gurdymonkey: (Default)
Surrounded by books,
I delight in the world of
Words and ideas.
The more I read, though, the more
I find I have more questions.

I had to set The Essential Shinran aside for a bit. I should probably read more on general concepts of Buddhism before taking that one on. However, I'm about a third into Eric Rath's Food and Fantasy and I'm completely fascinated by his descriptions of ceremonial Japanese meals and how certain foods are purely decorative or symbolic and served without being meant to be eaten.

I'm headed off to Mists Cynagua War shortly so I will not be able to post tomorrow's tanka until Sunday. That is, assuming I remember to write one. I've been informed the "Clan Makita" boys (Pallidus, Raj & Dafydd) are attending and Dafydd has already threatened to ply me with sake and chili. NOAA currently says a 30% chance of showers...

Book binge

Nov. 7th, 2011 07:02 pm
gurdymonkey: (book)
Continuing from yesterday, it appears someone (or multiple someones) brought in a whole bunch of titles on Japanese subjects to Moe's Books. I had to stop at myself three because I could've easily spent a bundle, but I threw myself on a hardcover copy of Eric Rath's Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan (read a bit of it at lunch time and it looks like it should be interesting).

I also grabbed a Japanese exhibition catalog on Emaki (picture scrolls) circa 1974. All the plates are in B&W, but they include things I'd never seen before and part of the catalogue, including the important bit listing what each plate is, are actually in English. The image of poetess Ono no Komachi in deshabille as a corpse is certainly one I've never seen anywhere else. A vain attempt at an internet search for more turned up only two mentions of the particular picture scroll in English, one a JSTOR article that tantalizingly indicated that it's part of a genre of Buddhist art. Who knew?

Lastly, I pounced upon Bugaku Treasures from the Kasuga Shrine, another exhibition catalogue, this one in lavish color, featuring masks, costumes and musical instruments used in classical Japanese dance. Published in 1984, the exhibition was on display in LA during the summer Olympics at the Japanese American Cultural Center
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
I probably shouldn't've done it, but the lure of Moe's on a free Sunday morning with no obligations was irresistible. Nattering about books. )

 

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Biked to work today. The ride in was chilly but uneventful. The ride home sucked due to a constant, momentum sucking head wind that made me get stuck at a long light, miss the usual BART train that I catch and have to catch a slightly later one. Despite sunny skies and temps in the upper 60's, I kept my fleece on all the way home.

Decided not to kill myself and took the truck to taiko instead of riding another four miles into a 20 mph head wind. Then decided to kill myself at taiko. Played good and hard as we worked on "Yodon," soloed three times in the rotation on "Jisshin" because we had uneven numbers of bodies on each side of the o-daiko, and decided it would be cool to attempt to play "Shinkyoku" on o-daiko just to see if it worked, which was fine with both my sensei. I made it through one full sequence and about halfway through the repeat before I hit the point where I didn't think I could lift my arms.

Whole new class of beginners started trickling in as we finished "Jisshin" and went into "Shinkyoku." I can remember when it was me goggling at the advanced class in April, 2008. Wow, I've been doing this for three years....  

*********************************
My copy of The Japanese Way of Tea arrived Saturday. I've read the introduction, translator's notes and made a good dent in the first chapter, which is about tea traditions in China before contact with Japan. Written by a grand master of the Urasenke tea tradition, it's a scholarly study which should actually help answer my questions about what was being done with tea in Japan before tea ceremony as we now know it.

My copy of Heart of Oak: A Sailor's Life In Nelson's Navy arrived this afternoon. [livejournal.com profile] crimsongriffin (and any hardcore Aubrey-Maturin, Horatio Hornblower fans out there), this is a gorgeous book. Have had little time to do more than feast my eyes on lavish photographs of Royal Navy artifacts, but those range from rope to old stockings and dungarees to medical implements to navigational instruments and on and on.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
The new Bern helmet was sitting on the porch in front of Steve's apartment when I got home last night. 

