Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Night 24

Advent ends in 17 minutes, and so my countdown-to-Christmas video Advent calendar closes.
Sleep in heavenly peace, my friends. I know the Tiny Rhino will.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 23



The night before the Night Before Christmas:
only one more calendar window to open after this.

Dedicated to You

My "Friend Me!" history of social networking book arrived in the mail, printed and bound!
It's dedicated to you, "friends in the blogosphere." (Sorry if I missed anyone.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 22

The Classic.

[There is no Day 21 video because I was really blue and just couldn't get it together.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 20

The coin drops: only 5 days until Christmas!



I went to the St. Paul zoo to film camels for this calendar, and there are no camels at this zoo!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 19

Marz (and bink) employ rigorous scientific methodology to choose a Christmas tree.
With Fred Astaire's "Isn't It a Lovely Day."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 18



Only one week until Christmas, now!
The song--a variation on "John Henry" called "Gonna Die With a Hammer In My Hand" --just happened to be playing at the coffee shop where Marz and I were finger painting Christmas cards.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 15

My longest Advent video yet, at 27 seconds, but I wish I could watch this corvid longer. Snippet = Annie Lennox, "In the Bleak Midwinter"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 14

"Lost and Found," with help from Marz and Maura.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 13



17 seconds.
I think I've started to speed the tempo up too much on my little calendar days, as we tip toward Christmas. Only 12 days! I will slow the coming vids down.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 11



For bink and Maura.
(This will be Joop the dog's last Advent, as he is preparing to leave the world.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 10

Thanks to Marz for filming Mr. Fat Squirrel in Loring Park.
Snippet of music = Rufus Wainwright, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 8

17 seconds: a bit of warmth as the Northern Hemisphere gets darker.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 7

Someone asked, and yes, I am the Tiny Rhino responsible for these glimpses into Tiny World.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 6




The snippet of music-- "Holy, Holy, Holy" by Sufjan Stevens--fits Tiny World so well, I think this is my favorite so far.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 4

Day 4, 2nd Sunday in Advent: "We light a candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 2

By me.
22 seconds.
Viewer must supply own chocolate.




ANSWER to this, via Marz: "How to change that videos automatically play when I open blog?"
Vimeo gives you "embed options" along with the embed code---turn off "autoplay this video".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tiny Rhino's Moving Advent Calendar, Day 1

19 seconds, the 1st installment of my video Advent Calendar.

[Move the cursor off the movie, to get rid of the Vimeo bar.]



23 more to come!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Year of Joop" Desk Calendars

My wire-fox terrier friend Joop is staggering under vet bills:
at 19 pounds, he owes $78.94 per pound.

His human (bink, aka Lucinda) is selling desk calendars to help him out. You can order one through me: $12, shipping included (hm... unless you live overseas).

This picture is my favorite from the calendar.



See all 12 pix here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Communications Book...

...that one for young adults I was fretting about writing all last winter? It won't be released until 2012, but its first review is in.


And it's a good one:
"Acting as a perfect companion to that film The Social Network ... this book is bound to make adults everywhere feel roughly 10 million years old. That’s right, kids! People used to meet in placed called “coffee houses” and “church groups”."

Whew.
I lost all perspective on this book long ago, so I'm relieved I hit the note I wanted to hit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Notes from Camino, V: Jun 15, 2011 ***from Marz

BELOW: Baby Rhino (me, aka Frex), Woolly (bink), and Marz brush their teeth before bed, in an albergue somewhere along the Camino pilgrimage route across northern Spain.

[E-MAIL FROM ALONG THE Camino de Santiago]

On Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Marz wrote:

HI FREX!

Everyone's falling asleep upstairs, and everyone's eating or making talking sounds downstairs.
Marz is e-mailing Baby Rhino who is upstairs making sleeping spaces before morning when everyone are stomping shoes and on and on.

Why is Marz e-mailing the rhino if it's upstairs?
Because it's sleeping.
Why is it sleeping?
Because it's a rhino.
But why? Because it is.
Woolly sleeps too. Fine.

Here's what I've done while you've been sleeping:
I went outside and looked at the clothes on the clothesline.
THAT'S THE HUMANS WITH THE GRAPHIC T-SHIRTS, THEY ALWAYS LIKE THOSE.

