flashback: dallas in the late 1950’s…

The super-highway (at the time)… U.S. 75, Central Expressway, looking north. The intersection in the foreground is Central and Mockingbird Lane… Note the old Bekins storage building and the Dr. Pepper plant at the right of the picture.

WIDE open.

via The Wide Open Spaces Northeast of Central and Lovers — 1957 — Flashback : Dallas

I’m re-blogging this today from Paula Bosse’s Flashback: Dallas blog (click on the above link), a great blog you should check out, especially if you lived or grew up in Dallas as the city came of age from the 1950s through the 1970s. Her blog is always a fascinating read and I love seeing these old historic photos. My family moved to Dallas in 1960 from Hartford, Connecticut, a couple of months before my 4th birthday; I grew up there during the 1960s and 70s, lived there in the early 80s and much later, off and on, from 2007-2011. Apparently, Dallas is still on my mind somewhat since we visited there last month and that already seems like ages ago.

There’s also a bit of shared history here. I never knew Paula before I started reading her blog. I don’t know how we got on the subject of the house where I used to live in 1984 – had to be from a comment I made on one of her posts, but in the ensuing e-mail exchanges it turned out that same house I lived in back in 1984 – with my “derelict” musician roommates/bandmates (and I include myself in that description) – was the first house she lived in years earlier.

cole_house_thenand1984
The house at the corner of Cole Ave. and Blackburn St., Dallas…

Truly a small world, huh? Be sure and visit her blog here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/18367425

homestretch…

As we move further into the spring of 2017, I’m currently finishing up the mixes on a couple more songs – “Hours Turn Into Years” and “Unusually Vivid Experience (UVE)” – for the new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, scheduled for release on June 24. This is the homestretch now. There are two more songs to go, to be mixed and pre-mastered, along with any remaining tweaks on the completed songs, by Memorial Day weekend, roughly a month-and-a-half away. I’m sweating this one out right now and hoping I don’t have to push the release date out another month or so. The album is finishing up on schedule but there have been some personal/family issues; I will have a better idea of where things stand next week after we return from our trip to the Big D… Dallas.

The Big D…

Well, that’s a little too big for me… and a little too warm/hot, a little too humid, flat, crowded, whatever… Nice pic though with the new bridge. Meanwhile…

Preliminary album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, scheduled for release in June, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.

Although the sequencing for the album is not yet finalized – that’s next – the cover art and the songs for the album are. These are the ones that made the cut:

There Is Only Now
Speed of Life
Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)
The Indelible Imprint of Place
Llano Estacado
In Wilderness [Is the Only Sanity in the World]
I Just Wanna Fly Off to Iceland With U
Glamour: A World Problem
Relive Tomorrow… Today!
Unusually Vivid Experience (UVE)
Hours Turn Into Years
Ghost Towns of the 1980s
New Dark Age
bonus track (to be named later though I can tell you it is a cover song and it is well-known)

Further details about the bonus track, if it is to be included after the finished recording, will be divulged later, prior to the album release. For now, 13 finished songs over the course of the last year. And this project has now taken almost a full year going back to when it began the last week of April, 2016.

As for the album title, I’m not sure now when exactly the working title became what I was going to officially call the album when it would be released. I know it was very early on in the process as I was writing and recording the songs. And a lot of these songs seemed to organize themselves loosely around the theme of Time. The passage of time or a particular era of time can definitely haunt us because we’re very much influenced and bound by it. Also Place, which must be the reason why some places in our past we refer to as “old haunts”. I’ll revisit some of the process and thoughts behind what’s been going on for the last year and on this album closer to the release date.

What’s new? …Nights on Venus videos on YouTube are what’s new. They just kind of magically appeared, unbeknownst to me, which was a real surprise because I didn’t make them. Apparently YouTube did that and they’re up there, all 56 of them which is NoV’s released output to date. So check ’em out and thanks YouTube! Here’s one from the “Speed of Life” single, the B-side, “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”…

Oh, an update on the broken big toe (see previous post)… it’s pretty much healed at this point, just in time for hiking season.

