Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Rice rockets.

Rice rockets.


As part of my saké/soju sojourn, I did a little light readin on ur interwebz about different grades and methodologies regarding saké. Enough, apparently, that I now feel it appropriate to pretentiously use the “é” character in the word saké — hey, at least I’m not saying “é??.”

So it turns out there are only a few American saké makers, and only one American-owned, SakeOne. Frankly I couldn’t care less who owns the place, as long as the output is palatable. The point being, SakeOne has a label called “Momokawa” which is made from the yeast, and in the style, of Momokawa Japan. It’s fairly well-respected and, I found out, also distributed via Total Wine as “Mura Mura.”

Today I picked up a variety of the Mura Mura varieties of saké and a bottle of the somewhat less prestigious “everyday” Gekkeikan. (I imagine this is to saké what Sam Adams is to beer — decent but still, essentially, mass produced.) I’m sipping a little of the nigori genshu “Mountain” label — which is really Momokawa Pearl — a cloudy, unfiltered variety which is quite sweet and tropical-tasting. I’m having it a bit below room temperature, which I think lets the flavor out exceptionally well. (I found out that premium saké is not warmed, but rather served at room temperature or below, while more run-of-the-mill varieties like Gekkeikan are perfectly enjoyable warm.) I have a feeling Mura Mura Mountain would go great with a curry dish or Thai food. I also picked up some of the dryer “Canyon” and “River” to try later.

I swear that this has nothing to do with kōji other than in a purely literal fashion. However, the timing is fairly appropriate, don’t you think?

DVD round-up.

Last night Eleya and I watched Robert DeNiro’s latest directorial outing, The Good Shepherd. Eric Roth has turned in a simply superb screenplay, with all the crackle of a good thriller, but without the added dash of cliché, plodding dialogue, or overwrought metaphor. And DeNiro is definitely showing signs of becoming a truly great director — deft, unpretentious, and performance-enhancing camera work show that he is following in the footsteps of masters like John Ford and Clint Eastwood. (Working with virtuoso cinematographer and frequent Oliver Stone collaborator Robert Richardson didn’t hurt, either.) I appreciated that the film didn’t belabor a particular political point of view, but rather showed the personal cost of the secrets borne by people whose lives are steeped in intelligence service work. At about 2:45 it’s a bit long for an evening’s viewing when you don’t get to sit down with your sweetie until after 9:00, but well worth the time.

Some other (un)mentionables from our recent month of Netflix rentals:

  • The Fountain — We actually bought this and I had forgotten it was in our queue until it turned up the day after Eleya came home with the DVD. Since our copy was still in its wrapper, I figured we could preview it on Netflix and return the bought copy if we didn’t think it was worth owning. Turns out it would have been worth buying two copies — this was an amazing tale, thrice told, about the price of trying to make true love last forever, an intelligent tearjerker by enfant terrible Darren Aronofsky. Highly recommended.
  • Hair — This may be a Milos Forman film, and I generally like his work, but this was, hands-down, the worst screen musical I’ve ever seen. In fact, I think it’s just as easily the worst musical ever, in any medium. Virtually tuneless musical numbers, asinine lyrics, and ham-handed attempts at issue politics made this virtually unwatchable. My wife’s summation of the last 20 mintues was the only melodious aspect of this horrible celluloid mistake. Avoid at all costs.
  • Jules et Jim — I thought this was quite excellent; admittedly I’m not much of an aficionado of the French New Wave, but it’s easy to see why this is one of François Truffaut’s most popular films. Filled with whimsy and pathos in equal parts, it’s worth seeing if only for sheer visual audacity. With freeze frames, inventive aperture use, and other tricks later appropriated by Hollywood, Truffaut makes magic out of moments that would be simply a good yarn in lesser hands. Truffaut once said (I’m paraphrasing wildly) that every camera movement is a judgment pronounced on the characters, and you can definitely see that ethic at work in this movie. On the other hand, my wife said, “Feel free to watch future French films by yourself.” So maybe it’s not for everyone. Recommended.


I started working on a little PyGTK project a while back to teach myself some more modern programming skills, and the results aren’t too bad, if a little simplistic to be considered alongside the luminaries working in the Fedora community. It’s just a small notification-area applet to allow you to twitter from your GNOME desktop, nothing to shout or call home about. Fortunately I ignored the outside world (as far as this mini-project goes) while working on it, because in the months since I started several other, probably much better, works have popped up. Someone’s done a full implementation of the Twitter API in Python, and there’s at least one GUI client available already too — although that one is in Mono, to which I say, “blecch.” Anyhow, if I ever get this thing to a state where I’m not embarrassed by it, say 2018, I might try to get it into the FPC.