28 January 2010


Tree branches lined by thick fluffy layers of snow, a winter wonderland. And then the wind came, sudden and vigorous, as though determined to put all that accumulation in flight.

A grey misty haze of snow blowing in all directions. Tree trunks as grey silhouettes, paler the further away they are, until there's nothing but the light grey wall of snow in the distance.

hazy snow scene vertical
hazy snow scene horizontal
And then, a few minutes later:

snow haze lifts, snowy forest

3 years ago on TTaT: To paraphrase

26 January 2010

The tallest I've ever been

San Francisco, April 2003:

hallway posing with Claire & Chala
silly hallway posing, Claire & Chala
MCU Claire & Chala
Claire out on the town, taller than everybody
MS seated, boot heel and pants
CU boot heel

The steep San Francisco hills were challenging to walk with those heels, but they are still the most awesome boots ever. Of course, they are Chala's. As is everything you can see me wearing in these photos & 1 thing you can't, ahem. Well, except for the watch and the ring, those are mine.

I don't like yellow or gold, particularly in clothes, but even I thought the shiny gold pants were awesome. And I would never buy a shirt like that but it works pretty well here. "Leave it up to Chala" would probably be my mantra if we lived remotely near one another.

Boots I have been known to look for on occasion, but I've yet to find a pair similar to the ones above, but with ~2 inches of heel rather than 4. (Walking shouldn't take that much thought.)

Chala kindly gave me the jacket, so I need to remember to pull that out once the weather gets nicer.

A year ago on TTaT: Our own Mt. Fuji

25 January 2010

Who The Devil Made It

3. Who The Devil Made It by Peter Bogdanovich (4/5)

Who The Devil Made It is a hefty tome with over 800 pages; I was certain I'd pass it on once I'd read it, but I find myself returning it to its spot on the shelf for future reference. The book is a series of interviews Bogdanovich conducted with film directors, many famous & formative in cinematic arts.

Think of a classic movie and it's likely its director is in this book talking about it. For those who are just interested in certain movies or film star tales, their is a comprehensive index. If you're interested in movie making, the business or the nuts & bolts of telling stories, there's lots of great information in this book.

Among the directors included are: Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Chuck Jones, Howard Hawks, Leo McCarey, George Cukor, Josef von Sternberg, Edgar G. Ulmer, Sidney Lumet, and Allan Dwan. You may not recognize all their names, but chances are, you know some of their movies.

Bogdanovich, a director himself, describes each director's background and their interactions over the years to introduce each interview. They all seemed quite comfortable talking to him even in cases where it was difficult due to ill health. Comprehensive filmographies are also included.

A pretty fascinating variety of inside looks into the business from silent pictures through Hollywood's golden studio age and its subsequent decline. Even so, I read it over the course of about five months interspersed with other books, definitely conducive to reading sporadically in chunks. Or just find the bits that interest you, perhaps after you rent or catch a flick on TCM.

A year ago on TTaT: Year of the Ox

21 January 2010

Kinetic sculpture: winter, night

The sculpture during a winter day was really just context for this (same caveats apply):

(run time 0:55, no sound*)

The holiday lights aren't on anymore, but I do love the reflections they provide. If the wind is right, sometimes I can see a bit of street light reflected after I turn my light out.

*Though if you have Count Basie's "Back to the Apple" from the Hannah and Her Sisters soundtrack, it happens to play along rather well with it.

(Other vlogs of TTaT)

A year ago on TTaT: I made it!

20 January 2010

back in anger

Deep breath. Another. Perhaps some music would be a good idea. Just started my writing playlist and forgot about the Yoko Kanno pieces from a Ghost in the Shell soundtrack at the top. Good stuff.

So... I was surprised at how furious I was over the election results last night. Not shouting or punching walls*, rather fiercely quiet. When I looked at the back of my hands, my skin was red and blotchy declaring my anger even as I tried to erase it.

That's when I thought: I have a right to be pissed. Not being able to win an election that should be a no-brainer is part of why it's been years since I was registered as a democrat.

Also, I was honestly surprised by the result which I believe is why I was livid rather than annoyed, ticked, or angry. I had heard about the polls beforehand, but I didn't really believe they could be accurate. How could a state so blue change its mind that much in a year's time? I will be checking out the voting breakdown by town in my county.

Moving to another state (or country) is tempting, but I feel like a jinx. I did, after all, live in Florida during the 2000 presidential debacle and then in California when the governor was overthrown and replaced with Arnold. But I also lived in Massachusetts when we passed gay marriage, so that mitigates the feeling a bit.

For now, I think of James Thurber: "Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

Get it the fuck together, Democrats.

OK, little angry still.

*Well, I was going to box on the Wii around 11 PM, but then I heard the TV downstairs come back on, so I let it go and did a little yoga instead. Probably the better choice at the time anyway.

Two years ago on TTaT: Sette

19 January 2010

Registered to vote in MA? Go vote!

If you don't know where to go, here's a polling place locator.

The idea that polling data says the race is neck and neck between the democrat and republican candidate for senator in MA flabbergasts me, also makes me feel a bit sick. Doesn't seem like it should be possible but with complacency, anything is possible. Drag yourself out into the rain/snow--it's not that cold today--and make your democratic, liberal, &/or progressive voice heard with your vote for Martha Coakley. It's critical we keep 60 democratic seats in the senate.

I voted and on my way out held the door for a complete knockout. Really gorgeous. In return, she gave me a killer smile. So that's another good reason to vote.

Please don't screw up, MA!

UPDATE, 10:47 PM: Well.... let's hear it for the money again, shall we? No? I feel nauseated. Perhaps time to punch something on the Wii.

Two years ago on TTaT: DailyLit

18 January 2010

Kinetic sculpture: winter, day

But there's a tree trunk in the way.

Yes, I'm aware of that. My bedroom windows are the only ones with their screens removed, so it's a trade off: either shoot through a screen and see the whole sculpture or be screen-free with a tree trunk. I made my choice.

Why not just...

It's cold outside, yo.

OK, but handheld? Really? Don't you know better than that?

Yes, yes, I do, but I wanted to capture the motion I saw before the wind died down. And before you ask, yes, I braced my arms on the windowsill, but I cropped the video significantly to highlight the sculpture which exacerbates the camera shake. Again, another choice.


(run time 0:55, no sound)

And for contrast, trunkless shake-free summer with sound:

(run time 2:26)

(Other vlogs of TTaT)

A year ago on TTaT: Winter wonderland, again

13 January 2010

2. Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America

2. Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America by Brian Vanden Brink; introduction by Howard Mansfield (2.5/5)

Ruins are dear to me; they are a subject of which I would make a book, so I'm biased. Very biased. This is not the book I would make, which is good in one respect, but also made looking through this published book of photography irritating.

What draws Brink to ruins is not at all why I love them and am fascinated by them. His rambling photographer's statement, a series of "but that's not why I'm drawn to them" type sentences find their way to mortality and impermanence.

Then there are the photographs only one to two-tenths of which I would consider ruins. His book would be better titled: Abandoned: Photographs of a Vanishing America. Most of the houses just look like they need a fresh coat of paint. And nearly all the photos are wide shots so you don't even see much of the decay in detail. An unmown lawn does not a ruin make as far as I'm concerned.

Brink also goes to the trouble of pointing out a couple sets of photos that were done on assignment. Mansfield's introduction also makes it clear that Brink's 30 year professional career has been shooting swank architectural spreads. So when Brink whines about a decommissioned weapons storage area in the middle of nowhere with no power being dark inside, how hard it is to compose upside-down and backwards in the viewfinder of his camera, and how it takes all day to make 4 interior photos with 10 minute exposure timeswith flashlights, my hackles are raised. Seriously, just writing about it, I feel like I should have blood vessels pulsing on my forehead ready to pop. This was one of his old assignments no less! They make fucking generators and battery operated lights. And you're a fucking professional photographer! If composing upside-down and backwards in your fancy camera's viewfinder is not second nature to you after 20 years, what. the. hell?!

