Wednesday, December 31, 2008

negative comments

One thing that really gets to me is getting negative comments.  It's like "Thank you for the time you spent to analyze my video and decide it was worth one star.  I really appreciate it."  It's especially funny to get the dismissive comments on my karate videos.  I may not have done the forms perfectly, or even close to it, but there was a considerable amount of training and practice involved.  And the commenter probably has never even done any karate at all, and  is in no position to give any criticism anyway.  Then there are the people that say my music is terrible.  Thank you for taking the time to take me down a peg.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Whatever.  The music is what it is.  In any case, it is sincere.  That is good enough.  If it is sincere, nothing else matters.

  I won't name any names, but there are some funny bloggers around Corvallis, people that can take the most run of the mill incidents and make them seem funny or at least interesting.  The vast majority of blogs are not too readable, or at least not too readable unless you are friends with the person, but many are not too bad at all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

there is a breath through the air

the resilience leaves
but there is always that voice again
out there somewhere
wondering and calling
going through the motions
mining the conclusions
and the restless mannerisms and details and there
life being what it is

Some guy is in the beanery playing a kind of guitar with a sound that is too high on the treble. He just did a John Denver song, and John Denver always kind of weirds me out for some reason. Denver's songs were bizarre. He was super-popular (I guess) for like two years in the seventies and then after that he was virtually forgotten. Anyway the guy playing tonight is not too bad, but he would do better with less treble on the amp.

I decided I have to be less materialistic. Do I really need an espresso maker? In the long run, it will cost money. In the long run, I'd be better off sticking to the teapot and drip coffee method. That's good enough.

I'm practicing for an open mic on Monday at Fireworks. Why bother? Why not. Life is about, among other things, art and the singing of nice songs, and playing of nice chords. That's as far as I could explain it. Besides, it's not like I don't have the time to practice. I'm thinking of putting together a story from my extensive journal entries, but as far as real work, I don't have any. Machinists are not in high demand at this point. But I'm continuing with the classes....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

sittin' around the beanery

It was darn cold driving down here, and rainy, and it occurs to me that the rain may freeze up at some unpredictable point, maybe before I drive home.  The Bean seems to be closing early, possibly because they are worrying about the very same thing.

Is the Beanery my favorite coffee shop?  Yes it is.  This place has had quality coffee and atmosphere ever since the early seventies, so basically that is ever since I can remember.  They also have free music, big windows, and they are located in kind of a nice area near the river.   The Interzone has great coffee, but it is a small place, and being near campus it is dominated by young students that never seem to read the Oregonian.  Maybe they read it online, but probably not.

Having recently gotten a laptop, I am attempting to figure it out, but I have always been a big internet surfer, ever since the days of lynx and yahoo being a big deal.  There are some amusing local blogs...

In fact, there is so much online that it is impossible to keep track.  When it comes to sitting down and reading a book, though, there's no experience like a physical book made out of paper.  Furthermore, the writing on the internet has a fairly homogeneous feel to it.  If you go into some dusty book shop and pick out something by, say, Sir Walter Scott, or Thomas Wolfe, you will get something quite different; a more beautiful form of writing that is has a quantum difference from the usual pabulum.

Valerie Lopez played here Saturday night, and it was a standing room only crowd.  I wasn't too impressed with her the first time I saw her, about two months ago.  She seemed like she was trying to sound like a pop star rather than doing something original.  This time she seemed more real and interesting, and her guitar and banjo playing were good.  Moreover, she had a good band backing her up, and they were all good, from the bass player, to the drummer, to the flautist.   The crowd was nearly in hysterics.  That was a bit much.  She's good, ....maybe she deserves all the cheering,...but anyway it was a large crowd, that is for sure.

That Friday night was a band consisting of four young guys with nice instruments.  To bad they couldn't play them.  I think that some of them actually are pretty good at some of them, but the drummer should have been playing the guitar.  They were trying to play Southern Man and just totally destroyed it.  What a waste of a good guitar.  You can buy an expensive instrument, but if you can't do a bar chord and have no technique and don't practice, it won't help.  Then again....why rain on their parade if they were having fun?  Why not?  I just can't stand a song that is supposed the be played in a screaming and powerful style played in a weak and barely-there style.

Latch-Hook Robots at Interzone: loud and powerful sound, screaming vocalist.  Kind of not too bad, really.  Four stars.

