And they call it puppy love..

So after missing nearly an entire week of school because of the snow, spring break has arrived and with it so have warmer temperatures.

I have spent my time, thus far, relaxing and playing with my little puppy, Windsor. Training a new puppy especially a male dog is an education. Fortunately, I have been reading Family Dog by Richard A. Wolters.

Windsor, 4 weeks old
Windsor, 4 weeks old

The book is very enlightening,  helpful and the pictures and descriptions make it worthwhile and easy. I always thought training a puppy would be hard, annoying. Not so, well at this point anyway.

Windsor, or “Windsor puppy” as my partner and I affectionately call him, was born on January 3rd. He’s growing like a weed. Independent, adventurous, with long legs and a a curious need to get into everything, he has scratched and yelped his way into our hearts.

In my previous post, I did promise I would post a few pictures of Windsor. Here he is in all of his cute glory. IMG_0307

He is teething like crazy, loves to bite and play. It is just wonderful. Along the way, I have learned the value of getting a young puppy on a schedule of both going outside and feeding.

He did very well at his first puppy visit at the Vet’s office. The nurses loved him and his veterinarian was most impressed with his weight and his demeanor.  He goes for his second puppy visit on Friday, I’m so excited about that!

Along with being so excited about a new addition to the family, having a new puppy has also changed my attitude and my level of responsibility. Windsor has calmed me and I find his antics so relaxing and joyous.  He is inquisitive, loves to explore and is learning by leaps and bounds.

I have loved watching him grow and I just know I will always adore him! ❤

Organization is Key.

Buying music is so easy these days. A simple click of a mouse and one can have any amount of music at their fingertips. Thanks to such services like the Apple iTunes Store and Amazon’s Mp3 service, music is more accessible than ever before. It can be found anywhere on the Internet too! Admittedly over the last six or seven years, I’ve found 60% of the music in both my iTunes and my Google Play accounts over the Internet. I must thank Google Blog search for that. Just type an artist and with any luck you’ll get numerous blogs dedicated to a particular artist or artists. Now, I fully realize that the sharing of music or any copyrighted material via the Internet is quite frankly, illegal, but how are people supposed to fully understand or even appreciate music if they can’t access it, hear it or buy it?

This is why I am so happy that there are used music and bookstores that still cater to the music and book fiend in all of us. Here in Music City, USA there is no shortage of stores of both kinds. It’s the best of both worlds here. If you want strictly music, there are stores like Phonoluxe and Third Man Records. To expand ones Library The Bookworm and Parnassus Books in Nashville are just the ticket.

I’ve taken to hitting up Phonoluxe quite a bit, a lovely store in Nashville that’s only open on the weekends; it is filled with records, tapes and CD’s at rock bottom prices. I’ve been able to leave with seven or eight records for just under $50.00 – compare that to B&N which will charge a customer $17.95 for the latest piece Lady Gaga ear candy. No thank you.

There is also a store in Nashville that sells strictly “used books, CD’s, Movies, & More.” The McKay store is located just off I-40 on Old Hickory Blvd. It’s been in it’s current location for less than a year, having recently moved from their big-box residence this past Winter. The original McKay store was a cramped space with a claustrophobic parking lot. This new building is a revelation. McKay Used Books is a chain of three stores in Tennessee with 2 others in Chattanooga and Knoxville.

The store’s description is nothing special nor was its former location. The building, a former CompuServe, seemed ideal for a bookstore, but it was clear at the patrons felt it too small and the parking lot was very inconvenient, often drivers could be seen jockeying for any space available. When I heard they would be relocated my ears perked up.

I heard about the store thanks to a college librarian who, like myself, was a music lover. We would often sit for hours in the school library and chat about music; she even let me listen to some of her albums she kept behind her desk. Most days the library was filled with music and I finally had to ask her “Where did you get that?” “Oh, McKay’s,” she cheerily replied. I knew I had to look this store up.

Their new location is just right down the street from where my dad lives, but still the store is a good forty-five minutes away from where I live. If Nashville traffic is good, the trip can be a smooth one, more often than not, getting to West Nashville is frustrating and arduous. I couldn’t stand the drive to see my dad, why would I make a special trip just to a bookstore. I wouldn’t and I haven’t since they moved many months ago.

Finally today seemed the perfect chance for me to get up off my rump, and make a trip up to Nashville to finally visit the store.

Apparently tons of others had the same notion because the place was quite busy. You can imagine the scene: kids laughing and running, parents sitting just inside the entrance in comfy armchairs reading, a long line at the checkout counter, kids looking for textbooks and college kids doing the same.

