Thursday, February 28, 2008

Better late....

Well, all I can say is this smug retiree has suddenly got so much on his plate he can't fit everything in. To write here every day, I had already changed my routine a bit. I used to loll over the newspaper for an hour or so after eating breakfast. Now the coffee comes with me here to the computer and I get to work choosing music and deciding what to write about. The paper is shunted off to sometime towards the end of the day, and I just give it a quick skim now instead of the former nit comb. (By the time the news hits the morning paper it's at least 12 hours old, anyway. I've already been thoroughly depressed or disgusted by it on NPR by the time I get around to reading about it. So now I just skim the local section and Style, maybe the editorials and op-eds. The Wednesday recipes, of course, get a careful examination.)

These days, though, I am looking at a horse of a different shade altogether. I've got a couple of projects started that are taking precedence even over this. The projects are basically grunt work that just has to be got through--I should be back to normal next week.

An old Peace Corps friend has been kind enough to scan slides taken by another friend, put them on a DVD, and then share the DVD. A group of us is currently enthralled, looking at all those old pictures, emailing each other back and forth, reliving the old days. This gave me the idea of finding my own slides and seeing what among them might be salvageable and shareable. I've been going through that treasure trove all day, just came to a stopping place. I think there may be more shared pictures in the pipleline soon.

The other project is ongoing, and has gained impetus since I started Days of Transition. Back when audio file sharing was The Thing (and legal), I set myself the goal of collecting every number one hit from 1930 to the early 1960s, stopping where rock took over. I gathered hundreds of songs. The music from the 1930s make me think if of my parents as young people--this was their "rock," their party music. Those songs were sung in family singalongs, or I remember them on the radio from my very early childhood.

Nineteen-forties Big Band music has special meaning for me, too. Some songs send me off dreaming about a time just before my own, when boys in wide-lapel suit jackets and fedoras, and their girlfriends in square-shouldered, knee-length dresses, went out to dance. I think of cigarettes, highballs and tinkling laughter, all imagined from the movies. Fifties music is another world altogether, those "beautiful music" ballads of Eddie Fisher and Vic Damone (men with the kind of classically beautiful voices that are all but forgotten now), or songs by "Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs," in what passed for a sexy style--"sassy," it was called. I love it all, if not for the music itself, then for the memories it conjures. (Once the music project is done, I promise not too much from the ancient times, but there may be a few exceptional ones now and then!)

I have at least 20 self-made CDs that I am gradually transferring to my Itunes library. Luckily I made labels for the CDs, so I know who is doing what, and in which decade. But I have to type each song and artist into the Itunes template, then wait as the songs are transferred.

Like I said, grunt work, but it has to be done. And it really is a labor of love, as are all these little chores I'm telling you about. And that, my friends, is the difference between working for money and "working" because you want to. I'll take this kind of busy any time.

Oh. If you had to wait until you got home from work to read this...oops! Sorry!


Anonymous said...

God, how I used to love reading the Washington Post. I was an intern there while in college and later did a year with Jack Andersen and Les Whitten. Wonder if you remember them. Les was a master at translating Russian poetry into French. Wrote a few books. Great reporter. Thanks for reminding me. ME

Ravel said...

Fun in life is connected with projects that are fueled by passion. I know what it means to have fun "working" for Me, Myself & I. If only days were longer, as I am one of those 'still working' people... :)-

Ralph said...

ME, yes you do get spoiled when your daily newspaper is the post. Doesn't make the news any better, but you're told of all the bad stuff in a very detailed and professional way. Indeed I do remember Anderson and Whitten--in fact, I remember, and I'm sure you do, too, when it was Pearson and Anderson. Didn't know about that Russo-French angle. Sounds like a great internship. The couple of books relating to Kay Graham that came out at about the same time, her autobiography and then another one, a commentary on the newspaper, bring back a lot of exciting memories.

Ravel, your time will come. Not soon enough for you, I know, but it'll come!

Peewit said...

Actually being in the UK I have had to wait to the next morning. I missed my daily fix but in theory I should get 2 hits today!

Cuidado said...

I understand exactly the music work. I "work" at it every day. A labour of love - or obsession, to say the least.