10.30.2008

the last few days in photos


Made it to Holmes Lake Dam just in time for the sun to set



The Bertoni with its new "bumper" magnet


Doing some yoga on the boat dock


Dottie, unhappy about pills & subcutaneous drips


The mole: "Wha' Happen?"


Nice rides, 6 AM


Sunken Gardens, when I thought the warmth was over


R-Fresh bids adieu to Lincoln

10.27.2008

i really wish i had a photo for this

On my brisk ride home from the gym, wet-from-swimming hair tucked into my cap, I witnessed a truly one-of-a-kind bike: a homebrew tandem. Both bikes were late '60s/70s roadies, one looked like a Schwinn Varsity, the other I couldn't identify from across the street. Back bike handlebars: drops, flopped & chopped. It sported only one rider, laughing at his performance, for its three wheels.

Alas, I'd left my camera at home.

10.26.2008

45 & windy



time to get out the tea kettle...

Dallas and Insects

Nate told me to write about insects.

I found a chilled grasshopper in my chard on Thursday. Dottie was not interested in playing with it.

Here's a video instead.


Dallas from nocoastfilms on Vimeo.

This has nothing to do with Dallas. It has everything to do with the Tds recording, the musical gift that keeps on giving.

10.24.2008

10.23.2008

days of heaven

I was watching Days of Heaven -- thankfully, on Criterion -- and my brother came over. He sat down, watched quietly for awhile, seemingly absorbed. After about 20 minutes, he asked:

"This is like filmmaker porn, editor porn, eh?"

"Yeah, basically."

"Yeah, it seems slight on plot, but every shot is just amazing."

Roger Ebert review..

lil' brent

Scott Kleeb

What a candidate. Please watch this. Make it happen.

10.21.2008

David Sedaris on undecided voters...

I don’t know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. “Who are they?” the news anchors ask. “And how might they determine the outcome of this election?”

Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. “Well, Charlie,” they say, “I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!” Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

saturday night dinner

Clockwise from the top:

Kim Chi Fried Rice with Green Beans & Tofu
Chard steamed with Garlic
Indian Curry with Broccoli, Mushrooms & Celery over Basmati Rice

Not pictured:

Hummus & Fresh Tortilla Chips
Old Style

10.20.2008

anders: blog ideas

showering to swedish music
playstation baseball league
interhouse blog war
narrative of household gadgetry
finding nemo review
dissection of sibling relationships


a good community service project idea: kids oughtta help out the folks with the digital conversion....

64 & sunny with a bit of wind





this isn't going to last long...get out and ride!

10.17.2008

Morning Commute


These days, my morning commute is during the magic hour. Even the State Office Building looks kind of nice...

10.16.2008

Escape or Liberation?

GLASS: A portrait of Philip in twelve parts
dir. Scott Hicks, 2007



"Writing is an antidote to the chaos of the world around you." So said an unnamed writer, friend of Philip Glass. Philip muses, "Is art, then, escape or liberation? Is sanity also escape?" This, the end of Scott Hicks's documentary, neatly wraps together what has been a subtly presented portrait of Glass -- we are given no heavy-handed voice-over analysis here.

The chaos simmers below the surface in Glass's biography. By all appearances, he is a quiet, mild-mannered sort, questioning why Hicks would even want to film his process of making pizza at his retreat home in Nova Scotia. His young child breaks a glass, his wife panics a little, he continues his work. We are introduced to his childhood by his siblings, who, while sifting through old family photographs, talk about his personal ambition to attend the University of Chicago, graduate in three years, and then decide to go to Julliard. Photo archives of early work in New York brush on the radical nature of performances. We are privy to both the siblings and family friends making comments about "the wives."

Though Hicks goes so far as to subtitle his film "a portrait...in twelve parts," the labeling is a bit of a misnomer; the twelve parts are structural elements, places for title cards. This is a quite organically made film, as it is clear Hicks and his sound recordist spent a good deal of time embedded, as it were, with Glass, his family, and his professional associates. It seems as though Hicks perhaps needed the structure of twelve themes as a schematic for organizing his footage. For the viewer, however, many of the segments blend into one another, return to common places or voices. Others branch into different directions, providing new voices to the greater narrative. Not only is the filmmaking itself very honest, but we as viewers are actually privy to this through the editing of the film. We occasionally hear Hicks asking a question, and, at a particularly poignant moment in the film, an interview is interrupted, the camera must adjust, the boom mic enters the shot, the shot continues, the camera then readjusts, refocuses, and the interview resumes.
At another point, Glass receives and ignores a cell phone call in the middle of being interviewed. He has been discussing his latest work -- an opera entitled "Waiting for the Barbarians" -- and the theme from the end has been playing in the soundtrack. It drops away as Glass takes the call, and after he jokes with Hicks about not wanting to talk to the person calling, he returns to his point about the opera. The music slowly fades back up.

A slicker documentarian would edit this all out, and we would be far the worse for it as an audience. At face value, Glass's biography is far less nuanced; after all, he was a smart child who became a successful student who studied under some top-tier musicians and has since become a well-respected composer. There is some drama, some tragedy, but this is a more private man than that. His controversy, publicly, has been his art.

Unlike many "portraits of an artist," GLASS does not dwell on the details of this artist's process. We see Glass working in different venues, and we begin to gain an understanding of his practice through interviews with his wife and his colleagues, among them Errol Morris and Woody Allen.

For Glass, art is life -- as he says, "I don't think of a piece of music, think of what I'm going to write, I hear it." A little precious, yes, but this is Philip Glass, after all.

"Music is listening.
Drawing is seeing.
Dancing is moving.
And poetry is speaking."

NB: As I left the film theater, crowds of well-dressed, mostly middle-aged and older folks were streaming into the Rococo for a lecture by Ken Burns. That would have been a different kind of documentary, indeed.

10.15.2008

heels


Home to Dottie after descending 6 flights of concrete stairs in a very resonant stairwell. I see the appeal of the loud, thwacking heel.

10.12.2008

Specificity


Only women & men without heads or people in wheelchairs who have heads can use this restroom in the Minnesota State Capitol. That's specificity in signage.

easily one of the goofiest political photos


from the New York Times

beer ride

yia-yia's and n street and a custom speaker in a custom trailer for mobile music and taking up streets and winding through neighborhoods and not falling in the deep crushed limestone while riding a roadie and stopping for a drink just across the bridge and not going to wal-mart and getting my neck realigned and getting beer poured on my face and making a friend with a light to see the trail better and spelunking for the hidden beers on ice at the end of the trail and james dean skid contests and enjoying the lovely night in the middle of the country and dancing and there was a multi-person spoon i didn't join and mocking sarah palin and trig is down and can't do the dishes and getting back on the bikes with the terror of the limestone again and not falling and not falling and el chapparo and this is why we live in lincoln, nebraska.

h/t conrad for the photo

and, for no good reason



10.04.2008

Thursday's Dinner


Baby bok choy & eggs:

2 eggs, prepped as for sunny-side up, baby bok choy added, covered to steam greens, spiced with shichimi togarashi.

10.01.2008

From Mysterious Internet Origin

Sent along by a beloved, recently retired, and sorely missed co-worker, the piece has no citation of origin to be found, so is attributed to the anonymous Public the web allows.

Subject: Our Nation on White Privilege

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a"fuckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you
ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're
black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives close to Russia, you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door
neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be
interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict
in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to
the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just an average guy (George W. Bush) while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then to Harvard Law, makes you "uppity," and a snob who probably looks down on
regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you "dangerously naive and immature."

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president,
while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.