Perfect Day

Snow covered fallen trees
Snow covered fallen trees

One of the best things about the Winter Olympics is the A&T commercial with Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”. Another good thing is the snowboarding. It’s the punk rock of sports and the punks are taking it to the bank this time. With school out this week we’ve noticed a lot more snowboarding in the park. They really pack down the trails making them more like bob sled runs. As Kevin Williams explained on the news last night, the recent snowflakes are small with lots of moisture instead of big and fluffy. So they stuck to the branches for the winter wonderland effect you see in the picture above.

I stopped in the woods the other day and looked back to see how Peggi was doing. When I turned my head my skies went right out from under me. I knew I was going to fall hard so I tucked my head up but I landed on my shoulder blades and whipped my head to the ground. Things went black for a slit second and then a pretty good headache settled in. It’s amazing how quickly something like that can happen. But it left me wondering if something like that would ever happen to a younger guy. My mom fell a few weeks ago in a dark parking garage downtown. She whacked her head on the pavement and had one her eyes swell shut. It could have been much worse but almost doesn’t count exceptin horseshoes. We designed a book by Betty Perkins Carpenter many years ago. It’s called “How To Prevent Falls” and we sort thought it was hoot at the time. I’m not laughing any more.

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Cross Country Slackers

Bob sled painting at the Lake View Motel in Lake Placid, New York
Bob sled painting at the Lake View Motel in Lake Placid, New York

Would love to be in San Francisco for the opening of the Luc Tuymans show. They showed a few luscious paintings of his (one of a gas chamber) in a review in Sunday’s Times. But I’m not complaining. We have wifi access at the Lake Side Motel in Lake Placid New York and the Saints are winning. Kind of funny that the town of Lake Placid is not on Lake Placid. It’s on Mirror Lake. Lake Placid, the lake, is next door. The Olympics were held here in 1980 and some members of the US team are training here now. It’s fourteen degrees outside and they have real snow here unlike Vancouver.

We skied in the woods for a while this afternoon and then skied out on Mirror Lake at sunset before settling in at the bar for a local brew and the pregame show. Every other vehicle on the way up here was towing a trailer with a couple of sleds and we spotted snowmobiles darting across the road everywhere. If snowmobiling is a sport it has to be the most popular one up here. We had dinner with a bunch of Canadians downhill skiers. They kept slipping into French so we couldn’t understand what they were saying. They are going to be out on the slopes at 8 in the morning. They made us cross country skiers feel like slackers.

Our motel overlooks the lake and has some pretty cool artwork in the halls (above). We plan to head over to Pete and Shelley‘s neck of the woods tomorrow where we’ll celebrate a significant birthday for Peggi.

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How Do You Like Me Now?

Peggi getting her eyes examined at Dr. Goodfriend's office
Peggi getting her eyes examined at Dr. Goodfriend’s office Rochester, NY

Peggi and I had back to back eye exams today at Doctor Goodfriend’s. His partner, Doctor Searl is the father of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s bassist, Jamie. The Dub Squad’s playing in Buffalo tonight at the Nietzsche’s in Buffalo. Not a good night to drive to Buffalo. We used to play Nietzsche’s back in the eighties. It’s a funky old club in a quiet part of town, nothing like the rough and tumble Continental. Nice warm sound to the room. I really liked the place.

Joan Weissegger and Cheryl Mitchell, two classmates from Rl Thomas came out to see Margaret Explosion last night. I saw them chatting with another classmate, Mike Allen AKOS, while we were playing. Yet another classmate, Jeff Munson, is usually there but he’s in Mexico. It’s kind of odd how you get thrown together in high school and then see these same people for your whole life. That kind of thing happens in Rochester.

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Why I Hate The Beatles

Today’s paper had a picture of “Rain” doing their Beatles tribute. I guess they are in town at the Auditorium. It was one of those dreamlike pictures where the people sort of look like somebody you know and you stare at it but something is off.

Maybe my perception was altered by the dream Peggi told me about this morning. We had a big party and my brother and sister-in-law’s RIT buddies were all here with my family. I was thinking,”we don’t really know their RIT buddies”. My mom sat on the coffee table that my brother built and it broke so my brother tried to fix it. Maybe it was the Vox amps in that picture but something triggered “From Me To You” and that damn thing was stuck.

