My favorite restaurant in San Juan was a place called Deaverdura, and I think this place deserves its very own post.
We managed to get past the chain barring the door, and to a table. The hostess/waitress told us, quite rapidly, what we “would like to order,” so we ordered that. There were no prices on the menu, and to my surprise, this was the cheapest meal of the trip.
What arrived at our table was a sampler, and while I didn’t catch the names of everything on there, everything on there was delicious. I also ordered ceviche and crispy cheese balls that were delicious.
One of the best parts was when a pigeon flew in to eat some crumbs, and no one flipped out. The hostess gently encouraged the bird to leave, but let it be when it stayed inside. The pigeon finally left of its own accord, and I found the whole scene to be very sweet, if not a violation of heath codes.
We spent 8 days on Puerto Rico, and it was wonderful. Here are a few key moments, aside from the big one. We rented an AirBNB in Condado, San Juan. It was a block from the ocean, and walking distance to a lot of restaurants, shops and other hotels.
I think Old San Juan was my favorite – we visited several times, and walked for miles through the city. It’s like a combination of New Orleans and San Fransisco, only much older than both. San Juan is the oldest city in the country, founded in 1521 (St. Augustine was founded in 1565). In particular, Castillo San Cristobal captured my piratey imagination.
We had a lot of outdoor fun. Aside from walking for many miles to forts, bookstores and various beaches, we went kayaking and hiked in a rain forest. While there was no rain is said forest, there was a pretty cool rope swing into a watering hole.
One day, we rented a car, and drove to the south of the island. I stuck a toe in the Caribbean sea, and we walked around Ponce. It seemed… slow, either because of COVID or maybe the last hurricane. There was a magnificent fountain in the center of the square, and I have a theory that it’s the actual “Fountain of Youth” that Ponce de Leon was searching for.
We left Ponce and headed for Arecibo.
Somehow, we got off 10 and ended up on 123, a nauseating winder of a road. Along the way, we found the most beautiful cemetery.
In Arecibo, we found a magical beach where waves hit the rocks and made huge plumes of white spray. It’s by the lighthouse.
The weather was wonderful, the ocean was warm, and the nights on our balcony were delightful.
I love ceviche and I love empanadas. I grew up eating both, and I had more of the former this trip, including some not in the photos below.
One thing I don’t want to forget – I was called “papi” by younger men several times on the trip. I thought they were calling me “old man.” And, well, this 18 year old was, but we googled it, and here’s what came up:
Papi is a colloquial term for “daddy” in Spanish, but in many Spanish-speaking cultures, particularly in the Caribbean, it is often used as a general term of affection for any man, whether it’s a relative, friend, or lover. The English “baby,” used as a term of endearment for spouses and children alike, is similar.
It was a wonderful trip, and I look forward to going back sometime.
Beverly and I went to San Juan Puerto Rico for vacation, and I asked her to marry me on our first day there. She said “YES!”
My talented daughter Chloë designed and made the ring. The stone is blue topaz, Beverly’s birth stone, and it’s set in a daisy. It was wonderful to have Chloë’s help. I’m honored and touched by her artistry, attention to detail and willingness to help me.
A few weeks ago, I went to Billy Martin’s house again for a lesson on improvising. In particular, I’m interested in providing live musical accompaniments at some of my animation screenings, which is something I haven’t tried doing in person yet.
We spent a Sunday afternoon talking and playing music. Billy is funny, kind and extremely generous. And it was one of the best days in my musical life. He’s a big influence on me, as is his band Medeski, Martin and Wood. To play drums and guitar with him was wonderful. I’m still processing what I picked up, and I’ve been reading and playing a lot. It was quite a dose of inspiration.
That catches us up to the point of this post. As a “thank you” to my wonderful Patreon supporters, I created a brand new issue of Impossibly Delicate Threads of Sleep, and it deals with improvisation. It also has some boffo tattoo flash, if you like that sort of thing.
If you are signed up on my Patreon, you’ll be getting one of these shortly. If you are not signed up, but would like to be (and would like one of these), you can sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/jimdoran
That’s two years, eight months and 24 days. I still count the days.
I was sober for over 20 years during my last sober streak. I didn’t count the days. I didn’t really think about sobriety. I wasn’t in recovery. I was just someone who didn’t drink. At parties, conferences, weddings and reunions, I had seltzer water with a slice of lime, and no considerations for alcohol.
As mentioned elsewhere, I naively started social drinking in 2013. It was useful at the time, and I don’t regret it. A few years past, and it was no longer serving me. Alcohol wasn’t my friend, and I decided to get sober again. I’ve done a lot work to be sober. I still may write about that in the future. But today, I’ll say that I enjoy these milestone dates very much. I gratefully count the days, and I do not take my sobriety for granted.
