12 February 2011

Where Did I Put My Mind? AND The Friday Top Five

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness.  Think of your three best friends.  If they're okay, then it's you.  ~Rita Mae Brown

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.  ~Mark Twain 

How do you know when you are losing your mind?

Oh, please, let me tell you. I think I am officially certifiable.

How do I know?  I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. (I have always found that expression hysterical, as well as "I'll never get out of this world alive." What does that mean?)

This might  be the CRAZIEST thing I have ever done in my life:

I went downtown yesterday to  meet a couple of my colleagues and talk some music. Afterwards, I drove a a cello over to a local luthier for one of my students to be fixed. When I was done, I had to go back to the Sibley Music Library—which is part of the Eastman School of Music. The library is located on a one-way city street. I was in a hurry to get up to the library and get some research done for an article I have been working on. I spent thirty minutes in the library gathering materials, doing some writing on my computer. I gathered up all my materials to make my way out the door. I went to grab my keys in my pocket—not there. Uh-oh. My keys are NOT in my pocket!  What does this mean?

I start panicking. If I locked my keys in my car, I am in BIG trouble. It's 5:00 p.m. Wifey is at a rehearsal until 10:00 p.m. The children are at home with a sitter for an hour before I get home and make dinner, and put them in bed. If I locked my keys in the car, there is no one that can come out and bring me a spare set.

I walk down the stairs of the library to street level, all the while scheming how I will break into my car. Remember the old days when you locked your keys in your car and could just stick a coat hanger down through the window (open or not) and release the latch on the door. Ah, the 1970's. Anyway, I walk down to the street and see that not only have I locked my keys in my car, but I also left my lights on. This can only mean one thing. I left the keys in the ignition. Yeah, that's right. Keys in the ignition, and left the car running for thirty-five minutes on a busy city street. How on Earth someone did not jump into my open vehicle and drive off never to be seen again is beyond me. Although, let me just take a moment to thank all you would-be criminals for not ripping the serial number from my Toyota Camry and putting it on a truck to Mexico to be sold for scrap. If there was a regional "Stupidity Award" I would have unquestionably won it yesterday.

First, let me say that being part of the Trakkers family thus far has been an unbelievable experience. The greatest part of it this team for me is to have a group of age-groupers who are as terribly stretched as me with their personal lives, jobs, children, training and everything and anything else we try to fit into a twenty-four hour day. My teammates understand how difficult it is to balance your personal, professional, and athletic lives. For instance, the next few weeks are going to be incredibly crazy for me with work


I sometimes get into these completely esoteric conversations with some of my musical colleagues scattered about the country about who the greatest songwriters, guitarists, and albums of all time. My Friday Top Five this week include five albums that I could not live without if stranded on a desert island. What are yours?

#5) Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots — The Flaming Lips: This concept album tells the story of one brave heroine who uses karate in her epic battle against savage robots from outer space. Years from now, I think this album will be as important as The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. The tunes on here are well written, and the lyrics are crafty. I would need some thing in my years of solitude that would remind me of the hustle and bustle of life in the new millennium and how one might, say, leave their car on a busy city street with their car running. The album is a great combination of old-shcool rock meets Karlheinz Stockhausen

#4) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band — The Beatles: Speaking of concept albums and Karlheinz Stockhausen—who was on the cover art—this masterpiece of rock and roll transcends generations for its ability to stay current through the decades. The albums eclectic use of orchestration—quite literally—includes clarinet on When I'm Sixty-four, a string quartet and harp on She's Leaving Home, a harpsichord on Fixing a Hole, tubular bells and a French horn quartet on Sgt. Peppers.  

#3) The Art of The Fugue — Bach (as played by Glenn Gould).  The Art of the Fugue has always mystified me. Trying to figure this out is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics or read sanskrit with a decoder ring out of a Lucky Charms box. Plus, I would definitely need something a bit more cerebral with a lifetime to figure out.

#2) Requiem — Gabriel Fauré: Ah, a requiem you say? A Mass for the dead? Yes, but this is not your Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather's Requiem. The Faurè requiem is the "kinder", "gentler" version of this old school favorite. Composed between 1887, and 1890, Faure replaces the usual Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) with the Pie Jesu (a motet derived from the final couplet of the Dies Irae). More importantly, I would need something to listen to as the coconuts and fresh water slowly run out.

#1)  Music for 18 Musicians —Steve Reich: This iconic American composer, whose name has been synonymous with minimalism for over forty years, wrote several great works, but none of which really resonate with me as much as this composition. It is a masterpiece in form and timbre that allows the listener to groove with the music, or merely lie back on the sand and enter a deep meditative state. If you have not discovered this work yet, go immediately to your library and check this one out. You can thank me later.

