What I’m listening to… sound tracks

Dances With Wolves soundtrack, music by John Barry, Epic Records 1990 CD

I’ve been listening to soundtracks. This is one of my favorites.

This is the original motion picture soundtrack of the 1990 Academy Award and Golden Globe winning film Dances with Wolves produced, directed, and starring Kevin Costner. The original score and songs were composed and conducted by John Barry.

Info: Basil Poledouris was originally signed on as composer, based on his work for Lonesome Dove, but left to compose Flight of the Intruder with regular collaborator John Milius. Barry ytrwas brought in to replace him; it was his first score in two years since taking a break due to rupturing his esophagus. The score has what he considered his interpretation of what Indian themes would be like. He prepared by listening to American Indian music, but didn’t incorporate it into score, believing it should be seen through the protagonist’s eyes. Barry and Costner both envisioned a large and romantic score due to the “feeling of space” in the film.

John Barry won the 1991 Academy Award for Best Original Score, and the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television. Barry was also nominated for the 1991 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score (lost to the score of The Sheltering Sky) and the 1992 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music (lost to the score of Cyrano de Bergerac).

Track Listings:

  1. “Main Title – Looks Like a Suicide” – 3:59
  2. “The John Dunbar Theme” – 2:16 b
  3. “Journey to Fort Sedgewick” – 3:25
  4. “Ride to Fort Hays” – 2:00
  5. “The Death of Timmons” – 2:24
  6. “Two Socks – The Wolf Theme” – 1:30
  7. “Pawnee Attack” – 3:49
  8. “Kicking Bird’s Gift” – 2:10
  9. “Journey to the Buffalo Killing Ground” – 3:43
  10. “The Buffalo Hunt” – 2:42
  11. “Stands with a Fist Remembers” – 2:09
  12. “The Love Theme” – 3:46
  13. “The John Dunbar Theme” – 2:04
  14. “Two Socks at Play” – 1:59
  15. “The Death of Cisco” – 2:14
  16. “Rescue of Dances with Wolves” – 2:09
  17. “The Loss of the Journal and the Return to Winter Camp” – 2:09
  18. “Farewell and End Title” – 8:50
Posted in At Home in Portland, Music | 7 Comments

Reading: John Scalzi’s Interdependency Trilogy

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, March 2017

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, October 2018

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, April 2020

Book One: The Collapsing Empire introduces The Interdependency, a thousand-year-old human empire of 48 star systems connected by the Flow, which is a phenomenon allowing faster-than-light travel. Each stream is one way and has an entry point and an exit point. Innterstellar trips are not instantaneous—ships carrying mail or passengers from Hub, the capital of the empire and the system with the most Flow connections, arrive at End, the most distant, nine months later—but the network permits life-sustaining intersystem trade. As a natural phenomenon, the Flow is poorly understood.

Family-owned megacorporations control all interstellar trade in the Interdependency’s mercantile economy; one, House Wu, is the royal family, headed by the Emperox, the leader of the whole shebang.

Count Claremont, a physicist on End, calculates after decades of study that the Flow will soon collapse. All systems will be isolated; none are self-sufficient. Humans can only live on a planetary surface on End; they need space stations or underground habitats in other systems. Without the Flow, society on every system will likely collapse. The count sends his son Marce, also a physicist, to Hub to warn the Emperox. But there are rival houses who want to take control.

Book Two: The Consuming Fire. As it becomes clear that the flow streams are collapsing, or will collapse within decades, conflict between the houses escalates. The flow stream from End is gone, so anyone trying to go to the only place where humans can live on the surface, and be self sustaining, becomes a one-way trip. Several attempts on the Emperox’ life are made as the major houses try to take control and assure they and theirs get to End and safety. It begins to look like billions may die. Is there any solution?

Book Three: The Last Emperox. As tensions mount, Marce Claremont and the Emperox seek a solution to the collapsing flow streams that will allow more people to survive. Claremont discovers “evanesce”, temporary flow streams that may be used to ease the problem of movement within the Interdependency, and perhaps to discover new streams to now unknown locations. Could these lead to a new planet where humans could survive?

