Weekend 312.0 (Le mal du pays)

Train crossing between mountains.A couple of days off from work (a much needed extra long Labor Day Weekend) so I’m doing some housekeeping, biking, and drinking gratuitous amounts of coffee. I also finished Murkami’s book less than twenty-four hours after it arrived.

(1) A quote from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

“The only real interest he had was train stations. He wasn’t sure why, but for as long as he could remember, he had loved to observe train stations—they had always appealed to him. Huge bullet-train stations; tiny, one-track stations out in the countryside; rudimentary freight-collection stations—it didn’t matter what kind because as long as it was a railway station, he loved it. Everything about stations moved him deeply.

Like most little boys he enjoyed assembling model trains, but what really fascinated him weren’t the elaborate locomotives or cars, or the cleverly designed dioramas. No, it was the models of ordinary stations set down among the other parts, like an afterthought. He loved to watch as the trains passed by the station, or slowed down as they pulled up to the platform. He could picture the passengers coming and going, the announcements on the speaker system, the ringing of the signal as a train was about the depart, the station employees briskly going about their duties. What was real and what was imaginary mingled in his mind, and he’d tremble sometimes with the excitement of it all. But he could never adequately explain to people why he was so attracted to the stations. Even if he could, he knew they would think he was one weird kid. And sometimes Tsukuru himself wondered if something wasn’t exactly right with him.”

(1a) Le mal du pays – The groundless sadness called forth in a person’s heart by a pastoral landscape. Homesickness. Melancholy.

(1b) Hearts Linked by Pain: The plainness of Murakami’s writing accentuates a story of finding things to live for after traumatic loss. (WSJ)

(1c) Haruki Murakami Bingo

(2) An excerpt from The Bermudian by Nathaniel Tucker:

The guava flourishes, the myrtle grows,
Upon the surface earth-born woodbines creep,
O’er the green beds the painted ‘sturtians peep,
Their arms aloft triumphant lilacs bear,
And jessamines perfume the ambient air.
The whole is from an eminence display’d,
Where the brown olive lends his pensive shade.
When zephyrs there the noon-tide heat asswage,
Oft have I turn’d the meditative page,
And calmly read the ling’ring hours away,
Securely shelter’d from the blaze of day.

(3) Oh, Come On. Marigolds? Seriously? (WSJ)

(4) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)

What makes a hotel great is: sort of like what makes a great wine; it’s much more than the fruit you drink, and the bottle and the label. It’s the story connected to it; the context and the history. A hotel is made great by the guests who stayed there 100 years ago, and all the detail and personality that developed over that time.”

(5) Eurailing Around Europe—As an Adult (WSJ)

*Train crossing between mountains. Scan is from The Art of the Wind Rises: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki.

Weekend 309.0

(1) Sturmey Archer “The Planetary Gearset” (YouTube)

(2) Speed Traps For Japan’s Escalators (WSJ – Registration Required)

(3) Shakespeare as a Life Coach (WSJ)

“The world is grown so bad that wrens make pray where eagles dare not perch.” – William Shakespeare, Richard III

(4) ‘A Spy Among Friends’ (WSJ – Registration Required)

(5) A Ferris Wheel Family Rides Coney Island’s Renewal (WSJ – Registration Required)

(6) In Praise of the Mundane Marigold (WSJ)

“The key to using annuals creatively, said Mr. Stufano—respected for transforming Wave Hill Garden, in the Bronx, from a sad mess into an arresting jewel—is to forget fads. Train yourself to just look at the plant’s essential qualities, its texture, form, height and color, without letting the chicness factor (or the taint of that gas-station island) seep into your brain. He often used ordinary plants like marigolds and thistles in unusual ways at Wave Hill.”

(7) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)

Weekend 307.0

Splendidum(1) Designer Jasper Morrison on Beautiful Basics and Tintin (WSJ)

“By worrying when the next idea might come, you restrict yourself—with the perspective of time, he’d learned to treat design more lightly, to enjoy it.”

(2) A quote from The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved by Hunter S. Thompson

“Pink faces with a stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. ‘Mayblossom Senility’ (Steadman’s phrase)…burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the first place. Not much energy in the faces, not much curiosity. Suffering in silence, nowhere to go after thirty in this life, just hang on and humor the children.”

(3) The Art of Freight Train Painting: Canada’s railyard Rembrandts create art that moves (Utne Reader)

Weekend 300.0 (Rare 3 Day Weekend)

…and great timing because my Space Mountain Graphic Novel just arrived!

Weekend 279.0 (Post Con/Abridged)

(1) A quote from Hayao Miyazaki in The Art of the Wind Rises:

“I don’t want to obscure architecture by using sepia tones; thus we will be bold with East Asian colors of modernism. Roads are bumpy and uneven. Shop signs and billboards line up chaotically. Jumbles of wooden utility poles are everywhere.”

(1a) “…a fragment spared by time.” — FDR

(2) Struggling Malls Suffer When Sears, Penney Leave: Loss of Anchor Tenants Can Accelerate Downward Spiral (WSJ – Registration Required)

(3) Last Call for Metro-North’s Bar Car: ‘Café Cars’ Have Been Operating on the Metro-North New Haven Line for at Least 50 Years (WSJ)

(4) The Instant Family Heirloom (WSJ)

(5) Picking Among Low-End Flowers in Advance of Mother’s Day (WSJ)

*Scan is from Space Mountain written by Bryan Q. Miller and illustrated by Kelley Jones

Weekend 277.0 (Autumn Biking Adventures)

Resort Hotel Lighting(1) This App Will Help You Find A Quiet Space In The Loud, Bustling City

(1a) Metro-North Commuters Slog to Work: After Power Outage, It Could Be Days Before Normalcy Returns to New Haven Line (WSJ)

On the plus side, diesel locos from Stamford!

