skull, the one who says stuff like, "Avast ye mateys, there be danger ahead, dead men tell no tales...", stuff like that in a piratey voice. Then, with the skull still chattering the voice changed to a somewhat high-pitched, kinda gay male voice that said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please keep you hands inside the boat and we'll be getting underway shortly." It was hilarious. Then a guy came out and gave the boat a push and off we went. THEN we got stuck at the second waterfall! Everybody in the boat started shifting and scooting around trying to dislodge the boat. It was funny as hell seeing everyone bobbing around all at once. We got it loose and went down the waterfall. I love it when things go wonky at Disneyland.

Later we went on Splash Mountain. We didn't get a Fast Pass so we waited a very long time in line. Dave, Nancy, Amelia and Paige were in one boat, Lindsay, Kyle, Jim and I were in another. Maybe the boat was weird, maybe there were just too many fatties in it, but where most people just got splashed, we got DRENCHED. I got the worst of it. Lindsay and Kyle were pretty wet, too. I looked like I had actually fallen out of the boat. It was pretty funny. My shoes were squishy. We were dripping wet. Not so bad on a hot day.

But then we went to the Tiki Room. The air-conditioned Tiki Room.

All day we had fun together. When we went on Space Mountain they sent our car into a maintenence bay and then had to bring a ladder to get us out. They said that car had a problem with going too fast. Hmmm, maybe bs. Then they put us in a special car on a part of the track that moves sideways to get it back on the regular track. Another cool, wonky Disneyland moment.

Later we split up for a little while. Lindsay and Kyle wanted to go to Toon Town, the Lorenz's and Jim went on the Matterhorn ride, Paige went off on her own and later met up with them and I got myself a frozen yogurt and sat on a bench and had a good rest. After that we went to California Adventure.

The Tower of Terror was first. I love, love, LOVE the Tower of Terror. We all screamed our heads off. It wasn't crowded so we went again right away. Then Dave, Nancy and I went on Soaring California. Very nice ride. Nancy loved it. We got off that ride just in time for the Electrical Parade. The Lorenz's had been to Disneyland a couple times before but they had never seen that parade. They really enjoyed it.

After that we were going to ride California Screamin' but it was shut down. The only disappointment of the day. We watched the fireworks and then went out to the front of California Adventure to wait for Paige. She had gone back into Disneyland to buy some trinkets and got stuck in the crowd. I think we were there about 45 minutes. Well, we got a good rest. We were pretty well wiped out by then.

This morning we all slept in. They got here around noon. We played the Kyle songs for them and then we all had a nice little uke jam on The Hawaiian War Chant. Nancy was on soprano, Amelia played her bari and I played my tenor. Dave was on dumbek, Jim played softly on keyboard. Sweet sound!

And then they left. They had a big day ahead of them at CalArts. They'll start back this evening. It was such a nice visit. The biggest bummer about moving away from Santa Rosa was leaving our friends. Dave and Nancy and Amelia are so special to us and we miss them very much. It was great seeing them again.