Random thoughts Labor Day…

thought I would check in.
Someone sent me a note recently about the last blog post I wrote months ago and it reminded me that I really need to get in here and get moving on writing again.
Things have been going well– very well. I have been married for over 2 years now– it’s simply amazing how life just rolls on by. I am listening to a Dave and Tim concert that Lili and I went to in Koln in March of 2007! Crazy how it was 2007!
Long time ago, yet it seems like it was just a year ago.
I have been thinking alot about Dave as this is when the annual pilgrimage to the Gorge happens– something that has been going on for about 15 years now– again, crazy when you sit and think about it for a moment. This will mark my 57th show, with the 58th coming when the band concludes it’s last show in the US for a year.
58 shows.
A titch ridiculous if you consider how much the tickets are and what is exactly involved in all of it– but I can tell you without a doubt it has brought me countless moments of joy that few other things in the world can bring…. With that being said, I am very glad that the band is taking a year off and I intend to get a number of things accomplished within the next year– exactly what– well, I will save that for another post at another time :).

Enjoy the weekend– and look for more soon!

Nuremberg



Lili and I have arrived in Nuremberg, Germany yesterday from Koln. We rented a rather lovely and fast Volkswagen Golf, for a very reasonable price. I am a bit sad to report that the Autobahn was not the uber fast speedway that we Americans dream to drive on– at least not yesterday. There was more construction on the bit of Autobahn from Koln to the Bavarian border that it was very rare that I got the chance to hammer down the pedal. However, when I did, it was nothing short of exhilarating.

It took us about 4.5 hours to drive here and we arrived just after 5. Traffic was busy coming into town as everyone was just getting off of work and we headed directly to the hotel, which Lili claims to have found using her most excellent mapping skills, but I think it was more luck than anything else. We managed to find all three hotels like the one we are staying in — ETAP. It’s a budget hotel, 50 euro’s a night, which is actually cheaper than staying in a hostel with a private room.
The city of Nuremberg is much more beautiful than I had imagined it and I was thinking it was going to be quite special. It ranks right up there with Dresden in the most beautiful German city thus far… and I think that once I actually soak it in, it will become my favorite German town.
There is a giant castle, schloss, at the top of the city gates, which is where the picture above is taken. It has a great overlook of the city itself, which was mostly destroyed in the WWII. In case you didn’t know, Nuremberg was the center of the Nazi movement and also where the trails were held at the end of the war. It was destroyed in the war and rebuilt. Luckily, when the Nazi party was here, they were meticulous in photographing the city and all that it contained.
I have read quite a lot over the years about WWII and to be in the city where so much of it went down is quite a dream. Walking through the streets and thinking about the pleasantness that this city now offers and contrasting it with the days when the Nazi party was at it’s height of control in Germany — and most of the propagandist theater was staged right here. I imagined the city center streets lined with German soldiers as Hitler gives his speeches — and how he watched the parades of soldiers march through the city.
Today we will walk out to the soccer stadium, which is on the same grounds as Zeppelinstadium, which is the area that he gave his speeches to hundreds of thousands of supporters. Again, most of that was destroyed by the Allied troops after the war, but they did leave parts of it. I will post those photos over the next several days.
For the record, I don’t want this to seem like I am some war buff vacation, but there really are two stories to the German life– the war and everything that happened after the war. This country has a lot of deep scars from that time period and the wound is finally healing, but that injury will forever be with the German people and it was an interesting period of time. Hitler and the Nazi Party were an evil regime and it was a dark period but they did some pretty historical things. To think that this is the hotbed of it all– the wound runs the deepest here– but it’s also where the healing began with the Nuremberg Trials — the fact that they tried and hanged the people that were left in the end here gives the place the opportunity to start anew–and it has.
In fact, one would have to know firsthand that the city was destroyed by bombs to realize that all of it has been completely redone because it very closely resembles a city like Prague, minus St. Charles Gate, of course.
Anyway, that’s all for now as were headed to Zeppelin Field…

A word on surgery…

Let me tell you something:
When something inside of you says that something inside of you isn’t right, listen to it.
Men in particular, don’t bother to pay much attention to our bodies when it tells us that something is bothering it.
The growth as it shall now always be referred to, has been around for longer than anyone cares to imagine. Like a good transient, no one knows when it arrived, how long it went undetected but my guess is that the growth must have moved in around the time that I was in China.
That is when the kidney stones started, which is a by-product of this thing moving in. I remember that day in China well (rather that evening). It caused me to spend a couple of days in a Chinese hospital, moaning for hours at the pain in my kidneys while the glass bottle dripped a saline mixture into my body.
Truth be told, it could have been going on much, much longer than that– but it doesn’t matter in the long run, because now its gone, sliced out Monday morning and sent down to Pathology to check for Cancer. He wasn’t home this time.

