Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Record Industry Just Doesn't Get It

This article, Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use, is enough to convince me to never buy a compact disc again. It completely boggles me that the RIAA would continue to take actions that will only further erode an industry they claim they're trying to save.

As it is, I can't remember the last time I walked into a music store or even ordered a disc online. Most of my music purchases over the past year and some have come from iTunes or eMusic, anyway. My downloads are all legal and about 95% of those files are DRM-free.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Shamelessly copied from Eriepressible. A shameful list for me, although I might be able to knock another one off of here soon:

These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users.

Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t/didn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your To-Be-Read list.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons

The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ugly Holiday Clothing

I gave up trying to come up with something classy to wear during the holidays and dug into my sweater chest for some cheesy holiday-themed apparel.

On Christmas Eve, I wore a sweater vest I got on sale, with a coupon, and employee discount from Bon-Ton back in my college days. I'm wearing it in the picture to the right.

On Christmas day, I hauled out a sweatshirt that features a large, embroidered Precious Moment's angel that my mom bought from a co-worker when I was in high school. I epitomized a holiday "fashion don't" but I was comfortable. Maybe next year I'll find something sassy and fun to wear.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is That A Present Under Your Tree?

Since I only bought a couple gifts for Matt for the holidays, I had to think of a way to make presenting them to him fun. My family opens most of their gifts on Christmas Eve, but my aunt and uncle, who we were staying with, open their presents on Christmas morning. My plot was to give Matt one gift on Christmas Eve and sneak his other gift into my relatives' house for Christmas morning.

Everything was running smoothly as the holidays started. As we waited for "Midnight Mass" (at 10pm) to start, I leaned over to Matt and whispered, "Do you think you've been good this year?"

He gave me an odd look, "Uh. Yeah?"

"Because if you have, I bet Santa will leave you something under the tree," I grinned at him.

"Um. I don't know if we can do that in your aunt and uncle's house!!" he whispered back, looking around.

I laughed. A few minutes later, I smiled up at him in that knowing way and whispered again, "Gee, I wonder what he brought you!"

Matt shoots me a cut-it-out look, "We're in church!" I shook my head and laughed again. After we got back, I snuck the second present into the house and stuck it behind the Christmas tree while Matt was in the bathroom.

Christmas morning we drank hot chocolate and watched my extended family open their gifts to each other. As the mound of paper was crunched into balls and put in a plastic bag, I turned to Matt and said, "I wonder if Santa left you something behind the tree."

"What are you talking about??" he asked with a genuinely confused tone in his voice.

"Why don't you go see if there's something behind the tree for you," I answered.

He gave me that look again, "What do you mean? What is there a present for me?"

I sighed, "Uh.. yeah! Maybe there is ONE BEHIND THE TREE."

"Well, what? Are ya' going to make me get up and get my own present?" he asked exasperatedly.

Sighing, I got up and plucked the box from behind the tree. My uncle said as I walked by, "Heh heh. Looks like a Guitar Hero box."

Matt ripped off the paper and exclaimed, "That's because it is Guitar Hero!"

He was truly surprised, but happy. It really made my holiday for me, too. I still laugh every time I think of my innocent whispers being turned into sexual innuendos in Matt's head.

End of Year Meme - 2007

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I almost unconsciously made a resolution to create new comfort zones for myself in terms of my personal talents. Looking back over the past year, I'd say I did pretty well in trying not to wuss out too much.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

No babies this year.

Did anyone close to you die?

More than several community people and some family members too.

What countries did you visit?

We went to Canada in July with the SMA Con II group.

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

A painted dining room. That's the next project now that the living room is done.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Willingly playing my violin in public.

What was your biggest failure?

Some violations of trust.

What was the best thing you bought?

I didn't buy it, but Matt replaced my iPod.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Matt. For putting up with me.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

George W. Bush. Until he is out of office I think his name will remain on this list.

Where did most of your money go?

National Fuel. Fooking, fuel bastards!!!

What did you get really excited about?

Local Music Showcase Weekend in September, actually.

What song will always remind you of 2007?

Morphine - "Whisper"

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?

I'm at a more even keel. I'm doing okay.

Thinner or fatter?

Thinner! I think something like 10 pounds thinner.

Richer or poorer?


What do you wish you'd done more of?

Paid off more of my debt and read more (same as 2006)

What do you wish you'd done less of?

