Thursday, September 29, 2011


So played 6 straight tonight. Drippin' sweat when done. Somehow most of the audience decided to leave during this period. Somewhat discouraging. But I'm figuring it was just they had alarms set for 10:00 pm, of course, not that I sucked. I had my good friend and most excellent guitarist Ron Northrip behind me for the 1st three, and my good friend and most excellent guitarist King William (Allen) on the 2nd guitar for the 2nd three. I played:
  1. "I Got Loaded", the Tab Benoit version. Struggled somewhat.
  2. "Who Do You Love". Hadn't done this for a while, worked well. A good jam.
  3. "Roadhouse Blues". Fuzzy (Steve) the harp player called it. It's fun to play and sing, but there is for some reason some serious anti-Doors sentiment at the jam.
  4. "Stuff You Gotta Watch" (Muddy Waters, recently covered by Levon Helm) for the second time. Not too bad, the band seems to like it.
  5. "I'm Ready", another Muddy Waters song, that I had been attributing incorrectly to Buddy Guy. Worked well.
  6. "Rollin' and Tumblin'". A cross between the Cream and the Jeff Beck/Imogen Heap versions. This is the favorite of my friend Ron of the songs I do. He was on keys for it. Erik Shields the drummer calls this song, he likes it, I am honored, he is such a completely solid musician. It is a workout. If I'm not sweating when I start this song, I am when I finish.
My lead playing was mediocre. Need to practice more playing the faster stuff with an open right hand. I have been practicing more lately. I skip leads on any songs that really needs the rhythm guitar to carry the song, like "Rollin' and Tumblin'". Plus, in general, I think that there are too many solos in the jam format.

Allen the drummer was really kicking it tonight. It was (our alpha guitarist) Lindsay Olive's birthday (58), they played some of his jazzy compositions at the end, with the 2nd guitarist being our beta guitarist David Ponder. Really well done. David says he's going to come out more.

Monday, September 26, 2011


So this past Sunday, I biked a route that I have done many times before, but for the first time in the opposite direction. I went straight out Delaney Ferry. Then, south on KY 33 to Cummings Ferry to Pauls Mill to KY 33 south of Troy, which I have always done the other way. Then back in Keene Rd. 2h24m 30.1 miles. The stretch on KY 33 seemed less steep than coming the other way. And Pauls Mill near KY 33 I have often thought was odd, in that it looks flat but you pick up speed. Coming the other way, it is definitely a hill -- duh.

On Pauls Mill, I think I saw a red-bellied woodpecker, which would be a new one. It has a red mohawk.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Biked north this morning, Van Meter to Redd to Paynes Depot, west on Moore's Mill towards Equus Run vineyard, but then north again on Cane Run over I-64 to Ironworks Pike. Back in Yarnallton to Spurr past the prisons, then Greendale to Alexandria and home through the baseball park. 3h0m, 37.3 miles, 2 stops, top speed 34.2 mph. I had checked the radar before I left and it looked like I might get rained on towards the end, but I figured, what the hey? I did get misted on the last 1/2 hour or so. But neither the roads or my brakes got particularly wet, so it was kind of nice.

I saw a good sized red-tailed hawk on Greendale.

I finished reading "The Name of the Wind", by Patrick Rothfuss. An OK read I guess, but clearly part 1 of a 2000 page novel. The hero is telling his life story over 3 days, day 1 is done at no particular stopping point, so clearly this volume must be over. None of the characters seem very self aware, which seems kind of annoying. The protagonist is only supposed to be 15-17 years old (which you forget because he has so many superpowers) so I guess that's his excuse.

Went from there straight into "Circle of Enemies", the 3rd Twenty Palaces novel by Harry Connolly. Supernatural noir cheap detective fare, definitely popcorn for the mind. Reading science fiction, I feel like it's not totally escapist, that you do get new concepts, and real glimpses at possible futures. Fantasy, no such excuses. It is strictly escapist. I think that the 6 months I recently finished of working two jobs and working 7 days a week has left me fried to the point where escapism is mostly what I'm up for. Maybe I'll read something worthwhile -- maybe even non-fiction! -- before I retire in 3-4 years, maybe not.

I also finished the 2nd novel by Lauren Beukes, "Zoo City". Kind of more noir and magical realism than cyberpunk. A very good read.

Got "Thor" to watch on the Apple TV tonight, woo-hoo! Hard to believe Kenneth Branagh directed that. iTunes recently had his excellent mystery "Dead Again" (1991) on sale for $4.99, so we purchased and watched it. Great movie.

I've played OK at the jam the last few weeks. Had a good new drummer, Ken Baker, behind me last week. Called "Summertime Blues", "Rollin and Tumblin", and "All Along the Watchtower". Then got to do 3 more playing lead guitar behind someone else. I ducked out of there early, hit Lynagh's. Talking to Tim the bartender/drummer/singer about Levon Helm's recent work, he mentioned how he gets to channel Levon when they recreate "The Last Waltz", which some great local musicians have been doing for 6-7 years now around Thanksgiving. He said they try to get new people every year, and suggested I could maybe do the Muddy Waters "Mannish Boy" number!!! Holy crap, I'm not worthy! But, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tropical Storms

Last weekend was 60's cold and rainy -- after having been 97 degrees 3 days before -- as Tropical Storm Lee met a Canadian cold front as it made its way to Ohio. At one point the low pressure cell was sitting over southern Ohio and dropping moisture from the Great Lakes onto us.

Tropical Storm Lee formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, west of the Yucatan peninsula, and worked its way up the Gulf Coast until it decided to head north when it hit Alabame. Nate is there now. Lee was formed there a couple of weeks ago. At one point the NHC maps showed Lee crossing into northern Florida from the Gulf at the same time as an Atlantic hurricane made landfall in northern Florida. Could they join for a 2x hurricane? Lee decided to head north through Alabama, and the Atlantic hurricane (Katia?) stayed offshore, so we didn't find out. Unfortunately, I'm sure we will find out soon enough :-( I don't remember tropical storms forming in the Gulf like this. Double hurricanes, yeouch.

So I did walk Dexter yesterday morning and bike this morning with pretty much the same results as 2 weekends ago: 1/2 hour of knee pain walking, hours of knee-pain-free bicycling. Biked out Delaney Ferry through Mortonsville to McCowans Ferry. Back in on the west side Versailles bypass to Dry Ridge to Military Pike to Parkers Mill. 2h38m, 1 stop, 36.1 miles, top speed 37.4 mph. I must have been tired on some hilly stretch to let myself go that fast.

Finished reading "Darwin's Bastards", a collection of Canadian science fiction short stories, edited by Zsuzsi Gartner. I think it was a birthday (or solstice) gift from one of my children (Alexis?). Anyway, very interesting stories. A lot of them kind of fragmentary, seeming to stop in the middle of nowhere, missing the normal nice ribbons and bows of clear meaning. Post-modern maybe? Very enjoyable.

Started on "The Name of the Wind", by Patrick Rothfuss. A high fantasy, 1st book of the Kingkiller trilogy, rave reviews on the jacket blurbs. Going OK I guess.

So this is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Several people have posted that they would turn off their TVs to spare themselves the excesses of the punndits, etc. Not a problem for me as I never watch that kind of stuff. But the newspaper had a bunch of commentary, and several blogs I read did as well.

Clearly the loss of 2800 lives of people from all over the world was a tragedy. And the first responders to the twin towers did what they do for a living: they were heroes, putting the welfare of others above their own. The passengers of the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania did the same thing: they put the welfare of others above their own.

So how does America honor the sacrifice of those who put themselves in harms way, as well as the innocent victims? Aside from flag-waving and meaningless pontification, in my opinion, not so well.

This editorial by Louis Friedman compares how America responded to the Cold War vs the War on Terror. He summarizes:

We used the cold war to reach the moon and spawn new industries. We used 9/11 to create better body scanners and more T.S.A. agents. It will be remembered as one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency — ever.
We started 2 wars, and instead of raising taxes as had been done in the past for wars, taxes were lowered. Ask the rest of America to sacrifice to do the right thing? Apparently not. And now that the bill has come due, let's cut Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, OSHA, and everything else that stands in the way of robber barons in industry and finance. Republican politics at its finest.

And this decade has seen the outsourcing of war-making to private corporations. How much are their lobbyists going to be doing to further world peace? Maybe, not much? Just has the outsourcing of prisons is leading to record incarceration levels as their lobbyists push for stricter and stricter sentencing to "fight crime". But NYC has figured out how to lower crime rates without putting half of your young adult males in prison, as detailed here.

I am an American exceptionalist. I believe that the USA is the greatest country in the world. Why? Because we are the melting pot that accepts the best and brightest from all over the world, and where any entrepreneur can become a billionaire. We've always had a "can-do" attitude, and the knowledge that if we pulled together and maybe sacrificed a little for the common good, that we could accomplish anything.

But, if politicians keep bowing to the ignorant conservative factions in the country over things like teaching evolution (we are the only country in the world where this is an issue), and responding to serious problems with knee-jerk lizard-brain reactions and flag waving, then we are throwing away our potential. Instead of a political discussion based on solving serious problems and promoting the common good, we have nothing but unbridled greed, and every billionaire and corporation for themself. Self-sacrifice? No way, some of these people don't belong to my country club!

This was another good post about 9/11. At the end, he says:

I can’t shake the feeling that, in ways we don’t want to admit, the terrorists have won something. It gave us fear, and the will to attack. It changed our hearts and minds.
So we now have The Bush Doctrine, which says we will attack first if we feel threatened. It used to be a point of national honor that we never struck the first blow. But now, we've become such cowards that if we are feeling threatened or uneasy, out come the cruise missiles. And, Osama Bin Laden said he wanted to bankrupt us. The paper today says that the cost of our 9/11 response is currently at $3.3 trillion. That seems low to me.

I know that the ties of clan, tribe and country are strong. But sometimes we forget that people from over 90 countries died in the World Trade Center towers. After 9/11, we had the entire world on our side, and then we pissed it all away.

We should also remember that the 9/11 terrorists primary justification for attacking us, aside from general dislike for our cultural imperialism, was the placement of US troops in their Holy Land (Saudi Arabia) in the first Gulf War. But do we try to do anything serious to get us off our foreign oil dependency that has led us to 3 mideast wars in the last 20 years? Of course not, not when it might upset the profits of the current energy barons.

So people will today and for years to come stop to remember loved ones lost, or just the fear and uneasiness we all felt on 9/11/2001. I wonder though, if we will ever have maybe 10 seconds of silence for the 150,000 civilian casualties in Iraq, whose blood is on the hands of our reckless leaders of the time -- no, whose blood is on all of our hands.