Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Tres Amigos on the Rodent Hour

I co-host a radio show. I'm not sure if I mentioned that before.

Oh, no, I totally mentioned it--but only once, and then never again. You wouldn't know from reading my blog (thanks everyone!) that I've been doing a weekly Internet radio show called The Rodent Hour for almost eight months now. Not to brag, but it's pretty sweet. Big Island Rachel, radio personality. I have to stay up so late for it! Sometimes I don't get to bed until after 11--on a school night, no less.

There's a pretty wide variety of music. We've had noise rock, hiphop, Afropunk, and just plain rock and/or roll. Most of the bands are based in the tristate area (I never knew what that term meant when I lived in Hawaii; the BF have to draw me a map of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut on a bar napkin and circle the tristate area for me), but over the summer we had some bands come through on tours from other places. The bands are kind enough to come into the studio and play a set live for us, and then my co-host feeds us all tacos from Tepango's Taqueria in Brooklyn. And oh, the laughter! The witty banter! The pithy comments! The pith runs so high on the Rodent Hour.

So high, friends.

You can listen to it, too! It's on the Internet, which means that anyone with an Internet connection and some speakers can tune in every Tuesday from 8 to 10PM Eastern Time to hear my meatspace voice and a lot of great music. For example, do you like the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? Do you like things that give you the opportunity to use words like "roots," "folk," or "Appalachia"? Do you use Mason jars as drinking glasses even though your family's never been on welfare and has proper cocktail glasses in the credenza? And you have a credenza? You'll love The Tres Amigos.

This is a slideshow of their Sept. 25th appearance on the Rodent Hour, set to their song "Fiddleheads." I defy you to listen to this song and not smile. That's a washboard and an accordion you're hearing. Feel the wholesome Americana rollicking from of those fine harmonious tenor voices! Listening to their set made me want to be a better person. They're that good. Plus they wear matching shirts! How adorable is that?

If you miss the show live, we usually post the whole two hours on a Soundcloud account and leave it up for a week or so, along with some studio-quality tracks of that week's guest. Our free account only allows us to have one show at a time up there, but you can download the songs and show as a podcast for free and have it on your computer to listen to it anytime you want. Last week's show isn't up right this second. What you CAN hear, though, is our show from the night we had Slam Donahue on, and yowzah, were we all on fire that night!

But wait--there's more!

We have a YouTube channel, a Tumblr, a Twitter account for livestreaming during the show so you can know what songs are playing, the Soundcloud account, a Facebook page, and even  a Stickam account that theoretically gives you live video of the band as they play, though we've never been able to get the sound to work on it and sometimes the video cuts out. The whole thing is pretty DIY, but that's hip right now, don't question me, I drink from a Mason jar with a handle on it, I live in Brooklyn!

Here's all the links. I'll be better about posting after each show and end each Rodent Hour post with the links.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My big sister got married!

There's a tornado warning for New York City that I won't receive until we land and I see the text message from my company telling me to stay indoors cuz the wind is a'blowing. It will not surprise me in the least. The wings of the plane are shaking so hard that the nice Egyptian man next to me pries his arm from my death grip and lowers the shades.

"Now you can't look at them," he says soothingly. "Did you snorkel in Hawaii? Did you see any turtles?"

I don't like flying. Judging by most stand-up comedy I watch, I don't think anyone really likes to fly anymore, but it's especially shameful for me because I've been doing it since before I could walk, Hawaii being the most isolated land mass in the world and all. Every year, it gets worse and I get to forge new friendships with the strangers in the next seat sporting my sweaty palm prints on their wrists and thighs. Once, landing in a storm at LAX, a Mexican grandmother had to feed me crackers from her purse so I would let go of her hand.

This trip back to Hawaii, I met a location scout for Fox whose sister lives in Toronto, and an Egyptian customs officer on his way back to Cairo to help his mother emigrate to L.A. Nice folks. They knew to get me talking so I'd be distracted from my fear, so now the Canadian location scout knows that Red Hook beekeepers get blood-red honey due to the maraschino cherry factory nearby, and the customs officer knows that it's still currently illegal to eat sea turtles. Currently. Keep your soup recipes handy, their population numbers are looking good.

But you know who I didn't meet on the plane were my actual blood relatives sitting in the seats behind me on my LAX to Kona flight. We smiled at each other as we made our airplane nests (I finally got one of those dorky neck pillows that look like a toilet seat and they are AMAZING, get that judgy look off your face), shared a little squeal of glee when we got to exit from the back of the plane in Kona, and that was when I noticed that they were going to the same welcoming party as me. Get away from my family, strangers, I thought hard at them, and suddenly realized that they were my family, just folks I hadn't seen for a couple of decades, and a hearty laugh was enjoyed by all.

