Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ah Think, Therefore Ah Am

Ah still think in Carolinian.
Me and mah adorable children in Carolina

When Ah lived in North Carolina's Research Trah-angle area, Ah spoke Carolinian.  This was after five years of living in Baaaahhston and really not picking up on the local dialect at all.  Ah could never force mahself to order beah or even root beah and pizzer, although there was a pizzer store on every corner.  Ah kept hearing those speeches from my Senator Ted Kennedy about how he was working in Washington on our behalf with plenty of vigah.  The watah in Baaaahhston tasted awful, Ah might mention.  To make matters worse, mah friend in Baaaahhston had a daughter named Elizer and Ah kept mistakenly calling her Eliza. Silly me.

Ah loved hearing Carolinian from the first moment Ah set foot in Carolina.  Mah home life in Durham was always confused because my son spoke in Baaaahhstonian (where he learned to talk), my daughter spoke in Carolinian (she learned to talk while we lived in Carolina), and my ex spoke, well, Vernal, Utah-ese.  And I spoke Chicaaago-Phoenician, that is it til Ah learned Carolinian.

Mah sales at the now defunct department store, Thalheimer's, improved dramatically once Ah learned to speak Carolinian mahself though Ah was never very good at it.  When Ah got a new job as marketing coordinator at the local science museum, Ah really improved in mah Carolinian speaking, because mah coworkers were such wonderful models of the local dialect.  It was what Ah'd call "Southern Accent Light," with a hint of twang, not an entire bottle.  Perfect.

Now after over 20 years of living in Utah, Ah don't speak in Carolinian, but Ah still think in Carolinian and Ah type in Carolinian.  Really Ah do.  This is more pronounced when Ah am tired or stressed as Ah have been this week and have caught myself typing "a" instead of "I".  Repeatedly.  This habit doesn't go over very well in business emails, especially those going to the northeastern US.

Maybe Ah continue to think in Carolinian because, as a child, Ah read many stories about living in the South, or Ah watched too much Andy Griffith, but it could be from mah Carolina days.  Ah miss living there.  The pace was slower.  The seasons were so beautiful.  Ah went to a lot of pig pickin's.  Some well meaning nice ladies introduced me to pickled okra, which served to prove even Ah have mah limits.  Ah always saw someone Ah knew at the grocery store, either Food Lion or Harris Teeter.  And it was fun to go to the grocery store, just to hear the cashier speak while she rang up mah order.

Of course, here in Utah, Ah can go to the store in mah pajamas and no one is the wiser because Ah feel cold a lot of the time, so Ah wear a long coat.  Ah could never do that in Carolina.  Ah did not like all the bugs and snakes in Carolina, well except the cute little corn snakes Ah used to take to the Durham Bulls baseball stadium for museum promotions.  Ah never saw Kevin Costner or Susan Sarandon (from the movie "Bull Durham") there.  Ah took fuzzy bunnies to the games, too, bah the way.

Ah love language and dialects and Ah really am missing Carolina bad bad bad.  Ah want to speak soft and gentle, lovely Carolinian with someone who really can, and Ah think maybe it's time to plan a visit.  Ah have a couple friends who live in South Carolina, but Ah think they're moving to West Virginia before Ah could get there.  But Ah think Ah'll go anyway.

Ah hope ya'll have a good day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shaky Trade at Deer Valley: Launching My Career In Mosh Pit Development

Press PLAY and you will see my fellow members of the concert posse shaking it.
A group of us and the rest of the die-hard-gotta-do-as-many-Park City-concerts-as-possible-this-summer crowd made way to Deer Valley yet again, this time to hear Shaky Trade, a band from Ogden, Utah.  After spreading out my camping blanket, I made way to get a bottle of water ($2.50) because I didn't have time to stop and get a beverage on the way to the Shopko carpool meeting spot.  Anyway ... it wasn't long before I discovered that sitting at a concert, something I've seldom done all year, was boring.  Boooooooring, even with the best of concert posse members and some new recruits.
So three of us went up (this was not a three-some, Mom), bravely, and we began to dance.  I motioned to the others, who were eating dinner, updating their iPhones (the perfect time to post what an exciting time you are having is while having it), or they were simply lulled by the nearly perfect Deer Valley weather.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the dancing crowd built.  The "mosh pit" (yeah, I know it's not really a mosh pit, Ang) gained traction when I invited a couple of groups dancing off to the side of the stage and grassy areas to come into the middle so we could all dance together.   I motioned again to the rest of the concert posse still sitting down.  They finally came.  The crowd built.  And built.  And built.

