Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On the Telly... In Philly!

Check out the band!!!! My friend, Liz, CBS reporter, came to our Mayfair gig this afternoon - and shazam! We ended up on the PHILADELPHIA NEWS!!!!!

Thanks, Liz! You rock!

Anyway, this gig was so cool. Mayfair is a great little festival - purely my favorite thing about Allentown... It's a showcase for local musicians, my favorite thing - shopping for crafty stuff - and my step-daughter's favorite thing - Kettle Corn.

So we played one gig on Thursday, and one today... Thursday? We played in a tent - which was great - because the weather changed every three minutes. It poured, then it got windy and cold, then the sun came out - then it kept changing... Resulting in, among other things - this really fabulous rainbow, photo courtesy of my friend Laurie.

Thankfully, the weather today was just lovely - 80-degrees, easy, breezy and beautiful. We played really well - which is always a plus. We had a good crowd - we didn't forget the words to anything... And afterward - we had the nicest group of people. In addition to the news camera (wanna hear something terrible? After the gig, the cameraman approached me and informed me that we used to work live football games together... I didn't remember - which I feel terrible - but I always worked in the booth with the announcers - not on the field with the cameramen...), a reporter from the local paper came up and asked to do an interview with us. A group of strangers asked to see my guitar (which is very lovely - see?), and we just had a good time - it was a far cry from THIS gig - where if I'd had a tail, I'd have come home with it firmly tucked between my pathetic legs.

So we had a good time - and we hope to do it again next year!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bass-ic Brain Surgery

I've been reading Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik - and it's driving me crazy. It's a neurosurgeon's account of being a woman in a male-populated talent pool - and what goes on in the hospital. The actual information on brain surgery is fascinating. The part that drives me nuts is Dr. Firlik's stream-of-conscious writing style. One second, she's recounting a tale of surgery, the next paragraph, she's flashing back to finding an ancient brain-drill at a flea market... It's a maddening read - maddening - because I can't put it down. Where I love her though, is during those focused paragraphs where she writes:

We'd love to be able to blame a certain chemical, work environment, home environment, bad habit, cell phone, or deity - we could work on prevention - but there's just not enough strong evidence against any of them. I'm confident that a GBM (or glioblastoma multiforme - a tumor that originates in the brain) is not retribution for any sin or mispent life (it would probably affect more than just fifteen thousand people per year if it were). In short, a brain tumor is the fault of no person or thing. As with a deadly hurricane, nature is often both powerful and indifferent.

See what I mean? Compelling as all get-out!

Not to pull a Dr. Firlik on you, but in other news, Scott, our band's bass/dobro/harp player, is leaving the band. It began as his wish to spend more time with his new baby - and ended as a career change for him - He's switching jobs - and moving to another state.

What I'm saying is - that where I'm bummed, I can't fault Scott for any of his reasons for leaving the band. What's got my brain spinning is the long, arduous process of finding a new bass player. We put an ad on Craig's list that said something like this:
"Local band is seeing bluegrass/roots bass player. We'd consider it a bonus if you could play an other instrument (dobro perhaps?) and sing. We practice weekly and play approximately 2x/month. We're very serious about music, but laid-back otherwise, so divas need not apply... blah blah blabbity blah."

We got a surprising response, but one wanted to play originals (we do mostly rootsy/bluegrassy covers of songs we like), one wants more money than we typically make (I told him I'm all for making more money) - one guy - I completely accidentally deleted his contact info. This leaves three really viable candidates - one who has heard our band before (we love that he loves our stuff) - and two others who seem really interested. One will come to our gig tomorrow - and the others I'll have to schedule.

Then will come the long, arduous process of teaching them our stuff. I'll have to make a new book (or add the new stuff to our old book) - We'll have to get used to a new personality (We liked how the four of us interacted for the most part) - and hopefully, the new person will like us enough to sign on. It's a lot of spin going around my head. I got one comment regarding this news - from someone I would have thought might know better: "Kelly, you'll find some middle-aged bass player. It shouldn't be brain surgery..."

But in a way, it is. A lot of synapses have to fire in the right succession, the right pattern, and the right rhythm to find a bass player who can do our stuff. See - we don't play traditional roots music... We jam a lot of different songs into a bluegrass/rootsy genre... And that may not be easy for a purist to swallow - it may not be the right repertoire for someone who wants to play originals - and hey... we've already been through a lot of ego massaging with previous band members (I'm not talking about Scott - I'm talking about two previous players for whom the term 'high maintenance would barely describe the tip of the musical iceberg.)

In all, losing a bass player is like losing the rhythm of your band... but the upside is - that when it's all said and done, we'll find a new bass player - and get something new - and hopefully creative and cool out of it.... It's all bass-ic brain surgery - but I think we'll recover.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Simple Animation

I've always said that some of the best things I've seen are very very simple. Take a look at this clever little animation. It's a good one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well, Dave and I made it a whole year. We celebrated our anniversary yesterday with dinner and a show - in true Kelly-style...

