Culled from the Internet, here are just a few of the facts regarding this classic Beatles tune:
Paul McCartney wrote the music for this when he was about 15, and used to play it when The Beatles were still known as The Quarrymen. He put lyrics to it later in honor of his father’s 64th birthday.
McCartney wrote and sang the lead vocals on this song which asks if a woman will still be with him when he got older, when he was 64 years old. On May 17, 2006, Paul and his then wife, Heather Mills, separated, finalizing the divorce in 2008. McCartney turned 64 on June 18, 2006, so the answer to his musical question with regards to Mills, would be no.
John Lennon said of this: “I would never even dream of writing a song like that.” [probably because he couldn’t fathom being with Yoko that long]
Why the interest in this old ditty? Because today is my 64th birthday. I vividly remember listening to Sgt. Pepper’s way beck when and thinking “God, 64 sounds OLD”.
Lest you think I am content with sloppy workmanship and will settle for jankiness in my life, let me update you all. I just bought a nice Makita 6″ cordless circular saw so I can now cut straight lines, more or less.
While I could probably benefit from a long straight edge to measure rip cuts for trim, I settled for a thin piece of Baltic Birch to draw my lines (I can’t cut all the jank from my life).
But I will not sit still for that rough edge and cavernous gap surrounding my kitchen formica. I invested in some caulk specially matched and tinted to “Laquered linen”‘. Not perfect, but OK.
Of the many advantages that older age entitles, I like the pass we get while criticizing new culture shifts and conventions that evolve in our wake. Instead of beings haters* or heretics, we’re simply deemed grumpy and unworthy of grasping the nuances of or appreciating the devices of modernization. Take language, for example. One of my pet peeves is the acceptance of sloppy and stupid words that creep into the American lexicon. A recent example is “ginormous”. Added to Webster’s dictionary, I suppose it fits nicely between gigantic and enormous to better define “huge”, but I thought “humongous” was perfectly OK. Seriously, the Oxford Dictionary contains 171,476 words. Do we really need another so patently redundant? Granted, some new words are useful as they describe things that are new to our culture – like “cannabusiness”. I get it. We need a way to define the burgeoning demand and retail activity resulting from pot legalization. But most new words are weird or lazy. How about “meatspace”? Inserted in the dictionary last year, it means the physical world as opposed to the virtual realm. Gross! The lazy words usually eliminate the need for other useful ones. Take “hella”. While not yet in the dictionary, it has come into common use in Norcal (lazy shorthand) to emphasize magnitude. For example, instead of saying “a hell of a lot”, millenials often say “hella”, meaning the same thing while eliminating the need for a preposition, indefinite article and a noun. Brilliant! But the most troubling of new words is not so much creepy, lazy or redundant. I suppose I can live with those. The new Webster word that most disturbs me is “unfriend”. Yes, anyone on Facebook has used the term (guilty as charged) and it has its applications. But what troubles me is what it suggests about friendship in our cyber-culture. Is friendship nowadays so easily acquired and disposed of that it can be discarded with a mouseclick (usually because of who they voted for)? Oops, my bad. Nobody uses a mouse anymore.
Having said all that, I must confess to my affection for a slang word recently introduced to me by my daughter. I was in her beautiful Airstream the other day admiring the workmanship that went into her amazing restoration. I commented on how difficult it would be for me to achieve such precision in Sparta as I was doing everything with a jigsaw. She said, “Seriously, Dad. Get the proper tools. You don’t want your work to look janky!”. I knew exactly what she meant and could think of no better term. While it is not yet in Webster’s, janky gets my vote for the 2020 edition.
There are countless examples of serendipity throughout my Sparta experience. Of course, other nouns may also apply – luck…karma…divine intervention. In any case, the past three plus years have been filled with unexpected blessings. It started with finding her in that lonely pasture in 2016 – in my old hometown no less – and has continued to this day. The biggest twist of luck came two years ago when I decided not to move Sparta to a remote location in the mountains above Calistoga. I was working as a chef at a retreat center there – a job which I enjoyed – but after a particularly nasty row with an overbearing boss I quit and decided to never work for anybody again. Plans to move Sparta there were scuttled and two months later that place burned to the ground in one of the most devastating wildfires in California history.