I actually had to shorten the chin harness, unlike the Bell "Bellisima," which was let out as far as it would go. Fit is comfortably secure and did not produce a headache on the 8 mile jaunt I took this afternoon out to Alameda Point and back.

The padding is a huge improvement. In addition to a thin Cross-of-Lorraine arrangement (jpg courtesy of http://wl33.com/2010/05/bern-helmets-get-serious-about-safety-and-style/) inside the top of the helmet, there's a relatively cushy ring of padding all the way around. All of it attaches to the polystyrene inner shell with patches of Velcro and a couple of snaps, so you can pull it all out, wash it with a mild soap and water when it inevitably gets stanky, and re-insert it. I was riding into the sun beginning at about 4:40 PM PDT without sunglasses. The narrow visor is low enough on my head that it actually did what a visor is for and protected my eyes from the glare. A glance at my reflection as I passed a shop window on Lincoln confirms that it's very Big And White and Shiny: the vents are mostly in the top, so there's a lot of unbroken surface.
    Big and Black and Dull.              Big and White and Shiny!

Given [livejournal.com profile] horsefriend2 's warning about incompatible paints and plastics, I wasn't surprised to find a warning in the little booklet in half a dozen languages that came with it that boiled down to Do Not Modify This Helmet!  Yet, the hang tag on the chin harness included a decal with Bern's logo on it that practically begged to be stuck to the exterior (even though there's a smaller Bern logo already on the thing) and there are several labels affixed to the interior shell. Clearly some adhesives are more equal than other. Bike-helmet-compatible reflective decals seem the best option if I want to gussy it up at all.

(Note to self: I need to find a white or light colored jacket for those occasions when I'm likely to be out on the bike near dark.)

Anyway, I put the Bell in my backpack and rode out to Cycles of Change at the Point and donated that sucker. It'll fit someone else. Came home a slightly different route than usual, just 'cause. Felt good. Still haven't taken her out of first gear.

James had been promising to send me "some books" he doesn't have room to keep. Four of the five boxes arrived this afternoon. There was a fifth box, but it was addressed to one of my neighbors. I walked down and left it on their porch. I did not see my fifth box at their house, so I emailed James with the tracking numbers of the ones I did get and hopefully the USPS will get the last box here in the next few days.

Holy bibliomania! Only one title duplicated anything I already own, and that's on the Unicorn Tapestries. Mostly Japanese-interest stuff, with some other things mixed in. I need to sit down and go through them at some point, but wow, what a haul.

 

gurdymonkey: (Default)
01. Discuss how you got into Harry Potter and why you still love it.

I didn't "get into" Harry Potter and there are far more loveable things out there to my mind.

My initial encounter was on my first visit to California to see Rich and decide whether it made sense for me to move out here. I was thrust amidst a group of alleged adults who donned crappy plastic glasses, fake lightning scar tattoos, HP tee shirts and wands to attend the first run of the first HP movie. It was cute. I liked it enough to eventually borrow a copy of the book from Rich and read it.  Having started reading at high school reading levels around the age HP is geared to, I thought, "OK, it's a decent kids' book." I stopped at the third book because it was just more-of-same. If the movies come on cable, I check them out because they do have occasional flashes of fun amid the slog through Way Too Much Narrative Filler, and I did think "Half Blood Prince" takes it to the next level. 

 

Is it OK if I reserve "love" for Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series instead?

Binge!

