Wednesday, July 30, 2008

second time around

I've never understood the need to watch a film more than once. People who own movies confound me. There's only so much time we are given in life, shouldn't we use it to learn/experience something new? I've also felt the same way about books. Or at least I used to. In fact, before this summer, I think the only book I had ever read twice was Anna Karenina.

I've had a hard time starting and finishing books over the past year or so. My mind wanders. Or I'm not interested in the characters and their mundane problems. Or there's not enough sex. Or there's too much plot. Or I'm half way through and can already see the end, and it's either happily ever after or a train wreck so there's no sense in going on.

This summer, in order to stave off the fear that I will never finish another book, I decided to abandon any possibility of a new novel, and revisit some of my favorites. Ones I know I actually finished once upon a time, and enjoyed. Ones I know fundamentally changed the way I saw the world and/or my place in it. I wanted to read the books I read when I was 11 or 23.

The first book I picked up was The Hobbit. It was fun. And funny. I had forgotten, in all of the Lord of the Rings-movie-big-battle-hype, how funny and sweet Tolkien was in that first little adventure. I fell in love with Bilbo Baggins all over again.

The next book I picked up (and just finished this morning) was Jitterbug Perfume. If you are a Tom Robbins fan, you'll know why. What I remember, from being in my early 20's, was that Jitterbug Perfume fundamentally awakened in me something I already knew. It was like Tom Robbins took what was already in my heart and soul, and put it on paper. Jitterbug Perfume values mythology over reality, the magical over the mundane, and manages to bring together history, metaphor, religion, politics, philosophy, sex, immortality, and, yes, dancing and perfume into one big gigantic soup of individual liberty and otherworldly/othertimely possibilities. Anyone who doesn't like this book is really not eligible to be my friend.

Next up on the list: The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper. I read them when I was in 6th grade. I can't wait to read them again and find out why I loved them so much.

What books did you love when you were 11?
What books did you love when you were 23?

Tell me this, and I will know who you are.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

it's fun being a zombie

This was the second time the Newspeak Zombies on Bikes rode down Tejon as part of the annual Colorado Springs PrideFest Parade. The first time, I interviewed the zombies.

Why zombies, you ask?
Because it's better to be undead than unequal.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

colorado river trip 2008

Out of the 365 days in the calendar year (this year 366), these are my favorite three. Every July for the past four years now, we have rafted the Colorado River through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons. No cell phones. No computers. No laundry. Nothing to do but float, eat, drink, hike, and play. It's always good to remember that the Milky Way still exists. For those of us who live in a light-polluted city, we often forget that we are just an infinitesimally small planet in the arm of an equally small galaxy.

It's only my third attempt at an imovie creation, so don't judge it too harshly. I just wanted a way to put all the photos in one place.

Re: The Mooning....... on this particular stretch of the Colorado River, there are no roads, but there are train tracks just across the river. Freight trains rumble through at all hours, including about three times a night. Nothing like being awakened from pleasant dreams by what sounds like a tornado. Every once in a while, however, Amtrak comes around the corner. When it does, shouts of "Amtrak! Amtrak!" echo through the canyon, and everyone runs to the water's edge to moon the passengers. Ah.... tradition!

P.S. I don't know why, but when I play it on my blog, I don't get the music. If you don't either, just click in the middle of the movie, and that will take you straight to youtube. If I play it there, then I get the music. If anyone knows why this is happening, please let me know.... thx

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

i like doing laundry again

It's amazing that a little Shaker-made structure constructed for "women's work" could make me so happy. But the repetitive bending down, standing up, shaking out, hanging up motion while the Colorado sun is beating down on my bare back does just that. My brother's partner had one of these in Ithaca when we went to visit them in June. I was in awe of its simplicity and compactness, so upon returning, I searched online and bought myself one. A friend told me the novelty will wear off, and perhaps it will, but for now, I am enjoying my conversations with the birds and the flowers as I bare my underpants to the neighbors.

There are numerous neighborhoods in Colorado Springs governed by strange rules about what you can and cannot do with your own home . In many of these so-called covenants, you are not allowed to hang your laundry outside. I don't understand the people who live there.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

nyc in summer

I often get overwhelmed when there is too much to say. I think that's why I like poems so much, because they are microcosms of moments. I spent five days with my family in New York City- that's enough to overwhelm anybody I suppose! How about a list? A list would be good. Here are some of my observations and experiences, and some pics to go with.

dark-skinned women with light-skinned infants and toddlers all throughout Central Park. I did not, of course, take any photos of them. But I did spend a lot of time wondering about the women who were at work for the day (both dark and light) while we were wandering through Central Park on vacation.

G and B and U trying to be cool and NOT hold onto the handrail on the subway

finding a chrysomelid beetle (if you know my husband, you know this is not really unusual) while walking around the top of the Empire State Building. I didn't get any pictures of it, but I did get one of a pigeon.

a young woman who stopped mid-jog over the Brooklyn Bridge to ask us if we would like her to take a picture of all four of us (it's the only one we have from the whole trip)

the unexpected friendliness of people on the street

the hostel we stayed at where 20-somethings partied until all hours and neither John nor I had the heart to tell them to be quiet because we remembered our own hostel traveling days. Thank god for the air conditioner whose white noise and coolth a. kept us from dying in the heat and b. kept us from committing murder

B always trailing a pace or two behind, but never once complaining

texting Marina in secret in the Natural History Museum, awaiting the moment when Ursen showed up and surprised the boys. We were looking at these cool creatures. I always like the microscopic ones best

Melissa (another one from this group) and her 12-hour workday reality. I hadn't seen her in, like, 15 years!

realizing that immigrants still come to New York, looking for something, hoping that what they find will be better, somehow, than what they left behind. It often is, but is not always apparent. At least not right away.

Remember Marina's kitchen?

And hey, anything's pretty much better than what we've got: