February 11: Am I stuck or?

The year is streaking by and most of my time today has been spent on the LP project and working on my valley-to-valley hiking project. So, I’m wondering if I’m stuck or if things are going exactly as they should? The wind stayed around far longer than usual for this time of year, and then it retreated. Today, by the time I hit the trail, it had to be close to 90 degrees. I shied away from my hill climb. It just didn’t seem like a great idea to throttle my legs on such a hot day. The green of the seasonal grasses are already starting to pale from their original bright green. The oaks that survived the last round of fires are already leafing out. As I’m sure I’ve said before, I am hoping for a least another round or two of rain. Absent that, this will be one of the shortest winters in memory.

On the subject of Cottonwood, my formatter has acknowledged receipt of my manuscript and front matter. It’s all happening now, ready or not. The cover art is still baking in the oven. I’m not worried. I know it will be wonderful but there’s a certain amount of angst about the logistical issues on the horizon. My recollection is that the ebook version of the my first novel was actually more tricky than the print version. Back then, Amazon required a file in their own MOBI format whereas now they use EPUB. Hopefully, this change makes no difference to the formatter. For the print version, all you need is a PDF of the book itself and a precisely-dimensioned JPEG for the cover art. Amazon really has this self-publishing deal down.

We got another chance to share a drink at 1894 this evening. It’s a delightful little spot with a good wine list and a small but well-chosen tap list. Today I had another French Pilsner from Bram’s in nearby Monrovia. I think they must share space with Wingwalker Brewing since they have the same street address. This pils may be the best thing to come out of France since, well, maybe forever. It is crisp and clean yet possessed of a deep, interesting pallet of flavors. Damned if it wouldn’t go perfectly with chips & salsa. What more can you say about a good beer?

Anyway, that’s it for tonight. I hope more happens tomorrow at least between my ears. Tonight’s writing soundtrack is an interesting duet by Andrew Bird and Fiona Apple called Left Handed Kisses from his 2016 record, Are You Serious. It’s an interesting counterpoint to the song that introduced me to Bird, Giant of Illinois. The man is nothing if not varied and versatile in his style and presentation. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.

Thanks for reading.

Are You Serious
February 11: Am I stuck or?

January 25: The pCloud plan, etc.

The other day I mentioned that I had dropped $50 on a year’s worth of pCloud’s 500GB storage plan.

At the time I was waiting.

Right now, I’m still waiting.

Files are being uploaded at what can charitably be called a leisurely pace. There are 80GB still to go and the estimate for completion is 5 days and change. All of that is Ok if far slower than I would have expected. But, if pCloud is choking on the compressed digital stuff I’m a little concerned that uploading the FLAC files of hundreds of LPs could necessitate a digital Heimlich Maneuver.

I’m going to start slow, however, when it comes to the LPs. In fact, I’m going to upload just one LP. The first upload will be of an AAC file and the second will be FLAC of the same LP. Then, I’m going to listen to both, and I’m going to be cruel. If I don’t find a significant difference I’m going to do the rest of my LP collection via AAC and I won’t look back. You see, I’ve decided if this all works I will probably end up keeping all of my LPs.

That’s not a difficult decision. I love my old Per Madsen rack. It just stands there, not bothering anyone holding hundreds of LPs and CDs (sans jewel cases, of course). Even if were to start buying LPs again regularly, and I find that doubtful, I would be unlikely to buy all that many. Who knows, maybe a handful a year? I may even institute a One In, One Out policy as I do with new shirts. That would work for a while since I have a good number of duplicate LPs and some I will never play. I can pretty much promise the second (and maybe the first) copy I own of Pat Metheny’s Chautauqua is on its way out, one way or the other.

The music management process feels good, if a little tedious like the upload speed of pCloud. I’m actually looking forward to playing every one of the LPs. Some of those guys haven’t been spun in a good long while. They’re all fairly clean but should a dirty one find its way onto the REGA’s glass platter my trusty Nitty Gritty record cleaner is right where I left it on the top shelf of my closet. I’ve got a nice collection of good quality poly sleeves for both LP and CD, too. My guess is I’ve got enough LP sleeves for all of the possible acquisitions I might make from now until the end of my LP spinning days. CD sleeves are another matter. I have less than one pack of 100 left, and I’m using them for my jewel case elimination project. And, the company that sells them keeps pushing their availability date back month by month, with the last being November of last year. My optimism is waning and I’m not aware of a suitable substitute.

Who knows? The ones I have may be the last of their kind, as everything is eventually.

Tonight’s writing soundtrack is Giant of Illinois from Andrew Bird’s 2014 record, Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… It’s an odd, personal and evocative song I find myself listening to again and again.

January 25: The pCloud plan, etc.