Chris Jefferies

Occasional ongoing jive…

Monthly Archives: January 2004

Ukulelia – A Uke Blog

Came across a uke blog site today.  Thought it would be interesting to those who play the liitle hatchet. It looks pretty good.

http://www.ukulelia.com

Here are some images from the blog.  Even though they’re unrelated, I found both these Beatle photos there.

 

You can here a RealAudio clip of George playing the banjo uke.

 

Kyra Nijinsky – She Dances Alone

In the Spring of 1981, I read a book by Colin Wilson titled “The Outsider“.  It covers the lives of Hemmingway, Dostoevsky, and Vaslav Nijinsky, as well as Van Gogh, T. E. Lawrence, and philosophers such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.  Primarily Wilson was trying to put together a new existentialism by showing examples of those who think deeply, don’t fit in, and search to find meaning in the world.  Gary Sebastian gave me the book and when I finished it, I started in to “The Dairy of Vaslav Nijinsky“.  I was consumed by the heights of Nijinsky’s artistic achievement and the depths of his despair.  It was a time that I was evaluating my life and I related strongly to the concepts captured in “The Outsider“.

  

At the time, I worked at Dolby Laboratories in downtown San Francisco.  One day I had driven to work (I usually caught the bus) and had parked the car in a lot across the street from the office.  I had to leave the office early that day and went to the lot, gave them my ticket and waited for my car to be puzzled out of the maze of cars.

As I stood waiting, 2 elderly women arrived, gave their ticket to the attendant and waited with me.  One of the women was holding a painting and I remarked that I found it very interesting.  She told me that it was a painting that she had done of her father who was a dancer.  The other woman then chimed in and told me that her friend was Kyra Nijinsky, daughter of the world famous Vaslav Nijinsky.

I stood, stunned. 

Everything I had been reading, everything I had thought about Vaslav, and all my admiration came flooding out as I stood next to his daughter; someone who had actually known him, his greatness, his tragedy.

This looks similar to the painting that Kyra held the day I met her.

“If you like this one, I have more you can see.  I’m in the phone book.“, she said as I stammered for something meaningful to say.  At that moment, my car arrived.  I indicated to her that I might call and said goodbye.

That evening I decided to follow up on her offer, looked up her number (sure enough in the public phone book) and called her.  I was hoping to take Elena to see her and her art and even though I didn’t think Elena would appreciate the relevance of Kyra I hoped that later in life she might remember the encounter with fondness. 

Kyra seemed surprised that I had actually called and immediately started to back out of the offer she had made.  She proceeded to describe that she had recently joined a convent of a community of nuns and that she wasn’t allowed to have men in her apartment.  She also went on and on about how messy her apartment was and that she was in the process of hiring someone to organize her art and papers.  I assured her that my intentions were honorable and that I was simply following up on the offer she had made earlier in the day.  I offered her MY phone number and asked that, if she changed her mind, I would still like to come over with my daughter and see her paintings. She took down my number and said goodbye.

About 10 minutes later the phone rang.  When I answered, it was Kyra calling me back.  “If you’d like to buy a painting, I might be able to make an exception…”, she said. 

I indicated that I was unable to afford any of her work and so she politely said goodbye and hung up.  That was the last time I ever talked to her.  I think she died in 1998.

Later, I found a movie, produced by Bud Cort titled “She Dances Alone”.  It is a quasi-documentary styled piece in which Bud attempts to corral Kyra into doing some interviews and Kyra spins off in different directions doing whatever whim comes to her.  It is an exercise in documentary frustration.

There’s a site that is dedicated to belly dancing, yoga and Kyra’s art.  Go figure:
http://www.maganabaptiste.com/

CN00001646 - Actress Kyra Nijinsky Wearing a Leaf Costume Kyra in 1935

 

Vaslav Nijinsky

 

Refreshed Music Recording System

Over the last week, I re-worked (backed-up, re-formated, re-loaded) my Dell Computer (P4, 1.8Mhz, 512Mb RAM, 80Mb HD).  Now it is dedicated to music software (as opposed to a lot of development applications and services).

