October 31, 2012

Buffalo Bayou

When I was a kid growing up in Houston, my neighborhood backed up to Buffalo Bayou. Now, if you're in the south, bayou is pretty much a fancy way of saying river or creek. Buffalo Bayou's pretty huge in places but behind my neighborhood, it really only rated creek status. Unless a hurricane or thunderstorm blew through. Then all bets were off.

In the fall - not the summer since it was too overgrown - the neighborhood kids who were brave enough would trek through the woods to the bayou and play. I say brave because it really was a hike through dense woods, the bayou itself was creepy, and there were rumors that people lived there. None of those things deterred any of us who went.

We'd inevitably play some variation of war, whether it was cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or humans versus aliens. Those of us without toy guns - my parents never did cave on that one - fashioned guns out of sticks. We built forts out of old driftwood and fallen trees. We played until we were exhausted or someone scraped themselves up too badly, or fallen in the bayou and gotten all wet. And on one of those occasions, when my friend Jimmy sipped and earned himself both a scrape and wet jeans, we left something behind. A brand new BB gun.

It was dusk when we made it home. We went our separate ways, got cleaned up, changed, ate dinner, then made good on our plan to meet up after dinner and retrieve the BB gun despite the darkness. Only Bill wasn't able to convince his parents to let him go back out. But then his parents were always unreasonably strict.

We trekked back through the woods moving much slower than we had in the daylight. We knew that the bayou carved small cliffs out of the land and none of us wanted to walk back home wet and cold. Or worse, with a broken ankle. As we neared where we assumed we'd left the gun, we saw lights. Small, square lights. Like headlights. We didn't think we'd gone too far, ended up within sight of a road or another part of the neighborhood. And we hadn't. As we approached, quietly, we saw that the piles of fallen trees, driftwood and other flotsam we'd seen during the day were makeshift houses with fires burning inside. The occasional silhouette of a person was visible. And the more we looked, the more flickering lights we saw.

We froze, not knowing what to do, until the light from one of the structures was reflected against something tall and metallic. Jimmy's gun. Thirty feet away, it was leaning against a tree. We each took slow steps forward, deciding to go together. We reached the gun and turned to retreat when we heard a thud from behind. Instinctively, reflexively, we turned. And there we saw a strange, dirty-faced man poke his head out of his camp. He said, with a cackle,

"Happy Halloween!"

Posted by Chris at 7:56 AM | Comments (2)

October 30, 2012

The Aftermath

So, Sandy dropped by last night. We had a few drinks, talked shit about those other, lamer weather systems (you know, like tropical depressions and the Gulf Stream), then we got tired and headed to the basement to sleep. See, Sandy's got a bit of a temper and frankly we were worried she'd take out her anger on all the trees that surround our house. It was a rough night mostly because I'm old. I'm not in college anymore. I can't drink, crap out on the floor and expect to wake up the next morning without some really serious back and shoulder pain. When we woke up, I couldn't move and Sandy had hightailed it out of here.

Our power is on, trees intact and the most damage we can see at this early hour is the loss of some shingles from someone else's roof. All-in-all, not bad.

Posted by Chris at 8:41 AM | Comments (8)

October 29, 2012

Riders On The Storm

It was a jam-packed weekend but news of that will have to wait. See, I'm expecting to lose power any second. Beds are made in the basement, tubs are full of water, non-perishable food is stocked and bottled water is everywhere. Yep, like the eastern quarter of the country, we're waiting for Sandy. The kids are home from school and I don't feel like being in a tall building when the power goes out. We're all going to have to make some compromises while we ride Sandy out. Of course I hear that when the Federal government is shut down it's okay to drink during the day. So there's that.

Wish us luck. Or at least confirm for me that that drinking thing is true.

Posted by Chris at 8:09 AM | Comments (12)

Haiku For Monday #431

Fall weekend are the
absolute best. Except when
followed by Sandy.

Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM

October 26, 2012

The Weeklies #234

The Weekly Excuse. Because this is my calendar for today:

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TGIF. Seriously.

Posted by Chris at 8:04 AM | Comments (4)

October 25, 2012

Jock

When Mia was born - breach and curled up - her legs were like little rubber bands. If unwrapped, her feet would instantly shoot up by her head. It woud have been fun to watch if it hadn't freaked us out so badly. Over time - and not a lot of time - her legs corrected themselves and seven years later there's no evidence of Mia's rubber band legs.

Which is good because she's turned into quite a jock and bendy legs would have pissed her off.

Yeah, Mia's a jock. And a natural one at that.

It started with swimming. Despite her peanut size, Mia was immediately natural and fast in the water. She accumulated ribbons and trophies quickly. She got into baseball when I started throwing her pitches in the back yard and she hit 90% of them, some in grand slam fashion. With her mom's help, Mia tackled ice skating in about 20 minutes then took a year's worth of lessons. Mia regularly breaks 100 when bowling. She earned a couple belts in karate and followed those up with soccer. Next up? Basketball.

One of the things I respect most about Mia is her willingness to try combined with her ability to try well. I am a little pissed, though, when she hands my ass to me in bowling.

Posted by Chris at 7:45 AM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2012

Eight Days Louise

There are very few things my little family agrees on musically. Beth is practically uncategorizable (if that's a word, which my browser informs me it isn't). She loves equal parts Paul Simon and Pearl Jam and quite a range of things in between. Me, well, I like self-absorbed, complicated progressive rock with dueling keyboard/guitar solos and songs that last a half an hour. Mia likes showtunes and Glee (which, I guess, is showtunes). Owen likes rock and roll.

Pretty much the only thing we can agree on is The Beatles.

In much the same fashion that Mia pretends not to like Star Wars, she claims she doesn't dig The Beatles. But Owen loves The Beatles with a passion. Owen falls asleep to The Beatles every night, courtesy of a playlist I pulled together that contains everything The Fab Four ever released. Better yet, Owen's started learning the words to the entire Beatles back catalog. He started with All You Need Is Love which is his favorite and, with his somewhat wonky speech comes out sounding like All You Need Is Ludge. He believes the first line of Blackbird is Blackbird singing in the Jedi knight and loves all the background melodies of The Beatles' early Capitol Years songs. Last night when I walked in he was singing Eight Days A Week though his version was Eight Days Louise. And honestly, Eight Days Louise is the best band name I've ever heard (aside from Atomic Bitchwax which is, sadly, taken).

I didn't grow up digging The Beatles. I liked them but it wasn't obvious to me then what geniuses they were. It is now. My kids - through their incessant arguing over music and their ability to finally choose something they can agree on - showed me just how fabulous those four were. While they were pretty important in the evolution of popular music, they were even more important in musical peace in my house.

Even if we all get the words wrong. Because it totally should be Strawberry Shields Together.


Posted by Chris at 7:45 AM | Comments (7)

October 22, 2012

Taffy Weekends

This weekend was one of those gorgeous fall weekends you wish would last all season. If it was taffy, you'd pull it, stretch it out as far as you could, and enjoy every last, sweet bite. But the weekend wasn't taffy, just a nice 48-hour chunk of time I got to spend with my family.

Two soccer games punctuated Saturday. Between, we took a nature walk around a local lake, playing in the leaves, skipping rocks and being silly. Then the cousins an inlaws came over for pizza. On Sunday morning I took a nice long bike ride up the W&OD trail. The trail used to be the site of the Washington & Old Dominion railroad. In place of tracks, the trail is now a wide, paved bike path that spans 40+ miles of historic Virginia. It's the longest and most narrow park in the country and it's wonderful. After arriving home, legs sore, out of breath, I jumped in the shower then we took the kids to a movie. Okay, actually we took Mia to a birthday party that happened to be at a movie and Owen along with us so he could see it a suitable number of rows back. We saw Hotel Transylvania which wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be. It still wasn't good. Though Mia and Owen both asked that we buy it when it came out so clearly Adam Sandler has found his target market.

