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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apples & Honey

Rosh Hashanah began yesterday at sundown, and after filming, Denise (left, Helen of Troy), Allan (Menelaus), and I ate apples and honey (a couple hours early) to launch a sweet and fruitful new year.

We shot in the inner courtyard of the art museum--closed on Mondays--where there's a modern, minimalistic Greek temple--perfect background for The Glum Couple.

I got some great shots for The Making Of.

I have Helen hold a golden delicious apple--a reference to how her fate was sealed: she was the prize Paris won by awarding a golden apple to Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess.
In my movie, after Paris comes along and yanks Helen out of the frame, the apple was supposed to roll across the ground and come to rest at Menelaus's feet.
Turns out, as you know, apples aren't round so they don't roll straight.
Eventually we got it right, with much laughter.

The rest of the shots went really well.
It's fascinating to see how each of my friends has a different acting style.
Denise said, "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it."
Allan, however, wanted my interpretation of the character's actions. I'd thought that all through so I had the answers.

I'd read that most of the work of making a film comes before you shoot any film, and that's proving true.
The main thing I need to work on is giving the actors clear directions. I mean geographical directions as much as anything. I was never good at that, from way back in kindergarten.
I'm going to write "Actors' Right" on my left hand and "Actors' Left" on my right.

Later today Bink and I are shooting the first Fly footage!
But now I have an index to finish.

May your coming year be juicy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Get Over Yourself! (I dream of Bill...)

Bill was in my dreams last night. And not Bill Shatner either:
Bill Nighy!

I heart Bill Nighy. (The New York Times called him "the thinking woman's crumpet.")

But it's weird to meet him in my dreams.
It's because of my moviemaking:
My dream self seems to be rooting around in some toy box where I've stashed these interesting actors (Derek Jacobi, the other night) and trotting them out in a dreamworld casting call for my Fly movie.

Nighy is on my list of actors who I'd go see movies simply because they were in it.
Try that again.
If he was in a movie, I'd go see it. Barring the next Pirates of the Caribbean.

Another is Imelda Staunton, who starred in a movie with Bill Nighy--the funny Antonia and Jane (UK, 1991)--which hardly anyone has seen and is not on DVD.

These are dream actors: they get themselves out of the way of their characters, and they're funny in an exquisitely subtle manner. [debated in the comments, but I'll let it stand here]
They're usually cast in smaller parts--maybe because they're not movie-star beautiful? (I'd eat crumpets in their beds, but I've noticed my tastes don't represent the norm.)
They finally get famous when they show up in blockbusters, like Harry Potter (Staunton) or Love Actually (Nighy).

It's almost a formula--if an actor gets a lot of roles and they're not Barbie or Ken, it's probably because they can act.

That thing about getting out of your own way--that isn't just attractive in movies, it's attractive in life.

Lately I've had a bunch of lucky chances to see how often I've let my ego be the star of my life. How often? Often.

I so admire Bill Nighy's style, but all too often my ego has acted more like Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch (was it Oprah?). Simply being able to see that, humiliating as it is, helps me get over myself... a bit.

I'm not accusing myself of heinous crimes here--most of us have a hard time shaking off the grip of ego. We're the stars of our lives, and we want bigger trailers, with refrigerators and wide-screen TVs and our own private secretaries.

For the second half of my life (inshallah), I want to be a character actor instead, working for the love of it. The role of the ego there is to fuel the love, not to steal the scene.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Making Of

New endeavors introduce you to Things You Never Knew You Didn't Know.

I know I don't know anything about filmmaking;
but it didn't occur to me that I also know nothing about applying eyeliner.

Luckily Stefanie has acted on stage, so she's more familiar with makeup than I am. Here she is, below, transforming herself into The Narrator, a la Irene Papas.



Humbling as it is, stepping on the pedal of inexpertise can be fun:
it goes from zero to sixty very, very quickly.

