It’s an absolutely stunning autumn day in New Jers…

It’s an absolutely stunning autumn day in New Jersey right now — the sort of day that makes me miss living here on a regular basis. I took the 6:26 train out of Penn Station last night to meet my parents in Red Bank for a familial birthday-type dinner here. It was quite good, with a mole sauce that left my stomach feeling kinda firey — in the best way possible.

Returned to the ancestral family home at a little after nine PM. I wandered out onto the new back porch that my folks had installed this past summer, and stepped down into the backyard, nestled in a suburban quiet. Although the lawn wasn’t covered, fallen leaves were abundant, and I recalled a night close to ten years ago — maybe longer — when I’d spent the earlier part of an evening at a friend’s hockey game. It was late in October then, possibly early in November, and following the game’s conclusion, I didn’t have much of anything to do: my friends had familial things to attend to, and my folks were elsewhere for the night. I suspect it may have been longer than ten years ago, as I wasn’t yet driving, and when I returned home, I decided to make something of the night.

I grabbed my walkman and the high-powered lantern my father had bought a few years before; took a rake and a tarp from the garage, and began raking the backyard, Metallica’s Master of Puppets blasting in my ears.

Me and the backyard, we’ve been on good terms since then.

***

Heading back to the city in forty minutes or so. Got music to enjoy, people to see, and a hopefully full weekend ahead of me. Right now, there’s not so much weight in my shoulders, and for that I am indeed grateful.

Some years ago, I began to lose any sense of seaso…

Some years ago, I began to lose any sense of seasonal change. Obviously, some of it had to do with leaving the suburbs for the city — between schools and shopping malls, each month brought a new set of decorations. October felt like October; May like May. At this point, I’m down to the temperature and humidity: so far, October has felt like December, April, and – very briefly – late September.

Carved a pumpkin tonight. That, thankfully, has made it feel just a bit more like October again. That and the bag of candy corn.

***

Currently working on a Frog Eyes piece for Copper Press. Exhausted as of now, but I’m not going to sleep until there’s a draft done.

Of course, if I’m going to be making uber-bold declarations like that, I probably shouldn’t be on here blogging, should I? Damn.

4:46 on a Saturday. Staying in for the afternoon …

4:46 on a Saturday. Staying in for the afternoon — between this week’s work and being fairly sick (I went to Montreal and brought back a souvenir cold), my freelancing and fiction writing has taken a hit. Today’s my time to try and catch up — transcribing a couple of q & a’s and maybe making more headway on a short story. Had maybe four hundred words’ worth of really focused work on said story on Thursday, and I’m anxious to get back into it — though I’m wondering now if the story I’m writing is going to be longer than originally anticipated. I’d planned for something brief and concise, and I feel as though I could expand things a bit. The question is, is it the right thing to do? Of this I’m not sure…

***

In six days, I’ll be another year older. As always, my feelings are mixed.

Back from Montreal. For the drive back, he and …

Back from Montreal.

For the drive back, he and his girlfriend had purchased some bizarre snack crackers labeled “All Dressed”. Upon eating a few, we came to the conclusion that this meant that each of the available toppings could be found on the crackers in question: barbeque, salt and pepper, ranch, etc.

It wasn’t tasty.

Later on in the drive, somewhere near Albany, he asked his girlfriend to “pass the bag of nasty crackers”.

Behind the wheel and hungry, I saw the opportunity for sustenance. “Let me in on some of that nasty cracker action,” I said.

It took me a while to realize why they were laughing…

The last time I travelled outside of the New York/…

The last time I travelled outside of the New York/NJ/Philadelphia corridor was approximately fifty-one weeks ago. I departed New York City for a work function in Albany, spending most of a Friday and Saturday in my state’s capital city.

It says far too much that I’m beginning to look back on this trip with some nostalgia. It’s not really the trip that I recall fondly as much as the drive back to New Jersey. Steadily driving down the interstate, listening to Destroyer’s This Night, Waxwing’s Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns, Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops’ One More in the Cabin, and Neko Case’s Blacklisted. Arrived back in Monmouth County to drop the car off at my parents’ place quite late at the night, Paul Westerberg’s Stereo calming the late hour mood.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Montreal for the weekend. I’ve somehow convinced this guy and his ladyfriend to come as well. Putting three people with musical tastes as diverse as ours in a car for six hours each way could very well be disatrous. Nonetheless, I suspect we’ll be fine.

In eighteen hours, I’ll be in another country, in a city that I’ve never visited before, and — hotel aside — I have no idea where I’ll go, what I’ll do, what I’ll see.

The weekend promises to be interesting; that’s about all I can say. I can’t wait.

Just finished watching The Spanish Prisoner for th…

Just finished watching The Spanish Prisoner for the first time in far too long. Quite possibly the best neo-Hitchcock film in the past…er….ten years? I keep thinking of it as a fairly recent movie, but I’m reminded that I’d seen it before my senior year of college began, meaning that it’s at least five years old….

The Pernice Brothers’ Yours, Mine & Ours is on at the moment, and it’s making for an enjoyable close to this Sunday night.

Listening to Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Fail…

Listening to Gavin BryarsJesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet — because there are some nights when listening to 70+ minute-long compositions in which Tom Waits appears just seems right.

Alternately: I’m broke, hung over, and wanted something quiet on the stereo; the new Grandaddy disc didn’t quite seem so suitable.

The sticker on the cover indicates that I picked this album up used, on vacation with my parents in the summer of 1994 or ’95. It’s not an album that I knew much about at the time — I suspect that I read something about it in SPIN or Magnet, as my knowledge of modern classical composers was fairly minimal at the time. (Qualifying statement: it’s not much better now). This is a disc that I haven’t listened to much over the past few years; it’s not really given to brief, ten-minute periods of listening the way many pop and rock records in my collection are.

The composition is built around a field recording of a down-on-his-luck man singing a religious song; the five lines of the song are repeated more than 150 times over the course of the piece, with a shifting musical accompaniment. It’s an absolutely hypnotic piece, moving as hell, and hard to ignore. Leave it on in the other room and your ears are still drawn to it. Years later, I can’t explain it; I’m not a student of music, I can tell you nothing of how it was made, only its effect on me.

***

(I ought to say something witty here to counteract the pontification above, but nothing comes to mind. It’s 12:45 AM, I’ve still got some writing to do, and these two are terrific folks. Have a fine night.)

I lost a couple of unfinished pieces in the Great …

I lost a couple of unfinished pieces in the Great Hard Drive Implosion of 2003, and a handful of finished ones as well. One of them, thankfully, was printed out before things went to hell, and I’ve decided to look it over with an eye towards proofreading it in mind. I’ve got a couple of music pieces to wrap up before too long, but my mind’s been gravitating towards fiction lately, and who am I to argue?

This bit of news has made me reach for the “S” sec…

This bit of news has made me reach for the “S” section of my record collection…specifically, for the copy of Cavale that I picked up in Portland three years ago. I rarely make it past “What Do You Think of Love”, which may be one of the most breezily sweet pop songs I’ve ever heard, but tonight I’m taking it through to the end. There’s something about a remarkably pretty song titled “Smooth Ass” that brings a smile to my face…

Listening to this disc – as well as the Souled American collection currently on the shelf behind me – is an often revelatory thing: hearing the bits and pieces of what’s become cliche in some quarters when the folks making these sounds were still working them out. You can hear the joy of working new things out, of bringing new influences into the mix for the sheer novelty of it….warms my jaded soul, it does.

1. After quite a while of these two telling me th…

1. After quite a while of these two telling me the artist in question was the proverbial bee’s knees and me never quite catching on, I’ve just fallen for John Vanderslice‘s Time Travel is Lonely big-time. It’s a case when my mood has nicely dovetailed with the feel of a record, and said record is fitting in wonderfully with my brainspace right now.

2. It appears that I’ll be doing some traveling in about two weeks. This brings a smile to my face.

3. Had a fine dinner with friends tonight. That, in and of itself, has taken quite a bit of stress from me. Tomorrow: hockey, and hopefully a bit of writing as well…