Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Never Let Me Down

I'm old enough to have started buying my music on Vinyl, though most of my collection was cassette. I only transitioned to CDs late in my university career. I kept a number of my records for 20 years after I no longer had a turntable. Eventually, they hit the dustbin along with nearly every cassette I ever bought.

Did I ever own those songs? They certainly own my dreams. I feel like the songs are part of me. It doesn't seem right that I have to pay to own part of me. Ah, the success of the RIAA.

Oh, yeah. This isn't a rant against the music corporations. This is a celebration of a few albums that I've rediscovered. I eventually became embarrassed with my possession of each of these. Now I've had to pay for them again. I look back and realize that I was lacking in self confidence. I found it hard to maintain or defend any opinion, not just those involving music.

Styx: Kilroy Was Here
My first album (1982). I was 10 years old. I know I just bought it for the cover art and because Mr. Roboto was played several times a night when I went out to the "Good Times Roller Rink". There is some serious 'cheese' on this album, but I love the story behind the rock-opera lyrics. I stared at the pictures on the fold out pages of this album cover and wished often that someone would really make the movie that was depicted in staged photos.
Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet
1987. I was 15. This was all about the girls. I had my own turntable in my room by this time and I must have really irritated my family with the constantly blaring music. Especially since I would just listen to one song 20 times over.
David Bowie: Never Let Me Down
I've just finished listening to glass spider. Shivers. I love it. In 1987 Bowie claimed that it was the favourite album that he had made in a long time. He later recanted and said it was trash that he had just phoned in. He may have been depressed in the 80s, but I'm really glad he was able to find the 'phone' for long enough to record these 11 tracks. Sadly track 10 too dizzy wasn't included on the iTunes release of the album. I may have to go searching for that one.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Drive-Through or Drive-Moo?

Drive-throughs are perennial whipping boys for my ire (along with escalators). Today I walked Leora to school and decided to stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee. Being "time delighted" (as opposed to time obsessed), I ran some tests. I Spotted 13 droids in total. 3 on till, 5 on coffee/sandwiches, 1 on tables/cleaning, 2 in kitchen, 1 passing out advertising for a new product, 1 manager. The manager told me that Friday and Saturday are busier and the staff may be as many as 15!

Time trials: indoor line-up vs drive-through with the time penalty for driving displayed at the right.

The most bearded James... Ever!*
3:30-6:04   -2:34
3:52-8:44   -4:52
0:50-6:32   -5:42
2:55-7:10   -4:15
4:55-8:31   -3:36
6:10-5:50* +0:20
7:12-6:51* +0:21
2:00-6:51   -4:51
1:30-6:15   -4:45
0:38-5:31   -4:53
1:01-7:44   -6:45


Trials run 8:45-10am Wednesday, Nov. 2nd

Location: Cumberland and 8th. They have just widened the drive-through to 2 lanes (wish I had timed before and after the construction).

There were several 5 min. Stretches where you could walk in and get immediate service (between 9:30 and 10am).

There were never less than 8 cars in the drive-through.

In a bitter turn of events, my 2nd coffee was one of the 2 timed events in which a car beat a person :( My coffee droid apologized profusely for getting my order wrong and serving the people after me in line 1st! I told her she could pay me back by taking a deep breath and trying to relax. I've never seen anyone scramble so fast to get a new pot of coffee on. Well maybe a Quester on his 70th hour of a final exam study blitz :)

*For the record, James was not there. It's an old photo. I wanted to have some picture at Tim's and I neglected to take any this morning. Nor did I have that chocolate doughnut a mere 2 days after Halloween. What do you take me for?

Stories (Ghost and Otherwise)

A couple of days ago, Wendy bought me a replica of Bilbo's sword, Sting. Needless to say I was ecstatic. The Hobbit has been my favourite story for as long as I can remember.

From the time I was 10 years old, I pretty much assumed that one day a great big adventure would walk through my door and sweep me away. It was going to be a hard road and I would resist, but in the end I would wind up growing in ways I couldn't have imagined.

When I got married, I began to realize that adventures come in more shapes and sizes than I had at first thought and that opportunities to save the world as we know it were relatively rare (still don't know anyone who has done it).

So, we're on the subject of stories...

A few weeks ago, I was asked to tell a story in front of an adult audience. This was to be part of my job at the library and I was excited. I've been enjoying the illusion that I am being paid to become a master storyteller. The mundane details of my job are becoming easy enough that I have the time to spend on more artistic pursuits. But, I was having trouble finding a story to memorize. Lori (one of the longtime librarians) made the suggestion of a two paragraph piece that she found typed (by an actual typewriter!) in a binder on her desk. It was an old campfire chestnut called "The Thing at the Foot of the Bed."(5min. YouTube version) I said that I could memorize it in no time, but it didn't seem like much of a challenge.

This prompted a week long discussion between me and several of my co-workers on the nature of storytelling. I came to realize that I don't know how to tell stories particularly well. I've always been great at memorization and most of my acting experience has been around memorized scripts. I perform or recite very well, but without the memorization, I feel totally adrift. I blame my lack of focus. My mind drifts off topic easily. I memorize to compensate. Lori suggested I memorize the first line and the last line and then just try and fill in details in between. It scared the crap out of me, but that's what I tried.

Lori and Jim also offered the piece of advice that the story would be easier to relate and more interesting for my listeners if I told it from my own experience. I decided to set it in P.A. during my 1st summer home from university. I lived across the alley from Mrs. Lund (owner of Lund's Wildlife). Her yard was seriously spooky and featured a shed full of partially completed taxidermy projects and supplies.

When the time came to relate my story, I was more intimidated than I had been in a long time. The story had a definite shape, but no necessary order. I told it and all went well. Along the way I had a fabulous time remembering details from my childhood in P.A. I LOVE working at the library!

Gandalf said, "In fact, I shall go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, and very good for you. And profitable too, if you ever get over it."

And so it was...

Oh, and there was Halloween. It was fun, except for the part where I behaved like a jack-ass (and that wasn't even my costume)
Click for more Halloween pics