Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not quite a date with Botticelli's niece... but still pretty cool

Tis a strange thing not knowing what's happened in the world over the past half a day. Half day? Half a day? I must've been absent that day.

Since 9/11, it's seemingly been a part of me to know what's big in the news. I don't know why this is. If I'm home and not reading or listening to music or watching a movie or The Office or The Simpsons or whatever (which isn't often) then the news is on. When I'm here on the internet -- the news is on... actually not always, like now; sometimes I like the silence to help me get the thoughts through the fingers and onto the screen without distraction.

But in general, no matter what my situation is (working, traveling, whatever,) I want to have a news source in my hands, in my ears, in my eyes, something, to know if a nuclear war has started... or, since that's highly unlikely, if a terrorist attack has happened, something that's going to change the world in some rather significant way. Obviously, considering there've only been a few such events since and including 9/11, this tremendous "need to know" isn't that that important. Still, I want to be a person who is aware of what's going on in the news, things that affect us on a national level, things that affect human beings on an widespread level in Costa Rica or Brazil or Romania or Iran or Myanmar or anywhere.

Most often, what can I do about it? Nothing. So what does it matter if I know? And if a terrorist attack happened, wouldn't you somehow know anyway? Not necessarily.

This afternoon I watched the Cubbies on ESPN. Good game, an exciting comeback win for the Cubs. While I watched, I made some hamburgers to put in the freezer (a lot more work than just forming patties what with the ground up walnuts and steel cut oats mixed with dried parsley and black pepper and red pepper flakes, an egg with some Worcestershire sauce and milk, plus the super-minced onion and garlic with olive oil ... ohhh yeah, that's the good stuff. I had one hot off the grill (no ketchup, just onion and lettuce) and even after being frozen, they ain't bad.)

Anyway.... wow, talk about being distracted, I don't need the TV on for that! Anyway... watched the game, made burgers, grabbed a needle and thread and sewed a small hole in some shorts, more watching the game, yada yada yada... hopped in the truck and drove an hour and 15 minutes out to Chena River Rec Area, hiked for 3 hours, drove the hour and 15 minutes back, showered and here I be. Now it's just after 1 in the morning and I haven't had the news on since around 2:30 in the afternoon. What's happened in the world since then? Nothing, I hope. Sure, lots and lots of stuff has happened (something bad happens just about everywhere and all the time) but nothing major, I hope. The world could be on fire or taken over by Tim Burton's attackers from Mars, for all I know.

Being out of the news loop for so long (close to a half a day... or a half day) somewhat bothers me. How do people live their lives not giving a damn at all about the world around them? Talk about crap that boggles my mind. People live their lives so self-absorbed -- they could tell you who won American Idol or the plot twists in Lost (holy crap, there are fan sites galore for that show) but which senior U.S. senator was recently diagnosed with cancer, or which nation Iran wants to wipe off the face of the Earth, or the name of the country that is so tremendously suffering because their "government" doesn't want outsiders to help victims of a horrible cyclone that struck there, these things, important things, real things, they have no clue about.

Wow, the rants they are in me! I wasn't expecting all of this to come out of my head tonight. People just perplex me more than than they please me.

Interestingly, I fully support a person's right to be ignorant and uncaring and so wicked self-absorbed that they don't even know who their own mayor is ... but that just doesn't seem right to me.

Anyway... I had a GREAT hike tonight... last night, technically, but I'm still awake and I only got back to my house an hour and a half ago... so it feels like tonight still. Anyway, it was a good day off from work! I don't put in a bazillion hours a week (44 on average) and sometimes work consists of sitting and watching Baywatch while waiting for a call... but a lot of the time it's quite taxing and so having a good amount of time off (36 hours) between shifts, that's pretty sweet. Love the time to rest and/or seek out something nice to do like... like go for a hike in the wilderness! Great way to forget all about the crap in the world and enjoy life for awhile!! STAN SMILEY

Tuesday Night Hike

It was a good thing, nay, a very good thing that I packed me some stuff one should take along on a day hike. This was my second trip out to Angel Rocks this year and holy smoked salmon, Smokey The Bear, as the sun dipped further and further below the horizon, so did the temperature.

I pulled into the parking lot at just about 8:00 p.m. and within a minute or two I was at the trailhead and on my way. The weather was gorgeous -- mid-50's and a partially cloudy sky. The stroll up to Angel Rocks allowed the sun to hit me just as it was sliding down below the horizon. In my long-sleeve hiking shirt, the rays of sun warmed me right up. On down the trail I went. After a good 45 minutes or an hour or so of hiking, I made my turn around in the hot springs parking lot. The sun by now was well below the horizon... well below according to how far it dips below the horizon this time of year at such a northern latitude. Sunset: yes. Darkness: no. Warmth of the day going bye bye: yes. A frigid "night" approaching: fast!

In no time at all I went from being a little bit warm in long-sleeves to needing a light fleece jacket. Some mighta gone with hat and gloves, too but me no wimp, me man, me take it! I did have hat and gloves in my backpack, just in case, as well as the zip-on pants legs of my hiking shorts and thermal underwear if need be. One twisted ankle could have stranded me out there overnight. I'm not sure if there's cell phone reception out there but oh wait, I don't have a cell phone anyway! Actually I do have one for work which isn't mine but it's in my possession; I could have brought that for a just in case moment but carrying a cell phone hiking I'm generally against, unless it's up Mt. Hood or something where you could get reception in the event of impending tragedy. Then again, that's not exactly hiking, that's mountaineering. Tonight out along the Chena River was just hiking. Still... emergencies could arise. Ugh... I'm getting myself into the cell phone while hiking debate. Don't wanna go there now.

Coldness set in and at one point on the way back down the trail, when I stopped to grab a granola bar (and have some water) I checked the tiny little thermometer keychain dealie on my backpack -- 36° (about 2 C.) I was so surprised. Low 40's is what I was thinkin -- not mid-30's. Mannn... wow. That's just like 50 or 60 miles east of Fairbanks. I'm not surprised now, after the fact -- it gets that cold at night here, even this close to June. It's just something I haven't totally gotten used to yet. Ooops, using the word "yet" kinda makes it seem like I probably will get use to it as more years here go by... but I'm not so sure that's gonna happen. My mind is often elsewhere, meaning not in Alaska but in New England or Jersey or somewhere else Outside. Maybe I won't even be here this coming winter? Don't know.

Anyway....... the cold on the trail made it interesting. While I had my fleece jacket on combined with warmth generated from hiking, my legs in shorts did just fine. I resisted the gloves so my fingers were chilly, my face was nearing freezing, but for the most part -- energizing and refreshing, that's what it was! I was alive!!!

Hell yeah!

I don't know how I did it but my time on the trail was just about at 3 hours even. After an hour+ drive back and another listen to the music below, here I am at like 2 something in the morning. Sleep soon? Not sure. All I know is my dog's happy I'm home and now sleeping on the floor a few feet away, Nelson, Constanten and Flast are once again coming out of the speakers, and life ain't too bad at this moment.

Hopefully the world around me is still there. I'll get the news on soon.

NELSON, CONSTANTEN, FLAST ... related to the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia but not quite.
Dead Ringers (CD cover)Dead


256 kbps
Dead Ringers (CD)Dead Ringers (1993) - Part 1

Dead Ringers (1993) - Part Two

if you want, you can click SMALL RED SPEAKER to listen and/or dload @ 128 kbps
Deep Elem Blues - DEAD RINGERSDeep Elem Blues

--Great American Music Hall, Dec 1992
Mountains Of The Moon - DEAD RINGERSMountains Of The Moon

--The Wetlands, NYC, May 1993
Rosa Lee McFall - DEAD RINGERSRosa Lee McFall

--Lone Star Roadhouse, NYC, May '93
Slidin' Delta -- DEAD RINGERSSlidin' Delta

--The Rafters, Crested Butte, Colorado, Feb 93
Cumberland Blues - DEAD RINGERSCumberland Blues

--Garton's Saloon, Vail, Colorado, Feb 93
Truckin' - DEAD RINGERSTruckin'

--Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, British Columbia, Feb 93
When I Paint My Masterpiece - DEAD RINGERSWhen I Paint My Masterpiece

--The Rafters, Crested Butte, Colorado, Feb 93

--Garton's Saloon, Vail, Colorado, Feb 93
Dark Star - DEAD RINGERSDark Star

--La Luna, Portland, Oregon, Feb 93
Gotta Serve Somebody - DEAD RINGERSGotta Serve Somebody

--La Luna, Portland, Oregon, Feb 93
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - DEAD RINGERSKnockin' On Heaven's Door

--Oregon County Fair, Veneta, Oregon, July 1992

The question is -- why? Why not just listen to the real thing? My answer yet again (as I have asked this question before to albums kinda like this) -- curiosity.

from inside the liner notes...

Dead Ringers Got It Covered

How do you explain it when a bunch of San Francisco musicians get together and perform sets that predominantly feature Grateful Dead cover material? Well, there's no explaining it... but people love it!

In an era when more bands are trying to shake the "tribute band" stigma, Dead Ringers are breathing new life into some of the greatest music that has emerged from the psychedelic scene. The band's nucleus consists of Barry Flast (Kingfish), Tom Constanten (Grateful Dead), and David Nelson (New Riders, Acoustic Garcia).

With regard to the choice of material they've selected to perform, the original idea was to try to stick to the Golden Age material from Workingman's Dead, Aoxomoxoa and earlier, since TC and Nelson were on those records.

TC remarks, "We didn't learn it from the sheet music and off a record. We were in there when it was being constructed and when it was built, and furthermore, we know who we are, we don't have anything to prove. We don't have to play like somebody."

Very cool bunch of tunes! Knockin' appears to be an Aud or a Matrix source but it's inclusion is worth it -- a tribute to Bill Graham who died tragically the previous Fall.

Cumberland is pretty smokin', it was a first set closer and you could tell that wanted to go out on a rockin' note.

Truckin' might be the stand-out tune, at least for me. It's the longest song here and they head off into some pretty nice jam land.

