Back, Down

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hello all. Work has been insanely busy, and it's been a while since I've had time to do anything else. So this will be brief.

My back, unfortunately, is still an issue. I've been wearing a brace for the past two weeks, something I've never, ever had to do before. (You can sort of see how bulky it is in the above photo.) After two weeks in it, the back feels slightly better, but is still quite stiff. It's almost certainly the result of stress. I don't see it going away for several more weeks, unfortunately, but hopefully the soreness will ease its grip on me before then.

It's been unseasonably cold the past 7-10 days, with record-setting temperatures. It's been one of the strangest winters I can recall - well above average temperatures *and* well above average snowfall at the same time. One reason I've been so stressed is that I haven't been able to do any running for nearly four months. Two extended bouts with bronchitis, an iffy stomach, and the aforementioned cranky back are the culprits. I'm sure the constantly yo-yo-ing temperatures aren't helping either.

Since exercise, particularly running, is by far the best method I've found to relieve stress, it's doubly frustrating that I've been unable to do much of it for some time. Hopefully the cold and snow - we received 12 inches/30 cm on Tuesday - will finally abate, and I'll be able to get outside after work and ease back into my usual workout routine. I cannot wait. 

Well, actually I can. I'll heed the lesson of my doctor, a fellow runner, when I asked her when I could start running again.

"Wait until your back is totally pain-free... then give it another week," she said. She knows me too well.

OK, time for this girl to run - metaphorically speaking only, alas. Sigh. Hopefully only for a bit longer...


I've been on a tight budget for some time now, for reasons I'll be able to explain later. I made an exception, however, when I read that Gary Clark, Jr. had a new live double album coming out this week. I wrote about my first time seeing him several years ago [LINK], and how incredible he was. This is his second live double album in three years, with a single studio album in between. 

For most artists that would be overkill. Not Clark, however. As adventurous as his studio albums are, his live shows are even better. He never plays a song the same way twice, and his blistering guitar playing alone is worth the price of the album. That he is a superb singer and songwriter on top of that merely seals the deal. (His outstanding longtime backing band, particularly rhythm guitarist King Zapata, who isn't exactly a slouch on guitar, is icing on the cake.) 

Based on two listens to the album since last night, this one is even better than his previous live effort. "When My Train Pulls In" is a highlight on both albums. While this scorching version is from Eric Clapton's 2013 Crossroads guitar festival, the version on the new album is equally incendiary. 

You know you have the goods when Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy watch your entire performance from the side of the stage, as they did in this case. Not bad for a skinny kid from Austin...


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