Monday, April 27, 2009

Me and Nastasia

Me & Nastasia Kinski, Madame Tussaud's

This is one of the more popular pictures on my Flickr site. I think it's because people are looking for pix of the real Nastasia, not a wax figure! Or people are looking for a much thinner and less bald me!

Remember the picture of her and the big boa constrictor?

I haven't been - and don't really have an interest in the Mme. Tussaud's that recently opened here in Washington. In London, in 1986, it seemed like the thing to do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quote of the Day: "The higher the intelligence, the more faith, and the less credulity."

"The higher the intelligence, the more faith, and the less credulity."

Herman Melville. Mardi (1849). Cited from 1964 edition: Signet Classics: New York, p.251.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quote of the Day: "It is said that if you wash a cat ..."

"It is said that if you wash a cat it will never again wash itself ... if you want to keep a cat clean, you throw a bucket of mud over it, when it will immediately take extraordinary pains to lick the mud off, and finally be cleaner that it was before."

George Bernard Shaw (1921). Preface to Back to Methuselah. Cited from Penguin edition,
1961, p.11

Territorial Enterprise

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic

In Virginia City, Nevada, the offices of the Territorial Enterprise are located in an interesting spot that is now part museum, part gift shop. The Territorial Enterprise is best known as the paper that Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) worked at. The museum/shop has various Twain artifacts, including the desk at which he worked.

I used to come to Virginia City as a child on field trips. In August 2007, I made my first visit back in [very long time]. Things pretty much looked as I remembered them!

The family of a woman I went to school with has run the museum/shop for all these years!

Quote of the Day: "Then the needle slid under his skin. ..."

"Then the needle slid under his skin. The drug calmed his soul, but did not touch it down where the blackness had reached."

Philip Roth (1959). "Eli, the Fanatic." In Goodbye, Columbus. Cited from Bantam Modern Classics, 1969, p. 1216.

Quote of the Day: "Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily ..."

"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts ... A graphic representation of data abstracted fro the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity."

William Gibson (1984). Neuromancer. Cited from Ace Books, 2000, p. 51.

Quote of the Day: "Everything good in my life ..."

"Everything good in my life I can count on my fingers! God forbid some one should leave me a million dollar, I wouldn't even have to take off my shoes. I got a whole other hand yet."

Philip Roth (1959). "Goodbye, Columbus." In Goodbye, Columbus. Cited from Bantam Modern Classics, 1969, p. 83.

Quote of the Day: "In a life of sacrifice what is one more?"

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
"In a life of sacrifice what is one more?"

Philip Roth (1959). "Eli, the Fanatic." In Goodbye,
Columbus. Cited from Bantam Modern Classics, 1969, p. 198.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Day of Seven Boarding Passes

Yes, it was my fault for not getting to the get the full amount of time ahead, so I wasn't really too upset by my eleven hour adventure with Northwest Airlines. In fact, all in all, it turned out quite well.

So, here's the story in seven boarding passes:

1. DCA to IND (NW 2189)
Never got to use this one, got to the gate 2 minutes after they gave my seat to someone else. So on to ...

2. DCA to MSP (NW 1705)
Didn't get to use this one; was put on stand-by for the non-stop; but didn't use it because ...

3. DCA to MEM #1 (NW 1254)
I was also booked on the later afternoon flight from DCA to Memphis with a confirmed connection to MSP, but I didn't use this one because ...

4. DCA to MEM #2 (NW 1641)
There was a free seat on an earlier flight to Memphis and there was a possibility to go stand-by on an earlier MEM to MSP flight. Which led to ...

MEM to MSP (on stand-by for two flights, but didn't make either so didn't get boarding passes!)

5. MEM to MSP #1 (NW 2873)
My confirmed flight! Didn't leave til 7:20 pm, so I had time to relax (six hours or so!). Plenty of time to explore and go to Graceland. I did check to see if an earlier flight was available and that might have caused...

6. MEM to MSP #2 (NW 459)
When I went to board the above flight, I was told I didn't have a seat! But here was a boarding pass to a flight I was on and go to customer service ASAP to see if I could make it. I went to customer service and was told that I was booked in the first class upgrade on the earlier flight that had just shut it's doors! Some fast fingering by the helpful Northwest staffer and I was back on ...

