Sunday, January 15, 2006

Domesticity 1.0

Sometimes, I think I need to hire someone to clean my house. I need someone with no emotional attachments to the objects I squirrel away. This is because I am the Queen of Ephemera. Last weekend, I tried a little trash hauling and room cleaning because we were getting a new mattress/box springs set. When done we had basically flipped the bedroom, moving the bed from one side of the room to the other. I like moving the furniture around; I think that's really the only way to clean. After the bed was updated and dressed, I filled the new bookcase the Judge and MJ assembled for me.

London Theatre Poster from the mid-70'sSpeaking of cleaning, sometimes cleaning can go too far, especially when you have no control over what gets tossed. One of the those too soon tossed things I wish I had now is my uncle's olive drab shirt from the army. I used to wear it like a jacket on the weekends when I was in high school.

While not as embellished as this poster from Joseph, it was original nonetheless. Emblazoned over the patch pocket of the shirt was my uncle's last name--Gonzalez. My uncle was smart because he enlisted, was promptly sent to Germany, and never went to Vietnam. He spent his time traveling the continent and worked as a Paymaster.

I sewed all kinds of patches on the thing: a purple and yellow twin angel logo from Jesus Christ Superstar, a peace sign, and I placed a huge embroidered sun on the backside. It also had many Juarez technical school mascot pins, plus a pin that said, “Bull.”

solution to the case of the missing musicSometimes general purging is not what is warranted and I found that out about a year and one child later after I married. One day, I looked for the shirt and discovered, to my sadness, that everything, not just the shirt that I left behind had disappeared—all were victims of my mother’s over-zealous house cleaning. While I still have the patches, but the shirt completely disappeared.

Still, one good thing about cleaning things yourself, apart from "owning the purging process," is that you recover items squirreled away, things segregated from other things for some good reason at the time but now, you cannot remember why they were put away in the first place. Thus is the solution to what was in a box under my nightstand, evidence of a minidisc project long forgotten. Oh well, at least now I know where that other Dave Brubeck went, not to mention the Nick Drake box set...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Reviews of "Glory Road" and an interesting one among the pile

First off, thanks to the El Paso Times for reprinting and publishing online several vintage articles, including one by sportswriter, Roger McKown, who covered the winning game. UTEP :: Don Haskins and Ray SanchezIronically--or not, there is no mention of the racial makeup of either team, although McKown compares their height. In addition several other 1966 articles are published at the Times website, both here and here.

What interests me though, is this review from Lexington, Kentuck's Herald-Leader. It is very generous in its even-handedness, because hey, if anyone should distainfully look at the film, it's a Kentucky paper. But Mr. Clay did not, and in fact sees virtue in the film and encourages his readers to see it. As a side notation, it is also not coincidentally that the film opens the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday and Monday holiday.

Now, it's certainly no secret we've been on pins and needles for years about this project, with its David v. Goliath accomplishment, especially after forty (40!) years. At first, we wondered why don't they, then maybe they will, and finally, yes! they approved the project. Next we wondered who could play Coach Don "The Bear" Haskins. First it was Ben, then not Ben, then finally Josh.

And now, finally the day has come, but without Bobby (BJ) Hill, who died in 2002. At the time my former co-workers and I attended his beautiful service, with its marvelous choirs and accolaides. Never had I seen such sadness and rejoicing all at the same time--all for a man with so many friends from all walks of life.

Man, he would have loved all this fuss, all the interviewing and the articles. Of course, he would have said he was just "survivin.'"

BJ's gone, but many remain, especially Haskins, who last night sat the city on his knee and gave an "intimate" one-on-one storytime at the Chavez Theatre. And while he can't gripe about the various departures from reality in the Disney sports flick, "Glory Road," others already can and have in their reviews. But I certainly don't have to give them links from this blog.

(Note: the image was shot at the UTEP bookstore this past fall when Coach Haskins and Ray Sanchez, former sportswriter and author of the book, Glory Road, gave about a 45 minute Q & A, followed by a booksigning.)

Here's to the so-called "demise" of film and film cameras


This is just a quick note to vent about a "most e-mailed" article from the New York Times. In Fackler's article entitled, "Nikon Plans to Stop Making Most Cameras That Use Film," I read something that is quite one-sided. a dream of photographic history

By my way of thinking, all it would take is some major catastrophe, like Sprint being out for 4 days instead of 4 hours, for Nikon, et al., to reverse this trend to digital only. Something like, all digital files were lost because of a brown-out or major power surge, etc. The only thing needed is an understanding that there exists a new generation of film camera lovers, the gen-x, and y's, not to mention us old skool photo bugs. All of us continue embracing film, self-development and-printing, aka low tech. Even the judge, who at 17 prefers her "ancient" Advantax camera to our 5 Mega Pixel point-and-shoot.

She's smart enough to know any affordable digital out there now cannot match the speed of a basic point-and-shoot film camera. She tried (like me) to take candids, actions, and group shots of school life, but all she found was that film is still the most economical and fastest way to shoot pictures, especially when it comes to "recovery time."

Finally, the penultimate line in this article about film cameras disappearing is a blatant misstatement. Here, at Target, Best Buy, etc., film cameras go one for one, model to model against digital--to conclude, the writer does not know what he's talking about.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ah, 2 C the world again

New glasses for 2006
Fantastical views! I just picked up my brilliant pair of Rx Ray Bans, and while I need to readjust my driving in order to checkles nouvelles lunettes sur les livres my blindside, everything else looks brighter and more in focus than before. Even my distance vision revived itself a bit, as noted by the optometrist.

