Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Top Five Life-Changing Albums

Everyone should be made to share their top five Life-Changing Albums. Most of mine have to do with my early years, especially my teenage years. This is not necessarily in order of their ranking, but just as they occurred to me. In the case of the vinyl, the grooves are probably very well-worn, due to repeated listenings. As always, this list is subject to change.

1. Tommy: The Who. I remember where I was, who I was with, and how I felt when I first heard this. When Tommy starts singing "See Me , Feel Me" for the last time, to this day, I get misty-eyed. And yet, for all of it's incarnations and re-interpretations, I'm never sure exactly what's about.

2. Jesus Christ, Superstar: For shame, to be emotionally attached to anything from Andrew Lloyd Webber. But, as with Tommy, I remember the first listening vividly and get the same feeling when I hear it today.

3. Growing Up In Public by Lou Read: Same criteria. Also, the first time I "got" Lou Reed.

4. Sandinista: The Clash. Damn! What can I say? Damn.

5. Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Soundtrack to her one-woman Broadway show back in the 80's. Choice songs sung with passion.

6. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: Uncle Meat. If you only listen to "King Kong," it's worth it.

7. Madam Butterfly: Verdi. My Mom played that record while she cleaned house and her children played with their Tinker Toys. I think that opera set the tone for my musical life.

Ok. That's seven. Read. Discuss. Submit your own.

I know that I'll probably change my mind at some point.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Review of My Nephew's Percussion Concert

I don't remember the title of the concert, but my nephew's high school drumline, with invited percussion ensembles from two other high schools, gave a concert Saturday Night. It was Stomp-esque in nature and was quite good.

Like Stomp, Nephew's group created scenes in which everyday props were used to create rhythmic tone poetry. It opened with Nephew and friends using tubes of different sizes and followed with a trash can serenade that was visually stunning. Also a piece using traffic cones and another using cleaning tools. It was all very clever.

Another piece performed by Nephew's group involved grinding tools and other tools. This piece was sparktacular. My only complaint was that, while the three or so players using the grinders had eye protection, other students making drumming noises around them did not. It could be that they were all far enough away. But those sparks flew pretty far.

Of the two guest ensembles, the steel drum band from another high school stood out. My high school has a steel drum band ten times the size of this one-but this band absolutely rocked the house. Whereas my school's steel drum band learns by the numbers, this band worked from charts and actually had very strong musicianship. Not only that, but they were real performers with a real sense of showmanship. Their energy was just unstoppable.

And they played a real variety of music. For three numbers, they actually had a singer, who sang "Come on Eileen," "Take on Me," and a song that I have apparently forgotten. They even did hip-hop. And made me like it!

The drumline from the other high school was pretty good. But what was fascinating to me was one of their percussionists was this kid who had two severely withered arms-one completely useless. Apparently his dad is a professional drummer. He rigged this electronic drum kit, the likes of which I have never seen, that allowed his son to play using his one semi-functional arm and his two feet. And the kid rocked.

It was a fun night.

One last highlight was a piece where my nephew and three other guys created percussion using repeated vocal patterns, which I guess was pretty much improvised.

I am one proud and impressed uncle.

They were selling glow-in-the-dark drumsticks and practice pads made from traffic cone bases. I bought a set.

Perhaps a new musical direction.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection's Review of Ukulele Nuff's Karaoke Performance

The crowd at the post-graduation reception for the combined staves of Blanco Grande high School and Val Blanco Continuation High School sat eagerly as, one-by-one, each karaokeist got up and sang his or her favorite song. The evening was heavy with country western tunes, with the occasional Guns and Roses tune thrown in for balance.

But the crowd awaited the Great One. Ukulele Nuff was in the house and the rumor was that he intended to represent.

His name called, he stood up, towering over his fans. There was a gasp. A squeal involuntarily escaped one lady's mouth. Ukulele Nuff took a hearty swig from his O'Doule's and sauntered over to the mike, confidently taking it from the speechless karaoke mistress.

First song up: "New York, New York." U-Nuff squinted at the screen. He had forgotten his glasses.

