The alternatives are not placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.
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READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
(The embedded video is a YouTube playlist. After each song, the next one should start. Use the fast-forward and rewind buttons to skip around, or visit YouTube to get links to the individual songs.)
The Sailor's Hornpipe (trad.) 1:30
Frim Fram Sauce (Nat King Cole via Diana Krall) 2:59
John Hardy was a desparate man (I am not sure if this is trad. or by a Carter) 3:55
East Tennessee Blues (trad.) 1:28
Barbara Allen (trad, Child ballads) 6:08
Serpent at the gates of wisdom (Robyn Hitchcock) 4:03
Jeremy's Breakdown (The Modesto Kid) 1:19
All songs arranged by The Modesto Kid. That's like nearly 22 min. of music! Fully a ¼ of it Barbara Allen, whoa...
Recordings are made with Kodak Zi8, whose built-in mic is for all its smallness and cheapness, one of the best recording instruments in my house. Edited and saved using Windows Live Movie Maker and YouTube's "edit video" function.
Update: I changed the set listing a bit, so the first two comments below will no longer make sense. ("Humoresque" used to be included and is no longer, since it (a) was not recorded in the kitchen and (b) did not rise to the level of these tapes.) A word about the arrangements: I'm really taken with this form! It seems like something brand-new.
I am embarking on a new project this week. Recently Yascha Mounk of The Utopian contacted me to ask if I'd like to contribute some short translated pieces to their site's blog. Naturally (given that I've been reading and thinking about Vásquez' work so much lately) the first thing to come to mind was Juan Gabriel Vásquez' weekly column for El espectador, which seems almost perfectly suited for this format. I made contact with Anne McLean and received permission to give this a try -- the first column is up, his January 26th column about Salman Rushdie's canceled appearance at the Jaipur literary festival: Bullies and their certainties.
Nearly everyone in this town of fewer than 2,000 people some 95-miles east of San Francisco has a story about the two men, who were known as wild partiers and methamphetamine users.
“It’s freaky when you realize you knew someone like that,” said Jennifer Brown, 57, a bartender from nearby Clements.
Mr. Shermantine and Mr. Herzog were regulars at several of the local bars, including the Linden Inn, owned by John Vanderheiden.
“I heard him boasting about how he killed a guy just to kill him,” said Mr. Vanderheiden, who said he shrugged off Mr. Herzog’s stories as barroom bragging until 1998, when his 25-year-old daughter, Cyndi, disappeared after a night out with the men.
It is difficult to picture reading this story without wondering whether Herzog has started working on his documentary. Only icing on the cake that one of the murderers is named Herzog.
In 1932, in a time of chaos, misery and crisis in the country and likewise at the local level, there appeared in Tocopilla a figure both picturesque and controversial, of national fame, named Domingo Zárate, alias ‘The Christ of Elqui.’ He was a preacher who had taken up travelling throughout Chile and the neighboring countries, Bolivia and Peru, after he learned of his mother's death in 1922. Ever since then, as a form of penitence, he had devoted his life to evangelical sermons, had given up his clothing for a simple sackcloth and sandals, had let his hair and his beard grow unchecked. Hundreds of people came to hear his preachings; children were scared by his strange appearance, which provoked jeers and catcalls from the unfaithful -- he would reply in his own defense, ‘...better to be serious than to jest, especially when we are dealing with the Gospel. They will laugh at me, perfect, it is not the first time, not for Our Lord Jesus Christ; the public will have its say...’ (Revista Sucesos 1932 p. 7: Universidad de Tarapacá archive)
Matthew's posting of an article about fonts at Google+ reminds me that I have not posted yet about the recent typeface change at READIN -- partly or mostly out of the conviction that it is not the sort of thing that would make any difference to anybody who is not me... But what are blogs for if not stuff that would make no difference to anybody but the author?
Lately I have been writing everything (everything I write on the computer that is not code) in Palatino Linotype, and finding that it is much easier on the eyes than any other typeface I have tried. (I do not love the numerals; but most of what I write in non-programming contexts is alpha characters.) So I modified the site's stylesheet to specify that typeface name as the primary choice; if you have the face installed (and it seems to be pretty standard-issue), that's how the site should render.
Giovambattista Palatino was an Italian calligrapher of the 16th C., who in 1556 wrote a manual of lettering styles. Hermann Zapf is a German typeface designer of the 20th C., who in 1948 named a set of faces after Sig. Palatino.
Robert Hult spent Friday walking through Brooklyn and Queens, following the path of the Expressway and posting photos. streetsblog.orgpresents some highlights of the journey. (Thanks for the link, dad!)