Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ecstasy of Gold

I was probably ten or twelve years old. Carol, a friend of my mother's, had been visiting for a few weeks, during which time we had dsiscovered our common affinity for spaghetti westerns. I liked Carol. She was (is?) a no-nonsense nurse from the south-west. Arizona or somewhere. At the time, she was working at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Where she met mom.


A couple of months later, a package came in the mail. It contained a cassette. An audio cassette (you still remember those, right?). It had Carol's almost illegible handwriting on there, which was of no use at all. My mother popped the cassette into a player and presto, out blared Ennio Morricone! It was the theme from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, I think. My mother did not know the music, and was unimpressed with my account of what it was, and that it had to be meant for me. She took the interesting position that this was some 'world music', intended for my sisters.

World music?!?

About a week later, my sisters' total disinterest in the cassette signed its fate: It landed in my cassette player, and did not get any real relief until the late eighties, when I had patched it together for the last time, and my incessant playing of it had wore down its last note.

Out of all the marvelous gems on that tape, my favorite was by far a song that I never knew what was called. Not until a month ago or so, when I was watching the last scene of Some Kind of Monster—with the Hetfield commentary—did I finally learn the name of this song, which still sends shivers down my spine when I hear it: Ecstacy of Gold. Turns out that Metallica has used it as a warm-up for every single one of their concerts for twenty years. Almost since I heard it first. Go figure.

Today, I was browsing the iTunes Music Store. Lo and behold, what do I find? None other than the Jack of all trades, Yo-Yo Ma, playing Ennio Morricone. With a "Roma Sinfonietta", no less. This appears to be only one of at least four of Yo-Yo's albums released last year, and he already has one out this year! Is it a cellist or a machine? What was imminently sadder was that the original version is nowhere to be found in the store.

So I just got it off GiFT. And am currently sitting with a shivering spine. Man, this is good stuff!

Friday, April 29, 2005


I used to find the whole "inherent" view of people's action offensive. In a way I still do. It has an assumption of limits attached to it, which is just plain wrong when we are looking at real people and their potential. You are not confined to the parameters of what your ancestors were like. Even if they were uneducated, that does not mean that you can't learn. Your father's temper is no excuse for your flying off the handle. You catch my drift.

But as I get older—I can say that now that I am a father—I am becoming less adamant about it. Actually, I am becoming less adamant about a lot of things. Where I used to see clear lines, pitch black and bright white, I now see muddled borders and shades of gray. Maybe I just need new glasses.

What set this off is "Millions". One of those little gems of movies that tend to slip by without you noticing them. It features two brothers. One of them does inherently good. His compass does not waver.

I wish for my daughter to be that way, when she grows up. Isn't that a hoot? Instead of translating the moral of the story onto my life, I instinctly think about it in reference to hers.

Continuation of the species, I guess. Inherent thinking.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Mic & Mac

OK, OK. I am a geek wannabe. And I may even be lost in my opinion that Macs rule, and that PCs are only for the conformist masses.

But this is just too cute.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The last drop

I've spent the last month deleting stuff that I was about to post.

It just all seemed so insignificant, somehow.

Not that what I usually write here is anything more. In fact, at some point I actually promised I wouldn't post anything profound here, in the odd case that I would stumble upon it.

So I deleted the post about saying good-bye to friends and family. About flying home with my little girl. About how flying back east less frequently as the years go by is probably adding to my melancholy. I also deleted the posts about moving to this city, and into this old mansion, where people live in the past, figuratively and almost literally. I even erased the one about those beautiful letters some of you people, basically you poor souls that check this miserable blog every single day, keep sending me. That's the one post I regret throwing away, actually.

But you know how a dam can only hold so much water, and that there has to be this particular drop of water that finally breaks it. There is nothing special about it. It is just as dull as dishwater. It just happens to come along at the right time.

So is it with this silence of mine. Meet our little splash of water:

I was talking to a dear friend of mine online today. As we were saying our goodbyes, she told me that she had a new favorite song: Jamie O'Neal's All by myself. Immediately, I could hear Celine Dion's high-pitched voice in my head, incessantly wailing "Aaaaaall byyyyyy myyyyyyyself...". Yes, you're right. I am not a fan. I desperately wanted to get another version of the song into my head. So I googled it, and blindly clicked on a few links that came up. As I was waiting for them to load, I remembered where I knew the O'Neal version from. It is in Bridget Jones' Diary, the movie. As quickly as Dion's screeching had begun, it made way for the smoother voice of O'Neal. I was about to close the links I had just opened, when this really high-pitched voice started to sing. And I just couldn't stop listening to it. I must have reloaded it a dozen times. Funny how it is the tacky, off-key, banal music that will get into your head.

Anyway, thanks to this droplet, I might be back. Check back here tomorrow, and we shall see.