‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Outermost Radio

I have now been on the radio twice, which makes me a consummate professional. Or a consommé professional. One of those.

Last Friday I was a guest on the English Breakfast Show at WOMR in Provincetown. This required that I get up and out at an absurd hour so as to arrive in Provincetown by 8a.m. Provincetown is not particularly close to me, so I thought I should leave myself some time. I woke up at 5:30.

I didn't have to wake up at 5:30 because really, how long does one need to get ready for radio? I woke up because I kept having those dreams in which my phone was ringing and the station was saying aren't you supposed to be here? Over and over again.

I got up and dressed and still had about, oh, seven hours before I was due, so I stopped by the bakery to bring them a little something. I heard the English are fond of kippers for breakfast but then someone sent me a kipper link and oh hork. I got scones.

The show started at 6am and they were in full swing as I drove north. It is very funny to hear oneself discussed on the air, let me tell you. They were playing songs pertaining to trout and towers and because my mind isn't what it used to be, I was all "oh my gosh! I have a blog called Trout Towers! Can you believe the coincidence????" Thankfully I figured it all out before I arrived and went on the air. Ahem.

Driving into Provincetown, it hit me what a crazy opportunity I'd been given. I was in a seaside artist colony, as a guest on a community radio show. Provincetown has seen the likes of Eugene O'Neil, Norman Mailer, Hans Hoffman, Robert Motherwell and so many more it's just ridiculous. When you drive into town on an early winter morning, it's easy to imagine all those people sleeping off the previous night. Under normal circumstances this revelation would have made me turn around and go hide under my bed.

I arrived way ahead of schedule, since in February there's no traffic and you can actually find a parking space. I sat in my car and listened to the show hosts banter on about what they were supposed to call me and what they thought I'd be like.

Despite my hermit tendencies, the desire to be part of all this was irresistible. And there were scones to eat. I went upstairs and proceeded to regale them with tales of Trout.

At one point I mentioned that I'm an introvert, which puzzled my host Sebastian. First, he sings at Showgirls (the drag cabaret in town) and does theater so it's probably hard for him to imagine how anyone could even be an introvert. Second, he wasn't wrapping his head around how an introvert is okay with writing so publicly. That's just plain silly. I'm not writing publicly. I'm writing on my couch, by myself, while my robot vacuum cleans up after my children. There is nothing public about this.

And the fact that people all over the world could tune in and listen to the radio show? Neither here nor there. I got to sit in a historic building, chatting with two new friends about nothing in particular.

I was invited to be part of one of the most creative communities you can imagine, and it was a blast. We can definitely chalk this one up in the "things you never imagined doing" column. Pretty neat.

And it's all because I sit on the couch writing, and you read.

Thank you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trouts on the move!

No need to avert your gaze; we are not spawning. We just went on vacation.

I was looking for places to go and realized all my research involved restaurants. I mean really, does it matter where you go as long as there's good food? So we went to Boston, which is practically like going to Europe on the cheap.

We stayed in the Custom House, aka the pointy pointy clock tower near Boston Harbor. It's historic. I can tell you all about it if you'd like. I can even tell you that the bathrooms were very clean and the rooms were quite lovely before we had our way with them.

And I can tell you that it's a block away from Quincy Market and even though you might feel like you're eating in the gift shop and it's totally cheating to grab meals there, you'll want to get the mac and cheese.

When we were done with the mac and cheese, we wandered to the North End and continued eating. We went to Theo's, Antico Forno and Taranta, with a little stop by Mike's Pastry just to be thorough.

The night we went to Taranta, Sugarplum told everyone in the hotel that "mommy is going out to dinner with two of her invisible friends." Specifically, TwoBusy and Ms. Picket of Polite Fictions.

When you meet internet friends for the very first time in real life, you should try stepping on the tablecloth and knocking over the table. You will have to catch dishes a la Crouching Tiger and your invisible friends will be very impressed. Or they will pretend not to know you.

You know what's funny about meeting invisible friends? You feel like a total stalker. You can practically finish their stories and you know all these personal things despite the fact that you have never seen them before in your life. It's wonderful and completely unnerving all at once.


Contrary to popular belief, we did not just eat. We went to museums. With our children. On school vacation week. Without sedatives.

As you know, we spent Monday at the MFA. On Tuesday we went to the Museum of Science (lightening!). On Wednesday we used our clout as Trouts and were admitted to the aquarium early, as guests. We were gloaty Trouts. On Friday we went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner and the ICA.

Coming from the Gardner, our view of the ICA was a little skewed. We usually like modern architecture and contemporary art, but after the Gardner we found it, how shall I say? Soul-suckingly barren. Also a little giggle-worthy as all we could think of was Unhappy Hipsters.

Chris and I discussed this in the privacy of the glass elevator. You have to be careful in places like that or you inadvertently become performance art. I wonder sometimes if modern museums have microphones that are set to only pick up hushed tones. These whispers are then broadcast into another part of the museum as disembodied secrets.

I think it's brilliant, actually, and if you are the curator of a modern museum, you're welcome.

I learned some things through visiting all those museums. If you are a 20-something looking to work/intern at one of Boston's fine institutions, I can direct you toward the best fit based on my fashion observations. I could absolutely distinguish between museums if I were blindfolded, spun in circles and then introduced to an intern.

I also learned that when parents sound smart when they're telling their kids something, they're probably reading from an exhibit card.

And that Bostonians are actually very nice and helpful, although it is a closely guarded secret.

And that after seven days of cannoli, it's nice to be home in sweat pants.

The end.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Museum of Fine Arts

We are in Boston. It is school vacation week.

We had this vision of spending lots of time in museums. We pictured wandering through galleries, eating fruit and cheese at a cafe, living the mythical life of city people.

