Saturday, July 31

lost and found.

Many thanks to Millie and Wayne, an older couple who originally hail from Long Island (say it with an accent, please) but have lived here in San Diego for some forty years. They saved our butts on Thursday night when we were lost in the hills. Our local transportation authority's website had instructed us to walk "east" for about a mile upon exiting our trolley, which ended up leading us right to an impassable canyon after about four blocks. Distraught, and late for a concert, Nat hailed a car exiting a driveway. (This was a very cloistered neighborhood; not a soul walking about for miles, it seemed, that we could ask for directions.) The woman driver hesitantly rolled down her window and i watched from afar as he ran through every confused facial expression in his repertoire, asking if there was a way through to 3rd Avenue. Finally, he waved me over.

Turns out that unless we could fly, we were stuck. Our directions had neglected to impart some pretty important information regarding the topography of the region surrounding the Middletown Trolley Station. Cretins.

So what happened next? They demanded to give us a ride. Insisting that it was no problem, and that they were merely "on [their] way out for a hamburger", we were ushered into the vehicle. Sweaty and grateful, we were whisked to our destination over hill, over dale. Wayne thought that we were from England (why does this happen constantly?!), to which our only response was that we both had an English parent. i blame Nat's extremely proper enunciation under times of stress. Millie later told us that if i hadn't been carrying flowers, she probably would have just screeched right past us. (Apparently, "you just never know" in this day and age.) i told them to come and visit me some time at the flower shop if they were ever in the area. i honestly hope to see them again. . . thanks, Millie and Wayne! You two really helped revive my good feelings toward the human race.


As for the show, it was okay. Not sure if Joanna Newsom's latest album really lends itself to the concert circuit; perhaps if there had been tables and chairs, cocktails and candles. . . but standing crowded in a hot room with other people who are having a hard time grooving to the lengthy, strangely-syncopated tunes, it was a bit rough. Milk-Eyed Mender would have been a great tour (in fact, we did see her then, in a dark smoky bar, before we even knew who she really was), and we did get to hear one song from those old, melodic days ("Peach, Plum, Pear", which, incidentally, is one of my all-time faves). Unfortunately, we arrived late just as Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes fame) was finishing up his opening set. Pretty sure that would have been the better performance, partly because Joanna's drummer was set too loud on volume and he even managed to sing over her at points.

Mostly i would argue that her more complicated songs are best left to the studio. i was surprised to find that my favorite performances of hers that night were a couple of songs that i'd barely noticed on the album: "Go Long" and "Baby Birch". i was completely transported by them, whereas the more familiar, jaunty hits ("Easy", "Good Intentions Paving Co.") were lacking the punch that i had come to rely on. And Joanna on piano is wonderful, but watching the light catch on her humming harpstrings was still as fascinating as always. If you have patience and a light heart, you'll enjoy the show (and, obviously, the albums). Have One on Me was by far the most difficult album of hers for me to get into. While not necessarily an album full of gems, almost every song has its few seconds of brilliant joy. It just might take you a bit longer to wind your way through to them.

"Baby Birch" was melancholy-sweet and symphonic (sorry for the poorish sound on this):

and "Soft as Chalk" was very enjoyable:

As always, you are free to harbor nothing but disdain for this music.

(Kinda like me with Phil Collins, or Dave Matthews.)

It's absolutely up to you. But i encourage everyone to at least give it a shot. She takes a few tries, but in the end it is like having access to some kind of magical auditory respite.

Monday, July 26

forward and back.

As the girlfriend of a philosopher of time and physics, i think and hear quite a bit about the nature of time. Now, i'm someone who's always felt that our human, recorded (or "ordered") time is somewhat arbitrary. Why do we measure single seconds, instead of two- or three-second increments? Why are there twenty-four hours in a day instead of twelve (two-hour units)? As Nat has pointed out, our system of time is based on the actual movement of the spheres: rotations of the Earth, and Sun.

Being a huge Dark Crystal fan, this orrery-inspired time measurement model feels right (see also Stonehenge, sundials, and so on) somehow. Anyway, apparently those crazy ancient Egyptians with their base 12 numbering system led to our modern-day measurements. Fun fact.


In related(ish) news, we saw Inception last night. It was certainly a thrilling, mind-bending nail-biter. Pretty nice to look at, even though the sound editing was awful. (Just try and tell me you caught every spoken line in that film. Go on.) Our boy Chris Nolan certainly seems interested in the nuances of perception, time, memory, identity, and reality – and boy, can i dig it. He obviously understands the awesome power of our brains, and how this can both help and hurt us. i would love to sit and eat tiramisu with him some day, and talk about layers. Also, i really liked how he named the characters and entities in Inception: (highlight if you want to read the end of this paragraph:)
Cobb's unsettling wife 'Mal' kept bringing to mind grand mal seizures, or words that begin with that root, such as malicious, malevolent, maladjusted, etc. Naming Ellen Page's architect character 'Ariadne' was clever, and the nefarious company that Leonardo was (or was not?) running from, 'Cobol', might quite possibly have been echoing that mischievous sprite, the kobold.

...Here's an interesting delve if you're so inclined.

In the spirit of the above nonsense, here are some fab time-lapse photographs. They've been sitting around in a folder on my desktop for who knows how long (minutes? months?), so i'm afraid i can't remember where they came from. It would certainly be nice to give credit where it is due, but for now they remain in limbo. Enjoy.

Monday, July 12

The tiniest bit.

Can someone please explain to me the difference between 1.6666 (repeating into eternity) and 1.67?

One person has told me that there is no difference. i refuse to accept this as fact. Certainly there exists that tiny, incremental bit that is keeping it from rounding up? Sometimes the world of mathematics is so perfect, and other times it absolutely fries my brain.

Any answer will do. Seriously, just give me something, please.

Sunday, July 11

...and taste it some more.

Here is a link to a post on Drawn!, probably my favorite art blog. The artist's name here is Ginette Lapalme, and is she ever adorable; i love the sweet, watery rainbow colors she's got goin' on – and the painted sticks! Well, words cannot express. Hope you enjoy.

Be more colorful.