My take: There is a major shocker about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way into the novel which I will not reveal. Many but not all problems are solved by the end of the book.

The trilogy is well written in Scalzi’s easy to read style, and moves along well, with some slower parts filled with discussions of politics or the science of the flow. One character in particular, though quite likable, does use the “F word” to excess.

Overall, I was disappointed, though there is a lot to like in this hard science fiction trilogy, those slow parts dragged for me, and I didn’t think the ending, after all those pages, satisfied as much as I expected, or wanted. Scalzi is a fine writer, and I’ve read everything he’s written, but I didn’t feel he was at his best with these. Other readers have praised it, considering it very good indeed. So, as usual, it’s in the eye of the reader.

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction | 16 Comments

What I’m listening to…

Playback by Tom Petty, MCA boxed set released November 20, 1995. Six CDs.

Playback is a box set compilation by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1995. It contains popular album tracks, B-sides, previously unreleased outtakes, and early songs by Petty’s previous band Mudcrutch.

In case you didn’t already know or haven’t guessed, I really dig Petty, and have for a long time. I like it LOUD.

Track Listings:

Disc One: The Big Jangle

  1. Breakdown” (Tom Petty) – 2:42
  2. American Girl” (Petty) – 3:33
  3. “Hometown Blues” (Petty) – 2:12
  4. Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Petty) – 2:24
  5. I Need to Know” (Petty) – 2:24
  6. Listen to Her Heart” (Petty) – 3:03
  7. “When the Time Comes” (Petty) – 2:45
  8. “Too Much Ain’t Enough” (Petty) – 2:57
  9. “No Second Thoughts” (Petty) – 2:39
  10. “Baby’s a Rock ‘n’ Roller” (Petty, Mike Campbell) – 2:52
  11. Refugee” (Petty, Campbell) – 3:22
  12. Here Comes My Girl” (Petty, Campbell) – 4:25
  13. Even the Losers” (Petty) – 3:59
  14. “Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)” (Petty) – 4:25
  15. Don’t Do Me Like That” (Petty) – 2:42
  16. The Waiting” (Petty) – 3:59
  17. A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me)” (Petty, Campbell) – 4:23
  18. “Something Big” (Petty) – 4:44
  19. “A Thing About You” (Petty) – 3:32
  20. “Insider” (Petty) – 4:23
  21. “You Can Still Change Your Mind” (Petty, Campbell) – 4:16

Disc Two: Spoiled and Mistreated

  1. You Got Lucky” (Petty, Campbell) – 3:36
  2. Change of Heart” (Petty) – 3:19
  3. “Straight into Darkness” (Petty) – 3:47
  4. “Same Old You” (Petty, Campbell) – 3:30
  5. Rebels” (Petty) – 5:19
  6. Don’t Come Around Here No More” (Petty, Dave Stewart) – 5:05
  7. Southern Accents” (Petty) – 4:44
  8. Make It Better (Forget About Me)” (Petty, Stewart) – 4:23
  9. “The Best of Everything” (Petty) – 4:03
  10. So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” (live) (Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 3:30
  11. Don’t Bring Me Down” (live) (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:52
  12. “Jammin’ Me” (Petty, Campbell, Bob Dylan) – 4:08
  13. “It’ll All Work Out” (Petty) – 3:11
  14. “Mike’s Life/Mike’s World” (Campbell) – 0:40
  15. “Think About Me” (Petty) – 3:45
  16. “A Self-Made Man” (Petty) – 3:00

Disc Three: Good Booty

  1. Free Fallin’” (Petty, Jeff Lynne) – 4:16
  2. I Won’t Back Down” (Petty, Lynne) – 2:57
  3. “Love is a Long Road” (Petty, Campbell) – 4:08
  4. Runnin’ Down a Dream” (Petty, Lynne, Campbell) – 4:23
  5. Yer So Bad” (Petty, Lynne) – 3:06
  6. “Alright for Now” (Petty) – 2:02
  7. Learning to Fly” (Petty, Lynne) – 4:03
  8. Into the Great Wide Open” (Petty, Lynne) – 3:43
  9. “All or Nothin'” (Petty, Lynne, Campbell) – 4:07
  10. “Out in the Cold” (Petty, Lynne) – 3:40
  11. “Built to Last” (Petty, Lynne) – 3:58
  12. Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (Petty) – 4:33
  13. “Christmas All Over Again” (Petty) – 4:15