I thought about moving to Minneapolis, and how great it is.
[bink and I had invited Marz to come stay on our respective couches and try out Mpls. as a place to live.]

Then I thought about how it's part of a series of welcome things happening to Marz in a small space of time.
Then I thought, what if welcome things keep happening?
MAGNUM GOLD?!

[RIGHT: Bink, Fresca, and Marz eating "Magnum Gold?!?" ice-cream--the rule being that you had to buy and eat one of this brand every time the ice-cream case carried it. I wasn't feeling well, so I just drank green tea here.
Photo by Fred from Amsterdam]

King David said this but you know Kirk totally says this everyday too:

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life."
SURELY. OF COURSE. OBVIOUSLY. WHAT ELSE.
But actually, you can have a terrible life. I'm not saying anything about it, I'm just saying.

Anyway, I talked to Paulette, and she said if your socks are damp after washing them,
you sleep on them and the heat from your back dries them, FYI.

OK, I only have 6 minutes left so GOODNIGHT BABY RHINO!

Love,
Marz

[The Kirk macro was part of Marz's e-mail: she made it then and there.]
_______________
All photos by bink (unless otherwise noted).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Notes from the Camino, IV: June 7, 2011

Above: Marz and bink walking a pilgrim-made labyrinth. Passing people add stones to the widening spiral.

[E-MAIL from the Camino de Santiago]
On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM, Fresca wrote:

Hello all!

Thanks for all your messages! It is really really nice to hear from home (and other familiar places).

This is a shared computer, as always, so I'm going to respond rather impersonally, but I LOVED hearing your individual voices.

Today we walked almost 20 miles so checked into a private room in a hostel (57 euros for 3 people, compared with the 5-euro/pilgrim albergues)--we wanted a bathtub and some quiet over the very friendly but sometimes grating hubbub of the shared albergue spaces.

So........... Here I am---still walking.

And still walking, again....
[Above: Marz (and me to the left) walking through vineyards]

.... And--what the hey!--STILL walking.

It took me THREE weeks, no lie, for my brain to settle down and accept it.
One day, walking across the central meseta (plain) I actually felt my brain unclench and unfold, like a flower opening.

Oddly, or not so oddly? it was like giving up hope. But, as the Buddhists say, it was not a loss but a liberation.

Since then, and that was only a week ago, I've really entered into the pilgrimage. I went from wanting to go home to not being able to imagine a life not made up of walking.

Iborpofen, which is sold in Spain in large tablets of 600 mg (vs USA's 200 mg tablets) no doubt helped me get over the hurdle of blinding blister pain.
And Saint Michael helped in the form of San Miguel beer.
I am relieved to say the blisters have healed.

The other day Marz (Margaret) opened her pack, took out the ubiquitous can of the tuna fish, and said,
"If you can't find god in a can of tuna fish, you won´t find god on the camino."

(The tuna, I should add, is in olive oil, not water, so is a very luscious treat, tho it gets a bit boring after a month...)

Whether that´s proof or disproof of god depends on the individual, I guess (can one find ultimate meaning in a can of tuna fish?), but it sort of summed up the walk for me:

It´s all about my relationship to physical creation, physical existence.
And it´s also about the people who share that physical world, who continue to amaze me with their kindness.

[RIGHT: Tom from England helps me fill my water bottle from a local fountain. Public water supplies are usually clean and safe to drink (or are clearly labeled if not).]

Last night Giancarlo, an Italian peregrino (pilgrim), commented that he had never seen such joy shining out of people´s eyes as he sees on Camino.
Yes.

The route is more commercialized than it was when I walked in 2001, but it´s still a pilgrimage, not a bus tour.
It strips people down to their essences.

Amazingly, those essences prove to be good and kind and generous. OK, and sometimes cranky and snappy too!
But generally that is soothed with a foot rub and a glass of wine...

[Above: Or sometimes it takes a bottle of wine. My end of the the table was a tad crabby until we'd downed a couple. --Photo by Fred from Amsterdam]


I told Sara [right], a French pilgrim, that walking was like practicing for a good death, and she replied,
"Yes, it takes a lifetime to have a good death."

I know I am middle aged because the young walkers talk about high school and college, and I talk about death!

It's ALL good.

On the road again in half an hour, so off I go.

