Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bad day to go shopping

It was a bad day to go grocery shopping--first, the roads were packed because people are still moving. Also, there was a Red Sox game, so there were many making use of public transportation to get to the ball park. But it wasn't too bad, the bus ride, though I was starting to feel a bit sick as we got closer to Kenmore. Off to Bombay Cafe for buffet lunch. The nan there is average; often it is burned, but for the price ($6.75) I'm willing to put up with it. (I have a feeling they recycle tandoori chicken by using it to make the chicken dish with the red sauce? It's not exactly a tomato sauce but perhaps it is; maybe KK knows what it is.) The salad today consisted mostly of lettuce, which was a surprise--but I found raw lettuce to be surprisingly good. Better than cole slaw, practically. (Although I did add spicy chutney? sauce on top of the salad.)

Virgin Megastore
After lunch I went over to Virgin to see what was there. That place is rather dirty, for various reasons. One reason is that it is next to the Kenmore T station. The bathroom is out of service--permanently? I wouldn't be surprised if the bathrooms were being used a lot but not kept in good shape. While a Virgin megastore has some advantages, this one... I wonder how clean the headphones are in the store. I'm sure a germophobe would have much to worry about. I even started to think the magazines, books, graphic novels might be contaminated...

Trance is still on the second floor; they were playing some video showcasing clubs and parties from all over the world. Trance is just too... sensual... although I can't think of too many contemporary music/dance genres for which that description would not fit. Alas, what would Plato and Aristotle say if they stepped into a trance club.

There were plenty of early music cds that caught my interest. There were also two Korean women doing some shopping--apparently they're students at one of the local music schools. The clerk in charge of the Classical section was talking to them, and one of them said she played piano. (Surprise, surprise.) The pianist was the more attractive of the two, although both seemed... more cultured than the typical student one sees on the streets of Boston. Were they feminine? I'd have to think about that more. They definitely weren't masculine, which enhances the attraction.

Here is a list of CDs, which will allow me to remember what to look for in the future, after doing some comparison shopping.

Florilegium, Bolivian Baroque
The Orlando Consort
Tallis Scholars, Requiem, Sarum Chant
From Silence to Light -- Gregorian chant (features Le Barroux, among others)
Hilliard Ensemble, Sacred and Secular Music from 6 Centuries
Gothic Voices

Plus, Cristina Branco (fado!), Ulisses

Hrm can't find the following at CDUniverse:
Ensemble Plus Ultra, Morales en Toledo
Vittorio Ghielni, Short Tales for a Viol
Ensemble Organum, Compostela (apparently out of print--I guess I'll have to grab it when I next go to Virgin)
Schola Hungarica, Old Roman Liturgical Chants, 1st Week of Lent
Sophie Yates, Elizabethan Virginals
The Sixteen, Philip and Mary

[Hrm, John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists. Interview with Phillipe Hrreweghe]

I ended up buying Spem in Alium by Chapelle du Roi; it's very good, but I think I still prefer the one by the Tallis Scholars. (Thomas Tallis: The Complete Works, from Signum Classics)

I saw the debut CD by the Wreckers, listened to some samples. New Scot, I'm not sure what to think of it--it's probably better than the latest by the Dixie Chicks though. Pete Takeshi, if you like Halo and Halo 2, check out: and
Apparently there's a new SOCOM coming out, SOCOM: Combined Assault. I think Ghost Recon: AWF might be too unrealistic and lead to bad habits; I wonder if the same is true of the latest Rainbow Six game. I haven't seen anything on the SOCOM one.

Some DVDs: The Wild Geese, Fanny and Alexander, Gate of Flesh, M. Gibson's Hamlet, Kagemusha, Temptress Moon, Tomie Revenge, The Uninvited, Yakuza Graveyard, Ozu's Tokyo Story, Revenge of the Musketeers, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Hrm I saw the most recent issue of Newtype; I wonder what the new Voltron looks like.

Speaking of movies...

Captain Alatriste
Last night I saw a trailer for the Captain Alatriste movie, starring Aragorn, aka Viggo Mortensen. There is some nudity in the movie, so I'm guessing it will get a R rating if released here. The narrative of the trailer also anti-Catholic (the Spanish Inquisition is portrayed in a very bad light) and anti-Spain (definitely something in the Black Legend category, but the original novel was written by a Spaniard, Arturo Perez-Reverte. Is he anti-Spain and anti-Catholic as well? Perhaps the author is a bit kinder to the Spanish empire... although it wouldn't surprise me if he was anti-Franco. But I know nothing about him.

The author's website. wiki entry on the novel series, on the author
Washington Post review
EW article on the U.S. release of the novel
Viggo Mortensen fansite, page on Alatriste

back to today's happenings

By the time I was done looking around in Virgin, Red Sox fans were leaving Fenway. Evidently the Red Sox were losing. Ah well. No sympathy from me, even though tickets cost a lot. (Not a justifiable expense in my book--but cultural events where the community can gather together and interact are rare. Listening to CDs or watching movies on DVD can be a rather solitary affair. I don't believe that the best film can rival a well-written book. Right now I tend to think movies, by their very nature, are of a lower class, intellectually, especially because of the use of visual symbolism, which someone might use to argue that they are a highly developed form of art. The amount of discussion that one can get out of a movie tends to be rather small... I'll think about it some more. Most movies are a form of escape for me, I don't expect anything too deep, though some depiction of heroic virtue would be more satisfying.)

I took the T over to Shaw's. There was an attractive Japanese woman on the train, but she seemed to have a rather... intense look on her face. I don't know if I would say it looked unfriendly. I suppose I may look unfriendly at times, but often it is due to the environment and the people around me. Then again, anyone walking around without a smile on his face probably looks unfriendly.

There were plenty of students doing their shopping over at Shaw's on Packard's Corner. They were your tpyical college students, which I found to be rather discouraging. If I cannot find a program with a plan of study that I am sympathetic to (and even better, a strong Catholic identity), I don't think I would want to find a teaching position. I wish I could say that as long as 5 out of 30 students have the desire to learn, that is good enough, but when one multiplies those numbers by 3 or 4 a semester, the frustration level will increase rather quickly.

"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos, ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis et conversi dirumpant vos."

Of course, one could close his eyes to what is going on in the dorms and to the lack of moral formation for the students, focusing only on what happens during class. But would one really be living out one's vocation as a teacher and elder, without having any sort of care for their moral state? What would Confucius say if he stepped foot on a contemporary university campus?

Even if one could justify one's acceptance of a position, in the name of teaching those who wish to be learned, without like-minded colleagues and a integrated program, would it really amount to much? There is only so much one person can do, and charging students $20000 a year or more for what doesn't even come close to being a remedial liberal education (that should have be imparted at the secondary level) seems like exploitation. Can one participate in that, for the sake of "earning a living"?

Hence, I am keeping an eye out for openings at the secondary level; unfortunately, as far as I know, there are not many private [Catholic] schools in California that have either a classical approach to education (Great Books or otherwise) or a traditional liberal arts curriculum. (There is Kolbe Academy, but I wonder about the quality of the secondary education there.) There is also TAC, but... I'm not sure if I would be ready to teach there, or if I agree with the Great Books approach. Surely there are better ways for me to employ my talents and to try to serve the community. At least I hope my backups qualify as such, but this will require more discernment.


KK said...

Are you talking about chicken tikka masala? For that dish you do use tandoori chicken as the base - that's the recipe.

So if you say that movies are of a lower class intellectually, where would you put plays and dramas? Would they be considered as more literature, even though they are intended to be performed on stage? Or are they better than movies because they are supposedly well-written? So take a good movie adaptation of Shakespeare or of Jane Austen - where would they fall in your ranking?

papabear said...

Haha, and I thought they were just recycling it, like how we "recycle" leftover rice for fried rice. :P Next time, though, I think I will eat more fresh tandoori chiecken. haha.

Hrm, I think plays and poems may be better than novels, as forms of literature, if we take the oral component seriously -- memorizing the plays and poems and reciting them, which is difficult to do with novels. Small surprise that those advocating a "classical" approach use a lot of poetry and memorization. So in a certain way, they are even better than novels.

I don't think Austen can be reduced to 2 hours (look at Keira's version); I don't think Shakespeare can, either? If it the play is filmed in its entirety, that would be good, but I don't think it is as good as a live performance. (The limitations of the stage allow us to use our imagination to fill in details, or even better, to not fuss over realism, which can help us focus more on what is being said?)

I'm not sure where I would rank such adaptations, but for me, they're usually better to watch than most movies these days.