I wish I hadn't retreated into "my world" as much at times when I shouldn't have.

How will you be spending Christmas?

I spent it with all my family.

Did you fall in love in 2007?

In a way... I made some new friends who I now love very much.

How many one-night stands?


What was your favorite TV program?

What's tv? I'm still a news junkie.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Not really.

What was the best book you read?

Did I read this last year? Oh yeah.. I did. The Perks of Being A Wallflower wins. Depressing in some ways, but awesome.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Camera Obscura. Another, "Where the hell was I??" in terms of discovering this band since they haven't had anything new since 2006.

What did you want and get?

An 80GB iPod and My So-Called Life: The Complete Series

What did you want and not get?

A more secure feeling where my job is concerned (thank you NYS for dragging your feet)

What were your favorite films of this year?

Control, Enchanted, & Stardust

What did you do on your birthday?

I worked and went to a rehearsal with the Jamestown Community Orchestra

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?


What kept you sane?

My husband.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Jon Stewart

What political issue stirred you the most?

Probably the local mayoral race

Who did you miss?

Free time.

Who was the best new person you met?

Mr. Social. Even though I've known him for 5 years, I didn't really get to know him until this year.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:

Take chances, including taking the chance in believing in yourself. You might surprise yourself.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

She's reformed.
Just like the neighbor's girl.
She's coming home
Into her wonder-world.
She's moving fast.
She's a superstar.
She's getting high.
She covers up her scars.

It's the best thing she's ever had.

Ivy - "The Best Thing"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cookie Decorating - 2007

This extended holiday weekend is involving a lot of traveling. Saturday, we made the trek up to Rochester for the annual cut-out cookie decorating at my parent's house.

Here is one tray of completed cookies. The other pictures can be seen here (requires registration).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The 5 Songs That Could Be Blamed If I Go Deaf

As I sit here listening to my new 80 GB iPod that Matt gave me as an early xmas gift (so we wouldn't have to listen to any more old mix tapes during our holiday travels), I started thinking about the songs I have a tendency to turn the volume up to ear-drum shattering levels.

Here's the short list:

  1. Incubus - Megalomaniac
  2. System of a Down - Chop Suey!
  3. Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff
  4. Nine Inch Nails - Wish
  5. Smashing Pumpkins - Zero

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Living In A Fake Empire

I know I'm a little late in coming around to fan-girl status where the song "Fake Empire" by The National is concerned.

I'm trying to verbalize the reaction I have to this song. The past few days have been difficult in terms of just smiling and keeping a positive groove, so when I heard this song the other day I felt like I was going to come out of my skin. And again, listening to this song this morning at home, I was compelled to stand up and just kind of rock in place. Buddy, our dog, stared at me and jumped along side me as I held my head and vibrated.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I just double-checked the calendar. It can't be Wednesday already! I'm not sure where my time has gone.

I did make 6 batches of brittle last night (3 peanut, 3 cashew). I have at least 3 more batches to do.

A lot of laundry was washed and dried, but not folded.

The dining room table has been turned into present central as I tried to figure out who I needed gifts for still (at least 4 right now).

I had a drink on Monday with Kevin and Clair, who were in town to see everyone before the holidays.

I had a drink at Forte with Matt and Shelly last night so I could bitch about stuff.

My chili got rave reviews at the office holiday luncheon today. Damn easy recipe too since it involves a slow-cooker (1 lb hamburger, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can cannelloni beans, 1 can tomato paste, chili powder and Frank's Red Hot Sauce to tastes. Mix it up and turn on slow-cooker. No other cooking required).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Scruffy Weekend

I woke up yesterday and couldn't remember if it was Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The weekend was that kind of a blur.

Friday night, we chilled at home and caught most of SW: Empire Strikes Back. Little did I know that this viewing would prepare me for other tasks later in the weekend.

Saturday I ran around picking up groceries and some more Gift-mas presents in anticipation that there would be too much snow and wind to make a Wegman's trip on Sunday sensible.

