Monday, August 23, 2010

Vacation in Vorarlberg Top Ten

(in no particular order)

1) After a week without her, waking up with Adinah and walking out of our cabin to see a fleet of hot-air balloons spread across the sky.

2) An actual conversation, two large goblets of red wine and some smooching with Anette on our hotel room terrace under a big bright moon.

3) Watching V swim by herself for the first time.

4) That juicy roast ox I ate last night.

5) All of us in one bed watching the Teletubbies dubbed in Dutch tonight before we put the kids to bed.

6) Listening to Adinah reading a book called Unicorn Wings in English.

7) Watching Roger Corman's Not of this Earth, for the very first time, on the train out here the other night. It must have cost forty-three dollars to make, and it's go great, and even sort of creepy.

8) Did I already mention that big goblet of red wine?

9) The view from on top of today's mountain.

10) Eight minutes alone in the sauna today.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Home Alone Sunday Listening

(pretty much in this order)

Alexei Rybnikov & Dmitry Rybnikov-Through The Thorns To Stars (Bootleg)(soundtrack to Humanoid Woman)

Ron Geesin - Electrosound

Buddy Holly - Not Fade Away (The Complete Studio Recordings and More)

Mike Oldfield-Tubular Bells

The Jimi Hendrix Experience-Axis Bold as Love

Joni Mitchell-Court and Spark

Various Artists-Hotel Costes Volume 4

Pentangle-Basket of Light

Sol Kaplan, Gerald Fried and Alexander Courage- Star Trek Original Television Soundtrack Volume Two: “The Doomsday Machine” and “Amok Time”

Grace Jones-Warm Leatherette

Captain Beefheart-Doc at the Radar Station

Elton John-Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Friday, August 13, 2010

Giggling in the Dark

My mind doesn’t always move in a straight line, so bear with me for a few paragraphs here.

As some of you may have guessed, I’ve been going to some Kino Unter den Sternen (cinema under the stars) nights lately. Vienna summers being what they are (i.e. colder than San Francisco and rainy as hell), the weather hasn’t permitted it every night, but so far this year I’ve seen The Damned, In a Lonely Place, In the Heat of the Night and just the other night, Goldfinger.

Okay, I’ve seen Goldfinger about a million times, but I had the night off, and I thought, ‘It’s spectacular, gotta be nice on a big screen, and really, how many warm nights do we have left this summer?’

Of course, I laffed my ass off at stuff I’d never noticed, and I got caught up in the sheer velocity of the sequences all over again. Halfway through my second large cold beer, I had what appeared to be a thought. Goldfinger should be a key text for me. The whole thing is besotted with gadgets—the laser, the super Aston Martin, the junkyard auto compactor, etc. It’s pure techno-filia, drenched with the belief that fancy machines will save your ass. (Or kill it.) But @t the end, Bond himself cannot defuse the Bomb—he’s baffled, and he even panics a bit. It’s a marvelous joke, because in the end, one realizes that even though the superspy likes all this hi-end junk, he’s actually pretty lo-tech. Bond is all fast fists and Martinis. Like me.

No. What I mean is I really identify with this teetering between techno-filia and techno-phobia. I love my computer. I just don’t understand it.

Anyway, this beer-battered epiphany of mine wasn’t the best thing that happened that night.

During the climactic Fort Knox sequence of the film, as everything is accelerating and it’s all pretty ridiculous but you don’t care because it’s so fun, I noticed two teenage girls sitting behind me. They were giggling in the dark, and talking non-stop, apparently about the movie. They were tickled pink. Maybe it was the first time they’d seen Goldfinger. Or any James Bond besides Daniel Craig. Or any film older than Lord of the Rings.

After the movie, I saw them spill out onto the path that leads to the street. They were still giggling as they ran over to pick up the schedule for the rest of this film festival. Then they scampered, chasing each other out, altogether in a tizzy about this crazy, corny, really ancient movie they just saw, yeah!

How great to witness such teen gaga discovery, such a rush of thrill and spritzing enthusiasm!

I smiled to myself. My daughters will have moments like this, years from now. Giggly discoveries with each other or with friends. By that time, I won’t be hanging out with them as much as I do now, so maybe I won’t see them capering around exactly like this. That’s okay. But it’s sweet to think they may laugh and hoot at stuff which I’m too over to care about, at things I’ve long taken for granted.

Youth isn’t always wasted on the young. When you’re fifteen, everything’s an adventure, especially if you’re out with your friends. At fifteen, there are so many things left to discover. When you see Goldfinger for the first time, it seems like the most outrageous artifact of a prehistoric time. You can’t even believe someone actually made such a zany film. Without CGI!

Dear reader, please do not cynically judge me. I do not miss that joy of discovery. I experience that joy every time I Google. It’s just nice to catch a glimpse of things to come for Adinah and V.

It makes me happy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If I had a Hammer

I’ve been watching too many movies.

I’ve been eating too much salt. I’ve been writing too little. I’ve not been practicing yoga. I’ve been preaching to the converted.

I want a cold beer. I want to be better at conflict resolution. I want to be less sarcastic with my kids. I want another good HP Lovecraft book. I want a decent plate of nachos. I want a date with my wife.

I need to see that eye doctor (but I can’t!) I need to straighten out some business affairs, and pay the dentist bill. I need to make a memory box and start a Life Book for V. Jesus Christ, I need a break. I need to interrupt less and listen more.

I wish I had more hair on my head. I wish I had a stronger chin and actual eyebrows. I wish I had more money. I’d love it if I had more friends of my own (but friendships require time and care.) I wish I could read an uplifting newspaper article about politics and the economy in the USA. I wish I could vaporize Al Quaeda, the Taliban and the drug cartels in my beloved Mexico. I wish I had Kung Fu superpowers.

But today I’ve got to teach my class. I’ve got to pick up my kids at 3, then pick up the new closet shelves at the carpenter’s shop. I gotta read that paragraph that Anette wrote for Harvard. I gotta get a line on you.

I’ve got to tell them, ‘I love you.’

Tuesday, August 3, 2010