Further Thoughts on the All-Stars

OK, not to get too weird and stalker-y on the Santa Fe All-Stars — because I fear sometimes I can be with independent creators (as, nominally, one myself) — but there's something I left out of my recent post. These things happen, I'm composing them in my head for a while, but some of it drops during the actual typing …

The Santa Fe All-Stars make me wish I could play an instrument.

I got no sense for it, and even after several years of clarinet back in junior high, I'm sure I couldn't even make sense of sheet music in front of me. But the way they perform up on stage, it's a gathering of people who are very, very good at playing music who genuinely seem to really, really enjoy the opportunity to play with other similarly talented folks. They look to be having such a good time, as are the people watching them. Makes me jealous.

That first time we caught them at Tiny's, they were doing sets of about 45-60 minutes. During the break, members would head out into the crowd, meeting and talking with people they knew, catching their breath. I'm sure Susan spent some time with us and then … time clouds it … was it her or Joe? Somebody just got back on stage, started noodling around, was joined by whichever one I'm getting wrong. It became recognizable … House of the Rising Sun. Gradually, everyone else just came up on stage and joined in in a gentle improvisational (?) jam. It was the anniversary of Katrina, but the moment — this is why you catch live music, to get those times where it just all comes together.

As I said, jealous.


Sunday: Ferocious Lizard Hunter; Death Bed

Sunday morning, we took Cheyenne up to the 22-acre fenced dog park at the Humane Society. There's a well-worn path around the perimeter, so headed out to do the circuit while trying to eat our breakfast burritos. For the first stretch, she was with us; after the second corner, she spent more time out in the middle, circling the cactus and brush, snurfling for lizards.

By the time we were around the third corner, she was lost to us out there, no interest in walking along. Only returned, all tired and hot from the hunt, to join us in the shade of a bush to lie in the dirt and cool. We snapped the leash on her and went to hang out with the cluster of other dogs in the little bit of shade by the entrance.

Since having her leashed kinda defeats the purpose of being in the dog park, we took her off — and were following her back out into the brush soon enough. Closing in on her, circling a cactus, watched as she lunged headfirst into a cholla … and came up with something in her mouth. Earlier wondering "what do we do if she actually catches one?", our response was confirmed: not much, since she can outrun us. Luckily, she kind of trotted up near me, ex-skink proudly hanging out of her mouth. Then dropped it to run off after more.

Later, extracting quarter-inch-long spines from her paw, noted that this tough girl who didn't even notice them was the dog that let out the Greyhound Scream Of Death when we startled her in the car earlier.

That evening, over to Jon and Suzanne's for a showing of Death Bed, The Bed That Eats. We MST3K-ed our way through it over dinner, all the while marveling at … well, I guess, the Death Bed-ness of it all. I mean, it lives up to the title. To cleanse the palate, rounded out the night with Jesus Christ, Vampire Slayer. IMHO, not enough musical numbers.


car project

Most of y'all remember my 1991 Nissan Sentra XE, right? Well, here it is, in front of our house, still kickin'. This is a great little car, always starts, good gas mileage. My mechanic here referred to it as "stealth" — meaning it runs great, but no one's going to look at it twice.

There are many many dings and scrapes, the lovely blue Rustoleum paint job is staring to fade and peel. And the headliner has been sagging for years.

I tried to tack it up with some spray glue (those yellow spots) when it first started to go, back in 2004 or so. But the problem is that the headliner itself is not just the fabric that you see. It's actually a foam/fabric sandwich glued to the solid backing, and when the foam gets old, it starts disintegrating. And the only way to really fix it is to take out the whole headliner, scrape off all the fabric and groadilated foam crud, and glue a new piece of headliner fabric/foam on. But I didn't want a plain headliner and figured, if I was going through all that trouble, I might as well get a fabric I liked.

This forum had a really good post that I used as my guide. Here's the ceiling after I got the liner out. There were industrial felt insulating panels above it that came out too. The dangly bits are the old glue that held the felt on.

Here's the headliner on newspaper, on a blanket, in the driveway, one strip of fabric removed. It really is just a big piece of cardboard. The crumbly foam dust underneath was just gross. I used a little plastic putty knife to scrape most of it off, then worked it over with a stiff-bristle scrub brush.

Here's the oilcloth almost finished, just the sun visor recesses left to do. I used the scrub brush to smooth the oilcloth down, kind of like putting up wallpaper.

Note to anyone else trying this: there's a reason headliner fabric is knit — it has enough give to go over all the curves and recesses easily. Oilcloth is NOT flexible in that way, although working on it in the sun did heat it up and make it a little stretchy. There were a few wrinkles and folds in the end.

All done, trimmed, ready to go back in.

The finished liner! There's another reason headliner is foamy on the back: it hides all the surface bumps. The shiny surface of the oilcloth and the fact that it's pretty thin, mean that you can see every little ding and crumb on the cardboard.

Bram decided that to celebrate, I should drive us to Sonic for shakes and tots.


Santa Fe All-Stars on the Plaza

Never quite made it out to Music on the Hill this summer — weather, travel, other stuff … but we couldn't pass up the chance to catch the Santa Fe All-Stars at the Bandstand this past Thursday.

Just announced as winners — again — of Santa Fe Reporter's Best Alt/Country Band, they showed why.* Unfortunately, only about 45 minutes long, opening for Hundred Year Flood.

We'd grabbed some Torinos sandwiches and set up out on the grass. Cheyenne joined us and was so amazingly good throughout the show.

* Also proving they deserve the name: Joe West won Best Songwriter, Sharon Gilchrist won Best Female Vocalist, and another of Ben Wright's projects won Best Experimental Band.


Gettin' Our Culture On

Tickets for a performance of The Letter. Finally, after four years here, going to make it to The Santa Fe Opera, making a bit of a pre-anniversary outing.

And it turns out that the source movie is playing here in town for the next couple days.

Update: turns out the movie isn't the source, they're both based on the play by W. Somerset Maugham — the creators discussed their inspiration and approach on The Santa Fe Radio CafĂ©.


Aspen Vista with Cheyenne

"Cheyenne, do you want to go for a hike?"

What are you still doing here?

"I told you, I'm off today — my last vacation day."

That's why you were extra grumpy when I jumped on the bed before the alarm went off this morning …

"Well …"

and why it took you even longer to get up than usual.

"I'll get some stuff together and we'll head out."

Just wake me when you're finally ready.

Why are we stopping here?

"I've got to get a breakfast burrito and we'll be on our way. I thought we'd go out like last time, maybe to Counter Culture, but that gets complicated with the patio and you and the ordering and the laptop. So I'm just going to California Pastrami and I'll eat it up at the trailhead"

whine, whine, whimper, whimper

"Yeah, they take a while, but they make 'em fresh. We'll be going soon … go be cute for that guy who's telling you how pretty you are."

What's that awful grinding sound?

"That's. My. Teeth. There's these two oversized eighteen wheelers ahead of me on the road up the mountain. They seemed to be moving fine at first, but they're going so slow … I've barely gotten out of first gear. I was hoping they were stopping somewhere, but they gotta be going all the way to the basin."

Hey — we just drove by that trail where we went before! Let's stop there!

"No, I want to go up to Aspen Vista. It'll be higher and hopefully cooler … and it's just out and back, so we can turn around when we need to. It's been so hot recently, I don't want to make it to rough for you."

I can take it.

"I know, you're a tough girl. But sometimes you don't — grrr …"


Ah I should've pulled over there and eaten. It's been, like, a half-hour and I keep thinking it's around the corner …"

Are we there?

"No, I just finally pulled over. I gotta eat, my blood sugar's dropping. Look, there's a pretty view, and we've got Jazz a la Carta on KSFR."

It's all just monkey sounds to me.

"Aw, c'mon …"

Oh, alright. I like Ricardo and Helga, they have a good show."

"Good girl. Have some tortilla."

"Alright, here we are. Sheesh, that took almost an hour, should've been, like 25 minutes …"

Hike now?

"Yes, let's go! Let me get all the water and I'll put the big leash on you."

Yayhooray! Hike! On the trail … why are you turning around?

"Left the camera back in the car …"

Yikes! What are those things?

"Flies. Must be cool enough and wet enough for them. Keep moving I'll brush them off …"

Hey — why's that dog not on a leash?

"He's a big ol' Lab. He probably knows enough not to go chasing after small furry things and —"

But that's what small furry things are for!

"Don't you want some water? Are you still afraid of the Gulpy?"

I was never afraid. It's just weird … anyway, I'm not thirsty.

"You know the rules, whatever you don't drink gets dumped on you."

Oh, the humiliation. The sweet, cooling humiliation.

"I thought there's be more shade — you doing OK? I know you're a tough girl. I'm worried that you're going to push yourself too hard."

I'm fine.

"Well, you may be out at the end of the leash, but I'm gonna be slowing you down."

That's pretty much what you do all the time.

