And also…

oranj

First, an apology. I’m going to list a group of people with some bullet points. Apologies that you didn’t rate a full entry like JEFF, but we’ll circle back on that when our friendship surpasses the 18 year mark, ok?

But there are a few people that I kind of want to at least call out for meritorious service over the past year or so. Last year, I threw myself a birthday party and as I was looking around, I realized that apart from maybe 2 people, the rest of the people there were folks I’d met within the past 3 years or less. And I was kind of amazed that I’d somehow managed to make enough acquaintances in a fairly short amount of time to populate a pretty decent birthday party (which, in a surprise to me, turned into the epicenter of Syracuse ukulele punk?). I digress… basically, I gave Jeff an entry and now you should learn a little more about a few other people, in no particular order. You will see how accomplished they all are as well as rating high in friendship points. I’M ALSO SORRY IF YOU AREN’T ON THIS LIST. WORK HARDER NEXT YEAR. So:

Let’s start with Zeke Leonard, who I played a show with last night. Also known as BassMal, I met Zeke just under two years ago at the first Malvinas practice. And from that point, through providing the rhythm section for the Malvinas, I found that, much like Jeff, Zeke and I are weird friend-siblings, that like weird creepy cacophonous sounds and share a sense of humor that favors poop jokes and other filth. But amidst all that, there have been some good bits of real friend conversations about life and support (including the moving of bits of furniture) from him and his wife, Karen, during difficult times. Zeke is the kind of person that people are drawn to and like as soon as they meet because he’s personable and does really interesting stuff – glad I am one of those people that gets to participate in a few of those interesting things (as long as we don’t die in a car crash). Like the instant classic “Applying Tung Oil for DES 341.” GOOGLE IT.

To keep with the Malvinas theme, I absolutely must mention Joanna Spitzner and Jessica Posner. ABSOLUTELY. Amazing artists and amazing friends. So Jessica was one of the people at the birthday party that I had known for more than 3 years. We met while I was messing around in Yet Another grad school program and made a short film together that involved a puppet I built. We fell out of touch a bit and then met up for lunch one day when she was back in town and then awhile later, I got an email from Joanna about this band that they were putting together… the rest is history, of course. I could list a long, long number of ways in which they have been excellent, but I think it can be summed up best in telling you that as I was hobbling along near the end of my marathon last year, having hurt my knee and just trying to finish the darn thing, to see the two of them coming in the other direction to meet me and bring me in across the finish is literally one of the most touching things that anyone has ever done for me. I don’t think I’ve conveyed to them exactly how much that meant to me and mentioning it here does not begin to do so either, but… yeah. I am continually thankful that they are in my life.

Mike Intaglietta just got a new job and he’s pretty important now. But prior to that, he was a pretty good friend what with the furniture storage and Slack discussions and whatnot. It’s too bad that he is dead to all of us now that he is very important (he also played God in a few scenes at the improv show last night, so, you know…). To Mike, and gainful employment. And let’s not forget @dagsly, who also provided furniture support and friendship, as well as those stuffed jalapeño things at a picnic earlier this year. I rate a stuffed jalapeño thing pretty highly. Speaking of food, Caithlin, through Twitter and email chats from afar and the sharing of literally the best dumplings ever (LAMB AND CORIANDER 4EVS) is firmly placed on this list.

And then we have my Top Texting Trio: SamanthaTracy and Kristin. Sam and I went to grad school together at Cornell. Tracy and Kristin and I met via the Syracuse Twitterati many moons ago. The backchannel communications via text and Facebook and in person chats in Saratoga, at Lofo, at Recess, while running, etc. etc. etc. have been absolutely priceless and their advice, commiseration and commentary are things I look forward to daily. Also, Sam is probably the only person I actually talk to on the phone. Is that sad or a commentary on the strength of our friendship? I could detail this all further, but we’ve all signed non-disclosure agreements. They know. We’re good.

The more I wrote this, the more names that came up, but I think we’re good here right now. I’m lucky.

09072015

Titles are kind of a problem sometimes. Reverting to dates when titles are feeling superfluous.

