Saturday, January 31, 2009

Appliances-SFB: Washed Up

Next up from the Appliances-SFB video archives is "Washed Up". For any music geeks reading this, in this song we get a little fancy-shmancy with a meter of 5/4 for most of the song and switch to a sort of swung 4/4 during the choruses. I always found this song to be a lot of fun to play.

Some of you readers have commented that I don't need to make excuses for the audio quality. Okay, I hear you. I guess I just wanted to make it clear that this is an old recording and I did the best that I could with the source material. In my opinion, the bass is mixed a bit too loud relative to the other instruments and the keyboard and guitar not loud enough, and this is not my doing. This is just the way the show was mixed when it was taped how ever many years ago it was. I wouldn't want anyone to think that because I was the bass player I made it louder than everything else. So. Enough of that. I won't mention it ever again. Happy?

Washed Up...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tales of the Coffee Man

The school where Ms. Geranium teaches, which also happens to be our neighborhood school (both of our kids went there), does a monthly coffee fundraiser. Basically, parents, teachers and anyone else who wants to can order coffee from Just Coffee™, a local organic, fairtrade coffee wholesaler. The school gets to keep a percentage of the sales and people get to help the school by buying something they would probably be buying anyway. It's more or less a win-win situation. The only catch is that a) someone has to organize the whole thing (that would be Ms. Geranium) and, b) someone has to pick up the order, divide it up and deliver it to the appropriate places, mostly classrooms. That job usually falls on me, in large part because if I don't do it, Ms. Geranium will have to and she actually has a job. Even before I joined the ranks of the unemployed, I would usually take an extended lunch break to make the delivery, but now that I'm not working, it's that much easier.

Today was delivery day. I enter the school, sign in and start my rounds. Of course, first stop is Ms. Geranium's room, partly because it pleases me to begin and end at her room and use it as a base station for my operation, but also because many people don't fill in the "Your Child's Room Number" part of the form, and I can ask her "what room is Bizktrygdslynka Qlakwiczpgglfggl in?" (Many parents don't seem to have the knowin' of the writin' good these days.) I also enjoy saying hello to the kids in the school, some of whom were once in Ms. Geranium's kindergarten or first grade class and are now fifth graders. It's also nice to see the members of the staff who I may know as former teachers of my kids, or, in the case of one teacher, is a former band-mate of mine. The kids always greet me enthusiastically -- "Hi, Mr. Ed" or "Hi, Coffee Man." Sometimes they all crowd around saying "I like coffee! Can I have some coffee?" or "Are you Ms. G.'s husband?" Once (and I'm sure this made Ms. Geranium feel quite good) a kid asked "Is she your mom?"

As I was arriving with the coffee, one of Ms. G.'s kids ran up and said "I made a picture for you!" On the right, there is a tree with a monkey in it. To the left, there is a crocodile with a fox riding on its back. The fox is carrying bananas on its back and a book in its mouth. It all has something to do with a story about how the fox and the monkey somehow tricked the crocodile into carrying the fox somewhere to get bananas for the monkey. I suspect the crocodile probably intended to eat the fox and/or monkey, but that's pure speculation on my part. Anyway, I was quite touched.

One of the positive aspects of being un- or under-employed has been the opportunity to be a part of the school community, if only in a very small way. I always get a kick out of it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Appliances-SFB: Mr. Ugly

This one was probably one of our most popular songs. What more is there to say? Call me Mr. Ugly...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

End of an era?

Hard to believe, but he's finally gone. Hopefully the next time I post about the little criminal, he'll be on trial for war crimes, treason, etc., etc., but right now I just need to say one last thing about Li'l Criminal Bush.

For quite a while, as Bush approached the end of his term, people were continuously writing and talking about his "failed" administration. Those people who think he was a failure are fooling themselves, or just not paying attention. The problem is with the basic premise that Bush actually wanted the wars to end, or that at he wanted what was best for the country. The truth is, he never gave a rat's posterior for anything or anyone besides himself and his cronies. Failure? Anything but. The only thing I can think of that he failed at was privatizing Social Security. He succeeded at everything else he put his hand to, thanks, in part, to the complicity and cowardice of the Democratic Party. Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan? Endless war equals endless profits for Halliburton, Blackwater, KBR, the Carlyle Group and more. What incentive is there to end the wars when he, his daddy, Dick Cheney and their pals will continue to rake in the cash as long as we're pouring tax dollars into war. He succeeded in raping the Constitution and giving more power to Corporate America. He succeeded in diverting the wealth of the nation to the ultra-rich at the expense of the middle and working classes. Bailout of the banking system? The largest theft in U.S. history. A shrinking middle class and broken economy is yet another opportunity to consolidate power and wealth. The list goes on and on, and I haven't even mentioned the thousands upon thousands of innocent people he has killed or the lives he has destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everything he has done in his time as president has given huge sums of money and more power to the wealthiest at the expense of the nation as a whole. Failure? I really don't think so. I bet he's feeling pretty good about his accomplishments right now.

