Nov 22

More from Newfields

As promised, here’s a bit more from yesterday’s adventures. These are the first 90 seconds of the Monet at The LUME exhibit. You cover a fair amount of ground with the impressionists in the next hour or so. It’s a fine presentation. Go see this when it gets near you.

The giant image of an aging Claude Monet near the end of the exhibit, and before the gift shop.

Try as we might, and we tried mightily, we could not talk the folks into buying a beret.

We went back to Newfields after dinner to see the Winterlights demo. Much better weather this year. A lot of smiles, a lot of happy children. A lot of adults looking with the eyes of a child. (Just imagine if they’d seen someone wandering around in a beret.)

Had a nice bike ride today, I put 40 more miles in the books. That’s almost four loops on this specific Zwift course.

Someone decided two circuits, 21.50 miles, should be a Strava segment. Strava tells me I’ve done that segment seven times. And, today, I shaved two minutes off my best time.

Not bad for being under-caloried.

Nov 22

Thanksgiving Week

My lovely bride returned Saturday. The in-laws arrived safely yesterday. The front-end of holiday travel has been a success. We have a relaxed week ahead of us, which is the way Thanksgiving should be. Less hustle, more time for the small things, and the easy gratitude.

And, also, kitties.

Phoebe is thankful for this little pig mouse toy.

Poseidon is thankful for high perches.

And we are thankful for kitties.

Here’s the view from a high perch. This was the view from one part of the airport, when we picked up the folks. There’s an irregular feature of indoor winter shapes in this somewhere. It’s both symmetrical — you assume — and asymmetrical at the same time.

This evening we tried the inaugural use of our new miniature fire pit. I’m now teaching The Yankee how to start a fire.

She did NOT like it when she said “Every time I touch it I make it worse,” and I agreed. But! When I was eventually able to do it the right way, we had a fire.

I got in 30 miles on the bike yesterday. Just a few desert views.

For some reason, in the middle of this digital nowhere, there’s a dinosaur. He’s a statue. At least I think he’s a statue. He doesn’t seem to move.

What’s nice is the detail; even the road shows its imperfections. Also, my avatar reminds me to have some water. Look, he’s having a sip just now.

You’ve got to stay hydrated. A whole week’s worth of laid back festivities depends on it.

Tomorrow we’re going to a museum!

Nov 22

This is light

I am now in full Thanksgiving mode. With days to burn, and company to host, I’m taking next week off. There is a turkey in the freezer, as I might have mentioned; there is cleaning to be done tonight.

Got half of the vacuuming done. Started preparing the guest bathroom. Put sheets on the guest bed. Straightened up in the kitchen. Stuff like that. It was the highlight of an unadventurous day: the big breath in before the holiday rush.

I need more than a day, more than one big breath, to prepare for the holiday rush. I’ve seen our schedule of festivities — And they will be grand! They always are! — and I am tired from the contemplation alone.

Anyway, quiet day at the office. Quiet, productive evening at the house. I also road 30 miles.

This ride was notable because it put 2022 into second place in my annual mileage chart. Now the modern me trails only the 2020 version. (We had more time to ride during the early days of the pandemic.) The question left before us is, whether there’s enough time left in the remainder of the year, and around the holidays, to break the 2020 record.

It would take a concentrated effort, but I’ll try.

Anyway, my week of being a bachelor ends tomorrow. The Yankee returns from a short conference trip. On Sunday we’ll go to the airport to pick up her parents. And the season will be upon us.

You should see this turkey.

Nov 22

Weekend and Monday photos and videos

You’ve been waiting for a whole week to hear from the cats. Let’s hear from the cats. (We know what moves the needle on this site. It’s the cats.)

Phoebe found some sun the other day, and that it happened to throw some beams onto a part of jeans, all the better.

Yesterday I started researching heat lamps and heating pads for the cats. Perhaps not as fun, or useful for them, as naps in the sun, but maybe they could get the job done.

Poseidon, meanwhile, would like you to know that he found the potato that fell onto the floor.

Yesterday I returned the favor and looked under the dresser, finding four toy springs and three bouncy balls. Under the bed there was another one of the springs.

It snowed Saturday.

But don’t take my word for it. And don’t trust that photo alone. There’s also video. It was 31 degrees and I stood outside for at least 90 seconds capturing video for this. I suffered for my art; the least you can do is suffer through my art.

This was the best kind of snow, though. There was a half-inch to an inch. It looked pretty, nothing stuck to the roads, and, most importantly, almost all of it had disappeared by today.

I had a bike ride Sunday afternoon. I was not riding in the desert like my avatar. It was cold outside and there was still snow on the ground, so I was, of course, indoors. Hence:

This was a marginally important ride, which is to say it was in no way important at all. But, with this 32-mile ride I moved 2002 into third place in terms of miles per year. Move out of the way, 2013! And I’m coming for you, 2021! In another ride or three this year will be in second place.

It will take a concerted effort to put this year atop the charts. Sure, there’s a month and a half left to go, but there is, of course, a lot of travel figuring into these last six weeks.

Lest you think this post is entirely about the weekend, here’s a collage I made for LinkedIn today. (The social media site where I get some actual analytical success?) I wrote:

“You can’t do creative work without collaboration,” is a thing I say a fair amount to students. Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with some students on a series of four specific welcome messages for members of the incoming class of 2027.

