Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our County Executive Is Blogging.. Sorta

I recently, for work purposes, had signed up for something called "The Monday Morning Memo" that Chautauqua County's Executive Greg Edwards started to do. Apparently, he was having issues with the memo being bounced when it was emailed out, so he set up a blog. You can view it at Mayville Memo.

I have to applaud the idea of a public official who is willing to use new media to keep the public informed. I don't know how often I will check in if every post is going to be "I went to this meeting the other day and then I went to another meeting, followed by this additional meeting." Having gone back and actually re-read some of those posts, there is substance there. It's just not getting the upfront attention. Common news writing mistake. Burying the lead.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Loose Articles

I've shamefully neglected my literary endeavors over the past year. It's been months since I've been in our library. In fact, the last time I was there I held a book out at least three weeks past its due date. I'm sure the library insincerely thanks me for my small monetary donation.

Well anyway, Kottke.org schooled me today with a post telling me that The Atlantic Monthly was now available for free online. Once I started reading articles, it became a day long pursuit in between tasks at work. When I checked the mail at home, the latest issue of Smithsonian magazine had arrived. I barely noticed the nice dinner Matt made as I read each article, fingers becoming stained with ink from the front cover. Here's a selection of articles I devoured today and realized just how little I know and how much more I could know:

The $1.4 Trillion Question: What Do We Owe China?

After Iraq: A report from the new Middle East—and a glimpse of its possible future

The Truth About Jena: Why the media got it wrong

Monday, January 21, 2008

Guess What Will Be On Auto-Refresh On My Browser Tuesday

Asia Markets Tumble on US Worries

"Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 436 points, or 3.6 percent, at 11,670, while Standard & Poor's 500 futures were down 57.1 points, or 4.3 percent, at 1,268."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top Songs of the 1990s - Part Four (Last Part!!)

And here is the last part of my musical reminiscing through VH-1's top songs of the 1990s.

76. Blues Traveler “Run-Around”
77. Ice Cube “It Was a Good Day”

78. Lenny Kravitz “Are You Gonna Go My Way” - I wanted to be one of the people dancing in that video. It just looked so cool to me.

79. Meredith Brooks “Bitch”

80. Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” - Kitschy, campy, and fun.

81. Paula Cole “I Don’t Want to Wait” - This song and her hairy armpits at Lilith Faire deterred me from becoming a fan. Not that there's anything wrong with hairy pits, it's just not my cuppa tea.

2. Geto Boys “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”

83. The Breeders “Cannonball” - "Check, Check. Ahhh-oooooooo. Ah-oooooo" I completely adored this song. That came in handy when a listener called into WBER one of the few times I was shadowing a DJ and requested it. He didn't know the name of the song, or who sung it, but he was able to sing the opening guitar line. I correctly guessed it and on the air it went.

84. Snow “Informer” - White boy related to Barenaked Ladies Rap. If not for this song, we wouldn't have gems like "One Week." I cannot find documentation to back this up, but I did hear somewhere that the style of "Informer" inspired "One Week."

85. Cypress Hill “Insane In The Brain” - School dance classic. Years later, I heard this at Java's while hanging out there with my parents on a visit home.

86. The Cranberries “Linger” - I was OVER this song until I heard it one morning while hanging out in the WIRQ office, watching the rain fall on the roof. I was suffering from a bout of unrequited love and this song fit.

87. Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart”

8. Duncan Sheik “Barely Breathing” - Yawns. Liked the song for a minute.

89. Liz Phair “Never Said” - My first memory of this song is Jennifer V talking about how "Exile In Guyville" was a watershed album. Indeed, it did lay some good ground for albums like "Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Morissette. It's great music. I just wish she kept writing her own stuff instead of letting Avril Lavigne's people do it for that one uber-popular album she released.

90. New Radicals “You Get What You Give” - I have no idea who the New Radicals are, but what a great road trip song this is. It's easy to sing along with, and I did often.

91. Sarah McLachlan “Building a Mystery” - When this album came out, and before it became an item in the whole Lewinsky-Clinton scandal, a friend of my then-boyfriend expressed her dissatisfaction with the album. "It only has 10 songs. What's up with that??" she muttered as we sat on a park lawn, waiting to see an outdoor production of "Much Ado About Nothing."

