Tag Archives: Arts

Uncle Garry and the Heartbreakers

In August, I wrote a blog post about my Uncle Garry.  I am thinking of him with love tonight and want to repost this again today.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This summer, we went to see my Uncle Garry play in his band at the Broadalbin Hotel in Broad Albin by Sacandaga Lake.  He plays every Sunday.  The audience was a bit older than we were, but that didn’t stop one spry fellow to demonstrate his dancing prowess by throwing (literally) his dance partners during the square dance routine.  I am admittedly not versed in the art of square dancing, but up until that night I was not aware that there was a move that required the female partner to become airborne.  After a mild injury and an angry wife’s wrath (who was not the woman he was throwing up in the air) the fellow was persuaded to conclude this activity.  It was a HOOT.

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We had such a good time at this event!   My uncle has played guitar his whole life, yet as I sat there, I couldn’t remember ever hearing him play.  It was so nice just to watch him.  About six songs into the set, Uncle Garry started to sing.  Sing!  All of the ladies got really quiet and started “shushing” people so they could listen.  All at once I could see why.  Uncle Garry has got a set of pipes on him.  Dang, that boy can sing.  How had I missed this for so long!? 

Take a listen.  I am no videographer (obviously) so I apologize for the terrible quality.  

It is only a matter of time before Jay Leno sees this. 

What I loved about the evening is seeing a side of my Uncle that I could appreciate as an adult.  I love this guy and I am so glad to see him doing something that he loves so much and is so darned good at. 

To some he may just be an average Joe, but to many he is a celebrity in the Adirondacks

But more importantly, he is my uncle, who I love very much.  I am thinking of him tonight with love and prayers.

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Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Our own radio show!

On the day of the recording, we meet in class and break into our respective groups.  We are preparing for our radio show where we are to vet out the pros and cons of a Viagra – type drug for women.  My group is a group of four and is much more manageable in size and in personality than the previously larger one.  As we discuss our game plan, I find myself wondering if we have the maturity level to pull this off.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is something about the subject of sex that makes people a lot more giggly.  We notice that our classmates have become quite quiet as they eavesdrop on our racy conversation.

When it is our turn, we head down to the impressive radio studio in our communications building.  It was so much fun to put on headphones and sit in front of the microphones.  It was very Howard Stern-ish.  Especially considering our discussion topic.   

The head of the communications department was in the radio control room running the show.   We are in another sound proof room sitting at a round table; each at our own respective microphone.  We can see the control room through a large window.

As we move through our discussion we get cues from the professor in the radio room.  In our headphones we hear him tell us things like, “Mic 3, wrap it up” or “Mic 2, get ready to moderate”  which we are clearly not used to because when he does this we stop talking completely right in the middle of the radio show.  With this type of flow our chatty group is suddenly very concise and on task.  Perhaps we need to adapt this type of process when we are having group discussion in class.  It gives me a smile to think of my professor saying, “Ok wrap it up.”

It didn’t take long for us to find our grove and everyone (except me) seemed relaxed.  The conversation was natural and often funny. 

I do not embarrass easily.  This is because I am a klutz by nature and anyone who lacks grace gets used to the sensation of feeling foolish.  However, my cheeks were on fire for the entire 30 minutes of this conversation. 

That really didn’t matter though.  What a rush!  It was so much fun.  I can see how people do this for a living.

This is really what the college experience is all about for me. It is the dread of being forced out of my comfort zone only to then to feel elation for conquering a new challenge when I have completed it.  That was a good day.

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Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind, No Adult Left Behind

I am FREAKING OUT

The first couple of days of school are so overwhelming.  This is when you review the syllabus, which is just a guideline of what is going to happen in the class.  It gives you a layout of when things are due.  Because you are seeing it all at once, you start to get overwhelmed.  You start thinking, “Oh my goodness, I can’t do this.  I should run out of here right now”.  “What have I gotten myself into?” Or some such thoughts. 

And that is exactly what I am going through at this moment. 

