Sunday, October 29, 2006

Escape to Moss Landing

The missus' birthday dropped in this weekend. Now, I've learned something over the last 8 years of marital bliss: no matter what you think of the beastly things, birthdays are a big deal to a woman.

So instead of sitting around and working diligently on the publication of my second chin, I surprised the aging w. with a trip to Moss Landing; a semi-comatose little town about halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey. We lodged at the Captain's Inn, a delightful place run by Melanie & Yohn Gideon, with views (from our windows) that looked like this:





Impressive no? If you're shameless enough not to be content with that (like we were), there's also the ocean about a 10 minute walk away, and Phil's Fish Market & Eatery, which has seafood to simply die for.

Yohn also runs the Elkhorn Slough Safari, and for a modest fee, he'll strap you onto a pontoon boat, and take you for a spin about 4 miles up the slough (pronounced "sloo", not "sluff", "sloff" or "slau"). It's an impressive amount of wildlife that's infested this tiny area. In the span of about an hour, we encountered rafts of sea otters, seals, egrets, pelicans, even a blue heron or two, and several brightly colored species of kayakers.





To top it all off, I've scored enough brownie points with the old ball and chain to last the rest of the year. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Next Week

It's an SFJazz week with:
  1. Thursday: Joe Zawinul Syndicate
  2. Friday: Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussein, Eric Harland (Sangam)
  3. Saturday: Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, Charlie Haden, Roy Hanes
Mercy, mercy, mercy!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Erik Mongrain

Arjun pointed me at a YouTube link a few days ago that I couldn't view since I didn't have sound enabled on the machine I was at. I saw it today, and was just floored. Here's another one by the same guy:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Opening Night

It's a measure of the excellence of the San Francisco Jazz festival, that they have the audacity to open with the saxophone colossus himself: Sonny Rollins.

Orrin Keepnews introduced him, it being almost exactly 50 years since they met during a recording date for Thelonious Monk's Brilliant Corners album. Orrin said that since there was very little creative control that anyone could ever exert over Monk, he just accepted Monk's choice of this new tenor saxophonist without question. One of his better decisions.

Sonny is one of the few living jazz masters in the world who can command a 3-minute standing ovation before playing a single note. And last night showed us exactly why he deserves such reverence. Through the 110-minute performance, this 76-year old infused his audience with a joi de vivre that most improvisers a third of his age don't have. He was just so happy!

5 years ago, when I saw him perform for the first time, I was too untrained to realize what a brilliant mind was behind those improvisations. His charm lies in the fact that he can take even the most banal motif through 12 choruses (an average number for all his solos last night), and find a distinctly engaging way of presenting it in each cycle.

And the man has chops. He may not have the intensity or angst of Miguel Zenón but I'd be willing to bet that in just sheer inventiveness, he'd leave him in the dust.

He didn't do an encore, but at the end of the night he got a 10-minute ovation anyway. We would've happily made it 110.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Foot in blog syndrome

I think it's funny as hell that the post on how much we value security, is followed by the one explaining that our blog was hacked into.

I love my company :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Flashback

Apologies are due. Knowing that the wild fanbase of this humble blog (yes, all three of them) hangs on my every word, I am indeed remiss for not having updated it in such a long while.

We've started going for swimming lessons. Yes, every Saturday afternoon, the wife and I toss ourselves into the wild blue yonder (well... more like "tame blue hither" really, being all of 4 feet deep) at the nearest YMCA, and try not to make asses out of ourselves. Personally, I think we're doing quite marvellously. Jayita is down from 3 floatation devices to just one, and of the three essentials of kick, stroke, and breathe, I'm up to doing any 2 out of 3 (which I'm told is not bad) at the same time.

In other news, we've also started Spanish lessons! You see, Jayita and I have realized that we're somewhat lacking in the linguistic breadth necessary to obfuscate rude comments we would like to make about people while in their presence. Between the two of us we know about 3.5 languages (ok fine, 2.5 --- C++ doesn't really count), and English and Hindi are out since most of our friends and family (about whom we would like to make those rude comments) know those already. Initially we thought of Japanese, but then settled on Spanish since travelling to South America seems cheaper than a trip across the pond.

So there. That's the update for the moment. Salud, amor y pesetas!

Upgrade

I switched to the new "Blogger Beta" this weekend. The downside was that I lost some of the customization that I'd done to the old template, but I like the new interface much more than I did the old one. And we finally have labels! Oh joy! I had tried the roundabout del.icio.us route before, but that was simply too cumbersome to last more than about 2 posts.

Mmm... even has that new blog smell...