They call it a parathyroidapidectomy or something like that.

You have four thyroid glands, which are about the size of a grain of rice, two on each side of your throat. These thyroid glands, for those of you, like me, that failed to pay attention to Biology, control a number of bodily functions and temperaments. My upper-left para-thyroid gland needed to be removed as it was causing my body to produce too much calcium, regardless of how much calcium was being consumed. The body, when it doesn’t have enough calcium, begins to pull it from places in the body– (think bones, teeth, etc)… so you can quickly see the potential issue here.

Regardless, it is now out. Special thanks to Dr. David Moore, the careful surgeon, Dr. Mozapharian, the Organist and good ole’ Dr. Martin Cahn, the good ‘ole doctor. 🙂
Special thanks to Lilifer, who managed to keep me in the best of spirits during the recovery process.

Things are moving back into its normalcy.

Ashes of America, thoughts on Wilco…

Tonight, Neil and I went to see the new Wilco film, Ashes of American Flags.

It was playing at the Northwest Film Forum, up on Capitol Hill, where the arts are. I have been looking forward to this release for quite some time, looking forward to going to the cinema and taking a few moments out of my life to enjoy a documentary. This is something I don’t do enough of, yet I, like most of you, spend time in front of the tube, trying to gain enjoyment from shows like Lost, 24, etc… Let me tell you that we are wasting our time. That become evident tonight as I was watching this band, this Wilco band, play and discuss life in Hi-Definition. It felt good to be alive.
There is something about this band that I just have this connection with– it’s difficult to explain if you have never gotten that experience from music. The high comes from the simple fact of being in the aura of greatness. To be with a group of people who are on that journey of righteousness, where what they do is coming together so perfectly that it really doesn’t matter who’s watching or paying attention because they know that the music itself speaks more collectively and timeless than they ever could.
The film just makes you enjoy that moment, sitting with a great friend, living it together.
The film, out on DVD on Tuesday, features a number of performances across their trip through the southern US, last summer. Places like Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Tulsa are all featured as the band blazes through the south. Lili and I had the pleasure of seeing them in the early summer last year and it was very similar to what you see on this DVD.
The main focus is on the music, with a little documentary style conversations blended in. The combination leaves me wanting to hear more details about what really makes this band tick so well– such a dizzying array of musicians working together in what appears to be unison– it almost seems to good to be true– and maybe it is. Tweedy alludes to the possibility of another switch in the band being possible, “but not John”, a reference to bassist John Stirrit, who I think is the only original Wilco member now, sans Tweedy.
Regardless, this band seems to be at the peak of their performance–it doesn’t seem like it could get better, but as Tweedy’s Dad says at the end of the film, they just keep going and getting better and better.
Well said.
If only there were more moments like this one.
Hope you’re all well.

Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

The common question when seeing people that I haven’t seen in a bit is a mixture of questions of the past and the future– how was the wedding and how is it without your wife not being in the country?
At this point in my life, I feel like I am in limbo, no direction, no way home, just waiting, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the moment when my wife is allowed to enter the country so that we can then begin our lives together.
This time has not been easy, so difficult that at times you try not to think of it, whatever you have to do to get away from it, to get away from the reality of your life being on hold because of the government.
During this time, I have had the opportunity to work on myself the way that I have wanted to since coming back from China– losing the weight that I quickly put on from spending a year in China. I lost 50 pounds in China and gained 100 coming back. I made a promise to myself when I got married and could barely fit into a suit that enough was enough– I was going to take my life back and begin to make decisions that need to be made because I want to have a life and I want to be a role model for my children– someone that they can look up to in any case.
So I have spent the last three months going to the gym and trying to take care of myself, trying to develop myself into a routine, getting things straight, mentally and physically so that I could begin this new life with my wife, fresh and anew.
Today was a celebratory breaking point– I reached the first of my goals since undertaking this challenge and it was done with the help of the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, a complex double album of songs that supposedly chronicle the different stages of life, from sadness to joy to anger to enlightenment…
I have listened to this album hundreds of times, seen the band perform it live in their pajamas and it is one of the en grained soundtracks of my life. It is one of the strongest albums ever recorded and each time I listen to it, I think about all the times around it in life.
In some ways it seems like the perfect thing to listen to while hitting the elliptical machine for 60 minutes– and the first part of Mellon Collie lasts 56 minutes– so I am looking forward to hitting the next part of the album on the next goal– or maybe on the plane as I am going to see my wife for the first time in months…
But I am keeping my head up, looking forward to the future, one moment at a time…

Hope youre all well.