I met Albert Birney at Behind the Screens. Actually, we got to meet his mom first. They are both immediately likable.
And that’s how I feel about Albert’s new film, Strawberry Mansion, which opened at the Charles and 40 other theaters around the country this evening. If you are reading this, please see if it’s playing near you and consider going to see it.
The world needs more films like this. I enjoyed it, want to see it again, and will buy it when it’s available.
Baltimore’s Dan Deacon stole the show at the Q&A following the film.
I’m resuming my tradition of writing a year end post. The last one was in 2019.
It’s obviously been a strange few years. I remember thinking when work closed at the beginning of the pandemic that I might be home for two weeks. And we are rolling into year three! While this isn’t a post specifically about the pandemic, the pandemic is a delineator of our times – there will be a before and after for those of us that lived through it. What follows, then, is an account of the good parts of my “during” of 2o21.
When 2021 started, I began a challenge to make music every day. I began keeping a music “day book” where I sometimes wrote down what I did and how I did it. I created a “catalog” on my computer, which is an index of music ideas and passages.
I learned a lot about Ableton Live, which I very much enjoy working in. I attended a tape hacking workshop, and learned something about modifying cassette players. I started making effects and instruments with Max for Live. I joined a surf band, alternating between bass and drums. I got to hang out with Billy Martin at his house. I released an album on Scientifically Sound Records.
This practice of making music everyday was profound. If you want to learn something about yourself – say, as a composer, then compose music every day. I started working in my Theoretical Audio Laboratory to produce Sound Experiments, and I continued to examine my perceptions of sight and sound. I probably wouldn’t have made my discoveries if not for this self appointed challenge. I developed a process for making music with loops, found sounds and musique concrète.
Did I actually make music every day? I don’t think so. Most days, I did something. And I grew and created more as a musician in 2021 that I did in all of the previous decade. Not bad!
We also got out to see some live music. A huge highlight for me was seeing Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog.
2021 was the inaugural year of a new book club that Beverly and I founded together. It’s just for two people, and we don’t have to read the same book. We do have to read at least one book a month, and then we have a nice dinner and discuss what we read. This has been delightful. This year, I read the following for our club: Found Audio, Kink, The Plot, The Bullet Train, Circe, My Year Abroad, Piranesi, The Wrong Heaven, First Person Singular, Your Duck is My Duck, Just Kids, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, House of Leaves, Modern 12 Step Recovery, The Forbidden Surgeries of the Hideous Dr. Divinus, Turn Loose Our Death Rays, and Kill Them All!: The Complete Works of Fletcher Hanks. I also read several issues of The Comics Journal, and the first three volumes of the Wonder Woman Omnibus trade paperbacks.
We also watched a lot of movies and shows, but I’ll save that for another post.
I was able to get a COVID vaccine. It was also a shot of hope, and certainly a key turning point in this time. What a gift to have protection against some ghastly doom. As I write this, I can remember the free floating anxiety and uncertainty that pervaded everything we did. In fact, as the latest variant rips through the world, that anxiety feels more acute again. I should also mention that for me, the solitude was also useful. I become more grounded and centered. I think it accelerated my recovery, and I’m very grateful.
I began to run (sort of ) seriously this year, and completed a 12 mile race, among others! I didn’t come in last, either!
My dear friends got married, which was the first “big” in person event we attended after being vaccinated.
The cicadas visited, after being underground for 17 years, and I madesomeart to commemorate them. It was a long, hot summer.
Beverly and I combined house at the end of said summer, and said goodbye to the pool. The mutts will miss it!
The Benefits of Radiation picked up some awards, and was screened in person at the Sweaty Eyeballs animation festival. This was a dream realized for me. I’m very grateful.
Both of my daughters graduated from their respective schools in 2021, and both started new beginnings. We spent some good times together this year, and even got inked together.
I made a great deal of art, which I won’t summarize here – you need only read the blog portion of this site for that.
My intentions for 2022 include new animation and exhibition opportunities, volume 2 of Music to Hear Blindfolded, and more of all the good parts on 2021. Happy New Year, dear reader. I hope you are well.
I’m trying something new in 2022 continuing an experiment into 2023.
I’ve created a Patreon page. I’ve enjoyed some other creator Patreons during the pandemic, and I like the platform. It’s easy to use, you can adjust your subscriptions at any time, and it makes for a nice community.
I’ve got some ambitious plans for 2023, and I thought it would be fun to share behind-the-scenes stuff as I go. I’ve set up three tiers, which you can learn about on the Patreon site.