Spending Labor Day hiding in my cave with all the lights off and a fan directly on me. Found that a plastic crate on top of my current desk actually makes an ergonomically-correct-height standing desk that can be disassembled at a moment’s notice. Standing desk in my home and exercise ball chair at work seems like a decent nod to health. It’s much easier to give in to natural fidgeting and I never find myself sitting on my leg anymore.

Eating tomatoes and my new favorite thing, Ithaca Hummus (it’s so good).

I knew a run wouldn’t happen today because I didn’t want to wake up early enough to avoid the heat (haha – I did anyway, but moved slowly rather than launching myself out the door). Pleased with myself for getting a good round of strength and core stuff in anyway though (with the fan pointed directly on me and a cold shower after).

Intently focused on a project right now and dealing with the ups and downs of the creative process. Can’t move fast enough to get ideas out of my head and trying to keep from spiraling out, as I am wont to do. Trying to record all of that for the next thing. Trying to stay focused on this and not on… everything else.

 

 

(Everything else is probably a more interesting entry?)

 

Lieu

Lots of life has happened since I last posted. But I’m giving you a list of links I’ve saved over a few months instead of actually writing about anything, mostly because I’m sick of seeing the previous post sitting there.

  • Indonesians Who Helped Make Documentaries Face Uncertainties
    The release of “The Look of Silence,” a companion film to “The Act of Killing,” has led to concerns about whether the new movie’s central figures and dozens of anonymous crew members are in danger.
  • moviebarcode
    It’s interesting to me that the quality of the film has no bearing on the beauty of the resulting image.
  • Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove
    A behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of one of the classics of modern cinema. Including interviews with many members of the cast and crew of this story about the scramble by the heads of state to head off a rogue general’s attempt to launch a nuclear war, this film gives fans a wealth of new information on the work and effort that went into bringing the film to fruition. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher
  • The Title Design of Saul and Elaine Bass from Art of the Title
    To celebrate the release of the long-awaited book “Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design”, we put together a brief visual history of some of Saul Bass’s most celebrated work. It should be noted that much of Saul’s title design work after 1960 was made in collaboration with his wife Elaine Bass.
  • The Art of the Opening Shot
    First impressions last and these movies know it.
  • The myth, the man
    Ingmar Bergman’s life and work are hard to differentiate, and that’s putting it mildly.
  • The Last Audio Cassette Factory
    Springfield, MO-based National Audio Company opened in 1969 and when other major manufacturers abandoned tape manufacturing for CD production in the late 1990s, the company held on tight. Now, the cassette maker is pumping out more cassettes than ever before. (Video By: Jeniece Pettitt, Ryo Ikegami) (Source: Bloomberg)
  • These Are the Saddest Amtrak Stations in America
    Some of the nation’s train stations don’t make a great impression. That won’t change until Congress truly funds passenger rail.
  • “What was thrown off the bridge really isn’t that important.”
    Epic Metafilter post regarding Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe”
  • Answer Man: How do you get on interstate logo signs?
    Question: How do you get on the wayfaring signs on the highways? I saw Sierra Nevada recently got its own sign. How does this happen? Does the company have to pay for it?
  • Sassy’s Cute Band Alert
    Please note February 1993.
  • A Conversation. With Walter Murch
    When you’re facing Walter Murch and a Revox, you know right away that something unique is coming. Sounds, reverberations, knowledge, insights. The rest is silence.
  • Rachel Laudan: My Great Grandmother’s Industrially Processed Food
    “Pollan could have assigned a date to the moment when new and supposedly dangerous foods were introduced, foods he frequently identifies as industrially processed.  But he didn’t. So I thought it might be interesting to see what industrially processed foods my great grandmother had at her disposal.”

Ok

This photo looks like it could be part of something semi-glamorous, but it’s cropped and tweaked from a photo I took of myself while doped up on morphine and fentanyl in the ER of an Adirondack hospital this past Friday. Also, they should really take your phone away from you when you are that medicated. I only had wifi though and no actual reception so everyone was spared ill-advised phone calls. 

