Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy things

1) A few weeks ago, we tried to buy Steve Wedemeyer's two cds online, without success. They were unavailable at the three online stores we tried. We asked him about them at the house concert a few weeks ago and he offered to send them to us. They arrived yesterday and they're excellent. His debut cd is Disclose; the second one is an ep by Steve Wedemeyer and the Irenes (The Irenes are two other guys from LTH, drummer Martin Lynds and bass guitarist Jim Gray. I'd love to hear the story behind that name.). That one contains my so-far favorite song by him, Can't Come Undone. That's on Last Train Home's cd Last Good Kiss, sung by Eric Brace. Occasionally at a show Steve will sing it; I love it both ways; I wish I could say why, but my mind has gone on strike. Again.

Anyway, we heard Can't Come Undone sung by Steve on Steve's myspace page (I'd link to it if I could, but myspace is banned here at work, for some reason or other) and I wanted a copy of it. Now I have it. Thank you, Steve--we'll see you June 1 at the wine fest. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy my very own personal copies of your music, and so will Tom.

(Please note that Steve's website is soooooo out of date; he's cut his hair, he moved back to Houston, and the dates shown were about 3 years ago. But, my God, that man can play a mean guitar. Steve, please, please, if you have a chance, please update your website. You got fans out here, dude.)

2) Another childhood favorite book find: For years I've been searching for a book I read as a relatively young child, one whose title and author I couldn't begin to remember. All I could remember was that it was about 4 children who had moved into a new neighborhood early in the spring/summer, there was some kind of illness around and they weren't allowed to meet any other children. They had to invent their own entertainment; it was written in 1956, I think, so television wasn't the household staple it is today.

So they scouted their yard (at this point, it seems that it must have been one big-ass yard; I haven't read it since I was 11 or so) and discovered that there was an island in the yard. I think there was an old, decrepit cabin or shack on the island, so they spent the next weeks playing there. That's all I remember. I thought the title might be "Almost an Island", and I searched for years trying to find a book with that title, or something close to it. I bet that searches even brought up The Invisible Island, but I wouldn't have paid much attention to it because I didn't remember anything about any invisible island. Two weeks ago I left an inquiry on www.abe.com hoping that someone would have some idea and point me in the right direction.

I didn't check the message board for almost two weeks; I'd actually forgotten about it till I searched for books in the Mushroom Planet series (very expensive books, as it turns out). (I still want them. I didn't even know there were more than two books in the series; there are 5.) So this woman had answered me within a few minutes, and she had the title and author of the book--The Invisible Island--and links to a website about the author and to a page at ABE with several of the books for sale. Starting at $115.

I love books. Love them. And this book means a lot to me, but $115? Up to $350? Sorry, that's way out of my league, even if I hadn't bought the camera. So I started a google search, and I found it. I found the book for $50.

Yes, it's a little ridiculous. I might have to work an extra year or two to make up for these purchases (there are always purchases, people), but it's worth it. Over the last 15 years or so I've found the 4 books that meant the most to me: When the Root Children Wake Up (which I found in the library of my elementary school one summer; it was the same book I'd checked out over and over in the 2nd grade; I left a note for the librarian asking if she'd sell it--I'd seen it online for over $100 and just couldn't pay that much--and she mailed it to me, saying that it hadn't been checked out in 30 years and she was glad that I loved it that much), Mystery Island and the other 7 books in that series, The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, and now, within a couple of weeks of re-finding that last one, The Invisible Island. With that one, my childhood book collection is about as complete as I could have ever hoped for. I didn't think I'd ever find that book, or even the title, and it feels odd, somehow. I've searched for and tried to remember the title to that book pretty much my entire adult life, and now it's within reach.

Say, Tom, about that credit card........

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