Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Closing Thoughts

For 2008. No, not for good! Too many arts reviews to publish. And that's what Lamplight Drivel has become. Fewer personal posts and mostly dissertations on music and film. Will that change in 2009? Got me. But I'll throw in a life nugget or two every so often. Here's one...

Christmas '08 was nice, low-key. I noticed far fewer outlandish outdoor displays in my neighborhood and beyond this year. A reflection of hard economic times? Likely. Those January FPL bills must be horrendous. I imagine people hear drumrolls as they tear open the bills (or open their e-mails). A notable exception was the Lake Osborne home of one Amanda L., who had a cookie exchange party. This house was decked in lights from the city easement all the way to the backyard. Th party itself was also delightful, a chance to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in 5-7 years. Thank you, Facebook. More on you later.

I got my first real tree. Love it. I will take it down in a few days. Last year I spoke of how I used to get ultra depressed after Christmas. But these last two years I've just looked ahead. Too much going on to get mired in all that wallowing.

No Christmas pageants for us this year. I miss seeing and participating in them, but my reservations keep me away. Very real and valid reservations. I'm not disparaging those who partake, but I feel like my worship experience is very different than that now. It has a place, just not in my world. For now, anyway. Being in a choir again would be a blessing. My last experience started with joyous rapture, then went down in flames. Another entry, someday.

So we saw several family and friends. Most doing well. All concerned about the usual things. They are the real treasures. Not the cashmere sweaters or high tech coffee equipment (though I do dig 'em). Just having time with these folks is the real joy. The One whose birth we celebrate imbues it all with His grace. "Happy Holidays" would only serve to depress me if the glitter was all there was.

There was so much more, but these words are enough. 2008 was, in the Dickensonian sense, filled with good and bad times. Micro and macro. 2009 is potentially a very interesting year. Maybe it will be the year I Stop Worrying and Love the Lord. Without my own self imposed baggage. I'll let you know how that goes.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Why do so many people watch this?

Because it's an escape.

The television program in question is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The country is India, more specifically Mumbai. Known as Bombay until 1996, Mumbai has become the second most populous city in the world. With the name change sprouted associated affluence. Commerce flows from the multitudes of corporations that have outsourced their staffs to this Indian capital. Condos and skyscrapers dot the landscape in stark constrast to the piles of rubble just meters away. More than 60% of the population lives in slums. What do the nouveau riche think as they gaze from their bay windows to look down on rows of tin roofed shacks? Are the socialites and tourists uncomfortable when they gaze upon the masses of dirt poor citizens who carry babies as often to get more panhandling money as they do for more legitamate parental responsibilities?

So this TV show, an Eastern version of the popular American phenomenom, is a smash. No wonder. The city streets remain littered, the job prospects few for the residents who never had the sort of opportunities of those who've come to bask in their wealth. The show provides hope. See how masses of Maharashtrians, Gujaratis, Tamils, and Sindhis alike huddle in front of store windows to find televisions, to watch perhaps a fellow Mumbaiite take a crack at millions of rupees.

Jamal is such a contender. A lowly chai runner for a telemarketing firm, the teen continues to confound the show's host and the growing legion of viewers as he gets every question correct. He gets as far as 10 million rupees! How is this possible? A poor boy who hailed from the slums of Dharavi or its equivalent? Impossible! The show's host certainly thinks so, enough to have the boy ambushed one night by the police and taken for interrogation, which includes torture.

Jamal is tough. Finally, the Inspector lays off the electric shocks and lets the kid talk. We learn the story of Jamal's childhood, filled with pathos. Along the way, we are shown how the boy would come to learn about famous Indian poets, footballers, and a certain American whose likeness graces the $100 bill. Knowledge that would get him closer to those millions. How could Jamal know about Ben Franklin, and not know that Ghandi is on the rupee note?? It doesn't make sense to the Inspector. But as each Millionaire question is recalled, as the Inspector (and viewer) are recounted a tale of tragedy that shapes Jamal, we learn as well.

We learn that the knowledge we acquire as a result of life experience is the sum of who we are. What we are exposed to (voluntarily or otherwise), ingrains us. Sculpts our worldview. But the triumph of the human spirit can also trump even the most corrosive influences. That little thing called Love can indeed conquer all. When we meet Jamal's childhood crush, Latika, we are treated to an emotionally charged journey we won't soon forget. Love may temporarily be violently shoved aside in the midst of corruption and avarice, but it cannot be buried. It will emerge victorious. It will transform even the most jaded.

