This Thing Called Courage

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cold Weather, a New Keyboard, A Short Movie, and Something from Azerbaijan

AFTER A WEIRD NON-SEASON IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, when the temperature was 50 and 60 all the time and it was foggy and odd, winter has set in with a vengeance and it's been bitter cold. Another thing that dogs are wonderful in doing, and that is in keeping one intimate with the weather. You can speak with some authority at the corner store when the conversation turns to the weather, because you've been out in it for hours at a time. And like summer's heat, one does build up a tolerance for it. Currently it's 12 degrees F, with a howling wind out of the frozen Northwest, the home of Kabibonokka, the Algonquin god of the Northland, who "banishes the heron and the gull and the cormorant from his realm, locks the rivers with ice, and sends icebergs south, along with his frozen breath." It's supposed to go down to 5 tonight-- and I truly wonder how the birds, those little puffs of feathers and hollow bones, make it through nights like these. But they do, and will be at my feeder in droves tomorrow. And they are, of course, most welcome.

About once a year or so I find it necessary to replace my keyboard, due to its utter uncleanability. The thing is, I write all day, most days, then stop writing when it's time to do something else. There are notes and food and glasses of apple cider (some of which inevitably spill) and smears of peanut butter on things, and Fionn-hairs and cigarette ash and all the other flotsom and jetsam of my life. It accumulates on the keyboard, and gets so bad I sometimes can't see the letters. So, we get a new keyboard for 15.00, up at CompUSA. Black-- it always must be black-- and it's so exciting, suddenly, to write on a clean, solid-sounding keyboard-- the importance of the sound the letters make when you strike them cannot, in my opinion, be over-estimated. So if you feel your writing needs a jolt, a change, a cleaning-up-- invest in a new keyboard.

I went scavenging in my fridge tonight and found something I didn't know I had. Perhaps someone brought it one time but it's...Pomegranate Juice. We gave it a try, of course-- I've never had it before-- and it tastes pretty good, a little like cherry juice and somehow sweet and sour simultaneously. If one believes what's written on the bottle, it's very good for you. What I found most interesting is that it's a product of Azerbaijan. I feel like I can safely say I've never had anything from that country before; so, here I am, sipping my pomegranate juice, and feeling quite the citizen of the world. Click below if you would like to hear the music of Azerbaijan's National Anthem. Here are the words. It's awful to say, but all I can picture is Borat doing a funny dance while this plays...

Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan!
You are the country of heroes!
We will die so that you might be alive!
We will shed our blood to defend you!
Long live your three coloured banner!
Thousands of people sacrificed their lives
You're become the field of battles.
Every soldier fighting for you,
Has become a hero.
We pray for your prosperity,
We make sacrifice our lives to you
Our sincere love to you,
Comes from the bottom of our hearts.
To defend your honour,
To hoist your banner,
All the young people are ready.
Glorious motherland, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan!
A while back I posted a short play by my friend Tom O'Leary. Recently a film written by Tom won Fourth Place at the 8th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards. Congratulations, Tom!!! Again he has graciously given me permission to post a link to the film, so you can watch it here-- there's a small bit of nudity at the beginning of the film, so you may want to use discretion as to where you view it. Watch the movie (and the other winners) here:
And finally, a shout out to all those regular readers who visit here, especially Pam in Berlin, in appreciation of your kind comments. As the Baroness said to The Captain, "Auf weidersehen, darling!"


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Blogger berlinorama said...

Thanks so much for your reply to my post. I am a Californian but came to Berlin on a research grant back in 1982 (I am an historian by training, but now work as a freelance German-English translator, mainly in the fields of history and art), and just stayed and stayed—first as a Reagan-era grad school refugee, and now…. Much as I miss my friends, I am so horrified by what is going on there that it is hard for me even to think of visiting at the moment, though I would very much like to see my new (adopted) nephew in Portland, Oregon.
I'm sorry the reading in Medford was a bust. It isn't exactly the cultural capital of the Boston area, but I'm sure now that you are better known you would get a bigger crowd.
I will write a review of Map of the Harbor Islands for amazon once I get it back from my girlfriend to reread it. I kind of devoured it (a bad and gluttonous reading habit of mine) the first time and would like to refresh my memory before I start pontificating publicly. I have reread several of your short stories many times.
Don't worry about not writing in your blog as often as some people. When you do, it is always both enlightening and entertaining, which is more than one can say for many of the more frequent bloggers.
Greetings from (almost) wintry Berlin,

P.S. Any news on little Tucker, the missing terrier? I really feel for Tucker's owner (and for you out searching) because my Welsh terrier Hutch was missing once for 2 days on the Baltic Sea in Poland in February. He survived the ordeal in fine shape (after running 8 km along the sea to the next town and finding some people to feed him), but the worrying was terrible and coping in a language of which I have practically no knowledge only made it more stressful. The police tried to be helpful and even brought a dog by the house where we were staying to see if it was ours. The poor thing (which bore no resemblance to Hutch except for being brown) seemed awfully put out to be disturbed on its evening constitutional and dragged into a police car. I just hope they let it out again and didn't take it to the pound, which was an awful place. All the dogs got to eat was day-old bread and cake delivered from a local bakery, and they were killed after two weeks if no one claimed them. I know this is common practice many places, but in Germany there are only no-kill shelters.
Now I know that Hutch (he'll be 14 next month) is truly deaf, because I played those coyotes and he didn't even lift his head!

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