I learned a ton working with an experienced actor for an afternoon: watching her turn on a dime, for instance, when I asked her to change a comic tone to a Greek Chorus drone.
I saw it would help if I were clear from the beginning about what I want.

I also saw that I need to ponder lighting, as the light bounced off Stef's makeup in a way that may render much of the footage unusable.
I only need a few snippets, though, and we got that.

Possibly the best was Stef laughing after flubbing a line, and then screaming,
"You Achean bastard, you killed my daughter!"
Not The Narrator's line, but she nailed it.

Whether Orestes and the Fly ends up as a viewable movie only time will tell;
but a top-notch Making Of... documentary is surely in the works:
The Making of a Filmmaker; Or, a Beginner Puts Her Friends through the Wringer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Narrator

I'm shooting Stefanie as The Narrator tomorrow.
I gave Stef this photo of Irene Papas to use as a makeup guide. I love Papas's eyebrows. (She played Iphigenia and Electra and Clytemnestra in different movies.)

The Narrator is there to explain the curse on the House of Atreus, which falls on Orestes, without shooting all the individual stories of Menelaus and Agamemnon and their relatives.
Well, I will shoot them, but just flashes of them murdering each other.

The point isn't the detailed stories of Orestes' ancestors, they're there to represent the "sins of the fathers," which he and we all inherit.

The Glums

Do you remember this photo of Diana and Charles? It's from their last trip together as a married couple, in South Korea, November 1992. Their unhappiness was so evident, the press labeled them the Glums.
I am shooting Menelaus and Helen on Monday, and I sent this photo to the actors, Allan and Denise. I want them to look this miserable together.
You can interpret the story of Helen of Troy all sorts of ways, but I figure she was happy to leave for Paris.

Gifts Abounding

Krista gave me a chocolate egg with a surprise toy inside (illegal in the USA, due to the low level of intelligence among our children).
She said she sensed that the toy would somehow help me in my moviemaking.
And sure enough--it's a little Physics guy with bobbley fly eyes!
When you push his head down, the equation E = mc2 appears on his eyeballs.
He is my little mascot.

I so appreciate it when the Universe drops gifts on me, instead of that other stuff...

And then Bink sent the youTube below, which pushed me right over the edge with gratitude.

Half a Million Ants and One Fly

The first 45 seconds of French and Saunders as prop-makers on Lord of the Rings could be me and Bink trouble-shooting on the Fly.
I'm Dawn, of course: the hat proves it!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mark Morris Dances Dido

Mark Morris, dancer and choreographer, is one of the most beautiful people on Earth.
Big and blocky and delicate.
A Percheron blended with Mme Butterfly.

(Photographed here, left, by Annie Liebovitz, 1989, and below, right, by Joanne Savio, 1995. From the exhibit Hidden Soul of Harmony:
Mark Morris: Portraits; Celebrating Twenty-Five Years
.)

Looking through dance books to find steps for the Fly, I came across Joan Acocella's book Mark Morris (1993).

I almost prefer reading Acocella on dance to watching dance itself.
(To be fair, I generally prefer words to bodies anyway; but she is an amazing writer.)



Since I have modern representations of classical drama and myth on the brain, I was thrilled to find Morris had choreographed Dido and Aeneas.

Here, below, he dances the role of Dido, Queen of Carthage, with his Mark Morris Dance Group, to "Dido's Lament," by Purcell.
This is right before she kills herself because Aeneas has abandoned her.

"When I am laid in earth,
May my woes create
No trouble in thy breast.
Remember me.
But ah! Forget my fate."

Morris can be very funny, but there's no Monty Python here.



I like Morris's view of art too.
He said:
"Nobody is ridiculous. Girls who shop at the mall are also noble-hearted, and can be the star of a ballet."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Poetry of Sound

Obviously the $50 I budgeted for Orestes and the Fly is inadequate.
So I've given myself a grant of... well, since it's essentially a theoretical grant, it amounts to whatever I need to buy what I need; and one thing I need is a microphone.
So, today I bought this one.