I actually had already published this post when I remembered this next bit. I told you the weekend was a blur! Saturday afternoon, we went to Artist Share at the Reg Studio Theatre. While I've played in orchestras and at weddings over the past some years, it had been over 12 years since I had soloed on the violin in front of a crowd of people. I decided against doing a piece a I was more comfortable with because I felt it was a bit of a bore, even with its sense of humor. Instead, I crunched out "Polish Dance" by Severn which is a bit more showy and fun. There was a moment after I set my music on the stand and felt for that first note on my finger board that I realized, "Oh crap. I have to play. I have to just start playing! No tentative bow stroke to make sure that first note is in tune. No quick run through. I gotta do this!! CRAP!" Matt tells me I did well. I think I ended up being more excited that I was followed by Jonah Hathaway (J-Sight). A good time. There's now rumors that I might have some other playing opportunities come January (not necessarily public venues).

Makkaio and I took his parents out for a wedding anniversary dinner to Vullo's. Immediately after that, we took off for a Holiday party at our friend, Scott's, apartment. Fortunately, I remained sensible and didn't over-indulge in the "Drunken Grinch Piss Punch" that tasted nothing like alcohol, but certainly was loaded with vodka.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! I did the news, talked to Galoot before he got into his Mother Ginger regalia, and then settled into my seat to watch The Nutcracker. I really do enjoy this ballet, but the first half is just a wee tad disturbing. Phallic looking clocks that grow? Trees that grow? Older men whisking a young girl all around? Toys that come to life and kill rats? I'm not sure what Tchaikovsky was thinking. The second act was great fun with all the different dances and I did the dreamy-girl sigh when it came time for the Pas de Deux.

Later on, we went to one of my CLN friend's houses around the corner to see his Star Wars collection. I'm starting to think that Dan might be one of the biggest SW fans I know when it comes to collecting the toys from the series. Matt and I were really impressed, but Matt kept whispering to me, "I had that when I was kid. Damnit! I need to get on eBay!"

But as much of a fan as Matt is, it was me who saved our arses from total humiliation while playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Regardless, we still lost because we couldn't remember Darth Vader's very first lines in Star Wars IV.

A fun weekend. Didn't get a lot accomplished around the house. This week will be another doozy with 8 batches of peanut brittle to make before Friday, gift-mas wrapping, general house stuff, an uber-short trip to Rochester for cookie decorating, and then Buffalo on Monday to ... cripes almighty. I need a nap.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Here's Your Homework

When it comes to homework on the violin, I've got enough to last a lifetime. Here are the things that needle me about my personal abilities. Whining commences... now:

Intonation - Why does it sound great when I'm on the G and D strings, but wretched on the E string? Why can't I ever get that octave to sound good when playing a double stop on the A and E strings?

Bow - After 21 years, you'd think I'd be able to bow straight. In fact, at one time, I did. I still don't know where things got cock-eyed. I think I joked recently that everything got bent after I went off to college. I'm willing to bet that my bow grip/hand position is still wrong. My violin teacher in college told me I was doing it all wrong.

Bow Strokes - I've never had a smooth sound. It always has had a slightly crunchy, organic feel to it. Add to that the difficulty I've found in getting that finesse in performing certain bow techniques. Collé, ricochet, sautillé. Lots of fancy names. The latter makes me want to cry. I've never mastered it. Too bad it's a key bow stroke used in a piece I'd really love to perform in public some day.

Finger Dexterity - My fingers on my left hand feel like they have a speech impediment. I have the worst time getting them to move precisely. I'm familiar with the myriad of exercises that exist to help one nail a fast section of music, but by gosh, I still usually end up feeling like my fingers are drooling all over the neck of my instrument.

General Limberness - My posture, stance, and grip have a certain tightness. I'm not a terribly relaxed performer. It's practically a guarantee that my left hand will look like it's gnarled with arthritis from the way I contort it in an attempt to cover all the strings I need. Most of my bowing problems hinge on this tightness issue as well. Maybe I just need a good masseuse. Volunteers?

Personal Practice Habits - I don't really get off on practicing scales, no matter how essential they are for becoming a good performer. So I don't. I will work on etudes and other studies, but I often toss those off the music stand for something much sexier. My lack of practicing during high school and college, and then beyond has led to a lot of unproductive moments spent with my violin. And when there isn't proper foreplay, you know what happens. You're never quite satisfied.

So I've got a lot of homework if I want to improve. I'm actually looking forward to attempting this.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Nutcracker

Sunday afternoon I will be at the Reg Lenna Civic Center for the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet's annual performance of The Nutcracker.

This year's performance will feature Megan Fairchild and Daniel Ulbricht from the New York City Ballet as the main dancers. Also appearing as "Mother Ginger" is Jamestown's very own, Galoot.

