Archive | February, 2015

Fern Shadow

27 Feb

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It is cold here in Canada.
It has been so cold for so long that I have forgotten what warm is.
I can’t imagine spring – or things growing.
I was looking through my photos and saw this fern – I like the shadow it casts on the warm concrete.

Weekly Vinyl – Sibelius #1in E minor

27 Feb

Sibelius – Symphony No.1 in E Minor, Op.39
Sir John Barbirolli conducting the Halle Orchestra
(1963)
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I have a bunch of Sibelius records because some musician that I liked noted in an interview that he very much admired Sibelius.
So I went out to a used record store, or Goodwill, I forget witch, and bought a bunch of them.
I listened but did not get inspired much.
I grew to like Sibelius.
The music is quite pleasant and it is very suitable for cold evenings when one is ruminating about life and staring out the window looking at a snowy scene that is lit up by a street light. I’m not sure this music would work on a beach in the Dominican Republic.
I tried to find the date of this recording and so also found copies of this album on sale on eBay. It goes from 99 cents to just a tad under 14 dollars. I don’t think I paid more than two bucks for this album so I either overpaid by two or I got a very good deal. The music and the recording of this symphony is worth much more than the two bucks I paid for it.

Weekly Wine –Beringer

25 Feb

SONY DSCBeringer California Collection Pinot Grigio
2013
USA
750ml
12.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

Another Pinot Grigio.
Another good wine.
I should honestly try a really expensive Pinot Grigio and see if there is any difference to these sub $10 Pinot Grigio wines. I’ve tried ones that cost $15 or so and there is no difference.
The most expensive Pinot Grigio at the LCBO, where most Ontarians buy their wine, is $34.95. That’s a 750ml bottle of Italian wine. For the same amount you can get 3 litres, in a box, of Copper Moon Pinot Grigio which I reviewed a while back. It’s not the best, but it will do.
This one is much better. It is crisp, light and pleasant to drink. It is a very nice wine – a classic Pinot Grigio. The colour is quite pale, but that is par for the course for these types of wines.
You could spend much more on a Pinot Grigio – but why would you?

Sunset over Iowa

22 Feb

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It’s a nice sunset and I am 3,500 meters (11,497 feet) above Iowa. So says my camera’s GPS and I think that is about right as I recollect. I remember flying and taking pictures as the other passengers tried to sleep, or play games on their tablets/cell phones.

Weekly Vinyl – United States Live

20 Feb

United States Live
Laurie Anderson
(1984)
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This is not a trivial album. This album makes you listen. Forget about doing anything while it is playing on the turntable – your consciousness will be focused on what is coming out of the speakers.
It is a long album. 261 minutes and 57 seconds. (I looked this up online.) Covering five albums, this is a melange of spoken words, music and performance art. This is a recording of her piece United States Parts 1 – 4 and it is a real seminal work. It was repackaged somewhat to the more accessible Home of the Brave a few years later.
I have been an Anderson fan since I saw and heard her song “O Superman” on a video channel. It was amazing. Still is.
I heard about this album and was on a search for it for several years. Found it. Paid a not insubstantial, but not unreasonable, amount for it. And I now enjoy it very much.
The music herein is very hard to categorize. Experimental, avant-garde, electronic, pop music, spoken word can all be used to describe the music. And these genres can be even applied all at once to individual songs.
But I can go on and talk about the music and songs and movements and emotions and technology that makes this album great. Instead I will mourn for what is lost. The state of the music industry is such now that this album would never be released these days. This was not an independent release – this is a Warner Brothers record. The music industry used to take chances on great artists who performed great works, even though they might not be too commercially viable. It was a risk. This album and many of Anderson’s subsequent recordings were very successful.
An alternative review is here.

Weekly Wine – Dunavar

18 Feb

SONY DSCDunavar Muscat Ottonel
2012
Hungary
750ml
11.5% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

This is a heavy wine. There is substance to it. It is not earthy as some Portuguese wines can be but it is heavy in a much different way. It has a sour taste. Whereas most white wines are wines that enjoy sunshine and company, this one craves the darkness and solitude.
It is a strange wine. I have sampled it cold and at room temperature and I really can’t make up my mind – is it a passable wine or one to avoind. There is no mistaking that it is an inexpensive wine. It is very unrefined and harsh, but it is not that bad, which makes this wine puzzling.
It could be easy to say that I don’t like this wine – I don’t. But I don’t like many wines – some of which I gave good reviews to because they were good wines – just not suited to my taste.
This wine … is OK, I guess.

Fishing on ice

15 Feb

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It is cold and we are outside gathered around a hole in the ice. We see many fish on the fish finder but they are not biting – in this instance they are smarter than us.

Weekly Vinyl – Go Go’s

13 Feb

Beauty and the Beat
Go Go’s
(1981)
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This was a huge album in the early 1980’s. The hits, “Our lips are sealed,” and “We got the beat” were played on the radio constantly.
Having not heard these songs for a long while I was quite surprised that they hold up quite well. They are still nice tight tunes. Catchy and memorable.
The whole album is actually quite good. Very power pop. Very bright and uplifting. I feel like getting into a convertible, taking the top down and driving to the beach.
But alas… It is February. There is snow on the beach and the lake is frozen. I also have no convertible. I could take the scooter – but it is February and as I write this it is grey and snowing.
I’ll have to take this album out of the archives and put it in the “play during the summer” stack. This is a great summer record. Worth a listen all the way through and not just for the hits.

Weekly Wine – Terra Boa

11 Feb

SONY DSCAlianca Terra Boa Vinho Tinto, Old Vines, Beira
2013
Portugal
750ml
13.5% ABV
$7.75 (LCBO)

A cheap one this is. Not just under ten bucks but it squeezes well under eight bucks.
I should be leery of this wine. I should perhaps even avoid this wine.
The thing is, it has a very nice and classy label. I like the fonts it uses. I like the colours on the label – primarily red and white. I like the fact that Old vines is in a much different font and printed in gold ink. This is a very nice label – I hope the wine matches the wrapper.
It’s not bad, but it does have the heaviness and acidity of inexpensive wines. The earthiness and the sulphites are very much present. The heaviness is from its providence in Portugal – so if you are a fan of Portuguese wine, this one should be in your hamper.
There is no mistaking from the flavour of Terra Boa that it is an inexpensive selection.
That being said – I like this wine. Not just because it is cheap and has a high alcohol content – the heavy body and earthy flavours are great for cold winter evenings.

The Arc

8 Feb

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I’ve been having the feeling that I need to get away.
I would like to go back to Paris.
Just to walk … from morning to night.
Just to walk in a beautiful city.
This image was taken with the camera resting on a traffic bollard with a 2 second exposure.
This image prompted me to buy a travel tripod.