Director Danny Boyle's SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an exhilirating cinematic treat. It isn't merely watched, but experienced. With a kineticism that reminded me of the director's TRAINSPOTTING from over a decade ago, this movie runs and jumps and frantically tells this tale with the sort of enthusiasm that isn't seen too often these days. Underneath the flash is a fairly traditional narrative. Boy grows up poor. Is separated from sibling and childhood love. Is reunited. Escapes peril. Gets opportunity. Loses girl. And so on. In the wrong hands, this story could've been syrupy and gag inducingly cute. Boyle doesn't pour on the sentiment, but rather allows the inherent goodness to flow freely. I won't say if Jamal "wins" on the game show, but how that very term is defined is really the whole idea of this film. Pretty simple, really.

Despite Boyle's many darkly cynical films of the past, SLUMDOG is unabashedly hopeful. Took me by surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect with this. Certainly not such a positive, even gleeful movie. I would even go as far as to say that if Frank Capra were alive today, cranking out films in Bollywood, he'd make something like this. Filled with vivid evocations of Indian life (rich and in want), bouncy music, hyperactive lenses and editing, and an indomitable spirit of joy, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. My small theater was full, and the appluase was there at the end. It would be comforting to know that a worthwhile film such as this becomes a box office champ.

A great film? I have to think that over. As I said, the screenplay is a bit conventional, and many questions will likely flood your mind if you think it all over too hard. When that happens, remember that infectiously festive end credit sequence. The parade of life. The ultimate joy. That makes it all worthwhile.

NOTE: The film's "R" rating is really unnecessary, in my not so humble opinion. No one should be excluded from seeing this wonderful film. There is some violence but far less than say, THE DARK KNIGHT, which was inexplicably rated PG-13.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Party 2008 -The Antidote!

I was examining my posts from a year ago and I noticed that one of them was written the night before we were to have the office Christmas party. "Our troubled office", I stated. I never followed up to report. We had it, and it wasn't pretty. But then, not much was circa late 2007 at the ear, nose, and throat office where I worked and remain.

So what happened one year ago? Anger. Bitterness. Strife. I don't recall any holiday jingles with those words, but they hung heavily. First though, I have to identify a few of the players. You had the Bitchy Front Desk Receptionist, forever growling if you got too close to her, or dared to punch holes in documents yourself (that was her domain). You also had the Instigating Office Manager, who seemed hellbent on not getting along with the BFDR.

And there was the battle. BFDR made herself a plate with all the (mostly catered) goodies for the party. She did this about 15 minutes before anyone else. Her reasoning was that she had to continue to man the phones and be present for anyone who checked in (the office does not close for lunch or holiday parties). IOM was not pleased, and she loudly stated that it was a crass thing for the BFDR to do.

Words were exchanged like schrapnel. It got louder by the minute. The rest of the staff was embarrassed, mainly because the patients could hear this nonsense. That's crass, ladies. But I found myself chuckling despite the venom. While the women fought, the spirited baritone of Burl Ives droned on in the background. Despite his repeated advice, a "holly, jolly Christmas" was not in progress.

The two combatants would not remain at the office much longer. We got a new office manager who is very friendly and outgoing. We went through 2 more receptionists through the year before the current one, who is also very friendly and sharp. Other personnel shifts included about three allergy nurses and other support staff round robin. Turnover was high in '08. There was one rather unpleasant incident recently involving one of the former allergy nurses who returned to get her last paycheck. Apparently, there was some disagreement as to what that $ amount was to be, and there was some shouting. This time, the doctor herself was involved. Again, the patients could hear it. Argh.

