Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Appreciation

It's amazing the number of artists and writers and musicians and comedians whose work has enhanced my life. I have to have something playing at all times around me, often when there ARE other people around. The only time I don't have some sort of music or DVD going is when I'm reading, or talking with someone, either on the phone or with someone in the same room. I spend a lot of time during my work day by myself, so my iPhone gets a healthy workout. When I'm home and I'm at the computer (which happens often when I'm home), my iTunes library gets used frequently. Hence the Blog Post Soundtrack listings at the end of these little ditties. Whenever I drive anywhere, be it the 10 minutes to work, or the multi-day driving vacations involving upwards of 1500 miles in a scant few days, some form of entertainment is always playing (probably a little too loudly) to occupy my brain.

My point is, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of people who have helped make my life a richer experience. Listening to, watching, reading, sometimes just studying (some pieces of art I have can be stared at for hours and still not have all their details and meanings revealed) the work of a large number of creative human beings has made the life of a fairly ordinary, regular Joe, working stiff a lot more interesting. There is an unspeakable amount of gratitude that I try to express whenever I have the chance to meet any of these people in person, or via their own websites, or things like Twitter. It is also one of the things that makes me fairly certain there is something more to existence than this mere mortal coil.

The perfect next plane of existence for me would involve the equivalent of an interactive DVR of the universe, in which any moment in the history of time could be accessed, and entered if so desired. Or any soul that has ever existed could be accessed for a discussion, and it wouldn't be tedious or boring for them, and there wouldn't be a long line to wait on, or their soul wouldn't already be checked out of the library. And language barriers wouldn't be an issue either (just thought I'd better throw that in, as I'm an arrogant American, where we feel one language is more than enough to get by. I really wish I could speak several languages, as most Europeans seem to be able to do with no problems whatsoever. The only languages I've got any sort of command of are English, New Yorkese, Canadian, and a few accents here and there).

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of "ordinary citizens", whose lives have somehow affected mine as well, starting with the parental units, and going right on up thru the current crop of co-workers and people I see on my route nearly every day, who have also managed to entertain me in one way or another. Some of them are funnier than they think, and some just make me think.

But sitting here at my computer desk in my home office, I can look around and see artwork by Michael Golden, Rick Leonardi, Brian Bolland, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Steve Rude, Mike Zeck, Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith, Dave McKean, Paul Chadwick, Bill Sienkiewicz, pictures of Bill Hicks, Greg Moore, Graig Nettles, Jacques Villeneuve, art representing Kyuss, Metallica, Megadeth, The Misfits, and that's just from sitting in this chair. I could spend the rest of my life thanking people who have helped enhance the time I've already spent here. But I think I'll go back to enjoying some more of their work now.

Blog Post Soundtrack; Eric Clapton, Bill Hicks, Band Of Horses, ZZ Top, The Police, The White Stripes, Rollins Band, The Buzzcocks, Clutch, Ross Noble, Public Enemy, Son House, Queens Of The Stone Age, Django Reinhardt

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Much like Christmas, the spirit of Thanksgiving isn't something that should be boiled down to just one day. However, I will take the opportunity this day to say that I try to be appreciative on a daily basis of all the good things in life. Things as simple as the sun being out in a clear blue sky, enjoying the colors of trees and flowers, listening to music, reading books, admiring artwork, these are things that I'm thankful for. My parents, my friends (some at my job, some on my route, some in New York, some spread around the country, and online ones around the world), and many people whom I've never met but who have produced some sort of art or entertainment that I enjoy are more things to be thankful for. And the fact that I'm still here to enjoy all of this stuff, and seemingly have the mental and physical wherewithal to fully do so, doesn't go unnoticed either.

Blog Post Soundtrack; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rise And Shine

I love getting up at the same time on my days off as I do when I'm supposed to go to work. It's nice being up that early and knowing that I don't have to go out, that all of that time that I normally have to be at work is now completely mine, free to do whatever chores or things have to be done, at a nice relaxing pace. Obviously things that are fun are mixed in too (there will be some NHL 10 on the XBox 360 played today!). I prefer this to sleeping in, waking up and realizing that half of the day off is already gone. I've always been a morning person, I tend to get more done earlier anyway. Usually, if I haven't accomplished something by noon, it's probably not gonna happen until tomorrow. Remember those old US Army commercials, with the tagline, "We get more done by 9AM than most people do all day"? For lots of reasons, I'm very proud of the fact that I'm not most people.

Blog Post Soundtrack; Judas Priest, Beastie Boys, The Doors, Voivod

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winter's A Nice Place To Visit

So the new background image above was from a trip I took to Alberta, Canada in October, 2004. I grew up in New York City, but I've lived out here in the desert for nearly 10 years now. I tend to take trips to places that have an actual winter. Pretty sure I wouldn't want to LIVE with winter anymore, but it's nice to visit. As you can see, it can look real pretty.

Blog Post Soundtrack; Leadbelly (singing a song called "Alberta"); Rollins Band

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eric Drooker

So, being a mailman, I get to see a lot of magazine covers, whether I want to or not. See way too much of People and other celeb-worship trash like that. One of the ones I look forward to seeing, and actually stop to take a minute to enjoy the cover art, is The New Yorker. In addition to being a native, and appreciating it on that level (born in Queens, one of New York City's 5 boroughs, and didn't come out here to Vegas until I was 28), they just have excellent artwork by excellent artists gracing their covers on a consistent basis.

The newest issue has a wonderful painting by Eric Drooker, entitled "Autumn In Central Park". It's a shot looking up Poet's Alley, a wonderful tree-lined wide walkway in the heart of the park, just south of Bethesda Fountain. The colors are stunningly vibrant, trees aflame and aglow in amazing reds and oranges that leapt off of the cover. Absolutely beautiful.

I went to show it to my "adopted Mom" in the office, a fellow carrier. I played tour guide to her and her husband when we 3 went to NYC for their first ever trip there about 6 years ago. Her and I had some time to kill on the first day, as he was flying in from somewhere in the midwest to meet us there, so one of the things we did was walk thru Central Park. We still have a NYC-bond, and this cover in particular brought back vivid memories of 2 weary travelers enjoying their first day in New York.

In further poking thru Eric Drooker's website, it turns out I've been familiar with his work for about 15 years now, without knowing it. I found a piece he did (he does many NY themed paintings and drawings) that had been used by a favorite band of mine, Faith No More, for their album "King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime". The album was released in 1995, and some of the European import singles also had Drooker drawn covers. Very different style to The New Yorker cover paintings, but still recognizible as his terrific work.

Do yourself a favor and check out his website, you're sure to find something of interest.

Blog Post Soundtrack; The Police, TV On The Radio, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, AC/DC