Monday, February 21, 2005

The Passing of a Lion

To avoid starting this blog on a downer note, let me update everyone on the great progress of the Whiskey Sisters so far this year. In early January we all sat down and brainstormed about the kinds of things we would like to do this year, including playing out more, a beach retreat to focus on songwriting and arrangements, getting on the radio (my particular wish was to somehow get air time on WNCW), and the ever-present bugaboo of recording.

Last night we wrestled with the recording demon – and it was a lot more fun than I had anticipated. A very talented friend, whose band Fifth House is on its way back into the scene, came to Buffy’s house toting a big black expensive-looking box, a laptop, and two lovely omni-directional microphones. The setup worked great – Elizabeth, in the middle and on the melody usually – was captured on two microphones and Buffy and I were on one track each. Very cool. And very natural-sounding as well – the mikes picked up the blend we were trying to capture, and with a little extra mixing, I think we’re on our way to a decent demo CD.

We were having so much fun just singing that we put eight songs down. They’re not all perfect by any means – generally we just did one take of each song. But we’ve got songs like “I’ll Fly Away”, “Nobody But the Baby”, “Keep On the Sunny Side” and “Wanting Memories” down in decent renditions, and even if we just use the tracks to rehearse, it’s a big step in the right direction. And as Buffy said last night, to have finally experienced a laid-back, fun recording session is a major milestone for us. My memories of the first time we tried to record are all about fatigue and fear of failure and oh-by-the-way-could-I-possibly-be-pregnant (turns out I was.)

Keep your fingers crossed. Plans are in the works for TWS to perform live on WNCW’s Celtic Winds program on April 3rd as a promo for the Faire. HOW COOL IS THAT???????? I’m really trying not to get my hopes up because I know that in the entertainment business things can change at the drop of a hat, but it would be amazing to fulfill such a major goal in the first six months of the year.

I’m counting down to our beach retreat in March. (I’m not the only one counting, believe me.)

And there are a couple of original songs that are on their way to being finished.


Apparently, Elizabeth has had her first experience with hard-core puke parenting over the weekend. One of her girls had a nasty stomach bug and I wonder if I ran across something similar over the weekend. My tummy’s upset and although I know I need caffeine from somewhere, I don’t know if I could keep down a Diet Coke. Will have to try soon, though.

Last night was rough. Came home at 9, after the recording session and a trip to the grocery store, to a disgruntled Husband and a wide-awake baby. (Disgruntled because she was wide awake and kicking – him – every chance she got.) I took over and finally got her to fall into a very light sleep around 11. I think I may have fallen asleep in her bed with her. At any rate, I remember waking up with a nasty cramp in my shoulder from the awkward position. I slowly extracted said shoulder from under her head (surprisingly heavy at 2 in the morning, doncha know) and crept back into bed with Husband to enjoy what was supposed to be some strictly adult cuddling.

Not so according to Duckie, who startled the bejeezus out of us by coming into the bedroom, announcing her presence with a defiant, “BA!” and climbing into bed with us. I thought things had calmed down at that point but here’s where things really get strange – Husband got frustrated at the lack of quiet bed space (the new kitty Miss Price had joined in the nighttime fun, too, and didn’t improve the atmosphere) and went into Duckie’s room. My tummy started protesting around this time so I grabbed a just-in-case bowl to keep in the bedroom. And then Duckie started coughing. Not badly, not so it kept her up (something else was keeping her up although I’ll be damned if I could tell what – the four teeth she’s cutting, perhaps, or maybe the large gas bubbles that were winding their way through her tiny intestines.) But it was enough for me to wonder if she’s got another cold. Now, I thought, we’ll see if those tubes really make a different. Will keep y’all posted.

The smell of stale cigarette smoke has not improved much in the Lab, so I’ve turned on the rotating fan in hopes that it will at least help circulate the air so that the smoke doesn’t settle on me here in my corner.


I really need to get to work, but before I can jump in, I have to mention the passing of Hunter S. Thompson, who died of apparent suicide yesterday. He was 67.

Husband first introduced me to Thomson’s writing by way of the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Since I haven’t actually read that one (but am trying to find his latest on the Bush administration – I think it’s called Kingdom of Fear – I will have to quote directly from the movie. This passage, about the dying energy of the 60’s, haunts me – in part because of the anger-infused, delirious sadness of Johnny Depp’s delivery.

“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era - -the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.

And that, I think, was the handle - -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - -on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – the place where the wave finally broke … and rolled back.”

Mr. Thompson, I’ll miss your invective. I’ll miss your honesty. I’ll miss your talent. You were a fantastic, inspiring writer and you refused to close your eyes to the crap. The world is a lesser place without you in it. I am incredibly sorry that you ever got to the point of wanting to die. Having been in a similar place, I can only regret that there was no one there to stop you. Maybe that’s selfish of me. Maybe you're better off now. But we’re not.


Kiki said...

elizabeth just told me about your blog and hers -- nice job; and what a great way to write freely, and to share with friends.

re: your daughter's EIs and resultant surgery, i had tons of earaches myself as a child, and i think you made a wise decision. i didn't have the surgery, and i ended up with ruptured eardrums on several occasions. here's hoping duckie will never have to go through that.

keep posting, girl.

EB said...

Congratulations on your recording session! I cannot wait until you release a CD. And/or get to see you perform live - since I didn't really get the chance the last time we were all in the same place.

Can you burn candles in there? After I put the ban on no smoking in the house, I used citrus candles to eliminate the smell. Good luck in that new and ugly space, my dear.

EB said...

Congratulations on your recording session! I cannot wait until you release a CD. And/or get to see you perform live - since I didn't really get the chance the last time we were all in the same place.

Can you burn candles in there? After I put the ban on no smoking in the house, I used citrus candles to eliminate the smell. Good luck in that new and ugly space, my dear.

Sam said...

it may be a little comfort to think about the (VERY) probable fact that, as much as the Duke loved being alive and kicking life's ass at every possible opportunity, he would have had to have been looking down the barrel of something truly horrible in order to choose such a terminal option. if it were any thing less than the prospect of complete loss of mental and/or physical faculties (say, alzheimers - though i could see how he might even make the most of THAT), unbearable and unending pain, or lingering death and the weakness, dependancy and vulnerability that that brings on, i think he would have just taken, well... whatever mystical, magical combination of fun things that might get him through the bad patch. he was a young(ish) man - there were still a lot of things left to shoot. hell, he and a friend had just invented "shotgun golf" apparently, and were anxious to teach it to bill murray...
i feel pretty damned certain that for a badass motherfucker like Mr. T., it'd take more than just a hitch-in-the-road - even a bad one - to leave this particular play before the end of the third act.
my perspective on this comes from the fact that this is ABSOLUTELY the option i'll take (though i doubt i'd be brave enough to choose a ballistic route) if i ever get to that point, and if anybody is selfish enough to hold it against me, then they can kiss my dead ass.
i have promised everyone i know - for decades now - that i wouldn't even seriously talk about, much less ATTEMPT something like this unless i felt it was absolutely necessary. i feel that Hunter S. Thompson more than likely felt the same way. i'd rather be living in a world without him than in a world where his strange, loud, outstanding, stupendous life was reduced to nothing but pain, suffering, loss of all those hard-earned memories, tube-feeding and diapers.
let's remember the Duke the way he wanted to be remembered - raging, roaring, smirking, smoking, raising hell, and raising his 350, ready for the next adventure.

Ursula said...

Congratulations on being a step closer to that first CD!

....and....R.I.P Hunter S. Thompson - some remarks from us Lowlanders:"

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