This song started out pleasantly enough, but lacked the flair of a well-rehearsed saloon singer, like a Sinatra, for example. What made things worse was that U-Nuff's voice didn't need re-verb, but there was enough reverb for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. U-Nuff's voice lacked support for this tune. He often went sharp or flat and sometimes had trouble sustaining the note. At the song's finale, as if to make up for his poor performance, U-Nuff got down on one knee.

At least one member of the crowd hooted, but clearly U-Nuff had used up one of his signature moves before he had performed his second song. Also, during the second to last "New York," he stopped to clear his throat. Later, he told this reporter that he had suffered from a cold that lingered in his throat. Tell it to Pavorotii, Ukulele Nuff.

His second tune, "That's Life" faired better, although U-Nuff seemed to stumble at the end. The song was more suited to his range and his support was much better.

Ukulele Nuff told me later that he had considered singing "Fly Me to the Moon," but thought better of it. "Sometimes," he said, "you can give the audience too much of yourself, and they turn on you."

This was not one of Ukulele Nuff's better performances. It is this reporter's opinion that Ukulele Nuff needs to find new inspiration if he is to regain his former genius.

Karaoke Whore

My plan at graduation was to rocket across the field of the minor-league baseball stadium where we hold our graduation ceremonies as soon as the last name was called. It is easy to be the first one to get to my car this way as most people are traveling in packs while I am traveling alone. Packs, be they families, groups of friends, carpoolers, move slowly. A lone wolf can zip around, between, over, and under packs without them even knowing he is there. Soon, I am in my car and buzzing towards the freeway, while others are still hugging and crying.

I used to go to the after-graduation gathering at a local bar, but the traffic around the stadium made it just as hard to get there as getting to the freeway.

But, I found out that our gathering was going to take place in a lounge at the stadium. So, I decided that I'd stay for awhile, get a little food, maybe a little drink, and then leave.

Those of us who attended were greeted by a school secretary who, with her husband, runs a karaoke business. She began singing a song and her voice wasn't awful.

You can guess where this is leading.

I hadn't even sat down with my array of greasy hors d'voures when people started telling me, "Bro A-Bomb, you have to sing!"

I thought I would resist, at first. I have standards. But, when JB, my non-singing teaching partner got up and did a rousing version of "Welcome to the Jungle," I knew that I had to give the people what they wanted.

I thought JB was quite brave to be the first. But, when he immediately darted out the door to his car after he had finished, I thought him less so. He broke the ice without paying the price.

Then two science teacher who sing worse than JB got up to do a rendition of "Love Shack."

So I filled out my little card, went to the bar for another beer, and, when my name was called out, sang "New York, New York." The trouble with Karaoke is that the lyrics that flash across the screen are often wrong and don't fit the rhythm of the song. Or they try to follow every yelp and growl of the original singer too closely and become confusing.

Some other drunk souls got up. A few of them could sing.

What I noticed was how many younger people knew all of the country western songs that were being performed. I find that scary. I think anyone who gets into country western before they turn 30 has some serious issues. I'm not talking about fans of Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson. I'm talking about the twangy, proud-to-be-ignernt singers, like Toby Keith. What nit-wits.

Anyway, my second song was "That's Life." I thought about doing a third song, but chose not to. It is always good to leave the audience wanting more-especially a karaoke audience.

UF brought his guitar and his own mike and amp and accompanied himself on a David Wilcox song. I don't know if he knew this, but Barb's husband looked pissed that someone would choose not to sing karaoke.

I realize that, by singing karaoke, I compromised my high artistic standards. I swear I'll never do it again.

The Smog Strangled Benny

When I was in high school, a friend and I co-wrote a parody of the Star Spangled Banner: "Oh, hey, can you breath/ all that smog in the air? Though unfit to inhale, through our lungs, it is streaming..."

That's about as far as we ever got.

I always liked the National Anthem because it's everything our national anthem should be. It is about the little guy (us) standing strong against the big bullies of this world. "America the Beautiful," is ok as a patriotic song, I guess. But the people who would make that our national anthem are the same people who are making it less beautiful. "God Bless America" is one that many people prefer, but, like "America the Beautiful," it's lyrics seem more ironic than truthful these days.

Last night, at the graduation ceremonies of the high school where I teach, one young lady was brought up to sing Our National Anthem. She had a lovely voice, but sang it with Mariah Carey-esque stylings that made it sound more like a song about making love than about holding on to courage during a time where the next mortar shell could take out you and your platoon. She crooned and warbled and writhed with her silky vocal calisthenics, seducing whoops and hollers from several members of the audience.

