Category Archives: ocf

it’s time to get that negative horseshit off the top of my blog… 8/

OCF is fast approaching. today is the 26th of june, and i leave for OCF on the 5th of july. instead of driving, this year i’m getting a ride with michael marconi. the fremont philharmonic has several changes in personnel, and hasn’t had a single rehearsal. allegedly, we’re going to have two rehearsals with the cast members who haven’t already gone to the fair to set things up, and allegedly we’re going to have one or two rehearsals without the cast, presumably to rehearse for the ritz, which we haven’t heard from yet… in fact, i’m going to write to matt now…

i’m really trying not to stress too much about not having any rehearsal, but i guess what i’m saying is that, despite the fact that i know it won’t do any good, i’m stressing about it anyway. i’ve got two new pieces of music out of who knows how many more, and there’s a good chance that we won’t be able to rehearse this, even once, with the entire crew, until thursday evening, before we have to start performing on friday morning. it must be worse for kiki, since she is actually writing the new music. fortunately, it’s for the oregon country fair, so even if we totally screw up, it’s highly likely that nobody will notice.

i’m having the hybrid elephant web site re-designed. i decided that it would take a lot less time for someone who already knows how to use all of the new technology do it than it would for me to learn how to use the technology, and do it myself. it’s still not exactly what i want, but we’ve already put a method of payment in place that doesn’t involve paypal, so that’s a really good trade-off… and, while it is not exactly what i wanted, it largely has all of the things that i want, more or less where i want them, it’s got some really cool new features that i didn’t have in the old site (starting with a SSL certificate, so no more doing business over an unsecure network), it uses wordpress and woo commerce, so it will be really easy to add on to, and it’s going to be A LOT easier to keep up to date, so i won’t have to do this whole thing again in 5 years…

now that things are…

now that things are in a state which could be referred to as “normal”, if such a concept existed (which it doesn’t, but that’s a discussion for another time), i actually have the time to update this thing…

so, OCF happened: six shows in three days, with the completely predictable “no complete rehearsal, with everybody present, until the opening show”, which went surprisingly well despite everything, and worked out, once again, to be universally applauded as “the best show we’ve ever done”. the saturday that was my “birthday” included playing at the open mike and a show for naked hippies at the ritz, which has some really cool “added extras” this year, including the ability to record our set on professional level equipment, which dramatically increases the probability that there’s actually going to be a CD later in the year… 😉

there are pictures, but they’re still on my phone… and the only real disadvantage this year was the fact that i didn’t get to spend my “birthday” with my sweetie… 😕

immediately upon getting home, however, things took a turn to the chaotic side and that’s what i’m recovering from more than anything… although the fact that i’m coming off a week of unreality at OCF may, at the same time, contribute to my ability to get through the following week of chaos, and, basically, leave me with absolutely no spoons to spare, and in a really, really strange mental state.

i played a gig with snake suspenderz at ida culver house in ravenna, which is right across the street from the former home of a woman i used to work with (which has now been turned into condominiums) who was my supervisor before mike cummings, and i believe her name was laura culver… but i’m not sure, and i’m no longer in contact with anyone who might know… and it’s pointless anyway, because the real point is that the company who engaged us, ERA Living, has, once again, stiffed us in a way that i AM NOT going to allow to happen again: basically, they had me fill out the necessay paperwork back in may, and they STILL haven’t presented a check to me for the performance that happened on thursday… and it’s now saturday… not only that, but when i got there, i was told that we would also be fed, however when we approached the guy who was laying out the food, we were told that we “had to wait until the rest of the guests were served”… and when we finally got done playing, there was no more food. 😠

and that’s not to mention that there were actually two separate groups engaged — “snake suspenderz” and “hobbit and hare” — and they paid us for one hour, in spite of the fact that some of us actually performed for two hours…

and when i approached the lady that had hired us, and said “we didn’t get fed, and we didn’t get paid”, i had to hound her every step, while she tried to sidestep the issue and blame it on everyone else for an extra 30 minutes, before she agreed to go to an ATM and withdraw the money from her personal account.

