Thursday, April 27, 2006

"We gots a hairy chicken!"

At the office today, there is a sort of fair thing going on.
It's a celebration for the town that the office campus is in.
Every year the Conejo Valley has a weekend event, old west themed, and businesses in the area also recognize and celebrate the event.
So today, for lunch, there is grilling, and carnival games, cotton candy, cookies, ice cream, and a petting zoo.

My walk up the hill to the building I work in warned me that it was going to be an odd day.

First, the shuttle that drives between buildings was no where to be seen.
Second, a huge section of the parking lot was blocked off.

I hike to the top of the hill and see the shuttle.
What appears to be a large cow is looking out the back window.
I watch amused as folks dressed in Western wear wrestle this life-sized heifer.

Then the crowds of folks who have apparently been waiting for the shuttle have drudged up the hill and start complaining to the shuttle driver about having been waiting, and demanding to know where he'd been, and wanting to know what was going on.
His reply?

"I couldn't make the COW walk up the hill!"

The cow.
The fiberglass cow that took half a dozen people to move and carry into the building.

Later in the morning we hear several helicopters buzzing the building and much time is spent looking up local breaking news to find out what was going on, and watching the helicopters gather near by.

Michael (Hot Mikey on the Bikey), Michelle, and I head down to check out the fair and grab some lunch.
It's all very organized and there is a que set up like you're in line for a roller coaster, and very annoying banjo music is playing.

We're going down the line, making small talk and saying hello to people, when Michael leans over and says,
"Oh NO! You just started your period didn't you?!?!"

You'd think by now he would not be able to surprise me, but no-
There I am shocked by what's just come out of his mouth and all I can think to say is,

"Every time you start and I'm around you I get a hard on and you smell like cookies."
(this is what he says to me waiting to have lunch)
"Michael Darling, there is a rather large platter of cookies on that table over there."
(yes, he yelled it)
"Cookie hard ons are fine. I thought I was getting it for a hoo ha!"

A "hoo ha".
That's what the gay boys are calling it these days.

We start to head outside to where the tables are set up and Michael tries to decide where to sit (which means who he does NOT want to sit with) there's some shuffeling around and pleasantries exchanged and somehow two conversations are going on.

I say I want to go see the petting zoo, and Michelle says, "there's a bear"
"There's a BEAR?!" I say excitedly.
"There's a BEAR at the petting zoo?!?!"
This I must have said very loudly because I hear the waves as it gets repeated behind me with different voices all the way back into the caffeteria repeating, "There's a bear at the petting zoo!"

Suddenly a surge of people started making their way out of the caffeteria, spilling past us, and headed for what must have been the petting zoo.

"Forget lunch! Let's go see the bear!" I say, trying to tempt my friends.

"With all those helicopters I doubt they are letting anyone get close." says Michelle.

"Helicopters?" I asked.

"Around the bear." she explains.

This is as we are following the crowd to a portion of the asphalt with some hay thrown down and small fencing put up.

"There's no bear at the petting zoo?" I ask disapointedly

"We gots a hairy chicken!" I guess the man working the petting zoo finds hairy chickens as exciting as a bear.

Skip this if you're not interested in La Boheme :)

“Vecchia Zimarra”

Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme has been hailed as the greatest operatic work of all time. Set in and around the Latin Quarter, it is the account of the adventures of a close-knit bank of Parisian artists cheerfully enduring all the hardships and privations customarily dictated by their career choices. Reading of Puccini's life, one can easily see how the composer was reminded of his own student days in Milan where he too underwent the Bohemian period so traditional among struggling young painters, poets-and musicians. He too once matched wits with avaricious landlords and sharp-eyed tavern keepers, and staving off frostbite and hunger pangs with liberal doses of watered wine and bean stew, passed his free hours playing cards with his fellow garreteers danding with shop girls, boasting of great futures not yet secured and falling in and out of love dozens of times. That hardly a false note sounds as the music of La Boheme evokes the high-spirited camaraderie of the opera's protagonists and illuminates their joys, sorrows, hopes and dreams owes much to Puccini's intimate acquaintance with that way of life. Knowledge of what is true and untrue to the heart of the Bohemian enables Puccini to perfectly portray the Bohemian ideals near the end of Act IV of La Boheme with the powerful aria of Colline, "Vecchia Zimarra". Affection for material objects was anti-Bohemian, but in this tightly constructed aria, confessions of appreciation are professed with an understated beauty highlighting the true Bohemian ideals of truth, beauty, freedom, and love.