Here’s what I have:
Recording Software: n-Track Studio
Sound Card: Echo Mia
Mini Mixer: Behringer 1604a

 My little studio

 nTrack Studio screen shot (tracks to Aloha)

Now I’m cleaning up my archives and getting it tuned/optimized for recording new tracks.

I picked up an Oktava ML-52 ribbon microphone and I’ve recorded a couple of vocal tracks with it.  It sounds very smooth.  It’s a nice compliment to my Oktava MK012a.  Nothing like cheap Russian microphones.

I’ll post tunes as I get some downloadable MP3s.

Django – from John

Got an email from John this evening about a Django Reinhardt site.  It’s in French, but it has some Flash videos that show Django playing with his damaged hand.  Incredible.  The best one is a song called J’attendrai (which I think means ‘I Will Wait’).
 
It also has an MP3 of a song called Blue Drag.
 
 
 
You can find other Flash Videos at:
 
Hey Guys,
 
Check this site out. It has Django video clips on-line! The first one I have on DVD, but did not know all these others existed. You’ll likely get them uploaded quicker than I with my phone connection. 
 
Maybe the best clip to view is J’attendrai. It’s a gem to watch – and has kind of haunted me. I have this piece on DVD and have watched and studied it so much. This was a promotional film that was created to draw interest to the group. It really shows the state of Django’s left hand and how he totally transcends its limitations. AND, just check out those beat up guitars by the supporting players. They don’t need no stinkin’ shiny guitars to lay down a groove.
 
There are also quite a few other gipsy jazz film clips on this site by other players. But at least check out  J’attendrai.
 
Cheers,
John
 
Update from John: 01.27.2004
BTW (and you may want to tag this to the original note) the guitarist that is playing the really beat-up guitar is Django’s brother Joseph. I’m not sure of the relationship of the other guitarist.  Joseph is featured with Stephane Grappelli on “Minor Swing”. (Scroll down to the 7th video listed at the site.)
 
And, I should have mentioned for those who may not know, that the great Stephane Grappelli is the violinist on J’attendrai.
 

Book Stores discovered – San Francisco

I’ve been taking quick half hour walks during my lunch breaks.  Last week, on two different days, I discovered 2 book stores about a block apart from each other:


Argonaut Book Shop
Rare Books, Prints, Maps & Manuscripts
786 Sutter Street

Lots of wonderful old historical books, I looked at a book, original printing, of Freemont’s memoirs from 1887.  It had a map of the western US which did not include the Escalante River (which was the last river to be discovered in the US).

Supposedly, in Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo, there was a book store called the Argosy, which was actually the Argonaut.


Kayo Books
Vintage Paperbacks and Pulp Mystery
814 Post Street

Wow! I couldn’t beleive there was a book store that would cover this much of this kind of material.  TONS of pulp fiction novelettes with lurid covers.  Here’s a sampling (click on any of them to see more detail):

   

Inuit and Aleut Clothing

What’s up with Inuits (Eskimos) and Aleuts?

 
They’ve got this stiff arm thing going on and a very punkish head dress.
 
 
Cool shoes called Mukluks.
 
 
A couple of fellows ready to go out dancing.
   
   

Cardio Update – Echo – Stress Test

Today I had a Stress Echocardiogram.  This is a procedure where they raise your heart rate and capture an image of the heart by using sound waves.  2 echo-techs, Lawana and Susan, helped me through the procedure with relative grace and dignity. 

First, as I laid down on a bed, Susan captured some images of my heart in a resting state.  Then Lawana ran me on the treadmill checking occasionally to make sure my blood pressure was OK.  As my heart rate climbed, I could feel, and see on the EKG read-out on the monitor, the PVCs that seemed to be occuring every minute or so.  I felt a slight burning in my chest as I warmed up, but it seemed to even out and disipated after about 5 minutes.  She ran my heart rate up to the target of 169 and then I jumped off of the treadmill, got back on the bed, and Susan captured some more images with my heart running pretty fast.

