New Blogger. For my purposes the new Blogger isn’t much different from the old one. Except that it now generates the archives properly! You’ll see in the sidebar that there is now only one archive page for each of the fourteen months I’ve been running this current incarnation of the Chronicles.
First steps. Now about one-third of the way into her tenth month, Elizabeth has started walking. Not regularly, not reliably—in fact, she doesn’t even seem to know that she’s doing it. But she’s doing it.
Open Mike. Last Sunday afternoon we were at Natural Tunnel State Park for their twice-a-month Picking in the Park, an open mike performance that runs from 2-4pm. The small crowd was very friendly, and the atmosphere was relaxed and informal, so Chris and I decided to sign up for fifteen minutes on July 13, two weeks from now.
Even though the event is informal, I thought this would be a good chance for us to get experience working out a set. We started by settling on an eight-song sequence that seemed to flow pretty well. The number of songs was based on what little experience I had with public speaking, where I learned that you run through your material a lot faster than you think you will. Well, that doesn’t apply to our playing—I almost fell over when we timed our first run-through, and found that it took nearly thirty minutes to do all eight. So we dropped three songs and did some surgery on two more, and now we are just at fifteen minutes if we allow for a little bit of talk between songs. The songs are as follows:
Sitting on Top of the World
Red River Blues
What Does the Deep Sea Say
Old Home Place
Now we’re working on tightening up our presentation—how the songs will start, how they will end, what sort of break Chris will take in each, how the lyrics will be phrased. Pretty soon we’ll be recording and critiquing the details of our performance, using the minidisc recorder (a very cruel device which captures and replays your smallest mistake with excruciating clarity).
Telemarketers. The National Do Not Call Registry is up and running. You can register your phone number with them, and supposedly by October 1, 2003, most telemarketers have to stop calling you. The process does not ask for any personal information other than the phone number(s) you want registered and a valid email address.
Popups. Anybody who is plagued by advertisements in pop-up windows should consider installing the new Google toolbar, which has a popup blocker that is built in and enabled by default—just install it and popups will be blocked unless you say otherwise.. The toolbar was well worth having before this; now it is essential.
Feast. We’ve already begun planning the baptismal feast we’ll be holding this fall, about a month after our baby is born. Today we checked out the conference center at Natural Tunnel State Park, about an hour from Bristol, and it turns out to be close to ideal for our purposes. It has a catering kitchen, plenty of tables and chairs, a large auditorium, two smaller rooms, a lobby area with a huge fireplace, and a 3500 square foot deck with some spectacular views. We hope the weather will be good enough for folks to spend most of their time outside, but if not there will be room inside for everyone. The plan so far is that the core of the celebration will take place in the middle of the day, with folks welcome to come early and stay late if they want to enjoy the park as well.
Right next to the conference center is a hillside ampitheater used for outdoor performances. It seats 2000 folks total, with covered seating for a couple of hundred just in front of the stage. We’ve reserved that, along with the sound system they use for music. No hired band this year—it would be tough to top last year, when we had the Reeltime Travelers perform, and over the past year the Travelers have climbed far out of our price range (something we’re very happy about). The music will be homemade this year, and we have four months to figure out exactly what that will mean.
Failing memory. I was wrong about Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon not having that tinkly Fender Rhodes piano—I’m listening to the song right now, courtesy of Rhapsody, and there it is, about ten minutes in to the sixteen-minute song.