Disc Four: The Other Sides

  1. “Casa Dega” (Petty, Campbell) – 3:37
  2. “Heartbreakers Beach Party” (Petty) – 1:57
  3. “Trailer” (Petty) – 3:15
  4. “Cracking Up” (Nick Lowe) – 3:34
  5. Psychotic Reaction” (live) (Ken Ellner, Roy Chaney, Craig Atkinson, John Byrne, John Michalski) – 4:49
  6. “I’m Tired Joey Boy” (live) (Van Morrison) – 3:42
  7. “Lonely Weekends” (live) (Charlie Rich) – 2:47
  8. “Gator on the Lawn” (Petty) – 1:35
  9. “Make That Connection” (Petty, Campbell) – 5:04
  10. “Down the Line” (Petty, Lynne, Campbell) – 2:53
  11. “Peace in L.A.” (Peace Mix) (Petty) – 4:43
  12. “It’s Rainin’ Again” (Petty) – 1:32
  13. Somethin’ Else” (live) (Sharon Sheeley, Eddie Cochran) – 2:05
  14. “I Don’t Know What to Say to You” (Petty) – 2:28
  15. “Kings Highway” (live) (Petty) – 3:30

Disc Five: Through the Cracks

  1. “On the Street” (Benmont Tench) – 2:10
  2. “Depot Street” (Petty) – 3:26
  3. “Cry to Me” (Bert Russell) – 3:06
  4. “Don’t Do Me Like That” (Mudcrutch version) (Petty) – 2:47
  5. “I Can’t Fight It” (Petty) – 3:00
  6. “Since You Said You Loved Me” (Petty) – 4:40
  7. “Louisiana Rain” (original version) (Petty) – 4:22
  8. “Keeping Me Alive” (Petty) – 2:59
  9. “Turning Point” (Petty) – 2:52
  10. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (demo) (Petty, Campbell) – 4:11
  11. “The Apartment Song” (demo) (Petty) – 2:37
  12. Big Boss Man” (Al Smith, Luther Dixon) – 2:41
  13. “The Image of Me” (Wayne Kemp) – 2:33
  14. “Moon Pie” (Petty) – 1:05
  15. “The Damage You’ve Done” (country version) (Petty) – 3:16

Disc Six: Nobody’s Children

  1. “Got My Mind Made Up” (original version) (Petty) – 2:51
  2. “Ways to Be Wicked” (Petty, Campbell) – 3:27
  3. “Can’t Get Her Out” (Petty) – 3:11
  4. “Waiting for Tonight” (Petty) – 3:30
  5. “Travelin'” (Petty) – 3:15
  6. Baby, Let’s Play House” (Arthur Gunter) – 2:33
  7. Wooden Heart” (Bert Kaempfert, Kay Twomey, Fred Wise, Ben Weisman) – 2:09
  8. “God’s Gift to Man” (Petty) – 4:18
  9. “You Get Me High” (Petty) – 2:48
  10. “Come on Down to My House” (Petty) – 3:05
  11. “You Come Through” (Petty, Campbell) – 5:15
  12. “Up in Mississippi Tonight” (Petty) – 3:28
Posted in At Home in Portland, Music | 14 Comments

Reading: A Scalzi SF Trilogy

I’m in the process of reading a science fiction trilogy by John Scalzi, The Interdependcy , two books of which I have already read, leading up to the third, newest, recently published one. The books are:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, March 2017

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, October 2018

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, April 2020

Book One: The Collapsing Empire is a space opera novel by American writer John Scalzi. The book was published by Tor Books on March 21, 2017.[1] It is the first of a series that was originally intended to be two books but is now a trilogy.

