Saturday, January 31, 2015

Treacherous Saturday Random Ten

It's quite the banner week for ice on the sidewalks. Many opportunities to slip and fall, if you're walking somewhere. So far I've managed to do just the former, not the latter, although some loud grunting has been involved.

1. Sun Ra - Where Is Tomorrow
2. The Who - Silas Stingy
3. Diana Krall - I Can't Give You Anything But Love
4. Rasputina - Sweetwater Kill
5. Fitz & the Tantrums - Last Raindrop
6. Dave Van Ronk - Long John
7. Mose Allison - Going to the City
8. Beck - Turn Away
9 Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl
10. Fleetwood Mac - Never Make Me Cry

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wood you?

Wooden Man from Justin Bolarinho on Vimeo.

Mysterious? Strangely evocative? Evocatively strange?

I do like the sense of homecoming here. The director made a nice choice of music as well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It all comes out in the wash

Tuesday is usually laundry day for me. Every other Tuesday, that is. This week, for reasons you might be able to guess, that wasn't to be.

Instead I went tonight after work. I got there somewhere in the six pm zone. Now, part of me was wondering if I'd even be able to grab a machine. After all, they and the entire world as far as we could tell here had been closed Tuesday, and Monday they must have closed early, and probably people were otherwise engaged even before they closed. So I figured after a couple of days out of commission they might be packed. Or the place could be empty.

It was the second one. The attendant told me they'd been dead all day. So I just went about my biz and did my crossword. Oddly enough two college-age females were starting around the time I was finishing, near last wash. Well, "oddly" by some definitions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Witness the whiteness

Winter Storm Juno, as they're calling the blizzard, touched down last night and has had its way today. We now have snowbanks the height of an adult male, although this is partly because the plows had to move it from one place to another.

Like everybody else, I've been Junoed in, unable to go anywhere. So I've read, listened to some tunes. Never lost Internet connectivity, so I did some surfing. You know those clickbait headlines that show up on all articles now? I saw one that read "Huge celebrity implants you've got to see!" And I'm like, "If I haven't already seen them, she's not really a celebrity."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If anything

You know that thing Yogi Berra said? "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." If you want to see that principle at work, go to any Stop & Shop - really any supermarket - in Rhode Island anytime in the ten days before a Super Bowl the Patriots are playing in. The prospect of deflated balls doesn't seem to make a difference. I made an emergency cucumber run there tonight and wound up getting celery instead, but man, the lines!

But anyway, this is a video I semi-randomly clicked on tonight. The piece was composed by Conlon Noncarrow, which means that the pianist is most likely playing a melody that was originally intended for player piano. Hats off to her.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Random Ten from the slush pile

Let's just say that the snowstorm got better as it went along. That's because in the evening it went back to being snow. In the morning it snowed but then late morning/early afternoon we got rain. Which mixed with the snow to become the kind of mess that's expert at getting inside your boots.

On the bright side, once you get home or someplace and can warm/dry your feet, you most definitely appreciate it.

1. Earl King - Trick Bag
2. Dave Van Ronk - Fixin' to Die
3. Beck - Turn Away
4. St. Vincent - Huey Newton
5. New Pornographers - Marching Orders
6. Elton John - Madman Across the Water
7. Sun Ra - Of Sounds and Something Else
8. Diana Krall - Pick Yourself Up
9. The Band - Lonesome Suzie
10. Fitz and the Tantrums - Spark

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sealed, delivered

The opening warning on this video and the music are gilding the lily, and could easily have ruined the whole thing. What pulls me back in is looking at the background. It's so wonderfully weird to know that this is going on almost within swimming distance of a pretty large maritime town. Hell, maybe you can make it if you're a marathon swimmer.

SR10 returns tomorrow. I just had to find out how to fully reboot iTunes after the change in computers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Awake and kicking

Someone's outside, on the street, talking. I'd say it's two or three guys. Despite the lateness of the hour. They're not going to keep me up. They'd really have to go all out with the noise to do that. But it's a reminder. The whole world is never sleeping. It's an illusion, this idea that everything just dies down for a few hours.

Monday, January 19, 2015


"It was hard to get a painting that was despicable enough so that no one would hang it - everybody was hanging everything. It was almost acceptable to hang a dripping paint rag, everybody was accustomed to this. The one thing everybody hated was commercial art; apparently they didn't hate that enough either." ~ Roy Lichtenstein

You have to, at the very least, enlarge this image to get the full effect. But the idea is pretty fascinating. Comic book panels are storytelling building blocks. The original which Lichtenstein used for a model, in much the same way you might base a new painting or print on a classic Rembrandt, would have been in the middle of something. The middle of a fight scene, most likely, although the next panel might have shifted the scene to another location. But here the text, the fist, and the off-balance half a head exist in a little world of their own. You take it or you leave it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tax collection in the Ottoman Empire

I'm reading Haruki Murakami's The Strange Library now. Twas a gift. And the present tense is correct. I could have read it cover to cover tonight but the library isn't open until Tuesday and I won't be able to pick up my requests until I get off from work. Besides, I don't mind enjoying this one over a couple of days. Murakami is very good at writing people who aren't drones but who basically do what they're told. Which is arguably most of us in real life.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Okay, so tonight I heard a barista telling another barista about a dream she had. If you don't like hearing about other people's dreams, especially second-hand, my apologies.

