- 3/1 Concert flashback #199: The Killer B’s (Jim Boggia, Tracy Bonham and Bleu) at Jammin’ Java in 2011.
- 3/2 Concert flashback #200: Mark Olson & Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) at Rams Head in 2005.
- 3/3 Concert flashback #201: Brian May at Hammerjacks in 1993.
- 3/4 Concert flashback #202: 4 Way Street at Iota in 2004.
- 3/5 Concert flashback #203: Extreme at Hammerjacks in 1995.
- 3/8 Concert flashback #204: Quitter UK at TT Reynolds in 2003.
- 3/9 Concert flashback #205: Queen + Paul Rodgers at MCI Center in 2006.
- 3/10 Concert flashback #206: Fleetwood Mac at Verizon Center in 2009. Hard choice as I also saw them there in March of 2019 – no Christine or no Lindsey? But obviously, Lindsey.
- 3/11 Concert flashback #207: Rush at Richmond Coliseum in 1992. Last time I saw them during college. Primus opened.
- 3/12 Concert flashback #208: I’m With Her (Sara Watkins/Sarah Jarosz/Aoife O’Donovan) at the 9:30 Club in 2018.
- 3/15 Concert flashback #209: Sting & Paul Simon at Verizon Center in 2014.
- 3/16 Concert flashback #210: Furthur at Patriot Center in 2011.
- 3/17 Concert flashback #211: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic at Strathmore in 2018.
- 3/18 Concert flashback #212: Eddie From Ohio at Borders DC in 2003. A short show, so also adding in short sets from Gary Cherone (Extreme) at Sky Bar in 2006 & Pearl Jam at Saturday Night Live in 2010.
- 3/19 Concert flashback #213: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at US Air Arena in 1995. I went both nights (didn’t want to miss any Zep), slightly better performance second night.
- 3/22 Concert flashback #214: Experience Hendrix with Billy Cox, Dweezil Zappa, Chris Layton, Eric Johnson, Jonny Lang, Dave Mustaine, Mato Nanji, Taj Mahal, Joe Satriani, Doug Pinnick & Kenny Aronoff at Warner Theatre in 2019.
- 3/23 Concert flashback #215: Getaway Car at Jammin’ Java in 2006.
- 3/24 Concert flashback #216: Van Halen at Verizon Center in 2012.
- 3/25 Concert flashback #217: Cry Cry Cry at Calvin Theatre in 2018.
- 3/26 Concert flashback #218: Metallica at Richmond Coliseum in 1992.
Friday the 5th I remembered Saturday night at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2005, I went to see GrooveLily and Jim Infantino at the Budgiedome and when I got back Mike from efo had stopped by with bandmates, then returned with friends, Randy, Mark and Rhonda, two guitarists and a mandolin player. They and about 30 other people (and Stuart on guitar) were out in the middle of the road singing cover songs. I finally asked Mike permission to post it my recording, and he said yes. Later that evening Nina’s school was hosting another drive in movie at Wolf Trap, but last minute Jill’s car wouldn’t start. Nina went with friends to pick up ours and theirs food from The Sandwich Shop while Jill and I transferred everything to my car and met them there. The movie was Sing, which I’ve seen several times so I didn’t need to pay full attention as I tested out using our big power bank in the wild for the first time – radio worked fine, crockpot with the hot chocolate (it was a cold night) was quite a power drain.
Saturday I ran errands with Nina including stopping at Duck Donuts and Flippin’ Pizza. That night Jill and had our postponed Valentine’s Day date at Le Diplomate. They had really taken pandemic dining to a new level with their “Streetside Chateus”, partioned stalls with tables and chairs as well as a vent with heat (so hot in fact I took off my jacket and sat near the outside edge). The food was wonderful, I went with the lobster frites as they made the fries unsalted. We maxed out our time, and Jill got creme brulee and I got a bottle of port to go (Nina got to play with her friends).
Saturday the 13th was nice enough the girls wanted to kayak after starting to build a cardboard boat. Tuesday was Nina’s return to school as she was back on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Unfortunately her teacher did not return to school, so she used headphones and a laptop on a classroom with other students whose teacher was still virtual, but getting do Specials (like Spanish and gym), playing on the playground with friends and going to the library made up for some of that. I thought it was very strange to drop my daughter at school for the first time in a year. But it felt right. What felt wrong was making her lunch in the morning. So used to making it at lunchtime now.
For Saint Patrick’s Day on Wednesday the 17th, I brined the corned beef, made pumpernickel bread and what I thought was my mom’s chocolate cake, cut into the traditional clover. Turns out it’s her mom’s recipe, and great-grandma’s dad immigrated from Ireland, so that was traditional as we can make it. That weekend we had a European tour of seafood: paella on Saturday, mussels for lunch Sunday, and fish and chips for dinner that night. The good news: Nina ate them all. I got my first shot of Pfizer on Saturday morning at EagleBank Arena (aka Patriot Center) and it was weird to be there for something other than a show, but I was in and out fairly quickly. Tuesday the 23rd I took advantage of Nina in school to get the maids in for the first time in over a year, then went out to get a haircut. When I took a walk on Thursday, I realized that the cicadas don’t feel like waiting any longer to go outside. I feel ya, fellas.
