Friday, December 24, 2004

Late sending your holiday cards? Don't despair.

Did you just not get holiday cards in the mail this year? Do not despair. Send a beautiful J. K. Drummond ecard. An email is sent to your recipient that contains a link. They click on the link, and they directed to your stylish, thoughtful ecard to them.

www.jkdrummond.com/ecards.html


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

preoccupied

I have been bad about writing. There are a couple reasons. One is plain business. There is laziness, of course. And finally, I've been working on installing blogging software locally, to see if I'd like to be in control myself. Jury is still out.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Opening night went well

Opening night of the Weems art show went well for J. K. Drummond Watercolors last night. Sales have already reached the break even point of the show, the point where booth fee and framing costs are covered. And the customer and fellow artist feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Good job, Jae!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I have found the Ring of Power

Ok, this is the kind of thing you probably shouldn't admit because its corny and demonstrates what a geek you are. I'm having a lapse in judgement, so here goes. I consciouslly think of my wedding ring as my Ring of Power.

Yes, its related to Tolkien in that I would have never had the thought if it wasn't for the books. I don't actually think in terms of Middle Earth, though. No Hobbits or wizards. Also it is partly because of the books about Thomas Covenant, in which his wedding ring becomes a powerful magic talisman in a another world. Those books contain a lot about faith and fealty. So these, combined with the traditional symbolism of the wedding ring, give birth to my personal little mythology.

We can give symbols great power. Because they change our mind, they change our world. Everything in life has its tradeoffs, but even so my marriage is a very positive force in my life. When I'm down, when I'm discouraged, I can look at my ring and be reminded of how lucky I am. Of what I have to come home to.

But the power of the Ring is more than just to remind of sunny days. It is also a reminder of responsibility. When discouraged, in dark days, we can be tempted to wallow in self pity, to give up, to sink beneath dark seas of trouble. When that happens, counting your blessings can help. So can counting your responsibilities. When Jae and I tied our lives together, we gave up some of the freedom to be unhappy, unproductive, defeatist, pathetic. We all go through phases, of course, but if I linger in one of these phases I start to drag Jae down with me. Sometimes when I'm being lazy or pathetic, I look at my ring, and I think to myself, "I have the responsibility and the power to snap out of it." Not that it always works. I have a long way to go as a human and a husband. The power of the Ring aids me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Thrill

My wife Jae has very curly hair. I mean this is serious. People are impressed by the curliness and density of her hair. She's let it get shoulder length or so lately, and she has a mane.

Yesterday she went to her fancy artist of a hair dresser, and he decided he wanted to see her with straight hair. I'll give him credit, I didn't think it was possible. It was straight as straight can be. It was cut very stylishly, as well. No doubt she looked good, but it was weird.

So she stops by my work with her hair like this, walks across the parking lot to where I 'm staring at her, and kisses me hello. She looked so different it kind of felt like I was cheating on my wife. But I wasn't, so it was OK.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Hiking La Luz

Sunday, Dave (my father-in-law) and myself hiked the La Luz Trail. It is a trail from the foothills of the Sandia Mountains to the crest. We hiked up and over to the High Finance restaurant and tram. Jae and Priscilla (wife and mother-in-law) rode the tram up to meet us for dinner. Then we all rode the tram back down.

It was an incredible day, from small things, like how the fallen Aspen leaves look against the pink granite path, to big things, like the storm blowing in across the desert.

That was probably the coolest part. There is a particular difficult part of the trail, steep switchbacks, that is the last hard fight, and when you get to the top it opens up to this this amazing vista. We would usually stop there to rest and enjoy the incredible view. This time, though, the incredible view motivated us on. This storm racing towards us out of the West, over the plains of the desert. It was awesome, in the profound use of that word. A little scary, too. We kept moving. Got a little windy, but not insane. We got snowed on. Watching the snow blow in perpendicular to the mountains was Wow.

Dinner with Jae and Priscilla was a great way to top off the day, and the tram ride down also something I recommend.

Physically, I'm still paying for that day, though, I can tell you.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

borrowed words of the day

Luthor Watts, world's greatest DJ, has been playing a song by Jesse Sykes And The Sweet Hereafter. Part of the chorus is:

Your dark eyes remind me of the dreaming dead



Friday, October 15, 2004

more Tolkien

After the Hobbits, my favorite people of Middle Earth are the Rohirrim. I love their poetry.

