Friday, July 24, 2009

Winkie report?

Winkie good. Compliments to David Maxine for putting together a solid program. Um. Nice drive down with John Bell who was visiting from Boston; I picked him up in Oakland and we chatted (or I chattered?) all the way down. I asked him once on the way down & once on the way back what sort of music he liked – I’d intended to bring a batch of the playlist CDs I’d burned, but had forgotten them at home, the music preference question being not just idle curiosity but checking to see whether he would hate what I was going to slip into the car’s CD player – except, of course, I didn’t have the CDs with me. Still, John said he liked “American Standards.”

American Standard?

Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, Eloise McGraw. Um. No? I didn’t put on the radio because I was talking, plus I was driving, so why distract from the moment?

I liked John. Smart guy. Personable. Didn’t interrupt me.

Anything else about Winkies? The old regulars. They are getting older. I guess that was a surprise. We youngsters of the 70s & 80s? Middle aged. Anybody coming up behind us? Um. Anthony? The 15 year old local? I liked him. Bouncy. He was puzzled by the lack of attention to the MGM movie. “That’s what I really like,” he said. “I haven’t read the books.”

Meanwhile David Maxine was saying we really need to get people to join the club who are into the Oz books. The books!

There is only one MGM Wizard of Oz. There are 14 sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. And many sequels by subsequent authors. I run out of things to say about the MGM movie rather quickly.

But I don’t know. I got one thing at the auction, an early edition of The Giant Horse of Oz. The other night Kent asked me if it was a book I really liked. After he noted that I wasn’t answering that question I furrowed my little brow and said, “I’ve never thought of it that way. I’m going to have all 40 books in the Oz series, and, yes, there are some I like better than others … but the issue of whether to buy something has little to do with whether that particular book is a favorite. Some editions of the books have more illustrations. I’d like the ones with all the illustrations.”

Friday, July 17, 2009


"On a recent night, [diver Shanda] Magill watched ... a dozen squid with doleful, expressive eyes circle her group, tapping and patting the divers and gently bumping them before dashing away.

"One especially large squid suspended itself motionless in the water about three feet away and peered at her closely, its eyes rolling, before it vanished into the black. A shimmering incandescence rippled along its body ...

"Other divers have reported squid pulling at their masks and gear and roughing them up.

"Roger Uzun, a veteran scuba diver and amateur underwater videographer, ... said ... The animals taste with their tentacles ... 'As soon as we went underwater and turned on the video lights, there they were. They would ram into you, they kept hitting the back of my head,' he said. 'One got ahold of the video light head and yanked on it for two or three seconds ... trying to take the video light with him.'"



"[A] huge search [of NASA archives] that began three years ago for the old moon tapes led to the 'inescapable conclusion' that 45 tapes of Apollo 11 [moon walk] video were erased and reused. ... The original videos beamed to Earth were stored on giant reels of tape that each contained 15 minutes of video, along with other data from the moon. In the 1970s and '80s, NASA had a shortage of the tapes, so it erased about 200,000 of them and reused them.

"[NASA senior engineer Dick] Nafzger, who was in charge of the live TV recordings back in the Apollo years, said they were mostly thought of as data tapes. It wasn't his job to preserve history, he said, just to make sure the footage worked."


Thursday, July 09, 2009

life in Berkeley

Banging upstairs as our contractor & his assistant tear up the floor. New kitchen on the way. We had walls taken out and the ceiling is gone.

Weather is nice. So if I’m driven from the house by the noise I won’t be wandering in the rain or fog.

I’m off to Monterey this weekend, the Winkie Convention. Looks like I’m giving a lift to another conventioneer who’s making his first Winkie appearance.

Kent will be helping a law school buddy celebrate his 50th birthday. So we’ll be in different place this weekend.

The cats seem to be handling the renovation okay. They make themselves scarce during the day then show up once the strange destructors take their leave. Sundy goes upstairs and cautiously investigates the changes. I don’t know if Sutra has gotten past a frightened glance.

Couple nights ago Sundy came down – his face black! I knew he’d poked his nose into some new hole. I grabbed him up to show Kent. Kent delicately removed the spider web black with dust that had neatly framed his orange eyes.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Try This at Home

I like to pick up cheap sampler CDs. I’ve found lots of great music that way. At Half Price Books this week I found a sampler from Shut Eye Records, “Wrapped in Plastic”. The names of the songs, the bands, even the engineers and studios come together into fascinating tiny stories.

Catholic School Girls “Meat Wrench” (from the new album “Emily’s Basement”). Recorded at Smegma Studios.

Female Chauvinist Pigs “You Lied” (from the debut cd “So You Think You’re a Man”). Recorded at Spock’s Brain Studios.

Public Safety “Need a Reason” (from the album, “Try This at Home”)

Happy Campers “Things Could Be Worse” (previously unreleased). Recorded at Bombshelter. Engineered by Adam Bomb. Produced by Happy Campers. Mastered by Alien Audio.

I haven’t listened to the music yet. It would be nice if I liked it at least as much as the liner notes.