Monday, December 15, 2008

political blog

The car companies are going under. What a drag. They haven't made too many good cars for a while now. So what to do? Well, according to the Senate Republicans, it is time to try to demand that wages go down for all auto workers. They can't stand to see any middle-class workers earning decent wages, and they can't stand to see any functioning unions. If it was up to them, we would all be serfs earning a dollar a day, working for the rich Republican overlords.

Anyway, the government has to demand major changes from the car companies, including seeing all the current CEO's losing their jobs. Furthermore, it is time to move into innovative, fuel efficient car designs. But right now, until Obama gets into office and comes up with something comprehensive, the country can't afford to see all those good jobs just instantly go away. We would be looking at depression level conditions, and total devastation. Furthermore, with credit the way it is, bankruptcy wouldn't lead the reorganization. With finance the way it is now, credit is not available, and we would see everything liquidated, and the factories empty and slowly rotting all over the country. Perhaps down the line, with a national health care plan, the car companies could reorganize and lose all of the expensive health care benefits for retirees that is a large part of why they can't function competitively.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the lamest

rendition of "Southern Man" that I have ever heard, I heard this evening. Talk about a flaccid version with the riff cut down to nothing at all. It was excruciating.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Man Carrying Thing

The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully. Illustration:

A brune figure in winter evening resists
Identity. The thing he carries resists

The most necessitous sense. Accept them, then,
As secondary (parts not quite perceived

Of the obvious whole, uncertain particles
Of the certain solid, the primary free from doubt,

Things floating like the first hundred flakes of snow
Out of a storm we must endure all night,

Out of a storm of secondary things),
A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real.

We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.
-wallace stevens



a dance that caucasin males do when highly intoxicated. often includes some sort of grinding motion and an uncontrollable loss of control of the upper limbs. usually results in dancing by one's self on top of a box/elevated dance floor. a great move for clubs that play 80s favorties like Bon Jovi, Foreigner, and REO Speedwagon.
By pulling out "the brune" at a club, usually results in the sad, but common, night alone.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

wondering at the languages I don't know

I wish I could read German. I have read many translations of Rilke. Some sound better than others, but they have many differences, leading me to wonder what the original actually contains.

Hail to the spirit, with power that connects;
for we live in figures. And with tiny steps
the hours go by, keeping pace
alongside our actual days.

In the absence of knowing our true location,
we deal with interrelation
the antennae feel the space
and the empty distances carry...

Pure tension. Oh music of forces at play!
From you, is not, through casual commerce,
every disturbance deflected away?

Even the farmer who works and lives
where seeds transform themselves to summers
never does enough. The earth bestows. -Sonnets to Orpheus, Ranier Maria Rilke

Monday, December 01, 2008

coffee 'n' stuff

there was a coffee spoon
given to me
I drink my coffee black
newspapers around
here and there
perhaps even the metro section

Johannes Agricola in Meditation- by Robert Browning

There's heaven above, and night by night
I look right through its gorgeous roof:
No suns and moons though e'er so bright
Avail to stop me; splendor-proof
I keep the broods of stars aloof:
Fir I intend to get to God.
For 't is to God I speed so fast
For in God's breast, my own abode,
Those shoals of dazzling glory, passed,
I lay my spirit down at last.
I lie where I have always lain,
God smiles as he has always smiled:
Ere stars were thudergirt, or piled
The heavens, God thought on me his child
Ordained a life for me, arrayed
Its circumstances, every one

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blood River

The Congo is an amazing place, completely chaotic, completely removed from the modern world. Due to the constant fighting, no white man has gone through the Congo from Lake Tanganyika to the coast in decades. Stanley was the first to do it, in the nineteenth century. It is just too dangerous to go overland in large parts of the country. There is no law, and roving bands of soldiers or rebels or just criminals may kill you at any time. There is no law, no government, nothing at all. Numerous villages are so isolated that they have no clue of the outside world. It is pretty much the only country in the world that has gone steeply downhill since the 60's, to the point where they are surviving, if they are, using the same techniques they have always used. It is too chaotic for farming, so they live on a certain kind of root that provides some amount of inadequate nutrition.

The country has riches, in the form of mineral wealth, but the mines are controlled by small groups who enrich no one but themselves. The only role the government serves is to take bribes from the people that are making money. There is no kind of support for the people in the form of the rule of law, or any kind of medicine. It is kind of a hell, and the rain forest mostly remains as it always has been. Any organized economic activity, such as coffee farming or palm oil farming simply can't get done in the atmosphere of chaos and violence.

