Washing the Car

It’s been a beautiful lazy day today where I was actually able to sleep in past 7:30am before going for a leisurely breakfast, then napped on the couch to watch the final stage of the Tour d’ France as the riders blistered their way across the Champs d’ Elysee.  We had some minor business in town as well but nothing worth mentioning here.  But since the rains they have been forecasting, like, all weekend haven’t actually come to bare, I’m actually going to go ahead and wash the two months of accumulated dust and grime off my car.  How very domestic of me, I know.

And what better soundtrack for a lazy Sunday afternoon of car washing then the terrific ‘Reflections‘  album by Jerry Garcia.  I know, I’m the perfect neighbor.

Any Deadhead worth their salt will instantly recognize just about every song from the vast back catalog of live recordings, whether it be the Grateful Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band, Legion of Mary, or whatever; ‘Might As Well‘, ‘Mission In the Rain‘, ‘They Love Each Other’, ‘It Must Have Been the Roses‘, ‘Tore Up Over You’ (Hank Ballard), ‘Catfish John‘ (Johnny Russell), et al.  There’s also a great version of Allen Toussaint’s ‘I’ll Take a Melody’  too boot.

Released in 1976, this is Garcia’s 3rd solo album although all the members of the Grateful Dead participated in some aspect or other, hence the propensity for these songs to appear in their live set lists throughout the late 70′s and onwards for the remaining balance of their careers of performing together.  It was the result of the band’s mini-hiatus from touring during late 1974 and most of 1975.  The material on this album is uniformly strong and includes some of the best studio work that the Dead had been involved in since ‘American Beauty’  and ‘Workingman’s Dead‘.  Their sound is no longer as rurally influenced; instead, they adopt an equally laid-back, jazzy approach, which culminated in some of the most respected shows of their live catalog.  It has a definite lazy, loping effect through it’s roll out which made it the perfect listen today.

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Long Run (18k)

the forecast for today was calling for thunderstorms and torrential rainfall but as of 8:00am, it looks pretty nice and I’ve been blessed with decent running weather.  Well, as blessed as one can possibly feel when facing down the barrel of an 18k long run anyway.  But, hey, at least I’m not doing another recap of last weekend’s wet and sloppy slog (click HERE  for a little reminder).  So I’m fed, charged up on my morning coffee and out the door before anyone else is out of bed.  Not a bad start really.  Time to get a move on.

This morning’s long haul then is once again set to the musical splender of more live Grateful Dead, namely the ‘Dick’s Picks Vol. 10‘  album.

From the album liner notes:

“On a crisp, clear late-December night in 1977, the Grateful Dead transformed the black-lit concrete barn that was San Francisco’s Winterland into a stage of grand musical drama and mystery.  An oft-told tale.  So what else is new?  Yet, so bold and unbridled, so raw and riotous was their playing, that 20 years later this night still remains wild and deeply resonant for those who were there, it’s lines etched so sharply that it seems like just yesterday.”

How can one not get excited about that?  And for good reason too given this is one of my favorite Dead recordings; even Bobby himself says it best, “our new name is the ‘Exactly Perfect Brothers Band’” to begin Set One.  Yes, Bobby…you sure are.  It’s becoming apparent to me that the Grateful Dead might just be the perfect running music for going long.  They have the perfect blend of upbeat tempo tunes to inspire a quicker pace like ‘Jack Straw‘, ‘New Minglewood Blues‘, ‘Bertha‘, ‘Good Lovin‘, and ‘I Know You Rider‘.  Then they mix in some easier, more methodical rhythms in tracks like ‘They Love Each Other’, ‘Sugaree‘, ‘Tennessee Jed‘ and ‘China Cat Sunflower‘ for those slower recovery paces.  It’s the perfect ebb and flow for an idea fartlek around my 18k loop around Ridgeway.

So much for the forecasted cool, overcast and damp weather though.  It ended up being hot and muggy out, providing another challenging workout beyond simply completing the distance.  Now it’s time for a shower, a quick breakfast and maybe a some Zombies, before getting on with the rest of our busy day of dog shows, birthday parties and dinner with friends later on.  There’s no rest for the wicked it seems.

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Brick Run (4.25k)

It’s been a crazy week of rushing around and dealing with bullshit so I very determined to fit in today’s scheduled workout after yesterday’s snafu.  The plan is to drop the kid off at the Kid’s Club at the YMCA, ride a decent 45 minute (23.41k) at race pace and follow it up with this steady 4.25k brick run.  It’s all going to come down to the wire in order to be back in exactly 90 minutes (or less) in order to reclaim the child so there’s no margin for error today and this all has to go with military-like precision.  Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I opted out of an album today in favor of another playlist to keep things motivated on the roads through Port Colborne.

  • Black Tar – Anders Osborne
  • Down on the Street – The Stooges
  • Shit Shots Count – Drive-By Truckers
  • Black Nite Crash – Ride
  • Hate the Taste – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  • I Ain’t Hiding – Black Crowes

All in all, I needed this workout.  If for anything else than to burn off the mounting anxiety and frustration I’ve been dealing with over the past few weeks.  So in that context, today’s workout was a total success (see other successes below).  Aside from that, there was  lots of headwind through Chippawa and Yager Road’s and then back up along Miller Rd. to Killaly.  I felt decent on my run for the first 2k or so before my heart rate began to soar like a jack rabbit on crack (I think I need a bit more tempo running in the plan).  Fortunately, I was able to get back and showered before reclaiming the child again at 7:30pm on the dot.

Booyah!!  Super Dad rides again!

Successes:  2nd best estimated Strava effort for 1 mile (7:07)


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Tonight’s workout was a bust after being denied entrance into the local camping grounds, so I’m back home fuming and cooking dinner.  Happy Hump Day, everybody! Grrr.  I could have used the downtime too since after today’s continued drama with the estate I’m angry with the world.  I did though, win the paper airplane competition at work today’s, so that’s a positive.  Another positive is getting to finish the last (actually the 1st) album in the American Recordings series by Johnny Cash.

Simply called ‘American Recordings‘, this was my first introduction to anything relatively current by the Man in Black at the time.  I knew ‘Ring of Fire‘, ‘Folsom Prison Blues‘ and whatnot, of course, but I hadn’t heard anything fresh or new from Cash so this was a great time to jump on Johnny’s bandwagon.  I must have played this album about a zillion times while bartending at the Mercvhant Ale House back in the day, and then again another dozen times on a road trip to Ottawa around the same time (summer of 1994).  You could say I had a bit of a ‘bro-mance’ going with it.

The first album issued by American Recordings after its name change from Def American, the album being named after the new label.  At the time Cash was approached by producer Rick Rubin (who would go on to produce the entire series) and offered a contract with his label, better then known for rap and heavy metal than for country music. Under Rubin’s supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar.  The songs ‘Tennessee Stud‘ and ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry‘ (Loudon Wainwright) were recorded live at the Viper Room, a Sunset Strip, Los Angeles nightclub owned at the time by Johnny Depp. ‘The Beast in Me‘  was written and originally recorded by Cash’s former stepson-in-law Nick Lowe and there are other great covers too of Tom Waits (‘Down There By the Train‘), Leonard Cohen (‘Bird On a Wire‘), Glenn Danzig (‘Thirteen‘) and Kris Kristofferson (‘Why Me Lord’).

In 2003, the album was ranked #364 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; Guitar World placed it a #50 in their ‘Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994‘  list.

Oh, by the way.  I feel infinitely better after having listened to this album.  There’s just something about the line “First time I shot her, I shot her in the side. Hard to watch her suffer but with the second shot she died”  from the opening track ‘Delia’s Gone‘  that simply brings a smile to my face.

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Drills/Easy Run (8.5k)

It’s been a mentally exhausting day.  There was a ray of hope though when I learned from the good peeps at Legacy Performance that the current ouchie in my right foot is more than likely a minor muscular injury caused by inflammation, as opposed to a full blown skeletal issue which would be much more complex to heal.  Whew!  So to celebrate, why not run 8.5k, right?  Just an easy pace with a few ABC drills thrown in for good measure (I opted out of the skipping and leaping to favor my foot, you know, just to be on the safe side).  It also gave me a chance to finally check out the newest self-titled album by the all chick band Warpaint.

Produced by Flood and mixed by Nigel Godrich, this album was released in the United States on Rough Trade Records on January 20th of 2014.  Warpaint have been compared to everyone from the Cocteau Twins to Joni Mitchell to even Siouxsie and the Banshees.  Yeah, I didn’t really get any of that.  In fact, I got very little of it.  I can’t even say I paid a whole lot of attention to it to be honest given my brain is apparently having issues switching off this evening.  I remember the second track ‘Keep It Healthy‘  going down Point Pleasant Rd. to begin my run and thought to myself, “hey, this is different”, and then…


I might recall a few seconds or snippets from, maybe, ‘Biggie‘  or ‘Teese‘  perhaps that were rather like Portishead in nature, but then I would see either see a bunny, or a squirrel, or something else flurry, furry or funny and I would be off drifting again – lost in my thoughts.  I might have heard a little ‘OK Computer‘  towards the end of the album on ‘Drive‘  while bringing it home down Yacht Harbour Rd., but by then I was lost cause.  Sweat was pouring in my eyes, I smelled like a fetid polecat and, in short, I was a hot and sticky mess and I had long since mentally checked out.  I couldn’t even recall where I had run exactly aside from the short section on the trail.  Looking at the route on my Garmin afterwards (linked above) I’m not sure I really knew where I was going either, particularly after getting off the Friendship Trail.  It more looks like drunken stumble through the neighborhood.

