Wednesday’s Theme Music

Musically, I’m living in the past. Not surprising, is it? The music from the past is more connected to me. I used it to celebrate, grieve, love, and learn.

I was also inundated by it in the past. I commuted everyday and took long road trips by car. Although listening to talk radio, sports, and books on tape competed for my attention, many hours were devoted to pop music, including rock.

I don’t commute much any more. COVID-19 has truncated my traveling opportunities. So, I’m less exposed to new music via radio. I could turn it on in the house, but I generally maintain silence through the day. I’m writing and reading, and not interested in distractions. Which is what all those things were on long drives and morning commutes: distractions from the tedium.

Anyway, this morning found me channeling the 1976 Doobie Brothers song, “Taking It to the Streets”. This is a response to the presidential debates last night. “Oh, you. Telling me the things you’re going to do for me. I’m not blind and don’t like what I think I see.”

I always like videos of live shows, when I can, so I’m sharing a 1982 video of their farewell tour. The band’s energy can often be vicariously experienced, and it makes me smile to see them all young and vibrant once again, you know?

Cheers

Tuesday’s Theme Music

A night of intense but entertaining dreams had finished. The day was beginning with the emptying of the bladder and the feeding of the cats. They’d surrounded me and, despite bowls of kibble, were claiming starvation.

The activities engaged are the automatic sort, not much thinking required, leaving me free to ponder the dreams. That led to a Queensryche line from “Silent Lucidity” (1991):

“Your dream is over… or has it just begun?”

I mean, my dreams had been unfathomably lucid, where I as myself in my dream was interviewing the me having the dream, about a dream which was still taking place. So, I ponder, were there three dream version of me happening simultaneously, which led now to the conscious ‘real’ me pondering those three dream people? Or was this another dream?

Here’s the music.

Where

People were already out of work due to COVID-19. Without revenue coming in, they were going through their savings, cutting corners where they could, selling things as necessary, going to friends or the governments for help.

Then the fires struck. In a day, everything except that which they had when they fled was gone.

Time to rebuild, but where are they going to go? The costs of housing and living is discussed, politics, and the chance for employment. Gazing across the American landscape, from the fires on the west coast to the hurricanes in the southeast and the cost of living and politics everywhere, options seem bleak.

Fickle Winds

I wrote about our local wildfire this morning. The fire was put out, so huzzah! Some homes destroyed…

I went on with my normal life for about an hour. I then turned back to netborhoods for fire updates and experienced heavy shock.

The fire had spread north. Going from less than a hundred acres, it was now over a thousand acres. While the wind had dissipated in our area, it stayed strong elsewhere. Pushed by the wind, the fire was spreading along the Interstate 5 corridor on the southern side.

Highways were being closed. Smoke filled the air…north of us. Neighborhoods, businesses, hemp farms, and wineries were evacuated. School classes were canceled.

Tuning in to other news revealed that numerous other fires were burning fast in southern Oregon, forcing evacuations, closing roads, destroying buildings, chasing wildlife. Central Point, Eagle Point, to the west, areas to the northeast two hours away.

Sifting through the news, I realized how fortunate we’d been. The fire started about three and a half miles away. A fortunate wind saved us, to the detriment of others.

The wind is still out there, though. All of Jackson County is at level one: be ready to go.

I packed some things in the car, just in case. Fickle winds can’t be trusted.

A Moment of Reflection

Trump and his Pentagon are shutting down the independent military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. One hundred sixty years old, working on a fifteen million dollar budget, it’s a bitter end to a venerable institution.

I was in the U.S. Air Force for over twenty years. Overseas, we looked to the Stars and Stripes for laughs, information, distractions, sports scores, and a touch of home. You could usually walk into an office and find a copy of the latest daily sitting on a table or desk, pick it up, and check it out. Sometimes the Jumble word puzzles were done, or the NYTimes crossword puzzle was half-finished, or the Sudoku was begun. In Europe, it was the source for finding out what events were planned, such as festivals and volksmarches. Everywhere, it told us what was happening at other theater bases, and when college registration and terms were beginning. It also carried the AFRTS television and radio schedules and highlights, and the show times for the movie theaters.

This all helped keep us connected and grounded. That was (pause to absorb shock) over thirty years ago for me. (Another pause to absorb shock.) Satellite entertainment was just becoming available, and we were watching tape-delay productions of ‘live’ shows. The Internet and web were just beginning to stretch and flex. Phones were still tethered to walls and desks by long cords.

So, yeah, as Zimmerman sang, the times they are a-changing. I usually look forward to change, hoping that we’re advancing our technology in ways to improve our lives and conditions, or defeat diseases and advance cures. I’m in favor of change that levels the field and delivers justice, equality, freedom, and opportunity for all. Perhaps the time has come for the Stars and Stripes to cease, because its purpose has been overtaken by advances. In memory, though, I’ll recall it fondly, and think of its passing with a sigh.

But then, that’s what happens with so much of our things, isn’t it? We outgrow them, and they fade away.

Friday’s Theme Music

I’m in a mellow groove, brought on by a mellow mood. Thinking about how events shape emotions, and emotions shape logic, and logic shapes thinking, which translate to habits, behavior, and expectations.

This is connected to writing, sure, but to events in the U.S., and to politics, but even to myself, and how the events of my youth formed who I now am.

All of that propelled memories of some song lyrics.

“What? Really? Why, that’s unusual,” you probably thought.

I agree. (Despite my mellow mood, the snark is rising today.)

I saw the sign
And it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding

I saw the sign
And it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
No one’s gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong

h/t AZLyrics.com

When others’ thinking seems so off to us, we ponder, what’s wrong with them? What will it take to open their eyes? We rarely know what they’ve experienced. We might think we do, but that’s based on our own experiences, and whatever clues we can muster from their lives. That’s often rendered down to their appearance, actions, and circumstances, which is pretty damn shallow evidence. Things — lives — are frequently more convoluted than the surface that we see.

Anyway, here’s “The Sign” by the Ace of Base, 1993, a mellow song for a mellow, reflective, morning.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Drifted outside last night, called by needs for a break, a change, a morsel of hope that tomorrow might be a little different.

Same as it ever was outside, in the style in which nature seems the same but isn’t. This summer is less relentless about the weather, but we’re looking at 105 degrees F today and 108 on Sunday. Night relief won’t come with lows plunging only into the mid seventies.

I was testing the air for signs of these forecasts. Was comfortable at eleven PM, 76, with a mild breeze. The cats hung with me, peering at sounds I didn’t hear, watching action that I didn’t see. No cars or people disturbed the moment, so I started thinking of the Patti Smith song, “Because the Night” (1978).

Everyone thinks the night belongs to them. My cats thought the night was theirs. I’m sure our town’s cougars and bears believe the night belongs to them, and the raccoons and skunks have made their claims. Look at the stars, though; does the night belong to them?

Everyone’s grasp on the night is as strong and lasting as a quantum wind.

Thursday’s Tiny Tidbits

Is it redundant to say tiny tidbits? Are not tidbits tiny by definition?

There’s a bit of whinging in this week’s short stuff, because I, an American white male, am a champion first-world complainer, often suffering first world blues much like “The Princess and the Pea”. I play the princess (call me Princess M, please) and the pea is anything from entertainment offerings, food prices, and net speeds to ‘things I can’t do well with my broken arm’.

I think I’ll start there.

  1. Typing. Buttons. Holding things with my left hand. Showering. Washing my hair. Putting on deodorant. Opening cat food tins. Opening ziplock type bags. Tearing toilet paper. These have all been challenges with my left arm in a splint and sling. Went back and read the ER report from that night. I’d overlooked the damages noted to my elbow, wrist, and fingers. I thought it was just the broken radius and broken and displaced ulna, but there was more. That more explains the struggles. All getting better, though. Give it time, right? It’ll be a month tomorrow.
  2. One-handed typing slows my novel writing. I depend on muscle memory and typing proficiency to expedite learning the tale and telling the story. Using one hand requires more thought, which disrupts the writing flow. Progress is tedious. I shoot for a thousand words a day (yeah word count as a metric, carrot, and stick) but I’m usually lucky to achieve five hundred.
  3. Other things: one, food prices. They’re rising fast now. Experts are making dire predictions about shortages, food insecurity, and distribution chain issues next year. Like, brace yourself.
  4. Example of food prices rising. Went on a groc shop today. Twelve items. One bag, mostly fresh produce: $42. Passed on a pint of mission figs for $12.99, and a half pint of blackberries for $4.99.
  5. The stock market isn’t moored in reality. It certainly isn’t ‘the economy’. One, most stocks are international businesses, reflecting global activity. Two, the wealthiest individuals own most of the stock. As an example, I own stocks, and also have some in IRAs and a 401k. Because of that, I’m worth a chunk more on paper.
  6. Running short of entertainment offerings. Basically have been rationing season two of “The Umbrella Academy” while working through “The Last Dance” and other documentaries and filling up on Brit faves “Would I Lie to You” and “QI” (with that rand Scandi Sandi and Alan Davis), and “The Kominsky Method“. Have just discovered the “Russo Bros. Pizza Film School“, which I’ll start watching tonight. Last week brought an unexpected “Red Dwarf” treat in a new episode.
  7. “Red Dwarf” remains unabashedly silly and illogical after all these years. Love it.
  8. Excitement on the streaming front. “Hitmen” with Sue and Mel on Peacock is coming. (If you asked, “Sue and Mel?”, it’s probably not your cuppa.) New Frost and Pegg series on Amazon Prime, “Truth Seekers”, is coming…someday. The second year of “The Boys” is finally arriving Sept. 4, so I’ll start watching season one again.
  9. Saying the long good-bye to a friend. Brain tumor. He’s trying to hang on to vote for Biden and have one final Thanksgiving with his family. Eighty-eight and an accomplished physicist, he’ll be the one to tell you he’s had a good life, but he had a lot more to do. He’s the third friend lost to brain cancer/tumor in the last few years.

Tell me about your world – books, streaming, writing in progress. What’re you watching? Eat anything interesting lately? “Red Dwarf”: for or against?

Got my coffee. Time to do me best to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Thursday’s Theme Music

I dreamed a black man in black clothes came by and fixed my arm. He was upbeat about it all.

Thinking that over, I opened my eyes and checked the time: 6:01. Not needing to get up and wanting more sleep, I told myself, I’ll just close my eyes for a moment.

My mind answered, “I close my eyes, only for a moment, then the moment’s gone.” Then the rest of the classic rock tune, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas (1978), swelled in my head.

It’s a good choice as theme music goes. We’re battling over rights, equality, facts and science, trying to preserve our lives, planets, and society while coping with COVID, all to a cacophony of bullshit from the WH. Sometimes I feel like we’re warring nests of ants. Then, looking at the stars, I remember that we’re stardust, born on a cosmic wind.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Cleaned up, shaved, cats fed, I sought the next things: what’d I need now? Coffee, water, a trip to the beach, my arm mended, the rona virus ended, a cold bevvie with my friends, a publishing contract…

“Dial it back, laddie,” I decreed. “Talkin’ ’bout here and now.” My mind reiterated my needs, building on them…

Such contemplation about what I need often collapses into what I want. Got air. I needed food and water. We can expand it into the hierarchy of needs., of course, but I’m addressing basics.

Yeah, it was too much for too early. Retreating from myself, I made coffee and breakfast, and invited the Stones in to perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want“.

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