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that
was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair
flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire
glowing?
Where is the sping and the harvest and the tall corn
growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind
in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills
into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Verse of the day

Marching song of the Ents.


We come, we come with roll of drum; ta-runda runda
runda rom!
We come, we come with horn and drum: ta-runa runa
runa rom!
To Isengard! Though Isengard be ringed and barred with
doors of stone;
Though Isengard be strong and hard, as cold as stone and
bare as bone,
We go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break
the door;
For bole and bough are burning now, the furnace roars --
we go to war!
To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum,
we come, we come;
To Isengard with doom we come!
With doom we come, with doom we come!

Found at this neat website that has much verse from Tolkien.

Anti-depressant

Jae and I are attending an 8 week class taught by a Buddhist nun from the Shakyamuni Buddhist Center. You don't have to buy the whole doctrine for this to make sense. The class is on developing more compassion. One thing the teacher has said is that if you are depressed and want to feel better, try doing something nice for somebody else. Worth a try.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Carnivores

There is a local restaurant, Rudy's Country Store and Barbeque. Good food. You should check it out if you are in Albuquerque. On their aprons it says:

"I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain ... to eat vegetables!"

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Matter and Anti-matter

Last night, on our kitchen table, was a copy of The Virtue of Selfishness, a book of essays on Ayn Rand's philosoply, Objectivism. Also on the table was a book about Buddhism. I don't remember the title or author of that one, we have many. I picked each book up, one in either hand, and held them at arm's lenght. I moved them slowly towards each other, wondering if they would destroy each other in a burst of energy when they touched. They didn't. Now they are stacked on top of each other on the table.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

borrowed words of the day

Salvation sat and crossed herself
called the devil partner
wisdom burned upon a shelf
who'll kill the raging cancer
Seal the river at its mouth
take the water prisoner
fill the sky with screams and cries
bathe in fiery answers

From Townes Van Zandt's "Lungs"

Interesting musical discovery of the day

Shiva In Exile

Magnatune describes them as Gothic Arab/Indian World Music

If you go there, you can listen. A fun thing to do at Magnatune is pick a genre and then listen to their mix.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Book on Tape, _Lord of the Rings_

Jae and I are listening to the _Lord of the Rings_ books on tape. I should have looked up the particular edition before I posted. I'll post it later. It is really well done. The story, of course, is incredible. I find a couple of interesting things about the book on tape as opposed to reading the book, and as opposed to the recent movies.

This is an unabridged version, I should mention. First thing that was interesting was pronunciation. Hearing the names and non-english languages pronounced is cool. The second thing was the songs. The narrator sings the songs. Very cool. For those reasons, even if you've read the books and seen the movies, I recommend trying these books on tape.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Fertile Field of Radio Drama

Driving home late on a sunday night, on one of the public radio stations, we heard 2 radio dramas and a spoken word piece. Blogging about them might be futile. You kind of had to hear it. Fortunately for you, I found that you can listen to some in RealAudio format off the KUNM wesite.

The first we came in in the middle. The protagonists seemed to be a male and female investigative reporter. They were investigating a factory where a foriegn sounding man was training "biobots," lured out of the moutains with food, to work in his factory. It was kind of a mishmash of animal rights and socialist commentary. The reporters, in the end, "freed the slaves." Bad to the point of perversly fascinating.

The second item was a spoken word performance, "Letter to a Blind Farmer." The narrator had seen a picture in the paper of a blind farmer named Ivan getting married in Siberia. He wrote him a letter. Rambling, non-linear, again bizarre to the point of mesmerizing. We laughed. We lifted our eyebrows. We gave each other quizical looks. The commentary on the story of Oedipus was a high point. Through it all you had the nagging suspicion that this was exactly the kind of correspondance you'd get if you were unlucky enough to be featured in a tabloid. This one they have the RealAudio. Follow that link and search for the keyword "blind" in the page, and you'll find it.

The 3rd piece was the final installment of, well, something. Many of the characters were "cyber-enhanced" animals, including ferrets and bears. The bear at one point exhaltingly declairs that from now on he "will be Resplendent." He was taking "Resplendent" as his name.

