Monday, June 20, 2011

The Big Cry of the Heart

I didn't realize that Clarence Clemons had died until I opened up my laptop yesterday morning and saw the news.

It was a gut punch like I haven't felt for a long time.

Even though the stroke that ultimately did him in came the Sunday before, so we had almost a week to hold our breath and send him all the mojo we could muster, Clarence's death was not, could not be something we were prepared for in any way. He'd been hurting, but he was still so vital, still harnessed vast forces of music and energy and all-but-universal good will. This wasn't right. This was altogether untenable. The Big Man does not succumb. A stroke does not bring down a forever young maker of saxophone magic. "His loss," as Bruce wrote in his beautiful tribute statement, "is immeasurable..."

There have already been some really nice pieces written, and hopefully the tributes will continue for a good long time. Cory and I had to run off to appointments yesterday - meals and meetings and rehearsals; and it was Father's Day, which rightly required phone calls free from mourning. But now I need to mourn, loud and long. Keening to the sky, a cri de coeur that can only aspire to match the wailing moans of loss, of longing, of desire, of joy, of triumph, of wordless uncategorizable feelings that poured from his horn so freely every time he raised it to his lips.

I love these shots, the top one by Peter Klaunzer with its straight ahead muscularity, and this one by Jeff Kravitz, with a halo around his black beret and the light piercing through. But I hope the Big Man won't mind if I close this with some un-rock-and-roll imagery. Already miss you so much.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Go the F*#k to Sleep

Perhaps you've heard of Go the F#*k to Sleep, the new Not-Really-a-Children's-Book by Adam Mansbach & Ricardo Cortes. It's been getting more than a little media attention these days, and its press run has already crept up toward the half-million copies mark. Why? Because it's f*^king brilliant is why:

Mansbach, according to the official version of the story, was frustrated for the umpteenth time by the time and effort involved in getting his 2-year-old to go to sleep for the night, and posted on Fbook a joke to the effect of: "Be on the lookout for my forthcoming children's book, GO THE F%&K TO SLEEP." The reaction from his friends and fans (he was already an award-winning grown-up fiction writer) was so fiercely positive that he decided to write the book for real. He got himself an illustrator and, well, here we are: smash hit children's book that is utterly inappropriate for children, but all kinds of fantastic for adults.

And now, plug in your headphones and take a look at this little slice of amazingness - Werner Herzog (yes, the Werner Herzog) reading along with America's new favorite book.

After the bizarre media events of the last couple weeks (will there come a time when people look back and ask if we really spent all that time talking about a congressman's kinks when there was a war on? Sorry - three wars?) this just about made me weep tears of joy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Advancements in Journalism

Oh, there are so many things wrong with this, from an Oregon Daily Emerald review of Sasquatch!

Bob Mould, a forty-something with thinning hair and no other musical accompaniment, hit the stage first. He tore off a brisk 45-minute set, warming up the crowd with his electric, Ted Leo-esque sound. Although he wasn’t well-known, Mould has collaborated with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Foo Fighters. The surging crowds, fresh off a full day in the sun, met him with equal intensity.

That someone who would write this would choose to (or be allowed to) go into rock journalism might be the wrongest thing of all. But really (really): minimal research (even a quick trip to the internets) would have at the very least allowed this guy to minimize the damage. It's just a student paper, but still...


While we're on the subject of music festivals, let me take this opportunity to raise a glass to Sherin, JP and Annie, and the other 78,997 people on their way to Bonnaroo this week!

And another glass, to continued journalistic excellence. And continued academic success.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Kitchen Therapy

We can safely agree that whatever this is (and it isn't much) it is not a home-improvement blog. But I have been doing some work on Bohome, and so I thought I'd share some of that.

The most major and most recent project has been to re-do my kitchen floor. Now, lest you think that I'm handier than I am, let me hasten to add that by "re-do" what I mean is "put carpet tiles on." So we're talking about real work, but not the kind of thing you need to go to trade school to learn how do to.

Here's a shot of the bare floor once I got all the furniture off of it and gave it a good cleaning.

Doesn't look that bad in this shot, but if you've been to my place you know that these particular planks of hardwood bite back.

These photos come from my phone, so they're not up to snuff, but that little gouge in the wood gives you the beginning of an idea of how splinterrific that floor can be. After years of doing a very sad dance with my landlord(s), I finally accepted that this situation would not be handled by them, and would not take care of itself. So, with a lot of help and encouragement from Cory, I picked a place that sells good product and did some research and ordered samples and we went to the FLOR showroom in Soho and picked out colors. The tiles were delivered on Friday, and I got down to business.

Step one was to put down base lines. The instructions gave very detailed info on how to do this in a regular rectangular room with four even walls and corners. Guess what, folks: that ain't my kitchen.

I used the stone base of my (certifiably antiquated but lovely and very functional) oven as a guide for the base lines.

Then it's a question of taking stock and coming up with some design notions and color pattern ideas.

What's wonderful about these FLOR tiles is that you don't need to staple anything down, or even use adhesive on the actual floor; you just put some little sticky circles face up on your base line, and on strategic corners. I played around with form and function, weighting the areas where I do the most work with food (and therefore do the most spilling) with darker colors.

And here we go! New kitchen floor for the Bohome...

My main beef at this point is that there's an area in the entryway where the bottom of the door goes too close to the ground for even this thin carpeting to fit (a combination of an ancient, uneven floor, and door that could probably be stand a re-hanging.) After the fire a couple years ago, they put up metal doors on all our apartments, so I can't plane off the bottom edge; I just need to leave a little space uncovered. And I may cut some carpet to fill some of the nooks and crannies around the edges that are still bare for the time being. But all in all, I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

Come on by for some barefootin' in the 'boken!