I listen to Spotify only when I’m working at my job (easy to pop earbuds in and out to avoid ads), so Spotify Wrapped doesn’t account for everything I listen to. But my top song this year was:
Recipe for Truth and Lasting Happiness, by the late S.E. Rogie of Sierra Leone. This was a surprise to me because it’s been awhile… but I guess during the busy season in June, I was listening to it every day to set a good mood.
[text: Robert was quite sure that Mike was his best friend. And because he loved Mike so very much Robert thought that the whole library had been built as a house for Mike. He always called the library “Mike’s house.” He never said, “I’m going to the library.” He always said, “I’m going to Mike’s house.”]
This is a page from Julia Sauer’s Mike’s House, published fifteen years after Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and fourteen years before Ramona Quimby asked how Mike Mulligan goes to the bathroom while he is digging the cellar for the town hall. I ran across Mike’s House at the university library– I liked Sauer’s Fog Magic as a kid and wanted to check out The Light at Tern Rock.
Mike Mulligan’s fame and longevity blow me away. There’s not even a note in Mike’s House explaining that Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a real book or giving the author’s name. Mike Mulligan just is. And once you know the story, he continues to live, unnamed, in the news:
The bizarre secret of London’s buried diggers
“The difficulty is in getting the digger out again. To construct a no-expense-spared new basement, the digger has to go so deep into the London earth that it is unable to drive out again. What could be done?” (The reality is less cheery than Dick Berkenbush’s solution.)
You know what else has longevity? Don’t Stop Believin’. This Boomwhacker version has been in my head for days since I ran across it at TYWKIWDBI. I watched it all the way through on a difficult news day and felt better, that people do stuff like this, work on it until they can do it off book in one take.
Monsters and Halloween, of course! Also fresh apple cider. Chilly mornings so I don’t get to work all sweaty if I walk. Sunshine with golden leaves and deep blue sky.
4. Radio stations sometimes call this month Rocktober, doing special playlists or giveaways in celebration of rock music. What would be a better rhyming name for this month, and how might it be celebrated?
We have local Walktober promotions. But I’ll go with Socktober, because having enough cozy warm socks without holes is a great feeling.
5. What would be a good holiday to establish in October for those U.S. states not commemorating Columbus Day?
Portland celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day on that Monday; I’m good with that.
Not a lot of time on Tuesdays between school and picking up Sanguinity after work, so just a couple of links:
After I read Rahul Kanakia’s hilarious and unswerving YA novel Enter TItle Here, I started reading his blog. I’ve read this post three times: Some Advice to Writers on How to Search for the Heart of Longing. I like the connection he makes between a mundane-ish life and what makes you feel yearning and engagement as a reader. I also like its thinking-out-loud feel.
Lynda Barry has been linking to videos of the PS 22 Chorus on her class Tumblr. This morning’s was Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. I love how freely the kids sing and move. I would like to sing like that more.
Just today I started listening to Iris Dement. I was raised on country music and can’t believe I missed her entirely til now. This one made me tear up– I feel like I know several people just now who are feeling diminished, but who mean so much to the people who love them.
An interview with Atul Gawande by economist Tyler Cowen that’s not in the New Yorker, so maybe you missed it? Has sound (which I haven’t tested) and transcript. I liked this bit:
COWEN: Do you feel you’ve underachieved in life?
GAWANDE: That’s a hard question. [laughs] I know objectively that it’s kind of ridiculous that I would think I’ve underachieved, and that I’m proud of all the random things that I’ve been able to be part of. But I bear a kind of chronic dissatisfaction and sense that I’ve got much more to follow through on than I’ve managed to. So yeah, I think “underachieved” is the wrong word, and yet I don’t feel I’ve achieved nearly enough, and that half of what I’ve achieved, I wish I could go back and fix.
I replaced my damaged Scarlatti keyboard sonatas CD with one by Dubravka Tomsic. I’ve always liked listening to Scarlatti while I work– I remember a happy snowy morning of geometry homework and Scarlatti when we were doing compass and straight-edge. Yes, trisecting an angle for fame and fortune, I will get right on that! And Scarlatti is in the subset of my writing music that Sanguinity can tolerate when we’re at home writing together. (Russian men’s chorus, no. Enya’s Shepherd Moon definitely no, although it always works because I wrote my whole thesis to it. Cristina Branco yes.) Anyway, I think this version and I will become friends just fine.
Many of our tomatoes were volunteers this year, but they made it and the orange cherry-sized ones are especially nice. Some split skins because of the sudden rains.
Sanguinity took me for pho last night and the restaurant’s TV was showing the Emmys. I hadn’t seen any of the comedies. Remember when the best TV was sit-coms and the Friends cast made more money than any actors ever? When I stayed at a hotel alone this summer and channel-surfed before going to sleep, none of the reruns I clicked through held up to the test of time except Frasier. That surprised me, because I got pretty sick of Frasier when it was being broadcast.
I’m supposed to go to a strike captains’ training tomorrow because my union may go on strike Monday. But even though the union’s good about providing food, I am a very hard sell for meetings that last over an hour. No way 5:30 to 8:30 is going to work for me.
Of the five Christmas albums I own that include “Here Comes Santa Claus,” four of them have it as the first track:
Christmas with the Chipmunks, The Chipmunks
Croon and Swoon: A Classic Christmas, Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters
Christmas RFD, Merle Haggard
A Very Special Christmas, The Pointer Sisters
Only one, Christmas Guitar Dreams with the Legendary Joe Pass, puts it later on the album. The first track is “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
Coincidence or unwritten rule? It does have a nice anticipatory tone for a lead-in.
Text sent to sanguinity at 4:50 p.m. yesterday: “Coming home a little early– yay! Because my back hurts– booo!” I was quite gleeful at having caught an early bus despite the tweaky back.
Text sent to sanguinity about half an hour later: “Never mind, bus rear-ended at 26th and Powell. Will be delayed.”
Even though hardly anyone felt the hit, including the driver (I’m still not sure how she knew), a supervisor was called and we all got off and waited in the mist for the next bus. But not before the bus driver brought the car driver on board to get paperwork started. Car Driver faced us all like a champ and said, “I am SO SORRY, everyone.” And get this! nobody bitched about it. #loveportland
In reading news, I started Code Name Verity and could tell right away it’s as good as everyone’s been saying.
And I finished Kage Baker’s The Sons of Heaven, which I consider the last of the novels as far as The Company series goes. I know there’s a prequel about Edward, and some short-story collections and novellas I plan to read, but it will all be filling-in. The Sons of Heaven was a gossipy and satisfying drawing together of threads, and that carried me through the Big Battle At The End (I’m not a fan of those usually, especially in fantasy novels) and the difficulty of nearly-omnipotent characters and how to make them interesting.
This afternoon I put on the season’s first Christmas music and my very favorite holiday album, 1987’s A Very Special Christmas. It’s a benefit compilation for the Special Olympics and has Bruce Springsteen’s “Merry Christmas Baby,” Alison Moyet’s “The Coventry Carol,” and Stevie Nicks’ “Silent Night.” (“Whoever that is, I’m scared,” sanguinity said.) I was so psyched I did ALL the dishes on the counters, and there were a lot of them.