"…and not for five minutes will I be distracted from the wonder…"

Gullna Arið

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 29, 2005 at 1:18 pm

Hello from Reykjavik! The golden birthday has progressed quite nicely so far
and thanks to everyone that’s emailed a birthday greeting. I’ve been sung ‘Happy
Birthday’ in Icelandic by the dj at the cafe we were at last night and also
by a group of Finnish high school students that were hanging out with me and
the surfers last night in the kitchen of the hostel after we got in (more on
the surfers who chose to surf Iceland later).

I wanted to hit some museums today, but the weather has been the warmest of
any day of my stay, so I biked around, visited Hallgrim Church and its tower
that overlooks the city, wandered through the city’s graveyard, and sat in
my favorite cafe and read for a while. Today
is also the last day of school for the locals and apparently it is tradition
for the graduating seniors to dress in odd outfits. This thankfully explains
why I saw a lot of teenaged guys wearing nothing but panty hose and white oxfords
around town all day (I was a bit worried until the kids I talked to explained
the situation, now I’m just a slight bit less worried). The girls seemed to
have two different outfits to choose from: Pippy Longstocking or Eastern Indian
women (see below).



The tower of Hallgrim Church. Here’s a short video shot from the top.



The face of time. The clocks of Hallgrim Church’s tower from the inside.



I don’t think I’ve ever spent a birthday wandering a graveyard. I
found 2 people in the cemetery that died on this date. I didn’t find anyone
that was born on 4/29.



Some graduating seniors in town center.



Birthday self portrait on the second floor of Kaffibarrinn. Most coffee
shops double as bars at night and this one is a local favorite and is quite
hip without being pretentious.

I’ve got plenty of stories and photos to share when I get back. This place
is very interesting, beautiful and more than a touch odd. Note to the Wrecking
Crew: you’d love it in Reykjavik. Going out on weekends means that you hit
the town no earlier than midnight (right now it gets dark here @ around 11:30
pm, and even then it’s only like twilight) and stay out til well after dawn.
That’s the rule, not the exception. Which means I got to rest up, the surfers
will be back in a bit and will be raring to go.

Mississippi Braves | On the Road

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 20, 2005 at 6:27 pm

For the last 2 days Kelly and I have spent our evenings at Trustmark
Field, the new home of the Mississippi Braves over in Pearl,
Mississippi. On the night of the home opener we met up with Tate and Amy and had a good time sharing the game with them. Thankfully Tate got some great pictures (especially this panoramic one
from right field), as I had forgotten my camera in the car. I’ve never
been to the inaugural game at a ballpark and it was pretty special. One
the most immediately exciting things about the new field is that you
can walk all the way around it during the game, stopping wherever you
like to peer over the outfield wall and watch the game. Seems simple,
but it’s really cool and I think that Trustmark field is one of the few
double-A parks in the country where you can do that. The Brave’s
haven’t won either game we’ve attended, but we’re not going tonight so
maybe they’ll pull one out.

After coming into the bookstore for a couple of hours tomorrow I’m
off to New Orleans for the Wilco show at the State Palace Theatre and
then on Friday I’m off to Iceland by way of Baltimore. It still doesn’t
feel like I’m leaving town. The only thing I’ve done to get ready is
return the PlayStation game I’ve been obsessing over
to Blockbuster and to get traveler’s checks. Which means I’ve got
plenty to do tonight. Oh, I did pick up some books to read while I’m
gone. In no particular order they are:

  • Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
    I loved the movie, but is the book anywhere near as good?
  • Sagas of Warrior Poets
    Some of the Icelandic Sagas. By no means complete (I want to buy that collection over there) but I figure it’s a good primer.
  • Love Warps the Mind A Little by John Dufresne
    I wanted something cerebral yet light and Bobby recommended this one. If it’s anything at all like Johnny Too Bad I’m on the bandwagon for sure.
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
    I’m probably the only late twenty-something, literary fiction loving bookstore employee in the US that has not read this book.
  • Island by Alistair MacLeod
    If Mary Ward Brown likes him, I imagine that I will also. All of these
    stories, by one of the world’s purported best living short story
    writers, are all set in Nova Scotia, so I figured that Iceland would be
    a close enough geographic substitute.

Conspicuously absent on the list is any book by novelist Halldór Laxness,
Iceland’s native son and Nobel Prize winner in literature. I figure
I’ll ask the locals which book of his to pick up while I’m over there.
With a literacy rate of 99% and more bookstores per capita than any
other country, I’m sure I’ll get plenty of sound advice.

