Friday, December 29, 2006

Whur U B?

Once more into the breach ...

November 17 was a bad day. I caught a nasty cold that lasted over 3 weeks. I only worked 12 hours the week of thanksgiving. I had to quit smoking for a few days to get rid of the background smoker's cough. Finally seem to be mostly well, everywhere you went people were hacking and coughing.

But the real Bad Day thing came when my youngest took my classical guitar off of the 3-way stand to play me a new song she had written (yay!). 5 seconds later, stand fell over onto the guitar still on it -- my 1961 Gibson Les Paul Jr. The nut hit the floor and the head shattered. The head had been broken off in the middle in 1969 (a frat brother sat on it) and I'd epoxied it -- and put a bolt through it. I had not done a lot of carpentry at that point of my life, so I did not know the love that wood has for glue, the bolt was a bad idea. Still, the guitar played well for 35 years after that.

Anyway, it is now at RS GuitarWorks, where by all accounts it will be restored to be better than new. Still, a definite blow to the psyche. I have owned the guitar since I was 14. I found out a couple of months that 1961 was the first year that Gibson made the SG body -- so this was an ur-SG. It was unbelievable how dry the wood in the head was -- but, 45 years old, not exactly inexplicable.

Did get my pedal steel back shortly after that, so I've been playing that a lot. It sounds pretty decent. I took it out to the Hideaway Lounge last Tuesday. Not sure how that went. My musical patroness Patty Butcher seems to be somewhat disenamoured of me.

Also 2 weeks ago bought a 1978 blond Telecaster. I had a chance to buy a blond telecaster in 1967 for $100 and didn't have the $100. I've always wanted one, so now I finally have one. Heavier than I would like (canadian 1st-growth ash body), but great sound.

The time I was sick, I kind of got television watching. I was surprised that I wasn't just tired, achy, etc, but that it also seemed like my will to do much of anything was totally sapped. So, watch old movies, veg, seemed about right.

But I did read a lot, and did not make it onto the non-fiction stack. RSN. The stuff I read seemed to have a real magical realism theme to it.

  • "Three Days to Never" by Tim Powers. Einstein's great-grandchildren vs mossad vs a secret mystical society vying for control of Einstein's time machine. Powers really has a way of making this stuff work. 4 stars.
  • "Strange Iteneraries", a collection of Tim Powers sparse short fiction. Nice reading, 4 stars.
  • "Eternity Road", by Jack McDevitt. Instead of astroarcheology of lost alien civilations, we have a post-apocalyptic treasure hunt on earth. Never quite sucked me in for some reason, 3 stars.
  • "Anansi Boys", by Neal Gaiman. An OK read, but didn't do much for me. Give me Tim Powers for magical realism any time. And, unlike "American Gods", this one did not have Odin and Loki in it. 3 stars.
  • "Enchantment", by Orson Scott Card (1999), which had been on my shelf for a while. Very pleasant read, "my mom is sleeping beauty", 3 stars.
  • "A Feast of Crows", by George R.R. Martin, the 4th of this series. Not nearly as lively as the prior 3 -- 300-400 pages in before anyone is killed. He may have exceeded the allowable thread limit. 1100 pages and you feel like not much really happened??? 3 stars.
  • "The Jennifer Morgue", by Charles Stross. The first story in this world by Stross was "The Atrocity Archives", which was Dilbert meets H.P.Lovecraft. This one is Dilbert meets H.P.Lovecraft meets James Bond. LOL in several places, and, weird, the middle half is set on St. Martin (6 weeks off). Stross now has 4 separate worlds running for his stories, go Charles! 4 stars.
Much new music as well:
  • Beck, "The Information". Good tunes, except for 10 odd minutes at the end 3 stars.
  • Ben Folds, "supersunnyspeedygraphic". The reigning smartass of pop music. 4 stars.
  • The inimitable Ben Lacy, "One Track Mind". Finally got a paypal account, so I bought Ben's CD. 3.5 stars.
  • "The Runners Four", by Deerhoof. Very odd stuff, very interesting, I almost reclassified from "Alternative & Punk" to "Unclassifiable". 3.5 stars.
  • "Music for Our Lady Queen of the Angels", by Garth Hudson. Airy, orchestral stuff by The Band's musical genius, won't get too many listens 2.5 stars.
  • Three CDs by Harmonica Red. I've played with Red a few times, he's an unbelievable harp player. The 1st CD, "Harmonica Red Vol I" (1987) I liked best, very listenable. 3 stars overall.
  • "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard", Paul McCartney. My youngest wanted me to get this. A few of the type of tunes that remind you that Paul was half of one of the greatest songwriting duos of the 20th century. 3 stars.
  • "The Eraser", Thom Yorke (Radiohead). Nice solo effort, 4 stars.
  • "Fever to Tell", the Yeah-Yeah-Yeahs. A couple of real nice tunes, my kids tell me they're mostly a live band. 3 stars.
Funny to me lately is the fact that the most fun I've been having is at work. Writing lots of fun stuff on our paradigm-shifting new product. What a geek, oh well. Been off this week, sleeping late, all four kids were back home (plus the lovely daughter-in-law), visited with my sibs Wed and Thurs, very relaxing. But, oh boy, back to the code next week.

The Democratic success in the elections and the seeming disgust that the entire US seems to be pretty much developing for W seem to have turned off my antitheism ranting and raving valve. Seem to be loathe to get back onto the non-fiction stack, though I think I will read Minsky's new book soon. Maybe finally giving up on messianism, my (ever-growing) gut is telling me, too old, time to just relax and enjoy what's left of my life. Thinking about teminating this exercise as well. But, no, I'll keep it up, worthwhile for everyone I think to have a medium to capture some of their thoughts.