Inspired by Henri Murger's Scènes de la vie de Bohème, Murger took the story from his own experiences as a desperately poor writer living in a Parisian attic. He was a member of a loose club of friends who called themselves "the water drinkers", so named due to never having money to buy wine. Murger based the characters of his story on the people and places of his life. Specifically to La Boheme, Rodolpho is based on Murger himself, Schaunard is Alexandre Schanne, Marcello is based on two artists named Lazare and Tabar, and the character of Colline is made up of Jean Wallon and Marc Trapadoux. Jean Wallon supplied the outward model for Colline, Tabar wrote, "I can still see him as when we were young, with his unkempt chestnut hair under his broad brimmed hat, his long brown coat of coarse cloth, his books under his arm," Schanne adds, "His thin nose, grey-blue eyes, and plump hands, completed one of those envelopes in which mystic souls love to dwell"..."His ecclesiastically-cut coat was stuffed with books at the four cardinal points, each of the pockets bore the name of one of our public libraries....After dining he came to Momus's to philosophize with Trapadoux, another library on two legs." According to Murger, the voluminous pockets of this coat were stuffed full of books and papers, the tools of a philosopher's trade; his coat was his office. This explains why the selling of Colline's coat in order to buy items for the dying Mimi is such a noble and compassionate gesture. By selling his coat, he was not only selling his protection of the ever present cold found in La Boheme, but also selling his very means of function and sustenance as a philosopher in the Bohemian world. The coat is a creative and professional necessity for him. He addresses the coat with the respect and regard befitting its importance in his life.

This duty as purveyor of idealism is thrust upon the audience almost as an afterthought only in Act IV revealing what Colline's true purpose in the opera is. In Act I he is nearly the comic relief of the libretto. He exchanges with Rodolfo and Marcello about the sparkling quality of the burning play. As Marcello comments on the lack of voice as the second act of the play burns, Colline in Philosopher character replies, "Profound Thought!” further in the exchange he pronounces, "What a vain, fragile drama!". These declarations are a hint to the cloaked perfection of representation of what the Bohemian Philosopher was. While on the surface his exchanges may seem comical or obtuse, in reality, his words are an accurate yet simplistic portrayal wonderfully presented. Throughout the opera, when Colline is on stage, he is the voice of the true Bohemian. This voice is heard most clearly in his aria, "Vecchia Zimarra".

Consider Vecchia Zimarra below:

Vecchia zimarra, senti, il resto al pian,
tu ascendere
il sacromonte or devi.

Le mie grazie ricevi.
Mai non curvasti il logoro
dorso ai ricchi ed ai potenti
Passar nelle tue tasche.

come in antri tranquilli filosoci e poeti,
Ora che i giorni lietl fuggir, ti dico addio,
fedele amico mio,
addio, addio.

Faithful old garment, listen,
I'll rest down here
you however, must climb
the sacred mount of piety.

My thanks you must receive.
Never has your poor worn back
bowed before the rich and

Deep in your calm cavernous
You have protected
philosophers and poets.

Now that our happy days
have fled, I must bid you
faithful friend of mine. Farewell, farewell.

In the translation of the first stanza, "Faithful old garment" relays esteem for the physical coat, as well as everything the coat represents to this man who
chooses to live a life with little or no possessions. The choice of the term "faithful" can be read as the garment's performance to its owner, but also as the owner's regard for the garment. On a wider observation, one could argue that the word "faithful" is also an accurate testimonial for Colline and his dedication to his art. As we have read, he is forever with his books, viewed as the group's library of resource and knowledge, stating simply what is right, and what is simply true.

"I'll rest down here...” the second line of stanza one is Colline's admission that letting go of his faithful friend is the end of a journey. He shares that this sacrifice, while being the right thing to do, is exhausting of his only personal comfort. Once this sacrifice is made, he will pause, and rest, to reflect and remember.

