Monday, October 31, 2016

Your ABCs

As we round the corner on Halloween, what better time to see/hear one of Gorey's best? Not saying there's a bad time, but this time is hard to top.

I give credit to the reader here for finding the right tone, despite her pronunciation errors.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Another tomorrow

If Brian Eno was going to sing a Beatles song, perhaps it's inevitable this would be the one. Either that or "Octopus's Garden." Maybe that one will surface eventually.

Friday, October 28, 2016

From above

They're partying upstairs tonight. There's dance music playing, loud enough for me to hear it where I'm typing now. No one's tackled anyone yet, although I swear to God I've heard something like wrestling matches up there in the past. Still, it's not quiet.

Potentially all of this could be annoying, I suppose. I'd complain, but the fact is I'm tired enough that I don't think they'll be keeping me up. The fact that the nights have gotten so much colder helps as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Now, or at least pretty soon, I lay me down to sleep. Tomorrow I'll try, in whatever modest way, to be better and do better. To do right, at any rate.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Who, me?

Great Grey Owl from iNature on Vimeo.

My hat is off to whoever shot the gorgeous owl footage in this clip. And I love the detail that they don't build nests, but use the nests of other birds of prey.

"Listen, falcon, I hope I'm not putting you out but I need someplace to crash while I'm on this hunt."
"Sigh. Okay. Just make sure to restock the fridge this time."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Where is everyone?

Am I spending too much time alone? In effect, I think I am. My effective social circle has shrunk, for various reasons.

There are a few difficulties in making new friends, or just talking to people. New England has a kind of reserve to begin with, that doesn't encourage talking to strangers. Smartphones and other devices have added fuel to the fire, or whatever the opposite of fire is. On the street or in any public place, the majority of people by themselves just aren't there, and you aren't there for them. A charming extrovert might be able to get through, but that's not exactly me.

Since this is partly a technological problem, I'm applying some sort of technological solutions. Today I emailed an old friend who's been out of state for a few years, and with whom I'd fallen out of touch. Now we're back in touch, which is nice. And in terms of seeing people face to face, I'm in the process of joining more Meetup groups. I'd already been in a writing group. Knock on wood being in touch with more people will help with that too.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


A friend of mine gave me a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep recently. I'd been meaning to read it and I finally am. (Shouldn't take too long.) The previous owner marked it up a lot which I'm mostly ignoring.

One thing I can say: the idea of Rick Deckard being a tough PI type is totally a creation of Blade Runner. In the book he's a futuristic sad sack. Still in his miserable marriage too. Also there's whole new religion - Mercerism - that got left out of the movie. Probably a wise decision, as it's not something audiences would likely catch up with.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Out of your skull

With Halloween fast approaching, there's no better time to examine those knotty little etiquette problems. Like, what to do when a skeleton serves you dinner but you don't eat bones. How do you avoid being a bad guest?

Flip the Frog was, of course, created by Ub Iwerks, who was also at least half responsible for Mickey Mouse, It's interesting to see the similarities and differences with his Disney work.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Easy for you to say

Hello out there. Meant to post something here last night, only vaguely remember what. Anyway, when I was in the middle of writing an email my wireless adapter started acting up, then conked out completely. Which I didn't know at first so it was more than a little frustrating to talk to my ISP's tech department and have them tell me nothing was wrong with the connection. Anyway, I'm currently looking for a fix - not the William Burroughs/Iggy Pop/et al kind - and using an ethernet cable I shouldn't need but which is probably a good idea to have anyway.

Hope you're doing okay.

Edit: Okay, I posted something in an HP tech forum today. Just before I went out earlier tonight, an update showed when I turned the computer off. Now Wi-Fi is working again. So that's good. Still keeping the ethernet cable handy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Been too busy at work lately to check out the news much during the day, so the big news about Dylan came as a surprise. I don't really care about the Nobel Prize in Literature much more than, say, the Grammys, but it is an interesting twist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Over the dome

I've recently started cutting my own hair. Is "cutting" the right word? I have a set of clippers and give my self a DIY buzz cut on the weekend. I have a friend who goes further and basically shears off everything although he doesn't use a razor. Me, I'm fine with just looking a bit more butch. In both our cases the natural receding of our hairlines had something to do with the decision.

It might make me a little more decisive as well.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Huffn' & puffin'

No, not that kind.

I'm trying to get back into deep abdominal breathing. That's of course when you take a deep breath and hold it with the muscle in your gut, then slowly let it out. And then do it all over again. It's something I first learned in an acting class I took in college, which didn't wind up turning me into an actor. It's a rather energizing way to breathe, and when you start on it you might actually feel a bit of a high. I fell out of the habit before. Now I'm trying to do it so regularly that it becomes unconscious.

This time of year sniffles and other respiratory mischief become more common, so it's harder to do any kind of breathing without thinking about it. But I'm not giving up.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Queen Watch: "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger"

And so with "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger" we find ourselves at the end of the road. The series Ellery Queen ends its perhaps quixotic run, having always seemed a show out of its time, or perhaps its timeline. Almost certainly the producers knew this as well. When you get to the 22nd episode not counting the pilot movie, the writing must be on the wall.

There's a case to be made that "The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep" should have been the season finale, and thus in this case the series finale. After all, the stakes are raised for that episode, with suspicion falling everywhere and Inspector Queen's career on the line. And yet there's a beauty to "The Disappearing Dagger" closing the curtain as well. It tries a few new things, and allows Ellery to solve the death of a man who was a formative influence on his father, and through him Ellery himself.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Autumn blue

"Autumn Leaves", originally by Frenchmen Joseph Kosma and Jacques Jacques Prévert, probably best known with its English language lyrics by Johnny Mercer, is a masterpiece of dignified melancholy. That goes for this wordless jazz version as well. Miles Davis is the special guest star, but Hank Jones's piano solo strikes me as the most expressive part.

Incidentally, it's October and the nights (and mornings) are getting cooler, but most of the leaves are still green. Go figure.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Coming to your centses

Using actual pennies from his pocket, a friend of mine challenged me to do this trick a couple of nights ago. He had learned it from a book about the capacity to learn, aptly enough. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it stumped me. The next night he showed it to another friend of mine, who was also stumped. By this time I was able to figure it out in my head. As Holmes said to Watson, every problem is absurdly simple once it has been explained to you. (Provided the explanation sinks in, of course.)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Queen Watch: "The Adventure of the Hardhearted Huckster"

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Ellery Queen is a TV show, even if it doesn't always look like one. And yet TV hasn't been much of a factor in the context of the stories. Characters listen to the radio, go out to the movies, go out in general. They don't sit on the sofa and stare at the tube. There's a certain amount of realism to this, as the stories take place mostly in 1947, several years before the Lucy-driven explosion in TV set ownership.

Once previously television played a major part in the story. That was in the pilot movie, where what was broadcasting at a particular time turned out to be the key to a dying clue. In the pilot TV was treated as a gimmick, a fad that would pass in a few months without leaving a mark. There are words to that effect in this episode as well, notably from the victim. But by this time the dismissal has lost any force it may have had. TV may not have hit its stride yet in terms of viewership, and there are clearly some technical refinements that will have to be made. Yet the infrastructure is unmistakably there. It's not going away.