mardi 23 août 2011

One month!

In exactly one month I will be on a plane to France. Crazzzyyy.

lundi 22 août 2011


As I box up an entire lifetime for the millionth time, I must sort. Not just through these things but through these thoughts, memories, emotions that they call for forth, and it isn't always easy. The upheaval of the house matches that in my heart right now as I relive the past and try to let go by remembering the growth through the pain and locking up the good parts to called upon when a golden moment is needed. Sometimes, I find it necessary to escape onto the porch and watch the clouds or let my mind wander into some book and forget the current intensity of that breath before the plunge. These moments are both stagnant and pregnant with possibilities and energies. I wait and I live, I live and I wait. Soon the moment will come when I will say goodbye to this place that was never really my home, for I was always cognizant of its impermanence. This is the journey of a lifetime and I know it is blessed, but the past always speaks to me in whispers lingering in dark corners bidding me not forget not move on too fully. This is a moment of rebirth and I put these things away to be seen again, though I know not when, and to which to add new memories. After all the only constant is change and as much as I love the past the future must be embraced.

mardi 16 août 2011

French Films I've been Watching part 1

One of the first question I am generally asked when people find out that I speak French is "How did you learn it?" I usually reply with "At school," but being aware of the deplorable state in which this nation's second language education exists I generally feel compelled to add, "and through books, movies and music." That way I figure my interlocutor will realize that while my French is not totally perfect, I do have some semblance of fluency. When I was first learning the language, I would check out whatever French movies I could find from our local library, which means that I have seen some very bizarre and some very good films. I must recommend to any language learner to immerse yourself as much as possible and films are a great way to do that since you also get some culture mixed in :). Anyway, I figured I would update you all on what I have been watching as I desperately try to regain all the French I have lost over the years before I head out to France.

Pick Number one: La Veuve de Saint Pierre (The Widow of St. Pierre)

I have to admit that I have a bit of a girl crush on Juliette Binoche. Not only does she have inhumanly gorgeous skin, but she also seem to just be a pretty cool person in general.
But I digress. I actually really enjoyed this movie. At first it seems like a simple story of a man who kills someone while piss ass drunk and who is then taken under the wing of the wife of the head of the guard; it ends up having a lot more layers than that. The films deals with love on many levels from motherly to deeply physically passionate, human nature and whether we are bound to fate or free to make our own choices (the film does have a more fatalistic tone to it though). Though a period piece, it is shot with modern techniques and the cinematography is sumptuous. Great acting (Emir Kusturica who is Serbian film director and for whom this was the first acting role was perfectly cast), great costumes, great scenery, and a thought provoking story all make this movie quite enjoyable.

Pick Number 2: Les Amants (The Lovers)

This 1959 film caused a huge stir and even a supreme court case within the confines of prudish 1950's society. Viewed through today's lens, it's pretty tame but I could definitely imagine the shock of 1950's viewers. Les Amants is the story of a bored housewife who goes through two affairs. One with a polo player and one with an Archaeologist (high five, girlfriend!). When I saw that bit about the Archaeologist in the Netflix description, I had to watch this ;). The film builds until it reaches it's climax (pun intended) in which the main character (Jeanne Moreau) finds fulfillment through love and sexual liberation with the Archaeologist of course. The highlight of the film consists of a very dreamy and classically beautiful outdoor love scene filled with billowy white dresses, streams, fields, moonlight and all those things sentimental and beautiful. It's actually almost shockingly sentimental. This all leads into a very risqué (for the time) sex scene in which Moreau's orgasm leaves little to the imagination. I do love how she wears her pearls throughout the film whether in bed or out of it.


