Monthly Archives: January 2007

Woke up, got out of bed

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cj selfportrait 324

Failed to drag a comb across my head because a) I have no hair and b) we weren’t going anywhere. Wanted to get up and go skiing but general exhaustion combined with the temperature report of 6 degrees at the treehouse and promise of the early 20s but no apparent speed in getting there led us all to stay in bed and commit to tomorrow. But tomorrow never knows.

Still getting through Bob Spitz’s “The Beatles,” really the best book on the Fab Four that I’ve ever read, and I’m in no hurry to have it end. It has, of course, occasioned one of my periodic revivals of interest in all things Beatle, but especially in the music. Combined with my sparkly new turntable, I’m able to listen to discs that I haven’t heard in all their brilliance in years (The Beatles’ CD pressings are nothing special). And because I’m a geek that way, I’m kinda working my way chronologically, starting with the early years. Back before the “Anthology” series came out and put all those old BBC tapes out on disc, there were just a few bootlegs of bootlegs making the rounds under names like “Five Nights in a Judo Arena” (which, despite its title, did not include the live concert at Budokan) and “Yellow Matter Custard” (again inappropriately titled, as it covered some of their earliest material, not the way out days of “Magical Mystery Tour”). These were always horrible pressings but the only chance we had to hear some of their pre-“Love Me Do” material, the stuff they used to fire up the Star Club and the Cavern, the stuff that hinted at the raw power that they tamed into the classic Beatles sound. Back in the ‘Cuse, the Flashcubes (and probably, later, Screen Test, too) often ended their sets with Beatles ravers like “Money (That’s What I Want),” with an energy that sent us out into the cold streets drained and happy and absolutely certain these guys were gonna make it big. And they covered “Soldier of Love,” legendarily part of the Beatles’ early repertoire but never released . . . and it was for gems like that that we’d have to suffer through low-quality bootlegs. So the Anthology and the BBC Tapes are a welcome glimpse into those earliest days, and they capture the incredible energy that went into those pre-Beatlemania recordings.

Otherwise, life is going on. Still waiting to know what happens, careerwise, and wishing I would just be at that point. It’s coming soon, in any case, and that’ll be a relief.

Dear Abby:

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Dear Abby: My work life has spun out of control, my wife is away and I can’t sleep without her, my kids are being subject to government tests every single day of the week, and it’s going to be too cold to want to ski on Friday. On top of it all, I’m not blogging at all because I have nothing to say. What shall I do? Signed, Three Hats and No Cattle

Dear Cattle: Quitcherbellyachin’.

Confidential to Nancy on the Guyland: I don’t think I have your current email, ’cause I tried to answer your questions, but I don’t think you got mine. Respond to the email link on this page.

Really, I once lived for Dear Abby and Ann Landers. Now, Sound Off in the Troy Record is the only thing that makes me want to pick up the newspaper.


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I was just about to say something brilliant when a pair of limbs came crashing out of the 80-year-old maple, miraculously missing the power line but taking out our cable/internet/telephone. Then we sat around waiting for the power to go out (while watching a DVD and sorting old photographs), which, to our amazement, it never did. Even more amazing: Time Warner, the hardest working utility in show business, had a guy here to repair our line in less than an hour and a half. I honestly thought it would be days, with all the wires down all over the place. So other than missing our planned ski day and being left with several hundred pounds of wood to clear from the neighbor’s yard, we got off clean from the ice storm.

Smashing records

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Well, all previous records for late-season cycling continue to be smashed. A season that I usually give up with a final, gloomy, cold ride on or about Thanksgiving has been supplemented with weather that has been 50ish and sunny throughout December, with a new late date set every weekend and leading to what I was sure would be the final ride on Christmas eve, a ride as pleasant as any spring day could hope to give. But the days continue to be crazy warm, and Saturday it got up to 67 (though I didn’t ride, we did take a walk in The Crossings park in Colonie), and yesterday it nudged 50 again under strong sun. If the sun is out, I can take it down to about 40 in my warm cycling clothes — much below that and it becomes a trudge, and the wind stings my eyes too much. Even with the warm temps I can’t get out much since I’m still working, and the daylight just isn’t long enough. But if this ridiculous weather keeps up, I will have biked in every month of the year, something I haven’t accomplished since I was about 15 (and which really didn’t count, anyway, since that was just crazy kid riding in the snow stuff).

Bring on the changes

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Please. I mean, there is nothing worse than a big change that just won’t come. It’s like waiting for a hurricane, and it’s been held up in the islands. This is the mainland — we deserve some hurricane.

For no apparent reason, I was so tired last night that I lay down on the couch and slept through both violin and bell practice . . . which takes some doing. No reports yet on whether the Nittany Lions marching band actually stormed through my living room doing the “Liberty Bell March,” or if that was just some weird scene from the Annie Leibovitz bio on PBS as I was waking up. First thing I’ve seen on PBS in ages — anytime they have anything that I even remotely want to watch, it’s interrupted by pledge breaks. In a five-channel universe, they were often the last resort; in the world of digital cable, they’re not even.

Have been digging into the amazing Bob Spitz biography of “The Beatles” from a couple of years back. Huge, but incredibly detailed and informative, especially on the early years. The names, the places, the relationships all come to life in a way that nothing else about the early years has ever managed. Highly recommended.