Roam If You Want To…

Posting from: Philipsburg, MT

I found a cool map today that lets you map all the states you’ve visited. Here’s mine:

visited 26 states (52%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or Like this? try: Triposo Travelhacks

As an afficianado of the Great American Roadtrip, I have been to every single one of these states in a car- all but five of them in my current beloved vehicle, Penny, my Honda Element. I love her. She has helped me see some awesome sights and have some incredible experiences including:
-Niagara Falls
-Mount Saint Helens
-Hungry Horse Dam
-putting my feet in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans plus
-visting lighthouses, lighthouses, lighthouses
-Snoqualmie Falls
-a giant Jolly Green Giant statue
-sharing space with tiny creatures in tidepools in California
-the biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota
-the Troll in Seattle
-the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park, complete with Matt Nathanson and Tom Petty
-meeting Matt Nathanson at the House of Blues in Chicago
-the Art Institute of Chicago
-meeting literally dozens of new people around the country who I knew only from the internet

I think buying Penny was quite possibly the smartest purchase I have ever made.

It seems quite possible that I own the Honda Element with the most miles on it in the entire world. I purchased her new (16 miles on the odometer) in late 2003, and I have 241K+ miles on her. Anyone have more?


Lyric of the Week #1

Posting from: Philipsburg, MT

Let’s assume I’m a sinner
you’re ice cream before dinner

-Chris Trapper, Dinner and a Dream

April 14 To Do List

Posting from: Philipsburg, MT
Listening to: The Vapors, Turning Japanese

1. Finish taxes.

2. Write 350-500 word Point article in support of Resolved: Cookie Monster Would Be Good At Oral Sex for publication with my sister’s Counterpoint. Note to self: Kick ass.

3. Shop this week’s grocery sales before they end at midnight.

Posting from Philipsburg, MT
Listening to: Martin Sexton, Black Sheep

Last night I went to the historic Wilma Theatre in Missoula for a Martin Sexton concert. Actually, I mainly went for the opener, Chris Trapper, and to scope the place out for my ongoing plan to get Matt Nathanson to add at least one Montana stop to his next headlining tour. The Wilma would be perfect for Matt. I know this because it was perfect last night for both Chris Trapper and Martin Sexton.

To start, I got rock star parking! The public lot behind The Wilma seems to be free after 5 pm on weekdays and also on weekends. Doors were supposed to open at 7 pm so I was well beyond the pay parking period. I drove around the lot and parked here:
Tour Bus

When I was in Chicago in November, I had to park on the street because my sister’s apartment building does not have any guest parking. The first night I had to park a fair walk away, but after that I managed to come and go at the right times such that I always got to park right in front of her building. My sister brilliantly dubbed that “Rock Star Parking.” This wasn’t right in front of the theater, but given that I am parked next to an SUV hauling a trailer, and the license plates are from Massachusetts, and both of the artists of the evening hail from Massachusetts, I think it is a pretty safe bet that I am parked next to the “tour bus” for Martin Sexton or Chris Trapper or possibly both if they are carpooling. If that’s not Rock Star Parking, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, it was just a short walk from there up the stairs to street level and the doors to The Wilma. It was a lovely 65 degrees or so outside with no precipitation which made for an okay time standing in line even though the doors opened somewhat after 7 pm. Here is the lovely and historic Wilma herself.
The Wilma; Missoula, MT

A couple of folks wanting to see a movie sorted themselves out of the concert line and went indoors. Some folks in front of me walked down the street and got what appeared to be burritos to go from the Mexican place a few doors down. I wondered how they were going to finish them before we got inside. Then the line started moving.

One of the great surprises about the evening was that The Wilma treats concertgoers as customers and not as criminals. I gave one friendly person my ticket and got my hand stamped by another. That was all. No evil eye from pissed-off security people. No searching my purse or clothing. No molesting my person. I just went inside.

There I found a beautiful old theater albeit a bit in need of repair. It reminded me a bit of the Fox in Tucson except not as freshly fixed-up. (Perhaps this is what the Fox will look like a few years from now as I hear from my friend A. in Tucson that it has gone broke.) There are rows and rows of movie theater style seats with a reasonably large empty dance space up front. There is also a balcony in the back overhanging the last few rows that looked like it was also open, but I didn’t go up to check. There were two bars and a snack stand (they also show movies there), and I also saw the folks with their unfinished burritos eating them openly so I’m thinking maybe it’s okay to bring outside food in. That would be cool. I was wishing I had brought a bottle of water.