This is one of those weekends that I'm sad is over. It was wonderful. Like taffy.

Posted by Chris at 8:47 AM | Comments (1)

Haiku For Monday #430

Leaves are on the ground
pumpkins on the front stoops of
houses. Halloween.

Posted by Chris at 7:48 AM

October 19, 2012

The Weeklies #233

The Weekly Affliction. Exhaustion.

The Weekly Accessory. Cufflinks.

The Weekly Name. Uma Thurman's kid? Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. Or Luna for short. Naturally.

The Weekly Feat Of Awesomeness. Felix Baumgartner's 24 mile skydive.

The Weekly Read. In what seems to be an ongoing trend of angst-driven, moderately humorous family dramas, I read Matthew Norman's Domestic Violets. While it doesn't rise to the stellar levels of the previously reviewed The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving and One Last Thing Before I Go, it was a strong book and well worth reading.

The Weekly Office Supply. Binders.

The Weekly Asshat. Flavor Flav. Though that's really not restricted to this week.

The Weekly Question. What is your most treasured possession?

Posted by Chris at 7:24 AM | Comments (5)

October 18, 2012

Debate

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For the second time, I live Tweeted the debate. And last night was sure something.


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You know the way I lean. I was happy to see our President back in control. He showed up. And showed Romney up too. The result was a sense of control...and the portrayal of Romney as rude, arrogant and disrespectful.


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I love this country. I sincerely do. I'm helping Mia learn the national anthem. When the anthem is played at the high school behind my house, I stand. I think the welfare of our country - and it's people - should be of primary importance to our President. Not oil lobbies or special interest groups.


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I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad guy. I think he's quite bright with good ideas and a very strong sense of what's right for the country. I just don't agree with him. As I said on debate night, this comes down to a choice between what's good for a society and what's good for individuals.


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Posted by Chris at 7:17 AM | Comments (4)

October 17, 2012

Bus Tracks and Oven Mitts

Owen and my mom are kindred spirits. They're both extroverts in a notoriously introverted family. We cacti own tons of books and loathe cocktail parties. My mom and Owen will strike up a conversation with just about anyone about anything and, as Owen put it make new friends everyday. Most striking is the fact that there's something about the way the two of them look at - and interact with - the world that's just a bit wonderfully off-center.

The two of them spent the day together on Monday. They went to lunch, ran errands, bought cookies and met everyone who worked in Whole Foods. Then they went back to my parents' house.

Owen somehow stumbled on a pair of oven mits exactly like the ones my folks gave me last year. He proclaimed proudly, Daddy sold the ones like this that you gave him at our yard sale last weekend. Awesome.

Indeed I did. We had a yard sale last weekend to try and sell all the crap that's ended up on our basement during the five years we've lived in our house. It was a good time to get rid of the stuff we didn't want to move back into our shiny new kitchen. Somehow the oven mitts fell into that category. I don't know why. But, while I hate the idea of strange people sifting through all our stuff, it's a damn sight better than the piles of crap on our basement. And those oven mitts were yard sale gold, going in an early round of sales for probably around a buck-fifty.

I feel a little guilty about it but I'm sure that in my almost-forty years, I've done worse things to offend my parents. Though when Owen grows up and asks me about the bad stuff he did, I'm going to show him the tire prints on my back from the time he threw me under the bus.

Posted by Chris at 7:22 AM | Comments (7)

October 16, 2012

My Son, Ted Nugent

I'm slightly concerned that my son is slowly becoming Ted Nugent. Let's look at the evidence.

1. Ted Nugent is from Detroit. Detroit is Owen's go-to city when I ask where something is or where something came from.

2. Ted Nugent suffers from hearing loss. Owen often acts as though he cannot hear me. Especially around bedtime.

3. In 2007, Ted Nugent recorded an album entitled Love Grenade. Owen...well...nothing...I just wanted an excuse to tell everyone that Ted Nugent recorded an album called Love Grenade.