I think this is a very scatty message, but such is Internet on Camino.
I trust it conveys love and best wishes
from your pilgrim friend,
Fresca

[RIGHT: Me and Marz with Sara: Eating al fresco from shops was cheaper and often better than eating bocadillos from the usual bar-cafés.]
_______________
All photos by bink (unless she's in the photo, in which case it's probably by me).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Notes from Camino, III: May 29, 2011

[E-MAIL I sent, on the Camino de Santiago]

On Sun, May 29, 2011 at 2:56 PM, Fresca wrote:

Caros amigos!

I am in an albergue in Fromista, on the meseta--the central plain. Like many but not all albergues, it has public computers. They usually cost 1 euro ($1.69) for 20 minutes.

The last couple days, we've been walking through a Monet painting of poppy-splattered waving fields.

"Poppy" in Spanish is amapola.
"Blister" is ampolla.

I have both. While I´m sorry about that, if I can't have poppies without blisters, I guess I'll take both.

Though, damn, blisters hurt just as much as I remembered.
[Taken at end of Camino--this blister is almost healed.]

I hear that there are earthquakes and demonstrations here, but I only hear that news from you all, here on e-mail.
Among pilgrims, it's all news of feet and souls, same as last time.

Well, not quite true.
I did see a political demonstration march past outside the window of our hotel room in Burgos, the Hotel Norte y Londres [right].

(Ever since 2001, when I'd walked past this a peach-colored Victorian hotel with salmon pink geraniums in its French windows, I've regretted that I hadn't stayed there. I swore I would this time.

Luckily it turned out to be only a 2-star hotel, so only cost 71 euros for the three of us (albergues are running 4 to 10 euros, per person)--not the 200+ euros the swank Paradors cost.)

But at the time the demonstration was passing by, I was in the middle of washing ALL MY CLOTHES (heaven) in the bidet, and hence was wearing only my undies.
I didn't want to lean too far out the balcony to see what was what... not that I'd have been able to tell anyway.
But something is up.

(The one Spaniard I asked later told me he was an anarchist who didn't care about politics.)
[Political poster in Leon. Local elections were held on May 22.]

Today we walked 15 km before I decided I'd better stay here in this largish town rather than risk limping on, on my blistered feet, in the hot afternoon. I felt a little wimpy until I realized I had walked 9 miles, after all.

I'm glad we stopped, though I faced the harshest test yet, in checking in:
The albergue owner of this privately run place gave me two 20-euro notes in change instead of two 5-euros.
(They're both kind of blue, tho very different sizes, as you may know, so I don´t know how she made that mistake...)

Everything has been much more expensive than I'd hoped (due in part to the bad exchange rate, a bocadillo [sandwich] costs about $6), and I'm well over budget, so I confess I actually pocketed the bills and walked to my bed space... before going back and returning them.

Lucinda and Marz are doing great---no big feet or knee problems for either, and we all get along well.

Marz calls us Baby Rhino (me) and Woolly Mammoth (L), and she gives running color commentary on our daily activities, in a funny voice.

I just asked her to sum us up (she´s sitting at the computer next to me listening to Justin Bieber's song "U Smile"), and she says:
"Baby Rhino likes candy.
Woolly Mammoth likes navigating.
And Marz likes to play catch with oranges."

[RIGHT: bink, navigating with help from the ubiquitous yellow arrows and Saint James]

EEK! 1 minute left on this computer.
Signing off!
Love you! Fresca

Below: Workers painting navigational scallop shells (the sign of the pilgrimage) for walkers to follow through the streets of Pamplona.


All photos by bink (unless she's in the photo, in which case it was probably by me).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Notes from Camino, II: May 21, 2011


ABOVE: Me walking through Obanos, Spain.

Here and there, we met pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago who complained that the walk was "not spiritual enough."
I think they meant it is crowded, and full of people who are laughing and talking. If you want silence and solitude, you have to work hard to find it.

I expect we three Americans were exactly the sort of boisterous people they objected to. We talked all the time, laughed loudly and often, played, and generally goofed around for much of the walk.

[LEFT: Marz laughed so hard at bink singing in a chipmunk voice that she collapsed on the road.]

For me, the spiritual on the Camino comes in being IN the physical world, amongst people from all over the world. The snoring, the blisters, the smells, the sometimes-annoying pilgrim... they are all part of the spiritual.

