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October 2010

Limewire, Wild Cherry, Mint Car, Daiquiri

As a piece of writing, this is kind of a mess. But I think you'll enjoy it, anyway. 

Limewire, which I hadn't thought of in years, is dead. Ten years ago, we tried out Napster, but when Limewire came out a little bit later just as the original Napster was taking a dirt nap, I jumped on board and had a good ride for a little while. 

 Before Lars Ulrich took control of how we discovered new music for awhile, I made some remarkable discoveries through Limewire. One day, I wanted to hear more Bobby Darin music, but there were only limited choices on CD, and I knew there must be something I was missing. Of course, this was before YouTube, certainly before YouTube became what it is today. 

I typed Bobby Darin into the search window and saw quite a few names of songs I'd never heard by anyone before. It was very exciting. 

When was this, 8 or 9 years ago? We were living in the crazy old house in Rumson, I was using the 2000 Bondi Blue iMac, and for some mysterious reason, I was alone at the time, the first time, I heard this song. 

darin 

I can't express how it made me feel. It's physical. I've played this song hundreds of times since then, and I still catch my breath when it begins. 

My research showed that, at that time, it was available only on out-of-print collections. Same with the next song I fell in love with, which I described as causing me to need to change my clothes. 

standards

I searched for other recordings of these songs, and discovered/rediscovered other old recording artists. I learned which orchestra leaders tended toward which style of composition, and how to tell the differences between them. Because of those songs, I embraced a much larger segment of music than before, and began expanding my interests, which, really, were already fairly expansive for someone my age at that time. 

So many of us did. File-sharing clients changed the way we discovered new and old music, but more importantly, they allowed us to discover So Much More than ever before. 

I never lived near a cool college radio station. I didn't have cable TV when MTV was launched. I didn't gain access to the music I was searching for in my youth until someone introduced me to all the best stuff 1989 had to offer, stuff I'd never known how to find before. The Top 40 was all I was previously allowed to have, as a corporate citizen. And then through the early part of the 90s, we got our cool new music from MTV's 120 Minutes hosted by Dave Kendall. But it got more difficult again for a few years until the web had grown enough for everybody to start sharing with each other. 

Until, that is, Lars Ulrich and the record companies tried to put a stop to the collective groove. 

Twice in the 80s, my record collection was stolen. Limewire allowed me to find recordings of old favorites that I'd never been able to replace because they were old, out of print, or rare. 

24groovygreats

Why pay 45 dollars to some random used book store owner for a used recording of something that had once cost me 3.98? And part of me felt that I should not have to pay for them again, because I already had, before someone else took them from me.

Which brings me to Wild Cherry, and "Mint Car."

Remember Wild Cherry? 

wildcherry

Yeah, the rest of the album that song is on is just truly awful. But I paid 4 whole dollars for it in 1975 so I could have that song. There was no way for me to know then how the rest of it would sound. So often, a musical group would come up with a good song or two, but the record producer would need them released on an LP, so they put in a lot of schlock filler along with it. You could only be certain an album would be any good if you knew a whole lot about the band first, and even then, it was sometimes a miss. That's why I usually bought 78 cent singles. Other people made fun of me for not buying a lot of LPs, but I couldn't afford all that filler. 

Hard to believe, but this was still true in the 90s, for awhile. I mean, take The Cure. What Cure fan won't just buy whatever they call an album? Disintegration? Brilliant. Mixed Up? Yeah, okay, remixes, but really cool ones. That guy can play guitar, man. Wish was different, but darkly fun.  But then came Wild Mood Swings. The single "Mint Car" was a hit, but the album tanked. 

The_Cure_-_Wild_Mood_Swings

I think it's because it wasn't "Curish" enough. If you listen to it now, nearly 15 years later, it's really not bad. But it's kind of uneven and not all that inspiring. And even in 1996, which is the year we got the internet at our house, getting to hear that album ahead of time would not be an easy thing to do. 

Okay. For years, I didn't understand why all these ladies swooned over Michael Bublé. I didn't want anybody else, someone much younger than me, singing Frank, Dean, and Bobby's hits. And his contemporary pop music, which was all I really knew of him, seemed like romance novel pablum. But at some point, very into comparing everyone's version of "Fly Me To The Moon" or some such old song, I took a fresh listen to Bublé. I think he'd grown up a bit more by this time. And he actually made me sigh. I could tell, you know, he gets it. 

Do you think I would have gone out and bought a Michael Bublé recording in this age of ours if I hadn't gotten a very good listen first? No way. But I did, and then I did. 

