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What I've Seen and Heard

23 July 2001

Newspaper reading for today is all I've got to report on, and all this from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, so it has got a decided plebian slant. It is good news to hear that Bush has agreed to tie defense shield negotiations to arms reduction talks, for nobody wants an escalation and if that is indeed what such a shield would bring, well ... screw that. And I hear that they're going to retire to some chalet in British Columbia (or some other northern province) in order to limit the access of protesters, when the time comes for the next G8 summit. Limit indeed. Taking the idea of a summit to a whole new level. (Oiy!) (*slapshimself*) But it makes me think of a story I saw on TV about some environmentalist radicals that hiked dozens of miles up a Colorado mountain to bomb (and destroy by the resulting fire) a multi-million dollar resort under construction, in the name of environmentalism, as the resort was claimed to endanger some sort of animal. It is heartwarming to see such conviction, in truly is. And yet

And as Chinas WTO membership looms and Chinese businessmen cram for the upcoming onslaught of new laws and regulations Im encouraged to continue my study of Mandarin. It is a fine language, to be sure, and Id gladly study it even if it was incredibly lucrative. (*smiles*)

I have to smile in parentheses otherwise it en-bold-ens my smile, which is something that I find unacceptable.

Reading about the Twins (the baseball team from Minnesota), Im struck as I always am by how marked are the differences between what payrolls run from team to team, and from big market teams (like the Yankees), to a team such as the Twins. There is a baseball player for the Texas Rangers by the name of Alex Rodriguez and he has a contract for I forget how many years thats well over $100 million. This article I just read that his yearly average for the contracts duration EXCEEDS the total payroll for the Minnesota franchise. Such disparities threaten the balance of the game, as big city teams can throw tons of cash into players and stadiums and small city teams do their best just to field a complete roster. Our team, the Los Angeles Dodgers are no exception to the big market excess, and yet the results are less than thrilling. The Twins, by comparison, have the second best record in their leaguebaseball being divided into two leagues, the American League and the National League. A division that stems from a historical melding of competing leagues that banded together to make ms dinero, but

This rant is currently rained-out on a account of what I like to call my Rich Auntie Whos Sending Me to Paris. Shes a taskmistress, this Auntie.

24 July 2001

I did no proper reading today, so I'll instead write about what I read off the papers at work. As I might have mentioned, I work in a document processing department for this company, Gerald Gundersen (name changed to protect yours truly), that's both a consulting firm and a legal firm (I take it). In any case, we're handing documents from this organization called The Lutheran Foundation of Alaska (name and state changed to protect me, again), a multi-million dollar corporation that handles church finances and private investments from many of Alaska's wealthier parishioners. In any case (oh I just now went back and edited the names to protect The Innocent; namely, Me), Gerald Gundersen represented the L(utheran) F(oundation) of A(laska) and when the LFA was sued by the state of Alaska, LFA turned around and sued 'us', Gerald Gundersen. I use 'us' very loosely, as I feel no genuine loyatly so ...

*smiles*

In any case, the most enjoyable part of the job comes from moments like today when, while sifting through documents and instructions from a Prep-person (one who prepares documents for scanning and leaves detailed notes--hopefully!, but seldom--so that the documents can be Re-Prepped (by fine folks like me... all so boring but I mention this just for the sake of keeping things clear) I came across handbooks and letters and receipts from the 1960s, not so distant an era, but ... the photographs in the brochures and newspaper clippings were certainly part of a bygone era. And really feeds my imagination, like moments when I see pictures of my parents from around that time, so thin and happy. Which reminds me ... you now get an email regarding the disk I received in the mail today, and which I found only on my way out to work, and which I saved for my first break to open so that I could have a little joy mid-job, mid-shift, early-evening, thank-you.

25 July 2001

Again, zero reading.

So I'll talk about nothing (again).

There is a lot of junk on my desk. Envelopes from cheques (hmmm) and cards for local department stores that give discounts if one signs up for their cards (hmmm) (which I did, buying myself a handful of shirts for work ... ), various receipts for said shirts and a credit card agreement and receipts for Blockbuster Video, also The Power of One ("Now A Major Motion Picture"), napkins (??), a chequebook and oh and oh very nice to look at little martian men in lovely colo(u)rs--wow, going Brit full monty now aren't I ?

Let me and my exhausted back think about Paris out loud for a minute or two, okay ?

I definitely want to go into a nice boulangerie or patisserie or a nice market stall or two or three and buy some good things to eat and then retire to a nice bench along a nice side alley of the Seine (or some river similar) and eat it in the shade of those lovely towering trees that resemble sometimes cypresses and sometimes willows but you know what ? I really don't know trees very well, so it's like asking a blind man to describe Andy Warhol's work ... its like ...

this and like that and liks this (and) uh ...

I think my back is getting stronger, having to be erect so long in these crumby chairs we've got.

Okay, back to Paris. Whew! That was a close one.

Perhaps you are wondering what distinguishes these postings from emails. Mmmh. And a good bit of wondering that is.

And the answer ?

Well I haven't got one yet. I'm stalling, you see, until the time when I'll read daily and be able to post proper musings on the digested texts-o-da-day.

I was just thinking (out of the blue) that you'd make a good ol' school governess. Tutoring and instructing and instructing and tutoring and being confided in and assistant in the capture of butterflies (and their subsequent release).

It's funny.

I really have very limited concrete plans for Paris. I want to see a movie with you and ... that's about it. Oh, and read and be read to in some comfortable spot. Hmmm. What else ? Break bread, of course. Maybe hit those lovely book stalls dans le (la?) Quartier Latin. Stroll around the town until I feel at home ...

koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson ...

26 July 2001

By now, perhaps, you've caught me red-handed, writing these posts the day after the date posted, but ...

I'm blank as a philosopher's slate, I'm afraid. So I will do as a writing instructor once instructed me ... and make like so:

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Okay I'm writing now this is absurd, but Mr. Jennings said do it and so I am. Ben, has he left yet for the former totalitarian state and what does your mother think of it all, considering he was a good fellow to her or was that another of your admirers, its so hard to keep them all straight in my simple American head. *smiles*

I stopped. This is counter-productive. Or is it ?

You know, let me address something that I thought a bit about at work this evening. You seemed very nonchalant on the phone. Thats really not the best word to use but I can't think of another one that doesn't involve ... okay I thought of another one, you seemed very impassive and very stoic (two words, okay) (well, they both mean the same thing, more or less), laconic even (three).

How do you account for this ?

Were you tired, is that the main thing ?

I felt like I was keeping you. You were perfectly courteous as always and laughed at all my ridiculous nervous spoutings, but ...

*smiles*

It goes deeper than that.

Nonchalant. Hmm, the word somehow seems to fit, though only you can confirm that.

*smiles*

(gee, i'm smiley tonight)

31 July 2001

Okay, I'm going to start dating these postings properly. And I'm going to widen the scope so as to make it possible to write about specific notions about a specific subset of Us-ness. That sounds terrible, but I'll leave it there for the sake of speed.

Let's widen the range of topics to cover all media. And by media I guess I mean any means of communication, including the aesthetics of (media) and the concrete expressions of (media)--poetry, paintings, radio, Teletubbies, Jane Austen, Basement Jaxx, Microsoft, British Telecom, Vivendi-Universal, haiku, hip-hop and Hellenistic depictions of dance on urns n' stuff.

Okay ?

How's that grab ye, Georgie, ol' girl ?

Radio:

I listen to KCRW 89.9 (Los Angeles), mostly, and this is station that broadcasts that annoyingly voiced literature show I mentioned once upon a time. The other day I heard this gal, Lisa Shaw, singing with some outfit outta Florida, a song called, "Differently" and its not a terribly interesting song but it sure felt good when I was sitting there the other evening at work, wolfing my burrito, and the sang gave me a great sense of tranquility and also managed to sort of vitamin-ize me, and pick me up from the floor of drudgery, a sort of doldrum boredom. And its almost one of those "Coming to you life from the hereafter ... ", not unlike who was it ? The dude that warned Ulysses from across the Styx ?

In any case, I also a decent new piece by Orbital (tail-end), that apparently featured David Gray on vocals. And then there was a new Groove Armada track. So this keeps me buoyant after the first four-hour stretch.

And I stuffed poetry into my wallet, so that when in moments of severe traffic or vehicular breakdown or long visits to what sailors call 'the head', I can better myself and my diction.

I first came to KCRW via this man, Garrison Keillor, who hosts a sort of variety show from Minneapolis, Minnesota, once upon a time a very frontier kind of town that featured lots of Swedes and Norwegians and Finns (sic ?). Exciting folks, those Nordic types.

This Keillor is a very endearing fellow and of course his show follows that mold. Very literary and very musical and very folky and very timeless. Very heartwarming like a kettle on a stove of the mind.

This was the entre.

What followed were great world news programs and great music that I happened upon while commuting from home to UCLA in the wee hours. I'd wake up at 4am, shower and breakfast and be well on the road before 5am, heading to school before dawn. The news program was called Morning Edition, suitably enough, and this is really a very BBC like show, very informative and very classy and truly world-class in breadth and depth and character.

I then ended up hearing about a music show called Morning Becomes Eclectic. First time I listend to it, I heard Emmylou Harris and Beck and Bach, Joe Jackson and Bjrk and Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo and Nick Drake and Johnny Cash and ... all in about 40 minutes time. So I was hooked.

About 90% of the music I listen to these days comes out what I've heard or been led-to via KCRW. Not bad. Pretty productive.

But let me tell you sometime about This American Life.

12 August 2001

I saw PLANET OF THE APES with my folks on Friday, before heading in to work. English ape Helena Merchant Ivory Bonham Carter was supposed to have had a love scene with the American human Mark Wahlberg, but apparently it was nixed for being what ? Too provocative ?

It is very well that they kept it out. But not for interspecial (that doesn't read like it ought to, does it ? trans-species, maybe ... ?) sex. I mean, who needs another love scene ? Honestly ...

Wait. Sex scene, I should say. Love scenes aren't really made much anymore. Hmmm, and now I sound like I'm seventy years old and then some.

Such an empty movie. Don't see it. It's not even worth it for FX or escapist purposes and the costumes, etc, while quite an improvement on the original films are still ... just costumes there to tell a fantastic tale void of anything the first few minutes of the film doesn't touch on with clarity enough--that creatures of different kinds treat each other poorly and that it's unfair and ...

One thing that was actually interesting was the fetishistic gaze with which Bonham Carter's character looked at the Wahlberg. Argh.

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