Wednesday, April 30, 2008

month end wrap-up

Wow! How can April be over already? I still have so much to accomplish this month.
Like train for the Mini Marathon and clean the house and work on the yard and lots of other stuff.

April 1-Dinner with my dear cousin Sarah and her beautiful family.

April 3- The first ever central Indiana Nonprofit Congress Town Hall meeting. I was thrilled be included in the planning committee and the event generated great energy in the community. You can watch a video recap here.

April 4- I went to Lafayette with my friend Mark to help him pour beer at a fundraiser. He works for a local beer distributor. I had a blast being at a fundraiser that I didn't have a big role in. I ran in to some old friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

April 5- Have a nice trip? I decided that I'm going to try not to drive at least one day a week, for several reasons - gas prices, carbon footprint, the need the exercise and I live within walking distance to everything I need. I was walking to work at the Red Key and fell harder than I ever have before, including the tragic roller blading incident of 1998. It was more like sidewalk surfing. I skidded to a stop on my wrists, knees and elbows. My iPhone flew out of my pocket hit the sidewalk and landed in a yard. My camera bounced off the street and the batteries went scattering in four directions. I caught my breath, dried my tears and walked back home to bandage up, change clothes and drive. I realized that my watch was gone. I found it in the yard of the house I'd fallen in front of. Ugggh.

April 7 & 8 -My nonprofit hero Robert Egger was in town. See our feet here.

April 10- The last Golden Gloves match of the season for me, my friend Kipp joined me. I can't believe how much I love the matches and being in the armory. 

April 13- Mr. Herr died. Thanks for everyone's kind words. It still does not seem real to me.

April 17- Woke up to an earthquake. It was kind of a fun way to start the day. I giggled and fell back asleep.

April 17 & 18- The Book and Author event.

April 25- Bad Influence Girl, Jerry and I went to see Justin Townes Earle.

April 26- Kim and Bill's wedding.

April 28- Mom treated Beth, Ron and me to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me's Peter Sagal. I can't wait wait to start his book. Great fun!

April 29- Second Helpings is 10 years old! Woo Hoo!

April 30- I was honored to be part of of the presidents roundtable for Indy Hub. I was a panelist for their discussion on volunteerism. The roundtable was held in the very cool, very historic Morris-Butler House.

Those were the highlights, there was plenty of work tucked in between.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I've meet a lot of cool people through blogging, some of them right in my town.

A friend passed along the post about my FFA jacket along to his friends, Kim and Bill. Bill works is the marketing director for the FFA National office, headquartered here in Indianapolis.

They introduced themselves at a house concert and said they'd read my blog. Which meant that I got all stammer-y and blush-y, while trying to remember exactly what I'd written. Kim and Bill are lovely and huge music fans and we immediatly hit it off.

I ran in to them at Soul Bus show a few weeks later and was totally surprised and thrilled to find an invitation to their wedding in my mailbox the next week.

Nora, Jeff Chapin and bride Kim

The wedding was wonderful. They had a great mix of friends, old and new and family. The ceremony and reception were held in Zionsville. We lived there until I was six years old and I have very fond memories of walking around the Village.

Soul Bus was the core band, but lots of other musicians joined them on stage, including the groom.


I was thrilled to be included. And it was all thanks to Chez Pez!

[and thanks to David for the introduction and the photographs]

in my next life...

...I'll be one of those women that never trips over her own feet, can apply flawless makeup, wear skinny jeans, pointy toe shoes, gets manicures, has a clean house, belongs to a book club, speaks French and has a fancy handbag. 

In the meantime I need to learn how to take care of my things. 

The new computer was delivered at work on Tuesday but I didn't take it home until Thursday. I worked late and had events on Tuesday and Wednesday and didn't get home until midnight each night. I knew if I brought the computer home I'd stay up even later goofing around. 

