Archive for August, 2010

Beach = Vacation?

suspended in "work world" or "out to sea" for some R&R?

suspended in "work world" or "out to sea" for some R&R?

My sister and I are looking forward to a visit to Panama City, FL.  We have been doing so for weeks now, but it seems there are a few catches.

For example, lesson planning.  Being a teach means you have to lesson plan, you want to lesson plan, and lesson planning makes your life easier.

Another example, being older.  Being older means you don’t have to read the fine print and discover that your hotel won’t let you stay there even though you paid them for the rooms in advance.

So much for vacation.  My heart is in two places: home and beach.  And so far, looks like home will go to the beach with me but we might be stranded on the sea shore selling seashells to pay for another condo…

Moxie Meets Psycho

Notice: not Moxie, just an approximation of her astonishment

Notice: not Moxie, just an approximation of her astonishment

Up close and in person.

Under water.

Silly bird: aquarium lids have a hole in them for the filter.  It is not recommended that you do a dance over the top of the hole.

Operation Save Psycho

Say hello to a black moor goldfish.
Say hello to a black moor goldfish

I had been eyeing a certain elegant black goldfish in the “Pets” aisle at Walmart for some time.  I think I was in a little denial of how much I really like animals—like a child who loves to take care of insects and lizards and birds that get caught in your garage while you’re out shopping.  I always maintained quite a menagerie in middle school, but then I got too busy in high school and college is all about life in black and white printed on dead trees.

So when I moved home after graduation, I was suddenly struck with the enormous possibility of acquiring a collection of a affectionate pets again.  I started with a parakeet, quite ironically named Moxie.  She is learning to live up to her name, but more about her story in another post.  After all, I think she would be quite put out to discover she was sharing webspace with the new fish.

Back to the black moor.  He looked quite elegant, even down to the tiny, trim mustache above his appropriately frowning lips.  And, being the decorator-at-heart that I am, I consented to what a striking addition he would make to my eclectic “studio apartment.”  When I noticed there was a skeleton of another unlucky fish floating at the bottom of his current abode, I decided then and there that he needed a proper home.

I bought the bowl labeled “goldfish bowl” with the charming naivete of someone that hasn’t owned a fish since she was twelve.  I assumed that labeling it a “goldfish bowl” meant that it was designed for goldfish to live in.  I was wrong.

Two days later, my beloved Psycho–so christened for his starting eyes–was sucking on oxygen from the air above his tank.  Even I remember enough of elementary school science to know that fish should be happy in water not wanting to breath air and sprout wings.

So I commenced a little research.  Scary but necessary, apparently.  For lo and behold, a goldfish cannot live in a goldfish bowl.  He much live in a 20 gallon tank!  There’s something called the nitrogen cycle of which goldfish comprise an awkward part: they poop a lot.  And said poop somehow jeopardizes the balance of weird chemicals that exist in uncannily clear water and leads to certain death if not properly cycled by algae, air filters, pH buffers, and a host of assorted accessories sold at your nearest friendly pet store.

To save the life of my $7.00 goldfish, I rush to the store and purchase a $67.00 starter aquarium.  Kayla opens the packaging, Sarah fits the filter on the back, and I crouch in the back yard surreptitiously gathering river rocks from my dad’s lovely landscaping arrangement.  Next, a bucket brigade down the hall from the bathroom to the bedroom using various sizes of my mom’s matching mixing bowl set–also a little surreptitiously borrowed.

We finally scoop Psycho out of his deathly muddy fish (sans “gold”) bowl and into his spacious new habitat.

Only then, when looking online for the missing instructions on how to fit the lid, light fixture, and filter on top of the aquarium, do I discover that putting a fish directly into new water will kill it.


Now, fingers crossed and 48 hours later, we hope and pray to find Operation Save Psycho successful.

More to come, including pictures of Psycho himself, video of his new home, and a “Donate” button to offset my unexpected investment in domesticated marine biology.

the iMAC(s) experience

It could eat my face.

It could eat my face

I stared at it for five full minutes before I had the courage to turn it on.  I thought it would eat my face off it was so huge.  My 27″ iMAC.  Wow.

Mom said that it says “I am doing film.”  And finally, I realized that everything I have saved for in my whole life—barring my season of consecration and my piano, which feed my spirit—everything else, has gone into this moment:

I can make movies now!!

I have moving art before me and connected to me.  My body has extended itself into beautiful pieces of metal and plastic, and I can create living moments.  Living moments.  Living.


We think it will be more…

be anti-corner

be anti-corner

Life.  It seems that it should somehow among to something more than the little moments that add up to make twenty-four hours and days and years.  But, in fact, it is within the moments, not accumulated.  Life is in the moments, and if we spend our time looking for the next moment, looking for the Life around the corner, we will forever chase a shadow of who we could be.  Because we are only being with half our selves, we miss the full measure of who we are.

Don’t look around the corner.


Mon Oncle (Moderne?)

eaten alive by our own designs?

Dans Mon Oncle, nous voyons un homme curieux qui decouvrit que la vie c’est “moderne”. Et, “moderne” n’est pas “bien” tous les temps. Deux terres connaitent et essayer vivre ensemble. Pendant le film, c’est très dole, mais un peu triste parce que les personnages ne voie pas que se passe. L’homme avec un carrière constamment a mal humoraux. Sa maison et très beau mais c’est très géometrique et n’est pas facile chez vivre. L’homme–l’oncle–sans travaille est très heureux. Il apporte heureusement tous les endroits qu’il visite. La famille de la maison moderne est comme la cuisine de la maison : la fontaine, le garage, la cuisinere tout sont dangereux!

