Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Journey Continues

This morning I went searching for obscure instruments on Youtube. I started with the sackbut, but that didn't take me anywhere I wanted to go. Then I looked for nickelharpa songs, and found a few interesting pieces (nothing worth sharing). Next up, the jew's harp, which brought me here:


That in turn (and in tandem with some googling) took me to the song's predecessor, "Old Zip Coon":


Then, as fate would have it, I started reading about Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Once upon a time I came across this collection in the library of a public radio station where I worked as a music host. I played a couple songs on the air, but the moment (for me) wasn't right. Now I feel like I've hit the jackpot. I'm downloading the anthology even as I type. Here's a sample:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Geraldine Fibbers, "California Tuffy"

In this week's spare moments, I've trolled the interwebs for alt-country/goth-country/gothic Americana music. Here's something awesome I reeled in today:


Because sometimes you have to stop acting cute, toss the cat around, and break shit all to pieces.

That's crazy Carla Bozulich playing bass and singing for the Geraldine Fibbers, by the way. I vaguely remember her previous band, Ethyl Meatplow, and their song "Silly Dawg" from the early nineties:


She's gone far since those heady years--all the way to Ravenna, Italy, in fact (among many other places, no doubt). Here she improvises with her latest band, Evangelista:


Reminds me of the demented goofing off Neal and I did when we grew bored in the studio during Gothic Luau recording sessions. I'll have to dig up those tapes some time before the next move. No promises, though.

Anyway, Bozulich carries on as a performance artist, installation artist, and writer, as well. Here's the opening from her terrifying, death-defying story "The Sparkely Jewel":

On the eve of the birth
of my guttersnipe love
I emptied my hands up
inside her
The bloody egg-whites
and the broken tea cup
seemed to mention that her death
was upon her
So I kissed her torn lips
and eyes 'til they closed
and I pulled
like the devil himself


Read the rest here.

Hometownless?

Perhaps the time has come to stop thinking of Colorado Springs as my hometown:

"The model of governments, from the federal government down to municipal governments, don't work anymore," according to Chuck Fowler, chairman of City Committee, an alliance of local businesspeople set up by Paige.

"They don't take in as much money. They can't possibly provide the same amount of services, pay their employees, pay their pensions. Something's got to give."

Fowler believes that the solution may be in weaning people off of government services.

"The larger the government is, the more conditioning with certain people that they don't need to take personal responsibility of their life," he said.

The budget cuts, according to Fowler, "could really recondition people's ideas about what government should be doing."

"Should it be doing all of these things, or should it really be focused on the vital things that clearly have a public interest?"

I don't miss Colorado Springs' special, moron-driven brand of local politics.

On the other hand, I miss Boriello Brothers. I'll be back.

UPDATE: Holy crap! The brothers Boriello have eight locations! When I left, I knew of only one. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home....

Color Quiz

I suspect this has gone viral and I'm one of millions doing it, but here's what my color preferences supposedly say about me:

Your Existing Situation
"Needs a peaceful and quiet environment. Desires an affectionate and faithful partner who will spoil him and treat him with importance. If he feels mistreated or a lack of attention, he may withdraw."

Spot on.

Your Stress Sources
"Always trying to make a good impression on others, but doubtful he is succeeding. Feels he has the right to everything he hopes and dreams of and becomes annoyed and helpless when things don't go his way. Is troubled by the very thought of failure which leaves him feeling miserable. Always sees himself as the victim as if everyone treats him poorly and he never is given his fair share. Feels his failures are no fault of his own, but due to the shortcomings of others."

Well, maybe kinda sorta, but that last bit doesn't ring true. At least I'd like to think it's not true. As tough as I am on myself, it's hard to imagine that I actually blame someone else.

Your Restrained Characteristics
"Open and emotionally involved in relationships and easily finds satisfaction through sexual activity. Seeking to broaden his horizons and believes his hopes and dreams are realistic. Worries he may not be able to do the things he wants and needs to escape to a peaceful, quiet environment in order to restore his confidence."

Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Your Desired Objective
"Always trying to make a good impression on others, and is constantly watching to see if he is succeeding in this. Is interested in how others react to him; this makes him feel in control. Strategically plans out ways to gain further influence over others and special recognition. Is easily distracted by the pleasingly beautiful and original."

Hence the Facebook addiction. Of course, I'm in rehab now.

Your Actual Problem
"Feeling a lack of energy, he does not wish to be involved in further activity or give in to demands. He is feeling powerless causing him stress, agitation, and irritation, all which he tries to escape by refusing to participate altogether. He tries to escape into a fantasy world where things go his way and his desires are easier to reach."

Totally false! I don't try to escape into a fantasy world. I succeed.

Your Actual Problem #2
"Is disappointed and let down, feels there is no point in making new goals as they will leave him feeling the same way. Looking for friendly, pleasant relationships with others, who will further develop his intellect. He tries to escape into a fantasy world where things go his way and his desires are easier to reach."

This one's way off base--or, rather, the first part is. I'm constantly setting new goals for myself. On the other hand, it's true that I'm "looking for friendly, pleasant relationships with others, who will further develop" my intellect. In fact, I'd love nothing more.

ColorQuiz.com

Arc and Desire

I enjoyed Jordan Rosenfeld's interview of Susan Henderson, and found this tip particularly valuable:

I definitely edit in waves. One thing I do, once I have a complete draft, is track a single character from beginning to end. I make sure that character is vivid, that he has a clear story arc, a definable desire that’s always with him, no matter who or what he faces. I do this for every single character, no matter how small his role in the story. And I also do this for the setting, which I consider one more living creature in my story.

I tend to focus on the central character of a story. I read and revise with that character's arc and desires in mind. In my single-mindedness, I probably neglect secondary characters (sometimes even to the degree that I treat them as props, or worse--as obstacles shaping the central character's journey). I hope this isn't always the case, but Susan Henderson's suggestion to read through a story with an eye for the vividness and plausibility of secondary characters strikes me as a good idea.

Come to think of it, I may have done just that in my most recent published story, "From the Canyon to the Driveway." Granted, the woman in the opening paragraph doesn't take much of a journey--but the father does. That is, until he doesn't.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shane MacGowan Sings a Ballad in a Pub

I could write ten thousand words about this video. I could, but I won't.



And while I'm at it, I'll say nothing of this one, either:



Don't worry, this makes everything all right:

Status Report: Day Five

I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
- Virginia Woolf

Last Friday I yanked the cord from my brain and disconnected from Facebook. After eighteen months of great conversations with old and new friends, I reached a point where Facebook clearly interfered with my fiction writing. I need solitude to write, but with the book of face right there on my computer I was never alone. A pleasant diversion grew into a focus of my attention. So, despite the rewards of near-constant contact (or, worse, potential contact) with fascinating people and important organizations, I had to divert my creative energy from status updates, video links, and clever banter. I need that energy for my fiction.

So far, so good. I have a new flash fiction. A longer story is taking shape. When I finish grading student essays this week, I will resume final edits on my story collection. Quitting was the right choice.

However, you can take the boy out of the Matrix, but it's not so easy to take the Matrix out of the boy. I battled temptation through the weekend. I still gaze longingly over my wife's shoulder at her Facebook news feed. I find a good political news item, a great piece of satire, or a good video clip, and I hover over the "Share" icon. So, in honor of all the good stuff I'm missing and in light of the messages I've received from a handful of Facebook friends, I offer the following "status update":

Eric Bosse checked into rehab. Send cards. Send flowers. But stop sending emails urging him to press his damn face back into the book. Stop telling him he can't do this. Just. Please. Stop.

It's not so bad, really. I haven't died. I'll return to Facebook when Magnificent Mistakes (mybook) is ready for print. And I may peek in from time to time, if only to grab someone's email address. For now, if you're my friend, let's find other ways to connect. Please. I'd love that.

UPDATE: Thank Satan this blog does not come with a "Like" button.