Change is always in a state of acceleration. People who want to make money off everybody else always try to grab onto the latest new thing, define it, control it, repackage it to sell. Well, sure, that's enterprising. But we're moving too fast for most of them these days, and spreading out too far and wide. They hate that we don't really need them to get what we want, but basically, if they will just offer a good product honestly and not seriously piss me off by telling me that is the one way I should own something, I'll still often buy what they're selling. That's how a competitive marketplace works best. It's why I'm willing to pay a monthly fee for satellite radio. Choices spur the economy, not limitations. They don't get to sell me only pre-packaged advertising-sponsored schlock through my car radio anymore, because I get to choose another musical path, in fact, I get to choose several paths, in the car, on the computer, and on TV. And no more paying 15 dollars for a CD to which I've hardly been introduced.  

So anyway. The world wide web is a complex and amazing thing. Thanks, Limewire (with a nod to Napster,) for Bobby Darin, and Kay Kendall, and Billy May, for, finally, letting me again hear 24 Groovy Greats, and most importantly, for your part in helping the rest of us get to know each other through the music we love to share. You were stoppable, but really, we are not, anymore, and you had a hand in that.  

Picture 1

 


As an aside...to nothing at all...

Nearly finished with disc 3/6 of Ellery Queen. I love Jim Hutton so much I started reading up on liver cancer. The risk of it in North America is so low, it seems likely he either had hepatitis B or was a real drinker. I'm not judging. My mom died of breast cancer, and had practically no risks you could list. Except being female.

Anyway. Last night I had a zillion dreams. In one of them, I was going around doing something or other with a person who, on waking, I recognized as Robert Downey, Jr. In the dream, I kept putting my hands on his chest. It was lovely. He kept letting me, but that's as far as that went. There were other concerns. Like, whatever, right? But that's how dreams go.


Leisurely Saturday Morning Blather (I mean really, blather.)

I thought it would be super to share my morning with you. But it is one of the most remarkably boring mornings you could read about. So, bonus song and nifty New York Times slideshow link included. The next post promises it will be more generally entertaining.

  • 8:30 woke up from 14th stressful dream of the night
  • 9:00 browsed computer, looked at NYT subway photos
  • 9:30 turned on Big Band/Swing music channel on TV, started organizing computer files, 41.25 GB available
  • 10:00 changed to Rat Pack channel for more vocals
  • 10:05 started running Onyx, went down to grind & brew coffee, gave boys morning chores, restarted computer, 45.62 GB available

(I could have dumped more stuff, but that wasn't really the goal. I just like things to be tidy, and also to have over 50% free space on hard drive. (that is my computer only I have 1 gb of ram instead of 512 mb. whee!))

  • 10:25 now considering problem of NaNo book outline

(I'm not sure about this coffee. I don't buy fancy coffee. I was at Target this time, where I like Archer Farms Certified Organic Fair Trade Nicaraguan. And they were out of it! So I got one called Espresso Blend, because it was also medium-dark roast. And it's whole beans, so I got to enjoy grinding it myself. But it tastes kind of cooked and Seattley. Not so sure how I like that. And I don't know all that much about coffee, but have learned I do have preferences, just don't know how to define them. It's not something I'm ever going to be willing to invest time and much more expense in, though, especially since I never drink more than one cup in a day. 

When I'm buying coffee from Acme I get this one, and this one is my Wegmans choice.

I haven't decided which one I like best; possibly the Wegmans one. The Acme one seems best with cream and sugar; the other two are better with sweetened condensed milk.) 

  • 10:55 now considering problem of NaNo book outline

(I don't know who Curtis Stigers is (well, here,) but although his singing is nice, I much prefer Chet Baker's treatment of "Let's Get Lost." This is bouncy and scatty, instead of smoothly paced and resonant. 

velvetlounge

What on earth makes people turn into junkies? So many of these jazz guys did the most awful drugs. I hear Baker was a really nice guy, but he could be 80 years old now, instead of dead too long ago. 

By the way—nearly impossible to find, but you could get a track list of the easily available songs—The Velvet Lounge Vol. 3 is a lovely vocal compilation. The other two volumes are good, as well.) 

  • 11:10 now considering problem of NaNo book outline
  • 11:50 realizing phone bill has gone down by about 40 dollars, I added a 5 dollar package to our TV lineup, so we now have Encore channels, The Movie Channel, Sundance, and the 3 SonicTap channels I was annoyed we didn't have. As a "thank you," I was given 3 free months of Showtime. But I will keep that after 3 months only if one of the girls wants to pay for it. 
  • 12:05 Have switched to Italian Bistro Blend channel, because now I can.
  • 12:15 I'm really uncertain what to do regarding the NaNo book outline. I think these people are funny, but not all that likeable. But I don't really have any new story ideas, either.

Ten days to NaNoWriMo, getting the workspace right, oh, mememe

Stuff goes wrong every year, but this may be the year it all falls together well.  