The Modern House: living monster?

The Modern House: living monster?

The Modern House, full of all its amenities—which seems quite a scary word that must necessarily be included in an sterile and salesmen-like discussion of appliances—is a threatening place.  Electrocution, hypothermia, and scalding are a very few of the accidents we face in our daily hygienic routine.  In no other era than the sixties, perhaps, we find the looming apocalypse of our own invention encroaching on our sacred spaces.  The places we eat.  The places we undress.  The places we converse.  The places we make love.  They are now filled, as Mon Oncle charmingly demonstrates, with abstract visions of man’s achievements: liberation from organic dependency on our environment.  In the ultimate irony, we have risen above the dirt to be forever enmeshed in electrons.

The Organic House: long live the labyrinth!

The Organic House: long live the labyrinth!

In stark and appealing contrast, we linger on the labyrinth of stairs leading Oncle to the top of his morally superior position.  From his perch at the top of a healthy compost pile of cardboard, rotting planks, fluttering curtains, and shimmering metal, he can even coax a canary to sing.  His knowledge of the elements, the sun reflecting off the glass panel of his perfunctory window shutter, brings things to life.  Rather than leading us through the maze of our own pomp and circumstance, he maneuvers through the versatile manifestations of our globe’s interactions.  No picky pebble walkway for him: just the crumbling brick beneath our feet.

In a glorious moment, Oncle demonstrates his rejection of entropy and simultaneous appreciation of decay by picking up a brick he has knocked off a picturesque pile of rubble.

Long live the organic!  Long live the humorous!  And long live our embrace of life being lived, by-products, inconveniences, and all.

Hamlet. The Musical.

Go see Hamlet the Musical at the Shakespeare Tavern

Go see Hamlet the Musical at the Shakespeare Tavern







Being Tired.

the drama of exhaustion

the drama of exhaustion----uncanny things happen when you're tired



Worn out.

But, ironically, able to survive.




It is a circumstance but also a choice 😉

The Psychology of Provision

money makes the world go around, the world go around

money makes the world go around, the world go around

I remember when I learned what money meant.  It wasn’t only dollars and cents; it was divisions and definitions.  Who you are, what you can have, what you can’t have, how you can make a life for yourself–all these things manifested materially.

It was Barbie.  In the Walmart toy aisle.  With the red cowgirl outfit.

Mom explains that she was expensive.  Like a Christmas gift.  Suddenly, the $20 on her price tag took on value.  They represented the paper money in Mom’s wallet, the hours Dad was gone during the day working to earn that money, the weeks and months I would have to wait to have her, and the thrill of possession when she was finally mine.  Although the toys have changed, the psychology of provision doesn’t really.

My dad still worries that he can’t provide us enough.  Or he wonders if we are grateful for what we have.  He views life itself as a luxury; we try to problem-solve it.  There is a generational gap, and there is a generational discourse that happens in every penny, every exchange.

Toy Story 3 and its preceding films have picked up on this theme of materialization.  The filmmakers at Pixar understand that the abstract expression such as love, care, attention, protection, etc. are made real through objects.  We need food, shelter, and warmth to survive, of course, but those delicacies of philosophy that make Life happen must be brought to earth.  Plastic and metal and electricity and wood–these mediums often bear its weight.  Toy Story 3 was brave enough to take us to the brink of its destruction: what does the deterioration, the breaking down of our material world say about those immaterial things that it represents?  What does my brother’s decision to upgrade his cell phone and get his own plan say about his relationship with my dad?

Fear of Attack and Fear of Failure

the ideology of a map

read Barton&Barton "The Ideology of the Map"

My usual introduction to a new customer that approaches my cashier counter runs something like:

“Hi! Did you find everything you need? Have you shopped with us before? No?  Well then, I am going to create an account for you in our system, which will save all of your receipts for future reference.”

Today, a dad replied that he did not want an account at all—no name, no number, and most certainly no shipping address.  He didn’t want spam and mailings and courtesy calls and all the other infringing crap that corporate (and not-so-corporate) companies thrust down the innocent throats of the consuming public.  I don’t blame him.

But alongside another parent who gravitated toward our e-mail list sign up sheet and instantly provided name, phone, email, and school of attendance, this dad suddenly represented a totally difference approach to life.  There were two paradigms at my counter: fear of attack and fear of failure.

One parent didn’t want to fend off the aggression of civilization.  Another parent didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in any way with the ins and outs of said civilization.  One was afraid that he couldn’t protect himself.  One was afraid that he would be sheltered from something beneficial.  Two outlooks.  Two different ways of approach a world that demands out attention and can punish us either way–for hedging ourselves in too securely or volunteering our involvement too freely.

I fall into the second category–volunteering too freely.  Especially as a newly graduated liberal arts student, I forget that I should get paid to do what I do.  I forget that it is illegal for my boss to pay me less than the IRS cents/mile ratio when I travel.  I forget that not everyone I give my business card to should know my street address, where I sleep at night.

Navigating the world is tricky.  And there really are people that choose different tactics than me.  And I should make space for them–like I hope they would make space for me.