I went to Kevin’s blog hoping to cleanse my mind but he didn’t have a fresh post up there. He has some cool links to other music blogs so I followed a few. I bought an Amy Rigby/Wreckless Eric 45 with PayPal bucks and then found the perfect audio antidote.

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Beautiful Crime Scene

Feathers and crystalized blood on snow in the woods

You can the smell the woods again because the ground has thawed. Deer, turkey and coyote tracks run in all directions. Hawks and giant woodpeckers work the airspace. Snow topped fallen trees make the valleys look like Franz Kline paintings. Life and death issues are played out on this stage even in the depths of winter. We came across this scene this morning where the blood had crystalized on the snow.

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Man Child Mayor Of Durand

Saint Francis in Sprng Valley in the Winter, Rochester, NY
Saint Francis in Sprng Valley in the Winter, Rochester, NY

Saint Francis of Assisi may have taken a vow of poverty but he seems to be diggin’ his Russian style hat, his mink wrap and whatever that small white animal is in his hands. We pass this redwood chainsaw sculpture over near where the bulldozer guy came through the woods.

The one foot or so of fresh snow is enough of a cushion for us to try the big bobsled like run at Durand so we headed over there on our skis. Peggi said, “We haven’t seen the mayor yet this year,” just as we spotted the man child with an air mattress mounted to a big plastic sled with small British and American flags on the back end and a radar gun mounted to the front end. He had just cracked open a can of Labatt’s Blue and he told us he had reached a speed of 18 miles an hour on his last run. He said he was thinking about getting a “helmet cam”.

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It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

New Year Card 2009/2010

Our nephew sent us a postcard from Marfa Texas. The card is a color polaroid glued to a piece of cardboard, a shot he took of a building there with a sign on it that read “Sun Ra Building.” The note on the back was typed (with a typewriter). He is decidedly “old school” and I am jealous. Maybe it’s just a y2kX reaction.

Roberta Smith had a great article in Friday’s NY Times Weekend Arts section, entitled “Time, the Infinite Storyteller“, encouraging New Year’s readers to “take refuge in art.” She more or less suggested wandering in the Met and letting the works of art mark the old and formulate the new. She started with works created in 1353 BC and finished by talking about painting. It “is also good for exploring all-too-real forms of psychic time, as in Philip Guston’s aptly titled “Stationary Figure” of 1973. It shows said figure in bed, prostrate — paralyzed really — with a bad case of night sweats or racing thoughts: wide awake, he smokes and stares, at the clock, the bare light bulb, the black sky visible through his window.”

Ken brought his big bass to the Little on Wednesday and it sounded amazing. I fully expected Pete LaBonne to surprise us and show up at the gig even though he emailed that it was too cold in the mountains to leave. The place was packed and the band sounded good as a foursome. Jeanne Perri was there with Trish from the LDR. They brought us a a bottle of a Caravella that Jeanne said was the rage in Italy. It was in a bag that lit up so we displayed it on Peggi’s amp.

I stacked the iTunes deck for New Year’s Eve with Pete LaBonne and Dreamland Faces but it was almost too loud to hear the stereo. The kids kept telling me to turn it up so I cranked it and some guests went in the the other room to escape. I had a separate list ready for when people started dancing and I may have switched to that prematurely. Chris Schepp asked me if I had any music by white guys? I put on Marvin Gaye’s “A Funky Space Reincarnation.” John, Maureen’s friend, told me he had “a perfect palette” and I was trying to imagine what that meant. Someone brought “Blue Moon” beer and I didn’t even get the connection until today. We had more beer left over after the party than when we started. I found two double A batteries in our compost and we had ten empty quart bottles of seltzer when we were done. George Jones’ “Once You’ve Had The Best” came on about three o’clock and Brian Williams shouted “It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This.”

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Plans That Never Happened

Vic & Irv's t-shirt advertising remodeling plans that never happened.
Vic & Irv’s t-shirt advertising remodeling plans that never happened.

We used the Barnes & Noble gift card that our investment advisor gave us to buy the “I Slept With Joey Ramone” book for Duane for Christmas. A virtual regift. And then walked over to the big Wegmans to buy some Chinese take to eat with Peggi’s mom. When we got to her apartment she was watching Anthony Bourdain. I had never seen the show but Peggi told me that her mom had a wild crush on him. He went to Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo last night and I really liked the show. It was a lot of fun to eat to.

