May 8, 2013 8:21 PM
The evening after the redwoods, we went to Eureka and had an amazing dinner at Brick and Fire Bistro. Local wine, mushrooms and meat across different pizzas and grilled wonderful things. No pix turned out because it was so dark inside. But if you are near Eureka, run there now and eat.
We headed back to San Francisco the next day, stopping back into redwood groves at the Avenue of the Giants, seeing a local corn monument, finding Parducci's winery and the Bluebird Cafe, and crossing the bay once again.
Photos here are a mix of mine and Lori's as we traded chargers in the car. This is a problem when there is alway something amazing to photograph.
At the end of the day, we were back in San Francisco, tired but happy. We went to the airport before dawn the next morning and returned home.
I could tell you about all the perfect radio songs, the final vistas over each cliff, but these shots should do it. They're what a great vacation looks like.
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May 6, 2013 10:30 PM
It's only Monday. How is it only Monday? Do the number of problems to solve ever become less rather than more? Coming through my streams recently: "Bird-Understander" by Craig Arnold, "Extinction of Silence" by A.E. Stallings, "Almost Ashore" by Gerald Vizenor, "Muscadine" by Mary Moore Easter, "For Jane" by Stephen Stepanchev, and "Emerald Spider Between Rose Thorns" by Dean Young. I am escaping this very minute.
That it was shy when alive goes without saying.
We know it vanished at the sound of voices
Or footsteps. It took wing at the slightest noises,
Though it could be approached by someone praying.
May 6, 2013 9:44 PM
Two Saturdays ago, Bluemont and Willowcroft wineries near Leesburg, with some new friends and others going back to high school and even further. A nice reminder: 1985 was a long time ago by any measure but friendship's.
From Hilary's camera:
From Hilary's camera:
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May 6, 2013 8:33 PM
The fifth day of the California trip was amazing. We started at a hotel on the water, found Bowling Ball Beach, said goodbyes at the farm, then took Highway One north to the redwoods. The road had more sharp cliffs and corkscrews than any stretch previously, and after the surprising fun of the drive-through tree, we found ourselves deep in real redwoods country. In Humboldt Redwoods State Park, we exited multi-lane Highway 101 to drive the slow, dark Avenue of the Giants and stop at every mysterious grove.
We spent the most time at Founders' Grove, but we pulled off at I don't know how many spots. Friend Wes had told me before the trip that the trees were so big it was impossible to take a great photo of them. Standing beneath them, I realized how right he was. You couldn't capture treetops, and the treetops keep the passing light on their terms. All the while, the absence of sound left you both at peace and discomforted, wondering what trades you and the world had made and whether one could still make a new deal. If you needed to feel small, these groves were the place to go.
Click to enlarge the already so large.
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May 5, 2013 9:44 PM
You should join it. Real letters in the real mail! From a recent one:
In a poem called "A Cold Spring," the American poet Elizabeth Bishop describes fireflies rising from a lawn "exactly like the bubbles in champagne." I've probably read that poem only six or seven times, but I've never stared into a glass of champagne since without thinking about fireflies. What a great discovery! I'm unashamed to still believe it's magical the way a simile can forever change the way we see the world.
May 5, 2013 5:01 PM
NYT preview. And, man, do I want to take this trip, even if it's awful.
He first got the idea years ago, he added, after finishing “Moulin Rouge.” As was his custom, he wanted to decompress by taking a trip, so he booked himself a passage on a trans-Siberian Express.
“I think what he really had in mind was the Orient Express,” Ms. Martin pointed out, reminding him that he had phoned her almost immediately to say the trip was the worst mistake of his life.
“It was a tin box,” Mr. Luhrmann admitted. “But I took along two bottles of Australian red wine and an iPod with two recorded books. One of them was ‘The Great Gatsby.’ The first night, I opened the red wine, kicked up the air-conditioning and got in bed and started listening. The next day I couldn’t wait for nighttime, so I could hear the rest of it.
“You could actually recommend this as therapy to someone who was really in trouble: Get in a tin box, travel through Siberia, listen to ‘The Great Gatsby’ and drink red wine till you’re drunk.”
Here's a picture of my desk. The red wine sits five feet to the right of it:
May 5, 2013 12:09 PM
If you ever get the chance to drive through the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree in tiny Leggett, Ca., do it. The spot sits at the junction of Highways 1 and 101 in Northern California, and the semi-nauseating turns and occasional lonely work zones as you 1 crosses from the coast to inland are worth it.
