Sunday, July 31, 2011

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN (REDUX)

There was almost a mini-war, a skirmish. Do I stay home and watch the end of the first season of Battlestar Galactica or do I venture into the crowds at the Prospect Park Bandshell (a mere block from my apartment) to see if I can snag a good seat for Dr. John? One would think there would be no contest. Entropy and inertia run deep in my bloodlines and it took an effort to get out of the house. Music versus couch potatosity.

I knew Dr. John was playing this summer and although I had some of his cds and admired him, did I really want to get out there and get finagaling? Early in the week, I had stumbled across Toni Price's song, Remember Me (it's an .aiff file so it will take awhile to download) with Dr. John literally tickling the ivories. His playing was perfect, understated yet providing texture, tone, and sweetness. Yeah, he has a solo on this tune, but his support, his exquisite timing, kicks up Toni’s vocals and makes the song.

I mean, how much inertia can I let myself get away with? By the time I woke up from my nap, the show had begun (two other bands). Getting a good seat would not be a simple matter.

It was hot tonight, and even hotter in the crowd. Many happy, drunk, and generally bodacious Brooklynites wandered and boogied in the aisles. I saw my future self sitting in one of those very comfortable fold-up chairs reading the Sunday Times Magazine while waiting for Dr. John. I bought my wine allowance (one glass) and surveyed the seated crowd. After all those years of weaving through the crowd to stand at the feet of Jerry Garcia, I can still suss out the most direct route to where I can hear and see the best.

Nice. I spied what I expected was an empty seat about 13 rows from the stage. Excellent choice. Right in front of the sound booth, too, so the sound ought to be good. I wafted down the aisle, shaking and shimming to Chuck Brown as I checked out the other denizens of Aisle 13. Did that backpack belong to someone on a beer/piss/food run or was it being saved … for me? The man adjacent to my future seat, took a walk. I stopped him to ask about the missing occupant. He did not know, but thought perhaps it was being saved for someone. I looked for back-up. And then, during the set-up for Dr. John, I just decided to just take a load off. You know, the bad knee thing.

A New Orleans night sky, cottony clouds moved, but not very quickly. The air was hot and sticky with a cooling right beneath it, more of a teasing heat than a punishing one.  The crowd near my seat was replete with music lovers, trading stories about shows, bits of trivia about this and that band. The p.a. played Rehab, and there was a collective sad sigh about Amy. Knowing nods and solemn shaking of heads. Aretha’s Respect and Rock Steady followed. A good omen. As the lights went down, the crowd lit up. Yum. The sweet smell of mary jane lilted the heavy air. I'm blowin' away ...


There are musicians who are performers and there are performers who are musicians. Dr. John is a musician who performs. His look, his vibe, his story are all amusing and engaging. But the man and his band are there to PLAY. Tight, intelligent, with a masterful groove.

I made the right choice.

He opened with If It Ain’t Got That Swing (much better than this). The grand piano and old-school organ (sorry, I can’t identify those very easily) were face to face. Dr. John would sometimes straddle the bench, left hand playing piano lead, right hand salting the mix. Mostly, though, he played piano with the narrative drive found in the finest guitar players.

My favorite lead players (Richard Thompson, Jerry Garcia, a young Eric Clapton etc) write their stories in notes, the carefully chosen repetition, the variation that builds, the next note that deepens the story. Just as my favorite authors chose the length of their sentences, their phrases colored with the right words, the flashes of insight that reveal both a compelling journey and a deeper truth about something.

I should have known something was up when I saw a white Les Paul neatly plugged in and ready to go. This being New York, just about anyone breathing might show up. But who showed up was Dr. John, guitarist. Turns out he played both until some kind of shooting accident (?) made him unfit for guitar playing. I could scarcely believe it was he. I kept looking over at the lead player (John Fohl, check him out) to make sure the Doc wasn’t faking. Lead guitar’s loss, the Dr. had something to be heard wherever he puts his attention (and fingers).

Another hallmark of a real deal musician is the band he puts together and how they play. These folks were not just here for the do-re-mi. Although the trombonist was not particularly impressive, the rest of the band jammed in the mother groove, a delight to behold and absorb. The elements of the summer night, led by The Night Tripper, held us all.


Addendum: Doc also played Love for Sale. Check out this version from In A Sentimental Mood. It has some wacky New-Orleans-meets-Lalo-Schifrin-vibe. 