When the pandemic started, we had been planning a trip during Spring Break to Orlando with Jill’s mom and Nina’s cousin. We had moved it to the fall, and when it was clear that wouldn’t work, moved to this Spring Break (the Disney World tickets would expire soon after, and were not cheap). There was disturbing news as in Miami people weren’t masking or observing social distancing, but Disney World and Universal Orlando had enforced the restrictions strongly since reopening. Nina’s pulmonologist told us he was ok with her going, but she shouldn’t fly. So we decided to rent a minivan. Jill decided to go with Dollar, and after all the extra fees they added on, then didn’t have the minivan she’d reserved. But they had a Chevy Traverse that had Florida license plates, which made it a winner. Sue and Ava drove down that Friday, so we were able to leave early morning on Saturday the 27th.
We had decided to try and do the whole thing in 1 day because we had a packed week. Besides Jill driving, most people slept after our 4:30am start. We made our first stop at Anne’s Donuts in NC where they had the most delicious cream cheese donut. We also stopped at a Sonic for drinks. Nina loves White Castle, and one is opening up in Orlando soon. We had heard Krystal was their equivalent in the South, so decided to stop at one past Savannah in Georgia for lunch. Of course thanks to many backups, it was late afternoon when we got there, and that and the Starbucks were drive thru only. We made the best of it, sitting at a Starbucks table, but the food just wasn’t that good. We didn’t make it to our hotel, the accurately titled DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando until 9:30pm and didn’t manage to do much besides fall asleep.
Sunday we were up early because while Universal Orlando didn’t require park reservations like Disney World, they did stop letting people in when the parks reached current capacity. It was the easiest park to get to that week with a 15 minute walk to CityWalk, but then we had a wait as the Universal Orlando tickets had expired. I had set up an exchange with someone at their Twitter account, but still needed to go stand in line at guest services and then find the original pdf of the tickets from my email. But after that we were good to go inside Universal Studios Florida and soon got on the Transformers ride. Ava really wanted to do The Simpsons ride, so we went there next (Jill and will skip that in the future), then went over to what we’d been waiting for a decade, Diagon Alley.
Diagon Alley was as real as we’d hoped it would be. After wandering around Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (astonishing how close the Wizards Unite version was to it) and around, we noticed there was a long line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop, so I got in it. It was 90 minutes long, so Sue and Ava left so Ava could ride the rollercoaster, and Jill and Nina went to the Leaky Cauldron to get lunch. I did get to see the 2 shows there while I waited, plus we tried the Gillywater from the Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment stand (I had the Fire Protection Potion). As the line got closer to the front, Jill switched with me and I had lunch as Nina finished up. Then we went inside and Nina got to choose her wand with Ollivander (very well done) before we did some videos with Sue and Ava who had finished. Nina got to play with her wand as there’s a number of places to interact with it there, and as we were about to get in line for Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, the ride broke down.
We went over and rode Men In Black (shooting fine, 720 degree spins not fine), then Ava went to ride the rollercoaster again and we got drinks. I had managed to get a virtual line pass for Revenge of the Mummy, and Jill and Ava rode that. We decided we were done, but then saw there was a photo op with Optimus Prime in 30 minutes. Jill and I waited while Sue, Nina and Ava did the Transformers ride again. We stopped on the way out to take pictures at a studio (we had purchased the photo pass, so no additional cost), then walked back to the hotel. We still had to get our luggage and put it in the SUV, then take a short drive over to Universal’s Endless Summer – Dockside Inn & Suites. Even though I’d checked in online, I still had to wait through a long line of guests to get the room keys. In the meantime Jill decide we’d just get dinner there at Pier 8 Market and got orders for what was essentially a cafeteria. I got the room keys and parked the SUV and we all met for dinner (mostly burgers), then got the luggage and went to the room (it was nice with 3 beds – Jill and I got the separate room).
Monday morning we got the benefit of staying at a Universal resort as we got into the park an hour early. Most of the girls got food and drinks from the Starbucks in the hotel before we got on the bus. Jill had the genius idea of doing Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts first, so we did that and then took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure (we had the 2 park pass), then explored Hogsmeade. Unfortunately Hogsmeade was very crowded and there wasn’t as much room to move around as Diagon Alley which was in an area by itself. We stood in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Nina and I got off right before the ride started. Then we all had a snack and headed down to Jurassic Park which Ava wanted to see (Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was virtual line pass only, and I hadn’t gotten one yet). Jill was trying to fix Ava’s unlimited soda cup, so the rest of us took a picture with the raptor, then had a drink break. Nina and Ava saw prizes at the carnival games they wanted, so they played the games and won (Nina’s prize was a sloth).
