Sunday, August 30, 2009

Has Anybody Seen the Month of August?

...and if you do, could you please tell it to come back? I'm not done with it yet.

This has been one funky summer, to be sure. The early part of the season was so cold and rainy that the mosquitoes and blackflies probably drowned. Now that we're finally seeing some decent late-summer weather, it's practically fall already. Aside from the lack of bugs, there's no justice in the world weather-wise.

Date Night at the Aggie Fair

Thanks to Sue for taking pictures and blogging about the Acton Fair -- and congrats to Sue, Sadie, Nate, Kelli, Tracey and Jay, and everyone else who won ribbons there!

Greg and I usually go after he's done with his church gig on Sundays. We love to watch the antique tractor pulls and sample the kinds of food that we can't even be seen eating anywhere else for the other 51 weekends of the year. He rhapsodizes over the Rotary Club's fried chicken livers and onions. I am continually torn between the fresh-cut French fries and the big honkin' onion blossoms. We both save room for the fresh-squeezed lemonade, and polish off our "meals" by splitting a funnel cake with heaps of confectioners' sugar.

Total: 4,028 Weight Watchers points. They'll probably throw me out on my well-padded derriere at my next meeting. Don't tell them that we tried the fried Oreos this time.

We couldn't figure out when to go to the fair this year, but decided on impulse to head down there on Friday night after one of his virtual piano gigs. Friday nights at the fair are so much fun that we plan to go on Friday night every year from now on! I ran into Sue, Nate and Kassy, the Petersens, the Barnabys, and my friend Pam from BCCME (who will eventually stay still long enough for us to get her Web site off the ground). Pam even introduced me to someone who needs maintenance done on his site, and I found a spinner/yarn shop there whom I can't wait to introduce to my friend Fran.

(It's interesting to contemplate that I couldn't buy a freakin' job as a technical writer these days, but I'm getting Web site work thrown at me right and left.)

For a kid from the suburbs who forgot all about horseback riding when she got her driver's license, I LOVE county fairs. I love tractors. I love farm animals. I love scrutinizing the handcrafts, the perfect apples, and the giant pumpkins. I petted friendly sheep, chatted about genetics in the Black and Red Angus with one of the folks from the local farm store, and was vastly entertained by the 4-H kid with the llamas who called out, carnival-barker style, "Come pet our llamas! Guaranteed not to spit!"

The sight that cracked me up most came after dark, so I'm sad about not being able to take a picture. Cattle judging had already taken place by the time we got to the fair, but sheep judging was scheduled for the next day. I caught sight of a Tunis sheep (a hair sheep) on a low grooming table, with someone clipping the stray hairs and neatening up his topline. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Bet it doesn't cost $30.00 to enter a sheep in a show.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Virtual Virtuoso and Other Stories

It's hard for me to describe the musical path Greg has been taking lately without ranging off into some musical technical terms so arcane that I don't even understand what I'm saying. Maybe the simple version is this: he's doing some exploration into pushing tonal harmony to its limits, and he's been doing much of that work through improvisation on the piano. He does record all of these works to MIDI, and I have no doubt that something of them will resurface when he gets back to good old-fashioned composition again. In the meantime, the best place to hear him do his thing is in Second Life. He plays 3-4 hour-long gigs in a given week, and he even has a booking agent who finds him concert venues and makes sure he gets paid. (Yes, the agent gets a percentage. Second Life is a reflection of real life, after all.)

I've created a tab on his Web site for Musical Improvisation, but it's up to him when he fills that page, and what he puts there. If I find out that he's uploaded something, I'll announce it in the blog.

Caffeine Makes It All Possible

On Monday, I'm taking off to New Brunswick (Canada, not New Jersey) with Dinah for a cluster of dog shows. We'll be joining our friends Val and Pat up there with Trav and Fiona -- and there should be plenty of fodder for my other blog.

As soon as I get back, I'll barely have enough time to switch out dirty clothes for clean and Dinah for Badger before it's time to jump back in the car and drive in the opposite direction to make Badger's AKC debut in Springfield. Just thinking about that schedule makes me tired already!