with printed out map and directions, eventually we found the place, passing kenmore square, longwood, jamaica plains, as well as the arboretum, up on hill in a windy secluded street of rozie. the woman and possibly her husband originally found this collection of old records being thrown away by a neighbor. seeing how they might be valuable, the couple ended up keeping the boxes of records, although never had an opportunity to listen to any of them (who owns a record player anyway?). i helped julie load the heavy recycle bins full of music into her car, and we headed back north of the charles river.
because her boyfriend was still in rhode island nursing a hangover from the previous night (julie complaining about how he's always late and his love of drinking), i had to babysit julie until he showed up. we ended up deciding to go get some brunch at sound bites in ball square, somerville. the long line out the door seemed insurmountable, but julie said it'd go quick, which fortunately for us turned out to be true. it was my first time eating at sound bites, although i've tried on several unsuccessful occasions (with laurie, with andrew). i ordered a special omelette, and went to get a drink at the self-serve refreshment stand, a choice of either coffee, tea, or water. i dispensed something that i thought was iced tea but turned out to be iced coffee. i dumped some milk and 4 tablespoons of sugar into the cup, to make it more palatable. when my omelette came, i didn't like it very much. the combination of feta cheese and olives was just too strong for me, and i ended up picking away at end, eating just the egg portion. julie probably thought i was just being my slow eating self. there was some sort of drama when the boss of the place started to shout in an angry, sarcastic tone. turns out what happened was this deaf customer was trying to pay with a credit card, not realizing sound bites only takes cash. when a woman from another table tried to intervene at the man's behalf, she must've said something to the boss to the effect of, "you're rude," and he just exploded. there was a serious level of awkwardness as the patrons eye each other nervously as to the proper rules of edicate when something like this happens. as for julie and i, we took this as our cue to exit, while julie paid our bills, i was busy working on the rest of my omelette, then we made a hasty retreat.
back at julie's place, i helped her unload the records from her car. in her backyard we took an inventory of the records. neither of us know very much about the history of the 78's, but it seemed like a very 1940's and 1950's technology. there was a lot of foxtrot instrumental music in the collection, as well as military marches and band music. occasionally we'd recognize an artist, like frank sinatra or bing crosby. it was very interesting, like looking into a time capsule. the music back then was all very happy, optimistic tunes for an optimistic period in american culture. what's also interesting is the technology itself. records are physical "recordings" of music, the purest form of analog data storing. the principle of how records work is very simple, if we could find a needle and a mechanism to spin a disc at 78 rpm, we could macgyver our own record player. trying doing that with tapes or cd's, which require more sophisticated electronic processing. with records, it's theoretically possible to hear them in a very old fashion mechanical way, and that to me is as old school as you can get. 78's are also heavier than later records, and on the average each disc can hold only two songs, one front, one back. they're also fragile (like all records), shattering like glass when you drop them (which i did, to a bad record that was already broken). none of the records had covers, some of them had sleeves, a few were in boxed sets or album booklets. here and there the name "bill schaff" was written, apparently the original owner of these records, which at that time must've cost a fortune. he must've been the most popular young man in his neighborhood, wooing girls over with his sizeable music collection. nowadays, with readily available music via the internet, it's hard to woo the ladies with just music.
after helping julie haul the records into her basement, she gave me a ride back to my place. i started writing the weblog before riding down to the fresh pond cinema, where i saw once upon a time in mexico. i was surprised to see that the screening room was empty when i go there. two guys soon came in, one of them this crazy guy i've seen here before, murmuring to himself, his arms loaded with a supersized bucket of popcorn and a drink. that made me think, do crazy people enjoy movies as much as normal people? do they keep track of all the new movie releases, know what's good and what's not? hey, we're not so different from crazies after all! the second guy sat directly behind me. i hate that. the room is empty, and he has to sit right behind me. "is this once upon a time in mexico?" he asked me. "yeah, it is," i replied, "i'm surprised it's so empty though." personal space violator responded, "yeah, and i heard this movie's good too." "must be the weather," i speculated. but by the time the movie finally started, there was about 2 dozen people in the screening room. besides the now obligatory commercials, there were 7 trailers before the film: in this world, kill bill, resurrection (the tupac story), gothika, out of time, in the cut, and something gotta give. for people looking for a sequel to desperado, this movie does fulfill that duty, reuniting the characters played by antonio banderas and salma hayek, but this film is mostly about johnny depp as a shady CIA operative in mexico. his character sort of directs all the activity in the film, and he gets more screen time and all the best lines, like "are you a mexi-can, or are you a mexi-can't?" salma hayek is back in this movie, but only in flashbacks. one of the cooler stunts happens when banderas and hayek are literally chained together, and must climb down from a building in the most creative way i've seen in a long time. the plot was a bit confusing, so i basically sat back and enjoyed the film as is, without too much thinking. it's an action film, and i think the older i get, the less i like action movies, not because i'm offended by the violence (which seems purposely cartoonish, big explosions and lots of gun flashes), but because a lot of times the action is boring. so in that sense i got a little dull-eyed during some of the action sequences. i think if it wasn't for johnny depp's screen presence, the film probably wouldn't be as good. enrique iglesias has a minor role as a mariachi, and thankfully it's just that, minor, so it didn't detract from the film too much (he's nepotism's child). once upon a time in mexico is an interesting movie and i was entertained, but it's not a must-see (although eva mendes is pretty hot).
after the movie, i went home to cambridge, then went to my parents' place at 7pm, for my second consecutive night of family dining. my godmother joined us tonight as well. we had jumbo shrimps, boiled crabs (of which i didn't have any, i think crabs are gross, smelly and messy), chinese watercress, mian-jing (kind of like tofu), and spicy beef tendon. i watched the red sox game, saw them fall to the white sox, but hopefully this won't affect the standing too much nor their chances of getting the wild card spot over the mariners. after dinner i came back to cambridge, and watched formula 51 on cinemax.