92. Public Enemy “911 Is A Joke” - See my story for song #65. Same thing applies.

93. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories “Stay” - I really wanted to like the movie, Reality Bites. I really did. It was supposed to be like another Singles. I was disappointed. At least the soundtrack had a few good songs, including this one. Years later, Lisa Loeb opened for the Goo Goo Dolls in Erie and we got to enjoy some drunk guy sitting near us yell obnoxiously, "Lisa Looooeeeeb! Lisa Looooeeeeb!"

94. Fastball “The Way”

95. Montell Jordan “This is How We Do It” - I can feel the pain building as I recall the strains of this song drifting through my memory. School dances, ugh.

96. Nelson “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” - One of my favorite power ballads. Feel the power in our harmonies! See the power in our long, flowing blonde hair!

97. Prince & The New Power Generation “Gett Off”

98. EMF "Unbelievable” - There was a certain kind of floppy, skater haircut that became popular around the time this song came out. I cannot hear this song without thinking of all the hot skater kids I knew that had that haircut.

99. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” - Didn't Missy wear some sort of inflated garbage bag in this video? That's all I remember.

100. Gerardo “Rico Suave” - I still don't know what was up with the hair or the jeans, but if not for Gerardo then my friends and I wouldn't have had the term "Rico Suave" to describe the guys who thought they were "all that" but were really just laughable in our teenage eyes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Memories of the Top Songs of the 1990s - Part 3

Here is part 3 of 4 of this crazy list. Kudos to Galoot and Princess Slea for actually completing it!

51. Tupac (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) “California Love”
52. Sugar Ray “Fly”

53. Naughty by Nature “O.P.P.” - Every school dance. EVERY.

54. Joan Osborne “One of Us” - My Harmony professor, Dr. Hirt, was out sick for a week or so my freshman year in college. When he returned, he entered the classroom all bubbly and carrying a video tape, "I watched a lot of TV last week and saw this video. I started noticing different stuff about its harmonic structure and wanted to share it with you!" He stuck the tape in the player and turned on the television. Joan Osborne, nose-ring and all, appeared on the screen and Dr. Hirt began explaining the chord progressions being used, "It's a very simplistic song really," running over to the piano to demonstrate time to time. "But wait, then you get to the bridge and something very interesting happens! Listen to that dissonance! It's the most interesting thing in the whole song!"

55. Fiona Apple “Criminal” - I lost track of how many times I saw this video the summer it was popular. I kept wanting to throw all the people in the video in the shower and yell at them to get clean.

56. L.L. Cool J “Mama Said Knock You Out” - When I saw LL do this song on MTV's Unplugged I wondered "WTF is up with all the deo under his arm??" Apparently, so did the rest of the country.

57. Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule “Can I Get A…”

58. Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” - Anne and I chose this as one of our anthem songs about whatever guy we were crushed on in high school. Forget the lesbian undertones to the song, it was all about that teenage longing for that guy you know you will never be able to date.

59. Weezer “Buddy Holly” - "What's with these homies dissing my girl? Why do they gotta front??" This came on the radio on my way to the Snowflake Semi-Formal with Sean my senior year. As he sang the opening verse, I realized I never knew the words until then.

60. Bell Biv DeVoe “Poison” - There was some dance step that my friends and I would do to this song. It probably was in the video to the song, but I don't recall.

61. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do”

62. Live “I Alone” - I lived for this song and all of "Throwing Copper" my senior year.

63. The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase & Puff Daddy “Mo Money Mo Problems” - Every night around 1am, the girls who lived in the dorm room next to mine at Buff State would play this song. It drove me nuts. The saving grace was that I was at a house party a few weeks after the nightly barrage started and when this song came on, I knew what it was and could dance along with it. Then one guy started dancing in an uber-suggestive manner and another guy told him to cool it off. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until the guy who invited me to the party asked me to come to their Bible study. I pleaded off, saying it wasn't really my thing but he kept pressing the issue. Then it dawned on me that I was at a Christian house party. I took off soon after.

64. The Presidents of the United States of America “Peaches” - I always thought it was funny that my mom liked this song. She loves peaches. My favorite memory of this song is driving through New Brunswick with my parents and grandmother back in 2003. This song came on the radio and my mom and I started singing along.

