Monday, June 30, 2003

I found some more pictures, taken awhile ago. There's a photo of me and the rest of the End Zone crew with The Proclaimers and one of us with Picabo Street on the set of The Magnificent Movie Showcase, a show I used to be involved with.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

When it rains, it pours, or so the saying goes. I'm getting tons of drawing work now, and it seems they all want their drawings at the same time. But I'm not complaining. Oh no. This is what I want to do.

By the way, I would appreciate if anyone reading this would take a look at the drawing site and tell me what I might do to improve it. Also tell me if the windows media videos of Mr. Williams and Mr. Hoffman are ok. I know what they look like on my computer but I went to my site on a library computer and the text was overlapping and the pictures didn't look as good. I'm not sure what I can do about that, so I'm open to suggestions. Thanks.

Friday, June 27, 2003

I've been out for awhile, for various reasons. But now, Blogger's back, I got a new comments service, and I actually have something to write about....well, not really, but I'll write anyway.

I'm not one who really believes in omens or signs, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I've held the notion that when themes or things are repeated, it could foretell something. I mean, who knows. For instance I've had several experiences where throughout the day I'll keep mistaking strangers for someone I know, and then, that someone will show up. Lately a storm theme has been recurring. We are experiencing a drought here in Utah, but this week we were all quite hopeful when an unexpected and lengthy rainstorm put us over the normal amount of rainfall for June. It comes nowhere close to relieving our water troubles, but it was nice just the same. Then yesterday I got into a discussion with my boss and several other employees about golfball-sized hail, and I told about a guy I knew whose car was irreparably pummelled in such a hailstorm. That night, not having cable and not wanting to wade through the summer crap that's on network tv, we turned to PBS and watched a rather bleak special on wild weather. We watched video of lighting, hailstorms, tornados, and meteorites. We both went to bed with in a dismal mood, having just been told that we're due to be hit by a large comet or asteroid that will probably lay waste to the entire human race. Then this morning before I left for work, I went down to see what the kids were watching. It was Reading Rainbow (love that show!) and they were reading a wonderfully illustrated book about a southern flood. After the reading they talked about hail-damage to cars and showed video of windshields being put out in a storm. I'm not looking for all this to be portentious, but it is kind of odd.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

We shot the Widowmaker Hill Climb today. I was against it but I needed the overtime so I went. Now I'm glad I did. We interviewed a few famous riders including Dusty Beers, and the Phillips and Kimball families. I don't know who they are but off road motorcycle fans do. I posted some stills of some of the climbs and one of me shooting a cool-looking bike:

Friday, June 20, 2003

I finally got it uploaded! Here's the video of Tony Toscano giving my drawings to Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. The drawings of Robin can be found at my art website

Thursday, June 19, 2003

The night before last I had a dream that is still vividly alive in my head. That's strange because I rarely remember my dreams at all, let alone for days. Anyway, maybe somebody can analyze it for me. I think there are obvious parallels to my life but I'll describe those after I describe the dream. What I can remember is very intense. I was desparately looking for a place to park my car. I think I was in the parking lot of the local university's basketball stadium. There were spaces available but I had no parking pass and I couldn't come up with the nineteen cents it took to buy one. So I pulled into the load/unload zone and went in. Now the stadium was some kind of store. It's very nebulous but I'm leaning toward some sort of sports clothing store. Don Nelson, the coach of the Dallas Mavericks was in there frantically trying to persuade some collage ball player to come play for him. In my dream I knew Don but I had to remind him of who I was. I asked him for nineteen cents and he waved me off. All around me were famous sports figures and I knew them all personally but none of them would give me the time of day--or the much-needed nineteen cents. Finally, I found a quarter and bought a parking pass, but by this time all the spots were filled. Then I woke up cold and sweaty, as if from a nightmare.

The parallels are these: I don't like sports very much at all but, because of where I work, I have a cursory aquaintance with a few NBA players (though I have never met Nelson). There's only one of these, however, who would recognize me in a crowd and know my name. All they've ever seen when I've been around is the camera I'm holding, not me. I don't make very much money--my total household income is well below the poverty level so the ninteen cents represents, I'm sure, those small things that I need that seem so elusive.