And then my sister got married. Like ya do.

No, before she got married, first there were four other parties, plus manicures, pedicures, spray tans, dress fittings, rehearsals I didn't pay attention to, fortune cookies with fortunes saying "Congratulations Abby and Christopher," an octopus mustache, paddleboarding, snorkeling, a barbecue, homeless people, feral cats, domesticated cats, feral chickens, domesticated chickens that pecked my toes when I tried to feed them, little paper fans with Chinese characters that said "double-happiness," "soup," "dumplings," and "bean curd" (we speculated, our grasp of Chinese is limited), and THEN my sister got married.

Then there was another party with heirloom earrings, a horse, stories about making heat shield tiles for the space shuttle (you have to account for weather and seagull poop), and old photographs of a bunch of Norwegian people who would have been stoically shocked to see their descendent getting married in a Zen Buddhist temple in Hawaii.

And then I came home and took an extra day off work, because weddings are HARD. I spilled my after-wedding brunch leftovers all over my floor and ate them anyway and it depressed me a bit because I don't like vacuuming and my super-long hair that I shed on everything got in my fried rice and turkey sausage.

On the plus side, my bridesmaid dress is going to pull double-duty this year as my costume for New York Comic-Con. I'm going as Classy 1950s Catwoman. 
Rockabilly Batman better watch his back.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer 2012 Wrap-up

Well, I had a couple good weeks of regular posting, and then dropped off again because I was either having a good time or working really hard. As it should be.

This year, I vacationed in Portland, Maine. It was the farthest north I've ever been in the U.S. As usual, I got a little nervous about leaving New York City, something I have to monitor closely so it doesn't turn into a full-blown mental illness, but once I got there I was fine. I didn't really do much, just wandered around, looked at old buildings and graveyards and the indigent, read a couple novels and several volumes of European erotica, took a little boat ride and a little train ride. You know, vacation stuff.

This dude knows.
The BF was staying up in Maine for the summer for an internship and he had an apartment on the Eastern Promenade. The beach was just a five-minute walk down the hill, so I spent a couple of mornings there, picking up seashells and putting them back down again. (The last time I brought home seashells I had to trash the lot because one of the shells was still inhabited when it went in my suitcase. Lessons were learned.) I did get in the water, but got right back out again, because that shit is COLD. Only little kids and muscular guys with military tattoos were in there with me, which should have been a clue that my delicate tropical constitution was unsuited to that locale.

Whales and soldiers only.
And like all New Yorkers, I spent the week thinking how nice it would be to live in Portland, where the air smells of pine trees and the sea, the groceries are cheaper than a Canal Street Guchi purse (that's how they're spelled), and I could get an apartment in a  restored pre-war mansion for less than I pay for my pocket-sized Rachel-den in Brooklyn. I could live on Peak's Island with my goats and sheepdogs and pottery wheels, and the children in their organic cotton t-shirts would spend their nights on the dock, listening to the fog-horns and cursing their mother for leaving New York and stranding them in the ass-end of nowhere.

Floor it! We can be in Times Square by dawn!
I made it back to Brooklyn just in time for classes to begin. I'm going to miss getting off work at 4PM every day. This year I did some new student orientation events. I even got to give a presentation, with PowerPoint and everything. The only way I could have been more official was if I'd worn covered shoes. Thirteen years of public school teachers couldn't make me do it, so what hope do the people who sign my paychecks have? Sandals and slippah forever!

First week of fall classes also means the florist comes with his van and sets up on the main lawn to sell little cacti and Beta fish to nervous freshmen. Deprived of a cat for too long, I got a little over-excited and purchased some plants for myself in order that I might smother them with affection and obsessive worrying over their health. The one on the right is an aralia, a low-light houseplant with pretty round leaves. The one on the left is a banyan tree bonsai, which reminded me too much of home to just let it go back in the van. I really hope I can keep that one alive, because it was heavy and my arms are still sore from carrying it home.
Good luck kitty in the aralia, Buddha in the bonsai.
Right now, I want to be out in the beautiful late summer breeze, but I'm desperately sick with a cough and a socially unacceptable amount of snot. Filthy students, getting me sick with their out-of-state germs and having sex with the curtains open. The office windows are only tinted on the outside, you fools! I can still see you!

Enjoy your Labor Day.