SOME KIND OF HEAVEN

There was almost a mini-war, a skirmish. Do I stay home and watch the end of the first season of Battlestar Galactica or do I venture into the crowds in the park to see if I can snag a good seat for Dr. John? One would think there would be no contest. Entropy and inertia run deep in my bloodlines and it took an effort to get out of the house.

I knew Dr. John was playing this summer and although I had some of his cds and admired him, did I really want to get out there and get finagaling? By the time I woke up from my nap, the show had begun (two other bands). Getting a good seat would not be a simple matter. But I had listened to Toni Price's song, Remember Me (it's an .aiff file so it will take awhile to download) and his playing had reminded me of how great he is.

It was hot tonight, and even hotter in the crowd. But it was the kind of hot and sticky that had a cooling right beneath it, more of a teasing heat than a punishing one. I bought my wine allowance (one glass) and surveyed the seated crowd. I spied what I expected was an empty seat about 13 rows from the stage. Nice. Right in front of the sound booth, too, so the sound ought to be good. After stalking the seat during the second band, watching to see if anyone was sitting there, I decided to just take a load off while the band set up.

Excellent choice. After all those years of weaving through the crowd to stand at the feet of Jerry Garcia, I can still suss out the most direct route to where I can hear and see the best. And what a great show. There are musicians who are performers and there are performers who are musicians. And this band was the real deal. Exquisite musicianship, a tight band, and a perfect vibe for a hot summer night.

The clouds in the night sky were cottony. And there was the sweet smell of mary jane wafting around pretty much through the whole show. Kind of heavenly. And who knew Dr. John could play guitar? When he started playing playing, I immediately thought that he played piano the way I like guitarists - a clear narrative line that takes me on a little mental journey, gives me an insight into how the guitarist thinks. What does s/he have to say? You know how much you enjoy how your favorite writers think about things, how they use words. Dr. John's "voice" was equally clear on piano and guitar. Damn straight.

Right Place, Wrong Time. (And one with Clapton and the Dr.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

STICKINESS AND RUSTLING RAINFALL

The bright-eyed and bushy-tailed plan didn't work so well. Sleep is elusive again these days, though I am not drinking or eating anything weird. The simplest thing to attribute it to is watching Battlestar Galactica until just before bed.

A bit of a sad day today, not for me so much as others. Relationship problems. Serious growing pains. It can be hard to listen to the troubles of others and not be able to really give any comfort. Sometimes you just have to bear the goddamned pain. There is no escape.

The creepy weather is back, although the humidity kind of rose and fell today. We were supposed to get wild crazy storms all night. We had a bit of a rainstorm earlier this evening, while I was dozing. I noticed how much the rainfall sounded like the leaves rustling in the trees.

I need to shower and sleep. Everything is sticky.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

UNDERWEAR UNDERSTRESS

Muggy again, but at least there was mostly light in the sky. And there's a breeze at the moment that could portend a rain storm. I haven't checked the weather report today, so I am not sure what the meteorological story is.

The day was more productive than I thought it would be. I did not sleep well last night, likely as a result of watching the first episode of Battlestar Galactica until late. At any rate, whatever the reason, there was much tossing and turning, getting up to seek a purring, cuddler cat (no luck with that), eating some vanilla cookies, and drinking more water.

No work today, but I did manage to do some long overdue shopping without losing my cool. Shopping for underwear of any type is a frustrating undertaking. Bras are difficult to display. The little plastic hangers break easily. The sizes are all mixed up. You can never find your size in the style you want. Ick. But, it must be done. I just kept telling myself to slow down, be methodical, and breathe.

Yes, I hate it that much.

I have struggled to stay awake this long. I finally took a nap around 8:15 because I would have outrightly fallen asleep had I not. I wasn't good for much besides ironing (I always have a mountain) and watching more BG.

I need my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self back for tomorrow. I have a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ANYTHING THAT HAS TO BE HIDDEN

After the harrowing hell of heat at the end of last week, we had an absolutely delicious summer day today. It was just a schosh too hot, but a wee drab of humidity kept the air soft. There were enough clouds to keep the light from penetrating/piercing. And oh the quiet of a neighborhood ... very nice.

My day was productive, if not reflective. My attention to and motivation for housekeeping and just generally picking up around continue at a moderate improvement level (did that make any sense). It seems as if those weeks of frustration yielded (I always feel the past tense of yield should be yielt) some neuron-level changes as well as habitual ones. And my brother Michael does not believe people can change. It was a struggle, but change was accomplished.

