Focus

I am quite accomplished at having idealistic goals and then being distracted into accomplishing much less.  Example: on the weekend I set myself up with a Friday visit to the Super Library (my new name, for blogging purposes, for the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationale du Québec) to have a good weekend of reading.  Saturday morning I set out to find a replacement for the TV that was no longer 100% working (a 1 inch horizontal band of dead pixels).  Researched and accomplished that by mid afternoon and then got lost in the wonderful new technology that I had brought home which included an updated terminal from the cable company.  The remainder of Saturday, after attending a gospel concert (Chorale de la Prophésie) I watched the 3 hockey games that had recorded while I was out and set up other things on the TV.

At least I had the wisdom to take advantage of the excellent weather on Sunday afternoon and go skating.  Best ice of the season.  I’m back today skating until the music gave out (disco killed my skating joy).  Took refuge in the café to read book and ended up being distracted again, this time by internet and emails and finally this blog.  They just finished resurfacing ice so I will enjoy an hour of skating pleasure and then accomplish some 2014 bookkeeping at home office before spending the evening reading my library books.

Yerba Maté

This morning I broke open my first-ever package of the tea-like infusion: yerba maté.  When I bought this at Asiatica in December, I had in mind that this drink was associated with Che Guevara – Cuban Revolutionary from Argentinian roots.  Why did I suspect this?  Because my Spanish teacher over at the community centre was always sipping from his tea thermos of maté, and a sideline of my Spanish teacher was performing Che Guevara monologues.  The maté was part of his Che Guevara thing.  Googled yerba maté and Che Guevara – yes, the two are connected.  Yerba maté is a common drink among Argentinians.

somewhat revolutionary (for me)

What is yerba maté?  These are the ingredients in my pouch:  yerba maté (the leaves from the bush?), goji berries, seabuckthorn, carrots, rosehips, natural flavour.  Infused, my maté smells mildly of turpentine but is pleasant to drink, somewhat revolutionary (for me) and might be assumed to have positive medicinal effects, at least as much as drinking liquids is generally a good thing, and maybe more.

I’m tempering the revolutionary nature of this drink this morning by having a slice of bread slathered with peanut butter and subsequently coated with strawberry freezer jam 2014.

That’s about my speed.  Now to the hills (going X-country skiing, not hiding out).

Quicksilver

Kevin Bacon in QuicksilverLast night I was having a nostalgia evening watching the Movie Channel Encore where I saw the 1986 Kevin Bacon movie “Quicksilver” for the first time.  The soundtrack was what Carol remarked on – featuring lots of keyboard synth sounds (listen to Huey Lewis and the News “Sports” album for the idea – though the soundtrack is Roger Daltry – no Huey Lewis involved).  Visually, it was the big hair, both on Kevin Bacon and on the female interests in the movie, it just took me back.  Ahhh!

Subconsciously, I knew there was something that bothered me about the movie and somewhere between sleep cycles this morning I figured out that many of the bicycle scenes in the movie were technically impossible with the pictured equipment.  Googling Kevin Bacon’s bike in Quicksilver brought satisfying answers.  While it is not inconceivable that a bike messenger in New York City would use a fixed gear bike “fixie” or a single speed (thank you to the online bike world for helping understand the distinctions) the variety of uses of this one and the same bike in the movie make it into some magical transforming superbike.  I elucidate:

