Saturday, September 30, 2017

Because sometimes you need a little Aretha

and tonight, for me, is one of those times.

She is amazing.  She still sings like an angel; check the most recent videos on YouTube if you don't believe me.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 might actually be good

As I wrote back in May, I never doubted that I would go see Blade Runner 2049 when it hit the theaters.  What I was uncertain about was whether the movie needed to exist at all and, given that it was about to, whether it had a prayer of being good.

From the early reviews--the film has a RottenTomatoes critics rating of 98% as I write this--the answer appears to be that the movie in fact may be not merely good, but excellent, a thoughtful and even mind-blowing (to some critics) sequel.

I'm by no means convinced that the critics are right, but I have now gone from planning somewhat reluctantly to catch the movie to being downright excited about it.

Until it appears next week, we can all enjoy this trailer.

I will report my own thoughts on the film once I've seen it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rufus Wainwright at the Carolina Theatre

I had the privilege of enjoying this show earlier tonight.  I wasn't very familiar with his music, but I left determined to listen to more.

Though he played mostly his own songs, he also treated us to two songs by Leonard Cohen, who was a friend of his.  One of them was this classic.

Hearing him sing it live was a gift, as live music shows so often are.

The power of live music to touch me continues to amaze me. 

Do check out Rufus Wainwright's work if you don't know it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lo-tech high-tech

As is my habit, tonight when I settled down to my late-night work, I started to plug in my phone to charge it.  The plug would not go into the phone.

I cursed the tech for failing and assumed the phone had broken on me.  It looked fine, though, so then I berated the plug on the cable for breaking.  It also appeared normal, however, so I went back to being upset at the phone.

Then I paused.  I grabbed a paper clip, extended one end, and gently moved it around inside the phone's plug receptacle.  Out popped some lint.  I repeated the process three more times, until no more lint appeared.

The plug went in easily. 

Afterward, the problem was easy to see.  I keep my phone in my pants pocket.  Clearly, lint had gotten into the small plug receptacle and filled it just enough to stop the plug from locking in place.

In the moment, though, I let my cognitive bias--tech device, therefore a tech problem--blind me temporarily to the real issue.

I'm amazed that I still have to learn such lessons, but clearly I do.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Allergy serum blues hit again

This morning, I had to get up early and drive to my ENT clinic's nearby office to pick up my allergy serum.  After some years of non-physical sparring, my previous nemesis and I have made peace, so I expected a simple trip.

Instead, I found a new person doing the stick tests, in which they poke a little of each of my serums into my arm. 

The test itself went fine, but then rather than letting me sit in the waiting room, the tester demanded I stay in the room with her--and with other patients.  The others and I found this awkward, but we politely kept to ourselves.

When it was time to check to see if I had reacted strongly to the serum, the tester decided she should lower my dosage because my reaction was on the edge of being too big.  Fine; it is what it is. 

Then we took an unfortunate turn.

"Let me put some cream on that," she said.

"No need.  It doesn't itch."

"Are you sure?  It looks like it should itch."

"But it doesn't."

"You don't have to be macho."

Now, I know that at this point I probably should have just surrendered to her cream fetish and let her rub some on my arm, but I didn't, because my arm didn't itch, and she had really annoyed me.  So, I kept trying to be polite as I refused her ministrations.  "I'm not being macho.  It doesn't itch."

"Are you sure?"


"Really?  It sure looks like it should itch."

"It doesn't."

"I don't mind putting on a little cream."

"It does not itch."  Before she could speak again, I said, "May I please leave?"

"If you're sure you don't want some cream," she said, "I guess so."

I bit my tongue and left.

I am now actively hoping for my former nemesis to do the stick test next time.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Josh Ritter has a new album out

If you're a fan of his, you already know you need to check out Gathering, this latest release from Ritter.  If you don't know his work, read some past blog entries on him for some good starting songs.

I've only begun to listen to this one, so I don't have many opinions yet.  It feels quiet and meditative, but that might change as I listen to more cuts.

This song, for example, is a quiet love song.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy birthday, Dave!

My friend, Dave, held his annual birthday pig-picking today, and it was a fun affair indeed.  Many, many people attended, many brought food to share, and Dave provided the cooked pig.  Kyle and I broke it down and sent tray after tray of meat upstairs to the hungry crowd, folks mingled and chatted, and everyone seemed to have a very good time.

I've been going to this party for something like 32 years, give or take.  People have come and gone from the party crowd, but many regulars have stayed throughout the years.  Some people I met there as kids now attend with their children.  The party serves as a reminder and celebration of not just age but also of the value of being part of a community, however odd that community may be and however infrequently it may gather.

So, Dave, happy birthday, and for both of us--for all of us who attend--I hope you keep holding the pig-picking for years and years and years to come.


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