But now the crew seems stable and they actually get along. Thus, we had a wonderful little lunch and Secret Santa exchange around the waiting room tree today. Everyone hugged and kissed and thanked. Not at all like the negativity of last year. I thought of this as I watched the staff today. I was relieved. A good cross section of employees, finally. And some fine people as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marie Antoinette

Have you ever watched a film that never. seemed. to. start? No, not like coming in late, feeling like you missed a chapter (buffs, see BUCKAROO BANZAI or MIAMI VICE). I'm referring to the sort of film that just comes on, continues, fades out. Shapeless. No real form. Yes, reader, I know that many independent and avant-garde films fit that description. I am not a viewer who requires linearity, strong narrative, or even a point, Lord help me. What I do object to is a film that is ostensibly trying to make some salient points and then ends up feeling like a 2 hour trailer.

That's generally how I feel about writer director Sophia Coppola's 2006 MARIE ANTOINETTE, a lushly photographed but frustrating gaze at the charmed life of a former Archduchess of Austria who becomes the Queen of France in the eighteenth century. Coppola gamely tries to frame it all through Marie's (Kirsten Dunst) point-of-view; the politics, the financial considerations, the mounting disintegration of her kingdom-not really of her concern. She loves her high life filled with endless parties and fabulous garments. Savoring truffles and various libations took priority over Versaille, which would fall a few years after her becoming queen at the age of nineteen. I understand the m.o., but it still doesn't really work.

Dunst looks the part and even conveys at times some of what I imagine Coppola was trying to say. But the actress' voice is flat, her performance seeming to lack in confidence. When she is required to look bored or cheerful, she just appears like she is waiting for something (direction?). As Louis XVI, her king, Jason Schwartzman seems like he will burst out laughing at any moment. Like a permament unsuccessful-attempt-to-conceal-a-smirk is always gracing his youthful visage. This is especially true during the scenes where the King and Queen spend many awkward nights before their marriage is finally consummated. The other actors are fine but underused, such as Rip Torn and Judy Davis.

The whole affair is, listless. My patience waned more than once as we drifted through scene after scene of a vapid life. Attempts to add a contemporary touch by utlilizing 80s New Wave songs was here nor there to the film's success. It all felt like an ambitious thesis, filled with lovely passages and color, yet far adrift from whatever statement it was trying to make. Odd failure, this film. If there were not indications of a serious theme, but rather a mere bubble-gum romp, I might've felt the film would've been more successful. MARIE ANTOINETTE seems very conflicted, wanting to um, have its cake and eat it too, if I may make a weak allusion to the infamous alleged quote of the Queen's. Can a work of art be a feast for the eyes and ears while engaging the heart and mind? Well, of course. If you have some bandwidth I can name you several examples.

Instead, we have with this film a screenplay layered with poignancy that just doesn't quite transfer to film. I bet it would make a good read, however. A novella or such would allow us to get a deeper understanding of this (revisionist?) young lady. As a movie, it's just all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Outlaw Josey Wales

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976) is about many things, I believe. What resonated most effectively with me was this insane notion of peace. The possibility of being in harmony with others, and oneself. The former may be possible for many but the latter is a daily struggle for many more. The latter also seems to be what drives man to dissatisfaction, to declare war on his neighbors, his brothers. War, in my opinion, has its basis primarly in a low self esteem that can be manifest as greed, disillusionment, lust, fear, and many other toxicities. Sin, basically.

Josey Wales lives on a farm with his family in the sort of domesticity we don't expect to see in Clint Eastwood characters. Then one day a group of Union renegade soliders (these are the last days of the Civil War) burns his life to the ground. A long scar on his face reminds Wales of all he has lost. Another day, another group of renegades (Southeners this time) show up to recruit him for vengeance. Vengeance for a lost war, but of course Josey has other scores to settle. After a wearying tour, all but our antihero and a young upstart abandon the mission and saunter toward home, only to be slaughtered by the Union caderie. Surviving this ambush, Josey begins a long game of cat and mouse with the murderers, who post a hefty bounty on his head. Town after town from Missouri to Texas, Wales evades the worst of human motivations, usually manifest through the barrels of revolvers. What can a man beset by a war-centric land do but respond in kind?

This theme was explored by Eastwood many times. The DIRTY HARRY films were accused of being fascist as the protagonist ignored the Miranda rights of city vermin to mete out justice. The scum and villany are protected by what? Not in the Eastwood universe. As Josey, Clint presents another larger than life prescence who laconically empties the chambers, but also seems a bit more beaten down this time. With each disposal of enemy, he loses a bit more of who he once was. Perhaps the argument can be made for those who go off the deep end and commit unspeakable crimes; they are a product of a slaughterhouse of a world. So why doesn't everyone in that circumstance commit atrocities? What fine line prevents any of us from raping and pillaging? Or doing such in the name of "vengeance"? War (civil or otherwise) calls off all societal bets. But who dares to rise against the tide?

Along his journey, Wales meets an elderly American Indian who had undoubtedly seen many a massacre and exploitation in the name of war and uh, colonization. This race is shown throughout the film to be tolerant and open to peace, yet ready to brandish violence if neceassary. It is no wonder that Indians all but embraced this film, one of the first not to present them as tomahawk throwing hellions. There are lessons for all of us, here. I wish there were more examples of fiction of this caliber.

Or, the viewer can just enjoy the movie as a rich action and period piece. Bruce Surtees' photography helps to create very evocative Western atmosphere. Surtees would go on to lens other Eastwood Westerns, including the first of those I would see on the big screem, 1985's unsuccessful PALE RIDER. I remember gasping at how vivid were his visions, even with a lackluster screenplay.

Eastwood very ably directs this long but never dull tale. Originally, writer Phillip Kaufman (THE RIGHT STUFF, THE WANDERERS) began to oversee, but Eastwood took over fairly quickly. And honestly, who else could direct this icon? Only a handful of other directors have attempted to direct the star since the 80s, with little success. I mean, who else could completely grasp the near mythology? What Eastwood does is all his own. Since the 1960s, the actor has steadily created a legion of men who rewrite the rules but are still subject to them. And mortal, too. THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES would certainly make an interesting double bill with Eastwood's 1992 Western howl of pain, UNFORGIVEN. Is this "peace" I spoke of finally achieved at the end?

The Wiseacre Duos: Steely Dan, Part VIII

How clearly I recall that day in 1993. Typically sun-drenched, oppressively muggy S. Florida fare. I walked into Peaches (remember them?) and got my shiny new copy of Kamakiriad, Donald Fagen's first solo album in 12 years. After a very lengthy creative drought, Fagen had finally rallied the neurons and once again heard the muses in all their sardonic, yet tuneful glory. Expectations were high. I rushed to the counter to check out.

"I couldn't wait until it was over," the clerk retorted when I asked her if she had heard it. This was hilarious to me, as I imagined it would've been to Fagen and his old musical cohort, Walter Becker, who was brought in to produce the album. She didn't give any specifics, even as I prodded her. "It was just so, boring," she offered. She was clearly not a hopeless fanatic like myself. As I recall, she was clad in an oversized flannel shirt, the official outfit of the Grunge Nation at the time. Of course Fagen's latest wouldn't thrill her. My assessment (likely accurate, if a bit broad) of her taste was that she favored the industrial noise of Trent Reznor and the crunch of Mudhoney and Nirvana. Funny thing, I was most likely in similiar dress when I bought Kamikiriad, as I too was full into what was once called "alternative" music. Later that same year, I found myself in a sweaty mosh pit getting kicked in the head by someone's Doc Martens during a Breeders/Nirvana show. But no matter how dynamic my tastes, I would and will always have room for anything the former Dan duo would produce.

On the drive home from the record store, I was immediately satisfied with the familiar soft beats. From Note One, it was like the reintroduction of the compnay of an old friend. Warm synthesizers. Smooth, yet poignant horns. That unmistakable sound, all their own. Yet it wasn't precisely Steely Danish, despite Becker's not only producing but also playing bass on every track. One of them, "Snowbound" had been a collabortion dating back to '86. This album reflected a gentler, more romantic wistfullness that was rare on a Steely Dan album. Walter may have participated, but the stories and tone were all Donald's.

It was a concept album, even though Fagen hated that term. In the near future, a middle-aged man takes his new souped-up vehicle on a fateful journey through places called Flytown and "Funway West." The car runs on alternative fuel, is somewhat aerodynamic, and even has a hydroponic garden in the back. Wrapped in a sci-fi package, Kamikiriad is a journey from youthful optimism to disillusionment to renewed hope. To some, the sound was antiseptic. Too controlled. And it was very controlled. By now, Fagen's fanatacism for the perfect groove was measured in milliseconds. Technology was allowing computer sequencing to utilize the raw materials of a musician's take and correct any miscue. Not even miscue; the process enabled entire bars to flow flawlessly, perhaps to a degree that was not humanly possible. Again in the engineering hotseat was Roger "The Immortal" Nichols. He more than knew the territory with Fagen, and was able to commandant something this most fussy composer could at the very least, live with.