It isn’t the volume of work that is intimidating me, I’ll get it all done.  I am in a panic about the nature of the work.  The one that is bothering me the most is a Journalism class.  As I confessed on my very first blog in February – I’d like to be a writer, but I am really not.  My writing is so woefully imperfect.  If you have been reading along, then you know it too.  I am writing this blog to entertain – mostly myself. 

So yes, I am freaking out.  Add to it my feeling for  journalism, which isn’t always positive.  I don’t need a crystal ball to know how this is going to turn out.

Hey, at least we’ll have some laughs as I make what will undoubtedly be an embarrassing attempt to become a “journalist” a semester.

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Uncle Garry and The Heartbreakers

On the first full day of Brit’s visit we went to see my Uncle Garry play in his band at the Broadalbin Hotel in Broad Albin by Sacandaga Lake.  He plays every Sunday.  The audience was a bit older than we were, but that didn’t stop one spry fellow to demonstrate his dancing prowess by throwing (literally) his dance partners during the square dance routine.  I am admittedly not versed in the art of square dancing, but up until that night I was not aware that there was a move that required the female partner to become airborne.  After a mild injury and an angry wife’s wrath (who was not the woman he was throwing up in the air) the fellow was persuaded to conclude this activity.  It was a HOOT.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had such a good time at this event!   My uncle has played guitar his whole life, yet as I sat there, I couldn’t remember ever hearing him play.  It was so nice just to watch him.  About six songs into the set, Uncle Garry started to sing.  Sing!  All of the ladies got really quiet and started “shushing” people so they could listen.  All at once I could see why.  Uncle Garry has got a set of pipes on him.  Dang, that boy can sing.  How had I missed this for so long!? 

Take a listen.  I am no videographer (obviously) so I apologize for the terrible quality.  

It is only a matter of time before Jay Leno sees this. 

What I loved about the evening is seeing a side of my Uncle that I could appreciate as an adult.  I love this guy and I am so glad to see him doing something that he loves so much and is so darned good at. 

To some he may just be an average Joe, but to many he is a celebrity in the Adirondacks.

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Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Musings of the handicapped

I have allowed myself become handicapped by technology.  Let me explain.

I needed to get some writing done the other day and my family wanted to go to the beach.  Perfect!  I always feel inspired at the beach.

I just don’t think it is an ideal place for a laptop – especially not with a six-year-old. 

There are very few material things I value: the charms on my necklace, my wedding rings, an alligator picture my son made, and my laptop.

 

It is not expensive or fancy; it just gives me the freedom and the capacity to do lots of stuff wherever I go.

So I take my pen and a pad to the beach.

Revolutionary.

‘Cept I am not used to writing – with a pen anymore.  I type a lot more quickly than it takes me to write something.   By the time I write something out long hand, I have forgotten half of it.  I even type my shopping list.

So I am writing to this to you now on a pad on a dock with the intention to type it out later.  The paper is a mess. 

I miss my backspace key, but I think the trade-off is well worth it. 

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The War Photographer

Cover of "War Photographer"

Cover of War Photographer

It has been one week precisely since I have met with my Media Ethics class. It has taken me this long to even try to grapple with how I feel about our last class. Tonight we will have to discuss it so I figure I’d try to sort it out here.

Last week we watched the documentary, The War Photographer. I feel like I am a changed person. I am not sure it is in a good way.

The movie tells the story of James Nachtwey who is a professional war photographer. To say that the movie is shocking would be a profound understatement. The video was told of his life experiences as a war photographer through his own interview, interviews of those closest to him, live video footage and the still photography that he took. It starts out showing fairly benign interviews and then switches over to violent video footage without warning. It toggles back and forth like this throughout the entire movie. Thus, you are not prepared for the extreme violence when it is shown.

This is a form of violence I had not allowed myself to be exposed to before. I do not like violent movies or violence on the history channel – I pretty much shelter myself from it.

At the point that a man was bludgeoned to death by an angry mob on the street and his head was cut off with a dull knife I had to excuse myself. I had to run to the bathroom to vomit. Seriously. I threw up.