And so, here is an example of my far-from-elevated concerns when we stopped for the night:

[E-MAIL to Annika, who will meet us in Santiago on June 19]

May 21, 2011

Hi, Annika!

bink, marz & i just watched, here on the albergue's computer, "the worst fight scene ever" on youtube -- do you know it?

It's the fight between Kirk and the Gorn, and we had to watch it because we were arguing as we walked along about who picks up whose leg.


Of course I was right--- it's the Gorn who hoists Kirk's leg up.Day One: Marz & Frex, reenacting the Gorn/Kirk fight, heading out from Roncesvalles

All is going well tho my little toes HURT.
Good luck breaking in your boots!

See you in Santiago on the 19th.
(We are almost to Burgos.)

Sci-Five from your Camino pals,
Fresca

Of course, sometimes we were quiet and contemplative.
Here, me with a cup of ginger tea under a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, at a roadside rest stop a young man maintained, offering pilgrims healthy treats, "donativo" (for a free-will donation). The whole-wheat-y goodies were a nice change from ice cream and potato chips.

___________________
All photos by bink (unless she's in the photo, in which case it was probably by me).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Notes from Camino, I: May 16, 2011

_________________________________





CAST OF CHARACTERS

Above left: Margaret/Marz/Marzipan (20 years old)

Above right: me, Fresca/Frex/Baby Rhino (50 years old)

Below: Lucinda/bink/Wooly [Mammoth] ("Don't Stop Walking")



[First E-MAIL from along the Camino de Santiago, northern Spain]

On Monday, May 16, 2011, Fresca wrote:

Hello Everybody!

We are near Estella, having café con leche and bizcucho (sponge cake) for breakfast in a little bar below the albergue, both run by José Ramon, who is very kind (muy simpatico).

ALL IS WELL!!!
I don't even have any blisters.

[Café in Pamplona]

Here's some stuff people said that I've been writing down.

From Naomi, a French woman we met on the road, who has given herself a year to do things she's always wanted to do:
"I was walking the Camino as part of my year of dreams, and I decided to extend the year to my entire life."
Quote from me, explaining the gifts of the road:
"When you need a bobby pin, a bobby pin appears ... or not."

Quote from Margaret (Marz):
"I just want to explore, then lie down, explore then lie down."
No quote from bink (Lucinda) yet, but I could show you a drawing she did of me (as a Gorn) stealing cheese from the refrigerator in the Obanos albergue in the middle of the night.
(IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!!)

@ANNIKA---we are on time to meet you in Santiago, so far!

My brain doesn't remember how to write online anymore, so adios for now!

Buen camino!
Francesca/Fresca (Baby Rhino, my name from Marz)
ABOVE: Sheila, Marz, Buddy, me airing my toes, and Estelle (discussing William Shatner's peculiar pinky finger?), the first serendipitous group to form.

We met Sheila on the bus from Pamplona to Roncesvalles, where we started the walk.
Buddy & Estelle were walking the Camino for their 7th time, I think. They told me my introduction--"Hi, I'm writing a short story about the apocalypse"--was the most brilliant opening line they'd heard on the road.
__________
All photos by bink (unless she's in the photo, in which case it was probably by me).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"It is only a door."

Prospective Immigrants Please Note
--by Adrienne Rich

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.
____________

Young me thought that going through the door guaranteed some sort of fulfillment--artistic, spiritual, romantic.

Now I understand why people choose not to go through the door and even think they are quite sensible not to.
It is only a door.
No guarantees.

Also I no longer think I know who does and who does not go through the door, or even where or what the door is.
I know I do not know.
Which is a weight off my shoulders.

________________

Today would have been my mother's 77th birthday.
Did she go through the door or not?

She looks at me doubly,
and I look back and live with what happened.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween


Marz as Tintin, bink as Snowy, me as Captain Haddock.

Marz has been living with me for 4 months, as of tomorrow. For the first month or two, she was a guest. Now we are roommates.

It's been almost 13 years since I lived with anyone.
I've talked more in the past 6 months (since I met Marz standing under a streetlight in Pamplona) than I have in the past 6 years.
Possibly one reason I haven't been writing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Eulogy for Susan Barrett Newhall

My Eulogy for Susan Barrett Newhall, (1934–2011)
Given on October 10, 2011
_______________________

Over the past few weeks––starting, in fact, around the time Barrett went into hospice––my friend Marz and I have been reading out loud the children's classic Charlotte's Web. You might remember it's about a spider, Charlotte, who saves the life of her friend Wilbur the pig by spinning words into her web, such as terrific and radiant.