  1. In a display of bicycle acrobatics where Kevin takes advantage of the simplicity of the fixie.  Pedal forward = go forward, pedal backward = go backward – there are interesting things that can be done with a bike of this nature, no doubt [full disclosure: I’ve never ridden a fixie].
  2. Soon, in a dance scene involving the bike and Kevin’s ballerina girlfriend we see handlebars with no brake levers (and their limiting brake cables) on them which allows Kevin to do some pretty awesome 360 spins of the handlebars (and attached front wheel, of course).
  3. Then there is a race scene with another bike messenger down a steep hill (think San Francisco, but straight). At the cross streets on the way down both riders jump their bikes.  Again, I’ve never ridden a fixie but I would think that Kevin, on his, would want to keep pedalling even while in the air as when he lands his fixie he is going to have to resume the superspeed rpms that had himKevin does 360 handlebar spins on bike in dance sequence keeping pace with his competitor who has the advantage of a 7 speed derailleur and a freewheel allowing him to coast (not keep up with the RPMs of his rear wheel).
  4. But then, sometimes Kevin’s superbike does have a freewheel allowing him to coast.  An example would be when Kevin is able to duck below the side door of the straight truck that would otherwise be blocking his way.  Try ducking this low and pedalling at the same time.
  5. Back to brakes – at the start of the race down the steep hill we can see that while Kevin’s bike has no frontbrakes of any sort, it does have one brake lever (magically disappearing when not needed, such as when riding in his loft) which is presumably to the rear brakes.  If the brake cable to the rear runs inside the handlebars and then through the frame, that would allow Kevin to do those fancy 360 handlebar spins in the dance scene.  Yes?  I just can’t get my head around this technical point.

In 2008, Kevin Bacon called the film “the absolute lowest point of my career.”  I laughed and laughed when I read that today after watching this 1986 movie last night.  If 22 years later Quicksilver didn’t stand as the pinnacle of Kevin Bacon’s career, then, first off, he might consider himself blessed that he was able to pass on to weightier content.  I found it strange that the Movie Channel called this a comedy because large parts of it are drama with comedy interjecting.  The comedy has increased with the years by the shocking hairstyles, fashion and period music, but that was unintended.  I guess we’ll keep it as a comedy, kind of Shakespearean in the end, because the bad guy gets taken care of and the right people end up together in the final scene.

In researching this Quicksilver article, I found someone who had created a SBIG category for this movie.  That is, So Bad that It’s Good.  With that in mind, and with the added flashback benefit – seeing the eighties from the light of the 21st century, I highly recommend this movie – I had a blast watching it.

Pure 2015

There are two blogs that I’ve subscribed to so that each time these talented bloggers write something, I get it in my email inbox.  One of those blogs is called Obscure CanLit Mama and this blog’s writer, who is also a published fiction and short story writer, chooses a word of the year for each year.  These are words that have the quality of being meditatable (not a word, I’m most sure), like a mantra, and words that empower life.

After Obscure CanLit Mama opened up her comments so that her readers could share their words-of-the-year, I posted a comment, choosing a word of the year for 2015 and sharing it in that forum.  My post was more than a paragraph, before I edited it back, so I cut and paste the superfluous paragraphs not appropriate to the comment section and am posting them here as today’s blog post:

Instead of just being a spectator on this blog (as I am most days) I, too, am going to choose a word of the year for 2015. Can’t say I’ve reflected on this for the probably necessary days, but the very first word of the song “Real Love” on Jireh Gospel Choir’s new album “Get Up” is pure. [Full disclosure, I am a singer in Jireh and am married to Carol Bernard, the director]. That’s my word for 2015 that I want to explore and that I want God to work into my life. Funny that ‘pure’ is set prominently as first word in a song that was perhaps gospel song writer extraordinaire Stephen Lewis’ first foray into writing radio-friendly lyrics.

The lyrics go ‘Pure, kind, something I have inside of me, joy, unspeakable each time I think of everything, you’ve done in my life…’ Somehow those beginning words set Real Love off on a good track. Like the list of the fruits of the spirit it makes me want this in my life.

On my next trip to the library I’ll start by exploring the etymology (I hope that’s the word) of ‘pure’. How was the word first used? What’s its history? But the all-important part of this exercise, my first time having a word of the year, is, “What will the concept of ‘pure’ produce in my life?”. Only good things, I’m sure.

Stay tuned throughout 2015 as I reflect on ‘pure’.

Jan4 view

The view from my window this Sunday is quite monochromatic but beautiful, nonetheless, for the ice and snow.
Of course, I vector traced it – so much quicker than learning the skills of pen and ink.
There is really nothing more relaxing than a Quebec storm and its aftermath especially when one is inside and has no pressing destination.
Hope my reader is ensconced (??) in a peaceful place and has found beauty in grayscale if not CMYK.
God is good!
Jan4_15
Snow and ice on a Sunday