Monthly Archives: February 2013

Today’s Lesson

Let. It. Go.

Yesterday was rough. We had a district-wide staff meeting about budget cuts (and possibly — likely, actually — staff cuts). Hard to hear that people and programs might have to go. And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think about the fact that the arts are often the first thing to get the old heave-ho.

Then, on Facebook last night, a well-meaning parent posted a link to all of our salaries, and I noticed that a couple of the listings (including mine) on this non-district-affiliated website were wrong.

Say something? Let it go?

B. Definitely B.

It was an unpleasant meeting yesterday, for both administration and staff. People came away more confused and worried. And now we wait until the board of education makes its decisions. We’re looking at about a month-long wait, if not longer, which bothers me, because it’s the months of March and April when many jobs come open due to plans for retirement. Those tend to be the better jobs, and they’re scooped up right away. If I’m on the chopping block, I want to know as soon as possible.

It’s not a good time for us (and many school districts) right now.

But…I need to let it go. I am neither the first nor the last person to face the possibility of a reduction in force, and just like the millions of others before me, if it happens, I will deal with it. And there’s no sense in packin’ it in when there might not be a need for it.

So today, I let it go. I resolve to stay true to my 2013 motto, and while keeping a watchful eye on my future, I won’t add needless stress.

Cripes, I’m doing a show right now — I got that in spades. :-)

Thoughts for a Thursday…

Est-il possible?

It’s possible…for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage…

Yeah, and four white mice could never be four white horses. But for a brief moment last night, I was on top of the world, all Cinderella and stuff. Most of you know (because we’re Facebook pals) that I got my first real, paying writing gig last night; that is, my first very small, very low-paying, but honest-to-goodness fer rill writing gig.

I’ll take it. Well, I took it already and finished it last night. Next?

Seriously, I already do what I feel I was born to do (shape young voices, one wrong note at a time), and I love my job. But sometimes, there’s a unique thrill about getting to do what you’ve secretly dreamed of doing for years. I feel like taking my very small paycheck for this project and buying…I dunno…lunch? :P

The job was this: transcribe a speech (I was given the video file) and compose the narrative on paper, with correct punctuation. Sounds really easy, ja? It wasn’t difficult, but it did present interesting challenges in places, because we don’t speak exactly as we might write. Still, this little gig taught me a lesson or two, and I plan to file them away for next time. Thank you, Mr. Motivational Speaker Who Needed an Editor. The good news: he responded to my work, saying he liked it and that he would have more for me in the future. I’ll take it.

This would also be an appropriate time to shout to my online writing guru and inspiration, Ross B. It was his writing (and encouragement through emails and comments here years ago) that got me thinking seriously about the ridiculous notion that I might someday write for actual money. I did it, Professor! Miles to go, but the journey has begun.

The final shout-out, of course, is to YOU. Yeah, I’m talking to you. But you know how I feel about your bad self.

Happy Wednesday, fiends — and now I must jet. Back to the real world: making lunch and dinner, then hitting the shower, the road, the school house, and evening rehearsals.


I gotta get it together here.

Well, what sleep I didn’t get yesterday, I’ve made up for this morning. You know the drill: alarm goes off, you turn it off, thinking I’ll get up in a minute, and then 45 of them go by before you’re conscious again? Yeah, that drill.

And I had so much to say to you this morning, too. Ah well. I fly. Is it really only Tuesday?? But listen to this: no rehearsal tonight.

No rehearsal? Whatever will I do with my evening?

Fink, off to figure it out…


…the Grouch.

It was totally worth staying up until midnight watching the Academy Awards (the best one I’ve seen in many years) last night, but unfortunately, I can’t just turn off the TV, run upstairs and sleep. So, last time I looked at the clock, it was 12:42 a.m. Five o’clock came pretty quickly.

But hey, again — it was totally worth it, seeing Argo win Best Picture.

Scratch that. I totally regret staying up. Now it’s Monday, and I’m all like this. Feel me?


Review: History of the Eagles

After three hours, I was wrung out. Crying, smiling, remembering…if you were “there” (1970-1980), and even if you weren’t, this is necessary watching for you.

History of the Eagles is so full of stories, the editors alone deserve an Emmy. With priceless 60s and 70s archival footage, honest — really honest — interview segments, and enlightening peeks into how a Band becomes a Brand, this documentary is as close to an anthology as you can get.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it was without discomfort. I thought about those bits all evening last night, and I woke up thinking about them this morning. But more on that later.

L-R Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder

It’s a true historical account: it starts when Glenn Frey and Don Henley were in junior high school in Detroit, Michigan and Linden, Texas, respectively, and ends with footage from their tour following the release of their last album in 2007. Watching what all happened in between those times will wear you out.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Eagles without bringing up their stunning, sigh-inducing harmonies, which are shown on several occasions in a rehearsal-type atmosphere, or with the five of them just sitting in a hotel room, singing for the heck of it. Oh, the memories of that sound. Almost every song featured took me back to a specific memory, and I am certain that those recollections cloud this review. So be it. Still, that they even survived all those years on the road is a testament to their steely commitment to, as both Henley and Frey say in interviews, “just getting better.”

Throughout their close scrapes with the law, constant control-freakism (mostly between Frey and others, like sidemen and producers) and basic struggles when you live with the same people for years on end in a marriage-like situation, the boys always came out on top. Almost always. They lost bass player Randy Meisner to his debilitating insecurity about singing the high notes on crowd favorites like “Take it to the Limit.” He couldn’t take the pressure, and was replaced by the drop-dead-beautiful voice and bass playing talents of Timothy B. Schmit (singer of “Love Will Keep Us Alive”).

Don Felder on his Gibson SG Doubleneck, circa 1978

Don Felder on his Gibson SG Doubleneck, circa 1978

But the segment on lead guitarist Don Felder’s untimely and crushingly sad departure from the group is what I can’t stop thinking about. All those years, all those songs, all the experiences, all the success…and the Eagles and Felder (sadly known as “The Other Don” because of the larger-than-life presence of Henley) just couldn’t agree to let bygones be bygones. Watching the final Felder interview was heartbreaking. To me, it’s not the Eagles anymore without him.

Felder constantly recorded random riffs onto a tape deck, and we can thank him for sending Frey and Henley a copy of something he couldn’t get out of his head. It went on to become the chord progression by which the band would be forever identified:


But it couldn’t save him from being dismissed from the band of brothers he’d lived and worked with for two decades. He left shattered and hurt and bitter (and not without fault himself, to be fair to Frey). So sad. It sticks in my craw. That, and out of all the Eagles, he was — and still is — the best looking. Yes, I’m that shallow. :P

L-R Walsh, Henley, Frey and Schmit

L-R Walsh, Henley, Frey and Schmit

Seriously though, if you want to see how they became who they were, from the way they found their band name to who wrote the tunes and how they recorded, to the irreversible damage caused by the recording sessions for their last album (The Long Run), you must watch this documentary. In the annals of rock history, it is time-capsule worthy. It’s that good.

If you’re looking for insight into their family lives, however, you will be disappointed. Wives and children were mentioned only in passing, and not by name. I’m assuming that was by design. They wanted to keep it “business only.” I don’t mind that; I was never interested in their wives anyway. ;-)

Informative, deep, sad, riveting, funny, entertaining, tragic and lovely. All the superlatives fit. This is required watching for anyone who remembers — and in my case, treasures a great deal about — their wasted youth in the 1970s.

On the Rat-O-Meter scale of five cheeses, I give History of the Eagles RtB’s first-ever: