Facing Procrastination…

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I am a procrastinator. Sometimes I put things off until the last minute. I meet deadlines. I am on time when I go places. But, the things I do not want to do stay there waiting for me to do them when it is something I must do.

At work the other day, I met another procrastinator. I could not believe that someone would wait for three years after the fact to find out where something had gone wrong. All of the systems on the Internet where I look for information are geared to this year. Looking in the past is a phone call. We were on hold for over a hour. After a five minute chat with a harried angry person at the call center, we got a partial explanation and another number. After a very short wait time on the second call, we got another number and knew what had happened.

The client told me the problem has been happening since 2008 and the reason we were working on 2011 was that it was the only copy of work he could find. The precipitating factor was a demand for payment from 2011. All the time I was talking to the client, I was thinking how could someone put things off for so long. I asked if he had tried to resolve the problem. He replied that he had tried it once.

I could not believe it until I thought about some of the things I have on the back burner. Some are really quite old. I was looking at another version of myself.

Work and….

Yesterday morning I faced one of my most difficult situations, the dreaded three hour business meeting. It was really a training session for the change my job goes through for summer. A lot of it was new and I had to call a customer and tell her that a previously uncharged service now has a charge. She was upset. When I saw her later in the day, she thanked me for the call. Things like that make work go better. Another customer thanked me for helping them. So the day ended well and I remember the good things about my work.

I was very tired but decided to get a little music and went to Northern Lights Lounge to hear the Mike Jellick Trio.

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Mike Jellick, Miles Brown, Jesse Kramer

The place was packed this week so I sat in way in the back. The music was a little harder to hear and gave me a different perspective. I really like funky jazz and Mike does not have much funk. But, his wild, creative innovative style is absolutely captivating. And I heard it again tonight. It is so good to find I have a little more breath than I thought. I’ll be exploring a bit more.

Detroit: A Tale of Two Cities

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The Renaissance Center in background on left and blighted home in foreground right

Last night when I was going to Detroit for some music, I ran into a freeway maintenance shut down and a forced reroute off the free way and into an unfamiliar neighborhood. My car has 167,247 miles on it and I worry that it may break down. For the most part when I go anywhere, I am on main roads where I feel safer. The reroute took me through a reminder of how life looks to some Detroiters.

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For others, life looks different.

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City services are delivered unevenly and it has been that way for as long as I can remember. Right now, because the city was deemed by the state of Michigan to be financially unviable, Governor Rick Snyder appointed an Emergency Financial Manager(EFM) Kevin Orr. The EFM has been a practice in the state for several years and several cities have gone through the process. The EFM has complete control over city functions during his stay in the city.

In my opinion, one of the major problems is that the city council is elected at large. Most of them live in one area of Detroit. I’m sure you can guess which of the two neighborhoods depicted above is the primary neighborhood of the city council members. This issue will be somewhat resolved with the next election when for the first time in years, almost all of the council members will be elected from districts. The mayor, Dave Bing (former basketball star), has not been able to change the situation. According to some Detroit residents I know, he patronizes black owned business on an extremely infrequent basis.

They are beginning to cut some costs. The city council members and the mayor have had personal drivers paid for by the city. That no longer have that perk. The EFM does have it.

When the EFM has control, the city council and the mayor are not allowed to pass laws or perform any normal governmental tasks. Complete disenfranchisement. Today the second city council member quit. He will begin working for the EFM within the month.

There was not really much interest in the EFM amongst the people that live in the suburbs until Mr. Orr mentioned that all the art in the Detroit Institute of Arts was up for grabs. A Van Gogh, anyone? It did make people pay attention. The retires of the city may have their pensions cut significantly. Now, they are paying attention.

It is so true use that the city is in a financial mess. It has been going on for a long time. So long, there is enough blame to go around. It has been a case of ” kicking the can” down the road. I’m glad people are paying attention now. I hope people will learn from this and continue to pay attention even when there is not an obvious cri sis.

RJ Spangler Trio at the Cadieux Cafe

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When I decide for an evening of music at the Cadieux cafe, I choose carefully. It is a 45 minute drive to get to the Eastside of Detroit for me. It is a casual music venue and has no cover charge. The format for the evening is for the first set to be the band set and open mic after the first set and is a common set for Detroit.

I left home in time to arrive for the first set. Every thing went well until I got halfway through the Lodge Freeway part of the trip. The road was being closed to do midnight roadwork. The cars were being funneled off the freeway. This sort of situation always causes the idiot driver to emerge and act like they are the most important car in the world. I got to the right lane and prepared to move slowly. When the line started, I did not know exact why there was a line. In fact, it was not clear until I could see cars making the exit. I could only see the flashing lights and flares at first. At the first entrance to the freeway, some cars were turning and driving up the on ramp. There was the usual passing on each side and cutting in. I just moved slowly letting an occasional car in.

We got off the freeway in a part of town I did not know. Then a street sign and I got my bearings and figured out how to get there. I was about twenty minutes late and arrived in a slightly frazzled state of mind.

The music had not started yet. Bill Heid who was the keyboard player had not arrived. The RJ Spangler trio was contrived for this event and was RJ Spangler(dms), Bill Heid, ( keys) and Ralph Tope(gtr). Bill Heid is well known in Detroit and plays hard bop, soul jazz and blues. Over the last few years, I have seen him several times. I ordered the hot wings and waited.

It usually comes off as a visit with old friends rather than a gig. I only started going out about eight years ago so the history is not there for me. The trio lead with “Psyops” and “Cease the Bombing”. His comments were mostly recalling a Detroit of a bygone era with all its faults and glories. When he sang “Night and Day”, he felt obligated to comment on Cole Porter’s sexual orientation. His singing voice is rough He has an old timey blues style. As the set went on, he asked Russ Miller(sax) to join. On one song, he mentioned that RJ used brushes and commented about how unusual it was. I see both brushes and mallets used frequently so I guess it may be uncommon amongst his usual venues.

The music was very good and I got to hear some tunes I don’t usually hear. The ride home was uneventful.

Back to Work

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Saturday was my first day back at work for a while. I am semi-retired and work on and off during the year. I provide a service to clients. I work in more than one place so walking in on Saturday, I walked into a familiar office to work with two people I has never worked with before. It is always a bit stressful to learn how to work with someone new.

This time the person who was supposed to answer phones forgot that was his job. He is really an ok guy. We have different approaches to how to handle things. We can learn from each other. The other person is quiet and will take time to know.

The actual work was slow and give me time to slide back into getting used to the job again.

I didn’t go out on Friday since I was meeting a new manager and coworkers. I wanted to look fresh and alert. I will be going out tonight.

Northern Lights Lounge…..6/19/13

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On Wednesday night, I made my usual trek to Northern Lights Lounge to hear the Mike Jellick Trio. This time, it was the original trio for about the first time in five weeks with no substitutions. The original trio is Mike Jellick(keys), Jesse Kramer(dms) and Miles Brown(bass).

I got there at 9:00 p.m. a little before they started. With the original trio, the music tends to be a little more polished since they are more used to playing together. For the most pat, I like jazz a little on the funky side. Mike has been classically trained and is not as funky as most of the musicians I like. The quality I like in Mike is his incredible innovative play.

I met a couple of friends. I ordered an appetizer. I usually order the beef nachos and changed this time to the lava wings. They were very spicy and hot. The heat was just on the edge of being too hot. They were very good. Next time I order the wings, there will be no fries.

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When Dorothy arrived, she ordered the beef nachos to share with Judy. They were not able to finish the plate. It is a really large portion. They did enjoy it.

20130621-085413.jpgDorothy on left and Judy to the right.

The music for the first set when only the band plays was, as usual, great. There was a little “Caravan”. At the point, it think where will this caravan go and I just close my eyes and go with the music. I mentally went to a lush, green tropical jungle, a musical safari rather than caravan. scot came over and wee talked about it and had a good time.

We stayed for the open mic second set this time. This open mic was well organized. Mike intermixed numbers featuring beginning players with the more experienced players. One of the things I like to see is how well Mike mentors the beginning players. As they come to his side of the stage after a sole, he talks to them encouraging and teaching. Most of the musicians really like playing here. This time, one musician who had not been here before, went up on stage in the middle of a number to replace Mike on keys. He is an older and competent musician and is used to be able to do that. Mike did call him up for the next number. He played loudly during others solos to the point that another good musician went back to her seat after her solo. He ran over the younger player and discouraged solos by anyone. What a jerk! Mike came back after a couple of numbers. For the last number, a vocalist sang “Misty”. One of the five most overdone songs in Detroit.

We left after the seconds set. The high from the first set remained.