Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kids on my Lawn

This morning I awoke to the sound of a kind of pathetic half-cawing coming from the back window. There was a family of crows - two juveniles and four or five adults - just hanging out in the back yard. The young crows were about two thirds the size of the full grown crows, and they sort of stood around and whined while the adults perched in tree branches or walked around (crows do a lot of walking, and I imagine that this is probably what dinosaurs looked like walking around - goose stepping, heads bobbing) foraging for whatever it is crows eat - stink bugs one hopes - and occasionally dropping one in the young crows' mouths.

As this goes on, a couple pairs of young squirrels show up who have obviously had way too much sugar and are madly running all over each other, through the crows and around and around tree trunks. Though there was no direct squirrel-crow kid play, there was a surprising amount of tolerance, with only the occasional caw and wing flap if the squirrels got too obnoxious. Meanwhile a rabbit sits under a tree watching the whole scene. and also tolerating the squirrel rambunctiousness, at least for a dew minutes until finally hopping away in disgust.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Separation Anxiety

I am living in a divided marriage. Lizzie is continuing to work in Florida where the work is good and the horses sound. I am in Baltimore where the job, band, and house are. We see each other once a month - either here or there, and otherwise communicate by Gmail chat or by watching internet weather radar picture from where the other is.

I've always thought that one of the strengths of our relationship is that we both are very independent, leading separate lives within the marriage. I don't ride horses, she doesn't ride scooters. Separate beds (for sleeping.) So I guess we are testing this theory out. So far so good.

Anyway, it gives me a lot of time to focus on finishing songs for the new Jennifers album.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friday Fill In

From the Friday Fill-Ins blog.

Here we go:

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you can still hurt a lot.

2. If you're good at something, do it often.

3. Why so corrupt?.

4. Something is out there, it's trying to sell me a car.

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled "Cancelled!".

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see bats.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reminiscing about last night, tomorrow my plans include reminiscing about tonight and Sunday, I want to make plans for next weekend!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Self-Curating World

It seems that the world is now self-curating. The old model of librarians, curators and researchers collecting material in a thoughtful and well organized way, and producing cohesive collections is becoming, to some degree, obsolete. Such work involved finding obscure works moldering in someones attic and collecting, organizing and presenting them to the world.

Nowadays those works stay in the attic, but the owner digitizes them and uploads them to YouTube. The search function is now the curator. These days I find myself keeping YouTube and WikiPedia open in a browser when I read, and when an event, person or performance is referenced, nine times out of ten it's on YouTube.

I read Joe Boyd's "White Bicycles" memoir recently, about his musical experiences in the 50's and 60's. He was everywhere things were happening, from Jazz to folk to high mod happenings. I was amazed at how many of these events are now on YouTube, from Dylan going electric, to Pink Floyd at the UFO club. Even obscure English folk musicians have a clip or two that some fan has uploaded. It's like everything now has a multi-media addendum available at the click of a search button.

This is not a new insight. There are books written about how well-programmed search engines reduce the need for organizing information. I'm just amazed at how well the world is now curating itself. YouTube was devised as a way for people to create their own content - movies of their cats or bike stunts. But I think it's true worth is in the amount rare footage that has previously been unavailable.

As a music fan, I'm astounded that there exists footage of things like the Velvet Underground performing at the NYC Psychiatrists convention on 1/13/1966 (the exact day I was born), the Talking Heads at CBGB's performing in 1976 as a nervous three piece before Jerry Harrison joined, Tom Verlaine teaching Television songs to Richard Hell (who seems like a slow learner), and the single best concert film ever - Talking Heads live on Italian TV in 1980. It blows "Stop Making Sense" out of the water, which is no mean feat. And I don't even need to post links to these clips (they get taken down and re-upped anyway), just go to YouTube and search.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tornadic Activity

How's this for a feeling of utter helplessness:

This is a screenshot of the local weather radar that my true love emailed from Florida on Friday morning. She is down there for the winter, living in a double-wide trailer on a horse farm. The storm system did produce a tornado that killed two people about ten miles down the road. I have never felt more surreally helpless watching the radar swirl with red right over the little "x" where I know she is.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snip Snip, ha ha.

And it's done. After talking for years about getting a vasectomy, I finally put my money where my, uh, balls are. It was a very quick and relatively painless procedure; fifteen minutes in a chair with a little Novocaine. While it was going on, the doctor tried to keep me distracted with some jokes. This was a little unnerving, as he was getting a little too excited in the telling, and I kept expecting him to get all gesticulate-y in the telling. Not so funny when he literally has you by the balls. The one joke he told that I remember:

Guy goes to his surgeon and says he wants to be castrated. After much back and forth he finally convinces the surgeon to do it, saying it's something he always wanted, and wishes he had had done as a child. So after it's done he's in the recovery room, where he strikes up a conversation with another patient: "What did you have done?" The other patient says "circumcision." First guy says "THAT's the word."


Now I get to ice my sac.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Damn Democrats

As a middle to upper level State government bureaucrat, I bob just below the political surface. A layer or two above me are the appointed positions that cycle through the agency at least as often as the election cycle. When the Republicans took the State House four years ago, I found a nice niche where I could keep my head down and survive fairly well. I remember joking that when the Democrats take power again, I'd be hanged as a collaborator.

Well they did take power again. I avoided the noose, but at times that seems like it would be preferable. You see the Republicans appointed some very nice, well meaning, (and well connected) people who did some good things, but generally did not have much if any experience in running a large agency. And there never seemed to be much of a sense of urgency to anything. The Republicans' famous disdain for government manifested itself not so much through any active destruction, as much as a sort of drifting neglect. The Democrats on the other hand, expect government to do a lot. A hell of a lot. Large, long term planning projects that has sort of dribbled along are now all of a sudden top priority. Sleepy bureaucrats (like me) that had dutifully checked in and out with a yawn are all of a sudden pulling evening and weekend duty trying to save the world, put a man on the moon by the end of the decade sorta thing.

Which is all fine. I voted for them, and that's what I want government to do. But for a guy like me that is a nine to fiver who expects to have a lot of energy left over for a wife, a band, a brass quintet, two dogs and an orchestra, it is quite a change of pace. The good news is that the current crop of appointees really do seem to know what they are doing, with a surfeit of experience and ideas. It will be a hell of a ride.