Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm Not Quite Dead Yet. (Part II)

I was catching up on my blog reading when I came across this post. For just a second, I thought I was reading my eulogy. Then I remembered I was still breathing. I wonder if he realized he wrote that on my 40th birthday.

(Danny gave me a box of laxatives for my birthday. Oddly it did not appear to be a gag-gift. I now have plenty and I am willing to share.)

I guess it is time for me to get out the guitar and start practicing again. It seems Danny and I are starting a band. Look out Flatt and Scruggs.
My List of the Top Ten Albums of Rock and Roll

Ken put me up to this. Originally the list was supposed to be 15 albums. His list was twenty-five. I have limited mine to just ten. It is a slippery slope from #11 to #50. The truth is adding another five would repeat a couple of the artists. Oddly this list does not include the first couple of albums I ever bought (one of which was Petra - More Power To Ya) which I listened to non-stop for over a year. Nor does it include the album that I have probably listened to more than any other album (U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind). I actually left this one in the CD player of my trucks for two plus years.

1. U2 - The Unforgettable Fire - This one seems to top everyone's list. I walked to Wal-Mart with my buddy Matt Ramon (before we could drive) to buy this one in cassette form. This was also the first CD I ever bought (1987). Every song on the CD is good and the sum is greater than the parts. "Dirt dry bones, sand, and stone."

2. The Choir - Chase the Kangaroo - I was introduced to this one during the summer of 1987. My friend, Preacher-Man John, whom I have know since kindergarten, had just gotten a bass and started a band along with Wade and Jeff. Their original music was definitely influenced by The Choir and U2. Actually The Choir was also influenced by U2. (Thinking about this reminded me of a road trip we made to Atlanta to see U2 and the rocking flying through my windshield on the way home. Also John's little incident at the parking deck, but I digress. Good times!) "November whispers and shakes a fist, leaves fall down with promises." But who rakes the leaves?

3. The Alarm - Strength - Another John (Thrash man) introduced me to this band back when I was flipping burgers at the golden arches. I had a hard time deciding whether Strength or Declaration should fill this slot. Ultimately Strength got it. Barely. "Who will light the fire that I need to survive?"

4. Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles - This one was introduced by my imaginary friend Mike. Moon Over Bourbon Street and Shadows in the Rain are timeless classics for me. I continually use both to prove to others that I can't sing. And I shall continue to for a long long time. "Woke up in my clothes again this morning. Don't know exactly where I am."

5. Rush - Power Windows - This one comes complements of yet another John, Mr. Leeming. I heard this one for the first time while 'working truck' at McDonald's. This was totally unlike anything I had ever heard. "All the powers that be, and the course of history, would be changed for evermore..."

6. Van Halen - 5150 - I bought this one at Sound Warehouse on the way home from school one day. John Thrash was probably with me as we car-pooled for several years. Unlike may others, I liked Van Haggar. To this day I believe that Eruption from Van Halen I is the reason my hearing is not so good. Can you imagine what that must sound like in of a Chevette with 10 speakers including two 10" subs being pushed by 200 watts (peak :). "Summer nights and my radio, that's all we need, baby, don't cha know."

7. Triumph - Sport of Kings - This one is again courtesy of Mr. Trash. That guy had good tastes in music. "Is it fate, or random chance, how can I decided? Are we victims of circumstance when destinies collide?

8. REM - Document - Mr. Leeming again. John taught me how to play the first few notes of "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" on my electric guitar. For all of you I have tortured with this, he is to blame. Unfortunately I didn't have any inate musical talent. John, John, and I (and maybe John) went to see John's brother's band "My Three Sons" play at a club near TCU. They dedicated Electric Co. to me. "World serves it own needs, regardless of your own needs, feed it up a knock, speed, grunt no, speed no..."

9. Electric Light Orchestra - Time - As a kid, I heard "Out of the Blue" and "Discovery" time and again at Blair's house. I don't recall hearing "Time" back then but it is definitely my favorite ELO album. I will credit David E. with this one. "I met someone who looks a lot like you, she does the things you do, but she is an IBM." "...And she's also a telephone."

10. Boston - Boston - Flashback to the 70's and credit goes to Blair again. I think we nearly wore out his older brother's eight tracks. This was the first CD I listened to when I bought my first brand-new-car. Open up the sun roof and turn it up. "He smoked a big cigar, drove a Cadillac car, and said, boys, I think this band is out of sight."

So how would I fill out the next 40 or so? More U2, definitely The Joshua Tree, and The Alarm, probably Declaration and Eye of the Hurricane. And more Choir, especially the live one specially mixed to listen to in the car with the windows rolled down. Also throw in The Church's "Under the Milkyway", some Everclear, a few Barenaked Ladies, more Sting's Soul Cages (and The Police's Synchronicity) , and Pink Floyd, Green Day, and maybe the Offspring. And more Rush!

Now it is your turn to make a list. Let me know when you get it done so that I may check it out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

For the past few weeks I have been focused on school. It is amazing how one can be so focused that several days or weeks can pass without giving much thought to anything else. I believe the most difficult part is behind me now, though I still have plenty to do. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to have more free time and thus have some mildly mundane topics to speak of.

The contractors finished up repairing the garage either two or three weeks ago. I still have not moved the tools back in. I am eager to do so because the Miata has been parked in the driveway for the last couple of weeks. (This is the only time the Miata has been left outside overnight since I bought it however many years ago that was.)

The precision machine class has been very interesting. We are primarily working with a vertical milling machine, an E-Mill I believe. The project for the class is to mill a c-clamp out of a solid piece of aluminum. We should begin cutting threads in another week or so.

The Big-4-0 was completely painless. Especially since I got a box of laxatives as a gift. I have extras and I am willing to share.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"It has been a long time..."

First of all, my hand smells like tooth paste. Not as refreshing as you might think.

I have been busy lately. Real busy. The kind of busy that keeps me up past my bedtime busy. One, two, and three AM busy. All good things will pass. Eventually.

Most of the business is a result of doing my student-teaching internship. Some is also as a result of signing up for the precision machines class at the vo-tech school. The machines class is really cool. I am after all a kinesthetic learner.

Fear not, for I have not abandoned you (for Facebook), both of you, the two of you who read this blog from time-to-time. Once or twice a month. I shall return. Though it might be another seven days before you see another post.

Do you smell brownies?

Oh, yeah! Tomorrow I will be 40 and I am feeling pretty good about it.

"...since I rock-and-rocked." [power cord] [ power cord]