Naturally, most of my good fortune has appeared as little things – the right tool at the right time, a perfect fixture found at The Restore, cans of discontinued stain pulled from the Shermin Williams’ dumpster, enough to finish the job. I know this sounds insipid but through this process I’ve realized that good things come NOT to those who wait, but to those who are out beating the bushes, actively engaged in a project marked by passion and perseverance. Here is the most recent example: a random email from Nextdoor.com alerting me to free stuff in my neighborhood. I opened the link and voila – free slats for a full sized platform bed. Just what I needed to get started on Sparta’s sleeping quarters.
In the same link I found these two chairs – and with a coat of paint (color tbd) will give a midcentury vibe to my dining nook.
Mid-century Danish Farfalla
Bentwood Chairs 1960’s
Set of 2 $1,675
Ok. Just kidding. I found knock-offs, not originals. But I only paid $20 for the pair.
Hi guys. Just a quick update to say the Galanz refrigerator is in and I am very happy with it…at least, cosmetically. I just plugged it in so will report on its performance next time.
I used a piece of leftover cabinetry from Sparta and it fit perfectly as a surface atop the reefer bracket for the unit to stand on. It is secured with a couple of stout bolts and slathered with multiple coats of poly. Everything has gotten crazy amounts of polyurethane on Sparta. Moisture will not have its way with my girl.
Cutting up laminate is a bit like public speaking – no matter how many times I’ve done it, it still makes me nervous. Particularly when I have no pieces remaining large enough to do another kitchen counter.
But, the process is pretty straightforward. Measure, measure and then measure again. Turn the sink upside down, yada, yada, yada.
I came up with a method for minimizing the gap between counter sections. Screw and glue two 1″ x 2″ blocks on the underside of the counter near the intersection. Drill big holes through them and insert 4 -1/2″ lag bolts. Position the counter pieces right side up and turn bolts until they are good and snug.
Happy Fourth of July. Thankfully, holidays are different for me these days. I am not sure how many alcoholics, practicing or not, would relate but for me holidays once brought relief. And not for the reasons you might think. In my drinking days my near-constant companion was dread. There was this gnawing fear of being found out, held to account, sleeping through an appointment, being served with a summons or called upon by the IRS. In other words, almost every day of my drinking life was filled with the fear of reckoning with the consequences of my actions, or lack thereof. Holidays seemed to bring a temporary respite from these dreaded concerns, if only for a day.
When I lived in Washingtion it was an ABC state and liquor stores were always closed on holidays and Sundays. So when Independence Day fell on a Saturday, you really had to be on your game. This meant going to the liquor store on a Friday – normally an extra-busy day – and waiting. Sometimes the lines would reach the door. Most shoppers were solitary and if any made eye-contact (which was rare) there was exchanged a shared sense of desperation. Sure, there was always the jovial guy filling up his cart for a “party”, but most of us miserable sots were just trying to make sure we made it till Monday. It was a peculiar sense of isolation being in a room full of compatriots. But as associations go, active alcoholism is a slim reed. Once provisioned, the only thing left was to go home, close the shutters, turn off the phone, pop the cork and let that suspension of fear release me.
Happily, this is now just another day – my fears proportionate and better managed.
So the refrigerator purchase ended up requiring alot of Internet research, deliberation and the meticulous taking of dimensions. My choice of reefers’ began first with the question – standard 120v, propane or hybrid? The latter two have several advantages in an off -grid scenario or one where power could conceivably be interrupted for lengths of time. 120v units, on the other hand, are much more abundant, cheaper, offer a variety of sizes and many new models offer cool retro designs. And then there was the issue of space. When reinstalling the kitchen cabinets, I was left with a void atop the steel frame designed to support a refrigerator above the wheel well. It was 23″ wide, 24″ deep and about 60″ high. When looking at new units not specifically designed for RVs (those tend to be tiny and ugly), depth was a concern. New refrigerators tend to be pretty massive, often protruding out 30″ or more. Many are much too wide as well. For example, the “slim” Big Chill is almost 28″ wide and 34″ deep – out of the question. And the SMEG is 78″ inches high, a towering unit requiring a sunroof. Sparta is small enough without having to dodge a behemouth appliance nosing out into the passageway. And both those brands begin at over $2,300.
So I decided to buy a 7.6 cu. ft. Galanz refrigerator. The dimensions were perfect for the space, the retro design very cool and the price way below the others – $379 at HD. I realize this Chinese offering made of plastic and other cheap materials may not last, but that’s OK. If it fails in two years, I buy another or make the decision to go propane based upon my actual experience in the field. I think of it as a test model. There is a method to my madness.