everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's a restless hungry feeling that don't mean no one no good...

I never understood it when I was a kid how my mother complained every time she went to the grocery store. How could she complain about a place that stacks & stacks of little debbie snacks, candy & cereal? Then I remember how my sisters & me would beg for crap that we didn't need like fruit rollups. What are fruit rollups? I remember being envious of the kids whose parents bought them fruit rollups, spoiled brats that they were. How she didn't rap me across the forehead every time we went to the grocery store is beyond me. Then she always made a big deal about helping her put the groceries away & we were never willing to help. I can imagine her thinking that she spent an hour at that stupid place buying food for us grubby little moochers & we can't even help her unload it.

I don't have any kids, but I get why she hated it so much. The grocery store is an awful, awful place, especially Meijer's. I don't knock Meijer's as an organization, they provide local jobs, low prices & just about everything you could ever need at any hour of the day. I just hate going there. I am a grumpy, impatient S-O-B at the grocery store, especially on Saturdays. I think the grocery store is a microcosm of society as a whole, people are driving their carts around concerning themselves with which laundry detergent is on sale, filling them up with unhealthy crap they don't need paying absolutely no attention to anybody else around them. Don't you hate it when somebody parks their cart right in the middle of the aisle making it impossible for anyone to get through? Ugh, wish me luck.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

In My Way, Yes-Vic Chesnutt, Silver Lake

Bernadette & Her Crowd-Vic Chesnutt, The Salesman & Bernadette

Anarchy in the UK-the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

I'm Going to Say it Now-Phil Ochs, There But for Fortune

Keep the Car Running-Arcade Fire

Happy Saturday, friends...


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Down the highway, down the tracks...

Happy Thursday, friends. One of the hidden treasures I've rediscovered about the new job is the morning & evening commutes. The result of losing an hour everyday in a car everyday is a bit depressing, but the time is well spent. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Morning Edition or All Things Considered, but the rest of the time is spent with the volume turned all the way up on the ipod. The Ipod shuffle changes the way I listen to music in the car. Alot of the time is spent hitting the next button until I find a song I'm in the mood for, but it brings up alot of songs I wouldn't think to listen to. My favorite time is in the evening when the train runs parallel with US-31 with the trees in full color.

The job is going quite well, better than I expected, in fact. It's quite satisfying to turn improve something every day. I've filled up the dumpster about five times. My part timer called me obsessive compulsive today. I told him that I took it as a compliment. Every day is a struggle, but a struggle that I think I'm winning for the most part. I'm down to about one argument per day about things I want to change, down from about 5 or 6. Business is very good, as well. Every now & then, I get a visit from some of my old customers which is a good feeling.

Now, I need a little help. My office is an absolute pit. On slow days, I spend time going through extremely old paperwork, throwing %99 of it away but careful not to lose the %1 that might be important. The room is about 5' x 7' with old rickety faux-wood shelves & an old wooden desk with an open window that passes through to the Assistant Manager's equally shabby office. The door frame is missing, the drywall is in awful shape & one of walls is block with a terrible faux finish on it. The floor is tile that's been painted over about 50 times. What do I do to decorate? My first idea was to embrace the shabiness & put all kinds of old stuff on the walls, completely covering them with old pictures & framed album covers that have no place in my home anymore. I'm thinking of painting the walls black, highlighting the cave-like quality it already possesses.

Now, for the song of the day...

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Train in Vain (Stand By Me)-The Clash

Going Going Gone-Bob Dylan, Hold the Fort (for What it's Worth), 1976

Changing of the Guards-Bob Dylan, Street Legal

Conquest-The White Stripes, Icky Thump

Sunset Soon Forgotten-Iron & Wine

Happy Thursday, friends...


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Morning

Happy Sunday, friends. There are lots of songs about Sunday, but my favorite for today is called Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground were at their best when they created a chaos of noises that jarred the senses that create uneasy feelings from the listener. Once, I drove home from Kalamazoo in a snow storm with VU playing on the stereo, & the fear of slipping off the street was met perfectly with the sounds coming from White Light/White Heat. It is truly art in song like no other band could create. They could also create beautiful melodies free from all that chaos, & Lou Reed could be quite an expressive singer when he wanted to be.

watch out! the world's behind you,
there's always someone around you who will call
it's nothing at all

Sunday is a perfect day for imagining all the places you can go & all the things you can do but realizing that the best place is where you are doing nothing at all.

What am I doing today, you ask? Well, after church, friends are coming over for, are you ready for this? The game of world domination, Risk. Junior showed me how to play this game a couple of weeks ago & I was instantly hooked. So, this afternoon, 1079 Moreland is geek central.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day (or at least five that I've listened to so far)

Little Green-Joni Mitchell, Blue

If I had to come up with ten of my favorite albums of all time, Blue would undoubtedly be on it, a perfect little masterpiece. It's been a long time since I've listened to it, I think I'll remedy that today.

