We spent a quiet day today. We walked around the little pond. We took in a morning movie, Spider Man 3 which we found enjoyable. I read a good bit of a science fiction book about a man on trial whose memories have been suppressed until the trial.
I puzzled over places to walk next Saturday with my friend Gene, who now lives only 120 miles away. The "meet in the middle" places are all charming small towns, but I have not yet found the right one--trails, trees, perhaps a curious museum would be the "right thing". I travel tomorrow to Rhode Island, for a rare third week in a row on the road. I used to travel like this frequently, but now it is exceptional. I took an afternoon nap this afternoon, which I rarely like to do. Road trips tend to throw off my sleep schedule, though, so I am glad to catch up.
I've had a lot of fun playing a new form of postal chess at the International Correspondence Chess Federation webserver. Webserver postal chess is nearly ideal. The webserver keeps up with the games, so one merely logs in and makes one's moves. No postcards, no e-mails, no hassle, no problem. The only problem, actually, has been the very spotty nature of my play thus far. Out of ten games, I have lost one, am in a losing position in one, am materially behind in one, and am a pawn up in one, with the other six being more or less at equilibrium. I am having a lot of fun, but I'd like my fun to eventually include more than one winning position.
I'd like to get up a team to play in the ICCF Champions League--perhaps a team of people who, like me, like to play unorthodox openings. I would name the team "We are the Weird", except that the local film critic Joe Bob Briggs actually lost his newspaper movie parody job by using that title for a poem which cast various Imus-esque slurs. I don't like that Imus approach to life at all, leaving aside for the moment the various "free speech" type issues.
A kind man from the Denton chess club sent me an e mail about his upcoming tournament tomorrow, which, sadly, I can't play in due to my trip. I mentioned to him in reply about my June 16, and he said he has already passed out flyers in the Dallas Chess Club about it. People are so kind to one, sometimes.
I was able to perform a kindness in the same vein. The place where I am holding the tournament had another group wanting to do a chess camp the four days before mine. The convention place quite properly invoked a contract clause that I had a thirty day exclusive. The other group contacted me, and I waived the provision, so they can have their camp. I hope some of their kids come play in my small tournament. It costs about 150 dollars to rent the tournament room, so I need a critical mass of x players to break even. We'll see if I can get it.
I have a mood to become a kind of concert impressario for obscure little shows as well.
I plan to set up a small company, figure out how to do it, and then get something like that going. This will require me to learn some new things, though, which I must be less busy than I am now to accomplish.
I notice on myspace that I am adding poets more often these days. I have met some really cool ambient music people, and meeting cool poets would be cool, too. I'd like to write more than I do, although my own poetry is so very suburban and non-slam-ish.
I find that I really enjoy remixing poets into my music, and it always intrigues me when a poet writes a poem, properly releases it under a Creative Commons license, but then specifies that the license is "no derivatives". Not me--I always say "remix, mangle, mash, ruin, disregard, appropriate, mix, match, just give me attribution". It's a bit like the folks who worry that a publishing house will steal their verse, when, in fact, one is more at risk of theft by one's dry cleaner or even one's local thrift shop.
We've been very intrigued in watching our download and referral statistics at what an incredible networking marketing machine Myspace has been for our netlabel NSI. Tons of people come to us becuase they see our page or a link to our site from one of our pages. NSI has really been taking off, some six months into its life, and I am so grateful to verian for working with me to get it off the ground.
I was listening to NPR the other night, and they talked about ways to reduce one's energy footprint. A key culprit they poined out was air travel. I know we should drive to a local lake and rent a cabin there to be green. Yet I still want to go to Canada instead. I have less excuse, though,for why I have not installed compact fluorescent bulbs. That's on my "to do" list.
I have a lot of work to do right now. I am glad to be so busy, but things might get a bit hectic. I did not exercise enough today, which worries me a bit. We did have a wonderful salmon dinner at Rockfish Grill, though, which was health-plan-friendly and so tasty.
This week's listening find is Peter Drkula, a Czech fellow who makes minimalist electronic music--simple repetition and melodic variation, very nice indeed. I've also put some more Henri Pettersen on my mp3 player, Euro electronic music with a clean downtempo feel. I find that my listening these days is now about 90% netlabel/Creative Commons electronica, with indie ambient and 70s classics making up most of the rest.
I'm not elitist about these things, though--at the seafood place tonight a fellow in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt about my age and hair length played Pure Prairie League and Marshall Tucker Band, and, but for the decorum in a place to eat, I would have been singing along. I love that line "I think I could stay with you, for a while, maybe longer, if I do", although, in general, SoCal style country rockers always write lyrics that indicate to me that any sensible woman in their lives should pretty much dump them on sight.
I love, too, that alternative pop generates such fun, vibrant songs these days. When I was in Monroe, the campus radio station for U of Louisiana, Monroe (formerly the impressively euphonious and defining Northeast Louisiana State University), KXUL, played the best pop songs I'd heard in months, all by the kind of "no hit wonder" pop bands that I am proud to know still exist. My own 20s featured a lot of time with roots pop bands such as, to name a more prominent example, the dBs that could charm and delight but not sell more than 20 records per album. The internet changes the economics of all this, and jaunty obscure bands can now make a nickel or two they could not make before. Yet, this "running a creative business" requires a lot of planning and brio, and I know it must be a challenge for kids to prove they're allright.
I wonder, though, about the gauzy haze of memory. Let's take the Dream Syndicate, a wonderful 80s band that somehow managed to combine a religious devotion for Lou Reed with a religious devotion for Hot Tuna, with an odd Doors kind of incense in the haze.
I loved that band, and their concert at a Dallas club called Tango (which featured two giant frogs statues on its roof) in 1984 is a highlight among the goodish number of rock shows I have seen. Yet I was listening to a live recording of that same band from the Internet Archive's live concert collection last night. My favorite Syndicate song is "Tell me When it's Over", which, on "This is NOT the new Dream Syndicate Album--LIVE!" is, in my gauzy memory, a work of musical polish and purity (as it was at Tango that night). On the archive concert footage, from a show in Italy, it's ragged and impure. Concerts are curious things. DS was always best when it traveled with a keyboard player.
Lately I long to see Ornette Coleman play a live show. I wonder if he does, anymore. It was so odd, during the Grammys, to see him introduced, and to realize that most of the audience did not know who he was--file under prophets, honor, country, Celine. I will buy some of his classic CDs.
Speaking of Selene, I have quite enjoyed seeing those Kate Beckinsale vampire/werewolf movies on cable lately. I am not much for that genre, but I suppose that Ms. Beckinsale is a guilty pleasure. Of course, I am more of a geek than I actually fancy myself--the Fantastic Four preview makes me want to spend Wikipedia time to understand how the Silver Surfer somehow both pops up in Marvel Comics and in Jack Kirby's New Gods comics. Was it the same Surfer, and was it a kind of Buffy network crossover? Or are there two different surfers, both silver? I must know.
My dog Bea has determined that she should wake me up each morning at 3 a.m. I am inclined to dissuade her from this logical conclusion she has drawn. She and our other dog, Teddy, went to the groomer today. Bea has short black hair, which really only needs a bit of de-shedding. She came home in a jaunty bandanna. Teddy, a lhasa whose hair is cut short, puppy-style, got little hair bows as well. It was all too cute for words, which, to be honest, is rather close to too cute for me.
I am in a mood for documentaries, science fiction, and setting up a chess club Myspace page.