Saturday, February 28, 2009

Survived Week One

I started my new job this past week. Most people who know me know that when approached with something new, or challenging, my general M.O. is to freak out while getting through it generally fine.

Recognizing that I have a tendency to become dramatic, I decided to try to simmer the best I could. I told myself,

"Self? There's a lot of new stuff that will be thrown at you and a lot you're going to be expected to do right off. Just write down as much as you can. Breathe. Prioritize that which you know needs to get done NOW. Breathe. Be positive."

The new job also comes with an earlier start time, so I made sure to drag along with my travel mug full of hot tea to supplement my usual caffeine intake. On Thursday, I stuck a Bergamot Naturopatch on me to help with stress. It really seemed to work. I was definitely more smiley and calm.

I'll have to adjust some of my life to fit with the job for awhile. There are more evening hours, which I earn comp and then overtime for, than I've had to deal with in awhile. I did begin to enjoy certain bits of it by the end of the week. A huge saving grace is that the person who had the job before she retired at the end of the year is acting as a consultant for me to let me know what my job duties are, help with pending events and other items. Since no one else apparently knows very much about my job, this is beyond awesome.

My current balancing act is getting a bit trickier, but I still plan to keep doing the news, blogging, and playing with the few orchestral ensembles I'm committed to until the end of May.

If you're wondering what my new job entails, I'm going to steal what Labyrinth Press Company Owner Jeff James said about my job and say I'm in charge of Fun for the City.

Music of The Smiths/Morrissey: The Playlist

Back on Valentine's Day, I dj-ed a Smiths/Morrissey night at Forte with DJ Fluvanna Beachcomber (Steve). It was a fun night. Even though it's not the kind of music that inclined people to dance, the bar did well. Steve was out of sorts because the woofer for the speaker had gotten wet and was unusable. It affected the sound a bit, but it didn't bother me too much.

We got in most of the few requests we got aside from "How Soon Is Now." We had planned to play that later in the evening, but the bar was fairly empty by the time "later" rolled around. My answer to one guy's request to "play something we can dance to" was to play "Sheila Take A Bow" followed by Electronic. The latter got a huge response from people who hadn't heard the song in awhile.

This was our playlist that I anally kept track of all night long:

Start Time-10:30ish with Steve picking first track. Rest is my set. Moz=Morrissey:

Smiths - Golden Lights
Moz - November Spawned A Monster
Moz - Alsatian Cousin
Moz - Glamorous Glue
Smiths - London (Live off Rank)
Moz - Satan Rejected My Soul
Moz - Have A Go Merchant
Moz - You Have Killed Me
Moz - Sunny
Moz - Alma Matters

11PM - Steve's Set

Smiths - What Difference Does It Make? (Hatful of Hollow)
Smiths - Panic
Smiths - Handsome Devil
Smiths - Half A Person
Moz - Suedehead
Smiths - Cemetery Gates
Smiths - Stop Me If You've Heard This One
Smiths - Ask
Smiths - I Started Something
The Jam - That's Entertainment

11:30 - Me

Suede - Animal Nitrate
Moz - Tomorrow
Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
Moz - Irish Blood, English Heart
Moz - Jack The Ripper (Live off World Of Morrissey)
Moz - Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself
Moz - Hairdresser On Fire

Midnight - Steve

Smiths - Nowhere Fast
Smiths - His Latest Flame/Rusholme Ruffians (Live off Rank)
Elvis - His Latest Flame
In Depth - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (cover)
Moz - Interesting Drug
Smiths - The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
Smiths - This Charming Man
Cilla Black - Work Is A Four Letter Word
Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Smitsh - Still Ill
Twinkle - Golden Lights

12:30am - Me

Smiths - Sheila Take A Bow
Electronic - Getting Away With It
Moz - Our Frank
Moz - Journalist Who Lie
Smiths - What She Said (Live off Rank)
Smiths - Hand In Glove

