Countdown

Three years ago the Canadian rock band Rush released its eighteenth studio album, Snakes & Arrows. This coincided with my rediscovery of the band I enjoyed so much in college and for a few years thereafter. I somewhat lost track of them in the 1990s but got reacquainted following the R30 tour. When the Snakes & Arrows tour kicked off in the summer of 2007 I said, “I’m going! I may not have another chance, so I’m GOING!”

Except I didn’t. One thing after another conspired to keep me from going to any of the shows within easy reach and I didn’t make it.

Last week  I saw an announcement on Facebook (finally! something useful on Facebook!) that Rush was going on tour again this year. Not only did I say the same thing I did in 2007, but this time I actually bought tickets to the show at Mohegan Sun Arena this coming July. This time I really AM going, but I won’t be going alone.

Musically speaking, Rush is not everyone’s cup of tea, at least that’s how it is in my household. Except for daughter #2, who will be coming with me, I usually can only listen to Rush albums alone in the car or on headphones, unless we’re driving somewhere and the radio station we’re listening to happens to play one of their songs. The Time Machine show promises to be a real treat, since it won’t involve headphones or sitting in the car (except to get there). It includes a first-ever complete live performance of the album “Moving Pictures.” Since Rush is known for putting on a good show, I expect we will hear enough other familiar songs (and maybe some new material… right, guys?)

I expect the crowd to be a pretty eclectic mix, from teens and twenty-somethings to forty- (like me) and fifty-somethings (like the guys on stage).  To me that says something about the appeal of Rush’s music but, in any case, I’m just excited to be  going – finally. After all, who knows if I’ll ever have another chance?

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Connections

Over the holidays I was complaining to one of our daughters (ten points if you can tell me what building they’re standing in front of)


that Rhapsody had turned its back on me. After waxing so, um, rhapsodic, about it only a year ago the twenty-five free plays a month have dwindled to… let me see… ummm, none.  Okay, I know a big part of the Internet is about making money, but I was really not happy to have my listening (and exploring) habits crimped by Rhapsody’s profit motive – though you can still get a fourteen day free trial.

Fortunately, not all is lost.  As our youngest (L) enlightened me, there are other sites where music is still available for (at least for now) an indefinite time, for free.  In particular, she turned me on to Grooveshark, a music sharing, streaming, and recommendation site.

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With Heart and Voice

Richard GladwellFor about thirty-five years Richard Gladwell hosted “With Heart and Voice” on public radio.  I was a regular listener for fewer than ten years until Maine Public Radio mucked around with the schedule.  During my years as a regular listener Richard was a welcome companion on Sunday nights, sharing his seemingly endless collection of choral and organ music while I listened and wrote in my journal.  Feeling somewhat adrift over the last few years I have been reaching out, and back, to those things that seemed to keep me most anchored, including “With Heart and Voice.”  It wasn’t until last week, looking around for one of those anchors, that I discovered that Richard had been diagnosed with brain cancer earlier in 2009 and died only a few weeks ago, on October 15.

While “With Heart and Voice” often followed the liturgical calendar it was not, and is not, a religious program.  Regardless, it would be impossible to deny the role of the church in the creation of what is, in my estimation at least, some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring music ever written.  Of course, this presupposes that you find choral and organ music appealing, but I am glad to have enjoyed the music – and the words – Richard Gladwell shared with his listeners for so long, and that I have come to hear so much more of that music.  Every time I listen to “Trumpet Tune in D” by David Johnson I will expect it to be followed by a familiar voice.  If you’re not familiar, you can hear WXXI‘s tribute here.

Fall Back 2009

Oh, thank God (or the deity/non-specific/non-existent being/force/suggestion of your choice).  We get to sleep an hour longer tonight (except in Arizona, Hawaii, and some parts of Indiana) by changing from Daylight Savings to Standard Time.

The Persistence of Memory

Time.  What a concept.  If you want to know what time it is, or at least what time we’re supposed to think it is, look here.

MP3 and Me, A Follow-Up

A couple weeks ago I posted about finally getting an MP3 player (no, not an iPod – must you be that way?), being the technology daredevil that I am.  Though the other accessories I ordered didn’t arrive at the same time, I was able to load up enough music and charge the battery on the Fuze to take it to an all-day track and field meet.  I am pleased to say that it worked flawlessly.  Except for discovering that I had ripped my entire Windows Media Player library in a format not compatible with the Fuze (Windows Media Audio Pro. Who would have thought that “pro” would turn out to be a bad thing?), and having to re-rip all those CDs, emptying out the center console of the Jeep of all those jewel cases was a breeze.

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MP3 and Me

As people who know me can attest, I am not one to live on the bleeding edge of technology.  I like it my gadgets well enough, but I’m not usually the first in line to get the latest and greatest.  In fact, I usually wait and buy something at the end of its product cycle, only to have it soon obsoleted by something else.

Yesterday our middle daughter and I went to the mall to buy her a new 8GB iPod Touch.  She’d had a Mini for quite a while until it finally died last winter.  We thought about trying to replace the battery, because that appeared to be what was wrong with it, but never really got around to it.  So, using money received as gifts from her recent birthday, the balance being the gift from Mom and Dad, she paid for about half and went home happy.  I also had decided to look at MP3 players, because I liked the portability, but didn’t really want to shell out $150-$300 for an iPod.  The selection of non-iPod MP3 players at the mall was very thin, so I spent some time looking around online.

Sansa FuzeSometime in the new few days I will have a new SanDisk Sansa Fuze 4GB (black), 8GB MicroSD card, clear hard case, and assorted cords and adapters in my eager hands.  From what I’ve read, the Fuze is a highly rated non-iPod MP3 player with FM radio, is not so good for video, faulted for its proprietary dock, but otherwise a good value.  I’m looking forward to being able to listen to music in the living room without having to have the computer up all the time, and to bring more music along in the Jeep without having to take up all the console space with CDs.

I’ll let you know it works out, because everyone’s excited to hear about someone using the latest technology from three years ago.

Summertime (Vacation) Blues

The weather lately sucks.  Even my mother-in-law said so, and she just doesn’t say things like that.

blecchI know it doesn’t do any good to complain, of course, but I can’t help it.  As Mark Twain said, “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”  Well, nobody else has any motivation beyond the things that are already scheduled and limit our ability to do anything else, either.  I can’t even go outside and work in the yard fercryinoutloud.  By the time I get to mow the lawn I’ll have to put the mower on stilts.

If I were clever I’d some up with weather and vacation frustration related lyrics to “Summertime Blues.”  As it is, I’ll settle for a few minutes’ escape by watching and listening to it (here, here and here).