Saturday, January 30, 2010

moebius k at the beanery

These guys are finally starting to play as well as the quality of their instruments. I remember them playing a completely pathetic version of "Southern Man", but practice seems to be getting them into a kind of cool rocking zone.

That is always fun to see.
Apparently I am a "turbo" dishwasher. At the free meal this morning the head cook said that we may as well use my help because with my "turbo dishwashing" capabilities, they would be out of there earlier. It is true that I am an incredibly fast dishwasher, but that is not really something to brag about, for the most part. It is just a matter of prioritizing and getting the feel of using the standard industrial size dishwashing machine. I had eight years of on-the-job experience. It is not rocket science.

Friday, January 29, 2010


John Cheever is an amazing writer.  Check his stuff out.  I was surfing through all the back issues of the New Yorker that are available to subscribers yesterday, because they were nice enough to provide links to all of the stories that J.D. Salinger published over the years.  It was interesting to read through them in their original typeface, with the original advertisements, everything exactly as it was in the original magazine when it came out.  I realized that Cheever was also probably in there somewhere, so I did a search and read one of his stories.  He has a distinct and gripping style, but not overstated or even loud in any way.

Harold Evans, an editor of the London Times and other papers, just came out with a memoir called My Paper Chase.  According to him, he definitely did a lot of work to uncover corruption of various kinds, pollution, to get the story on tyrants and maniacs in political power, and generally did the job an editor should be doing.  He was eventually forced out by Rupert Murdoch.  No surprise there.

Murdoch actually in some ways was kind of an admirable businessman.  At the time he took over the London Times, the printers' union had excessive power and was continually making demands and shutting things down.  Murdoch build an entirely new printing facility out of town on the ruse that he was starting up a new paper.  He shut down the presses and staffed the new presses with non-union people, managing to break the power of the unions.  It was quite an audacious move, and according to Harold Evans, something that needed to be done.

But the most important thing about Murdoch is that he owns Fox news.  That is unforgivable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

murdering the silence

"the band was not so much playing music as murdering the silence with a vulgar, ferocious energy." LOL. -from Victory, by Joseph Conrad.

What a terrific couple of days. NOT. Some idiot Republican with a truck gets elected in Massachusetts, and the spineless Democrats wuss out on passing what would have been a major major piece of legislation.
Then the Supreme Court overrules the law to decide that corporations can spend unlimited funds to get whoever they want elected.
Talk about a bad day.

If that health plan doesn't pass I don't know what I am going to do. Maybe move to the Brooks Range and make my living by spearing fish.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


There is a set way to do every kata. Of course there can be variations, but the kata has to work with the application that you have in mind. At the same time, there are certain principles that remain more or less the same. For example, the tension, inside and outside, in the stances works the same way in every case. There is a certain coordination that will allow maximum speed through stepping techniques, coordinated with their upper body movements. If one always strives to move in that way, then in a real world fighting situation, things may not be so perfect, but your technique will be stronger and faster and will have less extraneous and unnecessary motion than it would otherwise. Shotokan karate as taught by Nishiyama was optimized for speed and for maximum impact for each technique, combined with the greatest possible stability. It is an amazing system and a genuinely new invention in the way the body can coordinate through technique.

Shotokan also has the aspect of kata (forms) which is a similarity to the forms of something like Tai Chi. So karate is not all about fighting, but is also about relaxation and going through movements that may also have a meditative aspect.

Friday, January 15, 2010

fixin' cars.

life is a jaded path and a soporific meandering....

I spent about five hours trying to change an alternator, and almost broke down crying at several different points. The thing to know about alternators is a)have the tools for the job, and b)buy a headlamp so you can see what you are doing. I think I got it in there okay. If I break down somewhere in the pouring rain, probably on the freeway late at night, then I will know that I didn't install it right.

Friday, January 01, 2010

weird-ass ice cream

Here's a bizarre fragment of a story. Completely fictional.

I walked up over the tracks and came to the railroad crossing sign. It looked and felt satanic in the predawn cold, and I felt an evil sort of energy. Down the street, past some trailer parks of the wrecked variety, and the "King Kone", weird-ass fast food shack, I came upon an old and twisted white church. A cat was sitting in front of it, as if waiting for me. I stopped, and then passed by. The street felt more and more threatening, and a strange looking fat guy came out of a wrecked trailer. There was evil looking detritus strewn out all over the front of that trailer. He said "I can't see who it is!", maybe at me, or maybe at someone else. Trucks were rushing by, all the same make and model all in perfect condition, all zooming their engines. I started thinking I was going being watched, but there was a girl my age looking at me. We talked, and she gave me a brownie and some chocolate milk, and blew her whistle at the trucks, called them weak, and said she was just waiting to go to church with her aunt. She said we are all sons and daughters of hippies, and she was getting nervous. I was too. There was a white truck just down the way, revving its engine. I thought I was trapped at that point by some demonic force that was completely foreign to me. We sat down next to a building, and a long-haired type guy came by on a strange long bicycle that looked as if it was custom made and then covered in dirt and grime. He sat down. He said he was going to get propane.

long beard waving in the wind
strange long and silent bicycle
down the dark streets
going across town
looking for some propane.