On Maggots and Music Boxes, Among Other Things

Chickens, maggot-destroyers - Sage Harrington
A few of the heartless creatures that committed unimaginable atrocities against helpless swathes of compost-pile maggots.

Here at the Happy Gland Ranch, things are getting interesting in the compost pile. We’ve been feeding chickens obscenely disgusting (or exceedingly delicious, depending upon whose perspective we’re dealing with) maggots from the compost pile. We draw them out with halves of (sadly) rotten melons (yes, we’ve had more than one of those, recently, sigh), which we think are obscenely disgusting, but the maggots think are exceedingly delicious. Then it’s a simple process of scooping the intensely wriggling, obscenely disgusting, exceedingly delicious maggot-melon-pile out of the metal cage in which the compost lives, at which time the chickens attack each maggot with extreme precision.

I like to sit and imagine their chicken bellies filled with almost-wriggling maggots, don’t you?

Here’s something really cool. If you stick your face next to the compost pile in the dark, quiet evening time, you can hear the delightful wettish wrigglings of about a bajillion quadrillion grubby creatures sliming through dead leaves, our rotten food and their own shit. What a life, what a life.

In other news, I spent the better part of the day, a few days ago, slaving over a hot music box. Something that occurred to me only after said music box arrived in the mail was that I had signed myself up for an extremely tedious task. You gotta take this really long strip of cardstock and punch about a gajillion holes in it, paying attention to the grid printed on the card, knowing about notes (which are, of course, written on the card as being a fifth above the note you actually hear—because of infallible reasons, I am sure), being aware of the meter, and just generally being on top of things, which is sometimes a problem for me.

I used approximately a mile of tape to cover holes that I wish I hadn’t punched. This is interesting because once you apply a certain amount of shiny tape to this cardstock, it won’t feed though the box nicely. It can’t get enough traction. There are also the teensiest tiniest circles of cardstock all over the floor and the piano, and tiny scotch tape circles stuck to my hands. What a life, what a life.

A word to the wise: start off with a song that maybe isn’t in a blues shuffle. Or, know what measures and notes are and how they might appear on the cardstock before you begin. Oh, and definitely do this rather than washing the dishes or investigating that suspicious odor emanating from the fridge.

Thankfully, I found that there is, in fact, an app to cure almost all of my box-related woes. Hurrah! Though I can’t say for certain that this eliminates the need for scotch tape, I wlil say that it makes the experimentation phase much less messy.

In other, other news, we have recently invited yet another creature to reside with us here at the Happy Gland Ranch. This is an exceptionally snuggly four year old cat who has spent some of his time here digging with unabashed exuberance in the kitty litter (provided for his use in a thrift-store baking pan with slighty-too-low sides, sigh). Last evening he went for to explore our vast (aka, teensy) front yard through the window Jared had opened in order to listen in on an exciting argument a couple of our charming neighbors were engaged in. But, really, the cat has spent the majority of his first week here sleeping inside our futon. I believe it is very secluded and cozy in there.

And, in closing, let me share with you something completely different: a way to make phunky musak online, my friends. Yes, it’s everything you’ve been waiting for. An online keyboard you can play with your keyboard. It’s very intuitive to people who actually play the piano. Wait. It’s actually really not intuitive to people who play the piano. I spent an inordinate amount of time the other night composing a story, and by extension, a pretty badass (bad? assinine?) atonal creation.

It made me feel really artsy.

The Joy of Taking Breaks and Learning Something New

Sage Harrington, red nose clown
Me and my circus pals, Callie and Tasha.

Due to the crappy way I’ve been feeling lately (as discussed previously) I needed, just needed, to do something real. Something, er, analog. Something that did not involve pixels. Something that did not involve booking underpaying shows that I would struggle to get through.

I wanted to do real things with my real muscles, so I signed up for a circus intensive. Besides, I didn’t have any shows booked (I was tired of the pixels, remember?) so what else was I gonna do with myself? It was perfect timing.

What can I say about it? It was so much fun. It was beyond liberating to do something so new, so exciting, so beyond my brain’s normal functioning patterns. It was a six-week intensive with classes in all sorts of disciplines: aerials (fabrics and trapeze), clowning, physical theater, stilts, acrobalance.

There’s this thing that happens when you’re taking a fabrics class, for example, and you’re a beginner. The teacher shows you how to do something (and usually they show you about three different things you can do once you’re all twisted up in there), and you go, “Oh, cool, okay, I could totally swing that, that looks super do-able,” then you get up there, you reach for the apparatus, and you’re like, “…uhh…”

Everything’s gone.

You have no idea what to do, and feel totally lost.

This is really refreshing. I’m loving being a beginner. Not to say that I don’t feel like a beginner at music in a lot of ways—I totally do!–but it’s so exciting being at the very start (like, three months and counting!) of this aerial thing. What’s exciting about being at the very beginning is seeing your own progress. Because during one class you’re hanging upside-down, inexplicably not knowing which way is up (note to self: the ceiling is up), and the next you’ve totally got it: What seemed like an interminably long sequence of impossibly complicated tasks has somehow solidified. Understanding has come to the fore from a dark, foggy netherworld of confusion.

And when that happens, it is beautiful. It looks like this, but in your mind.

Rainbow, clouds parting - Pyragraph
Courtesy of kansasphoto.

I’ve got circus muscles now. I have upper body strength, which is something that I’ve never had any reason to develop before. Flashback to Sage’s early teens: At a summer dance intensive I attended, a yoga instructor referred to all us ballerinas as having “weak little dancer arms.” So, that’s been the image of my upper body strength I’ve carried for all these years. Until now.

Surrounded by wonderful women at this wonderful studio (by the way, I am totally going to keep taking classes up there—the atmosphere is just so dang warm and supportive), I’ve become stronger, more confident, and totally jazzed to keep learning the aerial arts.

The workshop concluded with a series of performances. I performed in a clown act (hence, the nose you see in the above photo) and a trapeze act. And, ironically enough, we choreographed our trapeze act to this steampunk song about the evils of the man who invented digital clocks. (It’s ironic because I didn’t choose the song—my trapeze partner did. Remember how I said I was tired of the pixels?)

And now I feel like a strong, tricked-out trapeze badass.

I took a fabrics class the other night and climbed all the way to the fuckin’ top—although I think it was maybe a little shorter than the ones I’ve become accustomed to climbing—I MEAN, it was the longest fabric ever and I just feel so confident, strong, and totally refreshed.

I’m so excited to keep going with this.

Originally published at Pyragraph.com.

Announcing Duopalooza!

You are cordially invited to DUOPALOOZA!

It’s true; it’s a thing. It’s Albuquerque’s favorite (and only) music fest of duos.

And it’s happening Sunday June 8, 1:00-9:00pm, at Marble Brewery.

Here’s the deal: the Happy Gland Band noticed that something was awry in the land. The cosmos were astir, our chakras were imbalanced, the Happy Gland Dirigible listed slightly to the right. It was a terrible time, indeed. How could this ever be solved, we wondered? As Jared stroked his thinking rabbit, I took out my pen and newsboy cap. Moments later, we looked at each other in astonishment as we simultaneously cried:

DUOS NEED THEIR OWN DAY IN THE HOT ALBUQUERQUE SUN!

Just like George Michael the Chihuahua does!

So, we got a handful of New Mexican duos and one fabulous Austin/Nashville-based duo together, and we’re throwing a party.

Free admission for those who arrive by dirigible.

(Free admission, also, for those who arrive by foot, car, bicycle, or camel, but don’t tell that to the folks who piloted the dirigibles. Those who come by blimps pay an exhorbitant parking fee yet to be determined.)

And here are the lovely people whose arms we have twisted to play at this show (but not too hard, because we still wanted them to play their instruments):

Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Todd and the Fox
Alex Maryol Duo
Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band
BaBa

Come have The Supper Truck supper and Marble Brewery beer.

Sponsored by Pyragraph.com.

Sunday June 8th, 1:00-9:00pm
Marble Brewery
111 Marble Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM