Happy 2019

2018 was a year of change. It wasn’t planned (mostly), but change is inevitable, and you have to learn to lean into the change and make it work for you.

First up was that I got a new job in April. I left Northern New England Housing Investment Fund after more than 13 years and became the Director of Asset Management at the Caleb Group. NNEHIF had done a number of deals with Caleb, so we knew each other, and the transition was pretty easy. I’m doing a lot more at Caleb regarding the refinancing of properties which is different from what I had been doing at NNEHIF. Unfortunately, the commute is the same. I had been hoping that if I did change jobs that I would travel less (what, there were no companies that are in easy walking distance to my home?).

The next event that happened was the event that had been planned. My son got married in late June. This was a very happy event – the wedding and reception went off very easily and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. After the wedding my wife, her brother and his wife and I went to the Jersey shore for a couple of days. That was nice, too.

Nick and his wife Lindsay went to Hawaii for 2+ weeks. They had wonderful adventures there. We had gotten them a week there, which helped with their out of pocket (although they did quite well at the wedding). They spent Thanksgiving with us and will spend Christmas at the in-laws. For now, they live closer to us, so we see them more often.

The last event that happened was very recent – I was rear-ended and my car was totaled in early November. I’m still dealing with the insurance company about this. I finally got a new car a month afterwards – a very similar car to the one that was totaled. I went from a 2017 Camry to a 2108 Camry. I tried other cars but the ride in the Camry was much better than the tanks I tried (and other non-SUV cars).

I’m looking forward to 2019, where I hope that I do not have to go through any changes. I’ll take a year of calm. On the other hand, my wife is looking towards retirement (maybe June 2020 – will have to decide in late 2019), and I have a knee replacement that is in my future, but hopefully I can put that off for years and not just months (the knee had been much better until the accident and is starting to subside again – I keep hoping that it stays at a tolerable level before I head to the next round of shots).

I hope that everyone had a good 2018 and that 2019 is looking up as well.

Let’s get ready for 2019 with tunes from Badfinger, Pet Shop Boys, XTC, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Shriekback, Flock of Seagulls, the Kinks, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Donovan, the Hollies, Bettye Lavette, Crazy Horse, Neil Young, and Dinosaur, Jr.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.


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Nightmare Before Christmas

Quick Merry Christmas to everyone. As always, try to remember the reason for the season (no, it’s not the acquisition of presents) and be nice to your fellow man. Let’s hope that the people who have unexpected days off this Christmas have a shortened time off and that they can get back to work (there’s one meeting I can cross off my list for Thursday).

Let’s celebrate the times we share with family and friends, and maybe include music, which on this week’s podcast involves Hollie Cook, Gary Clail & OnU System, Martha & the Muffins, Rabin Lane & the Chartbusters, Yumi Zouma, Jane Weaver, Holly Golightly, JoeJackson, Bob Mould, Grant Lee Buffalo, Rosanne Cash, Kate Tucker, and Eleanor Friedberger.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.


Download here

New Car Sound

I had a request that I’ll honor.  I talked last week about my new car and was asked how the sound in the car was. I have mentioned that one of the ways I listen to music is during the long drives  I have to exotic places, like the trip to Bangor, Maine I made on Thursday. That was the perfect time to try out the stereo in my new car and report back.

The first thing I noticed when I got into the car is how quiet it is. As well as the 2019 Corolla we have, it can be difficult to know if the car is on or off (if we don’t have the heat or air conditioning on high). The engine is whisper quiet or better. The whole car is pretty sound-proof – there’s not a lot of road noise that penetrates, either, so overall the car is a good place to listen to music.

My Camry has a JBL audio system installed in the car. There are 8 speakers installed front and rear, with tweeters in the front and woofers in the back (I’ll keep it basic). I just did a quick search and found bascially favorable reviews for the JBL system. For installed systems it rates excellently. When I owned my Altima I bough an after-market system that was also highly-rated, and while it was good, there wasn’t the separation I found at home.

In my Camry (and indeed, in all the Toyotas I’ve driven) there seems to be a bias toward the front speakers. If I change the the fade settings to rear speakers only, the sound is far less than if I have all the music coming to the front. I know that’s in part to the fact that I am sitting in front, and therefore placement favors the front speakers. I found a sweet spot between the front and rear that was noticeable depending on which songs I was listening to.

So, the sound test. I had my iPhone (forgot to grab a couple of CD’s) for my 3-hour trip to Bangor, Maine. Overall the sound is very good, and you do get decent separation among the instruments. Better engineered tracks sounded better than some of the muddy tracks. The sound wasn’t up to the level of my home system, which is very good, but it wasn’t bad overall.