Hee

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Horrormaster Within

I've long wanted to study dream interpretation, in large part because I am blessed and cursed by several series of recurring dreams. In one series, I fly or drive into a mountain town on a lake in Colorado, though the town feels more like an elaborate European city--a cross between Venice and Prague and Nice, complete with slums and scary people lurking in the shadows. In another, I try to smuggle a baby out of India with a circus troupe of angry dwarves in hot pursuit. In yet another, I make my way north via trains and subways and shopping malls(!) to Canada, while evading an armed police force. The common thread, though, is that someone is coming for me. Someone works hard to stop me. And sometimes that someone wants me dead.

Not all are series dreams, though. Most of my dreams seem to stand alone. Some are even quite joyful. However, once in a while I suspect my subconscious harbors an aspiring horror filmmaker whose creative outlet is to flood my dreams with troubled mash-ups of whatever movies have recently caught his attention. For example, shortly after seeing Jacob's Ladder back in the early nineties, my subconscious outdid this creepy scene--and not just by a little, but by a mile.

This weekend I watched the sweet HBO biopic on the life of Temple Grandin. Riveting performance by Clare Danes. Powerful story. Totally manipulative storytelling, but the manipulation worked: I shed a tear. Maybe two. Not content to merely enjoy the movie, though, when I went to sleep that night the horrormeister within thrust me into autism (making me unable to process images at full speed, but in snapshot pictures a la Grandin). The horrormeister stood me in some dark room, chained me to the wall, and subjected me to a bizarre sexual assault involving dirty men shoving fruits and vegetables into my navel, thankyouverymuch.

Thought I'd share.

All My Colours

Someone in the Echo & the Bunnymen camp recently put these old 16mm film clips (featuring late drummer Pete de Freitas and the rest of the band bopping around Florence in the early eighties) together with a live recording of the song "Zimbo (All My Colours)." The result is dark and evocative:



Lest I come off as entirely nostalgic and dated, here's Nouvelle Vague and Echo & the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch perwhoring the same song just last summer:



Did I just type perwhoring? I did. Not sure I meant it, though.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Something TERRIBLE is Afoot!

I generally enjoy NYT film critic A.O. Scott's film reviews from start to finish, whether or not I'm interested in the movie he's reviewing, and today's critique puts that claim to the test.

From the first ten seconds of the TV spot for the new Scorsese film--from before I knew it was, in fact, a Scorsese film--I felt repulsed. But why? This movie seems tailor made for me. I admire DiCaprio. I appreciate well made imagery. The juxtaposition of gloom-and-doom with saturated color lures me in like honey draws flies. Yet, when DiCaprio says, in a comically ominous voiceover tinged by a cheeseball Boston accent, "These are all violent offenders--they've hurt people, murdered them in some cases," well, I'm done. You see, if you have to define the keyterm "violent offenders," then you clearly don't think highly of your audience. You are appealing to the village idiots of the world. Which is fine, I suppose, but not for me.


In any case, Scott takes all of ten seconds to dispense with the pretense that "Shutter Island" is yet another serious piece of work from Scorsese:

“Shutter Island” takes place off the coast of Massachusetts in 1954. I’m sorry, that should be OFF THE COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS! IN 1954! since every detail and incident in the movie, however minor, is subjected to frantic, almost demented (and not always unenjoyable) amplification. The wail of strangled cellos accompanies shots of the titular island, a sinister, rain-lashed outcropping that is home to a mental hospital for the CRIMINALLY INSANE! The color scheme is lurid, and the camera movements telegraph anxiety. Nothing is as it seems. Something TERRIBLE is afoot.

Sadly, that something turns out to be the movie itself....

As the kids were fond of saying not too long ago, SNAP!

Later, among so many others, Scott gets in this zinger:

All of these riddles send out tendrils of implication that end up strangling the movie, the plot of which does not so much thicken as clog and coagulate.

Scott has developed into a master of using verbal play to burst the bubbles of pretension blown by the objects of his disdain.

And that's the reason I link to a review that will surely reach its fair share of readers: Rather than letting his wit drive his writing (as I am prone to do), Scott uses wit in service of a broad vision of the possibility, potential, and reality of cinema. His outlook reveals a smart critic, a compassionate man, and a film lover with a zeal for placing new works within the context of cinema history. His razor wit is, itself, just another red herring.

-----

Read the rest of the review here: "All at Sea, Surrounded by Red Herrings."

-----

On a related note, yes, Scorsese has made a handful of good films, but is there a single more overrated figure in American cinema? I can't think of anyone even close.

Which makes me wonder: who's the best we've got? Wes Anderson comes to mind, and Clint Eastwood, and, well, hmm....

Suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Santorum


Second only to Sarah Palin among my favorite potential GOP presidential candidates to challenge Barack Obama (and the suspension of disbelief) in 2012, Rick Santorum may well give Sarah Barracuda a run for her money. That would be a dream come true.

This image, by the way, is one of the top pictures in a Google image search for Santorum. I include it here not because I find it particularly good, funny, or apt, but because it illustrates how hopelessly lost Santorum's cause would be. Satirists--Dan Savage chief among them--have long since eviscerated this man.

You've regular-googled "Santorum," right?

Mountain Goats

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Preisner

I don't usually go for the homemade, still-photo videos on Youtube, but Zbigniew Preisner has captured my imagination lately--and this one is pleasing enough to the eye:



Of course, the original (from The Double Life of Veronique) is unsurpassed in its eye pleasurability:



A friend I wish I knew better reminded me of this today:



Goodnight, pumpkinhead.

Plants on the Ground

OK, so, before I searched for it, I knew I'd find this video on youtube. Sure enough:

That is all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It is Memories that I'm Stealing

Here is Tom Waits doing one of my favorite songs, "Innocent When You Dream," while on tour in 1999:



My friend Shinichi and I saw Tom Waits when he came to Denver during this tour. As usual, Shin flew in from god-knows-where. He's a globetrotter, he is, and something of an international superstar on the performance art/experimental dance scene. Or perhaps I overstate the case. (The only kind of love, after all, is stone blind love. Right, Tom?) Anyway, during that visit, Shin and I watched all ten hour-long episodes of Krystov Kieslowski's Dekalog in two days, then, on the second night, we drove to Denver for Middle Eastern food and the concert.

Best show I've ever seen. In fact, culturally speaking, Shinichi's brief visit was one of the high points of my life.

-----

Ah. The phrase "brief visit" makes me wonder, is there any other kind?

Imagine me, at visit's end, with a look of disappointment much like the one that falls over this woman's face when the young man finally speaks:



-----

Before that Kieslowski/Waits visit, I had last seen Shinichi in Riomaggiore, Italy. I was on a honeymoon with my first wife. Shin rented an apartment for us in that picturesque (and not yet tourist-saturated) seaside village. After Shin left, the landlord insisted Shin had not paid for our final night. So we paid the scoundrel, knowing full well we were getting conned.

We had no proof and didn't want trouble, so we skulked down to the train station.

Next stop: Florence!

-----

Dogs enjoy Riomaggiore, too, by the way:



Don't get the wrong idea. Riomaggiore is more a cat village than a haven for dogs.

Cats. Tourists. Old ladies in black.

-----

When next I saw Shin (after the Kieslowski/Waits visit), he flew into Missoula to teach a week-long class at someone's nearby mountain hideaway. The night he arrived, I fetched him for dinner. I made pizza. He met our daughter. Then he was off.

When I say "our daughter," I do not mean a daughter I had with my first wife. I was now with my second wife--the wife I still have despite my many shortcomings.

When Shin breezed through town a week later on the other end of that retreat, he hugged me hard and announced that he had gotten engaged that morning to a woman he'd met during the retreat and with whom he'd been involved for less than a day.

Shin looked tired, but he radiated wild, wild love.

He married this woman, by the way, and now they have a daughter. Her name is Zoe, but there's an umlaut over the o. I don't know how to do that--put umlauts over o's, I mean.

I know how to make a daughter.

-----

Here's a theme from Zbigniew Preisner's soundtrack to the Dekalog:



The images (though beautiful and haunting in their own right) come not from the Dekalog but from some other source.

-----

So much time has passed. So much sand to sift through. All these beautiful memories I want to slip into and walk through again. Sometimes, when I'm weak or wistful, I wish to come unstuck in time.

But I cannot. And nothing hurts. Nope. Nothing.

Nothing at all.

-----

I would settle for Tom Waits' hat.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Way Your Shoulders Shake

...and what they're shaking for.


(Elvis Costello, "I Want You")

-----

I'm struggling to decipher what this blog is, what it does, what value it offers, and why anyone ought to want to read it.

This is an essential question of writing.

And of a life.

-----

I want you
Every night when I go off to bed and when I wake up.
I want you.
I'm going to say it again 'til I instill it
I know I'm going to feel this way until you kill it.
I want you.
I want you.
I want you.


-----

Tonight I watched a TV drama that ended with a grown man--a minor character, a gay lawyer and trustee leading a false life as a straight Mormon family man--hanging from the rafters. His suicide was not gory. Not gruesome. No fluids on the hardwood floor beneath him. No look of agony locked on his face. He simply hung there, beatiful and dead.

I flinched anyway.

-----

It has been a year and some days since my sister called to tell me my niece (by our other sister, raised by my parents) had hung herself. She was seventeen. She was in pain. In fact, she knew more kinds of pain than I can imagine. And, apparently, she wanted out.

Her leaving still ripples the surface.

Still moves the waters beneath.

-----



-----

Good night.

-----

I want you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whinese Etiquette

I heard my wife say she did not understand Whinese, so, naturally, I began to translate from Whinese to Politespeak and back again. This, however, is apparently a major faux pas in Whinese culture. Who knew?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bertolucci's 'Stealing Beauty'

I tried to fit this film into a course proposal last week, but it got bumped by Bertolucci's Besieged. Which is a shame, really, because Stealing Beauty has...many virtues...including this scene with Liv Tyler:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This is a Gem

Viennese Sock Monkey (Wiener Strumph Affe)



I do not know the filmmaker, but clearly Katie Cavera is a genius.

Hi-ho, Silver!

I went a-wandering through Youtube in search of inspiration tonight, as I work on a big curriculum proposal due Friday. What I found is equal parts inspiration and heavy respiration:



Could be me. Especially there at the end. Not kidding. Much.

This guy's my new hero.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Can Feel It

The other day I posted some Lisa Gerrard songs. In the interest of balance, here's her embittered and redeemed partner in crime from Dead Can Dance, Brendan Perry:



When I sang in a rock band back in the early nineties, I aspired to sing like him. Once or twice, maybe I did. Maybe.

Honestly, though, I feel deeply ambivalent about Brendan Perry. I love his work, and though his lyrics lean toward the intellectual his performance is always heartfelt. However, when he's not actually making music--but talking about it--I find him repulsive. How can something so deeply felt be conceived in such a sterile mind?

I'm sure his mind is fertile. I'm sure he's the artist I know and feel in the music. Yet when he speaks about his songs (with the exception of that great DCD concert/interview documentary, Toward the Within) I have to cover my ears.

Third World Ghetto Vampire

Kuzhali Manickavel is hilarious.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Such a Lucky Guy

Tonight, I drank tea with the dead.


(Robyn Hitchcock, live, acoustic, Bologna, 1994)

Not coffee, but tea. Herbal tea.

She sighed.

Fox News's Vonnegut Obituary

I just rediscovered this, and I'm pissed off all over again:



Essay germinating...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard Rarities

I searched for a video for the song "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book" and came up without one, but without empty hands, too. I found this:



And this:



Neither seems remotely "official." They're fan-made videos, as far as I can tell. The former is an unreleased DCD song from the late 1980s, and the latter song comes from Gerrard's under-distributed, quite beautiful album "The Silver Tree."

-----

It is not difficult to imagine that Lisa Gerrard has the most beautiful voice not only on the planet but in the whole of the universe.

-----

I also found this live version of "Space Weaver," from Milan, in 2007, and I can assure you there is nothing transcendentally beautiful here, nothing that promises the world can be a warm and safe and loving place, nothing whatsoever worth wasting your precisous time. The camera hardly zooms in at all. And the recording sounds a bit tinny and muffled.

So, never you mind. It's Super Bowl Sunday, our nation's greatest religious holiday. Kickoff is mere hours away.

OK, OK, hush now.



-----

And I found this long, long list of rarities, B-sides, soundtrack cuts, and lost songs from Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard. (Deep sigh.) Now I've got some scavenging to do.

-----

But I should work now. Shouldn't I? Yes, yes, yes, I should.

I should.

This Moment in Music, Soon to be Lost

I'm falling through a sad and lonely night here. Missing my niece. Mourning her suicide. And missing friendships with people I could see and hear and touch from time to time. I love my family, yet family is not enough. Anyway, I found myself swirling down into depression, but Heidi Berry buoyed me with a song I'd never heard: "The Moon and the Sun." I found it on Youtube, after listening to "Northshore Train" (a stark and beautiful song to which I had not listened for at least ten years). This song, though--"The Moon and the Sun"--was just earnest enough in its uplift to catch and hold me for a few minutes. Any other time, I'd dismiss it as sappy. Tonight it worked.



I may never listen to it again.

-----

My friend Andy said, last time we spoke, that sometimes music comes into your life, serves its purpose, and doesn't need or want to be revisited. Or something like that. We were talking about Antony's last album, in general, and the song "Another World" in particular.

I hope I never hear "Another World" again--especially not when I'm old and (even more) fragile.

Because it is the vessel that holds my grief, and hearing it again would break me.

-----

Here's "Northshore Train":

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Clan of Xymox, "Muscoviet Mosquito"

This song sends me back to a highway south to San Luis Obispo. To a broom-closet booth with a red light at KSJS. To a dreary apartment, with a mattress on the floor in the corner and stacks of CDs and cassettes along the walls, listening to drug deals going down beneath an open window between songs.



Or maybe it puts me on a Moscow subway in 1988.

Then again, it's just another moment lost.

"Everything was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt": Where does this come from?


Chances are you have flitted onto the log of this blog in a search of for the phrase "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt." Perhaps you remember this epitaph from Slaughterhouse-Five. Or you've heard it somewhere else--in a song, in an essay, spray-painted on an underpass. Or you're wondering what others have said about it. In any case, I have few, if any, answers for you.

So it goes.

-----

I wrote a book, by the way. Ravenna Press published it in the fall of 2011. It's called Magnificent Mistakes. Click through. Check it out.

-----

Regarding Vonnegut, here's the relevant passage (or one, anyway):
"I look at you sometimes," said Valencia, "and I get a funny feeling that you're just full of secrets."
"I'm not," said Billy. This was a lie, of course. He hadn't told anybody about all the time-traveling he'd done, about Tralfamadore and so on.
"You must have secrets about the war. Or, not secrets, I guess, but things you don't want to talk about."
"No."
"I'm proud you were a soldier. Do you know that?"
"Good."
"Was it awful?"
"Sometimes." A crazy thought now occurred to Billy. The truth of it startled him. It would make a good epitaph for Billy Pilgrim--and for me, too.
"Would you talk about the war now, if I wanted you to?" said Valencia. In a tiny cavity in her great body she was assembling the materials for a Green Beret.
"It would sound like a dream," said Billy. "Other people's dreams aren't very interesting, usually."
"I heard you tell Father one time about a German firing squad." She was referring to the execution of poor old Edgar Derby.
"Um."
"You had to bury him?"
"Yes."
"Did he see you with your shovels before he was shot?"
"Yes."
"Did he say anything?"
"No."
"Was he scared?"
"They had him doped up. He was sort of glassy-eyed."
"And they pinned a target to him?"
"A piece of paper," said Billy. He got out of bed, said, "Excuse me," went into the darkness of the bathroom to take a leak. He groped for the light, realized as he felt the rough walls that he had traveled back to 1944, to the prison hospital again.

(lovingly excerpted from Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

-----

This epitaph is intended ironically, don't you think?

-----

By the way, if you love Slaughterhouse-Five in particular or Kurt Vonnegut in general, you'll feel better about life in a post-Vonnegut world when you discover the books of Ron Currie, Jr. He may not be Vonnegut's heir apparent, but who is? Besides, Vonnegut was no king. Seriously, give Currie a shot.

-----

While you're here, take a few seconds. Poke around. See what you see. Maybe post a comment. Yes, "hi" would be nice. Thanks for stopping by. Now off you go.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Tom Waits Musical

Add France to my wanderlust wish list. I now long to visit Paris in early 2011, for this:

An exciting possible upcoming project is……….. Tom Waits once again teaming up with visionary director Robert Wilson for a fourth stage musical following The Black Rider, Alice in Wonderland, and Woyzeck. Contributing to this yet untitled project would also be play-write Martin McDonagh who is most known for writing and directing the 2008 Oscar nominated film “In Bruges.” The musical would be slated to premiere in Paris next year.

Of course, I'd be thrilled to go to Paris for Paris, too. I've seen a bit of southern France, but most of that time was devoted to making our way to Spain in the midst of a train strike.

Flashback: When we finally caught a train out of Nice, it stopped within a couple kilometers of the station. We heard shouts from outside, then explosions. An urgent announcement came over the P.A., but it was in French spoken far too quickly for us to grasp at any straws of meaning. None of the other passengers looked worried, though. After a while, the train started again, and we rolled past a bunch of strikers holding signs and lighting firecrackers. Then, on to Marsailles!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Veggie Love


'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

-----

And why was it rejected? NBC suggested some cuts.

So we'll see beer and Viagra ads instead.

Wanderlust

Oklahoma is caked in ice and snow. Icicles drip beyond my office window. Snow plows rumble past. The heater hisses.

-----

My passport expired eighteen months ago, three weeks after I returned from Krakow and Prague. I have no pressing reason to renew it, but neglecting to do so has gradually made me feel trapped. If something came up today, I could not leave tomorrow. In fact, I could not fly my wife to Rome for Valentine's Day this month, as I jokingly suggested to my Facebook friends last week. A Spring Break trip next month might be out of the question, though I recall that you can have your passport rushed to you for an extra fee. Not that this could happen. We're busy saving for retirement and starting a college fund, and we lack the disposable income for a trip any time soon.

But we're working on that, too. We've pledged to take the family on a long trip when we've saved enough to match the cost of the trip with savings we keep. In other words, if the travel costs, say, $7,500, then we can go when we've got $15,000 in the bank. When we come home, we'll still have as much as we've spent.

Saving that much will take time. However, I grow discouraged if that long-term goal isn't clearly visible on the horizon. Hopefully, when our kids are around ten and seven, we'll be set.

In the meantime, I daydream about landing a job abroad.

-----

I have set foot in eleven countries, by the way: the United States, Mexico, Canada, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Two of those (Germany and Switzerland) were plane changes at airports. And yes, Vatican City counts.

Here are those countries ranked in the order I've visited them: U.S. (birthplace), Canada, Spain (plane change, the first time), Italy (three times), Vatican City (also thrice), France, Spain (for real the second time), Germany (plane change), Poland, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland (another plane change).

And here they are again, ranked by the amount of time I have spent there: U.S., Italy, Mexico, Canada, Vatican City, France and Spain (a tie, give or take six hours), Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland.

-----

Ignoring the limitations caused by children, here are the countries I'd love to visit soon, ranked in more or less the order of my enthusiasm:
1a. Italy
1b. India
2. Turkey
3. Greece
4. Egypt
5. Norway
6. Portugal
7. Morocco
8. Netherlands
9. Japan
10. New Zealand

Italy remains at the top of my list. Given a choice between a first trip to India and a fourth to Italy, I'd have a hard time choosing.

-----

What brought this up? This morning, in the garage, I found a cardboard tube of posters and, in it, a map of Europe.

-----

Deep sigh...