Archive for the ‘Nashville’ Category

John Irving at the Ryman Auditorium

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

“Suppression is very American. … If you don’t like abortion, don’t
have one. … Why should it matter to straight couples if gay couples
get married?” - John Irving, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, November 8,

The Pritchard House. That has a pretty nice ring to it, right?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Front of house, October 2008Went to Metro Archives over lunch to meet with a woman named Debie Cox. Karsten was put in touch with her by someone at a party when he mentioned that we’d had little success in tracking down info about our house. After Debie found out which house was ours, she apparently got intrigued. Normally, she says, she doesn’t do research for homeowners — she’ll just tell people how to do the research themselves. But she got intrigued and dug up tons of good background info about the house.

Long story short, it looks like our house was probably built around 1849. It was probably built by a fellow named Pritchard, and he probably lived there for a few years before selling it in 1855 to someone named Collette for the whopping price of $2000. It probably is the oldest house in the Germantown neighborhood, but it is almost certainly not the oldest brick house in Nashville, as we’ve been told. It is, of course, one of the oldest houses in Nashville, period.

So anyway, we saw lots of maps and deeds and whatnot, and Karsten’s going back to make copies of it all for our own files and to pass on to the next homeowner whenever we finally decide to sell it (which won’t be for a long time, I don’t think).

This stuff fascinates me. I’m glad we found our way into a mystery house; it’s been a fun adventure.

RIP Danny Dill, co-writer of “Long Black Veil”

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Danny Dill has passed away.

Mr. Dill wrote “Long Black Veil” with Marijohn Wilkin, a that song has been recorded by Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia and a slew of others. His “Detroit City,” written with Mel Tillis, became a standard when recorded by Bobby Bare. Largely on the strength of those songs, Mr. Dill was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975.

He was one of the first established songwriters Karsten and I had a chance to meet and hear perform in an intimate setting when we first moved to town five and a half years ago. It was a pretty powerful Nashville experience to hear him play “Long Black Veil” while we were sitting not 20 feet away in a living room with maybe two dozen other songwriters.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

It’s official: Sitening took me on.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

From the Sitening blog:

Sitening LLC, a bright, growing web marketing agency has hired Internet veteran Kate O’Neill as Managing Director.

Sure, sure, I’m excited about “the focus we’re going to be able to apply” and joining “such a talented group of web professionals.” Whatever. The real reason this rocks is this:

Dude. Coffee goes high tech. I like it.

Gardens Gone Wild!

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Gardens Gone Wild!

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

Our garden has gone almost all summer without maintenance (darn my
pesky thyroid), and it really shows. We haven’t been too concerned
about it, figuring my health us more important than a perfectly
manicured front yard, and anyway perfectly manicured was never our
style, so it’s been sort of a Darwinian exercise in garden tough love.
But next Saturday our house will be on the neighborhood homes tour, so
it was high time to give the garden a quick cleanup.

Karsten’s up on an extension ladder cleaning the top windows (he won’t
let me take a picture of him, though), so I tried to muster the
stamina to do the yard work myself, but I only got as far as weeding
(LOTS of weeding, actually), pruning, and trimming the established
plants, and loosely digging around to position the new plants.
Tomorrow, if my energy is right for it, I may do some mulching. But
just at this moment, I think the rest of the planting is up to
Karsten, and all I have any energy left for is, well, posting this
here picture. Enjoy. :)

Reducing eco-impact in the daily commute

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

I want to reduce my gas consumption and my carbon footprint. But little by little, I’m getting talked out of my bike commuting plans. Several people in the past few weeks have expressed concern over the lack of shoulder in several places on the road I’d be riding along with the speed of traffic on the road, particularly relative to a (slow) cyclist.

I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that, dammit, they’re probably right.