I know it's bad to carve a car-sized hole in a tree. No one today would do anything like this. But the fact is, a long time ago, someone did carve this hole, and driving through it is a blast. Tuck in your mirrors and smile.
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May 3, 2013 12:14 AM
In George Packer's "Don't Look Down: The New Depression Journalism," in the back of the April 29 New Yorker, Packer gives us a truly great passage from Edmund Wilson's 1932 "The American Jitters: A Year of the Slump."
The home of the open-hearth furnaces is a vast loud abode of giants: groans, a continual ringing, the falling of remote loads. The old automobiles sent in on little cars are like disemboweled horses at the bull-ring whose legs are buckling under them. A fiend in blue glasses who sits in a high throne on an enormous blue chariot or float causes it to move horizontally back and forth before the white-glowing mouths of the furnaces, feeding them the flattened cars like so many metallic soft-shell crabs — ramming each one in with a sudden charge, dropping it quickly with a twist.
Also in the issue, John McPhee is brilliant on the act of rewriting, "If you use the dictionary after the thesaurus, the thesaurus will not hurt you."
And then, elsewhere, there's Greta Gerwig talking to Ian Parker.
“I also think we have to believe in a happy ending,” Gerwig said. “We have to, otherwise what is anybody doing? I always have this frustration that, in a therapeutic sense, it can feel you have one of two ways of relating to your parents: one is you’re in denial, and the other is you can be really angry at them. And I’m, like, there has to be a way in which you just love them.” She continued, “And I feel that there has to be a story that’s true to its marrow and also filled with joy. There has to be that. Otherwise, it’s utterly depressing.”
She went on, “This is lofty”—a lot of emphasis—“but in one of Hamlet’s soliloquies he says, ‘This brave o’erhanging firmament,’ and he’s talking about the air and the stars and how everything is so alive and so beautiful, and at the end of it he says, ‘It means nothing, it means nothing, and I don’t want to live.’ And I’m, like, ‘How can you see everything and then feel that way?’ I always want to find the reverse of that—to see all the darkness and find the light, as opposed to see all the light and resonate with the nothingness.”
The issue was a very good issue. Take the above, add two of the poems I linked yesterday, add stellar immigration journalism, add an unexpected grave-digger's look at the Syrian war, add fiction by Joshua Ferris whose Then We Came to the End I liked so much, and I had to tell you about it.
May 2, 2013 12:20 AM
1. There is no good link… anywhere… that contains this poem all the way through, and it makes me sad. I only hope someone liberates it some day because it's my favorite recently and gives wordplay the business like few can, all while sorting through the mysteries of passion. So, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to make a copy of the poem and put it in my wallet. And when you want to read it, you let me know. If I'm within feet of you, we'll make it happen. "To the You of Ten Years Ago, Now" by Dora Malech.
Never fear. I know the difference between
arteries and ardor, arbor and treed,
my bower and a weak-kneed need, a harbor
where one might moor tonight and a port worth
the oars’ effort to come ashore for…
2. A simple Western naturalist poem turns into a brief-but-incisive cultural exploration and then turns into something that made me laugh out loud. "I Flew into Denver April" by Adrian C. Louis.
3. I don't have much experience with pills, legal or illegal, beyond Advil and Claritin. But these days for some reason I keep finding terrific poems about pills, legal and illegal, and I'm beginning to wonder if this genre is a part of the canon I never realized existed until now. Plus, to drop in a great little Springsteen reference at the end? Sold. "Meds" by Cynthia Huntington.
4. "Setting out for Atlantis they pause here / on the point of departure; her long train / floats on the surface and drifts and darkens." The images start slow and get slower, and then they're rushing and keep up, keep up, done. Exhausted, glad for it. "Beach Wedding" by Simon Armitage.
5. The New Yorker's paywall drives me nuts, especially when it comes to poetry. My subscription gets me inside, but it doesn't get you inside. I have to give you my copy of the magazine, or find a Xerox, or… anyway, it's a mess. So, I like it when a poem is so short it appears in its entirety in the magazine's RSS feeds. If the poem perfectly finds the beauty of poetry in that amount of space, all the better. "Beginning" by Lia Purpura.
April 28, 2013 10:59 PM
I haven't been in too many yard sales in my life. Something I didn't know about yard sales until today was how, even more than the selling, the best part was sitting outside and taking in the neighborhood sun. Lori and her friends held a sale this morning, and while clouds brought a chill, the grass on the lawn and the steady breeze felt like spring was showing its wares.
Proud proprietors, after various coffee and bagel runs.
Erin's prize-winning Christmas sweater, sold for $2.
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