Thursday evening was great. I got home in time to mow the lawn for the first time this year --for the first time since it's been 'my house, my yard.'  The mower started up on the first pull and I finished five minutes before the rain began. I popped a bowl of popcorn and sat in my living room with the door open, lights off and candles lit. The house smelled great- rain, springtime, freshly cut grass and the scent of a candle that I bought in Ireland. I didn't turn on the television all night (even though the pull of Ugly Betty, The Office and Grey's Anatomy was pretty heavy). I sat in my grandpa's old rocker in the dark and wrote and rocked and thought and rocked and wrote and enjoyed being in my house. 

Around 11:00 I put my hand on the top of the computer to shut the lid and made a horrible discovery. I honestly thought I was going to faint. The beautiful smelling Belleck candle from Ireland candle had melted a spot on the top of the computer. 

I chided myself for being so careless and promised myself that I would take better care of my computer. I'd only had it home for six hours and it was already scarred. 

The next morning I was multi-tasking. Listening to morning radio, straightening my hair and emailing with Kristi about a guest comedian (I thought he sounded cute, she set me straight- something about a 'go funny' eye). Did I mention that I had the computer perched on the sink, just like I'd done hundreds of mornings with my old laptop? I walked away to let the cat in and heard a loud crash. 

A sick feeling washed over me. I ran to the bathroom and the MacBook was open, face down on the new tile floor. 

As you can see the computer survived, but I felt horrible. If there was a protective services division for Apple they would have taken the computer away, I'm just sure of it. 

So, from now on, the computer only gets opened on a table. No writing in bed or checking email on the ironing board or blogging in the hammock. 

And in my next life I'll have a home office. 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

nora being nora

I'm on a Facebook kick right now. 
I really got in to it when I was computerless. My iPhone has a Facebook application. All you have to do is touch the icon and updates about your friends pop right up. For instance I learned about Teresa's torn ACL there first. 

On Tuesday I typed in: "Nora is busy being Nora," and giggled wondering exactly what that meant. 

All too soon it became crystal clear. 

Our volunteer base is very diverse. It includes retired factory workers/farmers (my dad) and people doing court ordered community service. Throw in more retired people, a few high-school students doing school directed community service and folks with disabilities and you get quite a mix of humanity. 

J. is one of our perinnial court ordered community service guys. I first met him years ago when I worked at the downtown location of CATH coffeehouse. I'd let homeless folks stash their stuff behind the counter if they were out looking for jobs or a place to live, read my paper, use the phone and feed them juice and bananas. Can you imagine having to haul all your worldly possessions around in a trash bag while you're trying to straighten your life out? Anyway, J. was one of those guys. 

He's been trying to get organized enough to attend our job training class, but just can't quite get it together. J. came in smiling and telling anyone that would look at him, "I love Nora, she's so pretty, I can't believe she's single, blah, blah" 

He's good natured and very willing to help. And clearly has good taste. 

As the day went on his "I love Nora's" were getting even more inappropriate and louder. Around lunchtime it was pretty obvious that he was drunk. The director of volunteers asked me what to do and I said to clock him out and sign his papers. I wanted to try to get a meal in him before we tossed him out. Someone walked him out where he promptly laid down on in the parking lot and passed out. 

One of the volunteers told me he was out there. I went to try to talk to him. I very calmly explained that he needed to leave that he could not sleep in the parking lot and I was worried about him getting run over. He kept up with his "I love you's" and wanting to talk about baseball. I told J. that if he didn't get up I was going to have to call the police. 

I called the non-emergency number and they asked the usual questions: location, was I in danger, what was he wearing. I wanted to answer "duh" to the last question. All homeless men in Indianapolis seem to wear the same basic outfit. A plaid flannel shirt, dark pants, a truckers hat and black shoes. Then I realized that it also describes most of the musicians in town.

