“Big wood and brush. Big wood and brush. Do you know the difference between big wood and brush?”, “Jimmy Carter Says Yes!”, “Little Love Bug”. These songs, from a cassette tape that Chris Zajkowski from the Squires of the Subterrain gave us, have been stuck in our heads for twenty years. And we don’t even have a tape player anymore. The cassette was a collection of song poems, hand labeled, “Beat Of The Traps”, and I think he got it from someone in NRBQ. The songs were lyrics by anonymous people put to music by studios that advertised in the back of magazines. A couple hundred bucks and you had a box of 45’s with your song on it.
Our friend and neighbor, Monica, had just returned from Paris and so we had her and Rick over for dinner last night. We made barley mushroom soup from the Moosewood cookbook, chicken marinated in a lime juice vinaigrette and a green salad. Rick made a no cholesterol angel food cake for dessert and we ate that while watching “Off The Charts, The Song Poem Story”.
The charming Gene Marshall, who claims to have cranked out 10,000 songs, was responsible for “Big Wood and Brush” and “Jimmy Carter Says Yes” and he stole the show. He dominates his band and bulldozes arrangements on the fly while “sight singing” lyrics that have just been put in front of him. Improvisation is one thing but watching him try to keep a straight face and get through these songs in one take was thrilling.
The local paper interviewed people about what they planned to do with their rebate checks and this one guy said he was going to buy a big screen TV. The question is, “Is now the time to buy one, before the Super Bowl, or will there be even better prices after the game?”
My father asked if I would go along with him and my mom to look at TVs because their picture tube is going. They have one of those wooden cabinets with doors that close. Their screen is 29 inches now so the salesman at Charlotte Appliance told us that the 32 inch sets would actually be smaller than what they are used with the new aspect ratio. So he recommended the next size up, a 40 inch set, and they had three Sony’s to choose from. We liked the 1080p resolution but we weren’t ready to buy.
Charlotte Appliance is in an old theatre so they have all these rooms on different levels. On the way out we looked at the big Lazy Boy style chairs in the furniture section and this one was so huge we just started laughing. I hopped up in it and my feet were well off the ground. All three us of could have fit in this chair. It was kind of like those Monster Trucks.
Next stop was Rowe Photographic. They had the same set for $100 less and they would match Circuit City or Best Buy but the sale prices only lasts until February 1st. My father went home and cut out some newspaper so it was the size of the new TV and he hung it on the front of their old cabinet. My mother thinks it is way to big for their living room. My father is ready for the big screen experience. It is a standstill.
We recently watched Julie Christi in “Away from Her” and last night we saw local boy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in “The Savages” so we’ve got picture of what it will be like if Peggi or I lose it before we kick it. I don’t remember a soundtrack in the austere “Away From Here” but “The Savages” opened with a beautiful Peggy Lee song (I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard) and closed with a beautiful Velvet Underground song (I’m Stickin’ With You). I guess dementia won’t be so bad if the soundtrack is good.
We went to the old Rohrbach’s location in the basement of the German House in Rochester’s South Wedge last night. Watkins & The Rapiers were playing there surrounded by TV sets tuned to various stations. “Body Parts Found In Chicago” was displayed the the bottom of the screen on Fox News. I couldn’t tell what we were looking at. We went out with our neighbor, Rick, and he ordered a pitcher of beer. We ran into Bob Mahoney and Jan Marshall and had a nice time chatting while the Regan brothers sang their super catchy songs and select covers like Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” and Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. I slept like a baby and woke up with “Even on Christmas Day He Wore Black” stuck in my head. Peggi said she was singing “Mighty Nice of you to Treat Colorblind This Way” and they didn’t even do that one.
Peggi didn’t know I was taking this photo until she turned around. (see Steve’s comment below) She was battling the Flash encoder in order to post a movie on the Kazoo site. The five gallon water container shown here is empty. It’s the last one we will ever drink from. In fact I’m going to throw the whole dispenser out. It looks ridiculous anyway. We have had bottled water delivered for years and now we read that the plastic leaches hormones. I was wondering why I was hitting so many home runs lately. Good thing 4D doesn’t have a drug testing policy. I always suspected we would be better off drinking tap water.
Xerox moved their corporate headquarters out of town but they are still one of Rochester’s biggest employers. The word “Xerox” was formerly synonymous with a “copy” but they don’t even make copiers anymore. Does Kodak even make film anymore? And how about the fact that both of these Rochester companies have names that begin and end with the same consonant? Kodak was first so I guess that makes Xerox the “copy” cats. And then along comes Lowel where our buddy, Duane Sherwood works.
