Monday, November 13, 2006

Going through the motions

Some days, a guy just has to go out and get this train stuff out of his system. Monday dawned unexpectedly sunny. It wasn't too cold to go for a bike ride, but I convinced myself that it was, and instead I loaded up the camera gear and headed to Saginaw. Between articles in the Star-Telegram's sports page (way to go, Dallas Cowboys... nice win against Arizona yesterday; it almost made up for that pathetic loss to the 'skins) I photographed a few interesting trains.

"Devil in Disguise" - BNSF 599, recently renumbered from Santa Fe "666", made an appearance in Saginaw on Monday.

GP40X 3035 - Southbound yard transfer - Saginaw, TX

It's good to get out there and go through the motions once in a while -- stay familiar with the camera, chase a few trains, make sure you're in tune with how the railroad is operating. When interesting stuff shows up, that makes it even more enjoyable.

Getting in touch with Whiskey's feminine side

Well, today I dusted off an old Sugarcubes cassette and played a few songs, followed by a track from a solo album by Sugarcubes' vocalist Bjork. That's the kind of stuff that would have K saying "you know how I know you're gay?" if she caught me breaking out those tunes. "Just a walk down memory lane, Hon! Now just a minute while I cue up the 11-minute dance re-mix of 'Chains of Love' by Erasure..."

I'm not sure what made me want to listen to that stuff, but Bjork's hauntingly gorgeous voice never fails to give me goosebumps. High and powerful, with tremendous range and a thick accent, I can't always understand what she's saying, but on songs like the Sugarcubes' "Birthday" or Bjork's "Human Behavior", it just conveys such a sense of tragic beauty and delicate power. I've never heard anything like it.

"Well, I'll be God damned... that Whiskey's gone plumb loco! What's he talkin' about, Bubba"?

Some of you who have known me for only a few years might be surprised at how radically my musical tastes have changed during the course of my life. Here's a brief run-down of what I've been interested in, and at what ages:

7-11 (1979-1983) - Top 40, i.e. whatever Casey Casem was playing

12-14 (1984 - 1986) - heavy metal - Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Anthrax

15-16 (1987 - 1988) - punk / hardcore - Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Black Flag

17-20 (1989-1992) - alternative - the Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order

21-26 (1993-1998) - alternative in a broader sense as "alternative" became more "mainstream" - Pearl Jam, Lemonheads, Red Hot Chili Peppers

27 - present (1999-2006) - mostly Americana / Texas country - Ray Wylie Hubbard, Waylon Jennings, the Gourds, Wayne Hancock

The thing is, since I've never thinned out my music collection much, I still have most of the stuff I was listening to back when I was 21 and 18 and even 16! Of course, a lot of the old stuff is on cassette -- or VINYL, which I can't listen to right now because I don't have a turntable set up. But I do still have an operational cassette deck. And occasionally, like it did today, the mood strikes me to hear something from way back. Now sometimes, I'm forced to admit that the stuff I listened to ad nauseam 16 years ago sounds like total crap today. A year or two ago, I put on a Sisters of Mercy (late '80s, wanna-be goth/industrial band) cassette and I barely had the stomach to make it through three songs. (During my junior year of high school, I went entire weeks without listening to anything other than their "Floodland" album.) My tolerance today for the Cure and for Depeche Mode -- also heavily featured in my late 1980s playlists -- isn't much better. Strangely, I can still listen to New Order without any ill effects -- well, except for the heavily overplayed "Blue Monday", which I didn't care for much even back then. I do dig New Order's sound... always have. It has survived the test of time a lot better than Sisters of Mercy or Depeche Mode. But it's good to hang onto some of that old stuff; if nothing else, hearing a song for the first time in years -- especially if your musical tastes have changed -- will sure put it in a different perspective.

Before you finish that Christmas list...

I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but everyone's starting to assume "Christmas mode". God knows, I've been getting the 3rd degree about what the kids and I want for Christmas. Here's an ad that appeared in our Sunday paper that would have had my wheels turning... if I didn't already own a digital SLR!

The only thing missing is a Santa hat...

So, does anyone remember Carmen Electra? Let's see... she was a hostess on the MTV game show "Singled Out", then she married Dennis Rodman... but what has she done for us lately? Not much that I can recall. I guess that's why she's appearing in Wolf Camera newspaper ads. Oh well, we'll see if they don't sell a few more cameras this holiday season...

Whiskey's World Series of Pop Culture (Part 7 of an occasional series)

No one has submitted an answer yet for question 7, so I'm re-submitting the question.

7) In the "Bubble Boy" episode of Seinfeld, actor Brian Doyle-Murray played the Bubble Boy's father. What was his occupation? (for extra credit, name the characters that Doyle-Murray played in the movies "JFK" and "Waynes World")

To play, simply email me with your response, or post it in the "comments" section below. No prizes will be awarded; all you get is the satisfaction of being right.


nr: Ted Conover - Coyotes

np: Wally Pleasant - Houses of the Holy Moly (stay tuned - sometime in the near future, I'll have to dedicate an entire blog entry to the genius of Wally Pleasant)


Blogger Ft.Worthian said...

Hey, Whiskey. I came across your page searching train dispatching. Your love for the railroad is very impressive. I start a dispatching training program in 07.

My eye was caught by the Seinfeld question. I am a huge fan. Brian Doyle Murray's character's name was Mel and he drove a Yoo-Hoo truck.

10:31 PM  

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