Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thank You iPod...

...for another night of glorious music ....just when you need it the most.....

1. Track 2, Lounge Divine - Santana
A stunning mash-up of Santana music created by two European friends I've known for years, but only through the Internet.

2. The Angel Cried Out - Russian Chamber Choral (Tchaikovsky: Vespers)
This Tchaikovsky composition was my lifeline during my lonely days in Alexandria, Virginia.

3. Enigmatic Ocean, Part 2 - Jean-Luc Ponty
Sounds of my spiritual awakening in Phelan in the late '70s.

4. Orthodox - The Rastafarians
Life saving Santa Cruz reggae.

5. A Night in Tunisia - Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan makes everything about life better.

6. Represente - Orishas
The soundtrack to my first five years in Toronto, back when I studied Afro-Cuban conga with Jesus Valdez, the Aztec Clave.

7. The Way and the Truth - Kephas
Kephas (Richard Gonzalez) is an unbelievable, unsigned guitarist who does Carlos Santana better than Carlos has done Carlos in the past 8 years.

8. Father and Son - Cat Stevens
Deep, deep memories which have been waiting as a sign of my new reality.

9. Welcome to Mexico - Cheech & Chong
Cooler than you may think.

10. Agrippina, Act 2 - Lorriane Hunt
Another sign of the lonely days in Alexandria. This is a copy of the album I bought for Jim Wind for Christmas 2004.

11. Born Under a Bad Sign - Jimi Hendrix
This song proves Jimi will always be the baddest dude around.

12. Ai Ga Bani - Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate
Pure. African. Beauty.

13. Moanin' Dove - Michelle Shocked
Michelle Shocked is so beautiful. "Moanin' Dove, Moanin' Dove. Lord that's what I be. Moanin' for your precious love. Your love is what I need."

14. Tall Trees in Georgia - Leah State
The best rendition of this Buffy Sainte-Marie song besides Buffy herself.

Winnipeg Sunset

I missed the most beautiful moment of this sunset from Tuesday evening because I was on the phone talking to my web developer, but I think this picture still conveys my point that the prairies have the some of the best sunsets in the world. Especially after a summer storm. Even from my hotel window. Even as seen by my Treo.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of School

Ok, it's not quite "school," but today was Amado's first day of daycare. And it was really only a half day. And I had to stay with him the whole time. But it was a tremendous experience for both of us!

I loved watching Amado interact with other kids in his age range (19 months to 2 1/2 years). It's beautiful to observe the different skills and personalities of each of the little kids, including Amado.

Amado loved all the balls there were to play with. It seemed like there were dozens! I could tell he also really liked being around other kids. He's going to grow a lot by going to daycare I would say. Amado didn't seem impressed by the catered lunch, or by the nap time, so we headed home. He returns on Thursday, after I get back from a meeting in Winnipeg.

See you then!

Anil's Ghost

I read Michael Ondaatje's book, Anil's Ghost, about two years ago now. It's a great book about a woman named Anil, who is a Sri Lankan forensic anthropologist investigating the political murders that had happened on the island during the civil war there.

There is one sentence from the book which occasionally rises in my memory that I'm still totally puzzled by.

When she was 12, Anil decided her given name was unacceptable and wanted to take the name "Anil", which was her 14-year-old brother's second name. He resisted, and after a lot of arguing and a failed intervention by their parents, Anil finally got her name by giving her brother: hundred saved rupees, a pen set he had been eyeing for some time, a tin of fifty Gold Leaf cigarettes she had found, and a sexual favour he had demanded in the last hours of the impasse.
Three of the items I understand, but the fourth? Ondaatje offers no further explanation of this strange combination of goods it took Anil to get the name and never revisits it in the book. Could I be the only reader left wondering...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And the Beat Goes On

My father played alto saxophone. Unfortunately, I don't have any memories of him playing, but several people have told me he could play a lot of jazz.

My father also wrote poetry and many of his poems had musical themes. Here is one I found the other day in one of his undated notebooks. It reminds me of the old days when my parents were young and their lives were consumed with art---something I can remember myself. Of course, my Mom's ["Chris" below] life still is filled with creativity (see her here blowing my dad's horn, some years after his death).


I am overcome by a madness,
A Jazz madness,
A madness in which I feel
I must blow everything.
From the word by Trane and Bird...
To things Chris would sing.
Bop and Blues are my obsession
My only love the open session.

--Rex Gallegos

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Totally Surfed Out Dude!

Ron Cestari cutting one off the lip (Serrano High School, Phelan, Calif., 1979).

Ron, great to hear from you man! Welcome to Alma's Soulfood. Click on "P*Land Blazes" to see more P*Land photos and video.

Peace Man!

