Sunday, February 8, 2009

So Where Have You Been, Famous Hat?

I'm sure all three of my loyal readers have been wondering, What happened to Famous Hat? I am, in fact, still alive and quite well, too. I just haven't been able to update my blog, since during my lunch hour I was either attending conferences or meeting banjo players for lunch, and I still don't have internet connection at home. (Still no TV either. I hear some rumor that later this month TVs won't work anymore if they aren't high definition, but I am blissfully ignorant of all that in my TV-free world of rabbits, guinea pigs, hedgehog, and plants.)

This weekend I had two gigs. The first one was an acoustic one at a coffeehouse in a nearby small town, and it went really well. We were one of several acts, and the last act (a father-daughter duo) were amazing. All we got for our troubles was a free cup of tea; I wanted chai but would have had to pay the difference in price so I settled for a cup of Earl Gray. How do people support themselves making music? It's beyond me!

The second gig was even better! This was with the plugged-in Mideastern band, and it was at a Turkish restaurant. We had an incredible belly dancer who danced to the Arab pop song numbers, and then she got to take a break while everyone else danced to the Hebrew folk songs. I had some trouble with feedback from the amp, but after we tried several amps, and then several cords, we realized it was a grounding problem in the mandolin itself, so I suggested miking it. "You're a genius!" the guitar player told me. However, even my genius has its limits, since the mic was a vocal one and didn't pick up the mandolin too well. Anyway, I am just ornamentation, not the basics like the keyboard, guitar, and drums. During the second half we plugged me back in and it seemed a little better. Otherwise the gig was a huge success, with tons of people flooding the restaurant and actually getting up and dancing during the group numbers. We got free dinner (including wine and dessert), and afterwards someone in the audience bought us all drinks because he thought we were so good. It was a huge party!

So that was my weekend in music. In triathlon news, I power-walked to my health club yesterday to enjoy the beautiful weather (we're enjoying a bit of a thaw after that bitter cold), but once there I was beat. (It's maybe three miles away.) A little coffee shop has opened up in the health club, so I bought a cappuccino and a kiddie-sized berry smoothie to refuel, did some stretches and weightlifting to justify having gone to the health club, and then had to run all the way back home to get ready for the gig. Today was beautiful too, so Richard Bonomo, A-Fooze and I walked to a nearby church (not our own parish) for their fundraising spaghetti dinner. Now I am taking the opportunity to blog on Rich's computer Aquinas. (He also has a little green laptop we call Marvin because it looks like a martian with its little antennae, and another one that goes by the mysterious moniker of "Victor's Computer," though Rich does not know Victor.) Marvin is part of a program where you pay some amount of money and they send you a laptop and then another one just like it to a child in a third-world country, which is a beautiful idea but I can't help thinking that it's more important to feed these children than to make sure they have laptops...

On the bread making front, I made bread yesterday and wondered why it wasn't rising during the Rise Cycle until noticing the package of yeast sitting on the counter... unopened! So I threw it into the dough and restarted the entire cycle, so I now have twice-kned bread. What happens when you knead bread twice? The loaf looked normal enough, and the few bits I tasted seemed normal, but tomorrow will be the true test when I use it for the first time to make a sandwich.

Famous Hat

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