"Look at all these aspens. They're pretty now, but we'll come back up here in the fall. The leaves turn the most beautiful yellow …"

And exactly what shade of gray is yellow?

"At least it'll be cooler. And probably more people to compliment you."

Let's come back here in the fall!

"Wow, this is further than I've made it with anyone else, I think. We're going to stop by this rock, under the shade for a bit."

Keep. Going.

"No, Cheyenne, have some more water. You've just about emptied your Gulpy and I'll refill it. And — can't you just rest for a moment?"

No. Gotta keep going.

"Let me check the time … no, we've been out about an hour. That's enough for you, we're going to turn around. It'll probably take us about half the time to get down. But wait, before I do … I'm gonna try and get a timer picture of the two of us. Just have to balance camera on this rock …"

Where's that cool Gorillapod that M and D got you?

"Safely back at home with the camera bag. Just … OK, run over here with me … now!"

"What is so interesting at the edge of the trail? No — we're not going down the side of the mountain."

I don't know how I missed these sniffs before.

"OK, we're back to the lot. And, let me see … hey, it took almost an hour to get down. You were pretty distracted."

Yeah, so were you.

"I know, my mind was just elsewhere today. Here, finish off your water. Have some more treats."

I like that part of the hike best.


Another Fourth, Pretty Much Thwarted

It's been rainy these past couple days, monsoon season has come early. We were both off on Friday for the holiday, a good thing since a pretty big thunderstorm or two came through in the early hours of the morning. Cheyenne's not a big fan of the loud sounds outside; but she was particularly agitated, it was stuffy once we closed off all the windows … suffice it to say, none of got sleep for a couple hours there, so it was welcome when she let us sleep in late. That did mean a more whirlwind, shorter chore day to be ready for Jon and Suzanne's visit for dinner. The sky had cleared by late afternoon … and actually was bright and sunny and humid, so we couldn't sit outside. But it was an awful lot of fun.

Saturday, again, began kind of rainy. The clouds were welcome, though, because our plan was to bypass the usual Fourth of July hike for a walk downtown to Pancakes on the Plaza. We went by Tarts' Treats, just reviewed in the New Mexican, which sounded promising and has a patio that it's not known if dogs are specifically prohibited from … but they were closed for the holiday. We grabbed some bagels for the walk and continued on.

We quickly found Stacy (as Rula) at the KSFR booth they were broadcasting live from for the morning. We got to say our hellos … and then were kicked out, because dogs aren't allowed on the Plaza for the event. Sure, in retrospect, it kinda makes sense … but this is Santa Fe. And I still haven't seen anything stating that … but, anyway, grumpy, we walked off home (I mean, we all walked off home, I was grumpy).

Helped clarify the plans for the afternoon, though. The Greyhound group was due to be at El Rancho de las Golondrinas for the Santa Fe Wine Festival. It was kind of a last-minute thing, so it wasn't clear how much participation there would be. We headed over, noting the stormclouds over the mountains, found our way in through the confused security guard telling us we couldn't bring our dog, to the group's area. Turns out, plenty of the usual suspects made it.

We all sorted it out, hung out for a while, got some lunch from Whole Hog and got to see Dave and Shelby at their now-ubiquitous gelato operation. Those clouds rolled in, providing some much-needed relief from the sun. Around the time that we confirmed we could walk Cheyenne around the place and started to take her down to the acequia, the thunder started. So she just wanted to go … unclear where, but just not here. Eh, the downpour started soon after anyway.

The group decided that was the time to pack up, for those of us who weren't as prepared as Pearl, that meant waiting out the storm. Which we tired of, and during a moment when it seemed it was lessening (but soon [but too late] became clear it wasn't) had me dashing through the rain and into the mud parking lot to retrieve the car to bring it around front among the crowd who also had the same idea and lifting the dog into the backseat because she was having none of this going out in the rain (thanks guy with the umbrella who gave us some added protection) and on our sodden way home.

Where there was some time to recover.

Rain cleared enough to fire up the grill for dinner. Cheyenne was really awfully good with all the fireworks pounding in the distance and the firecrackers in the neighborhood; when we tried to take a break from the evening's Doctor Who viewing to walk up the hill and see if we could catch any fireworks, Cheyenne made it clear that the fireworks were OK only as long as she was inside and they were outside.

This morning, she pretty much slept through the thunderstorm, while I was awake, watching her.

More sleeping in, a longish walk that took us to the (new to us) Torreon Park. Sunday kinda devolved into other things that needed to be done, but that also included some late-day garlic harvesting.