I finally got a pass for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, so while Ava went to ride the Hulk rollercoaster, the rest of us waited in line for that. However, the line was very long even with a pass, plus the ride broke down for 20 minutes. By time we were close to the front, Nina needed to use the restroom (and we weren’t going to ride anyway), so we went to Honeydukes where Ava was. I hadn’t had anything to eat and was exhausted, so I decided to leave. Ava decided to join me (after we got her a Ravenclaw hoodie) and we took the bus back. At that point the exhaustion took over, so I napped while Jill and Nina rode Pteranodon Flyers and Sue rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, then stopped for pizza. When they got back Ava went down to Pier 8 Market for another burger and I went to Del Taco for tacos (gotta love chains that give you sodium counts) and Walgreens for a beer and wine. Jill, Nina and Sue meanwhile had found the pool.
Tuesday morning I checked out virtually, then we got on the road to Hollywood Studios. Jill and I had gotten up early to try and get on a boarding group on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but failed. We parked, then again I had to find the pdf of my tickets, then walked over to the Tower of Terror. Everyone rode but me, so I hung out with the stuff and surfed on my phone or people watched. Next we got in line for a new ride: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Again quite a wait, but the ride was a classic, all ages ride. We had lunch at Backlot Express (burgers again, but Ava loves them and they’re usually low sodium for me) and Jill and I failed again to get a boarding group. Nina wanted to see Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie so we watched that. Ava went to ride the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster while the rest of us did Toy Story Mania!, then walked through Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Knowing ahead of time getting onto the Star Wars rides would be difficult we’d already planned a 2nd day there, but I still wanted to see the layout before we left.
We still had to check into DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs™ Area, so we did that. Thankfully it was the first hotel we could fully check in using the app on my phone as a key at first. We got to relax for a while, then ordered takeout from Miller’s Ale House. Nina got to check out the pool with Jill before Sue and I picked up the food.
Wednesday we were off to the Magic Kingdom. The hotel we’d picked had allowed early access into the parks and transportation, but the early access was on hold and the transportation was a chartered bus that didn’t run often, so we decided to just drive and park each day. We paid for preferred parking and were pretty close to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Due to long lines, I decided to ask whether the monorail or the ferry was faster, and got directed to the buses, and 10 minutes later we were in the park. Fantasyland was our first destination, and soon we were riding The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight. The line for it’s a small world was pretty long, but moved quickly. We shopped for ears next, then lunch for most at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (I found that Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant carried a lobster roll).
Next, Sue and Nina did Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid while Ava, Jill and I rode The Haunted Mansion (which broke down just like the last time we rode it). Ava, Nina and Sue took a spin on the Mad Tea Party while Jill and I waited in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; when we got to the front Ava, Jill and Sue rode while Nina and I headed to the front where we had a Capture Your Moment scheduled. We took photos in front of the castle, of course.
Then it was off to Tomorrowland where Nina and Ava rode Tomorrowland Speedway, then Nina joined me in line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, then we did Prince Charming Regal Carousel. The others did Space Mountain, then we met up. I’d read this genius idea to take a boat to Fort Wilderness and eat at P & J’s Southern Takeout, so that’s what we did. It was a relaxing ride over, and we were able to mobile order ahead of time. We sat picnic tables on the patio – the ribs were ok and the chicken was delicious. I only wish I’d known about the open bar so I wouldn’t have gotten a can of beer (I made up for it with the Smoky Mountain Apple cocktail). We took the boat back to the Magic Kingdom and then Nina had requested to ride the monorail back to the car.
Today marks a year since we began quarantining to avoid COVID-19. It’s been a weird year. I started working from home immediately, while it took 6 weeks for actual distance learning to start for my daughter. My wife lost her job at an elective surgery center, but quickly got one in a hospital.
Our normal summer of camps and concerts was cancelled, replaced by virtual ones. Frustrated by the lack of live, loud music, I was inspired by the story of a socially distanced concert at a drive-in to start hosting concerts on our boat on our lake. I only did 3 shows, but I was happy that other folks around the lake hosted some as well while the weather was nice.
My daughter was ok with the virtual camps, but what saved her summer was forming a masked pod with 3 other neighbor girls. Every day she had a Zoom camp in the morning, then we had a friend come over and babysit the girls. The relationship between the girls has thankfully continued and they play together just about every day as my daughter prepares to return to school.
One nice thing about working in my home office by myself is being able to listen to things. After spending summers as a kid mowing lawns listening to loud music, I can’t use headphones for very long, so it was nice just to use speakers. After about a month, I started listening every day to a live show I’d been to close to that date, and posted them to Facebook (and later my blog). I also started listening to all the talk shows I watch (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah & Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) while I worked (later after school hours when I found out we didn’t have enough bandwidth to do that while my daughter was on Google Meet).
