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June 2011

Moving with my books, would enjoy suggestions

I have one "good" bookcase. The rest were cheap to begin with, and would fall apart if moved, after having suffered for years under the weight of around 1000 books. That is to say, I have about 1000 books. Each case holds about 100, I imagine. I haven't actually done any counting, of books, or of how many fit where. 

I've already mostly weeded through them, too. Anyway. The nice bookcase stays, and will move from my bedroom to the new living room. The cookbook bookcase stays, gets repainted for the 9th time or so since my mom got it for me at a garage sale around 1974. Maybe it'll go in the "breakfast nook," which is just to be our dining room because the dining room will be a computer/study room, instead. Hm. I guess that's a better location for the good bookcase, as it can hold school books, references, and things.

The rest of the bookcases are being knocked apart for disposal—you couldn't make anything good out of most of them, though my middle son will want to save the shelves for some project or other. 

So their contents get to all fit in here:  _DSC7690

It's 9x13, accessible from the master bedroom, and with those hideous colors, one can only hope it was used for a nursery. 

But it has one set of built-in bookshelves where there was once a closet. I've always wanted built-ins, and one set is better than none, I guess!

Bookshelves
 Clearly I need more space than that. So I'm thinking of this here:

Billy
It's 9 feet long, and would be somewhat sturdier than what I have now, being a) newer, and b) anchored to the wall, all in one piece. I have this from IKEA for my vinyl records, and it is very solid. I'd use only half the narrow shelves so books could be added to them.  And I have a teenager who likes to build things, so I wouldn't even have to do that part. White isn't really my thing, but maybe new wall colors could make it all work together nicely. It can be bought in other colors but they cost more, and I have three boy's bedrooms to furnish, as currently they're all sharing the same one. 

But there may not be 9 full feet along either of those long walls, because the original owners were seriously door-happy, and then I'll have to spend more to get the same amount of storage space in more than one unit. Does that bring me to my question? Oh, yes. Do you think I'll be able to store most of the books this way, or do you have another inexpensive, simple, and above all tasteful idea? I'm going to put my easel in there, as well.


a (nearly) full accounting of my blogs, in 616 words

(editing made it 637. you'll survive.) You may know that I have 7 blogs which are updated regularly or not at all regularly. Well, actually, there are 10, but the other 3 don't quite count; I have them in order to easily follow people at Blogger and Xanga. I don't use the WordPress one at all because I think it's made of spit, as my son would say, but am striving to continue following a couple of people who use that service. And of course, I do have the flickr, but...more on that in a minute. 

Multicoloredtile
a backsplash tile I'm thinking of using in the new kitchen, which will be painted green apple...

I say this to say that you may or may not be aware there are several places in the internet where you can be your own aggregate, and if people follow you there, they can keep up with all you do, or at least, all you choose to share. I have a simple one here, but if you know how to make web things go more fantastically, there are some cool and highly personalizable options elsewhere. I simply cannot take the time for that. Maybe next winter I'll try my hand at it.

I haven't used Flickr in a little while because I haven't taken real photos in awhile. I'm kind of waiting until I finally get real real glasses. I have super good reading ones from Costco, but they don't cut it, photography-wise. This is also why I've not been updating the cooking blog. 

And the reason I haven't been updating the garnish blog is that my scanner doesn't wish to communicate with the computer I'm currently using. By the way, it's an HP Photosmart C5280. And this is an iMac running 10.6.7. I keep getting "unknown error" when attempting to make them talk to each other. So if anyone can help, that'd be super. I tell HP to look for software updates, but it spins and never quite "makes go," as my son would also say.

2011-06-10 15.39.08I think this would make a good bedroom chair. It's more comfortable than it looks. 

I update the ad history one as much as I can, but was relying mainly on the scanner for that, as well, and currently am having to use borrowed material, which isn't as cool at all. 

I'm telling you all this not because I want you to keep up with 7 blogs, but because I'd like you to know how easy it is to keep up with me. Either tune in regularly to the netvibes thing, or just follow me on Twitter, to which I send all my updates. Several of my friends online do things the same way these days. It's just like visiting several shops in one square, or something. No need to keep moving the car. 

And so that leaves, besides this main blog here, 3 more sites to review. First is the other side of this one, in which I post groups of related photos, as I did today. Currently they're all blindly taken with a camera phone, but when I get the real real glasses in a few weeks, I'll be sharing what I learn about Cincinnati, I guess! And there are two other Tumblr pages. A tiny project very few will be interested in, involving Neo-classical and Romantic era paintings and things of similar style, and book quotations,

and my favorite one of all; disordinata. It's my beautiful mess of old Hollywood actors, Frank and Dean and other lovely treasures; updated frequently, completely self-serving, but if you like what I like, well, you'll love it, too.  Mostly photos, a bit of music, a bit of text, occasionally video. It's an expansion on my Today's Love thing that I started here last year, but which fits better into that space.