Last night we finished the book.
At the end, Wilbur is remembering Charlotte, who has died long ago. Though he had loved many spider friends since, Marz read:
“…none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart.
She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes
along who is a true friend and a good writer.
Charlotte was both.”
“A true friend and a good writer”? I couldn't believe it! I jumped up and said, “That's Barrett! I'm going use that at her celebration tomorrow!”

I don't remember Barrett ever mentioning Charlotte's Web. She was more likely to quote someone such as Marcel Proust,
the Frenchman who wrote a 6-zillion page novel Remembrance of Things Past.
(Maybe you've read it? I could never get past page 12.)

A couple weeks ago, I was visiting Barrett in hospice with two other friends.
Between morphine and fatigue, Barrett couldn't fully join in the conversation, so we visitors were telling stories about her life while she listened, reclining on the bed.

At one point she sat right up and said, "Someone should be writing this down.”
And she wistfully said, "Maybe you'll say something nice like this about me at my memorial?"

As if I wouldn't! I didn't have anything prepared at the moment, but I knew just the thing to say.
"Barrett," I said, "I'm going to say you had l'esprit, like you told me Proust wrote about."
At that, she smiled a smile of satisfaction.

L'esprit is French for "spirit." I have no idea what Proust meant by that, exactly, but godknows Barrett had spirit.
She brought her spirit to her work as a mother, an artist, a musician, but I mostly connected to her in the spirit of a word-spinner, a storyteller, a writer.

I first met Barrett in 1991, when she joined the staff of the MCAD library, where I worked. Our first day together, our boss set us to inventory books in a certain section of the library. We should have averaged an entire bookcase in an hour, but when our boss came back to check on us after a couple hours, we'd inventoried maybe one shelf of one bookcase.

Of course, we'd been talking.
Or, Barrett had been talking, and I'd been listening, enthralled, to her tales of riding a motorcycle around the West Bank, back in the 1960s, or moving with her kids and her cats and her lover to the Atlantic and throwing their last pennies into the ocean, or the time she interviewed to be a secretary for author Norman Mailer but told him she couldn't take the job because it would interfere with HER writing...

Our boss said, "Could I ask you two to talk after work?"
And so we did.
For the next 21 years.

We had our ups and downs, and off and ons, as longtime friends might. I imagine Barrett's spirit as a cat that didn't appreciate having her fur rubber wrong. (And I have my prickly side too, of course.) For instance, once we fell out over one of her favorite authors, Arthur Koestler, and didn't talk for weeks.

But no matter how long we went not talking to each other, I always knew that she would take me back, and I trusted that she knew I would always welcome her back too.

And, as it turned out, this past spring, we hadn't actually talked for more than a year. I was preparing for a walking trip: a pilgrimage across Spain, from the mountains to the sea. On my blog, I'd invited people to write out and give me words––prayers, hopes, dreams––to walk to the lighthouse at Finisterre, which means Lands End, or the end of the world. There, like pilgrims of old, I would burn them.

Two days before I left for Spain, Barrett e-mailed me:
Dear Francesca,

I see you are leaving for a pilgrimage. This is one of those moments of synchronicity for me.
Last fall I had a dream: I woke up and wrote it down.
It never occurred to me it might be prophetic.
Now the cancer has come back and I don't have very much time left.
I love life, I don't want to leave, but death is a part of life
and I would like to know my dream is being carried to the end of the world by you.
Somehow this ceremonial end––or beginning––of my dream of death
has become of great significance to me.

Love always, Barrett
I was honored to be her messenger. I contacted her before I left and told her she had to live until I returned in July so we could meet in person again.

I carried Barrett's words with me for 550 miles. And when I got to the Atlantic––the other side from where Barrett had thrown her pennies in so many years ago––I walked out on the promontory past the lighthouse, and read them out loud to the little group of pilgrims with me, to the sound of their tears. 