(Don't ask.)
. . .
($107.)

Of filmmaking's many tasks, the one that scares me most is dealing with Sound.
To me, sound is like mercury--you can't get ahold of it. Further, I know nothing at all about sound technology.
I didn't even know what the mike would look like.

When I saw it, I was comforted.

My mike looks like a relative of the microphone the simple Mario uses in Il Postino (Italy, 1994).
Remember?
When Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) is briefly exiled on Mario's isolated island, Mario, who is practically invisble to the people around him, delivers the poet's post and dares to show him a bit of his soul.
When Neruda leaves, Mario uses his left-behind recorder to to record the sounds of his island.
(Massimo Troisi, who plays Mario, was a comic actor and himself a poet.)

Here's the scene, which I think is the heart of the movie:


If he can, so can I.

Sailing to Troy

Yesterday was Day 1 of filming Orestes and the Fly (working title).

I started with something simple (ha!):
Agamemnon's boat sailing to and from Troy--on a local lake.

The wind raised just the right amount of waves on the lake.
And luckily Bink (left) came along: since I spent most of the time in the lake, she was the camera crew.

Everything else went wrong.
The little newspaper boat sailed the wrong direction. It capsized. Several times.
A newcomer to the camera, Bink didn't set it to "film" for the first few takes. (Though since the boat wasn't cooperating, that actually saved film.)
Also new to the camera, I got snarky when I couldn't at first figure out how to replay the film. (Notes to self: Don't stop meditating. Finish reading the camera manual.)
The tripod squeaks when it turns.

But in the end, it all came together beautifully.
I wrung out the boat (right--my new Jayne hat blowing in the wind); and it turned out that the wet boat sailed much better.
It floated nicely in to shore for the "Return" shot.
There's enough footage without the squeaking tripod and ample wave sounds.

Then I turned the boat toward open waters, and it headed for the horizon.
It sailed away so nicely, I couldn't get it back without going for a swim.
I expect it has reached Troy by now.

The Fly Head, Finished

1. The papier-mache fly head, with holes cut out for the wire strainers (bought at an Asian market).


2. Me taking a break while the spray paint dries. (This is L & M's backyard.)


3. Bink and Joop model the finished Fly head!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strange Kindnesses

I am in love.
Twisted Rib knitted me a Firefly Jayne hat, and it arrived today.
However I am annoyed at the weather: it is a very humid 76 degrees F (24 C)--hence my sleeveless shirt--and the beautiful hat is a bit warm.


As if the hat weren't enough wonderfulness, today MM agreed--happily--to let me shoot the Death of Agamemnon scene in her claw-footed bathtub!
And when I told ATK, who will play Agamemnon, that I envisioned it as the Death of Marat, he immediately assumed the correct pose of Marat slumped over the tub.

Sigh of gratitude.
Kindness abounds. Except in the House of Atreus...

I don't want it out of my sight, so my computer gets to wear the Jayne hat.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some Stuff I'm Ripping Off Referencing

As I work on the screenplay for my Fly movie [still unnamed], I find I keep saying, "sort of like..." and referencing other works.
Here are a few examples.

The feel of the movie will be like Irene Pappas (cf. Greek actress of Iphigenia, etc.)...


...meets Jean Cocteau's Greek trilogy...

...meets Monty Python.

I mean, in my dreams, of course.
.
.
.

1. The Narrator.
S/he will attempt to explain (briefly) the curse on the tangled House of Atreus.


[Cf the Narrator in Rocky Horror Picture Show]


2. Menelaus and Helen pose for their picture, before Paris takes Helen away.
They are not a happy couple.
[Cf. Grant Woods "American Gothic"--yes, I know they are daughter and father. Maybe more like Prince Charles and Diana on that trip to Asia, was it, where their unhappiness was so visible.
They pose in front of some tacky American image of Greece. Greek Gyros in a restaurant window, or a Greek Tourism Board poster.]