I took the aisle seat in the third row on the right side of the left section behind a woman sitting by herself. She turned around and struck up a conversation with me which kept going as her friends congregated in our section. She was a Martin Sexton fan and told me what a great time I was going to have since it was my first time hearing him at all, let alone live. Her “partner” (I assume this is gay code for spouse wherever gay marriage is not legally sanctioned) was also a Chris Trapper fan which is who I was there to see so we also chatted about that.

I have to give Martin Sexton credit for having very nice fans. In addition to being really nice before the show (I heard many other “Is this your first Martin Sexton show? You’re going to love it!” conversations around the hall), they were all really wonderful during Chris Trapper’s opening set. People were not talking and ignoring the show. They were very respectful and responsive to his audience banter and music. Except for his set being too short and not getting to hear my favorite Chris Trapper tune, Jukebox Lights, it was just about perfect. The song Starlight By Her Side pretty much made up for that one missing link. I don’t have any video from the show, but here’s another performance of it.
Chris Trapper, Starlight by Her Side

Here’s another of my favorites. It’s the official video since I can’t find a decent quality live recording. He expressed his utter hatred of his high school experience and his delight in penning this number and performing it when he was invited to play at his high school reunion. He claimed that every word in it is true. I don’t doubt him.
Chris Trapper, Wish I Was Cool

After Chris Trapper was a bit of intermission before Martin Sexton went on. Shortly before he came out, they flashed the lights and my now full little neighborhood emptied out as people filled the dance area in front of the stage. The place was not sold out, but it was reasonably full and the entire dance area was full with the overflow piling up in the aisles a little bit. Meanwhile, lots of folks in the back were enjoying the show from their seats.

I stayed where I was even though I couldn’t see much. I mean, it’s a concert so I’m really there for the music and I already got to see who I came for. In fact, I saw half of Chris Trapper’s set sitting on the floor a few feet away from him along with two other girls who had moved forward before me. I was glad I stayed where I was for Martin Sexton because the people-watching was great. For example, I have never before seen a couple dry-humping to This Little Light of Mine.

The music was also excellent. Instead of a concert, it was almost a really, really long medley. He didn’t seem to stop very often, and even when he spoke to the audience he often was singing when he did so. Even though he was just one guy with a guitar, his vocal abilities were so incredible that he often sounded like a multi-instrument combo. His yodeling sort of thing is incredible. Again, I have no recordings from this show, but here are a few of my favorite numbers.

Martin Sexton, Can’t Stop Thinking About You

Martin Sexton, Thank You, Failure

As I listened to this last night, I thought nobody should ever sing the national anthem again except this man.
Martin Sexton, Star Spangled Banner/Freedom of the Road

The description in the notes of this one on YouTube is eerily in sync with how I felt last night. It was almost like going to church without the trappings of religion. Very sacramental. And we didn’t even have Amazing Grace last night.
Martin Sexton, Black Sheep/Amazing Grace

I went a little overboard with the Sexton videos, I know. But he deserves it. I will probably post more in the near future because there is something I heard multiple times last night that none of these videos quite illustrates.

Garden Update

Posting from: Missoula, MT
Listening to: Something classical and pretty

Here’s a little garden update from my pantry. All my plants are still indoors.

This Siberia Tomato plant was doing well until it started producing. At last count there are seven fruits on it. Now many of the leaves are dying although there is a new vine growing well from the base of the plant. I moved it to a larger pot a few days ago so hopefully that will save it. Any other ideas?
Siberia Tomato- Productive but Dying?