4. Unlike The Nuge, Owen is clearly a fan of Obama simply because Obama is fun to say. But he thinks Romney's a robot. And robots are cool.

5. 1998 saw the release of Nugent's song She Drives Me Crazy. Sometimes Owen's mom drives him a little nuts too.

6. Owen loves rock and roll. So does Ted Nugent, despite evidence to the contrary. I mean, come on, Cat Scratch Fever is a shitty song at best and Damn Yankees, while catchy, was just Snooze Metal. Owen prefers good, honest rock like The Beatles, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and Glee. (Three out of four ain't bad.)

7. Despite the fact that his parents are anti-gun vegetarians, Owen wants nothing than to shoot, kill and eat meat even if that means he has to hunt with a bow and arrow. Ted Nugent would approve.

I've always said that my son is a rockstar. This is not quite what I meant.


Posted by Chris at 7:05 AM | Comments (7)

October 15, 2012

Happy

Owen is, perhaps, the happiest and most outgoing kid on the planet. Evidence? Look what happens when we ask him to make his most serious sad face for the camera.



That should start your Monday right.

Posted by Chris at 7:09 AM | Comments (9)

Haiku For Monday #429

I think I'd like a
do-over on the weekend.
Or just more coffee.

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM

October 12, 2012

The Weeklies #232

The Weekly State of Being. Busy.

The Weekly Event. Our 13th anniversary!

The Weekly Read. I heard the name Chris Grabenstein years ago when Amazon recommended a few books based on my love of Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory. But I did nothing about it. Until recently. I picked up
Tilt-A-Whirl
, the first in a series of mysteries starring a couple of cops in a seaside Jersey town. Tilt-A-Whirl was a wonderful book. While laced with humor, it was a solid mystery. Not merely a thriller masquerading as a mystery but an honest-to-god mystery with clues and red herrings and a big reveal at the end that puts all the pieces together. I loved it.

The Weekly Read You Need To Buy Now. If you've been living under a rock you might not know that James Patterson and my buddy Marshall Karp have a new book out. It's called NYPD Red. You can find out all about on Marshall's snazzy (if I do say so myself) new site. Then you should buy it. The reasons are threefold:
1- It's a damn good book.
2 - You want to be in on the ground floor of a future bestseller, right?
3 - Marshall's a good guy and it's important to support all the good guys in the world, right?

The Weekly Music. Look, I know it's ridiculous but Oh My Dayum is the most hilarious thing I've heard all week. What's scary is how catchy it is too.

The Weekly Culinary Adventures. I cooked dinner. Twice. Homemade spaghetti and fettucine alfredo if you're curious. I love to cook I just don't do it enough.

The Weekly Awareness. It's Mental Health Awareness Week. It's important to me since it's part of what I focus on both professionally and personally. The other morning a prescription bottle of Paxil plummeted from my medicine cabinet into my full cup of coffee. Instead of reading this as some sort of mental health sign, I interpreted it to be the universe telling me not to drink coffee in the bathroom. Yes, I'm on drugs (legal ones) to make me normal, whatever the hell that is. But I firmly believe that a little bit of crazy is a perfectly acceptable - and necessary - thing. That the number of disorders in the DSM - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - increases every year doesn't mean we're getting crazier. It merely means that we're realizing there's no such thing as normal.

The Weekly Question. Who won the debate last night?

Posted by Chris at 7:29 AM | Comments (5)

October 11, 2012

Dope

According to CNN yesterday:

Cyclist Lance Armstrong was part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday in preparing to release more than 1,000 pages of evidence in the case.

The evidence involving the U.S. Postal Service-sponsored cycling team encompasses "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, e-mails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong," the agency said.

