Cirdec’s Log: January, 2023

January 11, 09:42

The Reverberation Station.

A grey and dreary day, on multiple levels.

The sun has declined to show its face again. I can only recall two, maybe three days this month when it graced us with its presence. Anyone who thinks Seasonal Affective Disorder isn’t a thing should hang around here for a bit.

Fortunately, the sun finally chose to reveal itself (a little) this past Monday and Tuesday. That helped. I was actually in a pretty good mood yesterday, right up until the point I learned Jeff Beck had died.

While the news came from nowhere (like Neil Peart and Taylor Hawkins), I still find myself in the realm of “shocked, but not surprised.” Maybe it was Jeff’s age (78) and the realization that Father Time always wins. Or maybe the news hasn’t fully sunk in yet. I wrote my eulogy to him, I’ll be playing his music just about all day. And yet it still won’t hit me until sometime when I’m not looking for it. It always does, doesn’t it?

It’s a tough time of the month. Jeff, Neil Peart, and David Bowie all passed away within this week or so window in January. Funny (not funny) how that works. People tend to salute musicians on the day they flew away. I’d rather focus on the day they were born, but that doesn’t seem to be how it works.

Mentioning Neil reminded me that I had stopped reading his book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road about halfway through. It wasn’t intentional. Something else — who knows what — grabbed my attention and pulled me away. So I went back to the shelf and grabbed it.

Clearly, this happened for a reason. Given my mindset over the past month or so (again connected to the season, I’m sure), Neil’s words were exactly what I needed to hear. No doubt that’s why I’ve been in a better mood. This time, I haven’t put the book down. And now I’m about two-thirds of the way through it. I’m desperately eager to make the morning read a thing. And with a little help from Miles and Sketches of Spain, that’s what I’ve been doing.

There’s so much I need to do. No sense putting it off any longer.

JANUARY 13, 15:30

The Reverberation Station

My hip hurts.

I had my first true “senior moment,” it seems, when I tripped after my sneaker dig into my area rug, causing a stumble. The lumbar stenosis did just enough to keep my legs from adjusting and keeping me upright. Down I went, directly on my left hip. Nothing is broken, I’m sure. But as the victim of similar injuries in the past, I’m reasonably sure I tore a ligament. Perhaps a hip flexor.

I haven’t bothered with an ER trip, because I already know what they’ll say after a battery of expensive tests: “Nothing is broken, and the tear doesn’t warrant surgery. So take anti-inflammatories, use ice, and give it some rest.” So I’ll do just that and save myself the $50-100 my insurance won’t cover.

The fall did drive home a point I hadn’t thought much about: what if I HAD broken my hip? I live alone. I didn’t have my phone on me. How would I get help? What if something worse happened and I couldn’t speak for myself?

I shudder at the thought.

A chat with Erik (a much younger man) brought me to a horrible new reality. And just like that, I was ordering a medic alter bracelet. (I am NOT ordering one of those goddamned electronic thingys from the commercials. We’re not there yet. So keep your wiseass remarks to yourself.) I’m also making arrangements for the serious and the extremely serious. Getting in touch with your mortality can be a real drag.


Phone calls relative to the above are complete for now. A strange experience. I’d rather focus on the positive, which brings me to the joy that was last night.

My pal Keith introduced me to several of his musician friends, who hold a weekly Zoom call to socialize and share music. The tradition was brought on by Covid, and they’ve just kept going. This is just my second week, but they make me feel like I’ve been a part of the meets since the beginning.

We chit-chat from our various locations, then everyone takes turns playing a song. I’m there as an observer, which is what Keith figured would be the provision. No problem. But we weren’t five songs in when everyone started asking when I was gonna play something. So I’ve given myself until April to nail down a couple of tunes I can play and sing.

It’s funny … cop me would NEVER entertain singing in front of people. Retired Cop/music junkie me relishes the challenge. For now, anyway. There are at least six songs rattling in my head with possibility. We’ll see where this takes us.

Time for a little practice.

JANUARY 15, 12:31


Sunshine. Genuine light. It’s a welcome sight. (Hmmm … song lyrics? I mean, Good day Sunshine has already been taken.) It’s bright enough to aid just about any mood, even if the chill remains very much in the air.

There’s a post-oatmeal hot chocolate on the TV tray, the Bills and Dolphins on the TV and Miles coming out of the speakers. Neil Peart’s book is also nearby, as I continue to run roughshod through it, and enjoyably so.

Keith came by yesterday afternoon for a beta read. He barely cracked the manuscript. This is neither uncommon nor unappreciated. When Keith comes by, sometimes he reads and other times we just hang out and talk. I think each of us has a sense in the other when talking is the best option. I can’t explain it. We just know.

I was making my way through the We Lost the Sea tune “Towers” when Keith walked into my home. Was this an intentional move on my part? Yeah, probably so. I respect Keith’s skills as a musician and was ready to absorb any constructive criticism he might have. Instead, he looked at me with mild amusement and took in the song, which he described as “orchestral.” In this he is 100 percent correct.

His next thought toward my playing was to ask me about my rig, and whether or not was playing through both amps for the tune (I was). Still, nothing critical about my playing. I hoped this was a good sign. I think it was, because later in the evening when I was showing him a couple of the tunes I’d like to play for the weekly Zoom call (“open mics,” he calls them), he picked one tune and said simply, “You should play that one.”

To my mind, Keith was telling me that I possessed the skillset to play the song (which I was also quietly singing). There was no sad look of this is beyond your depth. Only encouragement. And so, learn the tune I shall.

We took turns geeking out over various points of a Jeff Beck concert video. Watching a concert with a musician is a completely (and in many ways much better) experience. When I can note that we don’t see many people playing Paul Reed Smith basses and not have to explain myself, it’s liberating. The entire show was us pointing out one thing or another a casual fan wouldn’t notice or even care about. What fun!

JANUARY 17, 14:21


Outside, the clouds have returned. I’m doing my best to not let them determine the disposition of my spirit.

Inside, I read Neil Peart’s book with an almost reckless abandon. I’d say I’m about 80 percent done, and I’m eager to see where he leaves things.

I’m just as eager to begin my next musical adventure. I’m finally beginning to embrace the idea of filling my head with the words of others from the written page. I started buying a few of those “101 Books to Read Before You Die“ with the intent of getting through one a month. Naturally, I bought the books and was promptly pulled in a different direction. Time to get with the program. Any program.

I’ve also noticed that most of the books I bought — Fahrenheit 451, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Of Mice and Men, etc. — lean toward darkness. This, no doubt, says more than a little about me. Now that I’m aware of it, maybe I can make an effort to hang on the lighter side of literature now and then.

I’m a bit annoyed by how late my evening ends and day begins. Just because I’m mostly nocturnal doesn’t mean I want to be mostly nocturnal! Especially while the days are still relatively short. One thing (I hope is certain) come spring: a journey outside — even if it’s just to the courtyard — to read must become a requirement.

It would appear that I’m working the afternoon shift. Sometimes this irritates me, as darkness appears outside my window more quickly. But Ed has reminded me that I’m free to choose my own working hours. I’ll try to take this positive view. But the downside of not having to be or do something at a particular time is that I don’t have to be or do something at a particular time.

JANUARY 19, 13:56

The Sonic Sanctuary

As much as I love interviewing musicians, I find transcribing said interviews to be nothing short of pure drudgery.

The transcription software I’ve tried is sometimes spotty at best. There are times when I think I should hire a court reporter to sit in on the chats just to make sure everything is clear. As is, I have to muddle through and translate the things the software appears to be clueless about. I’ve often said that it doesn’t matter how much you enjoy your work, there’s always gonna be some aspect that you can’t stand. Well, here we are.

A big interview has been arranged for tomorrow evening toward the Bernie book. I have to trek out to St. Charles to get it, but both the chat and the gig should be well worth the effort. The downside is that I’m subject to the whims of mass transit. As I sit here, I’m debating just spending the night out there, even if it is only 38 or so miles away. It would definitely save a lot of running and hoping. I’ll make a definitive decision later today.

JANUARY 20, 15:10

The MD-W Train

Cold and gray.

Life Lesson: when the temperature leaves you unsure of which coat to wear in Chicago, always choose the heavier one. I adhered to that rule this afternoon, and it was the right call. Next level cold, even at 32 degrees.

Decisions were made and finalized, and now I’m headed 40 miles northwest to St. Charles to see Jazz is Dead at the Arcada Theater. As an added bonus, I’m slated to interview guitarist Steve Kimock, who did a lot of work with Bernie Worrell. Judie had all but begged me to talk to him. I have no issue with that. Funny thing: I’m reasonably sure this is my first IRL conversation toward the book. Go figure.

My back aches and I don’t feel like trying to race and catch the train home. So, I’m making a night of it. As it happens, the St. Louis trip last July filled my hotel punch card, meaning tonight’s stay will run me 10 bucks and change. Yeah … I can live with that.

