Saturday, October 30, 2004

I've been listening to the radio broadcast of Borodin's Prince Igor. Outside, the sun is shining. I can see two neighborhood boys ride by slowly on their bicycles.

Alexander Borodin, according to the West Cambridge Symphony Orchestra's web site, is an interesting figure, not just for his musical accomplishments but also as a respected scientist in his day. He was renowned chemist and a full professor at St Petersburg's Medical-Surgical Institute, we learn by reading NPR's World of Opera. He began work on the opera in 1869, soon after the premiere performance of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. He had a rather difficult time creating it, as he was writing both the libretto and composing the music at the same time. At his death the opera was still incomplete, but Rimsky -Korsakov and Glazunov took on the oeuvre, presenting their version of it on 26th May 1890 in St. Petersburg. Igor Stravinsky's father acted in one of the main roles.

As I listen, my daughter comes in the room, asking me to help her colour a page of a book. I agree to help her, and as I do I try to explain some of the opera in a way she can understand.

The conductor is Aleksander Anisimov, with the Houston Grand Opera.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday morning. Come now, this font thing cannot be working. The font looks the same as some of the others I've tried. Maybe it's only different if you pay the upgrade from the free version.

I have been carrying my Read Japanese Today by Len Walsh along with me almost everywhere I go. I reviewed the words “Tomodachi” (friend) and “Sayonara” with my daughter as she walked off the porch, and looked at “word” and “Tokyo” which I had carefully chalked on the cement a couple of days earlier . I'll start to supplement the handbook with other materials.

Paprika banned from shelves in Hungary? Seems some kind of mold has got into the product as a result of trying to substitute the high grade stuff with a cheap "filler" substance. This report from NPR this morning.

Maybe driving throught the pine plantations to the fort to go shopping at the commisary. Booh hooh! Not too many more of those trips, since I'm getting my discharge from the National Guard. I'll be a veteran with 50% disablility, trying to patch credits together to get a teacher's certification while supporting a family of four. Ah, but I don't have to return to the streets of Bagdad or go to Fallujah or any of those other hot spots. I must get involved in supporting our troops. I'll send them books and care packages.

Today's the birthday of Samuel Johnson, born in Edinburgh in 1740.

Suha the wife of Arafat has flown from Paris to be with the sick leader. There are no mass vigils, just small gatherings of the fans (the followers) of the leader. Julie McCarthy remarks that this could be the end of the Arafat era. Who will step into his place? Abu Mazar? Qureia? Someone from the Al Aksar Martyrs or some other splinter group? Arafat's nephew? Naaah, not him, I think. Who?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wednesday evening. Verdana font. Hmmmmm... not bad. I had feared worse.

Kids are playing on the hardwood floor, with their wood and plastic toys. Market-place is playing on radio. Wilma is finishing her meal, or clearing the table, or arguing with Annie Franck who doesn't want to finish her supper now that she started playing.

I've been mixing some study of Japanese ideograms into my day's activities. Just now tried to upload an image of some ideograms or Kanji I'd created earlier this afternoon, one for sun, another for tree, and yet another for root or source. But the upload didn't work. So back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile I'll let you know it's Ken Walsh's1 book on Learning to read Japanese, a little handbook that fits in a pocket. I've left it out next to the pendulum seat on which Gareth was swinging, with a little help from my left arm. We left it and a poem by Wendy Cope on the other swing. I'd better go and rescue that book before the dew or some stray dog get to it.

1. I don't know if this is the same Ken Walsh who is the pilot Medal of Honor winner. Will any reader leave us a tip?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Posted in Trebuchet font. What do you think? I don't see such a great difference from Old Baskerville or Georgia.

Anyway, with less than half an hour till midnight, I'm still up, having played a few satisfiying games of backgammon while chatting with my opponent about the efforts to preserve language and culture. Those who read Spanish may check out my brief comments on that at plazacomunal, my Spanish language blog.

Am still reading Flyboys. Am on the 11th Chapter, in which we find the Japanese High Command placing General Yoshi Tachibana in charge of the defense of Chichi Jima.