I really really want to believe that Armstrong is the victim here. I want to believe that he worked his ass off and earned each of his seven Tour de France titles - and countless others - fair and square. And that he didn't take us all for fools by telling us over and over again that he was innocent. But it's getting harder and harder to believe that.

What do you think? Is Armstrong a victim or a cheater?

Posted by Chris at 7:54 AM | Comments (16)

October 10, 2012

The Allergic Salute

I had horrible sinus and allergy problems as a kid. I was plagued with allergies and bronchitis. I spent nights sitting on toilets with hot showers steaming up the bathroom, with humidifiers, and Vicks vap-o-rub, and prescription Benedryl (yes, that's how old I am). My parents knew they were in trouble when they saw the Allergic Salute.

Take your hand, flat, fingers together, thumb in, palm towards your face. Now, place the middle finger of that pressed-together hand on the tip of your nose. Touching your nose the entire time, run your hand up until your nose passes the part where your hand meets your wrist. That's the Allergic Salute.

For the past few days Owen's been fighting what we thought was a cold and now know to be a sinus infection. He's developed an Allergic Salute of his own. It's ingenious since it involves nothing but his nose. He simply blows air through his nose in a vain attempt to clear it. He does this about every three and a half seconds. It's not at all annoying. Especially at 3:00 in the morning.

Annoying, yes, but at least Owen's blazing his own trail, not merely copying his dad.

Posted by Chris at 7:17 AM | Comments (2)

October 9, 2012

Thirteen

Thirteen might be unlucky for some but not for me. Thirteen years ago today, Beth and I got hitched.

The wedding was storybook. It was big and white. Friends and family were there. A ten piece band belted out everything and anything and people danced like fools. When it was over, Beth and I were exhausted, picking birdseed out of our wedding clothes and collapsing as if we'd just run a marathon. In a way we'd just started one.

Thirteen years. And that doesn't count the seven years we were together before we made it official. It hasn't always been easy. Beth's incredibly opinionated and stubborn and I'm kind of an asshole. Sometimes there are issues. But, at the end of the day, I'm incredibly lucky to come home to such a wonderful wife and best friend. And I'm lucky to wake up with her in the morning.

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Posted by Chris at 7:05 AM | Comments (21)

October 8, 2012

Hometown

Beth and I were driving back home after our Saturday date night and, in doing so, we drove right past my parents' street.

Beth: Is it weird driving past your old house all the time?
Me: No. Not at all. It's kind of nice.

We live not too far from where my parents and I moved in back in 1989, behind my old high school, and around many of my old haunts. I'm sure some folks would think it's a drag. After all, don't we spend most of our formative years talking smack about where we live and, like some high-minded, restless character in a Broadway musical, constantly express the desire to shake off the shackles of this tiny town?

Truth is, I don't live in a tiny town but it sure feels like it sometimes. There's an old part of town with old brick buildings. There's a high school homecoming parade each year. You get to know the town cops even if you're not a habitual speeder. Anyone with kids runs into each other constantly - we're all in the same schools and sports leagues, and community associations. It's an oasis of small town life in the midst of the big, bad city. And I love it.

We were in the grocery store yesterday, getting stuff for me to make some homemade spaghetti sauce. Standing in line Beth reminded me that I'd totally forgotten the basil. So I sprinted to the produce section, seeing my dad in line, waving, along the way. After we'd all paid, we spent a few minutes catching up then my dad went on his way, returning to my old house, while we headed to our new(ish) one, confident that we'd run into each other again soon. That's pretty cool.

All this makes me wish that I had Flashback Vision. You know, the ability to look around - the local strip mall, the elementary school you went to, the neighborhood you used to live in - and see it exactly as it was at any point in time. I'm sure there's some augmented reality, crowdsourced, curated app that could be made by collecting people's old photos.

But I don't know how to do that. If you're up to it, you can have my idea. For now, I'm just happy being close to my family, to those old haunts.

Posted by Chris at 8:39 AM | Comments (2)

Haiku For Monday #428

Thank god for king sized
beds. Especially on nights
with sniffling kids.

