Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Memories are Pictures

Some Music:

Some Words (by Earnest Hemingway):
Lying on the floor of the flat-car with guns beside me under the canvas I was wet, cold and very hungry. Finally I rolled over and lay flat on my stomach with my head on my arms. My knee was stiff, but it had been very satisfactory. [Doctor] Valentini had done a fine job. I had done half the retreat on foot and swum part of the Tagliamento with his knee. It was his knee all right. The other knee was mine. Doctors did things to you and then it was not your body any more. The head was mine, and inside of the belly. It was very hungry in there. I could feel it turn over on itself. The head was mine, but not to use, not think with, only to remember and not too much.

I could remember Cathrine but I knew I would get crazy if I thought about her when I was not sure yet I would see her, so I would not think about her, only about her a little, only about her with the car going slowly and clickingly, and some light through the canvas and my lying with Cathrine on the floor of the car. Hard as the floor of the car to lie not thinking only feeling, having been away too long, the clothes wet and the floor moving only a little each time and lonesome inside and alone with wet clothing and hard floor for a wife.

You did not love the floor of a flat-car nor guns with canvas jackets and the smell of vaselined metal or a canvas that rain leaked through, although it is very fine under a canvas and pleasant with guns; but you loved some one else whom now you knew was not even to be pretended there; you seeing now very clearly and coldly--not so coldly as clearly and emptily. You saw emptily, lying on your stomach, having been present when one army moved back and another moved forward.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Completely Unrelated

Not sure why but I have an urge to post about this song. It feels out of place here, if there is a theme to the music I've posted (which I don't know that there is) I find it hard to imagine that any Neil Diamond song would fit into it.

The song entered my consciousness sometime in college. I'm sure prior to that I'd heard it and it would sound familiar on the radio, but it wasn't until I fell in love with Natalie Portman and Beautiful Girls (the movie, not beautiful girls in general, not that I have anything against beautiful girls). As a twenty year-old there was a little shame in falling in love with the twelve year old that Natalie portrays in the movie, but watch it and you won't think I'm a creepy-dude-who-stalks-young-girls-half-his-age (hopefully, and if you do it's probably because their's something wrong with you and not me).

It's interesting that she has nothing to do with this particular scene in th movie. Maybe my smitten love for her stuck to everything in the movie like syrup. Maybe not though. The basic premise of the movie is a guy comes home for the winter and hooks up with all of his old high school friends. They're just a bunch of regular silly guys, none of them doing anything spectacular with their lives and he's the only one who has left the town they all grew up in. The scene involves all the guys hanging out in a bar and they request that the main character play a song on the piano (he plays the piano in bars in NYC for a living). This is the song he chooses, and this is where Neil Diamond enters my life. The main character starts the song, begins singing and the other guys slowly gather round, sucked in by something. Then it hits the "hands, touching hands" part and they all sing at the top of their lungs (none of them any good at it, but it doesn't really matter). And I thought, "now that's something worth something."

I get a little chill whenever I hear it now. But here's the thing, and why I'm talking about it now, until last night I'd never heard this song played at a wedding. For those that don't know my wife is a wedding photographer and I usually assist her at weddings so I have a fairly large sample size (compared to your average person). Last night the DJ played it and the dance floor came alive with dancing and singing. Even the bar tenders, who hadn't done anything besides sluggishly pour drinks all night long, started getting into it (singing and shaking their hips). I've decided it's a phenomenal wedding song. If you're not married yet play this song at your wedding, especially if I'm going to be there.

Poor Behavior

What a naughty blog this has been: quiet, sitting in the corner. I'll have to reprimand it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

End of an Era

So I'm thirty.

Now enough about that.

If you read my old blog you know about my stint/dream of being a race car driver. At 3:35am, March 5th 2008 the last remnant of that dream was laid to rest. Moments before that exact time a man some ten blocks away from my house was attempting to steal a car. His efforts were thwarted but he wasn't done causing damage for the night. He jumped in his car (not really his car, the vehicle he was driving was also stole, and ironically a little black Civic CRX). He proceeded to drive down Moraga toward the ocean at speeds well beyond reasonable for our neighborhood. When he reached 46th ave (my street) he ran his stop sign and was hit by a car traveling along 46th ave (given the time of day and the tendencies of 46th ave drivers, this car was probably moving rather quickly as well). Our car thief spun out of control.