Meanwhile, I am delving deeper into social media jobs which might be just the ticket for me. I spent the usual amount of time snorkeling around the interwebs and editing on r88r.net.

Then I had one of those sweet cool naps. Miep, the non-cuddler, did stretch out along my side so that she could have a belly rub while I dozed.

I finally finished reading Tove Jansson's The Summer Book (appropriate for this day). As Rebecca Reads notes, there are plenty of gems and observations that make this book a "revisiter."

I liked this one:

"... anything that has to be hidden is a burden."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SMOKIN' MAMAS

I am always thirsty. Just sayin' ...

So, smoking moms. And I don't mean smoking hot moms. I mean mothers who blithely smoke around their children. I know, I didn't think it happened anymore. But yesterday I saw a mother speaking most animatedly on her cel phone as she rushed down the street, screeching into the telephone and smoking. Her daughter tried to keep up with her. For awhile, the mother held her daughter's hand and her cigarette in the same hand.

We have come so far that the sight was literally shocking to me. I felt as if I needed to tell the child to get away from the smoker. That I needed to intervene as I would if I saw someone hitting a child or abusing in another fashion. I think the my shock translated into some sort of energy as the smoker looked at me askance and narrow-eyed. I climbed the steps and watch them scurry down 8th Avenue.

As I was climbing up the subway stairs and heading down 8th Avenue this evening, a homeboy with dropped drawers and dripping and swaygering headed towards me. He had a look that I would be wary of, mostly because he looked angry. There could have been something in his gait, too. Before I could check myself for racial/sartorial profiling, I noticed the very pregnant woman just steps behind him. Very pregnant and SMOKING. Puffing away, as sure as you are born.

I do believe it has been DECADES since I last saw a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette, except on Mad Men. In real life, it is very nearly obscene.

Other than that, not too much to reflect on. I need to get into bed and try to get some sleep as I have disturbed my rhythm with a little too much drinking. I only had one beer today, but I made up for the sugar with Jelly Bellys and a Rainbow Sorbet Pop-up (I thought it was going to be ice).

Monday, July 25, 2011

SERENDIPITY-DO

Melinda thinking.
This is my before hair. 

More Melinda.


Huzzah! Let there be rain. Far be it for me to rejoice in the gulag grey, but enough with the over-exposing sun. I can turn off Bertha and the smaller fans. And that is a good thing ... a little more quiet.

Meanwhile, I had to give in to ... something like serendipity today. Next Thursday I am going to an all-day MediaBistro career circus wherein I will find out how to write a resume that will help me get a job in social media and blogging. I was fretting about my hair as it has not been colored since December. It will be challenge enough to find appropriate wardrobe, but I can usually make do ... but not so much with the hair.

Cooder returned to lap. 
Et voila! Melinda sent me a text this morning that she needs a color model for the hair class she is taking today. I vacillated, as I had my cozy, drifting, dabbling day, in the new and welcomed cool, all planned out. However, if this is not opportunity knocking, I am harder of hearing than I thought.

Will try to post the before and afters.

But the lesson or challenge here was to move away from my mental comfort nap and vague plans. Oy! Get dressed. Get on the subway. ... No working in jammies today.

Phone was out of battery so no after shot, but I am a redhead.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

DIGITAL RAMBLIN'

The heat has broken enough for Cooder to solicit petting again. But given that has been so hot, she sheds like mad when touched. And it is still sticky enough that my hands get kinda furry. Not so pleasant. But I am happy to see her. She was MIA this morning.

Miep, on the other hand, is lolling around on the bed as if she were Victorine posing for Manet painting Olympia. No apologies there.

There's construction downstairs, and as all apartment dwellers know, with construction comes the influx of fleeing vermin. When I walked into my kitchen last night, Cooder was hunkered down by the stove where she often sits waiting for me to waft in (her words) and deign (or so she thinks) to give her some treats. There was a weird movement on the stove. I thought perhaps I had left on the flame. No. Then I thought  I was just hallucinating or something. But then a mouse scurried out from under the drying frying pans. OOoh.

Cooder was doing her duty. As opposed to Miep/Victorine who cannot be bothered with vermin-hunting.

So today I had to sanitize the kitchen counters and stove and hope that the mouse smells cat and stays away. I mean, what do we pay these cats for if not to keep the vermin away? Hmmm ... perhaps they are taking a page ... or Miep is, at least, from the politicians in Washington. Why negotiate and legislate when one can aggrandize and loll about??

At any rate, no sign of vermin so far tonight. No sign of intelligence from moi, either.

Made lemon-watermelon-gin popsicles.


HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY

Bertha, named after the fan in the Dead office. A howitzer of a fan.
Yay! Yay! Yay! ... after a moment of silence for Amy Winehouse. One must be in excruciating emotional pain to take oneself out at that age (or any age, but 27 is losing the fight early). I liked her music. And her hairstyle. Sorry to lose her.

But back to the yays.

Made a nice summer cocktail concotion with John. Then we ordered pizza and watched a fun Matthew McConaghey flick, The Lincoln Lawyer.

And now the weather is cooling, although it is still 88 at 12:15 a.m. It is supposed to be in the 80s tomorrow and perhaps some rain.


Cooder thinks the tile floor in the bathroom is reasonably cool.

I keep water in the tub and cool my feet and hands.

Tupie wonders what John and I might be up to.

Suspicions confirmed: boozy watermelon-rosemary cocktails.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MORE ABOUT THE POSSIBLE NEW GIG

In case you are wondering what I am working on with my new possible gig, here is the mission statement from sociative.net:


Like the Web itself, the ‘real time web’ is enabling an explosion of disruptive applications, media, and businesses. This introduces some serious challenges and opportunities: how do we make better decisions when confronted with a deluge of unqualified information? How do we separate the signal from the noise?
Sociative’s solution is social. The attention and actions of 100s of millions of users, and the social graph of how they interrelate, provide a wealth of “social signals” that can be used to make sense out of too much information.
Sociative’s proprietary Smartocracy™ technology platform is a simple but powerful approach to collective decision-making (whitepaper), and enables myriad applications in multiple markets. It captures and contextualizes the social graph as a mediator of information flow, constantly adapting to the actions of its users so as to provide ever more qualified information. Its algorithms are based on deep analysis of the underlying social graph, and are constantly re-evaluating the authority of its participants.
Much has been premised on the ‘wisdom of the crowds’; Sociative delivers much wiser crowds.
The company’s initial product is the ‘metazine’: a multi-platform (web, tablet, smartphone), multi-media aggregator in magazine format, applicable to any subject, automatically curated by “delegation networks” of the most highly regarded experts in that field.

WHAT NOW

We survived yesterday's heat, but today we are adding humidity. That's where my breaking point is.

I've already been out and back, gone off to my Saturday therapy appointment and returned. My cats are nowhere to be seen. They were up with me this morning, but wherever they found coolness, they have returned. At some point, there will be rain. I imagine I will be lodged upstairs with Tupie and John in the a.c. this afternoon.

We are peeling back another layer in therapy. I have begun to tell my work history in the computer graphics/animation business that started in 1989. I remarked that yesterday I was in touch with six people I worked with from deGraf/Wahrman yesterday. We bonded in some intense, combat stress, kind of way. And then there is the like-mindedness of being media adventurers, stimulated by the possibilities of computer graphics in entertainment. Funny, none of us are rich, Jeffrey-Katzenberg kinds of characters.

And most of us are still working, struggling, aging, wondering "what now?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

HOT HERE

There is a certain "pling" sound that New Yorkers recognize as the sound of scaffolding pipe being unloaded. One hears it quite a bit in certain neighborhoods in the summer as it is commonly used to put up tents and booths at the all-too-frequent street fairs that are a hazard of city life.

However, Eighth Avenue is not really a street fair kind of street.

And then there was the oddly feeble sound of a jackhammer. Feeble and jackhammer do not so often collaborate in my vocabularly. A jackhammer fueled with gerbil power? At any rate, inasmuch as it was annoying first thing on this hot morning, it was also kind of amusing.

My amusement allotment for annoyances will likely run out early today as the heat rises.

I just checked on the jackhammering project. Someone is renovating their sidewalk for some reason. As I like these folks who own a small, two-story building across the street and seem to be renovating it, my impatience dissipates further.

As for the rest of the day ... hot. I finally gave up, went upstairs to the a.c. and watched the last four episodes of Treme.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HELL HALFWAY 'TWIXT NOW AND THEN

And so it begins. Fingers sticking to keys. Forearms sticking to desk. Waves of helpless frustration. Heat makes me even more childlike. Do I even want to trek out to therapy today? I had best find a parasol. And by the way, why did those ever go out of use.

I am by no means a sun-bunny. Inasmuch as I seek the light (in more than one way), I don't like overhead light, and that includes the sun at midday or late afternoon. That was one reason to leave Los Angeles, always too bright. And I do not refer to the denizens.