We did not picture hordes of children.

We also did not factor in the very real possibility that our own children might not want to wander through galleries learning about different artists (although we are riveting). We did not picture them collapsing in the coatroom, too overwhelmed/bored/hungry/hot to go on.

When we got off the T, Chris said "wow, it's like Woodstock for short people" because oh my lord who's been having all these children? They were piling in in droves. And all we could picture was lines and pushing and waiting and probably some throwing up. We pictured our children, catatonic in the coatroom.

Which is not at all what we had in mind.

That's when the museum people handed us the brochure of kids' activities planned in galleries all over the place. Those kids scattered like blown dandelion poofs.

Our family favorite was the Where the White Things Are sculpture exhibit. The kids looked at a display of white sculptures and then made their own from white craft supplies. Sugarplum made a chicken from a plastic egg, pipe cleaners, silk flower petals and a doilie. Studley made a robot with a piece of styrofoam, a pipe cleaner and some googley eyes. It took them well over an hour, during which Chris and I took turns wandering through the galleries and eating fruit and cheese.

Then they made mythical creatures out of clay and we took turns in the Seeing Songs exhibit.

The kids carried their white sculptures all over the city, garnering comments and praise everywhere they went.

It was a really good day.

Yes, this is a shameless yet unsolicited promo for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. But I figure why even have a web journal if you can't use it to publicly thank an institution?

Thank you.

p.s. We forgot their clay sculptures - a lion left lying on his back to dry and a slab of clay with holes, which is probably another robot. Feel free to add them to your permanent collection.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cheap Seats

In the days leading up to a live radio gig, you will think of all kinds of smart and funny things to say on the air. You will not say any of these things.

You may or may not go completely paralytic when the radio host introduces you.

You will forget to mention your own role within the music industry. You will sound in turns like a 1950s housewife promoting her husband and a rabid fan of whatever band you're playing at the moment.

The bands you play may or may not make a mental note to never take your calls again.

You will laugh inappropriately when someone says "ASCAP" on the air.

You will wonder why it's okay to say ASCAP but not other, similar-sounding expressions.

You will worry about saying something that sounds like ASCAP but isn't. It will plague you that the vigilante sidekick who is usually on hand for bleeping is not in the building.

At which point you will realize you didn't check the lyrics of the songs you're playing.

Your radio host will note that you turn crimson when you are nervous.

You will want to give your house credit for the rising career of your Upstairs Neighbor. You'll want to list all the musicians who have lived in your house, hung out in your house, played chess in your house. You'll want to mention the musician who, for reasons that still escape you, installed mahogany clapboard in your shower.

You'll want to introduce the last song you play because the songwriter is practically family and calls you Mrs. Crusher. You then realize that if you did say all that, you'd be out of time before you could explain that it was not a reference to your girth.

You'll want to play the 6 cds that are still in your bag but notice that the studio is turning out lights and handing you your coat.

You will get home and discover that your internet friends were quietly, patiently listening from afar.

You will be so pleased and proud, you will find yourself unable to sleep.


p.s. If you feel so inclined, please go to the Cheap Seats' facebook page and be a fan. And then ask her nicely to have me back on the show. She fed me brownies and I would like some more.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Brighton is snowed in and has lost power. She has a gas stovetop and a pantry full of non-perishables, so it will be at least three weeks before they have to eat the dog.

If worse comes to worse they can sit on the kitchen counter and warm themselves by the stove. I have no reason to be worried about them. And yet, I am.

They have no internet.

The kids have smart phones and so could just keep charging them in the car but the car is in the garage and the garage door is electric so if they want to charge their phones without draining the car battery they will first have to take an ax to the garage door. Which can be splintery.

And while the kids have smart phones, I'm quite sure Brighton does not and can you even imagine what she's missing on facebook right now? There is a Winter Emergency in her area and how will she know if she can't read all the snowmageddon posts?

To be prepared for a disaster, you really need a 5lb drum of beans, a 5lb drum of rice, a cubic acre of fresh water and a hamster-powered wifi rig.

Speaking of hamsters and natural disasters, people are always asking us if we're going to eat our chickens when they get too old to lay eggs. This is a totally unfair question because our cat has not laid a single egg, ever.

Our cat is extremely lucky it is not snowing here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

it's possible I've had too much coffee

Lately Chris has been trying to figure out how we can use our skills and strengths to make Heaps of Money. This is funny because I've been trying to figure out how to use Chris' skills and strengths to make heaps of money for years.

This morning it was all rainbows and sunshine and twinkly lights and I knew I had the key to early retirement.

Have you seen the making of Prodigy's SMBU? It's the only way I can get Chris to listen to Prodigy. It shows how the mix was made - copying and pasting samples, changing the pitch, etc. Chris uses that kind of stuff all the time. Just not for Prodigy.

We have friends who have a rock and roll band and also a kids band. The kids band is the cash cow. Kids music is the answer, my friends.

We have kids. We have technology. We will start a band called Progeny, in which kids sing Prodigy covers.

We'll use samples from our current kid music library, like Dan Zanes' "hellooooooo" from his song House Party. It will be genius I tell you.

Chris thinks we should change the words. I think that defeats the purpose but I considered it in an attempt to humor him. I suppose we could change "smack" to "snack" but then we'd get sued for all the resulting eating disorders. He said "smack" is not the problem, which is disturbing because after all this time I had no idea he was pro-recreational drugs for kids/corporal punishment.

He says we could change the line to "snack my dish up" and now I have "change my pitch up/ snack my dish up" stuck in my head. A clear sign that it will be HUGE.

Chris agrees my idea is the key to early retirement. He says we'll never work in this town again.

He must think we'll have to move when Disney hires us.