Jun. 15th, 2010 07:30 pm
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] reynardine  for the tip about Sasuga Japanese Books. I just ordered McCullough's translation of the Kokin Wakashu on discount, then figured I might as well bite the bullet on Tanegashima at Amazon.com. This was the book I found a 30-plus page preview of on Google Books that was sufficient to help me flesh out a timeline for my east-meets-west class and I really wanted to read it. Also ordered used copies of a Heibonsha publication on namban art and a comparative history text on encounters between Europe and other cultures in the early modern era for cheap.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
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I used to do this a lot when I was a kid. Mary Stewart's "The Crystal Cave" was just one of many favorites I could pick up and enjoy again and again. A few years ago, however, I realized that there were more books out there than I can ever read in a lifetime and I decided it was better to read things I hadn't read before, 'cause life is too short. I took a crack at some Jane Austen novels, explored the worlds of Salman Rushdie, had a look at some wrist-slittingly elegaic Yukio Mishima. Currently I try to mix things up. If I've just finished a novel - and novel can be a bestselling paperback or a literary classic - I try to read a nonfiction book next: usually biography, history or something. I'm about midway through Neil Stephenson & Frederick George's The Cobweb, with the Diary of Samuel Pepys on deck in the bullpen, because if Helene Hanff ranted about being sold an abridged Pepys in "84 Charing Cross Road," I figure I should check it out.

I do go back and look at art and history titles related to my SCA interests and I do frequently find things I hadn't noticed previously.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
I got a phone call this morning from my nephew. Not much of a conversationalist on the phone, I suspect the concept feels like the person he's talking to is not really there. Anyway, it turns out he read a book in school on the Civil War and that's how all this got started. He did sound excited and rather disappointed that he can't have his "soldier coat" Right Now!  And of course, after I've bought the fabric and the buttons he wants a "general" coat.  I can rationalize some junior officer insignia for a shell jacket, I suppose.


The apartment looks like a blast zone, but I just did not feel like staying inside today. I had a bowl of oatmeal and went up to Moe's in Berkeley, where I acquired copies of The Book of Incense and The Kimono Inspirations. I also found a copy of The Art of Japanese Paper for only $9 across the street at Shakespeare & Co.

I grabbed a chai latte at Peet's and virtuously did NOT have a spicy ginger cookie with it. Hit the Michael's in Emeryville and found more of the metal monkey-with-the-peach charms to add to my token stash. I also picked up some wooden plaques to replace the "guests welcome" sign that was in the stolen sugoroku box.

The sky was doing interesting, stormy wintry things without actual precipitation, so I went the back way down Mandela Parkway to Jack London Square, parked on the Embarcadero next to the lot across from BevMo and pulled out my camera. You can see what I got here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/70104978@N00/sets/72157623475504552/



I do think I need to create an icon with this saying on it though: 

I think I'm going to give [livejournal.com profile] trystbat 's party a miss though. I just started some laundry when I got back, not realizing the time so I'm kind of in it for the duration right now.  And I just realized I haven't eaten since that oatmeal....
gurdymonkey: (Default)
If you have access to the Sundance Channel through your cable provider and have not already done so, check out "Spectacle with Elvis Costello." (Warning: link spits out a rather loud car advertisement when you go to it, but you can check out snips from some of the episodes.) Caught the two parter with Bruce Springsteen who seems to have managed to remain the genuinely nice guy who put up with my younger sister and her friends staking him out one night at Big Man's West many years ago. I am looking forward to seeing what Bono and the Edge have to say and play next week.

My local PBS affiliate is rebroadcasting Michael Wood and The Story of India again. The first two episodes were on this evening. Wood is still engaging and enthusiastic after all these years and it's a culture and timeline I am woefully unfamiliar with, so that was two hours well invested.

Reads so far this year include "The Darwin Conspiracy," by John Darnton and Barry Unsworth's "The Songs of the Kings" , both enjoyable novels of very different sorts. (I confess, with all the 2009 Darwin commemorations, I should probably read the Voyage of the Beagle one of these days.)  I need to flip throught Giles Milton's Samurai William this weekend, seeing as I offered to teach a class about Japan and the West in the 16th c. at Estrella. However, I just started David Kherdian's abridged translation of "Monkey: A Journey To The West," a copy of which I stumbled across used recently and HAD to get, thanks to the spirited bits retold to me by Li, Great Hero Of China at last Estrella. I'm only two chapters in and I suspect I'll lament that it's too abridged when I get to the end of it because it's delightful so far.
gurdymonkey: (profile)
Fired off this morning via email:

Dear Mr. Tanaka (or whoever reads and responds to these inquiries in his stead):

I very much enjoyed last night's concert at Zellerbach Hall. You performed a new composition titled "Hayate" about a group of villagers who disguised themselves as demons and drove Uesugi Kenshin's army away without a fight simply with their drumming. As a lover of history, I would be very interested to know your source material for this story as I had never heard it before.

