Bridge Over Troubled Water, part I

on Friday, January 25, 2008

And so, we begin another project. This time it's the brilliant album by Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Since this is going to be a major event, and a great challenge, I thought I'd start blogging about it, starting with my general thoughts about the album.

In 1970, when BOTW was released, I was only six years old. Seems strange to see that number in front of me, I hadn't really figured it until now, I thought I was more like eight. I remember listening to it a lot, seems like it could have been daily. Sometimes I'd listen to it alone under headphones -- big, ungainly, late 60s headphones that pinned your ears to your head -- sometimes I'd listen with my brothers and sister.

We learned every word, which was easy, because they were printed on the back of the album jacket, and sang along. We'd argue about who got to sing Simon and who got to sing Garfunkel. Basically, everyone wanted to sing the lead.

The music spoke to me, not in the poetic verse sort of way that Paul Simon is known for, but on a much more basic level, I liked it because it was fun and it appealed to me on an emotional level. Even if you didn't understand a word of English, you'd still be able to find the emotion in each song, and it runs the gamut from the heights of elation to the depths of loneliness and despair.

So now, 38 years later I find myself singing that album again, only this time there's no argument about who gets to sing lead, some songs are right up my musical alley, some need to be sung by either Nature or Jeff. In fact, I can hear no other voice but Nature's on So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, I know he'll sing it beautifully, and I am very much looking forward to hearing Jeff sing the title track.

And, at 43 years old I can finally hear some of the things in the lyrics I missed the first time around. For example, this excerpt from Baby Driver:
There's no one home,
we're all alone
c'mon to my room and play
yes, we can play
I'm not talkin' about your pigtails,
but I'm talkin' about your sex appeal...
Those lyrics went completely over my head. At six or seven years old, those words mean exactly what they say, "C'mon to my room and play," suggests an afternoon with Legos, and sex appeal was something that toothpaste was supposed to give you, or so the TV told me.

The Boxer has a whole different meaning to me now. At six it was a song about a boxer, at 43 it's a song about a man -- any man. I find more and more in the lyrics each time I listen to them, each song is a little jewel.

I am really looking forward to this project. BOTW was and remains one of my favorite albums of all time, and getting to play and sing these songs with my friends and colleagues is truly a dream come true!

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Brief Car Update

on Friday, January 4, 2008

$429.90 for the tie rod ends.

Running total so far: $1381.34.

And I will eventually need to replace the head gasket and one of the axle seals. That will run another couple of hundred.

Meh, better than buying a $1500 car and having to put in $900 in repairs...

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Semi-More Reliable Transportation

on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I bought a new car on the day after Xmas.

It's a 1992 Ford Tempo with about 173,000 miles on it. The Tempo replaced the Fairmont and preceded the Countour. It was the grandfather of the Taurus. Whatever. I found it in the newspaper listed for only $495, it was on some land a little north of St. Cloud. A guy named Larry sold it to me.

When I said I wanted to buy it he insisted that we transfer the title immediately. He said he had a couple of things happen that convinced him that was the best way to go. One car he sold wound up in the Hennepin County impound lot before the title got transfered. Another car was involved in a drug bust.

He drove me into Foley and we took care of it right away. It cost $38.50.

When we got back to his house he said he would knock $20 off the asking price because the muffler needed to be replaced, but that he wanted cash. I only had $75 on me so I said I'd go home in the vehicle I drove out there in (Jeff's van) and return with the remaining $400. He hemmed and hawed and finally offered to follow me in my newly purchased vehicle to my home where I would remit the remaining balance, he would then bring me back to his house so I could retrieve the van. Done and done, and pretty nice of him, if you ask me.

So now we're up to $513.50.

After a month of driving Jeff's van (thank you, Jeffy) I had my own car again. The poor old Aspire has seen its last miles, and it served me very well!

On Thursday I was able to get it to MG's Exhaust for the badly needed muffler. The old pipe scraped on the ground. That ran $146.

Now we're up to $659.50.

On Friday I drove it quite a bit, from home to work to downtown, and a few other places. When I was finally on my way home I smelled something melting or burning. On Valentine's Day in 2005 we watched Jeff's previous van burn down to a metal hulk and that's how it all started, with a burny-melty smell. I started to panic.

When I got home I parked on the street, well away from the house, the garage and any electrical wires. If it was going to burn, I wasn't going to destroy anything but the car. I opened the hood and saw a wisp of smoke climb up from under the battery. I grabbed everything I owned, including my guitar, amp and music (I left the tux) and headed for the house. And I had a PTSD attack. I thought my new purchase was about to go up in flames.

I kept looking out the window. The car was still white. It wasn't orange. It wasn't black. I called R&L Repair, George takes his Tahoe there and trusts them, I found out they're the best! Ron looked at it and thought it might be that the emergency brake had locked and was melting due to friction. When they got it up on the lift they found that the brakes needed to be replaced. If I hadn't brought it to them my brakes would have ceased up at some point, stranding me along the roadside. They were able to do the work that day and it ran me $291.94.

Running total of $951.44.

But that wasn't the only problem they found. The tie rod ends also need replacing, which will cost me another couple of hundred dollars, bringing the total so far up to around $1200.

Hopefully, I won't have to have the head gasket replaced or anything else major. There is a small leak in the transmission, but it's manageable. I am going to replace the spark plugs and plug wires, it could probably use them.

Fuck, I hate cars, but I need one.

This may be one of those purchases that comes back to bite me in the ass. It wouldn't be the first. I've already spent $1200 bucks, I really hope this isn't a little money pit. Well, even that would be a lesson, wouldn't it? I just have to keep reminding myself:
It's already broken.

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