When Xerox announced their new logo, a spokesman was quoted as saying that it was a “significant multimillion-dollar marketing investment.” Multimillion for this? Why didn’t they hire 4D? We would have done this job for $5000. And that would have included five rounds of revisions, online/telephone review and the provision that we not be included in any of their committee meetings. We would have saved them $4,995,000.
Martin Edic came out to see Margaret Explosion last night. He had a Polaroid with him from 1980 or so. He was going to scan it and send us a copy but he hadn’t configured the scanner portion of his printer/copier/scanner yet. And he wouldn’t give up the photo. It got us going through some old photos and we came across this one from that same time period. I think this was a signing ceremony for the our band at the time, called the “HiTechs“. We have the candles lit. Dick Storms from Record Archive is shown on the right with a contract in his hands. Peggi is smiling so it must have been going well. Martin, shown behind Peggi, is reading something. He reads anything within reach. Bob is smoking. Those were the days.
Dick released a couple singles of ours on his “Archive Records”. This contract must have been for the second one, “Screamin’ You Head” b/w “A Woman’s Revenge”. “Screamin’ You Head” got some airplay and notoriety when Danceteria DJ Iolo Carew added it to his dance charts for Rockpool. “A Woman’s Revenge” was based on a one of the photo novellas that we used to buy down at Bertha’s on East Main Street in Rochester. Martin was the bass player for HiTechs and Bob was the guitar player in Personal Effects so this must have been right on the cusp of that transformation.
My father emailed me this photo. He took it at the Margaret Explosion gig over Christmas. I didn’t really care for the art on the walls back then. It changes every month and there is already some new stuff up for our gig tonight.
I have a painting show there in January of ’09 and I got an invoice in the mail today for $50 for the privilege. Apparently you have to be a member of the Little Theater Film Society in order to exhibit there – a worthwhile cause. The Crime Faces ought to liven up the place. Here is link to the Rain Dance from our gig at RIT on Saturday. Phil Marshall is on guitar while Bob was in Anaheim.
The risky title of this entry is a spam magnet so I’m not allowing comments (as if I get many). We had a regularly scheduled appointment with our financial planner this morning and it coincided with with one of the most volatile market days in recent years. I thought he would just cancel us so he could field panic calls from bigger fish but we met as planned.
Our biggest concern is whether or not we are on track to be able to afford retirement when we want to retire. He ran the numbers and we watched the ML logo whirl around until the report came back. We have a 50/50 chance of running out of money before we die. I told him I was willing to take that risk.
Everything is connected. It better be or else it would all fall apart.
We went to the Mercury Opera production of Don Giovani at the Eastman Theater. Peggi’s mom bought the tickets so we had great seats. The story is a pretty simple one about a pre AIDs cad who has an assistant with a black book of conquests, un mil y tres in España alone. He reminded me of this guy, Karl, who lived in my dorm at IU and sold pot. He drew notches on the wall for each of his scores. The music was nice and this was a 2 PM performance, but for some reason I kept falling asleep, maybe because it was nice.
We had dinner at Mario’s Via Abruzzi. Their grilled calamari is fantastic. Our waiter had just moved back to Rochester. He had been working as a techno DJ in LA. His family is from Milan and told us that techno was huge in Europe. He spins all vinyl which I thought was odd. I was thinking something like that would all be done on a laptop now.We finished the evening with a fire in the insert and “Fistful of Dollars” in the DVD drawer. We had just seen “Yojimbo” which this movie is based on so it was sort of disappointing. “For a Few Dollars More”, the follow-up to this movie was fantastic. Now there is an opera.
The one on the top is called “Skull” After Damien Hirst’s “For The Love Of God”. Bob Martin, our regular guitarist, was at a trade show in California so Phil Marshall from The Horse Lovers sat in with Margaret Explosion last night. The event, an art opening for the Edith Small retrospective, was really well attended.
We set up on a balcony overlooking the crowd and spotted Wendell Castle wandering around with his round glasses. It was a pretty swanky affair. Edith was a doll and her art is thoroughly enjoyable. We made the whole evening’s songs up on the spot and the crowd seemed to like it. Stephanie Aldersley asked us if we would like to play the upcoming opening at RoCo.
4D work has slowed way down so I’ve been organizing our backup drives, writing some files to DVD and getting them off our computers and then I’ll install Leopard on two of our main machines and set up Time Machine. Finally a backup scheme that makes sense.
Peggi is doing the taxes. All this activity is something that should be covered by our regular billing as part of doing business but it doesn’t work that way. Maybe it will in the future. I am optimistic. Mike Deming told me, “You’re a glass half full kinda guy” and I guess I am for now.Margaret Explosion is playing an art opening for Edith Small at the Dyer Gallery of RIT and we start at 5 so we are making an early day of it in the office.
