Analog Cabin…

Love In Decay…

Digital music, without me ever realizing it, has eaten away at my love of music.  I don’t think digital music did this intentionally.  It was just another cultural subsystem, doing what systems have done to societies for years; taking mankind on rides that humans can barely see and rarely control.

As vinyl gave way to CDs and then to digitized files, as speakers gave way to earbuds, and as collecting the finite gave way to downloading the infinite, my pallet for music has deteriorated without me realizing it.

To keep me hooked though, digital music has regurgitated bits and pieces of what I once loved, and sold it as the only nutrition I would ever need – much like orange juice concentrate would improve the state of hand squeezed orange juice back in the 1960s.

Because of this process, my love of music has been neglected and misfed for decades.  Like other aspects of my life left to neglect, my love of music is reawakening…

The Paycheck Process…

The system was simple.  From the age I began to work, 15, until CDs choked vinyl out of the music retail scene, I would direct the $1 line and the $.00 lines of every paycheck I ever eraned toward buying vinyl.

Example:  If my paycheck for being a sandwich maker in 1978 was $42.73, $2.73 would go toward music.  If my paycheck as a Coast Guardsman in 1985 was $419.38, $9.38 would go toward music, and so-on.  And for years, that was the most important product from any paycheck.

Through this process I accrued a catalog of albums ranging from Herb Alpert, Aztec Camera, Molly Hatchet, Joe Satriani, Steely Dan, Lee Ritenour, The Fabulous Poodles, Mental As Anything, and on and on.

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Not saying I’m proud, but I once owned their entire catalog…

Eventually though, turntables became scarce, new music was released on CD only, and my record collection became boxed and stored where it remained until my daughter graduated from high school in 2008.  At that time my daughter, who was raised on punk and classic rock, asked if she could have my albums.  She sensed a comeback that I didn’t buy into.  So the albums became hers.

In the meantime, the infinite Spotify and decent earbuds became my music only source.  With so much to choose from, I spent more time assembling playlists than I would ever spend listening to them.  And all of this became tedious and secondary.  I might still be in-like with music, but the love was gone…

What Goes Around (and around and around)…

With the advent of social media, and a growing outrage over the poor quality of digital music, the demand for vinyl now swells.  Much new music is released on vinyl, and buying a turntable is as easy as buying fresh oranges.

As I have witnessed this, it’s occurred to me to begin the process all over again; if a client pays me $1188, then $8 would go into a vinyl fund.  Starting from scratch though, has seemed too daunting.

Earlier this week I was searching Amazon for a vintage style radio for my studio and ran across one with a turntable onboard.  I figured, why not…?  Maybe it will inspire me to find a Herb Alpert album in good condition, or the soundtrack to Brigadoon.  But it didn’t end there.  Twenty-four hours later, and under the influence of inspiration, I purchased a console stereo for my living room.  Now what to do about the necessary vinyl…?

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To arrive this Friday…

Shortly after I purchased the console stereo, I asked my next client if, by chance, he had any old vinyl.  I was floored when he told me he was in the process of cataloging several hundred pieces to sell on eBay.  Quality be damned, I’ll be picking them up later in the week.  The symmetry of my designed universe never lets me down.

Lessons In Love And Appreciation…

This isn’t about the quality of music for me so much as it’s a romance thing.  It’s about the act of removing the disk from the cardboard jacket and running the Discwasher over the album.  This about placing the needle gently onto the glossy rim and waiting for my soul to rise…

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It’s a romance thing…

Once again I want to listen to and to appreciate albums as bodies of work.  The most soul-smothering problem with playlists on digital music is this:  You take just a piece of the painting and line it up beside a piece of another painting. You may create an interesting mosaic, but the point of each painting has been lost.

Through digital music I have lost my love of music, and that’s 100% on me.  I guess it’s time once again for me to learn the lesson I seem to keep on needing to learn; that when you truly love something, you don’t box it up and put it away, because you’ll probably never take it out again.  And even if you do take the box out of storage, what’s in the box will remember how you treated it.  Love what you love, and love it with passion – always.  Be well…  rc

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Aerosmith.  The Sgt. Pepper remake movie may have sucked, but the soundtrack had one great cover.  Enjoy…

Appreciationism…

I can honestly say that my morning shower is the best part of every day of my life.  What’s more, is that each shower feels like it’s the best one I’ve ever had.  How could any morning shower ever feel as good as the one I took today…?  Yet it always does.

When I look to my front yard each morning, on those rare mornings when sunlight actually hits it, it always pops brighter and looks more alive than the day before.  Yup, today was that day.

I listened to a song recently which was popular during my teens; Sister Golden Hair by America.  As I contemplated the lyrics and drifted back in time, I felt it was the most clever and poignant song I had ever heard.  I really felt that as I was listening.

Maybe later today, or sometime down the road, I’ll hear another song, and whatever song that might be, I will think that is the most poignant and clever song I’ve ever heard.  And at that time, I will also mean it.