Monday, August 20, 2007

10 Things I Thought about on my Summer Vacation

  1. I missed many things about not being constantly on-line, but neither blogging or Facebook were among them.
  2. I thought I was on to something when I saw some parallels between Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea and Yann Martel's The Life of Pi. Both feature solitary figures in out of control boats --- the old man being pulled by a marlin toward reality, Pi drifting with a tiger in tow toward unreality, etc. But then I got home and googled it and found out I wasn't the only one who noticed these similarities. Both are really amazing books though and I highly recommend them.
  3. I don't like mice. Especially when they bust in our car night after night, leaving an ungodly mess. And all for a piece of gum.
  4. I wish I had swam and kayaked more.
  5. My BBQ chicken is absolutely the best.
  6. There isn't anything much better than sitting in the sun, watching your son in the wading pool, and pouring over 3-day-old box scores of baseball games.
  7. I'm reviewing The History of Barrios Unidos for Sojourners and found it a very inspiring book, though the reasons may be completely personal.
  8. Michael Vick, one of the NFL's most talented players ever, will lose his career because of a dog fight?
  9. I had fun drinking wine with my father-in-law on the last night at the cottage, although the evening ended in chaos.
  10. It was great to see all my family from California here, together, in Northern Ontario. I would love to be able to hang out with them anywhere at least once a year. Twice a year would be better yet because I really miss them.

[Photo from a really neat Lithuanian's travel blog, but I'm sorry to say I can't find it anymore.]

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We're Back...

...and here's one last vacation shot (though if my fans wish another, I must comply). It's of South River, a beautiful spot near Wendy's parents' cottage. I would love to go kayaking there one day.

We're getting everything together around here, so please bear with us! I'll get back to posting more regularly soon.

Peace Out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

She'll Be Comin' Round the Corner When She Comes

Not quite home yet, but we will be soon!

Above, the train bearing the mother load pulls into South River station last week. We picked my Mom and Irene up here right before making the last leg of the journey to the cottage.

Amado's Pool

Here's Amado playing in his new pool at the cottage. His Granmas Coop and Bean picked this up for him at the local hardware store and he loves it. He will play for an hour in it, even when it doesn't have water in it!

View from the Cottage

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Still Up North

We're still up north at the cottage. I'm at the Red Brick Cafe in Sundridge, using their hi-speed wireless to answer some work emails and catch up on "the blogs". We had a great week with my family from California... mostly just relaxing and enjoying the water and the north woods. They've all headed home now, so Wendy, Amado, and I are spending a couple of days by ourselves before her family comes up next week. I'm reading Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, Wendy's watching a DVD on William Sloane Coffin, and Amado is enjoying his new kiddie pool. It's truly beautiful up here, and it's really nice to relax for a spell. The only thing hassling us are those dang red squirrels! They are out of control! (No doubt getting back at me for what we did to their city cousin in the EZ-Anwser Squirrel video on!)

Saturday, August 04, 2007


In order to protect their innocence, I won't identify each these funny people---except to say that the cute kid on the far right is Wendy. The rest of you know who you are!

This picture was taken in the early 70s at Lake Bernard (not Lake Erie like I thought), around the time Wendy's family was building their cottage there.

We'll be doing some swimming there too in the next couple of weeks. One week with my family from California and one week with Wendy's family from Ontario. We are really looking forward to it!

Blogging will be sparse during that time, though I can't imagine I wouldn't be able to find some way to hook up to the Internet up north.

So see you soon! And stay cool!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Irene!

When your Mom brings home a tough-looking hot rodder like this, some families may get concerned. Not us though. And after more than 27 years, we haven't had a single regret.

Happy Birthday Irene! We send you all of our love and look forward to seeing you very soon!

(See my Mom's blog for more birthday hoopla!)

La Notte

...and speaking of great directors...

Heading East, one of my favourite blogs, has a nice clip from Antonioni's La Notte (go there and click on the picture), along with an interesting discussion about whether or not there are any movie directors today in the same league as Bergman or Antonioni.

I love this clip, though I was too distracted by the staggering beauty of Monica Vitt to read the subtitles.

Cold Tea

Wendy and I finally had the chance to see Cold Tea the other day. This short film is a stunningly beautiful, poetic story about the power that love has to break through in our lives. We watched it three times in a row, with much awe and discussion.

My long-time friend Katie Bowen directed and produced this film, along with David Kosh who wrote it based on a short story by Katie's dad, Roger Bowen. Katie, you are such an amazing filmmaker! It's no wonder that Cold Tea is getting picked up by numerous film festivals!

We want an encore performance, or at least a podcast of the director's commentary!

Congratulations Katie on this sweet (and cold) piece of art.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Security Blanket

Amado and I can watch the lobby watch channel all day. Got to stay on top of who's coming and going, you know.