The one song I played that is a great test of a system (reminder to add it the next time I test any component) is the Columbia version of Satin Doll by Duke Ellington. There’s a great bass part that is not mixed highly, but is just an incredible piece of playing that really makes this version sing to me. Unfortunately, the bass drops out quite a bit in the car. I tried adjusting the bass level (and treble – the bass plays some beautiful higher notes as well), but to no avail. After I stopped the car I listened to the same song on headphones (form the iPhone), and I could hear the bass, so it wasn’t just the transfer of the tune to iPhone. So the Camry loses on that point.

Overall, the system is good. For most car listening it works very well, especially because of how quiet the car itself is as a base for listening to music. I am beyond looking at aftermarket systems for a car, so the system I have has to be pretty good, and this JBL in th Camry is sufficient for my needs. 3 stars (out of 5). I’ll continue to mess with the system and report later if I see any improvements. 

Today’s playlist is good for a trip, so let’s hop in my car and listen to Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Five Royales, Bob Mould, the Motels, Robyn Hitchcock, the Mosquitos, Mouth Music, Moreno +2, Mabulu, Talking Heads, Chris Isaak, and John Hiatt. 

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.


Download here

New Car

Well, a month after my accident and it was time to buy a new car. I don’t love buying cars, because I know it’s going to burn an entire day. The car dealers have control over time – we don’t. Although the dealers have gotten better at pricing cars and putting out better pricing, there’s still a dance that happens to ensure we’re getting the best deal possible. I become stubborn, and last time was ready to walk away because I didn’t get the price I wanted to pay.

To me, cars are a tool to get me from one place to another. I’m not a big car guy. I research cars that I want to buy using Consumer Reports and other online tools and websites to ensure that I’m getting a car with good mileage, safe features, and a car that gets a good customer satisfaction level.  I’m not going to have a mid-life crisis and get a flashy car.

So I ended up with another Camry. I liked my other Camry, and it turned out that the safety features worked out very well, even when rear-ended at 40 MPH. That was a plus. The new one is very similar to the last one I bought. It’s a 2018, not a 2017, and the new one has top of the line everything. It’s a step up in bells and whistles from the2017. It rides well – I tried some other vehicles that didn’t ride as well, so I went back to the Camry. This is not a paid endorsement, although I have a great sales person who could help you if you need a car. 

To help me in my test drives, I carried my tunes with a cord to plug in -the music system is important. Among the tunes I played were ones in today’s podcast, which features Mose Allison, Bobbie Gentry, the Yardbirds, the Who, Annie Ross, Doug Sahm, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, J.J. Cale, Dave Alvin, the Be Good Tanyas, Rosanne Cash, the Cash Box Kings,  Charles Brown, and Leonard Cohen.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here

30 Years Ago

So, George H.W. Bush has died. Although he did have a questionable legacy, he was one the last of the old-fashioned politicians, in that he was willing to work and listen to the other party if he felt they had good ideas, and he was always very gracious (as an old patrician can be). Let’s remember that we voted him in thirty years ago, in 1988. He became our 41st president.

What was happening musically thirty years ago? Not sure there’s anything specific to point to, but Google chose Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” as its top choice. Billboard says it was “Faith” by George Michael. Hmm. Well, you won’t hear those on my list of music for the year. I think of the rejection of the corporatization of music (Neil Young), a band’s move to a major label (R.E.M.), and the end of an era (Talking Heads last album- the fracture had started earlier). Still, lots of great music, some of which didn’t make the cut (as usual).

Let’s take this Wednesday to remember the events of 1988 (or at least the music) with Neil Young, the Dream Syndicate, Johnny Adams, Leonard Cohen, Traveling Wilburys, Crowded House, Paul Kelly, Go-Betweens, R.E.M., the Smithereens, Erasure, Cocteau Twins, Talking Heads, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and Tracy Chapman.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

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Nothing

Rain – more rain. The rain will help get rid of the snow – the early snow we had. Nah, the weather patterns aren’t weird.

Check out this week’s show as you watch the rain come down (or whatever weather you’re experiencing) with the Smiths, Billy Bragg, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the Jam, Folk Implosion, Loudon Wainwright III, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, Hank Penny, Spade Cooley, Tex Williams, Ike & Tina Turner, Ann Peebles, Joe Simon, and Syl Johnson.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here

Post-Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Mine went well; just battled a cat (allergy) for some of the time. Time to fight off the rains over the next three days, which chould help melt the snow to a more acceptable level.