Mobutu had a lot to do with Congo's problems. He robbed the country blind for thirty years while the United States supported him. This country could have done something-but we didn't. Nobody has cared about the Congo in the least other than to get the mineral wealth in their hands. That's true of this country historically and true of China now.

There's lots of blame to go around. The Belgians should take a lot of it too. And the slave traders before them.

I'm reading a book about a brave guy who decided to go across the Congo on foot in 2004. It's quite interesting: Blood River.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fwd: testing

brautigan imbroglio

in watermelon sugar the deeds were done
or in three piece suits
on the phone
making deals
crashing the economy
bailing out before hand
with big
going-away presents

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the night they drove old dixie down

Written by the Band, done by Jerry Garcia...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Saturday, October 04, 2008

beanery blog

Some guy, Michael Galinas, I believe, is playing some good songs tonight down here at second street, with a bit of a sparse crowd, which is kind of normal for Saturday nights. He's got kind of a nonremarkable voice, but plenty of guitar talent, and a nice loud sounding steel string guitar, but mainly some good and interesting songs in his repertoire.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

g manley hopkins

But what more can be said?  Perhaps a poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins:

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swing finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves-goes itself;myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is-
Christ-for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Spring and Fall:

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove, unleaving?
Leaves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost, guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

writing and music

The dude in the bean plays on, sharing all of his most strange guitar chords and feelings with the audience, and the clouds spin on, and people sit and talk and think, and hardly speak in the least, but the world is what it is,...

The dudes go into a lenghy and spirited session of soloing, and I feel that the just tapping of the keys on the pad are enough to keep me rescucitated to some degree.  The fact that I don't understand everything can surely be resolved by the gradual application of the general principle that to do the right thing in every circumstance is the right thing to do. 

In the long and short of it.....what more is there left to say, but more of the writing and the thinking, inscribed and set down in some way....and hopefully negotiated to a better conclusion.

If I had a gun, for every ace I've drawn,
I could arm a town the size of Abilene
Don't you push me baby, because I'm holdin' low
And you know I'm only in it for the gold.

All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars
And I could pay you back with one good hand
You can look around about the wide world over
And you'll never find anoher honest man.

Last fair deal in the country, Sweet Suzie,
Last fair deal in the town
Put your gold money where your love is baby,
Before you let my deal go down.

----now they are playing "Cold Rain and Snow"----what a great song..."I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life.  Pushed me....out in the cold rain and snow.".....

Don't you push me baby, cause I'm holdin' low
And I know a littel something you won't every know
Don't you touch hard liquor, just a cup of cold coffee
Gotta get up in the morning and go

Everybody's praying and drinking that wine
I can dell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
Come to daddy on the inside straight,

These guys are rocking out with the "Cold Wind and Snow"...going to be the next major jam band of the modern era.  

Another decent song ....

Hello cowgirl in the sand
Is this place at your command
Can I stay here for a while
Can I see your sweet sweet smile
Old enough now to change your name
When so many love you is it the same?
Its the woman in you that makes you want to play this game.

Hello Ruby in the dust
Has you band begun to rust
After all the sin we've had
I was hoping that we turn back
Old enough now to change your name
When so many love you is it the same....

Hello woman of my dreams...

I guess the good thing about that song is the lyrics...

Stuck in the Bauhaus again, in the middle of a sea of silent laptops, aside from the noise of the young people talking in the background.

Sep 10, 2008

In other news, apparently the beavs played today.  Some people are out partying somewhere, more or less partying depending on how the game went, but plenty in either case.

 Reading a great story by Geoge Eliot, a true genius of a writer, and it occurs to me that despite the disappearance of books, a writer of that calibre will aways be recognized as such.

The fact is that it is a Saturday night, with nothing to do, no money to impress much of anyone, but that don't appear to make much of a difference to anyone.  In the long run, there is a depth to life in the great writers, and a depth to the words of all people, and if one can look into that and see the true nature of life and things, then any sort of acceptance is workable, or any sort of existence is fine for things and ideas and the nature of words.  In the end, we need to have our lives measure up to the ideas of them, but then again, our ideas of necessary achievement may be quite different from day to day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

from song of the rolling earth

weapon shapely, naked, wan,

head from the mother's bowels drawn
wooded flesh and metal bone, limb only one and lip only one,
gray-blue leaf by red-heat grown, helve produced from a little seed
resting the grass amid upon,
to be leaned and to lean on.
--actually, from Song of the Broad-Axe

open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!
Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,
For great Apollo bids
That in these days your praises should be sung
On many harps, which he has lately strung;
And when again your dewiness he kisses,
Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses:
So haply when I rove in some far vale,
His mightly voice may come upon a gale.

starting from paumanok

Starting from fish-shape Paumanok, where I was born,
Well-begotten, and raised by a perfect mother;
After roaming many lands-love of populous pavements;
Dweller in Manhatta, my city-or on southern savannas;
Or a soldier camp'd, or carrying my knapsack and gun-or a miner in California;
Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from the spring;
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crows, .....

