Moon Dog Ball

A couple Saturdays ago I attended the Moon Dog Ball. I had befriended the neighbors next door to the friend whom I had been staying with and I managed to get an invitation to have drinks before the Moon Dog Ball. As you might infer from the name of the event, its intent was to raise funds for Four Paws animal rescue. The neighbor informed me that she had just bought a new party dress just for the occasion. If the event was to involve women in party dresses and there would be alcohol (rather unusual here in Mormon Counry), I was in.

I convinced my friend whose house I had just moved to that she too should come. She donned a fantabulous green long dress she had tailor-made in China. This was not a date, as she has a husband, who currently lives elsewhere. Unlike when I moved to a new city to become a professor, Green Dress has actually seen her spouse several times since moving and actually talks to him regularly. Her eyes light up when her phone plays his ring tone.

We had a great time at the pre-party with the neighbors. I was pleased to feel like an almost local and to have gotten my new housemate invited to a real party with people not affiliated with the university. Not bad for having been in town for less than two weeks.

As I contemplate actually living here in Logan, I find myself working again on my make-friends skills. This is a bit different from the talk-to-people-in-bars-and-campground skills that I have been refining since June of 2011. I have gotten pretty good at making single serving friends, but that did not require asking people for personal information–email addresses, phone numbers, or, really, even their names.

When I moved to Knoxville without the woman I was married to, I found myself, for the first time in years, responsible for making friends. (For a number of reasons, that responsibility had been the domain of said woman.) Sometime my first month there I had managed to get a party invitation where I met a couple of women whom I apparently told about my desire to meet people and have friends in Knoxville; one said “Oh, don’t worry, in a year or so you’ll have tons of friends!” The other concurred. I said that a year and a half was an unacceptable length of time to wait to have friends. I asked them both for their contact information. A decade later, we are still friends.

I once met someone at some large public event. She was enamored of Thor and invited me to a party that she and her husband were having. I wrote down the date and address. A month or later, I showed up for the party. Upon arrival, I sought out the hostess to say hello. “Uh, nice to meet you,” she said, clearly confused about just why I was at her party. I reminded her of the evening and Thor. “Oh! Wow. You really came.” It was a great party. Her husband had an awesome grill that held a whole pig.

There was also a huge bonfire. I share these two pictures mostly to show off that I can still find photographs from October 25, 2003.

It is time to hone those friend-making skills again, and it seems that I am not off to a bad start. After some delicious hors d’oeuvres with the neighbors, we caravanned to the Moon Dog Ball.

The Ball was at the Country Club, one that serves actual drinks. It was with some reluctance that I ordered drinks from the country club bar. Who knew how outrageously they would be priced? Green Dress too, having lived recently in L.A. and Philadelphia, was not sure about paying for drinks at the country club. She suggested that though her first drink was quite delicious that she could make good drinks at home. I threw caution to the wind and bought her another. Over the several hours we were there, we had between us several cocktails and a couple beers. The total, with a respectable tip, was under twenty bucks, about half what I might have expected. It may be hard to find alcohol in Logan, but when you do, it is reasonably priced.

There was a silent auction, in which I purchased a really cool gift for a family member. I would love to show it here, but it might ruin the surprise. Green Dress bought a mushroom tour with a local mycologist. We me the couple who had not yet redeemed the same prize from the previous year and made plans to perhaps take the trip together in the spring. There was a decent jazz band, and a rather bizarre and slightly-too-long performance by a local belly-dancing troop. One might imagine that Logan offers few opportunities for belly dancing performances.

As we were touring the offerings for the silent auction, I was stopped by a pair of women who said “Your wife’s dress is so beautiful.” I explained that she was someone else’s wife and endeavored to engage them in conversation. Their interest was in the dress. The theme of people being interested in the beautiful dress and disinterested in me was one that continued throughout the evening.

