Friday, July 27, 2007

Three Years

"Yes, everything under the sun comes to an end," he said quietly, screwing up his dark eyes. "You'll fall in love and you'll suffer, fall out of love and you'll be deceived, because there isn't a woman that won't deceive you, you'll suffer, fall into despair and you yourself will deceive. But the time will come, when all this will be just a memory, and you'll reason coldly, and consider it trivial…"

-Anton Chekhov Three Years

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

idle matter

I'm bored, I've been bored for the last month, I do not know why. I am engaged in daily activities which make me feel satisfied, but I feel that I am somehow infected with a taedium vitae. I think I might need take a class, or to change jobs, or move to another country. Today, I thought of some "titles", in attempts to humor myself:

1. Exercises in Tragedy
2. How to Complete the Unspeakable
3. Experiencing Unnecessary Boredom

Then I searched "idle chatter" on google and found this strange thing:

"Why does Tim Hawkinson like to play with himself so much? Why does he goof around with his own body, measuring it and categorizing it? Why does he make such beautiful little things with the detritus that falls from it? Why does he make such charming and amusing things at all?"

and from the New Yorker:

"Weird week. Weird, weird week, passing from alert orange to heavenly white and back to the usual muddle of slush. People keep trying to "gauge public opinion" at this moment of crisis. Fortunately, though, in the past year in New York we've had on hand a machine that can tell you what the world is thinking—that actually listens to the world, reads its mind, and tells you exactly what's up in there. The machine, a Jimmy Neutron assemblage of display monitors and loudspeakers and copper wire, is the brainchild of a Bell Labs statistician named Mark Hansen and a sound designer and artist named Ben Rubin, and for most of the past year you could find it in a loft on the Bowery, where you could drop in on it if you knew it was there. For the past couple of months, though, it has been on loan to the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in a rough week it was a pleasure to sit in the dark and listen."

And just for fun, I searched "colorfields" in the New Yorker and found this:

"At a boozy dinner party that I attended in a New York walkup nearly thirty years ago, a woman announced that she was getting married. Joan Mitchell, who was there, exploded. How could anyone even think of doing something so bourgeois? The buzzer sounded. It was Mitchell's longtime lover, the French-Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. He wanted to speak to her, but he wouldn't come upstairs. From the landing, she told him in scorching terms to leave her alone. Back at the table, she resumed denouncing the insidiousness of marriage as a trap for free souls. The buzzer again. Another cascade of profanity down the stairwell. I was awed. Here was craziness of a scary and rare order. Those who knew Joan Mitchell pass these kinds of stories around like sacred-monster trading cards. But Mitchell's personality was one thing, and her art is entirely another."

Another dull day saved by New Yorker randomness..........

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Picture July

Big City Orchestra
View from Angel Island towards Tiburon, July 4th, 2007
Tree bark, Angel Island, July 4th, 2007
Chocolate Salon, San Francisco

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I found it interesting to see how much Europe has changed in the years. See this map from 1470? See how huge Lithuania is and how present day Spain is actually four "kingdoms": Castille, Granda, Navarre and Aragon, yet there is no mention of the Basque country.

map from Wiki

Now here's a map of Europe right before WWI. No Lithuania in sight and Spain has been unified, and Austria-Hungary dominates Europe, but we know how that changes. Time to hit the history books to see how this all comes about.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Strange Bedfellows

F. Scott Fitzgerald influenced Hunter S. Thompson?-Believe it! (from The New Yorker 3/7/2005)

He {Thompson} also seems, by virtue of the “outlaw” accoutrements, to belong to the tradition in American writing that includes William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Henry Miller. But his true model and hero was F. Scott Fitzgerald. He used to type out pages from “The Great Gatsby,” just to get the feeling, he said, of what it was like to write that way, and Fitzgerald’s novel was continually on his mind while he was working on “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” which was published, after a prolonged and agonizing compositional nightmare, in 1972.

Speaking of Thompson- a little known LSD Maverick

How I spend my week:

I spent this week (except for work and roommates) alone. I find that I enjoy this solitude tremendously.I think I am going to replace my friends with habits. At least with habits I feel more productive; habits include: running, reading, learning, (many things but mostly history, literature, and possibly a few foreign languages), writing, and practicing piano. I also find that I enjoy watching films at PFA, so last night I viewed a double feature. This, I have never done before, I never thought I had the endurance to watch two films in a row, but I surprised myself. It was part of the Barbara Stanwyck program, I saw two films directed by Douglas Sirk, starring, of course, Stanwyck. It turns out that Monday, July 16 is Stanwyck's 100th birthday. "All in all, as Sugarpuss says, 'Pretty good getting, for a gal that came up the hard way.'” The New Yorker wrote a good article a few months ago on Stanwyck which the two films I saw were mentioned:

"Even Douglas Sirk, the master colorist, stuck to black-and-white when he hired Stanwyck for two of her final melodramas, “All I Desire” and “There’s Always Tomorrow” (1956). Sirk found in her “an amazing tragic stillness,” while praising her discretion: “She gets every point, every nuance without hitting on anything too heavily.” The closeup of her tears, in the first of those films, as her character walks up the path to her family home, to the sound of violins, should be the merest hokum, yet it stirs us like the last dying echo from the age of Garbo. And remember: Stanwyck herself never had a family home."

Now looking forward to a weekend of habits.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lost Coast

These are pictures taken of the Black Sand beach on the Lost Coast in northern California. They were taken in June 2003 on my only visit there. I've read about it for a few years before I actually was able to visit the area, sadly I was there only for a few hours when we were coming down from Arcata back to the Bay Area. The Lost Coast is 80 miles of shoreline starting just north of Rockport where Highway 1 turns inland to connect with Highway 101. There is only one road that leads back into the coast; it is the road into Shelter Cove.

There are days which I would love to disappear into a vast and dispassionate landscape. I would get swept up in the view of the sea. I would forget names and spend my days wandering. The only sounds I would hear would be the ocean and its inhabitants. Someday I would like to go back.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

word of the day

Dear Reader, (maybe I should start all my posts this way)

The word of the day on July 4, 2007 was phantasmagoria, curious, is it not? And here is the example sentence:

"The new writings more and more take the form of apocalypses -- that is, of supernatural visions which reveal past, present and future under the guise of a phantasmagoria of symbolic persons and animals, divine and diabolical beings, celestial and infernal phenomena."-- Edmund Wilson, The Dead Sea Scrolls: 1947-1969

In other New Yorker news, last night I read this magnificent set of adjectives describing Klaus Kinski- "...gifted but satanically mercurial star..." in a April 2006 Profile on Werner Herzog. I'm sure I could be described as satanically mercurial during specific times in my life, but not gifted, sadly.

And more about Herzog:

“I am always being stopped at airports by drug-interdiction officials,” he said, with satisfaction. “There is something about my face that is sinister.” The aura is heightened by his sonorous voice, which, in his heavily accented English, suggests a Teutonic Vincent Price. Herzog likes to say that he is “clinically sane and completely professional,” but he is keenly aware that his reputation is otherwise—“One of the most persistent rumors plaguing me is that I’m a crazy director doing crazy things”—and he is fascinated by the myriad ways that people form this impression.

Fun things to do when you are bored: type in a random word or phrase into the New Yorker search box and see what pops up. For example, if you type in "murder", you may get this article.

"The murderer can’t find a parking space. A hard morning spent murdering people, and now this. He has errands to run, the murderer. What a week he’s had, and it’s only Thursday. Just look at his schedule:

Monday murder somebody
Tuesday murder somebody
Wednesday sit around
Thursday murder somebody; do errands"

This may be one of a few things that make the United States an interesting country, from a June 25, 2007 article in the New Yorker.

"Orchestras at the level of the Nashville used to be described as “regional” or “second tier,” but increasingly they display the virtuoso panache of front-rank ensembles. The conservatories are producing wave after wave of almost excessively skilled players, and, like Ph.D.s in the humanities, hundreds of them fan out across the continent each year in search of jobs. They may stay with a regional orchestra for only a season or two before moving on to a higher salary, but they raise the level of playing as they go. A well-travelled soloist recently told me that players are often better than the conductors who lead them."

Monday, July 02, 2007

La Bâtarde

"You can guess, reader, you have already guessed, it is the end of a love affair, it is the end of tyranny. Love. Love has no end. If it had, it would not be love. We go on loving those we have loved in other forms, or else we begin to cherish in other forms those we should have loved in the past. Nothing changes, everything is transformed."

-Violette Leduc

Maybe, at the end of the day, all I need is a good dosage of this: New Drug Deletes Bad Memories