Continuing with stanza one, "you however, must climb the sacred mount of piety." He is warning the coat of the journey about to be undertaken. In Colline's sacrifice, it is his coat that now must make the sacred journey. The coat must make the journey beyond, and carry on. However, in this statement of divine duty, Puccini carefully chooses the term, "Sacro monte". Sacro monte translates to sacred mountain, but sacro monte is also Italian slang for "pawn shop." It is to the pawn shop, or sacro monte that Colline's coat will go to help Mimi in her last moments.

The first line of stanza two reads, "My thanks you must receive." Gratitude simply expressed to a dear friend. It's as if the value Colline has placed on his coat would enable the clothing to refuse what he is offering. There is no room for debate; his thanks just must be received. Thanks for what and who the coat has been to him, as well as thanks for all the coat represents to the Bohemian Philosopher. Thanks for taking on the role of carrier of knowledge, thanks for protecting the deliverer of exchange, thanks for being available to serve its role in the sacrifice of the selling.

The second line he begins by saying, "Never has your poor worn back..." He is not only addressing the bared thread of the back of the coat, but also the burden carried by his coat. While the garment may be worn in, its responsibility to its owner has also been a wearing task to bear. The coat has likely been worn for years, through snow, rain, and bitter winds. Its age and weather punishment would surely affect its stability in regard to the enduring quality of its back. In addition, the pockets, often filled with books, crammed with ideas, would be pulled and stuffed as the library and its contents changed. To bear responsibility for the passing of knowledge and the bearing of thought is most assuredly an undertaking.

The line continues, “bowed before the rich and powerful.” a testament of the highest compliment for the true Bohemian. As a Bohemian, your life is lived in the barest of ways. Only those ideas and inspirations that are required for spiritual and creative survival are the necessities of life. Success and fortune may forever be a temptation, but to remain true to your dogma, is to remain true to your art, and your Bohemian ideal. To proclaim a soul to have never given in to the allurement of the bourgeois is to affirm your faith in their trials and journeys. Colline’s coat has empowered him with all he needs. With its help, and its assistance in enabling him with his needed books and papers, the coat has become the badge of his loyalty to his ideals. In taking his coat to market, he is angelically passing his badge on for a better, more physical cause.

Line three of the second stanza reads, “Deep in your calm cavernous pockets,” As Colline accolades his garment and its sepulcher chambers. He compliments the coat for its ability to hold his volumes, as well as for its ability to bring a sense of peace and assuredness to his otherwise fluctuant existence. There is an achieved stillness in the pockets of his coat, a positive ness in certainty. Empowered with this coat, he is confident in his volumes, determined in his convictions, and protected from uncertainty. It is the coats ability to carry and bless its owner with page upon page of insight and thought provocation, while also protecting his frame. Yet Colline is a willing martyr of this forfeiture for the betterment of those in need.

The final line of the second stanza completes with, “You have protected philosophers and poets.” This line references not only Colline, as the groups Philosopher, but also those editions he is a student of. Just as Schanne glorifies the real-life inspiration for the character of Colline, the literary incantation is also seen with his ever present stack of books. In further detail, when examining the statement to refer to Colline as the mentioned Philosopher, remember that he is selling his coat to benefit Mimi, who in Act II of La Boheme is referred to as a poem. The coat has protected Colline the Philosopher, has protected the writings he has carried, and now with its journey will contribute to protecting Mimi.

The final lines of the aria begin, “Now that our happy days have fled, I must bid you farewell, faithful friend of mine.” He sings of the times last winter when their lives seemed carefree and joyous. That Christmas Eve at the Café Momus when their fine party was joyous and love and friendship abounded. Now that their insouciant days have passed, today is a time of despair and unease. With the obstacle of how to help, Colline has decided to bid his dear friend adieu to do his part in bettering the day. His coat has been faithful to protecting him, faithful to carrying his compendiums, and faithful to his Bohemian ideals. A companion in furthered study and a companion in life. Then as a true friend, the coat is part of the personal sacrifice to soldier onward for the benefit of those that are loved.
A final, mournful goodbye is expressed with the closing lines, “Farewell, farewell.” While Colline is brokenhearted, he is also resolved to do everything he can to help. He is truthful to the Bohemian dogma; persevering to live and protect the principles he lives his life under.

