Thursday, May 21, 2009

"...'that one went down like a lead balloon,' said the serpent."

and so goes the post-Fall of Man commentary between agents of Good and Evil in terry pratchett and neil gaiman's "good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of agnes nutter, witch" -- aka, my recent reading material.

imagine that the long-prophesied end of the world is days away. the Powers That Be, Good and Evil, are making their respective final cosmic preparations, amassing armies, mobilizing the Four Apocalyptic Horsepersons (death, war, famine, and pollution), anticipating the rise of the Antichrist, and so forth. if it sounds strange to follow this setup with "and hilarity ensues...", you haven't read any terry pratchett before. hilarity *will* ensue, and it will be my favorite kind: literary, clever, irreverent, and with a twisted british wit.

i can't help but love a story where the characters have names like "anathema device" and the plot involves the misplacement of the Antichrist (oops!) and random cameos by tibetans, UFOs, atlanteans (as in "lost city of.."), rainforests, rare books, assorted agents of Good and Evil, and the music of Queen. an added bonus is the appearance of one of my favorite characters from pratchett's discworld novels -- the personification of Death (his friends call him "mort" and he speaks in ALL CAPS. hee!). awesome.

thank goodness for good books and twisted brits.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

some current inspirations...

1) David Lynch's book on meditation and creativity "catching the big fish".

i love david lynch. his stories are so weird, so fearlessly esoteric. "twin peaks" and "blue velvet" in particular made a huge impression on me. typical lynch plots have layers of intrigue and symbolism -- seediness hiding under a veneer of beauty and ideals. the viewer, like the protagonist, arrives naively on the scene and must look beyond appearances to reveal the true corrupt nature of the situation and the people involved.

his book, on the other hand, is about how he has been able to use transcendental meditation to get the most out of his creativity. way cool.

2) the televised kurt wallander mysteries (BBC).

i just saw "firewall" on PBS tonight, and the photography is *awesome* -- blue-toned and a holga-like focus (sharp on a single focal point -- usually the protagonist -- and blurry all around). it's actually done letterboxed, and the photographer uses the whole space, like cinema. gorgeous. plus, kenneth branagh is doing some of his finest work as the reserved and laconic wallander.


Friday, May 15, 2009

must... blog... *ehn* *ehn* (dragging self to laptop)

all right, all right, i've procrastinated long enough... it's not like i haven't got anything to blog about, but sometimes the idea of sitting in front of the computer is such a killer. (i take great joy in having not used instant messaging at all since i quit my jobby job.)

april was pretty darn awesome. it kicked off with durham's annual full frame documentary film festival. this year i saw documentaries on free speech ("shouting fire"), the production of vogue's biggest and most influential issue of the year ("the september issue"), self-storage facilities and why we keep stuff ("steel homes"), loving movies ("supermen of malegaon"), the biggest mall in the world and why no one goes there ("utopia, part 3"), the recording of and supporting tour for arcade fire's album "neon bible" ("miror noir"), and a buddhist monk's search for the reincarnation of his recently deceased spiritual master ("unmistaken child"). i love this festival. it feeds my soul.

shortly thereafter, i saw the incomparable songstress neko case perform at the unbelievably sweet meymandi concert hall. sublime. seriously. then i heard the hilarious david sedaris read at the swank new durham performing arts center. both events were courtesy my bestest fwiend who gave me tix for my birthday and xmas, respectively. yay!

then my mom and i went to philadelphia to see my brother perform the world premiere of new pieces for the classical guitar. it was a mini family reunion -- my dad, my stepmother, my stepsister, my brother's wife, my mom, *her* brother, and me. my uncle's presence was a total surprise. we haven't seen him in *years*, and he wanted to surprise my mom. we secretly coordinated via text messaging. mom cried. it was great. :-) the day after the concert, my mom and i took my brother's two children to the natural history museum while he did some philly guitar festival stuff. we hung out with dinosaurs, butterflies, and mummies. later, cotton candy was consumed.

we were back home for less than 24 hours before mom and i took off for another little reunion. every year my mom and her sister meet up in gatlinburg, TN, for the great smoky mountains national park wildflower pilgrimage, which is several days of educational hikes and programs to benefit the park. in the past i would have left the wildflowering to my mom and her sister, but this year my cousin, who i haven't seen in ages, was able to make it, so i figured, what the hey? the freedom to see more of our far-scattered family and just pick up and go on adventures was a major reason i quit my job. so we had mother-daughter-sister-cousin bonding while learning about the flora and fauna of the mountain ecosystems. we saw bears. we breathed clean mountain air. we had pancakes for breakfast every day. we used audio equipment to track bats in flight. we looked at water bears through microscopes. we learned that the eyes of some kinds of spiders will reflect light and you can use a flashlight to see them at night like teeny blue or green gems.

it was also my one year anniversary of declaring my independence from Jobs That Suck and deciding to pursue a creative life instead. (thanks for the card, dad!).

one year ago yesterday i used my "big girl" camera (the digital canon i bought to support my ambitions) for the first time. i have since taken nearly 4000 pictures with it.

one of the first:
blue dinosaur

(blue dinosaur was sculpted by my niece, rhyana, for my birthday a couple years ago. not only is he kinda sparkly, but he glows in the dark, too. blue dino is *awesome*.)

since the inaugural shoot with blue dino, i've been steadily building my portfolio with film and digital photos. my vision has matured a great deal, and with that, my confidence and my certainty that i'm doing the right thing have grown. i've met many cool people through flickr and the art house co-op who offer support and encouragement. and i've actually had my first paying photog gig (more on that later).

to celebrate, i give you this link to a special water bears music video, courtesy of some scientist in poland: