far too much writing, far too many photos

I’m afraid I went to see The Matrix Reloaded yesterday. For the second time. Please don’t hold it against me. I couldn’t help myself. The scary part: I enjoyed it at least as much as the first time around. And perversely, I especially liked aspects of it that I’ve heard critics complain about. Not to be contrary — I just like ‘em.

A sample of film dialogue some people may love, some may hate:

Lock: Goddamn it, Morpheus, not everyone believes what you do.

Morpheus: My beliefs don’t require them to.

Moment of note: heard from a police radio at one point during the long, intense highway-chase sequence — “1 Adam-12.” Have never seen the show, but even I got the reference.

From the credits: two different outfits involved in the special effects:

Giant Killer Robots

Pixel Liberation Front

Afterward, walking home along Gran Vía amid rush-hour crowds, came across the local heavy metal busker. Standing right up by the front of the Telefónica building, legs spread apart, churning out heavy metal chords punctuated by turgid melody lines, all of it boiling out of a small Pignose type amp. Black jeans, heavy black shoes, a ragged khaki-colored short-sleeved shirt which showed his skinny biceps off to good effect. Head bobbing as he played, long black hair waving in time. He looked up now and then at passing people, generally remained hunched over his guitar. Most everyone glanced or stared at him as they passed, almost no one slowed or stopped. One young couple paused, she dug into her bag, came up with some coins, dropped them into his cup. And one elderly woman in a matronly print dress and thick, clunky shoes walked slowly by. Slowly, slowly, slowly, staring at heavy-metal dude the entire time, her mouth open, her eyebrows knit. Looking completely, absolutely nonplussed.

I stayed there for a while, watching the ongoing extravaganza, then headed home.

This morning. Considering that I managed maybe four hours of sleep — tops — I did just fine. Dragged myself out of bed, got my sorry butt dressed and out the door. Hazy skies, muted sunshine, humid enough that I could feel it in the air — a rare experience here during the warm season (yesterday’s weather reports warned about possible rain today, possible storms). Got to the gym without mishap. Persuaded my little body to cooperate. Endured an hour and a half of the local version of FM top-40 radio (KISS FM — los 40 principales), the same 40 songs sprinkled with classic sentimental pop (if I have to hear “Unchained Melody” one more time I may not be responsible for the result). In the process, discovered the gym has a heavy-metal member, a slender 20-something with long, long black hair (parted in the middle, tied back in a ponytail), black shorts, sneakers and Judas Priest t-shirt. Slim, quiet, stays to himself. Works out in slow motion, takes loads of time between sets, staring ahead blankly. Can’t explain exactly why, but the recurring heavy-metal thing got me smiling.

Later, heading down into the Metro for the ride back here, a stocky 20-something black guy in sunglasses sat by the bottom of the escalator, singing a reggae tune at top volume, with all the lung power he had, hammering steadily away at his guitar. Loud. Dropped some change into his bag just to acknowledge all the calories he was burning.

A train pulls in, I step inside, two dark-skinned South American guys are playing a Peruvian tune, one on acoustic guitar, the other alternating between a smaller, dobro-type instrument and a recorder. Playing and singing, loud, and pretty damn good. Giving it everything they had, holding the attention of most of the people in the car — not often the case with in-train music. Gave them some change, as did a bunch of other people up and down the coach.

Clouds began moving in shortly after I returned home. A mild, humid, gray afternoon. Did some studying, went out to rent a DVD on the theory that I might watch it after class tonight. Wound up running into J., someone I met in Spanish classes during my first few months here (autumn/early winter 2000), a good guy whose Spanish at that time was advanced enough that being in my class must have bored the bejesus out of him. At that time, the school had no classes more advanced than ours. Scary thought, ’cause back then my Castellano was not too swift. His suffering didn’t last long — after a couple of weeks he returned to the States, one of many good folks who passed through classes I’ve taken, disappearing off into their own lives after varying spells in Madrid.

People come and go in this life of ours. It’s nice when they turn up again, even if just briefly.

When I emerged from the rental shop, the sidewalks were speckled from light, brief rainfall. One of my sainted landlords (I do not say that facetiously) stopped by a little while ago carrying an umbrella, reporting light rain. The sky remains gray, continues darkening. Who knows, maybe there’ll be heavy-weather fireworks tonight.

We’ll see.

Later.

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