Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pauseland's Palindrome

I recently managed to purchase a used CD of Pauseland’s Palindrome, their second recording, for about $11. The remaining copies at Amazon are going for hundreds of dollars.

Having found much pleasure in the individual recordings of Soren Dahl Jeppesen, Jakob Buchanan, and Christian Vuust, I was very happy to hear about the release of Pauseland’s At the End of the Day, which features these musicians and Klaus Norgaard on bass. That discovery led to my searching through their back catalog and listening to their two previous albums on Spotify.

Using Spotify, however, makes me feel guilty, and I try to purchase whatever I discover and listen to regularly on Spotify. After some research, I discovered that only iTunes offered Palindrome as a download. Not terribly fond of Apple, I have not downloaded iTunes to my current computer. Previously, I discovered that iTunes wants to be the dominant music player on any computer where it has been downloaded and that iTunes makes burning CD’s of the music downloaded from Apple extremely difficult. I am not going to give up Foobar2000 as my music player. Whenever I want to burn a CD, I use Windows Media Player for that sole purpose.

Quite by chance, I discovered this used CD of Palindrome on Amazon in June and have been extremely happy with my purchase. Only recently, I discovered that Amazon has been offering Palindrome as a download since August for those of you who have been deprived of this music. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Pauseland's debut recording, titled Pauseland, has been available on Amazon as a download since 2006, I believe.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Sunflowers at Grinter Farms, Part Two

If you use sunflower oil when cooking, eat sunflower seeds, or put out wild bird seed in the winter, you may be using the seeds harvested from these plants. In another ten days or so, these plants will be wilted and nearly ready for harvest.

Sunflowers at Grinter Farms, Part One

For the second year, I managed to get pictures of the sunflowers at Grinter Farms soon after they had opened up. These fields attract so much attention, with some people traveling from as far away as Chicago, that the police had to intervene on Labor Day and close down the access road because of the traffic. I got there on Friday before the bulk of the crowds. Even one of the local news stations ran a story about the photographers that these fields attract. I don't live close enough to return often for pictures of these fields at sunset or sunrise; otherwise, I might have spent more time there.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Savoring Those Zen Moments

I had a zen moment when I was sitting on a bench beside the Missouri River the other day.  I had been running errands and took the time to sit by myself beside the river.  For the fifteen minutes or so that I sat there, there were no diesel locomotives blowing their horns as they passed by just fifty yards away and hauling nearly a hundred hoppers, the empty ones taken north and the ones full of coal taken south.

I had left my phone in the car and had no inclination to check it for text messages or for posts that someone made on Facebook. It was enough to sit there and absorb the moment while studying the trees that weren't killed off during the last flood and while remembering how much shade used to be present before a few of the trees were cut down.  Although it was hot and humid, those things were not unbearable and actually typical for this time of year.

I used to make a habit of walking beside the river on those afternoons that I taught downtown. Regardless of the season, I did some of my best thinking while sitting on a park bench--often thinking of what went well in the class that I had just finished teaching and what I needed to do in class the next time.

I think that there needs to be more zenlike moments in our lives--that is, times when we are able to concentrate with few distractions and without sitting in front of a screen or holding one up to our faces.  Once, when I was waiting outside of a restaurant one summer evening, an elderly man walking by congratulated me for not staring down at a cell phone. All of the seven or eight other people waiting outside were checking their phones for something or other.  My phone was left in the car. (I probably shared that story once before.) It stands to reason that I am not one who plays video games very often.

Is it an age thing? Are those people my age more content to sit quietly and observe the world around us?  I think we have come to appreciate those moments because they can occur infrequently and may not ever come again.