Hello My Baby, Hello My Honey

My 1986 Honda Rebel 450 showed up at my house on Saturday.  With it came my hopes, dreams, freedom, masculinity, and helmet.  Maybe I’m exaggerating. After months of logistical hula-hoops and bureaucratic red tape it’s here.  I’m going to wait for some calm, low-traffic morning to go riding to re-acquaint myself with the clutch.  But after I’m comfortable again, I’ll use it for my daily commute. And THEN. Then I’ll take it on excursions into the hills.  Them beautiful hills. You will note the presence of saddle bags.  Those saddle bags expand to fit stuff; stuff I will use to camp.  You will also note the presence of a windshield; a windshield with which I WILL NOT EAT...

Hoppin John

My band, the Zinc Kings, went to the Hoppin John Fiddle Convention in Pittsboro, NC.  I’ve never been to a music festival before, at least not like this.  We performed on Friday and Saturday in the band competition, and Mark and Christen each participated in the solo and folk song competitions.  It was really cool. We camped near the back of the grounds.  The weather was perfect, and each night the sky cleared to bathe us in starlight and cool air.  The first day was muggy and still, but the cool night lingered on into a clear dry Saturday.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the weekend.  The folks were generous and friendly, the grounds beautiful, and the shows; the shows were great.  There was so much excellent music on stage. But as I learned, the cool part of Hoppin John isn’t the concerts.  Those were cool, but the jam sessions at night were what made the event.  We spent some good evenings with another band there from Greensboro; Mill Town.  We played some tunes, drank beer, told stories, and enjoyed the company of like-minded people. Mark drove his BMW motorcycle there with a sidecar for his instruments, bags, and tent.  That motorcycle was the best conversation starter at the festival.  Anyone who walked past noticed the sidecar and stopped to talk.  Sometimes we would get back from somewhere else to find people ooh-ing and ah-ing over it.  We made friends with a man named Brian who was volunteering at the festival, a girl named Katie who worked at the local food coop, a couple who as...

There, I Fixed It

I got my registration, title and license plate taken care of for my motorcycle today.  It only took since last may.  I’ll post pictures when I get the bike out of storage at Mark’s garage.  Then I’ll go about the business of fixing some of the minor things wrong with the bike.  Like the smoke that comes out of the front of the...

You’ve GOT to be Kidding Me

Last spring I bartered a deal with one of my euphonium students.  I get a motorcycle, and he gets free lessons for a period of time.  We both think we got the good end of the deal, so it works out.  However, it’s taken forever to get the registration taken care of. When we signed the title over, my student accidentally filled out a line on the title that the notary was to fill out.  She struck it out and initialed it, stamped it and sent us on our way.  When I showed up at the DMV, the woman across the counter told me that she couldn’t accept the title because of the strike-out. Just for your information, this is what a strike-out looks like.  She gave me a vague description of why she couldn’t accept it and sent me on my way. I was puzzled, but persistent.  I decided that if I went to a different DMV I might get a different answer.  When I showed up at the next one, the woman across the counter seemed fairly upset, like I was trying to pull something on her, and wrote all over the title.  According to her, my notary “can’t read” (yes, she said that) and my title was void.  She provided me with detailed reasons why I was wrong.  It was very intense and personal for her, apparently. The story I was told was that the original notary had to write an affidavit of modification to the title and have it notarized by a different notary.  I contacted my student to try to get it sorted out,...

The Trouble with Potters

I take pottery “class” down at the Art Alliance of Greensboro.  I use the quotes because it’s less of a class, and more of a social hour for a group of devoted matrons, and one mis-fit doctoral tuba player.  I rarely try out what has been demonstrated, instead focusing on improving my technique, making things that I want to use, and overall just enjoying myself with no set agenda. Last spring before I went to Brevard I threw a pair of mugs that turned out splendidly, if you look past the fact that they fused to the bottom of the kiln while firing and had to be chiseled out.  They are beautiful as they are, scars and all.  I also threw a colander and a very large beer stein.  The former has seen regular use in my new kitchen, the latter will see use after the onset of cool autumn temperatures, and the accompanying beer-brewing season.  Now I’m back in the studio, throwing plates and bowls for use in my own kitchen.  Things are good; my pieces are balanced, good looking, and useful.  Things I aspire to in life. I use the things I make.  That means that those pretty mugs I threw last spring are my regular coffee travel mugs.  So when I go into the studio with a mug of coffee, I’ve set an inadvertent trap. See, there is this one thing; as my friends discovered last week when I wandered through the Green Hill Center for NC Art, potters cannot help themselves when faced with pottery.  They are FORCED to pick it up, flip it over,...