Sort of How I Spent My Summer

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It turned out that I got quite a bit read this summer. John Scalzi’s The Last Colony, two of Stross’s Laundry Files books, a manual on the Steampunk movement, re-read The Magicians, Daniel Abraham’s splendid closer to the Dagger and Coin series, and a re-read of Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light (that’s practically an annual thing).

Right now I’m blitzing through Tobias Buckell’s Caribbean-flavored space opera Ragamuffin. Then I’ve got George Mann’s steampunk/zombie epic The Affinity Bridge, Hunter Davis’ biography of The Beatles, Ian M Banks second to last Culture book Surface Detail, and Charlie Stross’s The Apocalypse Codex from his Laundry Files series. I’ll finish them all before Thanksgiving. Oh, and I’m re-reading the Harry Potter books and trying to study Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Life is good, at least in terms of consumption of the written word. Busy but good.

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I Think the Horns Look Good on Him

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It all started with two friends of mine going to a concert.

A couple of former coworkers went to see Wishbone Ash in Minneapolis. Their reviews got me all excited to hear some live WA. The trouble is that the only live stuff I have is the old double album Live Dates and it was stuck on an old iTunes account. I had that account live on my old desktop so I figured it wouldn’t be an issue. It was.

Somehow, despite the computer being authorized, Apple was convinced that I had no right to play or burn those files. I tried authorizing and deauthorizing the account a few times. No dice. I reopened iTunes as an administrator. Still nothing. I changed passwords, user names. Nada. Finally I went back to my wife’s PC because she had the same thing. Again: authorize, deauthorize. Something finally took. I was able to burn Live Dates to two discs, along with about a dozen other songs that I wanted. I used the photo above for cover art and titled it: Steve Jobs Reigns in Hell.

Now I’m listening to Live Dates in my man cave, pumping it into the system from my laptop. It’s only MP3s but they’re decent enough. The harmonies are high, the guitars swap leads and weave, the bass is authoritative. That’s Wishbone Ash. And as far as the issues with iTunes, that’s all on Jobs. May he enjoy his stay in the nether world.

 

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The Last Word…on Election Scandals

I’ve been somewhat staying away from political posts on this blog the last couple years. I tried. The endless false equivalents being thrown about in the media about the scandals of Clinton vs Trump have gotten ridiculous. It is time once again to draw a line in the sand. So here’s John Oliver to set you straight. God knows CNN won’t do it.

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Lay of the Sunflower

It’s been a while since I’ve taken photos of the sunflowers so here they are. This small plot has done really well; they’re just growing more and more heads. They’ve also attracted a significant amount of bees which makes me very happy. Note to self: plant more sunflowers next year.

 

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Back When the Tonight Show Mattered

…things like this happened

The insipid, craven, pandering Jimmy Fallon can just get the hell off my lawn.

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When the Rain Comes

It’s raining today. It’s harvest time up here on the tundra and this is not a good thing. The cats, who are all inside, heartily agree. They sleep and dream of murder and mayhem.

September has started off as a lion and I’m wondering if this is a foreboding of a harsh fall. The ten day forecast shows one day where the temperatures will get above 70. Of course, given the volatility of the weather systems up here who knows what will actually happen but I suspect that the season of sweatshirts and jeans is upon us. Farewell t-shirts and shorts.

It’s a little nippy inside as well. My wife’s internal thermostat imploded at age fifty and I’ve been freezing ever since. She doesn’t want to turn on the furnace and she has the sliding glass door in her office open about half a foot. I’m in my man cave with the windows shut, the incense burning, and am ready to put a fleece jacket over my long-sleeve t-shirt. The cats and dogs curl into balls, grateful for thick fur coats, lucky bastards. Maybe I’ll sneak a space heater into the man cave and hope it doesn’t overload the electrical.

The above track is Gregg Allman’s sumptuous gospel rendition of the Beatles “Rain”. Everyone tries to cover the Beatles but very few make it interesting. I’m sure I’ve posted it before and I’ll probably post it again. Just play it and close your eyes because Beatles covers never get more soulful that this.

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A Clear Case of Neglect

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I just finished five days of solid work, spending so much time in front of my computer my ass got sore. That’s not a good thing. So before I plunge in again I’ve got to get some priorities back in order. Clean up around the house, do some more computer configuration, update the blog, find that chapter of the book I was missing, print out a fantasy map, and oh, yeah, PLAY THE GODDAMN GUITAR!

It’s been one thing or another that’s been getting in the way of my learning how to play guitar. I knew spring and summer would bring conflicts but they really seemed to pile up this season. What little calluses I had have disappeared so when I do sit down my fingertips are stinging after ten minutes. Some chords that I had mastered have lost their mojo too.

The odd thing is there is still some progress. I can transition between chords better, which is the key to moving forward. So I’ve developed one chord progression that I’m going practice hard this fall. It’s just a collection of the more popular major/minor chords that, if mastered, will then open the door the rest of the way. That’s the plan anyway. And if the plan works expect something a little more…electric in 2017. As Rachel Maddow would say, watch this space.

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