The Backstory:
The Interdependency is a thousand-year-old human empire of 48 star systems connected by the Flow, a network of, for want of a better word, “streams” allowing faster-than-light travel. Each stream is one way and has an entry point and an exit point. There is no faster-than-light communication faster than the Flow, and interstellar trips are not instantaneous—ships carrying mail or passengers from Hub, the capital of the empire and the system with the most Flow connections, arrive at End, the most distant, nine months later—but the network permits life-sustaining intersystem trade. As a natural phenomenon, the Flow is poorly understood; Earth disconnected from the network thousands of years ago, and civilization on another system collapsed more recently when its pathway suddenly closed.

Family-owned megacorporations control all interstellar trade in the Interdependency’s mercantile economy; one, House Wu, is the royal family. The trading houses are incredibly wealthy from government-sanctioned monopolies and by collecting tolls at “shoals”, entrances and exits to Flow pathways. The state religion, with the Emperox as titular head, celebrates the Interdependency as a divinely sanctioned society.

Count Claremont, a physicist on End, calculates after decades of study that the Flow will soon collapse. All systems will be isolated; none are self-sufficient. Humans can only live on a planetary surface on End; they need space stations or underground habitats in other systems. Without the Flow, society on every system will likely collapse. The count sends his son Marce, also a physicist, to Hub to warn his old friend Emperox Attavio VI. The Emperox has died, however, and his unprepared daughter Cardenia is crowned as Grayland II.

My take: Obviously, there’s a lot more to the book than that overview, and it’s well written, exciting in places, with great characters and good bits of humor throughout. Some readers will object to the use of much swearing by some of the characters, including the “F word”, but it’s just part of the character. I enjoy Scalzi’s work, so it’s no surprise I’m enjoying this.

Right now I’m about halfway through the recently purchased second book.

To be continued NEXT WEEK with a summary and thoughts on the second book, and perhaps the third as well.

Do you like science fiction? What are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction | 11 Comments

What I’m listening to…

These days, we’re all looking for some music that perks us up, right? Here’s what I have been listening to the past couple of mornings. Later in the day I move on to classical and jazz.

The Very Best of Osibisa 2009, Afro pop-rock

Osibisa are a British Afrobeat band, founded in London in 1969 by four expatriate African and three Caribbean musicians. Their music is a fusion of African, Caribbean, jazz, funk, rock, Latin, and R&B and highlife.

This group was new to me when Barbara introduced me to their music. She had listened to them when she lived in Denver and liked the music. I agree. I especially like the earlier stuff, and the song “Fire” is my favorite. Good stuff. Try it!

The Very Best of Osibisa

  • Sunshine Day 4:46
  • Music for Gong Gong 5:32
  • Welcome Home 4:19
  • The Dawn 7:05
  • Woyaya 4:28
  • Ayiko Bia 7:55
  • Fire 4:49
  • Nkosi Sikeleli Africa 5:39
  • Cherry Field 3:43
  • Coffee Song 3:17
  • Dance the Body Music 3:49
  • Celebration 4:43
  • The Warrior 3:46
  • (I Feel) Pata Pata 3:48
  • Uhuru 3:28
  • Kilele 3:14
  • Home Town 3:36
Posted in At Home in Portland, Music | 18 Comments

Reading: Hid From Our Eyes

Hid From Our Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming, 2020 Minotaur Books hardcover or ebook, Claire Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (# 9), mystery, 352 pages. I read the ebook version on Kindle for the Mac.

This is the ninth book in Spencer-Fleming’s series of mysteries set in Miller’s Kill, upstate New York. It’s been seven years since the previous book, and many readers, including myself, have been anticipating this book.

The blurb
Hid From Our Eyes picks up a couple of months after the events of 2013’s Through the Evil Days, Spencer-Fleming’s last novel. Clare and Russ are now parents, doting on their 4-month-old son, Ethan. They juggle child-care duties and exhaustion while Clare tries to maintain her sobriety. A movement to replace the small Millers Kill police department with the state police has Russ and his officers on edge, fearing they will lose their jobs.

