Forever Half Mast

Lucy Dacus – Forever Half Mast

If you get the chance to go see Lucy Dacus, I recommend it. She’s such a different kind of performer. I don’t really quite know how to describe what it is but she comes across as so sweet and unassuming. Introducing a new song and then asking people not to record it since it’s not out yet, and from where I stood at least it looked like the crowd obliged. Telling us in advance that she was just going to play a last song and then that was really it, no encores, just the end. The audience was largely filled with young women and they were giving her their rapt attention. The whole evening was incredibly warm and caring, even when she was singing songs about someone killing a friend’s abusive father. Go see her!

Bad Timing

Bombay Bicycle Club – Bad Timing

What a waste of an evening. My son and I were trying to cook up some kind of cobbled together gaming set up for him with some old mismatched pieces and it looked like we could maybe get it working but for want of the right kind of cable. We bought something that seemed like it would work but it didn’t. In my attempts to figure out why, I made the situation worse and now we have a completely useless monitor that is just cycling red, green, and blue screens, and xbox with a disc stuck in it, and a $40 cable that fits in the ports on each, yet doesn’t allow the two things to see each other. Hours down the drain.



Right Here, Right Now

Jesus Jones – Right Here, Right Now

Today mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was trying to come up with a song that was current then but this one, although it came out a little more than a year later, is what always pops into my mind when I think about that time. The scenes in the background of the Wall being toppled, then the footage with Gorbachev, and the complete unraveling of the eastern bloc countries—plus the singer just living in front of his tv while it all happened. That was me too, just completely glued to the tv.

Five years ago when it was the 25th anniversary, I wrote a post about my family connections in East Germany and how that made it all that much more gripping for me. A few weeks ago, my daughter told me she had an upcoming assignment for one of her classes where you had to record someone’s memories of a historic event, then compare that with what actually happened. The example the professor gave was the Kennedy assassination, she said everyone remembers seeing some specific thing on tv at that time but that footage wasn’t shown until later. Of course I wasn’t alive yet for Kennedy’s assassination, and I was much too young to have watched the moon landing, so I suggested the fall of the Berlin Wall. Last weekend was when she needed me to record my memory. My recollection is basically just like this song. Especially the lines about “watching the world wake up from history” and “it seemed the world could change at the blink of an eye.” Everything happened so quickly and something that seemed impossible just a year earlier, was suddenly reality.

While I feel like I remember the events of 30 years ago really well, I have to say I was hazy about the details of this video. I did not remember about the keyboard player with his completely typical early 90s dance moves or the oversize shirts and caps. For Christmas last year I got a book called Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I started it but then it got buried under some other books and I didn’t get back to it. All of this has made me eager to pick it up again.

In lead up to today, there have been a few news stories that I heard on NPR during my commute about what eastern Germany is like now. More of them troubling than encouraging. It breaks my heart to hear that Dresden has declared a Nazi emergency and Macron said the other day that “we are experiencing the brain death of NATO.” I understand that the promise of the West and a free and open Europe didn’t live up to the ideals that many people had. But reading Burning Down the Haus (plus one of those other books had been a library book about the tunnels under the Wall), you can easily see that what came before it was so much worse. I would like the world to wake up again. Look at history and realize what’s happening before it’s too late. I want that same sense of right here, right now, to catch on.

[For more recollections about music and the Wall, I encourage you to read this post, by my friend Nancy, from five years ago.]

My Love Was Like the Rain

Låpsley – My Love Was Like the Rain

The weather went from moderate fall to cold ass winter overnight. It didn’t snow, thankfully, but our overnight temperature is supposed to be only in the low 20s, which I find unseasonable and unreasonable. It’s only Nov. 8th, I don’t even know where all of my long sleeve shirts are.

Golden Age

TV on the Radio – Golden Age

The only positive thing that I can see coming out of these Cheeto years is an energetic push to reclaim what we used to take for granted, and then to bolster it and guard it fiercely. Perhaps if the GOP hadn’t so easily capitulated to the truly cult-like devotion seen amongst Twitler’s followers, they wouldn’t have lost as many seats last night. Not that I think they weren’t always slimebags but it feels like in the past, often enough people didn’t like a Republican candidate but they didn’t think they were going to subvert democracy. Now they can see that these politicians have no trouble flat out lying on tv. I don’t think anything can change a Trumpette’s mind but for those who haven’t completely taken leave of their senses, the lying and corruption are now, finally, obvious to everyone. Where we differ is whether we stand up and say no, shrug and turn away, or rabidly defend a fascist and say that anything he does is fine. Children in cages, rolling back EPA regulations, betraying allies, they don’t have a problem with any of it.