Take the A Train-Duke Ellington

When the Deal Goes Down-Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Sunday Morning-the Velvet Underground

Across 110th Street-Bobby Womack

Happy Sunday, friends...


Friday, October 19, 2007

My Old Man

Happy Friday, friends. What I always admired about my old man, among many other things, is that he never tries to be cool. He is what he is, there's no image he's trying to uphold. He's not too proud to wear a worn out teenage girl's jacket to plow snow. He's happy to tell you about an episode of Amos & Andy that he just listened to on cassette, or give you the farm report. He proudly wore his mustache long after it was fashionable to do so (if it ever was). While some folks his age were buying big trucks or sports cars, my old man bought several cars which could be the antithesis of the masculine car. Among them were not one, not two, not three, but four Chevy AstroVans & not one, not two, but three Dodge Omni's (actually, two Omnis & one Chrysler Horizon, same car). I saw an Omni the other day that looked exactly like the one he bought brand new in 1988. If I could've, I would've bought it for him right then & there. He never was a drinker or a smoker, no, his vices were much more controversial. Little Debbie Snacks & Winn Schuler's Bar Scheeze are his downfalls, although he could survive, if he had to, on canned tomatoes over macaroni. He's quirky in every sense of the word, which in my eyes will always be cool. We always had fun playing basketball in the driveway, watching the Three Stooges, playing Ping Pong, going to baseball games & baseball card shows, mowing the lawn, chopping wood, going to Bud's & doing all kinds of other things. Here's to you, pops, I hereby announce that we will postpone your birthday to Monday this year so you don't have to spend it at a wedding rehearsal dinner.

for you, a song...

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Simple Twist of Fate-Bob Dylan, Earl's Court, 1981

In the Summertime-Bob Dylan, Earl's Court, 1981

Resurrection Fern-Iron & Wine, The Shepherd's Dog

Flightless Bird, American Mouth-Iron & Wine, the Shepherd's Dog

The Old Revolution-Leonard Cohen, Songs from a Room

Happy Friday, friends...


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If my thought dreams could be seen...

Has anybody else experienced the phenomena that when you dream about somebody or something that the next morning you hear from or see that person or that thing? It's the strangest thing. Last night, I had a dream that I was at an extremely crowded beach (I'm guessing it was Christie's idea) & somebody was playing the song Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood on their radio. I love that song, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person I know who likes it. I don't even remember what the dream was about, but sure enough, when I got up in the morning they played a clip of the song in between news reports on NPR.

Sometimes I think I'm a genius when I'm sleeping, I often come up with scenarios for television shows in my sleep that I find absolutely hilarious. I never remember them when I wake up, which is probably a good thing, they probably aren't funny.

In other news, Christie is sick with a cold & sinuses. Here's hoping she feels better. Christie, if you don't want your headache to get worse, you probably shouldn't play the above clip.

Grazing in the Grass-Friends of Distinction

Good Year for the Roses-George Jones

Positively 4th Street-Bob Dylan, Syracuse 2007

Do You Know What it Means (to miss New Orleans)?-Billie Holiday & Louis Armstrong

I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground-Bascam Lamar Lunsford, Anthology of American Folk Music

Happy Wednesday, friends, here's hoping all your dreams come true...


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Try imagining a place where it's always safe & warm...

One of the highlights of just about every week are the nights when friends meet at JW's for food & a couple of drinks. All kinds of topics get discussed from politics to work to religion & all kinds of things in between. All kinds of folks pass through JW's, & the crowd usually changes from week to week, but it's always good.

In other notes, here's to 1976, a great performing year for Bob Dylan. He was fresh off two of his finest albums, Blood on the Tracks & my personal favorite, Desire. 1976 had a bit more focus then the wild tours of the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975, but weren't as stiff & rigid as the stadium tours with The Band in 1974. Here's a few examples.

Here's one of the songs that really got me hooked on Dylan, my favorite version of the song...

with Joan Baez singing the Woody Guthrie song, Deportees...

The best of them all, Idiot Wind...

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You & I can turn & look
at the silent river & wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings & goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Idiot Wind-Bob Dylan, Hard Rain

Wagon Wheel-Old Crow Medicine Show

I Just Don't Know What to do with Myself-the White Stripes, Elephant

To Be Myself Completely-Belle & Sebastian, the Life Pursuit

Shelter From the Storm-Bob Dylan, Hard Rain

Happy Thursday, friends...


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If you got a field that don't yield, get on your feet, brother & hoe it...

Happy Wednesday, friends. It's one of those rainy & cold days that always makes me happy to come home from work. The new job is making me appreciate home alot more. I've been working 11-12 hour days & getting up at 5:15 am (every morning when I look at the alarm clock & I immediately start humming the song of the same name by Mark Knopfler).