Then the body of a well-dressed young woman with no obvious sign of foul play is found in the middle of an out-of-the-way road. The Medical Examiner can’t find a cause of death. However:

1952. Millers Kill Police Chief Harry McNeil is called to a crime scene where a woman in a party dress has been murdered with no obvious cause of death.

1972. Millers Kill Police Chief Jack Liddle is called to a murder scene of a woman that’s very similar to one he worked as a trooper in the 50s. The only difference is this time, they have a suspect. Young Vietnam War veteran Russ van Alstyne found the body while riding his motorcycle and is quickly pegged as the prime focus of the investigation.

Present-day. Millers Kill Police Chief Russ van Alstyne gets a 911 call that a young woman has been found dead in a party dress, the same MO as the crime he was accused of in 1972. The pressure is on for Russ to solve the murder before he’s removed from the case.

As usual, Russ enlists the help of his police squad and Reverend Clare Fergusson, who is already juggling the tasks of being a new mother while running St. Alban’s Church.

My Take
While I think this was a great plot idea, and the idea of various police Chiefs being involved over the years, for me it stretched out a little too much. Still, I was fine with that. I sure didn’t see the solution coming until near the end, and that’s good. But please, leave out all the stuff about the baby, the cranky baby, the wailing baby, the baby tossing food about, the baby… You get the idea. Other than making Claire (and the reader, in my case) grumpy, those scenes did nothing to advance the plot a single iota. Also, note that there is a cliffhanger at the end.

So for fans, or completists, this is worth reading. Otherwise, you have been warned.

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading | 20 Comments

It’s NOT “Lockdown”

Yes, I’m staying home, sheltering in place and keeping social distancing. But I’m not in “lockdown”, a term that brings prison to mind. I hate that expression and prefer it not to be used, thank you very much!

Meanwhile, it’s a drizzly day, temperatures in the low sixties, I had a nice breakfast and now I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee while I curl up with the book I’m reading. I hope you’re also having a relaxing, mellow Saturday morning. Enjoy your day!

Posted in At Home in Portland | 12 Comments

Slog…

Happy Friday. I’m reading some, did finish a book to be reviewed Monday, and the weather has been nice. But the White House resident has gotten me so stressed and furious lately it’s been hard to relax, or concentrate.

The non-arrival of our stimulus check, the loud all night pool party next door (still going at 4:40 am – sheltering in place, distancing, what are those?) and a now two day headache hasn’t helped my mood. Not one bit. So we’ve been working on a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which is slow going. I haven’t even been in the mood to watch TV or a movie. So it’s a bit of a slog at this point. I’m now reading some short stories, which, I hope, will give me a boost.

Meanwhile, this isn’t meant to be a pity party. How are YOU doing?

Posted in At Home in Portland | 16 Comments

Quilt in Progress (with cat)

This is the quilt Barbara is currently making. It’s 72 x 72 inches at present, and may be made into a bed quilt or just be a large lap quilt.

This is in her quilt studio, and she laid it out on the floor for measuring and to decide about the treatment for the edges, borders and eventual binding.

As you can see, our cat Dexter, got into the act, making himself right at home.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 13 Comments

Jazz! Count Basie & Lester Young

I’ve been listening to a lot of music in the last few weeks. I just got this Mosiac set last week, and I’m really enjoying it!

Classic 1936-1947 Count Basie & Lester Young Studio Sessions (#263), Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set: 5,000 copies – 8 CDs

“Here is the Basie band just a month after arriving in New York, and they are already bringing something radically new to the table: a flowing rhythm section and an emphasis on improvised solos, the likes of which had never been heard in New York before.” – Loren Schoenberg Session Notes for January 21, 1937

Sweet sounds from the early days of jazz (as opposed to Dixieland, Big Band or Swing) that’s well worth a listen! If you’re a jazz fan and like this kind of jazz, hurry, this set is almost sold out.

Do you listen to jazz? Have you been listening to music lately?

Posted in At Home in Portland, Music, New Arrivals | 19 Comments