I know he was just in Rochester but if he comes back he should do a segment down at Vic & Irv’s. Our friend Duane got in town today and he helped us shoot some photos of John Gilmore’s paintings and then we went down to the lake for dinner. Vic & Irv’s is every bit as colorful and good as any of the places Bourdain stopped in last night. The chef was wearing shorts and a t-shirt advertising their remodeling plans the never happened. I asked if I good get a photo if it.

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A Good Night’s Sleep

A lot of whacky things seem to happen in Greece, a western suburb of Rochester. Bush visited the ideal community when he was trying to privatize Social Security. The former police chief is on trial and a couple of cops were busted for forced sex. Roderick Scott of Baneberry Way shot a 17 year old kid while he was trying to break into a neighbor’s truck. The kid was drunk and high and Scott claims he was “coming at me” so he shot him with his “legally permitted” pistol in self defense. Why didn’t he just stay in the house until the cops came?

We checked the paper this morning to find out if the “Bulldozer Guy” was convicted and he was but then we got stuck on this Greece story. We even listened to the 911 tapes. The story sort of got under our skin because when we were threatened by Jagger AGAIN, on our walk, it crossed both our minds that we could blow the dog away in self defense if we had a legally permitted weapon.

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Half Full, Half Empty . . .

Half Full, Half Empty, Fuck Off Coffee Cup
Half Full, Half Empty, Fuck Off Coffee Cup

A few years back I was having a discussion with Mike Deming and he said, “Oh yeah, you’re the ‘half full’ guy”. And I usually am so I didn’t argue. I spotted these coffee cups in a gallery in Williamsburg last weekend and recalled that quip. I had always heard the “half full, half empty” part but didn’t know there more to it.

Back on the street, our host, Duane, pointed to some of the newly painted bike lanes there and he told us a bit about Mayor Bloomberg buying some votes by having the lanes removed before the election so the Hasidic community didn’t have to look at scantily clad women as they rode through there neighborhood. It all sounded whacked but it’s a real story.

I road my bike to the post office this afternoon in fifteen degree weather and because the sidewalks are snow packed I stayed on the road. It gets crazy where Culver meets the Expressway. I’m thinking of painting some bike lanes over there when the weather breaks.

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Auto Tune This

You know that Pete LaBonne song where the guy fine tunes a radio station until it goes off the air? I spent a good bit of the day today in a dentist’s chair listening to an all Christmas satellite radio station. I don’t think I heard a single song with auto tune and yet it seems the entire top forty has been auto tuned.

And another thing. I made some hummus yesterday with a big can of Goya chick peas and a regular size can of Goya kidney beans. Peggi was working on these tables for a client and she called me into the other room while the hummus was pureeing.

The food processor started making a really loud grinding noise and we both looked at each other and at the same thinking “WTF?”. I went back out to the kitchen and it stopped. I pictured a frozen jalapéno from our garden temporarily stuck under one of the blades.

Tonight when we returned from our Margaret Explosion gig we both dove into the hummus and Peggi hit a hard nugget of something. She spit it out and it looked like wood. The hummus tasted funny too and I was thinking it was because I used too much garlic. We threw it away. I guess I could go back to Wegman’s with it but I wonder what Rich Stim would advise.

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Young & Stupid

Big tire dumped at the end of Hoffman Road in Rochester, NY
Big tire dumped at the end of Hoffman Road

I used to hitchhike to work at my uncle’s grocery store and I met all these guys from East Rochester. They were a little bit hoodier than the guys in my high school and some already had cars. After work they liked to drive around and drink beer. The drinking age was 18 but we knew spots where you could walk in and buy a six at sixteen, no questions asked. And sometimes we just slipped beer out the back door of the store and hid it near the trash. We’d sit in a car on dead end roads or in the park and listen to the radio. On weekends we head over to Panorama Bowl for the teen dances and then these guys would drop me off at home.

We were always looking for places to dump the empties because we didn’t want to get caught with open containers. I remember one of the guys saying, “just thrown them on the lawn of a nice looking house and the people will pick them up in the morning.” It was so much fun being young and stupid, tossing  beer bottles out the window as we careened down a street with the radio cranked.

