Monthly Archives: March 2007

See that? That’s art.

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Troy Night Out Lee March 805.jpgMy lovely wife, with a magnificent painting done by Spring Hofeldt, the featured artist at the Arts Center. She did a series of portraits of bald people, and has a few other great paintings up, too. I hadn’t seen her work before; she’s a seriously talented painter. Head up to Troy and check her out.

Other photos from the great Troy Night Out to come, look for them here.

Other ways my brain is trying to kill me

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Other than convincing me not to exercise, that is, which is a constant battle — the body’s all ready to go for a ride, and the brain isn’t liking the looks of those teenagers, or those clouds, or the possibility of especially stinky road kill (hey, five rides so far this year and no visible road kill so far). It’s really not my brain’s job to keep my body alive.

It is its job to have some space available for current tasks, however, and so it is annoying that I can’t remember what I had for lunch, can’t remember where I’m supposed to be tomorrow morning (daughter’s honors breakfast — be there!), BUT by god, if a bad ’70s rock song that I never liked by a band I never cared for comes on the satellite, my brain will skillfully perform a task assigned to it more than 30 years ago and prompt me to sing along, every word. Every awful, hated word. The lyrics to a Bad Company song will stay with me forever; what time I need to pick up a daughter at dance is something I need to double-check every single day. Don’t tell me your brain is your friend!

Wet paper bag

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These are the first days of spring, the thaw (from a very short period of freeze, honestly) is upon us, and the entire world smells like the inside of a wet paper bag. The snow is nearly gone from the yard (and it hadn’t been there all that long), the lake and the river have opened back up, and the roadsides are littered with the detritus that had been hidden under the snow: stray sweatshirts, crushed Red Bull cans, random parts of automobiles. I know this because I got out for my second ride of the season — see what a streak I’m on? — this one much less wet than the first. Just took a quick jaunt up the hill to Albany Rural Cemetery again, and then a little farther on to Siena College, by which time the previously bright day had turned to drizzle and I headed back down the hill. It’s one of those rides that takes literally half as long on the return as it does on the way out, because of the way the hills run.

All this melting has brought prodigious fog, which made a drive out to some western reaches of the area more than bit treacherous tonight. I actually had to put on my flashers as insurance against some lumbering tractor-trailer not noticing me, as visibility was down to about 20 feet in spots. Slow, slow going. But very cool, still. For a while it wasn’t clear if it was fog, or if the clouds had just come down that low — it was just continuous vapor from the ground to the sky.

I was tempted to reward myself on the way back with a shake from Coldstone Creamery, something outrageously chocolatey and heavy, but I couldn’t face a repeat of the debacle from last summer when I tried to reap that reward. The shake seemed to require special ingredients from “the back,” which took some time to procure (long enough that I figured the 20-something scooper was burning one on the way over — and if you don’t know what I mean, you’ve gotta get into the special features on your “Big Lebowski” disc). Eventually he re-emerged, cellphone to ear, and said to me, “Dude! We’re outta milk!” He then explained how the person on the other end of his conversation, his purported “buddy,” would be able to bring some milk from the store, like, really soon.

See, here’s my thing: I’m way into my 40s. I don’t answer to “dude.” Don’t call me “dude.” Just don’t. (And not “his dudeness” or “el duderino,” either, whether or not you’re into the whole brevity thing.) So, I bailed, and since then have feared each time I have gone there that they might not have some essential ingredient that is the very basis of their business model. Tonight, I just wouldn’t have been able to take the heartbreak.

First ride of the season

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While the pros are out there pounding the Race to the Sun (Paris-Nice), the warming this week got me out into the mud, slush, sand and salt yesterday to pound out a quick 20K for the first time this season. Of course, the weirdly warm winter meant that I didn’t stop riding until the end of January. I had a really long Christmas Eve ride and several quite warm days in January, so the only month I didn’t ride at all was February. And I normally get back on the bike around St. Patrick’s Day, so this isn’t all that early. I started on the bike path, which was hella-wet and only open for about half its distance (still snowed in for the rest of the way to Watervliet) so I turned around and went up the hill to the cemetery, a nice little jaunt up a wide-shouldered road that I always enjoy. Nice start to the season.

You know what’s better than endorphins? Me, either.

Rock ‘n’ roll bios

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Having gotten through the sublime and voluminous The Beatles, it seemed only fair to give equal time to a group that I’ve never really given equal time to, and I’ve tucked into Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Other than having a title longer than most Beach Boys’ albums, and suffering from some of the omniscience that somehow Bob Spitz avoided in his work on The Beatles, it’s a pretty good read. Turns out the Boys, all of them, were a bit of a mess. Brian was just the biggest mess. And if it suffers from a certain speed in the early parts (by page 30 or so, they’ve already released a record — the backstory is a tad slim) and there’s some chronological jumpiness that’s probably unavoidable in a good narrative, it paints a compelling, believable picture of a guy with some serious head problems. I had never really known how the Beach Boys had come to separate their studio formation from their road formation, and this paints the clearest picture ever of Charlie Manson’s scary little tangent to the group. Would I buy it? No, but that’s what libraries are for.

In pulling up that Amazon link for the book, I tripped across a book I’d never heard of but may have to wade through just for the title: Hotel California: The True-life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends. Reminds me of the old Flo & Eddie impression of Joni Mitchell: “I’ve had Stephen and Graham and Neil and Jackson, and the Eagles, too! How ’bout you?”

And trying to get that lyric right led me to what every Joni-obsessed fan would need: a listing of songs mentioning Joni. And, no, they didn’t miss Blotto’s “We Are The Nowtones.” Now, that’s completeness.