I
guess this is probably the last post before I leave, so all of you cats
here in Jackson take care. Go see Carmina Burana with Marlow-fueled
visual goodness on Friday and LBE in Hedwig and the Angry Inch next
week. I’m gonna miss them all. And all of you too.

Books, Baseball, Dawn Birds…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 16, 2005 at 5:52 am

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep so I
burned some midnight oil on the new Lemuria website design. We’re
probably a month away from taking it live.

Up until about 30 minutes ago there was a hoot owl serenading me in
the backyard. I can’t remember the last time I heard such a bird in the
middle of Jackson and it’s been a while since I’ve heard a hoot owl at
all. It reminded me of the horned owl that we could see almost nightly
at my grandparents down in Louisiana. He was huge and appeared both
ominous and regal sitting on the lit utility pole above the
woodpile. It turns out the owl has had that same varied representation in the
myths and legends of the world. Some despise it, some revere it. Check
out some different takes here.

The Braves put on a hitting clinic last night, beating the Phillies
handily in their first meeting of the season. While I have some petty
misgivings about Jackie Robinson Day
being forever paired with tax day
(certainly he deserves better, right?, though I guess the date of his
first game in the majors is the date to choose), it was fitting that on
that day Brave’s manager Bobby Cox tied Leo Durocher, Robinson’s
manager when he
integrated baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in ’47, for career wins
with last night’s W. My first love affair with reading about baseball
was books about the Brooklyn Dodgers (perhaps the book that led to
all others was Brooklyn’s Dodgers: The Bums, the Borough, and the Best of Baseball, 1947-1957??)
and they quickly became my favorite historical team of all time, partly
because of the working class feel of their players and fans, the simple
beauty of Ebbets Field
and also because it opened a whole new door through which to hate the
Yankees. It’s one thing to hate a team in the present. Hating them for
reasons that occurred before you were even born ups the ante a bit, I’d
say.

And speaking of baseball books, I’ve got Joe Formichella’s upcoming book Here’s to You, Jackie Robinson: the Legend of the Prichard Mohawks
sitting right next to me and I think I’m going to put the computer down
and read it until I can get some more sleep. I’d like to tell you more
about the book, but not at 5 am on a Saturday, so I’m going to simply
c&p the publisher’s description for you.

In March of 1948, Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers came
to Mobile, Alabama, on a whistle stop tour to play an unremarkable
exhibition game that had remarkable consequences for the city, the
black community, and for baseball itself. Thrilled to see the man who
broke major league baseball’s color barrier, Robinson’s brief
appearance fueled a passion for the game among the city’s black
population. One man, however, saw more than just excitement for a
sport. Thirty-year-old Jesse Norwood saw a way to help the kids who
would congregate beyond his stoop, lost and hopeless in the segregated
South of the 1950s. Though having no baseball experience at any level,
he realized he could take the model of the game and build it into a
sense of dignity and pride. Here’s to You, Jackie Robinson: the Legend
of the Prichard Mohawks is the story of a man who transformed a gang of
scrawny youngsters into both a team and a genuine force in the
community. Norwood emerges as a figure worthy of legend, and his legacy
can still be felt today. With a novelist’s gift for storytelling,
Formichella breathes life into a South long gone and creates a hero’s
story, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking, that begins
in a sandlot and ends in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The dawn birds have begun to sing…

Slow light…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 14, 2005 at 1:19 pm

There’s been a lot going on in the last week: Tate Nation’s birthday
party
on Saturday night, running amok downtown with Devin afterward, a
3 am trip to the farm with Devin, Friday and Kelly after that, where Kelly
found foxfire as I led a drunken tour of the woods behind the
farmhouse. I’ve tried to sit down and construct a narrative that would
do it all justice but after two attempts it just seems flat and boring.
Will work it out someday, though…someday.

Some random notes:

I got advance copies of both Suzanne Hudson’s and Joe Formichella’s
forthcoming books on Monday. Started them both last night and am
already enjoying each of them immensely. More to come on each of those.


Before starting those books I read John Gardner’s Grendel and it left
me pleasantly amazed. What an incredible book. I finished it at 6 am on
Tuesday morning, having awakened and unable to return to sleep. After
reading the last 30 pages I fell into one of the deepest, most
satisfying sleeps I’ve ever had. It was almost narcotic. How comfortably odd.

This is a portion of a review that I read (linked above) after finishing the book that I thought echoed my own feelings:

How to explain the work Grendel? It’s not easy. In my opinion
it is certainly one of the best works in English. But it is elusive to
explain exactly why this is so. Grendel manages to capture something
wonderfully, elegantly elusive in the human soul – something which does
not even truly have a name. I could write whole paragraphs simply trying
to elucidate on this ephemeral yet pervasive quality in the book – and
never really hit on it exactly. Simpler blunter words come easily to mind.
World angst. Existential futility. Ennui. None of these really do it for
me though.