Kamakiriad shifts gears, so to speak, among pretty ballads and faster stomps, though melancholia prevades every track. The first single, "Tomorrow's Girls", describes a race of aliens that look very much like the fairer sex. As they invade the Jersey beaches, all the hapless males craving attention are entranced. It's a concept worthy of B-grade sci fi. Fagen often stated that he found science fiction a useful genre through which he could talk about the present, particularly regarding current unpleasantries. "Tomorrow's Girls" has often been cited as Fagen's lament over his break-up with a longtime girlfriend, perhaps someone who became rather alien to him.

A few years later, Walter Becker finally released his own effort, with Fagen as producer. Eleven Tracks of Whack sounded even less like a Steely Dan album, to this listener. A deeply personal collection of folk and folk rockish tracks wrapped in the usual slick production, Eleven spans twelve tales of pensiveness (alas, the twelfth track is not of "whack", but rather an uncharacteristically sweet ode to his son Kawai) eminating from the soul of a man who had already seen several miles of bad road in his 44 years. Becker had been touched by tragedy after the death of his girlfriend in 1980 ("Junkie Girl") and another friend ("Surf and/or Die"). The romantic longing, the hollowness of bachelorhood was explored in "Girlfriend", a disarmingly genteel track that has a nice after hours feel. Not exactly lounge lizard but close, without the requisite cheese factor (though some would doubtless argue that). "Book of Liars" is another effective story of an untrustworthy significant other. Just about every song had that mordant sense of humor, though age had begun to reveal a more reflective side of the artist.

The album is not easy to enjoy. As one critic dryly noted, Becker's voice is a "born irritant." I shelved the disc after a few tries, going back to it every so often. It took a year for me to appreciate it. It grew on me, yes, but moreso I began to have a begrudging affection for it. Like a self-destructive friend-I pray for him, enjoy his company sometimes, but still keep my distance lest I get infected. My feelings about this album are pretty much the same today.

Between Kamakiriad and Eleven Tracks of Whack, Fagen and Becker relented and once again used the Steely Dan name, to tour. The first such outing since their shows in Santa Monica 19 years earlier. The tour was a great success. The came another. And another. 1994's Alive in America would be the duo's first official live recording, though it revealed some disappointingly flat versions of songs like "Third World Man" and "Josie".

Some critics did indeed state that SD's concerts were less than spirited in those initial reunion years. After the novelty of hearing songs that had never been performed live had worn off, there was only the feeling of familiarity. That would shift, as the army of musicians drafted by Fagen and Becker would begin to improvise in this far looser setting. Being out of the studio and in front of the fandom would ultimately be very freeing for our composers. It freed them from their need for the precise, as well as their earlier aversion to performing. By 1996's "Art Crimes" tour, dare we say that the boys were enjoying the process?!

There was great fun in switching up the arrangements of "Reeling in the Years," changing the opening guitar riffs to a horn section. "Dirty Work" was now being sung by a guest female vocalist (Bonnie Raitt was one). Fagen also derived some glee as he changed the lyrics of several chestnuts, inlcuding his insertion of other names for 'Aretha Franklin' in "Hey 19." It seemed that Fagen and Becker had eschewed their disdain for the past, and rather embraced something very positive and satisfying. It went on for the rest of the 90s.

So of course the next logical step was............

to be concluded

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Palm Beach Story

It's all about the dialogue. What is said, the rate at which it is said. The machine gun rat-a-tat of wit, with nary a breath taken. Distinguishing. There are many screwball comedies from the 30s and 40s, but few are as memorable as writer/director Preston Sturges' 1942 utter classic THE PALM BEACH STORY.

