Saturday, July 19, 2008

TTFN: Dumbass v2.0 Released

Just got back from a 1.5 hr walk with the dog. After 2 blocks, I'm like, "this heat is brutal". No biking tomorrow, I don't think, maybe a short walk. The latest cold front from Canada is now stalled as an east-west stationary front over the Great Lakes. My prediction is we will be into drought for the rest of the summer. The cold fronts just can't fight their way south through the warm, moist Gulf air. The farthest south they get is Indianapolis.

Got 4 good CDs from a young coworker:

  • "Blueberry Boat", The Fiery Furnaces, 2004. Nicely eclectic, might be changed to "unclassifiable", long narrative songs, I'm sure some 4 stars.
  • "You Forgot It In People", Broken Social Scene, 2002. Again, nicely odd stuff.
  • "At Mount Zoomer", Wolf Parade, 2008. Very nice stuff, like their 1st one.
  • "Rubber Factory", The Black Keys, 2004. Cooper thought I would like this one the most because of a Captain Beefheart cover (I still haven't figured out which track). My least favorite of the 4, the most bluesy.
Read last weekend "Dark Integers and Other Stories", by Greg Egan. Five stories, I had already read three of them. His grasp of physics, particularly quantum and astro, and computing, makes him by far the best hard science fiction author out there.

I'm currently reading "Brasyl", by Ian McDonald. Not bad, but dragging a little.

I've started impulse buying movies on iTunes: "Jumper" (guilty); and for my future grandchildren (no jinx), "The Golden Compass" and "The Spiderwick Chronicle". All were OK films.

Now to our title topic. Dumbass v1.5 is just not working out. The central existential feature of Dumbass v1.5 was, "stay drunk all all the time". Unfortunately, ever-increasing alcohol tolerance make this an unobtainable goal. I was averaging about 4 oz alcohol a day, and not getting a decent buzz on until I got to about 8-10 oz -- too much. And, no hangover, but about 6-7 the next evening, man would I be thirsty, my throat would be so parched, mildly headachy, and that 1st drink would really address these symptoms nicely -- not good.

So, in a fit of existential spontaneity, I have conceived Dumbass v2.0. The central feature, no alcohol. I have such an addictive personality, I really have a problem with moderation approaches. I was up to smoking 10 or cigarettes at O'Neills on Wednesday nights. No drinking implies the proscription of the following drinking-related activities:

  • dining out in the evenings -- I have gone to cooking in the kitchen every 2-3 days, the old dishes I used to make when the kids were here;
  • grilling out;
  • entertaining (our minimal number of) friends; I have never been social. Stimulants always helped to lubricate interaction with others;
  • playing music in public. Summed up nicely by "Don't Go To Nightclubs Anymore", Van Morrison, "Keep It Simple" CD. Plus O'Neills has gotten successful to where it's down to 3 songs a night. Last time I was there, "One Way Out" got done 3 times (I played bass on one). I mean, I don't mind the song, but 3 times in one evening?
  • blogging -- you knew half of the posts were drunken, right?
  • travel, particularly long car trips. If anything makes you want a drink, it's the frustration of flying, or spending 10 hours in a car.
So Dumbass v2.0 was booted last Sunday. Day 7 w/o a drink. Still a little headachy and throat still parched, but no biggie. I canceled the August swing up east, I'll veg at home, my wife is talking about driving to Ithaca with her sister for one daughter, and then flying to NYC to visit our oldest.

What are the fun features of Dumbass v2.0, you might ask? Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? But, I don't think it's inappropriate to be stop trying to be the coolest 57-year old in Lexington, KY. Instead, I will just enjoy the following Dumbass v2.0 features:

  • reading -- my reading had gone way down;
  • walking;
  • cooking in the kitchen;
  • playing music in the basement (I think);
  • an occasional movie or sit-down concert;
  • birdwatching;
  • vegetable gardening (next year);
  • getting more massages and variously reallocating the $1500 a month I've been spending of dining out, bars, and alcohol.
By February, I may feel secure enough to hazard going to St. Martin. Maybe my old "no drinking before 4 pm unless you're in the Caribbean" could morph into "no drinking unless you're in the Caribbean" -- or "on vacation" -- or "on vacation or on birthdays or holidays" so I am not totally a sober sad sack. We're also talking about returning to Manzanillo for my wife's birthday in mid-November.

As I get towards retirement, I also want to find some activity where I can give back to the community -- my rearing nags at me if I don't. My youngest has told me that the Fayette County public schools could find something for me to do. I also ran into Henry Wu ("Mr. Wu! Mr. Wu!") a few weeks ago. He was trying to recruit me to come back to soccer refereeing. He's 65, been retired a few years, and refereeing 80 high school games a year. Aubrey Cashman he said is 74 and still reffing. Well, I'm now down below 210 for the 1st time in maybe a year. If I can get down around 180, maybe I'll think about it. Nothing like some good old-fashioned referee abuse to imbue oneself with the love of one's fellow man.

Well, I guess we've come to the end. Those of you paying attention may have noticed that blogging is a proscribed activity under Dumbass v2.0. So this post, #150, a nice round number, is the last. As I mentioned last time, I think I'm out of piquant existential insights. I do think there have been some in the 5 year, 2 month history of this blog, but, again, I think they're mostly all there, not too many left in my brain only. And, there are plenty of higher-bandwith bloggers out there so who can give you music and book recommendations. I have nice point-to-point communication going with several family and friends, I will continue on private channels.