Small children danced and hula hooped near the foot of the stage.  One of the band members said, "You can come up on stage, kids," and I was up in a flash.  No hesitation.  I forgot I wasn't 10 anymore.  Oops.  Naturally the concert posse followed in nanoseconds also.
It wasn't long before I found myself dancing in between two guitar players, looking out over the masses in the dancing pit I'd fostered.  If dancing in the space between members of the band is sacred, I violated all the rules.  And I started a chain reaction to gather a fairly sizeable crowd of people who really did want to dance, but they needed a little push to get their a**es off the grasses (please forgive my poetic tendencies, which  have been overactive this month).
Shaky Trade was a great band.  I wasn't sure that was going to be the case.  Even though they were from Ogden, they had a few anti-Utah sentiments on their website, and I wasn't up for hearing comments in between songs.  But there weren't any comments, the band was too busy playing or I was too busy dancing, or both. I was won over by their charm and fun-loving, "oh what the heck, sure you can come onstage" attitude.  And the music was not to be missed. {good times}



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Beginning, No Middle, No End, Only The Aftermath

… life
 … strife
  … sorry
   … safari
… fair
 … rare
  … closure
   … composure
… factless
 … tactless
  … months
   … punts
… online
 … pine
  … shared
   … cared
… mean
 … seen
  … better
   … letter
… whir
 … her
  … class
   … crass
… unkind
 … mind
  … saint
   … ain't
… love
 … above
  … consumer
   … rumor
… space
 … face
  … adieu
   … you

When My Cable Internet Doesn't Work ... A Poem

When my internet doesn't work,
I see two blinking lights on my modem instead of eight,
and it's bad.

I cannot see my schedule,
I don't know where I'm supposed to be,
and it makes me mad.

I get no email,
no Facebook, no Twitter,
no blog statistics, no evites,
and I'm sad.

Cable repairman,
you with power screwdriver and
insatiable curiosity about my cable wiring,
you make me glad.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 9: Dangermuffin

I wanted some "me time" so I went alone to the Canyons Ski Resort to hear Dangermuffin, from South Carolina.  As I sauntered very slowly up the hill from the parking lot, I caught up with my brother by phone about everything from sorority rush (his daughter/my niece), the stock market (trading is tough, folks), and social media (is it possible to tweet your way to a customer base?).  I saw gondola'ed passengers heading for the concert venue above me.
The Canyons' website's indication that this was to be a 2.5 hour concert now made sense. There was at least one warm up group before Dangermuffin.  Most bands (Dave Matthews aside) don't/won't/can't play for over two hours a gig.
Dangermuffin was being introduced when I got to the concert area, I felt validated immediately. The place was packed.  Okay, so this really is going to be great, I said to myself.  Families, grandmas and grandpas, kids of all ages, singles, old, young, in between.  The chairs in the front were full and people were blanketed on the lawn with glasses of wine and other BYOB beverages in hand.  And food vendors with more than hot dogs and burgers were plentiful for those who forgot to pack. (Remind me to share my snack bar pretzel drama sometime.)
I didn't track the opening few songs as I was in the bathroom getting paper towels on which to take notes.  Far be it from me to remember paper, but frankly, clean paper towels are a superior writing medium anyway.
About the time Dangermuffin began to play "Moonscapes," from their new album, I'd situated myself on a large, wobbly rock with an unobstrucked view of the stage and dancing area.  The group's southern roots shone with lots of hillbilly rock numbers.  By the time they played "Gutter Dance," I knew I belonged in the dancing area, though I had no concert posse members with me.  That's okay, I danced next to a sleeping dog who like the rest of the undulating mob was enjoying the cooler weather and Dangermuffin's bluegrass rock.  This is proof sleeping dogs can lie anywhere.  Actually I'm wondering if the dog was deaf.  He/she seemed quite old and blocked out the world around, which is something a senior dog does, as I know all too well.
The concert was relatively fluff-free. The Canyons stage is small and upon close examination, was crowded, even for three musicians.  No fireworks, streamers, banners, giant screen backdrop.   But what better backdrop than a mid hill at a Utah ski village overlooking the beautiful mountains with an almost full moon rising in the sky? And fortunately, my fellow concert goers and I had no trick dog acts to endure.
Towards the end of the set, Dangermuffin played "Sitting On Top Of The World."