7. MEM to MSP #3 (NW 2873)
And this is the one that got me there! And not only got me there, but it was an AMAZING 41 minutes early with a really friendly flight attendant, Kris, running the flight.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Quote of the Day: "That we may be gazing at a screen ..."

While the truly extraordinary phenomenon that is everywhere before us is never even mentioned: the vertiginous and unprecedented concentration of power that has gathered and is gathering in the pure act of reading. That we may be gazing at a screen rather than a page, that the numbers, formulas, and words appear on liquid crystal rather than paper, changes nothing at all: it is still reading. The theatre of the mind seems to have expanded to include rank upon teeming rank of patient signs, all incorporated in this prosthesis which is the computer. Meanwhile, with superstitious confidence, all the sorcery and power at ploay are attributed to what appears on the screen, not to the mind that elaborates it -- and above all reads. Yet what could be more technologically advanced than a transformation that takes place in a totally invisible way, within the mind? The development is dense with hidden consequences. By uniting with the screen the mind, trained or untrained, creates a new kind of Centaur, grows used to seeing itself as an unlimited theatre.

Roberto Calasso (2001). Literature and the Gods. Translated by Tim Parks. Knopf, 2001. pp.22-23

Quote of the Day: "I improvise ..."

I improvise. It's my greatest talent. I prefer situations to plans.

William Gibson (1984). Neuromancer. Cited from Ace Books, 2000, p. 118.

Elvis ...

"My traveling companion is nine years old, he's the child of my first marriage."
- Paul Simon, "Graceland"

So there in the Memphis International Airport was the Elvis Store. Full of all kinds of "Elvis-iana". Young Elvis, Jumpsuit Elvis, Aloha Elvis.

As noted in my previous post, I went to Graceland. And having visited Graceland, I got to thinking about the time I saw Elvis.

It was 1971 and I was around 10 (not nine, and the child of, well, sorta my mother's second marriage). My mother worked at the Sahara Tahoe casino in Lake Tahoe as a blackjack dealer. Elvis was a regular performer there (I remember my mother having to wear a special hat with a big ELVIS logo on it).

We were big Elvis fans around the house; my mother had a bunch of albums (I can still picture Elvis in his gold lame suite on the cover of "50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't be wrong"). Elvis had only been back to live performing for a couple of years (and this was before he became the "Fat Elvis" and got a little strange) and between shows he would often go down to the dealers' lounge and shoot the breeze with the staff. So basically, Elvis was an ok guy in my book.

So, in 1971, summer, my aunt from Pennsylvania was visiting and being a huge Elvis fan, wanted to see him. My mother got us tickets (me, her, my aunt and my aunt's friend), front row center.

I can't really remember all that much about the show. Elvis sang his hits, threw sweat soaked scarves to the crowd (my aunt kept wanting me to stand up to get one for her, but I didn't, sorry Aunt Rosie!). The show was over for that night.

Elvis came to Tahoe more times, but I never saw him again. And then I remember watching the news that summer of 1977 and seeing that Elvis died in Graceland. I'd moved on from Elvis by then (Dylan, Beatles, Stones), but eventually came back to appreciate his music in a new way.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Graceland, Memphis, TN

Well, I was heading towards Minneapolis (MSP) but got lost at DCA and didn't find Terminal A on time (my first ever trip on Northwest - who knew they were in the OLD termnal!?!?!).

So, I missed my flight to Indianapolis (IND) by 2 minutes (they gave my seat away). So, after some very helpful gate staff, I was soon on a flight to Memphis (MEM).

When I got there, I waited for a standby seat on 3 different flights, but none worked out, so I decided to just wait for the one I had a seat on - but I had a five hour wait.

My first thoughts were Beale St. or Sun Records, but with the way the day was going, I just didn't trust that plan. Then I saw a sign, "Graceland and Heartbreak Hotel, only minutes away".

So I hoped in a cab and we zipped right over. I toured around the outside (saw the "Lisa Marie" and "Hound Dog" airplanes, went in the gift shop) and then, crossed over Elvis Preseley Blvd. to ... Graceland.

There were the famous gates, the old house set up on a slight hill (surrounded by strip malls now). The stone wall was covered with graffiti - similar to Abbey Road Studios. I hung around for a while, had my picture taken by a German couple and headed back to the waiting cab.

Took one look over at the kinda tacky looking Heartbreak Hotel (looked like a Hampton Suites Inn in Urbana, IL!) and was back at the airport.