I went back out and stood next to J. to make sure he didn't get run over. He continued with his "I love you" chant. A policeman pulled up and parked across from us. As I was talking to him I saw a car coming from the other way out of the corner of my eye. The car was heading for J. I whipped around and jumped in front of the car and threw my arms out. It was another police car. The men got out laughing saying that they were not going to run over J. I told them that I was very protective of our volunteers and we all laughed. 

In the meantime J. had ramped up his litany of "I love Nora" from his spot, laying on the parking lot. The police asked me if I was Nora, and I detected that they were enjoying it just a little too much. Me, not so much. Here we were, three handsome men, me and J. They did comment that it was not often they were called to take care of something like this and the troublemaker was so nice to the person who called. 

I liked how they handled the situation. They made sure that J. didn't have any weapons and hung out until J. was sober enough that they could take him some where to get help. Taking him to jail would not have helped anything. The really sad thing is I think he'd been drinking mouth wash, and I hope he didn't get it at our place.

J. came back on Wednesday to get the stuff he'd left in the coatroom. He came in my office to tell me that I was one of the nicest people he'd ever met. I thanked him and told him that he was not welcome to come back. 

He left with an "I love you." 

I decided that that incident described "Nora being Nora" 

You just never know how the day will go. 


I have not had much of a chance to play with my new MacBook. I will also admit to not researching all of the features of the computer comes with.

I was a little freaked out to learn that it has a built in camera. This was the look on my face as I was looking at the photo icon.

Of course, I think it is great fun.

I'm going need lessons from Bella Rosa.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


All of my world collided, in a good way. I got to write about Second Helpings for NUVO's Green Guide.

Here is a link to the pdf for the guide. My piece is on page 25.

I like the contributing writers blurb they did for me.
I also like being called a contributing writer!

Nora Spitznogle
When she’s not busy writing for the Broad Ripple Gazette, or contributing music stories to NUVO, Nora Spitznogle works at Second Helpings, the city’s largest food rescue operation that not only averts tons of perishable food from landfills, it redistributes the food to those who might otherwise go hungry. Given its multilevel greenness, we asked her to share Second Helpings’ story and success with you.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

woo hoo!

It's here! In all of its sleek-just-out-of-the-box-glory.

I look pretty darn happy!*

Here are the two computers getting ready for the transfer of information. I think it involves magic.

Alas, the iBook had to break my heart one more time.
There is something terribly wrong with the disc drive. I tried to put the disc in and met some serious resistance. I tried a blank disc just in case. Good thing- it ripped through the disc. Ugggh. So, the new computer is set up and the old information is still on the iBook.

I do feel like I owe the iBook a bit of a send off. It was my first-ever new-to-me computer and my first laptop. It launched the Buzzing Around Town column for the Broad Ripple Gazette and started my freelance gigs for NUVO. The computer allowed me to do Second Helpings work at home and keep my life organized. I discovered social networking, blogging and the power of Google. I hauled that laptop all around the country and Ireland. Many nights I fell asleep with it at my side. It became a bit of a security blanket for me.

I’ve come a long way since I unboxed that computer over two years ago. For the first six months you could find me parked out side of the Newsstand or the Hostel at night, grabbing the wireless signal that wafted through the windows. I’ve become a better writer (practice, practice, practice) and a better photographer. I’ll remember the iBook fondly, just like my first record player, first car and my first apartment. But I can’t wait to explore the MacBook.

*Check out the Morrow Kennels red cup on my desk. And the beautiful housewarming butter dish gift from Susan near the blue paper. I have a bee collection on top of my monitor, the one on the edge made by me, with pipe cleaners. Over my bulletin board there are Polaroid snapshots of me with people in costume - a New York Apple, Boomer from the Pacers, Santa Otis and Santa Greg. On my bulletin board there is the clipping of Mr. Krudy's obituary and a photo of Mr. Herr. There is a 4-H sticker and a copy of the first piece I wrote for NUVO and a copy of the first check I got for writing. The yellow notebook paper is suggestions that my nonprofit hero, Robert Egger gave me for the next Tonic Ball.

