Sunday Song: Afterimage of Autumn

Autumn images have proven unexpectedly popular, so it’s a good thing I’m not out of pictures – or songs – yet. But all good things, etc. This will, alas, be the last – until next autumn. Of course, if you’re all very fortunate and I’m unlucky indeed, we may have some spectacular winter shots coming right up. Don’t hold your breath, though. This is Seattle. Gray and drippy is much more likely than white and sparkly.

Let’s get in the proper frame of mind with a traditional rendition of “Sato no Aki.” [Read more…]

Sunday Song: Autumn Interlude

You know how you hear a word that you weren’t paying much attention to, and suddenly it’s everywhere? Yeah. That’s happening with autumn. Here I am, minding my own business, listening to my new favorite radio app Jango (ha ha ha fuck you and your intrusive ads, Pandora!), and thinking I had autumn songs sewn up already because, hey, I have a whole bloody playlist full of ‘em – then they hit me with two more. And they are gorgeous.

First, though, a photo to get you all in the mood. [Read more…]

Saturday Song: [Learning] Japanese

It turns out that one (not particularly efficient) way of learning Japanese is to spend a whole day reading haiku based around the same theme. After a while, even though the translations are loose at best, you begin to pick out particular words and know what they mean. I can now say “red dragonfly.” Aka tombo. And when I see aki (秋), I know autumn is somehow involved. Look, it’s more Japanese than I knew yesterday morning.

But if any readers speak Japanese, I’d dearly love to know what the phrase “tombo kana” means. Do you know how good online translators are with Japanese? Not good at all. Do you know what it did to a perfectly beautiful, deeply meaningful Issa poem? Observe: [Read more…]

Monday Music: Help a Choir Out

Some might be surprised to find out, but I sang in concert choir in high school. It was full of personalities, so to speak, and always had some drama going on. Most of us (self included) had voices of indifferent quality at best. And we were hormonal teenagers who were often too distracted to follow instructions properly, much less throw heart and soul into making wonderful music. But our director was an amazing fellow who took less-than-ideal ingredients and mixed them into magic. It was great fun. And there’s something wonderful about turning words into a rich, flowing sound that fills every cranny of an auditorium.

We could have used better outfits, though. Our men looked like cheap Vegas best men and the ladies looked like they’d just stepped out of a production of Macbeth, still holding the ladle for stirring cauldrons and cackling. New outfits weren’t in our stars, though – not a small town high school concert choir competing for microscopic funds against the football team.

So when one of our own turns out to be a member of a choir that’s looking to get new uniforms, of course I want to help! You can, too. They’re doing a sort of Latvian version of a Kickstarter, but in this case, you don’t have to donate dollars, just vote. You’ll need a cell phone, because this site texts you a code to use, and it’s in Latvian, so you’ll need RQ to guide you through, but it’s not terribly difficult.

First, a song for motivational purposes.

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Sunday Song: Gangnam Style

After today, I may have no readership. This post contains content that may be offensive to all viewers. There will be the “Oh gawd that song is horrible and now it’s stuck in my head!” crowd. There will be those who found elements of the video unforgivable, especially those with a sense of taste or color coordination. There will be those who roll their eyes and say, “Dana, are you really that far behind on pop culture?” to which I will have to admit, “Yes,” which will then cause those readers to abandon me as hopeless.

So there are huge potential losses, but I’m going to post this anyway. Because, and I hate to admit this, I actually do like the song and think the video’s a scream. And because – but we’ll get to that in a moment.

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Sunday Song: Fun With Drugs

Thank you, all of you, for your enormous outpouring of support. I figured I’d get a few “Yay good luck!” comments. I got so much more. With this sort o’ backing, I think this might actually work!

It’s also nice to know I’m joining such an awesome crowd of quitters. Quitting drugs is one form of quitting I can wholeheartedly endorse – especially when the company’s congenial.

I filled my scrip for Chantix today, and the dreams have already started. Merely having it in the house, unopened, led to a nightmare in which Doctor Who was canceled. A truly terrible nightmare indeed. This is some powerful shit.

Since I’m about to start a prescription drug, I’m thinking about drugs, and one of my favorite songs about drugs ever.

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Sunday Song: Old Jerome

One of the things I love best about blogging is stumbling across the unexpected. When I was researching for Oceans of Ore: How an Undersea Caldera Eruption Created Jerome, Arizona, I certainly wasn’t in the market for music. But I stumbled upon a reference to a song called “Old Jerome” by Kate Wolf. I’m not much of a folk music fan, but I sought it out on YouTube anyway, and discovered it’s quite beautiful.

Now, you may notice that’s not Kate Wolf singing. I couldn’t find a video for her. But a quick search uncovered the track on MySpace. She’s got the right voice for this old town: lovely, haunting, a little bit desert.

Since 1983, when she wrote this song, restoration has continued apace. A lot of the buildings that stared out with empty eyes are now homes and shops and museums. And this song is its anthem.

I meant to put this up a few weeks ago, but got distracted by other shiny things. Good thing, too, because I hadn’t copied the embed code for the song, so had to search for it again. I must have used a different search string this time, because a Tony Norris song came up called “High Tide in the Desert.” It’s about boats, and Jerome, and sailing the desert. It might sound a bit silly. But remember: this whole area has been a sea several times. It began under an ocean. If those boats wait patiently enough, they’ll get a chance to sail again, several million years from now.

Or, y’know, someone could just tow ‘em down to a lake…

This little ghost town has inspired a lot of music, it turns out. For our final song, we’ll have Barenaked Ladies, “Jerome.”

When I saw this song mentioned on Wikipedia, I was all like, “Whatevs. They probably have no idea what they’re talking about.” But they do! Listening to this song was like being transported there. They know Mingus Mountain! They even know the old jail slid downhill! I have no idea how a Canadian came to know my little Arizona mining town so intimately, but Kevin Hearn got it spot-on. Beautiful!

All of this makes me want to wander those old streets again. Shame about it being in Arizona. But it’s a liberal enclave, so at least my tourist dollars will be supporting the rebels, eh?