She and her boyfriend (she didn't use the word, only the guy's name, but it's an educated guess) were eight years old again. And they got married, but only, as she says, for tax purposes. Her father was angry that he wasn't invited to the wedding, until she assured him it was just because of taxes and they were going to get divorced.

Then the boyfriend/husband turned into a buffalo chicken pizza and died. She describes sobbing in the dream.

That last part might have been a case of one hemisphere censoring to soften the effect of the other, if the body was so damaged that it started looking pizzalike. But at least she was laughing as she told the story, so it wasn't a lasting trauma.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter thoughts

Brrr. I'm a fan of winter, but it has been bitter cold today and tonight. Probably the kind of weather that's better appreciated in retrospect, or behind the thick walls of a heated room. If not both.

Also, I'm sort of glad that of all the times I could have a terminal computer crisis, the time it happened was the week of the Charlie Hebdo thing. There's too much posturing whenever something like that happens, and who needs the temptation to add to it? What is there to say? It's awful what was done. The world is, as always, filled with people doing bad things, good things, nothing, or some combination of the above.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wait for it....

I might think things about stuff. I might write some of those things down, put them on this blog. In the near future. Why not now? Oh, the vague hope that my thoughts might sound better when fully formed than they do now when I'm slumping off to sleep. Pure optimism, really.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The return of...

Okay, yeah, as you might have guessed, I'm on a different computer now. The short version is that while the problem with the old one might have been simple - seemed simple, anyway - fixing it turned out to be complicated, and the time and money would only maintain it until the next thing went wrong. So this is all right, except I kind of miss Windows Vista.

In the interim I've done a fair amount of reading. There's this coffee table book on modern art that I'm still in the middle of. Interestingly an older gentleman I met on the street last week told me he was an artist and showed me photos of some of his paintings. He was pleased when I was able to guess that he was influenced by the Fauvists. Knew about them before I read the book, but still.

I also read The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. It's a murder mystery/police procedural set in New Hampshire a few months before an asteroid is due to plough into the Earth, devastating humanity. The fact that there's no apparent hope of survival in the long term might be a barrier to getting into it. That also turns out to be the book's greatest asset, the fact that it's in effect a prolonged Serenity Prayer.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Saturday/Sunday Random Ten. Don't ask. Too late, I'm already telling you

Last night when I got home the cursor on my laptop went all kerplooey so I couldn't move it, and when I did manage to move it it went in random directions. Which I hoped it would be over this by the time I finished watching that first Sherlock episode on a DVD I borrowed from the library, but it wasn't. Also, doing a system restore didn't seem to accomplish anything. So this morning I took it to Staples to see what they made of it. The cursor worked perfectly, although some things showed up on a malware scan. So it's working again, knock on wood, until it doesn't.

These are songs I heard yesterday.

1. Tom Waits - Somewhere
2. Lou Rawls - Groovy People
3. Tito Puente - China
4. Dave Van Ronk - A Shantyman's Life
5. Diana Krall - The Best Thing for You
6. Camper Van Beethoven - Northern California Girls
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Night Rally
8. Fleetwood Mac - Storms
9. St. Vincent - Birth in Reverse
10. Gogol Bordello - Not a Crime

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Have you seen? Have you heard?

A lot of short people I've talked to think that tall people have it made. Not necessarily so. I won't deny there are advantages, and I (moderately tall, not NBA star level) wouldn't necessarily trade. Still, there are drawbacks. If you look at a commonly accepted list of ways of conveying confidence they tend to be things that people of smaller stature do almost as a reflex, but that some of us have to remind ourselves to do.

I thought about this today while watching Foxcatcher. Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, is quite a bit bigger and buffer than I am. (At least in the movie he's also denser and more naive.) The man is dominated by two smaller guys. The good one is his brother Dave, a wrestler like him. (From what I remember about the high school team, wrestling does draw a lot of smaller statured guys.) The bad one is John E DuPont, whose status as a manipulative sociopath is obvious to the audience at least.

This is a good, bleak film. There's an act of violence I knew was coming near the end, because I'd heard of it being in the movie and because it happened in real life. It still hurt

Less depressing is this Miranda July story I read tonight, and that - who knew? - is posted in English on a page from Russia's answer to Facebook. The idea of a woman teaching older's to swim in her apartment, obviously with no pool available, is funny and beautiful. Although it is sad she knew her boyfriend wouldn't be interested in the story. Why the hell wouldn't he be?