A Few Days in the Life (October 5, 2020)

October 5, 14:34


Crunch time.

Things are starting to get real. The move I chattered about, hoped for, planned, and plotted for is at hand. By this time next week, I should have said so long to the movers as I prepare to spend my last night as a St. Louis resident.

The first week in Chicago is shaping up to be a madhouse. After the move -out on the 12, it’s a drive up and hotel on the 13th, the movers and one furniture store on the 14th, a second furniture store and television installation on the 15th, and cable and Internet installation on the 16th. In between I’ll be putting some things away, assembling other things, and simply hoping to find order within the chaos.

Today has been largely administrative, but there’s no sense of panic since I’ve gotten off to a pretty good start with the packing. Tomorrow’s plan is cleaning out the storage bin, which will no doubt feature a great deal of personal purging.

Meanwhile, I’m being taken to a late lunch/early dinner by a former co-worker. Once back home, it will be time to toss more than a few things from the old kitchen, as I look forward to having a practically new one upon arrival at my new home.

And then there’s the music.

I was going to wait until Saturday to start packing the Sonic Sanctuary away. But upon due consideration, I believe it will be better to start Wednesday. I’ll use the time away from my collection to listen to the many items being sent to me for review. At the minimum, I can take a few notes.

Robert Fripp’s influence rises once more, as this book (which appeared on his desk) has found its way to mine.

It’s a highly intellectual volume. The kind requiring a great deal of focus. Now is definitely not the time to take this on. Besides, I still need to finish Neil Peart’s work, which has gone largely neglected for a few weeks.

Off to prepare for lunch.

October 6, 20:43


Funny what gets one motivated. I spent far too much of my day not accomplishing much. But the instant I brought home a box of large garbage bags from the store, I was all set to dig in and make things happen! Most of the action took place in the kitchen, where most things were thrown out, but a few important articles (mainly coffee mugs) survived the purge and will make the trip north.

I’m starting almost completely over with my kitchen. I do so without regrets. The idea is to get the kind of things I’ll be eager to use, which means I’ll do most of my cooking and eating at home. Eating out in Chicago is bloody expensive! And while I’m all for supporting local businesses in the time of pandemic, there have to be a few limits.

That thought process is part of what sent me wandering through WholeFoods yesterday after dinner. There’s one a couple of blocks from my new home, and I wanted to get an idea of what I was in for. Given my past and present hobbies, I didn’t think sticker shock was possible for me. Turns out I was wrong.

A look at some of those price tags went a long way toward explaining why I and millions of other Americans are dealing with an obesity problem. And I was looking at St. Louis prices. I told Kim I might as well add an additional 20 percent because of Chicago’s cost of living. Well, that’s the way it goes. I think it will be a case of fruits and vegetables from WholeFoods, with a different (and as yet unknown) option for other things. I’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I stare at the shelves full of LPs and CDs that need to be packed away. The first duty tomorrow goes to my storage bin, since the kitchen should be all but finished. Then it will be time to tackle the Sonic Sanctuary. With all my familiar favorites packed away, I figure this will be the ideal time to listen to all the material I still need to review. I’m hoping that works itself out. I won’t pack away the Reverberation Station until Sunday evening, I think, since the movers are due Monday morning. Entertainment options will be limited for a few days, to be certain.

My friend and former partner Kim accompanied me on my WholeFoods trip after a marvelous dinner. It was good to spend a little quality time doing the old jibber-jabber. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

I was complimented by a friend on my relatively calm state during this massive change. I hadn’t really given it a ton of thought. I once uprooted my life and took it from a sleepy South Carolina town to Tokyo, Japan. A 300-mile jaunt to Chicago doesn’t seem all that bad by comparison, even if I’m the one footing the bill this time. It is what it is. I just have to deal with it, one box at a time.

Speaking of which, time to accomplish just one more thing.

October 7, 20:23


One inch.

I need the small packing boxes from Loews to be one inch taller and one inch wider. I’d settle for half an inch. Then they would be absolutely perfect for LPs. I would suggest that to their corporate office, but something tells me the reply would be, “What’s an LP?”

So I make due with what I have. And the records are now packed.

I also cleaned out the storage bin. That which remains will be moved. More than a little stuff went out, starting with a ton of unread comic books.

They were gifted to me a couple of years ago by a friend cleaning out his house. I never found the time to read them. I never will. I was going to just throw them out. Luckily, I remembered that I live around the corner from a comic book store, where I gifted them. No muss, no fuss.

I also stumbled across the last remnants of my military career in my dog tags and a name plate with my name written in Japanese (specifically, Kanji).

I also stumbled over a bottle of champagne I had completely forgotten about. It was in my mom’s house, which I had to clean out after she passed away.

I haven’t decided what I want to do with it. Several people have told me to hold on to it, since it’s worth $200-300. Others have said to open it to celebrate the move, because it’s a fine year and will taste great. ONE guy told me it wasn’t worth more than $100, and it probably wouldn’t be all that good. Interesting.

Oh, well. I have other things to worry about.

The guitar rig is also all but packed. There was talk of one more jam with Trey, but we just don’t have the time.

It would seem this move is getting more real by the minute.

October 8, 15:55


My body hurts.

I did quite a bit yesterday. Today, I’m paying for it. The joys of aging and not seeing the inside of a weight room in who-knows how long. Well, I’d best build myself a bridge and get over it, because there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Finished taking apart the guitar rig, culminating in a box full of cables and spike strips. Trey came by yesterday and I wound up inheriting two more Digitech pedals (a Whammy and a Modulator) which will eventually become part of the larger rig. But there’s no rush for that.

