Silence (and Song of the Day — Led Zeppelin)

January 16, 2011
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I’ll stay silent here for a while more, but not forever.  I’m surprised at how many of you keep checking to see if there’s something new.  I’ll crank the engine and get going again sooner because of your attention.  Thanks!


Here’s a beautiful Led Zeppelin song that does NOT rock and roll.  I played it for my mom when I was 15 to convince her that she should listen to Zep, with mixed results:  she did like the song, and she continued to not like Led Zeppelin.  Silly.  They ROCK!  Except here, of course:




Housekeeping — Take Five

May 15, 2010
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A few people have told me they can’t download the songs from this blog.  That seems like a problem, since almost every post is driven by a song.

Two of the people who contacted me did not have Itunes installed in their computers.  For the technophobic among you who think downloading iTunes will commit you to buying music, or will require you to use and iPod, or allow Steve Jobs to control your thoughts, don’t worry.  It’s just a program that allows you to play music on your computer — including the music I post here.

Try going here, and downloading the program:

Once you have the iTunes program on your computer, then clicking the little blue links to the songs I post should either automatically start the songs downloading, or else make a popup window emerge that offers you the choice to open or save the file (which is the song).  If you download the song, then it will live in your computer as a bunch of gobbledygook symbols that need a program to interpret them.

Enter iTunes.  Once the file is in your computer, try to open it.  If it starts playing, then you have wasted your time reading this post.  If your computer asks what program you want to use to open the file, you can choose iTunes.  (There are other programs that can do this, too.  I think I upload the songs in formats that can be interpreted also by Windows Media Player and Real Player.  I’m not sure that I do this, though, or that I do it consistently, so you may need iTunes to play the music.  I, personally, like iTunes, because the others seem to slow down my computer more than iTunes does when I use them)

It distresses me to think that anyone might not be able to hear these songs.  PLEASE let me know if you continue to have trouble, and I will investigate further.

You could try it now with this classic Dave Brubeck song:

Take Five

Song of the Day — Uncle Tupelo

May 10, 2010
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Not so happy with the quality of these last couple of posts.  I realize I’m splashing on the shores of the swamp right now.  Going to go wade in for a bit.

I’ll try to keep the Song of the Day going, and will post one here, as a matter of fact.  It’s my favorite song.  Possibly favorite of all time.  I posted it last February, but few of you were reading this blog back then, and it deserves to be repeated even so.

See you when I figure out this puzzle.  Listen to the song.  It’s a great song.

Still Be Around


April 29, 2010
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I suddenly started feeling tired of my current (chlamydia) joke on the way home from work today.  Usually by the time I am sated, people have secretly been praying for ages for me to stop.  But then I logged into the administrative section of this blog and found an orgy of oglers.  A venereum of viewers.  A crazy Cupid’s cluster of chlamydiaphiliacs.

A lot of people who had checked out those posts.

People, PEOPLE, I know that this is a good place to come and expose yourself to chlamydia, but I didn’t realize that chlamydia was so attractive to so many of my fine frisky friends.  I was planning to turn down the music and dim the lights for a while and let the chlamydia joke get some sleep, but if you all want instead for me to put on a nice Beatles record and keep this baby awake, just let me know.

Posted in Administrative

Could use feedback on this

April 1, 2010

I’m thinking about continuing an occasional series of liner notes — my musings on songs I have posted or will post, like the one I did a few days ago revisiting Lucinda Williams.  I can go one of two ways with this, and need help deciding.  Comment here, or contact me other ways, as most of you seem more comfortable with.

Background info: I started posting songs that I like as sort of filler between meatier posts, with the assumption that some people will listen to them.  This seems to happen, and it makes me happy.  I hope to open doors, and introduce y’all to new things that you didn’t know you needed to listen to.  Thus the effort not to repeat artists for now.  However, now I realize that you have no idea what each song is like, and that a few words about it will help you decide whether it’s worth your while.  I’d like to add those words, but don’t know whether they would make a difference to anyone but me.

1) Default mode: I write what I want, not sure if it will touch anyone or make a difference, but satisfying me even no matter what.  Probably go back and pick and choose which songs to write about and take my time.  The playlist on my itunes that helps me not repeat things has grown into a kick-ass mix that I play for myself!

2) Go back and write something about each and every song, like I did for Lucinda Williams’ “Words.”  If enough people contact me to tell me this would be useful or even interesting, then I could spend happy hours on this task.

I’ll make it super easy:  Just comment, email, facebook, text, call, write me with a number.  “1” or “2” will feel like a deep and soulful conversation to me.  Anything more would be gravy.

