Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Computer Disasters, Vinyl Love & New Year's Eve

Let's be honest, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I have what I think of as a small computer virus issue one day, and then the next I can't log into my computer at all. I just get this black screen and can't even see my desktop.

So, I figure, let's just get a new hard drive. I've swapped those out before, so it shouldn't be too hard. So, I upgrade to a bigger hard drive, and come home to find out that the bigger drive uses a bigger cable to connect to my motherboard, but my motherboard doesn't have any more room to accommodate the expansion. So, now I have to go back to the store to get a smaller hard drive. I'm sure that I'll bring it home, hook it up and it still won't work, but whatever. At that point I'll have all the ammunition I need to talk Jen into a small ultra-cheap laptop. We don't need anything fancy...just something I can write on, surf the web, and run iTunes through. All of my music is on an external drive, so I don't even need much memory. One of these days I'll break down and get the iBook I really want, but not during these bleak economic times.

Tonight we make our annual New Year's Eve pilgrimage to my brother's house. We'll load up the car with my over sized bottle of Jack Daniels, Jen's amaretto, our meat and cheese tray, our two other appetizers and spend the night hanging out with family. It's always a pretty decent time, if not rather sedate. Nothing gets out of hand, and everyone is friendly (they are family after all).

I don't want to beat this to death, but I have to mention my new turntable again. I love music. Love it. It's very important to me, and I can be a little obnoxious about it. In recent years though I've gotten pretty distracted by lots of other things. Life happens and rolls along whether you are paying attention or not, and during all of this music became something that was there in the background. Not that my interest in it diminished, it just changed. It was on while I surfed the web, or played games, or did dishes, or drove to work.

Now though, having the turntable slowed that down. I set up a system in my den (a spare bedroom that I've taken over with all my silly crap...I should post pictures one day). I have a padded rocking chair that I drag back and forth across the room from my Super Nintendo (Zelda still rules) and my new "listening station".

Already I'm obsessive with vinyl collecting. A friend and I once discussed just collecting our top 25 albums and then stopping, but even then I knew that wouldn't happen. Jen bought be a great little cabinet for storage and to set my turntable on, and now I want to fill it immediately. Don't worry, it's expandable...she knows me well.

The night before last we hit up Magnolia Thunderpussy and I picked up a four disc re-release of Sonic Youth's Goo and a Fugazi single for "Furniture". When we got home I couldn't wait to settle in and listen. I wound up getting distracted by The Velvet Underground and Nico (something I had picked up the week before and had not listened to yet) so I put that on first. Then, I listened to the old Fugazi single. There's something so warm and immediate about the sound of vinyl, and I love that, but not being an audiophile it's just a bonus. The really great thing was sitting down in a darkened room and just listening.

It reminded me of sitting around on cigarette burned carpet in Houston, listening to Big Star. It reminded me playing bass along with Pearl Jam in my dorm room. It reminded me of waiting for over an hour in a grocery store parking lot waiting to hear Radiohead's "Creep" be played by an Indianapolis station and being blown away, even through the occasional static. It reminded me of listening to Nirvana play their version of The Meat Puppet's "Oh Me" over and over again, just to hear the guitar outtro.

So that's my suggestion for both of you still reading this damned thing. Grab your iPod, or turn up your surround sound and turn everything else off. Close your eyes and remember what made you fall in love in the first place.

Happy New Year, ya'll.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Don't Call It a Comeback!

Hi There,

How have you been? Everyone good at home? Did you have a good Christmas?

There have been giant forces at work keeping me from blogging as I had once done. First, my new job has prevented me from using any of my lunch hour for creative endeavors. Then, my PC at home got blowed up with a nasty virus of some sort. I'm getting to the point of considering buying a new hard drive and starting from scratch. This prospect does not thrill me at all, but what's a boy to do?

At any rate, things are good for me and mine. Christmas rolled by without a hitch, but this weekend is when my immediate family will get together. They're generally low stress affairs with all of us pitching in for dinner and watching my two nephews open their presents. There's the usual oddities that are always in play when it comes to dealing with your family, but they're no bigger than most anyone else's so I hesitate even mentioning it. It will be a good day, but I'll be ready for it to be over before it is. The madness of my grandparent's house always makes me miss my own quieter home.

Jen and I picked up tickets to see Ben Folds coming this April and I'm hoping to go see The Whigs sometime in March (they're great...saw them earlier this year and they are big and loud). Otherwise, there aren't that many interesting shows coming to the area which is terrible because I am so in need of some inspiration. On the plus side, the new Heiruspecs disc came out and I'm sending my cash off to Felix for that this weekend. He's going to help me out with an older vinyl disc too (my turntable is up and running and as beautiful as I had once dreamed) and hopefully some stickers to slap around the den. That I'm looking forward to. Yay Christmas money.
So, that's all there's time for right now. I really am going to make an effort to check in more often, if only in small bits. Please rest assured, if it's been awhile since I've talked to you, I miss you. If we've spoken recently, I probably still miss you...The holidays make me needy.

Hugs and Kisses,


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving and Everything After

Normally, me and the wife would pack up our meager potluck offering and head to my brother's place for Thanksgiving. This year though, Jen's mom flew into town, and as a result we wound up deciding to kick it at our house this year for the big feast. Now, I've never cooked Thanksgiving dinner in my life, but I figured I could muddle through. I did. Homeboy cooked it up and surprisingly everything came out pretty well. It might even stick as a new tradition. We'll see.

Friday, we just stayed close to home, drinking wine and watching movies. In the past, I've always referred to Black Friday as Godfather Day since we'd stay home and watch Godfather I & II (never...ever III). But, in mixed company we settled on me hitting Blockbuster for some flicks and then surfed the couch. I started getting antsy by the end of the day, feeling like I wasn't getting anything done, but it was good to just hang out with Jen's mom and kind of reconnect a bit with her.

Saturday was straight up drunkeration. We headed out to a couple of wineries and wound up bringing a case home with us to replenish a supply that had taken a surprising hit over the previous two days. With our supplies tucked away in the racks, we ended our night with yet more leftovers and opened a few bottles.

Our last day together was spent shopping. Jen's mother very generously gave us a bit of a Christmas present early. Jen wanted curtains, so we got to go shop for those. I've never shopped for curtains before, but it was exactly as much fun as I thought it might be. My mood lighted though once I was told that there would be enough cash left over for a record player. I've picked out a very basic model that I'm going to set up in the den with a new component system. Very old school. Can't wait.

And that's that. Mom-In-Law flew back Monday morning, and I'm back at work fighting a cold and just fighting to get through to another weekend. We're quickly using up 2008, and I gotta be honest, I'm not going to miss much of it. There were high points for sure, but I think mostly it was the kind of year you have to have to make you more grateful for all the goods ones.

Hope you all had a good long Thanksgiving weekend. I'll be around...