Archive for the 'Celtic, Irish & Scottish' Category

National Tartan Day!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Tomorrow is National Tartan Day! It’s only been in the last 6 years that I’ve even had a tartan! Okay, I don’t actually own any tartan, but my adopted family is Irish/Native American, so we didn’t have one. Then, in 2005 I had some DNA testing done and found out that my family traces back to Norway, and, after more research on the databases (of people I matched DNA with) and the DNA forums, I found that my family name is probably Gillespie. The Gillespies don’t have a “Clan” of their own, but we have a clan affiliation with Clan MacPherson (apparently my ancestors mowed the grass on their ancestor’s golf course, so they let us have some perks), and thus this is our tartan as well:

MacPherson Tartan - Red Muted

There are several different tartans for each clan, for different occasions, but this is the one I liked best.

But anyway: I have a tartan! Happy Tartan Day!

New trailer for Pixar’s “Brave”!

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

There are two movies that I really, really want to see in theatres this year. One is The Hobbit (part one), and the other is this — and now there’s a new trailer for it!

Man oh man oh man …

Irish Festival Posting #3

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I thought this was hilarious – these three sweet pups running for safety, and two of them actually make it onto the lap!

Irish Festival Posting #2

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

These folks were playing outside the main halls are the Irish Festival last weekend. They’re called Paddy Gone Wild, and you can find out more about them — and here more of their music for free – here.

First Irish Festival Posting!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Yeah, yeah, it’s been almost a week since the Irish Festival and all I’ve posted is this video, and it’s just related to the venue and not to the festival itself, and I didn’t even post it here until now — I haven’t even put any of my festival photos on Flickr!

Hey, blogging isn’t what it used to be. Diminishing returns is the name of the game. I blog in short form these days, on Twitter, Facebook, and (as well as Flickr & YouTube & Tumblr and whatever else) and route it through here.

Anyway, here’s this, more to come:

You may recognize the music as Aaron Copland’s Hoedown, better known as the “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner” music, and as the song covered by ELP in about 1971.

Anyway, enjoy, and check back.


Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Just found this person/band on Facebook, and I’m using my Press This bookmark bar app so I won’t forget to go back to it: Thistle Radical Music Home Page, an original-folk-music band out of Madison, Wisconsin.

Plus, this counts as a blog post, right?

Hey, Mr. DJ

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been dabbling in Second Life in recent months, and have even been in job discussions with a potential employer smart enough to see Second Life (and the other social networking sites I belong to) as an asset.

What I haven’t mentioned is something that I’ve been angling to do in Second Life, but have encountered lots of foot-dragging and excuse-making.

This past weekend, however, I began getting more aggressive about my endeavors, and finally achieved my goal:

I’m an online DJ!

On Sunday, I was supposed to have a quick test of my connection at one of the many virtual dance clubs in Second Life (an Irish-themed club, at that!), but the scheduled DJ didn’t show up, so I ended up spinning tunes (figure of speech) for about an hour and a half. (Good thing I had already compiled a sizable playlist.)

And they liked me so much they decided to keep me!

Keira, the club manager, offered me the 5-7 (Pacific Time) slot on Thursdays, so I snapped it up. And today she messaged me that she wants me to do a special theme night on the 27th (we’re going to do a hippie night, but with more than just 60s music).

My playlist on Sunday, and pretty much every time I go on, will be a good mix of new music (the more accessible new alternative and indie music, like Panda Bear, LCD Soundsystem, Portishead, Foxboro Hot Tubs, Hem, and one of my personal favorites, The Go! Team), classic rock (mostly album cuts, not the singles that everybody’s sick of), and a few dance floor crowd-pleasers (like “Brick House” and “Jump Around” — I’m certainly not above pandering).

And of course, Weird Al. You can’t DJ in Second Life without Weird Al.

Anyway, it was exciting on Sunday to get back to my college roots, going back to playing DJ. I always enjoyed to take the graveyard shifts during finals week, when I could ignore the formats and play what I wanted. Usually I could count on the Spook to tap on the window about 3 a.m. and help me get the records on. We’d sit around drinking Cokes out of glass bottles and take calls from the few listeners up at those wee hours.

This feels a lot like that, except with technologies the way they are, I can chat with several listeners at once, get instant feedback, and they can shout out comments about the songs and discuss among each other. As a bonus, I can have listeners in all parts of the world.

Of course, this isn’t anything like having a real radio show. For starters, I’ll be DJing for audiences for about 20 or 30 people tops, and sometimes as small as three or four. Also, this job doesn’t pay, except in micro-tips — although at this particular club, all tips go to a charity, Project Children. (I like the donation aspect; I actually feel productive doing something as frivolous as playing music.)

Oh, and another bonus: I have a fan club!

Okay, okay, it’s just a mailing list group, but I’ve got 20 members so far, and they’ll have my DJ tag over their names while they’re dancing to the music I play.

Hey, I’m out of work; I’ll take my ego-boosts where I can find them.

Oh, and I get to play and promote my own original music!

So seriously, if you’re already on Second Life, come by on Thursday. Again, it’ll be at 5-7 Pacific Time (7-9 Texas time), and the name of the club is Nancy Blake’s West of Ireland.