I was driving up to Keeseville Early Friday morning for an AARCH board meeting. Feeling good! Singin’ songs! Until I was feeling bad. And having to pull over to get out and walk around wondering what the growing pain in my side was. I eventually made it up to one of the rest areas and things started getting bad. I threw up and then called my mom from a pay phone and then called 911. The nearest hospital was about 10 miles away, but as I blubbered to the operator, I wasn’t sure I could actually drive my car at this point. So they sent an ambulance. 

I went outside to sit on a bench, doubled-over in pain. That’s when Mark, currently The Greatest Person Ever, came over and asked if I was ok. I was all “nooooooo” and he took over the situation and made sure the ambulance was coming and told me he wasn’t going to be leaving until they did. He also got in touch with my mom to keep her apprised of the situation. Then Autumn, a woman I only got a small glimpse of, came up and stood behind me on the bench to let me lay down without falling off. She had a lot of tattoos and a gravelly-voice, but was the most soothing presence. I’m hoping I can find her to thank her someday. 

Finally, the ambulance came and off we went. The two doses of morphine they gave me didn’t come close to touching the pain, although I could feel the rest of my body getting woozy. I was a sobbing, wailing, shaking mess by the time we got to the hospital. As soon as we got in, they gave me fentanyl and although my head felt like it was floating independently of my body, the pain dropped to a manageable level almost immediately. 

What had happened was that my body decided this was a great time to pass a kidney stone. And, before I left the hospital that afternoon, I did, saving me from a bevy of prescriptions and pain over the weekend. I’ve had one before, but it was over 6 years ago, so I had no reason to suspect another. 

LONG STORY SHORT: Friday stunk. And I missed the meeting. 

But Saturday made up for it! I was feeling much better so I decided to continue with the plans I had to visit one of my good friends from grad school in Saratoga on Saturday. We ended up at the track and my first time ever there will be hard to top. Her friends had a fantastic box seat AND we got to go back to the paddock with the fancy folk. 

And because the universe is strange, I ran into the OTHER Syracuse-ukulele-based-band’s drummer while there. Because that’s where the drummers go?

It was great to catch up with my friend though and talk with words and hands and visual guides after not seeing each other in ages though. Because texting stinks, as we all know. 

Weekend SALVAGED. 

Key

My day ended with a viewing of An American in Paris, one of my favorite movies, at the Landmark. It was just what I needed to relax and lose myself for a little while. I mentioned on Twitter that the fountain scene in the ballet gets me every time… the whole thing, especially when Leslie Caron slides down Gene Kelly’s leg. Oof. 

The day started with band photos being taken in front of our practice space. I took them (which included running into the shot each time) and I think they came out pretty decently. I still need to edit the ones we like, but I think we’ve got a few good ones to work with. 

Accomplished one frivolous thing and one monumental thing as well. Both are a relief, but of very different degrees. And now I’m going to bed so I can actually accomplish a few things tomorrow. Somehow it will all get sorted out. 

Tock

Lovely day yesterday with two of my bandmate ladies at the beach along Lake Ontario. I’m absolutely a wilderness lake sort, but there is something thrilling about seeing only water in front of you for miles. Hello Canada! We had a perfectly pleasant Autonomous Adult Beach Afternoon, where we lounged and snacked and stared and read and cooled off in the water and baked in the sun. I am proud of how decently I applied sunscreen.

A strange fog rolled in for a bit not long after we arrived and it became all VISUAL ARTISTS VISITING THE BEACH MUST DOCUMENT THIS OCCURRENCE! I was expecting half of the beachgoers to be missing after the fog lifted, but all was well and it eventually moved through and we were able to continue on, lizard-like in our basking and relaxation.

It was noted on our return that our afternoon was actually truly relaxing. I agree. I didn’t actually bring a book or anything and just tried to clear my mind as much as possible and focus on the waves and sounds of seagulls. And the effect of that as well as the baking sun and bracing water did result in a level of Actual Relaxation.

And what better way to round out a serene day at the beach than to hit the 10:30 showing of Taxi Driver at the Landmark?? A bunch of improv collective folks were there as well and it was good to see on the big screen as opposed to a tv – I can’t remember the last time I actually saw that movie in full – college?