Whitepants
 as an example.


Memories Are Made of This

When I hear music like this I'm transported back in time to a quiet afternoon spent in my grandpa's tavern: sipping fruity "pop" from 10 ounce glass bottles, trailing my fingers through the sand on the big long shuffleboard table, watching the moving waterfall on the big Hamm's clock on the wall behind the bar. This song was actually released the year I was born, but of course, it all ran together for me back then, just as it does now. 

hitsagain

Dean Martin, born June 7, 1917. 

That world is so distant now; another time and place, sure, but it feels practically like another dimension I can no longer get to. At least we still have the music, though. 

 (and it's a Dean Martin extravaganza at my right-brain Tumblr page today.)


Burt, Billy, and Me, middle-aged sex and the tao

This is rather long and probably a bit chaotic. I keep being interrupted, and my mind is on so many things. So my brain got fuzzy when I tried to edit. Oh, well. You'll read it as a gift to me, and be rewarded with music at the end.

Completing my 46th trip around the sun today. If you're near my age there is one thing we have in common. No matter how cool your family was 40 or so years ago—and mine was, Dad listening to Ray Charles & old jazz, Mom into Motown, brothers playing Beatles records and more—there was still one constant in all our lives at that time. Burt Bacharach. 

Okay, and Laugh-In, unless your parents were the kind who thought that sort of thing was wicked. And talk of the moon landing, Vietnam, Liz and Richard, sure. 

But really, Burt Bacharach. I napped to him, is what I remember. I enjoyed his particular style very much, especially when rendered by the smooth jewel-toned Dionne Warwick, or the Fifth Dimension or one of those other vocal groups that made with the groovily blended harmonies back then. I never gave any thought to any of this, though. It was just background music for the times. Later on, if you asked me what I thought of it, I'd have remembered it all as distinctively bland, unexciting, good for listening to while dozing on a summer afternoon. Taken and smoothed out even further, it became what we then referred to as "elevator music."

Oh, and Billy May! I always liked his sound, but if I could conjur the typical listener of a Billy May record back in those days, it would have to be someone I'd make fun of, just a little. The kind of guy eventually known as Leisure Suit Larry. Or someone's uncle and aunt, the childless ones in a really sharp-looking apartment which came straight out of a catalog, but none of the chairs were comfortable. 

To me, back then, cool was only what young people were into, except not the ones who went around in ragged jeans that covered their dirty bare feet. Because that was just never cool, no matter how much your cannabis-addled brain thought so. Anyway.

Of course I was, as we all are early on, a young idiot. I had natural good taste, but didn't understand or appreciate it. And by the time I started to figure it out, there was no one else to share it with, not for a long time. 

The world's a bit more open-minded now, but when I was growing up, the Cult of Youth controlled everything. The baby boomers were in charge, and they were never going to grow up. At least, not grow up and turn into their parents. I didn't know it at the time, but their parents were laughing at them. To continue with music. How could you find anything sexy in "Paint it Black," when you were making out to "Tuxedo Junction" 20-25 years earlier? How could punk music 15 years later sound like anything but noise next to your cool jazz and bossa nova records? But that was the past, and to a young person in the 70s, that past looked sterile and uptight, though it was actually anything but. People like me who were interested in both present and previous eras were oddities back then. The Happy Days nostalgia for certain aspects of the 1950s was a fairly new type of phenomenon, and once that was over, the past was just old again.

All my favorite singers now were considered has-beens or jokes when I was young. They were not respected. They couldn't keep up with the rapidly changing times, and the ones who tried just looked awkward and out-of-place. Nothing was respected when I was very young except whatever someone had just thought of the day before. Many young people know better now, as they're exposed to so much more, but it's still a basic aspect of youth. And when they discover something that's been around awhile, they discover it as though they're the first ones to see how great it is. Young people discovered Tony Bennett and swing music and rockabilly…in the 90s, and acted as though they were gifting these phenomena to the world. As though, because they made the discovery, these things were worth appreciating as they never had been before. They eat them up and spit them out, though, and the turnover is remarkably fast. I am just barely, but barely, old enough to remember when a cultural era outlasted a shopping season. 