Was all the summer, and all the fall,
Just trying to find my little all in all
But now she's gone, and I don't worry
Lord I'm sitting on top of the world

And they closed out the concert with the encore "Shake Shake Shake, Senora," not original but definitely a crowd pleaser.  As I walked to my car, I concluded I'd definitely be going back to the Canyons for another concert soon.  Maybe I'll even invite a friend or two next time.


Disclosure: Admission price for this event was FREE. I received NO compensation for this review.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 8: Norah Jones

Press PLAY to hear one of Norah's great hits, "Creepin' In."
Norah Jones was at Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City.  I didn't have tickets and I'd made other plans so I couldn't even go walk the hill and listen in from the free mountain seats.

However, I did send representation.  I emailed Joe and Amy a set list from Norah's July 23rd concert in Rome.  I never did hear what Norah played but I'm sure the lineup was about the same as Italy, not that we here in Salt Lake City could supply an audience of gorgeous Italian men to ogle over Norah's beautiful face equaled only by her angelic voice. 

Maybe I missed the reviews in the Des News and the Trib, but aside from the pre-concert PR "news" and the rave reviews my friends gave, I didn't see a review of Norah's Utah concert anywhere.
Not surprisingly, Norah has quite a cache of songs on relationships.  She's a woman so it makes perfect sense.  As I was perusing Norah's songs and lyrics, "You Ruined Me" one caught my attention:
You ruined me now, though I liked it
Now I'm ruined, I'm trying to part with what's in my heart
You ruined me and how I thought I liked it
But I'm ruined my whole world is turned upside down.
Hmmmmmmmmm.  Love gone wrong is like a bad drug that takes awhile to get out of your system.  But eventually life goes on   Really.
Both Amy and Joe had friends in the "cheap seats" on the mountain.  Joe's photo montage on her blog captured the 2 pm arrival at Red Butte Gardens to stake out a temporary encampment from which to hear the concert.  Amy wished on a star from the concert venue.  Joe captured the nearly full July moon made its appearance over the hill about 9 or so pm.  I saw it, too, from the top of another mountain where I stood in awe at the breathtaking summer sky and saw a falling star or two. {smile}

 Photos courtesy of Joe and Amy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 7: Sounds of Silence

"Silence is a great source of strength."
-- Lao Tzu

My week-long music marathon paused with no concert to attend on Thurday.  After work, I re-routed my energies to my long-lost Bikram yoga.  Usually I go 3-5x a week, 90 minutes each time, so a week-long yoga lapse to accommodate a break-neck schedule of work and concerts was significant.

From a fitness perspective, the four recent "hikes" at USANA provided substantial cardio.  But I don't got to yoga solely for the workout, although it ends up being that, too.  I go because through silence in an unyielding environment I gain the mental toughness I need to withstand "my stuff."  And in the last week, "my stuff" cropped up.  Yessireebob.