.
.
.
.
.
.
.

3. To get the Trojan war going,
Menelaus's brother Agamemnon sacrifices his own and Clytemnestra's daughter Iphigenia.

[Cf. Klingon kills Kirk's son.]



4. Ten years later, Agamemnon returns from the Trojan war, and Clytemnestra kills him as he bathes, saying "You bastard, you killed my daughter."
[Cf. Kirk says, "You Klingon bastard, you killed my son."]


5. Agamemnon lies dead in the bath.
[Cf. Jacques-Louis David's "Death of Marat."]



6. The messenger god Mercury will be a bike messenger,
sort of like Tyres here, from Spaced ("You lucky people!"),
except a lot cuter, as L's niece has agreed to take on that little part.

The messenger will carry news of Oreste's act of matricide to the Fly,
whose job is to avenge such crimes.

7. The Fly, however doesn't like Avenging Fury work. The Fly wants to be a tap-dancer.
[Cf. Fred Astaire.]


.
.
.
.
And the end is a bit of something out of Gods and Monsters....



with a dash of Cabaret.


A friend e-mailed me, suggesting I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
Maybe so.
Possibly my film will end up looking like my dalek [post below]--more than a bit jolly-whompered.
But it's too late.
My visions, like sugar plums, dance in my head.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Winsome Dalek

It's Bink's birthday today.
We've known each other twenty-seven years. In the middle bit, we were partners, as in lovers. I remember watching Dr. Who with her way back when, on her little b&w TV.
To launch our new partnership, as moviemakers, I made her this Dr. Who dalek:
Happy Birthday Bink!!!


The dalek is mobile: its base is a toy race car.
I used a funnel for it head; its body is cardboard covered in Asian gold joss paper; the arms are car parts I found in the alley; and the bosses and eyes are candy buttons (which I can't recommend: they melt in glue and slide all over the surface they are supposed to be sticking to). Also blue tape, rubber bands, and glue.


Maybe there are some people who don't know what a dalek is supposed to look like?
Just in case, here's a photo of one.

They come in different models, but none of them are winsome.
Yet there's something adorable about them, like wacked-out cousins of Robby the Robot, even though all they ever want to do is "Exterminate."

[Knitted Daleks here.]

I Dream of Derek


Derek Jacobi, that is.

Last night I was up late writing a rough draft of the Fly story.
When I went to sleep, I dreamed I was watching what I'd written staged as a play--and the lead was Derek Jacobi!
(You know? He played the Roman emperor Claudius in I, Claudius.)

He was terrific, though he wasn't in fly costume, and he didn't tap dance.
I'd write and ask him if he'd like to play the role, but it's promised to Bink (whose birthday it is today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

I'm trying to decide what to do with Orestes at the end of my movie, and in this dream version, he dies.
Watching it, I thought, oh no! That's not the right resolution.

I hope I keep dreaming through the other options--so handy!

Serendipity of the Day:
Looking for a picture of Jacobi, I learned he was in an episode of Dr. Who: "Utopia," pictured here.
Later I'll post a photo of the Dr. Who inspired gift I am making for Bink--I don't want her to see it yet, if she should happen to look at her computer this morning. (Though I think she'll have better things to do on her birthday.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Joop, by Steiff


Per Poodletail.

These are vintage Steiff terriers, from US-Zone Germany.
(They sold for $350 according to the Toy Auction site I found them on.)

Joop's the one in the middle.

Excuse me now, I have to go work on my storyboards.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fly Heads in Process


Bink, the Fly to be.


Applying the first layers of papier-mache: strips of newspaper dipped in a paste of floury water.

Flour paste, it turns out, is very tasty for terriers!

Joop hung around under the table, waiting for drops to lick up, and at the end of the day, clumps of flour were stuck in his hair. Luckily he is due for a hair cut soon.

And so it begins... Part III. The Plot Evolves

Got it!
The Flies, by Jean Paul Sartre.