Many thanks, etc....


[livejournal.com profile] sengokudaimyo ? Anyone ever hear of this? Google turns up the following:
http://www.gojinjodaiko.jp/en_top.html

http://www.sohdaiko.org/reviews.html


http://www.hot-ishikawa.jp/f-lang/english/noto-area/event-detail.html#07

http://nohmask21.com/eu/gojinjyotaiko.html

Who knew?
***********************************************************************************
Good concert. Sacramento Taiko Dan, Jun Daiko (from Mountainview) and Wako Daiko from Japan also did sets. Serves only to remind me how much I suck and how badly I need to get over myself when I face the o-daiko.....
***********************************************************************************
[profile] layla_lilah and I had dinner beforehand at Jayakarta in Berkeley. [profile] layla_lilah actually lived in Indonesia and gleefully nommed her way through the nasi bungus special: rice, jackfruit, hardcooked egg, tofu, fried chicken and beef wrapped in banana leaves, while I had the udang saus mentega, shrimp in a savory brown sauce. Tasty, as authentic as it gets according to my dinner companion, and an excellent bang for the buck.
********************************************************************************************************************************************************
Juana had posted a note to SCA-West about having passed a bookstore called Abandoned Planet in the Mission that was going out of business and selling all their books at 35% off. I BARTED over and determined that either it had been picked over before I got there or it was simply a matter of what used books they ended up having in stock in the first place. The art and history sections were pretty small, compared to the fiction/literature offerings which took up half the shop. I didn't see anything I absolutely had to own and proceeded to another bookstore I'd passed on my way up the street.

Upon opening the door to Forest Books, I released a waft of expensive Japanese incense and Loreena McKennitt pretending to be Middle Eastern onto 16th Street. Airy, well lit, festooned with Tibetan prayer flags and earnest posters and flyers about Buddhism and community events, the selection was well organized, interesting, and I didn't have to worry about breaking an ankle on a rolled up carpet just to look at what was out on the display tables. I resisted a coffeetable book of Ansel Adams photos. I did pick up two paperback novels: Murakami's An Artist Of The Floating World and Barry Unsworth's The Songs of the Kings, then headed to the art section. Decent selection of East Asian art books, some of which I already had. Taped neatly into a plastic envelope was a souvenir tour booklet titled JINGU: The Grand Shrine of Ise. It being taped shut and priced at $10, I asked the proprietor if it was OK to open it before doing so. Nifty little book with full color photos of the Jingu shrines in Ise, including architectural details, parading Shinto clerics performing rituals, festivals and bugaku dancers in full costume.
While paying for my books, I asked the proprietor which Shoyeido incense he was burning at the moment because he had boxes for sale on the counter and I knew it wasn't the Gozan. He asked if I needed a bag and pronounced the Onyabag I pulled out of my purse one of the nicest reusable shopping bags he'd seen. I should send him the link....
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Caught two very nice surprises on cable recently.

"Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" is an unabashed period romance set in 1939. Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), having just been sacked for a string of failed governess assignments by her agency , steals a client's card off her employer's desk and presents herself for work at the door of aspiring actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). Pettigrew is soon involved in untangling the mess that is Delysia's love life and career as her social secretary. I was hooked in the first 30 seconds as a big band arrangement of  "Brother Can You Spare A Dime" followed Pettigrew through the London streets, then hooked again by the instant conspiratorial chemistry of McDormand and Adams. A comedy with a shamelessly romantic heart and a satisfyingly happy ending (particularly for us garret dwelling spinster types!) involving breakfast with Joe (Ciaran Hinds).

