Counterintuitive

Cezanne still life
Cezanne still life

The pool temperature hit 70 degrees today and the air is supposed to be near 90 this weekend so summer has begun. One of the past presidents of the pool club told Peggi to add chlorine tablets even though the chlorine reading was above normal. He said, “I know it’s counterintuitive”. We are trying to figure this out.

I have been painting a lot in the basement, putting a push on before the last class next week. I’m ready to start spending more time outdoors. We have tomato plants, jalapeño, basil and cilantro plants in the garden. We don’t really have a garden. The deer would get it if we planted anything here. Our neighbor, Leo has an extra lot that he has put an electric fence around and he lets us use space in there.

I brought a painting into class tonight that had some wacky eyes. One was too low but expressive. The pedestrian way I painted the nose and mouth killed the expression in the eyes so the thing needs work. My teacher suggested that I look at Cubism. He said it started with Cezanne and was driven home by Picasso and Matisse. He found a reproduction of Picasso’s “Gertrude Stein” painting that perfectlyly illustrated what he was talking about. I did a little google research and found out Picasso and Stein were both influenced by Cezanne.

I’m getting the picture that I need to be more expressive. The elements of my faces have to carry more form. Thinking about this will be my summer project.

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Close Only Counts In Horseshoes

Leo, Mary Alice, Andrew, Peggi and Rick
Leo, Mary Alice, Andrew, Peggi and Rick

Rick lives across the street and he played a lot of horseshoes while growing up in Troy. They had their own “project rules” like what happens when one ringer tops another and something about a leaner that came into play last night. He’s competitive in a good natured way. He really likes to win and gets kinda bummed when he loses. I can’t even remember what the score is so I just look to to him to say who’s winning. It is usually him but I won last night.

I was making some stir fry tonight (onions, red, yellow and jalapeño peppers in olive oil with tofu and pineapple) and Rick knocked on the front window. He had a red drink in his hand and he was ready to reclaim his crown. I put the dish on low and went out front where our pits are. I was a little uncertain when we moved here whether horse pits in the front were cool but know I know that it is the perfect place for them. Sometimes we get a crowd. I beat Rick in the first game and he asked to play another. I won again.

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Marlene Dumas Is A Saint

If Padre Pio can be a saint then Marlene Dumas can be.

Martin Edic forwarded an email from Boo Poulin this morning with a link to a video with Marlene Dumas paintings in it. Boo assumed I had seen it but asked Martin to forward it just in case. I watch about as much YouTube as I do TV and that’s hardly any. I had not seen the video and I still haven’t. I keep pausing the damn thing so I can look at the paintings. I will take me weeks to get to the end. And the music – I turn the sound off and it works much better.

Is it legal to open a book, scan a bunch of paintings and have that be your whole video? Rich Stim would know. He writes and Intellectual Property blog for Nolo. Marlene Dumas painting or drawing, now there would be a video. Marlene Dumas talking about painting or drawing would be a good one too. I’d take a video of Marlene Dumas crossing the street so I do love this video.

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Rejuvenation

Water temperature in our neighborhood pool reached 68 degrees today. If it was warmer out I’d be in there. I read Thursday’s and Friday’s New York Time this morning, brewed a cup Yogi Rejuvenation tea and headed down to the basement to paint. I got one that I like a lot. Again, I had plans for it but I didn’t get there.

I have to look around for an alternative to Yogi Tea. They changed the graphics on the boxes. It’s now glued shut like a small fortress and the tea bags are sealed in a type of paper that is almost impossible to tear open. I started to do the yoga stretch that is pictured on the box and I read, “Before doing this exercise or participating in any exercise program, consult your physician”. My doctor would live that.

We rode downtown with our neighbors last night to hear a band of Eastman students outdoors at the Village Gate. We sat down in front of Bodhis Cafe and Monica and I both ordered hummus and cucumber sandwiches. Peggi ordered chicken and I think Rick had something called “Big Bertha”. After dinner we rode over to Abilene where a Cajun band was playing on the deck. Danny has a pretty comfortable spot here. And the juke box is a sight to behold with Colorblind James Experience and Personal Effects first two record. We were checking it out with Mrs. Colorblind. There is a pretty cool podcast of the CBJ’s Dylan night from 1992 at that Colorblind link. Brian Horton does a version of “Dark Eyes” shortly before his heroin od.