I have a follow up meeting with Dr. Michael Tsang on Febrary 3rd to see what, if anything, this test reveals about my heart condition.

Here I am all plugged in at the beginning of the test, smiling (which didn’t last long).

You can upload a medium sized AVI file (732K) of one of the images of my heart here:
http://www.jumano.com/uploads/ChrisHeart.avi

List Health Posts

Mark Lombardi: Global Networks

Today, during my lunch break, I went to see the Mark Lombardi show at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts which was recommended by Bob Webb.  It’s about a 10 minute walk from my SF office.

Mark Lombardi: Global Networks
Jan 17–Apr 4, 2004
Anteroom and Terrace Galleries

 

What an incredible show.  It’s very conspiratorial and it seems he was amazing at organizing information and following the relationships between Banks, drug cartels, governments, organized crime, and major religious organizations like the Vatican.  Many of the drawings are on the order of about 8′ x 4′ with nickel sized circles representing various people or organizations and curved lines that depict different types of relationships. Some of the more amazing diagrams related to the Iran/Contra affair; another on the relationships between the pope and various banks.

Here are some links about his work:

From AbsoluteArts.com:
http://www.absolutearts.com/artsnews/2004/01/21/31742.html

artists @ pierogi 2000
http://www.pierogi2000.com/flatfile/lombardi.html

The ‘Conspiracy’ Art of Mark Lombardi
Late Artist’s Swirling Diagrams Chart Scandalous Relationships:
http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1487185.html

From Independent Curators International:
http://www.ici-exhibitions.org/Exhibitions/MarkLombardi/MarkLombardi.htm

Mark Lombardi and the Ecstasy of Conspiracy:
http://www.designobserver.com/archives/000072.html

 

Computers – like the Old Testament God

Terence, a co-worker of mine, said he heard a quote about computers and programming:

Q: How are computers like the Old Testament God?

A: “There are lots of rules, and they’re very unforgiving…”

John’s 2003/2004 Big Bend Images

I just added John’s images onto the Gallery site at:

www.jumano.com/nGallery

You can see John’s AVI files via the links blow but beware, they might load slowly.  BTW, depending on the browser you’re using, you might be able to right click on the link and select ‘Save Target As…’.  Using this technique will allow you to download the file to your local computer so it will play faster.  The best download performance from the Jumano server will get you about 1Mb every 2 seconds (so the big Group Shot will take at least 70 seconds – your mileage may vary depending on your connection speed).  It took 8 minutes to for me download ‘Group Shot’ from my work office (which has pretty good bandwidth – 1.1 Mb).

Dale Bags One with group effort (3Mb)

Group Shot (35Mb)

Kids at Play (9Mb)

Stir Fry (20Mb)

Cardio Update

I went to a cardiac specialist last week and had an EKG performed.  I’ve been experiencing heart arythmias lately. The EKG revealed what is called a premature ventricular contraction or PVC.

As a result, he has called for a stress based echo cardiogram.  The appointment is for next Monday, 26th January.  This will entail having an EKG to monitor my heart rate while I walk on a treadmill that goes progressively faster.  When I reach a certain heart rate, I’ll jump off the treadmill and onto a bed where an echo cardiogram technician will take images of my heart.

Results of that test will help diagnose the reason for the PVCs.

I’ve cut back on coffee (I was up to about 6-8 cups a day) and that has helped somewhat.

Here’s an article on the subject of PVCs:
http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic773.htm

List Health Posts 

Google definitions

Wow, I found out a cool way to include linked definitions in a web page:

http://www.google.com/search?q=define:GUITAR

In place of GUITAR you can place whatever word for which you’d like to provide a definition in a web page.  The link might look like this:

I love to play guitar

But the underlying link would look like the URL above.

I got ptomaine from the mulligatawny that was cooked in a majolica.  Might have been the squamous fish or the whelks with excessive glycoproteins.