Hows that for a little slice of my life?

Friday, April 18, 2008

books and authors and earthquakes

I woke up Thursday morning to the gentle shaking of an earthquake. It was not a bad way to wake up. I giggled and went back to sleep.

It was a long day, especially after the ER visit the night before and the little sleep I was running on. One of my favorite events of the year, the Book and Author reception was that evening. It was even better this year, since my sisters, dear sister-in-law and Mom were there.

Mom, Nora, Anna, Beth and Ann

I’m a member of the Christamore House Guild. The Guild does amazing things and is a huge financial supporter of the Christamore House. I never thought of myself as a Guild type of woman. Of course, I was not quite sure what a Guild did and I kind of thought you had to be blonde, be married and live in the suburbs. I was wrong, they welcomed with open arms the occasional dark haired, single urban dweller. I was hooked on Christamore House Guild when I first went to the Book and Author Benefit three years ago.

The first Book and Author luncheon was held 28 years ago and supports the Frances Carter Coburn Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund has provided over $850,000 to 550 students from the city’s Haughville neighborhood. My role in the Guild is to raise underwriting funds for the event.

This year’s authors were, Peter Carey, Hillary Jordan, Sue Miller, T.Jefferson Parker and Cokie Roberts. There was an author’s reception on Thursday evening. Cokie Roberts was not in town in time for this part of the benefit- the Guild was usurped by the Pope. The other four authors gave a little talk, mingled with the guests and signed books.

First time novelist Hillary Jordan has already won the Bellweather Prize for Mudbound. The award was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to recognize literature of social responsibility. Hillary was delightful and spoke about on the great work of the Christamore House. After hearing her speak, I went back for a second copy of her book. Don’t tell Mom about her Mother's Day gift.

Peter Carey has been called one of the greatest storytellers alive. His Illegal Self is his latest book and is set in New York in the 1960s. He is witty and charming. After hearing him speak I also purchased another copy of his book for a birthday gift.

Mom and Sue Miller

Sue Miller latest novel, The Senator’s Wife is based on several of her friends of friends who have taken an estranged spouse in during times of sickness. She is teaching at an MFA program in California. I asked is she was getting to do a lot of great reading. She said that some of her students still needed to hone their craft. She was very gracious about her student’s talent.

T. Jefferson Parker

T.Jefferson Parker writes about a modern Jesse James is his novel L.A.Outlaws. He lives in California and joked on Thursday night about loving the weather (it was 70 degrees that day) and the lack of earthquakes. He started his Friday speech thanking us “for making him feel at home with the nice gift basket and earthquake.”

The Friday luncheon was at the Indiana Roof. The event was a sell-out at 960 people. Vera Bradley gave each person an amazing book bag. It makes my canvas bags look a little plain. If you’ve ever been to an event at the Roof you know that they start the program with a faux thunderstorm complete with thunder and lightning. That just happened to coincide with the earthquake after-shock. It was very exciting!

Cokie Roberts signing Beth's book

Cokie Roberts spoke about her book, Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation. She talked about the women that helped shape our nation and the surreal experience of joining President and Mrs. Bush in greeting the Pope on the airport tarmac in New York earlier in the week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I've held it together remarkably well this week on my diet of lack of sleep, funerals, work and ER visits. I attended a swanky Guild reception this evening, I was a little bleary eyed, but pasted on a smile and kept moving.

I got home at 10:00 pm and realized that I had a full 9.5 hours before I had to leave again. The left time for 8 hours sleep and an 1.5 hours for an actual shower, starting laundry, looking at mail and checking messages.

I working on getting rid of my land-line telephone. I sent out notes in February letting people know I'd be using my cell phone exclusively after May 1. I have not given out the number for months. It was a hard decision, I've had that number for a dozen years and I'm pretty old school about those things. But the reality is that I hardly ever use the phone and often the phone is off the charger and out of juice- not doing me much good and costing $40 a month, the cost of DSL. And I'm not much comfortable talking on the phone. I'd much rather write notes.