Got a response to the Tryptophan post last week – “The Myth of Tryptophan.” I’m pretty much in agreement with that (as I think I said). It’s not the tryptophan, it’s everything combined together (essentially, the body doesn’t breakdown the tryptophan to make you sleepy as it’s been posited).

I’m actually starting to heal – got sore after a lot of driving and then walking, but it’s not as bad as it was, and I am able to find a comfortable way to lie on the bed so I can sleep. Progress.

Today’s Post-Thanksgiving selection of songs for the podcast contains no turkeys – leave that all behind with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Paul Weller, X, Graham Parker, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Hall & Oates, Duke Robillard, the Sons of Champlin, Damian Jurado, Shakey Graves, and Franz Ferdinand.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here

Tryptophan

It’s Thanksgiving week, so it’s time to hear about how the tryptophan in turkey makes us tired. I always wondered about that , and read that while tryptophan helps produce Niacin in the body, which helps with sleep, the reason why people get tired has more to do with everything else we jam into our mouths. Carbohydrates releases insulin into the body, which removes amino acids (but not tryptophan) from the body, which can increase the tryptophan levels. Add in some bad football games, lots of people in a room that causes the room temperature to rise, and bingo! you’re sleepy. It all makes sense to me now.

The article suggests eating a carbo-loaded snack if you have trouble sleeping. I can pass, as sleeping has always been easy for me. It has been difficult for me to get comfortable enough to sleep over the past ten days, but that’s the accident. Today I actually am less sore than I’ve been, so maybe I am actually healing. Thanks to everyone who’s contacted me – surprising how much that helps.

Before sleeping after your turkey (or any meat, fish and cheese), listen to the latest podcast – not a turkey among ’em. This week’s artists are the Rascals, the Mojave 3, His Name is Alive, Julia Holter, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Joan Armatrading, Randy Crawford, Brenda Holloway, Johnny Nash, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Creation, Beck, and Relatively Clean Waters.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here

I am healing

Thank you, everyone, for your concern. I am healing (slowly, oh so slowly). “Weeks” is the latest prognosis for how long I’ll be sore and achy – again, better than the alternatives. Need to get the insurance company going, though (theirs).

Got a jazz podcast to share. Lots of great jazz put out this year, both new and older resissues. This is all jazz that is easy to follow – give it a whirl. Listen to Wes Montgomery, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie Daniels, Shorty Rogers, Cory Weeds, Eddie Henderson, the Larry Goldings Trio, Ezra Collective, and Julian Lage.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here

Crash!


I’ll steal my son’s joke – “hey, the license plate looks ok.”

I hurt. On Thursday night, as I was sitting in traffic (the normal back up on Spaulding) I was hit from behind by someone going around 40 MPH (gleaned from conversation – I wasn’t looking). I don’t know if you’ve experienced being in a stopped car while another car hits you at 40 MPH, but it’s very different from what I have ever experienced before. As a human crash test dummy, I can tell you that the airbags all inflated as they were supposed to, the rear end of the car accordianned up, and the front and also crunched in nicely (of course I was sent into two cars ahead of me). The interior of the car did not noticeably crunch in – people were able to open my door and the driver’s side rear door, and yesterday I was able to open the passenger’s side front door. I was taken to the hospital the only one in the 4 cars to go), where they determined that there was nothing broken or seriously wrong with me (internal bleeding, punctured lungs, etc.), but I do have bruises where the seatbelt saved my life. And it hurts – badly. My ribs on the right hand side are bruised, and it still hurts if I have to take a deep breath, or laugh. My left shoulder can only be partially lifted without searing pain, and I have to walk extremely slowly – yes, even walking hurts. Heck, I have to be careful when I sit, and the transition to sitting and getting back up is painful. But the pain reminds me that I am alive, and not one of the other things that could have happened that night.

Music helps soothe this savage, damaged breast, so listen in today to hear the J. Geils Band, Elvis Costello, the O’Jays, Them, Johnny Cash, Insect Trust, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Beat Happening, Galaxie 500, Pavement, Guided by Voices, and the Jefferson Airplane.

This podcast is, as always, available to stream or download at brennick.net. There should be more content there, and I will try to put more things up this year. The podcast is also available to download as a podcast at your favorite podcast streamer – iTunes, Stitcher, etc. The podcast is called brennick.net. Check that out sometime. I welcome suggestions and comments, too – leave them as you will. Thanks for everything you do to encourage me.

Download here