Monthly Archives: February 2015

What’s in a Name?

Kathryn, Rosie, Lisa and I are starting a band and since we’re going to play a gig next week, we have to find a name. For the past four days, we’ve been texting names back and forth. At first, little bubbles of text didn’t seem like a good way to brainstorm. If we were able to meet and shoot the bull, it might have taken less than four days to come up with a name. Also, it’s easy to misunderstand the mood or subtext behind another person’s words if you can’t see their face.

But since Kathryn lives in Portland and the rest of us are in Seattle, texting became an extended way of brainstorming. We had lulls, breaks for work, sleep, or life, and bursts of inspiration.

Do you know how hard it is to come up with a band name? All the good ones we came up with seem to be taken. Maybe it was hard for me because we haven’t played together that much, and we’re still putting songs together.

At first, I was just hoping we wouldn’t have a stupid name. I figured since Rosie and Kathryn started the band, they had more say in the final name. Also, since I’m a writer first, and a fiddle player second, my mind went to movies and books when searching for a cool band name. Genet (not just a great playwright, but also the name of a cute little South American and South African cat). Ripley: the name of one of my favorite movie heroines. Here are some other names I came up with: The Ghost Chiles, Rain City Runaways, My Past Life, Coming Soon, The Heart Is a Lonely Drummer, Hellacatz, Thunder Bliss, Surreal Housewives, Cheeky Angels, Rosie and the Metros.

Flinging names out like pasta on a kitchen wall. None of them stuck. Kathryn had ideas, Lisa offered a couple. They didn’t stick either. Then Rosie went to her creative well and started throwing out all these names, some of them great. We googled them and most of them were already taken by other bands.

Except for one. Somewhere in the recesses of her brain, Rosie found the name Mystic Oven. I admit, the name didn’t grab me at first. But Kathryn thought it was subtle, cool, something Frank Zappa would have come up with.

We’ll see. We’re Mystic Oven, kind of by default. I’m not crazy about the name, and I don’t know if Lisa is, either. That’s okay. Maybe it’ll grow on us. Or, maybe we’ll change it. One of the cool things about being in the band is I don’t have to control every aspect. Writing a novel is ten thousand times harder than playing fiddle in the Mystic Oven.

Fair Weather Fan?

I have a dirty secret: I’m a woman and I watch Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” I’m fascinated by the team of experts explaining the games of the past week, with highlight footage of up-close-and-personal coach/player interaction. I don’t speak the lingo, so I feel like an anthropologist visiting a distant tribe.

Blame it on the Seahawks, in their current incarnation. They’ve hooked me into a sport I know little about. Football’s never been a big deal to me; I’ve never taken the time to understand it. If it weren’t for the Seahawks, I’d be ticking off a list of righteous reasons to despise the sport. Violence against women? Check. Violence to the future brainpower of those young players? Check. Greedy capitalistic owners gouging the fans? Check.

And yet: little by little, the Seahawks reeled me. I usually skim the sports section of the Seattle Times, so I noticed in 2010 that the team was replacing coach Holmgren with the laid-back silver fox, Pete Carroll. He’s a lot easier on the eyes than Holmgren, who always struck me as one bacon cheeseburger away from a heart attack. Then the Seahawks started a young quarterback who vaguely reminded me of one of my nephews. A smart, earnest, impossibly optimistic young guy. I remember the playoff game in December 2012. Hombre and I were driving home from skiing and we turned on the radio to hear the last ten minutes of the game. It was so exciting we pulled over on the westbound shoulder of I-90 to listen. The Seahawks lost, but QB Wilson was so pumped. He was telling fans to wait and see what the team was going to do in 2013.

Yeah, okay. I started paying attention. I remember a friend asking me in 2013 if I was a Seahawks fan. I said, “I am this year.”

Not a great fan, I admit. Football players are so armored and their faces are hidden. I don’t always know one player from the other (exceptions: #3 and #24), and I don’t know what their roles/positions are. Honestly, when I tune into a game, it takes a few minutes to figure out which team we are. I’m not going to shell out forty-plus bucks for a sweatshirt. I’m not going paint my face, or dye my hair blue and green.

When the Seahawks play badly (see, the first 54 minutes of the Packers/Seahawks playoff), I can’t bear to watch. I run around the house doing odd chores to work off my nervousness. If it’s a home game, I keep an ear cocked for the Twelves roaring and then run into the living room to watch the replay. Even when they’re comfortably ahead, I’m anxious for them. Yet when they’re playing brilliantly, I jump and shriek like a teenage cheerleader.

The Packers/Seahawk playoff two weeks ago was 54 minutes of agony and six minutes of ecstasy. The Packers were playing so well, and we couldn’t get moving. I figured we’d play badly the first half and kick ass in the third quarter. Which didn’t happen. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, I lost faith and went to the store. Safeway was practically empty and eerily quiet. On the way home, I told myself the playoff was only a game, god damn it. Stop feeling shitty! Get over it! Tomorrow’s another day, etcetera. Why the hell did I care so much?

As I parked in our driveway, some neighbor shot a gun or exploded a firework. A Packer fan, I figured. Game over. Sigh. Went inside with my groceries, and Hombre was watching the game. It was still on! You missed a great play, he said. We’re only five points behind.

What happened next was a series of impossible moves that left me in a daze and took three days to absorb. I watched replays of those last few minutes to figure out what the hell happened. Our improbable win was a moving testimony to crafty endurance. Coming from Albuquerque (hello, Isotopes?) I’m proud to live in a city that has a team with so much New-Age, old-fashioned grit and badassery.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. For days, I’ve been saturated to the gills with Seahawk talk, articles, stats, photos, gossip. I feel pretty serene about the outcome. I’ve decided that whichever team wins today, nothing can top the Seahawks’ back-from-the-dead moves in their playoff against the Packers. I may be a fair-weather fan, but I’ll always remember and be inspired by what the Seahawks did in those last six heart-stopping minutes.

Of course, I tell myself that now. We’ll see if I can hold on to that serenity once the game starts!