Anyway, I hadn't checked the phone for a couple of days. I had one message, from Apple. They needed more information to complete my transaction. WTF! They called on Tuesday, the day I'd placed the order. And I know that I gave them my cell phone number.

I called them back and they said my address did not match my credit card billing address. We reviewed my street address, check. When we got to the city, I said "Indianapolis." She replied "You don't live in Fairground, Indiana?" Um, no. I live near the fairgrounds. I'd ordered the computer over the phone. When the person asked where I lived I had to spell Indianapolis for her. I-N-D-I-A-N-A-P-O-L-I-S. Indiana with a polis. Then she asked if it was in Indiana. Um, yes.

I have no idea where Fairground came from. I do love the State Fair and would mind living on the fair grounds. Other kids wanted to live in the candy store, not me. I wanted to live in the Home and Family Arts building.

Once it was all straightened out, she said my computer would ship on Monday (before it was scheduled to be delivered today). I was trying not to be mad at her, my logical side reminded me that she was not the one who made the mistake. The crabby side of me wanted to reach through the phone and choke her.

When she asked if she could do anything else to help, I ranted "can you help me with my column that is due, um today? Or my 5000 word cover story that is due on Thursday and I planned on working on all weekend?"

I wondered when I was going to have a good cry. I sobbed right through my laundry, mail and one hour of the sleeping time.

from earned runs to the emergency room

I only worked half of a day on Wednesday so I could go to the first afternoon Indianapolis Indians game of the season. I blithely said to a friend "baseball, sunshine, popcorn and a beer and everything will be okay." And it was for a few short hours.

My feet at Victory Field.

The Indians day games are always a blast. Our seats are great, close to first base and right in front of the opposing teams pitcher warm up spot. The ball park is beautiful and the weather was gorgeous.

JR, Dad and several Second Helpings volunteers were there. I got there after the game started and my brother let me "buy in" to the little, um game they were playing. I won $20 in the first two minutes I was there. And the next time the um, tokens came to me I won again.

I decided to take my money and run (actually I sent the beer guy down with some pre-paid beers). I talked my way through security and up to the media suite. My friend Bruce Schumaker is the PA announcer. He has the best seat in the house!

The game went in in to extra innings, and the Indians lost in a heart breaker. Overall the Tribe looks great- 11 wins and only 3 losses.

Our group walked over to Friday's to wait out the traffic. I sent sister Annie a text asking what she was doing that evening. She's in town, from Phoenix, for Mr. Herr's funeral. She was at MedCheck with extremely high blood pressure. They sent her right to St. Vincent Hospital. The ultimate story is that she is okay...except for the high blood pressure stuff.

It was scary, but she flew through everything, including a lumbar puncture like a champ. I'm typically not squeamish- blood and guts don't bother me unless it my little sister. I had to step out of the room for the blood tests and lumbar puncture.

The ER staff did a great job with her care and eight hours later I was tucking her in to bed at Mom's house. I'll gladly skip baseball games forever to have Annie healthy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more mr. herr

The calling at the funeral home was yesterday. It was a true testament to him and his family. I'm a bad judge of numbers, but there was a line out the door from 3:00 and the last people left around 9:00. I'm not sure how Mrs. Herr and the kids kept it together.

Mixed in with all of the sadness was the amazing sense of family and community that surrounds the Herr family. I think I saw everyone that I ever knew in Boone County and a lot that I didn't. I heard some great Mr. Herr stories, everything from pouring concrete to planting corn. I learned for the first time that he was a high-school basketball hero, big stuff in rural Indiana. I knew that he was faithful in attending the high-school games, but didn't know about his last-second-buzzer-beater shot against Lebanon rivals Frankfort (the mighty Hotdogs). There was a newspaper clipping headlined "A Whammy for Sammy" detailing the event. Apparently the shot was hotly contested and caused the time keeper to retire his post.

