Archive for April, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Susie

Happy Earth Day 2011! In what ways were you kind to our planet today? Are there things you do on a regular basis to help sustain our resources? Are there extra things you did today to honor our earth and promote being green to others?

We do our best to be green and engage in activities around the home that are better for us and better for our planet. We recycle like crazy, we ride our bikes all the time and walk a lot too. We take our own bags to the grocery store and I save run off water to use when watering the outside plants. As of the last month or so, our yard is feeding us a bit too as our orange trees have finally taken off this year and I’ve got more oranges than any one Mom knows what to do with!

As Earth Day draws to a close, I’m fairly stoked about how the day ended up. I live in an old house, a quirky place that is woefully not environmentally friendly. It bakes me in the summer and freezes me in the winter. I am a renter though, so I am also limited in the changes I can make. There has been one task, that regardless of whether it falls in my hands or those of my lackluster landlord that had to be taken care of – our fence in the backyard. I can’t even begin to accurately estimate how old it truly is, built sometime shortly after the ice age I believe. It isn’t safe in general, certainly not when my young daughter is out in the yard playing near it and most definitely not effective in keeping our little Chihuahua safely in the backyard.

It is so old that literally, over the winter months, when strong winds blew, various sections took turns falling. Over time my landlord did get them all standing again (oh the great joy of having to walk your own dog on a leash in your own back yard). However, standing is about all that was achieved. Many of the boards were so loose it was more like a gate than a fence and no repairs were done on other sections of the fence – only those areas that completely abandoned their upright positions.

One day on my way to work I noticed a neighbor was replacing most of their fence so I stopped by and asked if they had a plan for their old lumber. I said I’d be happy to take it off their hands if they didn’t need it. They happily gave me the pile of wooden fence slats. While they are old, many cracked & worn, they are far newer than the ones from the ice age which currently cross my backyard.

Recently I started working on the fence and got a little way into securing some boards when my drill ran out of juice. I went in search of the battery charger only to discover it was nowhere to be found. Suddenly a memory came back to me of the day I was sorting through old things in the garage and had stared at the Black & Decker charger with absolutely no recognition coming to light in my busy brain. Perplexed, I wondered to myself why on earth I had this charger because I didn’t recall having any Black & Decker products. I do believe I accidentally sent my drill charger to the Goodwill bin!

I wasn’t quite ready to part with my $30 to buy the replacement charger I found at Lowe’s and Home Depot. The entire new drill with battery charger only cost me $38 to begin with! I tried various other chargers around the house but none did the trick. Then I remembered I still had my old drill that no longer worked somewhere in the garage because I hadn’t found the best way to recycle it yet. I dug around and found it. Guess what? The charger for the old drill fits my new drill perfectly! Hallelujah!

Today was a day off from work for the Easter weekend. I decided it was fence day! I spent about three hours out in the backyard working on the fence today. I started with the best boards of the freebies I had received and fixed the worst areas. I dug mini trenches along the fence line and lightly pounded the boards into the ground a bit for extra support, then drilled screws into the boards to adhere them to the support beams. I didn’t have to take down the old fencing because my side is kind of the backside of the fence so now we have a dual layer of fencing.

After I had a fair amount of it done, I let our naughty little Chihuahua, Susie out back with me to test it out. Buddy our foster Chihuahua helped me much of the time because he isn’t set on escaping through the fence like my little she devil Susie coaxing you with her sad brown puppy eyes. Really, she is the sweetest little dog most of the time except when she tries to escape! She ran along the fence heading for those familiar openings and found they were no longer there! Ha ha ha, Mama wins again!

It was a fun project to work on and best of all it came together on Earth Day – the only thing I purchased was one small box of screws. I reused a neighbors old boards and I also reused many screws that had been in the old fencing on our property. I spent about $5 to repair my fence and make it safe for the dogs to run in the backyard!

Oh yeah, my dog is recycled too! She escaped euthanasia at the animal shelter because we couldn’t resist her sweet face. Recycled dogs are the best! Remember, adopt don’t shop when you are ready for a new furry family member. Your local shelter is overflowing with animals hoping to be your new best friend.

