I have been tagged by Skirmish of Wit to list 7 things I love. True to my nature, I find it very hard to limit myself to just seven things. Suffice it to say I love, love, love books, food, travel, classical music, and television. But those are big, broad categories and I am tempted to list seven things for EACH of them, but that seems to defy the spirit of the challenge. So, I decided to find a few specific things that serve as examples of some of the broader themes listed above. They are in no particular order.
7 (Specific) Loves
We can’t wait to get a dog, hopefully sometime in early 2010. And although there are some breeds that I take a shine to (like Golden Retrievers), there is nothing quite like a cute, lovable mutt. Especially one rescued from a shelter.
I get a fair amount of teasing for this one. Apparently the sound of a pipe organ is an acquired taste. But I find the sound magnificent. The variety and power of the sounds available in even smaller instruments is impressive, but when you get a really big mother going it is a sound you literally and physically feel as much as hear. And I love the way they look. The pipe cases are beautifully sculptural and architectural and they are usually in the stunning surroundings of a cathedral or a grand hall. (Passau Cathedral shown below.)
In general I love to organize things. I love to sort, and throw, and donate, and stack, and line up, and tidy, and well, organize. And I love to organize data in an Excel spreadsheet. There isn’t much that doesn’t benefit from a good Excel spreadsheet. From all the books I have read since 1994, to concerts, budgets, CDs, travel arrangements, you name it.
A few summers ago when John and I were in London we spent a day at Sissinghurst, once the home of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson. Between Vita’s cozy study in the tower and the amazing gardens, Sissinghurst is a little slice of heaven. Even with lots of tourists it was possible to find a quiet spot at the edge of the orchard looking across the moat to the surrounding pastures. It’s a place I could sit for hours.
Fonts and Graphic Design
I love good graphic design in general (please don’t judge me by my poorly designed blog), but am particularly fond of fonts and their use in graphic design. No doubt this is tied to my love of the written word, books, letters, etc. One of the reasons I loved our visit to the Plan Museum in Antwerp in October. But I love fonts and good graphic design wherever it is, books, signs, stationary, posters, product packaging. If you haven’t been there, The Book Design Review is a great place to see some of the best and most interesting book covers out there. There is also a site called Brand New that is all about corporate branding with lots of before and after images of logo redesigns. And don’t even get me started on the brilliance of the graphic design on the London Underground. I am probably going to blog about that one of these days.
The Alcotts movement from Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata
I urge you to immerse yourself in this movement from Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata. I think this is one of the most sublime six minutes of music every written. The interpretation on this video isn’t my favorite but it still does the trick. I think she is a little too bombastic and literal with the Beethoven quotations at about 1:44 minutes, but the performance overall is pretty satisfying. There are a few commercial recordings of the sonata available. My favorite is by Canadian Marc-Andre Hamelin.
Charles Ives was an American composer (and fulltime businessman) whose output can sometimes challenge even modern ears. In his Concord Sonata he gives a movement each to American transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson and Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau.
Modes of Transportation
When it comes to planes, boats, trains, and to a lesser extent, cars I turn into a 12-year old. I am particularly fascinated with fixed-rail public transport systems. I love the variety from city to city. Light rail, heavy rail. Underground, overground. Stations, platforms, and signage. It all fascinates me. On one trip to London, I took the District Line out to Wimbledon, hopped on the light rail to Croydon, then took British Rail back into town. All just for the fun of it, and to see (and ride) the new light rail line. (The tram shown is in Grenoble, not London.)
And I am one of those people who buy those airliner magazines that are like commercial jet porn. Except instead of buxom blondes or hunky guys, the centerfolds are pictures of jets taking off and landing or showing off new (or old) livery. (That’s right, the paintjob on a plane is referred to as its livery. How cool is that?)
Now I need to tag seven others. I realize you may not want to (or have the time to) participate, but if you do, let us know about your 7 Loves.