At the trailhead to Linkins Lake…
"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky).

 

time change from hell and the week that wasn’t…

Admittedly, I brought it all on myself.

I knew the time change was happening early this past Sunday morning at 2 a.m. – that awful annual ritual and unnecessary rite of spring known as the setting of the clocks forward 1 hour, losing an hour of sleep. Fall back, spring ahead. And so I stayed up ’til 1:30 in the morning, finishing up a song mix because I was just this close to having it done and I was going to get it done tonight. I did. It actually might have been closer to 2:00 when I came to bed.

The first noticeable effects of my late night in the studio were that I slept/stayed in bed until 8:30 (still thinking it was 7:30) which is something I never do. Our kitties, Maxx and Cosmo, were concerned. Getting up by 6:45 is pretty much the max limit for me on any day, every day, 365 days a year whether I’m going to work, whether it’s the weekend or I’m on vacation. Most of the time my attitude toward sleep is that of the late great Warren Zevon: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That morning I also didn’t meditate – something I do daily – and didn’t work out at the gym. Mostly I felt foggy, out of it.

Erin and I drank some wine later on in the afternoon and evening with dinner while we were watching a movie. At some point I bonked my left foot hard on the coffee table. It hurt like hell for a couple of minutes, then went away, and I didn’t think any more about it.

Monday morning, I woke up feeling even more foggy and out of it – went to work and felt strange all day. I felt even more strange after dinner so we took my blood pressure and saw that it was high. It hasn’t been high in months but then I’m also on blood pressure meds. I take another pill for it, we check the blood pressure a little later and it’s gone even higher. When it goes dangerously high about half-an-hour after that, I’m having some major-to-severe anxiety, I call the advice line at Kaiser as we’re having to consider a trip to the nearest Emergency Room. The nurse on the call tells me the doctor doesn’t think I have to go in. I schedule an appointment to see my doctor the next day.

By the time I get home Tuesday night, I’ve seen my doctor and she’s upped the dosage on my BP meds, for the time being; the toe is hurting even worse and in fact, turns out to be broken, and now everything in the immediate vicinity of the toe is starting to turn all sorts of colors in the red-purplish section of the color wheel. The toe itself is swollen, and this isn’t the little insignificant pinky toe we’re talking about here – this is the big toe… the “captain” of the toes (I will spare you the visuals lest it be the equivalent of somebody’s picture of what they’re having for dinner on Facebook – and hey, you need a food stylist for that to make it look good). We ice it down.

Erin and I are also supposed to go to Dallas this week for my Dad’s 88th birthday on Saturday. After the Monday night episode I make the call on Tuesday morning that we can’t go this week for the simple reason that we can’t be driving across West Texas where each small town that has a hospital is about an hour’s drive away from the previous one. If I have another pseudo-emergency with the BP or an actual real one… well, that won’t be good.

By Friday morning, blood pressure is fine, high normal range, but I’m hobbling around on a broken toe which in the end turns out to be the real/best reason for not going to Dallas this weekend – that, and Erin has been tired and exhausted all week, sleeping in late each morning, after the time change. We’ll go next month.

Last time at Copper Mtn. or anywhere else this year, end of February. Weather in March has been way too warm, windy, with very little snow… An abbreviated ski season this year, now done with a broken toe. Hiking season temporarily postponed as well.

This was the week that wasn’t, much of it due to this stupid annual changeover to Daylight Saving Time. I had never had it affect me like this and I learned the hard way this time. The first thing I’ll say about it is this: if you’re going to stay up late going into the time change – don’t. Not recommended and certainly not worth it. Respect the time change… at least while it’s still in effect.

The second thing is: it doesn’t have to be in effect. Most people are accustomed to it, but why? This prompted some inquiry into DST, the history and why it came into being. This is something artificial that’s been imposed on all of us and it affects a lot of people each and every year.

