08 April, 2008

Musings and the First (Real) Day of Spring

I stood today, with my face and arms and abdomen pressed against a glass door. *Sigh*, It was basically heaven, with the sun warming the glass so much, that I actually got hot. I think I'll count this as the first real day of Spring. I walked by the ocean today. The tide was high and it was chilly enough that I wanted my jacket (so I wore it), but I didn't really need to wear it. In other words, it wasn't like I was going to get pneumonia and die if I left the hood down. It's a really nice feeling, and something I think I'd really miss if I lived in an area where the seasonal weather was less defined. The changes (and the constant knowledge that there will be changes) really make life worth living.

I don't have pages to write about music. Lately, my mind has been elsewhere, and I think it's good that my topics of interest are becoming more varied. I'm currently reading three books. The first one is called The Universe In A Single Atom, and it was written by the Dalai Lama in 2005. I should say that it was written by "His Holiness the Dalai Lama", because that's what is written on the cover. Sidenote: Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just sign things like that? For example, let's say "Jack" decides to sign all of his emails "His Holiness Jack". Or what if "Maureen" concludes that instead of the Ms/Mrs/Miss title fiasco, her checks will just read "Her Holiness". Just a thought, and I'm guessing that would be pretty freaking cool.

To get back on track, the Dalai Lama's book is about the convergence of science and spirituality. The spirituality aspect consistently revolves around Buddhism, which makes sense because this is what the Dalai Lama knows best. The scientific aspect however, has consistently focused on the most controversial aspects of contemporary physics. The most interesting thing that I have discovered, is how close the logic of science and Buddhism can be. It's interesting to think of religion and science as two different ways to reckon with the mysteries surrounding you, but even more interesting to think that they can actually be integrated in a way that strikes a particularly wholesome balance.

The second book I'm reading is a travel/guidebook to Taiwan. Random, I know, but I've always loved reading about other countries. The fact that the format is pretty standard, does nothing to cripple my enthusiasm. In fact, the color photographs and paragraph descriptions of local cultural events take me places in my mind where I hope to someday travel in my body. Until then, keep the travel books coming. If you're also stricken by wanderlust and keen on discovering "...the most underrated tourist destination in Asia...", then you should read The Rough Guide to Taiwan by Stephen Keeling and Brice Minnigh. The first edition was published in April of 2007, and the format is fabulous.

Behind door number three...Zeus:A Journey through Greece, in the footsteps of a God by Tom Stone. I've only just begun, but it seems like the story is going to be an interesting mix of mythological archaeology and full-out praisegush, for Greece. It's another country I've always wanted to visit. There's something about those little houses built into the coast, with their blue domes. I guess there's really just something fantastic about the whole Mediterranean atmosphere. Fantastic and delicious.

I'm currently listening to Colin Meloy Sings Live!. Yes, it's Colin Meloy, the warbly-voiced lead singer of the Decemberists, who happens to make Canada, and the pairing of emo hairstyles and facial hair supremely cool (let's face it, Canada was already pretty cool). I remember hearing "16 Military Wives" in 2005, and thinking: this is the reason I should go to the Warped Tour. Did I end up going? No. Did I end up liking The Decemberists? Yes. Picaresque and The Crane Wife are both gorgeous albums, and now we have Colin Meloy's very own live album. Listen to "We Both Go Down Together", and hear the tenacity and certainty of lovers in unfortunately dissimilar circumstances. It's a real love story. There's also "Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect/Dreams" which is an unsteady song with a steady melody. It's followed by "Dracula's Daughter", a jokey number that begins with the lines "Dracula's daughter got it bad". There are seventeen songs on Colin Meloy Sings Live!, and all of them are well-played, well-written, and consistently fun for the ears. What makes the album special, however, is Meloy's witty audience-directed banter. I would usually say that banter was something that went on between two or more people, a collaborative effort in teasing. What Colin Meloy does on his live album can be defined as all of those things, despite the fact that the audience does little more than giggle or sing a few lines. He's a live artist, someone who has the chops and the improvisational ability to groove with the audience or bend them to his will, at will. Although the album makes you long to see Colin Meloy and possibly the Decemberists live, it also stands very nicely on its own, and would be a distinctive addition to anyone's collection.

That's all for now, folks! Peace, love, and all that jazz.

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