One of first concerts/ballets I ever went to as a child was the Nutcracker. My mom was big on making sure I was well-rounded and had plenty of cultural experiences long before I could fully appreciate them. That being said, The Nutcracker was the perfect introduction into the world of dancing for me. There's a part of me that still wants to say, "Oooooh!" when the Christmas tree suddenly gets taller and taller as Clara drifts into dreamland.

Reaching Into the Grab Bag

What's in my bag of blog treats today? A lot of short thoughts:

Enough snow had fallen this morning that I almost thought we didn't get a our morning paper. Fortunately, a corner of the orange plastic bag it comes in was peeking above the snow line.


I had a stress dream last night that I showed up while the math teacher was grading mid-terms. I hadn't been to class all semester, of course, but still mingled among my classmates while they waited for results. The teacher commented that some may need to do the re-take, which would be offered in Toronto. I thought, "Well, there's quite a few re-takes I'll probably need to do up there since I haven't gone to my other classes either. I could learn all I need to in a week. Why not?"

I think this dream has something to do with the fact that I still haven't found a song to play for Artist Share this Saturday at the Reg Studio between 2 and 4pm. At least I'm finding some interesting pieces I had forgotten about over the years as I've been practicing. It could be an unmitigated disaster come performance time, but at least I'm having fun.


I think I'm finally going to start parting with some of my "foolishness" and dump a bunch of magazines I've been holding onto for a couple years into the recycling bin. I love Real Simple, but I simply never go back and reference anything in the issues like I thought I would. Plus, I think everything is on their website now, anyway. The only magazine that I've ever gone back to find information is Consumer Reports. Matt just about fell over when I told him I wanted to divest myself of my collection.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!

My 1995 Toyota Tercel with over 188-thousand miles passed inspection today with no repairs needed.

I make amends now for whatever I said over two years ago.

I saw Dennis Webster of WJTN last month when I was at Friendly's for The Saturday Morning Breakfast Party and he remarked, "I remember when you first came to work for us. You had that little green car with the Rochester markings on it."

"I still have that car, Dennis," I said. "In fact, I drove it here today."

"My word! That car must be made of marble!" he exclaimed.

Over the weekend, I jokingly told a group of people that the reason why my car has lasted as long as it has is because I played almost nothing but Morrissey in it the first week I owned it.

"I figured after that, anything else I played would only make the car happy to be alive and plugging along. It seems to have worked so far," I dead-panned.

This Isn't Meant To Last... This Is For Right Now

My beloved iPod is either in need of service from Apple, or it's going to be retired for a sexier model if I can afford it.

This all started last night after I got home from doing the news. I pressed pause on it and pulled it out of its holder in my car. I put it in my purse, went inside, and then took it out again to take upstairs to sync with iTunes. It was then that I noticed an ominous clicking noise coming from within the player.

I looked with dismay upon the screen, where eventually a little icon appeared.

I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it makes more sense to upgrade than to shell out more money to fix this one. I've had it since March 2005. This one replaced the one Matt gave me in November 2004 as a belated wedding gift.

I find humor in the fact that the very last song that will probably get played on my little box of musical wonders was Nine Inch Nail's "Last" off Broken (Video created by a fan):

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Craving A Garbage Plate?

Hometown food goods tend to be popular gifts during the holidays for ex-patriots of Western New York. I know that Buffalo Foods does a brisk business shipping out items like Weber's Horseradish mustard and Sahlen's hot dogs.

Former Rochesterians now have a place to turn to when they have a craving for Abbott's custard or need Nick Tahoe's hot sauce to create a garbage plate. NY Style Deli specializes in a lot of food favorites for those from "Smug Town."

See the article in the business section of today's D&C for more: Garbage Plate sauce labeled with a T. for Tahou.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pass The Midol

My body is protesting sitting upright today. It would prefer to be home, laying flat, with several covers over me. But because I chose to come to work, a special kind of soreness has developed in parts of my body. I'm really hoping the Midol I took a little bit ago kicks in, because I'm starting to get that beached whale sensation. Bloated, in pain, and a little nauseous.

My current temperament has already ran from sullen and bitchy earlier in the weekend to weepy and clingy. Hooray for hormones!