When you're young and filled with furious sexual energy, you think your time, the best time, the only time, is now. But all you're really doing is releasing excess energy, and you don't find out until later how good it can feel to burn and seethe and hang onto the energy, stretching it out to an aching point like the tempo of a great song. You think that when you're older, you won't feel sexy, no one else will look sexy, and you won't even care, but of course none of that is true at all. You know who already knew that when I was a kid? Billy May. 

He took this Burt Bacharach song that just everybody was recording when I was a little kid, and he made sex out of it. Don't laugh. It's easy to just write it off as cheesy ephemera of the Disposable Era. Listen to it with your eyes closed, instead, and think about what your parents knew that you thought they didn't know. Er, maybe don't picture them knowing it, though. 

The Look Of Love

I remember now and then while growing up, hearing some older person joke, "young people think they invented sex." Already my young adult children think there are things I might not get, or would find shocking. This is, of course, partly because as parents we shield these things from them so carefully when they're little. So when they discover it, they first assume we must not have known about it at all, since we never mentioned it. But of course there is nothing new under the sun. (And rule 34 was around well before the internet. Young people just gave it a new name.) 

But this is about music, and the point is, it was often and usually about sex, even though we didn't always get that when we were kids. It's just icky when you're little, a nearly violently biological imperative in young adulthood, and then, well, something quite different in middle age, quite spectacular if you let it be so. 

It's kinda like booze. Young people tend to like fruity or fizzy beverages. Even though I had a fairly well-developed palate when I was younger, the first time I tasted a martini, I was sort of depressed by it. How could that be the magical drink people sang about and glorified? I went for gimlets, instead; crisp and dry, but with a familiar fruity essence. However, the combination of gin and dry vermouth is a taste best acquired with seasoning, and once you've acquired that taste, so much of the rest seems cheap and cloying. All the best stuff is like that. Think of the various spiritual disciplines that aren't even available to students until after they hit forty. Your mind starts to stretch for real only when it starts to slow down a little bit. 

So when you look back at who you were 10, 15, 20 years ago, during the wine cooler days, Nirvana and NIN, and Alice in Chains, hopefully there's only a little melancholy, not too much regret and especially not any longing at all for better days gone by. The best is yet to come. 

The Best Is Yet To Come

(Talk about not getting it. This song just seemed sleazy to me when I was a young adult. Now it seduces me.)

Maybe there'll even be an opportunity to recapture a little youthful energy to enjoy in the delectable middle years. Now that you know so much better what you should be doing with it. No reason at all you can't still enjoy this (track chosen fairly randomly and hilariously,)

That's Not My Name

While really starting to appreciate this as well: 

I Wish I Were In Love Again

 


Slouching toward 46

If you've gotten to know me at all over the past few years or so, you know that I celebrate the year of my birth pretty much all the time. If I could go back in time and hang out, I'd probably start just a few years earlier. But I think that 1965 was an amazing and interesting year, and I never grow tired of taking peeks at it through magazines, movies, music, design, and etcetera like. It was both the beginning and the end of so much history; a very dualistic period. It was, to borrow a term, very Gemini; two sides of a coin, so much of one kind of thing, simultaneously so much of another. 

In terms of music, my favorite singers resented the way rock n' roll had taken over the charts, and when the British Invasion and Motown filled the rest of the available space, they either left the scene bitterly, or tried desperately to fit in, with mixed but mostly poor results. It wasn't acceptable at that time to combine the old with the new; they were forced to co-exist uncomfortably until one finally shoveled the other into the ground. I'm sure it felt strange and chaotic just then, but it's fascinating to look back on.

When I was a kid, I was told the "old guy" music would never again be popular. Well, it may never be fully mainstream again, but as we've become more and more connected to the rest of the world and to the past through the internet, those old guys are appreciated in a way they could never have imagined as they slid into oblivion, dusted off only occasionally for a TV roast or variety show retrospective. 

It's human nature, particularly in youth, to reject a lot of what's old in favor of something brand-new. These days, it actually works in both directions; I know young people who are so into past eras of culture, they largely ignore anything new. There's a certain security in immersing yourself wholly in something. But as we mature, we learn to balance it all out, at least, that's the idea. I mean, that's what makes middle-age so awesome. I have a foot in each camp, for now. I know the tendency in old age is to be planted more firmly in one particular era of comfort. And already I have much less energy than I used to for seeking out newness in the world. On many days, I'm fairly comfortable in my garden with Sinatra and a classic cocktail. I think the real key will be to continue to cultivate friendships with people of all ages, to appreciate as much of the world as possible from varying points of view.

Right now, though, I'm mostly really digging my own view from the middle. It's kind of empowering. 

Lost in Space

Bits of the mid-60s are being flung about daily this week at disordinata and liliales