giving thanks, 09

many things were learned, experienced, underscored in the arizona desert. time permits me from addressing all of them but a smattering may/might include the following:

never eat at something called macaroni grill; a grace kelly double feature on tcm is a beautiful thing; never allow circumstance to loosen your guidelines and actually ingest something prepared at jack-in-the-box; when one party honors the strength and courage of the white pilgrim at a thanksgiving toast maybe you shouldn't just let it go unchallenged; if you discover mashed potatoes will be of the boxed, processed varietal prepare to run to the store instantly to correct; the desert is a beautiful place but you wouldn't want to live there; a museum that honors the extermination of native peoples while celebrating 'american expansion' may want to consider ramifications of presentation; oregon beer at cafe happy hour is glorious; under the watchful eye of peregrine falcon something you carry with you is left forever on thumb butte

pix are here


blood-brain barrier

An article in the ny times addresses a new approach to brain tumors - spraying cancer-killing drugs directly on to the tumor. one problem is the breaching the blood-brain barrier but that technique was perfected by a DR at OHSU. Awesome. Obviously at the starting line but getting there.

Introducing Taffy "Sunburst" McKittrick

I am reticent to get into the area of endorsement but I cannot deny the impact that a young singer/songwriter named Taffy McKittrick has had on me. At some point this year, maybe through this very blog, he tracked me down and announced his intention to become "internet BFF's" something I had no interest in. Thinking him a spammer or a phisher (or worse) I merely ignored him. But he sent repeated and multiple emails, urging me intensely to check out his blog. I finally broke down a few months ago and I duly admit to you - head hung low - that I read it from time to time. His songs and writings generally hover around a few topics (boring day job, thoughts of an artist, microwave burritos) but one cannot deny the sheer inadvertant ridiculousness they engender. What McKittrick lacks in talent he makes up for with eager full-throated ambition. I suppose that's a back-handed compliment. Taffy has urged me to make mention of him on this blog which I have resisted for quite some time. But, what can I say, he broke me:

If you have the stomach for it, you can experience Taffy McKittrick's blog writings here and his songcraft here (youtube) or here (vimeo).

I shall never mention him again. promise.


sentence of the day 11.14.09

"You smell like one of those barges floating around looking for an island to dump trash on"

Margaret urging me to seek immediate dental attention upon rising

sentence of the day 11.13.09

"I don't get the whole cuddle party thing"

Mike Rennie after hearing me and margaret discuss the parameters
of a semi-notorious social gathering (about which - let me be clear - we have only heard about)


i don't love wes anderson

Richard Brody's recent puff profile of Wes Anderson in the New Yorker (which can be read here ) vexed and perplexed me. This is partly due to Brody's semi-inappropriate cheerleading and back-patting of Anderson's efforts and partly due to Anderson himself who - according to the essay - seemingly makes movies to merely reference other movies, not because they're willed into creation by some deep internal necessity. This in turn breeds a certain, say,  inauthenticity in his characters which by some accounts is grand and by others grand folly. I'm in the latter camp. as is this assessment of life aquatic from n+1 which Brody references.

Don't get me wrong, I love love Bottle Rocket and like-love Rushmore - perhaps b/c the first has the ambitions of the nascent filmmaker on full display and the second has its roots in slight biography; they're also the least self-concious of his attempts -  but it's all been downhill from there, each sucessive movie a more labored effort to watch. Is the well dry?

I feel compelled to include that I have an inherent alarm bell that rings when the rich (c/f spike jonze) have these artistic vagabond narratives spun about their early formative experiences and then go on to get really into fashion and culture and being in magazines. maybe i'm just jealous.


sentence of the day 11.08.09

"There's not a shower head in the world that can accommodate a waffle"

bp to mm, responding to her idea, early AM.


The Ascent

some time ago at the library i randomly picked up The Ascent
by Larisa Sheptiko
based pretty much on cover art and synopsis.

just watched, mouth agape. holy crap.
Stunning, staggering images.
Use of sound and music.
Have not been as struck by a film in a long time and the fact that it's a random find makes it all the sweeter.
Who is this woman?

Shining, The

On Halloween night we decided to stay home and rewatch The Shining. I've seen it probably 20 times previous with most interpretations circling some varietal of horror/domesticity but this time I finally got it in clear precision: The genocidal history of the United States. This is somewhat buttressed by Bill Blakemore's essay in the San Fran Chronicle but the essay only goes so far to my thinking, limiting the scope to decimation of native americans and leaving it there. While the film certainly does include that I couldn't help but feel that was more of a leaping off place, noting the placement of red/white/blue in nearly every frame, the iconography and symbols of USA surrounding Danny (goofy, apollo usa, baseball bats), the watered-down revisionist telling of events at the Overlook by Stuart Ullman (his initials a reversing of US), the placement of American flags, the British servant handing the reins over to Jack, and most pertinently, the final shot of the film, the push in to the photograph of the Overlook Hotel's 4th of July celebration in 1924. The man that oversaw genocide and widespread race destruction is not a mere antecedant of the modern man - his alcoholism, his abuse, his frustrations at the domesticity that entraps him - but in fact, the very same individual. Oh Kubrick, I love thee so. In every frame.  

edited to add link to this spot-on take on the shining written w/ more smarts and patience than i can manage


cure for what ails

margaret and i were both home sick 3 days in a row. a perfect opportunity to rewatch that's entertainment to my way of thinking, a perfect opportunity to make endless fun of me for doing so to margaret's. Fine, throw me your taunts gentle woman, tease, prod, laugh at me. But try to deny the curative powers of fred astaire and ginger rogers and you'll be doing a fool's errand.
oh yes. you will.

sentence of the day 11.5.09

"Look right when you drive!"

mm crossing the street yelling at an oblivious driver just after slamming her hand on the hood