1am - Steve

Moz - The Last Of The Famous International Playboys
Smiths - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Smiths - Rubber Ring
Smiths - Well I Wonder
Smiths - I Don't Owe You Anything
Smiths - Golden Lights
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders - Groovy Kind of Love
High Llamas - Frankly, Mr. Shankly (cover)
Marianne Faithful - Summer Nights
Smiths - Unhappy Birthday
Billy Bragg - Never Had No One Ever (cover)
Smiths - Girl Afraid

1:30am - Me

Smiths - William, It Was Really Nothing
Moz - My Love Life
Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Moz - Driving Your Girlfriend Home
Moz - This World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
Smiths - Shoplifters Of The World
Smiths - Vicar In A Tutu
Jeff Buckley - I Know It's Over (cover)

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Short Timer

My soon to be former co workers got me a good bye cake. I'm getting sniffly. At least I'll still get to see them occasionally in my new job.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blog Share Post

Below is the anonymous post I was sent to post for the February 2009 edition of Blog Share. Please enjoy and leave comments! We'll be back to our un-regular blog programming on Thursday:

You know those people who have their family trees traced back to the 200s and can tell you who they're related to on their father's side 12 generations back?

I'm jealous of them.

I have no idea where I came from. No one has been able to trace my family back to a foreign country at all. It's like we sprung from the earth in New York 400 years ago. When people ask me what nationality I am, I say "American". That's all I know. Sure, I've been told stories that maybe we're related to Napoleon on one side, and that the other side is Irish instead of Scottish. But I have no proof. I took an Asian-Americans class in college and we had to share a story about one of our immigrant relatives. I made mine up.

And I feel like I'm to blame. My mom died while I was in my teens, and I was never interested in genealogy, so I didn't take the time to ask my grandparents about their families. Three out of four of them died while I was in college – by the time I had an interest in where I came from, I had no one to ask. My remaining family members know little to nothing because both of my grandfathers had step-parents and no one really knows who their real mothers were.

I hold on tight to what I know – my grandfather had a social security number that indicates he was a railroad worker, most of the surnames in the family are English in origin, little things like that.

I'm fascinated by others' stories because of this – amazing stories of survival, dreams of a better life, reunions between siblings who were separated during war.

My husband is a third-generation American whose family came from Wales in the early 1900s. His grandmother was the first American-born child. They were coal miners who came over temporarily to make some money and always planned on going back, but never did.

My best friend is a Polish immigrant who came to the U.S. when he was 10. He still speaks the language, and remembers the first time he saw an electric door and sliced bread in the supermarket.

I know more about other people's family history than I do my own. I can tell you where any number of friends and family came from, what they did in their homelands, why they came the U.S. in the first place.

I want their stories because I have none of my own.

***

Want more Blog Share? Check out the other websites!

And You Know What Else
Andrea Unplugged
Blue Soup
Bright Yellow World
Bwildered
Caity of the Keps
Catheroominations
Citystreams
Daily Tannenbaum
Did I Say That Outloud?
Dispatches From The Failed Mommy Club
Face Down
For The Long Run
Full Of Snark
Heidikins
In Java, Literally
Just Below 63
LizLand
Malfeasance
A New Duck
NonSoccer Mom
The North Is My Snowcone
Not The Daddy
Operation Pink Herring
Pants, Pants, Pants
Red Red Whine
Sassy Buster
Sauntering Soul
Shushing Action
Snarke
Snow-Covered Hills
Swimming With Sharks
Thinking Some More
Trueish Story
Way Way Up
Whiskey Marie

Monday, February 16, 2009

Savory Success

This is the final result of the beef stew I made today. I used a Wegmans recipe that was featured in the latest issue of Menu magazine, and also the featured dish in stores this week. Unfortunately, the website seems to be down so I can't give you the link (UPDATE: recipe here). The modifications I made were to follow the slow-cooker version of the recipe, and I eliminated the use of rosemary and mushrooms since I don't like either.

To supplement the stew, I picked up a loaf of roasted garlic bread from Tops (shhhh). It was a dense bread that had a crispy crust and soft center. Very tasty. Now we have plenty of leftovers to carry us through the week until Thursday, when I make my slow-cooker chili recipe. And no, I don't know who this girl is who apparently CAN cook when she feels like it.

