July 21, 2009
The Magnificent "Tire Separation" Incident
I submit that these pictures should be the illustrations next to the dictionary definition for ripped [off]. This is the second time I've had a tire go wrong on me in as many months. And I just got these tires a few months ago!
When my car started vibrating, severely, I knew something was wrong. When I pulled over to give my tires a once over, I didn't see or feel anything amiss, even though I knew it had to be a problem with one of them (again!). And sure enough, a couple of exits later at 10:15 pm on Sunday, the tire came apart with a bang. I was already driving slower and in the right lane, so when the bang happened, I was able to quickly and safely pull over. Luckily there was a well-lit exit off ramp about a 100 feet away from when the tire blew with a wide area to safely park. By the time I got out of my car, walked around, and gasped at what I saw, someone had already pulled over and offered assistance, which I gladly accepted. The gentleman put the spare on and I was back on the road in 15 minutes! Amazing, huh?
The next day I took these pictures of my brand new tire. I think it's safe to say it was defective! The guy at Les Schwab said the technical term was "tire separation". I was hoping for something a little more onomatopoetic. :)
Good times, huh?
July 17, 2009
My serendipitous encounter with desert gypsies
Or, How I Became Acquainted With The Molehill Orkestrah from Tucson, Arizona.
It was just me and my camera out for a stroll. In the smoldering heat. I thought I may as well find a patch of grass in the park to sit and cool down. A band of musicians had gathered just past the first pond and looked as if they would begin playing soon. Ah. Grass+Entertainment=Perfection.
Having played the violin when I was a student, I was immediately intrigued by the presence of a violin and a cello player. When they began, I was delighted by the sound—a sort of a gypsy-inspired, New Orleans funeral march, dancing in peasant attire around a bonfire sort of sound. It is the sort of music that can evoke memory, stir the soul, kindle desire. Haunting and celebrating—all at once.
Later that evening, I heard them "plugged in" at the Where? House in Ashland, a new venue in the business park at 280 Hersey (#14). I had a wonderful time chatting with the cellist and picked up their CD, "Language of Bones," which I have been enjoying for the better part of today.
So without further ado, here are a few of the pictures I took of the Molehill Orkestrah as they played in Lithia Park yesterday evening.
July 10, 2009
Thursday night at The Park
On Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm during the summer, the Ashland City Band performs in the Lithia Park Band Shell, treating the audience to pop favorites, classical adaptations, and music by local composers.
Apparently there is a pre-show that begins at 6:40 pm, which explained why the grassy knoll was already chock full of already settled-in folks when I arrived just before the show began.
This picture is a little crooked because I was trying to discreetly lean over to avoid the head of the woman sitting in front of me and get a relatively unobstructed view of the stage and the band.
It was a warm night, but overcast. The clouds were dark and I wondered if a thunderstorm was in the works. So far, so good, and I was able to break out the long lens to get some closer-up shots of the band sections. They look like they're having fun, don't they?
I miss playing in an orchestra sometimes.
Well, sure enough, a dramatic cool breeze gusted through the park canyon and a few minutes later, it began to sprinkle. A few people left (obviously from out-of-state) but the tried and true Oregonians stuck it out, which really was the right move, because it was only a few sprinkles and could have actually been considered somewhat refreshing. A few people came prepared with jackets or sweatshirts, which I admit, I had thought about bringing when I walked out of the house and saw those menacing dark clouds.
But as quickly as it came, it left, and a patch of blue sky emerged from behind the forested hills.
All in all, it was a very pleasant outing. There was only one thing missing.
Happy Friday, everyone. Have a great weekend.
July 02, 2009
Tonight's Green Show: Ghanian Drumming and Dancing
Strolled down to The Bricks to see the Green Show tonight. It was an enthusiastic and even educational performance. Since I wandered in a few minutes late, it took me some time to find a decent vantage point from which to take pictures. But eventually I found a spot.
Here's a little video I took with my phone.
He played different kinds of drums.
And told some stories of how Ghanian music survived Spanish enslavement of Africans in Peru. This drum, for example, is reminiscent of instruments formed in spontaneity out of tables, chairs—whatever was around the house. In this way, music (and with it, traditions and cultural education) could carry on, even though certain instruments were banned from use.
After that, he flew away.
Just kidding. After that, he danced...
...and danced some more.
We thanked him and he thanked us and then the emcee told us to come back tomorrow night for an ensemble performance of the same style of Ghanian music tomorrow. (That is, Friday, July 3, 2009.) I just remembered I will be gone, which is sad, because I so would have liked to hear and see a little more of this delightful Ghanian music and dance.
On the way back, I stopped to listen to this violin duo playing in front of Earthly Goods (the entrance to which does have nice acoustics, I must agree).
I asked them what song they played and they told me and even showed me the music, but I've forgotten and even paged through 200 results at Sheet Music Plus to try and jog my poor little pea brain. Something with a B. And a E. (I think.) Anyway, they were very good. I quite enjoyed them.
Then, I continued walking down Main and passed by an alley, looking to avoid the large SUV approaching the sidewalk and what did I discover? The occupants of said vehicle knew my name! Indeed it was my friends from Beaverton, The Greenwoods, here in Ashland for the week. I was so lamenting not having time to connect with them this week and so what a treat it was to have a quick chat in the alley (until another car behind them came along, that is).