This is a known, quantifiable phenomenon that has been observed over the years. This small time shift can significantly raise the risk of health-related issues. A 2016 study found that the overall rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days after Daylight Saving Time. The Monday and Tuesday after DST in the spring have also been associated with a 10% increase in heart attacks, according to a 2012 study at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

So here’s what research turned up… A brief history of Daylight Saving Time:

  • DST is used to save energy and make better use of daylight. It was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada.
  • Germany became the first country to introduce DST when clocks were turned ahead 1 hour on April 30, 1916. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort during World War I.
  • Not to be outdone, “Fast Time” as it was called then, was first introduced in the U.S. in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War I. The initiative was sparked by Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist who had encountered the idea in the UK. Today he is often called the “Father of Daylight Saving”. An industrialist, huh… well guess who this benefits?
  • Year-round DST, also called “War Time”, was in force during World War II, from February 9, 1942, to September 30, 1945, in the US and Canada. Again with the war stuff… it’s always about war.
  • From 1945 to 1966 there were no uniform rules for DST in the US and it caused widespread confusion especially for trains, buses, and the broadcasting industry. As a result, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was established by Congress. It stated that DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from DST by passing a state ordinance. And Hawaii, Arizona (most of the state), and parts of Indiana did just that.
  • The US Congress extended DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. Remember the lines at the gas stations back then?
  • The current schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month (during Bush II). Today, DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
  • Daylight Saving Time is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year.

Questions that come to mind… DST saves energy, for whom? Who specifically benefits? And how much? What kind of energy are we saving here? Oil, coal? What are the costs to both workers and businesses in terms of down time due to health-related issues from the time change? Is DST best filed under the Nietzsche axiom that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked Daylight Saving Time and I agree with Hawaii and Arizona (and parts of Indiana) – we don’t need it anymore. As more and more of our energy moves away from fossil fuels and is supplied by renewable sources, it’s time for DST to be gone. Permanently. Natural is best.

Here’s the latest mastered demo from the forthcoming album, “We Are All Haunted by Something”, due out on June 24, 2017. Another song about rampant and endemic narcissism, particularly as fueled by ubiquitous social media. The title comes from the Alice Bailey book for all you fellow metaphysicians out there. Happy listening… It’s disco! The halcyon days of the late 70s beckon…

GLAMOUR: A WORLD PROBLEM
(© 2016/2017 Excellent Sky Records/Nights on Venus/Craig Carrington Thomas. All rights reserved.)

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

goldenboy_and_princeFollow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter

more new music… another preview from “we are all haunted by something”

Just a short update as I’m starting to finish up pre-mastering on all the songs for the new album, one about every other week now. A little more than half the album is done now, in its final state to go to mastering, but even at the above rate there may be some slippage on the release date of June 24th. Hopefully not but we shall see – I don’t believe in rushing things.

The latest is:
THE INDELIBLE IMPRINT OF PLACE / LLANO ESTACADO
(© 2016/2017 Excellent Sky Records/Nights on Venus/Craig Carrington Thomas. All rights reserved.)

This is a 2-minute preview of “Llano Estacado”, not the full song – I’m still tweaking it. The Llano Estacado is the “Staked Plains” in West Texas and eastern New Mexico and has been described as the “table lands between Austin and Santa Fe.” The Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado described the area as mostly “a sea of grass” in the 16th century. That’s true – it really is. And, other than the various caprock escarpments, it’s insanely flat. My Mom, no less eloquently, described it – on our yearly road trips in the mid-to-late 1960s/early 70s to Colorado through Amarillo, Dalhart, and Clayton – like this: “There’s nothing out here. It’s so empty… how can people live out here?” That always cracked me up… because somehow they did and still do.

The caprock, eastern New Mexico...
The caprock, eastern New Mexico…
Rabbit Ears Mountain, near Clayton, New Mexico... August, 2001.
Rabbit Ears Mountain, near Clayton, New Mexico… August, 2001.