Many people are puzzled by the lack of pardons at the end of his administration. I figure it could be due to one or both of the following:

a) He doesn't feel he owes anyone anything and they can all go to hell for all he cares. Feed 'em to the sharks!

b) Remember those signing statements of which he was so fond? Maybe he doesn't need to pardon anyone; they're all going to be protected by some some act or other that he snuck in while everyone was paying attention to the search for WMD, trying to buy duct tape for their windows, or something.

I have a feeling that we won't know the full extent of the damage he's done for years to come, if ever.

I am now removing this photo from my sidebar. I don't ever want to see the fucker's face again unless it's at his trial.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Appliances-SFB: The Little Fella

One of our more "pop" numbers, The Little Fella. Enjoy. Or ignore. Your choice.
I would apologize for the weird audio quality, but it's beyond my control. That's public access television for you, I guess. I tweaked the audio as best as I could without spending oodles of time on it. If I had more time, I may have been able to fix some of the dropouts 'n' stuff, but that opens a whole 'nother can of wax. Er..., ball of worms. Or something. In all fairness, I'm sure the engineers had their hands full trying to get decent sound in a live situation, particularly with a group that liked to play as loud as we did. It's not as if there was a large production budget. It was basically set up, play, and hope it looks and sounds okay. So, there you have it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Folk Ball, 2009

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program of shameless self-promotion to bring you..., ummm..., more shameless self-promotion, I guess.

Folk Ball 2009 is rapidly approaching and, if you live anywhere near Madison, WI, or need an excuse to visit, the weekend of 1/23 - 1/25 would be a very good time.

Folk Ball runs from Friday, 1/23 through Sunday, 1/25, but, if all you care about is "when will Ed be playing?", then Saturday, 1/24 is the date to put on your calendar. Early in the evening (second on the list of bands), I will be playing with Veseliyka, who play traditional Bulgarian music. Finishing off the evening, I'll be playing with The Reptile Palace Orchestra, who play, ummm, traditional music in a non-traditional manner. Also on the schedule for Saturday night are Orkestar Bez Ime and Sloboda, both of which are worth the price of admission all on their own.

Just because I'm plugging Saturday night for my own personal reasons, don't think that it won't be worth your while to attend Friday night's dance concert, too. On Friday you can groove to the sounds of Tri Brodovchedki, Cajun Strangers, Yid Vicious and Izvor Orchestra in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. All of them rock. Seriously. Or, if your tastes take you elsewhere, there will be contra dancing to the music of Duck For The Oyster in Tripp Commons. But that's not all! There will also be a Hungarian Tanchaz (village-style "dance-house") with music by Százska in the Beefeaters room of the Memorial Union.

But, wait! That's not all. In addition to the Friday and Saturday night dance parties, there will be workshops on Bulgarian/Balkan dance by Yves Moreau, Cross-step waltz by Jeannette Watts, Métis Traditional Dance by Dennis Grove, Serbian Folkdance by Michael Malich, Family dance with Duck For The Oyster, African Drumming with Eku Emmanuel & Atimevu Drum &
Dance, West African Dance with Abu Muhammed with Atimevu Drum & Dance, and A Capella Singing with Tri Bratovchedki & Friends.

Admission is free, although it is through generous donations that this event is made possible. Come on down and dance your brains out.