Other musicians include: Brian Godchaux, fiddle on Deep Elem Blues and Barry Sless on lead guitar and pedal steel throughout the whole disc. Many know Sless from Phil Lesh & Friends as well as the David Nelson Band. Great guitar player who adds so nicely on Deal and his pedal steel is just beautiful on so many songs here.

TOM CONSTANTEN (Piano/Vocals), was the keyboardist with the Grateful Dead from 1968 till 1970, contributing some classic tracks to "Anthem of the Sun", "Aoxomoxoa", and "Live Dead" before leaving to pursue a solo career (which included: albums with the Incredible String Band and Moby Grape; live shows with Robert Hunter, Janis Joplin, Zero, David Crosby & Stephen Stills, Dan Hicks, John Handy, and many others; four solo C.D.'s... "Nightfall of Diamonds" on Relix Records being the most recent).

BARRY FLAST (Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar) was one of the original keyboardists of Kingfish (replaced by non-keyboardist Bobby Weir in 1975), rejoined the band in '77 just in time to help record and tour behind their second album "Live 'N Kicking", then left again, rejoining a third time in '80 only to watch what was left of Kingfish evolve into Bobby and the Midnites! Barry was then the driving force in re-organizing the group with Matt Kelly after the untimely death of founder Dave Torbert in 1983. he has contributed vocals and/or keyboards to four of the five albums Kingfish has released, and has worked as a session player with Jerry Garcia, Poco, Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary), Country Joe McDonald, Kim Carnes, Garth Hudson & many others; his songs have been recorded by artists like Bob Weir, Janis Joplin & Paul Butterfield, Paul Stookey (to name a few); and he's performed with Country Joe and the Fish, Bob Weir, Maria Muldaur, Hot Tuna, Rick Danko, Papa John Creach, John Cipollina, George Thorogood, etc.

DAVID NELSON (Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Lead Vocals) goes back in Dead history further than anyone on the planet. David, Jerry Garcia, and Robert Hunter made up the Wildwood Boys, a 1962 bluegrass group that was the seed that eventually flowered into the Grateful Dead. In 1967, David, along with John Dawson and Dave "Pre-Kingfish" Torbert formed The New Riders and continued with them until 1983 (along the way, he sang the lead vocal on their biggest hit "Panama Red"). His trademark guitar work was showcased on Grateful Dead albums "American Beauty", "Workingman's Dead", and "Aoxomoxoa". In the mid-80's, he appeared once again with Jerry Garcia in the "Almost Acoustic" Band and broke house attendance records at the Lunt-Fontaine Theatre on Broadway in New York City (and was captured on C.D. and released a few years ago!)

Dead Ringers (rear cover)


Sugarmag said...

Hiya Zoooma, The only reason I bothered to listen to this is because you recommended and I like it a lot. I REALLY dig the Dark Star, I am listening to it right now, it is beautiful. Thank you for pointing this out. Wow, listening to this feels good. So far, I have also listened to Masterpiece (it's one of my favorite songs) and what I like about it is that although these guys are playing Dead tunes, they are doing their own thing with the music rather than trying to imitate The Dead, if that makes sense. And yeah, I dig the pedal steel. Thank you, Chris.

Hey, what do you grind the steel cut oats with, do you use a food processor or something else? Just wondering...

Glad you had a nice hike! This is A-freakin-laska, right?

Zooomabooma said...

Hiya backatchya Sugar Mag! You're welcome and Glad you liked the tunes :)

Awhile back I came up with the idea to slowly check out GD tribute albums and cover songs and such, stuff that has been recorded and released. This is one of those. I may only listen to this another time or two over the next hundred or so years... but it's not bad! Plus it's by four guys, primarily, who have a connection to the GD. I think Sless's connection came later but here he is pre-Phil & Friends.

I definitely don't wanna hear people play the dead exactly like the dead otherwise I'd just listen to the dead! LOL... but this is a little different, which is nice, so yeah, what you said makes sense.

As always, Sugar Mag, thanks for reading and commenting on what's here!

AussieJohn said...

I'm an Aoxomoxoa fan.
It's the Deads best album by miles in my humble opinion.
I've spent the rest of my life trying to find music like that on the album.
With little success.
It's so far ahead of Sgt Peppers etc that they don't even rate.
I love that album.
I bought it back when it was released and I've loved the songs and played them every few days since.
TC was part of that.
Now I know TC wasn't that great live with the Dead, but on that album he plays like he's from another world.
And as for Jerry - well that's another story.
So thanks very much for another oportunity to hear TC.
There is surely a place in heaven reserved for you!
I'll download shortly and then take the album on my cake delivering round.

Timmy said...

Hey, gotta say Muchos Thanxos... I saw Tom shortly after Jer passed. I have seen David several times, live. Never did see Flast. But this is GREAT stuff. WOW, nice web-site/blog....
Peace way out.

Zooomabooma said...

Hey Now, Aussiejohn, thanks for the kind words and it's good to hear from you again! But I've got a complaint - I didn't get my cake!!!!

Timmy, Muchos Welcomos, and thanks for your kind words, as well. Your comment is much appreciated! I'm glad you dig the tunes and the site and I hope you stop on by again. Garciya Later, man!

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Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated