Sunday, May 31, 2009

There and back.

We went here:

and then we came home, it was just that quick. Now, I am looking at this:

as if it were unfolding in time-lapse photography, thinking, slow down already, do you have to be in such a rush?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

There will be Idaho.

Well, the people, I meant to finish a little film about insomnia, but it is still in progress ("not finished"), so all I have to say for myself is
  • my roses are starting to bloom,
  • their fragrance and color are making me swoon,
  • we have begun the yearly ritual of distributing the water to the roots,
  • Bruiser loves his walk,
  • I read and wept over Gilead,
  • I have a poem for my writing group on Sunday, and
  • we are going to Idaho for a quick swing, so my dad and mom can show us the ropes of opening it up for the season.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

That's what I want.

Lately, the historian and I have been talking about money. A lot. It turns out the historian is thinking about retirement which means--why is this?--that we need to think about how we spend money (as opposed to just spending it, which I think we'll all agree is preferable, especially if there's an endless supply, which, come to think of it, we don't have, haven't ever had, we should probably have been talking about this sooner!). This is good (I keep telling myself).

So right now, we talk about almost every purchase with an eye toward (a) not crossing the threshold we're shooting for, and (b) figuring out how our little schema with its thresholds works. So, for instance, are the presents we bought for a new baby part of the "Gifts" budget? or is it part of the "Miscellaneous Expenditures" budget, since it's not one of the gifts designated in the gifts budget? Yes, this way lies madness, especially when you're paying the cashier at Target and thinking, if it comes out of the miscellaneous budget, that really cramps our miscellaneous style!

This is good (I keep telling myself). The flowers I bought and planted this weekend, and also tomatoes, basil, and other herbs, belong in the "Miscellaneous Expenditures" budget, although I'm thinking of advancing the idea that "miscellaneous" needs to be deconstructed into "Household" and "Car" and other stuff that will make the categories less all-encompassing and therefore less likely to make me feel like there is no money to buy, say, nail polish. Or earrings.

In the meanwhile, I made another movie. For free (sort of--if you don't count internet access, or amortize the iMac and its splendid software, or my camera, etc. etc. etc. we've spent all the money and we're never going to be able to afford to go to France). This one is about Bruiser, and he is in the frame at every point! Technical advance!

And now, a few questions for Bruiser. from lisab on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Facebook, my enemy.

Last night, the historian and I had dinner with some people we hadn't met before, charming people, one of whom hates Facebook and refuses to be on it. The more people attempt to friend him, the stronger his resolve.

I am on Facebook, but I must tell you, my feelings about it are decidedly mixed, trending toward the negative, and here are my reasons:

1. It's like junior high. Who has more friends? Why am I not popular? A guy I know at work, when I said this, said, "You can have my friends," but why didn't they want to be friends with me in the first place? Junior high was hellish in the first place (I'm pretty sure there was a high gate at the entrance of mine, inscribed with the motto "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here"). Basically, life after junior high is just one giant renunciation of that hell. So why would I want to go there willingly?

2. I hate you and your stupid quizzes, Facebook. Not that I am at all averse to wasting time with a meaningless quiz! But when I click out to the suggested quiz and it says, basically, if you take this quiz, an army of data-miners can invade your Facebook life and start writing checks on your accounts, I say NO. There's nothing worse than tantalizing me with a quiz, then making it impossible for me to take it. It's like giving me the Cosmopolitan magazine with the "Does he really love you? Take our quiz to find out how you can know for sure!" teaser on the cover, then going inside and finding out that you have to give them your driver's license and passport as collateral. It's not worth it! Not even for a movie quiz!

3. I'm pretty sure that Facebook is responsible for the fact that the bloggers I like to read are blogging less. Tell me I'm wrong.

4. Glitchy.

5. Slow.

6. The status update as a genre flummoxes me. Which I think is hilarious, actually, since I am prepared to whine and inflate and engage in all sorts of rhetorical puffery to blog, but a single sentence seems inevitably banal. Or it crosses some sort of banality threshold beyond which I am JUST NOT WILLING TO GO, the people.

7. In conclusion, I will still be on Facebook for the opportunity to spy on my friends, and I may also occasionally offer a tiny little update from myself, and also I will use it to find people I never meant to be out of contact with but now am.