My Brandywine Tomato plant is doing quite nicely and is finally producing fruit. You can see three small tomatoes here.
Brandywine Tomatoes

I picked up two strawberry plants from Walmart and so far they are doing well. I still have a bunch to plant assuming they are not yet dead. They came in bags and are currently in my refrigerator. I have no idea what they look like.
My First Strawberry Plants

I have spearmint, five or six varieties of tomatoes, and several Little Finger carrots sprouting.
Spearmint and Tomatoes Sprouting
Little Finger Carrots Sprouting

My two habanero plants continue to thrive with lots of blossoms and tiny new fruits. No pictures of those yet. I also have onion bulbs and some potatoes that need to be planted. My major deficiency at the moment is that I need to plant lettuce/greens. I want to keep some of these indoors so I can have homegrown salad year-round.

Posting from: Philipsburg, MT
Listening to: Anti-Flagg, Sold As Freedom

This article link was provided by Iloilo Marguerite Jones.

More than 130 die in central Italian earthquake

Weeks before the disaster, an Italian scientist had predicted a major quake around L’Aquila, based on concentrations of radon gas found around seismically active areas.

Seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani, who lives in L’Aquila, was reported to police for “spreading alarm” and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

Civil Protection assured locals at the end of March that tremors being felt were “absolutely normal” for a seismic area.

These people might have had an opportunity to evaluate the situation for themselves and get out before it was too late. But, thanks once again to government, they were lied to and are now dead. This is what happens when we trust and expect government to protect us instead of taking responsibility for making our own decisions.

Field Trip

A couple of weeks ago, my manfriend Kel and I took a little field trip to Helena where we visited a friend and checked out the Montana Historical Society. We got in for half price because one of the galleries was closed, and we also got a AAA discount. That is good because from what we saw and heard, it wasn’t really worth full price. Outside you can see some metal sculptures. I particularly liked the giant welded bison skull gracing the front lawn. It kind of reminded me of Arizona where cow skulls are considered western decoration.

Montana Historical Society

Montana Historical Society

Inside, we apparently went through the one open gallery backward by starting at the front of the building. It became clear as we headed in that we were supposed to start at the back and work our way forward. But by going in the wrong order, we got to see and hear the best propaganda first. Here is a nice example.


As far as propaganda that was overheard, there was a docent giving a tour to some high school kids. I don’t recall exactly what my manfriend told me she was talking about, but it apparently had something to do with bank insolvency because she assured the kids that now our money is safe and sound in banks thanks to the FDIC. Uh huh. Yeah. Sure. Right.

My manfriend also spotted historical evidence of His Holy Noodliness in a display of various brands. I think this helps establish that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was, indeed, fond of meat and was not a vegetarian.

Evidence of His Holy Noodliness

Flying Spaghetti Monster Brand

Near the end (or what should have been the beginning) of the gallery was my favorite exhibit of all. You may recall a picture I posted a while back of a buffalo jump. This gallery contained a diorama of a buffalo jump complete with hunters and buffalo. I loved the tumbling buffalo suspended in mid-air.

Buffalo Jump Diorama

Buffalo Falling in Diorama

Finally, we went upstairs where we saw Big Medicine, a rare white buffalo born in 1933 on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. According to the Montana Historical Society:

White bison are extremely rare, historically appearing only once in every five million births. To many Indian peoples such animals are sacred and represent great spiritual power. Consequently, the May 3, 1933, birth of a white buffalo calf on the National Bison Range on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation was greeted with celebration and wonder. The birth was a crowning achievement of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ efforts to recover a population of bison for their reservation. Named in recognition of the sacred power attributed to white bison, “Big Medicine” held great significance for the people of Montana, both Native American and non-Indian. For this reason, in the early 1950s the Montana Historical Society made arrangements to ensure that, upon his death, Big Medicine would be moved to the state’s museum and permanently preserved for future generations. Because he had some pigmentation – blue eyes, tan hooves, and a brown topknot – Big Medicine was a white buffalo rather than a pure albino. At his prime, he weighed 1,900 pounds, stood six feet high at the hump, and measured twelve feet%, 20from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. Although his fame spread worldwide, Big Medicine spent his entire life on the National Bison Range where he received special care that enabled him to live much longer than bison normally do. As a result, however, when he died in 1959 his hide was in poor condition, and in many places, almost hairless. Consequently, his advanced age will forever be reflected in the worn appearance of the mount.

And here is the mount:
Big Medicine

That’s all I’ve got on the Montana Historical Society except to say that they are open on Mondays which seems to be unusual for museums in southwestern Montana.