Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Empty VT Backroads

Oh yeah, this is why I moved back to Vermont. Nights like this, driving on empty dirt roads, watching the sun go down and listening to the peepers while warm, fragrant air rushes through the windows. It has been so long since I drove on these empty roads, hitting every gravel patch with relish, hair whipping, oldies station blasting - is there anything better? Any place nicer to be??

Tonight I helped Christine move to a super cool cabin-like house in West Bolton. We took boxes from her old apartment in the heart of Burlington and drove along the tree-lined highway (even the highways are pretty out here!) out to Richmond. Then we took turn after turn until it dawned on me that I would never find my way back without a trail of breadcrumbs. The air got fresher and cleaner the further away from the city lights we got. The mountains loomed around us and a fine humid mist clung to their green silhouettes. It felt empty and still, my troubles started to evaporate.

In VT, it takes about 15 minutes to get to the middle of nowhere. Large, rambling houses surrounded by miles of emptiness and far from the maddening crowds. They say that you spend your entire life searching for the place where you were born. Since I was brought into this world in the little town of Cooperstown in Upstate NY, it is no surprise that I would feel more comfortable in the middle of nowhere than a cement-filled city.

Our house in Cherry Valley sat atop an intimidating hill and there were no other houses for as far as the eye could see. The valley stretched out before us and hills loomed up behind us. My earliest memories are of green, wide open spaces and the rhythmic din made by insects. No doubt, I am still searching for my own private Cherry Valley. It is out there somewhere, down a long, twisted dirt road which I will need a map to find.

Until then, Burlington is a pretty ok city to spend one's days. Especially when you have a brand new barbecue grill and you are not afraid to use it. Mmmm, grilled meat...mmmm...grilled veggies, Bud Light, barbecue potato chips, cole slaw and juicy, hot cherry tomatoes...mmm...

And to further emmerse yourself in some epic landscapes, ripe with symbolism, have a look at these Thomas Cole paintings as reviewed by Professor Harrison:

Monday, May 29, 2006

Flicks and Chicks

Well, today is Memorial Day, whoopety doo. And instead of celebrating it with friends, sun soaking, grilled meat and beer a plenty, I am locked away in my cold-as-hell, dank, lonely basement uploading videos to You Tube. Ah, what's that you say? "Cough, ehm, loser!" Sadly, you appear to have a cold, I know what you really mean to say is, "Sounds like time well spent!"

We've done about 2+ years of our VT cable access show, The Deadbeat Club, which means we are currently at Episode 26th. I am digging through the old DBC vaults and starting to upload old segments from the early days of the show. One of these old bits was a movie review of Rosanna Arquette's film, "Searching for Debra Winger." It is a documentary which chronicles Rosanna's chit chats with her Hollywood actress gal pals such as:

Laura Dern, Holly Hunter, Sharon Stone, Patricia Arquette, Emmanuelle Beart, Jane Fonda, Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Diane Lane, Kelly Lynch, Alley Sheedy, Martha Plimpton, Tracy Ullman, Robin Wright Penn and of course, Debra Winger.

Yes, there is some navel gazing and self-obsessed complaining in this film, but overall, I found it to be well worth the ride. It is always fun getting a peek at some of the more hidden, complex layers underneath these perfect actresses' facades. Also, they do open up some interesting conversations about the male-dominated world of Hollywood, women's eternal struggle btw family and work, the terrors of aging in a youth obsessed culture and, as the adorably tipsy Martha Plimpton puts it, the ease for male character actors whose faces look like "a foot" but are none-the-less able to secure roles.

Like these lovely ladies, I am always struggling to balance my passion for work and art projects with life and love and laundry - which reminds me, laundry would be another fun way to spend this holiday! Glad I am not the only one. There are definitely some interesting bits in here for the soul searching ladies who are always looking for something...

Here is the DBC review we did of "Searching for Debra Winger" many years ago:

Also, check out Tanner's blog about the fabulous 80s film "Red Dawn" which also has a DBC review.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Poppycock Jabberwocky

The phrase "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" was coined by Noam Chomsky as an example of nonsense. The individual words make sense, and are arranged according to proper grammar, yet the result is still nonsense. The inspiration for this attempt at creating verbal nonsense came from the idea of contradiction and irrelevant or immaterial characteristics (an idea cannot have a dimension of color, green or otherwise), both of which would be sure to make a phrase meaningless.

Still, the human will to find meaning is strong; green ideas might be ideas associated with a Green party in politics, and colorless green ideas criticises some of them as uninspiring. For some, the human impulse to find meaning in what is actually random or nonsensical is what makes people find luck in coincidence, believe in omens and divination, or engage in conversation with a computer (see ELIZA effect).

The dreamlike language of James Joyce's "novel" Finnegans Wake sheds light on nonsense in a similar way; full of portmanteau words, it appears to be pregnant with multiple layers of meaning, but in many passages it is difficult to say whether any one person's interpretation of a text is the "intended" or "correct" one. There may in fact be no such interpretation.

"Jabberwocky" is a poem (of nonsense verse) found in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) by Lewis Carroll. It is generally considered to be one of the greatest nonsense poems written in the English language. The word jabberwocky is also occasionally used as a synonym of nonsense.

Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Jabberwocky" is a poem (of nonsense verse) found in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) by Lewis Carroll. It is generally considered to be one of the greatest nonsense poems written in the English language.

Bandersnatch – A swift moving creature with snapping jaws. Capable of extending its neck. (From The Hunting of the Snark.)
Borogove – A thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round, something like a live mop. Carroll emphasized in the introduction to The Hunting of the Snark that the initial syllable of borogove is pronounced as in borrow, rather than as in boring.
Brillig – Four o'clock in the afternoon: the time when you begin broiling things for dinner. (According to Mischmasch, it is derived from the verb to bryl or broil.)
Burbled – Possibly a mixture of "bleat", "murmur", and "warble". (according to Carroll in a letter [1]). (Burble is an actual word, circa 1303, meaning to form bubbles as in boiling water.)
Chortled - Laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; cuckle (Definition from Oxford American Dictionary) A combination of "chuckle" and "snort."
Frabjous - Delightful; joyous (Definition from Oxford American Dictionary, credited to Lewis Carroll)
Frumious – Combination of "fuming" and "furious." (From the Preface to The Hunting of the Snark.)
Galumphing - Moving in a clumsy, ponderous, or noisy manner. Perhaps a blend of "gallop" and "triumph." (Definition from Oxford American Dictionary)
Gimble – To make holes like a gimlet.
Gyre – To go round and round like a gyroscope, according to Humpty Dumpty. However, Carroll wrote in a letter that it meant to scratch like a dog. (Gyre is an actual word, circa 1566, meaning a circular or spiral motion or form; especially a giant circular oceanic surface current.)
Jubjub – A desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion. (From The Hunting of the Snark.)
Manxome – Combination of "monstrous" and "fearsome"; possibly related to the Manx cat. [citation needed]
Mimsy – Combination of "flimsy" and "miserable."
Mome – Possibly short for "from home," meaning that the raths had lost their way.
Outgrabe – Something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle. Since the verse is in past tense, this is probably a preterite form derived from a strong verb such as "outgribe".

Rath – A sort of green pig. (See Origin and Structure for further details.)
Slithy – Combination of "lithe" and "slimy."
Toves – A combination of a badger, a lizard, and a corkscrew. They are very curious looking creatures which make their nests under sundials. They live on cheese.
Uffish – A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish. (according to Carroll in a letter).
Wabe – The grass plot around a sundial. It is called a "wabe" because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it, and a long way beyond it on each side.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Blue Skies

"Blue Skies"
Sung by Bing Crosby

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev'ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door
Skies were gray but they're not gray anymore

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

I should care if the wind blows east or west
I should fret if the worst looks like the best
I should mind if they say it can't be true
I should smile, that's exactly what I do

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Summer is Coming

Finally it happened, the sun came back to us. After an extended vacation, the sun finally came back to save us from our water-logged, wallowing pits of rainy melancholy. Not to mention, save our basement from the streams of rainwater which have threatened to swallow up the entire house. When I got my first glimpse out of our sunny backyard out of the window this morning, it was like a heavy weight immediately evaporated from my chest.