But the song is about bombs bursting in air, not fucking.

Ok, there might be a Freudian metaphor here-but the intent is certainly not sexual.

I guess we could blame Ray Charles for singing his famous rendition of "America the Beautiful." But that, in its time, was considered pretty radical by many. What Ray did was take a famous standard and re-invent it for the worker, who, getting home from the job, popped open a beer, sat down in the proverbial favorite chair, and reflected on love for this country. Also, it's a different song.

Or maybe we could blame Whitney Houston. She did sing that one version of the National Anthem at a Super Bowl or something. But it was jazzy and classy. She may not be jazzy and classy anymore, but that version of the National Anthem was. And, while she reshaped it for a new age, she didn't sex it up.

So, for all of you would-be and actual pop stars out there, the singing has to reflect what the song is about. It's not just about the singer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Funny Hats and Beer....

I think I'm feeling a little more serious about starting a Sunday afternoon Uke Gathering. We could call the group Inland Empire Ukulele Society (I.E. UkeS: Clever, yet scholarly). My initial thought was that we could play with my friend Al, Al Fresco. We would meet at the UCR Belltower or something. Maybe Fairmont Park.

But, hey, why not go for the TURDS model? Those British guys really know about loud silly fun. And what better place to have loud silly fun than a pub? I've been in British pubs-ones that actually stood in Great Britain. I have actually sampled the house brew in a couple. There is no country in the universe that understands loud silly fun better than Great Britain. That's why their first name is Great.

And beer. What other ingredient promotes loud silly fun than BEER? So, we find a loud silly brewery in the Inland Empire with a loud silly patio and reserve it for the I.E. UkeSters.

It reminds me, if I may wax nostalgic, of the days when I taught at another high school. Oh, we didn't have ukes then. But the English Department there knew how to have loud silly fun.

Every couple of months, we would have poetry readings. Ok, I know that that doesn't sound especially loud, silly, or fun-but they were! We would go to a local place that would sell us beer and we would read great poetry while drinking. Trust me, it got silly. And loud. The only thing missing was funny hats.

Trust me, you don't know what loud and silly is until you have tried to analyze W.B. Yeats' "Leda and the Swan" after three or four beers. It takes on a whole new meaning.

Now, throw in a couple of silly hats and you've got something.

Take out "Leda and the Swan" and replace it with several ukuleles and you have something truly special.

Howlin' Hobbit, you magnificent bastard!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Uke as Folk Instrument

I missed the Claremont Folk Festival last weekend. I just couldn't scrape together the desire to go. At the last two, Jumpin' Jim Beloff showed up and led a couple of ukulele workshops. They're usually geared for beginners, but they're still fun. At the last one, I was impressed at how my skills had improved. There were some songs that we played that were impossible for me two years ago that were simple last year. I like Jim's workshops.

I didn't see him on the schedule this year, which was a disappointment. But I have the feeling that a lot of the music Jim would perform did not fit the "folk" theme for some. I recall that he sang "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," which is a little sugary for my tastes.

Jim is an excellent musician, uke-wise at least, and is an excellent workshop leader. Whether or not Jim leads workshops, they should continue to have uke workshops at this fest. What could be more of a folk instrument than the uke-accessible to a broad range of abilities, easy to carry around, has traveled the world and has been adapted to many different genres.

I was looking at pictures of the Seattle Ukulele Players' Association (I think that's the name) recent Ukulele Sunday event. Basically, what they had there was a folk event: People of a community playing together, swapping songs.

It would be fun to try that around here. Maybe during the summer. Pick a public place, get a few people to meet, attract the interest of strangers. Who knows?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

High Anxiety

I re-read my letter from the guy who will be leading my workshop in Taos this summer. I have got to come up with a piece of short fiction that draws off of its setting. In other words, it must be a short story about place. I have this unfinished short story that has always gotten good feedback and has always been left unfinished. I could try and finish it, but I feel like I'd only be playing it safe because I have already gotten positive feedback on it and it's not like I'd be coming up with anything new.

And like I have enough time to write.