OK. Deep breaths.

If you skip all the text except to read the captions with locations and the year photos were shot, and just look at the photographs, they are okay. Most weren't that interesting to me, but some of the locations were pretty cool with shots I rather liked. Maybe 20% of them. Maybe.

So... if abandoned, worn houses, factories, churches, and school houses interest you, maybe give it a flip through to see what you think. But if you miss this one, no big loss.

Two years ago on TTaT: The other iTunes meme

11 January 2010

2010: This is your secret name in our troop

It was late August or early September when I knew what my theme for 2010 would be: a single word appropriated by Hiro, adopted by Havi and hence many others, its definition and nuances of meaning shifted for new use.

Sovereignty... is the quality of owning your space so completely and fully that you can’t be shaken from being you.

You get to be the (pirate-ey or not) queen — or king — of your own fabulous kingdom. Or queendom. Or whatever.

In other words:

Your body. Your energy. Your physical space. Your emotional space. Your work. Your practice. Whatever else belongs to you. It’s all yours.

You own it. You feel comfortable in it. You inhabit what is yours and you belong there fully and completely.

It’s feeling so safe being yourself that other people’s stuff is obviously just that.

It means having the patience to interact with your own stuff with love, knowing that it’s constantly changing anyway.

And your experience of sovereignty doesn’t step on anyone else’s. It’s something that everyone gets to experience for himself or herself.

Lovely, right? ... Except it's a bit of a mouthful and I haven't quite internalized it all so that the word sovereignty alone pulls the whole idea into focus. It is after all someone else's word.

So in early December, I started pondering what sovereignty is in my vernacular. Stand Your Ground came to mind almost immediately, but I resisted it. I'm still resisting it. There's too much stubbornness in that phrase, and I've already got plenty of that. I needed something different. I became obsessed with the idea that I needed to rewatch my go-to theme source: David Lynch's Dune, and yet, I never got around to it.

By the beginning of January, I figured if it wasn't a quote I already knew then it probably wouldn't make a good theme for me anyway. A few days ago, it came to me. I popped in my Dune DVD and double-checked the bit that had come to mind, in which Stilgar gives Paul his Fremen name:
You have strength. You shall be known as Usul, which is the strength of the base of the pillar.
How I love the voice of the actor who plays Stilgar and his blue within blue eyes, a handsome messenger indeed.

2010: You Shall Be Known As Usul.

The strength of the base of the pillar conveys the unshakable sense of self that I was looking for, and also grace, confidence, integrity, good posture, and physical strength, and likely much else I've yet to discern.

I think You Shall Be Known As Usul is going to help me kick some ass this year.

What's your theme, goal, or intention for 2010?

4 years ago on TTaT: twinge

06 January 2010

1. You Better Not Cry

1. You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs (4.5/5)

Burroughs is in top form again with a series of episodes from his life occurring around Christmas. Outrageous, horrifying, moving, full of humor and humanity. Through it all, I was rooting for him. The stories occur at different points in his life, but I always felt in the often Oh No! moment with him.

If you liked Running With Scissors, you'll like this.

Note well: it's not fluffy Christmas stories for children. Nor does one need to be into Christmas to enjoy it. He spent time fed up with the commercial holiday craze too.

As someone who has always been intrigued by what writers say in dedications and thanks, I particularly liked the part of his acknowledgments that reads:
"Most of all, I am grateful to my readers, who have made me feel so less alone in the world."

My life has not had anything resembling the craziness of his, but I know what he means. I feel more connected when I read him, and I'm grateful to my handful of readers for the same reason.

Two years ago on TTaT: Rare Exports Inc. Ha! The perfect complementary post!