This is what she had written:
There was an explosion.
I was thrown violently into space, thousands of feet above the earth.
With my arms straight out in front of me, as if I were diving,
I plummeted downward into an enormous golden cone.
I'm leaving this earth, I realized, leaving forever!
After I spoke these words, I noticed a small black dot at the bottom of the cone.
As I got closer, the dot became larger and I became acutely aware
that I was going away from all I had ever known in my life,
away from the anchor of my own reality.
I wasn't afraid, I wasn’t frightened, only awed at the way this was happening.
A blanket of calm acceptance enfolded me as my eye remained fixed on this
Approaching mysterious blackness.

Then I woke up.
__________________

I read Barrett's words. I burned them. And, out on the rocky edge of the world, I offered the ashes, Barrett's spirit, to the spirit of the sky, and the water, and the earth.

Barrett and I did get to spend a lot of time together when I came back. Toward the end,
I asked her if the calm acceptance of the dream had held, and she said it had.
She said she wanted to be remembered as someone who faced her cancer with grace and humor.

Did she ever.

The last time I saw her, just hours before she died, I told her I would always remember her that way, as someone with grace, and humor, ... and spirit.

After all, as Wilbur discovered, it is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.
Barrett was both.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Bohemnian Rhapsody" on Ukulele?

Here at the coffee shop, we are experiencing an overload of acoustic music on a radio station called, Marz says, the Coffee House or something.

Right now, "Bohemian Rhapsody" on ukulele.

What, in an unpremeditative mode,do we think of this?

Marz: It's music like these [pointing at coffee bean sacks next to us].. these burlap bags.

FREX: How so? Bland yet irritating?

MARZ: Why "yet"? Don't those go together?

FREX: I was thinking bland like pudding, which is not annoying.

MARZ: If you were wearing this [touches burlap bag], it would be very irritating.

FREX: Whereas if you were wearing pudding, it wouldn't be scratchy.

MARZ: Pudding would be great as clothing. A pudding clothing line! Pudding You Can Wear.

FREX: How would you keep it from sliding off?

MARZ: I wasn't thinking that much, just if pudding could be translated into clothing, it would be very cool.

FREX: Like silk.

MARZ: Yeah, and they're working on charged clothing, so you can put your phone in the pocket of your shirt and it will charge. So they can knit all sorts of things into fabric, I'm sure they could do pudding.
You just need someone who would devote a lot of time and energy and money to it. The kind of person who would measure themselves in Cheetos. That would be the same sort of person.

FREX: That would be you, Marz.
But I have an idea. Pudding in little Zip-Lock bags, stitched together into an item of clothing.

MARZ: That's very do-able. But... does pudding go bad?

FREX: Sure, it's a milk product. This would be a one-time wear.

MARZ: You could do it for Halloween and go as Lady Gaga.

FREX: And it would be cheap.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trumpet


Trumpet
by Marzipan P. Marmot

a trumpet has a bell
but you shouldn't hit it like a bell
it will dent

[photo: Wynton Marsalis]
____________

MARZ: But you have to explain this. It doesn't make sense.
...
This does NOT mean copy down everything I say!!!
[laughs; stabs your typist in the arm with a pen; hangs head when this has no effect]

THIS IS NOT EXPLAINING IT!

FREX: OK, so... explain it. I won't type it until

MARZ: YOU'RE TYPING THAT YOU WON'T TYPE IT!!!

FREX: [typing] [scerad,td.fd,g]ouf]p''[rbdft

MARZ: NOW YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT! Now there's even more to explain. STOP!!!
[hits back of chair of your typist]

FREX: [scerad,td.fd,g]ouf]p''[rbdft looks like it looks because I was typing with a pillowcase over my head, placed there by one Marzipan P. Marmot.


OK, really now. Here's what happened.

This morning, instead of writing my [Frex's] resume, I sat on the couch with Marz and made up a song off the top of my head. It was terrible and I don't remember anything except it ended with
"Juice, juice, juice, juice."

Then I quizzed Marz on the properties of brass instruments. (She plays trumpet.)

"Trumpet," she said, "has a nice color."

"What's the color?" I said.

And she said, "It's not a particular color, it's just a brightness, like glossy paint instead of matte."

I said I think I prefer the darker smokier sounds of, I guess sax and trombone.

"Tenor sax," Marz clarified. "That's what Captain Kirk plays."

Then I asked her to compose a poem about the trumpet, unpremeditatedlyish,
and the above poem was the result.


