Friday, August 23, 2013

Jay Edward Anderson, 11.21.1964 - 8.22.2013

My brother Jay passed away peacefully at 10:18 pm yesterday. The following is an edited version of an entry I posted on his CaringBridge site this morning:

I met my brother Jay on March 9, 1966. From that day forward we had an inseparable bond. I remember our mom saying (in reference to women who took an interest in Jay), "Don't ever try to get between those two brothers, because you will lose".

...I plan to find reasons to celebrate Jay today. In 47.5 years Jay and I created a huge catalog of memories. The way I see it, I have the next 47.5 years to replay these memories like a great sitcom in syndication. I know Jay's soul is alive. We may have lost him in our physical sphere, but he will never leave us.

Jay, you were an incredible, protective & supportive brother, a fellow music geek & trivia nerd, a gifted humorist (nobody I knew would go so far for a joke - even if you were the only one laughing), my best bud, and a total dork. I will miss seeing and spending time with you.

You are no longer in pain from the disease that pained you for so many years. Your only pain now is that your friends have countless unflattering, yet hilarious stories about you that we will be sharing for decades to come. So sad for you, so good for us. 


Be at peace, bro. I love you.

Jeff

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"I'm Alive"

I was thinking of what title to give this blog entry when the ELO song, "I'm Alive" just popped into my head. "Sounds good to me," I thought. I AM alive, even if the members of my family can't seem to catch the same break. Case in point:
  • December 5, 2007: My dad passed away from lung disease.
  • March 31, 2011: Mom died from lung cancer. 
  • December 18, 2012: My father-in-law passed away at home. 
  • July 31, 2013: My brother Jay (only sibling and only remaining member of my immediate family) is brought to Urgent Care and soon admitted to ICU with end-stage liver disease. 
Over the course of my life, my brother Jay has been my best friend, my partner in crime, my compadre. We grew up in the foxhole together, through our parents' struggles with chemical dependency, the awkward challenges of adolescence, the highs & lows of growing into adulthood. When Jay's marriage ended, I was with him (and his wife for that matter - she's still family) all the way, just as he was for me when I came out a few years later.

One thing that has always bonded us (almost since birth) is music. We share musical tastes and have attended countless concerts together over the years. When Jay and I talk about music, most people feel shut out -- it is a language that we have developed on our own, one that many have tried to follow but that few have fully understood. It is our passion. It's probably no surprise that both Jay and I are musicians as well.

At this point I could go on about how gut-wrenching it is to see my only sibling so critically ill and in intensive care, but today I want to focus on the positive. My podcast (the new episode of which began streaming today) for this week focuses on just some of the music that I associate with my brother Jay. I included records that we played relentlessly as kids, some bands/songs that Jay has loved in more recent years, plus a handful that, at least for me, speak to Jay's current situation and the struggles he currently faces.

For the next few weeks you can listen to my podcast for Jay HERE (<direct link).

Jeff's Fancy C-60 Podcast #63 (for Jay): August 20, 2013 - TRACKLIST:
  1. introduction
  2. You Can Really Do It If You Try - Rick Springfield
  3. Try It Again - The Hives
  4. Six O'Clock - The Lovin' Spoonful
  5. Open My Eyes - The Nazz
  6. Choo Choo Train - The Box Tops
  7. Kites Are Fun - The Free Design
  8. I Want To Fly - The Zombies
  9. Anything is Possible - Journey
  10. Falling Down - Duran Duran
  11. 'Till I Die - The Beach Boys
  12. *circle segue*
  13. Circle Sky '96 - The Monkees
  14. So Good To See You - Cheap Trick
  15. Tempus Fugit - Yes
  16. Twilight - E.L.O.
  17. I - KISS
  18. ...see you next week!
PEACE - Jeff

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Lo-Fi Audio: What's the Attraction?

vintage Panasonic TNT "plunger" 8-track player
In the past month I've rekindled an obsession with 8-track tapes. Being such an advocate of "high-end" audio (vinyl), my relationship with this archaic format baffles me as much as it does those around me. Some of you may know about the recent resurgence in the popularity of the standard audio cassette (the most popular music format for most of the 1980s). I guess I can understand the nostalgia factor with cassettes, especially with those who grew up with crates of them. Perhaps my love of the 8-track is rooted largely in nostalgia as well. There is a particular sound that is relatively unique to the 8-track; The tapes are heavy on hiss, but they also have a thick low-end to them that I find appealing. If a tape is manufactured well it can live a long and happy life. I've got some tapes from the early 70's that were probably considered high-end "audiophile" stuff in their day.

There's also the undeniable shortcomings of the 8-track format. In particular they are clunky and prone to a number of mishaps that can quickly turn them into junk. A prominent example: the sensing foil on any 8-track (which holds the two ends of the tape together) is almost certain to have lost its adhesive over the years. If not replaced, the tape eventually break apart and disappear into the tape cartridge. For 8-track pros, replacing this sensing foil is part of the ritual involved in latter-day collecting.

Yesterday's mail brought my latest eBay prize (pictured above), a vintage 70's Panasonic TNT 8-track player. The unit arrived in imperfect condition, which I considered more of a challenge than a disappointment. After carefully opening and inspecting the unit I was able to fix it, resulting in an almost euphoric sense of gratification and accomplishment, like I was protecting the extinction of this rare and exquisite species.

Who knows how long this round of 8-track obsessiveness will last. I do know that the crate digger and audio hunter in me is having a blast with these clunky, audio time capsules.