65. Digital Underground “The Humpty Dance” - While visiting some relatives, I took a walk with my cousin, Shawn, and his friend, Brian. We walked around their suburban neighborhood with a ghetto blaster and a mix tape of different rap songs. Shawn and Brian cracked up over the line "I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom."

66. Edwin McCain “I’ll Be” - This makes me want to stick my head in an oven.

67. Deee-Lite “Groove Is In The Heart” - In 8th grade, they created this thing called "Lunch Base" at my Junior High. You got 20 minutes to eat and then 20 minutes to go to the gym, the library, to a club meeting, or to your homeroom. I would end up in homeroom a lot because there was a tape player there. I took pleasure in annoying the preps by playing a small mix tape that included this song, 10,000 Maniacs' "Trouble," and B-52's "Roam."

68. Will Smith “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” - My roommate, junior year, loved this song. I thought she had poor taste in music and decided this song must be crap because of that.

69. Korn “Freak on a Leash” - My roommate in the first apartment I lived in was a Korn fan. She particularly liked to play their stuff LOUD while cleaning the house. Since cleaning wasn't something she did often, I wasn't assaulted by this music much.

70. Jamiroquai “Virtual Insanity” - We played it on WBWC. I never figured out how it fit, and didn't really care.

71. Arrested Development “Tennessee”

72. Barenaked Ladies “One Week” - My boyfriend and I jumped all over this song when we heard it for the first time. It was the coolest song ever! It mentioned sushi, X-Files, Sailor Moon (cuz that cartoon has the BOOM anime babes!), and Akira Kurasawa!

73. Marcy Playground “Sex and Candy” - Still hate this song, which is unfortunate because Matt loved it when it came out. You knew I was in love if I was willing to put up with him listening to this song all the time.

74. Cher “Believe” - How fitting that the first time, and second, and third time I heard this song I was in a gay bar called The Interbelt in Akron, OH. I couldn't fathom why the DJ couldn't find another song to play. My friend, Karen, just rolled her eyes when I asked that question.

75. Kris Kross “Jump” - I think some kids actually came to school with their pants on backwards. This song was quite popular on the Top 5 at 9 on 98PXY. Then again, most gimmicky rap songs were popular on that show.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Memories of the Top Songs of the 1990s - Part 2

Here is Part 2 of 4 of my reminiscing about songs from the 90s:

26. Eminem “My Name Is” - "Wiki wiki Slim Shady!" Somewhat unsurprisingly, I heard this for the first time on WBER while driving down List Avenue in Irondequoit while on winter break from college. When I got back, only me and a DJ at WBNY named Cookie Puss knew what was going on when he threw out 'Hi! My name is.." and I answered "What? Who?"

27. Counting Crows “Mr. Jones” I really wanted to hate Counting Crows when this song came out. It was all over the radio and its video was on all the time. It took me a good year to decide that I did like this song, and that would be while I was riding in the backseat of my friend's car, balancing a tupperware bowl of macaroni salad for a kind of camping overnight in Dansville, NY.

28. Ricky Martin “Livin’ la Vida Loca”

29. Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” - Julie B. and I took it upon ourselves to memorize this single and would sing it on the bus all the way to Bristol Mountain for ski club. Earlier in the year, at the Homecoming Game, a group of students sitting near me changed the lyrics from "Ice, Ice, Baby too cold!" to "Ice, Ice Baby too cold! Ice, Ice Baby! The blue and gold!" in homage to our school's colors.

30. *NSYNC “Tearin’ Up My Heart”

31. Radiohead “Creep” - The summer I became an avid listener of WBER, this single came out. I would try to beat the heat by escaping to my room, laying on my bed, and letting this song wash over me.

32. BLACKstreet “No Diggity”

33. Spice Girls “Wannabe” - "(heels clacking through hallway) Ha, ha, ha! Yo! Tell you what I want, what I really really want!" I bought this CD for the first dance I ever DJ-ed at Baldwin-Wallace. Turns out, I'm not much of a dance DJ, but I felt into a guilty pleasure relationship with this song.

34. Third Eye Blind “Semi-Charmed Life” - Heather, the GM for WBWC, tried to get me to hang up posters for Third Eye Blind all over the Phys Ed Complex for a Midnight Madness event. I remember thinking, "Well, that song is good but will they have any other hits?"