"Millions," directed by Danny Boyle ('Slumdog Millionaire"). Days before the UK switches over from the pound to the Euro, a bag of money quite literally falls from the sky onto Damien's playhouse. Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon are terrific as the two young brothers who struggle with what to do with the fortune that appears to have dropped out of Heaven. Funny and thought provoking at the same time, as well as fairly kid safe, though there are a few scary bits involving a stranger who wants his bag back and some conversations between Damien and a number of saints which may provoke some interesting theological discussions. Though you have to admit, if you're supposed to play Joseph in the Christmas play, who better to advise you how to say your lines?

*******************************

Read a chapter of Magnificent Desolation over my lunch break this afternoon. It should be fairly interesting, though I have to wonder if Dr. Aldrin's writing evens out further along. Bits of this chapter read as though he'd swallowed a thesaurus. The occasional heapings of adjectives notwithstanding, it should be an interesting read. Though I may have to get my hands on Michael Collins' Carrying The Fire at some point. I read it years ago and I recall it being an extremely well written and absorbing account of the Apollo mission. Yes, Virginia, The Curmudgeon is a space geek.

*********************************

Some of my friends from various parts of the Known World have found each other in Bangkok and are trying to form an SCA branch there. One of them is trying to credit me as a "partial founder" for having put them in touch via email. That's a bit much. I'm just happy they hit it off and are playing happily together.

*********************************
My friend from work told me his wife thinks the computer I gave him is "too nice" to let the kids play with. There's room to install a bit more memory and she's going to use it instead. Even if I did type most of the letters off the ergonomic keyboard I sent over with it.

Things

Jul. 26th, 2009 10:37 pm
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Pleasing things:

Finding parking two blocks off Telegraph despite the fact they had it closed off north of Dwight for some street fair.

Finding a used copy of Tales of Times Now Past at Moe's for $6.

Finding a used copy of The Hidden Fortress at Rasputin's for $15 (List price new is $29.95)

Spending most of the rest of the afternoon watching several hours of "Walter Cronkite Remembers" on Discovery Channel. Bonus points for chuckling at the "Boom Dee Yadda" promos. Bonus, bonus points for noticing that the footage of the "flying" great white is actually of an orca.

Discovering that "True Blood" vampire  Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) has a more-than-decent singing voice.

Cherry Garcia.

Irksome things: 

Dear City of Berkeley. 1969 was forty years ago. Feel free to get over it any time now. 'Kay? Has to be the first time I've ever been panhandled (and aggressively at that) at something purporting to be a street fair. P.S. A street fair with 20 vendors selling the exact same things is pretty damn boring. Nobody needs THAT many tie dye tee shirts.

The copy of My Costumes by Emi Wada is still sitting on the same shelf. It's still $200. I still cannot afford it.

Monterey Bay Aquarium's annoying and sexist radio spots for their new "Secret Life of Seahorses" exhibit.



gurdymonkey: (Default)
The ever lovely and talented [personal profile] karisu_sama and Emeryville Taiko were set to perform over at Temescal Creek Park this afternoon, so I thought, "That's close, I should go."

There I was, rolling up San Pablo into Emeryville. Just short of 40th Street, my guts - who had quietly accepted a bowl of Quaker Raisin Date & Walnut oatmeal a couple of hours earlier - let me know in no uncertain terms that something was Not Right With The World. (I don't think it's anything I ate last night, more like the aftermath of a stupidly stressful week combined with a hearty bowl of fibrous goodness.) I spied a KFC on the left, found a place to make a U-Turn and made it to the restroom inside in time. Then I came out and purchased a bottle of water on basic general principle. As you do.

I found the park, which is a postage-stamp patch of green tucked between blocks of houses and found a parking spot on one of the side streets. Evidently Earth Day in Emeryville is all about how much noise pollution you can generate in a two block radius. As I approached, I could barely make out the opening measures of the taiko performance over the blaring sound system of a local hiphop/R&B radio station and the vrooming gas powered generators needed for the food concession and bounce house.

Got some pictures of the set and a hug from [personal profile] karisu_sama (looking happy and badass, above left). And there's video, currently uploading slooooooooowly to Youtube, of the last few minutes of "Dokoi Sho."  (I'll stick the link up when it gets over its slow self - and email the dojo with the links as well so folks there can enjoy.)



So, since I was in E'ville, I figured I'd hit the Borders and maybe get lunch at the Public Market food court. The current economic situation has emasculated this cavernous retail space. Lots of stuff was in bins for clearance and there was a whole corner of the store full of empty racks roped off with caution tape. I picked up a fistful of paperbacks: Lindqvist's Let The Right One In (in translation from the Swedish), amused by the staff pick note that "This is what Twilight ought to be. Note: not for children!" I also availed myself of the "Buy 1 get 1 half price" table with Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow and Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death. (I'd liked Pearl's The Dante Club and the Franklin passed my random paragraph test.)  I went to check out. I was behind a harried Hispanic daddy with two boys, one of whom kept fiddling around with the various Occasions of Sin deliberately arranged near the cash registers so people will be tempted to buy them. When I paid for my purchase, the woman behind the counter handed me a piece of register tape with a 30% off next purchase coupon on it. It had belonged to Harried Hispanic Dad and he'd forgotten it while wrangling children. I have been assured I can use it at any Borders until the expiration date.

(Never did get lunch though. Just didn't feel like it. )

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
I needed to get away from the contractors next door and their damned scissor lift, so I went to Moe's in Berkeley.

First stop, the second floor. Nothing I had to have in the Asian literature nook, but I did score a bilingual edition of Japanese Tradition In Color And Form with photos by Sadao Hibi, primarily because it had some excellent photos of two period hiogi. I also stumbled across a cheap, used copy of Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Since I'm about halfway through her The Passion of Artemisia and enjoying it, it was worth grabbing.

Upstairs I managed not to drool on the pages as I perused at $225 copy of My Costumes: Emi Wada. Wada-san is responsible for costuming a number of Kurosawa films, including Ran. (More recently, she worked on Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Mongol.) Gorgeous stuff and too rich for my library. I did, however, throw myself on a Japan Society edition of The Tokugawa Collection: No Robes and Masks at $50. While most of the costumes therein date from the Edo period, some of them are at least early 17th century and are clearly within the stylistic ball park of what I'm interested in.

BTW, anyone interested in a copy of Alan Kennedy's Japanese Costume? Moe's has it for $35.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
On the drum front: A second coat has been applied to the cardboard drum shells. I will give them plenty of time to dry as the alley is in shade. I don't dare move them out into the sun as the contractors are still taking apart and putting back together the house next door and they're at least semi-sheltered from blowing dust and debris where they are.

Strapping tape has been acquired and after I have a bite of lunch I will wrap the rest of the djembe rings. IIRC, either [livejournal.com profile] didjiman  or [livejournal.com profile] karisu_sama  told me that their dojo's cardboard drums also had a layer of x-ray film between the tape drumheads and drum shell. I'll stop at Tap Plastics after work tomorrow and see if I can get some plastic sheeting of a similar thickness. This means that tying the heads on will have to wait until I get that plastic and cut it to size.

EDIT: Bachi (drum sticks) are cut and sanded. Two 3/4" x 48' and two 5/8" x 48" poplar dowels yielded six pairs of 16" bachi. I love my new pull saw, went through poplar like butter! I rounded the cut edges off lightly with the mouse sander.

Pics are up. http://flickr.com/photos/70104978@N00/sets/72157612677186409/

2. [livejournal.com profile] cayswann  sent me this fascinating link to the BibliOdyssey blog as it has engravings from Arnoldus Montanus' 1670 edition of 'Denckwürdige Gesandtschafften der Ost-Indischen Geselschaft in den Vereingten Niederländern an unterschiedliche Keyser von Japan'. I'd seen a couple of these reproduced in Giles Milton's Samurai William.
http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/2009/01/conjuring-17th-century-japan.html
If this is not a cautionary tale against "I read it in a book so it must be true," I don't know what is. (The Japanese  worship Hindu gods? There are orangutans there?) It looks like the artist was working from verbal or written descriptions, hearsay, myths and the theory that Oriental = Turkish.

