Okay, anyway...you know the drill. As of today, January 8, 2009, we'll have January-June 2008 in here, and July-December 2008 in Archive Lair 2. Rinse and Repeat...
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2008: Holy crap, LairLurkers! It's almost Thanksgiving! I can't believe we haven't updated the Home Lair since Election Day, when we voted ourselves Out from under the jackboots of Darth Dubya and Mob! Our new President is African-American, the son of a Kenyan immigrant/student, and the fastest-Rising political figure in Recent memory! And he's got himself a Ginormous mess to clean up from the Past eight years' fiasco that calls itself the "Bush Administration." We'll just see how he does. Let's hope he's not Forced to check his idealism at the White House door by the Federal bureaucrats who think they have Lifetime entitlement to call the Actual shots inside the Beltway.
There's such a huge amount of stuff that needs changing right Now. Put the whole freaking Darth Dubya coterie in prison, for starters (excepting the Current Defense Secretary; Obama wants to keep him Around for his Iraq experience, at least for a while). Okay. After shipping Darth Dubya and Mob down to Guantanamo where they belong, give Iraq back to the Iraqi people, without, mind you, insisting that they have a "Pro-American" government. What Iraq needs is a pro-Iraqi government, that doesn't persecute its religious minorities OR its majority. Duh. And Ixnay on "Bomb, bomb Iran." We can't bloody afford it.
Right, then. After taking care of that item, and bringing Home our Long-Suffering military personnel and making damn Sure they get the full vets' benefits Due them, we can put them, and a lot of Other folks, to work Again quite handily doing environmental preservation and erosion-prevention projects, among Other things. Finish rebuilding New Orleans and a bunch of other Gulf state communities, along with employing local people in these communities to help restore their own towns' and cities' infrastructure. And then there are economic necessities that have to be Tackled, the tackling of which will certainly extend beyond one, or even two, presidential terms. We at the Lair don't claim to have all, or even a modicum, of Great answers to this one. We do have a few little ideas, however. First of all, put a stop to corporate outsourcing, by levying penalties against companies that do So, along with incentives to keep jobs on U.S. soil. We would also prefer an ethically-Based preference for FAIR trade over So-Called "Free Trade" that encourages rollbacks of environmental and labor protections, among Other things. We would like to see more encouragement of Local, community-Based entrepreneurship over reserving all the big breaks for corporate chains, even if the latter might provide more jobs in the short-term. Moreover, we'd like to see foreign business investment here, alongside U.S. business investments Overseas. In particular, there is, and should be, Plenty of work to be done Worldwide in the Greening of industry, from redesign to refurbishment of machinery, infrastructure, transportation vehicles--bloody-well everything.
In the areas of how we as a society get Along with each other, there's also plenty of work to be Done. I've often thought I should research and write a thesis of sorts on "Homophobic Folklore"--all the myths, legends, and general bullshit you hear in many parts of the country about GLBT people (that's "gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered", for those of you who don't like acronyms). There's so much of that sort of thinking that ought to be Dispensed with--so many people have absorbed the assumptions that if someone is gay, he/she is automatically a bad person, with no Legitimate place in society, and nothing Positive to contribute to society--all of which is completely False. We know this because we know Plenty of gay folks. A lot of our fellow citizens don't--or think they don't. In any case, it's high time that we as a society took the plunge and did a few things we think we're "not ready for"--repeal the ban on GLBT people serving in the Armed Forces; and let committed same-sex couples get Married already. Said couples need and deserve legal means to protect their relationships and families, especially when so many social forces are explicitly out to undermine these Important bonds between and among people. Sooner or later, we collectively will have to get it through our heads that being gay doesn't make you a bad person, and GLBT folks are NOT going away.
Added to this is the question: how can we get Along more decently with our neighbors in other countries, besides getting Along better with the folks next door? We at the Lair have been longing for a World Music revival, with a Huge increase in cultural exchanges Worldwide, for some time Now. Every time a Qawwali group, or a bunch of musicians from the Middle East, Africa, or Elsewhere has visited Seattle, I have made a point of telling them that we Americans have been Plagued with messages to fear and distrust foreigners (especially Muslims) ever since 9/11 struck us; and we have a Tremendous need for contact and engagement with international artists and musicians, now more than Ever (and, of course, I always implore them to come back and perform here in Seattle again as Soon as they can manage it--especially the Qawwali groups!). Along with this, I have been incubating a dream of putting a Celtic/World fusion band Together, and bringing Celtic music to the Middle East, South Asia, and other parts of the world where it isn't Commonplace. Here's calling on other trad Irish and Celtic musicians who would like to perform in the shadow of the Himalayas!