My movie is going to be a fly's-eye view of that play, which, you may recall, is a retelling of the fall of my favorite dysfunctional family: the House of Atreus. [*Synopsis below]

Except in this, my version, the Fly is like Terry Malloy, Marlon Brando's character in On the Waterfront.
She--[played by Bink, so I guess it's a she; but this is blind casting--non-gender-specific]--anyway, this fly doesn't want to be an avenging fury. S/he wants to be Fred Astaire.
(Cue dancing scenes, as encouraged by the Edward Lear illustration a few posts back.)
Spoiler:
Like On the Waterfront, but unlike Sartre, it will have a basically happy ending.
The point being, a life of art can save even a fly from a life of crap.

So, that's the story I'm developing, while the papier-mache fly-heads dry.

If you have a knife with a retractable blade (for fake stabbings, like in Harold and Maude) and/or a white tie and tails I could borrow, please let me know. (I don't think a top hat would fit on the fly head.)

*House of Atreus RSS (Really Simple Synopsis):
Agamemnon and Menelaus are brothers--sons of King Atreus of Mycenae [Greece].
M.'s wife Helen of Troy runs off with Paris.
Agamemnon sacrifices his own daughter Iphigenia in order to get the Trojan War started.
When A. returns home, ten years later, his wife Clytemnestra arranges his murder to avenge Iphigenia's death.
C & A's remaining children, Electra and Orestes, then murder their mother to avenge their father. Or, rather, E. gets O. to do it.
So...the avenging Furies are set on Orestes---and in Sartre's play, they are flies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And so it begins... Part II: Influences

As I begin plans for my first 2-minute (?) movie, I ponder some of the people and movies who inspired me.

1. Francois Truffaut (left).
When it came out, I went by myself to see Day for Night ("La Nuit Américaine") about the fortunes (and mis-) of a French filmmaking crew. (I just looked it up--it came out in 1973. Geez--I was twelve.)
The role of director dazzled me. I thought, "I want to do that."
But it seemed impossible.

2. My pal Allan, who long ago impressed me with tales about how he made his one and only movie forty-five years ago: Stinko. And all the other kids who put their parents' movie cameras to better use than recording family vacations.
Why didn't I do that?

3. That guy who wrote to me on youTube about month ago, telling me to buy a camera.
I did do that. I guess timing is all.

4. The woman in California who sent me $60 to buy a back-up camera battery.
Actually, I spent it on memory for my computer, but it's all in service to the same goal.

5. Have you noticed more movies about homemade moviemaking lately?
Is it because cheap technology has made this possible, so people are telling stories about it?
(Of course, there were always movies about moviemaking--"Day for Night" is far from the only one.)

These are a couple recent movies about homemaking movies that threw me into fits of delight and envy.

Son of Rambow is not only a sweet coming-of-age story of two boys' friendship, it also features Jessica Stevenson of Spaced! (She plays the mother of the boy, in a family of Brethren--a distinctly unfunny religion. The director, Garth Jennings, seems to be a friend/colleague of Simon Pegg and Co.?)

The movie follows the two mismatched boys as they make a movie inspired by the original Rambo, but really about being brave and looking for love.
Once again, I thought, I want to do that.
But this time, I also thought, I could do that, because unlike Truffaut, these boys just use a home video camera.

Ditto Be Kind, Rewind, starring Jack Black (here, wearing a fly eye!) and Mos Def.

This movie illustrates the virtues of knowing what to throw away.
There's a near-perfect movie inside it; but at a self-indulgent 140 minutes, half the time, it just annoys. I want to send a pair of scissors to Michel Gondry, the director (also of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

But it's also an incredible paeon to the genius and joy of raw art.
Out of a bizarre kind of necessity, the two loser-heroes start to make their own versions of Hollywood movies, using junk and duct tape.
Watch examples here.

