It’s been a lively couple of days. I’ve been writing hard, practiced almost enough, played at church to sincere and life affirming compliments, showed the shop, made the decision to hand the keys over to the landlord, got into last minute negotiations with guys that came in at Christmas, had a spider drop onto my keyboard and scare the shit out of me, I’ve stopped having nightmares but the insomnia has fired up again, we finished watching Jazz, which made me unhappy because it was SO wonderful, and I received some Buddhist wisdom which allowed me to release a lot of stored animus toward my life and situation. I learned that my travel plans into the US are probably going to be completely fucked up by the INSANE weather ongoing in most of the US – shit, it’s warmer in Alaska – which reminds me of the time that I wanted to get to a con which would have been crucial to my development as an SF writer and 9/11 intervened, except this time it’s all expenses paid and guess what, they’ll WAIT for me, as I don’t imagine I’d be stranded more than two days so I’ll still get to do it. I learned that Pearl, Cat Faber’s octave mandolin (ALSO by Peter Cox) experienced technical difficulties and is now in the shop, meaning I do not have an octave mandolin as a back up if United destroys or loses Otto. (And I know that as sad as that might be, I would just ask for the bits back or get Peter to make me another one, him being obliging that way, if remunerated. Who’s to say the replacement wouldn’t be even more amazing?) This means I would have to do the entire concert on a regular sized mando – which I DO NOT WANT – or transpose EVERYTHING to a guitar, which for a couple of songs would be fine and for everything else would probably cause my nervous system to implode – or sing the entire concert a capella, which would be extremely wearing for my audience. I will be taking Lemming’s advice about packageration seriously. I reproduce it below. Jeff invented the word garbarcage to describe when tv shows are shitty because they have too much arc and too little of what we watch the shows for. Eddie is needing fluids at least every other day, he has started to refuse his meds and he’s gone off his food, although he’s still making the trek to the litter tray. Margot has gotten very sucky, which is unusual. I’m making plans to travel after the shop is gone. I found out that the Squamish name for Thomas Mulcair is “Angry Beard” (okay it’s just one Squamish dude who is calling him that, but DID I LAUGH when I read that) and that it’s too cold outside right now for the Lincoln Park Zoo Polar Bear. I’ve been applying for jobs every day, no response. However, I am relaxed about it. What will be, will be. No use flinching or being rebellious. The leathern thong descends whether I’ve been a good girl or not.
Tip #1: Depending on size of body, sometimes banjo cases work for octave mandolin type instruments. Tip #2: A way to save money on a case AND protect the instrument: Call guitar stores in area and see if one will give you an instrument-size box. A banjo box would probably work. Check airline regs for box measurements before proceeding. They’re supposed to allow some leeway for musical instruments. Invest in some bubble wrap. Loosen strings. Wrap instrument in bubble wrap, inside soft case. Wrap case in bubble wrap. Stuff bubble wrap in bottom of box, put in instrument, put bubble wrap on all sides and top filling box, seal box with heavy 2″ wide packing tape, about twice as much as you need. Pack one roll of packing tape so you can re-pack before you leave to go home. Add handle (easy to make one with tape, or tape on a handle, or tie on some rope. Mark stuff on package with large black magic marker “THIS SIDE UP! FRAGILE: DO NOT BEND. CONTAINS ANGRY ELVES WHO WILL HURT YOU IF YOU WAKE THEM UP” or some such thing. Tip #3: First, find out if the planes you’re flying on all have closets. Second, carry the thing with you, in the soft case, but do wrap it in bubble wrap inside the case. Make sure it’s small enough to fit in the overhead. Go up to the counter and ask if they’ll find space in the closet for your instrument. If they’re crazy enough to want to gate-check it, well, that’s what the bubble wrap inside the case is for, but if they do that, ask them if they’ve seen the “United Breaks Guitars” video, nicely. If you have to put it in the overhead, stuff a large coat or something all around it so no one tries to smash it with their luggage. Again, bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is your friend
Oh, and don’t forget the loosen strings part. Most of the time, no difference, but the changes in air pressure in the luggage compartment plus string tension will eventually cause the neck to break at the nut.
And take along spare strings because one often breaks when you retighten.