Lubbock, Texas is the largest city on the Llano; I was there for 4 years, getting my undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University. I lived in Midland 2 hours south for a little while afterward. Between those two cities… some lifelong friendships, some good parties, knowledge acquired, a little worldly experience, constant wind, occasional dust storms, some not-so-good jobs, and a lot of bad apartments. I’ve spent a lot of time in this area, having living there, but mostly traveling through it over the course of 6 decades. For whatever reason, for me this area never becomes old. I love it. It may be tedious to drive through but it never gets old.

South of San Jon, New Mexico...
South of San Jon, New Mexico…

Places define us, shape us, change us, and any place we’ve lived leaves its indelible mark upon us.

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

goldenboy_and_princeFollow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky),

new year, new music…

Happy 2017 to everyone! I hope you have had an excellent start to this new year, now 20 days in.

Erin & Craig... the Shmoopies. Skiing at Copper Mtn., January 1, 2017...
Erin & Craig… the Shmoopies. At Copper Mtn., January 1, 2017…
Coming down into Silverthorne, Prince on the iPod...
Coming down into Silverthorne, Prince on the iPod…

Work continues on the new album… Finishing up songs one by one, getting the mixes done for mastering, and so I include two more songs – the mastered demos – from the album, “We Are All Haunted by Something”, here as another preview. I am scheduling the album for release in June this year. 15, possibly 16 songs. It is supposed to be a double album but I want it to fit on one disc (there will be a CD) – i.e., under 80 minutes… so we shall see.

RELIVE TOMORROW… TODAY!
(© 2016/2017 Excellent Sky Records/Nights on Venus/Craig Carrington Thomas. All rights reserved.)

And…
IN WILDERNESS [IS THE ONLY SANITY IN THE WORLD]
(© 2016/2017 Excellent Sky Records/Nights on Venus/Craig Carrington Thomas. All rights reserved.)

And the cover artwork for the album…

Preliminary album cover for "We Are All Haunted by Something", scheduled for release in June, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico - shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
Preliminary album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, scheduled for release in June, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky, as background, is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.

Release date will be finalized by the end of this month.

And now that it’s January 20th, let’s talk briefly (very briefly) about what’s happening today in the U.S. There will be an inauguration ceremony today in our nation’s capital… and it will be completely bogus. The coronation of the illegitimate “president”… President * Asterisk *. Das Kleinkind führer (the Toddler leader)… one Mr. Donald Trump (I agree with Rep. John Lewis). I really don’t even want to talk about him because that’s giving him the attention he craves.

#ROBO:  Resist, Oppose, Boycott, Obstruct…
These are the keywords for what’s coming

Suffice to say, I will not watch the inauguration today and I urge you to do the same. If you do have the TV on, turn it to the Food Network, HGTV, or the National Geographic channels. There’ll be no coverage of it on those and some other channels. BOYCOTT it. #Boycotttheinauguration I applaud the 50+ congressmen and women who have said they will not attend the inauguration… or watch either.
#NotMyPresident
#NotMyCulture
#NotNormal

Look away guys!
Look away guys!

Here are some good timely articles/essays for getting through today without hurling, this one from independent journalist Leah McElrath…”Will We Have a Functioning Executive Branch of the Government at 12:01pm EST today?
I highly recommend following her on Twitter… @leahmcelrath

From Sarah Kendzior at The Correspondent, a very thoughtful read, particularly if you have children or grandkids under 7:
Our kids may never get the chance to know America

And finally from John Pavlovitz: “Let the Record Show” which pretty much sums it up for me and if you’ve read this far, perhaps for you as well. Take care out there.

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

Craig, end of July, 2016...
Craig, end of July, 2016…

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky),

 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Nights on Venus…

This will be a short post today… Just wanted to wish everyone who follows this blog and to those dropping in a very Merry Christmas and I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday today!

craig_firepitHere’s a look back to a Christmas post from 5 years ago, shortly after I had moved back to Colorado.

In and around our neighborhood here in Golden, CO…

snow_golden1Ralphie is still on the tele with about 5 1/2 hours left of the annual 24 hour marathon, although I think we’re Ralphie-ed out now for this year.