35. Oasis “Wonderwall” - When I was particularly homesick my freshman year in college, I would angle the lights just right so my dorm room had a softness to it, put the coffee maker on to brew coffee from Java Joe's, and pop in my tape I made of music off WBER and listen to this song.

36. C+C Music Factory “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”

37. Green Day “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” - I had gone to a reunion of a sort for a printing fraternity with a guy I was dating. On our way back to his place with some friends, this song came on. We had all been chattering away, but when the acoustic guitar chords started, it got quiet in the car as everyone listened and reminisced about the people they knew and had seen that night.

38. Christina Aguilera “Genie In A Bottle”
39. Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”

40. Color Me Badd “I Wanna Sex You Up” - My straight-laced friend, Eden, grew up in a household with even straighter-laced parents. She was pretty worried that her parents would find out she had bought this CD that had this not-so-straight-laced-song on it. I approved of this and told her just to not leave the CD around for them to see. A year later, or so, I saw Color Me Badd open for Paul Abdul at the Aud in Buffalo. It was my first concert of the arena variety.

41. Spin Doctors “Two Princes”

42. Collective Soul “Shine” - At the end of the school year, we always worked on cleaning up WIRQ since we weren't on the air. I put this disc on and listened to "Shine" a couple times in a row as I dusted shelves off, cleaned the sound board, and de-germed the phone.

43. En Vogue “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”

44. The Fugees “Killing Me Softly With His Song” - Somehow this song made it onto WBWC during Fall Quarter 1996. The guys who co-hosted our morning show, "Morning Sickness," would play this every day. I would find myself wandering from class to class muttering "One time, one time..... two time, two time.."

45. Hootie & the Blowfish “Only Wanna Be With You” - Okay. I will admit it. I put Hootie & The Blowfish into rotation on WIRQ in November 1994. It wasn't this song, but does it really matter? I recognized a hit and went with it. I pulled it as soon as the commercial stations went ape-shit for these guys.

46. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One”

47. Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch “Good Vibrations” - On a trip to New Hampshire in 1992, we stayed a the summer "cottage" of a sister of our friends. I say "cottage" loosely because it had cathedral ceilings, at least 4 bedrooms, a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, the kind of kitchen HGTV tells homeowners to install if they want to sell their house, and loads of other space. Before one of the many excursions our families took together, I would hang out and watch TV with the kids of the other family. When "Good Vibrations" came on, Donna laughed during the "Can you feel it Baby? I can too!" part of the song and said, "Nah... he's really saying 'Can you smell it baby? I can too!' Look at all that sweat!"

48. Matchbox Twenty “3 AM”

49. Jewel “Who Will Save Your Soul” - This was one of the last singles I put into rotation at WIRQ in May/June 1995. I had no idea how big Jewel would be. This is one of the few songs I still like by her.

50. Alice in Chains “Man in the Box”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A New Craving

I sometimes joke that I'm a violinist in a non-performer's body. I liked to play, but I didn't feel like I needed to play for people. Some of that was because I didn't want to do it if it wasn't perfect, some because I figured people didn't want to hear me play, and another part of me didn't feel that need for affirmation of my abilities from an audience.

Today I played a movement from a concerto by Seitz for Artist Share. Even though it's a Suzuki Book 4 song from my early youth, I picked it because I thought it had a sense of humor. I'm not a big Classical music lover, so I wanted to play something I felt I could make my own. So I played it like it was a little joke of mine. I rolled my eyes and smiled. I took some short dramatic pauses and threw off a passage with a kind of jauntiness I felt was appropriate. The audience responded with giggles in the right spots and then a surprising smash of applause at the end.

Having only prepared this one piece, I thought, "God, I wish I felt more comfortable with those Vic Kibler songs I dug out last night. Those would have been fun!" as I closed my music folder. As I took my seat, a new feeling swept over me. I wanted to play more, like this. Not just in an orchestra, but solo. I don't know when I'll have the opportunity to again. Part of that made me very moody. The pro-active part of me got to work though, and put together some information for a project Matt has been working on for me. Between that, and some continued practicing, maybe I'll be able to fulfill this new need.

