Friday, March 30, 2012

Reliving the '80s

I'm a child of the 1980s by birth, but since I really don't remember the '80s, I consider myself a child of the '90s.  I remember more about Saved By The Bell and ABC's TGIF than I do New Kids on the Block.  I had LA Gear shoes and a few Lisa Frank school supplies (not nearly enough to rocket me into the "cool" kid category, however).  Neon colors and baggy shirts had mostly faded by the time I was in school, thankfully.  I don't even remember the end of the Cold War, seeing that Sesame Street was much higher on my radar at the time.

I've been watching some old TV shows lately on Hulu.com.  I am riding through 21 Jump Street right now and plan to get through Doogie Howser M.D. next.  I actually remember watching Doogie when I was little, but I wasn't enough into boys yet to realize just how cute Neil Patrick Harris was.  I was certainly too young for Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street, but I'm making up for lost time there.

What makes me giggle while watching these old shows is the complete lack of any technology, or what I consider to be "tech-y."  The kids listen to records or cassettes.  They watch movies from tapes, and when they pause a tape, the lines appear on the screen just like they did for me in grade school.  Classroom scenes include a reel projector, something I just barely remember.  Chalkboards are slate tiles.  I could go on and on about the cars, the language trends, and the colors.

Aside from these shows being good, they're fun to go back and watch just to laugh at the way things used to be.  They're sort of a fossil, if that's possible.  I am planning a long, quiet weekend to relive the '80s.  Quick, somebody get me my crimping iron!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back to Black and White All Over Again

It's a weird thing, calling yourself a musician.  I don't always like to claim the title since I don't think I quite deserve it.  I don't listen to music often, and I don't always play what some call music.  My grasp of theory is loose at best.  But every time I lay eyes on a piano a tiny part of my soul lifts just a bit higher.

About a year ago, The Man and I purchased a piano.  I had been living in the piano desert for a few years through college and then when I was on my own.  Trips to the college music rooms became less and less frequent as demand for those few pianos rose.  I had access to a piano at my parents' house, but I kept my music at home.  The purchase of a piano, our first real splurge as our paychecks finally allowed some freedom, was monumental to me.

Over the last year, however, I've not played much.  I could chalk it up to being busy with life, with crafting, with wanting to do other things.  The real reason?  It hurt.  Playing the piano actually hurt.  My back wouldn't tolerate that bench and keyboard for more than twenty minutes, maybe thirty if I pushed through the pain.  My hands ached at the thought of playing.  My arms felt heavy and numb.  It was as if my body was in revolt.

I've been a bit more consistent lately trying to make time for music.  I picked up easier songs and forced my hands to relearn phrases.  Though I've always promised myself I'd stop playing when I didn't enjoy it anymore, I did sit through a few sessions frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to play passages of songs that used to be a breeze.  I've noticed my hands are stronger.  I can hammer octaves with a bit of gusto now.  My back and shoulders only tell me to stop after a longer while.  It's just easier to play than it was six or eight months ago.

In a better mood last night and feeling like a challenge, I broke out some music that I haven't looked at in probably five years.  It is hard music.  It makes my fingers twist and tangle.  The song is fast and loud.  I love looking at the sheets of music more black than white wondering how I'll ever get through that page and the next.  The human body isn't supposed to be able to make those noises come from strings buried within the carcass of a piano.  You know what?  I made those noises.  I really did.  I made some other less desirable noises in the process--inevitably--and had a fantastic time doing so.  I sat and played.  I found that musician inside me stir and wake up.  For many minutes far too late in the evening last night I felt completely whole again.

As I'll never play this song for anyone live, here's the song as it is meant to be (YouTube link).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pop Goes the Washing Machine

The Man and I arrived home yesterday evening to find the carpet in our hallway damp.  At first I just thought he spilled a bit of water, but he didn't have water to drink when we got home, so I started investigating.  The water was coming out under the dryer in our laundry closet.  I'm not always a genius, but I did realize immediately that the dryer wasn't leaking--it had to be coming from the washing machine.  I stood on some towels to mop out the carpet the best I could, shut the water off at the wall, and started poking around for leaks.  I could hear dripping, but the inside of the machine looked dry to me.  All of the hoses were good.  The leak was coming from inside somewhere at about one drip per second.  We could have called the maintenance crew last night, but I put it off until this morning since a slow drip isn't an emergency.  Also, I generally put off having those guys in here as much as possible.