Shut not your doors....

Shut not your doors to me proud libraries,
For that which was lacking on all of your well filled shelves, yet
needed most, I bring,
Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made,
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it every thing,
A book separate, not link'd with the rest nor felt by the intellect,
But you ye untold latencies will thrill to every page.

--both of these are from Walt Whitman, of course. I would try to pretend like I wrote them myself. Somehow they seem full of life, and full of untold latencies, you might say.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

weather report

the weather is kind of sunny, which is nice, and I am happy with my new beautiful laptop, featuring windows vista.  I don't know what the deal with this system is.  For all the bad I have heard about it, it seems to work just fine, easily understandable for a longtime xp user.  I'm no idiot with computers, but for all that I want to like Linux, when you sit down with it it is unbelievably frustrating.  It is not ready for us casual users, I would venture to say.

  The seem to be fairly quiet in this little cafe, as is usually the case on any afternoon, even during the school year.  

  As for me, I remain undirected, but is that so bad a thing?  I guess there could be worse.  Aside from karate, I have no real direction.
  Perhaps this Whitman poem partially applies to me:

Beginning my studies

Beginning my studies, the first step pleas'd me so much,
The mere fact, consciousness-these forms-the power of motion,
The least insect or animal-the senses-eyesight-love;
The first step, I say, awed me and pleased me so much,
I have hardly gone, and hardly wished to go, and farther,
But stop and loiter all the time, to sing it in ecstatic songs.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Praising, that's it! One ordained to praise,
he sprang like ore from the silence of stone.
His heart, oh, perishable winepress
of an infinite wine, for man alone.

His voice no dust can choke or dim
when divine instance seizes him.
All turns vineyard, clusters of grapes,
in his susceptible south grown ripe.

Nor mold in the kings' sepulchers
gives the lie to his laudings, nor
that from the gods a shadow falls.

Of the abiding messengers,
he reaches far into death's door
glorious fruit in golden bowls
-from Sonnets to Orpheus, Rilke

Friday, August 29, 2008


Norman played the bean tonight. I like him okay. Then again, I think Norman actually refers to the band, not a person, kind of like Pink Floyd. But anyway, they have a mellow soporific jangly sound with some good original lyrics and don't seem insincere. Here' some pictures:

Friday, August 22, 2008

the weather

the weather seems to be fairly sunny today. A little breezy, and the plants look better from the recent rainy. Apartment owners are out fixing up their apartments for the deluge of college students. The quiet summer was quite nice, but the reality is that this is a college town, and that's not a bad thing to be, in the larger scheme of things. It's better than being, say, and oil refinery town, for example.
Anyway, the weather was nice, and I was reminded of a few lines from walt whitman:

What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
Scattering it freely forever.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current
and index.

I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their
counterpart of on the same terms.

What a nice thought, to not accept anything which anyone can not have as a counterpart on their own terms. I'm not sure what it means, but it must mean something, and to me it has to do with being sincere and not too proud....and open to the ideas that might come up in the course of the day.

And of course, who can forget these lines?

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg
of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

A pismire is an ant. This somehow reminds me of Thoreau's poem:

What is a railroad to me?
Something to set the blackberries a'growing.

There was more to it than that, but that is all I can remember.

A mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. I would guess that Whitman was a precursor to the nature enthusiasts such as John Muir and just about everybody these days.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the interzone

the weather is odd, a little rainy, and it seems like late fall, or it did earlier this morning. This afternoon it got hot, but in kind of a humid and overcast kind of way. I really did like seeing a bit of rain after all of the hot weather. The weather is always and amazing thing. The rains fall on the earth, and the sun scorches, the winds run to the north and west and east and the morning, the fog comes in and the dews gradually melts off, and the idea that nature is there is not changing, a constant reality, and a constant reminder that the world is much larger than our problems.
That reminds me of some quote from Thoreau's journals, the book of which I do not have with me.....something about sitting out in the sun all day, being drenched with the placid day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bards of Passion and of Mirth,

Ye have left your souls on Earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new?
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wond'rous,
And the parle of voices thund'rous;
With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian Lawns
Brows'd by none but Dian's fawns;
Underneath large bluebells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless tranced thing,
But divine meoldious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.

Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Ye have souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new!

John Keats died young, at age 25. He never was recognized for his poetry in his lifetime.

We make our meek adjustments, contented with such random consolations as the wind deposits in slightened and too ample pockets.

For we cans till love the world, who find a famished kitten on the step, and know recesses for it from the fury of the street, or warm torn elbow coverts.

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk, dally the doom of that inevitable thumb, that slowly chafes its puckered index toward us, facing the dull squint with what innocence, and what surpise!

And yet these fine collapses are not lies more than the pirouettes of any pliant cane; Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise. We can evade you, and all else but the heart: What blame to us if the heart live on.
-Hart Crane

Hart Crane was an American, also died young.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

gettin' up every morning and riding to philo

It's getting a little bit easier. There's not a lot of traffic at six a.m. The ride up Harrison is really the worst part. There is a stretch of that street that is narrow and has no bike line. Not only that, but there are dangerous grates every twenty feet or so, so I have to ride in the middle of the street. Plus it is uphill and kind of bumpy, as the pavement has a lot of holes in it. From there, riding out to 53rd is kind of bleak. The bald hill path is pretty nice, and sometimes I even appreciate it at that early hour. Many times I have surprised little bunny rabbits that run into the blackberries. The fields look nice. Then when I get onto Reservoir road, there are a couple of bothersome hills. A dead deer has been lying on the road for about three weeks now. Passing that, there is some downhill and some railroad tracks, and then the turn onto the main street, and a little uphill, downhill, and uphill and I am done, and at the little market to buy my coffee. The loggers think I am some Corvallis biker on a ride. Little do they know that I work in town. Or maybe they have figured it out. The coffee is bad, but I'm not going to stop at Java Connection with sweat pouring off of me.
Anyway, the ride takes 30 minutes one way. One hour both ways. So that is a lot of exercise. Plus working all day and trying to practice karate.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Karadzic captured

Yay. Karadzic was taken into custody. That means the Serbs are being more reasonable, and that Karadzic, who was a killer of thousands and a war criminal, will be tried like he should be.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Allergy cure.

I usually suffer from pretty bad grass seed allergies every year, but this year I use a neti pot every day and have had no problems. Without taking any drugs. Snorting salt water up your nose takes some getting used to, but it works. Also works for sinus infections.

"The Getaway", with Steve McQueen is a great movie. Those 70's movies remind me of my childhood, because I remember those cars from when I was a kid.

Work has been taking all my energy, partly because I decided to commute to work by bicycle, so that's riding from here to Philomath every day. I have to get up at five in the morning.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

walkin' around

This is a good time of year for walking around town. The flowers are out and everything is quite green from all the rain. I would recommend this walk in particular: start from Franklin park, walk down Taylor to 12th, and then left on 12th to Jackson, and then walk toward the river and to wherever you might be going. The people residing on Taylor street and 12th street seem to take a lot of care in their gardens. They are nice streets no matter what the season, but particularly at this time of year.

That's me, a modern day Thoreau, except walking through town and not the fields of Concord.

It is not by his high superflousness we know?
To be equal a need
is natural...but to fling
rainbows and pretzel sticks
here and there

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Posted by Picasa

Hopkins was a talented poet. The other book I was thinking was by Phillip Roth, but I see now it is written by somebody named Henry Roth.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

here comes the flood

I might play this song at the next open mic, if I still feel up to it:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Saturday, May 03, 2008


The politicized obsession with race, gender and sexuality; the denigration of canonical works by "dead white males"; the callow mocking of convention; the notion that truth itself is merely a construct of power and self-interest -- all characterize the study of art and literature in America's colleges and universities.

This is true. The situation may not be as bad everywhere as this person says it is at Yale. Berkeley wasn't too bad. People studied serious stuff. However, judging from what I can see, the obsession continues.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My opinions on recently read or viewed media

The Will Be Blood: This is a great movie, which is what I would expect from the director of Magnolia and Boogie Nights. It is about oil and the rush for enrichment in the olden days of California. Those were rough times.

A book by Max Hastings on the war in the Pacific. This is a good book, full of little details that grab you. What a major war that was. No kidding.

Sacred Games. This is a murder mystery set in Bombay, India. It is written in English, but a kind of Indian English dialogue with so many unusual words that it needs a glossary. It kind of makes you think of all the places and environments that you don't know too much about. Other than that, it is more or less a standard detective-policework, kind of deal.

Street Kings: Keanu Reeves looking old, playing an alcoholic cop widower fighting his demons, and fighting just about all the mobsters and drug dealers and corrupt cops in L.A. Highly recommended.

The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright: A detailed background on the lives of Bin Laden and Zawahiri. You get a real sense of who they were and how nasty, horrible, and generally psychotic and mean these guys are. Quite depressing. Zawahiri especially. Most of the Bin Ladens are just average businessmen, highly successful builders in Saudi Arabia. Osama is the crazy lunatic exception.

I have also really been getting into Richard Price.

Samaritan: This is a great book by Price about a do-gooder inner-city teacher who gets assaulted by somebody. The whole book slowly takes you into the lives and environment of the projects in New Jersey.

Lush Life: The new book by Price. I haven't managed to read it yet because I'm 29th on the hold list, but it his escalated to a new level, with his dialogue crossing into literary territory, even though it is basically another police procedural regarding the solving of a murder.

He also wrote Clockers and Freedomland, which have both been made into movies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

major and minor machining mistakes

I made a little mistake, machining-wise, today. We are making vises and I was supposed to shave a 30 degree angle off of one end of the vise, which I did perfectly, exactly according to the print, except I shaved it off the wrong end. Oops. So that was a mistake, but then again, I did quite a few things right. In the real world, you would have to junk the part and start over, but since this is a class, we can get away with a few things.
That is one kind of mistake. A major mistake on a CNC lathe can be much worse, and much more dangerous. Computer controlled machining can seem easy, but if you program the machine wrong, it will destroy itself or cause a major amount of damage before you can stop it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

ripening barberries

Already the ripening barberries are red,
and the old asters hardly breathe in their beds.
The man who is not rich now as summer goes
will wait and wait and never be himself.

The man who cannot quietly close his eyes,
certain that there is vision after vision
inside, simply waiting until nighttime
to rise all around him in the darkness-
it's all over for him, he's like an old man.

Nothing else will come; no more days will open,
and everything that does happen will cheat him
Even you, And you are like a stone
that draws him daily deeper into the depths.

Friday, April 11, 2008

music fiasco

I don't have the endurance to play music for an hour without amplification. I managed to play for forty minutes . I played some good songs, for what it was worth.
And what is it worth, but vanity and striving after wind?

Music has giveth me what my iniquity deserveth.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

booked to play at interzone

... that's right, I am due to play at the interzone at 8pm, Friday the 11th. I can predict what will happen. I will show up. There will be between 3-5 people sitting there studying. I will set up and start playing, and they will all leave. Thereafter there will be nobody in there but me, and the barista will give me a horrified look every once in a while.

However, it doesn't matter. I don't seem to get nervous these days, and I like the songs. I think they are good.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Fireworks' open mic

The open mic at Fireworks is actually a really nice deal. I don't know how long it has had this atmosphere, but there were a lot of talented guitarists there. I always enjoy those. I went up and did a few songs with a bunch of mistakes in them, but if I know I am actually going to be playing, I can practice a bit more in the future. My nervousness was nonexistent for some reason. I guess I am finally at the attitude where I am just going to go up and play songs I like, enjoy playing them, and not worry about whether the audience liked them or not. In my mind, they are good songs, and that is as good as I can do.
There's also the fact that I occasionally have to get up and teach some karate, so my general nervousness about getting in front of a group isn't what it used to be.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chris Farrell featured (in his own mind) at Fireworks

I will be playing a few songs at the open mic at Fireworks at 9:30 or so on Thursday. I should be sweaty because I will be coming straight from karate, so don't get too close. Planned songs include the few that I can remember: Peggy-o, Bertha, The First Cut is the Deepest, and maybe Cowgirl in the Sand.

Monday, March 31, 2008

books and compatibility

The new york times has an article on whether people have to like the same books to be compatible. I really don't think so. I mean, on some level, there has to be some intelligence there, but there are all different sorts of interests, and certainly it doesn't matter much of they know who Nabokov is, or some other arbitrary hoop you might want them to jump through. I personally think compatibility is a lot more complicated than it might appear, and if the interests or perceptions are the same on a certain level, then nothing else matters too much. After all, who wants to marry a mirror image of themself? Love is not directed by the rational side of the brain, which can be a little disconcerting.
Then again, whoever you like has to share some of your interests I would guess.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

cell phones and reality

I didn't switch to a cell phone until last month, when I realized I would spend less money on a prepaid plan than I was spending on a regular phone. Another factor is that there is not a single pay phone anywhere on LBCC campus any more. I am starting to like the thing, and am realizing how much more convenient it is to try to meet someone in the city if you have one. The thing is, it's expected to have one these days, kind of the new reality, where mobile communication is possible. Sure, we got along without them in the past, but why not use them? It's not necessarily going to improve your social life, but it will make it easier for people to reach you, which can be handy.