Actually, I think I may have it figured out.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Speaking of bicycles, we just bought two new ones, one for the birthday boy and one sans-training wheels for our oldest. His mother has decided that his current bike is too big for him and that's why he keeps nose-diving into the pavement. While I agree that it may be a mite too big, he rides it well enough, and being able to put his feet down won't help him when he's going 25 miles per hour down the hill I told him to avoid. So we were not in agreement when we were in the store deciding whether to buy a bike that we can't really afford, but it was the two of them against me: even though she kept saying it was my decision and I said my decision was no, I ended up angrily cramming two bikes into the trunk of the car. That was on Friday. On Saturday evening, I asked Jr. if he wanted to go on our daily trek to the church parking lot to ride bikes. He started to get his old bike out of the shed! "What about your new bike?" I asked, utterly perplexed. He said he wasn't used to it. I said that he was not riding his old bike for at least a year, until we got our money's worth out of this one. I've since discovered that he thinks it is a "baby bike." Well, why was he so eager to buy it then? Well, I apparently put my foot down more effectively this time and I think he's used to his new bike. He seems to like it better now.
I've been riding my unicycle again and I've discovered a possible reason for my being so fat and out of shape. I quit riding the thing shortly after I got married--about the same time that I mysteriously gained forty pounds in about two months. I started again a couple of days ago and realized that it's hard work! It's much harder on my muscles than a bike: There's only one speed so it doesn't get any easier to move it as you go along, and there are miniscule, complicated moves your body constantly performs to keep it balanced. Those aren't terribly apparent on the outside because I know how to ride it, but they take their toll on my physique. So I've decided to keep it up every day. It's much more fun than jogging, and people seem to think I'm doing something extra-ordinary, although, I've been doing it since I was a kid.

Friday, June 13, 2003

It's my boy's birthday today. He wants a bike. I just taught his older brother how to ride and now I get a turn with him. He's so cute about turning five. He's quite old now, you know. Very experienced. There's going to be a party today and my schedule has been freed up so I can go. But I'm not sure about it. His mother lets them have full-blown parties on what she thinks are monumental birthdays and five is one of them. So there are going to be a lot of hollering kids running around like little piggies. I supposed Mrs. Chickenshorts could use some help, though. I'll probably do the right thing...whatever that is.

There are some drawings I've done of my boys if you want to see them. The two in the pumpkin patch and the one at the bottom with the glasses are mine.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I'm checking out "Hail to the Thief" right now. All I can say is wow! "There There" is ripping me apart. Yorke's vocals, which have always gotten me going, are still amazing and, well, wow! They just keep going. I'll don't think Radiohead will ever die.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I listened to country music all morning waiting for the "song of the day" so I could win $1000 from "The Bull," one of about 500 country stations in the area. It was like sitting on the toilet waiting for that elusive bowel movement. But even though I can't stand country music, listening to it for a couple of hours is worth the chance to win a thousand bucks, right? Of course, I didn't win. I didn't even get through. The funny thing is, I was worried about what I would say when they answered. Would I "Woo Hoo!" loud enough or in the right pitch? There's always that awkward silence when the winner is realizing they won and that it's cool but not so much money that they should split a lung expressing it--unless they're a complete lunatic. I've heard those too. I think this feeling limits my chances. I don't give it my all. I've never been very competitive. I'm not one of those guys who would chase the girl of my dreams to the altar and shout "I love you!" as she's saying "I do" to her future ex-husband. I go only so far and then think I'm not up to it anyway so why try.

The song was "We Danced" by some Paisley fella. I'd never heard it before and my alarm didn't go off at 7:15: I woke up at 7:25 in time to hear "Johnson and Johnson" say the name of the song but I didn't get to hear it. So I spent half an hour online trying to find the mp3. I never did so I got the lyrics. It didn't matter in the end. I wasn't the 93rd caller or even the 193rd. Oh well. No huge loss. We'll try again tomorrow.