Memories of the Top Songs of the 1990s - Part 1

And You Know What Else did this crazy/fabulous post of her memories of the various songs that were featured on VH-1's The Best Songs of the 1990s. As I read, the itch to meme it up came upon me. As I started to write, though, I realized that it would to be a four-part entry. If there's no entry it's because I had nothing worthwhile in terms of a memory or feeling about the song.

Here's songs 1-25:

01. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – I read about this song before I heard it. A friend of mine wrote me a letter about seeing the video for the first time and how it reminded him of the scene at a college near Toronto. It was like a mild epiphany when I finally saw the video on MTV. I knew that everything was about to change in the music world.

02. U2 “One” – I fully embraced all of “Achtung, Baby” a couple years after it was released. This was just one of the songs my friends and I would listen to as we drove around town

03. Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” – My foray back into guilty pleasures solidified when this song came out. I would drive Matt nuts singing along with it, with an ironic gleam in my eye.

04. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” – I have hazy memories of being pelted continuously with this song by the radio. The horror! The horror!

05. Madonna “Vogue” – I was fascinated by the dance moves in the video and wondered just how they managed to do some of them.

06. Sir Mix-A-Lot “Baby Got Back” – Who didn’t know all the words to this diddy? I would sing along in my room, keeping an ear out for my parents in case they decided to peak in and be aghast at that awful rap music.

07. Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” – Pop music wrapped up in a school girl’s uniform. I wanted to look away, but I couldn’t.

08. TLC “Waterfalls” – This video was constantly on MTV. I watched it once and then flipped the channel every time it was on there after.

9. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” – My 8th grade English teacher was pretty cool. He also was an R.E.M. fan. He brought in “Out of Time” for us to listen to one week, and played different songs to show how the band used the lyrics to depict emotion. This was also the first time anyone bother to explain what the term “Losing My Religion” meant.

10. SinĂ©ad O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” – “What’s with this woman with a shaved head??” was my main thought. Then I promptly got sick of the song.

11. Pearl Jam “Jeremy” – My friends, Krista and Ben, went to see Pearl Jam at the Rochester War Memorial on April 7, 1994. After performing “Jeremy,” Eddie Vedder said “Living is the best revenge.” The next day, Kurt Cobain’s body would be found after a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That impacted me in a large way.

12. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” – My friend, Shannon, told me about Alanis right about the time the album was coming out. Working at our high school’s radio station did have its benefits since we got to listen to music before it was in stores. I later bought this album at the now-defunct Lechmere’s and wore it out for the next year.

13. Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg) “Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang” – I have no recollection of hearing this song until sometime after I discovered Y2Khai.

14. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” – Junior High School dances. In particular, the one that happened sometime in the winter of 1991. My friend, Anne, had danced with a guy she kind of liked named Tom. The next day we went on a trip with our girl scout troop and we kept laughing about this song and her dancing with Tom.

15. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” – With Nirvana blowing up all over the place in 1991, RHCP added another dimension to the alternative-music movement. I would wait patiently by my radio for this song to play, so I could hit record on my cassette player. This album later became one of those pinnacle albums of my youth.

16. MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” – “Rad! A rap song I like!” That would be my first take on this song in junior high. God Bless MC Hammer and his crazy dance moves. They helped my friends and I make it through several school dances.

17. Destiny’s Child “Say My Name”

18. Metallica “Enter Sandman” - My first ROCK concert was going to see Faith No More, Metallica, and Guns N Roses. I bought Metallica's Black album the same day I bought Blood Sugar Sex Magic. I wasn't a huge heavy metal fan, but that album was sharp.

19. Beastie Boys “Sabotage” - This is one of my favorite Beastie Boys songs. The guy who co-hosted the Metal show on WIRQ was a huge Beasties-fan and managed to sneak a tape recorder into their concert at the Rochester War Memorial by sealing it in a pop-tart wrapper and putting in the pop-tart box. After the concert, he had his mom transfer the concert from cassette to cd. This was the first time I had ever heard of an average person burning music to disc (this was around 1994-95).

20. Hanson “MMMBop” - I will admit that I liked this song the first few times I heard it. In fact, when we got the single in at WBWC, I put it on repeat in the station office and literally jumped around the room with the guy who did the Dave Matthews Band marathon every summer. Silly pop music calls for silly actions.

21. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” - On one of his visits to Rochester to spend time with Matt, Jai Senn invented alternate lyrics to this gem in September 1998. It went something like "Once more... we slay the goat!" I think he said it was a kind of tribute to Baal. Something about Celine Dion being that close to the devil? Well, we had a lot of fun driving around singing this.

22. Beck “Loser” - When the EP for this new artist arrived at WIRQ, everyone went nuts. First of all, we got to use our mad Spanish skillz to translate the chorus and then the quintessential my-job-sucks tune of "Soul Sucking Jerk."

23. Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue “Whatta Man” - There must have been a school dance or five that included this song.

24. House of Pain “Jump Around” - My air shift on WIRQ fell on Saint Patrick's Day in 1994. I got permission to do an all St. Paddy's day/Irish songs show. My friend, Anne, lent me this disc so I could play "Jump Around." Another school dance staple.

25. Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” While everyone melted away in the video, I melted at home. I have dim memories of it being a hot summer.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Article: Artist Share Slated For Saturday At Lake Lodge

Artist Share Slated For Saturday At Lake Lodge

By Nicholas L. Dean

LAKEWOOD — A supporter of local music and art in all forms, Tara Eastman has been giving artists and supporters of art a reason to come together each month since late 2007.

‘‘We’ve had some good connections with people,’’ Eastman said about the monthly Artists Share events she has hosted at the Reg Lenna Studio Theater. ‘‘We started last September as an outreach to the arts community to build bridges. It’s really just meant to be an encouragement to local artists and musicians. That has really been the whole purpose of it.’’

On Saturday, Eastman and her ever-growing collective of artists will hold an expo of sorts at the YWCA Lake Lodge in Lakewood. While the monthly Artists Share events usually tackle only one art form or project, this weekend’s event will include visual art as well as musical performances.

Using the term ‘‘eclectic,’’ Eastman said that the mixed media event will feature everything from singer-songwriters and classical music to rap and experimental noise from such artists as Julia Ciesla-Hanley, Fred Dickson, Jonah Hathaway, Andy White, Tara Lamont, James Reed and Noisetrack. Additionally, a photography collection by photographer Megan Pop will be on display as will pieces from local crafter Danielle Pietrocarlo of Deez Accessuriez.

Director of Worship and Outreach with Westminster Presbyterian Church, Eastman partnered with the Arts Council for Chautauqua County to create a positive and supportive art appreciation group.

‘‘Artists Share is a monthly gathering of musicians, artists, photographers and people who love the arts that meet to encourage, inspire, and develop relationships in our community,’’ Eastman said of the group. ’’Artists Share provides people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities the opportunity to learn more about art and how they can develop the artist within. It’s my hope that more people learn about this group and become an important part of our learning and sharing arts community.‘‘

The YWCA Lake Lodge is located at 187 East Terrace Ave. in Lakewood. This Saturday’s Artists Share event is free and open to the public, and will run from 2 to 4 p.m. For more about the group or to participate in future events, contact Tara Lamont Eastman at 969-3950 or by e-mailing eastman_tara@yahoo.com. Next month’s event will be held on Feb. 12 and will feature the theme ‘‘Labyrinths,’’ as participants will have the opportunity to create clay finger labyrinths.

Addendum: Nick Dean's other story as featured on the Chautauqua AMP

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Music, Sport, and Food Trilogy

What do you get when you combine hockey, They Might Be Giants, and a hot chocolate drink?

Fox News Lies (with proof)

Imagine turning on the television one night and seeing a story that you were dead. Realizing this was a mistake, you contacted the news organization and assured them that, in fact, you were very much alive. Then imagine that news organization saying they had it on good authority that you were dead, but would take your statement into consideration. Sound ludicrous? It's business as usual for Fox News. While they weren't erroneously reporting someone's death, they did mis-report that Paul Begala had taken a job with the Hillary Clinton campaign and continued to do so even after he told them it wasn't true.

The story complete with the email exchange between Paul Begala and Major Garrett

HT Eriepressible

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pillaging His Way Into the Blogosphere

We heartedly welcome A Slacker Viking Speaks to the local blogosphere. It's always good to have someone else around to give us all a run for our money when it comes to frequency of blog updates, witty rapport, and the latest musings on stories of local interest.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Artist Share Expo this Saturday

The Artist Share Expo & Reception will be held this Saturday at the YMCA Lake Lodge in Lakewood from 2-4pm.