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Feeding The Beast

Crucial Roots Labels by Duane Sherwood
Crucial Roots Labels baby Duane Sherwood

I’m still “feeding the beast”, that is, ripping all the cds we have in the house in iTunes and building a library on an external drive. This has been a casual, ongoing, background activity for about a month now. I’ve got boxes of cds on the way out the door. Still not sure where to go with those.

I am really surprised that I haven’t burned out the cd drive in our old laptop yet. That thing has been a work horse. I did bring it to its knees a few times with homemade cds with paper stick-on labels. I put the first of Duane‘s Crucial Roots cds in there and it sounded like a helicopter taking off. I had to use a paper clip to bring it down. I asked Duane if he had a digital version of his essential, twenty cd set of Reggae/Ska/RockSteady/Dub and he set aside some time on Memorial Day weekend to make one. It fit nicely on a dvd and it’s now in our library competing with Pete LaBonne’s twenty six cd set, “Gigunda” in the “Party Shuffle” mode.

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Nephew Management

Andrew with nice looking car on Alexander St
Andrew with nice looking car on Alexander St

I’ve been too busy managing our nephews to make coherent entries here. Andrew, Peggi’s sister’s oldest, is staying with us for a few days and one of my brother’s sons, Matthew, is doing a virtual internship with 4D Advertising for six weeks. I keep calling Andrew “Matthew” and Matthew “Andrew”.

Matthew is in his senior year at in Montclair High school in New Jersey and he is getting credit for working with us. We have him reworking web pages with new templates loaded with php includes.

We did manual labor with Andrew yesterday and upgraded his computer to Leopard today while we toured the Larry Towell show at the Eastman House and had dinner at One. In the middle of all this we’re really busy with 4D work. We ran into a few problems with Andrew’s install and may have bail the laptop out and mail it off to him at his next stop. He leaves tonight on the train for Chicago.

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What Would Jared Do?

Andrew at stone quarry in Penfield
Andrew at stone quarry in Penfield

I picked my nephew, Andrew, up at at his Grandmother’s apartment this morning and we drove over to the Odenbach quarry in Penfield where we met Peggi and our neighbor, Jared. We borrowed Jared’s truck to pick up a load of stone for the french drain we’re constructing in our backyard. Jared has been engineering this project and when he’s not around we’re always asking, “What would Jerod do?”

Andrew graduated from Penn last year and worked for the Park Service for a few months doing trail maintenance so we put his skills to work on the deer path that runs between our house and Jared’s. It is the only way to get a wheel barrel into our backyard and the way it was, we would have dumped the first load down the hill out back trying to walk like a deer. We moved about a ton of stone (5 dollars worth) into Jared’s truck at the quarry, over to our house, into the wheel barrel, down the deer path, and then into buckets that we dumped into the french drain. We worked Andrew like dog. Now we’re praying for rain to see the thing in action

We had a good turnout for our last gig at the Little until Fall and it was really nice playing for so many friends.

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Happy House

I wish I was at the Five Spot at 5 Cooper Square in the East Village for Eric Dolphy on July 16th of 1961. I almost feel like I was, I have listened to the music so much. Thank god Rudy Van Gelder was there to record it. The trumpet player, Booker Little, died of uremia a few months after this show and Eric Dolphy died of diabetes complications a few years later. This amazing date is available on two cds even though the night fits easily on one. I know because I’ve made copies for friends. The musicians, Eric Dolphy — bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Booker Little — trumpet; Mal Waldron — piano; Richard Davis — bass; Ed Blackwell — drums; are firing on all cylinders. This music will energize you. It is my favorite painting music.

