A Few Days in the Life: May 21, 2019

May 21, 12:33; Chapter 2 Reality

I haven’t written anything journal-esque in the last couple of days. Was that by design? I don’t know. More than likely, the days just slipped away from me. I’ve been rather busy.

Today is without question the most “CirdecSongs”-oriented day I have had thus far. It is a true testament to whether or not this is really what I want to do with my post-retirement life. I’m busy as hell, but the answer appears to be a resounding YES.

I spoke to Sonar’s Stephan Thelan this morning. His albums with that band, as well as his solo effort Fractal Guitar have been quite the obsession in my home. I spoke to him for only half as long as I thought I would, yet I wound up getting twice as much information. It is wonderful when things work out that way. And thanks to my clumsy fingers, the interview started 20 minutes early. Oops! Well, we both adjusted, and everything went along just fine.

One thing is certain: the second chapter of my life is getting more and more real, and I get more and more excited about it.

 May 24, 21:26; Slippage

Where did the last couple of days go? They passed in a blur. A scheduling snafu threw everything off for a bit. Slowly but surely, I’m recovering.

Speaking of snafus, it dawned on me a few days after the fact that I forgot to go see Riverside at Delmar Hall. Dammit! It was the night after Snarky Puppy. I hadn’t bought a ticket, which is probably why it slipped my mind. A lesson has been learned.

Speaking of Snarky Puppy, I’m almost six days removed from that gig. It was a good news/bad news kind of evening. On the plus side, I got to spend some time with my pal and former bandmate Trey Adams, whom I hardly see any more.

Also on the upside, the band was fantastic. Absolutely air tight. The crowd was deeply into it, and the band definitely fed off that energy. Which leads me to the gig’s downside: it was a standing gig, which I expected. It was also really, really crowded. I couldn’t stand amongst the crowd. I don’t like doing that kind of thing any more.

It’s a byproduct of the trauma I must endure on my day job. And I’m stuck with it. All 24 years of it. In the end, I retreated to the patio behind the venue’s main section, and watched a chunk of the gig on a video monitor.

Far from ideal, but that’s the way it goes. What sucks is that I couldn’t connect with the band and the music. It sounded great, but I never truly felt like I was a part of it. That’s how crowds hinder me. The secret about one of my favorite bands is out. I can see a small theater gig for them the next time they come through. At least that room will have seats.

I understand why bands like to have their audiences stand before them. The energy between a seated and a standing audience can be the difference between night and day. I remember noticing that when I saw Steven Wilson at the Vic Theater in Chicago. We were plenty enthused about his music when we were seated, but after standing for “Permanating,” at his request, the energy completely changed. It actually picked up a few notches. I can understand why Wilson plans to insist on a standing venue next time.

The bottom line appears to be this: I need to get in shape to go to concerts. And I need to get there early all the time, so I can make my way to the front.

I was all set to go home after the show, and Trey and I were on our way to the car, when we heard the most interesting sound coming out of the bar next to The Atomic Cowboy, where our gig had been.

They were called Steady Flow, and they were cool as hell. They took metal, funk, and Memphis soul, mashed it up and created a powerful sound. When we walked in, there might have been six people listening. By the time we left, there were more than 100. I am going to get to know this band a bit better in the future.

May 26, 10:07; Home.

It’s raining. Again. My fair city needs many things. Rain is not one of them.

If yesterday’s watch is any indication of the forthcoming summer, I’m glad it will be my last on the Job. It’s not just the nature of the calls. It’s my feelings (or lack of) toward them. It’s hearing shots from an assault rifle go off less than a block from where my partner and I are mediating a family dispute, and not being fazed by them. Instead, we calmly wrap up our call and head to where the shots came from. Just another day at the office.

Or going to the home of a young woman threatening suicide. The call is handled professionally, but I can’t help but notice that her dining room table is exactly what I’m looking for. And I can find it IKEA. Wow.

There’s detachment and there’s detachment. This is the latter. It’s just about time to move on.

Today is Miles Davis’s birthday. Like I needed an excuse to break out these gems …

But before I get to those, my friend Richard Kreuger has me going here:

Looks like my Jazz Sunday is set. I may need two days to get through it.


I need to pay more attention to my schedule. I just found out that I have the day off tomorrow, the first of three. Believe me when I say I had every intention of coming in.

That happens from time to time, particularly when I’m on the afternoon watch. I get wrapped up in the routine of get up, accomplish a couple of things, nap, shower, get dressed, and head to the office. At some point during the week, I’ll check the schedule to see when I’m off next. I hadn’t gotten around to that part yet. Surprise! I don’t have to work on a holiday. Go figure.

May 30, 19:05

The off days did what they do best: they passed by in a blur. But writing was done, and more pieces are finished or nearing completion. And I feel like I may have even gotten a little rest.

Joe informed me that my Heaven & Earth box set is in, just in time for tomorrow’s official release. I find myself having mixed feelings. While I’m very excited to hear what’s in the box, I also realize that this may very well be the last King Crimson CD set I ever buy. There is other music to explore, and the new KC and I have gone as far as we can go. Amazingly, I have similar feelings about Adrian Belew’s music. I love it and it will always be there. But a whole new world has opened up to me. The way through is forward, so that’s where I’m going.

June 2, 11:19; Home.

Bracing myself to gear up and go in to work a little early. There’s paperwork to be done. But it is Jazz Sunday, so I’m spending part of my day with this lovely collection from John Coltrane.

Turns out this is the box set Joe was referring to when he said my special order had come in. The Crimson set’s release has been pushed back to June 14. Blerg!!!

Don’t get me wrong: I was looking forward to the Coltrane set. But Crimson from the H&E era has been burning a hole in my brain. Im dying to hear the other material that came from that era. Alas, I’ll have to wait a couple more weeks. There are greater tragedies in life. Not that knowing that kept me from pouting a little. So I spent Friday patrolling to these instead.

I also finally picked up Robert Fripp’s Exposure re-issue. I’d forgotten how remarkably quirky that album really is. Robert and I may not be vibing on a personal level (not that he knows that), but his music continues to fascinate.

It’s an odd relationship, but one I can handle.


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Check out my book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

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