"Finally," I thought to myself, "Now I can ride my bike to work! Oh boy!"
It was one of those perfect bike rides where I managed to grab a flowering stalk off a tree without having to dismount. The roller coaster ride down Main Street is always a bit frightening and exhilarating at the same time - especially because I only have back pedal breaks, eek. Each time I make it down that hill without smashing my head open like a ripe melon, I feel as though I have accomplished something terrific.
Work whizzed by and Suzanne and I took a coconut popsicle/lake/sun break. We were chatting on the swings when she heard a baby cry that she recognized.

"Is that my niece?...is that Paige?"
Turns out that her sister Jenny and her very new, fresh out of the oven baby, the pink and beautiful Paige had just settled down in the park behind us. Suzanne got lots of Paige cuddle time and I got to meet both the cutest baby in the world and her cool sister who I already feel like I know.

Before we knew it, it was time for mojitos and Abbie called me on her cell to tell me so while watching me work through my office window - too weird talking to someone who is far away yet close enough that you can see them and wave. Oh technology, we love thee. We got to marvel at Tanner's super cute new salon do and then off for burgers and fried items and by 9pm we were pooped. But not too pooped to move some of Abbie's furniture through her maze of an apartment which was actually not that painful but maybe that was the liquor talking. Still can't believe she is leaving?! Crapola.
Beers on the stoop with the girls. Love the girls. The bike ride home was refreshing. The second I hit the hard part of the hill going up College Avenue, my legs kicked into overdrive and I had one of those moments of "Wow, I am so strong, I could carry an ox!" but 2 seconds later my legs were aching and I was huffing and puffing like an old ox. Still I made it up the hill without stopping once, granted, there were some moments when a snail would have been faster, but, my bike does weigh about 20 lbs.
The sky is so clear tonight. All the stars are out in full force and I can't wait to be at the campsite star gazing like it's my job. This is one of those perfect nights that makes me long for fireflies and a mason jar. Then I could run around in bare feet and pajamas, catching all the lightening bugs I could find and bringing them home to watch them pulse the whole night long. They were usually dead by morning, despite the airholes I carefully cut in the top of their jar, but it seemed like a fair enough exchange.
After weeks of repetitive rain, it is finally beginning to feel possible that summer might arrive. And the days on end of rain and more rain have turned the foliage a lush, tropical green. Everything feels so vibrant and alive. The sky today was a pastel perfect blue with puffy white clouds and not one single raincloud in sight. The lake was glistening like plastic as though all the gloom and doom had never even been here. Summer is coming, summer is coming, what will I do with my long summer vacation? Oh, that's right, I am no longer a student which means I get no summer vacation. WELL, CRAP. Oh well, summer is coming, summer is coming...

Somethings Coming
West Side Story

Could be
Who knows?
There's something due any day
I will know right away
Soon as it shows
It may come cannonballin' down through the sky
Gleam in its eye
Bright as a rose!
Who knows?
It's only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Under a tree
I got a feeling there's a miracle due
Gonna come true
Coming to me
Could it be?
Yes it could
Something's coming
Something good
If I can wait
Something's coming I don't know what it is
But it is
Gonna be great!
With a click
With a shock
Phone'll jingle
Door'll knock
Open the latch!
Something's coming, don't know when
But it's soon
Catch the moon
One handed catch
Around the corner
Or whistling down the river
Come on - deliver
To me
Will it be? Yes it will
Maybe just by holding still
It'll be there!
Come on, something, come on in
Don't be shy
Meet a guy
Pull up a chair
The air is hummin'
And something great is coming
Who knows
It's only just
Out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Maybe tonight
Maybe tonight...