Margaret Explosion finishes a three month stand at the Little Theatre Cafe tomorrow night. Fred Marshall may sit in on piano if he is not on call. Brian Williams sat in on bass for a tune three weeks in a row and Phil Marshall played guitar last week. Phil’s band, The Horse Lovers, stole the show at the Dylan tribute last weekend. I saw him before he went on and he told me he had never seen me lose my cool like I did when he and Rich Thompson were at the Margo gig. I told him I could barely play with Rich out there. Rich teaches percusion at the Eastman and is one third of Trio East. He is such an amazing drummer, I just feel apart fumbling around on my kit like I do.

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Juke Box in the Sky

Today is Steve Hoy’s birthday. It is a big one for him. There is a six involved. We called him this morning but he didn’t answer. He was at the Indianapolis 500 yesterday and and may not be able to hear his phone ringing today. In the late sixties he proposed that we just kill ourselves when we turned thirty. I was uncertain but Steve felt like that was just too old and everyone he knew that was that old was a creep. It is old. Sixty is older.

I worked so hard on our landscaping job on Friday that I couldn’t paint Saturday morning. I stood in front of my easel like a zombie and then decided to just go out and work in the yard some more. Painting is hard work, harder than landscaping. I need to be physically ready or I make a mess of it. We turned in early and I was in good shape today. I finished a really strong painting before Peggi got back with her mom. We cooked chicken in the back yard.

I called our nephew in NYC to see if he could handle manual labor when he gets up here. He’s taking the train up tomorrow. I plan on borrowing my neighbor’s truck and picking up a load of 3/4 inch gravel to put in the French drain out back. It’s $5 a load at the quarry in Penfield. Our nephew is up for it.

Kevin Patrick is building a site that dedicated to 45s. He has just started but it promises to be brilliant. He tried blogspot yesterday and Tumblr today. He’s looking for an easy way to embed music in the blog software. It’s called So Many Records, So Little Time and it reunites packaging with digital music files. It promises to a juke box in the sky or record store showroom where you can’t buy anything but you can browse as long as you like. There’ll be plenty of personal anecdotes as well.

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That’s The City

The water level at the pool was a little low so Peggi put the hose in and went home. She woke up around seven in the morning and remembered it was running all night. There were puddles leading out to the road when she got there. Oh, the pressure of being president of the pool association. I took advantage of the early hours to blow the oak tree droppings off the roof. While I was up there I blew out our only gutter. It smelled like old bong water. Kinloch Nelson stopped by to borrow Peggi’s Farfisa organ. He was traveling down to see Bob Cooper, who was the original owner of this beauty when he and Kinloch were in a band in the sixties. They were going to jam and this reunion with his old axe was a surprise.

We headed out to the annual Bob Dylan Birthday bash at the Village Gate. Chuck Cuminale from Colorblind James originated this thing about thirty years ago. He was the ultimate Dylan aficionado and was almost born on Dylan’s birthday so n those days it was a birthday bash for Chuck as well. We rode home with John Gilmore at the wheel. We dropped Jon Gary at his apartment downtown and headed down Culver. We stopped at at light and a Toyota SUV pulled up next to us. That vehicle stopped briefly at the light and then drove right through the light while we sat here. John said, “That’s the city”.

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Whoa Whoa, Yeah Yeah

We had dinner with Rick and Monica last night. Rick made tostadas and Peggi made roasted corn and with jalapeños. After dinner we watched “I’m Not There”. The various Dylans was a good idea but Cate Blanchet was so much better than the others and of course Bob Dylan’s music is so much better than the covers that the movie sort of fell apart.

I checked the mail on my way downtown to drop off my contributions to RoCo’s 6×6 show. I opened the mail while I was driving (it ain’t illegal yet) and there was a cd from the Squires of the Subterrain entitled “Whoa Whoa, Yeah Yeah”. I stuck it in the cd player but it kicked back out. I tried it back home and it wouldn’t play there either so I put it in my computer and a movie popped up. It was sensational, like the last one, only better.

Read a review of local boy Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Synedoche, New York” directed by the screenwriter of “Being John Malkovich”. Among other things it is about the anxiety of artistic creation and the desperate sense that your life is rushing by faster than you can make sense of it.