This film is an archangel trumpeting,
"Go out and do it yourself!"
I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

6. Fellini's Ego.
[Fellini, here, directing Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2 (1963).]

In truth, 8 1/2 baffled me when I was a kid and left me cold.
But as an adult, its overblown, indulgent, magical magnificence inspires me.
It's outrageous--no one with an apologetic ego would or could make art like this.

David Mamet says you'd better have a big ego to make movies because the craft itself will cut you down, over and over.

The further I get from the [mostly] female habit of cringing and hiding like a frightened spaniel, the more I can access my inner-Fellini.

And so it begins... Part I

I. The Raw Material

When I'm done beta-reading a ms about the shoguns today, I'm taking these supplies over to Bink's.
They are the beginnings of my first live-action movie. Can you guess what they are?
Does it help if I tell you those drapey rubber things inflate to 2-foot balloons?

Yes!
These are the supplies to make papier-mache fly heads! The wire strainers will be the eyes--Bink's idea (she used to work in theater production)--and I have some shimmery fabric to cover the heads. We'll need some paper towel tubes for the proboscis (what's the plural of that?), and probably some other odds and ends, but that's all doable.

I've already even scouted one location--a nearby defunct meat-packing plant. We could film in the scary-looking loading dock, which is open because local restaurants use it as a parking lot.

So, I've got a character, a star (Bink! she actually has a dregree in theater! and she's an artist, which is to say semi-unemployed and free to spend afternoons glueing strips of paper onto balloons and then putting the result on her head!), and a location to start.
I trust the plot will evolve out of this.

I find if I throw my heart after something I love (the fly costume, which attracts me hugely), the rest follows. Of course, sometimes I end up in a swamp, but so what?
(Ooohh--swamp monster...)
Anyway, I'm thinking a 2-minute movie with a $50 budget for my first production, so what could go wrong?

[Do you find yourself needing emoticons that don't exist--or do they? I do: "Irony" is one; "rhetorical question" is another.]

I could provide a sophisticated analysis (or several) of the attraction half-human monsters hold for uber-civilized psyches;
but the truth is this is the flowering of long-muted teenage glee.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Fly, One More Time


Good things come in threes. So here's The Fly by Edward Lear.

The Fly is doing some Jane Austen-y dance with Mr. Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen (no relation to the British surveyor who mapped K2, the world's second-highest mountain, in 1856.)

Three Things, and a Leopard

"Leadbetter’s Cockatoo," in Edward Lear’s 1832 work Illustrations of the family of Psittacidæ, or Parrots. (Besides being an illustrator of nonsense, Lear was also an accomplished natural history painter.)

I. A little story, one of my favorites.

I mangle stories, so you may have heard a more elegant version of this, but the point is the same:

Someone asks Buddha, "So Buddha, you know how sometimes you wake up and everything is super clear: you see what you've been doing that's fucking yourself up and causing suffering all round, and you just know with certainty that you aren't going to do that anymore? And then you don't! What do you think about that?"

"Oh, that path to enlightenment is excellent," Buddha says. "Yes, this sort of liberation from illusion is a wonderful gift, like a clean sharp knife. Very beautiful. You will be able to help many people and yourself on the path to full awareness through this sudden clarity. Very fine indeed."

The questioner continues, "Well then, what about when you see what you're doing wrong and how you are creating suffering, but you just can't seem to make the changes you need to make. You keep trying and failing and getting disheartened... What about that?"

"Oh!" Buddha says. "Yes! That is a most excellent path to enlightenment! You truly come to understand the struggle and grow in compassion for others who also struggle. When the illusions drop away, that is even sweeter. I highly recommend this way of cultivating awareness. Through this practice, you will be able to help yourself and other people very well. Yes, very good, very fine."

"OK," continues our friend, "What about when you just don't think you're doing anything wrong. You blame everyone else and you make excuses for yourself and you just keep on suffering and causing suffering."

And Buddha exclaims, "Excellent! Yes, this is one of the best paths to awakening. When you finally get it, you will really, really get it because you have so thoroughly gone all the way into suffering. This is a very great practice toward enlightenment. You will surely help yourself and other people greatly by taking this path."