I have: 

  • new software that actually works okay with my old Powerbook, because it's designed to!
  • A new actual Apple power cord that works well
  • A pdf of the book I'm parodying so I can use the structure of it for an outline and character sketches, and it can't be physically lost
  • and Thanksgiving is a little early this year, so no last minute post-holiday rush

But I do also have a problem with my space bar that is driving me bonkers, and means I'm constantly self-correcting as I type. And, of course, my system can't handle too much internet at once these days; it's been rendered arcane. 

NaNoWriMo has become a sort of annual ritual for many people. Here's where the ritual takes place for me. 

DSCN9280

Items of note include the Hendrick's Gin bottle caddy, which I use for scissors, pens, brushes, etc., my green and silver Swingline stapler, Greer flask, New Kirk and Old Spock BK toys, the Mach 5, the iPod, of course, 1964 issues of REDBOOK, and a mug that says PERFECT COFFEE, but which contains Stash Licorice Spice tea. It's good for my cold weather throat and asthma. It has no actual tea in it, so no caffeine. I can only handle a little caffeine ever; more than one cup of something makes me feel ill. Just as with alcohol, I'm physically unable to be immoderate.

I might open the deck of cards if things seem to be going well. Solitaire is one of my favorite cold weather activities. In cold weather, I am a hermit. Part of this is because there's little to do in winter where I live. And part of it is because I'm generally sort of ill in cold weather, with a touch of asthma and a touch of arthritis. 

But, just as with every other hibernation season, I intend to make this the best ever! 

 


"He just wants to follow an individual subplot."
"That's because he's a geek."
"But I do that, too."
"Oh, because you're *not* a geek."
"Me, what am I a geek about?"
"What are you not a geek about? You geek out every day. The time you don't geek out is if you have a migraine and can't move. Even then, you'd manage to come up with some random fact about Duggars or hoarders or how commercial ice is made."

Ketchup time

I've been feeling very insular the past few days. That happens. So here's a little of what's been going on in my world. I made an apple-cream cheese pie on Sunday. That turned out pretty well, but I didn't take pictures of it because it needed to be baked in the roaster oven, which was an uncertain proposition. I'll make another one soon. Today, the PSE&G Worry-Free repairman came and fixed the regular oven, so I'll celebrate with a supper of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas! If you live in an area that has one, I'm telling you, we have gotten our money's worth from our worry-free contract, though I was worried about that at first. 

Livvy and I concluded our viewing of Slings & Arrows. I sure wish there'd been one more middle season, though with perhaps just a bit less Richard in it. Now we're going to get back to finishing Due South.

I had an eye exam yesterday. I need progressive lenses now, which, after insurance discount, and using my old frames, are still over 300 dollars. So I don't know how that's going to happen. It's kind of a drag to not see very well, except in various distant sections, and the headaches are tiresome, but I guess it's just something to keep living with, for now. 

I registered for this year's NaNoWriMo. My book is going to be called Cold Comfort Farmville. A pastiche of Cold Comfort Farm, and satire of online worlds. I don't know if that's what I'll pull off, though.

Also, I thought I should slightly reduce the number of books here. I registered a set of early readers on eBay, may do a few more, plus a few at Amazon Marketplace, made a giveaway bag and a Half Price Books bag, but then the coolest thing of all is that I signed up for bookcrossing.com, printed some labels, and plan to start leaving a few books in various locations around the area. It's so fun. You should do it, too. :-)

There are still peppers growing in the garden, but they can't last much longer. I figure this weekend will see the end of them, and then the season is over until April. It's a strange, melancholy thing, but that's how the whole cyclical pattern works, I guess. 


experimenting with album art placement

I borrowed some bits of code from this cool blog here.

Screen shot 2010-10-01 at 7.10.44 PM

Take The 'A' Train

Basically, I switched to HTML, uploaded the music file, then and added this code above and below its code. It can be altered as you like to move things, resize them, remove the border or change its color. Where you see the <a style section, I clicked the toolbar icon to upload a picture, and the blue part is what the code looks like when you do that (only it won't be blue.) Or you could just upload stuff first, paste in all this code, then stick the urls in the right places. 

<table style="float: center; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; width: 320px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding: 2px; border: 1px solid #c4ce82;">

<tbody>

<tr>

<td valign="top"><a style="display: inline;" href="IMAGE URL"><img src="IMAGE URL" alt="TITLE" /></a> <br />

INLINE PLAYER CODE GOES HERE

</td>

</tr>

</tbody>

</table>

 


Long, slow, self-indulgent cocktail: Jack Lemmon, Herb Alpert & a drop of Steve Martin

It's a day off for the kids because schoolkids are out whooping it up for Columbus Day. One of those beautiful October days that sneak in and trick you into thinking impending winter might not be so bad after all. All the boys have congregated for it elsewhere, and it's very quiet here.