This morning I called and left a message with the pager service.  Yeah, it's not even a voice mail, it's an actual pager.  The maintenance guy showed up about a half-hour later to see how bad the leak was.  When he realized that I'd shut off the water at the wall and contained the mess so it didn't infiltrate the carpet, he relaxed considerably.  I told him everything I could figure out, and then he set to work diagnosing the problem.

Fifteen minutes later, he indicated that we had a blown seal on something, a blocked hose elsewhere, and no straps for something else.  Apparently my diagnosis of "the machine is broken, buy me a new one" wasn't correct.  Pssh.

I haven't started the machine again since I finished all of my laundry loads on Friday.  I'm a bit scared to find out that our maintenance crew may actually have fixed something correctly.

Say it isn't so!

I'll chalk that up to an Easter miracle if it is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Currently Loving

The snow.  It snowed in Oregon, fancy that, and during the first week of spring to boot.  I absolutely love the snow we had today since it was just slushy on the roads and not all scary icy like usual when it snows.  I'm sure people from colder climates are laughing at me relishing enough snow to make a solid footprint, but Oregon snow is much different from other snows.  Just trust me on that.

Benjamin Bratt.  I finished watching both seasons of The Cleaner online this week, plus a couple other movies of his recently.  He's also on Private Practice now which makes me incredibly happy.  I swallowed all four seasons in nine days in the middle of the winter, so now I'm hooked.  And that scene between Jake and Addison in the elevator?  Let's just say it's a rare moment when I go all girly mushy when watching TV, but that scene... I could get ready.

A tool.  I recently purchased a Leatherman Skeletool so that I finally have a knife, screwdriver, and pliars on my body when I'm at work.  So often I leave my box cutter in my office when I need it in the supply room, or I get asked to assemble something for someone and end up using a paperclip as a screwdriver and injure myself or something.  I looked at lots of options and finally settled on the Skeletool since it doesn't have lots of little things.  I just need the sharp cutty part, the grabber things, and a plus-minus bit.  No scissors, no toothpicks, no corkscrews.  Simple.  Lightweight.  And did you look at how sexy that knife is?  All the boys drool when I pull it out!

Sleep.  I am still not used to this time change crap, so I have been valuing sleep more lately than usual.  I love sleeping, and I am a good sleeper ordinarily, so it's a great thing when I can get enough.  Staying up late to watch Benjamin Bratt seems to get in the way of that this week...

It's a rough life when you have to trade one current love for another, but somehow, somehow I will push through the torture.  *watches elevator scene again

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rewatchers

I'm a rewatcher.  I guess I've always been a rewatcher.  My husband is less of a rewatcher, though, so sometimes I have to cool it around him.

What's a rewatcher?  A rewatcher is someone who watches the same shows and movies over and over again.  Like Dirty Dancing and the fact that my sister can recite pretty much the entire movie word-for-word.  Or my 10-year JAG habit where I'd tape the show while it was airing, then immediately watch it again, then go through it again the next morning before school (yes, I realize that might have been excessive... that's why they call me "Jaggy," but hey, I grew out of it, right? just don't look at my current Netflix queue).

This weekend, The Man made the terrible mistake of informing me that he'd never seen Miss Congeniality.  I promptly sat him down and force-fed him all 109 minutes of GracieLou Freebush and her desire for world peace.  His first time through, my 30-something-th time through.  I like rewatching movies.

Each time I watch Band of Brothers, I get something different out of it.  The first time I was just in awe.  The second time I really learned the nuances of the miniseries.  The third time was for the beauty of the film.  The eighth and ninth times... maybe I'll learn something different or see something I missed.

I sat down Friday night and started watching an old A&E series, The Cleaner, with Benjamin Bratt.  Nevermind that he's totally droolworthy, it was a really good show.  Great subject matter, awesome writing, very good acting, and a hook that could keep shows going for a long time.  A&E was just stupid to let the show go.  (And Private Practice was very smart to pick Bratt up.  That elevator scene between Jake and Addison a week ago? I was weak in the knees!)

I like rewatching.  I guess it sort of helps me remember who I was the first time I saw a movie and helps me to realize who I am now.  Also, if it was good the first time, it's going to be just as good the second time.  JAG hasn't let me down yet. ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Five Snippets of Life Lately

I made some progress pinning pieces of my quilt last night.

