Creature Double Feature

I was woken up at 5:45AM by the patter of little feet above me. Several times in the past few weeks I’ve gone up in the attic and found nothing, but I couldn’t get back to sleep and was determined to find the cause – couldn’t decide what to do until I knew what it was, bird, rodent or midget. The ladder was already upstairs, so I set it up, got a flashlight, a metal rod, and a Nerf gun – I wasn’t fooling around. Got up in the attic and the sound was louder. I flipped the flashlight on, turned to my right, and there 10 feet away was a raccoon. I was quick on the draw, and shot a Nerf dart at it. No response (I think I hit it). As it turns out, it was a she – a mom, as soon I could see at least two cubs nearby. I growled at them, but mama didn’t move, and the cubs came closer. I wasn’t going to hit them, so I retreated.

I wasn’t sure what to do next. I called animal control, they told me if they weren’t in the finished part of the house, they wouldn’t come out and I’d need to call someone to do pest control. I looked online and saw some trapped the raccoons humanely, and other people begged to leave them alone as the cubs would soon be gone. But I want my attic frey of creatures gnawing on things if they’re not paying rent. I talked to Jill after she got home from class, and we’re not sure what to do yet. May have to move up the scheduled roof replacement.

She walked Illa when she got home, then I walked him while she made dinner. I thought he was walking a little funny at the end, but I when I took the harness off, he was still walking funny, and it got worse, then he couldn’t climb the stairs. We were very worried and called the vet to find the recommended emergency place. We chose Leesburg over Vienna and ended up at Animal Emergency Hospital. We arrived at the beginning of a big influx, and it took a while for them to see us. The doctor examined Illa, and watched him walk around, but whatever it had been (cramp? pinched nerve?) seemed to be fading. Just in case, they drew blood and induced vomiting, but everything was clean.

We didn’t get home until 11, and ran around getting dinner warmed up and a lunch for Jill. I wasn’t hungry for pasta by then and had some applesauce and yogurt with strawberries and Splenda. Jill just had to print some stuff off for class and now is in bed, and I’ll follow soon.

Herndon Festival-ed out

Wow, what a fun festival, but I’m music-ed out for now.

We started Friday night (skipping Thursday because of a) rain, and b) didn’t really care about the band). Because it was threatening to rain, we waited until the threat passed, and we left after Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers had started. I even drove nearby so we wouldn’t have to walk and miss more. We set up our chairs on the hill overlooking the stage (our usual spot) with our friends Stuart and Janice, and enjoyed the show. They finished a little early, but we stayed out for a while talking. We got home (and I took Illa out for a wee) just before the downpour started. Jill had no dinner and I had a hot dog before the show, so we split half of a frozen pizza after we got home (and that was probably the healthiest meal of the weekend).

Saturday Jill was on call and knew she was getting called in, from 9-12. I took the opportunity to sleep in to 11:30, completely missing the bluegrass act I wanted to see. Oh well, I made some egg sandwiches for myself and took Illa for a walk. We walked over to the festival around 3:30, caught some of Jag Star while we were setting up our chairs and sun umbrella. We headed over to the Cafe Stage to see Natalia Zukerman; Jill stayed for the rest of her set while I returned to the Municipal Center Stage to tape Girlyman (and take down the sun umbrella which kept threatening to blow away).

Girlyman was my highlight from Saturday – they were in fine form and played a fair amount of new songs I hadn’t heard before. I had some bacon-wrapped shrimp and a root beer float and Jill had chicken teriyaki for dinner. We stayed at the Municipal Center Stage to see The Alternate Routes and The Glengarry Bhoys, who were good, but we were getting tired, and headed home. Half a box of Trader Joe’s shrimp wraps and a bit of TV and watching the fireworks revived us, and we went over to Stuart’s house for a couple beers and watching some of the day’s recordings.

Sunday I was up at 9, hoping to leave by 10:15. I had a breakfast burrito and I didn’t leave until 10:30, and without Jill as she was just getting up. I got to the Cafe Stage with time to set up before Robbie Schaefer went on; Jill got there just before he started because she drove. He started with an ok crowd that grew over the course of his set, then Michael Clem came up for a song and Robbie played on one of his to start Mike’s set, at which point the crowd was beyond standing room only. Some fine participation with the food vendors (Robbie got shrimp, so Mike got jambalaya and three beers) and funny banter during the shows, but it ended nicely with Robbie back on stage for the last three songs, finishing with Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had A Boat”.

Next on stage was Ben Arthur, who I found from my friend Chris (he’s Jennifer Marks’ label mate, I found a sampler with both of them on it), and I was looking forward to his set. I enjoyed it more than I thought, especially when he brought Mike up on stage to play harmonica for a couple songs. We headed over to the Municipal Center Stage where Screaming Orphans were playing. They were pretty good, Irish band that reminded me of the Corrs – except for their choice of covers: “Ramblin’ Man”, “Jolene”, “Seven Nation Army”, and “Blister In The Sun”. Maybe Irish music has changed since I was last there.