Geraldine (Claudette Colbert) and Tom (Joel McCrea) can't make the rent again. The latter is an architect trying to secure the funds to open an ambitious (for the time) airport, but for all of his acumen, the funds are not flowing. Never mind that Geraldine wears lavish gowns and the pair lives on Park Avenue; that's not important in this universe. Anyhow, Geraldine manages to get her hands on some cash, quite generously donated by an old coot known as The Wienie King. Despite this, she decides that she and hubby would do better apart. Financially, at least. Geraldine hops a southbound train in the hopes of landing a rich fellow. Tom is dejected, and in pursuit. The Wienie King re-appears and gives Tom the money to catch his bride when she arrives in Palm Beach, that sun drenced land of debutantes and endless soirees.

Geraldine initially meets a gaggle of rich nincumpoops known as The Ale & Quail Club. Then she meets a rather daffy aristocrat named John D. Hunsacker III (no points for guessing who he is modeled after). He falls for her immediately. Even daffier is his sister, the Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor), who falls for Tom. There's also a guy running around named Toto who speaks in a language known only to himself. Just your typical slapstick calculus.

Or not. Sturges was a master of not only deft comedic choreography, but also serpentine plots that are resolved in ingenious ways that may not be logical (particularly to a 21st century viewer), but are within reason in this universe I spoke of. The ability of Sturges, for example, to build three jokes off of one is pure genius. We saw it in SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS and THE LADY EVE, produced a year prior to THE PALM BEACH STORY. We did not see it in Peter Bogdonovich's multiple attempts to recapture this sort of whimsy in the 1970s and beyond (save the wonderful PAPER MOON). We also did not see it in George Clooney's ill-fated LEATHERHEADS, released earlier this year. Not easy, that comedy stuff.

Check the opening credits of this one, with its double wedding montage. Or the A & Q Club's rifle orgy on the train. Wacky, that universe. It is a fun place to be, what with eccentric behavior at every turn, and that dialogue. It comes fast and furious. I was exhausted by the time we reached the amusing finale. When you get there, you may find yourself saying aloud, "twins"???. Don't sweat it. If you think the words are friviolous, there's no denying that the music is the work of a maestro.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catch-Up for the Curious

I see I've neglected me blog yet again.

You know how it goes. The priorities, oh, the priorities! Been up to my eyeballs in work projects, for one. I take a lot of my work home. Additionally, there are research projects and journal articles to absorb and produce. I wouldn't have it any other way. If I were just a 9 to 5er I'd be certifiable. The mind numbing routine of those hours, however, still kills me. But, I have to say I do enjoy having nights and weekends off.

Thanksgiving was enjoyable. Sonia cooked an entire feast for her folks and mine, though regrettably they were not all at the same table. I assisted with the prep, and we look forward to more culinary science experiments for God Yule. We hadn't cooked for T-Day since 2002, Sonia's second year in grad school in delightful Monterey, CA. It's fun!

I got my first real Christmas tree on my own. After years of the fakery, I finally have the smell of pine (and yes, all the damned needles) to enjoy. White lights. Red bows. Elegant little tree.

LOVING what has proven to be a cool fall. More cool days than I can remember. If it could stay this way until April, I'd be plenty happy.

Last night we enjoyed an evening with Sonia's mother, stepfather, and their neighbor, Harry, for their monthly dinner gathering. Harry's 76 and loquacious. Particularly when he downs the vino. The running gag is that his glass is never less than 3/4 full below the meniscus. He also lugs around a gallon of red for each visit. This tends to unwrap his tongue quite easily, and he talks without a pause for breath for hours. About what, you ask? Cinema, for one. His knowledge of film is encyclopedic, particularly for those made in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. He knows the most arcane bits you can imagine; he could probably tell you what Billy Bitzer had for breakfast. Having just seen THE PALM BEACH STORY (yes, review forthcoming), we had a real whale of a time.

Harry also collects guns. His knowledge of arsenals is even more specific than that of film. Fascinating stuff. I've yet to see his collection, but he promised to bequeath something to me. Hmmmm. Years ago a friend and I visited another friend who ran a local bar and saw his stash-a living room filled with automatic weapons, as well as a revolver or dozen. My mouth was on the floor. When Harry talks of his pieces, I picture something similiar.

Today has been quite perfect: worship at Christ Fellowship, running into friends and mentors at the PB Toojay's, nap, great movie (another future entry), an invigorating run/jog up and down Flagler Drive, and divine weather. Going to see my mother now.

There. You're caught up, invisible audience. We now return you to your music and film appreciations. Er, eventually.