Friday, September 05, 2008

Doggie Sleepover...

Cabal is having another sleepover, hopefully, with less disastrous results than the last one....It went something like this....

CABAL: What a great day, huh, Freck???

FRECK: Yeah Cabal! This is the best. They dropped me off early, and we got to play in the Dog Pen. Can you believe how muddy we got in the hour before Lorraine got into work????

CABAL: Great idea you had, jumping in the pool, then rolling around in the dirt! I don't know what Lorraine was sighing about, we were REALLY glad to see her! You jumped all over her, and I didn't leave her side. What did she mean when she said she had just taken a shower?

FRECK: Beats me. What's her problem? We followed her into the house and went everywhere with her? I think she was happy, did you see how fast we got to go to Doggie Day Care???

CABAL: I really liked the way you leapt from the car and took OFF! We got to chase you forever! And wasn't it nice of her to have rabbits for us to chase when we got home??? We went WAY off into the woods, who cares about a few Burrs?

FRECK: Isn't it dinner time? What are you having?

CABAL: Same old, same old, half a raw chicken. What are you having?

FRECK: (Pause.) (Long Pause.) Crap. They left kibble. Say, buddy old pal, couldn't help but notice YOU have half a chicken....

CABAL: (Warily) Yes. I do. Go eat your kibble.

FRECK: Awww...Come ON....

CABAL: I like you, but no. My chicken. I am going to carry it everywhere and eat it every time I get a few steps ahead of you. And since YOU aren't eating the kibble, I am going to eat it when you are done.

FRECK: I am HUNGRY here, look, it isn't easy being me. I'm telling Lorraine, with my imploring brown eyes, she'll crack in a second. See? I have steak now....

CABAL: HEY!!!!!!!!!!

And so it went. Dogs. Gotta love 'em. But silently, they are asleep now.

Which is where I will be soon, two days at the Festival. Tomorrow sitting in for Fiddler/Bagpipe Teacher Joe, and Sunday because Fiddler/Bagpipe Teacher Joe will be back, and I will get to play with him, and get my lesson.

Everyone will be mighty impressed with with my three notes. I know Miss Kitty will be when she gets her voicemail tonight. A special message for her last day of the tour...

Love and the Weekend,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Just How Much I Don't Know...

You know in old British TV shows, where they have the police cars zooming around with the siren's on? And how they sort of do a two note Whhhe, hoo, whhhe-hoo???

Well, I can now make JUST that sound with my bagpipes. Yet another useful skill I am developing.

I learned a LOT in class today. Not so much French, but other things. You know, college is a LOT of work! (I am guessing you all DO know, except Emily, and she will find out)

Like, when the teacher asks, "Where is your textbook" because you are the only person in class who has not opened it to the desired page, and your answer goes something like "What textbook? We have textbooks??"

Duh. I said I would be happy to buy this book, but what was it and where did one acquire it, and they very patiently told me, No, no, you go to the library textbook section, and they give you one. You rent it. Show them your Student ID....

"Student ID?," I asked weakly. We took up a solid 20 minutes explaining the mysteries of such things to me, which everyone seemed very happy to do, and they were very nice, but I am really shy, no not kidding, if I'm not on stage or assistanting or know you well, very shy.

The teacher also mentioned things like what had I shown when I paid for the course, and I explained they had been pretty vague about what it was costing me or where I paid this....And so it went. A one point I felt obliged to explain I really did function very well in the real world, but college was simply beyond me. Apparently.

A very nice girl took me to the library, where I found my first sane person, who told her co-hort to just give me the book, I was in the system somewhere and it was un-likely I would WANT the thing if I wasn't taking French, and winked at me and said (Paraphrasing here) "You don't need no stinking Student ID" I will always love this women.

Now, my English Major and properly educated friends, my troubles are far from over. There are appalling gaps in my education, and I need some help.

Today, we conjugated the verb "Erte" or in English "To be" after the lesson, I kind of grasped how it goes in French, but the problem is, I don't understand it in English. I am really confused about what is First Person, second person and third person, singular and plural. And which words are what, like am, are, is....

And if you have a noun or proper noun, what is what there?

Can you help me, explaining it as simply as possible? Jess said I wrote my stories in second person, which I gather is "You" but I am really quite confused....

I suspect this will not be the last time I ask you for help.

Teach me, s'il vous plait.....

Love and Grammar,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day Of School!

My Note has two friends now, and I can make the thing make notes each time I pick it up. I ought to be happy, but it sounds, if anything, worse now that I can play three notes. Kind of the opposite of progress...(Congress? I slay myself!)

Apparently, it takes longer than two days to learn these Bag Pipes. I will give myself at least a week.

