Month: March 2006

Calling All Woodworkers…

There’s no way I’d ever be able to justify spending this much money on this thing, but if you have the slightest inclination to make these things,

Cuboro labyrinth blocks

would be a good birthday present…

Gods of the Supermen.

Some superheroes have religion. Maybe not the same religion you have, but they got it.

(Via Ghost of a Flea.)

The Problem of Setting Down What You Have to Say

Do you ever have the feeling that there’s something that you need to say, and you have no idea what it is, let along how to go about it? I sometimes feel like there’s something or other that’s waiting to come out and that there’s no way of telling what it will be until it does come out.

I’m waiting again.

I find myself writing things down at odd moments, the beginnings of stories. On the one hand, it’s a good thing, because I’m seeing a pattern in the way I’m coming up with ideas for stories. I have a problem with conflict: I start with a sceniario, and I know how the story’s supposed to end (supposing I get it that far), but they keep turning into fairy-tale-type surreal dreamlands (And then…and then…). But I haven’t had this kind of compulsion to write this way for years, since I gave up writing poetry. Stories, for me, usually start out with an idea, a plan, a conscious decision. But lately they’ve been starting out with the same kind of compulsion I felt when I was writing poetry: there’s something that must be said, I have no idea how to say it, and I have to keep trying until I can find a way to say it, however imperfectly it comes out.

I hope it’s a good thing — but it’s always strange to find out that the part of you that “thinks” isn’t the part of you in charge, when it comes right down to it.

And this wasn’t what I wanted to say at all. I sat down intending to bitch about people who haven’t written or updated their blogs lately. (If you were at a wedding lately, it’s probably you…)

Georgia on My Mind.

I’d decided for some reason that I was going to listen to the different versions of “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer,” but I only came up with seven or so. I tried “Georgia” next. Voila.

There are over 130 published recordings of the song “Georgia on My Mind.” I listened to snippets of at least that many, anyway. This is one of the great things about online music services — other people spend years pursing this kind of knowledge; I spent a somewhat obsessive four hours or so. I’ve always liked the song. I’ve always been a little weird. So there you go.

The song was written by Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael in 1930 for a woman named Georgia. Ray Charles, in 1979, performed it in front of the Georgia General assembly as a symbol of reconciliation after the civil rights movement, and the state adopted it as its official state song.

The versions that I listened to ranged from the sensual to the reminiscent to the merry. One of the things I learned, oddly enough, is that “Georgia” isn’t a song to be screwed around with too much. The two versions that deviated most from the range of blues/soul/bluegrass, by Deep Purple and some kind of odd band playing a calliope, were both pretty awful. I think it’s because the song is about memory and a mixture of love and regret that well-established musical styles are more appropriate. But I’d be glad of a contradiction.

(Also, for anyone who’s interested in that kind of thing, it’s meta-music: the lyrics refer to “an old, sweet song.” There’s no song that brings Georgia to mind, either the person or the state, than the song itself.)

Here are my top ten, in no particular order:

Mike Aldridge (Country/Western Fingerpickin’)
Dinah Shore (Golden Oldies, probably originally recorded in the ’40’s)
Hoagy Carmichael (I want to say Swingin’ Jazz)
Ray Charles (Blues)
Dale Miller (Blues Fingerpickin’)
Mullins and Gillispe (Blues/Jazz Fingerpickin’)
Susie Thorne (Jazz)
Mildred Bailey (Out-Holidays Billie)
Tony Rice (Country, almost Country-Western)
Herbie Mann (Jazz Flute)

I had to throw out some pretty good songs to get down to these ten, too. Except for the two versions mentioned above, all of the versions were good to listen to.

Irony.

The oil pressure light on the bug (which is a she but still has no name) had been going off. Changed oil. Changed to different oil viscosity. Listened to the mechanic explain to me (after a few people had already expressed this opinion) that it was probably the oil pump, but he wanted to do a test to be sure — also listened to his theory that the previous owner had had the light go off, waited until cold weather prevented the light from going off (colder oil = more oil pressure), and sold the car. Researched whether or not the dedicated VW seller in town would do the work for less. Told the original mechanic to go ahead with the test — as the dealership would be at least $130 more. Found out yesterday that the oil pressure was fine: a tiny little spring in the oil pressure sensor had Gone Bad.

I had to laugh. Here’s the previous owner: “Hey…I’ll dick someone else over…they’ll have to get a $700-dollar repair job…and I won’t have to disclose it, so the dealership won’t give me less money on it as a trade-in…no one will ever know…”

And it was just a spring. Just a little spring.

Coined.

***Dave invented the following term to describe the first decade of the century:

aughty.

Please pass it on.

Octavia Butler Dies.

Science fiction writer Octavia Butler died on Saturday at age 58. She was an amazing writer–a real storyteller who could lead you into the worst parts of gender and race without turning pedantic or bitter. She had amazing ideas. I haven’t read all her books yet. I can only handle one every five years or so, because they take a long time to move through you, changing ideas in their wake.

Pun.

Lee comes home from work yesterday and says that he noticed that the elevators are made by a company called “Shindler.”

That’s right. Shindler’s Lifts.

Any suggestions on what I should do to him?

Mirror Mask.

We picked this up the other day. I guess I’ve come to hold anything that Neil Gaiman does (except comic books) at arm’s length. Is it going to be good? Probably not as good as it should be. Will I like it? At least somewhat. That’s how I felt here — not as good as it should be, but I have to say I liked it. It feels like everyone involved has bitten off more than they can chew. It’s a grand gesture, but it’s not nearly as affecting as, say, Labyrinth, which this is similar to, not by a long, long, long, long, long way. There’s intellect in this movie, but not really any love.

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