So now I’m left wondering what I want to do about my commute. Besides commuting by bike, I’ve decided to catalog the options I’m weighing, and see if anyone has any other suggestions:

  • I was willing to trade off lots of time (a daily three hours of bike commuting vs. 50 minutes on average by car on the highway) in order to get to zero, so I should be willing to make the same or similar concessions if I can lower my ecological impact. For example, if I were to buy a hybrid car, it would mean shuffling around some financial plans to accommodate it, but that should be no less inconvenient, in some ways, than the bike commute would have been.

    On the other hand, I was actually looking forward to the quiet time on the bike, whereas I’m not so eager to spend ~$20K on a new car. On the third hand, I do rather like being alive and don’t want to risk life and limb just to be stubborn about being a zero-carbon commuter.

  • Carpooling is a possibility. Unfortunately, no one I work with lives in my neighborhood, so there are no obvious arrangements. A few of my neighbors work in the same suburb I do, so I could pursue sharing rides with them if we can compromise on work hours. And some of my coworkers live on the east side of town, which is easy enough to get to. We’ve tried a few times to have Karsten drop me off at a designated meeting spot, like a gas station en route to the highway, and that’s been reasonably successful, but all of the carpool options do require conforming to a work schedule that may or may not suit my day-to-day needs. On the other hand, bike commuting would have been even more restrictive, since my choice would be to ride during daylight hours, and that means much shorter workdays than I’m used to. Not at all a bad thing, but a big adjustment either way.
  • Another option, albeit one I have less direct control over, is to try to work out a telecommute arrangement with my employer. I have experience with successfully introducing this arrangement in other workplaces, and there is sort of a precedent for it here — we have associates in remote locations already, so it’s not as if we don’t know how to get our jobs done when we’re not face-to-face. But this doesn’t seem like an easy sell and it probably wouldn’t be an immediate change, even if all parties agreed on the terms of a telecommute arrangement.
  • Finally, so as not to ignore obvious options, I could always quit my current job and find work closer to home (or freelance and work from home full-time). But I like what I’m doing, so I’m not ready to explore that option — especially not before I’ve explored the telecommute option.
  • I suppose another obvious option that should be stated is to move closer to work. This, however, is simply not going to happen. Karsten and I love our house and our neighborhood; our remaining happy in Nashville is heavily contingent on feeling as if we’re in a charming urban oasis in a sea of strange Southern suburban sameness. It’s one thing to work in the suburbs — exurbs, even — but living there would make me go postal.

    Other than that, I’m out of ideas. Anyone out there have any novel approaches for reducing ecological impact on the daily work commute?

  • Drinkhaus - our new neighborhood coffee shop

    Sunday, August 10th, 2008

    Drinkhaus - our new neighborhood coffee shop

    Originally uploaded by Kate O’
    Very excited about this cool new coffee shop with tasty drinks and a
    lot of style.

    Check it out:

    Nashville just got a little more perfect

    Friday, August 1st, 2008

    I don’t know how I missed the news that my favorite local cafe and patisserie, Provence, is now partnering with Intelligentsia Coffee. From Chicago. It’s my favorite coffee EV-AR.

    I detect the need to modify my daily commute so that I head downtown before leaving the city on my way to the exurbs each morning: I’m going to need to stop by the Provence at the main library.

    Now if only that location would open on Sundays, I’d be a very happy girl.

    What makes a song demo work in Nashville?

    Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

    The Nashville Feed has a great entry today about the “science” of cutting a killer demo, but the write-up goes on to demonstrate that it’s really anything but science. Several anecdotes from hit songwriters and producers nail the dilemma: music professionals often claim to prefer a work tape, because they say they want to hear their own interpretations, but a good many of the so-called “golden ears” on Music Row don’t seem to be as objective as they might claim. From what we’ve observed (and I’m not just talking about our own pitching, but what we’ve been witness to in various pitch sessions), a slightly less commercial song wrapped up in a well-polished demo has a better chance of being noticed than a slightly more commercial song recorded at home with just a guitar and some less-than-stellar vocals.

    Perhaps the best of both worlds might be to make a home recording, but use a great singer. That’s an approach we’ve thought about taking, but in the end, we always feel our songs are better represented by studio demos anyway.

