Up early and out to drop A. off, and then off to wait out the tail end of the morning’s inbound rush-hour traffic. I wandered through a big-box store under renovation. I hadn’t set foot in the place in months, but seeing the tile stripped away to rudely reveal cement made it feel even more under-construction than the rearranged aisles and extensive clearance-sale racks. I went back and forth on buying a $20 analog watch, but figured it made more sense to try to replace the metal watch band instead. I did spring for a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter, thanks to the clerk managing to tear his eyes away from his iPhone streaming today’s product-announcement event. I stared at some promising bands before realizing they were for smart watches. Glad I got smart, just in time. Then home for a little piano time before work and weather.
I wasn’t expecting this to be one of the songs I liked on Lucy Rose’s new album “No Words Left.” I can’t read the title, after all, without thinking of the song on Frank Ocean’s “Blond(e)” album, or one of the verses in St. Vincent’s “New York.” If you’re going for it, then you’d better be able to make it work, make it more than an easy aural pun. Maybe it’s the melancholy in the major sevenths, or the orchestration at the margins, but to my ears she clears the bar and then some. I’ll try it out a few more times to see if I can sort out the best bits.
The second Friday hike in a row meant returning to one of the quietest spots without cell phone service within city limits. It took us a little bit more than two hours to amble and stumble four and a half miles along the Chown, West Ridge and Orchard trails before getting back to where we’d parked at the staging area. A woman paused as we passed her at one point and apologized for her dogs, who kept jumping up and down. I told her it had taken me a while to give up the habit. She asked how I did it. “Treats,” I said.
Then, after a shower and some lunch at home, we went over to the Grand Lake Theater to see “Blindspotting” make a portrait out of the landscape and turn some talented performing into a mostly but not completely recognizable Town tale — not that I was supposed to recognize everything, but certainly a lot more than I expected.
There’s a slot open. I’m not just saying that because whatshisface is clearly going through his Thin White Duke phase. I’ve listened to the first five o+> albums in the last five days. So listening to “Dirty Computer reminds me that there’s a space. You can’t listen to just one person all the time. One person can only do so much, even with a cast of hundreds on productions and a talented inner circle on speed-dial and an ego-whisperer like Quincy Jones if you need one. To fill that slot, the taste has got to be exquisite, the song selection has got to be balanced, and the elements can be as synthetic as possible so long as they’re synthesized (and I don’t mean keyboards). So I hit pause halfway through to jot all this down. I’m going to sit with it until I fall asleep. I’ll probably find some way to play it all the way through this weekend.
I set foot out, crossing the street and making it to the sidewalk on the far side, and I was about twenty or thirty feet away from one of the palms when I heard a crackling noise from high above. Two seconds later, a large frond came down and hit the roadway of MacArthur Boulevard. So I didn’t even break stride. I walked over to it, bent down and picked it up, finding it heavier than I expected and dustier against my open palms. All that exhaust and pollen clinging to the leaves got to hang out until gravity got its way. I threw the frond over my shoulder and walked down MacArthur to the bus stop right before Lakeshore Avenue, where I threw the frond down, put my foot against it and broke it into thirds and stuffed its remains in the trashcan. Then I kept going on my way, stopping only to take a picture of this face on a pillar underneath the interstate.