The thaw begins

Is anyone else familiar with the sound of water draining from your kitchen sink as you finish washing dishes?

That’s one of my favorite sounds. And right now, it’s amplified all over Madison as the tundra begins to melt and we begin to remember that there is indeed grass here. It’s really, really dead grass, but it’s here, damn it, and I’ve never been so happy to see grass in my life.

At the time of writing this, it is 57 degrees in Madison. Absolutely gorgeous outside. Everybody is soaking it in. I could barely walk on the sidewalks on State because there were so many joggers, and driving was difficult because Mifflin was so clogged with bikes. I heavily considered dragging my bike out of the apartment and riding to school, but I’m not familiar enough with the trail system on the northeast side to feel comfortable riding home at night yet. After spring break, the bike will definitely be my main means of transit again, and I couldn’t be more excited. Days like these remind me of why I moved to Madison in the first place. It’s one of the fittest cities in America when it’s nice enough outside. There are just three months of frozen hell in the middle. I guess Winston Churchill was right:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Speaking of spring break, I couldn’t be more excited for that, either. As of today, I’m exactly a week out from starting the journey home – this time next week, I’ll (hopefully) be setting out to Milwaukee to stay the night. At 9:30 AM EDT next Tuesday, I get into BWI, and my vacation begins. Looking forward to a week of not having to be anywhere at a specific time, playing a lot of music, and… studying, because apparently at MATC professors are allowed to make big midterm assignments due AFTER break, and all of mine are exercising that right. Oh, well.

Things at the restaurant have been picking up, and it’s about time. I worked a 6-close shift on a Friday night and was back on Saturday for a 12-6. Not even 8 hours of downtime between shifts. It’s been a while since my muscles have ached from work, but it feels good. I was going to go see Baltimore’s own Dan Deacon last night, but Friday and Saturday wiped me out so much that I just hung around all day. It was nice enough outside; Quaker meeting cleared my head in the morning, I got to talk to Mom and Tim for a while on video chat, and it was a great day to sit on the front stoop with a cup of tea and a book while the meltwater drained loudly into the grate at the dead end of the street. I’m just waiting for the morning that the sun hits the lake and a huge “c-c-c-c-crack” resounds from Picnic Point to Tenney Beach. I’ve been told that it’s one of the most beautiful sounds to accompany a sunrise.

I’ve been pumping a considerable amount of good music through the ol’ headphones recently, too:

  • Dr. John (or “the pinnacle of human evolution,” as one YouTube commenter puts it) is the perfect accompaniment for an overworked college student/busboy that gets entertained easily by things such as warm weather and good Onion articles. His album “Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack” is particularly great. (Mac Rebennack is his real name.)
  • Robert Glasper’s two “Black Radio” albums are just fantastic. I’ve known this for a while, obviously, but my current obsession with the sound of the Fender Rhodes has upped the ante.
  • Roy Hargrove’s “Earfood” has some really great tracks, though the studio version of Strasbourg/St. Denis is probably one of the most boring recordings of the tune – the live in Paris version is just so much better. 
  • Snarky Puppy’s new album is pretty good, though not my favorite of theirs by a long shot. There’s too much guitar shredding on it for my taste, and if I could have a least favorite part of Snarky Puppy (which I don’t, because they’re just too great), it’d probably be the guitar section. Still a solid disc with a few really, really choice cuts. I’m saving the movie portion for the plane ride back to Milwaukee. For those not as familiar with Snarky Puppy, they’re super innovative when it comes to releasing albums, always including a full-length HD documentary with their studio albums. “Studio albums” is actually a bit of a misnomer, as everything is recorded in a single take (no overdubs) in front of a live audience. They also just released sheet music for their last three albums, which is really cool.

I’ll stop bugging the two readers of this blog with musical updates, and other miscellaneous boring facts. Suffice it to say that I’m adapting to the new pace of life that this semester has brought – and just in time for spring break.

Oh, well.



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