Every once in a while, there is a wave of cool breeze, which certainly helps. But it is only 10:50 in the morning and we all have miles to go before the heat breaks. The damp hair clinging to my neck begs the question of why I want to grow it out.

And so a bath before a retreat to the upstairs and fun with html editing, etc.

Tolerable, all in all. It will be sticky sleeping, but there is a breeze and I have three fans trained on me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HUNKERING DOWN FOR HELL

Blame it on the heat. I was incapacitated last night. I started sleeping and dozing off at about 7:00 pm. I woke up around 8:00 to begin some form of usefulness before the heat hits me again. This will be one of those days I hang around upstairs with Tupelo, who has a.c. Either that or hang out at the library where there is also a.c.

Later that evening.

I imagine this writing thing is going to be even more difficult as the heat and the humidity are going to increase in the next two days. I will for sure be upstairs camped out with Tupelo. I started to get caught up on a few more of my missed episodes of Friday Night Lights, Treme, and what not, but I realized I would likely be spending a fair amount of time up there in the near future.

And I started on my new ... well, it's not a job as it is not paying yet ... but my editorial/curatorial gig for Sociative/Big Science. The Sociative people have written a nice piece of software for editing. I enjoyed working with Brad (deGraf) on it. There's a possibility it will become a real job, but in the meantime, it is exposure/work experience with a version of social media/journalism and that, my friends, is cool.

My relatively good mood continues. I am sleeping okay, not eating or drinking or even spending too much. I admit I would love a big gin and tonic right about now.

Hunkering down for hell.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

I was too miserable to do anything last night. The weather was just insanely sticky. I can't find my wallet. It was too hot to move around and do a thorough search. It's hot already this morning, but not as wet yet. For a little bit, it was actually pleasant.

So, back to reality. Being in Binghamton was interesting. That was the farthest I have been in western New York. I wonder what kind of industry there was in the town. As I understand it, the university is keeping the town alive. In general, it was not particularly affluent. And it was very quiet except for the screaming match the neighbors got into yesterday afternoon.

Okay now. Wallet found under seat of car. Car moved to Friday spot. Talc lightly applied to hands/fingers so that I can type and work. Second cup of coffee nearly drunk. I guess I am back home.

We had fun. Anna took us to a great show in the park near her home. Driftwood is definitely worth checking out. There was some good food in Binghampton. The restaurant where we drank margaritas was quite good. And the drinks were dangerously good. Martha and I were conservative, however, and drank only one and a half apiece.

Anna had friends visiting as well as her mother and myself. We sat around with them after the music and talked. They are such sweet, smart, and engaged young things, they gave us hope for the future. I wasn't sure that was even possible.

Monday, July 18, 2011

NO TIME TO WRITE, BUT HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS

The wall of the room I am sleeping in.

Excellent choice of image from Persepolis.

God and country. And the Ukraine.

Not Russian.

Outdoor music festival.

Newshut and Jana.

Sunset.

Not quite time lapse.

Summah.

More of the same.

Feets.

Martha makes a point.


Blankey.

Driftwood there on stage.

Sky.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ROAD TRIP WITH MARTHA

Anna and waitrone.

Johnson City into Binghamton.


Eat.
College town! Late night music of questionable taste! Just like home! At least it is country and not heavy metal.

Bummer of bummers, I left my spectacles at home which means I am squinting to write this. It seems like some sort of tragedy, but I am fairly certain it is not. Just an adjustment.

It is a long way out here to Binghamton. Martha and Jay have driven here from Brewster and back in a day which is crazy exhausting in my book. I think three of four hours is about my comfortable limit.

God and Country. Damn!
So, I am a little strained of eye and exposed to quite a bit more light than usual. Tired, you say! Well, and so I have been before. I will rest my eyes for a few hours.

FYI, margaritas are good drinking.

Friday, July 15, 2011

ORGANIZATIONALLY CHALLENGED

A challenging day. I was up and about and then out early (for me). I cruised over to the Upper West Side, picked-up Louise and we headed to New Jersey to say good-bye to dear Laura who is moving to Austin tomorrow morning. Actually, she is quite in the process already. Needless to say, probably, things went slower than planned for Laura. On the other hand, Louise and I worked on Monsterwood and Princess Kitten, plus getting a bit caught up, so no time was wasted. Plus, we got to eat half-price sushi at Fujiyama Mama in Westfield. And it was good.