Mere living alone does not isolate a man, mere living together does not bring men into communion. The common life can either make one more of a person or less of a person, depending whether it is truly common life or merely life in a crowd. To live in communion, in genuine dialogue with others is absolutely necessary if man is to remain human. But to live in the midst of others, sharing nothing with them but the common noise and the general distraction, isolates a man in the worst way, separates him from reality in a way that is almost painless.-Thomas Merton

The Beauty of Things
To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things-
earth, stone and water,
Beast, man and woman, sun, moon and stars-
The strange beauty of human nature, its thoughts,
attitudes, and passions,
And unhuman nature in its towering reality-
For man's half dream; man, you might say, is nature
dreaming, but rock
And water and sky are constant-to feel
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express, the
Beauty, is the diversion of poetry.
The rest's elsewhere: those holy or noble sentiments, the
intricate ideas,
The love, longing: reasons, but in counterpose.
-Robinson Jeffers

Jeffers was a strange one, very intense, a son of a minister, who lived in a stone tower on the coast of California, at Carmel, in the 30's. A stone tower that he built himself. His poems more or less focus on natural beauty. He can be somewhat overly unhuman, and that has counted against him over the years.

Friday, March 28, 2008

it's kind of annoying

to have people writing publicly about me on their blog. If you have a problem, send me an email. I will get the message. Plus it's a drag to get into a conflict with somebody you did have some good discussions with and who you recognize as an intelligent person, and I don't say that about everybody.

I'm heading up to Portland today, to watch the people stroll around the Lloyd center, walk around and look at the buildings, hang out with friends, discuss economics, and trade witticisms. It will be nice to get out of town. As a matter of fact, I'm splitting right after I make another espresso and put new batteries in the camera.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

how many thousands...

How many thousands of divinity students
have dipped their bodies into the old night of your name.
What the girls waken to is you,
and when the young men dressed in silver weave
and flash in battle-that is also you.

The poets always met.
in your long vaulted corridors.
And they were emperors of pure sound
and moving and deep and assured.

You are the delicate hour at nightfall
that makes all the poets equally good;
you crowd full of darkness into their mouths,
and every poet, sensing he has discovered greatness,
surrounds you with magnificent things.

A hundred thousand harps take you
like wings and sweep you up out of silence
And your primitive wind is blowing
the fragrance of your marvelous power
to every being and to every creature in need.
-rilke, translated by robert bly


Knockemstiff, by Donald Ray Pollock, is a collection of stories about incredibly poor and messed up people in a small town in Ohio. The author lived in a town by the same name and worked in a paper mill there for thirty years before coming out with this book. The writing is good and shocking, maybe in the manner of a Jim Thompson novel, but the characters are even more decrepit. It is holding my interest and inspiring me to maybe rework some of my stories.

The hail was actually coming down and reminding me of some lines:

The number of his years is past finding out.
He draws up the drops of water,
which distill as rain to the streams
the clouds pour down their moisture
and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
how he thunders from his pavilion?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I've been feeling kind of indifferent towards things today, just a generalized indifference that focuses on nothing in particular. An indifferent indifference. I wasn't indifferent to the rain. Walking around in the rain is something I always find relaxing, and the rain today was quite enjoyable (said like the oregonian that I am). I get a kick out of the quiet of the town this week, and it doesn't seem depressing to me, but more like a kind of portentious feeling, and a kind of opportunity to delve down to the things that really matter, and think of what I really need to be concerned with.

Shotokan seminar with Sensei Smaby, 7th dan

I got up really late today and it is pouring down rain, and the cat was wondering why I was asleep so late. I guess mowing the lawn is out, ....not that I was looking forward to that.
The JKA-US NW, the regional Shotokan organization, has a seminar coming up week after next here in Corvallis, so it will be good to be ready for that. And then next month in Bend is the regional tournament, and I would like to do well and maybe even go to the national tournament. I don't have much competition around here, sparring-wise. I guess maybe I should go around to the other schools to see if visiting is an option.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nietzsche on scholars


Nietzsche, from "On Scholars" in Thus Spake Zarathustra:
"I am too hot and burned by my own thoughts; often it nearly takes my breath away. Then I must go out into the open and away from all dusty rooms. But they sit cool in the cool shade: in everything they want to be mere spectators, and they beware of sitting where the sun burns on the steps. Like those who stand in the street and gape at the people who pass by, they too wait and gape at thoughts that others have thought.