once again, this is an upscale retirement home in a trendy, gentrified area north of the university district, where the residents have gold-plated nametags, which is run by a corporation that regularly deals in hundreds of thousands of dollars (at least), and they appear to have no regard for the musicians they “hire” to entertain their high-paying residents… they wouldn’t treat a caterer like this… hell, they have a caterer on staff (which didn’t improve his attitude when we wanted to eat, however), but they feel perfectly justified in STIFFING THE BAND, because anybody can blow through a heavy collection of plumbing and make sounds that are acceptable to old people… 😠

and even if (as i was repeatedly assured would happen) the check does arrive on monday, the fact is, i filled out their fecking paperwork IN MAY so that they would be able to present me a check on THE DAY OF THE PERFORMANCE, and it DIDN’T HAPPEN… AGAIN!! 😠

which leaves us in a difficult position indeed, because the people for whom we are playing both LOVE us, and, decidedly, AREN’T the ones who are (or, apparently, aren’t) paying us. if we refuse to play, the old people suffer… 😕

anyway, the day after, i had my “annual wellness check” with dr. wacka-loon, which went more-or-less as expected, and then we had eleven friends over for “game night”, which, by the time it started i was already out of spoons, and was able to hold on only through liberal application of various mind-altering substances… all of which, surprisingly, are now legal, in spite of everything. 😉

post OCF…

and despite the fact that the “real” world expects me to hit the ground running, i still haven’t quite managed it… i’ve already tackled, more or less, an erroneous water shut-off notice and ⅔ of a confirmation for a snake suspenderz gig that’s happening on thursday…

more later, but for now: two major advantages to being at home, rather than camping out at the oregon country fair: flush toilets that are mere steps away from my current location, instead of significantly used porta-pottys that are two blocks away, and refrigerated, artesian well water instead of warm, chlorinated tap water that has seen the inside of a tanker truck. πŸ˜›

damn, that’s supposed to be a disgusted face with its tongue stuck out… i’m going to have to work on that… 😐

and that’s not to mention driving for 5 hours, and unpacking from a weeks worth of camping… i still have to do several loads of laundry, put my camping gear away, and take a shower…

another advantage: cold beer. that is all.

OCF and heat

this is my official pre-OCF post for 2015, among other things.

it has been SO FUCKING HOT for the past couple of days that i haven’t been able to run either of my real “computers” except for a couple of brief periods when i had to set up a trial wordpress instance for AVBT, and then produce some simple graphics for the site. it’s been hot enough that, if i keep my computers running for more than a couple of hours, they start acting funny… and, to be honest, i don’t blame them. it’s a good thing this is a holiday weekend, and even better that we don’t have to go on a one-day road-trip to portland — the mother-in-law and her housemate are not throwing a party this year because the housemate has had another stroke recently, and isn’t in any shape to do anything but smoke cigarettes (which is what caused the first stroke), and convalesce in her air-conditioned house…

on the up side, i’m almost ready to go to OCF again this year. there have been the standard rumours of intense heat, bugs, tight camping, changes in the layout of the fair, and other stuff that may or may not actually be things that affect me… this year, for the first time since i actually started going to the fair (2004), simon will not have to put up the stage (the stage was made into a “permanent structure”, like the ritz and the main stage, last year) which means that he’ll have more time to hang around and get drunk, which may or may not be a good thing, especially since he actually has a speaking part (The Ringmaster of The Ding-A-Ling Brothers Circus) this year.

amazingly enough, i may actually post on this blog from the fair this year, because i have several technological “helpers” that i have never had before: i have a solar charger for my phone and tablet, i have access to a secure cloud storage device, and i am definitely going to take my phone, and probably going to take my tablet to the fair this year… i can just imagine sitting out in the woods and updating my blog… all i need is a wifi password, which i know they have, i just don’t know what it is… yet… and, actually, i don’t even need that, because my phone is also a wifi hotspot… it’s amazing, scary and incomprehensible, all at the same time…

until then, i’m hunkering down in my hole beside the fan, not having access to either of my “real” computers, reassuring the dogs that it will all be over soon (they don’t believe me) and hoping that by next week things will be somewhat cooler. πŸ˜›

and while i have been typing this, i got a text-message from that same mother-in-law, who informs me that she’s getting some cannabis plants tomorrow… and, yes, she lives in a place where it is currently legal on the state level… this is another thing that’s amazing, scary and totally incomprehensible, at the same time… 😐

OCF 2014

i arrived at the fair on tuesday, 140708 and returned home yesterday, 140714, which is also the 11th anniversary of my brain injury.

needless to say, i did not have another brain injury.

this year, as far as it concerns me, everything went right enough that i can consider this year’s OCF experience one of the best vacations i have ever had. things didn’t go 100% right all the time: i lost my sunglasses, there was some controversy about a new part of the theatre, there was the usual tensions regarding whether incense smoke or the odour of porta-potty was more preferable, the booking representative from the ritz didn’t communicate with me directly regarding our tokens… and it rained… but it all worked out in the end: i found my sunglasses immediately after arriving at home, the part of the theatre that was causing the controversy (a place that i called the “wheelchair-exclusion zone”) was summarily dispensed with, next year they’re going to expand the theatre (AGAIN!! πŸ˜€ ) and move the porta-potties farther from our noses, we received our tokens anyway, and it rained for almost exactly an hour, before the fair actually opened, and it was cool and cloudy all the rest of the day.

140709 Keith Neale tends bar at the Morningwood dedication

morningwood is now a permanent, year-round installation, rather than having to be taken apart and stored elsewhere during the off season — much to the relief of simon, who now gets to arrive and NOT have to spend a month moving pieces, sorting them out, and building the stage from scratch. as a part of the approval for making it permanent, there were a number of archaelogical digs in the area, and a lot of investigation into the prior use of the site. i got to participate in martini hour with some of the high-up bigwigs from archaeology, who have proved that where morningwood odditorium now stands has been a gathering place for humans for at least 10,000 years.

140709 Morningwood Odditorium

the dress rehearsal on thursday night, according to tradition(?), is the first time the show is performed in its entirity by a majority of the cast and band, and this time was no exception… what was the exception is that, for the most part, it was a much more complete show than it has been in the past. two years ago we substantially modified a significant portion of the script on friday, after the first day of performances. this year, it was, more-or-less, the same show on thursday as it was on sunday. the primary difference was that there were more lines that were forgotten on sunday than there were on thursday, which is about the least amount of hassle for the amount of entertainment we got out of it that is possible, under the circumstances. there will have to be some re-writing of the parts before december, to remove the OCF-specific references: lines like “lets go to the barter fair! best shopping at OCF!” and references to “flower children” and the ritz will have to be changed in order for our seattle audiences to make sense of the plot

140709 Morningwood Odditorium

sunday afternoon, after the last show, i was in the ritz, and a guy was leaving. he walked to the bottom of the stairs, and kept on going down. somebody asked him if he needed help, and he mumbled something which could have been “yes”, “no” or “potato”, and two or three people gathered around him. i came down from the top level, and asked if he was diabetic, to which he responded “no, well… yeah”. at that point a couple of the people ahead of me took his shoulders and started guiding him out of the sauna. we got him outside, and sat down on one of the benches outside of the sauna, and he started coming around. he said that he had been “voluntarily” lowering his blood-pressure (it sounded a lot like the kinds of things the PHBFH used to say) and that the “chanting” had put him into a “mind-space” from which he couldn’t recover… i was concerned that he may have been having a heart attack or something. i left him when the ritz’s “certified medical professional” showed up. i went by about a half-hour later and the guy and the “CMP” were still sitting on the bench, talking, but i didn’t hear any sirens or anything that might have implied that he was taken away in an ambulance. i imagine that they have pretty regular medical “emergencies”, especially considering that they let pretty much anybody in to the sauna, regardless of how drunk, high, handicapped or screwed up they are, so they must, either, be pretty good at dealing with these emergencies, or are even better at covering them up. considering that it is OCF, either one is a good option.

140709 Simon and Keith Neale, unknown martini-drinker, and the guy who taught the horse's ass to tap-dance... no, really!
140709 Simon and Keith Neale, unknown martini-drinker, and the guy who taught the horse’s ass to tap-dance… no, really!

there are more pictures, which, if i get around to it, will be posted on flickr.