I know what I'm about to say will make every man from Maine To California so jealous they won't be able to stand it. When I bought tickets to see my musical muse, Bruce Cockburn, I wasn't paying attention to the dates. This happened not because Bruce happened to be in town, but because I kind of forgot about our anniversary.. My overzealous-ness to get Bruce tickets became our anniversary date.

Not that this is a bad thing - but Dave doesn't love Bruce like I do. He doesn't really care about lyrics like I do (and Bruce writes amazing lyrics like "Silver scales flash bright and fade in reeds along the shore... Like a pearl in a sea of liquid jade his ship comes shining - like a crystal swan in a sky of suns his ship comes shining...") He likes guitar, but his thing is really the banjo (Bruce doesn't play banjo that I know of - but does play a really haunting, ethereal resonator guitar)... In short, had I been paying attention, I wouldn't have chosen a concert that I loved over something we both loved for our anniversary...

However - the nice thing about Dave is - he didn't mind. He's a good guy.

So - looking back on our year as a married couple - a lot has changed in our lives with the new house - not to mention that we are going on our third dog... Who is young enough to stay with us for a little while (yay!).

This has been a good year for me, personally. I like being married to Dave (I know - how trite and mushy, right?) - but seriously - I had no clue, after being single for so long - that I'd make a good couple. Dave might have some other things to say about this - so I'll invite him to be a guest blogger if he should want to say anything to the contrary... although he will probably tell you that we talk about really important things like this:

Dave: Honey, I'm old and I'm stupid.
Kelly: You're not stupid.

But Happy Anniversary Honey. Next year, I promise I'll actually make dinner reservations so we don't have to eat at the pizza place before seeing the musician of my choice. (Ok- you can pick. As long as it's not Rod Stewart)


Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet the Pooch

Three's a charm, right? So here's the new dog, Eb! He's a Jack Russell Terrier - and true to breed, he's a ball of energy and personality... He's only marginally a rescue dog - He came from my cousin - who is in the middle of moving - and needed a semi-if-not-permanent home for Eb (E.B., that is - he was born a little early, thus "E"arly "B"ird. He's now 8, and answers to Eb when it seems opportune for him to do so). He's pretty funny.

I knew I was in for it when he made an editorial comment yesterday... I took him to PetSmart (I wanted to see what he was like around other animals) I bought Eb a bone - and gave it to him when we got back in the car. He proceeded to bury it in a pile of bags and other miscellaneous hoo hah I keep behind the back seat.... as if to say "Hey! It's like burried treasure back here already!!!!

Can a dog make you blush? Maybe.

He then proceeded to attempt to bury the bone in my neighbor's garden - Now, he keeps it lying around the house. I think he likes it because last night, he brought it to bed with him - not to chew on - just to have it there.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Philosophical Truth of Films, Professors, and Marketable Antiquities

Last night, I had drinks with my friend, Brad, and his friend Jason. Both are professors at different universities - both teach Biblical studies, ancient civilizations, world religions, Ugaritic, Hebrew, Aramaic, and a host of other really really specific things about antiquities and the like. So what is our first order of conversation?

The Indiana Jones trilogy - and upcoming sequel.

It went something like this:

Brad: Who cares about a Crystal Skull?

Jason: "To make this film truly a big hit, Indiana Jones has to be searching for something that everyone knows and cares about..."

(NOTE: As you remember - Raiders of the Lost Ark dealt with Indiana Jones searching for the Ark of the Covenant - the famed box that contained the Ten Commandments, the staff of Aaron, manna from the Israelites' flight from Egypt - and the like. If you think about it, it was a big bang for a cinematic buck... the actual ark - the actual stone tablets that civilizations' morality is based on... food from heaven... In all, an excellent choice.)

The second film - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - was a nearly forgettable fest of noise. Honestly - The only thing I recall about the movie is that little kid yelling "Indy! Guard your Heart!" and this frightening man who ripped people's hearts out. reminded me that Dr. Jones was looking for some precious stones. Big deal. Everyone's looking for precious stones.

In 'The Last Crusade,' national interest was piqued again by a great tale of a father and son reconnecting after years of estrangement NOT TO MENTION a Grail Quest.

How do you follow up with another compelling artifact hunt? Inquiring minds want to know!

Kelly: How about the quest for Noah's Ark?

Jason and Brad: Overdone.

Kelly: But no one's allowed on Mt. Ararat - it's guarded carefully. And what about the popularity of "Walking The Bible?"

Jason: Bruce Feiler? Still overdone.

Kelly: What about Nebuchadnezzar's statue?