With no talk shows to watch in the evenings, I started catching up on TV I’d been meaning to get to (loved Watchmen, The Boys, The Mandalorian & Barry), then went wayback, watching all of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (some crucial backstory for The Mandalorian) and am now finishing off the Stargate franchise (I’d started before Nina was born, have finished Stargate SG-1 and now on Season 2 of Stargate Atlantis).
Not only TV shows, as I’d only seen 4 of the Marvel movies, and started watching them from the beginning. Time well spent, and nice to see how they all connect (favorite: Captain America: Civil War – better Avengers movie then Avengers: Age of Ultron). I moved on to the X-Men series next (almost done, Future Past is my favorite so far, followed closely by Deadpool), and then plan on working my way through the DC films.
As I mentioned in this post, I’ve been working my way through my unconverted miniDV tapes of concerts I recorded between 2000 to 2009. I’m now up to the summer of 2005, and you can see my progress at YouTube and the Live Music Archive.
My family loves to eat out, and we’ve only managed to eat out a handful of times. But we’ve been supporting restaurants by getting takeout every Friday (we rotate choices). We’ve also recently started having a family night on Saturday – the last 3 choices were jigsaw puzzle (wife), 2 episodes of Legend of Korra (daughter) and Pixar’s Soul (me). We had some vacations planned and those were cancelled; instead, we spent almost a week in Bethany Beach in August when the numbers were good, and spent 2 weeks at Christmas at home.
I love to cook, so not too much changed there, other than I took advantage of the sourdough boom to start making white bread for myself (being on a low sodium diet wasn’t giving me lots of options). My wife asked for an air fryer for her birthday, and for fans of fried food like us, that’s been a godsend.
My wife has been vaccinated, hopefully I will be soon, and as soon as one is available for my daughter, she will be too. We’re looking forward to normalcy as 2021 continues.
- 2/1 Concert flashback #180: Muse at Verizon Center in 2016.
- 2/2 Concert flashback #181: Robert Plant and the Band of Joy (with Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller) at Constitution Hall in 2011.
- 2/3 Concert flashback #182: Great Big Sea on the NCL Jewel for the Ships and Dip V cruise in 2009.
- 2/4 Concert flashback #183: Steven Page at AMP by Strathmore in 2018. A fine set of mostly covers.
- 2/5 Concert flashback #184: Matt Nathanson at the 9:30 Club in 2004. Opened for Gavin DeGraw.
- 2/8 Concert flashback #185: Stereophonics & Howie Day at the 9:30 Club in 2004. Only a day after the last flashback. The Stereophonics show just appeared online for the first time last month.
- 2/9 Concert flashback #186: Jamey Johnson, Michael McDonald, Warren Haynes, Ivan & Cyril Neville, Bob Margolin, Garth Hudson, Don Was & John Medeski for The Last Waltz 40 Tour (tribute to The Band) at the MGM Grand in 2017.
- 2/10 Concert flashback #187: Barenaked Ladies on the NCL Jewel for the Ships and Dip V cruise in 2009. Unknown to us at the time it would be Steven Page’s last show with the group.
- 2/11 Concert flashback #188: Liz Phair & Alanis Morissette at the Patriot Center in 1999. Second time seeing Liz, first time seeing Alanis.
- 2/12 Concert flashback #189: Trey Anastasio Band at the 9:30 Club in 2010. Stuart and I ventured there during a snowstorm, but we made it there and back.
- 2/16 Concert flashback #190: Pat McGee Band at The Birchmere in 2004. Very much enjoyed when Todd Wright was in the band.
- 2/17 Concert flashback #191: GrooveLily at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in 2010.
- 2/18 Concert flashback #192: Eddie From Ohio at The Birchmere in 2014. For 2 years they held their weekend at The Birchmere in February instead of January.
- 2/19 Concert flashback #193: John Mayer at the 9:30 Club in 2002. Our first time seeing him; the 4th concert I took Jill to and her first visit to the 9:30 Club.
- 2/22 Concert flashback #194: Cecilia at Jammin’ Java in 2004.
- 2/23 Concert flashback #195: Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds at The Birchmere in 1994. This song and “Dancing Nancies” were on the Recently EP – the first time I was able to buy an official release of a show I went to.
- 2/24 Concert flashback #196: Blind Melon at the University Of Maryland in 1994. With some choice covers.
- 2/25 Concert flashback #197: Red Molly at Jammin’ Java in 2009.
- 2/26 Concert flashback #198: Beth Patterson at The Old Brogue in 2010 (8PM show). Her show in 2020 was our last regular show before lockdown.