I am not someone who leans toward being hopeful about the future but with each state or town seat we wrest control of from people who don’t mind sharing a stage, or even just a party line, with the orange menace, is something to be celebrated.

Truth Hits Everybody

The Police – Truth Hits Everybody

It sure is nice to see the blue wave continuing. People like Mitch McConnell should be shitting bricks right about now. I’m still waiting for local results but what I could find online about it seems pretty positive.

I don’t know if there were any important elections where you live but having Republican asses handed to them in VA is pretty gratifying. Fingers crossed!

First Week/Last Week…Carefree

Talking Heads – First Week/Last Week…Carefree

Here we are, new week. Over the weekend I managed to do one of the things I had planned to do from the previous weekend but there are still other things that got pushed off again for some other weekend. Then there are the tasks you need to accomplish during the work week that have nothing to do with work. If only we could all choose our own work schedules. Think how much happier and more productive people would be if they knew they could have time to make those phone calls to deal with things and not have to take vacation time to do it.

Friendly Fire

French Vanilla – Friendly Fire

I got my annual bitch about the decrease in evening light rant out of the way early today so I don’t feel the need to get that off my chest.

However, I am tired and started thinking about whether or not I have the stamina to go to a show on Tuesday. The standing around really gets me and my shoes aren’t up to the task. I blew off a show on Friday night because it was too far from home and I didn’t want to drive that far after it let out. I hate passing on a show when my only reason for not going is feeling tired. It makes me feel old.

Back in the summer French Vanilla came through and I didn’t go. Not because I was tired but because I didn’t know I would have wanted to. Only later did I realize that they do that song I like and, shit! I missed them!

There is a strong Pylon vibe on this song (and several others on the album) and I am bummed that now it will probably be a long time before they come back around.

Hungry Child

Hot Chip – Hungry Child

I’ve been trying to be better about exercising but it isn’t something I enjoy doing. After I’ve been to the gym I tell myself, hey, that wasn’t so bad, you should really try to fit in one more gym day during the week. That never happens though so the week goes by and any motivation I had has gone. I had a doctor’s appointment in the summer to follow up on my ultra low vitamin D levels and she congratulated me on losing a pound. “One whole pound!” she asked, “How did you do it?” I lied and said I added one more day at the gym. Really it was probably just that I had on lighter weight clothes and shoes but I didn’t want to own up to my couch-to-5k-but-only-on-Sundays fitness regime. She advised that I just, you know, come home from work and bang out a mile. That’s an idea, I said.

My preferred mode of exercise is bike riding but for a number of reasons, it hasn’t been practical for me for several years. That makes me sad. My last concerted effort to get back in the saddle a few years ago only served to convince me that I needed to get in better shape before I could even think about resuming that as a regular hobby. Of course there are bike machines at the gym and those spinning bikes are all the rage, but I hate that they are stationary. And probably half of my enjoyment on the bike was tied to the feeling of the wind rushing against me and the music in my ears. It was really more like dancing or skating. That last time I tried to ride for exercise my legs felt like lead and the bike was heavy and the shoes were wrong. I decided I would need to be more nimble before I could go out again.

So that’s how I have found myself laboring along on the treadmill at the gym. I don’t like running, never have. But I was successful at the c25k program once before and I hate those elliptical machines even more than the treadmill—they just feel like you are doing some pointless hamster on a wheel thing. With running I can at least see that it’s a useful thing to be able to master. I can’t do it without music though. I mostly forget that I want to make a playlist for this activity until it’s too late to pull it together so I wind up picking a more dance-y kind of album and just skip any slow songs if I’m supposed to be running instead of walking. Some albums, like this one, have some kind of video going the whole time if you are using Spotify on your phone. This one is just some swirly colors and it makes it easy to just tap the phone to skip or repeat a track. If I ever get past Week 6, Day 1 of this running program, I may need to put a bit more effort into the song selection but this is six solid minutes at 120bpm, which is about my limit.