Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Love You, Mr. Fox

After a string of movie-watching of lackluster blockbuster films, I finally saw a magnificent movie that kept me laughing and interested from beginning to end. Wednesday I watched Twilight's New Moon movie (sappy, melodramatic and dry); Friday I watched A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey (I fell asleep 3/4 of the way through it); and Saturday, The Fantastic Mr. Fox -- quirky, witty, artistic, crafty, hilarious, doll house-like, picking up on subtleties and details of life that make a movie great.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Combinations of Stripes, Blocks and Color

Today the three members of our household each wore a plaid shirt. Funny how we all enjoy a good plaid. Plaid is fascinating to me because some of the combinations of color can evoke a variety of imagines and feelings, like of woodsmanship, scotsmanship, privateschoolmanship, scotchtapemanship, order, process, and complexity. Varying widths of stripes come together to cross, overlap, and weave to create new colors and layers of squares and rectangles. Plaid can be versatile -- understated or overstated; conservative or liberal; cheery or dark. But with all those things, plaid can still maintain a neutrality that is unparalleled by any other type of pattern. Flowers can be too floral and feminine, stripes can be too stiff and confining, circles can be obnoxious, argyle too conservative, and checkers too uninteresting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yay, The Fiddle

Ah, the fiddle competition. My annual visit to the Mountainlair brought me fresh pasta from Elkins, pasta chips from Elkins, a packed-house fiddle competition and the usual perusing of West Virginia-made art. Oh, and maple sugar candy. I cannot figure out why the delicacy of the maple sugar candy is not more widely available. I find it about once every two years. Better than anything, I tell you.
Each competing fiddler played two songs. There were five prizes, and a wandering fiddler from Chicago who just "happened to be passing through" won two of the prizes. Really? Was it by chance, circumstance, or compelling competition-stance? The youngest competitor looked to be about six years old, and she was brave and skilled. The oldest (well, probably the oldest), Elmer Rich, is a local musician in his 90s who is amazingly and magically talented. Sweet, sad, slow, graceful, perfectly in tune, and just perfect. I didn't want him to stop playing. He was funny, too. Most of the fiddlers told short funny stories to introduce their songs. This was my first attendance at a fiddle competition, I believe. I am certain I will be going back next year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Early Week

Sunday I visited the pristine Mason-Dixon park, climbed a ridge and walked along it to the post that marks the line between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The walk was leafy, sunny, peaceful and, of course, beautiful. Before that day, I didn't know a couple of benches could impress me so much. They were put together so simply, and were placed along the route in the most picturesque of places. There were some lessons around on the white signs that had to do with the history of some of the battles involving the Catawba and Delaware tribes (I think) and a story of a woman who axed three people to death near there.
Back at the flea market on Sunday, people were packing up when we got there. You go too often and things seem a little stale.
I didn't sleep well Sunday and was miserable on Monday. When the week starts, I wish to be ready for it. Sometimes that level of predictable responsibility seems to me to be most mundane, though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The previous posts are significantly uninteresting. Please don't read them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today when I was driving I came upon the scene of a car accident. The first time I passed by, nothing was happening. About 20 minutes later, I came by on the way back from where I was going and saw a lot of black smoke. Fire engulfed about half of a Toyota and the car's windshield was shattered. The flames were high, maybe about five or six feet above the car. Then I saw a body lying in the median. He wasn't moving and he looked completely lifeless. I found out later he died there. He was driving his motorcycle and hit the car on its side, and that's what caused the car fire. We passed by before the emergency response people came, but there were some fireman there (without trucks) trying to direct traffic while the fire blazed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not So Good Monday

Almost every day for the past week, we've missed the bus and I've been later than I have wanted to be for work. Two people were having birthdays at work, so we went to the Olive Garden for lunch. Our waiter was super-fast, super-hyper, and smelled good. He didn't care how close he got to anyone to lean over to put cheese on our food. A waitress was in training with him and she was twirling her hair.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This weekend I watched the movie "An American Crime," with Ellen Page and Catherine Keener. The movie is based on a true story about a terrible, terrible crime. I was sad about it for the rest of the weekend. After I read more about the story, I felt even worse. In Indiana in 1965, a 16-year-old girl was imprisoned in a basement and was tortured. Her parents worked for a carnival, and they paid a woman who had six kids to take care of the girl and her sister for $20 a week. The mother and her children and the neighborhood kids all participated in the abuse.
The movie I watched the day before was surprisingly good -- War, Inc., with John Cusack. I'm always amused, as are most people, I'm sure, when Joan Cusack unexpectedly turns up as one of his cohorts, costars, sidekicks, in some kind of cameo appearance or small character. Why is John Cusack so infinitely cool? Is it because he plays complicated characters? Is it because he has pretty good taste in the movies he picks? The soundtrack was great in the movie. Hillary Duff stars in the movie and plays a sickeningly trite pop star, and she sings a couple of the songs. The movie seems to take place in the present, but in an alternate world where corporations have essentially replaced government, but the difference is that their influence is not subversive. The movie has, as all good movies have, a blend of the elements of many different kinds of movies in it -- comedy, beauty, tragedy, action, violence, philosophy, literature, action, and something interesting to think about. I'm sure there's a good word for that, but I'm too tired to be creative.