Anodyne
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
 
On the deck: He Loved Him Madly, the full 30 minute suite
 

Tonight's soundtrack: Duke Ellington, New Orleans Suite, esp. Thanks For The Beautiful Land On the Delta
 

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Stephen Hickman's Great Cthulu
 

A Colder War

Charles Stross' extraordinary Mythos pastiche. My favorite piece of his writing, a perfect balancing of tongue-in-cheek homage and genuine air of supernatural menace.

"Roger shakes himself. Remembering time-survivor curves, the captured Nazi medical atrocity records mapping the ability of a human brain to survive in close proximity to the Baltic Singularity. Mengele's insanity. The SS's final attempt to liquidate the survivors, the witnesses. Koschei, primed and pointed at the American heartland like a darkly evil gun. The 'world-eating mind' adrift in brilliant dreams of madness, estivating in the absence of its prey: dreaming of the minds of sapient beings, be they barrel-bodied wing-flying tentacular things, or their human inheritors. . . ."
 

Someone writes to admit that they've never read HPL.

Start here.

"The last lap of the voyage was vivid and fancy-stirring. Great barren peaks of mystery loomed up constantly against the west as the low northern sun of noon or the still lower horizon-grazing southern sun of midnight poured its hazy reddish rays over the white snow, bluish ice and water lanes, and black bits of exposed granite slope. Through the desolate summits swept ranging, intermittent gusts of the terrible antarctic wind; whose cadences sometimes held vague suggestions of a wild and half-sentient musical piping, with notes extending over a wide range, and which for some subconscious mnemonic reason seemed to me disquieting and even dimly terrible. Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich, and of the still stranger and more disturbing descriptions of the evilly fabled plateau of Leng which occur in the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. I was rather sorry, later on, that I had ever looked into that monstrous book at the college library."
 
Al Swearengen counsels my depression
 
Sharp winter light on the trees across Main Street, door open, cold air curling in, Hank Mobley sizzling on the deck, someone -- Philly Joe Jones? -- all animated on the drums, Wynton Kelly and Grant Green adding accents and curlicues. I'm not a fan of "jazz guitar" by any stretch of the imagination, but this is awfully tasty stuff that must have been lots of fun to play. Microeconomics handed in yesterday afternoon: the long express bus ride out to the university and back, with HPL for the journey there and Philip Roth's Everyman for the journey home. HPL's a weird one. A genuinely great writer who produced some awfully purple prose. The book fell open on my lap to an account of winged bat-creatures bearing human brains across the cosmic aether in magical metal jars. But then you get a description like this: "A mountain walked or stumbled. God!" (Great Cthulhu, monstrous green octopus-bat-deity, emerging from his drowned crypt somewhere off the coast of Tasmania). Or, a sentence or two later, this astonishing account of a seaman's death: "Parker slipped as the other three were plunging frenziedly over endless vistas of green-crusted rock to the boats, and Johansen swears he was swallowed up by an angle of masonry which shouldn't have been there, an angle which was actute, but behaved as if it were obtuse." (The fantastic rendered in laconic just-the-facts-ma'am prose, the mystery of how a human could be swallowed "by an angle of masonry" left unresolved, the alien city leaning out to casually devour him, just as a carnivorous plant might close around an unsuspecting fly).
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
 
Brilliant blue sky, crisp sunlight, the mountains white with snow
 

Q: Why are you posting at 4:30am?

A: Just finished my microeconomics term project!

(The mice can't figure it out, either)
Monday, November 19, 2007
 

On the deck all day: Copland's Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra
 
So Many Times It Happens Too Fast

Anodyne Inc. distributions:

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3510 units x .0967/unit = $339.42 (15 Nov)

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .041667/unit = $46.21 (15 Oct)

Cash balance, $2466.36

The markets are holding a pre-Christmas sale. The USD portfolio looks like it was hit by a falling 747, and the Canadian portfolio isn't that much prettier. Fortunately I judge my performance over a rolling three to five year period. A medium- to long-term holding period is a blessing for anyone with legendarily short patience; it removes a lot of doubt and anxiety. It's bizarre to me that, say, Loblaw Companies, Canada's largest grocer, is valued today by the market at 18% less than it was on Thursday, and is essentially selling for the value of its real estate, with the grocery business thrown in at no charge. The bookstore had a slow day today, with lots of crabby people and negligible sales, but I don't think it's worth 18% less than it was yesterday, with the aisles packed and a lineup of folks waiting to buy things.

Owning and operating a business is good preparation for investing; it teaches patience in the face of adversity. "Rising up to the challenge of our rival" & etc.
 
Tonight's Youtube: Rikki; Green Flower Street; Any Major Dude. All from the same epic 1996 tour date, which -- in memory serves -- also features a live version of Donald's IGY, a peerless pop song whose droll faux-optimism lifts me every time.
 

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): The Record Store Cats

Not depicted: a Dan-admiring feline, head bobbing back and forth like a pigeon's.

Email over the weekend from several folks, some friends, some strangers, wondering about this page's descent into endless Youtube links and cryptic one-liners. Some miss the photographs, some the crabby loquaciousness, some the value investing advice, and just about everyone waxes nostalgic about the lack of trips to interesting places.

In my defense: it's winter in Vancouver, with all the precipitation and low light that implies. My seasonal affective disorder is kicked up into high gear, and simple procedures -- remembering to wake up; tying my shoes; successfully negotiating ten hours of public service without completely melting down -- have assumed a difficulty out of all proportion to how hard they actually are. On top of spending more than sixty hours a week in the shop, I'm completing a university level microeconomics course I don't feel particularly at home in, and trying to finish several pieces of overdue art criticism. The camera's battery charger is still lost (a replacement, ordered off Big Electronic Garage Sale a month ago, is also MIA), the stock market is tanking, and I can barely summon the energy to watch Deadwood in the evening, let alone to consider field trips to greener pastures. While animated cat GIFs and endless Steely Dan reruns may tax everyone's patience, these things are real to me, harmless anodynes that keep me sane and functioning.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
 

Last night I ran into my old life
Still waiting for someone at the station...


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