Sunday, December 18, 2011


CJohn McEnery as Lars Magnusson and Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander in Sidetracked by Henning Mankell.. Credit: ©Left Bank Pictures 2009; BBC for Masterpiece Theater.
This blog as well as several of my other blogs have been woefully neglected. While not the sole reason for this neglect I tend to get sidetracked.

Sidetrack [ˈsaɪdˌtræk] vb
to distract or be distracted from a main subject or topic, to divert from a main issue or course, wander from a direct or straight course

Each day, I surf the internet, clicking on hyperlinks, opening new tabs and windows, flicking between e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and whatever topic it was I planning to post about.

Sidetracked Ghostly Phantom by *D8v1d

The trouble is each hyperlink leads to another, then another, and another; and while at least initially the tabs were related to the original subject, at some point the tabs take off on a tangent that becomes its own independent subject of inquiry, which then leads to new windows and perhaps another blog.

Sidetracked Again: Jim Ford Aamora Project Triptych

 It's not easy to stay on track, since the side trips can be as interesting, if not more so, as the initial subject. Unfortunately, these diversions tend to derail my blogs.

While it would be nice to impose some order to this dilemma, I must admit in all honesty that I love the chaos. I am constantly amused and amazed by what or who presents themselves to me. When I think about it, this situation I currently find myself in is much like the rest of my life whether with relationships, career, or whatever.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Technical Difficulties: Please Stand By

The difficulties I am having with this blog is that it is most personal of my blogs. It is after all about my life, more or less. The trouble is I am and have been a private person most of my life and deciding what to share and what not to has proven to be difficult. 

Writer's block arggggg!  Nothing that I can't work through after all I am clever with words in fact several ex-lovers have told me that I am quiet the cunning linguist. 

In reality it isn't a lack of clever wordsmithing but rather over-editing or perhaps more accurately über-filtering that has kept me from posting. Regardless, this too will pass.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another Weekend

End of another work-week and even though the work is decent most days I can't wait to get off work, which is also a title of a Tom Waits song.

The fact is this weekend has a Tom Waits vibe, at least Friday and Saturday night anyway. Enjoy the music and have a couple of drinks on me.

Robert O. Berdahl and Katy Hays star in Warm Beer Cold Women 2008 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Thank God It's Friday [T.G.I.F] a follow up to my post, Weekends. Friday has an unique position in the week in that it has a foot in both the work week and the weekend.  It is in and of itself a reason for celebration.

The Turn Ends

I started, what was at the time, a temp job painting apartments July 26 and worked steady through August 19 without a day off.  During the two of the weeks of Turn I managed to earn 40 hours of overtime each week. Not that I am complaining my bank account and I are very happy.

As it turned out, no pun intended, I was offered a full-time position working in maintenance which I accepted. Ironically, my first day off was spent doing repairs on my daughter's house.

The Turn

Ironically, the evening I walked out of the call center I was offered a temp position painting apartments during turn. Turn is the period between July 31 when students move out and Aug 12 when they move in. Lawrence, Kansas is a university town where the ebb and flow of life revolves the academic year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summerfest - Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, and Cage the Elephant

I took a few days off from the Call Center in early July to see The Black Keys with special guests Florence + the Machine and Cage the Elephant at Summerfest in Milwaukee.   I left after work on Tuesday, July 6 and drove to Chicago to meet up with my son. 

Road laborers working on Wadsworth Road, Wadsworth, IL 1906.
What was suppose to be a  9 1/2 hour drive from Lawrence KS. to Chicago IL. ended up being a 11 hour drive due to road construction.  No complaints though the concert was well worth the drive. rated this show the best show of the festival.

Cage the elephant opened the evening's event. Unfortunately, I am unable to fine any video of their performance worth posting. Perhaps because it was their 3rd year at Summerfest. There are plenty of videos from their 2009 and 2010 performances. So here are a few of pics from Summerfest and a few of their official videos.

 Cage the Elephant: Shake Me Down

Cage the Elephant: Back Against the Wall

Florence and the Machine followed Cage the Elephant and brought the house down. She has an amazing voice. This was the last show of her American tour. The pics and videos are from Summerfest 2011

Florence and the Machine: Cosmic Love

Florence and the Machine closed her set and her American tour with Dog Days Are Over.

The Black Keys was the closing act and was simply amazing at the end of their set they came back to to a multi-song encore. They rock hard. The pics and videos are from Summerfest 2011.

