Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year End 2017 - The Year of Sherlock

So, one good thing about 2017 is that it saw the beginning of my fascination with all things Sherlockian.  It started when I was looking for a new show, now that "Castle" is off the air, and I remembered that I always enjoyed "Elementary" when I caught it.  That led me to the Conan Doyle originals.  Then on to some pastiches (some great, some ok, some awful).  Then it was BBC's "Sherlock".  I'm hooked.  Can't get enough.  221B all the way!

Let's do a quick recap before the serious stuff.


As mentioned, lots of Sherlock Holmes (and Mycroft, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

A bunch of Ursula LeGuin, probably my favorite author at the moment

Pete Way’s autobiography – yikes!

As I dug through the stack of back issues of Analog and Asimov's that I have, one story stuck out.

"All That Robot ..." by Rich Larson.  This story is everything that I love about sci-fi and short stories in particular.  In a few paragraphs the author creates and immerses you in a fantastic yet believable world.  To create something so novel, and so complete in such a short space - remarkable.  It really stayed with me.  I don't know why that pdf version is there, but if anyone comes across this and has interest in it, do yourself a favor and check it out. 


Again, as mentioned, "Elementary" and "Sherlock".  Love them both so much, different as they are.

The Last Jedi

Ragnarok/Wonder Woman/Logan


Vaughan Williams - So I more fully came around on Vaughan Williams.  I'm kind of convinced that I'm not a big Leonard Slatkin fan, however.  I had a set of symphonies with him conducting, and gradually supplemented it with another complete set by different conductors who I found more convincing in pretty much every instance.  He coaxes a wonderful sound from the orchestra, but there's something missing in terms of direction that doesn't convey the narrative of the music as it should.

Elgar - this may be because of my Holmes obsession, but decided to dig a little more deeply because it seemed to fit with the whole Victorian era my head was swimming in.  Again, had Slatkin conducting the symphonies, but got a set by Haitink and found them much more compelling.

William Walton - second string quartet, some film music, in addition to the more well known orchestral works.

George Benson - dug hard on this, the old organ group stuff.  Nobody better.

Herb Ellis - as my tastes mellow, I find I'm more appreciative of his "swing" era sensibilities.

Charlie Byrd - continued to make amends for having dissed him all those years.  Got a bunch fo really excellent later recordings.

Kenny Burrell - by himself and with Jimmy Smith – started me on my organ trio kick.  KB was always one of my favorites, and I really missed him.  Replaced some of my favs that I had never gotten on CD and was really reminded how important he is to me.

Oliver Nelson – "Straight Ahead" is an unknown masterpiece, almost as good as "Blues and the Abstract Truth" (and much better than its sequel).

T-Bone Walker – "Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal" - this song is my spirit animal!

As for other stuff - work was terrible but finished 2 big projects (web site and music lab upgrade).

Recorded and released "Kitsch and Sync". 

Wrote “All Systems Are Incomplete” (again, in super short time frame)– will be on next record.  

Wrote a bunch of blues, hopefully for organ trio record of my own.

Thought it was a light year, gig-wise, but looking through the calendar it was actually pretty full.  Autumn/Winter was light, but overall better than I thought.  First gig of the year was at Marie’s and last gig of the year was at Marie’s, so nice bookending.  Been practicing a bunch, so feel pretty good about my playing.

Took some time to explore the Hudson Valley.  Always with a mind towards escaping.

Now for the serious stuff - the boys.

We lost 2 of our cats this year, Dinner and Lunch (their sister Breakfast has to handle all cat business in the house alone now).  These 2 geniuses were so connected throughout their lives, it's a wonder they could bear to be apart the 7 months that separated their leaving us.  The gift that these cats were to us cannot be overstated.  I loved them both so much, and I know I was loved by them.  Having Dinner herd me into bed, or Bunchie do brush-face or give me the "look of Bunch" - the brudders were my special buddies, and I can feel good knowing that I really appreciated them while they were with us. 

Dinner - Din-dins - Rin-din-din - Fluffy-Wan Kenobi - Fluffy Fluffin Fluffer

Lunch - Bunchie - Bun-Chi

Brudders - The Geniuses

 Trying not to put too much pressure on the little girl, but she's stepping up big time.