Friday, June 30, 2006

Look Up!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Poop Didn't Fall on Me!!

Some days it feels like everything is going right for you. Other days, you are simply happy for the little things such as the fact that pigeon poop did not fall on your head.

There we were enjoying our post-work mojitos, when out of the sky fell a whitish, greenish, brownish glob of poop. It shot like a bullet through the iron slots of the table and smacked down inches from my foot.

It's deadly trajectory was inches from my head, my drink and my red Cons. This explosion of flying poop caused Suzanne and I to burst into giggles.

There is something pretty funny about poop falling out of the sky, especially when it does not hit YOU.

I kept looking down at the bird poop on the table, smiling happily to myself and thinking, "Look at that poop there, it isn't on my head! Lucky me!"

And in the case of Cyndi Lauper, she was not so lucky (link). Oooph. Poop in the mouth while you are singing in front of other people - it does not get much worse than that. And cool as nails Cyndi even had the balls to wipe her mouth casually and keep on singing. What a pro!

And so I thought to myself, for all your complaining and worrying and kvetching, poop did NOT fall on you today so you must be doing ok. It isn't everyday that you get messages from the heavens but when they do come (or, to be more exact, do not come down on YOUR head), you better pay attention, idiot.

So it is time to be thankful for the little things. Thankful that your Final Cut Pro started up (yes, it took 4 tries but it opened up eventually...eeek!) and you are able to edit your cable access show to your heart's delight.

Thankful that Tanner has a new girlfriend Mac Book and can clack away happily while you snip and montage like an obsessive super freaky nerd couple.

Thankful that you get to watch your favorite British TV show, Peep Show before going to bed and thankful that you had a delicious pasta dinner with random food found in the cupboards and fridge (well stocked cupboards are important!).

And most important of all, thankful because POOP DID NOT FALL ON YOUR HEAD! Oh, and speaking of poop, this is what I learned today, You Tube star Emmalina is into Efro, is NOT a feminist (duh), likes to dance like a stripper and prefers amateur porn to the fancy stuff.

Good to know - FYI this is the MOST viewed video on You Tube at the moment, shudder (see video) and has been seen by OVER 400,000 people so far.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mysterious Sliver

A couple of nights ago, I went to bed with no known slivers in my body. The next morning, there was a painful ache coming from my foot. Somehow, while I was sleeping, a sliver had managed to lodge itself in the ball of my foot. I wiggled the sliver out but a deep hole remained and it ached all day long. Could I have gotten a sliver somewhere in dreamland, I wondered? Did I accidentally spirit myself off to Narnia and that little piece of wood was my only proof?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night coated in sweat. I had been dreaming that I was late for my flight. The plane was leaving at 5 minutes to the hour and that was exactly what time it was as I parked my car and ran up to security. The plane was delayed so I made a large fuss so that I could rush through to my gate. But the many bags I was bringing still remained in my car and I begged the stewardess to help me go get them. When I woke up, I still felt desperate and late. I am sure the symbolic meanings of this dream are plentiful, or it could just be that I am late all the time.

It seems like all I ever do is run up one path to another. I never really plan things out very well. I follow my nose, hoping my instinct will steer me wisely. But what do you do when all the possible paths ahead seem stale and uninteresting? Is it possible to sprout wings and fly upward into the sky, escaping all the well worn paths entirely?

Or does this sort of escape mean becoming a dangerous hermit like the Unibomber? I sometimes worry that I will turn into the Unibomber someday - separate and dedicated to some crazy project or other. Molly once told me that I was like the eccentric and crazy lady in Gray Gardens - this both frightened me and pissed me off. Why is everyone always telling me how "weird," "crazy" and "strange" I am (for instance, a work colleague telling me I looked like a space creature the other week)? And even more importantly, why the hell do I care?

I was going to post about the complicated You Tube hierarchies and write a breakdown of its most famous members but Firefox froze and I lost my post - bloody hell!! I will just say this, I have been addicted to You Tube for a while now (me and the rest of America). I have been interested to see which of its stars will actually break into the entertainment business (the biz everybody who is anybody wants to be in these days).

The shelf life for reality TV stars proved to be pretty brief and negligible so it is with baited breath that I wait to see if any of these little oddballs eke out a living from this internet snowball. 20 yr old Brookers just got signed with Carson Daly and written up in Wikipedia (link) and 18 yr old Emmalina just got a snarky write up in the Washington Post (link). Who will be next to ride the You Tube inner tube to fame and fortune?

And more importantly, another You Tube gem, sweet, dear, doomed Elliott Smith stands off against chirpy, upbeat and bland Carson Daly (link). Sigh, we miss you Elliott. I'll meet up with you one day in la la land.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

There's No Place Like Home

One of my favorite films at Sundance in 2005 was Rebecca Miller's The Ballad of Jack and Rose. Amidst all the celeb trash and pimp nonsense (it was the year of Hustle and Flow), this film stood out as the real reason people flock to Park City in the dead of winter. Tanner and I watched this film last night and it was just as colorful, magical, mysterious, dark and dream-like as I remembered.

I am guessing that Rebecca Miller (daughter of writer, Arthur Miller and wife of Daniel Day-Lewis, some girls have ALL the luck!) has, like many of us, some issues with her father and his high and mighty intellectual ideals. But unlike the rest of us, she has crafted a beautiful and romantic tale about these complicated familial issues.

My parents left Manhatten in the 60s for a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere in Upstate New York. Ginsburg was down the road and for as far as the eye could stretch, there were rolling hills, farmland, overgrown meadows, big skies and desolation.

Although they weren't your average pot smoking variety of hippies, my parents were hard working, well read musician bohemian types and they wanted to do this "back to the land" thing that was sweeping their boho circles and driving the intellectuals into the sticks.

My father planted trees and my mother planted a garden. They renovated the old barn across the dirt road from our house and made it into an apartment. They organized a flute festival and had all their city friends up to play. They dug a pond behind the house and planted a willow that dipped into it.

My father used to take us on meandering walks up the hill behind the house to his studio which was smack dab in the middle of nowhere. It had a little stove and a bed and not much else. He was supposed to be composing in his cozy little one room studio up on the hill but he never managed to get much work done. Sometimes silence and isolation can be distracting.

Dad started to spend more and more time in the city and it was mainly just my mother, sister and I who remained in the old house in Cherry Valley, alone atop a large hill. When it snowed we had to sled down the icy hill to the bus if we wanted to make it to school. A mile or so up the dirt road was a guy whose house was packed full of junk. Down at the bottom of the hill was a lady who never left her house and made fancy toilet paper dolls.

We were all alone on top of that hill but we didn't feel alone because we had each other. Eventually, my parents got a divorce and my father remarried a young, blond violinist. All of us moved back to Manhatten, the utopian country experiment had been a failure.

But we still spent summers at the house in Cherry Valley, only we lived in the barn and rented out the house. The barn had a ladder in the master bedroom which led down to the kitchen. Baby mice were often found cuddling up in the linen drawers, snakes roamed the bathrooms and our patio had fossile remains imprinted on the stones.

In the summer, a wall of purple thistles sprouted up in the backyard and it was almost impossible to walk past their terrifying prickers without getting stung. The bedroom I shared with my sister was divided by a large bookshelf and at night the sound of silence was deafening.

My parents utopian venture did not work out in the end. We all ended up back in the city and my parents ended up divorced. But I am glad they tried to go back to the land and I can't help but have the same impulse to live simply out in the country and make my own jams. The Ballad of Jack and Rose delves into similar themes. Can you ever really build that perfect community, separate from all the ills of society? Or will the flaws of humanity fell us all in the end? Sticky stuff.

Needless to say, Daniel Day-Lewis is spectacular as usual and the entire cast (Catherine Keener, Camilla Belle, Jena Malone, Ryan McDonald, Paul Dano) transforms this from a possibly awkward tale to a refreshing fable. Additionally, the rich landscapes and colorful outdoor shots of the East Coast island which they call home are startlingly beautiful - deep blues, greens and sudden bursts of red, orange and purple - it is like taking a vacation to a far off land and you can almost taste the salt water and smell the flowers.

Their desolate island commune reminds me of our house at Cherry Valley. They say that your first environment imprints itself on you and you spend your whole life searching for it.

They also say that you can never go home again. Both of these things are true for me. When I have visited Cherry Valley as an adult, alarm bells go off all over my body as if to say,"This is it, you've finally found it, you are home!" It feels so good and so right, and the landscape just fits me in every possible way.

But I also know I can never go back there, especially because the family who bought the land from us are too smart to ever sell it. I don't know if I will ever be able to build my own Cherry Valley, or if I will ever be able to commander a happier, longer lasting outcome once I am there. But you can't blame a girl for trying, some things are just imprinted on your soul.

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future, there is no past
I live this moment as my last
There's only us, there's only this
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way
No day but today
Lyrics from Rent's "Another Day"

Humans are a funny beast. We spend our whole lives searching, never quite sure what it is we are looking for. We fail and we fail and we bumble things up and then we try yet again to get it right. But what is right and where is right? Every road is different and no one is born with a map. And even with the very best of intentions, it seems like we never quite manage to get the kinks out and often, our homing devices have fuzzy reception and lead us in circles. Nonetheless, we keep on trying and we keep on living, resilient in the hope that one day we will make it home and life will be good and feel as it should be.

This is a montage I made for my birthday (a present to me from me!) years ago. It has lots of childhood pictures of my sister and I as dirty hippy kids and our wild wonderland of a home in Cherry Valley. The music is a blend of PJ Harvey's cover of "Is That All There Is?" and Rent's "Another Day."

Below are some pieces of music that my Dad composed around this time period. He is playing the flute and his buddy Charles Wourinen is playing the piano (Fred Sherry on cello). Dad and Charles started this group called The Group for Contemporary Music which my mom also played flute in (it is still going strong today!). I couldn't upload the piece she played on because it is 17 minutes long (!) but it is nice to imagine them drinking lots of coffee, staying up late and playing their flutes together while my Dad wrote this whacked out dissonant music.

