14 February 2011

The Ides of February

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14 February 2011: Our winter is about over, sadly. It is now getting to be Sweat City again after just a mere couple of months of comfortable weather. It rained a bit the other day and the humidity (dew-point) has finally gone back up into the “oppressive” range. The sun will be a constant source of discomfort for the next four months until the Rainy Season’s clouds cover it.
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I got into the city last Thursday to do some exploring. I saw the movie The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Bale should win this year’s Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, he was that good.
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I went into town mainly to hear Peter Driscoll and the Cruisers play old-time Rock n Roll later in the evening. They were playing at a wine bar in an area of town I’d never seen, so I went to the neighborhood early and had the chance to see some places I’d always heard about in the area.
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First I had supper at a Lao restaurant nearby called The Vientiane Kitchen. (Vientiane is, of course, the capital of Laos and just across the Mekong River from Thailand’s Issan, or Northeast, area; the Lao and Thai histories, languages, cultures and cuisine are closely related.) This place has reasonably priced Lao/Northeastern Thai food plus a stage show that features somewhat traditional musicians, dancers and fighters. The mock sword battles are done by comedian/performers. The place is open and non-a/c, with a tree growing up in the hall’s middle and going through the roof.
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Nearing Peter’s showtime, I walked the one klick up the soi to the Wine Bibber Sangria, the venue. It was one of the first really hot/humid nights that I’ve walked in for a while, and I was drenched in sweat by the time I arrived. I glanced at the incomprehensible wine list but then just opted for cold, cold beer.
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Peter’s music was fantastic, as usual. He played early Rock songs and gave brief historical notes on who wrote it and covered it. Songs I had first heard so many decades ago by The Rolling Stones or The Beatles were given a deeper history. Part of my ongoing Rock n Roll education.
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Apart from my exploratory rambles, I’ve been reading a lot. I finished another Dan Simmons novel, Black Hills, where an 11-year-old Sioux boy is on the battlefield at Little Big Horn just as Custer dies, Custer’s ghost entering into him and haunting him for decades after. It is historical fiction with a fantastic twist – excellent.
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I am now finishing the fifth and last novel in Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantasy cycle, the Earthsea saga. I want to read more of her wonderful writings.
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-Zenwind.
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