I also have a weekend poetry workshop at the same conference. This also deals with place. I'm not as worried about that, although I haven't written any poetry for awhile.

As for the fiction workshop, it just sounds a little more advanced than I thought it would be.

Anyway, that's one reason I started this blog-to keep my writing chops warmed up for when something hits me. There are a couple of things here that I could work on. But I'm in my masterpiece or nothing mode right now.

My experience at last year's conference was really good. I wrote a lot and enjoyed the people.

The previous one wasn't as good. It was in Napa valley and the food and wine were good, but the workshop was not. Our leader was an ok writer, but I don't think that she was especially concerned with her students. I got the impression that she hadn't really planned much and that she was more concerned with how many books people bought.

The one thing I did get from her was how to write a Sijo (see first post). I like that form more than haiku or tanka. It's long enough for some kind of narration, but short enough to keep you honest. No room for false steps.

But, at Taos, the feeling was very good. The people were generally friendly. I was really able to relax there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Think Some of You Missed My Point

I have boiled eggs many times. My point was that I had lost my egg-boiling mojo. When you lose a mojo, it doesn't matter what you know, you just can't make it work.

If you poke holes at both ends of the egg before boiling, peeling it is much easier. Sure, a little bit of leakage-but it's easier to peel.

In my heart, I knew that I was playing with the unknown, but I had to see for myself. It's human nature. Just like with Lot's wife. Or Orpheus and Eurydice.

One reason for losing my mojo is that I seldom eat whole eggs anymore. I use egg beaters. If you scramble two parts egg whites and one part regular egg beaters, they look almost scrambled eggs.

I just today tried microwaving some egg beaters. They were delicious. The hard part was peeling off the carton.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Household Hints: How to Boil an Egg

I recently experienced the loss of both my barbecue and potato salad mojos. I have regained the barbecue mojo, but the potato salad mojo eludes me.

The last two times I tried making potato salad, I had difficulty boiling the eggs long enough. The eggs came out soft boiled instead of hard boiled.

This last time, I managed to peel the shell off and found the white a little runny. The time before that, I tried micrwaving an unpeeled egg and discovered the incredible edible egg's explosive properties.

But, this time, I figured that, without the shell, perhaps there would be no harm in boiling the peeled, undercooked egg for 30 seconds.

When I took it out, the white was still a little soft. I thought that nuking it for 30 seconds more might be risky.

Then it dawned on me-if you nuke a potato, you're supposed to poke holes in it. The egg is potato-shaped. The principle must be the same. So, I got a skewer and found out what happens if you poke a hole into an egg that has been nuked for 30 seconds.

It'll explode.

If you hold it close, it will explode in your face.

God, it was bitchen.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lost Masterpiece Found

Hey, I found it and posted it. Two posts down.

The Lost Masterpiece

I just spent an hour writing a very reflective entry about Leonard's Welcome-Back Ukulele. It was a very touching piece. Since I am typing here at the RCC Reading and Writing Center, my weekend teaching gig, and the computer was giving me some problems, I decided to save it as a draft and fix it up when I got home this afternoon. It seems to have disappeared altogether.

Now I know how Hemingway must have felt at the Paris train station when Hadley forgot the suitcase with all of his short story manuscripts. The internet is the train station. This computer is Hadley. And I, of course, am Hemingway.

Actually, I guess this computer is Pauline, the woman with whom Hemingway had an affair and later divorced Hadley to marry. My computer at home would be Hadley. Of course, I'll never leave her for this computer. I'll just buy a new computer and store her in my garage, planning on copying her hard drive, but never getting around to it.

Uke of the Month Club

When UF brought in Leonard's welcome-back ukulele into my classroom, he gave it to me to test it out. We found that we had both had the same initial impulse: forget Leonard, let's keep it. Each of us wanted to keep it for ourselves, of course-we wouldn't have shared ownership. I think we both tend to covet ukes we don't have.

Not that it was such a special uke. It was just a low-end Lanikai that cost about $60. It was nothing special in and of itself.

It was special to Leonard, and to us, because of the thought behind it.

My first uke, a soprano Estrella, is not exactly a Stradivaius. But I still get a great deal of pleasure playing it-n part,because it was a gift and, in part, because it was my first.