II. Three Things I Know about Being Single, Upon Ten Years of Reflection

1. You have to do everything yourself.

2. You get to do everything yourself.

3. Repeat.

III. And a Fourth Thing

Every so often, the time comes to gather your inner resources, face your fear and loathing, and ask for help.

IV. Thinking in the Shed

Last night I read Malcolm Bradbury's very funny short novel Cuts (1987), about a silly man named Henry who spends all day in his little shed, writing, until he gets sucked into writing for television, during Maggie Thatcher's reign. Before he gets sucked in, however,

"There were moments when Henry was glad he was a writer, for writers could live in their own minds and didn't have to go outside at all."
As he explains to an interviewer, ""Writing is mostly thinking, I find.'"
Which all reminds me of me.

V. Scampering toward Leopard

Yes, my point is, I am enormously proud of myself:
Today I caught a whiff of enlightenment (freedom from the illusion of fear), stopped thinking, and went outside my little shed, as it were, to the Apple store.
There, I asked for help doing something I would definitely have put off onto someone else if there had been someone else I could put it off onto.

[This is me and the Holy Spirit dancing on the way to the Mac Shop, by Edward Lear.]

Though the Apple boys and girls are unfailingly kind and helpful, in the store I feel that same queasy fear I felt trying to figure out public transportation in Istanbul.
And when I have to do things to my computer, I experience the primeval fear of things blowing up, coupled with the more modern fear of very expensive things shuddering to a complete and irreversible halt.

(You who are computer literate will perhaps not comprehend my fear when I tell you that I was only upgrading my operating system.)

I try to avoid those queasy feelings.
However, one of the neat things I've learned living alone is that if there's no one else to do something I really, really want done, I will do it. Eventually.

What I really want is to put words, pictures, music, and motion together, and since this summer, I was finding there're programs to help me do that (like GIMP, the free alternative to photoshop) that I can't download because my OS is out of date.
So now I've installed Leopard, I can! The nice young man at the store told me how. He didn't even laugh at all.

(I think the language is part of the fear factor. "Installing Leopard." Doesn't that sound like you should have to know something--something dangerous--to do that?
Instead it consists, as you know, of putting a DVD in my laptop and clicking "install." It could more rightly be called Folding Laundry or something.)

Anyway, as Buddha might say, there are three ways of getting to the Apple shop: right away, later, or maybe in your next life.
They are all excellent, all very fine. All will lead to a good story to tell, and if you can't make it on iMovies, you can always draw it in the dirt with a stick.

Thus concludes the lesson for today.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Magic Hat

Speed-knitter Twisted Rib has made me a Jayne hat!!! It took her 20 minutes!
I lie. Two days.
But only because she had to start over halfway through: she says she "cast on too many stitches," if that means anything to you.

I am going to position myself in front of the mail slot until my hat arrives.

Here is TR's photo of my favorite terrier I have never met, modeling my hat. The hat will have double magic: Jayne energy and terrier energy!
Triple--everything is more magic when it's a gift.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jesus Likes Cuy

That little body on the center of the table is a roast guinea pig--"cuy" in the animal's native Andes. Jesus and friends are eating him at the Last Supper.
Isn't that sort of ...dear? As we know from the yard signs, Jesus does not discriminate. The book agrees: He'll eat anything.



Painting from the cathedral in Cuzco, Peru; photo by Andrew Moyer, 2006.

Roasted cuy are often served on a stick--like corn dogs and other popular foods at the State Fair here.
Which gets me thinking....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good Roasted

Rainy Saturday, not quite 60 degrees F (15 C).

A good time to roast vegetables I bought at the farmers market:
eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, red peppers, purple onions.


Not available at the farmers market here,
but presumably also good roasted:



(Puts me in mind of the Patti Duke theme song:
Cousins, identical cousins...)