Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bookwark

DSC01964 I have exactly 15 ft3 of books. Not all of them are pictured. I am worried that 15 ft3 is too few? I can build a sweet fort out of them though. I can’t figure out if I have too much crap or not. Packing things typically makes me run across stuff that makes me think WTF, but I seem to have rid myself of most of that detritus. I’m still gonna have a yard sale soon, or whatever.

Today I also determined that awkward is an awkword.

This post is too short for the image so here are a few extra words. Back to packing.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

MyND

You know social networking has jumped the shark when your university creates its own social networking site. It is a bit primitive, but they’ve got a thing where you can add your own HTML snippets. Could be good, could be bad. If they don’t have it locked down, someone could send some serious virulence through it. I still prefer my MySpace. It has better music.

Thanks for the add, yo!

Monday, 25 June 2007

By Brakhage: an anthology

THIS POST CONTAINS A PICTURE OF AN EVISCERATED CORPSE, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, DON’T READ THIS POST.

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #184: Stanley Brakhage’s By Brakhage: an anthology.

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I’d forgotten how good Stan Brakhage is at the avant-garde filmmaking gig. It has been 5 years since my brief obsession with avant-garde film; I should really get back into it. There is a lot of talk [linked below] about relational spectatorship, subjectivity, deconstruction and any number of other theories that attempt to parse out what Brakhage was trying to do with his numerous films. This collection of 26 works by Brakhage, and knowing a bit about the man from the supplementary commentary on the discs, leads me to believe that the fundamental goal of a Brakhage film is to be devoid of all subjectivity and objectivity; something merely exists to be shown. His paint-films seem to approximate synaesthesia, and while I can see some merit in the assertions that Brakhage wants his viewers to see light, I think there is a more general goal here; Brakhage wants us to see things that we take for granted, or never see in the first place. I like the man more than his films, which is saying a lot. He seemed like a man with a good heart and an earnestness about him that completely threw away any pretention. He wasn’t doing avant-garde stuff to be edgy, but because it suited him.

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So watching a film like The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, that shows graphic visions of autopsies, is a chance to see a dead body before it is all maked-up for viewing. Sure we hear about death and dead bodies all the time and see them on TV, but how often do we actually get to see a dead body without all the fuss we put around it. The only thing that could be closer than this film is to actually go to a morgue. Dog Star Man is his earliest masterpiece, and is the visual representation of man’s place in the universe with a bit of our ultimate futility thrown in for good measure. This is the least happy of his films, in my opinion. Tons of footage of Brakhage running up a snowy mountain carrying an axe. Tough work, two forward one back, his determination becomes admirable, but his final failure hurts just as badly. Window Water Baby Moving is an amazing document of the birth of his first child, and I was rooting on Jane Brakhage and then baby Myrrena through the whole thing. It is quite graphic too, but like his autopsy film, how often does the average person get the chance to witness a birth?

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The older he got, the more refined and experimental he became. The collaged detritus of Mothlight is beautiful, and it looks as if it were made of the stuff that you pull out of the ceiling lamp shade. The Wold Shadow is a horror film, or at least ridiculously creepy, and consists of shot of a woodland over various times and has Brakhage painting or tweaking the plate or the film in such a way that it looks as if there is something moving in the wood. He says it is his homage to the God in the Wood, and it certainly should be. Much of the rest consists of paint on film, each individual frame painted by Brakhage and many of them could be considered great abstract art; when they’re animated and modified, the effect is wholly engrossing. This is what synapse firing would look like. The Dante Quartet is probably the most easily accessible of the paint-films, and Black Ice the most evocative. There is a later film with his grandchildren that is statelier and more meditative, it seems more about analyzing time than light. All in all, this anthology was extremely enjoyable, and although I wouldn’t recommend watching the autopsy film over breakfast [as I did], of all the films that he made, that one affected me the most. We miss you, Stan.

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House Hoop Stress

Buying a house is ridiculously stressful. I’ve never had to jump through so many hoops, had so many balls to juggle and people and things and documents and who knows what to coordinate in my entire life. I’ve been on the ball the whole time, but waiting for other folks to catch up or follow through gets fairly annoying. I just had a scare because my real estate agent called me up and said I needed proof of residency from my landlord for the title agency. This is two days before closing, mind you, and my landlord is out of town for who knows how long. Turns out my banker had supplied them with the necessary information, but I’m still trying to get my insurance documents faxed over to him. He’s been moved around and promoted time and time again for the past few months so I’ve got 3 different phone numbers, two faxes and an email address that I don’t think he checks very often. Just give me my goddamn keys!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

By Brakhage

Hollowed, the body upon a table; no verbs for
the inanimate, a cicada shell.

And men in long coats have removed them;
peeled flesh - skull over face -
sawn through bone
cracking walnuts for the meat inside;

each soft and hidden part apprised;
the inside of your breast, the open boat
of your body sprayed clean of gristle;
blood pooling, numbered.

Those sullen limbs have
lost integrity to knife, hose,
microphone.

But who else holds the bodies of the dead;
thumbs the clayed flesh of your father;
that last and longest intimacy?

No better lover has had
such indifferent hands.

Look.
It demands only,
the act of seeing with one's eyes.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Alterna-Earth

I’ve been making lots of phone calls to various utilities and insurance companies lately and it appears that I’ve walked into some sort of Alterna-Earth where the automated phone services I’ve had to utilize and the operators at the end of the line are all eager to facilitate a swift and hassle-free transaction. This started when I called up Cleveland Public Power to tell them I was moving. The operator was so sincerely committed to providing good customer service that I felt that I had to compliment her at the end of the phone call. Dealing with the gas company wasn’t much better, but I didn’t have to be on hold for 45 minutes before being told that I would receive a phone call back at another time. Then I just called Progressive to cancel my auto insurance with them. I got a multi-policy discount by taking home and auto through the same company, and my auto insurance is about $100 cheaper a year because of that too, for the same coverage. Sorry Matt. Their customer service was amazing. No push-buttoning at all, I was connected immediately to a human who asked for my policy number right off. In less than two minutes the policy was canceled and I’d been informed that a refund would be credited to my credit card.

Hopefully the actual move will go as smoothly.