Here's one of the best Peggy-O's ever recorded:

spring '77 peggy-o's

The grateful dead weren't that great in the late 70's, for the most part. Terrapin Station wasn't much of an album, although it had a lot of good parts. The other albums of the time were kind of hit-and-miss. Apparently though, three shows in spring of '77 are legendary, particularly the versions of peggy-o played on those three occasions. The song is incredibly beautiful and jerry encompasses so much in his voice. I finally located an mp3 of one of those shows. It made me happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

windows of the almshouse

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard times. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; The snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.....Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society. ....Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch. It is life near the bone where it is sweetest....I delight to come to my bearings-not walk in procession with pomp and parade, in a conspicuous place, but to walk even with the Builder of the universe, if I may-not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial nineteenth century, but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by. What are men celebrating? They are all on a committee of arrangements, and hourly expect a speech from somebody.

Anyway, that is all good advice. I would say this Easter has pretty much gotten to me. I managed to work out today, but I am still not feeling well, some lingering cold, but it should have been better by now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

more rilke

My life is not this vertical hour
in which you find my passing at a run.
I am a tree in front of my own background,
I am only one of the sounds,
and that would be first to be silent.

I am the quiet between two sound
that only with difficulty grow used to one
for the tone of Death also wishes to be heard-

But in the darkness of the interval
they make peace with one another, uncommonly
And the song continues sweet.

Hail to the spirit that would connect us;
in that we live truly in figures.
And with small steps pass the hours
beside our authentic day.

Without knowing our true place
we are moved to action be real relation.
Antennae feel antennae
carried by empty distance...

Pure tension. O Music of powers!
Is not through this venial industry
every disturbance deflected from you?

Even when the farmer cares and toils
to that place where the seed itself transforms,
he does not reach. The Earth bestows.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

books I read recently and other thoughts

Book of Jamaica, by Russell Banks: this starts out pretty well, and Banks obviously has some understanding of that environment.

Continental Drift, by same. This is a brutal book, about a working class guy from the northeast who moves to Florida and gets into all kinds of trouble.

Rule of the Bone, by same. About a fourteen year old pot smoker living in sordid conditions. The characterizations are quite good. The first half of the book is great.

Russell Banks writes about losers and crazies and low-income types, and he does it with some understanding and believability.

Stephen King's new book is very readable.

Eliot Spitzer was a fool. The sad thing is, he was an innovator on passing human trafficking laws. He was also trying to do something about the corruption on Wall Street. But anyway, he's gone. Way to go, Eliot.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008


Great-enough both accepts and subdues; the great frame takes all creatures;
From the greatness of their element they all take beauty.
Gulls; and the dingy freightship lurching south in the eye of a rain-wind;
The air-plane dipping over the hill; hawks hovering
The white grass of the headland; cormorants roosting upon the gauno-
Whitened skerries; pelicans awind; sea-slime
Shining at night in the wave-stir like drowned men's lanterns; smugglers signaling
A cargo to land; or the old Point Pinos lighthouse
Lawfully winking over dark water; the flight of the twilight herons,
Lonely wings and a cry; or with motor-vibrations
That hum in the rock like a new storm-tone of the oceans'
to turn eyes westward
The navy's new-bought Zeppelin going by in the twilight,
Far out seaward; relative only to the evening star and the ocean
It slides into a cloud over Point Lobos.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Books I'm reading or recently read

1.The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford: This is light reading. I basically read about 1/4 of each page. It is not great and lasting literature, but it held my interest.
2.Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. This is her last book. Eliot's style is complicated and rewarding. She can get deep into the mind and attitudes of her characters. The main character is kind of a shallow person, but despite that I still feel that there is a lot to it. Not done with it yet.
3.A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul. Naipaul is an Indian from Africa who lives in Trinidad. The book is about an Indian in Africa in the seventies, and the writing is good.
4.War and Peace. I quit after 500 pages. Tolstoi's high and mighty pronouncements were starting to get to me. Plus all the women just seem to wait around at soirees until somebody makes them an "offer." In other words, the attitude of Tolstoi toward women was also bothering me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

florida sunset


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