The workout I just had…?  Is almost always the best one of my life!  Most of the time, when I wrap my fingers around that cold steel bar, the deadlift I am about to commit is the most important set I will ever attempt, and nothing else will be on my mind.

That’s just how life is for me.  If nothing else, I enter each day with a sincere appreciation for my appreciations.  In those moments when I am truly appreciating something, there just aren’t any other somethings other than the something I am appreciating at that moment.

On a full moon surf at Trestles, in June of 2009, my friend Mike observed of me,

“The look on your face when paddle is like each wave is the biggest wave on earth…”

Though I am certain he meant it as a critique of how I could improve, I took it as a great compliment.   I was caught in a moment, enjoying myself because each wave was the biggest wave on earth, if only in my mind.  And each one always will be.  That’s what appreciation does…

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Stroodle don’t surf!  But if he did….

Even with this essay, after I complete it and publish it to my website, I will be confident it’s the finest piece I have ever written.  At some point though, my daughter may read it and will remind me that it’s just another piece of overwritten dreck.  But as I write it in this moment, I am certain it’s fantastic.

It’s not that every moment is the best moment of my life, it’s been a rough week for me.  More bad things happened in the world.  People proudly said things that I found to be offensive if not outright asinine.  I hear songs that make me want to hurl, and occasionally I get a flavorless tomato.  But it’s those moments that strike me as worthy of my appreciation, that I bow to, and attempt to do so all day long – they alone keep me coming back!

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A hand to appreciate…

And what does all of this have to do with anything…?  That during any moment, all we have is that moment, and who and those who we may be with in that moment.  So last night when I held my mother’s frail hand and led her across my rocky driveway so she could see the full moon break the horizon, and as I watched her stare with awe, well that, that was my finest moment as a son – at least for now.  Thank you to landlords Stephanie and Brian for giving me a great gift last night.  Be well…  rc

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A gift of a vintage smudge pot for my fire pit…

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from The Cynics.  It might be the most poignant and clever song you’ll ever hear.  Enjoy…

A Fine Walk, Interrupted…

In a town full of characters, I both appreciate, and sometimes fear that I am becoming one of them…

I walk my dog, Stroodle, 1 ½ miles each day through a nature preserve just outside of town.   I talk to him as we walk, and do so using a blended dialect.  The voice I speak in is a cross between the voice of the late comedian Mitch Hedberg, and the character H.I. McDunnough from the movie Raising Arizona.  And I talk to my dog constantly during these walks.

As he sniffs his way through the park, checking out the various weeds, tree trunks, and large rocks, all made known to him by the scent of other dogs, I’ll chatter to at him about anything from events in the Middle East, to why I think whales beach themselves.  As I do this, I also use a lot of hand gestures – because if I’m going to be eccentric, why not attract as much attention as possible, I guess…

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The Los Juilgueros  Preserve.  Fallbrook, California…

For their part, the other people in the park don’t seem too frightened or even concerned by my behavior, but few take time to stop and chat.  Some may accelerate their pace when they see me coming in order to avoid me, while others just avoid making eye contact.  I’m just the crazy guy who talks to his dog, I guess…

Those who do attempt to chat with me though, sometimes get more than they might expect.

“If I can just make one person I come in contact with each day, question their sanity, then it’s been a good day.”  Mark Cohen, author of The Fractal Murders

A dog known by many names is a dog well loved.  Stroodle is his Christian name, but I often call him, Spaceman, Monkey, My Little Brown Friend, or Horton, along with a few others.  Mostly though, I refer to him as, Mammal.

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Sit, Mammal!  Or, just stand there…  Good boy!

“Come on, Mammal”, I might say.  Or, “Hurry up, Mammal, we’re running late.”

So when a young woman we often pass in the park asked me last why I always call my dog, Mammal, I responded…

“Because he is one.”

“Well” she asked, “does he have a name…?”

“Yes” I said, “Horton.  Horton The Space Negro.”

Her: “What…?”

Me: “What…?”

Her: “What did you just say his name is…?”

Me: “I didn’t”

Her: “Yes you did.  You called him some kind of negro.”

Me: “I don’t speak English, so what you’re suggesting isn’t likely…”

Her: “You’re speaking English right now!”

Me: “If you say so, but I don’t think so.  I’m from What and they don’t speak English in What.”

Her: “Oh my god you’re a fucking weirdo, please don’t speak to me anymore.”

Me: “I just told you, I don’t speak English so I’m not sure what you just said to me…”

And all of this, as I mentioned, in my quasi Hedberg/McDunnough voice.

After my final statement, the woman turned and walked away with purpose.  The fun part for me is that I know I will see her there again.  I’ll be curious if, when she sees me coming, she turns to avoid me.

This is a true story, explained as it happened.  As a point of clarification, The Space Negros were an experimental punk rock band in the late 1970s.  You can’t make shit like that up.  Be well…  Jhciacb

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Mick Thomas.  Enjoy…