    Anyway, the entry goes on to include a bulleted list of “how to make your demos real contenders,” and based on Karsten’s and my experience, there’s some good wisdom there. For example:

    Trust Your Musicians: “In Nashville the session musicians are the best in the world at getting demos done,” said Hambridge. “Songwriters are not usually producers, but good musicians spend so much time in the studio playing on all kinds of songs that they often know exactly what you’re going for. Listen to their ideas.”

    That’s one thing I haven’t written about often enough here: how impressive the talent is in Nashville. The first time we took a demo into the studio, we were completely knocked out by how quickly the musicians picked up the melody and laid it down for the recording. The guys were milling around, chatting with each other while the scratch demo was playing on the studio speakers, apparently not paying any attention. Yet when they all sat down to play it through, they had it sounding nearly radio-ready on the first take.

    Part of that, of course, is song structure. We intentionally write pop songs, and pop songs by definition have straightforward chord progressions, so it’s not like we typically give studio musicians much of a challenge. But the quality of musicianship is so high that they even replicate the turnarounds and licks without appearing to try.

    There are more tips, and some good anecdotes at the Nashville Feed. Click on over there to read the rest.

    And as a bonus, here’s some video from the “By Surprise” demo session we did back in ‘05:

    The definition of summer cool

    Friday, June 27th, 2008

    is a Blue Coast veggie burrito followed by a blueberry chocolate chip paleta. I’d be supremely relaxed right now if 1) I didn’t have so much crap to do, and 2) I hadn’t eaten quite so much of said food.

    Greening Nashville

    Monday, June 23rd, 2008

    I sure hope this comes to be:

    The mayor has called on the committee to identify goals and develop a plan of action that would help Nashville to first become the greenest city in the Southeast, and later one of the greenest cities in the nation.

    As the article points out, there’s plenty of work to be done, from outdated stormwater infrastructure (as evidenced by the turrets of water that run down our street when it rains) to sorely lacking mass transit options, with recycling and air quality in between — but it all seems manageable in the long term. I’m glad to see attention being paid to the gaps that need to be addressed.

    Now if they would just get moving on a mass transit option that would take me from Nashville to Franklin. I’m getting a little tired of these $60 tanks of gas.

    Family Wash robbed?

    Thursday, June 5th, 2008

    I heard from a coworker that Family Wash was robbed at gunpoint last night. Anyone heard this? He said the robber took the wallets of everyone there.

    We almost went there last night, no joke. That’s so weird.

    We’re well preserved!

    Saturday, May 31st, 2008

    We’re well preserved!

    Originally uploaded by Kate O’
    (Thanks to Busy Mom for the subject line. :) )

    Not sure why this didn’t post to my blog when I posted it to flickr. That whole “post to flickr and your blog at the same time” function is kind of sketchy, I find.

    The moment we’d been waiting for finally arrived, and our house won a preservation award from Nashville’s Historical Commission. We genuinely didn’t think we’d win, sitting at the ceremony watching all the other winners be presented, with projects far bigger than ours. But when they called out our names, we sure weren’t going to turn the plaque down!

    Karsten is thinking of wearing it on a chain around his neck. He says he’s busted up enough concrete around here to have earned it, and I quite agree. But in all likelihood, it will be as it is intended: mounted at eye level next to our front entrance. In this picture, I am holding it approximately where it will end up.

    Not that I’d want to be a staff writer, but still…

    Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

    After a lovely dinner at Rosario’s (I mean it! it was good, despite what that mean old Chris Chamberlain would have you believe), we decided to drop in to Edgehill Studios Cafe across the street to see who was playing. It was two guys who sounded pretty good so we stuck around, but we couldn’t determine what their names were — there didn’t seem to be a schedule posted anywhere. (We also spotted Karen Keely from 95.5 The Wolf hangin’ out with a “Cutie Wolf” t-shirt on.)