The grandchildren put together photoboards and Mary Beth made an amazing slide show of photographs.

As with almost everything I took my camera.

Fellow blogger and Herr neighbor Jerry. Read his amazing post about Mr. Herr here.

My brother J.R. and Mr. Wiley. Jerry's father is an amazing man and some of Jerry's best blog fodder.

Ben, son of Ann, grandson of Mr. Herr and godchild of Nora.

The June Bug lost a tooth!

Mary Beth's husband Fred's family came from Chicago. I was thrilled to meet more of the Brandstrader's. They are lovely and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

We stopped for an spur of the moment bite to eat and beer on the way home. It was good to swap childhood stories and get to chat with the Brandstrader cousins some more.

As you can see, we were chatting too much to stand still for a proper photograph.

MB, JR, Beth, Dave, Ann and Nora.

Today was more teary for me than yesterday. Great notes and donations are arriving to Second Helpings in Mr. Herr's name, including one that made gasp (thanks Maureen).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a new day

Ordered andshould be here by Friday.
Happy days are here again.

I accepted six writing gigs from NUVO, all due between now and May 7 to help pay for it.

Holy crap! I accepted six writing gigs.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

mr. herr

Mr. Herr died today.

Even after knowing him for 40 years and spending more time at their house than I did anywhere but my own, I still think of him as Mr. Herr.

Thinking of him as Mr. Herr does not mean that our relationship was formal. It is what kids who grew up in the 1960s did. My younger siblings can say Sam and Fran (Mrs. Herr), but I cannot. Too late to teach this kid new tricks.

Family folklore says that after church one day I asked my mom if Ann Herr could come over. Mom said that she'd would need to meet Ann's parents and discuss it with them. The introductions were made made and permission was granted. Ann was no where to be found. She was so sure of how it would turn out that she was sitting in the backseat of our car, waiting to get the show on the road! She was right, it turned in to a lifelong friendship for both of our families.

I was always in awe of Mr. Herr. As a shy runny-nosed kid he made me feel really special. He could look at me at the dinner table and I'd start laughing so hard that tears would run down my face and I'd have to retreat to the other room to catch my breath. He could turn me upside down and I would scream and giggle knowing that I was in good, strong hands that would not let me fall.

I would follow my fearless best-friend Ann up the ladder to the haymow and Mr. Herr would have to come and rescue me. I remember sitting up in a corner, adamant that I was not coming down until Mr. Herr got there. He scooped me up and carried me down with a wink and a smile. He never made me feel bad and his teasing was always gentle and with love.

Mr. Herr was always interested in what was happening in my life, whether it was a ribbon at the county fair or my job. I think he was as excited about my promotion at Second Helpings as I was. He was nice to all of my boyfriends and had the grace not to mention them when they were gone.

I always knew in my heart that if something happened to my dad, Mr. Herr is the one I would have wanted to walk me down the aisle. That changed slightly when Ann got married. It turned out that Mr. Herr was a little nervous. As a bridesmaid I was sitting directly in front of him. He chattered the whole time. I don't think we'd ever exchanged as many words as we did during that ceremony. He reminded me of the haymow incident, of how Annie and I loved to read, how we'd been 5th grade cheerleaders and had slumber parties. When I came back from Communion I sat on my bouquet. That sent Mr. Herr in to another round of chattering, he wanted to know if I realized that I'd squished the, yes and so does everyone else in the church now. He asked about the flowers again, I leaned back and told him I thought the marriage would still be valid that if the flowers were crushed.

I had the privilege of being at the Herr farm today, looking a photographs with three of the grandchildren (one is my godchild) while the Mrs. Herr and the kids were at the funeral home. One thing that really struck me was that if it was an indoor picture Mr. Herr was on the floor playing with a child and if it was an outdoor photograph he was standing in a field next to a piece of farm equipment. Not a bad way to live.

