Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Album-Cover-a-Day Runners Up


            

             You’ve seen the album-cover-a-day challenge on Facebook. Maybe you’ve enjoyed them. Perhaps they annoyed you. You might’ve even participated.

            The rules are that you do it for 10 days and you can’t say anything about the records that the album art represents. No reviews, no nothing.

            A bit of the way into mine, my sister commented that she imagined it might be hard for me to only pick 10, to not review any of them. And she couldn’t’ve been righter. So much so that I’d already been concocting a list of the albums that -- for one reason or another -- didn’t make it in to my top 10.

            No one said you couldn’t make that list and review those albums. So that’s what this post is.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mr. Completely

I sent her with soup and made a litmus-test joke. She had them clean and waiting for me. I'd forgotten them. They're home now.



"Hearts will billow when the dream, dream comes and it comes in to me"

-- Trey Anastasio, 

Kansas City International Airport

Somehow three months have slipped by since my last post.

            A lot has happened since then so it’s not been on account of laziness or disinterest. I mean, it’s mostly business as usual with the regular-life stuff: work is work, the kids are still sweet and good and busy, the house is, well, standing, I suppose. I’ve been editing a manuscript for a writer who plans to self-publish. My rec’-league hockey team is off to maybe its best start ever. The Blues are playing well and the Chiefs have a shot at clinching their fourth-straight division title this weekend. I’ve finally gotten consistent again with swimming a few times a week and while that’s great, I still need to ramp up the discipline to make three lifts a week happen. Baby steps, I guess.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fatherhood, Part II


           
When my alarm sounded at 3:30 Mountain this morning, I felt mostly in control of my travel anxiety. All my clothes were washed, neatly folded in my suitcase, the contents of my carry-on tucked and zipped in their necessary compartments. I avoided snooze, had my morning pee, showered, shaved, and summoned an Uber.

            Richard and I made the appropriate amount of conversation for 4:15 a.m. and his Toyota Prius puttered along the Colorado freeway with efficiency. The security line was buzzing as usual at Denver International Airport, and once I was through it, off the train, and seated at my gate, I found myself purposelessly jumping in and out of apps on my phone. When I’d grown tired of this I looked up and noticed a woman across the aisle looking at me. I looked back down in what was likely a normal bit of social awkwardness, but was quick to return another glance when she spoke my name.

            “Lesley Speer,” she said. I jolted out of my chair, likely energized by the strange feeling I’d had in Richard’s Prius that I would run in to someone I know, which happens more often than not when flying to Denver from Kansas City, or in this case, the opposite.

            I sat with her for the 10 minutes or so until it was my turn to get in to the Southwest Airlines’ numerical-order line, and -- the flight being at capacity -- that was the end of our exchange. I’d already downloaded a podcast that was nearly the exact duration of the flight, and as we prepared to taxi, I snorted at the preview for the upcoming Between Two Ferns. I repeated my out-loud chuckles as I consumed the podcast, and probably made the couple sitting next to me think I was a little bizarre.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Dream Fiction no. 6: The Janky Pontiac & the Soaked Tuxedo


           
When Phil and Jennie’s big day’d arrived, my anxiety had reached a pinnacle that likely rivaled their excitement. Their private ceremony, now six weeks in the rearview, along with its 25-person guest list, had carried the energy back to the grind with everyone, but had never waned. Not even, or so it seemed, when it came to me living in their newlywed space for the duration.

            The three of us had managed to avoid toe-stepping in Phil and I’s old East Fourth Avenue pad, but I’d only wound up staying there by accident: car troubles, coupled with their wild generosity, had landed me back in my old college bedroom. The time had come, though, for the party to happen, for my exit to springboard them into their real life of marital bliss.

            There was, of course, the matter of my ’88 LeMans, and whether or not the suffocated-by-faulty-exhaust engine would be able to get me from the San Juans back to the Front Range. The brakes still had enough life in them to get me down the mountain passes; summiting them, though, was a different story.

            At least the heat and the stereo still worked.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Freewriting: Black Pants


            You came to me in a work setting and we were bound by circumstances. Well, at least I think we were. I know I was. And even though it was a lifetime ago I can still remember those black pants. They were over there. By the copy machine. You rooted through the file folders and they were on you, calling to me in a whisper so loud I scanned the room twice, unsure if others’d heard.

            Across a handful of months we crossed paths from time to time, never without mutual smiles. Seeing your name on the computer always brightened my day and the few live conversations we had I cherished. You were good at your job, I think, but that wasn’t why; our dialogue always turned my motivation on its head.

            After a time I was gone and the same would soon be true for you, too, both of us returning to the grinds from which we came. And the tiniest connection we had evaporated into the skies of our respective lives.

            Trying to quantify everything that has transpired since feels like an attempt to assess your cloud-flanked altitude before the pilot announces it. There’s just…too much of everything.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Untimely Reviews: "In Long Lines"


           
Don’t think I’ve ever done one of these for a song, but I’m doing it now. And you should know: There is an enormous chance that this could be the most boring thing you’ve ever read. Could be zero redeeming elements for your invested time. So, now’s your chance to bail.

            I lost track of my listen count a few days ago, which is really a bizarre feeling; it’s typically fairly clear-cut when my obsession over a certain song reaches that Okay, that’s enough feeling. Hasn’t happened yet for this one, though, and I can only chalk it up to it being that goddamned good. If you want a reason to judge me the last time I remember this happening was when Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons dropped.

            Go ahead. Think what you must. That record was crazyfuckinggood before they as an entity blew up. Also from the for-the-record department: It still is.

            A little background, though: Trey Anastasio released Ghosts of the Forest in April, and I did the thing I usually do when it comes to Trey Anastasio solo projects: I didn’t jump.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Freewriting: Sometimes


         
            The grinding of the coffee beans and the songs on the phone,
            The kids’ bedroom doorway and the smells of sensory hone.
            It’s trash day, the compost bowl, the dishes to put away,
            The hours-long wrestling match to remember the name of this day.

            The concept of a manual has perched atop my brain a number of times in the last year and change, its landing style the fashion of double samara. After marination, the concept of grooming youth for adulthood wafts, a familiar, strangely unidentifiable fragrance.

            Pages, it seems, have been ripped, Cliff’s Notes editions composed by a novice.

            Sometimes the difficulty of squinting the eye just right so that the open one can look through the lens and not only see its own lid and lash seems like the hardest part. For some, the contents of the slide always present dollar signs. For others it might be fame. In both cases I think early-life circumstances scrunched something, skewed the vision, knocked the gears askew.

            Those can’t be the things.