Jason: Book of Daniel? Wasn't that a dream?

Brad: No. Two statues. One was Daniel's dream - the other was the one Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow to. There's no actual evidence that statue actually existed.

(NOTE: This didn't stop the popularity of all the grail quest movies - nor did it stop people from believing *every freaking word* written by Dan Brown.)

Kelly: Moses' staff?

Brad: It's in the Ark of the Covenant...

Kelly: Darn that ark!!!! Oh - What about the Fountain of Youth?

Jason: El Dorado!

Brad: Indiana Jones wouldn't believe in the Fountain of Youth.

(Brad is too practical for Hollywood, methinks)

Jason: But here he is, aging - wouldn't you think that Indiana Jones might be going a little senile and getting obsessed with things?

Kelly: And - the third movie proved that his father was a little kooky - it could be written in as genetic! Although I think people would hate to see Indy's mind going - so he'd have to find something that would lead him to believe it's not fiction.

Jason: My brother and I think of a million things that would make good film all the time.

(Jason might be just impractical enough for Hollywood, methinks - but then again, I don't know him very well)

So I thought I'd ask you guys - what would make a more compelling quest for an aging archaeologist of reknown than a crystal skull? To recap: Great movies are universal in theme, contain psychological drama, an hope for a wide audience. So answer carefully!

Remember - In the first movie, one of the first things that we ever heard the legendary Dr. Jones say to his classroom of lovesick coeds was "History is the study of Facts. If you want Truth - the Philosophy department is down the hall..." - So give me some truth!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shut Up, I'm Being Interviewed

Do any of you remember the movie "the Commitments?" Although Dave finds it cliche and passe, I have to tell you it's a movie I could watch again and again (like Juno - or The Crying Game)... It's the story of this rag-tag band of Irish musicians trying to get along as a band. Robert Arkins plays Jimmy Rabitte, a n'er do well twenty something living in Northern Ireland, who tries to make his musicians get along. While with the band, Rabitte is a no-nonsense guy who turns down advances from his attractive backup singers and inspires his team to think of themselves as the Irish saviors of soul: "Do you not get it, lads? The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!"

However... When Jimmy Rabitte was home at night, he'd sit in the tub, and using a back brush as a microphone, answer questions from an imagined interviewee... When his younger sib would knock at the door, he'd scream, "Shut up! I'm being Interviewed!"


Last week, I got an e-mail from a freelance writer - "Kelly, can we interview you for the alumni magazine? We want to talk about you and your job as video producer, etc..." Um. What? Have you run out of alumni? I've read her column in the alumni magazine (Usually do it after I scan the "Classnotes" section looking for people I remember.) Her column is filled with Alums who have done remarkable things. Among them, Norman Tanis, a '51 alum who has pioneered a library book retrieval system that uses robots... Dorothy Hoekema Graham, '67 - teaches software developers to find bugs in their programs... my old friend, Tim Jipping '91 works in the Chicago and LA film industry. Karissa Wilson, '99 recently released an album. Kevin Huizinga, also '99, was named Top Comic Book Artist of the year. John Zwier, '05 - is stumping for Barak Obama, and believes that God is neither Republican nor Democrat.

Me? I'm a video producer who wrote a song that one of her clients wanted to use as a sales meeting tool. It's cool - but I'm far from the inventor of a library robot (Do you know how I wish I had a library robot when I was looking for some obscure Adam Smith volume in college?!!! Or when I was at another college university library looking through stacks and stacks of Dewey Decimals for research materials?!!! Sacre bleu!)

Anyway, the first thing I could think when asked to be an alumni profile was "Shut up! I'm being interviewed!!!!" - but think Stacy London - not Jimmy Rabitte.

So the writer, Gail, and I e-mailed back and forth a little - then arranged an interview time. I chose 5 pm because I'd be done at work, and could shut my office door and talk uninterrupted for an hour. Poor Gail. No sooner had I begun to explain what I do for a living - than the phone rang three times for me, the door got opened two or three times, my co-worker (who was trying to meet some deadlines himself) was forced to bring my messages to me, etc... Finally, I just got in my car, put the cel on speaker, and finished the interview in the relative obscurity of drive time traffic.

So shut up, already! I'm being interviewed!

POST SCRIPT: Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that - as I was talking to Gail, I realized that - even though my job is terrifically hectic and sometimes maddening, I really like the work I do. I know that sounds ridiculous - but after certain stints at work, it's easy to forget...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Flat Noah

My friend, Noah (from Kansas) is doing a class project - He's read the book "Flat Stanley," about a boy who got flattened in an unfortunate bulletin board accident. In true Optimist Style, Stanley decides it's kind of great being flat - and mails himself to California...

Well, Noah's classmates all sent their flat paper counterparts to the nether regions of the United States - I got Flat Noah - so I wrote a lot about his adventures in Pennsylvania - and I'm copying them for you now.