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Jamestown Christmas Story

Tonight is the annual Holiday Parade in downtown Jamestown. We will be there, bundled up, to watch dozens of floats make their way down Third Street. The parade kicks off at 6:30 and runs down Third Street from the bridge toward Tracy Plaza. The lighting of the tree on Tracy Plaza and fireworks conclude that event.

After the parade, we plan to take in the rock poster exhibit at the Reg Studio Theatre and then the Matt Hall art exhibit in the showroom on the corner of Third and Pine Streets. Hope to see some of you out tonight!

Kiss This

Matt got inspired by my Red Hot Chili Peppers post. Check out his tale.

Rule #1: Don't Mess With Don Paul

One of the best things about living in Western New York is the weather. The wide variety of weather had led to a culture of fanatics who cheerfully geek out in front of their television and computer screens, checking RADAR, and what other resources are available to them.

For the average guy, the best way to find out if Lake Erie is going throw up about a foot of snow on your front yard is to turn on your television. Weather crawls will let you know of the anticipated intensity and whether you should hit up Wegman's for food or Wilson Farms for a six-pack.

Weather is a big deal around here. Apparently, the folks over at the Buffalo News don't get that. I found this out while reading the latest post by Don Paul over on Channel 4/WIVB's weather blog: Buffalo Weather Blog: Buffalo News on an anti-tv Weather Tear?

Here's the Buffalo New's Weather Blog: The Weather Vein, so you can be clued in to that nonsense.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blood Sugar Baby, She's Magic

Everyone remembers that pinnacle album from their youth. The one that made their parents freak out just a little. For me, it was Red Hot Chili Pepper's Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

The day I turned 16, I walked down to the House of Guitars after school on my way to the DMV so I could buy myself a couple CDs with birthday money. I picked up the latest Chili Peppers' disc and Metallica's Black album.

I did all the paperwork for my learner's permit, called my mom for a ride, and tore off the plastic so I could start reading the liner notes. I heard someone say, "Those are some pretty good albums." I looked up and saw an older, but kind of cute, guy hanging out in the hallway outside the DMV. I smiled and asked him what tracks he liked.

"'Suck My Kiss' is pretty good," he answered after thinking for a moment. "My name is Steve. What's your's?"

I told him, but didn't add anymore information in that teenage way of avoiding telling someone how old, or how young, you actually were. We chatted for a little bit about the two albums, and it eventually came out that I was only 16. I think he laughed. It didn't matter, really.

Later that night, I passed by my dad as he hung out in the family room listening to music on his headphones. He stopped me and said, "I was listening to that one new disc of yours. The Chili Peppers? I don't think you'll be playing that at your birthday party. I'm surprised you even bought that!" My reaction was one of eye-rolling and a shoulder shrug. And in typical fashion, I played that album at my party, but on low-volume. Over the next few months, my friend, Julie, and I committed one of the saucier tunes to memory and took great pleasure in singing it loudly in the cafeteria.

I'm thankful, after hearing "If You Have To Ask" on my way home from doing the news, that the Peppers still have the ability 15 years later to shock just a little with Anthony Kiedis' lyrics.

On the Hunt for "Choffee"

One of my favorite ways to consume office coffee that's been sitting on the boilerplate too long is to add a packet of hot cocoa. It's easier to ignore the burnt aftertaste when there's chocolate involved.

This awesome concoction was developed my senior year in high school during the frigid winter months. We'd trudge into the small cafeteria, oh excuse me, the campus center, in search of caffeine and cheesy, egg bagel sandwiches.

One of the tricks to making "choffee" was sneaking it past the cashier. For some reason, the lunch ladies didn't like the idea of us paying for hot chocolate and coffee and then putting it in one cup. Maybe they thought we were mocking their hot-water-making abilities. Maybe they didn't like the idea of that carafe being unused until one of the English teachers made her way down to get a cup of herbal tea. Who knows. Either way, what we usually did was buy the hot cocoa mix, put it in a cup, and then quickly fill the cup with coffee. If we got caught, we'd feign surprise and dismay, "Oh no! I thought this was the hot water spigot!"

With the snow blowing around outside my window, it was a great treat today to find some coffee made this morning and doctor it up with some chocolate powder happiness. Here's to winter!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Using or Coping With Technology

A couple of articles that caught my eye today:

Crazy Cool in L.A.


Smile, You're on YouTube

The first is a great story on the use of Twitter in a practical setting. The second deals more with how technology has changed and what that's meant in politics, to a degree.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...