    Anyway, one of the writers announced a song called “Makes Me Wanna Pray” by saying it was on hold with Martina McBride (and I couldn’t help but think of Lindsay). The song wasn’t bad, but I was more interested in how much he sounds like Collin Raye.

    Both writers were enjoyable, but Collin Raye Guy got me curious so I looked him up. His name is Jared Johnson and it turns out he’s with Big Loud Shirt. Staff songwriter at Craig Wiseman’s company? Now that’s a gig to have. I’m betting that “Pray” song gets cut, and I’m even betting it’s a single, and heck, why not, I’ll even bet that it charts. People seem to love sad songs that make them feel all holy.

    Formulating a hypothesis

    Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

    I just had a lovely lunch with two former co-workers. (Sorta. I worked there for such a short period of time that we barely count as co-workers.) And it got me to thinking.

    I think maybe Digital Dog is to the Nashville web industry what Kevin Bacon is to Hollywood.

    The analogy only goes so far, because I’ve never heard that Kevin Bacon drives the people that work with him crazy. But just as when you play a “six degrees” game, you can always join movie people through Kevin Bacon, I doubt there’s a web professional in Nashville who’s more than a few degrees away from Digital Dog.

    In fact, I think it should be a drinking game. Who’s in?

    Making this big old world seem smaller

    Friday, August 24th, 2007

    Rock on! One of my favorite neighbors recently moved to Shanghai but is now on Facebook. The internets have become useful again.


    Sunday, August 19th, 2007

    originally uploaded by lesley s.

    Ha! Here’s me all nerding it up at BarCamp and liveblogging the goings-on. (And that great-looking guy next to me? The one and only musician/restaurateur/blogger Nashville Knucklehead.)

    It was already sweltering by this point at Exit/In. I was desperately thinking about exiting.

    Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing

    Saturday, August 18th, 2007

    Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing
    Kat & Ivy talking about hyperlocal self-publishing,
    originally uploaded by Kate O’.

    Or, in other words, about Music City Bloggers.

    Main floor at BarCamp Nashville

    Saturday, August 18th, 2007

    Main floor at BarCamp Nashville
    Main floor at BarCamp Nashville,
    originally uploaded by Kate O’.

    It’s packed. It’s very warm. But it’s also very cool.

    I’m headed to camp!

    Saturday, August 18th, 2007

    I’ve mentioned it here and there, but I thought I’d put it right here: I’m going to BarCamp today! I’m going to savor the geeky flavor, or if I don’t, I’m going to escape to Fiesta Azteca for a Negra Modelo or three. See? There’s no risk involved.

    But anyway, I’m psyched! It should be great. I’m excited to see several of my brainy friends speak on the primary stage: Jackson Miller, Chris Wage, and Brittney Gilbert.

    And then my other brainy friends will be speaking on the secondary stage — Kat & Ivy & maybe some other folks from Music City Bloggers will talk about “Hyperlocal self-publishing portals.” As if they have any experience with that! Ha, I kid.

    And then maybe we’ll all go out for drinks later. For serious! Why can’t that kind of fun be an every-night experience?

    I haven’t figured out what I’m wearing, but I have, like Jackson, deliberated about what technology I’m bringing with me. And unlike Jackson, I’ve decided to bring my laptop. I may do a little live-blogging; why not?

    Birds took out our power.

    Thursday, August 16th, 2007

    Our area lost power for a while last night. Turns out it was birds. Weird.

    ETA: Oh, and I also want to say that people have no freakin’ clue how to drive when the power is out. When stoplight intersections have no power, people barrel right through. We had to drive out of the neighborhood to find food, and it was a white-knuckle experience getting through the intersections. Idiots.

    Fighting crime with bunny ears

    Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    Fighting crime with bunny ears
    Fighting crime with bunny ears,
    originally uploaded by Kate O’.

    At the North End Night Out Against Crime: S-townMike, me, & Hutchmo. This is picture #2 because they wanted to suck in their guts. Of course, my own gut looks unjustly large in this shot, but I’m going with it because that’s just the kind of crime-fighting neighbor and friend I am.