One - you'll note that Flat Noah arrived at my house FULL SIZED. I was thinking he'd come to me about the size of a piece of construction paper - and I couldn't imagine bringing Flat Noah everywhere with me Full-sized - so I made up a story about how he got shrunk in the dryer - then I took a photo of Flat Noah - printed him on my laser printer at approximately 10" high, and we had our adventures... which did nothing but make him more manageable for me.

Here are the Flat Highlights. This was a fun project -

OK, Ok. Blogger won't let me upload the other photos - so I'll summarize - because I know you all are freakin' wild to know what ever became of Flat Noah. Well, Fran, my bandmate - offered (ok - I just asked him - and he didn't say no) to take mini-flat Noah to Poland with him on Business. The book had several pages of Flat Noah in front of cathedrals - and it was totally cool.

This concluded Flat Noah's Pennsylvania/Prague adventures - but it left me with a dilemma: How to return Noah to his original size and mail him back to the Real Noah in time for the Flat Tea Party his classmates were holding. It was mostly a dilemma becase some where - in the middle of taxes - and other regularly scheduled frenzies that occur in my house - the Original Flat Noah was nowhere to be found. I actually lost him. Think about it for a minute. I had one assignment - and I blew it.

But the truth is - I'm a creative professional. I could handle this- I decided to leave it to Flat Noah - in the last page of the book I sent back (along with a lot of PA things - like Hershey Bars, Peeps, Crayola Crayons and The GettysBurg Address), I wrote a story of how Flat Noah fell in love with a woman on a magazine - and decided to stay small so they could make a life together.

Cheesy? Maybe -but I figure as long as the cheese came with Chocolate, well then - hopefully - no one will notice.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Photos of Oz

....Ozzy the Dog, that is.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Flashlight Drag

I know I've said it before - that the only really great reason in my mind to have a lot of extra money would be to hire domestic help. So far, we haven't - which is a shame - because I really don't do well as a housekeeper. It's not that I live in filth - not by a long shot. It's just that I hate cleaning...

Dave and I had some friends over on Friday - which meant I've been cleaning my house in small doses for a couple of days. It began in the bathroom, where I vacuumed and mopped and scrubbed... Then I moved to my office. I put all the unhung (and not to be hung) photos and artwork on the third floor (where I wasn't giving tours - mostly because of an extra mattress I haven't managed to get rid of yet - it's currently lying in the middle of the floor, hoping for a slumber party or something) - Then scrubbed the kitchen, Dave dusted the living room... by last night the house looked great - or so I thought.

People arrived. They ate. We laughed. We had wine.... Everyone looked good in my shiny clean house...

Then it happened.

Two of my guests lost the backs of their earrings. On my seemingly spotless floor. Everybody starts to search. I start to search. Someone is looking in the heating vent on the floor. "Kelly! There's a penny down there!"


Then - Dave did what I was dreading. He appeared with his personal collection of fifty seven flashlights. (Dave hoards a few things - among them? Garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, guitar tuners, capos, banjo parts, and... flashlights.) Everyone got one... And they were shining them on every corner of the floor. I shined one in Dave's face... (I know - it was kind of mean - but only for a second).

Okay - so now? everyone is feverishly searching. I make a mad dash for the corner of the room - where we have a desk... I shone the light. I know I should have been looking for an earring back - but all I could see was dust... and dust... and hey! There's a dog hair!... crap.

Thankfully, one of the backs was recovered - but then, mysteriously, friend one lost her OTHER earring back (don't ask. Too much wine, I'm proposing) - so the search continued.... Everyone saw my dust. sigh... This continued till someone blindly felt under one of our music stands and found the earring back. Everyone else decided that the remaining back was forever lost - in my friend's bra. "Dig deep!" encouraged the group.

Later that night, as we were cleaning up, Dave asked, "So - were you embarassed when everyone was studying the floor?"

YES! YES!!!! Just get the vacuum! Get the maid! I'll give up the satellite!!!! Anything!!!!

Then he mentioned that he may have gone overboard with the flashlights... What are you gonna do?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Timing is Everything

Kelly: Dave, I need you to be home on Sunday night by 5:00, okay?

Dave: Well, I'll probably be able to be back by 5:30.

Kelly: Honey? Why is it every time I ask you to be somewhere at a certain time, you come back and tell me you can be there by a half hour later than what I said? I mean - I don't know if you realize it, but you do this to me every single time.

Dave: Well, I just don't want to piss you off in case I'm late or something.

Kelly: In that case, I want you to be at the house on Sunday night by 4:30, okay?

Dave: I'll be there at five.


Dave: How did you do that?!!!

Kelly: I don't know - I didn't think it would work... I'll see you at five.

Dave: Sheesh.