We almost went to NYC this weekend. We were going to visit Duane and gallery hop and then bring our nephew back from Brooklyn so he can visit his grandmother, Peggi’s mom, in Rochester and hang out with us. There were too many loose ends to leave town so here we are.

Peggi’s making Bob Mahoney’s “Cowboy Salsa” recipe. I cut up the cilantro and an onion. Beautiful day out. I’m headed down to the basement to paint.

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Dumber Than a Box of Rocks

Pile of Medina stone in backyard
Pile of Medina stone in backyard

I quit school after a year of college and went to work for Mitchell Construction Company in Bloomington Indiana. I worked on a crew that poured concrete and my boss was called “Frenchie” for some reason. He was a good old boy who smoked Winstons, hunted quail and woke every night with a “piss hard on”. There were only three of us on this crew. The other guy, Wayne Anderson, was hired because the company, which had thirty or so employees, learned they could not win any Indiana University contracts unless they hired a black guy. Wayne had just gotten out of prison for involuntary manslaughter. He was parking in front of a bar in Indianapolis and he hit the car in front of him. That car crushed a guy who was standing in front of it. We became friends and spent most of our time wrestling.

One of Frenchies favorite sayings was, so and so is “dumber that a box of rocks””. That’s kind of unfair to rocks but I like the image. We have some old stone walls out back that have been swallowed up by the earth and we’re rebuilding them. This is some backbreaking work, trying about ten stones to fit one in each place. We started by pulling out all the old rocks and we made this big pile to pick through. Our neighbors say we should hire the Bosnians. They have some sort of reputation around here.

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Endless Rejects

Marlene Dumas Chlorosis (Love sick) 1994
Marlene Dumas Chlorosis (Love sick) 1994 at MoMA

In 2002 I painted twenty two “Artists’ Heads,” and mounted them together in two long frames. At the time they were my favorite painters. The piece was in the 2003 Finger Lakes Show at the Memorial Art Gallery. I’m still pretty happy with the list but if I was doing it today I certainly would include Philip Guston and Marlene Dumas.

Geri McCormick saw some Marlene Dumas work at MOMA and told me that she thought I would really like it. Wow, do I. I checked out a “Marlene Dumas: One Hundred Models and Endless Rejects” from the UofR library and ate it up. I brought it into painting class to to show to Lorraine but she wasn’t in class. My painting teacher, Fred, borrowed it and he seems to have devoured it (that’s a few steps above eating it up). He brought it back into class with yellow post it notes hanging out of the bottom of the pages. I’m happy that Fred liked it as much as I did and now it’s Lorraine’s turn. The book, from a show of her work in Boston is out of print. There is a copy on Amazon for $221.26 if you’re interested.

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Modeling in New York City

Duane Sherwood “Modeling in New York City” detail.
Duane Sherwood “Modeling in New York City” detail.

“I Am Legend” wasn’t much of a movie after the John Cassavetes stuff. The buff Will Smith was about the last person left in Manhattan and so he naturally had a relationship with a mannequin. Duane Sherwood’s “Modeling in New York City” could have been shot the week they closed the city make to that film. Duane Is Legend!

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6×6 at RoCo

Paul Dodd prints of paintings for RoCo 6x6
Paul Dodd prints of paintings for RoCo 6×6

I hate deadlines but Rochester Contemporary has a big one this Friday. They are hoping to collect 2008 six by six inch pieces of artwork from their members for a show entitled 6×6. You may have seen the billboards around town. It looks like they are about half way to their goal.

I have about twenty new paintings that I haven’t photographed yet. I was thinking I would shoot them with my new camera, crop the shots to six inch squares, print them on canvas paper and give them to RoCo. That’s the whole idea here. Artists are being asked to donate their pieces and RoCo will sell them for $20 each and keep the proceeds. RoCo is all about supporting local artists so this is a worthwhile cause. The art business is about as lucrative as the music business, so give to RoCo and ye shall receive.