Anyway, a lot has been Lost in the Preceding eight Dire years, especially many people's sense of hope and trust in government. I have felt it sharply myself, wondering repeatedly if I can dare feel hopeful about the Incoming administration, if I dare trust them to undo a lot of Darth Dubya's damage; if I can even trust them to tell the truth most of the time. I hope so. We need hope and trust, just as a basis for continuing as a Sound, Unified society and nation...
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2008: Sorry it's taken so Long to get Around to this article, folks (and I may have to make two trips for it, as it were)! My HP laptop is in the shop; and I've been Stuck in the travel agency for a couple of weeks, attempting to do some form of accounting for my friend Riz's local rental properties (which has nothing to do with the travel business). So, my access to the Lair's editing mechanisms has been Limited, to say the least. I've also been feeling very Angsty about my musical career, and wondering why I can't earn any money with my Online entrepreneurial efforts. I'm trying ever so Hard to rid my mind of those Stupid "God is out to get me, and wants me to be poor all my life" thoughts; but they keep coming Back with a vengeance, the Lower my cash balance goes.
I want to be a touring folksinger, like the people and groups I idolized as a teenager. The people around me still don't understand why I've taken a leap off the conventional-job hamster wheel, and attempted to make a living busking and e-commercing. It's because conventional jobs and lifestyles haven't, won't and CAN'T lead me to the musical life of my goals and aspirations (and in case you're just Tuning In, I've spent Many years in Conventional jobs, fields and venues; so I know what they can and can't do for your career goals). They won't guide me to the life of a touring musician.
I think of the people I grew up admiring and trying to emulate: the Clancy Brothers, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Clannad, Planxty, The Chieftains. And I wanted, and still want, to be one of them. A working, touring folk musician like my heroes. Sure, it takes work, but so does every Other profession; so skipping Out on it would make no difference in my workload. But I keep missing the bus, the boat, the wagon, whatever. If my ship has ever Come In, someone failed to let me know it had arrived. Hence, I haven't been Able to arrive where I want to be. Instead, I'm Stuck in a low-income apartment, barely scraping By as a local busker, in a Serious heap of debt, and I have yet to finish my first full-length CD. Plus, I can't seem to find the right people to collaborate with; those I want to work with have pretty much blown me Off. Wishin' and hopin' and prayin' and dreamin' haven't gotten me Anywhere either. And then there's the Recurring paranoia that God wants me to stay poor Forever, and is actively sabotaging everything I do to increase my income--Cafepress stores, online galleries that sell prints, photo submissions to Scoopt.com and BigStockPhoto, MindMovies, magickal techniques, visualization, etc. etc. Whatever I try, it will be Vetoed, Countered, Cancelled Out, whatever; it doesn't matter what I do, the Big Bollocks Upstairs will put the kibosh on it. Or so the Paranoid compartments of my brain keep telling me. I really need to find something that works, and that can't be Cancelled Out, by Said higher power or anyone else. I haven't the Foggiest idea what the will of God/the Universe/Whatever actually is, since He/She/It isn't talking; but I'm not Available for any agenda that doesn't include me being a touring folk/world musician.
Anyway, what I need right now is: 1) to get my laptop Back (part of my Crummy mood might be "laptop withdrawal", or some Such); and 2) to extricate myself from anything that doesn't involve music and self-employment. I also need to make money for debt reduction, and to finish my CD recording project. One thing I have done in Recent months is to take up Reiki (I'm using a self-attunement approach, since I can't afford classes), in order to send distance healing to my Dad (a longtime cancer patient), and to help my little dachshund friends with genetic predispositions to spinal disk herniation. I can help myself, other humans, and various environments with it as well. I've also discovered a kind of Meditative banishing ritual to get rid of negative thought-forms, and I probably need to use it on myself every day, for Maximum benefit...
SPECIAL REPORT (SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2008): Good afternoon and Happy Pride Day, LairCronies. It's finally getting Somewhat hot, now at the end of "June-uary" in Seattle. And it's High time to pay tribute to two of our Leading figures in Seattle's busking community who both passed on this month. I knew both of them, though perhaps not as well as I would have liked. This has been a Rough several weeks for folksingers and street performers, Given these partings on top of the passing of Utah Phillips about a month Ago. Seattle at large will not be the Same without these artists who have graced our music scene for decades. They both left us rather Suddenly; but their memory and influence are Reckoned to carry On a long time from Now. May they both travel on in Peace, Love and Joy.
