Home Ownership

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!


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.


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


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

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.


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.