Colline’s “Vecchia zimarra” with its sparing and melancholy accompaniment, has a musical pathos of its own. Puccini has written an effective yet small aria that in a short amount of lines changes a perceived comic part to the conscience of the opera. The sudden change is both a disturbing element, while at once being elucidatory and divine. In so doing we are enlightened to the sacrifice made by Colline to do what is right, and true, for someone he cares for, in the preservation of the beauty of love.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Just let me make it til June 11th!

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief."

The only thing Colin and I seem to argue about is the move.
I'm not prepping enough, I've not submitted paperwork soon enough, I need to start sorting out my possesions and decide what to take.

It's all true.
On top of that Geoff has a talent for making me feel like a total slack.
He's moved up his date to relocate to the U.S. and has still been able to get everything taken care of and done before his departure.

He's even doing a practice packing.
Who practices to see if everything they are taking will fit?
Don't you just force it to fit?

The whole process is exhausting.
I'm sure part of my reluctance is that it's going to be filled with challenges.
And I'm still feeling like no one even cares that I'm going.
(Well no one on this side of the pond anyway.)

Daily I'm feeling like people here could care less and will only notice I've gone when they phone to ask me a question-
And folks there are rushing and pushing and making me dig my heels.
(As I am prone to do like the brat that I am.)

The chat today was the normal scheduled, 'You're here in 30 days, this is what I have commitments to do, this is when you can either be on your own or come sit in on my lectures, what would you like to do with the rest of the time?'

I started complaining about feeling rushed and unnoticed and tired and grumpy and stressed and scared and like a slacker.
Then I said I'm going to have some sort of grilling afternoon cocktails thingy and line up all the crap I'm not keeping, and offer to whomever comes.
He pointed out that the good thing about that is once I set a date, I'll HAVE to have everything sorted.
That's true.
But I still feel like I'm not getting anything done.

We started going through options of what I'd like to do while over this time-

Bath- to walk the scenes from 'Persuasion' and see the architecture- While stressing he is willing to go, he also stressed that maybe I'd enjoy it on my own more than with him.

Stratford-He'd happily go and knows someone who is part of some Shakespeare society, so it would be fun for him. Apparently more so than a day filled with retracing Jane Austen's steps.

Cambridge-He'd love to go. He's been several times and thinks I would enjoy it immensley.

Snape Maltings-Absolutely not. If I insist on going all the way there just to say I've been there, I can "bloody well" go on my own.

So much for supporting silly crushes :)

If I were already in the UK, these are the things I'd be doing...

The London Golf Show.
I want to try The Floating Green, ( a green floating off the docks, that you can try and hit a hole in one) and The Hitting Nets, (free lessons from pros and a chance to try new equipment.)

This Isn't For You classical music nightclub at the Shoreditch Town Hall.

Icons and Idols at the National Portrait Gallery.

Prepping for May 1st and May Morning

Instead I'm here in LA, fretting about where to begin, and watching the clock till it's time to head into traffic and on to class.

Nevermind the overly eventful weekend that is booked and all I really feel like doing is going somewhere green and doing some reading on my own.
But I'd feel guilty, which means I feel obligated, which is no reason to do anything.

It's only Monday-maybe it'll seem better in a day or two.

Friday, April 21, 2006

What's it worth to you?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Boy's Beware!

A safety film by the Inglewood Police Dept.

"one never knows what the homosexual is about"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Deadwood Season 2

This is an edited version of the last episode of season 2 of Deadwood.
Not to be listened to loudly at work or near the easily enraged.
-It's only the offensive language bits.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

From Ron-"Voltron got TOTALLY served"

Monday, April 17, 2006

For people like Colin, Geoff, and I

This short film is the story of one mans travel to and fro as told with international symbols.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

DrSteve sends talking monkeys

A link from DrSteve that lets you make monkeys talk.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Time Wasters for the Ill

I've been home sick all week-just finding out from the Dr today that I'm nearing the end of a viral infection.
Not much fun.

Due to the hours I've spent feeling icky, Colin has been sending me small pick ups to help the time pass-
Now that I'm actually feeling well enough to share, here they are-
You saw the fainting goats already,

A Japanese series of commercials,

The Easter Bunny Hates You,

a walrus doing sit ups,

Some Snape Sexie Sexie Action,

the Mr Darcy needs a kiss scene,

play some Naked Melee-if you can figure it out,

or try playing Orangutwang

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"They superimposed me man!"

Monday, April 10, 2006

"I can't see who's in the lead but it's either Oxford or Cambridge."

Go Dark Blue!!!

Oxford won the 2006 Boat Race, in a time of 18 minutes and 26 seconds and by a margin of five lengths. Oxford, on the Surrey station, enjoyed a good start in windy and choppy conditions and battled through despite intense pressure in the opening eight minutes. Both crews often sought the shelter of the Surrey bank, particularly around Hammersmith corner where they faced the conditions predicted earlier by Boat Race organiser Howard Jacobs of a "wall of wind and water". The Oxford victory - their fourth in five years - narrows down Cambridge's overall series lead to 78-73 in an event which dates back to 1829.

There is a 4 mpg, 25 minute film of the race here.

Learn all about The Boat Race from Wikipedia here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Why didn't you tell me I was in love with you? "

Got an easter box yesterday-

a case of Apple Tango,
Peter Rabbit fudge stick,
a couple of small chocolate animals with a white center,
a can of white chocolate maggots-

It's the last one that confuses me-
I'm guessing candy maggots are for the same sort here who eat gummy worms?

Start of Spring Break now, and off for a day filled with research, libraries, and school.
Not much of a Spring Break is it?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

“It takes two to tango”

London Michael, not to be confused with my frequent lunch date Michael (who has taken to calling himself Hot Mikey on the Bikey) sent me this video with the following note-

"This is more how I would see you taking him in a tango."

PlayList Meme

(Look at your iTunes-or other such music player-top played list)

What song is first on your most played list?
‘I bet you look good on the dancefloor’ Arctic Monkeys

What band appears most often on the list?
Venus Hum

What song are you embarrassed to admit is on your list?
‘Toxic’ Britney Spears

What song would you guess no one you send this to will have on their list?
Theme from Deadwood

What song is last on your most played list?
‘Darshan’ Oliva Neutron-Bomb -surprising since I play it all the time

How many entries in your list mention love?
1- ‘I Feel Love’ Blue Man Group

How many entries in your list mention death?
1- Theme from Deadwood

Is your favorite song on the list?
‘Darshan’ Olivia Neutron-Bomb

Is your favorite band on the list?
‘Win’ David Bowie

What song on your list reminds you most of yourself?
‘Bittersweet Symphony’ The Verve -none REALLY did, but I guess that’s close enough

What song would people be most surprised to find on your list?
‘Yeah’ Usher

What song from your list reminds you of your best friend?
‘Topman’ by Blur for Jeff, ‘What you waiting for’ by Gwen Stephani for Saryn

What song from your list reminds you of your S.O.?
‘Slug’ U2

Any soundtrack songs on your list?
Theme from Deadwood, Who? Wu?! From Deadwood, Iguazu from Deadwood -thats odd since its a 25 Most Played list-oh well- :)

Whose list are you most curious about?

Andrew, Geoff (though I won’t find any of their songs on the US iTunes L

St Pats 06

Monday, April 03, 2006

"We are all born mad. Some remain so. "

I'm chatting with a sleepy Colin who sends me things like this.

He's back to Dublin and Trinity from Wednesday to Sunday for the Beckett Centenary.
I'm jealous-
Don't get me wrong-I'm happy for him, and supportive-but still jealous.

At least he's agreed to an attempted kidnap if either Rickman or Irons make an appearance as part of the film festival.


to and fro in shadow from inner to outer shadow

from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself
by way of neither

as between two lit refuges whose doors once
neared gently close, once away turned from
gently part again

beckoned back and forth and turned away

heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam
or the other

unheard footfalls only sound

till at last halt for good, absent for good
from self and other

then no sound

then gently light unfading on that unheeded

unspeakable home

-Samuel Beckett