Sunday, October 19, 2008

Magic Beans

[Photo of the underside of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, the Chicago sculpture popularly known as The Bean, from Blue Jake (taken in 2004 before the lines on the sculpture were smoothed off--I kind of like them).]

I. Magic Beans

I've been sick the past few days.
Yesterday I tried to take a still photo of the Death of Clytemnestra, which I was filming with Maura and Bink, and my digital camera registered "BATTERY EMPTY."
Mine was too.

But in the way of garden-variety illnesses, I woke up feeling weak but well again this morning.
Sitting with my coffee, feeling that flood of gratitude for the return of health, I thought,
Life supplies us with a handful of magic beans when we're born.
What do we do with them?

Lately I've been climbing stalks to discover how to adjust my camcorder's manual settings for light and focus and such-like.

Along with being sick, that's one reason I haven't been blogging more. Learning videomaking takes time and it's not scintillating to write--or read--about. I can tell you, though, I'm ecstatic to have discovered the "Backlight" button, which automatically adjust for shooting into brightness.

Here're a few catch-up notes.

II. Beauty Tip

Hey! Here's a hitherto unknown feature on Astronave: a Beauty Tip.
Courtesy of the Fly's makeup artist, Cathy.
The lipstick Clytemnestra wears is Clinique's "black honey," which Cathy says looks great on many different complexions. It's "almost lipstick"--that is, it's semi-opaque. It's gorgeous: looks like you've smeared your lips with shiny blackberry juice.

III. Money Tip

And another one-time feature: a Money Tip, from a friend who's an honest-to-god financial analyst:
"Don't panic."

My friend told me that there is a "hysteria index" that measures people's panic about the stock market. It usually hovers around 10. After 9/11, it shot up to 50. A couple weeks ago, with the stock market in disarray, the index reached 80.

Well, fair enough; but making decisions when you're in a panic is not recommended, so maybe the advice should be DON'T MAKE DECISIONS IN A PANIC.

Or, as Pema Chodron says about every emotion that besieges us, pleasant and un-, "Hold your seat."

I felt the flickers of panic myself: When I picked up off the doormat that week's Economist, its cover reading "World on the Edge" (photo above right), I went upstairs and started cleaning out my junk drawer.
When I found myself washing my measuring tape, I asked myself what I was doing and realized I was responding to a sense of powerlessness (i.e. anxiety bordering on panic) by setting what I could to rights.

...Which extended as far as this drawer, but I did feel better afterward. (Turns out my measuring tape is white!)

Anyway, my friend told me he thought of me and how I love Star Trek because he imagined Spock marvelling at this display of how humans respond emotionally to crises, thus making them worse.

I used to find thinking of Spock comforting and calming during the irrationality of high school too.

IV. High-Tension Wires

Before I got sick, I biked down the Greenway and photographed a couple of my favorite sights.

The Martin Olav Sabo Bike Bridge

The Rocket Ship in a Playground

I didn't include the "Do Not Climb" sign.


momo said...

I'm glad you are feeling better!

Don't panic, indeed. The MPR money guy, Chris Farrell, whose voice always sounds cheery and sensible and whose advice I've decided I like, also says the same. It's as good as reading the entrails, I suppose.

We drove by the Sabo bridge the other day, and I remarked that I had not really noticed it before. Now I am glad to know its name!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Glad to hear you're starting to feel more chipper. Think I should crack out the wallet this week and indulge in an oil-slick stick of Clinique over-priced war paint--(wonder how many different petro-chemicals went into the production of that product!!??) Hey, never noticed this before, but, of course, the petro part of petroleum, petro-chem, et al is from the Greek for rock. been noticing a lot of word origin stuff lately, that I seem to've overlooked for the past 50 years...About human versus Vulcan responses to crises: would we have literature, dance, drama, music and all the other arts as we know them if we did not have our irrational, passionate, quirky, dysfunctional, irritating, discombobulating, pain in the ass and for the planet illogical ways of responding to perceived wrongs and crises? Would we have everything we have in our collective archives from the House of Atreus to "The Oresteia", from "The Greek Passion" to "The Passion
of the Christ"--and, if we didn't behave in these ways, what would we create?! I have many dreams and musings on such things and there's always work to do to smash the state and overturn the dominant paradigm..Coffee, tea or soup, soon?



fresca said...

Momo: Thanks, me too!
"Don't panic" is written on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy too, so it must work, eh?
I was thinking as I biked over the bridge how cool it would be to have a bike bridge named in one's honor. I always liked Sabo.

Stef: Um, well, ...yeah, actually: you WOULD look good in black honey war paint! It costs $14, which makes it much more expensive than gasoline, but a much more fun use of petroleum.

What you say reminds me of Orson Welles's character Harry Lime's famous speech arguing for passion in "The Third Man" --the murderous era of the Medicis, he points out, gave us great art; five hundred years of Swiss peace gave us the cuckoo clock.
Of course, Lime was a psychopath...
Having grown up in the House of Atreus, I'd take a few cuckoo clocks... : )
You know I like Kirk better than Spock, but sometimes I sure do wish my species were a wee bit better equipped in the brain department.
Liquids and discussion soon sounds great.

Rudyinparis said...

Oh, how funny that the Gods didn't post the message I just wrote, which was about how being stoned and facing global collapse are somehow representative of a yin/yang dualism.

And I also said that I'm glad you're feeling better.

Oh, and that we biked the greenway for the very first time on Saturday--saw the rocket ship--and it was glorious.

Let's see if the Gods approve this message...

fresca said...

Ah, the gods approve, but it is just a tantalizing glimpse of whatever brilliant thing you were going to say, which I can't quite glean...

Except, yeah, that's a ROCKET ship not a space ship, you are soooo right!

Rudyinparis said...

Well, it revolved around the action of washing a tape measure. Which is something I would have done back when I still smoked pot.

Hmmm. And now the question, what is the difference between a rocket ship and a space ship? Huh.

fresca said...

Oh, I see!

I think of "rocket ship" as an old fashioned term, from the era of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
"Spaceship," while also an old word, has the feel to me of the Space Age, the 1960s and onward.

This playground sculpture has the charm of the old pulp sci-fi art I love so much, from the era of little green men.