I spoke to Spacedlaw today via Skype, before my first French class, to kind of warm up, as it were. The only thing I had to work with was "French For Cats" and the only thing I managed to pronounce well enough for her to understand was "I do not want to be neutered" (Je ne veux pas etre chatre) which I am sure will amaze and impress any French people I speak to.

French is kind of wacky. Today I learned a good rule of thumb is don't pronounce the last half of any word, it's only there to look cool, and has no bearing on how the word is actually pronounced.

One good thing, this class is on the 4th floor of an old building. Between those stairs every day and Doggie Boot Camp, I am going to start getting FIT.

If Doggie Boot Camp doesn't kill me. Doofus cut in front of me tonight instead of going for the jump, chasing the hand with the chicken no doubt, and I went OVER him, in a most beautiful tuck and roll maneuver,landing on my back, with a few more rolls to finish it off. A perfect 10 from the judges, after they got done laughing.

Spoke to Kitty on a rare day off for her today. She sounds much better as the tour is nearly over, and she will be out here by the end of the month, then back again in October, which will be wonderful fun. Boss will be home again in about two weeks too.

I will amaze them both, and sooth their tired traveling spirits with my mystical Irish Bagpipes, and whisper gently to them in the only French I know....

Je ne veux pas etre chatre.....

Love, French, Pipes and Dramatic Falls,

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day With Ulleann Pipes

Thanks to the Evil Genius that is the Webgoblin Danguy, we have my first ever Bagpipe Recording! My task this week is to play One Note, and hold it. I managed it this morning, once, when we recoded it, then spent most of the rest of the day sadly trying to do it again.

My favorite quote I found, hunting around on the web for HELP was " It IS doable. You just have to concentrate and relax."

And that was by far the most optimistic opinion.

Relax. Right. Your left arm and right are doing different things, with the thing strapped to your body in several places, and your fingers, which you can't SEE, and doing yet more things. Whose idea WAS this? I mean, how did they ever get invented? By some one who had a few too many pints of cider, if you ask me.

It reminds me of a story...I was sitting in a pub one night and a man came in with an Octopus, and they sat down at the bar. After drinking for some time, the man said to the Bartender "Say, I'll bet you my bar tab that my Octopus can play any instrument you have here, if I lose, I'll tip you the price of the tab"

The bartender thought this a great idea, and said to go for it.

He brought out a trombone, and the Octopus played it, and well! He got out a drum set and the Octopus played the heck out of it, using all eight legs! It was truly amazing, the thing had rhythm.....

The bartender started looking a little worried, then got a sly look on his face, and went to the backroom, and brought out a set of Bagpipes.

The Octopus took them, and out came the most hideous noises EVER. It was horrible, he couldn't play them, not music , no WAY.

The Bartender told the man he had better pay up, but the man didn't look the least bit worried.....

Relax, he said, as soon as he figures out he can't F**K 'em, he'll play 'em alright.

And so he did.

Uh, enjoy the lilting sounds of my first day of bagpiping as you drift off to sleep, or wake in the morning....Magic, they are, pure magic

Bagpipe Practice, Day 1 - The Fabulous Lorraine

Love and Pipes,

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gigs are done!! (Until the weekend)

This would no doubt be a bit more fun with pictures, but it might be that Someone forgot their camera today....

At any rate, home, done with gigs, total Zombie Brain! Nothing left, but I will give you what there is. Had a great day playing with Bedlam today, even tho it was 87 and humid, brutal to play in. I love it when I get a chance to play with them, full on rock, even outdoors today with no mics, amps or toys. I am going back next weekend to do it again. (Cabel, had a great time, everyone loves him, and he gets SO much attention in his costume.)

Joe Smith has been playing with Bedlam since I nipped off on other projects, and when the two of us meet up with violins, it's magic. We call it between us "Weaving" Joe is one of those, Fods, how to say it, he is one of those players that doesn't come along often. He can play circles around me, and I am not maligning my playing at all. He is simply, very, very good.

He is also my Ullieann Pipe Teacher, as of today. Had my first lesson. I wish you could have all heard it, everyone who did, dissolved into puddles of laughter. (WHO has their first Bag Pipe lesson in public, I ask you??? When I do things, I do them BIG!)

The sounds I made were truly quite hideous. I love it.

Pipes are hard. It's the only instrument I have ever come across that the first thing you do is to strap it to you with an array of leather straps and buckles. (Don't think the jokes didn't come quickly..) Your right arm works the bellows, and your left the bag, getting just exactly the right amount of air into and out of both, while your fingers play the notes on the chanter. One cannot, by the way see ones fingers, or the holes on the chanter.

My task this week is to play ONE note, steadily, without wavering. If I manage that, I move onto learning the finger positions for a scale.

Joe said today to me that if you cut open his heart and pulled it out, what you would hear would be Ullieann Pipes.

I have to say, I think the same is true for me.

Love and Pipes,