Jenna Williams and indispensable Lily Schairbaum worked on this project. Haley Ryan, Taniya Jones, Tristan Reed and Nicholas Jager shared their enthusiasm about what they do at The Media School. These videos will work nicely, but only because of their generosity and good cheer, all of which comes across in the finished products.

I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned that video project in this space. These snippets are from the four videos I produced for incoming students because, this year, we wanted a little more customization to our welcome videos. Hopefully the high school students and their parents that are receiving those videos like them.

And that’s enough for the day.

OK, one more thing. Here’s a glimpse at the moment before the sunset, as seen from the top of the Poplar’s Garage.

Now that’s enough for the day. But there’ll be plenty more … of something … tomorrow!

Nov 22


After work I rushed right back to the house — because where else am I going to go? — and hustled right inside. I wanted to put my bike on the trainer. Well, wanted to isn’t exactly the right word. I wanted to ride my bike, but it was cold and almost dark, so the trainer it is. Or, rather, it was, since this already happened.

I rode in the desert, with snowcapped mountains ahead of me. Whurrwhurrwhurr is the sound the back wheel my bike makes on the roller.

At the conclusion of my ride people that don’t exist threw confetti, which … also … doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean this isn’t still a nice little feeling, though, after 23 quick little miles.

And now I’m that much closer — 23 miles closer, to be precise — to making this my third biggest year ever. I should do that this weekend, make 2022 my third best year. The second spot is an easy possibility after that. Not sure if I can set a personal best.

But if I don’t, there’s only myself to blame, and none of this matters anyway. So far, though, the 2020s are giving me a workout, and that’s what matters.

It is time, once again, to catch up on the Re-Listening Project. I’m going through all of my old CDs, in order, and enjoying the nostalgia and the music and trying to write a little something about it. It pads out the site and burdens you with music I like — or at least music that I liked once upon a time. These aren’t reviews, they’re whimsy, as so much of music should be.

I still like a lot of “Happy Nowhere,” it turns out. This was Dog’s Eye View’s debut. This was Peter Stuart’s band. He got a break by opening for Tori Amos and Cracker. He warmed up crowds for Counting Crows and then signed a record deal. With that in hand he formed this band. One single got a lot of airplay, which is how I found them. He apparently wrote the hit in 15 minutes, while nursing a hangover.

So, as hangovers go, that worked out fairly well, I guess?

I don’t remember all of these details from the narrative part of the video. In fact, the biggest memory of that video I have is how he’s smiling singing this song that, on the face of it, should be pretty sad.

Also, the instrumentation. It’s infectious.

This came out in 1996 and there was a music store in town that let you listen to things before you bought them. This was a great idea for customers, but I’m sure it had drawbacks for managers and employees. I don’t know if that’s why I have this record, or I picked it up just on the strength of that single, but here I am, an embarrassing amount of decades later and I still sing along with almost every track on the thing.

This guitar, Stuart’s voice, it all just works.

I sang this one, with attitude, well into my 30s.

I consider this a perfect mid-90s rock ‘n’ roll song.

This always felt like a beach ballad, and I’ve never listened to it on a beach, so there you go. I always wonder if this is a character song or biographical. I wonder who he’s singing to. Sometimes I wonder who other people sing this to.

I never sang this ballad with a particular person in mind. Weird.

The good tunes continue. Car, headphones, shower, whenever.

I never understood how this record, and the subsequent work, didn’t get more label support. That was a real problem on the second album. It’s just a business choice — most of which are obvious in retrospect, I guess, but back then? Again, mid-90s … a bit of honesty, a bit of heartfelt rawness … this fits the mold without complaint.

I loved this record. Always enjoyed DEV, and Peter Stuart. He released three more records — two of them will show up here eventually — before disappearing. Recently I learned he’s a clinical psychologist in Texas. I read an interview with him and he came off as so content and focused. It was one of the better Where Are They Now? stories.

Anyway, more from him later. We must also consider here, today, the remastered version of Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert. I’m not a proactive Clapton fan, let’s say. I appreciate the work, but it’s just not something I’ve sought out.

I have no recollection of why I have this. I have no real recollection of spending a lot of time with it, either. (Like you can recall all of the reasons why you did, or didn’t listen to the second song of an album you purchased 26 years ago … )

But I listened to it this week and … it needs to be re-remastered. Which, hey, makes since. The original came out in 1973, Pete Townshend got Clapton on stage and helped re-start his career. And, given Clapton’s heroin-addled reclusiveness, his star power and the different music ecosystem of the time, this was probably a tantalizing thing for his pre-existing fans. (The original vinyl held six tracks. I have 14 here.) In that light, there’s a lot to appreciate. Also, this disc was released in 1995, and I heard all of this for the first time in 1996 or 1997, let’s say. We’re farther, today, from the remastering than the remastering was from the original. (Sentences like that come far too rapidly to me these days, and that’s middle age to me.)

As much as anything, that the stage also held Townshend, Steve Winwood, Ronnie Wood and Jim Capaldi was probably part of my initial appeal — and that pays off. This record highlights Winwood as much as anything. Here he is now.

The blue-eyed soul and blues between them works pretty well. It sounds and feels a bit raw. It’s all hasty and seems largely unrehearsed. That’s part of the charm. AllMusic wrote a retrospective review, which seems appropriate. The author concludes, “Today, the album is an adequate live document, though one can find better performances of the songs on other records.”

As for other records, the next time the Re-Listening Project comes around we’ll gloss over a soundtrack and, probably, something a little more contemporary to the point of purchase.