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December 28th, 2016

wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (cleanthings)
Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 11:07 am
For the past eight years, Jeffrey Butzer and T. T. Mahoney have performed the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas live. Butzer plays drums, Mahoney plays piano and some other guy (not always the same guy from year to year) plays bass in a classic jazz trio. Occasionally, a group of female singers will come up to sing the vocal parts.

I've seen it for the past few years and I enjoy it immensely. The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas is the only Christmas album I own, and it pretty much sets the mood for the season. So when it came around, I purchased a ticket in advance (it inevitably sells out) and put in for the time off with The Big Green Grocery Store.

I figured I'd be scheduled right up to my departure time, like I usually am, but instead they gave me the whole day off. I usually close on Saturday nights, and I guess they figured that if they couldn't have me close, they didn't want me at all. I spent the Saturday cleaning the place, like I used to do when I had a Monday through Friday job. I hope for it to be a portent to things yet to come.

Doors opened at 8:30 and there was already a line stretching into the restaurant area just before 8:30 arrived. By the time I'd gotten in and ordered a drink, all the places to sit were taken. I sat on the step that leads up to the corner where the couches are (the TARDIS corner, I call it, because the walls there have a grid of large circles that resemble the walls of the old-school TARDIS) and moodled with my phone until the show started.

The opening act was Jeffrey Butzer's other project, The Bicycle Eaters. They're basically the soundtrack to an art film set in Paris. Many of the songs are sung in French, in fact, because English would just seem jarring matched against the music. The next act was The Silent Knights, who played the entirely of the surf rock Christmas album by The Ventures. It was the first time I'd ever heard Jingle Bell Rock actually sound like rock. I get a big kick out of surf rock (it's probably picked up from Greg Nicoll and seeing The Penetrators so many times) so I had a good time.

Then, finally, the jazz trio hit the stage and we were treated to the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. The thing I rather like about their performance is that it isn't a note for note replica, but has a little of the improvisation that jazz is made of.

Then this happened. They got to Fur Elise by Beethoven (Schroeder plays it while Lucy is bothering him) and Jeffrey Butzer got out from behind the drumkit, lay down on his stomach and propped his chin up on his hands, like a child in front of the fireplace. Then somebody started grabbing me and trying to shove me to one side.

I turned to see my eternal nemesis, a Drunk Blond Chick, in a Santa hat. She asked me to move over. I asked her why. She explained that she wanted a clearer view of Jeffrey Butzer in childhood pose, because it was so cute. I assented and moved over for the length of the piece. When it was over and all the musicians had resumed their positions I moved about halfway back and planted my feet. There the matter would have ended but then she started poking and grabbing me again.

I turned around. "Stop touching me," I said.

"We just wanted you to sway with us, in the sprit of Christmas," she explained.

"Stop. Touching. Me," I repeated

And to her credit, she did. Give or take the time she collided with me (I'm pretty sure it was her) when she was dancing with the enthusiasm of the drunk. I got through the rest of the show without irritation and headed to my parents' house to sleep.

Sunday was the annual Cookie Party. My mom bakes about 1,500 Christmas cookies (usually more) every year and the Cookie Party is one of the ways she distributes them. She invites friends and neighbors to partake in cookies, eggnog and punch. I reluctantly caught people up on what I've been doing--I wish I had something better to tell them--and indulged in my favorite cookies. Our friend Jeff came over and performed the annual Christmas ritual of sneaking new ornaments onto the tree when Mom isn't looking. The first time he and Angelo did it, Mom was completely baffled with it was time to pack the ornaments away and this strange Santa ornament had shown up on the tree. These days, she has grown to expect it and it's become something of a game to see how long it takes before Mom figures it out.

After the Cookie Party, my parents and I went across the street to another neighborhood gathering with many of the same people attending. This time it was a housewarming after a massive renovation of a house that my parents still refer to by its previous owner. There was enough food about to make a modest post-cookie dinner. I wasn't too familiar with the new owners, but I was familiar with one of the neighbors attending the party--he was a classmate of mine in high school. He's buying a house on my parents' street, so I may well see more of him. He wasn't particularly brutal to me in the days past, so I'm fine with it.

The party pretty much blew my chance to go to Java Monkey for the open mike there, but maybe some other time.

I'm sorry this was so boring. I'm sort of using this as a supplementary diary now to fill in all the details I miss in my handwritten diary pages. Only a few people are reading this and most of them are related to me.

Today I took pleasure in a cool glass of lemon water.

Today I learned someone's hypothesis that 2017 isn't going to be much better in terms of famous people dying on us.