Saturday, February 24, 2007

Happy New Year?!?!?

Thought I had posted this year, apparently not. Too much work, I guess. Our 1st 2 customers have the new product now, but still much to do.

So we got into St. Martin on Saturday 2/10/7 late afternoon. Had some pina coladas, walked the beach, nice dinner at the Sunset Cafe. Signed up for my wife to waterski Monday and Thursday.

Then Sunday, got a message from my desk that my family was trying to reach me. Called my baby sister, my dad died Sunday 2/11/7 at ~1:45 am. His health, particularly mental, had been steadily declining for the last few years. The decline accelerated a few months ago, and a couple days before his death he quit eating. My middle sister was there when he died, and "felt his last breath in her hand".

My wife waterskied Monday and Tuesday mornings, was again a goddess on ski, with her new ski handle she skied with the rope behind her neck. We flew home Tuesday, visitation was Wednesday, funeral Thursday. Service was very nice, my immediately older and younger brothers both spoke, and I spoke and sang an old (1936) dad song "Twilight on the Trail". Saw a bunch of my cousins I haven't seen in years, and neighbors and friends of my brothers from my early childhood.

Kind of bummed/depressed this week. With both parents dead, it's definitely "we're next". My dad was 80, that would give me another 25. I guess living til 2031 would be pretty cool (but my dad never smoked). But, the reminder of mortality seems to make you question your life, to wonder if you should change paths. I am pretty much stuck where I am so those thought processes are pretty well repressed -- but, I am Living the Dream, and every day is Another Day in Paradise.

Was hoping for a good night at Lynagh's Wednesday, instead got a drunk 1st timer whose singing was OK but whose guitar leads were awful, and who didn't realize that when you call the song, you have to lead the band. His two songs were officially pronounced as Train Wrecks by the keyboard player Bob Hopps. Oh well.

Read a fair amount during this period. Finally slogged through Marvin Minsky's "The Emotion Machine". Not much new there, terminology change from "agents" to "resources" for the many pieces that make up a mind. He defines 6 architectural layers, ranging from instincts at the bottom to self-conscious reflection at the top, and, in doing so, surprisingly gives some props to Freud's id, ego and superego.

Read the 2nd John Scalzi novel "The Ghost Brigades". I read his 1st "Old Man's War" in paperback, so was waiting for this one to come out on paperback -- but found it in the library. Very enjoyable read, 4 stars.

Also slogged through volumes 4 and 5 of Kevin J. Anderson's "The Saga of Seven Suns". Sophomoric writing, and ***spoiler alert***, at the end of vol 5, when the major conflicts have been pretty much wrapped up, and I'm thinking "I'm finally done with this turkey", a new plot element comes in from left field, and we're still going ... Anderson and Frank Herbert's son have out now a new book, following in the main Dune sequence. Argh, it will be as bad as the rest of this stuff, but I know I will read it. I guess I should remember that I like comic books.

Music-wise, signed up for on my oldest daughter's recommendation. 30 songs/month for $10. So far I have only downloaded old Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson stuff. Supposed to be a good place for indie stuff.

Also have in my iTunes:

  • Wilco, "A Ghost is Born". Ok stuff, apparently they used to be country, still unrated, I think it will wind up at around 3.3 stars.
  • Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello, "The River in Reverse". I think a New Orleans benefit CD, nothing too catchy, 3 stars.
  • Los Lonely Boys, "Live at the Fillmore". Weird, my wife and I were out at Outback Steakhouse and this song came on. I'd heard it before, nice tune, real catchy guitar lick. I didn't recognize the band or any of the lyrics. So I asked the waiter if he knew the name of the song. He said "How Far is Heaven". So, between google and iTunes I found out there was a version on this CD, which had gotten from a coworker and loaded a few days before and hadn't listened to all of (it's the last track). Neat! So, I've worked it up, may try it at the jam. Overall, CD is 3.5 stars.
  • New Norah Jones, "Not Too Late". Not doing too much for me at all, still unrated, probably wind up 3 stars.
  • The Cardigans, "First Band on the Moon" (1996). After hearing "LoveFool" in Burger King, tracked this down. Very nice album, catchy (Swedish) europop, I think 4 stars. I think I will be mining their other 3 CDs from the 90's. The tracks I listened to from their comeback(?) in 2005 and later seem a lot duller.
  • Tony DeSare, "Last First Kiss". My wife listens to NPR on her drive home, they were interviewing this guy and pushing this. Totally mediocre, 1 star.