Ice on the mountaintop

This is not our yard, but it sort of feels like it.

We awoke this morning to the first freeze of the season. January First, how appropriate. There was frost on the grass, and the birdbath was a skating rink.

The terraza thermometer indicated about 40 degrees at 8:30 when I stepped out there, but the other indications made it clear that an overnight freeze had occurred. This is not rare in January, and the good thing is that it warms up quickly as the sun rises.

Occasionally, we pass through winter without even one freeze, but that does not happen often. I prefer to dodge freezes because the plants get walloped, especially the banana trees that turn brown and require heavy trimming, which is a bother.

A cold front came through overnight, obviously, and yesterday announced its imminent arrival none too subtly with blustering winds. We were blowing all over the place. Three clay tiles even sailed off one of the carport roofs.

But let’s move on to other topics.

Old dogs, new tricks

Like most people, I enjoy music. I am not an aesthete. I just know what I like. I’m the same with food. I am not a foodie. Music enters the ears with pleasure as grub goes down the gullet pleasantly too. I am a simple man, raised on the red-dirt roads of Georgia.

Like most people of advanced age, I once listened to music on vinyl. For some reason, it comes to mind that I had a few records — that’s what we called them — when I lived in San Juan in the Caribbean. I did not have many. I had a Willie Nelson, maybe his first. I also had a few of the Argentine Atahualpa Yupanqui and the Brazilian Vinicius Demoraes that my Argentine girlfriend had brought up from Buenos Aires.

Flash forward more than a decade, and I was living in Houston. I remember my debut compact-disk player and the first day I used it. I heard Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. CDs are better than vinyl no matter what Luddite aesthetes tell you.

Here at the Hacienda, we have tons of music CDs, almost all of which I toted over the Rio Bravo years ago. And we have the players. Alas, the players are going belly up, and new ones are more difficult to find.

More difficult, not impossible, and the available ones aren’t that good.

One of the three we still have in the house committed suicide last week, leaving two others with somewhat evil tempers. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. It was then that a word popped into my feeble, aging brain. Bluetooth!

This is a technology that’s about 20 years old, but I had never used it. The only thing I knew about Bluetooth was that if you put one device near another, they could communicate. That was the totality of my understanding. I knew people all over the place were using Bluetooth to listen to music, but I had no clue how. I went online to investigate.

Let’s make a long story short. Cut to the chase, as they say.

I am now the owner of a Sony Bluetooth portable speaker via Amazon Mexico. It’s only about four inches high, but it produces a great sound to my unaesthetic ears. It cost about $60 U.S. I can buy a second to provide stereo sound, but I doubt I’ll do that. I am happy with what I have.

I also subscribed to Deezer, a music app that has a gadzillion tunes, including Vinicius de Moraes and Atahualpa Yupanqui.

So, bye-bye boomboxes. The old dog has learned a new trick.

Bluetooth. Who knew?

19 thoughts on “Ice on the mountaintop

  1. I put all my CDs onto my iPad and repurchased from iTunes a lot of the music I have on vinyl. I like record albums for all the information and artwork, but compared to my iPad they’re just not that convenient. I’ve got over 4,000 songs on the iPad, which is enough for me. I don’t know what do do with all my old record albums. I haven’t played them for years. I don’t even have a turntable. Enjoy your Bluetooth speaker.


    1. Brent: Take care with your music and Apple. Some years ago, iTunes corrupted every music file on my PC. Completely unrecoverable. I even employed a techie. Gone. Poof. To this day, I consider Apple the Devil’s Spawn.


      1. That’s weird. I can understand files getting corrupted, but you should have a record of your purchases/downloads from iTunes and should be able to download them again. I’m not a big fan of Apple but Microsoft even less. Apple has worked okay for us so far, but it’s been frustrating at times. And I thought computers were supposed to make life easier! Silly me. 🙂


        1. Brent: It would have been relatively simple to get my music back had I purchased it from iTunes, but I had not. I had tons of music on my PC from other sources when I decided to open an account with iTunes, which immediately wiped my PC clean. Why? How? No clue, but it happened. Needless to say, I’m not an Apple fan as a result.


  2. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Late this morning, The Band blaring from my Bluetooth speaker, I found myself dancing in the yard, interrupted only by the mozo’s entrance. That tiny speaker packs enough power to share my tunes with the neighbors.


    1. Ms. Shoes: So what you’re saying is that you’re ahead of me in the music-listening business. Go on, brag. I don’t mind.

      I can imagine your dancing like a loca in the yard. Wish I could have seen that. As for your speaker, I imagine you, being a high-class woman, bought a Bose. I almost did too, but the price was five times higher, and I thought I would give this one a test run first. I may still get a Bose.


        1. Ms. Shoes: Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. I’ve outclassed you. First time ever. But that Oontz looks good. I still have my heart set on a Bose Sound Revolve+, however. Time will tell.


  3. Happy New year, Felipe! Bluetooth is great isn’t it? I have a Bluetooth speaker in each room and my garage. I’ve even brought a couple down to our new house in PV so it will be move-in ready later this year. I hope the freeze didn’t do too much damage!


    1. Mike: Well, dang, you’ve really highlighted my backwardness. A speaker in every room, mind you. Jeez. Of course, you’re just a youngster, so you knew all about it long before me, of course.

      Felíz año nuevo too. Let us keep our fingers crossed. Saludos all around.


  4. You think CD players are getting hard to find? Try finding an SACD player. Though I don’t have a ton of them, SACDs sound so much better than CDs that I’m fiercely holding onto what I have and hoping I can keep finding players. Worse, while CDs can be transferred to computers and still listened to that way, SACDs were designed to not be practicably copy-able, so the music is imprisoned on the disc. Yet the world is moving on from physical media.

    You people who are happy with one speaker streaming are what’s causing these problems. If you demanded proper hifi stereos, there’d be no such problems.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are slowly becoming one of those dinosaurs of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim: I never heard of SACDs. Live and learn.

      While I would prefer multi-speaker stereo sound, the little Bluetooth gizmo I bought does an acceptable job for me. You are an aesthete, and I am a slug. Takes all kinds, but we slugs have less problems finding stuff to buy.

      Liked by 1 person

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