Tag Archive: Filk

Recovery

With my mother’s help, I have a new vehicle. It’s a 2006 Chevy Cobalt with 88,500 miles on it. Paid $5990 plus tax and license. So I got back to work Thursday.

Then I worked day shift AND my regular shift Friday. Day shift Sunday. Extra hours Monday. And more hours Tuesday including working by myself all shift, which should not happen, with the promise of Wednesday off to rest. A lot of this is because my manager’s mother passed away, and he needed more time away to deal with it, as is fully understandable, so I pulled my weight as a member of the team. But I’ve worked at least 42 hours this past 7 days, maybe 45, and I have been feeling overworked at my normal 25.

So then my manager got back today, and asked me to work. I had to tell him no. Instead, I went to take a computer desk back to an ex (had to disassemble it, and reassemble it at her apartment), pick up my computer (which died last Wednesday night, seems to have been a memory chip going bad), and then spend a few hours getting my checkbook spreadsheet caught up. (I haven’t worked on it since I left for Confluence, when I found that their mobile app lets me view, but not edit, my spreadsheets.)

I think I’m caught up. I had some money left over and put it in savings just in case my paycheck is shorter than expected (this next paycheck includes 4 days off out of my usual 10, again for Confluence and the car trouble). I needed $50 of that savings to balance a payment due to be taken out tomorrow. But I think I’m on track again. And ZohoDocs tells me that they are working very hard on their mobile apps so that this does not happen again.

I have been very lucky. I have had things to do, friends to do them with, and the help I needed when things broke down. I now have to spend the next 18-24 months getting on top of things so that I won’t need to ask for help when the next crisis occurs.

Hugs,
Me

After Confluence

I barely made it to Confluence, and even more barely made it home. My car decided to dump its antifreeze in the middle of West Virginia, and, while I got some water in it almost in time, it was smoking like a fill-in-the-blank by the time I got to the first rest area in Pennsylvania. I called Sandy, and waited for her to get to me (coming in from Detroit, and she wasn’t nearly as close as she thought she was so I waited about 3 hours). I put 2 quarts of oil in Vanessa and refilled the water, and drove all the way to the hotel.

I did my best to ignore the problems, and performed my concert. I haven’t listened to the recording, but my gut feeling is that it was as good a show as I have done. There were about 30 people in the audience, and I sold 3 CDs afterwards — not bad, selling music to 10% of my audience.  I went to bed Friday night instead of going to the open filk, much as I wanted to. I had a great time for the rest of the weekend, and paid no attention to the crisis until it was time to act.

One friend at the after-party called her co-worker, whose husband works at Meineke about 2 miles from the convention hotel. I managed to drive the van there, where he confirmed that the head gasket was shot, and that it would be about 5 days and $1000 to fix. I had to get home, both to keep my job and to make sure my cats were all right, so I arranged for him to keep the van at Meineke and drive me to a car rental place. All this time I was on and off the phone with my mother, who did quite a bit to help me out. I had to walk to a second car rental place (I was dropped off, and the first place did not do out-of-town rentals), but it was arranged and I just barely had enough money to rent the car. I drove home in a new Ford Fiesta.

I had to take the Fiesta back to Enterprise by 9 this morning, and they gave me a ride home. I checked the local used car place, which was of no help whatever, and then my neighbor offered to drive me to Rutledge to look at used cars at the dealerships there. We found one that would do nicely, although it has rather high mileage for its age. He said he would drive me to a friend’s used car lot tomorrow, and if we found something better or significantly cheaper we would get that (Mom is on board with this).

I am extremely proud of myself. At no time did I melt down, start screaming at anybody, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the convention and made new friends (and strengthened older ones). I took the crisis one step at a time, and I lost no sleep. I could not have done this 15 years ago.

I have many friends to thank and have done so, privately and/or on Facebook. I believe I made a good impression on the concom and increased my stock as a convention guest.

I should be back to work tomorrow or Thursday. And they really need me.

Hugs,
Me

Jitters

Got two more days of work before I hit the road for Pittsburgh. Don’t really have the money to make it work “right”, so I’m driving at night and taking naps. I don’t have to be in Pittsburgh until at least noon Friday but there is no way to wait to leave at a time which would get me there, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. So I leave after work tomorrow night, and stop at all the rest areas and take a nap… the trick part will be getting off I-81 at the right time to grab US19 and take it up to I-79, which is not only a shortcut but avoids all the toll roads.