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A Glimpse Of The Other Side

I look for a space to paint everyday. I don’t always find one but most days I do. I’ve been chugging along and I believe I’ve had a glimpse of the other side, the great expanse. The key seems to be in letting go. I start with a preconception but once I’m off and reacting to what I have, the plan goes out the window

I’m seeing missteps earlier, recognizing them as such, and making repairs. And I’m enjoying the road work. I even like the look of the patch job now because I have let go of the original idea. It is hardly a smooth ride but it is exhilarating.

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You Got Something Better To Do?

Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at the Dyden Theatre in Rochester, NY
Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at the Dyden Theatre in Rochester, NY

We saw “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” last night at the Dryden Theatre. The Dryden’s director said the print we were watching belonged to Martin Scorcese. They are in the middle of their John Cassavetes festival and after the movie they had a question and answer session with the the film’s lead, Ben Gazzara, and his co-star, Seymour Cassel. They played Cosmo, a strip club owner and Mort Weil, a gangster, respectively. In person they were not all that different than their on screen parts. But they were much funnier. Producer/cinematographer, Al Ruban was there too. He described a small crew where everyone wore a few hats. They were good friends with Cassavetes and they had an evening’s worth of fascinating stories.

They worked hard and had a blast. Ben said “John was the least arogant, self serving guy he had ever met. He was an artist. He made films for himself, not for anyone else and he would never be here trying to explain his films”. And according to Ruban he was as good a businessman as he was an artist. Cassavettes once had Ruban build a huge set with a long bar and a trapeze set up above. All to shoot a scene while studio execs were being wooed to finance the film. They bought the film and the scene was cut.

Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at the Dyden Theatre in Rochester, NY
Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at the Dyden Theatre in Rochester, NY

Cassavetes shot a lot of film, changing the script as the actors developed their roles. After sitting through the first screening of “Chinese Bookie”, Ben told John, “The movie is too long”. John said, “What. You got something better to do?”

Tonight we are headed back there to see “Husbands”.

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What Are Your Plans?

If I was in NYC this weekend I would be headed to the “Philip Guston: Works on Paper” show at the Morgan. After that I would head down to the West Village to Gavin Brown’s Enterprise for the Elizabeth Peyton show. She is one of my favorite painters. If I was Andrea Stim and in NYC I would be up on the roof of the Metropolitan for the Jeff Koon’s sculpture show. We have been looking for an opening to get down there.

Lucky Duane, he lives there and last night he saw Suicide. He sent this report up.

Last nite in my old neighborhood, literally around the corner from my old apt, in a Polish disco, Suicide played. It was sort of intense in a different way than their shows can usually be. Marty was wearing the biggest pair of goggles I’ve ever seen, like something from a space-age motorcycle helmet with pitch black lenses. The rest of his outfit was almost too much to explain. Red satin Hip hop basketball jogging suit w/ a shredded blk t-shirt. Vega wore what Vega always wears, black. + a Knit hat on his head.

Marty started by playing a whole heap of white noise sounds – high pitched – with no rhythm machine. Then Alan announced that they were dedicating the show to Marty’s wife Marie who had just recently died. That was a shock, & even more so to me because just 1 min earlier I’d asked Howard why, when Alans wife Liz was always at the shows, did we never see Marty’s wife. No idea why that Q had popped into my head. And so Howard had just told me she died in Feb. Married since 1971.

The clubs PA was too small & I think Martys unusually raw & emotional playing was too much (maybe purposely) because for most of the show the sound was really distorted & the sound system auto-shut down a couple of times for like 2 sec. That was intense too, the sudden silence. Lots & lots of white noise, my ears are really ringing today.

Song titles that I remember – Dream Baby, Wrong Decisions, Cheree, Che, Stayin Alive, Ghost Rider, Death Machine.

At one point While Rev was playing all this noise, Vega was putting his mic into the speaker of Revs amp & rubbing it all around the rim, etc. Extra noise & distortion. They played about an hour, & got a long applause encore. At the end of the encore, after Alan had left the stage, Marty finished up with an overloaded white noise wall of sound & then took off his goggles & said something solemn into the mic about his wife, but it was so distorted & blown out I couldnt understand it. Kind of a loose, sloppy, & unfocused, one off type show. Good, not great. But a good Suicide show usually still has more than some other peoples great shows. We chatted with Liz before the show & went bk & said hello to the guys after.