But there was physical stuff that needed healing as well.  By the fourth concert (Dave Matthews) in five days, I noticed that my right arm, just below my elbow, was aching.  Duh.  Call it beer-can-pick-em-up-em-itis.  Probably not that different from tennis elbow, this excessive strain was caused by hours of using my Green Team nifty grabbers to fetch beer cans from various places at USANA.  I'm not complaining at all.  I love being there and I love helping with recycling, or I'd find other things to do.  And no, I didn't drink a drop. It's not allowed while I am working on the Green Team, and then there's that ongoing aversion I have to used beer.

This pose below, Salabhasana, also known as Locust pose or "elbow killing pose" made me want to break my silence and scream.  The woman in the picture doesn't do this pose exactly like we're taught to do it at my studio, but you'll get the idea. Or you can look at the poses (Locust pose) on my studio's site.
Note that the woman's hands at the edge of her body.  We are supposed to put our elbows completely under our body, to the point where elbows touch each other and pinky fingers touch, sort of like how your hands would be if you were doing a volleyball bump.  So when you lay on your wrists and elbows that you have subjected to excess wear through typing, tennis, and yes, beer can fetching, the pain is not for the faint of heart.  Teachers call it the pain that kills the pain.  If you are reading and saying you don't agree with "no pain, no gain," this pose is an exception worth consideration.

After class, my elbow felt better.  And after 90 minutes of hearing, "let it go," which I've definitely commented on before, I did. Sometimes, silence is the most nourishing music of all. {Life is good.}

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Brief Comparison Between Stock Market Trading and Relationships (Huh?)

I wonder if anyone has ever navigated this topic.  I'll venture a guess this is a first.  To be clear, my comments are not directed at any person or situation, but rather are based on an aggregation of my personal experiences and those of others close to me.  I promise.  Okay ... out with it.

Over the past year, I've been taking classes and learning to invest in the stock market.  As I've thought about my first year as a "real" trader, I have found parallels between trading and relationships.  I'm hardly an "expert" in either area, except to the extent I have participated myself and heard both trading and relationship stories from others.  Romantic relationships and  friendships are an especially crisp comparison ... and the comparisons may apply with family members to an extent.  Among women, especially when men are not present, conversation inevitably flows to a discussion of what they did right or wrong in their dating relationships and friendships, and what will be different "next time."  Below are a few parallels, not in any particular order.
Engaging in emotional buying
The market - Emotional buying is when the market is bullish on a particular stock as an investment and without sufficient investigation, a trader may follow suit with a large position. 
Relationships - In relationships, this means getting in too fast without getting a little information first.  And often, the results aren't good.  In fact, often, they're dramatically bad, just sayin'.

Engaging in emotional selling
The market - Emotional selling is when the market is bearish on a particular stock as an investment, and without justification, traders may bail from their holdings at a minute profit or possibly a small loss.
Relationships - The same thing happens in relationships, a knee jerk reaction to a short-term or possibly unsubstantiated situation that leads to throwing the baby out with the bath water when something goes wrong.

Failure to rely on data
The market - Back testing using historical data is a way traders determine whether to enter a new position, or not. Traders use sophisticated software to back test potential trades.  
Relationships - As the relationship experts say, patterns seldom lie.  No software available.

Not placing stops
The market - An investor has the opportunity to make a "bottom line" of how much he/she is willing to lose in a trade.  When as the stock moves up, the stop moves up. If the stock moves down far enough, the stop is triggered and the stock is sold.  This is what is called "program trading" because it's automated.  I have traded in my sleep or while doing yoga.
Relationships - Theoretically speaking, we have "bottom lines" in relationships, too, that point beyond which we will not go.  The relationship gods don't expect you'll walk to the ends of the earth for anybody and everybody.  And no, it's not automated, nor can you manage your relationship bottom line in your sleep, although maybe a good night's sleep will clear your head.

Failure to follow trading rules
The market - Successful traders have rules for entering a new position and exiting existing positions.  These rules are based upon empirical data that suggests likelihood of price appreciation.  When traders follow their rules, they make money (assuming the rules are sound).  When they don't, it's anybody's guess, but it mostly doesn't end well.
Relationships - If someone fails to follow their own relationship rules, assuming they're based on common sense, trouble may await. 

