Some recent junk to throw out from the mental attic:
Item: I made some New Year's resolutions, and I'm not going to say specifically what they are. But, just for fun, some keywords, in no particular order: sleep, autocross, money, honesty, Winter Music Conference, action without consequences, badass, Eames, playing to win.
Item: I picked up a new copy (on CD) of AC/DC's masterwork Back in Black last week, and it's hard to overstate just how awesome that record is. Every few months I still pull out my vinyl copy which I got for my birthday sometime in junior high school, or whatever it was called where went to school. (As an aside, my original vinyl LP has only black-on-black cover art, with the words "Back in Black" and AC/DC logo embossed on it--perhaps inspiration for Nigel Tufnel's famous question?) Along with Computer World, I am always amazed at how much better music can sound when there's a diamond chip hugging the jagged (yet microscopic) curves of a spiral groove on a piece of soft plastic colored with carbon black. When that groove is in the shape of 10 songs, with 3 chords in the form of a few verses, a chorus or two, a couple of guitar soli and a bridge to hold it all together, with words about Satan, sour mash, hookers, and the everlasting power of rock in the face of death and despair, well....it's pretty tough to beat, even 25 years after its release. The CD sounds fine too, and is a spectacular album for driving.
By the way, you might laugh at me about all this, but I don't care. I know I'm right.
Item: Also, I learned that I can leave my apartment as Satan's bells begin to toll, walk to Hollywood Express and be back home before Brian Johnson asks to put his "love into you, babe" and kindly offers to cut someone's cake with his knife.... I never really knew just how long it took me to walk up there and back, but apparently it's really not that far.
Item: The windowsill at the head of my bed makes a perfect place to put a beer when I'm reading or writing. The mattress holds the beer on the sill and against the sash, and if I open the window a couple inches, the brew stays cold, at least in winter.
Item: Apple introduced Intel-powered hardware today, and the final CPU transition in computer history is underway. Meet the MacBook Pro.
Item: There are certain times when driving is as much fun as I've ever had with my clothes on. Or at least, fully zipped.
I got my hardtop painted this week, and picked it up from the shop today. Weirdly, today was bright, sunny and warm (in the 50s), and was perfect for dropping the top. Ah well.
But a couple days with the hardtop off made me realize how much better the car feels with it on. The ride is much better, and it's a lot quieter--not just because there's less wind noise, but also because there's no canvas and vinyl slapping against the roof frame.
Plus, it looks boss. Even with the winter wheels, it makes me forget my pants are still tightly zipped.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, I made my first visit to Boston. I think it must have been Super Bowl weekend (so it was actually a little later in January), because I remember watching the Steelers play the Cowboys in my hotel room. (But the Steelers played today, and so that's still kind of a valid point of similarity.)
The weather then was just like the weather now: warm and rainy followed in the space of a couple hours by a quick switch to brutally cold. This is a weather pattern that Boston seems to specialize in. We're close to the water, and can be affected by warm rainmakers from further south, pushing tropical moisture ahead of them. But the cruel joke is that they then pull in Arctic air behind them as they wander away east of Nantucket. Two inches of rain in a 12 hours, and you think it's spring; 12 hours after that, everything is frozen solid, and the wind is whipping sand in your eyes. Which, oddly, doesn't feel quite as bad as the frostbite.
Now, I don't really like hats. They lead to Hat Head, among other things. I know they're good for keeping heat in and keeping ears warm. And I will fight to the death to protect other people's rights to wear them. But I don't wear them often, and I certainly don't travel with them (from North Carolina, in this case) just in case I'm going to need one during a 3 day visit. But, on that trip to Boston in 96, once it stopped raining, I had to buy a hat. HAD to. It was fucking cold, and at the time I was a country boy in the big city, and needed a hat to keep warm. So I went to City Sports and bought a hat. Dark blue, polypropylene fleece skullcap. Not extravagantly warm, but a definite improvement over not having one.
I still have that same hat. I only wear winter hats a couple times a year, but that's typically the one I wear (though I have an extremely wonderful hat that my grandfather picked up for me back then, in Norway, when he'd driven above the Arctic Circle; I sometimes wear that, depending on how "jaunty" I want to be or how little I care about "accesorizing," depending on one's perspective). The point, then, is that it has to be really cold for me to wear a hat. And that weekend, it was.