Last night, I enjoyed my third Family Gathering with the gang. It was fun, as usual.

One of the gang commented that I must be getting addicted to hanging out with them. He’s right. They make up the bulk of my adult conversation for the week. Solitude is great, but you’ve got to talk to someone once in a while.

I find myself getting eager to perform with everyone else. A laundry list of songs I’d piling up, and I need to choose a couple. It’s in my best interest to choose something simple to start with, and I think I have it. Now it’s just a matter of learning to sing it properly.


Room 137, St. Charles

An acceptable room at the end of what feels like a long day. But the missions were accomplished.

I only had one minor misstep during my journey north. The Pace bus doesn’t do a great job of telling us the stops. I thought I was paying attention, but I guess not. I overshot my stop by a couple of blocks. Oops. Oh, well … my Uber rides were quite cheap today. That combines with an all but free room makes it a win for today.

I made it to the Arcada with plenty of time to spare. For the first time in my new “career,” a publicist came out to the lobby to meet me, then took me backstage for my interview.

The green room was pleasant enough. I got access to a smaller room for the interview. Like the rest of the Arcada, it has its own personality.

My chat with Steve Kimock was productive and enjoyable. I always enjoy that moment when the musician realizes that I’m aiming to make the interview relaxed and enjoyable, then he lets his guard down. I get what I need and we have fun in the process. Steve is a really nice guy and I enjoyed chatting with him.

I also managed to spend a little time with the rest of the band as they finished dinner. I was offered food, but figured I’d best settle for a soda. I don’t want to get in the musician’s space, even if they were very cool toward me.

I always enjoy that moment when I connect with the musicians. I stop being some guy trying to ingratiate with the band and become the guy who knows quite a bit about music and is worthy of an enjoyable conversation. Phone numbers were exchanged, and new interviews just might be coming later this year.

With the interview complete, I made my way to the Arcadia’s restaurant. What a cool spot! They make themselves known for pizza and … pinball!

One meatball sandwich later, I was off to check out Jazz is Dead. Tonight they celebrated the music of the Grateful Dead. I’ve never been big into the band, but the music was cool enough. And the fans were having a ball.

The seating setup put a row of chairs within inches of the stage, meaning I couldn’t get any photos from straight on. It was a little frustrating, but I did what I could to rig what I had to work with.

One thing is certain: I’m never gonna get the concert photos I want without the right lenses. That needs to happen sooner than later. Man can’t work with iPhone alone.

The Arcada is another of many pleasant rooms in the Chicago area. Apparently, this place has an Al Capone connection, too.

There are two shows on consecutive nights in March that just might bring me back here.

Time to chill a bit before sleep. I’ve been looking forward to it.

JANUARY 21, 14:04

Naperville Station

Another gray day.

Waiting for the train to take me home, due in half an hour.

Funny … I still really enjoy thinking of Chicago as home. There are still St. Louis ties, of course. But knowing I’ll see Lake Michigan when I look out my window still brings the happy.

My back is doing a number on me today. Not quite debilitating, but enough to make movement a challenge. But it was worth it for my little adventure.

The Steve Kimock interview has me eager to get back in the office to flesh out that section of the Bernie book. Things are doing their best to round themselves out. Can I finish it by the end of February? If I write a little something every day, I think so. The trick is keeping the distractions to a minimum. And that is often easier said than done. And never underestimate the power of an aching back to hinder progress. It ruins your whole mindset, and that’s not conducive to writing. Well, I’ll get it sorted out.


BNSF Homeward

The trains seem to have a good habit of running on time. Only emergencies slow them down.

Funny how little time I spent on trains before moving. I took a couple of rides a week in Tokyo, but that was 30 years ago. St. Louis isn’t a train town, and I’m not a fan of their mass transit system (sorry not sorry). But I live in a walking city (when I can) now, with mass transit a close second. Which led me to a thought I’ve pushed to the back of my mind since the health issues manifested themselves.

Come spring or summer, I need to get a weekend train pass, climb aboard, and just go. I’ll pick a random place to hop off and just go exploring. I’m sure I can find a record store if I try hard enough. If not, there will no doubt be plenty of other shops to visit.

It feels like a great way to spend the day, much like my accidental Navy Pier day a few months ago. Just show up somewhere and hang out.

Admittedly, I sometimes have issues with the “mass” part of mass transit. The older I get, the more I crave and require space, personal or otherwise. The irony of a man who disdains both crowds and cold weather moving to Chicago need not be pointed out. I definitely see the humor in it. But, a music hub like Chicago was necessary to help achieve my next aim. And I adore this city. But that doesn’t mean I want people around me all the time!

I did visit a record store today, but forgot to take pictures. It’s called Hoarder’s Trading Post, which might be a little on-the-nose for me. It’s a pleasant shop featuring lots of vinyl, CDs, and audio equipment. It reminds me a lot of a store I occasionally visited in St. Louis (but stopped for personal reasons).

The owner/operator was a pleasant enough fellow. His rural-looking exterior hid a deep-seated knowledge of music and bands. He’s the kind of guy I would like to have a beer with and talk about our shared passion.

Naturally, a friendly shop almost always leads to unplanned purchases. So, why should today be any different?


The Reverberation Station

Nice to be back in the warm embrace of the 11th floor. But it was also nice to feel like I’d gone on one of my overnight gig adventures that almost always included coming to Chicago.

I still like checking into hotels. I still like waking up “somewhere else” now and then. Seeing something unusual out the window meant I was going to be exploring that day. I’m already plotting a trip to Milwaukee with an old buddy to watch the Cardinals this season.

Poor Bane sits in my foyer wondering when he’ll be unleashed again.

The answer needs to be sooner rather than later. My legs aren’t getting any stronger. I can use the cold as an excuse, but I’m pretty sure that’s why I have the winter gear. It’s been cold, but not brutally so. I think I can handle a couple of laps around the two nearby parks. The one off 53rd even offers the chance to go over the bridge and hit the Lakefront Trail, which didn’t happen at all last year. It’ll be cold, but I think I can layer myself up properly.

In his book, Neil Peart pointed out the necessity to get moving to aid his mental health. I’m thinking the same would be very good for me, too. Call it aerobic sunshine. Otherwise, I’ll spend another several days inside my home without noticing it.

JANUARY 22, 18:02


Snow fell today. Not a lot — especially by Chicago standards — but plans were pushed aside all the same.

So much for the “No matter what” bike ride. The cumulative sum of a bad back, weak legs, snow, slick city streets, and Chicago led me to believe that it might be in my best interest to wait one more day to take the bike ride.

Feeling really tired. I didn’t think the quick road trip was all that taxing, but I guess I was wrong. So, it’s been a day of couch and playoffs. And I’m gonna make a concentrated effort to finish Neil Peart’s book.

Making my chill time somewhat productive by scheduling self-promotion posts for the week. I don’t know if it’ll do any good, but who knows what’ll happen if I make the effort. I’ve picked up a couple of followers based on the playlists I’m posting. I might make something of myself yet.

Time will tell.



The evening didn’t go as planned — I accidentally took a nap during the second playoff game — but I’m trying to make it work for me. I’m still tired, so my day will end soon. I just hope that sleep follows close by.

The nighttime strategy needs to change. Starting tonight. Progress report tomorrow.

To read with ambient music as my co-pilot, then to bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be a busy day.

JANUARY 24, 12:56

The Reverberation Station

The sun is trying to shine. It’s definitely brighter than the typical cloudy day. But winter is definitely coming. The weather folks are talking snow in various quantities for the next ten days, starting tomorrow. Oh, well. I knew what I was getting into when I moved here.

So far, I only have one gig scheduled during that time. But one great thing about this city: snow is NOT an issue. It comes with the territory. Clear the roads and get on with it! I can respect that.

The idea of singing for the Thursday gathering feels less terrifying. I caught myself singing along to pretty much everything I was playing last night. Out of nowhere, my biggest concern was the placement of my microphone in the cramped area of my office. Eh … I’ve got time to figure it out.

Today’s excitement comes from the knowledge that GoGo Penguin will be here in May. This is one of those “hell or high water” gigs. And I’m gonna work toward getting an interview.

Meanwhile, I strive to come closer to finishing Neil’s book before I dive back into my own.

JANUARY 26, 14:31

The Reverberation Station

Outside, the sun makes a brief cameo between winter storm sessions. Snow has fallen, though it’s next to nothing by Chicago standards. And mine now, it seems.

Yesterday, a tragedy. My nocturnal ways usually have me waking up at 09:30 or so. Yesterday was no different, except I kept hearing sirens. A passing ambulance is normal, is the U of Chicago hospital isn’t far away. But this was different. One siren after another. All of them stopping close by. It finally occurred to me to look out the window.

I was reminded of two years ago, when I awoke to the smell of smoke. That’s when I found out there was a fire nine floors below me. This time, I smelled nothing. Nor could I get a grip on what was happening from what I could see.