Posted by Chris at 7:42 AM

October 5, 2012

The Weeklies #231

The Weekly Compliment From A Colleague. "Thank you for always being fantastic." I'm still smiling about that.

The Weekly Muppet. Big Bird

The Weekly Listen. I fell in musical love with Aimee Mann when she did the Magnolia soundtrack. I've dutifully picked up every subsequent release as soon as it makes it to real or virtual shelves. Though I maintain that Lost In Space is her masterpiece and nothing since has come close, I picked up Charmer with hope. It struck me a lot like Green Day's latest did last week. It's good. It's peppy and fun, but Aimee Mann is capable of more. I wanted another mature masterpiece and didn't get it. Still, it's worth picking up. Who knew Aimee Mann and Green Day were so similar.

The Weekly Read. I've read a string of amazingly good books. Jonathan Evison's Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving continued the streak of five star novels. Evison made my blog a few years ago with All About Lulu. It was good but Fundamentals of Caregiving is fantastic. To try and describe what it's about would be to either give it away or make the plot sound ridiculous. I'll spare you that. You should go out and pick up a copy now.

The Weekly Adventure In Social Media. I live-tweeted the presidential debate. While it was a nice idea, it was much like the debate itself. Somewhat slow, lackluster, and forgettable. I'll do it again but I'm going to drink before the next one.

The Weekly Question. Date night's coming. What movie should we see?

Posted by Chris at 7:28 AM | Comments (8)

October 4, 2012

Act Casual

I'm sure you've heard by now that J.K. Rowling - queen of children's books in the wake of the Harry Potter phenomenon - has a new book out. A Casual Vacancy.

There are two things that surprised me about the book. Or, rather, the release of the book since I haven't actually read it.

First, the price. It's listing for $18 in electronic form which really feels like a rip-off. That's more than discount hardcover price. I refuse to pay more for something digitally than I would in physical form. Right there J.K.'s publishers lost me.

Second - and craziest - the comments from parents about kids letting them read the book. People are seriously considering buying the book for their kids or reading it with them. Because it was written by the Harry Potter lady. The interviews I've read with these people are amazing, pretty much along the lines of because she wrote a bunch of kids' books, this one must be fine for them to read too, right?.

Wrong.

Roald Dahl was a great example of what Rowling is trying to be. A hugely successful children's author, Dahl had a parallel writing life, publishing adult novels and short fiction that was, at times, risque and violent, some of which were later adapted by Alfred Hitchcock and - gasp - Quentin Tarantino.

I loved the Harry Potter books and will surely read A Casual Vacancy (as soon as the price drops). In the mean time, I feel Rowling. She's got a hard road to hoe and however great her adult novels may be, she's going to leave a trail of disappointed parents and kids.

Have you read it? Will you?

Posted by Chris at 7:25 AM | Comments (16)

October 3, 2012

Owen, Nature, Nurture, and Forever

Owen is so typically boy.

Owen has expressed an interest in all things boy. As luck would have it, many of these things are frowned upon in our house. Owen loves guns, swords, knives, bows and arrows. We’ve told him that guns are off the table until he’s 18. After which he told us that when we die he’s going to live in our house and make weapons. I’m well aware of the fact that this sounds vaguely psychopathic but if you know Owen, you know it totally isn’t. In the absence of firearms, he’s trained his sights (so to speak) on archery. Channeling his inner Katniss, Owen wants a bow and arrow to help him shoot meat. Truth be told, he’d probably be happier hunting chickens with a fully functional lightsaber.

Before I met Owen, I was never entirely sure where I came down on the whole nature/nurture thing. I’ve been forced to give nature a bit more credit than I might have previously. But none of this worries me at all. First, because it’s natural and, second, because Owen is the most empathetic, kind child I’ve ever met. Death helped me see this.