Tuesday the 2nd I laughed at The Harry Potter Spinoff You Didn’t Know You Needed parody. Friday because of Wayne’s World being in the news because of their Super Bowl commercial we’d shown Nina the Queen scene from the movie, and it was fun watching her teaching all her friends to headbang. We had takeout from Santini’s for dinner. Saturday Nina started her new remote drama class: Ace Diamond: Fairy Tale Detective. Sunday Jill had ordered Pączki for Fat Thursday and we had a taste test of the flavors for breakfast. The Super Bowl was that evening and I made blue cheese dressing and wings in the air fryer. The game was a bit one sided, but the halftime show with The Weeknd was entertaining (and as usual marked Nina’s bedtime).
Monday the 8th I got to take Nina to her pulmonologist before school, then Tuesday had the water in our fridge fixed. Friday we got takeout from Dolce Vita (lamb chops were excellent). Saturday Jill and I had planned to go out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day early (we often try to skip the craziness of the day), but an ice storm had other ideas, so we pushed it to March. We noticed Nina’s hair was getting long.
Sunday the 14th we went to see Crystalline at the Artechouse in DC. We were supposed to go 2 weeks prior, but there was a big snowstorm then, so we moved it. It was fun (Nina really enjoyed it), then we got an accidental Valentine’s Day. Artechouse was near The Wharf, which neither Nina nor Jill had been to. I’d found a couple places that had warm outdoor seating, but the 1st place didn’t have their heaters on and the 2nd place was full. Jill had seen a near empty Italian place, but when we got back it was filling up, and we tried it anyway and were seated next to another party who had no food or drink but already had masks off, so we left. As we walked, the next restaurant was Del Mar, which the Post had rated top at The Wharf. They had outside seating, so we figured we’d ask. Those were full, but they had space inside (good to eat lunch at 3PM), and definitely were adhering to safety standards, so we went in and had a great meal. Nina enjoyed a mocktail, pasta, and trying all our food (Jill and I shared the seafood paella) and desserts (churros, apple cider ice cream and cheesecake chocolate cake).
I had wondered if they would ever cancel schools again, since a couple times it seemed likely they just switched to virtual learning. But on Thursday the 18th everything closed. Nina had so much schoolwork left, she didn’t finish until almost 6 and barely saw her friends. Friday we got Flippin’ Pizza for takeout, and on Saturday saw her friends plenty as they turned our backyard into an ice skating rink. Also Nina’s Wednesday night voice teacher brought her entire box of wigs to play with.
Monday Nina returned to Tae Kwon Do. We took her out of the in person classes in January when the numbers were bad, and she had been having trouble doing the classes virtually, so she had just taken a break, but was happy to get back. Wednesday Nina was happy I let her have pizza for breakfast. We also had a plumber from Wacker over to fix a leaky toilet and replace two faucets. Friday we got takeout from Kabobi By The Helmand (the lamb shank meal was delicious).
- 1/4 Concert flashback #163: The Smashing Pumpkins opening up the new location of the 9:30 Club in 1996. On the way home Eric and I ran into the beginnings of some snow. He dropped me at my girlfriend’s apartment in Alexandria (right off 395), and then made it as far as our CD store in Springfield, where he holed up for several days.
- 1/5 Concert flashback #164: Michael Clem at Jammin’ Java in 2006 for his first solo CD release. He’s doing another CD release and show this January; details here.
- 1/6 Concert flashback #165: Jonathan Coulton on the 1st JoCoCruise in 2011 (also the cruise Jill was pregnant on).
- 1/7 Concert flashback #166: emmet swimming at the 9:30 Club in 2004. The first of 4 years in a row they played the club in January, and by the time they ended, Eddie From Ohio had started their January residency (in 2005). A brand new transfer!
- 1/8 Concert flashback #167: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Chris Coleman, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Chris Hillman, Iron & Wine, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson, Daniel Lanois, Martina McBride, the Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Conor Oberst, Herb Pedersen, Shovels & Rope, Mavis Staples, John Starling, Trampled by Turtles, Sara Watkins, Holly Williams, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack & Emmylou Harris for The Life & Songs Of Emmylou Harris at Constitution Hall in 2015.
- 1/11 Concert flashback #168: Jon Anderson (Yes singer) at Barns of Wolf Trap in 2004.
- 1/12 Concert flashback #169: Declassified: Ben Folds Presents: Sara Bareilles & Caroline Shaw at the Kennedy Center in 2018.
- 1/13 Concert flashback #170: Pearl Jam (with Neil Young opening) at Constitution Hall in 1995.
- 1/14 Concert flashback #171: The Jayhawks at The Birchmere in 2002. The first real concert I went to with Jill (my mom insisted we come see the Cornell University Glee Club the night before).
- 1/15 Concert flashback #172: The Smithereens at the State Theatre in 2019, with vocalist Robin Wilson (of the Gin Blossoms) replacing the late and lamented Pat DiNizio.
- 1/19 Concert flashback #173: We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in 2009. Remember hope about politics and not just hoping the side that supports science can keep us alive and the side that supports violence would leave us alone?