3. If you get up really early and get to Swedish Hell IKEA by 10 AM on a Sunday, you may survive the trip with your sanity intact. I picked up the makings of another IVAR unit for the garret as my library is growing and it's time to move the reference books I use most to the desk side of the garret. 
gurdymonkey: (Default)
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Oxygen.
Nutrients.
Books.

It's that important. It has been that important ever since Dad would climb onto the bed with a copy of English Lyric Poetry or The Nonsense Anthology or D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. It's why I could recite Keats' "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" before I could read it. It's why I climb onto the bed with my nephews and read to them when I go visit - I've been pronounced almost as good as Pop Pop, which is high praise indeed.

I'm currently in the middle of Peter Carey's 2001 Booker Prize winner, The True History of the Kelly Gang, which I picked up used because it looked interesting and passed my "random paragraph test."  I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction. I just finished Arthur Herman's To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World.  Next on the To Read Pile is A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns, Kitabatake Chikafusa's 14th century chronicle, the Jinno Shotoki, translated by H. Paul Varley.

So many books. So many, many, wonderful books!

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
A few days ago I received an email from someone who had found me while Googling the term "hiogi."


We parted company. Since I'd come into Berkeley anyway, I figured I'd head across the street and give Moe's a quick once over.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
But I submitted a couple of photos to the SF Chronicle's website and they seemed happy enough to take 'em.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/contribute/sn/photo?plckPhotoID=b93f935a-2719-459a-893b-d00a5da307c9&plckGalleryID=ebd3d576-0841-4ad1-b61b-ae24969a801a
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/contribute/sn/photo?plckPhotoID=99155e48-b1ac-40c1-b74b-7e5b87f2f93e&plckGalleryID=ebd3d576-0841-4ad1-b61b-ae24969a801a
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/contribute/sn/photo?plckPhotoID=c256498d-b4c3-4276-aae8-7a1079c8b210&plckGalleryID=5e261a99-201b-4fd4-a059-88e7360a0850

I had my tea and still felt cold and thought, "I know, it won't be cold on the other side of the hill." I drove up to Walnut Creek, turned the wrong way on Mount Diablo Boulevard, so I decided to stop at the Ross up there on the principle that it would not be as picked over as the ones down here. It wasn't, but I didn't really love anything enough to take it home. Went back down Main Street in the right direction. Woe, Bonanza Books is gone. So I hopped onto 680 and went up a couple exits into Concord.

Bay Books is still in the strip mall on Willow Pass Road. (Yay!) Found that budget copy of Northanger Abbey, the ceramics and pottery volume from the Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art (and for $8.95 too), and, of all things, a paperback on the making of the miniseries Shogun. Most of the production stills are in B&W and the quality is at best so-so, but the costume design sketches and color stills were well worth the $10 I dropped on it. Costume designer Shin Nishida is shown sitting at a desk littered with books, one open to a page showing this painting of early Edo beauties!   (Look!.  A kosode with BUNNIES on it. And the woman in the dark kosode with the gold roundels, second panel from the left - she looks like me! Well, a bit.) And yeah, Richard Chamberlain did cut a fine figure in wafuku back in the day - even with all that fluffy 80's hair.

Took a spin through the nearby Cost Plus on basic general principle and picked up a bottle of sake that was in the wine clearance bin but had a date stamp on the label that didn't make me immediately set it down again. It can go for the HCM* party at Purgatorio.

Unfortunately, my headache is back.

It occurs to me that the person who was looking for a bagpiper for Purgatorio has not gotten back to me in more than a week.  I tried. I am not going to chase him down. Ball is in his court.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]"Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on." John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp), "The Libertine." (Go here for the rest of the riveting, appalling opening speech.) No, you will not like him, but you will find it very hard to look away.

"I believe in the Church of Baseball." Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), "Bull Durham." Opens another brilliant speech, setting the scene.

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