When my uncle Dick died, we saw just how empathetic and sensitive Owen was. Driving away from Arlington Cemetery, confronted by the idea of death in a very real, tangible way for the first time, Owen fell apart. The sudden realization that he and everyone around him was mortal hit him and he crumbled. It was hard to watch. He got over it and remains far from obsessed with death but he does revisit the topic occasionally.

So I wasn’t at all surprised when I was tucking Owen into bed the other night and, instead of a mere goodnight, Owen told me:

Daddy, I love you so much. When we both get old I want to die in a box together so we can always be with each other.

There are times when this boy drives me crazy. And other times I go out of my mind with love for this kind little boy trying to figure out the world.

Posted by Chris at 7:41 AM | Comments (12)

October 2, 2012

30 And Over The Hill

Thirty years ago yesterday, the compact disc was born. Yep, I feel old now.

The first test CD that was pressed contained Richard Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie. The first CD manufactured for public distribution was Abba's The Visitors but the first CD that actually made it to stores was 52nd Street by Billy Joel. They took a while to catch on. The first CD to sell a million copies was Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms in 1985. Probably because they were expensive. They cost $15 but, adjusted for inflation, that's about $35 today. And you had to shell out $730 for something to play them on.

There are people alive today - responsible people with important jobs - who never knew a world without CDs. They never spun vinyl 45s and pretended to be a DJ with a crappy microphone and their dad's stereo. They never wallpapered their rooms entirely in longboxes. They never absorbed every inch of text and art in a gatefold cover. They never made a mixtape for a girlfriend or boyfriend.

I remember when CDs hit the stores. The CD section in my local, often-visited Sound Warehouse was about three feet wide, loosely stocked with longboxes. The rest of the store was vinyl and cassettes. Over time there was a tectonic shift as retailers stocked CDs, abandoning vinyl then cassettes. Of course now its almost impossible to find a brick and mortar music retailer. But people are still buying CDs. They accounted for 61% of last year's music sales. Not me. I have boxes with thousands of CDs stored in the basement. My collection was digitized years ago. The only time I buy a CD is when a piece of music isn't available any other way. That's increasingly rare.

I don't really mourn for lost mediums. The music is still there. Sure, liner notes, artwork and lyrics are gone and with them some of the overall experience but for me it was always about the music.

How do you consume your music? How badly to you miss those bygone formats?

Posted by Chris at 7:57 AM | Comments (12)

October 1, 2012

On Yer Bike

A while back, I mentioned that I was sick of sitting around and aching (literally) to exercise. Over the past few months I've actually done something about it. Which is surprising because it gets in the way of my precious sitting around time. But, the results are in and I feel better. Go figure.

1. I stopped drinking during the week. Yeah. Me. Look, I don't like it either but I have to admit that I feel a lot better. It's not like I was getting loaded every night but even cutting out the beer or three each evening helped. Those empty calories are gone and I feel great in the morning.

2. I started paying a little more attention to my diet. I've been a vegetarian for 12 years but that doesn't automatically translate into good health (after all, Twinkies are totally vegetarian). First I started tracking calories but that got ridiculous and more than a little annoying. I started cutting out all my main sources of sugar, reduced my snacking and started loading up on water.

3. I got a bike. I loved biking when I was a kid. I was pretty serious about it up until the time I got my license. But a few months back I found the bike I wanted, put it together, and started hitting the road.

4. I gave exercise a shot. Instead of letting my bike sit in the garage where it stayed nice and shiny, I began taking it out on the road. Now, I hop on the treadmill and run a few miles and few times a week and, each weekend, jump on the bike and but a dozen or so miles on it.

This is all about feeling better for me. I'm not overweight and weight loss wasn't my goal. Which is good because I weigh exactly the same as I have for the last several years. But I feel good, not so bleh, if you catch my drift.

What do you do to feel better? Any tips or tricks that I could steal?

Posted by Chris at 7:34 AM | Comments (6)

Haiku For Monday #427

How's it possible
that it's October the first?
On a time-rocket.

Posted by Chris at 7:15 AM


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