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Brian Setzer Blows the Roof off the Belly Up

Brian Setzer

 Brian Setzer, the three-time GRAMMY Award winning sometime Stray Cat, and leader of the Brian Setzer Orchestra brought  his eighteen piece orchestra to the Belly Up Tavern in the Cedros Design District of Solana Beach, CA for a sold-out show on April 3, 2011.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra played a rescheduled show at Agua Caliente Resort in Palm Springs, CA on April 2nd, to make up for a cancelled New Year’s Eve performance from last year when Setzer became ill and added the Solana Beach show as Setzer prepares to launch his next musical venture, Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, out on April 19th via Surfdog Records with MP3 pre-order available now via Amazon with special edition vinyl and CD versions available from the Surfdog shop.

Setzer will hit the road crisscrossing Europe during June and July with Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot featuring Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom on drums, as well as Noah Levy on drums; Chris D’Rozario on bass; Brian Setzer on guitar and vocals; Kevin McKendree on Piano; and Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on bass. Double the stand up bass and the double the drums looks to be a rockabilly good time for Setzer’s fans in Europe this summer!

Back to the task at hand – Setzer, his Orchestra and his Vixens (back up singers Julie Setzer and Leslie Spencer) blowing the roof off the Belly Up Tavern last night. Wow, what a treat to see this guitar legend play such an intimate venue that only holds 600 people! Many of their shows of late have been to really big audiences such as the Doheny Blues Festival with an audience of about 20,000 blues loving fans and the Montreal Jazz Festival with well over 100, 000 swaying to the smooth jazz sounds music loving fans.

Setzer recognized a lot of faces in the crowd and told the audience it felt like he was playing in his living room at home as he called out hello’s to a few friends in the crowd. He was the consummate professional as a liquor loving lush with long blonde hair did her best Willow Smith Whip My Hair impersonations in the front row and tried to grab, many times, not Setzer, but his guitar. Yes, attempting to grab the Gretsch as Setzer’s fingers worked their magic! However, being a 30-year music veteran the guitar legend knew how to swiftly retreat from her many drunken advances.

Brian Setzer

There was also the muffin top baring, 49-year-old woman who nearly pulled him off the stage in her drunken super power strength to declare to him that she would be turning 50 the next day. Gracious as ever, Setzer wished her happy birthday over the microphone while reminding the audience he’s been 50 three times now.

I do digress on the drunken lot of women in attendance though, but seriously, do they even remember the awesome show they attended last night?

Back to the music. Setzer, and his fantastic band were in fine form last night. Really, really on fire figuratively, and almost literally as the Belly Up turned into a sauna for the searing one-hour and forty-five minute set that dealt nary a sour note the entire evening. The Brian Setzer Orchestra revved things up and got the audience boogie-ing to their energetic rockabilly sounds before they departed the stage and let the Brian Setzer Trio take over which includes Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on stand-up bass and fill in drummer, Danny Glass from Royal Crown Revue and Setzer rockin’ the roof off the joint!

The two versions of Setzer’s band covered songs across his illustrious 30 year, award-winning career including  the Stray Cats hit  Sexy & 17, The Dirty Boogie and Sleepwalk along with Red Hot and Gene & Eddie. The Brian Setzer Trio seamlessly brought the Orchestra back on stage to crowd pleasing roar as the band gave us a medley of the Stray Cat Strut with the Pink Panther theme.

The full band then brought the house down as they launched in early hits like Rumble in Brighton and Rock This Town along with the 90’s hit Jump Jive An’ Wail from the Dirty Boogie album. Setzer is the kind of musician that oozes love for his craft while playing on stage. You can see the smile spread across his face when he knows he’s hitting it out of the ballpark. He doesn’t look like just another musician getting through the live show. It was a stellar show of fine musicianship, one for the books as they say.

The always busy Setzer will also do his annual Christmas shows this year and has already confirmed a December 17th date at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

He’s also got a new track from his forthcoming album Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, called Go-Go Godzilla on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Soul Surfer starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. Soul Surfer opens in theaters April 8th.

For a complete list of European tour dates and Christmas dates as they become available, check out Brian’s site.

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