Sandahbeth Spae was the wife and musical partner of Thaddeus Spae, the Marvelous musician and recording engineer who has been helping me record my CD. I have spent many hours at their home which doubles as a studio, and have gotten to know both of them pretty Well by Now. Together, they formed the Stirring folk/jazz duo Amber Tide, a name that always reminded me Variously of beer, brandy and maple syrup. Sandahbeth was the singing star of Amber Tide, her voice gliding and soaring along Thaddeus' guitar and trombone licks. It was their harmony and counterpoint duet-singing that got to me the most, however; and in "Sending her off in style", as her friends did Recently in the Fremont Solstice Parade, we must also bid a Fond farewell to Amber Tide, and celebrate its long life alongside Sandahbeth's. A bunch of us got Together with Thaddeus at their house last Saturday night (the 21st) and held a Merry wake, complete with Jamming on instruments, telling jokes and Reminiscing stories, and passing Around lots of food and organic lemonade. Sad though we felt about Sandahbeth and Amber Tide, we still managed to have a Great time in each other's company. Thaddeus, of course, will continue to perform, record, and do side-jobs in his "Gentleman Handyman" persona; but one long era has ended, and we now await the birth of a new one.
Jim Hinde's sudden departure on June 9 was the more Noticed of the two by the local media; but for some reason, I didn't hear about this until I got an email mentioning it from a member of the Pike Market Performers' Guild. Jim was, after all, highly Involved in the music at Pike Place Market here in Seattle; and, need I say, a Long-time member of the Performers' Guild. He was always to be Found at the Market, doing an average of three sets a day, in addition to performances at coffeehouses, folk festivals and protest rallies. Naturally, he helped launch the Market's annual Buskers' Festival, now in its sixth year. Of course, there is still music to be Heard at the Market, and hopefully there always will be; but it seems very Odd not to run into Jim Hinde at one of the performers' spots Lately. I just met him there not more than a few days before he died; he waved and winked at me as Usual, looking perfectly Well, as far as I could see. He didn't look as if he had any intention of departing this stage of reality any time Soon. We'll be having a memorial gathering in Jim's honor on Wednesday, July 2 at the north end of Pike Place Market, from 7-9 pm.
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?
--Robert Lowry, "How Can I Keep from Singing?" (lyrics)
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008: We're getting Ready for our summer festival season Now, LairCronies. Tomorrow begins the University District Street Fair; and I expect to be busking there as Usual. And next weekend, it's Folklife time! Now, if only I'd applied to perform at a bunch of Other festivals this year, the way I intended to this Past winter and spring. Depression, apathy, acedia, if you will, prevented it. Poverty and Disregard will do that to you, I'm afraid.
Shoot, I even put the due dates for festival applications into my Yahoo! email calendar, with two-week heads-up notices Besides! And then, when Said dates began coming up this Past winter, I completely disregarded them. Why? Because I was feeling Depressed, Apathetic and damn-near Hopeless. Perhaps it was partly Due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (to which I am quite Susceptible); but it was also partly Due to being Ignored much of the time when I put something out there. It's due to having multiple Online stores, EPKs and photo galleries that get no revenues or Other results (other than the odd few people bidding you "good luck" if or when they happen to visit these pages). It's due to the belief that God wants me to be Poor all my life, to contribute nothing Substantial to music or any other art form, and then to die in Utter obscurity--just to make me feel Powerless, or something. It's because my Favorite musician isn't Here, singing something for me to dance to; and because my Favorite local performer could help me get Somewhere, and won't. It's because my funds for my recording project have run Out. It's because most of my relatives want me to be someone I'm not, and to take something Prestigious and In-Demand that I don't give a flying rip about as my life's work. It's about all these things and probably more Besides.
Yeah, all this sounds like Self-Pitying wankery, of course; but I'm having trouble keeping all the bastards out there from getting me Down. I wish all of the Above would change, and become the polar Opposite of the way it Now stands. I want to make it all change for the better Somehow. I want things to work Out as I would like them to do, and not According to the whims or agenda of whatever Cosmic Intelligence has me Stuck on disability checks at the moment. I want to be touring the country with my newly-Minted CD, like most of the musicians I know are doing right Now. I want to succeed in collaborating with all the other musicians, writers, et. al. whom I want to work with. I want my purpose in life to be exactly what I want to do every day. I don't want to be dragged Along in anyone else's agenda, nor have someone else "pulling my strings", be that person Supernatural or Otherwise. For some reason, however, I find myself thinking that I need way more money than I currently have, in order to accomplish any of the Above.
So I now need all my Online and Offline creative efforts to pull in lots o' money right Now, capiche? There--now y'all know what needs to occur Immediately, if not Sooner! And then there's the filming collaboration I want in the projects to film The Fifth Sacred Thing and the Earthsong Trilogy novels...
FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008: Yep, I'm still Here, LairCronies; never fear! I've just been a bit Busy lately, with all the photos to process and sell, as well as dealing with a Chronic shortage of cash; the theft and Subsequent return of my wallet the first weekend of this month; and the Resulting requirements for identity-theft protection. Kind of Ironic, really; if the bus-riding culprits seriously intend to try to obtain loans, credit cards, etc. with my personal info, they're bloody-well wasting their time, as my credit rating went to hell in a handbasket ages Ago (not to mention my credit card being completely Maxed Out at the moment, among Other things). Ah, but they don't know that, now, do they?! Mwahahahaa...okay, moving Along...
