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Everything I think I know is just static on the radio

January 24, 2011

In a Spy family first – ever, I think – we all overslept this morning by 45 minutes. None of us uses an alarm clock unless something out of the ordinary is happening. We are all lousy sleepers and are generally up at the crack of dawn. I’m not sure how to account for this coordinated sloth. AJ had a sleepover on Saturday night, so his oversleeping was probably part of the recovery process, as was his extreme crabbiness once he did finally wake up. Mr. Spy probably wore himself out yelling at the Bears game yesterday. Me? I don’t sleep much anymore. I’ve spent my whole life as a morning person and am suddenly finding I like to stay up late. It’s the only time I can get work done when everyone’s home and guarantee that I won’t be interrupted.

Not only did we oversleep, but we discovered we were out of coffee. We had just enough to fill the pot this morning, thank God, but I had to make an unexpected grocery run today and it’s made me a little crabby. My time is precious, people.

And then there’s the snow. Which persists in falling. Not a lot this time, but enough to require at least a scrape down with a shovel. Winter is time consuming. And cold. And long. And life is short.

I’ve been trying to figure out if I’m suffering from a midlife crisis or cabin fever or I’m just in some kind of manic phase or coming down with a raging case of ADHD. Yesterday afternoon I was trying to work and I just couldn’t sit still. It’s been like this for a while, but it’s been getting worse. I wanted to be anywhere but here with anyone but the people I see every day. And so while the boys were wrapped up with the football game, I got in my car, turned the music up to 11 and drove. Sometimes a fast car is what you need. Sometimes it’s a five mile hike. And sometimes it’s a guitar and a voice to sing with. Anything to keep my hands, body and brain busy. And there have been all these crazy dreams. I’m better when there’s work to do. And there’s plenty of work. If I can just sit still and do it. Today I bought daffodils in a pot. I’m hoping they’ll help get me through the last cold weeks until spring.

And then there’s all the music. I’ve been listening to Jim White’s album Drill a Hole in that Substrate and Tell Me What You See. I heard the first track, “Static on the Radio” on WFUV a few days ago and had to go track it down online to listen again. One of my favorite voices, Aimee Mann is singing backup. Here’s the song that sucked me in:

But the whole album is interesting and evocative and quite stylistically varied (Julia, I have a feeling you in particular might like it — his voice reminds me of others that you like). Another late winter distraction. Every little bit helps.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    January 24, 2011 3:15 pm

    God, I know that feeling. I blame winter and the inability of my husband to get off his ass and take the children out of the house for awhile. He can’t think beyond the playground. Sigh. Nobody likes being out in the cold and it drives me crazy. I want to be out working in the garden but the ground’s frozen.

    But, we live by the alarm clock or we’d all get up about the time school opened.

    Also, I make damn sure we’re never EVER out of coffee. Never. I get very angry when we lose power and I can’t make any.

  2. January 24, 2011 3:27 pm

    We now have a French press pot, which means when the power goes out, I fire up the grill to boil water and we can still have coffee. As long as someone remembers to put coffee on the grocery list when the backup cans are removed from the pantry.

  3. freshhell permalink
    January 24, 2011 3:42 pm

    I need to get a grill. We have nothing but the fire place for heat when the power goes out and I learned the hard way that that does not really work unless you want to destroy a pot.

  4. Cranky permalink
    January 24, 2011 4:21 pm

    I do like that song. The album title is fantastic!

  5. January 24, 2011 6:49 pm

    You know I know that feeling, too. Flowers help.

  6. January 24, 2011 11:15 pm

    Out of coffee! Oh no! Thanks for the music recommendation, I do like his voice. Aimee Mann for backup vocals isn’t bad either.

  7. January 25, 2011 9:30 pm

    Cranky, it is maybe my second favorite album title. The winner is Mark Eitzel’s Caught in a Trap and I Can’t Back Out ‘Cause I Love You. Also a great listen.

  8. Hello permalink
    March 13, 2011 11:15 pm

    Hi, I discovered Jim White listening to a local radio station and it was his Satic on the radio that caught my attention also. I occasionaly go through manic states where I try to simplify and purify my life and then throw everything away or give everything that isn’t a necessity away, in one case Jim White’s albums. Well, I completely forgot about his music for a couple years and just tonight I remembered his song title static on the radio and then looked it up on youtube. I wanted to find his back-up singer’s name for Static and came to your website. Thanks for the other artist suggestion.

  9. March 14, 2011 8:10 am

    I’m glad it was helpful. My other favorite song of White’s is “A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes.” There are two quite different versions. The one you can find on YouTube is a clip from White’s film, “Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus” and is mostly just acoustic guitar and White. But there’s a more processed album version (in a very different key) that’s also really great. I like them both.

    I’ve been trying to put together other artists that I like to listen to when I listen to White. I’ve found myself mixing in The Handsome Family, The Low Anthem and, a recent discovery thanks to the artist’s presence at a musicology conference, Bonnie Prince Billy (aka Will Oldham). I’m on the lookout for others. Aimee Mann was actually what got me to listen to White. I recognized her voice when I first heard “Static.” I’ve been a big fan of hers since her Til Tuesday years and an even bigger fan of her solo work.


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