Monthly Archives: August 2013



Image comes courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon; I stole it shamelessly from Amazon dot-com and am willing to bet my bottom that it’s copyrighted by Felix Broede. Rafał (Rafal: god but I hate special characters) Blechacz’s new album, “Chopin – Polonaises,” will be released internationally on 6 September 2013. It is available for pre-order from many places: Amazon has it for ~$17 USD and will deliver on 24 September.


EDIT: It’s now way past 24 September and the album has been released! From the few reviews that I see posted on Preludia, it’s really made its own way through listeners’ hearts. Also, I shamelessly advertise for Barnes & Noble (for listeners in the USA), seeing as they’re selling it for a price much lower than Amazon’s. I for one bought my copy from B & N along with a half-dozen other CDs that were going at firesale prices. Unfortunately, the discounts also seemed to come with low stock, and so I will be getting my Polonaises by cheapskate your-slowest-item-delays-the-package-the-most-free-shipping in mid-October by the looks of things.



104: Ulixes

Latin: Proper noun: Ulixēs (genitive Ulixis); m, third declension – Odysseus (Ulysses).

I drove us twisty-turny and uppy-downy all the way to the City of Garlic, just to relive a decade-old childhood memory. Our family will always know it as “Bonfante Gardens” – because that’s what it is. It owes no particular allegiance to Gilroy. It’s a wonderful place – it’s not smelly, it’s only mildly overrun by kids, and there’s a delightful little train that you could outrun with a heavy backpack and irate sister in tow. The Banana Split, the Timber Twister, the Rock Maze, the Bonfante Falls, the Events Plaza, the San Juan restaurant, the Monarch Garden, the Quicksilver Express, the Mushroom Swing, the Rainbow Gardens, the car ride, and the train – we greeted them all as old friends and embraced warmly. Now that we are tall – and Bonfante Gardens is small – I finally realize how teeny-weeny our childhood world was. We could traverse the entire park in half an hour; we could drag it out for the whole day, yes, but a camelback tour would set us back an hour at the very most. Pre-lunch ice and actual-actual lunch took us an hour – easily the biggest contiguous time drain of our day.

Oh – but the gardens themselves are such lovely things. We took more pictures than I can sift through and fewer than I wished for. We went down proper into Claudia’s Garden today; that place possesses the highest photo-op density of any destination in the park.

The park is still clean – spotless! It was not at all the unpleasant pockmarked feeling that Great America gives off. It helps that there’s a modest sexiness in the layout and an unabashed voluptuousness in the greenery. It’s a place that Dad could retire to – he’d plunk a cabin down in the middle of the park, tucked away somewhere in a grove of trees. I would live there myself if they built a streetcar system. I would just love to commute to work on a streetcar – that’s real classy.

I rounded off my day in a lawn chair in our backyard, reclined all the way down. My eyes were trained on the night sky in search of the Perseid meteors, and my ears were open for marauding gangs of skunks ready to jump me. After a lot of false alarms, I decided that my final count three (around midnight) plus two (at 2 AM). That was when I gave up and fled from the skunk strike team that was surely surrounding the house.

I cannot describe the feeling properly; this paragraph and its sibling above are just reminders that I was here; I did this. I stared into the night sky and watched the stars manifest before me: I gazed upon the brilliant trail of stardust streaking across the planet and fizzing out without a sound. What better way than to enjoy the night sky from your backyard than in a rusty, half-strapless lawn chair?


103: Sideburns

Noun: sideburns (normally plural, singular sideburn) – Facial hair reaching from the top of the head down the side of the face to the side of the chin.

Today on flaglock: Julian goes over the usual grievances and kludges and other miseries.

I notice a small ongoing furor about the removal of the keyword.url option from the Firefox configuration. There is already a solution: install your search engine of choice to the search bar (the weird little cousin of the Awesome Bar that I’m pretty sure everybody’s forgotten – it exists immediately to the right of the awesome bar on the last standard installation I saw. You can toggle its drop-down menu and click “Manage Search Engines” to see your options), and the Awesome Bar’s default search engine will change to reflect that, even if you hide the search bar thereafter. Tadah! Who needs keyword.url anymore? Can we please stop calling the Mozilla developers bad names? One of them stood down being called a “fucker” and calmly laid out the justifications for stripping away this option. They’re not actively trying to stamp out non-Google search engines.

Speaking of stamping things out, somebody on Reddit commented that the prescribed penalty for converting away from Islam was death. I would love a source on this (in addition to an idiot’s guide to Islam). Maybe I should go talk to some of the religious unions around the university.

I upgraded to kernel 3.10.5-201 today; there was unfortunately no progress on the USB issue. The people on #fedora and the Fedora Forum can’t do much; too bad. I’ll just cross my fingers and wait.

And now, the highlight of the year – Rafał Blechacz’s new album of the Chopin polonaises gets its international release in less than a month (unless that month is a starving February). I look forward to hearing how he handles the polonaise op. 53; it is separated from its last recorded version by more than seven years. His performance at the Chopin Competition XV was what drew me to him; and to this day, his interpretation of the polonaise op. 53 stands at the top of my charts as the most-played song in my library. I can’t wait for 6 September!