Happy birthday, Julian Merrow-Smith

julianlemons.jpgIt’s Julian Merrow-Smith‘s birthday tomorrow, or today, or it was recently his birthday, depending on when you read this. Happy birthday, Julian. Julian is a painter, as you can see from his website. I have two of his paintings and chances are you don’t, and won’t for some time, because the New York Times gave him a nice write-up. To find the article, you must go to the “Multimedia” column on the right and click on “Currents”, where there is currently a paragraph with something about 19th century art.

I don’t know how long this story will be available on-line, so here is a screen-shot:

That is Julian on the bottom, two of his paintings on the top. Ruth, who knows Julian, has all the details here. Congratulations, Julian.

[Note: Apartment Therapy mentions him and gives this link for the NYT article, no idea how long that will last.]


I was sitting on the toilet yesterday morning taking a crap when I heard two people outside running down the sidewalk yelling at each other. My first thought was to calculate the probability that it was another family drama, a husband (or wife) who for whatever reason decided that going after his (or her) wife (or husband) with a kitchen knife was his (or her) best option (as opposed to people catching runaway livestock or grandparent); and to examine the ethical implications for me, like is one required to help even when one is not yet finished on the john?

My second thought was how funny life is at times, how our world encompasses every scale and class of experience simultaneously, each superimposed on the other. Here was one person possibly having an unforgettable, life-changing experience, and just a few meters away someone was being chased down the street by a maniac.

Any ideas?

  1. Anything out there so much better than Moveable Type 2.63 that it would be worth the trouble of changing over?

  2. I’m sick of this site design but too lazy to do anything about it (and too busy) and too lazy to pay anyone else.

Night walk

Where is this going?
I sleep at odd hours, to avoid your dreams; I’m not usually out at this time. It’s midnight and I’m surprised to see some of the neighbors are still up, their house lights still burning.
But the streets are empty as I head out of the village. I stagger a little as I walk down the sidewalk.

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Orchestra I

So Beta signed me up for the orchestra. Or, rather, I was automatically signed up as a student at the music school (it’s just a little amateur music school orchestra full, mostly, of kids and some adults) and Beta twisted my arm and said I had to try it this year.

So I said okay, thinking the concert was, I don’t know, sometime way off, in another century. But it is in April, it now appears, which sounds far off but is in fact not too much more than a month from now.

The cello section had its first practice last weekend. There are seven celli. Two of the kids are children of friends. Two of the girls in the group are quite good, one of the boys is nearly as good, at least he can keep up. Another girl never gets yelled at, and two freckled boys appear to be worse than me, at least they kept getting upbraided and I didn’t.

The way I see it, if all goes well I will learn all the parts and do okay. If things do not go well, I’ll just sit in the back and fake it, as there are 6 other celli to take up the slack.

I realize, of course, that there are at least two little boys thinking the same thing, and perhaps one girl, but that leaves three, maybe four competent celli so no big worry, I imagine. Plus there are enough bass players to fill things out.

It is a real ass kicking experience, that I can tell you after a single practice of only the cello section. But I went into it without having practiced anything even once. All the notes I saw there I had seen for the first time. It was very much the holy shit this looked easier than it actually is experience.

The first practice involving, theoretically, the entire orchestra is next week. I can’t wait.


There is the what do you want, and there is the breaking it down into smaller particles and placing them in bulleted lists on post-its and sticking them to your Filofax organizer and checking them off (or not) one by one.
But there is also the why do you want what you want in the first place that kicks your balls sometimes. The question of intention.
Goal: win the lottery.

  • dream numbers,
  • go to store,
  • buy lottery ticket.

But what do you intend to do with your lottery winnings? What will that achieve and why do you want that?

Or, goal: meditate and write in journal daily, every morning, say.

  • get up early,
  • do other chores,
  • meditate,
  • journal.

But, again, why? Why does one sacrifice, say, forty-five minutes to an hour of sleep nearly daily for something that produces no tangible product other than volume after volume of nonsense (as some have called it) that the writer will never read and hopes no one else will either?