Paralysis by analysis
The market - Active traders know that sources of financial market information can overwhelm. Worse yet, one analyst is bullish, the next is bearish. The best a trader can hope for is sighting of trends.
Relationships - Analysis from your friends and family is warranted if and when you ask for it, and you may want to note any consistent feedback.  But beware of people stepping into your shoes.  Do what makes you happy, don't over-analyze, and by all means, throw away your requirements "checklist."

When things go beyond control
The market - Sometimes, a trade goes wrong, even though the trader follows his/her own rules, sets appropriate stops/boundaries, and doesn't engage in emotional trading.
Relationships - The same is true in a relationship. Sometimes we may play the game according to our own rules and set appropriate boundaries, but still get burned in the process. When this happens, we have to review whether our rules need alteration, or whether it was just forces beyond control that led to the loss.  And as everybody knows, when a relationship fails, it is a loss.

Making revenge trades
The market - In the market, revenge trades are what a trader does to preserve his/her position after a bad trade.
Relationships - The rough equivalent, in relationship terms, is dating on the rebound.  The failure rate is 90% according to relationship experts.

Not sitting on the sidelines, even if you should
The market - Right now, market volatility is substantial.  Many traders are sitting on the sidelines with all cash.  When I first started trading, I used to aim to have most of my assets invested in something. One day my brother said to me, "Wait for the good trade."
Relationships - In a relationship sense, it's okay to sit on the sidelines, take a break, catch one's breath. In fact, it's healthy to do so, even if you reinvest in the same "investment" at a later time.  And as my friend once said to me in regards to waiting for a great relationship ... "wait for the great guy."   Duly noted.

Taking the emotion out of it
The market - The goal of most traders is to limit emotion. It's discussed frequently in financial markets literature.  That's because emotional trades are unsuccessful on a long-term basis.
Relationships - In relationships, emotional vulnerability is the name of the game.  After a while, you have to stop keeping score, quantifying, and analyzing.  Just go with the flow.  You can't play if you don't feel.  The good news is sometimes, our trades and our relationships will work out.  And that's a beautiful thing.  Nothing like having one's emotional wallet overflowing with abundance. { ;) }

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 6: Ryan Hiller

We're two for two.  Two rainy but fun concerts at Deer Valley's Wednesday night summer concert series.  The highlights of the evening, besides Ryan Hiller's music, were a couple of trick dogs and a broken umbrella. Before the rain began, hula hooping to the music was all the rage.

The umbrella snap was a surprise indeed, complete with snapped ribs and the shocked look of the umbrella owner.  T'would have been better to capture the moment on video.  It was one of those situations ... you really had to be there.
Hiller performed to the umbrella'ed crowd, who endured the light rain, until the sprinkles evolved into a downpour.  Unlike the Bryon Friedman concert, where we danced onstage when the rain began, we were forced to huddle at the edge of the stage.  I'm not entirely sure why, but I think the gestapo who imposed this rule did so to accommodate a trick dog performance, which commenced within minutes of when Ryan encountered a guitar string situation and headed backstage.

During the unplanned break, we were "treated" to a live, trick dog performance, with canines who traveled from Vegas to entertain us with their jumping, sitting, and yes, even crime fighting skills.  If you are into trick dog stunts, this was your show. Perhaps I'll ne'er be a trick dog afficionado, just sayin'. 