Photobucket

"Justin Bieber Playing Trumpet" from Gifninja.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Illustrated & Unpremeditated

Today, Marz and I made pineapple upside-down cake with my mother's handwritten recipe.

[ * * * *RECIPE AT END OF POST . . . ]


Then we talked about it.

MARZ: [This cake is] like dissonance.
Is it?
No.
Is it?

FREX: Yes! Because it shoves into close contact elements which we normally keep distinct.

MARZ: Uh, yeah... with the fruit and the cake touching. That could be disturbing. It could make you feel like you're upside down. Even the name of the cake... you might have to sit down after hearing it.

FREX: Yeah, and the tart acid next to the fat sweet. It's like... what do you call it? When the chord isn't a comfortable major cord, like C-major?

MARZ: I don't know what that's called. You mean minor chords? Or, dissonance? Dissonance is major and minor chords touching?
Let's hope no one who knows music theory reads this.

FREX: Well, they could help us.

MARZ: Yeah, but it's not about the theory. It's just about the metaphor. Like how you can talk about math if you don't know it.

FREX: OK, but, you know what? I don't think dissonance is the best metaphor for this cake, because in fact, the cake is much more comforting, very much LIKE a C-major chord.

MARZ: When everyone was warming up for marching band, the section leader would say, "OK, everybody, C-major chord," to see if we were in tune to prevent any future dissonance.


FREX: This cake is more like the way dissonance resolves in music.

MARZ: It felt really dissonant to plop the pineapples in the skillet with the sugar and butter.

FREX: It's really satisfying to have something that sets your nerves on edge...

MARZ:... as long as it resolves.

FREX: It makes you feel all worried and then, sigh... everything's all right with the world.
Even if that's an illusion, it's an incredibly comforting one.

MARZ: All the waves are in synch. Which is right and makes sense.

FREX: Even though it's not how things really are.
Well, sometimes they are.
As in this cake.

MARZ: The people who are going to eat this cake won't experience it as dissonant because they weren't involved in the process of creation.
Like making the burrito at Taco Bell--
--if you're making it you know that everything barely comes together. It's very messy, very unsatisfying, actually, to make one of those burritos, but it's all folded up so the people on the receiving end aren't aware of that.

FREX: Maybe that's what art does for us. What artists do for us. They wade into the dissonance and wrestle it to the floor. Speaking of mixed metaphors...
Wait, maybe that works---it's like wading into a swamp and wrestling an alligator.
Which is a little dramatic for the act of baking.
Tho the way our kitchen looked at the end, maybe not.

MARZ: You did throw an egg, Frexipan.

MARZ: Let's fold this post up like a dissonant burrito. Can we charge people money too? Ninety-eight cents?

FREX: Yeah. Everyone: please send 98 cents and we will send you a piece of nondissonant cake. If there's any left. Which there won't be.

MARZ: So, in parentheses, that's (no).
_______________________

To resolve this satisfactorily, here's the recipe for
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

Melt in cast-iron skillet
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 c(1 stick) or 1/4 c butter

Drain can of pineapple. Set pineapple on top of the melted butter and sugar.

Mix in small bowl:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream 1/2 cup butter with 1 c. sugar
add 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add flour mix, alternating with 1 cup milk, to creamed mixture.

Beat 2 egg whites stiff and add to batter at end.

Bake 350 degrees, 40 minutes or so


(from my mother, Lytton V. Davis)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Damp air.
Damp brain.

I am going to post something here this morning, no matter how sodden.

I don't know why I'm not writing, and it's the not-knowingness that bugs me.

Though it's surely obvious?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Buy Forks, and Other Unpremeditated Thoughts on How to Be a Grup

Grup: In the Star Trek episode "Miri", the people who are dying because they have passed the age of puberty.

For our purposes, let's assume you don't DIE of the condition, but you do find yourself in the weird position Marz finds herself in:
reaching a life stage where, for the first time, you have to buy your own FORKS!

So, in an unpremeditated sort of way, we decided to outline how to find forks.

1. Buy food that requires forks, to push you into taking this step.
Pizza and cereal won't do it.

2. So, um, buy some, like... meat!
[Fresca says this will also require a knife, but Marz says, No! just think of one thing at a time!
If you get thinking about knives, you will get silverware paralysis.

If you find you have bought meat, such as steak, that turns out to require a knife to eat, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THAT YET. You can borrow one from a neighbor.
We are just concentrating on forks now.]

