Ten minutes in the year…

So, it’s Friday evening, on the last working day of the year. The office is clean, my bags are packed, and it’s just a few minutes until we all go out for dinner. Considering the occasion, I’m wearing contacts and my corduroy blazer with the suede elbow patches. I’ve received comments ranging from “cool” to “lit professor.”

Tomorrow morning I head out early for Narita, and then it’s just about the shortest flight you can get to the eastern seaboard; twelve and a half hours direct to Dulles in a new 777. If I can score a window seat, I’ll be set.

Goodbye, 2008. Goodbye Lips and Disaster. From here on starts the bounenkai, the annual year-end party to forget all the troubles of the past. Sayonara.

Done. Finally done.

So all of the blog-synching and photo-adjusting madness is finished. As you’d expect, going through and touching up hundreds of Venetian photographs was as monotonous and stressful as scanning them. I could very well have made many more interesting photographs out of the material with the right adjustments, but in the end it was too repetitive and too much tedium. In any case, a so-so batch of seventy-nine shots are in the gallery.

Here is the equally dry set of journal entries from the second leg of my European trip, mostly for record-keeping purposes:

Ah, Venice
Uneventful
Old, new, and always the music
The islands
Stalling
A little bit of everything
Pensive; tea
Phony
Picky
Recap
In Soviet Russia, beard grows you
In Soviet Russia, security go through you

Bit by bit

Tonight I finally finished scanning all of my film from last month’s European vacation. I haven’t run through the dust-and-scratches phase of Venice yet, but Vienna is complete, so now you can check out the photographs. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of variety in the material, you may very well give up half way through the album. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I still haven’t eaten dinner so a detailed analysis will have to come later. For now, here’s a summary of the blog posts from the first half of the trip.

In Soviet Russia, plane boards you
In Soviet Russia, drink consumes you
In Soviet Russia, subtitle reads you
In Soviet Russia, baggage check you
Vienna smells of autumn
Wet and the colds
Memories
Quest for the Crown

bossa nova saturday

Traditionally I’ve always thought of bossa nova as a Sunday morning thing, something to have on slow, sunny days like croissants or thick socks. But this morning the sky is so blue, and the clouds have a dreamy kind of depth, gliding by in whales and hippopotami. It still doesn’t feel like December, in general it’s been warm and clear. In the convenience stores Christmas goods have appeared, but my mood is still miles away from holiday.

In three weeks I will be going home. I’m not sure what it’ll be like, but it’s clear that there is a rift between us. I’ve spent five years in another world, and here though time has moved on for me in the States it’s still 2003. I don’t know any of the bands, television personalities, or pro football players. The price of gas is $1.26 a gallon and traffic in my home town is still light. I am a faded anachronism, tinted with strokes of sumi-e.

I hope the past a good bridge to build from, and music will take care of the rest. But for today, I will ride my bicycle slowly, and suck the marrow out of life.