So, after a weekend spent largely in bed with what would manifest itself as a simple cold in other people, but in me takes the form of a vague, sinking malaise, along with experiencing up-close the mysterious ebb and flow of life's energy in the form of a tiny cat, I decided to indulge myself. 

I'm cleaning the bedroom. It takes me all day, because I use it for catharsis. Dusting, rearranging, vacuuming, etc., just a little bit at a time, and in between bits, putting together the following:

Today's Love is still Jack Lemmon. I watched Cowboy (1958) this weekend, and How To Murder Your Wife (1965,) and lots of bits and pieces of other things on YouTube. Here's one of them. 

 

[I noted that in the Netflix reviews for Under The Yum-Yum Tree (1963,) which is a silly movie I meant to watch but they screwed up the Instant streaming for—and I think it was in a review for that movie, but could have been another—someone stated it wasn't credible for Lemmon to play a character who was such a swinger, with so many women interested in him. I guffaw. Surely this statement was made by a man, because so many men just have no clue what attracts women in reality.]

Then I scanned the May 1964 Jack Lemmon Playboy interview for your perusal, while listening to Herb Alpert, because that seemed right for the magazine. 

Lemmon1
Lemmon2
Lemmon3

 

I have 7 or 8 Herb Alpert albums on vinyl, but the songs in this post are from the Definitive Hits digital recording. 

whipped cream

A Taste Of Honey

 

Lemmon4
Lemmon5
Lemmon6
Lemmon7

When I was a young girl and teenager, Crown Center in Kansas City held these international festivals several weekends each summer. My favorite was always the Greek Festival. It was fairly authentic, as there was a travelling group from actual Greece, who would go around and put these things on. One year, when I was 13 or 14, I met a boy there, who played bouzouki in his parents' band. He was just dreamy. We stared at each other a lot, then took a walk around the festivities, him speaking in broken English, me probably giggling too much. He squeezed my hand when we said goodbye. I don't remember his name; his last name ended in -olopoulos, but then, so many do, don't they? 

Going Places

Zorba The Greek

 

An actual living crush of mine made a gorgeously asinine tribute to Jack Lemmon:

 

Lemmon8
Lemmon9
Lemmon10
 

And, well, the fact is, when I was an even littler girl, I also had a deep giggly fondness for Herb Alpert himself. I would get really moony every time I heard this song. 

beat of the brass

This Guy's In Love With You

I still do. But then, I'm like that most days these days, anyway.

 

 


Mama, split in two

The little girl-cat—Kat named her Maeby—began exhibiting neurological tics which grew worse this afternoon and shortly after 5 she stiffened up and would hardly move. We took her to the emergency vet center in Neshaminy after pooling all our dollars together to see what we could cover. Kat signed all the paperwork when we got there, feeling like she needed to take the adult responsibility. I was proud of her. 

We thought it might all be from the tiny tick we removed from her earlier. But the vet said probably not. He'd never seen such extreme symptom presentation in a cat so small, and blah, blah, blah, because of the risk of infectious disease and our utter lack of knowledge of her history, a cat who can't move is a cat with not much chance of a good life. And so we said our goodbyes to Maeby and watched as he put her to sleep and to rest. 

I paid the bill, which was reduced because they knew we were caring for a stray. Now I have only milk money until Friday, but when I think that the alternative to picking her up last night and tag-team mommying her for 24 hours was for her to be run over by a car or dying little and alone in the woods behind the water tower, I'm gonna say that's just okay. 

I think I've finally learned I must accept small creatures coming into my life periodically, needing attention or care, and then going away again; that I have to be open to the fact that it keeps happening and probably always will. We can humorously point to the arrangement of the stars: of Jupiter in Gemini in the 5th House, or we can allow that preacher to carelessly wave a hand in my direction and say I have "the gift of helps," which, if you know anything about contemporary christianity, is really a way of saying "She does those little things everyone else is too busy or too important to do." 

Or we can just let it ride, physics being what it is; energy, magnetism, all of nature in its glory, and just see what happens next. 

Goodbye, little Maeby. You were a sweet little soul, and I'm glad our paths crossed for a little while. 

FOR THE LOVE OF WHATEVER YOU HOLD SACRED, PEOPLE!!!! SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!!

Cause this kinda hurts, you know?

 


Young things find their way to me

The girls found a 4-5 weekish-old girl-cat in the road down by the Lawrence Senior Center last night. It has extra toes on 3 paws but is very pretty. It is not feral. We're deciding where to take it. It wants to be held all the time, which is nice because I like holding little warm babies. But we can't keep it, of course. And there aren't any houses close enough to there for us to tell where it came from; it walks sort of oddly because of the one normal foot, so how far could it have gotten? I think it was abandoned, personally. If someone reading this knows the best place for it or would like the care of it, let me know. It already knows how to use the little box, and seems bright while awake.

Photo