Sunday, November 18, 2012

Floor Lamps: functional and sporty

We always seemed to have a ton of floor lamps around when I was growing up. I've always liked the way they light up a room without being overwhelming in any way. As a musician, I can't believe I'm using this analogy, but floor lamps are to a room what a medium-volume band is as well: you can listen and still have a conversation(though most of these seem to happen during the bass solo..). 

So I've decided to get more floor lamps for my place, and thusfar have three. The top one was a present from my brother, and is of the "sporty" variety: as well as its bright colors(the picture really doesn't do it justice), it has waterfall sounds you can turn on or off, a multisensory experience. Sometimes you want to do nothing but listen to the band..

I can just see myself with a ton of these floor lamps all over the place as time goes on. All in what you grow up with I guess- or at least what of that you decide to take with you(I suppose there could be someone who grew up as I did, but somehow became a great repudiator of floor lamps). I usually like 'em more on the functional side, but sporty is good too. 

Demented Chocolate

Not always the most nutritious fare, but there is usually a plenitude of food in our office. Usually store-bought, but on occasion- this occasion anyway- home-made. We have one individual who excels in making chocolate, and this is from his second offering to the office. 

  The coffin and tombstone of course refer to the deleterious effects on one's health chocolate can have. We took our chances. 

  It can be and often is a crazy place to work, but we do get enough to eat. There are a goodly number of things I don't miss about the office, being away for these weeks, but things like this food frivolity will be nice to go back to. 

Still going to enjoy my remaining week. Demented chocolate can wait. 

Time Remaining(update)

Just about everybody I know who's worked a job(and especially a job for the State)starts to keep track of their time when they hit 5 years from retirement. You can't help it. And it's something that gets worse instead of better as you get closer. Well, okay, ultimately a whole lot better once you actually arrive, but like so many folks, I ain't there just yet.  

My date is September of 2014, from which the time remaining, at this point, is a year and ten months. So I'm on the countdown to the countdown to the countdown. This runs until the end of the year, at which point I'll be on the countdown to the countdown, which is an 8-month countdown. Come September of 2013, I'll be on the actual countdown, which is of course to the following September. I figure if I can make it through these first two countdowns, I've got 'er licked

Of course if the Mayans were right, it's all a moot point..

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Daily Grind

After awhile without a break--after week after week after week after week of the same stuff--same people, same situations--, no matter what you do for a living, you begin to feel like this guy on Monday morning. I don't know how he feels, of course, but I sure know how I'd feel if it were me. Well for all intents and purposes, it is me, on many a Monday morning.

And then come Friday, provided you've survived your five days of work,  you have just enough time (ideally) to rest up for the next round. Not much time to think about it. Just catch your breath and get back in there.  Thus you can get pretty mired in your routines, to where you can't see past them. They become your total reality. (Yeesh, what a terrifying thought!)  

I'm currently on vacation from All That, and have been since last Friday at 4:30. Every so often you simply have to have a number of days away that's greater than 2 or 3, just to pull yourself out of your regular morass of workshit. It helps if you go somewhere, but even a staycation can achieve this result. Gotta air out, just like a pair of shoes..

It always takes a couple days on vacation for your body to realize you're on vacation, a decompression process where you're just numb for awhile. This one took about 5 days. By Wednesday, I was feeling(as they'd say in the COPD commercials)a significant improvement in my decompression.

Being a recuperating period, there is usually lots of video viewing in these first days of vacation, this time the likes of A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, My Cousin Vinny, Coccoon(yes I'm leaning toward the happier Hollywood endings..). 

I actually have three weeks this time out, more time off than I've ever had in my 21 years of employment--save being laid-off for a couple 5 or 6 months back in '94. So I'm just completing my first week of the three. 

Musical creativity does happen(as in writing/recording)during these vacations, generally toward the end- I guess, when I'm "optimally decompressed". I don't think I've ever gone on vacation and started working on musical stuff the next day, or even the one after that. 

More often than not, I grab vacation a week at a time, and took two last year about this time. Three weeks is more time than I'm used to taking, but I'm sure I'll find something to do with it--even if it's nothing. 

It's been a nice week. A nice grind-less week. Here's to two more!

Friday, November 09, 2012

If I Were an Englishman

If I were an Englishman, I think I'd like it if my name was Clive. Ah heck, even if it wasn't my given name I think I'd try to go by it, to have people address me as Clive

Clive. What a cool name. I also thought(and this is a deep second choice)it'd be something to be named Denis, but really only so I could make the joke in claifying the spelling, that it's "like penis only with a d". 

Clive Ulmer Roundly. CUR. That's a helluva monogram, particularly for a Brit(or wannabe-Brit). Well it beats, say, Clive Ulmer Monroe..

It's interesting how different cultures perceive one another. As an American, Clive strikes me as quintessentially British as names go(has that extra bit of propriety to it in the sound); the Brits in their TV and movies frequently use "Mike" for their tougher characters, American or not. Definitely attributable to us Yanks.  Perhaps if one of them were writing a blog titled, "If I Were an American"(probably with a subtitle something like 'perish the thought'), they might be named Mike. 

But regardless of whether it epitomizes a different culture or Weltanschauung, sometimes you just like the way something sounds. Clive. I just like the sound of it. And if I were English, it would be a pretty cool name to have, just for that reason. 

