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Odds and orts

1) Ten Essentials for Hiking: After my excellent (and overly anxious) recent hiking expedition on the Olympic Peninsula, I made a list (in a phone app called Evernote) of items to acquire before I try something like that again: 1) Rain gear; 2) Multi tool; 3) Flashlight; 4) Walking stick; and 5) First aid kit. So I started doing some internet research on rain gear for hiking and was amused to immediately stumble upon the page linked above, which lists these ten essentials for hiking: 1) Map; 2) Compass; 3) Water; 4) Extra food; 5) Rain Gear and Extra Clothing; 6) Firestarter and Matches; 7) First Aid Kit; 8) Knife or Multi-Purpose Tool; 9) Flashlight and Extra Batteries; 10) Sun screen and sun glasses.

I had #s 3, 4, and 10 with me on my long hike, as well as Extra Clothing from #5. I'd also thought of matches but failed to put them on my own list. I'd also cursed myself for not having a map. So a compass was really the only thing that hadn't occurred to me in just thinking about what would be useful. They don't mention a walking stick, even in the ancillary items at the bottom of the list, but I still think I want one.

2) I was very sorry to learn yesterday of the death of the Mexican composer Daniel Catán. He is best known as a composer of operas, and I saw his Florencia en el Amazonas at the Seattle Opera in April 1998. It's based on the work of Gabriel García Márquez, particularly Love in the Time of Cholera, which is a book I loved. I eventually acquired a recording of the opera, and some time after that I acquired a recording of his first opera, Rapaccinni's Daughter, which is based on Octavio Paz's play adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's somewhat science fictional short story. I loved it just as much as Florencia, although it is a much darker, more brooding piece of music.

Over the years I've kept an eye out for recordings of a third opera, Salsipuedes, and thus became aware that he had recently completed a fourth opera, Il Postino, which was based on the film about Pablo Neruda. Yesterday I thought to check again for recordings of either of those operas, which is when I discovered that he had died in April 2011, after attending a rehearsal for Il Postino in Houston. He was 62.

Turns out there's a DVD of a performance of Il Postino, and I've ordered that. He didn't compose a lot of music in his lifetime. I have a partial recording of Obsidian Butterfly, for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, also based on the work of Octavio Paz. I've loved everything I've heard by him. I was saddened by the news of his death, and so I note it here.

3) I've been blogging about films at Dreamland Cafe for over a year and a half, and I think I've only gotten at most a half dozen comments from people who don't know me personally. However, I've also gotten email from two people inquiring about screencaps they'd found on my site. One was from an American poet who wanted to use an image from Maurice Tourneur's The Wishing Ring (1914) to illustrate a website with an audio album of poetry. Another, just received yesterday, was from a British writer of military history, who is writing about the Siege of Fort William Henry and was interested in the screencaps from Maurice Tourneur's The Last of the Mohicans (1920) for possible use as illustrations.

I'm delighted that anyone is finding the screencaps possibly useful, even if only in an ornamental sense, but I'm downright thrilled that in both cases the screencaps are from the films of Maurice Tourneur, who is still relatively obscure in the annals of film history. He (like his better-known son, Jacques) was a great pictorialist, so perhaps it's fitting that even stills taken from his films are considered striking. As an obscure blogger in the annals of film history, I'm pleased that I'm playing a small part in disseminating knowledge of (or at least exposure to) Maurice Tourneur to the non-cinephile world.

ETA: 4) Don't look now, but Mitt Romney's share of the popular vote is shrinking toward 47% as more ballots are counted. This was an outcome I hoped for as soon as his infamous comments were publicized.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
kate_schaefer
Nov. 20th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
1) Orts is one of my favorite words of all time. I used it in a LoC to Pong years ago and am still ever-so-mildly annoyed that Ted and Dan changed it to "sorts", demonstrating that they weren't familiar with the word and thought I'd made a typo. I do make typos, but that wasn't one. I am happy to see it here. Orts, orts, orts.

2) I recently watched Mr. Lucky, a mediocre Cary Grant movie from 1943, slightly distinguished by its William Cameron Menzies design. You can see Menzies's fingerprints in the framing device just after the beginning of the movie, when the camera pulls back from the sailor telling the story and reveals longshoremen opening a great steel dock door to reveal an unconvincing painted backdrop of a ship, and again just before the end, when longshoremen close that same monster door as the ship sails away. The only other virtue the movie has, to my mind, is that it uses "Something to Remember Me By" as Grant's theme song. He whistles it as he walks around; it plays when he dances with his romantic partner. It's never sung. It's 1943; everybody knows the words, and everybody knows what it's about, so it never needs to be made explicit.

I don't recommend the movie, but knowing your interest in Menzies, I do recommend the framing shots. The Seattle Public Library owns several copies.
randy_byers
Nov. 20th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember where I first encountered the word "orts". Was it in Shakespeare? I tend to think it was a poet, but it might have been someone for whom it was still a living word.

Thanks for the tip on Mr Lucky. I've definitely gotten to the stage where I will watch a mediocre film for who wrote it or did the production design or directed. Most recently I watched Jacques Tourneur's Days of Glory (1944), which is a not very good pro-Soviet war film from that odd era when Hollywood was doing pro-Soviet propaganda films. (The North Star is a real doozy.) Full of Tourneur's beautiful pictorialism, despite the mostly uninteresting story.
don_fitch
Nov. 20th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm unclear about your use of "walking stick" -- I've seen it used meaning (I think) something like a cane, though without the curved handle. My own preference, for hiking in very rough country, would be more like the tall-as-the-user staff carried by some artists' Magi, or by pilgrims climbing Mount Fuji.
randy_byers
Nov. 20th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think of a walking stick as being something like a cane without the curved handle and maybe a little heavier. I'd like to try both that length and staff length to see which I prefer. I really don't know what's commercially available. I looked for a good piece of driftwood to use, but couldn't find anything that was both straight and not too heavy or too light, not too short or too long. Said Goldilocks.
juliebata
Nov. 21st, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
I recommend adjustable hiking poles. One pair we had (now lost) came with an emergency light, and a compass built right into the hand-grips.
randy_byers
Nov. 21st, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
I wondered about those, but I want something that can be used as a club in case of predators, so it has to be heavy enough for that. But I like the idea of combining three essentials into one!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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