Maxx also wants to say "Merry Christmas Y'all". All he needs here is a disco mirror ball...
Maxx also wants to say “Merry Christmas Y’all”. All he needs here is a disco mirror ball…

New music is coming soon from NoV… Will have the mastered demo of “Relive Tomorrow… Today!” next time.

Next week Erin and I will be skiing to start the New Year, 2017! Hopefully not like this… Ouch!

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

Erin & Craig... in front of the "hobbit hole"...11/5/2016
Erin & Craig… in front of the “hobbit hole”…11/5/2016

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky),

“speed of life” single available now…

The new 2-song single “Speed of Life” has been released as of 10/9/2016 and I have included both songs here in today’s post.

SPEED OF LIFE
(Written by David Bowie. © 1977 Tintoretto Music and Screen Gems-EMI Music. All rights reserved.)

And the ‘B-side’…
CONFIRM HUMANITY (I’M NOT A ROBOT)
(© 2016 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Recording info:
Recorded and mixed July – August, 2016 at the ‘Cave Recording Studio, Golden, Colorado
Craig Carrington Thomas – all instruments, programming, engineering and production
Mastered by Brian Hazard at Resonance Mastering, Huntington Beach, California, September, 2016
Cover artwork by CCT

About the songs… starting with the ‘B-side’ first…
When I first started recording “Confirm Humanity…”, I thought it was kind of a goofy song but I liked the beat and the synths. Actually by the end, I really like what the song turned into and I’m very pleased with this one. The title of the song is a ready-made… I was on some website, signing up on their mailing list and there was a captcha that asked me to: Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot). I thought that was kind of funny. Boom. Title. The sort of sinister surf/spy guitar part was played on my Danelectro baritone. There’s no bass part on this and that double hit on the snare drum… I must have listened to “Incense and Peppermints” around that time – the infamous double hi-hat hit – and it just got stuck in the ol’ subconscious.

Speed of Life“… this is the opening track from David Bowie’s album “Low” in 1977 and marked his new collaboration with musician/producer Brian Eno for the next three albums, the Berlin trilogy – “Low”, “Heroes”, and “Lodger”. I was somewhat surprised to learn that “Speed of Life” was Bowie’s first instrumental, especially since he already had 10 studio albums released by then.

"Miracle of the Slave" - Tintoretto
“Miracle of the Slave” – Tintoretto. If you’ve ever taken an Art History course, you’ve seen a slide of this painting.

Also very interesting when the licensing came back and I saw the publishing credits for “Speed of Life”. The first listed publisher was Tintoretto Music. Tintoretto was a 16th-century Italian painter during the Renaissance in Venice, most well-known perhaps for his painting, “Miracle of the Slave” (1548).

David Bowie in front of a portrait he painted of Iggy Pop in Berlin in 1976…

David Bowie was certainly a Renaissance man in his/our own time – musician, singer, songwriter, actor, art collector, and artist with artist being the broadest, most all-encompassing word to describe him. His paintings are probably the least known of his creative work but you can see several of them in this excellent article and interview with him from 1998, reprinted by the New York Times just a few days after his death this past January. And that’s really how 2016 began, what has set the tone for this year with the news of his death only 10 days in. It has been, for the most part, a very somber year; he and his artistic presence and sensibilities are very much missed.

“Speed of Life” is among my favorite Bowie songs and a song I have done live a number of times over the years, with various bands and at solo gigs. This is the first recorded version I’ve done of the song, in tribute to him and his life. I hope he would have liked this version.

A few milestones this month of October and on into November:
Nights on Venus turned 6 on October 8th.
I turned 60 on October 16th.
Erin and I get married this week.

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

Speed of Lifeis the most recent offering from Nights on Venus. The 2-song EP was released on October 9, 2016 and is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and iTunes.

Cover artwork for "Unearthly"... photo/design by CCT
Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

Unearthly, Santos and all previous albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV Website.

Craig, end of July, 2016...
Craig, end of July, 2016…

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky),