Monday, October 31, 2005

The hell of it.

Okay, so there was good news when I got home on Friday--this e-mail, which should have been accompanied by strains of cherubic choirs singing:


We were able to back up data and re-image the laptop. Stop by as soon as you can, so we can have you log back in and copy the data back to the hard drive.


However, this morning when I stopped by the bowels of hell, by which I mean the area where the computer tech guys do their infernal work, there was more bad news. While my computer had apparently been healed by the laying on of hands, and my data saved, this morning it was still possessed by the hard-drive eating motherf***er that gave me the black screen in the first place. [Black Screen is roughly equivalent to Black Death in the Windows world.]

[expletives, many of them, deleted]

The good news is, they're giving me a new hard drive, and my data is still saved. By grace, and also by Jack and Jared. So right now, I'm sitting in a little lab in the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, knowing that I should be grateful--and I am! I am!--but I'm also still a little peeved. Pissed, actually.

Well, anyway, the weekend was immensely brightened by the thought of my saved data. My son and I took a leisurely trip to Wendy's for lunch (I'll say no more about his eating habits, except to say that Wendy's represents the best of them), then to the local used CD store where we found much treasure. He's currently in the middle of a small Ben Folds obsession, and found the eponymous BFF CD (yes, dear readers, he used the word "eponymous"). I found, meanwhile, used copies of discs that had been on my list for quite some time: Juliana Hatfield's in exile deo and the Scissors Sisters. Additionally, CDs I didn't know existed, such as a new Rickie Lee Jones recording; and both Fiona Apple disks I'd been sort of looking for (the new one and the one before that, which I once had but I think one of my kids made off with). We saw two movies--Separate Lies, which was interesting but not fabulous, and Capote, which was both. I wrote a new poem for my writing group. The weather yesterday was sunny, and we got an extra hour of sleep.

To Monday was allotted the backsliding of bad news, and that's probably for the best. To borrow signifying nothing's witticism, I enjoyed The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2005

In Which Technology Sticks a Shiv in my Heart.

Wednesday night my laptop crashed, and I haven't backed up my data. Not for a long time.

I won't bore you with all the important stuff that means I may have lost. It was a new-ish laptop. I never thought about it crashing.

Thoughtless, reckless, naive. Yes, all of these. I took my beautiful laptop for granted.

The tech guys all made concerned, then very concerned, noises when I told them what happened. There was a screen, a black screen, with these words: We're sorry for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start properly. After that, there were six options for rebooting, all of which returned me to the same black screen. My computer itself made pathetic humming and ticking noises as it tried to reboot.

I feel like I have no hands.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two More Small Thoughts.

1. If there are Sustainability Studies programs at universities, should there not also be Profligacy Studies programs?

2. If there is a Mitigation Director at FEMA, shouldn't there also be an Exacerbation Director?

Small Gathering of Small Thoughts

Things I've recently learned.

1. How to knit. I used to know this when I was a girl. A few years ago, on a trip with my best friend, we bought very interesting yarn and some knitting needles to make smashing scarves out of, but I found that, while I still remembered how to cast on, I did not remember how to knit. So I bought a book. An illustrative explanation and photo put me back on the knitting path.

2. Bruiser thinks that bamboo knitting needles are a delicious snack.

Addenda to Best Movies of the Year So Far list:

Best Claymation film: Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. How do characters made out of clay seem to be so light on their feet? Witness Victor Quartermain as he challenges Wallace to a fight.

Best Small Film: Forty Shades of Blue. I thought this film was terrific. It features Rip Torn (anyone ever see him in Songwriter? That's a gem and a half of a small film.), Darren Burrows, Ed from Northern Exposure, who has turned into a very handsome man (from a very pretty boy), and a melancholy atmosphere. It won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and predictably, our local reviewer was sniffy about it. Ignore him. This is a wonderful film.

Small improvements to my life:

I now have three pairs of reading glasses, prompted by an unfortunate glasses misplacement episode last week. One pair for home, one pair for work, one pair for my purse. Bonus: the ones in my purse have pink frames.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I love this blog. I might secretly love it more than other, more important, things, which I shan't name (but which do not include members of my family, my dog, or my friends). However, as much as I had planned to write a report about the State XC meet, filled with thrilling details, I find myself feeling a tad on the slumpy side.

It's over.

Let me say, first of all, that Sugar House Park (something I learned today: Sugar House is two, count 'em, two words, and not one, which has led to untold errors on my part in the past) is huge. That is, if you've told your parents and two aunts that you'd "keep an eye out" for them. Even so, I was able to find the starting line and, as a result, my son. There were a big bunch of runners. I stood behind the starting line (mini-DV camera in hand, shooting steadily with no fancy tricks, and, I'm hoping, no gratuitous sky shots or shaky pans of trees and grass), so I got to see how the start worked--the schools all had a slot, and three runners could be on the line, with the remainder of that school's runners behind those three.

Add to the hugeness of SHP its hilliness, its rolling terrain. After the race was over, as we hiked overland to our respective cars, I was able to see just how tough a race it was. Anyway, after the runners started, I got to see them pass at four different locations. As always, you can hear the runners coming before you see them, because the noise of the crowd swells and rolls toward you. It's still thrilling.

But. At the state meet, you compete against runners you've not seen before in the season (or you might have seen them, but maybe only once). That means, for instance, that the super-fast Utah County runners, high on life, apparently, come outta nowhere (there's a joke that goes with that, but I'll have to share it later, as I have a race to report). So the West Jordan runners, who were looking good on the first and second pass, by the third pass (past me, anyway) had fallen behind. It was on that third pass that I saw my son pass Josh for the last time ever, probably.

The look on Josh's face actually gave me pain. My son told me over the weekend that he liked beating Josh, and he didn't like it, and that's exactly how it looked. It's arguable, I guess, who is the best runner--one who, on a good day, really is faster than everyone else, or one who knows how to win in the high pressure races. Still, it's hard to watch a kid that talented fall apart.

After it was all over, and kids were milling around by the hundreds, I found my husband, and then my son's dad and stepmom, then my own parents and my two aunts. We couldn't find my son. He finished the race, 3 miles, at 17:39. When I talked to him on the phone later, he told me that he knew he could have run the race faster--he'd had a stomach ache.

It's funny, really, how an event that's supposed to be the fulfillment of a whole arc of preparation can feel so diminished in the experience. My son ran a race in which, by at least some measures, only the best runners qualified to compete. He didn't run his best, but he ran respectably, and finished first again for his school. His coaches want him to train year-round--they think he can cut another minute or more off his time. Josh has run his last high school cross country race. The season's over.

Monday, October 17, 2005


I saw Elizabethtown this weekend, to which I had looked forward despite all the warning signs. I found myself not particularly disappointed in it, which is not the same thing as a recommendation, I realize. When I discussed it with my daughter, who'd been similarly looking forward to it, I told her that it was flawed--there were several critical things that appeared to have gone missing, such as scenes that helped us to see the main character's removal from his family, his mother's grief, and so forth. It gave a feeling of being simultaneously too long and incomplete. I found myself knowing this, knowing it aloud as I was watching it (sotto voce, of course, I'm not a barbarian!), even. Yet I enjoyed the film, found myself feeling it getting better as it gathered toward its ending. As we walked out of the theater, my husband and I agreed--the flaws were evident, yet we felt somehow satisfied by it even so.

The question is, why are some kinds of flaws sort of endearing, or at least endurable, and other flaws are the deal-breakers? For instance, I will never go to a movie again (the kind of remark destined to be contradicted within weeks, no doubt) in which stuff explodes in great sheets of flame while someone walks away from the conflagration in slow motion. Extra points off if there's loud cinematic music swelling.

I'm sure that I could probably systematize this--figure out what makes certain flaws bearable, even charming, and others annoying or even infuriating. In this case, I'm prepared to like Cameron Crowe's films (although, sadly, not Vanilla Sky), because I loved Say Anything, and I loved Almost Famous even more. (Side note: the kid in Almost Famous, aka Cameron Crowe, could practically have been me--CC was in high school at the same time as me, in a SoCal high school. My kids even think that the kid, whom they now refer to as "Almost Famous," looks like I did in HS. If you look at the correct HS picture, they're right--I think we even had the same hair cut.) So I'll allow all the flaws of Elizabethtown because Almost Famous went to my high school? --or something like that.

A short list of people whose flaws I am prepared to indulge--for now, at least:
  • Wes Anderson's, whose The Life Aquatic may be deeply flawed, but stuff made me laugh in it, anyhow, especially upon the second viewing;
  • Bill Murray's, whose range may in fact be limited, as critics charge, but whose melancholy gets me more than anybody's;
  • Joni Mitchell's, who may have turned into the biggest crank in all of popular music, but she is, after all, Joni;
  • Don DeLillo's, because of Underworld;
  • Anne Carson's--actually, what other people see as her flaws, I see as her virtues.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

. . . but 2005 isn't over yet!

In the spirit of The Best American Poetry 2005, published and in the stores by mid-September*, I am posting my Best Movies of 2005 list now.

Best Documentary: Tell Them Who You Are, made by Haskell Wexler's son. It tells you a lot about Wexler pere, while telling a very poignant story about family relationships and how complicated they are, by envy, resentment, and even love. Also noteworthy: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, March of the Penguins, and RIZE.

Best Small Film: Winter Solstice. It's so small you might not even realize it's there, but it's a lovely little thing. Beautiful performances by the actors who play Anthony LaPaglia's sons. Also noteworthy: Undertow, Saving Face, and The Ballad of Jack and Rose.

Best Movie in the "Great Performances, Ridiculous Plot Turn at the End" Category: The Upside of Anger. Who thought it would be a good idea to end this movie with a funeral? Also noteworthy: Layer Cake (although this may also fall into the "Best Gangster Movie" category, we'll have to see).

Best Movie to See With a Teenage Daughter: A Lot Like Love. Readers of the Media page on the hymnbook already know that I love a romantic comedy, a fact that I feel a little guilty about, given my superior aesthetic training (she says sniffily). However, this film has the utterly charming Amanda Peet (remember how good she was in Igby Goes Down?) to recommend it. Also noteworthy in this category: in her shoes.

Best French Movie: The Beat That My Heart Skipped. If you haven't seen it, make sure that you do. It's a remake of Fingers, which I never saw, but everything about this film felt utterly fresh to me. Also highly noteworthy: Look at Me.

Best Israeli Film, or Best Film Featuring an Assassin, or Best Film Featuring Former Nazis: Walk on Water. Actually, I don't mean to be flippant: this is a wonderful, very moving film.

Best Film to Feature Middle-Aged Kung Fu Heroes: Kung Fu Hustle.

Best Mega-budget or Hyper-Hollywood Film: It's a tie between Cinderella Man and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The diehard SW lovers will not hear me out on this, as they cannot venture into the misty past that predates Luke and Han and Leia and Chewie. I say, however, that this film has a tragic grandeur that was wholly unexpected, despite certain thankless roles (Natalie Portman deserves an apology from G.L., in my opinion). And in the boxing movie vein, I thought the fight scenes in this movie were awesome--kinetic and electric.

Best Animated Film: Howl's Moving Castle. Wallace and Gromit fans--and I am among them--may protest. I may have to revise the list. As of the end of the year, however, aka October 2005, Howl will have to do. A, it's Miyazaki; B, it was the only animated film I saw.

Best Movie That's Just Wrong to Enjoy: The Wedding Crashers.

And in the all-round competition, the nominees are: Happy Endings, Junebug, A History of Violence, and Mysterious Skin. I loved each of these films for their quirkiness and the ways I found myself surprised and moved by each. I saw Mysterious Skin sometime in the summer, though, and it has stayed with me ever since. It's a beautiful and disturbing film, revelatory without exploitation. For me, it's the best movie of the year.

*Who knows what happens to the poems that get published between, say, August and December 31? Do they enter a no-man's land of poems unworthy to be considered "best" or "American" or "of 2005"? If anyone can answer this question, then I'll know what to do with the movies I see starting this weekend. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 10, 2005

da Noise.

Tonight, Joshua Redman and the Elastic Band came to town. It turns out that Salt Lake, for being a town with the kind of nightlife that inspires some NBA players to turn up their noses, that caused sportswriters everywhere to groan when the All-Star Game was held here, has a great jazz series, and tonight was one of the greatest of all concerts.

The scene is definitely anchored mostly by middle-aged white folks, supplemented by younger mostly white folks. There's a fair amount of "cat" behavior--you know, the jazz head bob with the eyes closed, a little motion to the backbeat. One of the major sponsors/underwriters, Gordon, who runs a pharmacy and apparently nurses a serious jones for jazz, sits in the front row, swaying from side to side. I'd have to laugh if I weren't so darned grateful that he and a few others make the whole thing possible.

Anyhow, my friend Clifton, who's a fine saxophonist in his own right, has never been able to make the Joshua Redman dates; I promised a full account, so here it is:

Set list:

The Gauntlet (composer, Sam Yahel, who played keyboards--mostly Hammond organ)
[tune so new it has no name, also composed by Sam Yahel)
Greasy G (composer, Joshua Redman)
News from the Front (composer, Joshua Redman)
[unnamed standard--ballad]
Is This My Sound Around Me? (composed by Bobby Hutchinson, the vibraphonist)
Sweet Nasty (composer, Joshua Redman)
Encore: Unnamed Blues (requested by side-to-side-swaying Gordon)

The drummer, a fantastically inventive player, was Greg Hutchinson. All players: virtuosic, with a seamless ensemble. The Hammond organ as played by Yahel got a kind of bubbling, percolating sound going that worked beautifully through most of the pieces--the sound felt like some effervescent mixture of lounge, 70s funk, electronica, a little Moog action. Occasionally he switched to another bank of keyboards and got all kinds of other cool sounds out of those.

When Redman plays, I often feel that he's adding new capacities to the instrument. He loves the full range of his sax, hitting syncopated and percussive notes--like snarls or snorts. You felt like the music was being invented right there on the spot. One thing that makes this ensemble, and Redman in particular, special is that you always can feel the architecture of the song even during the most spectacular improvisations. "Greasy G" started with a five minute long solo--sax without accompaniment--full of surprises, but you felt a kind of inevitability when the band kicked in to anchor the song. The song was already anchored in the phrases of the improvisation.

In "News from the Front," Redman used some electronic means (a sequencer, maybe?) to create very cool sonic effects in the intro to the piece, but I have to say that the new sounds that came out of the horn as he was blowing it himself were the most amazing effects of all.

Speaking of monster performances: the Region XC meet was today. As I walked into the park, I spotted my son pulling on his singlet. He came up to me and said, "My coaches told me that if I finish in the top ten, I get to go to state even if my team doesn't qualify." I blurted, "Can you do that?" Two minutes later, I was standing on the hill looking for the varsity girls to come around the bend, thinking, that wasn't the most supportive thing to say! (After the race, all the parental units--mom, dad, both steps--agreed that we had had the same thought, so I didn't feel so bad.)

There were six schools competing, and about 40 varsity boys runners. Two schools have seriously good programs--Bingham and Copper Hills, both also rivals of West Jordan. I'm thinking, okay, Walker, run your best race (also exactly what his dad told him--there are no original thoughts when your kid competes in high school athletics, by the way). The team's stretching, they're warming up, they line up, they're off. The race is on terrain, not a track, but after they start, they make two full circuits of the park, then finish near the starting line. So after the first circuit, Walker was fifteenth, with Josh, the best runner on West Jordan's team, at tenth but fighting not to lose position to another runner. Zach was behind Walker, but not by much. After the second circuit, though, Walker was thirteenth.

We watched as he took the hill (he told us afterward that he might be the best in the region at the hills--yeah, me too!), and even though it was far away, it looked to us like he might have passed Josh. After all the runners finished the second circuit, the crowd shifted back to the chute that would take the runners uphill to the finish. The first couple of runners were from Bingham--they're beautiful runners, the second place finisher just seconds behind the first, both of them running easily and with great form. I was looking for the first glimpse of a white singlet, then I spotted it. At first I thought it was Josh, and thought, I must have seen wrong, Walker didn't pass him. But then, we could tell--it was Walker.

I looked to see if I'd missed another white jersey, but no--he was coming in first for his team, and he was number ten. He finished strong and ran his best race ever--17:27 for the 5K. Zach came in maybe three seconds behind him. Josh was a few second behind that.

The best news of all: West Jordan's teams, both the boys and the girls, qualified to run in the State meet next Wednesday. As Walker stood up with the top ten finishers to receive a medal, and the official declared that West Jordan's team would go to State, he held up his arms to celebrate with all the other West Jordanians. No "I" in "team" is how I hear it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My New Life.

As Signifying Nothing notes, a great feature of academia (if you can call the community college "academia," not that I'm disrespecting my place of employment) is the many recesses of various kinds we get. No actual paid holidays, but they have the effect of holidays.

My husband the darling historian (my adjective there may be roving, I'll have to get that checked) and I drove to Idaho, a place where my dreams are increasingly focusing. For instance, the nice folks who own the Grub Stake Market are thinking about selling it after 25 years in the biz, and I'm considering what my life might be like as a grocer to hunters, fishermen, and snowmobilers. (I'm thinking I'd sell homemade soup in the deli in the wintertime, and my line would be "Soup at Eleven, Till It's Gone." It gets catchier the more times you say it.)

We left the Salt Lake valley on Wednesday evening, with enough pre-trip errands and checklists that I thought my head might explode before I got a chance to chill. Because we left late-ish, we stayed in Pocatello, only 150 miles or so. That meant that the next morning, we had a chance to drive around in the railroad portion of Poky, and stop in at The Walrus and the Carpenter bookstore. It's a very low-tech place--the proprietor, Will Peterson, is a world-class whistler and a darn fine guitar player. Between the two of us we bought about $300 worth of books for only $110. Tons of great stuff, including three used Ruth Rendell mystery novels, purchased as I was inspired by a story in the NY Times regarding her newest book. After that, we were on to West Yellowstone.

West Yell has always been a trashy tourist-y place, in my experience, and that's largely because we always went there as a tiny break from our noble family cabin, to consume ice cream and buy crap at the dollar store. This time, we stayed, figured out a decent place or two to eat (tough going, I'm afraid). We went into the park and saw a herd of buffalo right by the side of the road, and I mean actually on the road (by=on, apparently). Also plenty of elk.

Largely, this was an experiment in finding out what the summer place is like when summer's over. It was a success, in my view: first of all, we had an entire national park to ourselves (well, more or less). Second of all, we had nice chats with people we wouldn't have chatted with, as we wouldn't have been staying in a motel in West Yell, since we would have been staying in our cabin, our cozy, nest-like little cabin that protects us from any conversations. Thirdly, we drove to Bozeman, MT, which is kind of a cool town. We drove a different way to Bozeman--up through the mountains past the Hell Roaring part of the Beartooth Wilderness--than the way we drove back to Island Park, past Norris and Ennis through the Madison Valley, all of which was revelatory. After all the times I've traveled to this region, to have discovered so much about it was a real gift.

The last night we stayed in a little riverside inn just down the road from our cabin. Hanging out by a river is amazing. It was raining and the sky was heavy. As we were bringing our stuff into the room, we saw several people on beautiful horses crossing the river, with their dog swimming alongside. They each said hello to us in turn, as we stood in the doorway to our room overlooking the river, as they stepped onto the riverbank. It felt like something out of another life.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Planning is for suckers.

I have bragged, and recently, that there's a certain kind of bread--a classic french-style baguette--that I can now make in my sleep (other things: corn bread, muffins, bechamel sauce and variations). I put my own brag to the lie today when I started the bread with just about twice as much water as I needed. I kept adding flour, thinking, "maybe there's extra humidity today." Humidity my ass. I just wasn't paying attention.

At the same time I was making what ended up to be twice as much bread dough as I thought I was making, I was also making raspberry jam. In the middle of ransacking the kitchen for more flour, I grabbed the book I recently located in my cleaning/reorganizing/sorting extravaganza--the book I thought I had lost--about home canning. This, in the middle of the jam-making. How interesting to find out that raspberries are low in both pectin and acid! Useful information to have before you start squeezing lemons and adding sugar and setting all this, along with expensive berries, to boil.

I did manage to scrape together enough flour to make double the bread, but only by opening a bag of spelt flour. [Interesting (or maybe not) aside: spelt is a grain that has never been hybridized, and has been around for millenia. Also kamut, but that's another topic, and another grain, really. When I was in Vermont (at the Artist's Colony, when the Leaves were Turning), they had the most amazing spelt bread, made with a starter instead of commercial yeast. Mmm, especially with butter.] Revenons a nos moutons [French reference for my readers who know French, although I cannot remember the literary work whence this witticism derives, sorry]: this meant that our pizza dough had a certain nutty graininess. All told: the jam set despite the low pectin/acid content of raspberries, perhaps because of added lemon juice?; the pizza was great (yield: two large pizzas, one pepperoni, one veg, a pan of cheese/garlic bread, a bonus loaf of bread for good measure); the kitchen looked like a tornado hit it.

The bones of this narrative pretty much comprise my life, all the decisions I have made from early to late. I start something, to be reminded that with my slap-dash preparation and too-much-going-on-at-once attention span, I'm not much in control of what's going on. Another thing I always say about myself: I look at something--a painting, a beautiful photo, a piece of fabric, some delicious dish at a restaurant--and say, how hard could that be? It's my motto. So I forge ahead without really ever counting the cost or considering how long it will take, or what I really need to know, or even what I really need, before being able to accomplish the thing. Bookmaking, jam-making, dissertation-writing, moving house, blah blah blah. One time I flew to Orange County for a brief conference without my hotel information, thinking that others from my college would be on the plane and staying in the same hotel. I arrived at John Wayne Airport, apparently sans college colleagues, knowing only that I was staying in a Marriott somewhere near an IBM company building. It took my darling and much more level-headed younger sister to find out where my bed was. It's all how hard could that be? or things will sort themselves out, then doing the thing, often sloppily, but often enough, it turns out, successfully enough.

Planners, by which word I mean both people who plan and those fat books people carry around, make me itchy, mainly because they make me feel shoddy and inferior. Planners think about how many kids they should optimally have, and sock away money for those one or two or one and a half kids to go to really good colleges. They don't work on too many committees and they finish their dissertations. On the other hand, think of the everyday thrills: will the raspberry jam set up? Yes! Will this dough ever stop being wet, and will we have pizza? Yes! And bread! Will I wander the streets of Orange County? Or will I sleep in the clean sheets of the Marriott, whichever Marriott that may be?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

XC@JD: the 'zine.

Following counterintuitive's practice of using acronyms (SUMB=swearing under my breath), we decided to speak in acronyms although XC@JD (cross country at Juan Diego) was really as far as we took it. Juan Diego High School, for those of you who don't venture into the south part of the Salt Lake Valley, is the new complex built by the Roman Catholic Diocese, and includes a church, a Catholic Center, a primary school, a middle school, and a high school, and is very deluxe. They sponsored an invitational meet this morning.

My son did very well--his best time so far in a true 5K--!7:47. Zach, however, streaked by him at the very last and beat him by a fraction of a second. Those of you not following this story will be enlightened to know that Zach is the formerly second place runner that Walker has been beating in the last few races, now restored to second place, for who knows how long.

This is the last race before Region, which is on October 10. On the training schedule, there are a bunch of training runs, including "run the Region course" and "run the State course." Last year at Region, the first-place runner for my son's high school had a bad race, so the team didn't qualify. We're hoping that this year will go better, and that on October 19, we'll all be at Sugarhouse Park cheering the West Jordan team on.

Today's a day that required split second timing on everyone's part. It's one of the last few market Saturdays, and I have agenda items to accomplish before the winter. In squirrel fashion, I have nuts to store--really, actual pecans from the organic pecan growers in Hurricane. I had to buy some more tomatoes to roast, more basil from which to make pesto to freeze, etc. So we had to get up early enough to be downtown by 8. We hauled our produce down to Draper and Juan Diego, caught the beginning of the junior varsity boys race, then the varsity girls. We were finished with the varsity boys by 10:45 or so. My adorable husband the historian is helping his son move into his first house today, whereas I have been facilitating two 'zine workshops for the Utah Progressive Network's Youth Activism Summit. Whereas when I left the house, Bruiser and my son, just arrived home from the race, had stretched out on the couch for a rest or perhaps even a nap.

I have been on my own case this whole week because I offered to do two two-part workshops. Nobody asked me to be this volunteer-y--it was, like, "Will you help us by teaching a 'zine workshop?" and I'm all, "Sure, why don't I do two two-part workshops, to be spread out over two days?" Whose ass was I actually kissing by being this helpful? Of course, it's all turned out fine, and I'm enjoying it very much. The youth activists, several of them anyway, know more than I do about 'zines. For instance, did you know there's such a thing as a "distro"? Here's one to check out: This place serves as a distributor for a bunch of indie products, such as t-shirts, posters, books, 'zines, stickers . . . as well as a manufacturer of personalized buttons and stickers. It's a cool site, and helped me understand a little more about how some 'zines might be circulated on more than a micro-local level.

My own experience with 'zine-making has been connected with my experience as an imaginative writing teacher. In my intro classes, we generally finish the course by making a class 'zine, which involves collaborating on various elements of the 'zine, but allowing a lot of latitude in individual page designs. I have always loved the eclectic effects such 'zines have. The youth activists, however, had amazingly creative ideas for their 'zines. What about a 'zine that focused on public restrooms in SLC? Photos and reviews. It could spin out into issues about other types of public spaces. Or a group of high school aged punks doing a 'zine about the bands, both local and touring, that come through SLC. These guys had already thought a lot about the project.

I think I should do a 'zine about Saturdays at the megastore household. I might call it "@the megastore." Certain people would be out and about doing good works, such as helping people move and lifting heavy items, or teaching people who already know about how to make 'zines how to make 'zines. Others are taking a nap with a dog after having run 3.1 miles in their best time ever. I would definitely have photos, and there would be witty captions. Or perhaps poignant captions. Ou sont les neiges d'antan*? One never knows, really, how many more races in the season there will be to run, or at which to cheer.

*"where are the snows of yesteryear?" Francois Villon


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