At present, my money is literally being flushed down the toilet. I have a toilet which runs constantly. My landlord looked at it, tried to fix it, gave up and bought a new one but hasn’t had time to install it yet. I got my water bill, and I’m using the water of a family of four (and being charged accordingly). That’s not as bad as stories I’ve heard, but any dollar I can save makes it easier to live here…

Back to Confluence… I get a 90-minute concert, which, according to open mic standards, means 18 songs. Yeah, some of mine are bloody long, so many only 15 or 16. I’m trying to get that many ready for prime time… and every time I make a list of what might work, I remember another one. I think I’ll just fly by the seat of my pants. There will be at least three people I know at the convention (sadly, not including Blind Lemming Chiffon), one of whom knows my repertoire pretty well, so I have someone to bounce ideas off when I get there.

Back to life. I have sold my laptop. It will pay off most of the remaining debt I incurred acquiring it. My desktop, partially a gift of my old friend John Noggle, is fully up and running (Windows 7), and my relationship with a laptop running Windows 8 was going rapidly downhill from a low start. I have an Android KitKat phone and a decent Android tablet, don’t need so much technology and need less debt. I could have gotten a little more for it, but the buyer is a friend (one already mentioned in the Confluence paragraph) so I don’t have to mail it or deliver it special. Nobody in my income class needs as much technology, or as much debt, as I current have.

OK, that’s enough for now. Wish me luck!

Hugs,
Me

Moss by Blind Lemming

I was asked to send a bio for use at one of the conventions I’ve been invited to play at. I jotted down something I wasn’t happy with. I turned to people who know me, and my old friend Blind Lemming Chiffon, a Denver-area musician, wrote the following. Thanks, Lem.

*****

Five years before the first Moon landing, in a place few people speak of (otherwise known as California), Moss began playing songs and writing guitars. In 1981, we had a Worldcon in Denver, where Kathy Mar discovered filk, and a few months later, I went to my first MileHiCon. Ted Sturgeon was the GoH, and I remember filking in the con suite with Moss and Kathy (who had a band in which Moss was keyboardist, an odd thing in itself as he does not play keyboards). At the 1982 MileHiCon and in subsequent years, I remember filking with Moss, Kathy, Anne Prather, and many others, as we outgrew the con suite, and even had music guests a few times. Moss and I haunted open mikes from Denver to Boulder, and he introduced myself and others to the tunes of Stan Rogers. He also acquainted me with much music that has stayed with me to this day, from Klezmer to Uncle Bonsai to Rory Block. Once we were stuck in a blizzard in a VW microbus on a lonely Colorado mountain road on the way home from Colorado Mountain Con in Vail (sadly, Ted Sturgeon’s last con) and we got out to put chains on the tires. I think when you’ve helped someone put on chains in a blizzard on a desolate mountain, it gives you a right to call them “friend.” Moss is my friend.

In 1990, Moss left Colorado for Detroit, and became “the filker to be named later in the Marty Burke trade” (Tim Ryan’s phrase). It was right about then he began writing filk songs (as opposed to the more broad category, “songs”) and hanging out with folks like Tom Smith, Tim Ryan, Steve Macdonald, Dave Alway, John Philbus and . . . so many. I shared a room with Moss at my first two filk cons, OVFF in 1992 and 1993. Great times. After Detroit, he moved around like a radar blip, hither and thither, but never yon. His current residence is in Blaine, TN, just outside Knoxville.

I’ll say this much about the songs Moss writes: you need to hear them. He’s quite a talented writer, if not as prolific as I’d like him to be. Still, he’s done 3 songbooks, and his album is available on Bandcamp . I’m not sure whether his accomplishments as a writer are in spite of or because of his lifelong struggle with disability, perhaps a combination of both. He’s very open about his disability and has written extensively about it in his blog.

In recent years, I’ve encouraged him to get himself to the Raleigh NASFiC, and to GAFiLK, where I’ve watched him thrive in filk circles and make many friends in the community.

If I could trade my own singing voice for someone else’s, Moss is someone whose voice I wouldn’t mind having. Whether singing his own songs or from his extensive repertoire, he has an ability to bring the songs alive and make them his own that is something I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

– Blind Lemming Chiffon

[Moss’ CD is available at http://mordewis.bandcamp.com, titled “All the Love”, only $10 including bonus cuts, and some day to be a real physical CD; all Moss’ song lyrics and some recordings may be found at his website, http://peacefulhippo.info]