I had just set about lighting a fire on this chilly May day when Viv burst through the front door in tears. Startled, I jumped and swore. Viv said, “Possum…” and I replied with certainty, “Possum’s dead.”
Viv led me down the front steps to the edge of the driveway, and our darling baby girl cat lay stiff and cooling in the grass, a bluebottle fly on one open eye. I laid my hand on her; she was still warm. There was a smudge of blood on one hind paw, and her collar was missing. Since she never fought her collar off, I assumed it had been knocked off by the car that hit her. A bit later in the day, I thought to check the street in front of the house. Sure enough, there it was.
Much later, after burying her and planting a pineapple sage bush atop her resting place, I realized that Possum must have been hit in the five minutes between my running out the front door to get the wood for the fire and Viv’s horrifying discovery on returning to the house.
Of the three cats in our little herd, Possum was the one who was closest to me and I will miss her keenly.
On St. Patrick’s Day, a rock musician and studio guru named Alex Chilton passed away at 59 from a heart attack while mowing his lawn in New Orleans. Chilton is best known to the average person as the author of the theme song to ‘That 70’s Show,’ a song called “In the Street” originally written for and recorded with his early 70s outfit Big Star. I won’t go in to detail about that part of Chilton’s career here, there’s plenty easily available elsewhere.
I was introduced to the music of this part of Chilton’s career when the long-unavailable Big Star records were released on CD in the mid-90s.
After the frustration of Big Star, Chilton turned definitively away from mainstream approaches to music, really kicking off this segment of his career with my favorite part of his work, the recording and engineering of the Cramps‘ first two records. It’s here that I first encountered his work. Throughout the eighties and early nineties, an eclectic range of artists worked with him in the studio, including, most importantly for the purposes of my little tale here, a New Orleans based band known as the Royal Pendletons.
This band was/is led by my ex-bandmates in Modock, Matt Uhlmann and Mike Hurtt.
On a visit to New Orleans I paid in 1993, Matt told me about meeting Chilton and excitedly outlined his supportive relationship with the band, including longterm loans of gear. Sadly, I did not get to meet Mr. Chilton on that visit, and I have yet to pay a return call on the Crescent City.
When I heard the news of Chilton’s passing on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, I was quite saddened, and somewhat mystified by that. Thinking it through, it was clearly because I have developed an emotional connection to the melancholy parts of the Big Star catalog. I was cheered by some friends’ beautifully sad rendition of Nighttime, the title of this post:
A comment by one old friend and noticing that Mr. Chilton’s widow’s name was Laura combined overnight to make me wonder if he had married a friend of mine. Logging in to the site, I was stunned to find my tickle of curiosity completely confirmed. There’s more to the story, really a lot more, most of which I’ll never know.
I’m not really sure how to process all of this; after all, in the end, I never met the guy. But his music and his life directly impacted a passel of people around me, either as the Big Star guy or less visibly as an idiosyncratic and profoundly self-directed music producer. I guess in the end, my sense of loss about his death was more founded on direct social impact than I realized, and that has placed me into a reflective frame of mind.
I haven’t felt this happy at five o’clock in years.
I began the day ready to head to a contract call, but they cancelled (booo, but no hard feelings). That left me with a few more hours in the day, and my initial plan was to start working on some tax-and-accounting stuff – our 2010 income will be complicated and the more I get done the earlier I get it done the better it will be for everyone concerned.
However, as noted earlier, I recently added an ISP option to our internet access and have been walking though the streaming options on our DVD player, one of which is the primarily HD rental resource Vudu. I was actually excited by the service the first time I explored the UI – I mean, the film listings link to Wikipedia, for godssake, and they have a bunch of Criterion classics available in HD (No Jeanne d’Arc, hèlas). Testing, however, had revealed that SD was likely the best sustained resolution.
Ever since the nearly-two-week old launch of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, I have had a jones on to do a viewing and readthrough of the film and script.
couple weeks ago, I went for a long walk in Sand Point and came across a ‘new’ trail, which appeared to simply have been bulldozed back down to the WWII runways. It was very SF, like seeing what landscape engineering in an orbital or trans-system ship. Come to think of it, the little village right next to the radomes at Discovery Park has the same feel.
I awakened this morning from a dream in which while at a darkened coin-operated video-game arcade, I took a series of calls from competing IT salespeople which culminated in IT salesperson A yelling at me for even considering speaking to IT salesperson B. I told him to get fucked, as one might well imagine. Still, what an odd dream.
It’s not that I haven’t actually had the experience of managing competing IT sales contacts. It’s that I never found that experience especially striking or difficult, so it really surprises me that the motif would surface in a dream.
I was amused that the entire thing was set in a murky arcade. The arcade itself appeared to be set in a facility such as an airport, although devoid of people.