Monday Morning

After driving to Santa Fe from Denver on Saturday I stayed in a Ramada on Yale close to the airport in Albuquerque. When I made arrangements for this trip all hotels for this weekend were surprisingly expensive, especially in Santa Fe. Later, Jon figured out that this was due to the Balloon Festival, which happens on the first weekend in October. I had picked one of the cheaper hotels by the airport and planned on driving back to Santa Fe on Sunday for some business I had to attend to. Monday I would fly home from Albuquerque.

On Monday morning I woke up around 0515 and read People of the Book until a few minutes past 0600. Then I walked 0.9 miles to the Starbucks on Gibson. It was still dark, about 45′ before sunrise. Encountered three people, one of whom was talking to themselves. Arrived at Starbucks only to discover that the doors were all locked. There was a sign on the door saying that for security reasons the cafe was closed until sunrise. The Starbucks app, however, claimed that the place would open at 0500. I stood by the front entrance observing dozens of cars order coffee in the drive-through. Considered walking through the drive-through lane and ordering coffee. Then one of the five or six employees opened the door and asked whether I was there to pick up a mobile order. I said no, I wasn’t, but I could make a mobile order, if that’s what it took. I told him I had walked for twenty minutes to get there. He seemed incredulous (((what? people walk? in the dark??))) but let me into the store and locked the door behind me. Perhaps really not the safest neighborhood?!

I ordered a large coffee and a pair of kale egg bites. After I received the food I walked back to the hotel. The person talking to themselves had turned to arguing, but not quite screaming, with a post, as I hurried by. I gave another person coming towards me a wide berth by walking through a parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my hotel.

Reading on my laptop and sipping the coffee – the egg bites had already been consumed – I noticed this object on the wall, near the ceiling. It looks like a smoke detector that was wrapped in cling wrap to prevent smoke from getting into it? Room #345 of the Ramada hotel. If you worry about smoke inhalation you best avoid that room.
Smoke Detector
I think it is good to stay in questionable hotels from time to time, if only to properly appreciate the nice ones… :-)


PS: the books is really good! It describes the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.

Less flash and more substance than The Da Vinci Code . . . The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.

– USA Today

Monday Morning

I wonder how many posts I titled Monday Morning since 1994…
Click here for the answer.

The sky was spectacular as I set out on my four mile walk this morning. I listened to the new album in the sequence of tracks I had settled on and loved everything I heard. Well, except for one little thing that I will investigate today. Today I will pick imagery for the album cover. Because this version of vision 2020 will be called the Lockdown Version I searched my catalog of about 25,000 photographs for images that looked through windows at the outside. I also came across a photo of a birdcage that I felt was very poignant.

Regardless of the title and the time this music was created in, I find that it is upbeat and hopeful. How did Roshi Joan put it?

I am not an optimist nor a pessimist. I am hopeful.

And now I will have breakfast:

Monday Morning

I decided I didn’t want to go out there this morning. It snowed overnight and threatened to snow more. The sky was the color of the ground, white.

I messaged with friends instead. One friend, in California, sent a video of her rescuing a swarm of bees. She was sitting in her car, wearing bee-protective gear, with a loud swarm of of bees in a couple of boxes on the back seat. Then she sent a video of her rescuing a goat that had somehow strayed onto the street. Another friend, in Santa Fe, sent photos of a hawk and a wild turkey that decided to live on his street.

If only we would use this pandemic as a new beginning. Have you seen the photos from around the world that show sights that hadn’t been seen in decades? Mount Everest in the distance, long obscured by pollution. Vistas that had been hidden by dirty air. Maybe we should not go back to business as usual. Perhaps this should be a new year zero.

Monday Morning

Thoughtful article regarding nuclear power in the Guardian. It’s not new, but I only got around to reading it this weekend.

Burning coal is certainly not the answer, because of the environmental damage it causes. I think what’s needed is a portfolio of energy sources, a mix of new nuclear plants and as much renewables as possible. I also think energy production needs to be de-centralized and homeowners must be given incentives to install wind and solar electricity production, and if that doesn’t inspire people we will need laws requiring self production of a certain amount of the energy one uses. Like with so many things, there is no quick and perfect single solution, and certainly not one that requires no involvement from the public at all.

Dropped my Negra off this morning for a fretboard overhaul – been playing the guitar for about nine years now and it’s time. Then I dropped off my laptop to have the failed system drive replaced with an OWC SS (flash) drive. It is supposed to make a startling difference to have a solid state drive in a MacBook Pro. I’ll let you know whether that is true… Hopefully I will get the computer back on Thursday, so I can upload the photos I took with my camera – as opposed to the images I captured with my phone.

Now I’ll restring my Blanca with the new Flamenco strings from D’Addario. This will be my first time trying them.

Monday Morning

Upaya‘s newsletter kindly mentions Under the Rose today.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned John Cage’s book A Year from Monday. The title stems from a dinner with friends, at which it was decided to meet in Mexico a year from Monday. Cage wrote:

In order to realize this rendezvous, all of us (knowing how to say Yes) will have to learn to say No – No, that is, to anything that may come between us and the realization of our plan.

Reading the title and remembering the story – Cage doesn’t mention whether they did meet after all that – I thought of April and speaking to my brother and dad about meeting in Vienna in October. Dad had lived in Vienna at one time and was quite familiar with the history and layout of the city. We had in mind to see the city through his eyes, to listen to him reminisce about his life there, and, of course, to sit together at a Heurige – the name of taverns in the city that serve wine of the same name. Heuriger means wine from the last harvest, a white wine, probably similar to Verdicchio, a fresh Italian wine that is made to be drunk soon, within a couple of years of harvest.

I remember dad arguing with me on the phone, saying that he would not need the wheel chair my brother and I were suggesting to rent. The three of us did agree to meet in Vienna in October and started making plans.

Then my mind jumped to the upcoming solo-tour and the fact that I will be the only one actually going to Vienna in October… Wow! How strange! I must drink a glass of Heuriger and toast my dad.

It was only a day or two later that I realized that my father did not die this year and that the plans were for October of last year.

From the liner notes of the triple CD A State of Wonder: The Complete Goldberg Variations (1955 & 1981)

The purpose of art is not the release of a mementary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
– Glenn Gould

Rock & Rollers and quite a few Jazzers would beg to differ. But, to witness the deepening of music in great musicians like Glenn Gould and the cellist Janos Starker over a lifetime is a marvelous gift.

The second disc, recorded analogue in 1981, is a beauty. The piano stands there, right in front of you, and sometimes the eyes open to make sure there isn’t actually one in the room…

I cut my left ringfinger while chopping onions for risotto yesterday evening. Shouldn’t have talked while handling a big knife! I was explaining how the Ottomans made rice by sauteing onions and then adding rice and later water or broth, probably before the Italians did. And that I feel that the Italian cuisine, which is my favorite, is really a hybrid. Rice and spaghetti both have their origins in the East, and one must not forget how many ideas were exchanged between Istantbul and Venice!

I expect the wound will heal by the end of the week and I’ll have plenty of time to practice what I want to play in Europe in October.