The first day was a little rough, but a couple of days into it I'm starting to feel like I'm getting something accomplished. I'm farther than I thought I would be at getting stuff rearranged, so that's good. My coworkers are not nearly as resistant to change as I thought they would be, so that helped alot. It's been a ton of work & the last couple of days I was too busy for lunch, but it's a good feeling to go home at the end of the day & knowing that you made something better. I even found a perfect spot for my GVSU flag.

I've been enjoying the HOPE College radio station at work, they play a ton of stuff I like, including alot of the Holland Native Sufjan Stevens. They sure do love him, they play one of his songs just about every hour. Christie & I went to a concert on Monday at Hope, a fella named Mat Kearney played there. He played an impromptu cover of Sufjan's Chicago. They did okay with it, but it made me jones for the original. Here it is, friends, enjoy...

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Take It There-The Roots Featuring Wadud Ahmad, Game Theory

Boom Like That-Mark Knopfler, Shangri La

Like a Rolling Stone-Bob Dylan Live '66

Neverending Math Equation-Sun Kil Moon

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's a cold night, but we'll keep the music going...

Well, friends, the days are getting shorter, darkness is coming on. The days are unseasonably warm, but the nights are still chilly. I like to keep the windows open to remind myself that it's cold outside. Call me crazy. Nights like this remind me of my old man in his garage, working on whatever. Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't doing anything at all, & that makes it all the better. I liked to think he just goes out there to enjoy the silence save for the sound of the occasional saw & the sound of the a.m. radio in the background. I think I got my love of the radio from my old man, among many other things.

Happy Birthday, Grams, I hope your day was a special one. I love you & miss you. Talk to you soon.


Already one day has detached itself from all the rest up ahead.
It has my photograph in its soft pocket.
It wants to carry my breath into the past in its bag of wind.

I write poems to untie myself, to do penance & disappear
Through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.

Charles Wright, 1977

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

There She Goes My Beautiful World-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Lyre of Orpheus

Sentimental Reasons-Nat King Cole

Hey Joe-Jimi Hendrix

So Long, It's Been Good to Know You-Woody Guthrie

I'll Be Your Mirror-The Velvet Underground

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Parents They Warned Me Not to Waste My Years, I've Still Got Their Advice Oozing Out of My Ears...

Sometimes I envy those people that are constantly getting things accomplished. They can't sit still, even if they aren't working. I think I can be that way if I want to. Today, however, I really don't want to. I can think of about ten things I could get done, but all of those are taking a backseat to listening to & downloading tunes. Some kind soul has posted all of the Theme Time Radio Hour episodes on the internet & I've had a good little system of downloading about 5-7 a week so that I can listen to one or two every day at work. For those of you who haven't heard, Theme Time Radio Hour takes a theme each week & plays songs by different artists about the theme. It's brilliant & it is great background music for work.

The weekend & yesterday was productive, so I'll use that as my excuse to be lazy today. We got our pictures taken on Saturday in downtown Grand Rapids & despite my early resistance, I actually kind of liked it & I'll tell you why: The photographer actually used settings that I would like to see pictures of even if my ugly mug wasn't in them. For a better description of the pictures, go to Christie's blog. My face is still a bit sore from smiling so much.

I'm finally somewhat satisfied with the great stripes project of '07, after hours & hours of struggle. It took a while to figure out the best system to get it to look right. I've only got about an hour of touch ups to do before it's completed, & I must say, it looks like the cat's ass.

Yesterday, Christie & I both had the day off, so we went out to breakfast at the Morningstar before we met with the pastor. I did some more painting, went grocery shopping & saw one of the worst movies of all time, Good Luck, Chuck.

While I'm on the subject of nothing at all, allow me to conduct a poll of my reading audience. I can't think of anyone who regularly reads my blogs who has bad taste in decorating, so I think I'm safe. I have vinyl flooring in my kitchen, dining room & in both bathrooms which looks okay, but I'm not a fan of vinyl, I think it looks cheap. Eventually, I plan on tiling or putting down hardwood, but at the moment I can't really afford it. Underneath the vinyl is concrete. I pulled up the carpet in the closet & found out that the concrete is quite smooth. My idea is to clean the concrete & stain it & doing a treatment with a wash over top of the stain. Does anybody else think this is a good idea or am I an idiot? Well, don't answer that.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Diamond Shoes-Tift Merritt, Bramble Rose

Desolation Row-Bob Dylan, Wembley 2003

My favorite version of my favorite song, you can't go wrong with this one. I can't even explain it, it's like that old Louis Armstrong line, "if somebody has to explain it, it's no use", or something like that. Here's a video of the song from later in the tour, but it doesn't touch the version from Wembley, a concert that I listen to more than any other.

Wildwood Flower-The Carter Family

The New Pollution-Beck, Odelay

Ten years ago, I bought this album & played it over & over in my dorm room. I'm getting old.

The Trapeze Swinger-Iron & Wine

Happy Tuesday, friends, get something done...


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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...