Actually, I guess it was my second. The first was that cardboard cheapo I bought at Music Mike's to play in that production of Godspell ten or so years ago. Being ignorant, I left it in the car in the summer heat and-presto!-I took it out at one rehearsal, strummed it once, and the neck came off. I replaced it with a plastic toy guitar and only pretended to play.

Thus, my musical destiny was postponed for a decade.

Since getting my Estrella, I have accumulated 10 ukes. A few are really cheap ones that I keep in my classroom for when a student comes up and asks to play my ukulele. I know of too many guitarist friends who bring their best instruments to school, only to have some student who didn't ask and didn't respect the intstrument cause some damage. Most students regard the uke as a toy and initially treat it pretty casually. I insist that they treat my uke gently. But, since I don't have eyes in the back of my head, they use the ukes I got somewhere for cheap. If they want, I teach them a few chords.

I don't have any really expensive ukes. My best right now are my Oscar Schmidt and my two Belfiore's. I am trying to be strong and save my money for a really nice one one day. But that six-string Lanakai cut-away tenor calls my name, like the sirens to Ulysses. And, while, it won't cause me to crash against the rocks and drown, it will cost me some serious cabbage.

The other realization I had while strumming Leonard's uke to be was that, if I could get a new ukulele every month, I would practice 10 times more. I like the feel and sound of a new uke. I like how it sounds different from my others. I like the brilliant tone in my Belfiores. I like the hushed tone of Oscar. I like the flimsy sound of my cheap Mahalo.

Just a uke a month, that's all I ask.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ukulele Healing Ritual

A colleague from school recently had his colon checked out for cancer. I guess he had no symptoms and is not of the age where doctors recommend you have this procedure, but they found a tumor, 1/16th of an inch, and removed it. Then, just before spring break, he had a follow-up procedure which kept him out six weeks.

He tells me that, if he had waited five years, when he would have been of the age that the exploratory procedure is commonly done, he would have been dead. Colon cancer is the number two killing cancer.

So, when we heard that he was coming back to school, UF and I headed up a welcome back gift drive in our department and bought him a ukulele, case, and song book. He is an accomplished guitarist and, whenever he comes to my classroom, he picks up one of my ukes and starts playing around on it. So, I figured he'd probably like it.

He is one of the reasons I keep two ukes at school. Often, whenever anyone walks into my classroom and finds me jamming, they ask if they can try it out. So, I give them the uke I am playing and grab the other uke to continue my jam. This teacher is one of the best offenders. He has actually shared some guitar stuff that translates to uke.

UF presented it to him yesterday (I was out). When I went to his classroom today, strumming my Oscar Schmidt, I found him walking around the classroom, cradling his new uke, jamming away while his students worked. He was truly touched by the gift.

He is not normally an emotional kind of guy, but he said that he was truly choked up when UF delivered his new uke.

Hey, another convert to the movement.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Curmudgeonliness is next to Godliness

I was just looking at the blog of my youthful ukernet community friend Howlin' Hobbit, where he waxes rhapsodic on his impending entry into the curmudgeon stage of his life. Hey, pal, I've been there for a year.

My first clue was when I realized people were beginning to call me "sir" and really mean it.

By the way, I remember the first time I was called "sir." I was 16. I was with a group of friends in Pasadena on New Year's Eve, waiting to see the Rose Parade. I was walking along a dark street that lead up to the parade route, when this 13-year-old addressed me. "Sir," he said, "Can you buy me a six pack of beer?" It was dark, like I said. On that same night, right after the clock struck twelve, this woman who had to be at least 18, grabbed me by the shirt collar and said "Kiss me, sweetie!" and planted what had to be the longest, deepest kiss that I had ever had at that point in my life on my tender, quivering lips.

I should mention that I was there with a church group.

But, I digress.

These days, I find myself the occasional victim of ageism, even though 51 is not that old, by today's standards. It seems some people do assume that I represent some antiquated way of living. I have more than once been called old-fashioned.

As Bob Dylan once said, "He not busy being born is busy dying." I know more younger People than I care to count who have trapped themselves into lifestyles they can no longer see their way out of: children they didn't plan, marriages they settled for-Hell! affairs to which they are neither morally or legally bound, but can't see their way out of.

