Thursday, February 28, 2008

On Top of Tabor

Work has been erratic and/or slow. Such is the life of a freelancer. I don't mind one bit because today was a gloriously warm and clear day. I took myself off to the Hawthorne neighborhood and headed straight for Mount Tabor, one of Portland's extinct volcanoes/city parks.

There's nothing like great Portland weather to make me really, really, really appreciate the choices I've made in life, e.g., moving to Portland in the first place (brava!) and being my own boss.

Some sights from today's walk:

Plenty More of These to Come

The first flush of daffodils is here. That arresting sunny yellow color is hard to beat.

Mount Tabor Reservoir

One of the Mount Tabor Reservoirs.

Reservoir Cop

Reservoir cop on a Segway. I guess he's preventing criminals from poisoning Portland's water supply.

The Sky from the Top of Mount Tabor

Gorgeous cirrus clouds today. This is what I saw when I looked up from the top of Tabor. One of my favorite things about this park is that anyone you see on top of Tabor got there under his or her own power. Cars are not allowed to drive to the top! There's a gate maybe a quarter of a mile before the top. Walkers, joggers, cyclists, skateboarders, dogs, and parents with strollers can all get through the gate but cars are banned, outlawed, and forbidden. I love that. That means that you can enjoy the grand view at the top without having to hear, see, or smell cars. That means that people can sit up there on a beautiful day--such as today--with a little picnic basket and a couple of glasses (real glasses) of white wine. I saw some people doing just that. Lovely.

It would not be lovely at all if cars were allowed. I know I already said that.

Sun-dappled Forest

Mount Tabor isn't wilderness, but it is very woodsy with many trees of more-than-respectable girth.

Labels: , ,


Monday, February 25, 2008

Proclamation in the Dust

Proclamation in the Dust

I have to wonder if the owners of this Windstar minivan really are voteing [sic] for Hillary or if they even know they're driving around with this DIY Hillary Clinton "bumper sticker." I'm guessing not.

Labels: , ,


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Motion Pictures and Films

Bagdad Theatre
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
The Academy Awards are coming up. I'm not especially thrilled. I haven't seen a single one of the motion pictures nominated (I'm waiting for Juno and No Country for Old Men to make it to a cheapo pizza and beer cinema like the Bagdad), but I did see some good movies last year. Here are my 10 favorites:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (excellent, but depressing)
Blades of Glory (the Iron Lotus--need I say more?)
Breach (yet another fine performance from the under-appreciated Chris Cooper)
Into the Wild (a superb adaptation of a riveting book)
The King of Kong (who knew anyone still plays Donkey Kong or that they play it every waking moment?)
Margot at the Wedding (family dysfunction to the nth degree + top-notch performances from Jack Black and Jennifer Jason Leigh--love her!)
Sicko (made me even more outraged about our nation's piss-poor health care system)
Superbad (supergood, superjuvenile, superpenile)
Waitress (a comedy that made me cry)
Year of the Dog (an excellent satire/black comedy)

See them!

I'm in the thick of the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) right now, and I am sorry to say that I am not batting 1,000 with it as I usually do. So far I've seen three films ("movies" are not shown at PIFF, only films). Two (The Trap [Serbia]) and Unrelated [Great Britain]) were duds. The Trap is little different from a mediocre American thriller. It did have one brilliant moment of home decor in the living room of a scruffy low-level thug—an enormous oil painting of himself talking on a cell phone. An oil painting! Ticky tacky--and hilarious! So, yes, the film has one teensy redeeming facet, but I still can't recommend slogging through the entire thing, which is rather ponderously paced for what purports to be a thriller.

The one PIFF film I do recommend is Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa. It's an American documentary about a bunch of misfits who live catch-as-catch-can in the New Mexican desert. Most are ex-military. For fun, they like to tip over clunker cars and trucks and then set them on fire and/or shoot at them. Somehow these folks manage to live on almost no money at all. Quite fascinating. Good luck finding it on DVD. I don't think it has a distributor. I've also got one more film to see, which is, by all accounts, supposed to be an excellent downer of a film--4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.

Labels: ,


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sixteen Years

Tall Drinks of Water
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Sixteen years ago today* B and I went out on our first official date. We went to the all-you-can–eat buffet at the Red Apple, a Polish restaurant in Chicago. I picked the restaurant and obviously had no qualms about what kind of message that all-you-can-eat choice might send. B ate very little; I tied on the feedbag.