The building itself is a revelation. Bright and clean, painted white and blue with rows and rows of unfinished wooden bookshelves. The second story is something of a balcony with those atypical black CD organizers and a small area for select vinyl records. Instantly, I knew what I wanted: Music. As I amounted the stairs with Olympian speed and agility I was quickly overcome with sight that met me upon making the second floor landing.

Now my idea of a used book and music store is something akin to Barnes and Noble: if you want music, there’s a large selection and if you want books, you’re more than covered. I dislike the way McKay has their space setup, the second story has the music against the walls and a long blue walkway that overlooks the open first floor and the rows of bookshelves. It looks like a track at the YMCA, If I wanted to do laps upstairs I could have, with ease!

Another annoyance is the lack of organization. For example I found an album by an artist I’ve adored for years, Cleo Laine, in the “easy listening” genre. She is clearly a jazz artist. The second floor music area is a mess with music thrown thither and dither.  Fortunately I did find three albums that made it worth my time, however the disorganization continued on the main floor.  VHS tapes and DVD’s together without any sort of delineation except by alphabetical order, they should be separated – VHS (who watches those anymore?) and DVD’s not just mixed together.

Don’t even get me started on the books. It took me a good twenty minutes to find Agatha Christie.  Where is the organization? I’ve never been so frustrated in not being able to find something quickly in a store. I love the store; I just think it’s not laid out very well. Yes, the empty space is nice, but all that could be useable space for more inventory.

I still buy music, but it’s so irritating when I can’t find what I want.

Artists should thank people like me!

Mp3

I’m a self-professed Apple product nut. I have an iPod Classic, iPod Touch and a MacBook Pro. However, I am more than a little perturbed with my iPod classic. It’s a 4th or 5th generation, and honestly I can’t remember which generation because Apple comes out with newer versions of everything. Anyway, I used to have all my music 120gbs loaded onto my iPod at one time. Unfortunately I lost my external HD (it held tons of music)  and my iPod went nuts after that. I’ve reset the device twice already. It keeps giving me error messages and the like, which really pisses me off.

I collect music. No I don’t collect music, I hoard the stuff. If I had it my way, I’d be on that Horders television show with tons of CDs, Lp’s and collectors items.Wouldn’t that be interesting, a room just  I live for the record store and I’m probably one of a handful of Generation Y kids that still buys physical copies of albums, instead of those lousy compressed Mp3 flies. Yet here I am, ironically complaining about an Mp3 player that is probably 5 years old.

I don’t know what people did before Mp3s, CDs, or tapes. I remember my first SONY Walkman, walking around with cassettes or homemade mix tapes was such fun.  Now the Walkman is all but defunct. Nevertheless I still crave my music to be at my fingertips. What do I want to listen to? Madonna? Barbra Streisand? Styx? Pink Floyd?

I remember not too long ago, actually it was two years ago, I wanted to do my Honors Thesis on a music related topic. At my university, it was a requirement to prepare an Honors Thesis in order to graduate with a diploma from the Honors college. The sky was the limit, you could pick any topic (pending approval) and write to your hearts content. The Thesis room inside the Honors Building is filled with all sorts of papers on a myriad of topics, I was instantly in love.

I’ve always wanted to do a big research project on music. Researching one particular artist and a certain aspect about their craft that has always fascinated me.

Being the music lover that I am, a tuning forked pinged inside my head. A440 sounded bright and cheerful,  and my mind hummed the classic note. Streisand, I thought. But not just any thing regarding the entertainment icon. No, no. I wanted to do a project on the art of arranging.

You see, I’m a piano player. A pianist. I’ve been at the keys since I was a toddler. Ever since I was four years old, my family dreamed of me becoming the next Horowitz or Liberace. Sadly, that never materialized. I still play piano with a fervor and passion all my own. The same passion I have for the piano has inexorably permeated to other areas.

I love how music is created, how it is crafted. I thought it would be cool to trace the steps of how arrangers, composers, musicians and producers go about crafting music for a particular artist (i.e. Streisand). I wanted to focus on a one album in her career and go from there. I’ve researched and researched and asked around for possible interviews. Yet, nothing has come to fruition. It’s always been a dream to talk to Ms. Streisand herself. The perfectionist and task master doesn’t listen to her own recordings, nor does she think about a project after completion. But, how does she know what she wants from an album? How does an artist of her calabre know who to turn to for arranging an album? There is so much to think about, so many questions to ask.

As I sit here and contemplate why my iPod has decided to stop working, I’m reminded of the dreams I have and the ideas that are filed away, in some dusty drawer of my brain – marked “Someday.” Someday, I will write that paper, Someday I will to visit Columbia Records, Someday I hope to meet my musical heroes.