Monday, January 29, 2007


Also, our friend Gaurav's father, Manu Shroff, passed away today. He has been battling cancer for a while now, but just two weeks ago they realized it had reemerged and metasticized. He evidently went downhill fast. Blessedly, Gaurav was able to be in India with his family for these last few weeks. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

iPods and Somalis

OK, so what do iPods and Somalis have in common? They're two of the things that are keeping me busy like no one's business.

I got an iPod video for my birthday. I thought it was fun little gadget until I really started getting a feel for how to use it. And THEN I thought it was FREAKING AWESOME. The drawback of an iPod is that it is a very anti-social device unless you have a unit that converts it into a stereo system. Without that, only you can hear th music, and you can't interact with anyone else unless you know sign language or don't mind looking idiotic and talking WAY to loud. But what really got me excited was when I realized that I could patch it into the old-school ghetto boom box I got back when I was in middle school. Which means it's now crazy shuffle mix in the Reid house 24/7. So I've been busy uploaded all my disks into iTunes. Y'all should come over and kick out the jams sometime.

But what has been keeping me super busy is all the work I've been doing with the Somali familes. On top of volunteering 3 days a week tutoring, I've been helping coordinate and plan a Somali tutoring program for the USC School of Education. We've gotten 20+ volunteers, so I've been looking at schedules, trying to make matches, creating forms, making introductions, going to the aprtments and surveying families and assessing needs. And my God have I been emailing like it's going out of style.

And Erica and Fuzzy came for a visit. More on that later. Bear with me, Dear Readers. I'm busier than I have been in a long time. But I'll return sooner than later.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Jimbo Mathus Show, 11/24/06

Let’s do the time warp again, this time back to Thanksgiving. I mentioned in a previous post that we had been to a Jimbo Mathus concert while in Jackson with my boy Ian Williams Nationwide, but never further commented on it. So here we go.

Ian Williams and Chris

I met Ian at my college orientation weekend over ten years ago and we’ve been best of buds ever since. We even did AmeriCorps together out in Denver (though on separate teams). And over the years Ian has grown increasingly in love with and knowledgeable about the Blues. So as this last Thanksgiving holiday approached, he called to see if we wanted to meet over in Jackson, MS at Hal and Mal’s and see a Mathus show. I started making some plans, and late Friday the 24th, we were sitting there listening to the funky sounds of the Knockdown South.

Squirrel Nut Zippers

I discovered Mathus about the same time I met Ian. Mathus was one of the founders and lead singers of the Squirrel Nut Zippers (pictured above), a jazzy- neo-swing-bluegrassy-dixieland-surrealist-whatever outfit that made some great music. You may have heard their bizarre hit single “Hell” in which Tom Maxwell, one of the other singers, delightfully spells out the word “damnation” and gleefully expounds on how shitty your afterlife will be in hell. Great song. Seriously. Check out the video below:

The SNZ are still one of my favorites, though the band only had four proper solo albums. However, they had a slew of singles and side projects, and Mathus delved into his love of the blues on several albums and solo tours, the first of which was with the Knockdown Society, which has now morphed into the Knockdown South.

The SNZ are now defunct after Maxwell left, lots of line-up changes, and a divorce between the two other original founders, Mathus and Katherine Whalen. I never did get a chance to see the SNZ, but I have seen Mathus three times now. Now he’s a laid-back, easy-going country boy who’ll shake your hand and invite you to join him for a drink. But when I first met him, which was in Vicksburg at the Biscuit Company (also now defunct) during the hey-day of the Zipper’s popularity, he was still super friendly but jumpy and acting all tweaked out. He was talking to me right up in my face and kept apologizing because he repeatedly kicked me as he squirmed and bounced in place. The show was great, I sat at the bar and chatted with the original bass player for the Zippers (also touring with Mathus), and then talked to Mathus again after the show.

The next time was in June of 2005 at the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, with Chris Blue, Palmer Shiers, and my Dad. Another good show, this time as the Knockdown South.

This last show was also very good. The music really is funky, fuzzed out blues but the band can play. I am always impressed with how well Mathus himself can play a guitar. Check him out if you get the chance.

(Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes)


We Had a Party Almost A Month Ago

Well, the end off 2006 was a busy time, with company, and parties, and road trips, and birthdays, etc. So here is the first of many many updates to catch up on the recent happenings around the Reid household. [However, for those of you who read Waldie’s blog, you have heard about most of this stuff].

So almost a month ago, we had our 4th Annual Reid Christmas Party, and by all accounts it was fun but surprisingly small. Years 2 and 3 both topped over 50 people each, which was chaotic but full of energy. Even our “housewariming/graduation/Chrissy’s birthday party” party hit about 50 folks. But this year’s shindig, including us, didn’t even hit 25 people. Several folks were noticeably absent, as they have all moved away to pursue opportunities elsewhere (Gaurav, Paula, Greg, Adam and Tricia), but we had a few new faces and many of the old stalwarts faithfully come and eat, drink and visit (and obsess over our cat in one particular instance. I’m looking at YOU, Izzy, but yes, she is a cutie).

So CLICK HERE to see a few photos from the shindig.