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March 1st, 2002

Rest

I've noticed that even when my work load is not stressful,
I still really look forward to the weekend. I remember when I was younger, and had to work longer hours.
A weekend movie, a Sunday morning drive (Prairie Home companion, little rural prairie backroads past decaying churches and rustic fallen small barns) was like the ultimate luxury. Now, I push myself a little less hard,
but the weekend seems just as welcome. My wife's going to San Antonio to visit some friends in town from CA, so I've got to entertain myself. I'll do some Mandatory Continuing Legal Education on the 'net, and fly a new kite I bought for 3 dollars at Dollar General. It's also time to do some writing. I don't ever get writer's block, because you have to have the feeling that you can write talented stuff before you worry that what you write won't be. I know my poetry is very talent-shy, so I don't have writer's block, I merely have good old procrastinator's project-starting block. But once I begin, it will flow from me like the picture of water rushing in a drainage ditch I sent off to someone recently. Perhaps Heaven is a 20 dollar bill in pocket, a kite in hand, twenty five pages of bad poetry on screen, and a good night's sleep.

In search of the rare

During lunch, I read a used copy of an edition of Innes' Tropical Fish. This book is really a treasure, because it features so many species no longer in favor in the aquarium hobby. I haven't picked up an aquarium magazine in a while, but it seemed as though the last few times I did,
there were articles on going to really remote places in search of the previously unknown. I have as much of that "spirit of inquiry" as anyone, but I have to wonder why, since the aquarium trade has literally thousands of
interesting species already introduced into the hobby,
many of which offer tremendous challenges in care and breeding, we continue to see folks trying to stalk wild stocks of little endemic species from places better left alone. There's tons of great fish to raise already
in the hobby. I don't have much respect for the "gotta have it 'cause nobody else does" theory of fishkeeping.

cabbages and kings

I'm reading Lady Anna, by Anthony Trollope. I'm a big Trollope fan; I remember seeing him described as the Shakespeare of the lending library, which pretty much
sums up my middlebrow tastes. I like all the conventional
Victorian and Edwardian "good storytellers", much more than
the innovators. I first picked up Lady Anna used last summer in Book Soup in Hollywood when I was staying over on a work trip. I'd read a pretty fair number of Trollope in a row at that time, and the plot didn't hold me. I put the book on my nightstand at home, roughly halfway through. This morning I picked it back up; it's great the way I remembered the whole plot so far. The novel's one of those
girl-choosing-between-rich-guy-and-poor-guy, although, like a lot of Trollope, the plot is subservient to the mild amusements about human nature in which his writing excels.

Today at work I broke open the CD of Tom Heasley's
Where the Earth Meets the Sky. Heasley's kinda a unique beast--an ambient artist whose principal instrument is the tuba. He actually managed to put a bit of cetacean atmosphere in a piece about "Monterey Bay", without it seeming all treachly and new age-y and Free Willy-y.
I liked it so much I immediately wrote an epinions.com review of it. My Suzanne Vega review got voted Very Helpful recently, but I think Heasley and my review of him is much less accessible. I don't know what I did before I found Hypnos.com on a google search recently, but it's sure sparked my interest in music. Now if I could only find my copy of Live! in the Air Age! I'd be back in heaven.

I signed up for the Suzanne Vega mail list some time ago.
The people there write such great concert descriptions about her shows. I don't have that gift. I tried to post at hypnos about the Dylan concert we saw a few weeks ago, and all I could really say was it's amazing how much material he has that I don't really know. Great show, that, though--he managed to seem connected to the audience, giving little quick bows in his cowboy hat and kinda "dude ranch" boots. I thought it was great that they did "All Along the Watchtower", but I kinda wished someone had tried to Hendrix up the guitars.

In my album of covers, I'd definitely play Black Oak Arkansas' "Gravel Roads". Also, I'd do a kazoo solo to Be Bop Deluxe's "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape",
do my best Arkansas-meets-NYC version of Ms. Vega's
"Ironbound/Fancy Poultry Parts", and perhaps Bowie's "Letter from Hermione" (love that lyric "I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to say/but I can see it's not okay").
I am just a four track machine and a silly ebay ad from
personal exhibition.

This weekend I'm batcheloring it; Mandatory Continuing Legal Education on line, perhaps a little tandoori chicken,
and a bit of poetry writing are the plan.

At dinner we talked about my friend Donnie, whose second marriage to a deeply devout woman made him a spectator
at the trial and expulsion of a congregation member
found guilty of the sin of living with someone without the benefit of marriage. I think it was the democracy of it all that caught his eye. He's a few wives down the trail now.

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