But I don't have to like it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bugs. Idaho bugs.

what is light? from lisab on Vimeo.

Note: the footage at the beginning of this video is taken from a film made by the Lumiere brothers in 1895. It is, as far as I can tell, in the public domain, and I credited it at the end of the film.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Progress reports.

1. Meadow: coming along splendidly. We have wild geranium, flax, columbine growing in amongst the thatch. As long as we keep things not too tall, we should continue to advance on this project.

2. Last year's re-scaping of half the front lawn: I am not bragging when I say: gorgeous. The roses are all lustrous-leafed and full of foliage. The clematis is a dark slightly bronze-y red, and the flowers just busted out today. The flax are both tidily instantiated where we planted them, and promiscuously sowing their wild oats (as it were)--as it should be. The things that aren't blooming yet are showing great promise of blooming. It is so beautiful. Update: see for yourself!

3. Manuscript: I read the whole thing aloud yesterday. I have some new insights into it and can see where there are non-functional repetitions that I can get rid of, a sense of what needs to be revised, how it can be streamlined, etc.

4. My relationship with Final Cut Express: we had an argument today. I will come back to it tomorrow to see if I can make amends, or else smack it around till it sees reason.

5. The Western Conference Finals: Why did Denver have such lousy free-throw shooting? Why will national announcers never shut up about the mystery of the fabulousness of the Lakers? Progress: Denver better treat this as a wake-up call and get it together, or they will rue the day they lost this winnable game in L.A.

6. The Eastern Conference Finals: LeBron James was manufactured by brilliant biotechnicians in super-secret lab funded by the NBA and the Trilateral Commission. Dwight Howard was constructed in a super-secret lab on a space station orbiting the Planet Dunkitron, by aesthetically gifted robots. I cannot imagine how this series will turn out.

7. Consumption of cultural goods: I am currently undergoing a big fat spate of nostalgia, in which I purchased music I listened to in the 70s. It is so choice. I highly recommend it. I am reading this and have reserved this at the library. We saw this and this this weekend--both good, the first a little more than the second.

I hope there will be a movie tomorrow featuring the flying insects that catch the light at dusk at the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho. Check back to see. Good night, and good luck.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Failure--what a concept!

Update: "Craft" video to your right!

Yesterday, I criticized my own method, which seemed increasingly all about procrastination. Yesterday, I spend much of the day in a desultory haze, working--or, frankly, not working--to little purpose. I started actually putting together that video that turned out so disappointingly late in the day. I happened to come up with the idea of using Donna Haraway's "Companion Species Manifesto" in a completely random moment.

Now, I have long been a believer in the serendipitous discovery (a friend from grad school was the first one to call it that)--the fact that I even knew there was such a thing as the "Companion Species Manifesto" depended upon the fact that I went to grad school, studied such a thing as theory, knew who Donna Haraway was, knew post-colonial and feminist theory, or at least a thing or two about them, and knew what I had found when I stumbled upon this tiny book in a bookstore in Santa Cruz. Still. There's only so much justification for the haphazard, lazy way I pursue--or, frankly, don't pursue, rather just think about pursuing--projects.

Last night when I showed the video to the historian, a video I knew had so many issues it probably wasn't worth the time it took to export to Quicktime, he said, "It needs a little more Bruiser, doesn't it?" and before he had even finished this sentence, I held up my hand: Just stop. That's how aggravated I was about this project and my own lack of skill. I kind of had a hard time getting to sleep.

Anyway, making that little failed exercise yesterday gave me so much motivation today! Rather than cruising around in the desultory way I do, I resolved a technical issue, re-shot new footage of Bruiser the dog, dove right into Final Cut instead of letting it bully me, made my little film on craft/technique that I had let lapse (because of the FC Express bullying issue).

I like to think of this as similar to the Houston Rockets' response to their recent loss in L.A. I may not have the equivalent of power (Ming) or flow (McGrady) in my skill set, but I do have pugnaciousness (Artest). And all those other guys/skills. Okay, maybe this basketball metaphor breaks down--but anyway: resurgence! tenacity! don't tell me I can't!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Well, I just got through with a little video exercise which has exhausted me, because it has proven, yet again, how, when I'm trying to take footage for a specific purpose, I'm pretty lame at it. For instance, though this is a movie about taking a walk with Bruiser, why is Bruiser either barely, or not, in the frame? Why is there a long glorious shot of the flowering cherry tree which seems to be apropos of absolutely nothing?


I learned some things from making this video, which you can view to your right. Stay tuned for more and better video about the best dog ever.

While I'm at it, I would like to criticize a few other things.

1. Today's mail. Possibly the least interesting mail ever.
2. My method, which seems to be getting lengthier and more procrastinate-y.
3. My sweaters. I went through them with the idea of tidying up and putting the spring and summer weight ones forward in the mix, but no. They will not all fit back in their nook unless they're shoved, slippery and uncooperative, in an untenable morass.

On the other hand,

1. Houston beat L.A. Without Ming. Or McGrady.

Nope, that's it. Everything else needs criticizing. That is all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The historian quotes scripture. Plus bonus video.

Me: . . . because I'm at an age where sleep is harder to come by.

Historian (doesn't understand this alien language I'm speaking): Really?

Me: But you don't have any problem sleeping, do you? That's because you have the good temperament.

Historian: That's right. Saint John the Good.

Me: Good temperament, I said. Besides, you are good. You're not venal.

Historian: As opposed to you. You wouldn't say you're venal, would you?

Me: I sure am. I am quick to anger and consumed with envy.

Historian: Just the opposite of what you're supposed to be.

Me: (quick to wrath, therefore fuming)

Historian: You're supposed to be . . . what is it the Book of Mormon says?

Me: . . .

Historian: Slow to anger and quiet as an . . . owl? And wise as . . . a goat.

Me: Wise as a goat.

Historian: . . . or maybe that's the Bible, but not translated correctly.

New video:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

If this is what going back to work is like, then you can take it.

--aaaaaaand shove it. For example, today involved:
  • waking up effectively hungover from lack of sleep, due to sudden, insidious late night cough.
  • interviewing two potential student editors of the student litmag for next year. Which I will be faculty advisor for next year (how did this happen, Dr. Write?).
  • lunch with a grandson who turned four today. (This involved noodles and hilarious conversation: Grandson: You know what? Me: What? Grandson: Papa, say what.).
  • another potential student editor.
  • taking part in the discussion team as part of my new, should-have-said-no responsibility for next year (thanks, former faculty leader! No, really.).
  • reception for retiring colleagues (actually, there were cupcakes, so this one was all right).
  • home to collapse.
  • put on excessively shiny skirt and high heels to go out again, to an evening school event with historian. Also lipstick. Also mascara.
  • home to collapse, or actually to report this information on my day, and then collapse.
I need to check my pulse to see if I am still having my sabbatical. I think I am, but the evidence is curiously contradictory.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Half-assed, or maybe even less than that.

So, today I was working on a little video project about technique and craft, and it was so far my longest project and my most ambitious conceptually (although not videographically), and I was going to render it--with its voiceover and music and video--and Final Cut Express just basically refused to do it. It would render exactly 5 percent of it, and then stall out. It was being all sorts of difficult. I was having that curious experience of being super stoked and super irritated all at once.

I think I might have to start from scratch and this time do it right instead of diving in and acting like I can suss it out just by blundering around. Stupid complicated powerful program.

However, I did make a video about this new hoodie I just got at Target. Also, my bathroom mirror needs a cleaning. But that will happen tomorrow. Or the next day.

Read and laugh.


ENG 371WR:
Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era

Or weep. Actually, I have developed a speciality: the weep/laugh.

(from McSweeney's, via the WPA-List)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Project 2.

Since I have a more or less complete draft of my manuscript, I am moving on to project two of my sabbatical (and high time, I'd say, but who has time for self-recrimination? when it's May, and so on and so forth, whoo! August will be here before you know it--but I digress--): the making of short films.

Some of you may have noticed the new feature to your right, Daily Vid. I posted the first one yesterday. These are and will probably always be modest little things, but in the spirit of diving in . . . there's yesterday's over there and here's another:

Miriam. In motion. from lisab on Vimeo.

Update: still waiting for news about my son (my daughter reminds me that no news is no doubt good news). For updates on Craig Arnold, anyone who wants to can go here (I know a lot of you already know, but for those of you that don't).


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