Listing to the Left
Everyone these days seems focused (ahem) on getting out their wrap-ups and their best lists for 2005. While I don't indulge in compiling such things, I have seen some which are very interesting. Mainly music lists, these are quite esoteric and always point me to new tunes. I especially like Michaela's (yeah, so sue me for blatant nepotism) list at DEPRAVEDfangirls, and NPR's Best CDs You Didn't Hear This Year aka Most Overlooked for 2005. The thoroughness of the NPR list helps because they nail down several categories, including classical. In addition, is the immense list compiled (in reverse order) by WXPN-FM.

Not all were for music though, as I did receive a notice in my email that grabbed my attention: the Best Fonts of 2005 by MyFonts. What a world we live in where a commercial website codifies such detail in their commodities--and a digital one at that. Thanks, MyFonts.

Wish there was a fountain pen list out there. Anyone? ...anyone?

Chato Band
Best Grunge Font for 2005--Chato Band by Columbian designer Germán Olaya

Friday, January 06, 2006

Classics to listen to: Coltrane and Montgomery

We bought two new cds last night. One is John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and the other is Verve’s Jazz Master 14 collection by Wes Montgomery. Montgomery caught a lot of flack because he interpreted pop favorites of the 60's, but today they are appreciated for what they are--great guitar playing. Whatever. The guy could play and it's sad he died too soon.

Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” is a jazz suite written in seclusion. The liner notes say he wrote for days in a little place, away from the house, his wife, and his children. It was where he could compose and work with other artists. He recorded the tracks almost in the first take and on the first track; Coltrane foregoes the saxophone and quietly chants off mike. It reminds me of Glenn Gould's original recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” On that album, you can hear him hum as he plays the piano.

Coltrane's suite praises his god outright and he wrote a long poem for the album. Because he “wore his faith on his sleeve” long before it was fashionable, he too caught grief from his peers. This effort is a sincere love poem that crosses over genres and found new and appreciative listeners. Miles Davis noted “hippies and the like” favored the album. The notes also quote the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh who said he could walk down the Haight and, at various times, hear on the same block: Bob Dylan's “Bringing it All Back Home,” Miles Davis' “Sketches of Spain,” and Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Top 20 Mosaic

Top 20 Favorited MosaicI like as a lot of people know. But here is a good reason why: it allows me to look into the past. With this website, my contacts and I see what happened 2 minutes ago or 20 years ago, and I can self-assess my photographic progress over the course of a whole year. This is what I see by using The Top 20 Mosaic. But it was difficult for me to compile my set. In fact, the original contained 75 pictures. Finally, I saw the benefit of selecting only 20. So, I winnowed and cut and said goodbye to the other 55 not included in this mosaic. Still, each of those original 75 contain the key word "2005 Favorite." I think 2005 was a success.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

the judge did all the driving

Texas certified birth certificates are now just digitized versions of the original. At least that's whatCounty Building Stained Glass I found out today. They are but ugly pixels of a scan, printed on fancy paper that tries to emulate the crisp engraved weightiness of a new dollar bill. It looks very strange. All this elaborate paper just for a crummy copy of something originally typed in Courier on an IBM Selectric. And then, the new copy wasn't even embossed by hand. I wish I had the original back, but it's now on its way to Washington or whereever they process passport applications. Also, these new certified copies cost $24.00 each. I think I purchased about 3 or 4 copies of the ones for the same price when I requested some from the county, just before The Judge started kindergarten. Ahhh, progress.

I found this out because yesterday, I let the judge do all the driving. Originally, we were going to the Remcon post office to submit her passport application, but we went to the one on Boeing by the airport instead. I think the bigger, newer post office was a good choice—lot of workers, a special person for the applications, and lots of parking.

But after turning over the application, my checks, and her birth certificate, I realized that was the only copy I had. We needed a replacement. So, after lunch, we drove to town and into the county building's parking garage. She drove to the top level, which was outsideCounty Building Murals :: Blind Justice, and there I took pictures of the downtown area. Afterwards, we went to the 3rd floor to look at the murals, then we went down to the first floor. Before I opened the door to the County Clerk's office, I told her, “Watch out, we are about to enter Beaurocracyland...home of the worker who never gets laid-off.” Actually, it was a slow day, the workers were courteous and efficient. The only thing exciting to see was the older (mid-40's) Hispanic couple getting their marriage license. I swear both the man and woman were over six feet tall. But she did look pretty in an ivory two-piece outfit and he in a nice dark suit.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mailbox Tipping

I think eggs smashed into and rocks crashed through vehicle windows should be enough activity for the bored, listless, and out-of-school slackers of 79912-land. Yet now I hear that marauding mailbox tippers are out and about in the darkness. Today, I arrived home and saw troops of neighbors sauntering down the street, inspecting the bases of their postal recepticles. I know we live in Texas (just barely) and all, so I suppose the little darlings went looking for a cow or two. Finding none, they decided to try and tip concrete and stucco mailboxes with their everready Fix Or Repair Dailies. Yee haw. So far though, ours looks ok. Although...we do have a bit of egg remaining on MJ's vehicle, a souvenir from All Hallows Eve.

Note: If you can get your hands on St. Clair's book, " The Secret Lives of Color ," go for it! It's absolutely beautiful...