I attended the Local rally for Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama this past Friday, February 8, featuring an Actual appearance and speech by the candidate himself. He is Well-Known for giving speeches that are Inspiring and Meaningful without being overly Polished, and which are said to make women faint. It was a very fine speech that he gave; only problem is, I was sitting way up in a second-level balcony and trying to snap photos to submit to Scoopt.com; and the sound, for some reason, got a little Foggy in spots. I did, in fact, go on to vote for Obama in our state's Dem primary; for the record, however, I think either he or Hillary Clinton could do the job very well, notwithstanding their Silly televised slagging matches that everyone is getting rather Sick of by now. They certainly couldn't do any worse than Darth Freaking Dubya, anyway...
One thing I especially remember from the rally was this feeling that came over me while I and my Olympus C-60 were waiting, with 17,000 other people, to get into Key Arena that morning. I kept asking myself the Nagging questions, Do I dare get overly Enthusiastic about this guy; and do I dare hope that this candidate is actually going to get our government and country Heading in a Positive and Progressive direction? Is it Safe to get Excited about Obama, while we're all still struggling with the Current administration of liars, criminals and war profiteers? Just goes to prove, I think, how Damaged many people's sense of hope and trust are, after seven years of suffering under Darth Dubya and his mob of Arrogant bastards who lie through their teeth, use our Constitution for toilet paper, and smugly expect to get Away with absolutely anything, no matter how Illegal, Immoral and Unethical.
So, just what and how much do we dare hope for, this time Around? Surely, the very Least we can hope for is that the Next president, of Whatever party, will abide by the U.S. Constitution and International treaties, Designated as "the law of the land" by Said constitution. Surely we can hope that he or she will, at least, be generally Ethical and Honest, and tell the Unfudged truth the majority of the time. Surely we can hope and desire that this Insane war in Iraq will end on the Next president's watch; and that the people of Iraq will be Free to determine the direction of their own government and society. I mean, the Iraqi people are not Stupid; at one time, they were among the best-Educated people in the Middle East, with the Highest female literacy rates, inter alia. They already have the capability and experience to decide their own forms of government and their own bloody oil industry, without any help from us, our military and our oil companies, thank you very much. And, finally and importantly, we can surely hope that the next president will listen to Ordinary citizens and be Willing to speak to crowds who do not Uncritically support and cheer on his Every word. Can we finally dare to hope that U.S. democracy will be about We the People again, without the Supreme Court deciding the outcome of elections by flipping an Ill-Boding coin...?
Now, folks, let us tell you about a most Intriguing incident in which the LairMistress was directly Involved, at the airport in Nashvile, TN, on the way back here to Seattle after the holidays! I'd packed my toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, Wrapped in a plastic shopping bag, and Stashed in my canvas carryon bag, not completely Aware of the most Current FAA security regulations. Lo and behold, while going through the airport security mess, my toothpaste tube was picked up on the X-ray machine, and promptly Confiscated! It was a six-ounce tube of Colgate gel or some Such; and it turns out that we can no longer transport toothpaste tubes larger than 3.7 oz. on board a Commercial aircraft in carryon bags! I mean, God only knows what I might do with the Excess 2.3 ounces of toothpaste gel--soap the cockpit windows, perhaps, if such a notion struck me? The horror!!
Oh well, it was only toothpaste. I let 'em keep it. Once I got to my gate, I slipped into a newstand/giftshop, and bought myself a regulation-size 3.7-ounce tube of AquaFresh to take Home, just to be Sure I had some. Anyway, LairLurkers, keep this in mind Next time you fly someplace--either pack your toothpaste in your suitcase, or take Along a trial-sized tube, if you don't want your paste or gel Seized by airport security! Gosh knows what they're doing with all the Contraband toothpaste they've been Collecting on a Daily basis around the country...
...Here are the new Fur Babies who have taken over my parents' house in Tennessee. The living room is now their playground/nursery, Littered with such things as catnip mice, string, boot laces, plastic bags, and a bunch of those plastic rings off of one-gallon milk cartons, in several Stimulating colors.
Jetta is the solid black one; she is around seven months old by now. She has learned to retrieve milk-carton rings when you flick them across the room, and is very Proud of this new skill. Orea ("Orrie" for short) is the Manic little creature on the right, the one who keeps claiming ownership of, and then losing, catnip mice. She's about five months or so by now, a "Quintessential kitten" (my Mom's words) in look and attitude; and will probably be a total 'Nip stoner by the time she reaches adulthood. We consider them sisters, even though they're definitely not from the Same litter, and are probably no more than half-siblings, if that. They generally get Along pretty well; they often sleep Together, and play Together constantly. I spent many Crazed hours playing with both of them, and took some more pics as well. They will probably be Posted on my LiveJournal blog Eventually...