B didn’t talk much but listened with interest to me blather on. He even went so far as to write down the names of movies I recommended (Life Is Sweet was one) on a napkin. By our next date, he’d rented and watched those movies. Nice.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t bowled over at all by B, but I liked him. He seemed a pleasant enough chap. I told all my friends that he had a refreshing lack of “objectionable qualities.” For example, he didn’t monopolize the conversation with his views on how he believed Lee Iacocca would make a fine president (ralph, hurl, spew!), like one guy I dated a couple of times. (I believe Lee got worked into the conversation on every single date—big ugh. I hate it when guys repeat themselves.) Nor was B so deadly boring that I had to pound back most of a pitcher of margaritas just to get through the evening, like I did on one unmemorable date with yet another dud.

And he was infinitely brighter than a guy I'd recently gone out with once who would not stop calling me and leaving messages on my machine. I never returned his calls, but eventually he got through. Exasperated that he wasn’t getting the message, I bluntly told him that I simply didn’t think we had anything in common. His response? “Do you breathe air?” Me: “Yes.” Him (triumphantly): "Well, then we have something in common!” Me: "I never thought of that! Let's get married!" (I didn't actually say that last bit.)

Anyway, it gradually became evident—but it took about a year or so—that not only was B lacking in objectionable qualities, he had a number of excellent and admirable qualities. It just took a while for them to reveal themselves. B is no braggart (hey, yet another rare and splendid quality!). And, as it turned out, we have at least a few more things in common than the air we breathe.

And here we are 16 years later, having weathered going on vacations together, moving in together, the death of my mom (B was a rock), relocating to a new state together, and freakin’ buying a house together. Pretty, pretty, pretty good!

*The only reason I know that today is the day is because B reminds me (sweet, no?). I cannot ever seem to remember the exact date, but a few days before February 9, B always sidles up and informs me that Red Apple Day is coming up. Then we both do brain-straining backward arithmetic to try to figure out how many years it's been. Sixteen seems to be the correct answer this year, although I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it.

Labels: , ,


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Confusion to the Black-faced Clock!

I have to say I really enjoyed the month of January 2008. Getting out there in the rain and schmizz is key, I think, to not sliding into a funk.

And it has, most certainly, been rainy! Sometimes I'd get back from a walk and as I bent down to take off my doofus-y rain boots, about 6 ounces of water would spill out of the hood of my rain jacket. That's what I mean by rainy. I always maintain that I like rain, so I guess I'm finally living up to that claim.

Today, I picked up tickets for the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). As always, I'm excited to do a little armchair traveling via film. Here's what I'm going to see (if you must know).

The Trap (Serbia)
Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa (U.S., a documentary)
Clouds Over Conakry (Guinea)
Unrelated (Great Britain)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Romania)

There were a couple others I wanted to see (Jar City [Iceland--recommended by Alda] and Caramel [Lebanon]), but, contrary to what you might conclude by the fact that I'm seeing five movies in less than two weeks, I do have a life and both those movies conflict with a party I'm going to.

I'm reading a book right now called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. It's all about how people in modern society overbook themselves and rush around like maniacs multitasking, chronically sleep-deprived, and always feeling like they're never going to catch up or have any time to themselves. Sound familiar?

Apparently, the beginning of the end of the leisurely pace came with the invention of the clock. I like this quote (written [astonishingly] in 1304):

"Confusion to the black-faced clock...that awoke me! May its head, tongue, its pair of ropes, and its wheels moulder; likewise its weights and dullard balls, its orifices, its hammer, its ducks quacking as if anticipating day and its ever restless works."

I know just how that guy back in 1304 felt. I've never ever gotten used to the sound of an alarm clock going off, nor have I ever felt like I was ready to get up when it started buzzing, trilling, or chirping at me.

Anyway, it's a pretty good book, even though I don't think I'm as much a victim of the punishing pace as most folks I know (being my own boss and all). And since January was a slowish month workwise for me, I was sort of able to do more of the things I want to do. I do see a tremendous difference in my mood. I feel really good!

Obviously, getting out for a walk every day has got to have something to do with it, but not feeling as much deadline pressure as I normally have is a factor as well, I'm certain. Suddenly, I have more energy for creative endeavors whether it's making a batch of refrigerator pickles or buckling down to knit a terrifyingly ambitious (for me) cardigan. (Just so you know, I'm not making it in blaring hunting-season orange, but in a seasonally appropriate foresty-mossy color.)

The Ravaging Hand of Time?


Labels: , , ,