Reboot. Recharge.

When all else fails, just shut it down for 5 seconds and turn it back on. Just like new!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I will now attempt to describe the dinner dance that I went to this past Saturday night. This dinner dance is an annual event, called the Snowball. It is held at New York's Belleayre Mountain, a ski mountain in the Catskills. My mother-in-law chairs the committee that puts the Snowball together. Basically, it is a fundraiser, raising money and awareness about the ski mountain, which is owned by the state of NY. The mountain is near and dear to the hearts of my inlaws as they have been skiing there for years and have a large group of friends there. In the summer, there is a concert series that takes place at the mountain as well (I got to see Ray Charles there on his last tour a couple summers back, as well as The Neville Brothers this past summer).

The snowball takes place in the ski lodge after it is transformed from a snowy, wet mess into a winter wonderland complete with white table cloths, and white christmas lights donning the windows and walls. Everyone dresses up in black tie attire, arriving at the mountain in snow boots and furs only to change into their dress shows after getting dropped off at the door.
Think Jewish wedding meets Bar Mitzvah meets Italian wedding. I'm surprised every year when I don't see anyone get lifted up in a chair.

The same band has played at the Snowball since I've started attending (and I've been to 8 Snowballs). It is your standard wedding band, complete with the female singer, and 2-3 horn players, as well as a keyboard player. The band plays all the same songs, in the same order, every year, I think. The band is the master of the medley, playing usually about 4 - 5 songs per medley. They do a Motown medley, and a Beatles medley, and a disco got the idea. I know that at dinner time, when the full band is taking a break, the piano man is going to play solo and sing just that, Piano Man, by Billy Joel, complete with harmonica. Every year, one or two Senators from NY state, attend the Snowball and pledge that they will work to get more money for the mountain (then leave before dinner is actually served). The ambassador of the mountain, you know the guy, the one who always has a smile on his face and has a story to go with it, gets up every year and sings Mustang Sally. Everyone crowds around and hoots and hollers and makes the guys ego inflate even more (and he really isn't that good).

Inevitably, every year, there are the people that dance in a way that is JUST WRONG. This year in particular, there was a large woman, who was dancing with many different men. I happened to spy a slow dance between this woman and a poor, married soul named Malcom. The woman was hugging him for dear life, putting her head on his shoulder and rubbing his head with her hand. He had such fear in his eyes - they shouted out to me HELP!!!!! The same woman was dancing with another man, a bit later. She took his hands and put one on each breast and then removed her hands, so only his hands remained on her boobs. It was great.
Another woman, in a too tight red dress, with an open back, strattled some guys leg, and, well, I think you can picture it. There is a population of older folk who attend the Snowball as well, and so it's particulary nice to see them get their groove on, still, even though though they look as though they might keel over at any moment.
It's not all bad though. For what it's worth, it's nice to dress up and to see friends and family. Plus, the food is good, and the drink is free.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Time Travel

I was talking to my friend Kris about time machine travel, and who we'd go check out live if we could travel back in time....I've been thinking about it a bit. Derek and the Dominoes would definitely be on my list. I've posted about them before - their release Live, In Concert, is on my 10 favorite CDs list. Some of the best rock and improvisational jamming out there.
I would like to go back to see The Clash in their hey day as well. I was lucky enough to catch Joe Strummer and his band the Mescaleros before he died in 2002 - that show was crazy, and should be discussed in another post. I probably would travel back to see the early days of the Dead as well, the Haight-Ashbury days, to experience it all first hand.
I really wish I had gotten to see Stevie Ray Vaughn before he died an untimely death, so I might set the dial on the Time Machine for "Shred" and see if it took me to him.
I'll tell you what I'd really like to do, and that's travel back to the 70s and go to Studio 54. Unfortunately, I was born a bit too late to be old enough to go to Studio 54. Talk about crazy. It would have been right up my alley to go there. Here's a quote about the Studio 54 era that I found on this website: "Even though Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager's empire only lasted for 33 months, it was an orgy in money, music, glamour and drugs. There was an endless number of parties and all the right people were there".
Time travel is a great concept, but in all honesty, I think going to shows in this day and age is great. We have such a plethora of artists to see, especially in the "improvisational" music category. It really is a healthy time to see music, so in that regard, I wouldn't turn back time at all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

British Invasion

I've taken to listening to BBC Radio on the Sirius. The DJs are pretty witty, and while they don't play the best music, I still like to listen. Sirius delays the channel 5 hours so that the listener gets to hear it at the correct time (Eastern Standard).
This morning each person on the Chris Moyle Show had to come up with their Top 20 British artist list, and at some point in February, they are going to play them all.