Fresca suggests cooking the meat.
Marz says, No! That's a different problem. Don't think about that yet.
So...

3. Don't think about knives or cooking.

4. Do something that has symbolic power.
This step will depend on the individual, but, off the top of our heads, we think something along the lines of a little dance, perhaps? {F's idea}
Or, Marz had in mind throwing something off the porch.

5. Get up and leave the house, in search of forks.
Though you might accidentally find them, it helps to set your intention.

6. Also--it helps to have more than one approach--use your social network.
Post on Facebook, for instance, that you need forks. Someone might give them to you!

7. You may encounter some resistance within yourself at this point, when you are on the verge of becoming a fork owner.
You may think, "I'm going to have to become the sort of person who people will expect to have multiple forks at any time."

8. If the resistance is too intense, back off.
Go back to your spoon (which you have so you can eat cold cereal). The forks can wait until another day.

9. Don't despair. You will get forks, eventually, or forks will come to you.
Or, if you don't, remember, people have lived without forks before. For much of history, in fact.

10. If you do find yourself despairing, think of other people in history who have managed to do this Grup fork thing. Rocky, for instance. If Rocky can somehow procure and own forks, so can you.

[Oh, wait. Did he have forks, Frex wonders? Well, I don't know, but he had a glass, which is symbolically equivalent.]

10. That's about it, then. Yep. That's all we can think of right now.

Good luck!
P.S. Marz has not yet procured her forks.

P.P.S. Frex is approaching job hunting similarly.

P.P.P.S. This just in: Art Sparker's "Free and Street Legal" take on forks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Let the Job Search Commence!

I've been home from Camino for a month. It is time to get cracking on finding a job!
And Marz too.
We have officially enrolled in the C-Kape Plan:
job hunt by day, watch movies by night.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"a tensile promise of experience tempered with barely restrained passion"



"James' lips are a tensile promise of experience tempered with barely restrained passion."
--Bianca Castafiore?, comment on the previous post

I see it in this lip curl, a more worried expression than the related smirk.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unpremeditated Blogging

Now that Marz lives here (on my couch, in fact), I really miss her blogging--especially, today being Sunday, her Sunday Macros (which didn't always happen on Sundays).
She is sitting RIGHT HERE and I said to her, "Blog. Blog now."

And she replied, "I can't just blog NOW. It has to be premeditated."

("That's not exactly what I said," she said, reading over my shoulder. "I'm being misquoted," she continued. "Misrepresented," she muttered.)

"Fine," I said. "Then I will blog unpremeditatively."

And here is what I have to say.
Justin Bieber is Baby Captain Kirk.

Look:


[Pictures not unpremeditated. They were sitting on my desktop.]

Unpremeditatively I would say they share...
a similar softness--if they were horses, you'd say they had soft mouths; a lack of self-awareness (and hence semi-imperviousness to ridicule); the same prankish affectionate nature; an ability---as yet unrealized by JB--to sing "Rocket Man"; Canadian citizenship (well, that's Shatner, not Kirk, but close enough).

Marz interjects, through a mouthful of Corn Pops cereal (exudes a cloud of sweet odor... like honey),
"Tell them about your Justin Bieber notebook and my Justin Bieber watch! Would you be comfortable sharing that?"

Uh, yes, I guess I would.
See, I told Marz I saw Justin Bieber notebooks at K-Mart but buying one embarrassed me to myself too much, so I didn't. But she went and BOUGHT ONE FOR ME!
This is why I let her stay on my couch.
This evening she came home with a Bieber watch for herself.

And that concludes the Unpremeditated Adventures of Marz and Frex, for now.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is this blogging thing?


I miss blogging but haven't been able to get traction to really get started again. I came out to Bob's today at noon intending to blog then did everything but for six hours.
Including posting some Camino pics (post below)--which, while fun, doesn't count as blogging for me.

Also watched for the nth time Justin Bieber's catchy pop tune "U Smile". His performance fascinates me--what IS it?(Song starts at 1:03.)


I shall try blogging again tomorrow. Hm. Or maybe not, since tomorrow is the Women's World Cup final. USA v. Japan.
Starring the amazing goalkeeper Hope Solo. (Yes, she is related to Han).
photo from Nike's "Make Yourself" series, by Annie Liebovitz