We got caught up, hung out with a tired, exhilarated, and miles-to-go-before-she-sleeps Laura, then headed home, which took forever in traffic. And Ms. Louise is intense, so besides navigating the roads (and drivers of Jersey) I was deeply involved in Monsterwood.

Yeah, I came home and fell asleep.

And now is the challenging part. I am going to Binghamton, NY with Martha tomorrow to visit her daughter Anna. This is the first road trip Martha and I have ever taken. And we have known one another since the mid-1970s. But I am too pooped to get ready. And I haven't even done laundry since I got back from Schroon Lake. Crap. So, will I actually get up in the morning to do all the things that need doing before I jump into the car at 9:30 and head out (stopping first for therapy).


I don't trust myself. But I just might have to try again.

Does this look like a face that is interested in tuna?
Hating. Waiting.

12:14 a.m. - Reader, I staid up to do some work. Less for the morning.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MISTAKES AND LEARNING

The first big mistake of the day, and it was late in the afternoon, was to eat a dark chocolate/chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar. Eating it was not the mistake, although Cooder thought so since she doesn't really like chocolate ice cream. Eating it fast was the mistake. Not savoring it. Lesson learned, perhaps?

And I am back in the danger zone, time-wise, too. It is after 10:00 and I should be closer to sleeping.

The things that are hard to learn.

It is hard to learn when you have had enough.

Do I need to, want to eat the rest of what is left in the saucepan of the chicken chili? There isn't a whole portion. But I don't want any more right now. My body says it is cool with what I have consumed. But my brain says, "Finish it off. Don't worry about it."

And you can repeat with a lot of other things too.

I put away the little bit to eat with crackers or chips.

It is difficult to say no to red wine.

It does not take much to affect me.

Bummer of bummers.

But I said, "No more," at least and turned to water ... turned to drinking water. I am still plenty corporeal.

I am not as contemplative as I was there for awhile. I am taking a break and floating.

Another stellar day, in the weather world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NAPTITUDE

One of the things I am trying to do is make other choices. For instance, here I am in the final procrastination before I work on my resume and "pound the pavement" looking for work. I was about to play some solitaire while I listened to the Band (Music from Big Pink) and finished my post-morning-nap latte. I thought maybe I'd try writing instead, even though it takes both hands and more attention.

I've been reading again after a few weeks of mere desultory involvement. Even though I swore, as I usually do, not to look at the new books, cds, or dvds when I went to the Central Library to return a greatly overdue dvd of Women in Love (has anyone tried to watch that one lately? a difficult viewing experience but not without interest ... I had to stop and put it off for another time), I couldn't resist the call of serendipity. Turns out Sandra Gilbert of Madwoman in the Attic (co-authored with Sandra Gubar) has out a new book, Rereading Women: Thirty Years of Exploring Our Literary Traditions. I tried, reader, but could not resist. Fun reading for a brain that needs a bit of prodding.

Since I finished David McCullough's tome, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, and not recommended  for all but the Parisphiles, I thought I would attack the motley crew of library books waiting on my bedside windowsill. I picked up A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi, an Afghani writer and filmmaker. I thought this was quite beautiful:

"...My grandfather used to say...at the time of death, before leaving the body, the soul flies into the heart. At this precise moment, the heavy burden of the soul crushes the chest, stifling speech and paralyzing the tongue."


Random notes:

I bought a can of Miller High Life beer, remembering that at one time it was my favorite inexpensive beer. I cannot drink it anymore.

An old boss/colleague and I have been in touch about his new venture. I might fit in to his need for some editorial/curatorial assistance. He showed me the white paper his team had written to get funding etc. I tried to read it. "Because particles are discrete, the diffusion of particles through a network require a sufficient initial distribution to expose underlying network topology." Huh? Actually, I did get it, but it required a few readings. And forget about trying to really understand all the equations. I might as well read some French.

Quite balmy out now. Mostly a lovely summer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BOILED HEAT

Waves of heat and then a tricking cool before another wave.

I was able to sleep kind of normal hours, huzzah! I am continuing to improve health-wise. Just one step and then another. I need to get back to writing in the morning when my brain is more fresh. I am unfocussed and thinking about all the things I want to read before I go to sleep. That's an improvement from staying up until 2:00 watching Roseanne on my iPhone. That show was starting to depress me, so I need a break before I watch the last 2.5 seasons.