It has taken us three sittings to work our way through “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” (El Bueno, el Feo y el Malo) and I’m still trying to come up with a good response to the voice over question it poses, “If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”. If we are supposed to pick one of these three characters, I would vote for the Ugly (Eli Wallach). He steals every scene he is in and makes Clint Eastwood look silly.
Painting class started up again last night and there are only six people in Fred Lipp’s Advanced Painting class. I can’t figure out why more people don’t take this class. Peggi goes to her yoga class and that seems like a good alternative but what else would you be doing on a Tuesday night?
Peggi’s mom’s church had their monthly Jazz Worship this morning. Two of the band members are former students of Peggi’s and so Peggi joined her mom out there for the service. I stayed home and painted crime faces in the basement. I went to the church of Ornette Coleman. I kept running upstairs to tend the fire in our new insert. I stoked that thing and got the temperature up to 82 in the kitchen. It was probably near 90 in the living room. Peggi’s mom is always cold in our house and I wanted to knock her out with the heat. When Peggi walked in with her I asked if she was warm enough and she said, “Yes”. My mother-in-law is not easily impressed.
Peggi dismantled the xmas tree while I read yesterday’s paper. I will take the tree out back and cut it up into little pieces to recycle it. I painted for about two hours and then headed out to rake leaves. Won’t have to do that again until next year. Wait a minute. It is next year.
We helped our neighbor split wood for about two hours and he let us borrow a Jean Renoir’s “Boudu, Saved From Drowning” to watch. It was remade as “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” with Nick Nolte and Bette Midler. He also invited us over to use their hot tub tonight while they are out. We will definitely take him up on that offer.
Peggi is teleconferencing at a webinar meeting and we are planning on going out walking when she is done. We want to check out the damage in the woods from the seventy five mile an hour winds that we had the other day.
I’ve been Reading Rich Stim’s intellectual property blog and have become infected by the format. “Dear Rich, I have a question”, “I’m so glad you asked” followed by the concise answers. I want the whole world to work like this.
I would like to know why Google doesn’t follow links on photos. That is, the robots that Google sends out to catalog your web site have instructions to not index pages that are linked from a photo. In my case I have hundreds of pages with instructions to “click photo to advance”. The photos have the standard “a href=” link tags on them but Google blows them off. So if I have content on a page that you can get to only by clicking on a photo, then that content will never get indexed. I will redo those pages but I would like to know why it is that they don’t follow these links.
Rochester’s Eastman Kodak Company announced that they were discontinuing the manufacture of infrared film on December 30th. So now only some digital cameras will be able to take infrared shots. Luckily Duane Sherwood’s camera is one of them. I just spent some quality time with his new show, “Big City“. The human eye cannot see infrared radiation, but the camera lens can and Duane’s photos of buildings in Manhattan bathed in infrared radiation are beautiful.
Kinda had to wait around the house today for UPS to drop off our new MacBook. Hope Apple doesn’t go and blow our Christmas by announcing some sort of ultra thin, ultra cool laptop at the MacWorld in SF. Bob Martin (Margaret Explosion’s guitar player and Mac guru) says it might be a Flash drive machine without a cd-dvd burner because people aren’t really burning stuff to disc anymore. I hadn’t noticed that but it’s certainly true in our case where we just buy more cheap drives for backup. UPS got here at 3:30 and just left it at our door so I guess we didn’t have to be here to sign after all. I’m going to wait for Peggi to get home before I open the box.
I might ride my bike up to Starbucks and pick up a New York Times. We tried not to work today and didn’t answer the work phone. I cleaned out the one gutter that we have on our house and raked a few wet leaves. I started going through the photos that have been piling up on my camera since Halloween. Here is one from a video installation at the Getty in LA. It was a white room with white chairs scattered about and monitors mounted to the ceiling with exotic interior shots on them. It didn’t look that exciting to me so I turned around and started to walk out and the guard said. “Sit down in one of the chairs”. I did and I looked up and there I was in this scene.
Antonio lives in East Rochester and he found 4D Advertising in the phone book a few years back. We did the cover design for the sheet music of a piece that he had written for his late wife. We later heard this song performed at a piano recital in Kilbourn Hall. It was beautiful. We moved from the city and he tracked us down at our new location. He marveled at the change of scenery and we discussed art work for his newest project, a composition called “La Vita Bella”. When he came back to approve the art he brought along this picture. He said it reminded him of our place and he thought we ought to have it.
As I was loading equipment into the Little Theatre for the Margaret Explosion gig last night, someone said “killer hat, dude”. I bought it online at the hookywooky shop. I just said pick out something you think I will like. I just checked and their site is misbehaving today. Maybe they are all sold out.