That friggin neighborhood was just waiting for me to leave to become incredibly hip. This place was totally east euro cool/trashy, and the hottest underground club in NYC now is at the next corner down on Calyer street towards the river.

Didnt take my camera but Howard took some shots. There was a great point & shoot in someones hands there, nice big LCD & it looked like it shot some form of nitevision, but it was deep blue instead of green. The guy was too far from me & he left before the show was over or else I was gonna go see what it was. Howard noticed it too, we were both green with envy, so something that fits my needs could be out their waiting for me to find it.

Next weekend is Memorial Day wkd – what are your plans?

Hmmm. We are thinking about driving down to New York.

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Fantom Sensations

Bill Jones called me this morning at arond 8:45. I was having a cup of coffee and reading the Democrat & Chronicle. I had already run into Rick and Monica out at the mailbox. They were headed off to work in their seperate Subarus. Bill needed help getting a box with a band saw in it into his garage where his wood shop is. The trucking company that was delivering the saw had called to say they would be at Bills house at 10AM. I stopped at Wegmans and did a little shopping. I do most of my shopping in the produce department and then I scoot across the store to the canned goods section. We needed black beans for beans and rice and garbanzo beans for the humus that I have been making every week lately.

The truck driver was not running on schedule. Bill showed me some software he bought that generates site maps for web sites. He had run it on www.therefrigerator.net and www.popwars.com and he gave me the .xml files to put on those sites. His son Sam was on the lookout for the truck and he shouted to us at around eleven. A huge semi was parked out in front of his house on Valley Road. The driver told us the box was about two hundred pounds and he wasn’t about to help us with it but he did say we could use his cart. Bill and I lifted the box out of the truck and onto the cart and I wheeled into the garage. Bill recently cut the tip of the index finger on his left hand off. A piece of wood kicked back on him when he was ripping a small piece of wood. The wood flew back so fast it sliced his finger off. It’s very sensetive now but Bill has managed to play golf so it’s not the end of the world. I asked if he had any fantom sensations and and said no.

We had dinner out “The Bistro”, the small dining room at Peggi’s mom’s apartment building. All three of us ordered divers’s scalops and asparagus. After dinner I adjusted Peggi’s mom’s walker. Her brakes weren’t working any more. They operate like the brakes on a ten speed bike with a cable hat needed tightening. We pictured her rolling downhill at next week’s Philharmonic performance and winding up in the orchestra pit.

I wish I had brought my camera with me to get a picture of the troll like creature with a long white beard that is the hallway outside of Peggi’s mom’s door. The little guy has a tiny golf club in his tiny hands.

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Perfect World

I am nearing the end of of the big rip, that is taking every cd in the house and shoving it into our old laptop. I still have a stack of Sun Ra cds to rip and I’m sort of surprised the cd drive still hanging in there for this operation. A few cds with heavy ink coverage have sounded like a helicopter while giving up the goods. I have iTunes set to automatically retrieve track tags from CDDB and then eject with a chime when it finishes converting the tracks to mp3s or Apple Lossless files. Buy.com had a one day deal where you could buy a 500 gig harddrive for $100 and then there was a $20 rebate. So the library is sitting there and the cds are all in boxes ready to . . . I don’t know what I’m going to with them.

No more looking all over the house for a particular cd or just trying to find a cd in a pile. When I do that I usually forget what I’m looking for and go right by it. Now we’re diggin’ the Party Shuffle. You shuffle the deck with a click, call up 50 tunes at random, and restack those 50 if we don’t like the order. Or we live dangerously and just the let the thing go. All sorts of stuff comes up that I would never think of putting on. I keep thinking, “This guy is the best dj in the world”. And iwhen something nasty comes up, I hit the delete button and iTunes moves the file to the trash. This is a perfect world.

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