At this point we had been sitting in the car in the driveway for awhile. We turned off the radio and came in before the end of this epic.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

This woman amuses me

We had dinner at Super Salad last night. They have the little self-service, soft serve ice cream setup. One of the toppings is the usual once-frozen strawberries in the crimson juice. Jae came back to the table with a cone and all you can see are these strawberries and juice spilling over the top and down the side. She looks at me and says, "It's like a cone massacre."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hair and Justifications

I got my hair cut today. I always go far too long between haircuts. My hair is a little curly, and I let it get pretty out of control before going and getting it cut short again. Now some of the reasons for this are not positive. We are talking general procrastination, avoiding what I find an unpleasent experience, not wanting to spend money on hair. But there is a deeper justification. If you wait long enough between cuts, when you do get it cut, it is dramatic. Its a transformation.

For instance, I came home and was sitting across the kitchen table from Jae.* She put her head to one side and stared at me in a quizzical way. I asked her what was up. She replied, "Just trying to get used to the new Josh." See. I think that's fun.

*That kitchen table being the one that Jae built.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why I love my wife

We were leaving for work this morning, and Jae tied a knot with one hand while precariously balancing a sheaf of papers under her other arm. When she had succeeded, she turned to me and said:

I'm a god. A small god. Only to certain insects.

Flowcharts and other selves

Have you ever been designing a flowchart and thought about how life is not binary? For every "yes," you choose, you choose a million "no's," kill a million selves. And have you ever met one of those other selves, and loved and hated them?

No, of course not, me neither.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

You stand in a puddle

You stand in a puddle, temporary mirror, and are startled by your own beauty. Birds wade by your ankles. When the wind carries away your hat, you let it go, sailing into another life.

You think of the time you lept the perilous gap, and landed perfectly balanced on the knife edge of stone, and knew that yours was the grace and the power and the glory. You craved no audience, being your own.

You remember the guru who many years ago, years like leaves in the wind, spoke of shooting himself, an arrow, into the burning heart of God, and you know he had stood in a puddle, temporary mirror, and been startled by his own beauty.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Words to Live By

I can be very serious and sometimes pretentious. I do, at least, know this about myself. As a result, I am particularly amused when some real words of wisdom pop up in unexpected places. Last night we watched some Dr. Who, and one of the charcters said something very close to:

"My grandfather used to say, `If you are bleeding, look for a person with scars.'"

I thought, wow, I'll remember that for the rest of my life. Who would have guessed?

Fragment

It reminds you of the time your best friend leaned in and kissed you. Each of your limbs jumped in a different direction, like a flock of startled birds embarrased at being caught on the ground.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Welcome

Hey, there. My name is Josh Gentry. This is my personal blog about me and what ever is going on in my own tiny little, self-referential world. Thanks for joining me.

I stole the title of this blog from Nick Cave's novel, but it is not to indicate any similiarity. Luckily he can't sue me, because you can't copyright titles or names. He stole it from the Bible, of course, the Book of Numbers 22:23, where Balaam does not see the angel of the Lord but his mule does. " The mediocre borrow; the brilliant steal." I thought I was stealing that from Oscar Wilde, but I just saw it attributed to T. S. Eliot.

Labels and meaning (or Soy Sauce)

Yesterday I was eating an eggroll for lunch, and for the first time realized that soy sauce is called "soy sauce" because it is made from soybeans. The name, "soy sauce", contains information, is self-descriptive. Yet, to me, it could have been "XYZ sauce". It was a label devoid of any meaning except as a cipher for "salty brown liquid I put on food."

I don't find this noteworthy because of this one incident. I have noticed it before. For example, in our yard we have flowers called morning glories. It was the second year we had these flowers that I realized that they get that name from the fact they bloom in the morning and close during the heat of the afternoon.

I'm left wondering how many other lables have meanings that I have lost through repetively using them as pointers to something.

An Ass Between Two Managers

My wife and I have a tradition of reading outloud when we go to bed. Essentially it is an adult continuation of when your parents used to read you a bedtime story when you were a child. How we got started is a story by itself that I'll relate sometime.

We are particulary fond of Ellis Peters' series of books about Brother Cadfael, a 12th century monk at the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewsbury, England. There are over 20 books in the series, and we have them all.

In one of the books, I forget which one, Cadfael uses a metaphor to describe the situation of one of the characters. He describes the character as "an ass between two mangers," or something very close to that. As I read it aloud, I mis-read it as "an ass between two managers." We thought it a particularly funny slip of the tongue.

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