I’m of a certain opinion on Martin Scorsese. I absolutely respect his love of cinema and craft and his nods to neorealism and New Wave and such. However, I don’t actually like a lot of his movies, post-1980s. I’m pretty much good with Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. And stuff like The Big Shave is pretty amazing too. I like old experimental, personal Marty. The New Hollywood stuff, you know? It’s a good thing for George Lucas that he made Star Wars and Indiana Jones because I could easily put him in this spot as well. But both have the mix of the expression of the art films that inspired them as well as the kinetic/dynamic of machismo and machine and that’s what I was really inspired by in college as well.

And now I just hyped myself up to work on my project – have to do some other stuff first, but hoping to make some good progress this week.

============

Slightly related: I watched the Tig Notaro documentary that came out on Netflix the other day and thought it was quite good. It’s pretty straightforward in terms of structure, but I liked the text/stills that they used to illustrate the recording of the legendary Largo show. We were talking in the car about it on the way to the beach and I thought it was really notable how she underlined how she couldn’t ever do that set again.

I used to consider myself a regular scholar of stand-up comedy, back in high school when I’d come home from school and ensconce myself in front of the tv with homework and Cheese Doodles and soak in the non-stop stand-up that Comedy Central used to air (punctuated by sketch, of course). I’m not sure why I never actually tried stand-up, but I would guess it’s related to my almost pathological inability to learn lines (see: lines taped to back of box at 24-Hour Theater Slam, pathetic attempt to recite Shakespeare at Alpha Psi Omega induction.) Which is why I do improv. And the monologues involved in some improv forms kind of scratch the stand-up itch.

BACK AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, I was partially involved in some live storytelling stuff. Particularly remember the Fray event that happened the day before September 11th. That was a harrowing drive home. And, events of terrorism aside, an interesting time to recall, especially as life seems to circle back on itself a bit. But I digress. Straight up stand-up didn’t seem like a thing I’d do because the idea of refining the act and jokes didn’t seem particularly natural or easy to me. Perhaps part of my return to various forms of art practice involves more experimental stand-up/performance art… we shall see.

And, related in a more roundabout way to all of the above is how confirmation bias becomes so apparent at times. I have a list happening right now that’s a little weird.

Tic


I feel like more and more things keep getting piled into my brain as questions that need to be resolved. And there’s nothing I can do to answer them until it’s time for them to be dealt with. Kind of twiddling my thumbs a bit longer, although that seems like a flippant image. But things will resolve themselves one way or another and I’ll have more agency in all of that soon enough. Twiddle twiddle twiddle. 

Yesterday I posted about making time for art practice and I held myself to that today by shaking down a couple friends for contributions to some collaborative work. And now I’m chomping at the bit to work on it. Writing a few ideas now, in between jotting this out. 

Speaking of friends, I’ve mentioned I here how great some of my friends have been lately and how I’ve tried to be a better friend myself. This is true, but, on the flip side, I’ve also found that I’m working on being a ruthless mercenary. Partially as a defense mechanism, but also to keep a sense of optimism. Trying to take whatever lesson I can from a situation or letting things be a catalyst for good change. 

The optimism is kind of hard sometimes and I’m dismayed to find that, for a variety of reasons and experiences, I tend to find myself expecting to be disappointed. I don’t want to be that person, though, even if I means accepting a modicum of vulnerability. Twiddle twiddle twiddle. 

Slide

The one problem with not updating daily is the feeling of having to write about something rather than just anything. This isn’t meant to be a space for perfectly crafted work. 

I kind of have a lot going on right now. Which, as has been historically true, means I am also filling my brain with all the other things I could be doing. Art projects and video ideas and maybe I should just buckle down and finish You-Know-What and and and… when I try to put my mind to one of those things, I am then overcome with guilt about not focusing on The Things At Hand and then neither get done. This is frustrating and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. 

Sometimes, I am able to get in the flow and groove and can work for hours on something. If only I could bottle all of the planet alignment that needs to happen to reach that state. But it is something I need to work on more – I need to continue to carve out room for more intentional personal art and work along with the creative outlets of my band and improv. 