When Ann called me this morning to tell me that her father died in his sleep I felt like we were suddenly grownup. I called my family and did the only thing I could think of. I drove to Ann's with a vanilla coke and one of our favorite Nancy Drew books.

Rest in peace Mr. Herr, Independence Day will not be the same with out you.

To read the obituary click here: Sam Herr
Other Mr. Herr posts:
July 4 2007

Christmas 2007

Jerry lives right down the road from the Herr's. Mr. Wiley and Mr. Herr farmed together for years.

Dad and Mr. Herr, July 7, 2007

Mr. Herr watching the grandchildren on July 4, 2007

I love this photograph, even though it is a little dark. Over Mr. Herr's shoulder you can see the railroad track and corn field. As a child I thought that the sound of the train going by their house was the most romantic, call of the west thing I could imagine.

Friday, April 11, 2008

broad ripple gazette, vol 5. no 8

I meant to publish on Queen Bee Music site. It is my latest column from the Broad Ripple Gazette. I really need to get back to blogging. I realized that I wrote stuff in the column that is pretty personal - I need the Chez Pez outlet.

I am alive and fairly well. I'm working a ton, but neither my computer or home Internet access is. I haven't been home enough to schedule an appointment with the DSL folks and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head (and wallet) around a $1500 computer.

Buzzing Around Town with Nora first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

I didn’t see any music in the last two weeks. I worked extra shifts at the Red Key and my beloved Apple iBook is on the fritz and it has thrown my little world on tilt. So much so that I forgot to go see Kriss Luckett and Greg Ziesemer play. It is very bad form to reserve space at a house concert and not attend. Sorry Greg and Kriss, I owe you one.

Russel Settle’s Red Key Anniversary Party
April 2, 2008

Since I don’t have any music to talk about, wanna hear about my bartending shift? Russell has owned the Red Key for 57 years -- since 1951. How amazing is that? Anniversary day always turns in to a reunion. The mirrors were lined with photographs from previous anniversaries. I swear Russel looks as same as he did on the 32nd anniversary, I think he might have been wearing the same vest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it- it is my honor to work at the Red Key.

Second Friday, Second Helpings
Friday, April 11, 9 pm, 21+
The Upper Room (above the Broad Ripple Steak House)
929 E. Westfield Blvd

The second edition of Second Friday, Second Helpings will feature Chad Mills, Matt Martin and a yet to be confirmed guest. The three musicians will be playing in the round, trading songs. This will be the first time I’ve heard Matt and I’m looking forward to it.

We all know how I feel about Chad Mills. He’s an amazing songwriter and singer. I often have his songs stuck in my head (in a good way). His shows are always high-energy and fun.

The show benefits Second Helpings, so bring cash and/or rice and pasta. Last month we collected 50 pounds of rice and pasta and almost $50. Every little bit helps. Second Helpings has two refrigerated box trucks and six vans on the road picking up thousands of pounds of rescued food and delivering 2900 hot meals to fifty other social service agencies every day. I don’t need to tell you how the high gas prices affect the agency. Second Helpings is on track to spend over $25,000 in gas this year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Open Mic Night at The Whammy Bar
Music Mill, 8 pm, 21+
3720 E. 82nd Street

The Whammy Bar has to be the best name for a bar inside of a music venue, ever. I actually clapped when I read the name. Well done! A whammy bar (or tremolo arm) is the lever-like attachment that you see near the tailpiece of some electric guitars. They allow the guitar player to vary the tension on the strings and temporally change the pitch to create a vibrato effect. My favorite style is the Bigsby, favored by Chet Atkins and surf rock players. Clearly at one point in my life I spend way too much time learning this stuff trying to impress a certain guitar player. Anyway, on to the preview….

Chad Mills will be hosting an open mic night at the bar starting Tuesday, April 15. From the calendar listing it looks like it will be held every Tuesday night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Via Audio
Grampall Jookabox
Locals Only, $8 (presale) $10 (door), 8:30, 21+

The pop band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is from Springfield, MO. SSLYBY became a word-of-mouth favorite and soon went from playing libraries to headlining a European tour.

The Boston based Via Audio have been playing together since 2003 and have caught the ear of the band members of Death Cab for Cutie and Spoon.

Grampall Jookabox has been described as Jungle Folk. Think experimental meets Americana.

You can buy advance tickets at

Friday, April 18, 2008
Punkin Holler Boys
Gary Wasson + Cara Jean Wahlers
Melody Inn, 7:30 – 9:30, $4, 21 +
3826 N Illinois St

Hillbilly Happy Hour happens every Friday and it has been way too long since I’ve been there. The Punkin Holler Boys are a staple at HHH will their good time old-fashioned folk bluegrassy fun. A toe tapping good time is guaranteed.

Gary Wasson and Cara Jean Wahlers as so new as a duo that they have not settled on a name yet. Don’t let that scare you, they have been playing together in various groups and back porch practice sessions that you can tell they have great chemistry. You can expect original songs and a fun dose of quirky covers. They will be playing in between the Punkin Holler Boys sets.

Friday, April 25, 2008
Hayes Carll
Sam’s Saloon, 9 pm, $10, 21+
1640 East Prospect Street (Fountain Square)

I have a bordering-on-stalkerish crush on the music of Hayes Carll. I saw him open for Robert Earl Keen last year and was blown away. I purchased his Little Rock CD and listen to it at least once a day (I guess in addition to my stalking tendencies I’m a little obsessive). I was so excited when I read on My Old Kentucky Blog that Hayes was coming to town that I bugged Scott Shogar, the music editor of NUVO to let me write a preview. I wrote to Hayes publicist who mailed me the not-yet-released album Trouble In Mind, which I adore just as much as I did Little Rock.

I can’t tell you how cool it was to get the CD in a marked “advanced copy.” Of course when it came time to actually form the questions to ask Hayes I had major writers block. I’m so glad that I opted to send him questions instead of a phone interview.

Anyway, the point of this rambling is: Go to the show, you won’t be disappointed. Seriously, pinky swear.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

computer update *sniff*

I shouldn't have been so harsh on the computer repair guy. He went above and beyond for me and at half the cost. My frustration was with the time it was taking. To be fair, I'm horribly impatient. 

The bottom line is that there is something wrong with the logic board. The computer burned through two new air port (wireless) cards within hours of being installed. In my computer the wireless and Bluetooth cards are combined. The computer is recognizing the Bluetooth (which I don't use) but not the air port. The repair would cost more than my beloved iBook is worth. 

I can still plug in to a data line (which is how I'll transmit this post at the newsstand). The problems are that I cannot connect at home. I have the house set up for wireless for both sides and include it as part of benefits to my tenant (how modern am I?). Right now the router is on the other side of the house. I can move it my my side (that is already in the works) and plug in. But I do an awful lot of writing sitting on my sofa, laying in bed and in the backyard. It is helpful to have Internet access when I'm writing for fact checking names, dates, Web addresses and goofing around on other blogs. 

So, unless I get an awfully long cord, I'm out of luck. 

These weeks with out a computer have made me realize how much work I do at home. Not only the music writing but for Second Helpings and my volunteer commitments. You would think that with no computer at home that my house would be sparking and that I was exercising and writing letters. Nope. The house is a minefield of piles of books, newspapers, shoes, CDs and Twizzler wrappers. I'm wildly behind on a feature story that I'm writing for NUVO and I haven't been to Blog Church in a month. 

I'm computer shopping. I'm sure I'll get another Apple laptop. I'll made enough money at NUVO this year to justify buying a one. I just need to wrap my head around it emotionally. The iBook was a good computer for me and got me on the road to writing. I guess it is like a new car or a first love, I'll always remember it fondly.