Here is a clip of The Reptile Palace Orchestra playing at last year's Folk Ball:

Vlad the Sea Kitten

I made a Sea Kitten! Those wacky PETA People!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Appliances-SFB: The Pest

Hello, everybody. I haven't been posting much in recent weeks. I'm still alive, although sometimes I wonder about the definition of "alive". Recently, much of the energy I would normally have for blogging has been devoted to getting all the darned Appliances-SFB footage that recently came into my possession formatted and edited for posting on the YouTubes. I tried to do it myself for awhile and got very frustrated with the lack of information available on how to make it work, so my brother enlisted the aid of someone who knows more about this sort of thing than I. Nothing came of that, for reasons I don't fully understand, but it sounds as if real life got in the way, so I'm back to doing it myself. One reason I'm putting them on the YouTubes is that they allow larger files than Blogger, so the quality can also be higher. In addition, posting them only here on Enriched Geranium seems to be frustrating those few people who are looking for A-SFB videos on the internets and they are having trouble finding them. Due to my lack of knowledge on the subject, and possibly due to the shortcomings of the software I have found that doesn't require laying out any cash, it's a very slow process (truly slow, I have to let the computer run over night just to load one song before I can edit it and add titles and all that), but it's coming along. I have succeeded in getting almost all the clips that I have posted here up on the YouTubes (just search for "Appliances-SFB" if you're so inclined) and now I have a new one, too, just uploaded tonight. Hopefully, someday soon, I will be done with this project and get on to something else. I think I have eight more to go. It will be good to have them all up there for posterity, but it's a tedious undertaking.

So, here for your enjoyment is Appliances-SFB performing "The Pest".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Appliances-SFB: The Squire

Time for another installment from Appliances-SFB.
I bring to you "The Squire".

Thursday, January 1, 2009

While the cat's away...

... the mice will... uhmm... take care of the dog, two cats and a guinea pig?

Huh? !Boring post alert!

Ms. Geranium and Sparkly Seacow have been out of town since Saturday, visiting Ms. Geranium's sister near Springwater, NY. So what did I do with my time since I had the house to myself? Wild parties? Let all the dirty dishes pile up? Leave all the kitchen cabinet doors open? Finish off the dreaded bathroom?

Sorry to disappoint, but none of the above. This is how my week went.

Saturday: Take the two travelers to the bus that goes from Madison to the train station in Chicago. Take Molly, the Official Spokesdog of the Impeachment Movement™ to the Bark Park. Since we had so much snow in the previous week or two and it had been raining all day, the bark park was like a giant dog poop flavored slushy (thank the gods for rubber boots!) Then, off to Ms. Geranium's family's holiday get-together, after which I went to my mother's house to see my brother and sister while they were still in town. No sooner did I get there than my other brother calls to tell me that our friend Carlos, who hasn't lived in Madison since 1978, was at his house for an hour and did I want to stop by? Off to Bill's house to see Carlos, hang out for a short time, drive Carlos to the place he was staying, back to my mom's house to pick up Cinderbelle's things and drive her home. I got back home sometime after midnight.

So you really want to read more? It doesn't get any better than this. (That was meant as a warning, by the way.)

Sunday: Of course I had to watch the last Packer game of the season, particularly since, win or lose, they would make NFL history. If they lost, they would have had the questionable honor of being the only team in NFL history to lose to a 0-15 team. If they won, they got to be part of helping the Detroit Lions achieve(?) the first winless record since the NFL went to a 16-game season. Fortunately for Packer fans, The Mighty Pack came through, although they made a valiant effort at losing the game. Bark Park (totally frozen over, footing is treacherous). Get home feeling like I'm getting sick, decide to bail on Veseliyka rehearsal that night. Watch a movie with Cinderbelle and go to bed early.

Monday: Lunch date with an old high school friend who comes back to Madison about once a year. Bark Park. Motor Primitives rehearsal.

Tuesday: Two appointments. Bark Park (still icy). Happy hour gig with the Motor Primitives at the High Noon Saloon. Dinner after the gig.

Wednesday: Get up and practice some material for the evening's gig with The Reptile Palace Orchestra in Decorah, IA. Bark Park. Deliver dog and dog accessories to my mother's house since no one would be home while away. Get home, pack, drive to Decorah, set up, play for three or four hours, pack up, arrive at hotel around 3:00 a.m. People often seem to have negative impressions of Iowa, but I found the drive to be quite scenic and Decorah to be a picturesque and pleasant town. We played at the Elk's club and had a good turnout. People were extremely nice and seemed to really appreciate having us there. They put us up in what we were told was the best hotel in Decorah, too. Certainly a step up from most I've experienced.

Thursday (today): Get up after about four hours of sleep, drive back to Madison. Unload car. Pick up dog, have a small dinner with my mom. Home.

Sometime tomorrow I pick up the intrepid travelers.

I've probably forgotten to include a few things, but that's about it. I really know how to have a good time, don't you think? I'm tired.

Happy New Year, everyone!