Harvey Sollberger, Divertimento for Flute, Cello & Piano (1970)
Piece 1
Piece 2

Also, for a taste of his more modern music, check out these recent pieces which were inspired by Dvork's piece, "Spillville," also known as"American Quartette," written in Iowa in 1893.

Harvey Sollberger, Spillville (2006)
Piece 1
Piece 2
Piece 3

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lonely Americans

I used to have friends, really I did! I even have the pictures to prove it, do you want to see them?? I am not a total and utter leper! And now there is proof that I am not alone in my aloneness! As I have long suspected, I am not the only loner/loser/hermit crab out there. A recent article in Reuters says that:

Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday. Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. - Reuters

Ouch, so you see, it isn't just that strange odor you are emiting that keeps the people away from you! It is the mere fact that YOU are an American and in America there are many important things to do such as work, make money, work, watch TV, work, drive places, work, shop, work and surf the internet for porn.

Apparently, making and maintaining friendships is just not very high on our list of American priorities. To celebrate this turn of events, join me now in a reviving rendition of My Country 'Tis of Thee.

I suppose I could blame my current friendless state on a variety of factors. I spent most of my life moving so I had sets of close in friends in each place I lived. Whenever I moved to a new place, I slowly lost touch with the old friends as time passed. Now I keep in minimal contact with as many old friends as I can but an occasional email or phone call does not really an intimate bosom buddy make.

Additionally, I am of the advanced age whereby most healthy, well-adjusted people have paired off and begun procreating. Unlike me, they do not continue to live with their family in an arrangement which most people would qualify as "odd." Say no more.

People with children do not have much in common with people without children, unless the latter care to discuss the poop size of little Baby Xanadu in intense detail. Nothing against the breeders out there but there are just different conversation topics to be had. We have to focus on the kids to raise them right but those of us who are not raising chillin' sometimes find this intense focus disturbing.

Additionally, everyone is SO BUSY these days that it is next to impossible to make plans without everyone flaking. When I was living in Oakland, it was a scheduling feat to get 3 girlfriends together for dinner and drinks. We would commute from opposite ends of the city to meet up at one house - one girl from SF, one from Albany and me from Oakland - each of us driving over 1/2 hr on the freeway to Richmond.

All of us late and harried with traffic stories to share. Everyone exhausted and frazzled, making cell phone calls and planning our next moves. 1.5 hours later it was a mad rush for everyone to get home to clean their houses, meet their men, feed their cats...etc...

Lastly, I blame my friendlessness on the fact that I work all day long to pay the bills and then I work all evening long to fulfill my creative urges. Altogether, there is too much work involved and when I am not working, I am obliterating my brain cells with You Tube, trashy TV and liquor.

I do miss the years of my youth when I lived with a gaggle of friends, worked side by side with them and spent all of my free time cooking group meals and galavanting around town. But I think that special utopian time of your life is fleeting and then hard work, dedication, loneliness and adulthood sets in and you become a solidified hermit. Oops, maybe that is just me! I am gonna be in big trouble when the next big natural disaster hits!

That means that in daily life, personal emergencies and national disasters like Hurricane Katrina, those with the fewest resources also have the fewest personal friends to call for advice and assistance.

"It's one thing to know someone and exchange e-mails with them. It's another thing to say, 'Will you give me a ride out of town with all of my possessions and pets? And can I stay with you for a couple or three months?" Smith-Lovin said. - Reuters

But with all of that said, I do have close friends (maybe, if they will still talk to me after reading all of this) and I wish we could have more time to chill out, eat good food, go on long walks, explore the nooks and crannies of the city - but I am happy for the little bits of time we do get and I am glad that these researchers have proven that I am not the ONLY unpopular American loser who lacks a gaggle of friends. And more importantly, I must plead with the few local friends I do have to STOP leaving town (Abbie and Christine!!) as I will never be able to replace you guys!!

So take that Heatherp2006 who recently taunted me with this comment on You Tube:

New Comment Posted to video Skel-fab and Jared Leto
well have fun staying home on friday nights playing with dolls while everyone secretly laughs their ass off at how gay you are. O h yeah stop making fun of nicole she is asume and she fu*king rox!!!!!.

HAW HAW! Who is laughing now Heather!? Gay ol' me, alone on a Friday night playing with my paperdolls - that's who! Actually, You Tube seems to be the hub for people with no friends. Just look at You Tube Queen Little Lisa Nova who went from friendless to 681 subscribers in the spawn of a couple of weeks! Just think of the limitless possibilities! You Tube is the place where you can make casual friends that you will never have to drive to the airport or take care of when they are sick.

Perhaps You Tube is the answer America? Screw those snooty Europeans and their "authentic lasting family structures" and the tacky way they all greet each other on the street and value their old people! We have You Tube where we can flame people we hate anonymously and make many new friends with 40 yr old men in the Mid West and 13 yr old American girls who like to shake their booty! Hip hip horray!