I've decided to engage in more intellectual endeavors. To that end, I have checked out a collection of recording of Richard Feynman's famous "Six Easy Pieces" lectures. He only delivered them once at Caltech in the early sixties. My physics TA in college called Feynman the only great native American physicist. By this, I think he meant that he was the only genius that we didn't import.

I read a biography of Ted Hughes that one of my friends in New York lent me. It was a little dry, but interesting. It concentrated on his intellectual and romantic involvement with Sylvia Plath. The author really flogged this to death. Hughes outlived her by decades and went on to do a great many things after her death, but their marriage is usually in the first paragraph of any article about him. The book reminded me of an honors seminar that I took in college that examined the intellectual exchange between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. It was fascinating.

I've also decided that I would like to improve my French. I've basically neglected it since college and fear that I may lose all comprehension of the language if I do not act. I took an online test and scored in the intermediate range. I suppose I should be thrilled by that, since I haven't had to speak French every day since 1998. However, I did put in the equivalent of six years of study of the language. I've been chatting with some francophones online and pondering the old Berlitz tapes at the public library. I should give my old instructor a call to see what kind of maintenance/refresher she suggests.

The new Sigur Ros EP is amazing. Amazing! It sounds like the soundtrack to a dark, sophisticated, sexy foreign film. Not surprising, considering that it was composed in collaboration with Merce Cunningham. I highly recommend the EP to any soundtrack, ambient, or Scandi fans out there. I recommend buying it from iTunes instead of going out and buying the disc, if you can. It cost me less than three dollars online, after I saw it for eight bucks at Borders! I am discovering that a lot of albums are cheaper online, though I am still torn about digital music vs. physical recordings. I still get a thrill out of going to the store and buying an album and taking it home to listen to it for the first time. Of course, I occasionally still slip and call them records, so that should give you an idea of my tastes.

I listened to some amazing music by Jobim Gilberto's daughter online today. Naturally, it was bossa nova. I would be very surprised, what with her parental influences and all, if she put out a rap album. Warm days call for sunny music like the bossa nova. Today was a lovely, lovely day. The cherry blossom trees outside the public library are in full bloom and very fragrant. I happened to glance at one out the window of the reading room and was transfixed by its technicolor pink against an equally vibrant blue sky. Ah, spring! I was also giving the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a spin on my MD at the time. That is a really great album. Not at all like the aforementioned Gilberto recording, but very strong in its own right.

I made my friend Bob Marcus a hat out of lovely variegated cotton and merino blend yarn. It's my usual little rolled-brim stoner hat, but in cotton instead of wool. I love it. He and I have the same size head (which is funny, when you think about it), so I've been wearing it for quality-control purposes. I don't want to give it away now and will probably end up making another one.


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