oh belated paradise?
breath of incense and cheek of bloom,
her dark twilight tresses seal her doom.

what enraptured voices are the music of your evenings...

if it will always be the same...where has it gone?

A novel by John Knowles, it comes a very close second to A Separate Peace.

Set right after World War II, it follows parentless soldier Cleet Kinsolving and his return from fighting in the Pacific, as he makes his slow lazy way back home.

Home for Cleet is Connecticut, but instead of heading directly there upon his arrival back in the States, he decides to hitchhike cross-country, overwhelmed with a sudden whim to see more of the country he lives in.

Half-Indian, one gets the impression that Cleet would love nothing more to climb trees naked and run barefoot and mostly, fly. That, and the 'great wide bowl of heaven' that seemed to occupy the space is enough to make him stop near a lazy airstrip somewhere in the midwest, where he gets a job as crop duster.

Christ, he said, as he sat up, I do believe this is the day I conquer the world or something.

Cleet doesn't necessarily have formed ideas and plans for his future, but he recognizes that going home may just stifle him, and tire him as to forget what he finds really important, constrain him. Cleet is a brilliant character (at least, to me) because he is young, strong, and very aware of his formless dreams. Without having given them shape or definitive boundaries, he is positive that he will do something great, and very aware of how the people that claim him as family and friend may very well trap him forever.

Circumstances play otherwise,though and Cleet is faced with a situation where he really has no choice but to go on home, and one senses his frustration at having almost escaped, almost broken away and started shaping the life he wanted.

Knowles portrays Cleet as an extremely striking character, as one who doesn't say anything if there's nothing to say, and someone who radiates a very balanced sense of self. What is terrific about this is one gets to read what Cleet is thinking, and all the while he protrays a steely, impassive, unshakeable exterior, his inner thoughts are scrambling. The balance and cohesion of both aspects of Cleet is terrific.

The bulk of the novel deals with Cleet and his interaction with the Reardon family: the father who made the money; the son, Neil, who was always Cleet's best friend and in hiring him as a 'do-it-all' secures his return back home; Neil's wife, and her sister, unfazed by the wealth and from a poor family. The Reardons, as his friends and surrogate family, have an ineffable hold over Cleet that he feels more and more constrained by the more he thinks about where he wants his life to go.

I know I haven't done justice to the book here, but I cannot find any reviews online to give me a more structured overview, so I have written this as I could. What I find so stupendously wrenching about Cleet's character is the way Knowles details his thoughts almost lazily, but still imparting the sense of urgency Cleet feels about life.

This book is currently out of print, I bought it at the library book sale for 50 cents. I have dog-eared it on almost every other page, and this node is part of my continued project to node my library.
Dry, warm weather in October or November. Traditionally the phrase is applied to warm weather after the first frost of autumn.

In San Francisco, which doesn't get frost until winter (if at all), the phrase can refer to the annual heat wave at the end of September/beginning of October, where grateful residents enjoy the 90 degree plus temperatures which follow the foggy, cold summer of the city's Mediterranean climate.

First usage is cited in America in a 1778 letter by Frenchman St. John de Crevecoeur:

"Sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warmth which is called the Indian Summer; its characteristics are a tranquil atmosphere and general smokiness. Up to this epoch the approaches of winter are doubtful; it arrives about the middle of November, although snows and brief freezes often occur long before that date."
Why "Indian" summer? Lots of contrasting theories, many involving Native American seasonal hunting, as well as the loading of ships to cross the Indian ocean during this fair weather time of year.

Sources: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/i-summer.htm;
also going outside, licking my finger, and holding it up and squinting skyward

Indian Summer were yet another emo band during the early 90s. These young fellows were from Cupertino, CA in 1993 and 1994. They sounded like they combined Moss Icon's loud/soft dynamics with the twisted distorted guitar sound of Unwound and created something very powerful. The vocals were frequently whispered and nearly impossible to hear. Likewise, during the loud parts the vocals were screamed but nearly drowned out by the guitars. Lots of falling on the floor, knocking over mic stands, in the grand tradition of Rites of Spring, Current, and Mohinder.

Almost all of their songs were untitled, so I won't bother noding the releases.

Since none of the songs have names, it can be a pain in the ass to download all the songs and make sure you have them all. (There are 9 of them).

Some names I've seen have been:

  • Truman = Untitled
  • Carving Stars = Orchard
  • Millimeter = Waiting
  • Aren't You Angel = Asking Angel
  • Black = Angry Son
Hopefully someday I'll compile a list of all the different names that are our there and what they correspond to. Those are the ones I've run across so far.

Just as there were no song titles, there was never any information on members. All of the vinyl is not out of print, and the live CD is as well, although you can occasionally find CD-Rs of it floating around.

Unique Dinner Experience in Dunedin

The best girlfriend and I were in Dunedin this weekend to watch the premiere of Auntie and me at the wonderful Fortune Theatre, and, to continue the tradition of these weekends, wanted to have dinner at one of the South Island's best restaurants, Ombrello's but alas, unfortunately it turned out to be fully booked (stupid me for not booking in advance). So there we were, two hours before the theatre was going to start, without a place to eat. Having not eaten a decent Indian meal since leaving London a year ago, we asked the concierge of our hotel about good a decent restaurant, and low and behold, he pointed us to a true gem:

Indian Summer is a bright, well lit and spacious place with rather battered pine wood tables, seventies plastic chairs and a horrid eighties colour scheme. The service was swift, friendly and well informed: my request for an off - menu item (Methi Gosht) was met with a sympathetic ear, and the chef came around to discuss cooking arrangements. The menu was (although laminated and rather grubby) exhaustive and well explained, with a good fish and vegetarian choice. The wine list was surprisingly exhaustive and well thought out, and, much to my delight, they had the full range of Emerson's beer, including the brillant Weissbier: Perfect to accompany a fiery curry.

The food was nothing short of brillant, although the presentation was lacking as in any other indian restaurant (apart from the five star places in London where you pay 2000 pounds just for your chicken tikka): After trying out hundreds of curry houses in the UK I can with absolute resolve tell you that this was comparable with the best of Birmingham, Glasgow and London. The starters were genrous and well spiced, my Methi Gosht, the poppadums and Keema Nan were definetely freshly made: no signs of the british curry house disease of microwaved ready made sauces. Dessert was another delight, and after 3 courses for two, two Emerson's and a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc the bill came to ridiculous 90 NZ $.

My significant other now has my promise that she can take me to the theatre every weekend, as long as I get a pre-theatre dinner at Indian Summer.

Oh yes: Auntie and me was fun as well.

Indian Summer
110 Moray Place
New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 477 8880

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