I’m reminded of those days every time we find Bud cans along the road on Hoffman. Last week somebody dumped this big tire down there. The photo doesn’t offer much evidence of scale but it is at least five feet high.

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Amish Heaters

Leo's Amish Heater
Leo’s Amish Heater

Our neighbor, Leo, came to our door the other morning wondering if our electricity was working. I flicked on a few lights and told him it was. He said half of his lights were out so I told him I would come over and see if I could help. I had tried to help with an electrical problem before but neither of us could find the sub panel with the fuses. Leo has lived in this house for sixty years. An electrician eventually straightened him out then and he he found the sub panel. He figured Leo had blown the fuse when he fired up his old space heater and his new Amish heater at the same time. Only old people read the newspaper anymore and those Amish heaters are featured daily in full page ads. They are essentially a basic electric space heater with a lightbulb-powered display of fake burning logs. I can’t believe Leo fell for this.

He told me they save 15 per cent on your heating bill. I told him they were dangerous but he said they say a child can sit on the with getting burnt. I asked if he had both heaters on at once again and he admitted that he did. Consumer Reports says the $500 heaters are not made by the Amish but in China. It’s going to take longer than Leo has for him to start saving his fifteen per cent.

People sort of trust the Amish, their old fashioned values and all and it’s hard to believe they’re in cahoots with the Chinese on these things.

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Sparky’s Shed

Sparky’s Shed

We were one thousand five hundred miles late for our oil change at Jerome’s but Ted didn’t seem to mind. Our Honda has been pretty damn reliable. Ted was always delivering bad news when he serviced our American cars. I should say that the window sticker said our Honda was made in Ohio so maybe it is an American car after all.

After Jerome’s I stopped by to visit our former neighbor, Sparky. He showed me pictures of his car that was recently totaled while he was sitting in it, parked in front of a friend’s house. The driver of the other car was black as is often the case with antagonists in Sparky stories. I had keys to his garage and shed when we lived next door and I still had them on my key ring so we went out back to see if they worked. They did and I surrendered them. I miss that shed and took a photo of it on the way out. Invisible Idiot named a song after it so it lives on.

I organized a setlist to shuffle on our iPod at tomorrow night’s Margaret Explosion Abilene gig. I threw some Edith Piaf, Last Poets, Duke Ellington, George Jones and cumbia in there. In the old days, in other bands, we would have had a setlist for the band performance but Margaret Explosion doesn’t work that way. I stopped by Nino’s Pizzeria and prepared them for a big order. And we confirmed that Glen, the tech savy bartender at Abilene, has the right cord to go from our laptop to the VGA in on Abilene’s projector. Bob Martin rounded up some June Taylor like visuals and we plan to go into full screen mode with the Quicktime files. I’d be happy with iTunes “Visualizer” but I can do that at home.

When Duane was up here last he told us that humus made with bean other than chick peas was all the rage in NYC. So I tried black bean humus a few weeks ago and it came out more Mexican than Greek. Last night I made a batch and mistakenly opened a can of kidney beans along with a can of Garbonzos so I went with it. I put some roasted peppers in there too and a jalapeno and some Spanish paprika so it is very red. It is sensational. I plan to serve that at out T-day bash.

Tonight is the last painting class. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be a lifelong student and plan to return in the new year.

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Terrorism Or Tragic Shooting

Dead deer in the woods
Dead deer in the woods

I borrowed that headline from a news item on our Google homepage. It came from the “Fair and Balanced” folks and they followed it up with, “Analysts Divided on Ft. Hood Shooting.” Fox would love to stoke that fire.

We did wonder what it was that took this big buck down. It was right in the middle of our path on the other side of the creek so there was no avoiding it. I don’t make the rules out there and sometimes it’s grizzly. We have heard coyotes at night and we saw one a while back so suspect them. Then again maybe it was a hunter. The town hires bowmen to thin the herds. Nature sure is efficient in cleaning up the carcass. I doubt if it was terrorism but it was definitely tragic.

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Dia De Los Muertos

Concrete forms in Irondequoit cemetery
Concrete forms in Irondequoit cemetery

Peggi went a Halloween party last night and we were some of the only people there without a costume. We tried to find the two frog masks that we wore to a party a long time ago but couldn’t find them. I remember that get up sort of pissed people off back then because we didn’t know most of the people and they couldn’t see our faces.

