Thursday, May 12, 2005

Boogie & The Hand Jive

Every day is a reflection of the day prior. Not sure who said that -- it could be a Buddhist proverb, it could be a nugget nestled within the confines of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, or it could be something that oozed freshly from my mind. Whatever the case, I received a call from my other half this morning and, as per usual, it was nice -- despite the fact that it was about four o'clock in the morning on her coast -- to talk to her with the sleep still in my eyes.

However, fatigue -- both mental and physical -- took its toll on me, and after I got home tonight and threw in a few loads o' laundry, I put everything away and settled in for a half-hour of the new Wes Anderson DVD "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," starring the usual cast of characters, including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston, etc. I wound up falling asleep about a third -- perhaps -- through, so this shouldn't serve as a review thereof, and, frankly, I enjoyed what I watched while conscious.

Around midnight here I woke to a ringing phone and to my other half leaving her third message of the night. She was falling asleep and assumed I had already done so, so she left me a goodnight message and was about to hang up when I stumbled across the living room to grab the phone. We spoke for a half hour or so as I read aloud her father's e-mail, which had us both giggling sleepily, before I wished her a good sleep as her yawns became more and more prevalent. Then I responded to her dad, and, finally, wound up here. So with the sounds of Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard in the background, I am attempting to fight through the haze of semi-sleepiness and chronicle the day. Though it's mellow, "461" is an album filled with slow but intense grooves ("Mainline Florida," "Willie & The Hand Jive," "I Can't Hold Out" and "Motherless Children"), a quasi-veritable cauldron of grungy blues smoldering right below the surface. Perfect as an inclusion to the eventual HoB soundtrack (K-Tel Records Presents...).

Work-wise, I've been power-surging through one or two major projects, as per usual, and I'm making lots of progress. The players in the main project sport a variety of factors which make it complex, difficult and nearly never-ending, but I'll have it tethered to completion soon. Within the confines of this problem, I've been battling language barriers (half of those involved are native Asians and sometimes misunderstand or are confused by terminology), lack of experience, and just plain ignorance. However, the saving grace is -- above the fact that everyone knows the ultimate goal is to get this wrapped up and on its way -- most of the people with whom I'm dealing on this, despite the language barriers and the other aforementioned obstacles, are all doing their best to be of help, which, frankly, is far from the norm. So that's a plus.

The Yankees played a day game in the Bronx, and my sister's boyfriend got tickets for choice seats -- two rows behind the visitor's dugout. He actually offered me a ticket, but due to my immense workload, I had no choice but, unfortunately, to decline. I told my sister to go in my place and bring a camera. Originally I thought the seats were behind the Yankee dugout, but no matter -- being so close to the field, especially at a baseball mecca like Yankee Stadium, is an offer on which one should never pass.

Even more importantly, the game -- which was a see-saw battle for nearly the entire nine-inning term -- wound up being a 13-9 Yankee victory. Anytime 22 combined runs are scored in a Yankee win, it's a good win. While I would prefer the Yankees blast their opponents by 20 runs a game each time they take the field, this game was a keeper: the lead changed hands at least four or five times, and there were home runs as well as run-scoring extra-base hits. What this means, especially for you non-baseball people, is that for us baseball people, a "pitcher's duel" -- ie a low-scoring, suspenseful, tense game -- is not quite as exciting for the non-baseball fan who would seemingly prefer to see shitloads of hitting, RBI and baserunning. In short, therefore, I'm glad they picked a great game, and a great day, to visit the Stadium.

On top of that news, I also had a chance to enjoy the new Robert Plant album, entitled "Mighty Rearranger." Without going into a lot of specifics, Mr. Plant -- who is nearly 60 and whose voice is reflecting his age -- assembled a new band (known as the "Strange Sensation") and put together a bunch of mostly mellow, slow-burning songs. There are quite a few keepers within the twelve tracks, but I need a few more listen-throughs before passing judgement. I will say this: it somewhat amazes me that his stuff, from his pre-Led Zeppelin work to nearly everything since -- never seems to be boring, formulaic or staid. For me, his music is sort of like Eric Clapton's: there is just nothing he can do that is awful or sub-standard. Don't get me wrong: like Eric Clapton, a small percentage of Robert Plant's stuff has regularly inspired me to hit the "next track" button on the CD player consistently -- but I am amazed that in his fifth decade making music, he is still able to convince me that he is the real deal.

Today marks two weeks prior to Kaia's arrival in NYC for Memorial Day weekend. Coupled with my e-mails with her dad, I can't really articulate how excited I am about where we are, but each time I examine "us," especially within the confines of my personal history, I keep returning to the same conclusion: everything feels so comfortable, so perfect, so right, that I am genuinely and instinctively longing for us to move forward. I feel my patience slipping and myself getting distracted whenever something reminds me of her. And aside from being knee-deep in work at the office, I seemingly find more and more that reminds me of her, no matter where I am or with whom. Despite the fact that it's almost painful for us to be on separate coasts, it's a pain -- and an optimism -- that I will gladly endure.

Something which I found to be very cool, by the sister, hastily preparing to leave the office to go to Yankee Stadium, offered to try and get a t-shirt or a ball signed for Kaia's nephew Sammy, who currently is relegated to being a San Francisco Giant fan (poor kid), and her offer of same was really nice. She wasn't able to get a signed ball because she and her boyfriend didn't arrive early enough at the Stadium, but the offer was very considerate nonetheless. In my e-mail exchange with Kaia's dad, I mentioned that my sister offered but was unable to obtain a signed ball. And just in that interchange, and his response, I sensed that -- despite the non-ball -- this is the right situation for me. Again, I can't really explain it, but like my ongoing work project, this -- a lifetime project -- seems to be clicking in place on a daily basis, as if it was a barrage of scattered puzzle pieces that were suddenly assembling themselves before my eyes. The nicest part of this whole ride is how it seems to be on auto-pilot and nearly out of my control and yet well within my control, all at the same time.

If this discourse suggests I am dizzy, prone to babbling and incredibly happy, then, for lack of a better phrase, I've done my job.

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