OH, the bike porn is coming, the bike porn is coming. Here is a little taste. Isn't she pretty? I named my last bike—actually Alexa named her—Cookie Monster. The jury is out on my new ride. Any suggestions? I will write my official post of my trip down to Geneva Bicycle (voted one of the top 50 bicycle shops in the country) to be fitted for my Kestrel later this week.

Did I mention I'm losing my mind?

Some Updates: The Ragner Relay that I am running with eleven of my closest friends (including wifey) is coming together. So far, we have nine runners committed. We have decided to name our team "The White Hots". Rochester, NY is the home of Zewigels hot dogs—a local landmark.

I got some love from Trakkers this week. They sent me a team Trakkers water bottle, some tattoos, and a new Trakkers visor!  Here is Janina. Why do all my girls have bandaids on their melons at one time or another? I think they think it is a piece of jewelry.

Thanks for reading. Train Smart!


Christi said...

The other day my son left the car running for no reason at all. I guess he was too excited about the space monkeys in the latest download of Call of Duty. So I guess you are not alone!

I love the bike and the great Team Trakker gear!

RockStarTri said...

As the parent of 2 string players, I've spent too much time at luthiers. For example, last February we went to Florida and my eldest needed to bring her violin with her to maintain her streak of consecutive days practicing . The only smart thing we did was to not bring her "concert" fiddle so when the strings started breaking it wasn't as much as a crisis as it could have been. We found a luthier that was open on Sundays for new strings. Balance is always the challenge.

BTW: Is this friday top five last weeks or next weeks?

Velma said...

Great list of music. I am wit ya - lost my mind years ago. Love the bike!!

Anonymous said...

re: new rig

OH YOUR GOSH!!! Congrats on the new addition, looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

again, I am not part of the top five. how is this possible. that will mean you will pay in the pool brotha.

Medievalist said...

I sang Faure's requiem my freshmen year of college - it is one of my favorites. good pick! and don't worry about being absent minded, you know that it is a burden to bear as a PhD.

Caratunk Girl said...

Wait. A band-aid isn't jewelry?

I don't have any of those albums...

I lost my mind this week. For sure.

Anonymous said...

Since you're my teammate I will treat you for free....since I am in the Mental Health business :)

I would have to spend time thinking about the Top 5 but the first 2 that come to mind are definitely Dire Straits Making Movies and Bruce Sringsteen Born To Run

Kristin said...

Love the Bike!! I love Geneva Cyclery. I bought a bike from them a few years back and am still in love with it!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Dude, how was that car still there? Look at it this way, the stupid things we do make for the best stories!

Pearl Jam - Ten
Pink Floyd - Darkside
GnR - Appetite
Zeppelin - I-IV Box Set
U2 - Josuha Tree

Mark said...

Um, Jeff, technically that is eight albums. I have a feeling that after a few beers at CP, we are not going to remember how to count, so why start now.

Kelly said...

I LOVE Music for 18 musicians...I even work out to it sometimes. It is great for long runs.

...and, yes, you are definitely losing your mind. Just in case you needed confirmation.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Iron macro indeficiency virus. I think that is what you have. Based on your comment on my last post I did a whole post in hopes of helping your ailment...

Kiersten said...

I spent 45 minutes today looking for the Valentines Day cards I bought weeks ago. I thought it would save me time to buy them in advance. Not so much.

Barbie said...

That bike is hot- and a name that springs to mind is "Phoenix".

And yes the good old days when all we needed was a coat hanger or a ruler to slip down the side of the window.

Jeff Vanis said...

Did you end up going with a full setup or just the frameset? I notice the bars are ski bends, thought the new model came with straight bars, but I have not ordered yet! Enjoy, loving the top 5s!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

ok, you said the keys were in the car and the car was locked, how did you get in the car?

That is why I have AAA, one phone call and thye come out and get you in your car, same if your bateery dies, will jump your car so you can get home

Ready said...

Would have been something if you got a parking ticket for "unmanned vehicle tempting would-be car thieves."

Joel said...

I'm amazed that your car wasn't MIA. In any other city in the country, you'd be catching a bus home :-).

Agree on Sgt. Pepper. I've got eclectic tastes, so don't judge me...I'd add "Fables of the Reconstruction" REM, "Songs You Know By Heart" Jimmy Buffett, "The Joshua Tree" U2, "Ghost in the Machine" The Police. If I made the list tomorrow, I'd probably scrap half of it and add some other stuff.