    That’s not me making the bunny ears, by the way. I’m being framed!

    It’s Briley for me, too

    Friday, July 27th, 2007

    S-townMike has decided he wants Briley for the next mayor of Nashville.

    I’m so glad to read that. Anyone who’s seen our front yard (or pictures of our front yard) in recent weeks knows we’re a Briley household. But I have a great deal of respect for S-townMike and the strength of his views on community and neighborhoods and what’s good for Nashville in general. So honestly, just to know that he’s thrown his support behind Briley as well pleases me, but I’m especially pleased that some of our reasons are the same:

    Every opportunity I have to talk to Mr. Briley, he makes a concerted effort to listen, to chat with me authentically, and to be accountable for what he tells me. [...] I have never seen him evade a difficult question put to him.

    Indeed I have seen David Briley seem to seek out difficult questions. I really sense that he’s a man of great character and integrity, and it comes through most in one-on-one interactions. Not to say the man’s never been wrong or won’t be wrong again — we’re electing a mayor, not an icon — but I get a good feeling when I talk with him that he sincerely means to do the right thing by people, and to do the right thing by Nashville.

    Which reminds me of one more thing S-townMike says:

    It is a testament to who David Briley is: a consummate leader who is not simply versed in the intricacies of governing, but a man readily attuned and energized by his responsibilities to the communities that he governs.


    Chris Wage — whose opinions on the growth and development of Nashville I also have a great deal of respect for — has this to say about the race:

    Everyone I’ve talked to in the past week — admittedly a small sample set — has been excited about Dean or Briley, whereas I’ve gotten nothing but baffled apathy regarding the rest of the field, particularly with regards to Clement.

    I have had some overlap in sampling with Chris, but our sample set is not exactly the same and my experience is still identical to his. More specifically, the people I meet who are passionate about the race are passionate about Briley. I think it comes back to how much his character comes through when folks meet him.

    Hey, look. I know I’m not an expert on local politics. I’m not a Nashville native, and I don’t have as much background on who’s who and what their backgrounds are as do a lot of folks I know. But I do pay attention, and I learn more every day, and I do genuinely care. When Karsten and I moved here four and a half years ago, we didn’t know we were going to fall in love with the place so much. I’m happy to call Nashville home and I hope to for a very long time. I believe David Briley is the mayor we need to help the city continue to grow responsibly, to address the valid concerns that come with growth, and to become an even better place to live than it already is.

    A small part of a big moment

    Friday, July 6th, 2007

    I’m really excited to be part of a new blogging project. There’s a lot that it can become, but right now, the core group of people behind it are just trying to pull together everything we need to do right now. There’s been a flurry of email, a few of us met for lunch today, and there’s talk of a field trip for some research and networking, but more on that later.

    The blog’s most basic purpose is to serve the community of middle Tennessee that was built through Nashville Is Talking, and which has been left wondering what comes next ever since Brittney left.

    My take? This. This is what comes next. It’s grassroots, it’s cooperative, and it’s people from differing social and political views coming together with a common purpose. That just rocks my little world. After wondering what would happen to the community without a central voice to pull it all together, I feel really good about the way this has the potential to come together.

    Technorati lets you claim a blog, but what about claiming a blogger?

    Friday, June 15th, 2007

    CeeElCee and girls
    CeeElCee and girls,
    originally uploaded by lesley s.

    Doesn’t this totally look like I’m saying “mine, all mine”? After all, we’re talking about BadBad-mf’in-Ivy and Ginger-f’in’-SNAPs here, people - I don’t know why CeeElCee wasn’t fighting me for them. He must have known he was no match for my mad girl-claiming skillz.

    Come to think of it, I may have tried to fight with CeeElCee one other time last night. I don’t remember why, but I kind of remember saying that he and my inner fag could take it outside, but CeeElCee wisely deferred, admitting he’d have his ass handed to him. I really don’t want to fight CeeElCee - I adore the guy! - but I’m thinking maybe he just brings out the scrappy in me.