Now if I were Mexican.. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Not firing on both cylinders

I envy and pity those folks out there whose lives are their jobs (it's a hybrid feeling, the pity part mostly coming after they retire), who can't wait to get to work on Monday morning and pour everything into their work. My working life has always been split down the middle:the work I have to do(i.e. the dayjob)and the work I want to do(my musical pursuits: playing jobs, giving lessons, recording)

Some folks manage this successfully, most notably Charles Ives(the ultimate musician-with-a-dayjob), who claimed a symbiotic relationship between his music and his work in the Insurance industry, that they were mutually beneficial. In my case, they've always been antithetical, and clash like a major and minor third played simultaneously. 

For me, these two components of my working existence were never friendly but they could co-exist, due almost solely to youthful vigor on my part. Being a musician-with-a-dayjob means that you basically work two schedules: your M-F 9 to 5 on the job, and then evenings and weekends with your music. In other words, you work all the time.

I liken these two parts of my life to two cylinders whose fitting is starting to slip. When I hit age 50, the two cylinders started to grind occasionally. Got a bit crabbier about the lack of free time on weekends, but would still head out there. Now in my late 50's, these two cylinders are making a heck of a racket. Much tougher working two schedules, however light the second one is. I have to take time off to do most of my musical stuff.  Can't have both cylinders firing at once, not anymore. 

So that's my struggle in life, trying to balance two unbalanceable things, always making that lunge to avoid something hitting the floor. Kinda like a bad juggler. But I keep doing it. 

These vacations are nice because(at least at the moment) neither cylinder is going. Peace and quiet from both ends. Sooner or later, I'll get to retire the work cylinder and avoid all that scraping and grinding for good. For now, gotta make adjustments. 

Most of us have that one part, that one component in life that doesn't quite fit. Well that's mine. For now, all is quiet. I'm going to follow suit.    

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Life without Lester

A Lester-less house is a lustre-less house.  

Lester is the dog you see in the picture, back when he was ambulatory enough to get himself up and down the stairs. Once the legs went, everything else followed. Except for messing with the cats on occasion(his one remaining pleasure), ol' Lester didn't have much reason to get up in the morning, and would frequently "stay in his robe" for much of the day, only to get up at some point and eat and then leave me a few "keester eggs" to clean up when I got home. 

 And of course not a whole barrel of laughs for me either. The daily clean-up was getting to me(good thing the cats don't understand English or they'd have gotten realll tired of the 'keester egg' joke..), and just seeing him in such a debilitated state, and the pain and discomfort that goes with it. 
So this past month I had to make the difficult decision of having Lester put down. As I said, his quality of life was pretty much non-existent: just eating, sleeping and excreting- this last activity dutifully, assiduously performed inside the house(just for my clean-up pleasure!). We were both worn out, Lester and me.

And it was rough all the way to the vet clinic. Lester knew something was up, so he got nervous and stunk up the van pretty good with One Last Dump for me to tend to(life's parting gifts are hardly ever fruit baskets, are they?).  I got him there, said goodbye, paid the bill, and got outa there. There are some things in life you have to do quickly, and this was one of them. 

He was with me a good long time, almost as long as I've been in my house, so it's a big loss. A Lester-less house is a lustre-less house. At least this one's that way. So long, Lester. You're missed. 


Unlikely Pairings(?)

Maybe it's just in the Roundly blood to find disparate elements and stick them together in what one hopes is a meaningful way(or profoundly meaningless). My brother once wrote a paper in college on the relationship between prostitution and Miniature Golf. 

After Ann Coulter's comments about Mitt Romney "being nice to the retard", and her lack of contrition- or for that matter, any regard for who may have been caught in the crossfire of her remark, I would like to see a collaboration between Ms Coutler and Larry the Cable Guy. 
  So in line with my brother's college paper, this is, I suppose, a blog about the relationship between Ann Coulter and Larry the Cable Guy. I think they'd be hysterical. As a comedy duo, they'd certainly git r' done. Heck, with Ann's big-city edgication and Larry's good ol' boy country wisdom they'd be unbeatable.
  I'd never thought of it before, but after hearing Ann Coutler's remarks, and having seen a Larry the Cable Guy movie, it all came together. They would make an awesome team, call it comedy of what have you. Besides the education/country wisdom combo, you have the unabashed honesty of the both of them. Neither of them is afraid to call a spade a spade. Or a retard a retard.

Simple John Stoopidhead

That's about my frame of mind right now. Can't do a Sudoku puzzle to save my life(at least not the two I just attempted), can't think my way out of a paper bag..

Actually, in my "torpor", I don't really care. Some times fog is nice. And some times it's almost necessary. This is my second day of vacation, so I'm still in my decompression period, still shaking off the tensions of work. 
 It's a beautiful day out there, and a nice day in here as well, fog notwithstanding. Well, really, what's experienced as "fog" is actually a deep-body sigh of relief being free(however briefly) from the rigors of daygig. It's like you're sleeping off the last six months, or however long it's been since your last break. 
   Vacation. I thought it'd never get here, but here we are. As long as it's on the map(i.e. a point in time)we'll always get to that here eventually. Other here's loom in the distance, and they'll get here when they get here, but for now I'm in this here. Vacation. Ahhhh....