Lunch with my dear friend Leonard Day, my very first true partner on The Job. Our goodbye came in two parts. He came over a few days ago, and we talked mostly shop (in a pleasant way). Today, work barely came up. We managed to have all the conversations we’ve missed out of over about six or seven hours total. I’m gonna miss him.

I’m off to see Tory and Venus in a bit. It feels like a Farewell Tour, which is a little sad. Visits have been promised, but life has a way of pulling us in unintended directions. So no one will be faulted if the reunions are slow to come.

I’m thinking at least half the CDs will be packed away tomorrow. I might even get a small jump on them tonight. As much as I want to stall, there are too many other things to do, and a few people who still want to see me. Something has to give. I’m sure I can find other ways to entertain myself.

IKEA is out of Billy shelves. Out of stock. Gone. No estimated time of arrival. Goddamn COVID.

This puts me on the horns of a semi-dilemma. The plan was to put my LPs on new shelving. Now I’m looking at taking the old shelves with me. They’re gamers, to be certain. And I can make them work. I think they’ll hold, as they have for a couple of decades. I can only hope for the best.

First world problems.

October 10, 10:00


The boxes continue to multiply. The art is coming off the walls. The apartment is full, but starting to look empty. This is getting real.

The art will change a bit in Chicago. I’ve had a decent collection of concert and promo posters for some time now. But some two thirds will be left behind. This is part of the “hard reboot” I eagerly seek. Seeing something different will help put me into a different place, mentally.

Some of these posters have literally followed my around the world since the late 80’s, like Miles:

Nothing wrong with the art. I just want something different. The Bowie piece was a good start.

I also have too many King Crimson/Adrian Belew pieces. I’m holding on to the most special to me of each, and letting the rest go. My friends at Planet Score will take them off my hands. I have no interest in selling them. I just want them to find a good home.

The “See You Later” tour found its way to Tory and Venus (perhaps my favorite married couple in the world) a couple of days ago. Tory’s off-center views on life and music have been invaluable to me. Venus is his counterbalance, and I love her to death.

It stings to leave them behind, even if I only get to see them a couple of times a year.

I have another “See You Later” gathering this afternoon, so it’s off to the shower and on to work.

October 12, 17:16

(Nearly empty) Home

Moving day.

I remember the first time I walked into this apartment. The potential I saw! It was a happy time. Moving here was one of the best decisions I ever made. I stand by that even now as everything has now been moved out.

I’ve been asked repeatedly whether or not I’m excited about moving to Chicago. More importantly, how does it feel? To be honest, I don’t feel much of anything yet.

I went through the same thing 30 years ago when I was sent to Japan. I knew where I was headed, and I was certainly enthused about the idea. But it didn’t feel real until I got into the shuttle that took me on a three-hour(!) drive from the airport to my new base. Only then could I look out the window and see what was most definitely NOT America. Only then did I feel it.

This time, I probably won’t feel it until Wednesday. That’s when the movers arrive, along with the first furniture store. When I actually have my own stuff in that condo overlooking Lake Michigan, when I can roll out of bed when I’m ready and not worry about checkout time, when I’m making breakfast in my own kitchen … that’s when it will feel real. And that’s when I’ll get more emotional.


Sis’s House.

I’m supposed to be in the car tomorrow, headed north. But it wouldn’t be a major life event without a little drama. And drama we have. On multiple levels.


A couple of days ago, I thought I smelled antifreeze coming from under my car’s hood. I’d had an issue with the car overheating a few months ago. The antifreeze reservoir was bone dry. I wondered if it was happening again. It was. I refilled the well, and figured to go on with my moving efforts. 

Alas, I went to get something from my garage, only to see a small stream of antifreeze coming from under the car. Dammit! I’m supposed to be loading the car tomorrow and heading north. No one can fix it before tomorrow afternoon, and I MUST be in Chicago to meet the movers on Wednesday. Sigh … 

Thank goodness I have a great landlord, who is willing to let me continue to use the garage until the end of the month; and a great friend, who has offered to drive the car to the garage and back while I’m setting up my new home. So I will have to make one more trip to St. Louis after all. I’m just hoping it’s a leaking hose and not something worse. But my luck with cars has never worked out quite that way.


A few days ago, I started getting an odd bit of pain in my lower back, shooting down my legs. Being male and incredibly busy, I chose to ignore it. Now I’ve reached the point where I have no choice but to pay attention. I’ve experienced enough injuries in my lifetime to believe I was dealing with sciatica. I avoid WebMD at all costs. As my sister says, “A little knowledge can be dangerous.” So I asked Siri for the symptoms of sciatica. Sadly, I checked nearly every box. Yeah … this is EXACTLY what I need in the middle of a move. I guess I’ll be getting a new doctor even sooner than I planned. 

But you know me: I can’t complain. 

Drama aside, this was actually a pretty good day. I will forever sing the praises of professional movers. Mine were prompt, polite, professional, and highly proficient. That ton of boxes was gone within two hours. And I’m reasonably sure they slowed down a bit, just so they could make it to their next gig at the scheduled time. Shortly after, the junk removal team arrived and did what needed to be done in less than an hour. Just as efficient, just as punctual. And now I have a nearly empty domicile, which I will clean tomorrow before taking the evening train. 

Assuming my back holds up. 

And sooner or later, I will get back to the music. 


You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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