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.