I’ve said to a few people over the last few years that now is when I wish I could go back and do the MFA that I walked away from, but I know I’m not going back to school (HAHAHA!!!). I KNOW that I can just do the work and I have the community to show it. Now I need to just do it. 

And maybe it’s more personally meaningful if I can drive myself to get it done amidst everything else that I should be doing anyway. This is when I need to reach over to the logical spreadsheet side of my brain and schedule the time and recognize that I need those constraints on myself to make myself focus. 

So daily entries may become daily art practice – which may not be a public thing here, but reflecting in here will help support that effort. 

Signs 

Sign courtesy of Brøderbund, 1986.

Returned from a short break for woodland vacationing. It’s nice to not have the pressure of updating every day, I have to admit.

I feel like I have SO MUCH to write about, but this is not really the best forum for it all. Maybe someday, or not. Watch Your Step is a good thought to keep in mind. Choose the path wisely and watch for loose rocks or broken stairs. Mind the clearance above and don’t bump your head. Which tends to not be a problem for a #shortperson like myself.

But still, watching your step all the time leads to being over-cautious and not taking risks. And I think I’ve established in the past entries here that I think taking some risk in life is a good thing. That doesn’t mean that you don’t feel some fear while putting yourself out there though. Every risk has the chance to end in some physical or emotional pain. Sometimes it’s “a learning experience” and ends up becoming a good thing, either quickly or in the long run. Other times it adds to the pile of unresolved issues within one’s psyche and leads to even more tentative steps.

Right now, I feel like I’m simultaneously sprinting, with long, confident strides interspersed with timid tiptoes. When you’re running through a field with abandon, you’re also crushing grass and insects and who-knows-what underneath every footstep. And the tiptoeing happens while you look up, waiting for the shoe to drop onto you.

Pretty decent general life advice, I think.

I just deleted a bunch of stuff about self-sufficiency that was coming out weird and made me sound more conservative than I am, but it wasn’t supposed to be a political statement. Or an ableism statement. More than I, personally, like to be as self-sufficient as possible and I appreciate others who are as well, in their own various ways. I don’t know why this seems like a controversial statement to me, but maybe I’m just tired.

I hate that I can’t just ENJOY things sometimes and have to overthink them. There are a handful of things right now that seem like pleasant gifts if I look at them one way and cruel tricks/punishment if I look at them another way. I guess the answer is that I just have to keep doing what seems the most true to what I am and accept things as they fall, whether they are pleasant or shoes dropping down on top of me.

Next

Selfie Triptych, 2015
Selfie Triptych, 2015

Pro Tip: When you add the word “triptych” and a date to something, it immediately becomes art. Intention!

Once I hit post on this, I’ll have succeeding in writing a post for each day of the month. The rules were bent a bit, but I think I stuck to the spirit of the challenge I put in front of myself. I’m not going to promise daily updates past this point, but I think I’ve created enough of a habit that 6 months won’t pass by again.

Some of the entries were minimal, but the fact that they exist will remind me that they were minimal for a reason, either due to a busy day, too much communication elsewhere or just not being into it that day. June was all action and delay and change and decisions and intrigue and a few quiet moments. June 2015 was historical and mundane all at once.

Tonight I’ll thomp my drums again – something I haven’t done in way too long and I’ll enjoy it. I appreciate my band for giving me an outlet to do something that, even if we were to dissolve, I would continue to do on my own, even if it were for no one else to hear. I’ve come to appreciate the feeling of the stick hitting the drum head too much. I need to work on becoming a better drummer, but at least I’m a good-enough drummer right now.

Powerful sounds and movements and action, especially with the tiny reminder today of my apparent fragility. I need to be better about what I’m eating and remember to take certain vitamins and not slack on physical health. Luckily, I was just talking to a coworker about this and she is willing to create a plan for me to reach those goals in a focused, disciplined way. Intention! Understanding that there may be outside catalysts for certain actions, but that you don’t stick with something unless YOU are actually committed to it. Intention in art, intention in body, intention in mind!

And then July will, after a moment, start out largely in the woods, both literally and figuratively.

What’s next?