Scott Regan was a dead on Bela Lugosi and Sue dressed like Scott. Soupy Sales was there and the hostess, Claire, was a pretty good Amy Winehouse. Jeff and Mary Kaye had the best looking costumes on as far as I was concerned. I wouldn’t have recognized them if they didn’t speak. They wore hand painted, white cloth skeleton faces and black formal wear, classic Day of the Dead figures. The party had a theme, “Night of the Living Pies”, so Peggi made a cherry pie with a face on it. There was an obscene amount of pie on the counter when we left.

Kevin Patrick did a Zombies entry on the Day of the Dead and mentioned that he wanted to get a Zombies post on his blog before he croaked. When David Greenberger was here he told us he had been thinking about his own mortality lately. Not surprising in his line of work. I spotted some guys working on what looked like a giant casket in Irondequoit Cemetery as I rode my bike by so I pulled in to take a closer look. It turned out to be a form for a concrete structure that will hold urns. They are just about out of space over there so the only way to go is up. It got me thinking about where I would want my ashes scattered. I don’t want to put anyone out. I’ll have to think about this for a while.

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Common Sense

Note from our neighbor posted on our front window
Note from our neighbor posted on our front window

As old as our neighbor is he still gets up before us. And this morning we found this note taped to our front window. I should tell you that what you see above is not the entire note but it is the meat of the thing. If you click on the photo you can see the whole note.

Our neighbor is in his nineties and he’s losing it. He knows it and it is very frustrating. He has always been Mr. FixIt and he’s cheap too so he still tries to take care of things but he can’t think straight any more or even remember where his fuse box is. His bedroom light don’t work anymore and he had an extension cord running in there when we stopped in this morning. We suspected he had blown a fuse but there were only two 70 amp fuses for the whole house. He is the original owner and he said he had never changed a fuse. It didn’t seem possible and we were afraid to yank one of them out because they were held in place with metal clips and we had never seen fuses like this. We suggested he call an electrician.

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Three Balls On Trampoline
Three Balls On Trampoline

I couldn’t resist walking up into someone’s yard to take this shot this morning of these three balls on a trampoline. I did this after reading a new sign that someone else had put up on a willow tree at the edge of his property, where his yard meets the golf course. Peggi pointed out the new sign, a store bought “No Trespassing” thing, and we noticed the guy had already commented on his own post. At the bottom he added “This Means You”. Of course I pulled out a pen and added, “Not Me!.”

I think I know who he was addressing with this sign. We saw someone on his property a few weeks ago with a baseball hat, parka, cane and plastic bag with golf balls in it. I felt as though I was getting a glimpse of my future. In fact this property owner hollered at me last year when I darted out on his lawn to pick up a glistening golf ball. What did I do? Bend some blades of grass? All he has is lawn out there and he has to mow it every week because it gets so much sun. Someone I work with was complaining about how he was getting tired of mowing the lawn and he said he has a new mower that goes ten miles an hour and yet it still takes him three hours to mow his lawn. I’m generalizing here but only idiots have more than twenty percent of there property devoted to a lawn. That figure is probably too generous.

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Floating Our Boats

View from Pultneyville Yacht Club on Lake Ontario
View from Pultneyville Yacht Club on Lake Ontario

Water is also a symbol of cleansing, healing, new life or spiritual rebirth, creative potential, the unconscious and the feminine. All sounds pretty good.

Our friends, Rich and Andrea, just bought a houseboat in Sausalito. They plan to give up their apartment in SF and live on the thing. Sounds like a dream.

Saturday was a gorgeous day here, near 70 and sunny, and it looked all the more beautiful out on Lake Ontario. Jon Flowerday invited us to cruise on his 23 foot yacht so we hooked up out in the historic village of Pultneyville and sailed from Bear Creek towards Sodus Bay. It was just fantastic being out on the Lake, in his steady hands, back to the wind. It was a dream.

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Culver Road

Old green Ford on Culver Road
Old green Ford on Culver Road

Outside of high school in Webster and a few years in Indiana I have lived my whole life near Culver Road. It runs north and south from Cobbs Hill Park in the city to Lake Ontario. I never get tired of traveling it. Although the ride above looks pretty comfy it is best experienced on bike.

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