(2) A quote from The Blue Riband (The Piccadilly Line) by Peter York

Everyone, I learnt, was fascinated by the Tube, and everyone knew more than me. There’s something for every kind of nerd and wonk. And fogeys (fogeys particularly like the Tube’s inter-war Modernist architecture).”

“Medieval Modernists were an important group of influential British arts patrons, curators, collector and administrators operating in the first half of the twentieth century. They were typically born in the late nineteenth century, outsiders, often Northern and Non-conformist, brought up on Ruskin and Morris (the ‘medieval’ grounding). They then developed into proselytizers for a particularly English kind of Modernism in the early twentieth century. A toned-down, commercially practical, socially useful, improving kind.”

(2a) Charles Holden’s Southgate Tube Station

(3) Lindsey Adelman :: BB.14.05

(4) In honor of National Coffee Day (September 29) some stop-motion coffee animation by Rachel Ryle

(5) 150 great things about the Underground: the stained glass at Uxbridge.

(5a) One last quote from The Blue Riband (The Piccadilly Line) by Peter York

“Uxbridge, at the Western end of the line, is another Charles Holden station that doesn’t look much from the street. But inside — and I’ve got the photographs to prove it — the long hall and concourse, the unlikely set-back, stained-glass windows, the late thirties arcade of shops and the elegant ranks of raw concrete pillars supporting the platform roof could be in Germany or Sweden. It’s that good.”

(6) 50 Creative Ideas To Make Better Cities, Presented On Gorgeously Designed Posters

Weekend 274.0 (Baskets Encouraged)

Finished A History of Capitalism According to the Jubilee Line by John O’Farrell and The 32 Stops by Danny Dorling. The latter is a clever work using facts to provide insights into the human geography of London along the Central Line.

Also, finished A Northern Line Minute by William Leith last night. It was like method acting (in book form) in preparation for the lead in a biopic on Woody Allen.

*Updated graphic!

(1) Heathrow’s Future Is Up in the Air: Debate Over Expansion vs. Building a New Airport (WSJ)

(2) Railroad company logo design evolution: 100 logos from American and Canadian railroad companies

(3) That time a giant airship darkened Toronto’s skies

(4) These Bikers Race for Last Place: Cyclists say slow riding is response to hard-core fitness world (WSJ)

“Cyclists who are looking for tough workouts have plenty of company. But for other bikers, that is just not how they roll. Instead, they are meandering over to ‘slow-bike’ clubs that are cropping up around the country. There was even a Slow Bike Race last month in Newburyport, Mass. The last one to cross the finish line won.”

“In 2011, she [Molly Peterson] launched the Slow Bicycle Society on the Eastern Shore, an Alabama club with 100 members and a mission statement: ‘No Spandex needed!’ In Tennessee, the Murfreesboro Slow Ride Cyclists, which formed two months ago, calls itself ‘a never-get-left-behind fun bicycling group’ with ‘baskets encouraged.’

(4a) Orange Bike Pron

(4b) Fluttering About: the Papillionaire Sommer (Lovely Bicycle!)

(5) Bonzart Ampel Tilt-Shift Camera: Fun With Tilt-Shift: The Ampel isn’t the only camera you’ll ever need, but it might be the most entertaining (WSJ)

(6) The Autobiography of George Orwell: The author of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” disdained biographers, so we must rely on his correspondence for insights into his work and life. (WSJ – Registration Required)

(6a) George Orwell from ‘On a Ruined Farm near the His Master’s Voice Gramophone Factory’ (1933)

There, where the tapering cranes sweep round,
And great wheels turn, and trains roar by
Like strong, low-headed brutes of steel —
There is my world, my home; yet why

So alien still? For I can neither
Dwell in that world, nor turn again
To scythe and spade, but only loiter
Among the trees the smoke has slain.

(7) A Writer’s Daily Bread: J.F. Powers made great fiction from the mundane obstacles and triumphs of everyday life (WSJ)

From the ‘Son of a Florist’ files…

(8) A Rothko-Inspired Flower Arrangement (WSJ)

(9) Tidying up loose ends…

(a) You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem? (The Atlantic)

(b) The Innovation of Loneliness

Weekend 213.3 (bits and bobs)

En Route on the Sloped Road(1) “What other commute can compete with the sights of the limestone Landwasser Viaduct and the Piz Bernina peak?” – MONOCLE, February 2012

(2) Kibun is NO Toast but he’s squishy nonetheless

(2a) PRICELESS: “Botan! Plushie mode. This is one of Botan’s seven tricks. When she’s like this people will think you’re a plushie enthusiast rather than someone smuggling a boar into class.”

(3) Can a Papermaker Help to Save Civilization? (NYTIMES)

(3a) Ed!t

More Goodies from the Train Show

This is the second pamphlet/brochure from the train show and this one is in fantastic shape. This is a promotional piece (12 panels) for the second year of the 1939/1940 NY World’s Fair and includes an advertisement for New Railroads on Parade. This dramatic musical extravaganza was presented by the Eastern Railroads. The pamphlet/brochure is underwritten (sponsored) by the New Haven Railroad!

“Streamlined AIR CONDITIONED Coaches offer you every modern travel luxury and convenience at amazingly low 2¢-a mile coach fares. Make the Grill Car your modern rendezvous en route! Refreshments, sandwiches, complete meals…at low prices.”

There are also ads for the American Jubilee, Aquacade, and Magic Fountains.

“COMBINING WATER, fire, and sound in a starlit symphony, this inspiring show is given nightly at the Lagoon of Nations…FREE!”

Romantic. Some of the other panels include editorials for local hotels (plenty of rooms and low prices) and affordable dining options (eat within your budget).

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Makoto Shinkai