Cutting In

Matt has begun cutting in the paint for our dining room. Since we're painting it a Behr's "Classic Cherry", Matt put up a gray primer so that we wouldn't have to do 3 coats of paint. Hopefully.

Our goal is to get the dining room done this week. This includes painting, me sanding/spray painting the two wall sconces, moving furniture back into place, and hanging some items. The reason for the push is that my mom, my Aunt Carol, and my mom's friend Susan arrive Friday for a Ladies Weekend in Jamestown. If the dining room doesn't get done, eating meals will be difficult.

Blog Share: February 2009 Edition

I will be taking part in the latest edition of Blog Share this month. This means someone else will be posting to this blog on Wednesday, February 18th. Many thanks to -R- for putting this together even while taking care of her baby boy!

Here is the list of participants. There is one missing that I will add once we are sent that information:

And You Know What Else
Andrea Unplugged
Blue Soup
Bright Yellow World
Bwildered
Caity of the Keps
Catheroominations
Citystreams
Daily Tannenbaum
Did I Say That Outloud?
Dispatches From The Failed Mommy Club
Face Down
For The Long Run
Full Of Snark
Heidikins
In Java, Literally
Just Below 63
LizLand
Malfeasance
A New Duck
NonSoccer Mom
The North Is My Snowcone
Not The Daddy
Operation Pink Herring
Pants, Pants, Pants
Red Red Whine
Sassy Buster
Sauntering Soul
Shushing Action
Snarke
Snow-Covered Hills
Swimming With Sharks
Thinking Some More
Trueish Story
Way Way Up
Whiskey Marie

Stewing

My first attempt at making stew. I'm using a Wegmans recipe.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Seared Tuna

What's left of my sesame seared tuna. So good! Matt had veal that looked tasty too.

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Valentine's Dinner

Matt at Forte with me for Valentine's dinner.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Continental Airlines Flight 3407 Crash In Buffalo

When I turned on my monitor this morning and saw I had 113 Tweets to read, my first thought was "WTF was everyone up to last night that I have that many tweets??"

Then I started reading. Since they're stacked newest to oldest, I got the picture very quickly that a plane crash in Buffalo had killed 50 people (Number corrected).

My first thought was of our friend Clair, who is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. As I scrolled, I saw that it wasn't her airline. My next thought was, "Did Jen14221 make it back from Philadelphia? Who did she say she flew with??" until I saw she had tweeted earlier in the evening that she was home with her family. Then I started wondering if Buffalo Blogger BuffaloPundit was affected given that the crash happened in Clarence (His Account.

I don't recall a commercial airline crash of this magnitude ever happening in Western New York (Scroll down for last instance in 1942). It's the kind of story that, even if it happened 50 years ago, still gets around. The proximity of the story and the number of family and friends we have in Buffalo make this a hard story to digest. My heart is hurting for those who have lost loved ones in the crash and I send my prayers to you.

Sometimes I cope best with these kinds of news stories by drawing on my inner geek. Here I go.

One thing that struck me was that it was a good 5 minutes before I read an actual news story online after reading the first tweet that gave me an indication that there had been a crash. I scoured for the Breaking Headlines and CNN Breaking News updates. Then I opened up Facebook and started scrolling through the LiveFeed and Status Updates. Finally, it occurred to me to read a news story.

You'd think the first place I'd hit up would be a Buffalo source, right? No. For some reason, I decided to get a feel for how far the story got by clicking over to Drudge. I grimly noted that Matt Drudge saw fit to sensationalize the story with a fiery picture of the crash and the words "Fireball" before coming to my senses and clicking on the Democrat & Chronicle Twitter link for an early story.

