October 2005 Archives
The sun is calling, and I must ride my bike today. Got up on the rollers for a little while yesterday -- it was nice enough (though cold) to ride, but I didn't have the time. With a doorframe to occasionally lean against, I was able to get up and ride for a few minutes. It's tricky because steering on rolling cylinders of aluminum is very twitchy -- not quite the grip you get on asphalt. But I imagine it's hard to make a roller of asphalt. These do give a pretty strong workout, too. Of course, while setting that up in the garage, the (once again) distressed state of the garage came to my attention, and I realized that eventually I'd have to do something about that extra boat I suddenly needed and now have no place to store. So I started fiddling around with elaborate racking options, and finally decided to just buy a pair of metal sawhorses for the new boat and be done with it. With a LOT of work, I may still be able to get a car in the garage this winter. Stay tuned.
Looking for Halloween fare to view last night. We've got some great bad b/w horror films, but Bek's a little sensitive for that sort of thing, so we were going to to go with "Beetlejuice," only to be surprised by the fact that we don't own it. Could've sworn we did. So, that left us with the choice of "Ghostbusters," which always reminds me of when the chart-topping force of Ray Parker, Jr., and Raydio seemed to be unstoppable. Also watched "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," which really just isn't all that interesting anymore. "Christmas" holds up, "Pumpkin" not so much.
Gotta get outside!
I've been totally immersed in family history lately. Something called the Northern New York Library Network has put together an amazing digitization project for several north country newspapers, most importantly (for me), the Adirondack Record and Elizabethtown Post. The newspapers are fully searchable and come down as PDFs (rather than some obscure proprietary viewer technology like Ancestry uses). As a result, I've spent the last couple of weeks poring over old papers looking for (and finding!) mentions of my grandfather and many other ancestors, filling in holes I barely knew existed, and revealing something of normalcy in a north country family life that we frankly weren't sure existed. My father never spoke of his family or his life growing up -- it was impossible to drag it out of him. How people were related to him was very vague. It was all very odd. On my mother's side, we knew all our great great aunts and cousins and knew some family lines very well, but on my father's side it's been a jigsaw puzzle with about 80% of the pieces missing. So this has been amazing.
This was a time when the "society" columns of a newspaper reported on every little thing someone from a community had done. If they went 3 miles up the road to do some shopping, it was written up. If someone was over for Sunday dinner, it was written up. If someone was down with la grippe, it was written up. (Now I know that the same week my father was born, his family acquired a telephone.) When I was composing newspapers that still did this kind of reporting back in the early '80s, I thought it was the most ridiculous, antiquated form of newspapering possible, and may well have prayed for its extinction. While I still barely see its value as contemporary news, it is an incredible resource for those of us studying family history, so it's just possible I was wrong. These papers are also browseable, so even for those with no family connection, it's enlightening to look back and read some of the dispatches, particularly from World War I. And the ads. The ads are amazing. Gotta get back to it....
Very glad to have the Madison open again -- its future was very iffy there for a while, and after the last closing it appeared it would be sold to Sage College and the last neighborhood theater in Albany would be gone (the truth of that statement depends on whether you consider the Spectrum a neighborhood theater). It's a drive for us, but the seats and concessions are cheap, it shows first-run films, and it keeps me from handing over money to the big chains. And now, there's a place to hang right next door. Perfect.
Seriously, this rain has been getting on my ass. The one day it didn't rain, we had 40 mph winds. Today, it finally cleared, and there's a chance tomorrow will actually be sunny. (Again, I've lived in a far worse place, sun-wise, but I moved away.
Been reading "Her Husband," an interesting enough story of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Tends to drive home the same points over and over (and over), but it's pretty good. I was unaware that Ted's mistress, the women for whom he left Sylvia and with whom he later had a daughter, also killed herself. Same method. Took the daughter with her. That's something to have to carry the rest of your life. It's also interesting to read about the reality of Sylvia Plath, rather than the feminist icon that was fed to us way back when. For instance: very domestic, very into cooking and homemaking, very much wanted children. That was very much against the given truths of feminism in the '70s, so it was definitely not part of the discussion of who she was. Also missing was her aggressive sexuality, though it appears that really only emerged with the later publication of things that had been held back. So, as I said, interesting.
For my other reading, I'm working on understanding cascading style sheets. I think I finally get it. But you'll see no evidence of that here, yet. Yet.
Made it up last week with a little swimming, anyway. With swim team practice it's almost impossible to get a lane at our Y, but twice I was able to sneak in right after work, get my half-hour, and get out. At least it's something.
Took Hannah to see "The Corpse Bride" yesterday. It was incredible. Tim Burton tells a great story -- in this case one I don't know that I've ever heard before -- and does it in a combination of puppetry and animation that is just stunning. The visuals at the end were unbelievable. Glad I didn't take the younger one, though -- I think a maggot repeatedly popping out the corpse bride's eyeball might have been a bit much for her.
I recall a fall in Syracuse, it may have been 1981, when we went 34 days without seeing the sun. Living a life that is almost like suicide, as Elvis C. put it.
During those few minutes of sun today, I finally resolved how to get the huge, heavy, slippery kayak up onto the truck. Lee suggested using the roller from one setup with the j-bars from another, and it actually works pretty well. Humping this thing onto the truck is NOT going to be one of my favorite activities, I can tell, but it's at least do-able, and with the j-bar rack, I can get the canoe up there, too, so our 2 by 2 concept will work. Of course, as soon as I got it all set up, it started to rain and I had to pull it back down so it didn't fill up with water.
I think I finally got all the Daily Orange stuff straightened out; thanks for all the gentle corrections. Hey, after all these years, I'm stunned I remembered as many people as I did. I was very busy shedding brain cells in those years. Try to keep that in mind.
The attempt to put this little show together prompted me to finally stop picking the last scraps of meat from the bones of the free internet, and to set up my own domain name and get a hosted space, so all my 10 or so projects will be getting a common home sometime in the near future. I'll let ya know when it starts to come together, but I expect the transition to be seamless. Seamless, I tell ya!
"I yield to myself as much time as I may consume."
Saw "Broken Flowers," Jim Jarmusch's latest. One review I saw said Bill Murray's performance here made his acting in "Lost in Translation" look frenetic. That's about right. It was a movie of long scenes, editing themes, motion without resolution. (A lot of it shot in lower upstate NY and northern NJ, so the settings all looked oddly familiar.) We're presented with a man whose life really hasn't come to much, and he goes off on a journey. Unlike "About a Boy" or a million other "how to redeem a man" movies, his journey doesn't come to much, and in the end he's unchanged. Man, did that piss off the audience we were with. Me, I liked it. (And the soundtrack was killer, as one would expect from Jarmusch. In fact, I've already added it to my iTunes.)