- 1/21 Concert flashback #174: Eddie From Ohio at The Birchmere in 2020, from their annual MLK weekend residency. This year’s is cancelled, of course. But they started selling the recordings in 2008 and I have all the shows we’ve been to since.
- 1/22 Concert flashback #175: Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds at the Landmark Theatre (Richmond) in 1999. The first 2 Dave & Tim shows I saw were at The Birchmere in 1994 before they got huge – this one wasn’t as good with all the frat boy screaming between songs.
- 1/26 Concert flashback #176: Quitter UK (emmet swimming/Smartbomb offshoot) at Jammin’ Java in 2005.
- 1/27 Concert flashback #177: Girlyman at Jammin’ Java in 2005. Notice this is the day after yesterday’s flashback. Jammin’ Java was hopping in January 2005. I also just digitized a Girlyman show from FRFF in 2004.
- 1/28 Concert flashback #178: Extreme at Baltimore Soundstage in 2015. Unfortunately the closest they came on their tour as they played Extreme II: Pornograffitti in full for the first time (the one with the 2 big hits) and I finally got to hear “Song For Love”.
- 1/29 Concert flashback #179: Au Pair> [Gary Louris/Django Haskins] at Jammin’ Java in 2016.
Friday the 1st we started the year by making Eggs Benedict and artichokes for brunch, followed by hours of cleaning the kitchen because my helper cracked an egg into a drawer. The girl squad made gingerbread houses in the afternoon. As always, I found wise words from Neil. Monday Jill faced black ice on the way to work, and got her second vaccine dose – she said “Second dose done! I’ll update in a few days with any side effects, but I feel so blessed to be able to be one of the first to get this vaccine to start helping us recover.”
Thursday the 7th, Seth says it better than I could. Friday we got take out from MyHome Thai Bistro and I got a duck roll & calamari (Nina had Popeyes instead). Saturday 2 of Nina’s friends celebrated their birthday with a party held in the park across the street. Luckily it wasn’t terribly cold and we ate food and watched the girls run around. Monday Nina was selling cookies again.
Friday the 15th we got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza and I made this mashup and posted it (after initially being denied for too much Go-Gos). Saturday we hosted Nina’s friends. Sunday Nina had Girl Scouts and she decided she wanted to be a chef – first up was brunch where she helped make a smoothie and a “turtle waffle” (waffle with pineapple feet and head and strawberries on top). Monday she helped cook cheeseburgers for us and chicken sliders for her. Tuesday Jill woke up to a flat tire and brought it to a mechanic and then took the bus to work. Happily it was fixed by the time she took the bus back.
Wednesday the 20th was the second student holiday of the week, this time for Inauguration Day. Nina and I watched the ceremony and I felt a great weight lift from my chest where it had been since the 6th. Jill said “So grateful to close Chapter 45 and start Chapter 46. The best parts of my day were listening to NPR on my way home recap the inauguration and watching Amanda Gorman with N on my lap for a cuddle.” And about the Bernie Sanders viral photo said “This is honestly my favorite Bernie pic/caption. (A photo showing Bernie at the inauguration sitting with his arms crossed wearing a brown winter puffy coat and handmade brown patterned mittens. It is captioned: The chairman of the senate budget committee wearing his only heavy coat and gifted handmade mittens made from recycled plastic bottles and repurposed wool sweaters. We found the right person for the job.)”
Friday I saw this article about Nina’s school. We got takeout that night from Panda House Chinese Restaurant – I enjoyed the half roast duck. Later that night I needed to talk to Disney and they left me on hold for a while.
Sunday the 24th Jill ran errands with Nina and they came home with frozen yogurt. Monday Nina started an appointment for neurofeedback, where she gets to choose to watch a show on Netflix while she’s being monitored (It’s not hard to convince her to go). Wednesday Nina played indoor gymnastics with her friends. Friday we got take out from Ariake – more sushi! At the end of the month, Jill said “A reminder to myself: the work is not done. It is neverending, but that is ok. It is good work, and good will overcome. Art and words by @ohhappydani . (A picture of an 8×10 art print; printed words in a rainbow gradient. It says: “You were created to do good work. Work that empowers and inspires, liberates and transforms, restores and softens. Yes, work can be hard – as it was meant to be. The verb itself calls us into action. Rejecting passivity and demanding sustained effort. It provokes, agitates, and disturbs. But this work – the call for justice – is good work. It defends the oppressed and frees the captive. It tears down walls and destroys barriers. It changes things. So when you’re feeling weary, or hopeless, or spent, remind yourself that the darkness is being flooded by marvelous light. Yes, this is work. And it is good.” -Danielle Coke)
- 12/01 Concert flashback #152: Tracy Chapman, Gary Clark, Jr., Jimmie Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Beth Hart & Bonnie Raitt honoring Buddy Guy and Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz and Heart honoring Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.
- 12/02 Concert flashback #153: Kronos Quartet, Jeff Tweedy, Robert Glasper with Bilal and Black Thought, Gaby Moreno, Bon Iver, Margo Price & Tank & the Bangas for NPR Music Turns 10 at the 9:30 Club in 2017.
- 12/03 Concert flashback #154: Tenacious D at the Patriot Center in 2006.
- 12/04 Concert flashback #155: Garbage & Hole at the Patriot Center for the HFSMas Nutcracker in 1998. The 1998 show isn’t online, so enjoy Garbage there in 1995.
- 12/07 Concert flashback #156: emmet swimming, Sebadoh, The Lemonheads, Jewel, Bloodhound Gang, Social Distortion, The Wallflowers & Sheryl Crow at the Patriot Center for the HFSMas Nutcracker in 1996.
- 12/08 Concert flashback #157: Bruce Springsteen at Constitution Hall in 1995. Only time I’ve seen him solo.
- 12/09 Concert flashback #158: Zwan (Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin’s post The Smashing Pumpkins band) at MCI Center for the HFSMas Nutcracker in 2002. Too bad the James Brown set with the Pietasters as his backing band has never surfaced.
- 12/10 Concert flashback #159: Robbie Schaefer with Bernie Muller-Thym at Jammin’ Java in 2002.
- 12/11 Concert flashback #160: Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Constitution Hall in 2000. My first time seeing them, and I recall the smoke pouring over the edge of the stage into the seats.
- 12/14 Concert flashback #161: Getaway Car at Jammin’ Java in 2005. The holiday show that evolved into the Santa Clausterf*%k.
- 12/15 Concert flashback #162: Santa Clausterf*%k at Jammin’ Java in 2007.
Tuesday the 1st I watched the virtual book launch of Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell’s Pirate Stew. Wednesday I learned don’t mess with Nina’s school. The 4th was the last Bandcamp Friday of the year, and I’d saved a bunch of links to listen to and buy music, including this gem. On the 5th Jill said “Getting ready to decorate with some festive sustenance! Mince pies and coffee out of my Grinch mug! Also pictured is N’s lego advent that she is making out of her own legos as a surprise for Kerry and I every day; this one will be added to as the days progress! I love my daughter’s creativity”. We had the girl squad over to help decorate the tree and then they ate pizza and drank cocoa on the front porch.
Sunday the 6th in the afternoon we hosted my dad and his girlfriend outside for grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and pie since we missed getting together the weekend after Thanksgiving as we usually do. I’m delighted with the front porch situation – electric heater on one side, patio heater on the other. I also discovered that I want this. And after reading this I shared it with the hashtag #wearamask. On the 7th I posted this: So let me get this straight: the vaccine starts arriving this month, we get a new president next month, and the Washington Football Team just upset the undefeated Steelers? Keep up the good news, 2020 – you’ve got a lot to redeem yourself for.
On Friday the 11th I said “Whoa”, due to the new restrictions. We also got takeout from Makers Union that night. On Saturday I went out while Nina was doing her last virtual Wicked Christmas Carol class, stopping at CD Cellar and finally made it back to Dominion Wine and Beer to stock up for the season. I also stopped at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to pick up lunch for everyone. That night the Grunspans had us and the rest of the girls over to celebrate Hanukkah. Sunday Jill chaperoned Nina and her Girl Scouts at Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights.
Monday the 14th was just supposed to be a braces adjustment at Nina’s orthodontist, but they took a look and said she was done. They also gave her a huge mug full of candy and gum to celebrate. Wednesday was the first day of my vacation (my vacation time was use or lose, and I opted to use since we’d only taken the one small trip to Delaware in 2020). I made a note to myself: when you’re on vacation and what would ordinarily have been a snow day, do not let the other parents know you’re free for recess. Girls are ruthless. I was still picking snow out of my clothes much later. I also got my new ROTO-Q 360 Non-Electric Self-Rotating Rotisserie on which I promptly cooked a chicken – very tasty. On day 2 of vacation Nina woke up at midnight, and it was after 1 before I got her back to sleep. So of course I was woken by Jill at 7AM with the news the HVAC was shaking the house. After I removed the ice connecting it to the house, no sense in going back to sleep. Then I played “Rock And Roll All Nite”, “Back In Black”, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” & “Don’t Stop Believin'” to wake Nina up for school, and barely made it.
Friday the 18th we got takeout for the first time from Bombay Velvet (the lamb egg kathi roll was fantastic). Saturday not all cheery music needs to be holiday related. That night was the holiday party. I’ve hosted one every year since 2001, and while we scaled back to just socially distanced neighbors, it was still fun. We had cookies, beer and hot chocolate (in the Crockpot) and another neighbor had eggnog and cider, and we sang carols. The electric heater, patio heater and firepit were all out, and the snow melted and the ground got muddy in spots. Jill said “I got my Christmas wish. I got vaccinated on Thursday and feel just fine. A bit of a sore arm yesterday but otherwise no symptoms. Please continue to protect yourself and everyone around you. I really wish I could be with family for the holidays this year but this is a great first step. (A picture of a covid vaccination card in focus with lights from a Christmas tree in the background)”.
