CDBaby loves me

You should shop at CDBaby.com, if only because they send out the best "shipping confirmation" emails ever. See below (the email started off with the usual purchase details at the top):

"Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make
sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that
money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, June 30th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year". We're all
exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email: cdbaby@cdbaby.com


Aces High

OK, what is it with me and mob media? I am currently obsessed with the movie Casino, which gets rerun all the time on Starz. The scary thing is that it's 3 hours long but I can watch it over and over, week after week, and keep finding new things that fascinate me. I'm not even a huge fan of either Robert De Niro or Sharon Stone, but they are so amazing in this, the way they portray these complex characters.

Some of my favorite scenes:

  • The Sam "Ace" Rothstein exposition: When we're learning about his handicapping skills.
  • When you see Ace measuring the die: This just makes the casino seem so calibrated, so measured, so controlled--which it is--but that careful measurement belies the chaos, crime, and desperation under the surface.
  • The first scene with Ginger: I love that you see her first through a casino security camera.
  • The Ginger Exposition: Post-Rat Pack, pre-MGM Vega$ chic and total sleaze wrapped into one.
  • Sam & Ginger's wedding: This scene is simultaneously very appealing and very sad, which I guess could be said for the whole movie.
  • Aces High: the television show Sam "Ace" Rothstein starts just when he is supposed to be taking a low-profile, behind-the-scenes job. It's just all done so excessively, with the Sam Rothstein dancers and Trudy the announcer with her high, horrible voice.
  • When Pescano gets busted: And you see him in the grocery rattling off his crimes as his mom yells at him every time he swears.

There are many more but these were the main ones to come to mind.


The Princess of Whales

We went on an amazing whale watching trip today and saw tons of blue whales, "the largest animal to have ever lived," as we were all quick to remark. They did indeed look grand, especially compared to the relatively tiny humpbacks I've seen before. Humpbacks weigh a "mere" 80,000 pounds, while Blues weigh 400,000! We also saw blue whales traveling side by side, which they are not known to do. Then again, not much is known about them. Except that they are stunning creatures. Everyone had an outstanding time.


Life of Pi

Another amazing book I've managed to devour in a mere 2 months. It seems to take me about 7 weeks to read the first 100 pages of a book, then 2 days to finish the rest, which was certainly the case with Life of Pi. I plodded through the many expository opening chapters, which examine religion, animal behavior, and childhood. They were certainly interesting, but not nearly as gripping as I'd expected from a book so celebrated and talked-about. On page 95, I decided I'd give it 5 more pages. If it hadn't gotten interesting by then, I was kicking it to the curb.

On page 98, everything changed. Two serious nights of reading after that, at 3 in the morning, feeling astonished and almost frightened by the book's unexpected and inexplicable denouement, I decided I had to start a book club, and that this would be our first book. That way, I had an excuse to read it again, this time asking questions I hadn't known to ask the first time around. And of course then I'd be able to discuss all the tremendous possibilities and ramifications with a bunch of other people.

So the book club email went out. The meeting is in late July.


Stop Unsafe Protesting!

Across the street from the farmers market today, I saw a large crowd of people. There were many Israeli flags, which led me to wonder exactly what was being protested. As we rode by on the scooter, I searched for any clear sign that made a statement. I only saw one. It said, "Stop Unsafe Protesting!"

Can anyone explain?


The Memory Mystery

So I looked up the "Super Bon Bon" song and discovered that it is by Soul Coughing. Now, I either never knew that (highly unlikely) or have entire parts of my brain that have been blacked out by some mysterious memory-obscuring magic marker (really quite likely). Because I just wouldn't have guessed that in a million years.

Memory is so strange. Being a longtime diary-keeper, I made this discovery for real many years ago, upon reading old diaries and realizing I had absolutely no recollection of many of the recorded events. I've always thought it was a good thing that I wrote stuff down so I knew it wouldn't be lost forever. Sometimes I wonder though. When I feel so incredibly mortified, saddened, and/or regretful as I revisit (via these "handy" journal entries) certain moments in my past, it occurs to me that perhaps our memory is so poor for a reason. Maybe that is one surprising and pleasant benefit of human existence: Sure, life might be, as a whole, very, very rough when you're going through it, but you can be guaranteed to forget huge swaths of your time on this Earth, remembering fondly only certain measured moments that, in reality, may have been really quite trying the first time through.


All hail the Hootenanny

When I wrote the description on the evite for my recent party, I mentioned that we'd be singing Beatles covers and dancing. I had it in my head that the event would be a hootenanny, but honestly I didn't think the party would manifest itself as such. Boy was I wrong!

I guess my first good move was inviting the fabulous Sonya Hunter and Erik Pearson, two great guitarists who perform as part of the Magic City Chamber of Commerce. I also made sure Graham and Alex were there, knowing they are completely open to spontaneous musical expression--plus Alex is another fine guitarist who knows all the greatest pop tunes (and some of the not-so-great-but-damn-fun-to-sing) ones. Louise, Emily, Toby, and new addition to the crowd Benny helped liven things up as well, as they're always willing to act goofy upon demand. And then there was Seanbaby, the crucial Seanbaby. Man can that kid sing. His sister's pretty enthusiastic too. Many others were there as well, but I'm only mentioning the ones who made it into this funny picture we took at the end of the event, right after a rousing round of Pink Floyd songs.

Penultimate "Super Bon Bon" Update: The two names that popped into my head were Bloodhound Gang (which I know is wrong) and Fun-Lovin' Criminals (which I'm, like, 95% sure is wrong). By the next entry I will just have looked it up on the Web and will have an answer for all those inquiring minds.