So, TTFN, and good luck to all!

Chris Heinz
Lexington Kentucky
July 19, 2008 12:10pm

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Nice New Look ...

Thanks to my oldest daughter the graphic designer, the blog now has a snappy new header, woo-hoo! She has gone back to freelancing, so any of my multitudinous readers needing a fabulous graphic designer can check out her work and contact her here:

Had an interesting music weekend last weekend. My wife was on third shift, so she left for work at 8pm and got home at 8am Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So 1st night sat at the bar at Azur and had the special (BBQed goat ribs, woo-hoo!) and listened to The Real Deal Willie Eames. Then Saturday, it was Internationally Renowed Guitarist, the Inimitable Ben Lacy. I sat with a musician / computer geek friend and his wife and 8-week old daughter; then some of my neighbors (Lacy fans) came in; then a young guy from work and his friend came in. Both nights I wound up getting to sleep 2:30-3:00am and sleeping in with the wife until noonish.

Finally, Sunday night went out to Lynagh's to see Willie Eames' 3 piece band, The Tall Boys. Great stuff, Hendrix meets Captain Beefheart, very eclectic drumming. Willie was playing an ES-335, a TubeScreamer, a Vox wah-wah, and a 1968 Super Reverb amp (like mine). Chatting with Willie, he mentioned after we had talked Friday, his wife had found the reference in an earlier post to Willie playing the Steinberger. Woo-hoo, another reader, welcome aboard to this wild ride!

Actually, seems like this blog is becoming all about music. I have hit a wall with cognitive science, until I get over my realization that music, language, large brains, basically all of human civilization, was sexually selected, i.e., primarily evolved because chicks dug it.

I have downloaded Python for doing some data work for Google Sky. I also signed up as a Google App developer. Maybe when I retire. After coding 8 hours at work most days, I don't feel much like coding in the evenings -- too many years of night consulting jobs, I guess.

I was supposed to be out of town Wednesday, so I'd told the gang at O'Neills I wouldn't be there. I wound up being in town, decided to take a night off and play and sing in the basement. I love my song book, it is great fun to be able to do songs that I really love: "Unfaithful Servant", "King Harvest", "Jawbone", "Such A Night", "Anna Begins" ...

I have a ton of new music:

  • Van Morrison "Keep It Simple" has gone from 3 to 4 stars -- not a bad song on the album.
  • Currently listening to Disc B of E of "The Carter Family -- 1927-1934". Special guest appearances by Jimmy Rodgers (yodelay-dee-hee). Around 125 tracks, I've listened to about 30. I surely prefer old-timey country to modern. This will be 3 stars maybe a few 4s. Too bad it's about 20-30% hymns ...
  • Matt Sweeney and Bonnie "Prince" Billy, "Superwolf". This is Will Oldham who did the great vocal on the Bjork song "Gratitude" -- plus I had another recommendation of his work. Need more listens.
  • Aimee Mann, "@#%&*! Smilers" -- at least it's not a @#%&*! Christmas album! Nothing real catchy, probably 3 stars.
  • Delbert McClinton "Feelin' Alright" (1993) and "Cost of Living" (2005). The 1st one sounds like, Delbert needed some quick cash. The 2nd one has some good tunes. Probably both 3 stars.
  • My Morning Jacket, "Still It Moves" (2003). Interesting stuff, 3.5 stars?
  • Adele, "19". My oldest daughter pointed me at this. 4 stars, and 5 for the track 3, the ever so catchy "Chasing Pavements". I watched her perform this on YouTube on Letterman, then spotted the original video. Wait a minute, I've seen that video before -- I checked my piece of Hotel Russell stationary from when I was in London in March, and there it was, "Chasing Pavements". So, is the song really that catchy, or did I respond to it so strongly because it had planted a seed in my brain in March?
  • John Mayer, "Millenium" -- haven't got around to listening to it yet.
  • The Yardbirds, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, 1964-1968". After that live album I got, I had to hear the originals. So, 27 tracks for $19 from I did remember the timing on "I'm Not Talkin'" correctly, they do it differently on the live album. And, the guitar solo on "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" is still one of my favorite of all time. I've probably listened to it 5 times since I got it.
  • Hank Ballard, "Finger Poppin' Time" and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" (1960). So the prior Wednesday I saw Matt Knowles at Lynagh's playing with Johnny Roy and the Rub Tones. They did "Finger Poppin' Time" -- great song, probably hadn't heard it in 30 years. So I mentioned that to Willie Eame's chatting the following Friday, and he said, yeah, Hank Ballard, who wrote and originally recorded "The Twist", other big hit "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" -- also a great song. So I downloaded them both and worked up "Let's Go ...".
  • The Tall Boys (of Kentucky), eponymous, 2007. The same eclectic stuff I heard Sunday at Lynagh's. More electric that what I usually listen to anymore, still, there may be a 4 star tune or two on it.
  • Coldplay, "Viva La Vida" -- seems listenable, nothing jumping out after 2 listens, 3 stars.
Biked today, 31.3 miles, 2h35m, 1 stop, through Versailes.