The previous months' artistic elements will be brought together in one space for a couple hours of creativity. Musicians that have been lined up so far include Jonah Hathaway, Noisetrack, Andy White, Julia (as in me), James Reed, and Tara Lamont.

Tara, who has organized these events through the Westminster Presbyterian Church with support from the Arts Council, says she's working on also having photography on display, hand-made jewelry, pottery, and possibly some quilts even.

Refreshments will be provided and this is a free all ages event. Musically, it couldn't be more diverse. And it's another chance for some of you to hear me play violin in public again. I do like having friendly faces in the crowd.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Close Shave

I'm always astounded by the number of products that exist for de-hairing one's body. Americans seemed obsessed with having a hairless body and will go to any lengths to achieve that. I like to think I'm in the middle somewhere. Part of this is due to my sensitive skin. While some women are biting down on purse straps as their nether regions are waxed clean to match the rest of their body, I have a more minimalist approach. It's called a Bic Razor for Sensitive Skin and water.

Shaving gels? Even the unscented ones seem to make my skin develop little red bumps.

Any razor with more than 1-blade? Imagine tiny rivulets of blood as that second, third, or fourth blade manages to nick my ankle or knee-cap for the one-thousandth time.

So I stick with the method recommended by a long-time friend just before I got married. Running water and a single-blade razor that has no moisturizing strip that would just cause my skin to develop some rash.

With this in mind, I'm finding it harder to locate my favorite disposable razors and had to resort to buying a pack of twin-blades today. I know I will be eying these skeptically as I step into the shower for the new few weeks.

A First for Western New York

While looking through news stories for the region today, I came across one about one of Jamestown's newest City Council members. It was something I had discussed with Matt after the Inauguration ceremony held on January 1st:

Jamestown Picks Openly Gay Council President

I've known Greg Rabb since I moved here in 1999, and Matt has known him longer, having had him as a professor at Jamestown Community College. Later on, we were lucky enough to rent a house from him and then, when we bought our own house, make it possible for Matt's parents to become tenants in that house.

I wouldn't say Jamestown is place where you find the gay population loudly proclaiming their pride in being here and being queer. There are no parades, no rallies, no well-published support or social groups. The two gay/lesbian bars in town, Sneakers and Sky Bar, seem to have their share of the straight crowd just because there's nowhere else to go dancing. Subtle pride stickers can be found in the windows or on the bumpers of cars, but overall I'd say being gay in Jamestown is like being Polish. You know that some people are, but it's hard to tell. The Swedes and Italians have got everyone beat when it comes to the pride department.

Because of the quietness, I've often found it's hard to get a read on the homophobic-meter for the city. Even after nearly nine years, I'm not sure if it's just that the general population doesn't care, or that the gay population is comfortable enough that they don't feel a need to proselytize a need for tolerance to the public. Of course, the stereotype of a rural city does linger in the back of my mind and I wonder if this city is really more homophobic than I'd like to admit.

Being "out" is a personal decision. I think most adults who are gay don't feel a need to broadcast that fact. Once you realize you're gay, at any level of the Kinsey scale, there generally seems to be a time period where you want to proclaim this fact to everyone. After all, it's a revealing of a part of you that maybe wasn't so obvious before. Plus, someone has to break it to your mom and dad that while there may be grandchildren, that may come about in a less traditional manner than they were expecting. But after this period, some see being gay is more like another part of their personality that they can choose to share, or not. I'd liken that attitude to the frequency of telling someone your ethnicity. I don't tell every new person I meet that I have an ethnic mix of Polish, Scottish, German, English, and Welsh. Why would I? There are so many other things about me that are far more interesting and have a more active role in my every day life.

I'm curious about your thoughts, especially if you live in Chautauqua County.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

So Much For Dreams

We got our notice from the bank today about our escrow payments for last year and what our mortgage payments will be for 2008. Needless to say, the new number made me want to throw up a little. It's almost $80 more than last year.

Reason? A shortage in our required low point balance (whatever that is). Either way, if we pay what we owe, it'll bring our monthly payment amount down from what is estimated to be. I just love owning a house.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Grown-Up's Version of a Wet Dream

I had the most amazing dream last night. In my dream, I was riding as a passenger in a car down Foote Avenue here in our lovely city. I was opening my mail when I got to the envelope that contained our new mortgage payment book.

I opened the envelope and flipped open the cover, bracing myself for the financial pain that would be inflicted on me monthly for the next twelve months. Then, my eyes widened in disbelief as I saw the payment listed as $200! $200!! My God!!! I could make double payments every month and be a year ahead on mortgage payments!

Then I woke up.

Our tax bill from the city implies that our tax rate has gone down, but we'll see what the tax levy did to us when we really get our mortgage payment book in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

The new year came in like any other day, in some ways. It doesn't feel like a new year.

"Oh hello, 2008. I didn't notice you had arrived at the party. What's that? Oh, you've been here for over 24 hours? Ha, ha! Uh. Erm. Sorry."

No real resolutions have been set. Not a believer in that, really. Although I did jokingly say that I was going to make shoveling-for-exercise my New Year's resolution.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Southern Tier Blogs

Alexis, Todd, & Stavros!
A Poor Player
A Slacker Viking Speaks
Baconzoo-Hard Disc Jockey
Boon Island Blogger
Cale Hawkins
Chautauqua Creek Journal
Chautauqua Lake Living
The Ineffable Me
Galoot's Hoot Page (Len's Old Blog)
Greetings From Experiment House
Jamestown Audubon & Sanctuary
Jamestown Lawyer
Mayville Memo
Mon@arch's Nature Blog
Northside Pride of Jamestown
Post-Journal Blog Page
Preppy Girl's Guide
Project Waz
Roger Tory Peterson Institute
Small Town Lawyer
Suburban Blend-Blog
SUNY Fredonia's Journal
Super Villain Steve
Time You Enjoy Wasting Is Not Wasted Time
The Occasional Truth (Len's New Blog)
Tour Chautauqua-blog
Uphill Idealist
Vert Is Dead
Western NY Food Critic

Buffalo Blogs

Alex Halavais
All Things Buffalo
All Things Jennifer
As Little Harm as Possible
Bad Dog Barking
Beef on Weck Blog
Big Words I Know by Heart
Black Spot Buffalo
Brain Drain
Brisket for Chucklehead
Broadway-Fillmore Alive
Buffalo Beast Blog
Buffalo Blogger
Buffalo Flickr Blog
Buffalo Geek
Buffalo Rising
Buffalo Roots Blog
Buffalo Spree Blog
Buffalo Weather Blog (WIVB)
Buffalo WOW!
Byzantium Shores
Can't Get it Out of My Head
Chris Barr's Blog - NEW!
Classic Buffalo
Crusader of Justice
Dan's Random Acts of Typing
Daves and Nights
Elmwood Strip blog community
Errant Remark
Fix Buffalo Today for

Fourth Row
From the 9th Floor
Gardening While Intoxicated
Greater Buffalo Blog
Jen's 14,221 Thoughts
Jim Ostrowski
Joe's Totally Killer Bloggggg
Kevin Lim
KT in Buffalo
Maxigumee Land
My Interests
NorthCoast Online
Oh For Fun!
One Girl, One World
Outside Counsel
Pop Culture is my Curse
Random Thoughts 101
Red's Basement
Revitalize Buffalo Blog
Rus Thompson
Rus Thompson's Albany's Insanity
Rust Belt Renewal
Soul of Buffalo
The 716
The Buffalo Barnacle
The Buffalo Citizen
The Einach Report
The Foodies
This is Ali
Thoughtfully Irate
Tom Bauerle (WBEN)
Travelogue Chris
Vertebrae Online
West Village Renaissance Group
WNY Coalition for Progress Blog
Yo Mimi!

New York Blogs
BlogNetNews: New York

Empire Falls
Gen X at 40
We Love Wegmans

Rochester Blogs
Daily Bite
The Greater Rochester Weblog
JayceLand's Weekly Rochester Events
Junk Store Cowgirl
The Political Notebook
Real Book - Ryan G.
The Rochester

Rochester Turning
Rochester Writers
Waking Dream - Matt
Zinnian Democracy

Friends With Sites, Not Necessarily Blogs

Eternal Nightmare (Kevin H.)
Lady Isobel Wren
Leah Zicari
Susan Henesy

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...