Am still listening to the Iliad on cassette tape. Listened to Hera's attempt to oppose Zeus after Tethis went to plead with him to favor her son Achilles.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I closed the window before I remembered to try to get a transcript somehow. Of our chat conversation, the one between a lady I'll call Vispera, from somewhere in Canada. We were playing a some 5-point matches of backgammon. We started a conversation, which is not that common for me anyway, in the backgammon tables. Usually I find people who just want to play. Maybe they tap out "hi" at the start and "gg" toward the end of the game.

Anyway we got to talking about where we were from. This led to her disgust for how she and her husband were treated at a Houston airport where they were held for five hours just because they were Iranian. They were only on transit flight from Mexico back to their home in Canada. She mentioned also that a Pakistani who was there, who didn't even have a visa, was granted a 3-month visa.

It's high time we took a look at how we confuse vigilance with being a bully.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Now I will write about a couple of the essays in Harper's before I scurry off to work.

One short excerpt from an article, titled Wot, that appeared in the Scottish publication, ...ah shoot I don't find it now. I read some of this which is all in the Scots English dialect.

21 minutes before I have to be at work. Boom, I hit another piece, but I had to leave a blot myself.

Man, I've two stones caught in her home board. 1341 got to be at work at two. Am close, though.

Ha ha! Think she's got me? Drat! have still got a piece I'm trying to get off the board. I lost.

Got to go to work. Will add more and finish about the Harper's later tonight.

Except that I've two stones built on his or her three point, and he or she has me blocked with a 5 almost prime.

Am I still there? Yes yes is all I can reply. Ach! I rolled a six and have to move one of those two on the 3 point. Now the enemy does have me on the bar with a prime. Well, in the next move only 5 points in a row blocked.

But that piece is still on the bar. And the only point open to me is his one, so even if I roll a one and get on, he/she may bounce me.

Rolled three turns now and still on the bar. Now I'm finally off but way behind in pips. Racing to get to home board and one off so I only lose a point. There we go!

Lost that, now 2-1. Fourth game started and underway. I've got 139 to his 126 pips so I'm behind.Time now 13:38.

My wife's mowing part of the lawn now. I made her promise to leave me some to mow early tomorrow. Yes, well, I tried to get her to leave me the whole thing. Now Opponent's got 1,2 and 4-7 blocked, with a loose stone on the 8, one on the 5, and one on the 9. I've got a stone on the bar, and 6-8, 10,11 blocked. Mine are the brown, hers the white.

If you're interested, you may wish to start playing at Yahoo Games, or do like I did and start practicing on the free game that Microsoft often packs with their bundled software.

Friday afternoon playing backgammon. Liistening to a symphonic piece on the radio. Lawnmower sound approaches from across the street.

I need to scrub some sand off a pair of running shoes. Need to change into my work uniform.

Lawnmower turned off, six minutes after start of this post. My wife walks over to the front door to peer throught the screen. All but two of my stones are now in my home board. However the opponent has two pieces blocking my 6 point, but then I moved the last two to block the 7. Earlier he or she doubled.

Have been reading my latest issue of Harper's and also opened up the web site for my first look at it. Very nice.

Won my first game, now 2-0 and looks like I'll win this one too.

Thursday night, I'll try typing this in Lucida Grande font. Not bad, if this is how it should appear.

Was playing backgammon with a lady from Oregon. She got called to the phone, and I don't know if I'll wait much longer. Too bad I don't know if I can force a forfeit now, after I chose to wait.

I just want to hit the linen covered tick.

And tomorrow I turn in all my TA-50!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wednesday afternoon. Writing in Georgia font. Sitting in my black jeans, no shirt, my gut just slightly bulging above my belt line. Uggghhh. Need to return to the gym, and keep up a regular habit of it.

Today's Rimbaud's birthday. Yes, the poet. Time was, he used to be my favorite poet, back when I myself aspired to poet-hood. Garrison Keillor includes a brief bio of him in the Writer's Almanac:

When he was sixteen, Rimbaud wrote a letter to one of his teachers, describing his poetic philosophy. He said, "The first task of any man who would be a poet is to know himself completely; he seeks his soul, inspects it, tests it, learns it...Every kind of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself; he exhausts every possible poison so that only essence remains."

Following that philosophy, Rimbaud began hopping trains to Paris, usually without a ticket, where he lived on the street and often wound up in jail. People from his hometown would bail him out, and he'd go home to his angry mother, only to run away again a few weeks later.

To read the rest, click here...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Monday morning, still dark. Been awake since 4:44 am. Have showered, dressed, and ate a hearty breakfast while it's still dark. Today is the fourth day of Ramadan.

Annie Franck is watching a spider and a moth which is struggling in its web.

I'll be driving in a minute to Claxton to substitute for a social studies teacher.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I had already posted something, but it got lost in the creation. So was it created? If so, where does it exist? Already as a faded memory?

Mid-Tuesday morning, listening to the Tri-Colored Hat by Manuel de Falla. I always think of my mother when I hear of or listen to the music of de Falla.

Have thought of a way to enjoy coffee without its damaging effects to my digestive and nervous system. Spit don't swallow. Seriously.

Tuesday mid-morning once again. Only it's the end of the first dozen days.

Ceiling fan swirling, something in the rotor ticking. Piano music from the radio. A gentle light pitched humming from the fans switch.

I just thought of a way I can enjoy coffee, which is bad for my stomach, esophagus, and nerves, but still enjoy the taste. Don't swallow, spit! Why didn't I think of that before? And I already forty four!

There are two different things I've been diagnosed with. One is irritated bowel syndrome. In Sweden, they're still calling it dyspepsia.

Another thing is gastric reflux. Is that part of dyspepsia? Just now, I was reminded of things to avoid in order to ameliorate the condition.

When did I get this letter from the office? Friday? Re-reading it today, I realize that among other things, it's asking me to create an essay which I must turn in by next Monday, the 18th, no later than 1700, to the Director in Vidalia. The subject of the essay must be myself, professionally, and my goals. Ugghhh.

Why is it when striving toward Nirvana the world itself brings us back to ego? Let me get started.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Monday. [font of choice, Verdana]:
[music of choice, Sonatina by Federico Morena]
[hero of choice, Tiresias]
[god of choice, Zeus]
[goddess of choice, Hera]
[baseball team of choice, the New York Yankees]

And so on, and so on. I've lost my d.l., and don't feel comfortable driving across three counties to go to class. My wife is more upset than I that, due to inflation, there is a big hike in the house insurance due to the inflation hike. How much did inflation climb in how short a time?

I'm looking in a copy of short fables and stories by Augustin Monterroso, La Oveja Negra y dema's fabulas, for a story about the different christs or messiahs of the rain forest. In "El Salvador Recurrente," we read that in the Jungle it's known that there have been an infinite number of Christs, before and after Christ.
Each time one dies, immediately
another is born who always preaches the same as his atecedant and is received according to the prevailing philosophy of the time. He or she is never understood. There is a cyclic, eternal sense of time and being conveyed in this story, a pithy parable pointing to the futility of idealism, the promise of being true to one's self.

I'm driving north to Smitty's Bar to see if somehow my license dropped there, and someone (like Smitty) found it. Meanwhile I leave you with this, which may or may not have to do with our Guatemalan essayist and philosopher.

Sunday night, with sixteen minutes left to this day. Sixteen till midnight.

I need to close down so I can get enough sleep to function as a student and a father tomorrow. And there's so much else to do.

The choice of our book club is Flyboys. More on that tomorrow.

My own personal choice is Ovid's Metamorphoses. Also more on that later this week.

Aloha! Salve! Iassou!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Saturday now, just 51 past midnight: listening to Jazz through the Night. I think it's Bob Parloche doing the dj thing.

I've got a glass of cold rice milk and a cinnamon flavored rice wafer on which to snack. Yes, I'm on a diet. But this is nice, what I have now. For a long time I've just been bored with what I eat, and have no more joy in my usual routines. Except last Monday night when I drank a very good pot of fresh coffee after midnight, when I had to go to work at two o'clock in the morning.

Earlier this night, on the other side of this midnight, I was playing backgammon at Yahoo games. Thanks to XP, now I've got the Java to play there. Before, it was almost never, probably because I didn't have the right Java VM.

One fun aspect of playing backgammon at Yahoo! games is that you can get rated, and you can join tournaments if you want. Also, there is a field for virtual chat which is refreshing to one who has just been playing on Microsoft's Zone free game, in which there's a set list of stock phrases to select in order to communicate.

Did any of you watch the debates? I refer to those for the Presidential Elections. What did you think?

I remember now, listening to Simon interview Daniel Schorr on NPR's Weekend Edition of their morning news.

Three days ago, I was going to start a blog in Spanish. So I did. And now I've even more work in blogging than before. But I think it will help me get more in touch with my expression and thought in Spanish.

Oh! The Tri-Cornered Hat will be played next on Performance Today. By Manuel de Falla.

Now that I've editted this post which was begun Saturday morning, I'll call my colleague regarding a presentation we must do Saturday or Sunday.

[Editted on Tuesday, 12 October, Columbus' Day, at 10:43

I just learned that National Geographic is sponsoring the following event:

In the Footsteps of Zeus
Wednesday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Cosponsored with the Embassy of Greece and the Mountain Institute
Members: U.S. $14; Nonmembers: U.S. $16

It's listed under "Single Events" on its web site, but somehow I don't think it's an event for singles.

It's now 01:11 and I"m shutting down to get some shut-eye.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Tuesday, still. Also in the mail is the latest issue of The Sun. I've just opened it to the "Correspondence" pages. I hope to contribute to their next issue, in the"Readers Write" section. This month's topic is "Weddings." Other articles this month include "At Hell's Gate," a soldier's jouney from war to peace, by Claude Anshin Thomas; "The Beauty of 2nd Avenue," by Michelle Cacho-Negrete, and Eric Anderson's poem "The Problem With Bullets." There may be other pieces in it of more merit, but as I say, I've just opened the magazine.

Starwatch is on! I need to have a better ability to concentrate on demand. The name of Carol Rutland is behind the voice.

Now to get started on my homework. For real! [Time now, 14:00]

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
---Jesus, from Matthew 13, v. 44

Last week, during a visit to the Public Library of Vidalia, I found and checked out the Penguin Homer's Iliad, recorded on cassette tapes by the actor Derek Jacobi and Maria Tucci. It's from the translation by Robert Fagles. I was delighted to find them, and am very content to listen to them.

Speaking of listening, this morning I listened again to Serenade for Strings by Tchaikowsky. I must give it another very attentive listen. Yesterday, while driving to my pedagogy class at Brewton Parker, I listened to El Amor Brujo, by Manuel de Falla. That too should merit a closer listen.

I'm supposed to adjust a lesson plan of mine for gifted children, to turn in for the above-mentioned class, which is titled Exceptional Children in the Classroom, taught by Professor Nora Harper. And the observation sheet for the classes I've observed is overdue.
So as soon as this is posted, it's "nose to the grindstone."

In the mail here today: Congressman Jack Kingston sent me a letter thanking me for contacting him regarding H.R. 2844, the Continuity in Representation Act of 2004. The bill passed in the House on 22 April of this year, and is now up for consideration by the Senate.

Habitat for Humanity has sent me another letter, with a pin in the shape of a little house, asking for funds. Worthy cause indeed! If only I were a millionaire! As it is, I might find some nickels and dimes, and scrape some more together to send them a check or money order.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Friday. Drinking black coffee, that's me. Listening to the report of the assault on Samarra. Now listening to reports on Israel's assault on Gaza. And now on a suicide bombing in a mosque in Pakistan.

Hematidines feast on the pigments in crabs blood. Scientists are trying to figure out how they enter the crab.

Why do people make jokes about the viola? Shin Yun Hwong playing the viola now at the Appalachian Summer Festival. A piece for viola and piano.

Playing backgammon. My pieces are brown. I blocked his 7 point spot. White bounced a stone off his 9, I came off the bar and bounced one off my ten. And with a three, I came off my 12 and bounced another off his ten.

A few moves later, and I'm losing. It's nine minutes after I started this entry. The music continues. A red pickup truck passes by my house. My coffee is cooling, half a cup still full.

My National Geographic is open to a photograph of a bar on Bourbon Street.

I lost. Gave him backgammon. The game had lost its zest.

Anyway, I had visited Writers Almanac before pulling up my blog post page. Today's Tim O'Brien's birthday. Has anyone of you ever read or listened to his books? I want to get one, now that I've read his bio and gone to his web page.

Am I depressed again today? And just too inured to being this way to do anything constructive about it? Let me not worry about it. Another warm up on that coffee, before I check my email. Time now, 1020. 19 minutes to do this entry. As I decide to press the publish button, a jay calls out, the locust saws its low pitched buzzing. A cardinal pips.