 Black Keys Howlin for You

 Black Keys Tighten Up

 The Black Keys finished their set with I Got Mine

 The Black Keys closed the evening and their encore set with Your Touch

After the concert drove back to Chicago for a couple hours of sleep then took off in the morning for Lawrence.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On the Dole Again

I'm on the dole again, well sort of.  I am unemployed again;
however, this time it was by choice and I am not receiving unemployment benefits, again by choice. Bottom-line, I wasn't interested working for a failing company. 

At least that was the situation I found myself in mid-late July when I first drafted this post. I have since landed into full-time employment.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


One of the benefits of going back to work is I now have weekends back. I'm aware that many a reader will argue that  weekends continued to exist during my six months of unemployment; however, they miss the point, entirely. 

Weekends only exist in relations to a work-week. The work-week and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labor and rest respectively. The weekend comprises the two traditionally non-working days in the seven-day week. Without the work-week Saturdays and Sundays are merely days no different than say a Monday or a Tuesday. 

The best thing about the weekend? Well, it's the weekend. And in the summer, when the air is warm and the pace is slightly slower, there's nothing quite like two days of freedom to explore the farmer's market, meet up with friends for morning coffee, wander leisurely around the city, and then later step out for evening cocktails.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Six Month Layoff

After being unemployed for six months almost to the day I returned to work last Monday. It is nice to be employed, although I'm not sure how long it will be before I am on the dole again.  In large part due to the nature of the job. I am now working at an inbound call center providing tech support for high speed internet service. 

The downside is that I didn't have to move to India to be outsourced. The upside is that I that I will receive a check and work with a number of over-qualified and under-employed individuals. 

Which leads to another upside:  the interaction with other humans... the motivation and drive to take a shower, get dressed before 1pm, and leave the apartment. There are only so many reruns of America's Next Top Model available on cable. Yes, I do love that show as well as Top Chief, Top Chief Master, Chopped, and Glee. [There are others; however, I will discuss them a later posting.]

One of things that I missed during my time off was the chit-chat, conversations about movies, music, books, and television with my previous co-workers. While not as romantic as the Algonquin Round Table, most of my co-workers, university students, were fairly literate and had a variety of tastes in movies, television, music, graphic novels, and books.

I had worked at Hastings Entertainment an anachronistic retail chain that failed and still fails to understand the effect that Netflix, Redbox, ITunes, as well as other alternative sources of media had on traditional brick-and-motor stores. Ironically, Hastings wasn't mentioned in the 2011 Best of Lawrence, while Border's which had closed it's door received an Honorable Mention. 

How to Speak Hip

A obsession with hipster slang had been prevalent in the mainstream culture since the late-30s/1940s when jazz music became a popular form. 

Cab Calloway released a recording of a song called the "Hepsters Dictionary" in 1938 (along with a published booklet). 

In the film The Song of the Thin Man from (1947) the "straight" Nick and Nora have trouble following the jargon of the jazz musicians in the story. 

During the 1950s, as people became conscious of the Beat Generation phenomena, amid fears of juvenile delinquency, there was an increased urgency to understand the language spoken by the new youth culture.

And the beat goes on  La de da de de, la de da de da

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Mornings

Sunday Mornings are generally spent listening to NPR Weekend Edition and jazz with my mongrel terriers, Miles and Coltrane, drinking Starbucks and reading the Sunday New York Times.

NPR had a couple of interesting features this morning: An American Jazz Diva Plays French Chanteuse, and A Spirited Celebration Of America's 'Cocktail Culture'.   

The American jazz diva referenced is Stacey Kent, a recent addition to the Blue Note roster of recording artists.  Her voice has been compared to many things fine and distinctive, including the taste of vermouth and the compositions of Erik Satie.

Kent boasts seven best-selling albums including Breakfast on the Morning Tram (2007) and The Boy Next Door (2003) both of which achieved Gold status, a string of awards, including the 2001 British Jazz Award and 2002 BBC Jazz Award for 'Best Vocalist,' the 2004 Backstage Bistro Award for best live performance and the 2006 "Album of the Year" for Jim Tomlinson's album, 'The Lyric' on which she was the featured vocalist.

Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980 is an intoxicating exhibit at the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Art that explores the social ritual of the cocktail hour through the lens of fashion and design. 

I realize that drinking Starbucks is no longer hip; however, it is just down the block from my apartment and the baristas are genuinely friendly, and I can get a free refill. And while this not my neighborhood Starbucks, it is one that I have visited often. 

I love Foamy as much as I love Starbucks

As much as I love spreading the Sunday Times on the floor, the cost [$6.00] has become somewhat prohibitive, at least now that I am unemployed. Its not like I'm broke, I have an income that keeps me comfortable, but there are definite trade-offs. Then again can one really place a price on sharing the Sunday Times with a friend.