I rediscovered spaetzle and sausage together for a fantastic dinner (grease and carbs, what could go wrong?).

I tried the new birthday cake Oreos.  Pretty good.  Just pretty good.

I started watching GCB on abc.go.com.  Funny, but we'll see how it goes.  I love David James Elliott, though his character is just so odd that I can't stop watching.  He'll always be "Harm" to me...

And I have been using my camera a lot lately, mostly for work.  I haven't had an particularly interesting photos lately, just pictures of equipment, but the act of taking pictures and getting out to see things through that lens has been fun.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time Change Woes

My quiet weekend at home turned into a bit more than I bargained for.  On Saturday, The Man and I ran errands for much of the morning.  We filled up both cars with gas (ouch), and we did our grocery shopping for two weeks.  I found a great deal on hamburger, so we asked my parents if they'd make homemade burgers for us if we took the meat to them.  They agreed.  We hung out there for a while and watched a comedy show on Netflix.  We should have gotten to bed earlier, but the time change really didn't sink in early enough this time.  We were up too late and then got up late on Sunday.  Sleeping in was nice, but it made going to sleep that much more difficult Sunday night.

My sister and brother-in-law came over around noon and spent the day with us.  The guys played video games, and my sister and I ran errands all over town.  It was a very errand-y weekend.

I've put my determined-to-finish-this-quilt face on this week.  I won't finish it this week, but the determined face is on.  Must make progress.  I need to push through this most difficult part to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

I got a new cookbook this weekend with a ton of great slow cooker / crock pot recipes in it.  Even though we're moving out of winter and into spring, I still want to use the crock pot.  I have no qualms about eating soup mid-summer.  Mostly I just like getting home and not having to cook anything since it is already ready to eat.  The Man is even willing to try some of the recipes from this new book, so that is encouraging.

Early to bed for me tonight.  The spring time change always tosses me for a loop.  I'm in favor of just doing without this whole time change mess.  Ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A Date to the Pops

The Man and I went out on a date.  A real date.  Like, dinner and a live performance kind of date.  Yeah.  Somewhere there are pigs flying.

The Man has been friends with the Severin Sisters since they were in grade school together (one of their husbands was also one of his groomsmen at our wedding, and they were two of our three musicians).  They contacted us Saturday afternoon to tell us they were performing at the Elsinore Theater in Salem that night as featured guests with the Salem Pops Orchestra.  If we wanted tickets, they'd leave two for us.  Hmm, free tickets to live music and an excuse to see friends?  We're in!

In the late afternoon, we changed into our non-jeans, which was a huge change for me and relatively uncommon for The Man.  Being Oregonians, "semi-formal" often translates to "clean, dark jeans."  We opted for no jeans on this adventure.  An excuse to dress up.  A chance to wash all of the jeans at once.

We left for Albany where we had (yet another) fantastic dinner at PizzAmore.  It's pretty much a guarantee that if we're going on a date, that's where we're going.  Completely stuffed, we hopped up to Salem where were circled most of downtown before finding a place to park.  We got the tickets at will call without incident, then we found seats very near our friends' parents in the fifth row.  That's right, we were so close that the speakers projected out over us.  Best seats possible.  I can't stand blaring loud music, and the orchestra wasn't even using microphones, so it was wonderful.

The sisters were the middle act, and they were awesome.  I was so happy to be able to see them perform again, especially with the backing of a full orchestra.  Fantastic!  The other featured artist was a vocalist that I won't name because I have a hard time finding nice things to say about her performance.  She had a sparkly dress.  The instrumental parts of the songs were very good...

(That's not very fair of me, is it?  I have to admit she had good tonality.  She just wasn't my type.  I think there's a fine line to walk when singing nightclub-style jazz, a fine line between classy sultry and ...not classy.  She wasn't distasteful, but a longer hemline would have done wonders for me.  If you're going to sing music from that era, have the right costuming and look, not some sequined minidress off the rack.  I expected more.)

The orchestra was pretty good.  They had a few incidents with timing issues and duets being less than sharp.  I'm hyper-critical since I was in instrumental groups for so many years, so it's hard for me to just sit there and enjoy without nitpicking.  With the right song line-up, I'd definitely go see them play again.