Yesterday my boss was showing me some poetry his dad used to quote. It's by Longfellow and it's light and airy and optimistic, which is good, but then I brought everything crashing to the ground by showing him some poems by two of my favorite poets, Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan:

Chorus of the Rescued

We, the rescued,
From whose hollow bones death had begun to whittle his flutes,
And on whose sinews he had already stroked his bow—
Our bodies continue to lament
With their mutilated music.
We, the rescued,
The nooses wound for our necks still dangle
Before us in the blue air—
Hourglasses still fill with our dripping blood.
We, the rescued,
The worms of fear still feed on us.
Our constellation is buried in dust.
We, the rescued,
Beg you:
Show us your sun, but gradually.
Lead us from star to star, step by step.
Be gentle when you teach us to live again …
We beg you:
Do not show us an angry dog, not yet—
It could be, it could be
That we will dissolve into dust—
Dissolve into dust before your eyes.
For what binds our fabric together?
--Nelly Sachs


Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken sie abends
wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts
wir trinken und trinken
wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rüden herbei
er pfeift seine Juden hervor läßt schaufeln ein Grab in der Erde
er befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum Tanz

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich morgens und mittags wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng

Er ruft stecht tiefer ins Erdreich ihr einen ihr andern singet und spielt
er greift nach dem Eisen im Gurt er schwingts seine Augen sind blau
stecht tiefer die Spaten ihr einen ihr andern spielt weiter zum Tanz auf

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags und morgens wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith er spielt mit den Schlangen
Er ruft spielt süßer den Tod der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
er ruft streicht dunkler die Geigen dann steigt ihr als Rauch in die Luft
dann habt ihr ein Grab in den Wolken da liegt man nicht eng

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
wir trinken dich abends und morgens wir trinken und trinken
der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blau
er trifft dich mit bleierner Kugel er trifft dich genau
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er hetzt seine Rüden auf uns er schenkt uns ein Grab in der Luft
er spielt mit den Schlangen und träumet der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland

dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith
--Paul Celan

There's a wonderful and artistic translation of the second one by by John Felstiner
The music of the Death Fugue is so beautiful. I love the two "melodies" of the fugue as expressed by the two opposite women: the golden-haired Margarete and the Ashen-haired Sulamith. As for "The Chorus of the Rescued" its heartrending pleas for the rescuers to not rescue too harshly or too quickly are deeply touching.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I've been running sporadically. You're supposed to do it three times a week or so, right? Well, I do it three times a month. I might do it more if I had some sort of treadmill, but then again, it might end up just being a very expensive and useless piece of furniture. The thing that makes running tolerable for me is listening to books as I do it. I'm still on The Robber Bride. Atwood is amazing. Today I encountered something that was so funny I laughed out loud as I ran.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

I'm writing a lot today because I've been reading Margaret Atwood again. She makes me want to write. Of course, I don't dare compare what I've written to hers, I will undoubtedly be depressed if I do that. It has occurred to me that my favorite authors are women. I just finished Harper Lee's amazing masterpiece and I think I'll get it on paper and read it again. It's one of those books that compels you to study it, not just read it. As most of my friends and aquaintences aren't fascinated by literature like I am, they are put off by that. Most of them would prefer something that did not ask you to think about it, just let it go into your head for a few minutes and distract you, then fly away without disturbing the furniture. I'm in heaven when the room of my mind is in disarray after a book has left it. I love picking up the knick knacks and chairs and having to consider if they were misplaced to begin with. Atwood does this for me but not in a political way. I'm pretty set in my ways politically and it would take a lot to change that but she instructs me in the ways of telling a story. She does it so beautifully--even when what she says should piss me off. I figure the thing to do if I want to write everyday is to keep something of Atwood's always at hand and dip from it every so often. Even (or maybe especially) one of her poems. I just listened to "All Bread" today. And that is why I'm writing.
Just now I parked my tiny, barely-running, oatmeal mobile next to one of those ginormous urban-assault vehicles that can hold seventy-two people but most likely only carries one most days. As I got out of my car I wondered if the owner of this thing that probably cost about half of what my house did, is offended that I put my diseased and very-likely-contagious bucket so near that monstrosity. The rest of this post contained a rant about devalued skills and differences in salaries. I should just leave it alone.

Monday, June 02, 2003

This blog almost died. I got caught up in trying to get it read by other people and that was the wrong thing to do. Suddenly that became the important thing so I was afraid to write anything. People might not like it and might not read it. Well, that's done. It's over. This is for me. To keep me writing everyday. It was working when I didn't care about who read it. So here I am again.

Yesterday I sang in a 350-member choir in the conference center where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. It was amazing. It felt wonderful to be a part of something that sounded so good.