Archive for May, 2010

Homegrown Macgruber

Posted in basketball, humor, music, Uncategorized on May 25, 2010 by finerstacy

Friday night I went to see MacGruber.  Yes, I was one of the ticket holders contributing to the whopping $1.5 million dollar opening night. I really did enjoy it.  I enjoyed Will Forte singing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as he lead The Roots in a rocking romp version of the theme song with his real life mother looking on in a nice combination of horror and admiration.  I hope I get to see my future kids just going for it.  So as I watched the movie and laughed at prank after homemade prank,  I had a nice combination of horror and admiration myself.  Admiration for our true fallen heroes that we will be celebrating this weekend and horror for my childhood homemade concoctions that left my family in tears.

For instance, around age 5 my folks put brand new pink carpet in my room which lined up with my teenage brother receiving a hobby car kit.   Now I thought, “Why can’t I enjoy being a girly, girl  and make a model car on the pink carpet, without any newspaper underneath?”   Why can’t I leave a 1 foot black mark in  the middle of the carpet that would remain for the next 10 years just to show that I could be a tomboy and pretty?  Well, I could and I did.  It was a very charming gesture of me to do to my parents.

That same year, I felt it necessary to put my newest drawings on the spanking new wall paper with toothpaste.  My artwork was fantastic.  White paper with red marker…very daring and now it had a home.  At least for a moment because nobody told me that toothpaste was not an adhesive.  Oh well, my Mona Lisa would have to stay on the shelf.    I didn’t get in too much trouble for this one as someone, I am not naming names,  but it starts with a” b” and ends with “rother”, took a sharpie and went from the top of the stairs to the bottom by drawing a straight line down the middle of the wall.  It really framed the room and gave our guests  something different to look at.

Now, I am not trying to tell you that I was a deviant child, quite the contrary.  I was helpful and always trying to please, but sometimes made poor choices with my artistic creativity.  So I knew I had to focus my energy elsewhere until I got that sorted out.   So I went the helpful route, like loading the dishes in  my college kitchen with laundry detergent instead of dish detergent.  It was a great incentive to clean the whole room, because the entire floor  filled with bubbles up to my shins.  The kitchen was Arm and Hammer fresh and so were the looks on my roommates faces.

I believe those misguided days are behind me.  I do a great job as band leader making late night tacos after gigs, bringing snacks when the guys are heading to gigs from school with no time for a meal.  But as a newly anointed Hoosier, I still catch that old feeling  once in while like when I unknowingly told a family from Detroit that I believed that Ron Artest got the shaft and way too much blame for that NBA debacle.  I assumed they were from Indy.   But hey at least I was telling the truth and there were no suds on the floor.

Finer will be at Birdy’s this Thursday night  May 27th @ 10pm.  Be there or risk  your glue being switched out for toothpaste.


Night in Gotham

Posted in batman, jazz, music, musical equipment, rock, songwriting, star wars on May 13, 2010 by finerstacy

Okay, I will say it. I am a grown woman and I love Batman.  I love Batman so much that every piece of gear I own has the logo, the colors or some tie to the Dark Night.  My gloves:Batman, my pedal board:Batman, my basement:Batman colors with a yellow Batman Stripper pool…No stripping though; this is sacred ground people.  My fake entrance to the bat cave is only for show.  So when I had the good fortune to travel to Tunisia with a family friend and Tunisian native, I was caught off guard by my fast and strong connection to Star Wars.

Lying awake in my guest’s home I would listen for the first time to “Night in Tunisia” sung by Ella Fitzgerald.  I would marvel at her voice and the haunting melody.  It seemed like the night sky sprinkled with stars stood still as I listened to the song on repeat.  I got to play guitar with Tunisian jazz legend Fawzi Chekili who was beyond talented, kind and supportive.  He told me I was a good songwriter and introduced to me  to younger musicians who were also kind and talented  but schooled me while playing “The Chicken”.  Each time  beat one came around I would still be three counts behind.  Where was my utility belt when I needed it?  Some invisibility spray would have been perfect.  But I got to play some original songs and redeemed myself.

The food in Tunisia was so fresh.   The people were beautiful and the landscapes breath taking.   I brushed my teeth with salt from  the Mediterranean sea and drank freshly squeezed date juice.   My friends and I drove through the desert and literally the smell of the olive trees knocked me out.  Something the Joker would have used if he were battling the bat overseas.

So when we finally got to Matmata and  Tatouine I was a bit hazy and unsure of what we would find.  All I knew was that George Lucas and company had just finished shooting episode 2 about a week before and I was going to find out all I could about it.  We entered Luke’s home…a huge hole in the ground with windows cut out in the sand and walked deeper and deeper into the earth until we met a man who appeared to be a hotel concierge.  We were in the ground, in the desert and this was part of a hotel…keys and all behind his head.  So I turned into the ultimate tourist.  “I’m American! Star Wars! George Lucas!”  Nothing fazed the guy.  “Gold, silver! I will buy your hotel!”  Nothing.  His head and shoulders were a bit slumped.  Not even my Batman t-shirt could have riddled this situation.  And then like a force coming from a tractor beam, the concierge lifted his head slowly and said “I took a picture with Natalie Portman!” and his smile vibrated for weeks.  I said “Where is it?  Can I see it”.   “No” he said.  “It is at home on my mantel.” he said.  And I knew the force was strong with this one.  My love for Batman would remain strong, but that glimmer of hope of happiness was all I needed to see the power of the force…a beautiful girl from Long Island who went to Harvard.   Now years later as I stay up late at night watching  a New Hope and Princess Amidala’s mother.    I think to myself I am a girl from Long Island and I went to Harvard…Really I did for a whole day.

Kickball is for school teachers

Posted in humor, kickball, music, Uncategorized on May 1, 2010 by finerstacy

Well, warm weather is creeping her way into our lives here in Indiana and every step is welcome.   A few weeks ago I commented on the Midwest fascination with mowing and how it was a call to mother nature that we love springtime.   But nothing says I love the sun more than a good old fashioned game of kickball.  Now I love all sports.  From MMA to the NBA to a late night game of pool.   I cried when Serena won her first title and still can see John Starks dunking over MJ as if it were yesterday.   I take sport to its most intimate level.   I have been known to make buildings of sugar packets, or cities depending on the crowd at a restaurant.  If  I am with a party of  people over 60 years old than I limit myself to one city block.  If I am dining with children under the age of 6 than I can go the full borough and make sure City Hall has tooth picks columns and straw walkways.  But Kickball trumps all sports.   There are no height requirements.  Speed is of little importance and most people can catch something that is bigger than their heads.  I say most because all of  my kickball experiences have been with elementary school aged kids.  Back when I was 10, I was a pretty decent player.  I could get the ball past the infield and once in while get enough air time that allowed me to get to second base easily.  But during my elementary school TEACHING days, my skills jumped to a whole new level.  It’s one thing to watch your 5th grade students rule the playground.  It’s another to join the 3rd graders team and break the home run record for a single game.  Now I know what your thinking.  How can a new school teacher be so competitive?  Honestly, I was just testing the field at first.   You see I am from N.Y. where the schoolyard is made of grass and your classrooms are in one big indoor building.  The gymnasiums have pale yellow floors with blue and red lines and the bleachers were made of wood.  Los Angeles, were my professional life began is a concrete jungle of education, kickball, monkey bars and tall handball walls.  Your classes are in bungalows and you have to walk outside to get to lunch.  All of this was lovely to me.   To feel the sun every day was just amazing.  It made me think that if I really stuck with it, kickball could  be my future.  Hey it’s the city of angels and if I could just keep my home run streak going I had a chance.  So back to my plan of kickball world domination.  Each kid would get up to kick and have a look of either fear or fortune in their eyes.  You knew you had to take a few steps back when the student with the short torso with legs the height of a stop sign took the plate.  They had all the leverage and none of  the visibility so this ball was going anywhere it pleased.  You also had to watch out for the tiny kids with hearts of  gold  who knew if they kicked it just far enough they could get the tie at first base and steal second while the pitcher adjusts his Velcro sneakers.  But no one was ready for me, their teacher, cheerleader, encourager…short in size yes, and maybe a few held back kicks as the designated hitter made them think I was not a threat  but years of planning a comeback welled up inside of me as I made my way to the plate.  “Miss Sta-cy!  Miss Sta-cy!” roared both teams.  All eyes were on me.   What was I going to do?   Was I going to take it easy on my class or give them a Serena like performance that would keep them weeping for ages?  Well, I think you know the answer.  “Strike one!  Strike two!” called the umpire.  And by umpire I mean the speech teacher.   Was the pitcher kidding me? I could easily make that A plus on his spelling test turn into a C minus.  “Strike thr… oh my goodness!  She got a piece of it!” cried the announcer/school secretary carrying a walking microphone.   And off the ball went past the outfield, past the handball court, and stopped only by the chain linked fence.   Now in the balls defense we were playing on concrete so I got a lot of extra mileage out of the bounces on the ground.  But none the less it was my first home run of the day.  I heard shouts of glee and saw a lot of mouths drop in the in field as I crossed home plate with a enough time to tip my hat to the stadium, I mean school yard.   But after about 10 uncontested home runs and  3 ruled ties I took one last look at the outfield, high fived the losing team and then walked over to the secretary and took my post as the next games announcer.  I knew then that I had done what I had come to California to do: be a world-class athlete inspiring young people to reach for their dreams.  That was until the 4th grade teacher we’ll call Mr. Smith broke my record in one inning.  There is always next season.   Sugar city anyone?

Hats off to all the graduates.  FINER will be playing graduation parties this weekend.