We had a great visit with our friends once they finished their set and were able to come down and talk.  Kind of nice being "with the band," or whatever it is that we were.  We talked with them until way too late, and then we had an hour drive home.  Exhausted.  And very happy we were able to go on a real date.  For once.

Friday, March 02, 2012

CatchCon: Questions, Answers, Info

UPDATE: There is no CatchCon 2012.

I'll admit, sometimes it is about the answers.  This blog has been all about life's big questions for years, but sometimes I just want answers.  When it comes to CatchCon 2012 (and beyond) and my favorite captains and crew from Deadliest Catch, I would definitely like some answers.

At this time, no date has been set for CatchCon 2012.  For the uninformed, CatchCon is a sort of convention for Deadliest Catch fans.  It has previously been in Seattle, Washington, generally in the spring after the end of Opilio (snow) crab season.  I haven't attended a "con" for anything, but I was considering trying to get tickets last year.  This year, The Man has business trips in Seattle almost monthly, so there's a very good chance I could go up with him again.  Also, CatchCon tickets were free in years past on a first-come-first-served basis.  Discovery hasn't released any information, so I don't know if there will even be another CatchCon.

That said, it doesn't stop me from thinking of all of the questions I could ask during the Q&A session with the captains and crew.  If you have questions that you would like asked at the next CatchCon, comment below.  I'll moderate them into my own questions giving you credit where it's due.  Hopefully someone that attends will ask your question!

If you know that a specific captain or crew member has answered one of these questions in the past, please comment with a link to a video, transcript, or tweet so that we can all share in the truth.  (Basically, links or it didn't happen.)

And if you are a captain or crew member, HI! Please answer these questions for me/us.  You can tweet answers to @jaggy732 from your official account so that we know you are who you say you are.

Lastly, one request: I may not make it to CatchCon this year or ever.  To those that do have the privilege of attending and asking questions, please don't ask these men personal questions.  Nobody needs to know who wears boxers or briefs, who was addicted to what, or anything about these guys' kids (and so on).  The show may have made them celebrities, but the lives we see on TV are their real lives that they have to continue living in.  If they volunteer that information, fine, but there's no need to be intimate.

Now on to the questions, or, in the words of Capt. Sig, "Shut up and fish!"
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  • What would you have for your last meal before your execution?
  • What is your favorite curse word?  I think this may have been answered by a few of the captains on The Captains Tour, but I can't find any links.  Help?  (Also, if someone could just watch all seven seasons of Deadliest Catch and do a swearing tally, we might be able to answer it for ourselves.  It might go something like, "horns, 374; radio static, 198; door banging, 4,529.")
  • What is your favorite word?
  • What is your least favorite word?
  • What (other than women) turns you on?
  • What turns you off?
  • What sound or noise do you love?
  • What sound or noise do you hate?
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
  • We learned in an episode of After the Catch that Capt. Phil had beautiful handwriting.  How would you rate your own handwriting?
  • What is the worst or most interesting rumor you've heard about yourself?
  • How often do you do laundry when you're on the boat?  And do you sort your colors?
  • If you could build your ultimate hamburger/cheeseburger from the bun up, what would you put on it?
  • What is your middle name?
  • Deadliest Catch fans know that the #1 thing to avoid in the Bering Sea is the sea itself.  Assuming you are in warmer water that isn't going all "washing machine," are you a good swimmer?  We know that Capt. Sig is not a swimmer from After the Catch: Low Tide.  Edgar remarked that Sig has a pool at home and doesn't even know how to use it.  The jury is still out about Edgar.
  • As a child, what was your favorite cartoon or comic series/strip?
  • Forget favorites, what makes the list of food you just won't eat?
  • Do you play any musical instruments?  We know Capt. Andy plays the guitar from The Captain's Tour.
  • What are some of the nicknames you've been given through your life?  Capt. Phil referred to his sons, Josh and Jake, as "Ding" and "Dong" several times.  Capt. Bill Wichrowski goes as "Wild Bill."
  • What sorts of first aid training do you go through as a captain or crew member on a crab boat?  Is it voluntary or required?  How big is the first aid kit on the boat, and does it contain a greater number of any specific item or anything specific to life on the boat that doesn't apply to life on land?
  • Why do the sodium lights on a crab boat appear to flash or cycle on screen?  Are the lights actually cycling or dimming, or is that just a camera trick/flaw?