I spent the rest of the time before I had to head off to work scrolling through my subscriptions in Google Reader looking for other people's accounts on this story. I commented to Matt later that how I learned and informed myself about this story is so different from just a few years ago. I would have known almost immediately after it happened if I had my Twitter notifications turned on my cell. I don't feel less connected because I didn't. In fact, I know I would have felt an obligation to stay up to find out the latest details while trying to gather enough credible information so I could re-do the volunteer newscast I provide for WRFA. I almost feel guilty, like by not having an updated newscast I did the listeners a disservice by not letting them know the gravity of the situation 70 miles to the north of us. But I have to let it go.

What will follow is speculation to what happened, if anyone was at fault, and the heartbreaking stories about those who have died and the people they've left behind. I wish grace and integrity for those who will be covering this story.

Updates:

- Story hits closer to home: Another employee of the airline, Capt. Joseph Zuffoletto, a Jamestown resident who was off-duty at the time, was also killed.

- Three (Chautauqua) County Residents Killed in Crash

- Buffalo News - List of Victims (Updated as news becomes available)

- Buffalo News Blog on Clarence Plane Crash - Updated Frequently

- Twitter Updates on #ClarencePlaneCrash

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Brighter Sound

While there is still a sad amount of snow on the ground at our house, downtown Jamestown is clearer. Between snow removal efforts and warm weather, today had the sounds of a murky Spring day. The kind of weather you grumble about because you're dodging rain drops, but inside you're glad that it's not snow.

Tires hum against bare pavement. Doors clang shut and shoes slap against the sidewalk. There's no sun to be seen but it sounds brighter outside. The deadening effects of snow are temporarily gone.

Monday, February 09, 2009

New Job!

Friday, I was offered and accepted a new job. This was a great relief to me since I was facing elimination due to lack of funding in my current position. Plus, it's a job I think I can have fun in and will be a great deal more stable than anything I've done in recent history. Getting any job in our current economic climate is a blessing, so that makes me even more grateful.

Another benefit is that while I won't be working in the same office space, I'll be working within the same organization as many of my current cohorts in crime. I probably will even be attending some of the same community meetings I go to now for my job. Funny how things work.

The new job starts February 23rd. My online life might be a mite quieter than as of late. I've been told that work has been piling up on my future desk since there hasn't been a person officially in that job since the beginning of the year. Either way, I'm looking forward to the challenges I know I will encounter.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Music of The Smiths & Morrissey at Forte


Come to Forte around 10pm on Valentine's Day to hear Steve and me spin music by The Smiths and Morrissey for as long as they can stand it, or until close (2am). Requests will be taken. No Cover.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

R.I.P. - Lukas Foss

I learned this morning that Composer and Conductor Lukas Foss has died. Buffalo News Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman wrote a reflection on his life today.

My mom's memories of Lukas Foss come from being in the audience for several Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concerts when Foss led the ensemble.

Mine are even more experiential. While I was still a music education major at Baldwin-Wallace College, Lukas Foss was a guest at the college for its FOCUS Festival. I played violin in the orchestra concert that featured one of the pieces composed by him. What an incredible experience. If you had questions about how a certain passage was to be interpreted, you just asked the slight, white-haired man standing on the podium in front of you what he wanted when he wrote the composition.

Modern art and contemporary classical music (there's an oxymoron) are challenging for me. Dissonance in sound and on canvas don't mesh well with what I personally consider aesthetically pleasing. Still, I appreciate when someone is able to make sense of the "noise" so I can come away with some understanding of the intent of the artist. I'm grateful I had the opportunity at least once to perform in an ensemble where this was able to happen.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Favorite Super Bowl Ad

Consensus based on reaction by the friends I watched the Super Bowl with is that this was the best ad last night:


The rest of the time, the group invariably yelled "Flag" after nearly every play. Our friend, Dave, offered several times,

"I'm telling you. Someone from the Cardinals forgot to pay off someone. It's a forgone conclusion that Pittsburgh will win. They'll let Arizona have a moment near the end where they THINK they have a chance, but there will be too much time on the clock and Pittsburgh will still win."

And so he was right. It felt like the longest football game I've ever watched in my life and then it seemed to end very abruptly. Oddness.

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...