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June 30, 2020:

FOR NO DISCERNIBLE REASON

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, here is the problem with computers, as I see it:  Things just stop working for no discernible reason.  You try everything, they still don’t work, for no discernible reason.  It happens more frequently than you might think, even more frequently than I might think.  It happened yesterday, as a matter of fact and as a matter of fact it happened yesterday.  As a matter of fact, that’s how the day began.  I’d charged the wireless trackpad when I went to bed.  When I got up, it was fully charged, of course, so I unplugged it and the cursor wouldn’t move.  I checked Bluetooth – fully charged but it couldn’t find the trackpad even though there it was, clearly in the list of devices.  Not connected, it said.  Oh, really, I had no idea.  Now, I had my previous trackpad, so I got that out, turned it on and that one it found instantly.  But not the other one.  I turned it off, I turned it on, nothing.  I thought that maybe the batteries were gone but then how to explain the 100% charged?  So, I went to the laptop and was able to pair the trackpad there, so I then knew it wasn’t the trackpad that was the issue.  At that point, even though I didn’t relish the thought or even mustard or ketchup the thought, I restarted the computer.  And voila, found instantly and working instantly.  I retired the older trackpad back to the drawer from whence it came.  So, you see that things just stop working, for no discernible reason, just like that.  I suspect something froze – that’s usually the issue, something freezes, and you have to restart.  I suppose it’s the nature of the beast or at the very least the beast of the nature.

So, that was the way my day began.  I did get up at eleven, as planned, but only got seven hours of sleep.  Then I did the dumb dance with the trackpad for thirty minutes.  Once that was done, I answered e-mails, did some Kritzerland show stuff, and then moseyed on over to the mail place to pick up some packages.  That I did and, in the only real good thing that happened all day, two important envelopes.

Then I went across the street to Gelson’s.  Plenty of parking and not too crowded, but still some idiots hoarding stuff, as is their wont.  I got some chicken for faux stroganoff, some tuna for later in the week, some bagels, and that was that.  There weren’t enough checkout stations open, which is unusual at Gelson’s, so it did take me about ten minutes to checkout.  Then I came right home.  I sautéed the onions and chicken, added the other ingredients, tasted, it was great, so I added the last ingredient, the sour cream – a new, unopened container good until the end of July.  I tasted it and it tasted really weird.  I tasted it again – again, really weird.  I mean, really weird.  I gave it one more taste, spit that out because I’d have just about enough of weird, and smelled the sour cream and I do believe it was not horridly rancid but rancid enough to completely ruin my food, which I then had to throw out, a complete waste of about fifteen bucks.  At that point, I was quite ready for the day to be done.

Instead, I made tuna, for no discernible reason.  I used the exact same amount of mayonnaise I always do and yet for some reason it was much more than I’ve ever seen when I mixed it together.  I added some diced onions and put it in the freezer to get it nice and chilled, thinking that might absorb some of the mayo, which it did not.  I made two sandwiches on onion bagels and ate them, but it was not that good.  My tuna sandwiches are usually perfect.  So, that was annoying, and I was REALLY ready for the day to be done.  And yet, the day was not done.  There was more day to be had.  And I’m still kind of nauseous just thinking about the sour sour cream.  I began listening to the little box set – Byron Janis, The Complete RCA Album Collection and I must say I was quite taken with it.  The early mono recordings sounded amazing, and of course the RCA stereo recordings are brilliant.  I don’t normally enjoy solo piano music, but he’s so good that I was even enjoying the Beethoven sonatas.  I looked him up to see when he died and was rather surprised that he was still among the living, well into his 90s.  I wondered why he stopped recording after the 1960s.  That answer came later in the evening.  Then I did some more stuff, then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching The Sound of Music.  The second half of the film must have been very tricky to navigate, since all the fun stuff in the first part is absent – but it really works well.  There’s drama, tension, great songs, and I was even more impressed with Eleanor Parker in the second half.  She actually makes you feel something for her character.  Her final scene with Christopher Plummer is actually moving.  For me, the transfer is a mess from start to finish.  The color is just not right – it’s bland and weird – I can’t imagine what they did.  Some think the prior Blu-ray release, the fortieth anniversary edition is preferable, color-wise.  I don’t have it to compare.  Plus, the sound is muffled, with all the highs gone.  For anyone who doubts that, merely switch over to the French audio track (which is fun anyway) and you’ll hear what it should sound like.  And for a Todd-AO film, it simply isn’t sharp enough.  I suspect the transfer is almost a decade or more old, so perhaps for a future 4K release they’ll do it over again and do it better.

Then I watched a little hour-long documentary about Byron Janis, included in the box set.  And there I learned why he stopped recording, a secret he kept from the public for many years – he suffered from debilitating arthritis, and I mean the worst kind of debilitating.  And through it all, he kept recording, kept playing, devising ways to play “around” his problems, always on pain killers.  He ended up having a huge number of surgeries on his hands.  And after he stopped, he went public and became a visible spokesperson for arthritis.  His wife (he was married to Gary Cooper’s daughter, Maria), suggested he begin composing so that he didn’t have to be without music.  To that end, he wrote music for a documentary on Gary Cooper, then he wrote a musical of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, of which we hear snippets in the documentary.  And then, he slowly began playing again, working tirelessly, and eventually going back to the concert hall and getting raves – not raves because he was playing through adversity, but raves because he was playing beautifully.  He began recording and did two very successful CDs for EMI.  It’s very inspiring, his story, and it’s very moving at the end (this was shot in 2010) when he says that despite all this trials and pain and surgeries and adversity, he wouldn’t trade it for anything else, including a new pair of hands.

After that, I continued listening to the box set – his Rachmaninov is fantastic, but it’s all great – he had an amazing touch.  And I’ve heard a lot of music I didn’t know, which I love.  The box can be had very inexpensively and comes highly recommended by the likes of me, if you’re a fan of piano music and playing.  And his albums for Mercury in the 1960s are classics, in brilliant sound.  And then the day was over, for no discernible reason other than the day was over.

Today, I’m hoping for a nice day and has anyone noticed that this is, in fact, the last day of June?  June will no longer be busting out all over, but here comes July, and it is my fervent hope and prayer that July will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.  I’ll be up when I’m up (hopefully by eleven), I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll do Kritzerland show stuff, I’ll eat – I’d go get more chicken and make the faux stroganoff but I think I need to wait a few days before doing so – so, not sure what the food o’ the day will be – maybe a steak, now that I know how the stove and broiler therein works.  I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is Kritzerland show stuff and a few other things that need doing and will be done.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, hope for a nicer day, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, do Kritzerland show stuff, eat something, hopefully pick up packages, then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: Who are your favorite pianists, both in the popular music and classical music?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I’m quite sure I’ll dream of something for no discernible reason.

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