Home Ownership

Saturday, 30 June 2007

DSC02025 On Thursday I be­came a home­own­er! What a frig­gin process it was though. I’ll go in­to more de­tail with that in a fur­ther post. Right now I’m en­joy­ing my cur­rent dis­as­ter area. I pulled out all the car­pet, padding and tack­board stuff that evening, so the floors are a bit rough right now. The wall­pa­per is old and nicotine-stained, and the bath­room door won’t stay open, but the place is mine, fi­nal­ly. I had lots of help from a friend who is now a neigh­bor and a few oth­ers too. I’ve been en­joy­ing beer on my front porch.

I’ve al­so dropped a shit-ton of mon­ey get­ting emer­gen­cy needs this week­end. Tomorrow I hope to get my kitchen put away and the dry­er vent hooked up. Then, pulling more sta­ples. I know I’ve be­come my moth­er when stuff like that sounds fun. Except more beer is in­volved with me. Whee!


Wednesday, 27 June 2007

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

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!

By Brakhage: an an­thol­o­gy

Monday, 25 June 2007


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


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.


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?


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.


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!

By Brakhage

Sunday, 24 June 2007

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,

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.

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


Saturday, 23 June 2007

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.