Just like today. I had to go get something from the car this afternoon, and when I saw how cold it was, I bundled up a bit, and reached for The Hat. I put it on, and off I went. It was cold, alright; in the teens, just like when I'd bought the damn thing in the first place. And windy (ditto). I trundled there and back, and returned, freezing despite the hat.
And amid the biting blasts, I got to thinking about how similar the circumstances are, and yet how different. So much has happened in 10 years, and then so little. This sounds idiotic, because that's what happens: things change AND they stay the same. But if you had told me then that the hat would be one of the things I'd still have 10 years later, I would have told you you were crazy. So, the hat has become more than a hat; it grew quotation marks, became weightier, became a "hat."
I've certainly come to realize there's WAAY more left lying around from that time than just the "hat," some of it welcome, lots of it not. And, of course, I've added to the "hat" since then too, sclerotically accumulating and blocking...
I did not expect the ensuing changes since that weekend visit to Boston in 1996. And I did not expect the permeating stasis. And given both, it's hard not to look around (figuratively) and wish that the "hat" was the only thing leftover from that time. Because if any of it went, why didn't all of it go? How does a hat survive, like a leaf stuck on a tree during a January gale?
Tim pointed me to an improbably-fantastic blog called Minor Tweaks today. While I was enjoying some of that, my attention wandered (as it does, on occasion) and I noticed a link to (I guess) that guy's other site, I Have OPINIONS!!!, a collection rants read by a voice synthesizer.
And now I am sobbing with laughter. It is the funniest thing ever. At least for the time being.
Go. Go there now.
The NeoPhi server is moving tomorrow, so there will be some downtime around here. This means that for a few hours during the day tomorrow (probably around 10AM Eastern, which is 7AM Pacific time for our viewers on the West coast, or 1500Z everywhere else) rotorglow.com, your trusted source for....um...uh....well, anyway, it won't be available, and nor will this here blog. Also my Gallery pages will be unavailable, though I think only the Mazdaspeed people look at those.
Be prepared! Bookmark all of these right now, because during the downtime you won't be able to refer to this post to get the links.
I had a fantastically gluttonous lunar new year dinner last night in Boston with Aileen, Ian and a bunch of others. They all participated in the special banquet, though I prefered to watch the jellyfish go by, and ordered a la carte. It was all quite delicious.
Now, I wish I could attribute my crazy dreams last night to all the wild food, but I actually continue to have nutty dreams pretty much every night. And this one from last night, though it may or may not be attributable to all the food, is representative:
I was at my parents house, and had been checking in on the neighbors' place for some reason or another. Suddenly, (or at least, as suddenly and bizarrely as usually happens in dreams) I was swinging (with one arm! I was super-strong!) from a very long chain out in the yard that was attached to a network of wires; the chain could slide along the wires, and I could cover a huge amount of territory. By shifting my weight, and pulling on the chain at the right moments (kind of like kicking/retracting your feet when on a swingset) I was able to swing, Tarzan-like, on this chain, sliding along the network of highwires, overflying 3 or 4 backyards in all direction. I orbited elliptically (as Kepler said would happen, though he was talking about, like, planets and stars and stuff), and really felt like I was flying. I had a great view down the long hill to the banks of the Delaware river (several miles away) over which I could see the sun rising as a giant blood-red ball just above the horizon. I called out to see if anyone at home wanted to see the big red sun rising over the river. They did not.
Oh...it is possible, (likely, even) that my flying, super-strong dream-self was not wearing any clothes.
So....yeah. Gung hay fat choi.
I have developed a(nother) bad habit.
You know all those cases where someone says something that sets your teeth "on edge?" You've heard of "gnashing teeth?" I'm doing it for real. Not when I sleep, which I used to do for a while as I fiddled with meds and nostrums. No, I mean while I'm awake, listening to various, nameless persecutors (who may number between 1 and several million--I'm not telling) say outlandish, mind-boggling bullshit
I don't show these teeth, because that's just not done. And so you'd hardly notice it, because it's not a snapping chomp, like an alligator or wolf. No slavering jaws
But when certain kinds of things happen lately, there's a brief silent incisor-grind, a minor molar-mesh, a quiet canine-crunch.
I need to stop it, and fast, because my parents lavished too much money (and I, too much time and pain) on my pearly whites, which once were supremely fucked-up, to risk them because somthing bugs me. I'd rather chip or lose them in a fight or bizarre gardening accident than because, like, stabbing a pen into my leg didn't "do the trick."
And no, I am not going into details about when this happens, but it's not caused only by politics, or sports. Though those are good guesses.