The intention turns out to be simple, so simple that it can be captured in a single sentence: one rises in the morning — not an hour early, say, but only forty-five minutes early (for that extra bit of sleep, after a night of fitful dozage in which a cat scratched at the bedroom door until the spouse finally got up and did something (while one at first slept, and then pretended to sleep which said spouse claims to always be able to differentiate meaning said spouse chose to let one lie there) and went back to bed and then got up again when the cat scratched again and threw it out of the house completely, as one should have done in the first place, around 9.00 PM or so) — and goes downstairs to let both cats back into the house and feed them and wash the mylar catfood envelopes prior to discarding them, after which guilt-free urination is possible, and then washes one’s hands followed by heating tea water (after pouring old, allegedly calcified water out of kettle and adding fresh, presumably non-calcified water from the tap) and brewing coffee, which is then drunk while eating the new, healthful (according to the text on the package, which is oversized (the package, not the text, although the text is bright and bold) meaning it will not fit onto the cereal shelf in an upright position, but rather requires it be crammed in at a 45-degree angle among the other objects on that shelf) cereal and a blueberry-flavored “Frufru” (local dairy product similar to yogurt, but not yogurt, that one has always loved because the fruit is at the bottom and not stirred throughout the dairy product, just the way it always was in the good old days), or rather whatever the generic knockoff of Frufru is (because, ironically, the new improved Frufru now comes with the fruit pre-stirred while the generic knockoff still comes with it at the bottom), followed by a making of lunches for the other three family members (one cannot, for some reason, usually be arsed to make one’s own lunch, resulting in lousy dietary behavior) and the decision to let someone else empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher and put them away because it would presumably be too noisy to do that so early in the morning while everyone else is still fast asleep; after this, one turns on a small light in the living room, makes oneself comfortable on the sofa and meditates, but only a few fitful minutes because, at first, one cannot decide whether to try some sort of Buddhist-style meditation (concentration on breathing?) or Transcendental Meditation(TM) and then, after deciding, or not deciding but rather ending up sort of combining the two, one is distracted at first by the absence of the cat, where is the cat, he always jumps onto my lap when I’m meditating, and then by a quiet noise coming from the kitchen: the quiet, quiet sounds of someone sneaking around, the quietness of which tips one off to the probability that it is not one’s spouse as said spouse is not the sneaking type, but rather one’s youngest daughter, up now at, what time is it, check the watch, squint in the non-reading-glassed darkness, five-thirty AM, which is far too early for a child to be up on a schoolday when she normally doesn’t have to get up until 7, so one gets up and talks to her sweetly and convinces her (already fully dressed for the day) to go back to bed, which she does, after which one gives up on meditating and goes upstairs to the office to write in one’s journal, which happens for ten minutes, after which the door opens and aforementioned spouse puts her head inside the room and “good mornings” are exchanged and one shuts the journal, after finding a good place to stop, and joins spouse downstairs for breakfast and a listen to the news and performing various requested corrections to the lunches, such as making a third one (mentioned above, by mistake, but not actually really made until this point in the narrative) which requires that “bake them yourself” ciabattas be baked in the oven for 15 minutes, for which overly lengthy process one substitutes a few minutes toasting over the toaster (because someone else ate the rest of the lunch bread at some point) and writing something on the lunch bananas (this time leaving letters out, Hangman-style, because Hangman has become the family’s new favorite game, although the kids are learning Scrabble now too, so that looks like it will soon rival Hangman for favorite family game), then showering, shaving, dressing, being rushed and hurried by spouse and eldest daughter, then criticized for not taking the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and putting them away and suggesting that the children help instead, then carrying a cello and harp out to the car and driving them to the music school to drop off for tonight’s lessons so no one else has to do it, and backing out of the drive way, something like that, one’s Filofax organizer covered with post-its slides off the dashboard and lands on one’s lap, this distraction making driving difficult, and is in a sudden rage (triggered by the fact that no one else in the car thought it necessary to catch it, but mostly just because) picked up and dashed to the floor of the passenger side as if one had intended to kill a large rat with the Filofax, after which the rest of the drive into town is carried out in silence despite the fact that one is hurrying to town with eldest daughter so she is not late for school, not only not late, but so early that she doesn’t have to rush; one does this, one rises and meditates and writes in one’s journal, so that one day one does not dash the Filofax to the car floor, I suppose.