I am not always the best at "being born," but I have been more of a student of life during the past ten or so years than I ever was before. I went back to school and got my Masters at the age of 48. I took up the ukulele at the age of 49 and have started singing again-this time, the kinds of songs I want to sing. I have started writing again.

I think curmudgeoning is not a bad way of life. Look forward to it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I Retract Previous Post

But I will leave it up for any entertainment value.

I had a good time at the concert. There were many groups performing and lots of students and former students were in those groups. I especially liked the percussion groups-even the steel band.

The staging was a little overwrought. The sound system was probably bigger than when we had Jaguares play in our gym. It was also uneven. There were times when you could hear everything very well. There were other times where you could hear some parts better than others.

It was hard for me to tell. But the sound on my little schpiel kept changing. I wasn't speaking that loud, but I had my mouth very close to the mike and, at the beginning, it was way too loud. I was going for an whispery, evil tone. Like I was disturbed. I mean, I was reading Poe, so it seemed appropriate.

Anyway, it was short and sweet.

The professional actor who performed "One Night in Bangkok" was alright. But I kept thinking about how UF and I could do it on ukulele.

Oh, and the jazz choir, which sang "Take the A-Train," "Bangkok," and "The Raven," was pretty good. The best vocal performances I have heard from that group.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Poe No Mo'

I got myself talked into participating in a concert at the high school tomorrow night. It is some musical phantasm thing with a world music emphasis. I am glad to help the kids, but some members of our music department have GOT to get some taste.

When I was in my high school and college concert choirs, we performed timeless works of great majesty. Now, the emphasis is on pop tunes. It seems that music teachers don't want to stretch their students musically. Too bad, because, in some communities, the public schools are the only places where they get any music education.

The piece that I am participating in is a thing from an Alan Parsons Project album. This selection is called "The Raven" and is an adaptation of Poe's famous poem of the same title. The part that I am reading was originally read by Orson Wells. I think it was recorded live. They wheeled Orson out and had him recite this monologue-I presume Poe's own words-in which he says essentially that there are some ideas that he can't put into words.

This passage must be one of those ideas, because I couldn't figure it out and I have a Masters in English. UF came over during lunch one day and we looked at it and figured the above translation.

I wonder, if Poe and Shakespeare could have ever gotten together, what would they talk about? I like Poe (well, sometimes), but have to think that Shakespeare would give up and sail back to England.

ASB wants UF and I to perform at a teacher's tea at the end of the year. I would prefer to keep alive the illusion that my musicianship is as good as UF's, but I will perform anyway. The idea is that we will take turns playing songs we know and then play a few together. Could be fun.

Like I said, UF is the better player.

But I have a much more charming stage persona.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Rube Goldberg Device That Is My Life

So today I decided to mow my lawn. I won't go into exactly how momentous that is, but my neighbors gathered around my yard and applauded. Some wept tears of joy.

I decided to go all the way with this. I started by getting out my weed-whacker and whacking weeds, as well as whacking those hard-to-reach places. After about twenty minutes of heartfelt weed-whacking, I realize that, while I continue to whack, the whacker had wussed. That is, it had run out of that plastic stuff they use to make nyl-gut ukulele strings. It was whackless.

I looked to see whether I had any more line and found that I did not. So, I figured I could get more tomorrow so why not just start mowing the main law?

I got out my new electric mulcher mower and had mowed a few rows when, from out of nowhere, my sprinklers started up. I was disoriented for a second, as far as I knew, it had started raining or something-except the rain was falling up. Fortunately, I let go of the trigger so I was not electrocuted (these electric mowers are well-designed in that regard) and unplugged quickly.

I don't remember doing it, but I must have knocked off the device that controls sprinklers-that electric doo-hickey that is wired to the timer-because a fine geyser was spraying up from just that area. I think the last gardener I had must have broken it and mickey-moused it back together. Since I usually turn my sprinklers on manually, I wouldn't have noticed that.

With Odyssean calm, I bent down to study the geyser, forced to stand directly in the line of fire of one sprinkler. I found the parts that fit, but it took about twenty minutes to screw them back in, what that I was screwing them into the geyser.

My lawn got pretty wet, so I couldn't finish the job, leaving the grass half short and half long-the short grass kind of zig-zagging around the tall grass.

If anyone asks, I'll just tell them it's the world's smallest crop-circle.