I will have to keep this album close by for another listen at a later point when I can give it the attention it deserves.

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It was a hot, sticky and otherwise gross run this evening in the ridiculous humidity of the early evening.  Like, really gross; even for just 8.5k.  Now that I’m back it’s time to get dinner going for me and the kidlet while mommy is out with the girls (following a quick shower that is).  Tonight’s listening pleasure in our kitchen sweatshop was the next album in the American Recording series that I’m currently working trough, specifically the awesome ‘Unchained‘  album by Johnny Cash.

This album is simply the shit (‘shit’ being a good thing in this case, like ‘phat’, ‘sick’ or ‘ill).  This album, released in 1996, is actually the second in the series (his 86th release over all) and is far away my favorite.  Like all Cash’s albums for this series, ‘Unchained’  was produced by Rick Rubin.  On the album, Cash is backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as a guest appearance of Flea, bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on ‘Spiritual’, and Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, both of Fleetwood Mac, on ‘Sea of Heartbreak‘.  The album focuses more on covers and less on original material than the first album in the series.  In addition to three of Cash’s own compositions, there are songs by Tom Petty (‘Southern Accents‘), Soundgarden (‘Rusty Cage‘), which he somehow managed to make even more kick ass than the original, and Beck (‘Rowboat‘).  It also includes a cover of the classic 1962 Hank Snow song, ‘I’ve Been Everywhere‘, written by Geoff Mack.  In comparison with the country folk sound of Cash’s other American Recordings’ albums this one has more of a hard, true country rock-a-billy feel to it.  Seriously, if ‘Rusty Cage‘  doesn’t have you standing in the kitchen pumping the air with a fist in the sign of the beast, I don’t know what will.  Yes, it actually happened.

Ultimately, the album received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of ‘Rusty Cage’.  Tonight it was given the thumbs up approval from the kid as she stirred her mushroom fried rice.

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QEW to Fort Erie

Not a very inspired reason for a ‘Music in Motion’ blog I know, but that’s genuinely how I feel today.  I managed to nave a great training weekend including a long, hard (and wet) 15k run on Saturday and then followed that up with an 85k bike ride on Sunday complete with climbs and ample headwinds.  I think the tipping point though was the beer and breaded chicken wings I had for dinner last night after going a week of being gluten free, because as of this morning I felt gross.  I ended up blowing off my planned swim workout and it’s all I can do to not snooze my way through the afternoon here at the office.  I did manage to attend a yoga class at Yoga By Sarah after work though, so that’s a small victory.  But, now, I just want to get home and back into bed again.  So this next 40 minutes or so in the car is all about chilling out and trying to recollect myself before getting back to to the endless bevy of questions that are inevitably waiting for me at home.

Fortunately, I have a new album to check out that I’m pretty excited about, specifically the extended self-titled ‘July Talk‘ album released last year.

July Talk is a Canadian indie rock band formed in 2012 in Toronto.  The band consists of singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles.  The band released their self-titled debut on White Girl Records on October 16th, 2012, and then this extended version of the album later the next year by including the original 10-song tracklist with four extra tunes — ‘Headsick‘, ‘Summer Dress‘ (my favorite of the bunch), ‘My Neck‘ and ‘Black Lace‘ — which have been slotted into the sequencing rather than tacked onto the end.

On the whole, July Talk isn’t easy to pigeonhole.  Imagine Tom Waits and Amy Millan shouting whiskey-soaked lullabies back and forth at one another while being backed by Crazy Horse and maybe, just maybe, youʼd have a decent start.  Striking a balance between Americana and indie-rock, their ‘Beauty & the Beast’ aesthetic might burn a little going down, but it sure leaves you wanting more.  Too bad there’s only this album so far but, hey, I’m excited.

So with any luck, with a clear head I’ll zip over to the library before retreating home again for homemade Borscht.  Oh yeah.  Somebody’s going to be pooping red tomorrow.

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