Monthly Archives: August 2002

Best rock’n’roll instrumental ever

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It’s Los Straitjackets’ cover of the horrible Celine Dion theme from The Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On.” Without ever having seen the movie, and without intentionally listening to hideous “easy listening” radio, I’ve heard part of the song about 2000 times, so, yes, I know it. But the Straitjackets take it through the Ventures/surf rock funhouse, and without camping it up too much turn it into a wild ride of an instrumental, right from the Telstar opening, through the harp riffs and the Star Trek Theme haunting space vocals. Everything that was cool about the Ventures style of instrumentals is in here. The version from “The Velvet Touch of Los Straitjackets” is better than the live version, but only because it allowed them to put on that veneer of perfection that went with The Ventures.
By the way, Los Straitjackets and The Ventures are playing together on a cruise ship. I’m not sure what to make of that, but I wish I could be there.

U-Haul

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There are things you forget about and don’t miss when you’ve owned a home for a while (in fact, 11 years, I think) is apartment life, especially moving. Especially moving. And if I did move now, I would do what I did last time, hire big burly men to move it all. I moved just about nothing. Know why? Not big and burly. So when I finally got U-Haul to admit that the hitch I ordered was in, I went down to get it installed yesterday.
Our U-Haul is something of a landmark, highly visible from the river in an old 9- or 10-story hardware factory, with a big spinning U-Haul truck on the roof. Everyone in Albany knows where the U-Haul is. Getting there is another matter, because it’s on a section of Broadway that is one-way, and to get to the head of the one-way section, you have to drive all the way up to the Port and then come back down through a tangle of accidental streets without signs or much by the way of signals. But I’d found it before, and I found it again. What I didn’t realize, and what I would have instinctively known if I were still in apartment land, is that this is the last week of the month. Worse, the last week of August. Making it moving week for a billion people who can’t afford to hire big burly men. And these people are tired, and they don’t want to do this. And they are at the U-Haul, where there are two people to help them. Those two people were as helpful as they could be, under the circumstances. But the general ambience of a U-Haul store, where they don’t really splurge on the furnishings, the thematic color is a garish orange, and the surrounding merchandise is bubble wrap and flattened cardboard boxes, . . . well, it’s not Starbucks. And it’s not helping. I felt like I was trapped in a bus station, another place I haven’t been in in quite some time (since before I could afford the services of U-Haul). People of uncertain means are confronting challenging transitions in the most depressing, undesigned space possible (just like a bus station, but without the terrible coffee). No wonder the staff couldn’t quite get it together to tell me when my order was in, or when my truck was ready, or anything at all, really.
On the other hand, I’ve now got a nifty hitch so I can load up bikes on the back of the truck.

Am I getting enough glycerol ester of wood rosin?

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Well, my Powerade has some, and if I’m getting any, I imagine I’m getting enough. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add enough to the flavor . . . this thing is weak!
Finally cooling down, and my stomach bug of this week is over, so now all I need to do is actually get my ass out of bed and I’ll be a runner again. Ran Albany at lunchtime, up to Washington Park and back down to the new Hudson River Way. Warmer than I would have thought since it was so overcast. I actually stopped in a little secret fountain at the Plaza and wet myself down a little. There was a farmer’s market at the Plaza, and I was dying for a peach, but I had no money with me. I actually cast my eyes about looking for someone I knew that I could cadge a buck from, but no luck. I normally don’t need money when I’m running, there’s nothing to buy out on the wilds of Best Road. (It leads to Best, but if you live here, you know that.)
The girls are at my mom’s for two nights. Actually, they turned into pirates on the way there, and attacked her with plastic swords, I’m told. When they’re too old for all this, I’m very much going to miss waking up to bunnies and kitties, pirates, clowns, ballerinas, and whatever else they think up to become. They dream it, they become it. (My whole problem with Halloween is I can’t think of anything I’d like to pretend to be . . . sign of contentment with self (no) or just pathetic indifference (probably)?) So, tonight, cultural hedonism in the form of a drive-in double feature of XXX and Blue Crush. I feel so dirty. I can’t wait.

Vacation, had to get away

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Semi-obscure reference to the Go-Go’s aside, had a nice (although short) vacation. But hot. So hot. Really way too hot for tenting, which is what we were doing. It was 100 degrees on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario, which is not a natural condition. So hot I tried to take a tip from The Disgruntled Housewife and buy a tent for the fan (we were camping among trailers, with electric hookups). But, alas, no fans to be had anywhere in the greater Watertown suburban strip hell. I feel better, because I would have forever felt guilty about having a fan in the tent. But I may have slept better.
The lake was warm, and the girls got to swim in the light waves and had a great time. We did the whole Thousand Islands thing — Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Boldt Castle, a ride in a runabout, etc. They were having Pirate Days in A. Bay, which I highly recommend. The kids had a great time fighting some pirates, looking at old weapons, watching a pirate magic show (which consisted of a pair of fairly funny magicians who had dressed appropriately and added a healthy smattering of “arrrhhh!” to their act). Rebekah learned to ride a two-wheeler (pretty much completely, too, from starting to stopping and everything in between), and she handed her fear of lightning over to her sister and now can’t wait to watch the next lightning storm with me. We mostly made our own meals (so I can pass on the peanut butter and cranberry sandwiches for a while), had ice cream every day, got in a couple hours of paddling, and had a nice time. It’s so beautiful up there. This state kicks your state’s ass!

Too much and too little weekend

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Actually, the entire last week was crazy hectic, just on the personal side. A rare week without a trip to NYC, but I made up for that with all the running around I had to do. Wednesday night Cracker was playing, free, at the Plaza, and we even had babysitting. But nothing is simple, and I had some work to do up there after work and before the show, so I changed at work and left my car here, and then rode home with Lee in her car. Cracker was enjoyable . . . we did not join the masses who seemed to think there was a very special “Matlock” on and starting filing out during the last couple of songs, pre-encore, but we did get out of Dodge as quick as possible once the show was over to beat the drunks to the streets. When you don’t drink and don’t smoke, and you hang mostly with people who don’t drink and don’t smoke, it’s easy to forget that many, many people think the entire point to a summer evening is to smoke like chimneys and drink like fish, and then get into their cars and kill somebody.
Of course, that meant that my car was at work, so I biked to work in the morning, 3.7 miles mostly downhill; having run 6 miles already that morning, the part that wasn’t “mostly” put a little burn in my thighs, and I got to do it twice, having forgotten my pager and phone at home. At the end of the day I did a quick little 4-mile spin on the Corning and went home. Then on Friday there was a picnic way out at Grafton, so drove out there and spent the afternoon hiding from the sun, though it was a lovely afternoon. Saturday morning, so fearful was I of the crowds expected for the opening of the Hudson River Way, I drove the truck down to a prime position in our parking garage and positioned it for perfect viewing of the fireworks that would come. Then ran back home (3.7 miles, every speck of which was uphill as far as I could tell), hung around the house all morning and dragged the kids around Albany all afternoon. Turned out that not only was parking in our garage not a problem, but I could have driven in at any time and gotten just about the same parking spot. Folks hadn’t doped it out. Anyway, that meant a car left behind again, so on Sunday afternoon, in 90 degree heat, I rode my bike back down the hill, then did another 9 miles on the path at a pretty aggressive pace, then drove home just in time to shower and get ready to go to a Valleycats game we had tickets for. We lasted 5 innings and then enough was enough. I got up to run this morning, but didn’t. I’m going on vacation later this week, which should really exhaust me.
Need rest….