Monday, March 2, 2015

CAN'T SPELL THE CLASSICS

James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5)

 I really enjoyed this graphic novel by James Sturm, hot on the heels of Vulture Peak by John Burdett.  Sometimes I push myself to read weighty tomes, like The Aeneid (which happens to be the hardest word for me to remember how to spell in the English language.)  But this week I read for pure enjoyment.  

Also, I mistakenly read The Aeneid to prepare for An Iliad at the KC Rep.

Like, whatever.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

18-MONTH REPORT FROM KC AFTER RECEIVING A MIX CD FROM MY BUDDY ZIG WITH ONE OF MY SONGS ON IT ALONGSIDE JIMI HENDRIX


It is supposed to snow quite a bit today, and I am excited about that.  We haven't had much snow this year, and it has been very cold and very dry.  That's one of the weird things about being back in the midwest--dry skin and intense static electricity.  When I sit down and scooch around on our synthetically upholstered World Market sofa, all the hairs on my arms stand up.  Also, the hairs on the dog's head sort of float and waver and he looks like 70's Rod Stewart. 

Last year we lived in a basement apartment in Midtown and it was extremely dry, but cozy in the winter, cool in the summer.  This year we're in an almost 100 year old house and it is drafty as can be.  Winter isn't as fresh and novel this year, after 22 years in the rainy Northwest.  But this weekend we are supposed to have up to 9 inches of snow, and despite all the cold weather, which makes my van honk a bass clarinet sound upon ignition if under 5 degrees, I know that sunny, warmer weather is around the corner.  And truly hot weather, the kind that means you can wear shorts and drink a beer on your porch at 11:00 at night, is after that.  In the Northwest there is an awful lot of cool, wet weather all the way up to Fourth of July.  I don't miss that in the least.



I have been enjoying this Robert Wyatt anthology that I bought at Records With Merritt a couple weeks ago.  Well, I went down there and I flirted with the idea of buying it and had self-denial programming kick in, even though I work my ass off and ought to buy a record now and again.  And some new Pumas, jeez.  Then I went across the street to my van and had locked the keys in it.  It was snowing, bitterly cold, and kind of icy.  So I waited for a locksmith at Mike's Westsider and enjoyed a club sandwich and talked with the bartender about the value of a '98 GMC Safari as a band van, and thought about why I didn't buy that record.  I thought long and hard, then went back the next day and got it.  (This is how I shop, by feeling conflicted, and locking my keys in the car.)  That store is nicely curated with amazing music from around the world.

I am kind of in puttering mode myself with music, chipping away at a few things.  I've never pretended not to be a working person who makes non-commercial music on the side, and that is even more true now because, while I enjoyed all of my day jobs in Eugene, I look forward to my job here in Kansas City, work much longer hours, and have fallen into a very non-musician routine of getting up at 5:15, writing a bit, working from 7 to 5, and falling asleep at 9:30.  For Valentine's Day I got this super cool book called Daily Rituals, a collection of short essays that describe the work habits of various writers and artists.  Love this book.




I'll be 46 in a few weeks and fiddle with music more like an occasional poet.  There is tension and some frustration there, for sure, and still a sense that I could work a less challenging job for fewer hours and start staying out late again going to shows and performing and feeding the scene and building new friendships.  Had I stayed in the Northwest my graybeard years would have been comfy in that local way, maybe. 

I am proud of a cool discography and will add to it, but working in giant design-build shop, managing subcontracted elements of unique projects, and feeling part of big crazy family really means more to me at this point.  If you had told me ten years ago that I would end up working on a playground project for the Indians at Progressive Field, or learning about biased rolling of sheet metal for a museum just blocks from our house, I would would have said you were nuts.   



And, if you had told me we'd move to KC, that I'd catch an Alex Gordon foul ball the first week back, and that I'd watch my Royals go to the last out of the 7th game of the World Series in 2014, I would have asked you to Google translate yourself.  October was crazy!  We moved into a new neighborhood, were welcomed with open arms by great people, and I watched pretty much every game with them.  I would go to work and it was Royal blue everywhere.  Amazing times, like a dream. 

There has also been a meaningful proximity to my parents as they have moved into different levels of retirement care to meet their differing needs.  When that really began to change, it sucked pretty bad to be 1800 miles away.

But, as alway, I am full of music, almost as full of music as I am full of bullshit--it just is part of how my brain is put together.  These are three of the demos I've messed around with since moving to KC:



Sunday, February 8, 2015

JEFF CITY DAY TRIP

Yesterday was a nice day for a day trip to Jeff City to visit family. Walking across the bridge and down to the boat landing and park was a fine ramble after a stop at Paddy Malone's.  Surely a great tavern, one you would come across in a mythical poem.

Striving to reach a great summit? Split arrow after arrow with arrow; finally make everything just right; win adoration, overcome obstacles, heal all difficulties, fly into the sun just once without getting burned, and restore order to a world that is never quite just so?  

An afternoon in skilled nursing will cure that, and that is a good thing.  You just have to slow down and not concern yourself with operational excellence or spiritual athleticism.