Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Imagine my disappointment that the word "cockermouth" is neither a sexual innuendo or a vulgar dig. It's a little town in England. It's also a track off of the last Mekons record, "Natural." Though the vanity of the town's nomenclature might wear off quickly, I've decided that since America is rapidly collapsing, I should seriously consider emigrating somewhere. Cockermouth sounds about right. "I'm Andrea, and I live in Cockermouth!!!" How do the people who actually live there manage to keep a straight face? Lamb of God!

The efficacy of my prescription NSAID in the quest to relieve my retrolisthesis and multiple lumbar disc herniage pain is miniscule. That's a nice way of saying that the shit my doctor gave me ain't cutting the mustard.

The ICD-9 diagnosis code for my ailments prior to my brain and lumbar MRI's indicated (780.4) that I had been suffering from "dizziness and giddiness." Excuse me, have we met? While I'm all sorts of happy that "giddiness" is a medical condition, it's not one from which I chronically suffer.

...I love these blog entries I draft and then leave for 2 weeks. If I had a point to make or an opinion to share, it's since left the transom of my psyche. So.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today Was Awesomely Awesome

For the following reasons:

1) My son completed his first-ever Cross Country meet, running a mile. Luke's not terribly athletic, preferring academia, movie making and intellectual (??) pursuits, so this was his first attempt at an extracurricular sport. It matters not how he placed; rather, that he completed the run. My favorite moment was when he saw me at the bottom of a tiny hill over which he'd run, passing me with a livid expression, growling aloud, "I HATE YOU." Such are the moments that mothers tuck away in their hearts for a lifetime.

2) After the Cross Country meet, there was a fundraising dinner at the school for Mexican Independence Day. My gang of friends from St. Paul were all there, noshing on yummy, homemade Mexican fare, with our previously exhausted runners clocking in what had to be an additional 5 miles like farts in a bottle around the gym. The next time the kids crab about the agony of Cross Country, I believe the solution is to have Chuck chase them from behind wearing the remnants of a blue pig's head pinata on his head. Vaya con Dios!

3) Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Historically, I never fail to send greetings for the holiday to my friend, Jon Langford, of the Mekons. He is a Welsh transplant living and working here in Chicago in music and art, and just one of the nicest fellas in rock-n-roll. He'd filmed a show in October of 2007 for Columbia College's "Musicians' Studio" where he played a few tunes, was interviewed at length, and answered 3 audience questions on camera at the end, one of which was from yours truly.

Just when all hope had been lost that the show was ever going to air, whilst channel surfing as I yacked on the phone with my brother, there it was! In a fit of giddyness, I hung up on Steve, quickly called my mother and texted my boyfriend. My DVR wasn't cooperating tonight, so Luke took a very rudimentary clip of me asking my question and posted it to YouTube. I will go down in history as the woman who broke the very grim news to Jon Langford that he only has 4 minutes to live and has to listen to one more song....what would it be?

Friday, September 5, 2008

BB Had "Lucille," Clapton Had "Blackie," and I...

...bid adieu to my beloved and rare, circa '1970 maple Rogers drum kit.....

The Rogers kit has been lovingly pounded in my family for decades, most recently by me for the past two years, and really the only kit on which I've had any practice or play time.

Prior to that, my older brother played them until he replaced them a few years ago with a snazzy new Gretsch kit and left them in his basement on which to merely practice or jam. The Rogers suffered only minor damage to the bass drum rim over the years and was otherwise still the pristinely crafted and sonically impressive kit for which the brand was famous; amazing, considering the history of spaztastic Miklasz action the kit has seen.

Recently, my brother joined a second praise band in De Kalb, IL, which meets at a second church, and he was growing weary of lugging the Gretsch back and forth 4 nights a week. He was happy that I was putting the Rogers to good and regular use, but also wished for the convenience of having two kits at his disposal. Naturally, this left both of us with a vexing conundrum, since neither my or my band's budget could currently invest in a new kit here in Chicago.

One of the singers in my band found an almost-new, 5-pc poplar, Tama kit (plus cymbals, plus stands) for free on some online bartering site while I was on holiday 2 weekends ago, which was sitting unused in a drummer's basement on the South side of Chicago. I have no legitimate room to complain, because the donation of the kit to our church was indeed very gracious, but upon whacking the Tamas with my sticks for a trial fill this week, I could barely muster a cringe.

The Tama Imperialstar 5-pc Compact is an entry-level jazz kit, so it looks (and sounds) dwarfed compared to the size, tone and construction of the Rogers. The stock cymbals that came with the kit are manufactured out of spray-painted tin and, dare I say, even shittier than what I formerly thought were the world's most vomitrotious cymbals, the Sabian B8 series I bought in 2006. Luckily, I am keeping my Sabian B8's as well as the incredible Zildjian A-series ride cymbal I received for my last birthday.

Holy Hell, my dead grandpa's ball sack has more action left in it than the snare drum that came with this kit. I'm hugely spoiled, however, because the only other snare I've ever played is the Rogers Dynasonic, universally rated as one of the world's finest sounding snare drums.

Playing any new drum kit is similar to driving a car to which you're not accustomed. With both feet and hands simultaneously employed, the response time, agility and technical structure of a song's composition have to be re-worked and re-tooled, which isn't as simple as it may seem, particularly for a drummer like me who is competent but by no means a virtuoso, posing an interesting, even if not a welcome challenge.