We did meet a woman in a striking red dress who is a language coach who teaches actors how to take on various accents. She was pretty fascinating and her husband was interesting too. They give me hope that one day I will have some cool friends here in Logan. I neglected to secure their names or contact information. I will need to work harder at those skills.

All in all, it was a good night. Here we are leaving the Ball.

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Moving In, Moving Out

Sometime in the mid-90s when I was in grad school but before I and the woman I was married to bought a house, we had a friend’s son, a recent college graduate, come to stay with us for a while. We pointed him to a room and said he could stay there. When we looked into his room a short time later we were amazed at the transformation. I had forgotten that college kids are adept at quickly making a small place their own. I then recalled my own college days, when I drove Bessie, a 1972 Volkswagen bus (an older version of Walden, without the camping setup). With Bessie, I could transport a dorm room full of stuff. I even had a dresser that fit neatly in the back, once I had moved it into my new space, I was already unpacked.

Traveling in Walden, I try not to carry much that will not fit in Walden’s cabinets; the amount of stuff I carry in Walden is much less than the complement I carried in Bessie for a move to college or Camp. Now, even when I “move in” to a place for a week or more, I try to keep my impact on the environment minimal. I like to be able to move in and out in a minimum of time. When I was in Florida I got a little out of hand; somehow I ended up there with four guitars, three of them full-sized dreadnoughts. Before heading to Logan, I stashed a couple of guitars back in Birmingham.

For my first ten days in Logan, Utah, I had with an old friend from grad school (she and her husband were out of town for a week of that stay). This was long enough for me to unload a full complement of stuff. This includes, but is not limited to, a small desktop computer (set up as a music server) PA speakers, a guitar, clothes, two (or three) laptops, extraneous electronic gadgetry, a pair of gymnastics rings, and a 35 pound kettle bell (a pound short of a pood). It was time to make a move to another friend’s house, I realized that it was 9AM and that I had a meeting at 10:00. It was time to see if I could really make a full getaway in under an hour.

I almost made it. I forgot the rings and kettle bell, but other than that I pretty much collected all of my gear in under and hour. Here is everything staged to load into Walden.

Probably the most absurd thing that I consider “essential” are the huge speakers (my beloved K8s) and a duffel bag of cables, mics, and Mackie 802-VLZ3 mixer. More absurd is that under the back seat I also carry another small PA system (a Fishman SA220) that is sufficient for playing a small bar or good-sized coffee house. I have almost never used it, but am attached to the idea that at any minute I might need amplification for a guitar and mic. Plus, it fits so well under the seat.

Speaking of absurd, one of the things in the blue bag is a label maker. I have wanted it several times in the past six months and decided that it would make this leg of the trip. I have used it a few times and I am happy for it. For example, since I have two Acer laptops, I have two almost-matching power supplies. One is slightly smaller and is the one that I try to keep in my bag. The other stays at the house. Thanks to the label maker, I am now able to enforce this policy more easily.

My electronics bag is pretty well set up. It contains a Western Digital My Book, a 3TB hard drive that has an Ethernet port on it. I can plug this in to a router at my host’s domicile and have a little file server. The electronics bag also contains a couple portable hard drives, remote shutter release for my camera, my Squeezebox Touch (soon to get its own description in the Stuff I Love series), a spare memory card reader, plus miscellaneous cables and such. It might also contain my “big” laptop, that I bought in Portland when its predecessor’s screen was broken.

If you do not have one of those big Ikea bags made out of blue tarp material, you should consider picking one up if you find yourself in the Walmart of Sweden. The thing rolls up small, is strong, and holds lots of stuff. When making a quick trip into a house or motel, I can throw almost everything I need in and be on my way. On this particular day, it contains a small computer a set of sheets, random clothing that did not get packed in its appropriate place and I don’t know what all. On a good day I can put the hanging stuff on top of it and have it held in place by the handles, but it was too full for that. The shirts and jacket had to be toted on their own.

For the next move, I will endeavor to minimize the amount of random stuff in the Big Blue Bag.

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Stuff I love: QSC K8s (PA Speakers)