Sunday the 20th Jill dropped Nina off for a Girl Scouts hike and then shopped with her later. Wednesday Nina and I picked up her new retainer, and later on we watched the Santa Clauster!$@k livestream during dinner, and I had the perfect beer for Todd Wright’s performance. Thursday I was always glad to see fellow Pine Ridge Elementary alumni adding to the season. Friday was Christmas and we had a lot of presents – Nina was particularly excited by her new hoverboard and I liked my 12 days of beer. For dinner I made duck, and Nina was a big fan.
Monday the 28th we went over to Chesapeake Beach to have lunch at my dad’s. On the way back Jill asked if I’d been to my family’s old house since the sale, and I said no, so she was curious if anything changed. Spoiler alert: it did (they’d torn it down and rebuilt). Tuesday I posted that I don’t know if it’s just 2020, but the way we watch movies now is my daughter picks a show on Netflix based on a movie (Home and Boss Baby so far), watches it, then wants to see the movie. On New Year’s Eve it’d only been in the past week or so I’d been having pandemic anxiety dreams, where I suddenly realize I’m not wearing a mask. The bad thing about the previous night’s dream is we were in a hotel room and we’d just convinced Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to play a song for us when I realized I wasn’t wearing one and had to leave (moments before I’d asked Mick if I could video them, and he told me Lewis Black had tried that the week before, and Keith had smacked the phone out of his hand with his guitar). I don’t think I’ve ever looked forwards to a year ending more, and that includes the year I got dumped on NYE. We finished the year by eating sushi from Ariake, then watching Nina and the rest of her fall class perform Wicked Christmas Carol, ending with 5 minutes to go before the ball dropped.
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, as well as paid tracks from Bandcamp, and preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Here’s a playlist of everything available on Spotify.
Here’s a playlist of everything available on SoundCloud.
|01.||The Misses (Todd Wright, Cassidy Ford and Ethan Daniel Mentzer)||Devil’s Got Nothing On Me||Local pop supergroup with nice harmonies.|
|02.||The Lemon Twigs||No One Holds You (Closer Than The One You Haven’t Met)||Two brothers, rockin’ out.|
|03.||Capitol Sun Rays (Luther Dickinson, Amy Helm, Grahame Lesh, Allison Russell, JT Nero & Drew Lindsay)||Dream Of Spring||Another supergroup, this with some legacies.|
|04.||Man Man||Cloud Nein||They hade me at “Instruments played by the band include clavinet, Moog Little Phatty, sousaphone, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, flute, bass clarinet, drum set, euphonium, Fender Jazz Bass, Danelectro baritone guitar, xylophone, marimba, melodica and various percussive instruments including pots and pans, toy noisemakers, Chinese funeral horns, spoons, smashing plates, and fireworks.”.|
|05.||A Sound of Thunder||Udoroth (That One Club From the Movie Blade Where the Sprinklers Spray Blood)||Possibly the best song subtitle ever.|
|06.||Sam Roberts Band||Ascension||Canadian rocker with pop twists.|
|07.||Kings Daughters||Get Up (with Brian May)||Harmonies? Brian May? C’mon!|
|08.||Crown Lands||Leadfoot||Canadian duo known to cover Rush.|
|09.||Drive-By Truckers||Armageddon’s Back In Town||Ok, they’ve been around for a while, but they’re great.|
|10.||Pillow Queens||Handsome Wife||Lovely vocals.|
|11.||Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit||Be Afraid||Former Drive-By Truckers member, also great.|
|12.||Twisted Pine||Papaya||Got a summer feel; coincidentally, they also have a fantastic holiday EP out now.|
|13.||Mt. Joy||Death||I think they’re going to be fun to see live.|
|14.||Pete Droge||Skeleton Crew (feat. Elaine Summers)||He’s back!.|
|15.||Bonny Light Horseman (Anais Mitchell/Josh Kaufman/Eric D. Johnson)||Deep In Love||Great new supergroup.|
|16.||We’re About 9||On The Other Side Of The Internet||This song’s only here right now, so not on any of the playlists. But it’s perfect for this year.|
|17.||Ellis Delaney||You Got This||Another song for this year.|
|18.||Midtown Social||Savoir Faire||Dig that groove.|
|19.||Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters||Automatic||The Belly singer joins this band for a covers album, including this Go-Go’s song from out of left field.|
|20.||Static In Verona||Poor Juliet||Nice power pop.|
|21.||Molly Venter||Hold It All||The Red Molly member has been exceptionally prolific on her Patreon this year, here with a remake of a song she wrote for the group.||22.||Julian Velard||Half Done||My theme song this year, as I turned 50.|