So, I did a little refelcting and came up with a list of my own - it's really in no particular order. I tired to span the decades. This is what I came up with:

The Beatles
Paul McCartney and Wings
The Who
The Rolling Stones
Pink Floyd
New Order
Duran Duran
The Police
Dire Straits
Led Zepplin
The Clash
Depeche Mode
Eric Clapton/Cream/Derek and the Dominoes
Peter Gabriel/Genesis
Elton John (his early years)

It was tough - there are so many great British artists....the more I think about it, the more pop up that could be up there....for instance, Jamiroquai, The Cure, The many.

Speaking of Brits, Did you know the Benny Hill was in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? It's true, he played a Toy Maker......Who knew??????????

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Ticket Yentas

So, moe. played last night in town at the Orpheum Theatre; it was my 142nd moe. show. The show was good, nothing earth breaking, but good. I liked the song selection, and I thought that the second set had good energy. They had one segue that was particulary well played, from SOMP -> Akimbo....gooooood stuff.
The "security" was annoying to say the least. In the section that I was sitting in, security consited of 2 middle aged women, probably about 45, both with blonde hair (one platinum, one dirty). I dubbed them the Ticket Yentas. They were over the top about checking ticket stubs and policing the aisles.
I understand that it is important to keep the aisles clear, etc., but this was just way over the top. Our seats were the last 2 on the end of a row, and my husband, Rob, had the end seat. He stood in front of the seat and yeah, maybe hung out a bit on the end. Every time the platinum blonde walked down the aisle, she bumped Rob with the intent to move him back into our row - Every time. At one point our friend Scott came over to give me a piece of gum and was handing it to me when the Ticket Yenta came over and said to him, You can't stand there. He was simply giving me a piece of gum and had no intentions of actually standing with us.
By the end of the show, I was on standing on the end of the row, doing these crazy dance moves, with the intent of bumping the Ticket Yenta. I never actually bumped her, however, I think she got the hint. As I knew the show was wrapping up, I moved clear into the aisle, and started jumping up and down, with my hands over my head. The Ticket Yenta walked right past me and didn't do a thing about it.
The Orpheum is such a dump, and has such great potential. For as long as I can remember, there has been a 1$ restoration fee tacked on to each ticket you purchase for shows that are at the Orpheum. I have no clue what the money is going to, as it looked the same as ever last night. Thank god we were surrounded by excellent friends who could help us experience the Ticket Yentas and have a good laugh with us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Holy Smokes!

Howdy, folks. Long time no post! Hope it has been a good new year for you so far.
On NYE day my husband Rob and I broke out our new Smoker. It is a Brinkman Charcoal Gourmet Smoker. It was the first time that we attempted to smoke. Well, we went for the gusto, and did a 5 lb brisket, 2 racks of baby backs and a 2 lb side of salmon. I also threw some chicken sausage on there as well.
NYE day was a chilly day, with a little wind. The recommendation for the smoker is to start with 10 lbs of charcoal. We apparently didn't start with enough charcoal, because we had trouble getting the temperature up. Which brings us to the first flaw in the smoker. It doesn't have a temperature gauge, rather a guage that says: Warm, Ideal, Hot. Well, the pointer was hovering in between the A and the R in Warm when we decided to put in a thermometer. It read 150, which is too low. Meanwhile, we had all the meat on there already. There was a ton of smoke, that wasn't the problem; the heat was just too low.
Rob put on more coals, which then got the temperature up to high. The pointer on the gauge moved to the I in Ideal and the temperature read 270, which is too high, bringing us to the second flaw in the smoker - the Ideal setting on the guage really isn't Ideal, or at least it wasn't in this situation - it was too high. Well, we managed to get the temp down a bit to 230 and went from there.
I had read that if you are smoking in the range of 200-230, that a good rule of thumb is an hour to an hour and a half per pound of meat for cooking time. Our temperatutre seemed to be all over the map, and so, I didn't quite know how to time it. The brisket was a bit overdone. I mean, it was edible, but not as tender as I would have liked it to be. The ribs, while a bit charred, were awesome, with the meat falling off the bone. The salmon was amazing as well. The chicken sausage were not good, kind of like hockey pucks.
Take aways from our first time would be the following: rely on the thermometer and not the gauge on the smoker, start with more charcoal, and let the temperature settle out before putting the meat on to smoke, check for doneness sooner. I'd also change the rub I used a bit, as it was not salty enough, and was a bit flat. I'd also brine the salmon first, which is something I read up on too late to do it for this first round of smoking.
Looking forward to my next go round....