Eventually, the real show went on.  The houndstooth-hat-wearing Hiller kept the die hards who weathered the rain dancing to his jazz and blues mix.  I loved his style and rhythm.  Not the most ponderous of repertoires, it was a nice decrescendo from the Dave Matthews concert the previous night.  Along with the group, I danced ever so lightly (to cover for my feet, which have been screaming for a foot rub since Monday night).  Ryan had a similar style, almost an offshoot of Matthews, one of many artists with whom Ryan has worked.
Hiller's musical career began early, at age 14 in Park City, Utah, but he's made all the right moves, a degree in Jazz Performance at the University of New Orleans, working with a wide range of artists such as Bob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, Santana, and performing at such venues as House Of Blues and The Maple Leaf, among others.  Like I said, I was very impressed with the quality and depth of his lineup.  Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing Hiller at free concerts in Park City for much longer.  He's definitely one to watch.
Hiller didn't end early though many left for drier places.  By the end of the concert, there were maybe two dozen left standing in front of the stage and another dozen on the hill.  I'm fairly certain the majority of the crowd beelined for the CD table and then left. That would explain why, when someone in the concert posse asked to borrow $5 from me to buy a CD after the concert, she was disappointed by them being sold out.  So here's a link to buy the same online.  In any event, we stayed to the very end. And I'm not sorry either.  {nobody melted in the rain, at least not us}


Disclosure: Admission price for this event was FREE. I received NO compensation for this review.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 5: Dave Matthews Band

Press PLAY to hear Dave Matthews at one of my favorite places, Central Park in New York City.

A pot of cool water heated to a rolling boil.  Dave Matthews' concert Tuesday at USANA Amphitheater in West Valley City, Utah was just that.  The evening began when Dave appeared onstage briefly to introduce the warm up artist, Brett Dennen, and to apologize, profusely, for two consecutive years of canceled concerts in Utah.  My what a sexy voice he has.  After all the previous ticketholders were compensated with replacement tickets to this concert, the rest of the tickets were available free, well, except for those being sold by scalpers in front of the gates.  I heard about prices ranging from $5 to $20 for scalped lawn seats. Not a bad deal.
A couple women wanted to get a close up look at Dave Matthews.  "I heard he's good looking," she said.   Meanwhile my new friend and I were still rehashing the Trace Adkins stage entrance (and analyzing our unseemly teen gawking behavior).  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... just sayin'.
After a longer than usual break between the warm up and main event, Matthews and his band finally appeared and opened with "Squirm" against a backdrop of serene blue lighting.  "What? No heavy hitting, face-paced number with excessive stage lighting, fireworks or streamers to energize the crowd?" I kept saying.  I was worried, after having given away two tickets myself, that my amigos would be sorry they gave up hiking in Red Butte Gardens to join the throng of humanity on the lawn.  But, alas, I was wrong.
Instrumental domination was the order of the evening, and it's not surprising.  I recall hounding Matthews' website last summer after his cancellation at USANA.  "Vocal cord rest on doctor's orders" was the reason given for his pulling out of the Utah event.  Maybe in spite of artistic finesse, it's impossible to persist with singing at full tilt for years and concerts and events and albums and maybe even singing in the shower.  And it's great to have heard Dave and Co. in their 20th summer tour, as he and the band are taking next year off.  This, after selling over 11 million tickets to 547 shows from 2000-2009, according to Billboard Boxscore.  Not a bad track record.
Any "doubting Thomas" opinions I might have formed after the first song were replaced with awe at Matthews' ability to build and manipulate the energy in the crowd.  I was up on the lawn with my concert posse and watched, dancing along with the wall to wall mass of concert attendees.  We literally watched the multitude crescendo along with the band during the two-and-a-half hour jazz-fest.  Actually, the band's roots hail from other genres - classical, soul, bluegrass, hip-hop, and rock - all of which were incorporated into the lineup.
The signature "Ants Marching" was the last number before the band's first exit.  The encore was "Sister" and nine-plus minutes of  "Two Step."  As the fanfare of a spectacular grand finale - non-stop lights and electric pizzazz - set the crowd on fire, my attention was on the bass saxophone.  The depth of tone and rhythm were equally extraordinary. I felt the surreal vibration of the music going through me with every beat.

Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue
These things we cannot change

I left USANA realizing what a master Matthews is.  His music is top notch, and his ability to put a trance on the capacity crowd, including me, was nothing short of magical.


Disclosure: I was a volunteer at this concert. I received NO compensation for this review.