It dawned on me to call the security desk to see if they had any info. I was informed that there was another fire, this time at the building across the courtyard. I was assured things were being brought under control. But tragedy had already struck.

The fire in my building had been small and largely contained to one unit. This fire started on the 15th floor and jumped up to the 24th (of 25). One resident was killed, eight were hospitalized. The photos are devastating.

All taking place some 60 yards from my front door.

I never worried about the flames making a big enough leap to get to my place, though we were ordered to remain in place until things were brought under control.

Still … close call, man.

JANUARY 27, 11:29


Cold. Gray. One need only look at the lake for confirmation. Its green hue tells me of the cold the same way a rich, deep blue tells me it’s time to open the windows and ride my bike along the Lakefront trails. And more snow is coming.

Up until 02:00 with James on the other end of the phone line. Bless him, he’s helping me with the creation of “reaction” videos from the software side. Production is another matter altogether. But … small steps.

Lunch with a musician friend of a friend is planned for 13:00. Then a run by the phone shop for a new iPad and the cancellation of my daughter’s line. She has her own phone now, and is paying her own bills. She really is 20.

Finished Neil Peart’s wonderful book. To most, reaching the end of a book is no big deal. For my attention-deprived brain, it is a triumph. The irony of an author struggling to read an entire book is not lost on me. But I’m working on it.

I’m eager to start the next book. My shelves have the first batch of the fabled “101 Books to Read Before You Die.” I’m halfway through Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. The other works — Orwell, Dante, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc. — all seem a bit heavy. Though what I’ve chosen is far from lightweight. And not without a sense of coincidence.

The anniversary of Neil Peart’s passing led me to dive back into his book. Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 1 tragedy. Without realizing it, I pulled this off the shelf, where it has sat for far too long.

Same Apollo program, different disaster. But the connection is clear.

My copy was a gift from my dear friend Sara, who knows I’m a NASA geek. The book she gave me didn’t have a dust cover. But it’s a fair trade for what it does contain.

Real ink. Real signature. The commander of Apollo 13. I’m still flabbergasted. And grateful.

And there’s still Robert’s book, which is best taken in slowly and in small chunks.

Time to get on with the day.


Home again.

Lunch with a new friend and a relatively painless trip to the phone store. I walked out with a new iPad and the elimination of two lines will save me $100 or so a month. I’d call that productive.

JANUARY 28, 11:13


Another gray day. If snow serves one purpose, it helps things look brighter.

Up at 06:30. Not intentionally. That time might be normal to some, but not to this semi-nocturnal creature. I’m gonna have to nap before heading to Martyr’s.

The morning read has been done, but I’d like to read some more. I think the new deal will be non-fiction or education in the morning, fiction or other in the evening. This morning, Apollo 13, this evening, a little Robert Heinlein.

I’m all a-tither about finishing Neil’s book while almost forgetting that I also plowed through Questlove’s as well. It’s nice to leave the TV alone for a bit and crack a good book. The TV is on now, but only because it’s streaming ambient music via a Spotify playlist. Good company while reading.

Found two reasonably priced camera lenses — one 35mm and the other 50mm — that should aid me in concert photography. We’ll find out for sure this evening.

Now that my iPad is updated, I figured I should update my Kindle, too. That’s when I FINALLY remembered the Kindle app is on the damned iPad! I’m slow, but I get there.

I was hungry, yet it took me forever to get around to eating. I have to stop that. After an internal ass-chewing, I finally had some yogurt with berries of blue and straw.

Handled a little more business, and now I will close my eyes for a catnap, since I need to be out the door at no later than 15:00.

JANUARY 29, 19:47


Another gray day with good reflection.

Football championships on TV, but I’m barely watching. A head cold found its way into my system, and it’s making things less enjoyable.

I felt the symptoms coming on yesterday. The scratchy throat told me that the gig was a bad idea. So I stayed home. A big disappointment.

Today is sniffling, medicating, napping, and enjoying Jazz Sunday. Looking forward to the next episode of The Last of Us.

JANUARY 30, 12:28


Gray and 12 degrees. That’s 11 below zero for you Celsius folks.

I was forced to go out for a medication run. This head cold has officially dug in. I’ll try to get things done today, but I make no promises.

I’m on a serious Hiromi kick today. Her piano and the joy she and her band bring with it … you just can beat it.


Please follow me on my socials, all of which you can find here:

I’m in the process of writing my second book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell

Would you like to have your record reviewed? Please contact me at


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