At the End of the Block, Turn Write

March 28, 2010
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I’ve been out of the swamp for a while now, and out of the post-swamp storm, and yet this blog stays skeletal.  Not acceptable.  I have a couple of real things gestating, but not ready for an out-of-womb experience.  So.  All the experts say write every day, and I do, but it feels less satisfying than posting.

Therefore, guess what?  I’ll post CRAP for a while!  WOOHOO!  Or, I should say, maybe it won’t be crap but it will certainly be unpolished and two-dimensional at best.  And YOU, dear reader, will wade through it because you never know just where the chuckle might be, or just when something real will hit you.

Oh, boy!  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Like in Julie and Julia, when she writes about calling in sick to work.  And people keep coming back. This will be that part in the film Nick and The Knicks.

Can’t tell you how exciting this idea is.  So liberating.


I’ll start with liner notes.  AND, I’ll recycle past posts to do so.  Wow.  Hello Americans, I am one of you.


OK, seriously?  I can’t take the guilt of complete laziness.  I am — mostly — joking.  Here’s the deal:

1) I’ll throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks.  Not true crap — I’m not THAT brave — but not necessarily fleshed out.

2) “Song of the Day” started as filler — a way to have something worthwhile posted every day even when I’m on call or lost in the swamp.  However, the playlist that has formed in the “Nickolepsy” folder in my iTunes has blossomed — er, accreted — into something interesting.  So, I want to make sure that anyone who might like one or another of these songs has a clue about what might be worthwhile to him or her and what is not worth downloading.  Thus, the liner notes.  With new links to the same music.


Enough.  Let’s go back to the beginning…

Posted in Administrative

This blog still runs on gasoline

January 28, 2010

I got an email this morning ordering me to cease and desist with all the explanations and requests for feedback. Sigh. I agree that they gum up the engine, and I’ll try to hold back.

A startlingly large number of you HAVE sent messages. Some via email, a lot on Facebook, a few here. Even a graffito burned into the side of the Millenium Falcon with a light saber. (I won’t name names, except to say that that one was written by Taejoon Ahn, UCSF Medical School class of 1997).

But the engine that runs this blog is hybrid, not electric. Someday I’ll be able to trade it in for one that can plug into my own domestic power supply for all of its energy needs. But feedback from friends, strangers, and even former friends whom I haven’t told yet to go away I have new friends now — this is the gasoline that makes writing fun.

Posted in Administrative

Subtract toner

January 25, 2010

A couple of people have said they don’t like the title of this blog. I agree that Add Toner (referring to the annoying little light on printers and copiers) is flawed. But all reasonable variations of “Doctor Nick” are in use. Eulalia, various other favorite fictional names, even “The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (which I admit is flawed also) — all taken. Doctor von Critical felt too specific. “nickmayper” feels too self centered. Yes, I know that’s silly.

Anyway, I’m open to suggestions. Whoever recommends a name that I end up using gets a prize. For real. Don’t know what it will be yet, but I promise it will be fun.

Posted in Administrative

Vintage blog post

January 25, 2010
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Ah, remember the heady days of January 24, 2010?  Back when I posted the following statement?

If I do well enough to elicit feedback then maybe I’ll buy Anna a bottle of wine and admit that she was right.  So the question is this:  how many people want Anna to get a bottle of free wine?  And what are they willing to do to help her?

Oh, and does the writing work?

Well, many of my “friends” seem to care more about enabling Anna with her addiction to expensive wine, and less about the spirit of my challenge.  So, fine.  You commented on that first post.  Technically that was “feedback”.  I’ll buy her a bottle of wine.  But from now on, this is an NPR-like operation.  You can read without contributing.  But if you want Anna to get another tote bag/bottle of wine, then from now on comments on that first post don’t count.  Nor this one I’m writing now.  Support from readers like you provides the Toner in Addtoner.  There are only so many times I can pull that cartridge out and shake it.

Posted in Administrative

Why a blog?

January 24, 2010

It feels presumptuous.  Not to get personal, but ANNA RABKINA kept bugging me, saying Facebook is not the right place to write.  So here is a new forum.

I love writing on Facebook because it offers a public place to practice writing, with the feedback that I crave.  I can imagine being a stand up comic honing my craft at any little stage that will have me.  When I get a laugh (or a tear or an angry “hell yeah”) then I know what to build on.  When I get nothing I know what to tone down.

So, I’ll write what I want to here.  If no one reads and comments I’ll trail off.  Eventually abandon it for something else.  If I do well enough to elicit feedback then maybe I’ll buy Anna a bottle of wine and admit that she was right.  So the question is this:  how many people want Anna to get a bottle of free wine?  And what are they willing to do to help her?  

Oh, and does the writing work?

Posted in Administrative
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