I walked around the halls of the school building for several long minutes before I could muster up the courage to go back to class. I stared at the wall for most of the remainder of the class period. When the movie was over, I was first out the door. I did not even say good-bye to my friends in the class. When I got to my car, I locked myself in and lost it. I cried so hard the entire way home. I slept with the TV on for the first two nights after class so that the laugh track on the nocturnal sit com re-runs would somehow ward away the images that I couldn’t seem to repress from my mind. They are there each time I close my eyes. I can’t suppress them.

I am intensely grateful for the job James Nachtwey does. He brings to us images of war that may not reconcile with what our media would have otherwise presented to us. It forces us to think about global issues differently. I admire this man. He is a man of such pure honesty and respect. The people he photographs willingly allow themselves to be photographed by him.

I was sickened after this movie and a bit irate. My rage was not focused. I was disgusted that these images were permanently imbedded in my mind; I was disgusted that these atrocities occur at the hands of my partners in the human race but I was also disgusted in myself.

I am an adult who is seeking a higher education about life, the world and my place in it, yet I cannot bear to watch this. How immature is that?

My good friend in class is from Sudan. She sat next to me during the film. I couldn’t bear to look at her. I was ashamed of how childlike my behavior was. What gave me the right to be upset by a MOVIE? She lives in a country in crisis. I felt like a spoiled American with a full belly, a bottle of fresh water and a banana in my backpack with a Starbucks coffee in my hand.

We are going to have to discuss this tonight in class.

I don’t really want to talk about it.

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Garage to Glory part II

I have been so wrapped up in things in my personal life (a sick child, the desperado plunge in the local elementary school, living outside of the law.. just to name a few) that I never did follow-up about my experience with Garage to Glory.

Last Friday, The Times Union and The College of Saint Rose collaborated to put together a contest and a live show.  The intention is to inspire local musical talent to take part in a competition where the winner will receive a free music video and a music CD that will be produced by The College of Saint Rose. 

As you may know, I am taking a Video Class at the college and participating in the production of this show satisfies a class requirement for our grade.  If you have followed along, then you know that this class is not a traditional class.  Which is awesome for me.  I am not a traditional student.  Fits like a glove.  In the TV studio we learn more just doing it than we would reading a text. 

There were two classes that would make up the “crew” for this live show.  Our professor, who has a ton of previous experience in television, is our supervisor.  He never acts like a supervisor in the way that I am used to.  He is tough, but he really gives us space to make our own mistakes and learn on our own.  We had run through a series of practices to set up and break down the equipment prior to the night of the show.  We did all the troubleshooting the week before the class. 

There was so much to do and so many wires.  You could get dizzy thinking about it all.  My professor was so clever in the way that he assigned our roles.   He made sure we could do it.  Each of us had a very defined role.  We did not deviate.  We did exactly what we were told and we stayed at our post until we were relieved. 

We were all so nervous that we were like a bunch of grasshoppers confined to a mayonnaise jar.  I couldn’t understand why our professor wasn’t nervous.  When I asked him he said this:  “I covered 9/11.  This is child’s play.”

He sure is right about that.

Now, if you watched the show you probably noticed it wasn’t as smooth as a live version of American Idol.  However, I thought we did a good job.

I was amazed at my professor’s composure; I was impressed with Dan Fogerty’s ability to host the entire show after being asked to do so at the very last minute and I was impressed with Dana’s ability to interview the musicians on the fly.  But what I really loved was the way that everyone really took their jobs so seriously and how we worked so well together.  It was great fun and I was proud to be a part of it. 

Sadly, I didn’t get to hear a lick of the music that was being played.  We all had headphones on – so we could only hear ourselves speaking to each other.  We didn’t want to miss a cue.  However, I send hearty congratulations to the winner “Try Sarah Topps”.  I look forward to working with these guys in the future when we shoot their music video.

Let’s hope that Garage to Glory becomes an annual event!

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