Even earlier than night I was out playing basketball. I was playing in Pacifica so I had to drive there. Robyn was working late since I wasn't going to be home anyway. I managed to get home before her (around 10pm) and the street was full of cars and for some strange reason I decided to let Robyn have the drive-way. So I parked my little black Honda CRX on the corner of 46th and Moraga, a place I've never parked the car before, usually it's in the drive way, in the garage or directly in front of the house. Robyn came home and parked our "real" car, our car we drive all the time and owe money on safely in the drive way.

Like I was saying, the car thief, he spun out of control. The first car he hit was my little identical black CRX. He smashed into the front drivers side tire breaking it off from the axle, breaking the drivers side window and part of the front window, removed the side mirror and crushed the door. From there he spun some more and managed to hit three other cars. My car will no longer start and even if it did it wouldn't move anyway. The thief then exited his stolen vehicle and disappeared into the night. C'est la vie.

At three thirty in the morning Robyn and I both sat up in bed. She said, "what was that?" I said, "it sounded like a car accident." Given the arrangement of stop signs in our neighborhood we knew it would only be a matter of time before a major accident happened at the corner of 46th and Moraga, we usually hear people honking at that intersection or the squealing of tires and breaks daily. So when we went to the front window both of our eyes went directly to that corner and saw nothing. However, parked in front of our house was a car, with one headlight out. Two men were standing outside talking on their cellphones looking back at that same corner. Another man came out of a house and asked if they were alright. They said they were cool. We assumed they were calling the police, but were still confused by what had happened. For the amount of noise we heard there was surprising little damage or activity in the surrounding houses or street. It was almost as if nothing had happened. To fully understand you must realize that the four other damaged cars, including mine, are around the corner from our house so we couldn't see what had happened over there.

One of the men out front of our house walked away from the car and never came back, the other got back in the car and sped off.

For reasons I can't really explain we decided to go back to bed. There we laid asking each other, "what just happened?" It was impossible to go back to sleep. And it would have been a waste of time anyway because around 4:30am the SF PD arrived at our door and wanted to know if I lived there and if I owned a black CRX. I knew as soon as I heard the knock on the door my car had been damaged. Luckily mine was the only one of the cars that took enough damage that it won't start or move anymore. The other cars were definitely hurt but they at least still worked. Also, fortunately, no one was hurt.

Later that morning I called my insurance company, took some pictures of the damage, called a junk yard and scheduled a tow truck to come take the car away (they're giving me $150).

To add insult to injury the car is still parked out side and will probably be ticketed in the next hour for being in a street sweeping spot and last night someone got into the car and took everything of any value out of it (an amp and speakers).

Although I'm not overly broken up about losing the car the incident put me in a weird mood. I was on edge all day and I finally figured out what it was that was bothering me. For lack of better words I felt, "at risk." That at any second something random could happen to hurt me or the ones I love. I was also sensitive to noises yesterday as well. I started assigning importance to every sound I heard. The sharp S's and T's of the woman sitting next to me that I could hear over my headphones. Every honking horn, squeaking breaks, slamming doors was a sign of trouble. The way the man walking toward us let his feet drag across the pavement. The homeless people talking to themselves seemed more threatening than usual.

Today I feel better. I guess it's good to be thirty.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So Far...

I haven't made it very far into A Farewell to Arms yet, but this set of sentences struck me:

I sat now in the chair and an orderly of some sort looked at me disapprovingly from behind a desk while I looked at the marble floor, pillars with the marble busts, and the frescoes on the wall and waited for Miss Barkley. The frescoes were not bad. Any frescoes were good when they started to peel and flake off.

When I first read it I thought it was clever and true: no matter how bland a fresco is, to the untrained eye they all look good once they get old enough. The cracks and peeling make them legitimate. Then I remembered that one of the things Hemingway is known for is his use of subtext, so I thought about what he might be saying a little more. Maybe we can take frescoes and replace it with lives. All life seems interesting when we get to see the peeling and flaking. And given we're looking at a flashing love in the middle of a war we'll probably see a lot of interesting situations where people start to show their cracks. And, maybe more importantly, we've all got our peeling paint, so if you look close enough you'll see all of us are "not bad."

Just some thoughts. Carry on.