In the end, she decides to leave her husband and child for an uncertain but liberated life with her new lover. I guess some cinemas, Germany notably, edited out the child from the film for the sake of public decency and many American theatre owners were brought to trial for showing it. It made a lot of headway as far as censorship and what exactly is considered depraved behavior by the common public. It's funny because I know if I had watched this movie when I was younger and less cynical, I would have totally adored it. I still appreciate it's beauty but it's almost too sentimental for me now... That is kind of a sad thing to say, but hey life does that to you sometimes.

dimanche 14 août 2011

Perseids, Camping Castle Lake and a quick swim in Lake Siskiyou

Being in the middle of nowhere means that the skies are pretty dark around here, which in turn means that it is possible to do some great star gazing. Given that the Perseid Meteor Shower was this weekend, I decided to head up to Castle Lake for a little camping trip. Castle Lake is a very pristine small mountain lake surrounded by forest. The waters are generally (I've never seen them otherwise at least) crystal clear since they are made up of snow-melt from the surrounding hills and spend much of their lifetime frozen. The whole thing just feels clean. Here's the wiki link for the pathologically curious It is gorgeous up there and one of my favorite get aways.

The camping part of the trip was pretty much a Rorschach test to determine whether you are a pessimist or an optimist. My first mistake was trying to use J's ginormous tent and set it up by myself. I figured his tent would be much better than my puny little one-person deal since the entire upper portion consists of mosquito netting, so you can sit in there bug free and enjoy the views. That's all fine and dandy in theory, but when you combine a weakling like myself with two GIANT poles and enough fabric to clothe at least 3 Walmart shoppers (i.e., a lot), much slapstick ensues. I kid you not, it was all very Laurel and Hardy-esque. Then, ignoring all the laws of physics, I had the brilliant idea to take the bike out of the back of the truck and try to rig the tent in there by attaching the uppermost point to the roof of the truck. The rest was supposed to just fall into place. Magically. It didn't... at all. Soo, I set up my tiny tent, which takes about 5 minutes, and fits me and a few choice belongings perfectly, but alas has only one small mosquito net window in the top and another on the side.

As you can *maybe* see, I put a super tiny dog in there to trick you into thinking that I have a tent that humans can fit in. Clever, I know.

After giving said tiny dog her insulin, we both settled down to dinner and watched the sunset. Unfortunately, the meteor shower coincided with a full moon, so I figured I would read and listen to some music and such for a bit. Then I had the bright idea to take a nap until the moon set figuring that I would naturally wake up in a few hours as per the usual when camping. Well, I did wake up but the moon was now in the middle of the sky and I was still quite tired so back to sleep I went. Next time I opened my eyes it was to see a translucent yellow glow in the
sky and the sun just rising. Damn! I did catch one meteor through the top window of my tent, but that was all. I can attest from past experiences, however, that the meteor showers in this area are breathtaking.

Next day, or rather later late day, I went for a brief dip in Lake Siskiyou (about 7 miles down the road from Castle Lake and on my way home). Apparently, the Buddhist nuns from the abbey were having a retreat there or something since they were all over the place and one of them had waded into the lake, habit and all, to help a slightly crippled dog swim. I think Buddhism is the shit, fyi. Unfortunately, I could only take a quick dip since it's impossible to do anything without the dog freaking out, but I shall return. It is only like 15 mins from my house after all.
In the end and despite everything that went wrong, I had a good time and it was nice to get out and enjoy what surrounds me for the time being. These are the things I will miss about this place.

mercredi 10 août 2011

Dear W. Somerset Maugham,

WTF! Seriously. Mildred? The first one Phillip falls in love with is her... Not cool dude. Although looking back at my own life...

jeudi 4 août 2011

Nananananananananana Visaaaa

I have in my hands a shiny, multi-colored, magical Visa full of awesome that I procured during my trip down to San Francisco (more on that when I quit being lazy and actually write on this blog of all the spectacular things I've been doing). Everything went perfectly; I didn't get stuck in traffic OR have trouble getting a parking spot even. Talk about amazing!

In other news. After a two year (or so) stint of not being sick AT ALL, I caught something... Given that the symptoms started soon after I mopped the floor, I am persuaded that something evil was living in the mop and/or floor and/or water that has now invaded my system. ORR it could be from Grandma Death (aka an older woman at the hotel where we stayed last week who was seen, usually with a blanket over her shoulders, at least one cup of tea, and multiple kleenexes *how the fuck is the plural of kleenex spelled?* in various near death poses throughout the PUBLIC parts of the hotel). Impossible to know, but anyway with a little echinacea tea and various other healthy goodies I will be back in form soon and maybe even writing this blog.