Meanwhile, two more things from the New Yorker. In the Evan Osnos article mentioned day before yesterday, a quote from Han:

"Just because you see people clustered eating shit doesn't make you want to squeeze your way in for a mouthful..."

which brings to mind the non-substantive, non-nutritious "information" we clamour for.  And entertainment, evidently.

Another Chinese intellectual/editor, Xu Zhiyuan, was paraphrased as saying, "The Web has a democratizing potential, but it privileges influence over substance ..."

I need to think more about that.

Clearly, coherence is not aiding me tonight. Boiled heat.

Monday, July 11, 2011

THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Thank goodness the breeze has come up. The humidity is ridiculous. I fell asleep this afternoon and have not been able to really regain consciousness. My fingers are sticking to the keys, making typing unpleasant, if not difficult. But you can feel the rain is coming. The reports say not until 2:00, at which point I will be asleep.

I cleaned my desk and ran errands today. Didn't do much thinking or anything along those lines. I am still not all well. My doctor was supposed to call with test results but did not, so I should make that the first priority.

I am going to take advantage of this momentary narcolepsy to try to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. I managed that last night and popped up and out of bed before 9:00 and that is the direction I want to continue along.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SELF: AWARE/INDULGENT

Another stellar summer day, although warmer and muggier. It was thoroughly pleasant in my apartment. I am still improving, still relaxed from my time away. I just read and moseyed around. I had a fabulous nap after which I moseyed over to Melissa and Tim's to share the Mr. P's Mountain Smokehouse bounty and watch True Blood. There was a Bloody Mary popsicle left so I had one of those and some blackberry savignon sorbet. Fun fun fun. Plus, Tim and Missy's house is cat paradise as they have four and three of them are most friendly.

One of the articles I read in The New Yorker was about a Chinese author and blogger named Han Han. I knew nothing about him or that he is the most popular blogger in the world, shattering my self-esteem.

As I work my way through my the influences and history that shaped my family and me, I am interested in how my life and assumptions compare to other humans. Hell, I just try to understand the world and the culture I live in. I thought this was interesting ... and for me, "interesting" is reason to live nearly.


"He [Han] hails from the first generation born after Mao and the advent of the one-child policy—the baling hou, or "post-'80 generation"—which serves as a reference point in discussions of values and the national character much the way that baby boomers do for Americans: a generation that came of age amid radical social transformations which alienated its members from their parents and left them either newly self-aware or self-indulgent, depending on who's talking.

— Evan Osnos, The Han Dynasty: How far can a youth-culture idol tweak China's establishment?  NY'er 7/4/11


Self-awareness and self-indulgence seem like reasonable words to describe the poles between which our popular culture continues. Even sounds pretty close to what I think I go through in my mental meanderings. Might even be how the great world spins in post-God times. 



Saturday, July 9, 2011

VENDING MACHINE OR BANQUET?

You couldn't pay for a day like today. A perfect summer day. Hot, but not too. A soupcon of humidity. Mild and quiet.

After therapy, I wandered by a stoop sale where I bought seven CDs and a book for ten bucks. All great music. I think the folks are moving. Too bad. They'd be fun to know.

I had a lovely read wherein I finished reading the current New Yorker cover to cover, something I have not done in a year or more. And then a sweet nap in the dappled afternoon sunlight.

Miep is back to harshing Cooder's mellow and yeowling at me so I think the anti-biotics worked.

Here are some shots from the Los Lobos gig. It was raining too much to have the iPhone out. Los Lobos were superb. And those of us who braved the rain were well-rewarded.






I am not 100% better but improving. Sometimes I forget that I still have pain.

So, back to that New Yorker. Inasmuch as my divine friends Jennifer, Susan, and Brenna "suggest" that The New Yorker features a surfeit of the male perspective, as if women cannot write as well, it is (one of) my weakness(es). One of the best articles, about Jaron Lanier, the purported "inventor" of virtual reality, is not available online.  Inasmuch as he pains me terribly and I was subjected to a performance of his "virtual reality music" at SIGGRAPH Las Vegas in the early 1990's, he makes some good points. One quote:

"Unlike more Luddite critics, Lanier complains not that technology has take over our lives but that it has not given us enough back in return. In place of a banquet, we've been given a vending machine.

'The thing about technology is that it's made the world of information ever more dominant,' Lanier told me. 'And there's so much loss in that. It really does feel as if we've sworn allegiance to a dwarf world, rather than to a giant world.'"

— Jennifer Kahn, The Visionary: A digital pioneer questions what technology has wrought.