I could use the attendance boost on my first time in my regular slot.

And tell the host you showed up because you heard the DJ is HOT …

Couldn’t hurt …

On Weight Loss, Tornadoes & TV

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Okay, so it’s not March any more, but, rebel that I am, I’m trotting out the shamrock icon one more time for this miscellaneous stuff:

I wanted to post this while the posting’s still good: As of last Sunday, I’m below 190 pounds (189.8, to be exact) for the first time since the months following my surgery two years ago. At any rate, my size 36 khakis are fitting nicely, and maybe even a bit loose. That means I’ve now got about 12 pairs of khakis that fit, and three really loose ones.

The amazing thing is I’m losing weight while unemployed — that is, while having too much time on my hands, time that could be used sit around and stuff my face. I’m also surprised since the past four months were not only the coldest of the year (when it’s toughest to get outside) but also the most fattening.

But I’m managing to keep to my walks almost every day, since we’ve had lots of warm days lately, and I’ve been keeping my daytime meals small, so that seems to have done the trick.

The only problem is that my wife reminded me that she doesn’t like skinny men, so I’d better not overdo it.

So I had some ice cream and she feels better about it now.

Yesterday morning we discovered that the TV in the computer room was totally dead (probably a dead power supply).

And what’s a computer room with a TV? NOTHING, that’s what! A BIG FAT GOOSE-EGG-LIKE ZILCH!

So anyway, I went out to check prices on TV. But since there were storm clouds rolling in, we checked the local news stations for the weather. The local CBS weather guy said, “We’ve got a few little clouds up in Denton county”, that’s where we live, “but what we’re really concerned with is down here in Burleson” (60 miles to the southwest) “where this situation could easily spawn tornadoes”.

So I went on to WalMart, and as soon as I was back in the TV department, my wife called on my cell phone and told me that the tornado sirens were sounding. “You don’t hear them?” she asked. “I hear about 40 TVs, and piped-in music. I’m toward the back of the store!” Nobody else in the store was panicking, so I wasn’t going to perform solo. I just figured stick close to the sturdy looking shelving, and the second anything hit the building, I’d have an edge on ducking under it.

As soon as she heard the sirens, she grabbed her purse and the phone and a flashlight, and herded Bristol and Molly into the bathroom, then called me to see if I had pulled a Dorothy yet.

Anyway, nothing happened, but I learned I can’t trust the local weather wizards to know what’s going on.

Anyway, enough about life and death matters, back to what’s really important: Replacing the TV in our computer room. I found a passable small Samsung at WalMart, but we wanted to check at our local resale store before spending the big bucks.

Long story short: I found a fairly recent model 20″ Panasonic for $9.99.

It’s a combo TV/VCR and the VCR part doesn’t work, and they didn’t have the remote …. but hey, NINE NINETY-NINE!

It actually took some work to get working — and in this case the tech support guru was my wife, who sacrificed a fingernail to freeing the VHS tape (Star Trek, The Original Series) that was stuck in it, and then stopping the tape ejector mechanism from making a constant clattering sound — and more work to get it programmed — again, it was my wife that found the solution on the internet, and without losing a fingernail this time — so there was indeed some “sweat equity” involved …


We got an $8 remote at Dollar General — again, my wife’s doing (this could give a geek a complex) — and now we’re back up and running, entertainment-in-the-computer-room-wise, so we’re happy.

Yes, we’re partying like it’s $9.99.

I was supposed to bring this up on Monday, but better late than never: Go to Renny’s site to see how they celebrate April Fool’s Day in Norway.

RPM Challenge Jukebox

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I still don’t feel like posting anything today — I’ve had the out-of-work blahs this week — and I’m not posting a direct link yet to my own RPM Challenge album, so here’s a link to the new 2008 Challenge Jukebox.

But if you really want to hear my songs, you can look in the jukebox for a song called “Ferriswheel”; that and the other songs on that album are mine.

But you’ll have to earn it.

While you’re at it, search for Dogs Are Weird, by Emergency Pizza Party. It’s a funny little nerdcore group rap (and no, it’s not about dogs at all, it’s about food; long story).

And just generally browse the jukebox and listen around. The amount of creativity and great material that came out of this one month is staggering.

The worldwide listening parties were today, but the one for the DFW area wasn’t centrally located (i.e., an 80-mile round trip for me), so I blew it off and watched the live webcast from New Hampshire. It was fun chatting with other RPMer’s in the chat room (a lot of whom I knew from the message boards) and watching as the guys in NH moved the camera over the table with all of our CDs.

The NH guys asked us to tell them where we were, and they were amazed at the varied locations: Texas (3 of us in the chat room), Pennsylvania, and several from Ireland and England.

There’s another live listening party later tonight in Second Life, so I finally bit the bullet and signed up for that after all these years of resisting.

Anyway, check out the songs; I’m going to get back to it now …

Hmm … looks like I posted something after all … oh well …


Monday, March 17th, 2008

Okay, I give up, here’s my last post of the day: A mention of the fact that I’ve uploaded even more of my photos from the Irish Festival, and you can view all of them here.

That oughta hold ya until next year …