video


23
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.


16
Nov 22

The beginning of Thanksgiving

I finally figured out how to take photos of autumn leaves. It is the shutterbug’s lament, how to express the majesty of autumn. Even the best, high definition lens, top-of-the-line processor, perfectly saturated image leaves something out. You can’t get the emotion, the smells, the crispness of the air and the texture of the foliage in a photograph.

So, of course, here we are at the end of fall, the beginning of winter (it has been snowing again) but I finally figured out something important.

Night, and light.

This stand of American sweetgums is right by the parking deck I use on campus. There’s a nice set of street lights that, just now, are doing some quality work. Those red and greens are terrific.

I would have stayed to admire them, but I mentioned it has been snowing again meaning it is just cold. All the time.

I stopped by the grocery store, hoping to get ahead of the holiday rush, and found I might have been already been too late. There are turkeys …

… but not the size we want. On the left side of the case a bunch of eight and nine pounders. On the right side they go well into the 20+ pound range. I got a bigger one (More leftovers!) but it is sensibly oversized. Someone else needs that 29-pound bird. I need to leave room for all of the other tasty things that will be on the table.

We wondered about freezer room, but that’s not a problem. I could put this thing outside, in the shade on the windward side of the house, and it’d probably stay frozen. I did not — we have coyotes within earshot, after all — but I could have. It’s cold, is what I’m saying.

There are also turkeys living on the hillside behind us, but I don’t think those turkeys and this bird would … ahhhh … get along, seeing as how mine doesn’t have much to gobble about.

Since I mentioned, yesterday, the band playing in the studio, here’s that show. Hank Ruff and The Hellbenders:

He’s popular, and the studio was full of people who enjoyed their set. Tonight was sports, and, because we’re in the upside down, World Cup soccer talk, in November. I spent the rest of the evening reading, and being smothered by cats, who are presently desperate for attention, and body heat.

It’s cold.


15
Nov 22

‘It’s all pop music,’ is a thing I said today

Tonight there was a band in the studio. Hank Ruff is a recent IU grad, and he’s making it as a performer. Beats grad school classes! He’s been on one of our shows before, just before Covid, he said. He would have been a sophomore then and I had no memory of that … until I looked it up just now.

Look how young everyone was! February, 2020:

Since then, a pandemic happened. Charlee went home to Green Bay and became a reporter there. Kendall is reporting in Milwaukee today. Hank topped the iTunes all genre chart for a day, knocking Encanto out of the top spot, which he rightly, casually, mentions.

I’d mention that every day.

Anyway, they have new single coming out in January, Hank Ruff and his band played for us this evening. I don’t know how many country acts have a saxophone player these days, but the guy in the far background has figured out how to make his spot work in this group.

I was going to make a “Is that country music?” joke, but about that time they played a song that Hank said his dad wrote decades ago. The song was “I’m Not Crazy (But I’m Out of Her Mind)” and that’s about as country a song title as you can imagine.

Safe to say they’re on their way, too. He said he and The Hellbenders played 15 shows in September. Good for them. They played three songs, ran their own audio and did a thoroughly professional load out.

I wonder where local band members go after they’re done for the evening.

“Evening.” Their mini-set was wrapped by 7:15 p.m.

After the shows I pointed the car to the house, checked the freezer for turkey room, set up some sanding for later this week, heated leftover chili for dinner, petted the cats and straightened up my home office. It needs more than a straightening, but it was in such a state that a straightening itself was a transformation.

Now I’m just waiting for the Artemis rocket to launch. Maybe everything will work right for their window, anyway. (Sometimes being a fan of science and amazing thing leads to long hours.)

Let’s spend some of that time on the Re-Listening Project. I’ve just working my way through all of my old CDs, in the order I acquired them. It’s fun, it’s nostalgic, it’s an excuse to post videos.

First up today, a soundtrack for a movie that was bad then and hasn’t improved with age. The movie gets terms like “cult hit” and “zeitgeist,” and the dreaded “mixed reviews,” but sometimes words get used without the writer knowing what they really mean. It made good box office money, and most importantly the music was good! Good enough, I suppose. The soundtrack was a platinum hit in Australia and Canada, and twice certified as platinum in the United States. Presumably that was on the strength of Lisa Loeb’s breakthrough single.

I’m sure I bought this because it had three or four songs that I wouldn’t buy on their own. I can tell you how important this was. I never listen to the thing. Almost never have.

There’s a good Juliana Hatfield Three song in there, and it’s always good to have The Posies to point too. Dinosaur Jr. makes you seem well-rounded, and there’s Loeb’s smash hit, not that I bought this for the Loeb song. “Stay” was good, still is, but “Stay” was already everywhere. And then there’s a Me Phi Me classic. It’s aged far, far better than this movie.

Maybe I should look up Me Phi Me’s full catalog.

Up next, the followup to Radiohead’s surprising smash hit, “Creep.” That song took over the airwaves off their debut album, and so the pressure was on when it came to producing and releasing “The Bends.” The record broke the top 10 in Belgium, Scotland, and on the UK Albus chart. Certified as a gold record in at least four countries and platinum in the U.S. and New Zealand and it’s a multi-platinum record in Canada and the UK. They rolled out seven singles, half the record, between September of 1994 and July of 1996. The angular guitars and the emotional falsetto helped draw a line in British rock of the period.

This was great car music for me. Probably a lot of late nights in the car. I drove a lot during this part of college, and so there was me, and, often, Thom Yorke.

“Blackstar” wasn’t a single, but was definitely a late night, car-clinging-to-asphalt track. That chorus is really something.

“Sulk” was a political song, addressing a 1987 mass shooting in England. Pay attention to what Ed O’Brien is doing with the effects on his guitar here.

Title track? Title track.

The Beatles, The Smiths, a David Bowie pastiche, and as critically divisive as a pop song can be, I guess.

After this brief toe dip in Brit rock, we’ll return to Americana pop … probably on Thursday, only on the Re-Listening Project.


14
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!


11
Nov 22

Whurrwhurrwhurr

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.