I'm a internet junkie, to be sure. But I find I can spend a lot of time not getting much done or enjoyed.  And, being the hippie Romantic that I am, I will answer the question "Is that all there is?" with a "no."

Friday, July 8, 2011

COMEDY IS THE PROVINCE OF YOUTH


The woods at Liz and Larry's place down the way from Schroon Lake. Too bad you can't hear the stream. Or Jane barking at you. I told Jane that she was "compact cuteness."

After posting last night, I came across this quote in the review of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park productions of All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure (which is one of my personal faves).

"Comedy is the province of youth, whose frivolity owes its insouciant cruelty to the lack of a sense of limitation; by middle age, playwrights are better acquainted with loss."
John Lahr, Down and Dirty: Shakespeare's Dark Larks, NY'er 7/11/11

I repeatedly reflect on my disdain and dismay over bromances and that ilk. I find adolescent male humor desperate and inappropriate, not to mention numbingly boring. Adult life hurts, no question, but it also offers a much bigger emotional, sensational, resonant experience. 

If you will pardon the badly drawn metaphor, the male hegemony of life defining experience, particularly as portrayed and consumed in the American culture I see around me is simply two-dimensional, flat, and doesn't even use multi-planing very well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WHAT IT IS WHAT IT IS

Shockingly, I was up and in the car leaving Schroon Lake by 6:45. I was still not feeling well, but wanted to get back and see if I could warm up to some reality kinds of things. For those of you who don't believe I even exist at this hour, here is a road snap of my car clock. Going south, sun shining in on the clock.

Plus, the kittehs were missing from my life. This was waiting for me. (After unpacking and all.)


My not-feeling-well extends beyond the cold and many sneezes. I can't even quite describe the rest but it is some combination of back pain and maybe gut pain. After getting home and unpacked and all, I feel quite a bit better, but I don't think the problem is gone away. I'll spare you the details but I am planning to use my last $200 of safety money to go to the doctor tomorrow.  Oh right, this is why health insurance is a necessary thing, for the unexpected health issues. Hopefully, I won't need to go to the hospital or anything. Only time will tell.

I saw some cool stuff on the way down. Notwithstanding my discomfort and general malaise, I enjoyed most of the ride. I have finally figured out how to get from the Northway down and over to the Taconic via the slower but scenic route. And I am not sure it is THAT much slower. I turned around to snap these two:

Kind of wish I had used a regular lens as the blues were remarkable on their own.



It was a beautiful hot summer day for a drive. I would that I had felt better and could have meandered my way home, but I felt that turning around to get even these was pushing it. Very bright out there.

And that was one of my ruminations while I was out of town. Just that some things in life are no longer options. My elastic brain and sense of self still thinks things are possible. And how does our sense of self change once we realize that this is it. What it is what it is.

 My friend Denise C posted this on her FB feed: 

Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups

'Mature Adults Could Be Gone Within 50 Years,' Experts Say



... and I do feel that I am trying to be after a long damn time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

INTERNET CAFE

Black fly season is supposed to be over, but here at the Word of Life Internet Café, Common Grounds, they are biting me. Perhaps they have been trained to hone in on the non-believers. The woman behind me is working on her Bible thang, and tables full of young folk say prayers before talking about music (couldn’t/didn’t want to hear who).

Feeling better today, but it still needing to sleep every couple of hours. Larry and I were both up before 7:00am and went out to breakfast before I went to sleep again.
Schroon Lake in the morning. Never seen it before.
God and country.
 This cafe is one of those places where the aenemic air-conditioning only makes you realize how hot it it is. The bottom floor of the theater stays pretty cool, though, and I can escape back there soon.
Butter pillow at Jean's in Paradox Lake.
I don't know about other small resort towns up here in the Adirondacks, but the food I've come across ranges from damn good to amazing.

We West Coasters don't have this whole resort thing get-away. I've really only seen it in films or read about it in books. It is somewhat fascinating ... can something be somewhat fascinating? Well, I am not 100% here in the mind.
Der parade. What's with the lobster in the pot?

Jane Anne, aka, she who hates cars.
This is neither yoga nor writing. Hard to think with all the distractions here of Christian romance and heavy metal musicians of the 'dacks trying to get their careers on track. My wakefulness is probably coming to an end for awhile.

Light coming through the lobby windows.
The Timberwolf. Site of much revelry.
Marching Blues Brothers.



Liz and Larry and Jean's back to the left.