After they finished, there was a long break, so we went searching for food. Earlier, Jill had some wings and fries, so she wasn’t that hungry and had a Mexican tortilla salad (which ended up being huge, but it wasn’t what she asked for) while I got a gyro with greek salad. Later she went to Dairy Queen and got some ice cream for herself and a frozen blended coffee for me, which hit the spot. It was warm, but we got 15 minutes of rain around 4. The sun umbrella came in handy as a real umbrella, but it cleared up quickly, in time for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to hit the stage on time.

The crowd had cleared out a little due the rain, but soon came back with a vengeance, and the lawn was packed in no time. For good reason, as the band was great, successfully squeezing on the stage. There was an open area on stage right where a number of swing dancers did their stuff, and they were as entertaining to watch as the band. We saw a lot of friends all weekend, but most of them on Sunday. The show was fun, but all those hours outside were draining (it’s not like Falcon Ridge where it’s a 5 minute walk to home base), and we were happy to head home.

Jill had a bunch of stuff to do online tonight (she starts a class tomorrow) while I played with the dog, then she went grocery shopping while I started an eBay auction. Not sure when I’ll go to sleep – see what the coffee’s half life is.

Computers and music

I found an interesting article on the new services like Pandora and Last.fm that try and predict songs you will like, and similar ones that go on your hard drive. Best point?

you should get “an ongoing music experience,” that sticks the right gaps or overlaps between songs, never separates Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” from “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)”, and appreciates how to bring the party up and then slow it down.

No shuffle’s figured out that danged Zep thing yet.

Herndon Festival preview

See the whole schedule at herndonfestival.net, this is a guide to what I think will be the highlights.

Thursday (ok, a little late, but they probably got mostly rained out anyway)
Last Train Home plays the Depot Stage from 7:30-9:30pm. They’ve got a country/rock appeal; check out Never Been To Memphis.

Friday
Juniper Lane plays the Municipal Center Stage from 6:30-7:30pm. If you like Evanescence, you’ll probably like them; check out Drag You Down.
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers plays the Municipal Center Stage from 8:00-9:30pm. Tight pop-rock with great hooks; check out Anthem Of Our Discovery.

Saturday
Chris Emerson and Ty Bennett plays the Cafe Stage from 11-11:45 am. Great bluegrass sound; check out Firemen.
William Walter Acoustic Trio plays the Cafe Stage from 12-12:45 pm. No vocals, just tasty guitars and drums; check out Consider the Price.
Jagstar plays the Municipal Center Stage from 3:00-4:00pm. Nice pop harmonies; check out Leavin’ (theme from MTV’s new Laguna Beach spin-off, “The Hills”).
Natalia Zukerman plays the Cafe Stage from 4-4:45 pm. Interesting tunings, great voice, Jill’s new fave; check out Fool’s Gold.
Girlyman plays the Municipal Center Stage from 4:30-5:30pm. Amazing group, perfect harmonies; check out Kittery Tide.
Ben Arthur plays the Cafe Stage from 5-6:00 pm. Great power pop; check out Mary Anne.
Alternate Routes plays the Municipal Center Stage from 6:00-7:00pm. Pop rock; check out Who Cares.
The Glengarry Bhoys plays the Municipal Center Stage from 7:30-9:30pm. Celtic rock; check out Mason’s Apron.

Sunday
Robbie Schaefer plays the Cafe Stage from 11-11:45am. With Michael Clem (next), makes half of eddie from ohio, great catchy tunes, also new kids CD; check out No! No! No!.
Michael Clem plays the Cafe Stage from 12-12:45pm. Humorous folk; check out Tommy the Canexican.
Ben Arthur plays the Cafe Stage from 1-1:45pm. Great power pop; check out Mary Anne.
Screaming Orphans plays the Municipal Center Stage from 1:30-2:30pm. Reminds me of the Corrs; check out Circles.
ilyAIMY plays the Cafe Stage from 2-2:45pm. Angry m/f duets; check out Will.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy plays the Municipal Center Stage from 4-6:00pm. Great swing band; check out Always Gonna Get Ya.

Pain

While my shoulder is less sore now, I’m still not feeling so hot, though it was worse yesterday. I hadn’t thought about it beforehand, but my fibromyalgia has flared up. It’s the first vaccine I’ve gotten since I developed it, and now I find out the tetanus vaccine can weaken the immune system. Still, the pain I’m experiencing is nothing compared to full blown tetanus, so I’ll be fine.