Monday and Tuesday I finally got to sit down and watch two full
Atlanta Brave’s games. They walloped the Nationals in the first one and
had the second wrapped up but the new closer, Kolb, gave up 3 runs in
the 9th and they lost. The team looks strong on offense and defense,
but I’m already worried about their late inning pitching. Move Smoltz
back to the closer role? He may prove much more valuable there than
starting. Above all, though, it’s good to have baseball back. I’ve
automatically got something to do when I get home from work almost
every day. Kick up the feet, turn on the game and keep one eye on it,
one eye on a book, one hand on a beer and the ears on the stereo. To
people who complain that baseball is boring to watch on TV: yeah,
you’re right, if you do nothing else. Find three other things to do, or
hell, take a two hour nap, if the game is good you’ll wake up with some
good baseball left watch.


In one week I leave for Iceland and am very excited. I’m going by
myself for my golden year (turning 29 on the 29th). It’s a very random
trip and on the surface I’m not really quite sure why I’ve decided to
take it. I’ve got a good feeling about it, though, so we’ll see what I
find there. Also on the birthday note, I’m having a birthday party the
Sunday after my return. It’ll be at lemCom and the Moils will be
playing. More details to come.


And one last thing on the tech-geek tip:
For over a year I’ve had a very annoying problem with the cursor on my
laptop going crazy and moving to the bottom left or top right of the
screen at random times. My laptop is three years old so I thought it
was just getting a bit batty. I finally sat down with my tutor (ie:
google), though, and figured out that if you use a second pointing
device with a scroll wheel (I use mouse at work) then the input
controller gets confused between the 3-byte input of the on board touch
pad versus the 4 byte input of the external point device with scroll
wheel and therefore acts freaky. I went and downloaded the latest
driver
for my touch pad at Dell, which addresses the problem and voila,
everything seems to be fine.

And so ends the ramble. Get outside kids, tis a beautiful day.

Local Weekly Round-Up

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 6, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Both this weeks Planet Weekly and Jackson Free Press have some great
articles for the discerning reader. The JFP’s cover story is on Joosy
Josh Hailey, who opens his photo studio in the Fondren Corner building
this week. Over at the Planet Weekly, Nick Furr’s interview with the GM
of the Mississippi Braves
is a very informative and entertaining look
into how Double-A baseball made it back to Mississippi. Also, Jason
Bronson’s review of the new Beck CD, which Bobby and I have been
groovin’ to all week long, is spot on.

National Poetry Month

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 4, 2005 at 3:52 pm

Tate over @ shockingbird was helping me with a relative positioning in CSS
issue and in honor of national poetry month I IM’ed him the following
haiku:


it is nice to think

that a tag that is called div

unifies so much

Said haiku was precipated by this exchange:

[15:32] lowgreynite: i ended up using top and left
[15:33] lowgreynite: cause i think with relative you have to go from where it would
be without positioning
[15:33] lowgreynite: refresh it and it should look ok
[15:33] lowgreynite: and works fine with resizing
[15:34] kaotate: Site with cross-browser kung fu action!
[15:34] lowgreynite: heh
[15:34] lowgreynite: thanks for your help
[15:34] lowgreynite: sometimes i just need a sitter to walk me through it
[15:34] lowgreynite: some paths in the forest are too scary to take alone :)
[15:35] kaotate: You took the code less traveled by.
[15:35] lowgreynite: hahahaha
[15:35] lowgreynite: good one
[15:35] lowgreynite: it IS national poetry month
[15:35] kaotate: "And I, I took the code less traveled by
And that, that broke it in Opera."


My heroes have always Been

Uncategorized — d-ashes on April 2, 2005 at 9:29 am

It seems that Neil Young had quite the scare
health-wise this last week. Good to see that he’s doing better. And
though there’s been no official word, Tom Franklin says that Barry
Hannah, who was in the ICU in Texas, is doing a bit better as well.
Heroes will always be heroes, dead or alive, but between the scares
with those two guys and the recent passing of Larry Brown, Hunter S.
Thompson and Johnny Cash, I’m wondering if I’m going to have any left
alive before too long. Guess I may just have to go find some news
ones.

After work today I’m off to New Orleans to hang out with Joe and Suzanne who are attending the Tennesse William’s Literary Festival
down there. I have no idea what we’re getting into but I’m hoping we’ll
have a sunny brunch somewhere nice tomorrow, at least. Oh and raw
oysters. Definitely raw oysters.

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