Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why I live where I live

For many months I have been driving past an incredible viewpoint, promising myself that I would drive up there with my camera some day. Last Sunday was that day.

I threaded my way about the bumps and dips of the dirt rode that climbs up to the lip of the mesa, took out my tripod and set it up, attached my camera, and started shooting.

This is a shot of "where I live." You can see the prominent cloud shadow in the foreground. If you head further down the road to the second cloud shadow, I live in that patch. Those who click on the photo to see an enlarged version will realize that I have not been exaggerating when I say I live on the FAR southwest corner of Albuquerque. The road descending from the mesa to slice across the photo is Dennis Chávez (named for a famous NM Senator). When it crosses Coors Boulevard it becomes Rio Bravo and heads east just to the other side of I-25.

To the right of Dennis Chávez you see mostly fields. For that matter, parts of the land on the left (north) side of D.C. are not even in the city limits, though my home is. The construction continues about one mile west of me (nearer the viewer of this photo). Then the land climbs up to the mesa.
That should give you some idea of the view near my home. The photo below is the central segment of the overall view looking east. I shot photos from the north to the east to the south and used software to turn it into a panorama but it was just too big to put on here. This result is with about 1/4 lopped off on either side to give you just the center.

While I no longer see the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays each day, I do see this vast expanse of sky, an "ocean overhead" as someone put it.

Nice to enjoy the beauty of creation now and again and leave politics and ecclesiastical squabbles to the side.

Now, having finished writing my own novel (and had a few copies made), I am going to sit back down with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and do some pleasure reading.
--the BB

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be" was the title of Simone Signoret's memoir (English edition, Penguin 1979). The title just leaped to mind as I toured through some YouTube videos of Simon and Garfunkel. I fell in love with them from their first album: Saturday Morning 3 a.m. This must have been during my freshman year of college. The Beatles had exploded on the American music scene in my senior year of high school and now here were musicians I related to. The delicious harmonies of S&G would have won me over without the words, but the words made on think. This was more than pop love songs and their oeuvre was full of social observation.

One of the songs that touched me when I was young now has added layers of meaning and experience. I present herewith "Old Friends."

"Old Friends" by Simon & Garfunkel (with bonus of "Feelin' Groovy"):

The widespread sense of alienation and isolation we felt so keenly in the 60s was captured in "I am a Rock," here shown with B&W video of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel back when. Consider the following words (found here):
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.

During my adolescence my walls were as much interior as exterior, trying to keep the various aspects of myself from colliding. We're not talking full-on multiple personality disorder but rather a vast expenditure of psychic energy keeping my social-religious-intellectual-sexual-emotional selves from too much interaction on the unspoken assumption that my whole world would collapse if they did. Taking down my inner Berlin Walls was a long process. Mercifully, I now have a sense that I don't switch hats, personalities, or values from one interaction to the next. It's just me, it's all me, and it all belongs together. (Praise King Jesus and Holy Mother Mary, we're talking grace here, and lots of transformation!)

There was also, of course, the outer fortress. My best friend, who is also my ex and who lived with me for 24 years, observed: "You are the most private person I know." Note: the observation comes from the introvert in the relationship. So although, unlike the song, I did not disdain laughter and loving, I also kept a huge defensive wall between the world and my inner self. I can open doors now, but still do so cautiously when we are getting toward the more delicate, raw, and scary bits.

Without further ado: "I am a rock"

If you would like some seriously cool rhythm performance, catch this recording of "Cecilia."

This nostalgia trip was prompted by Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars, who posted "Bridge over troubled water" for the people of Minneapolis. Rest eternal for those who perished in the bridge collapse, strength and focus for those who rescue and clean up, peace for those who lost loved ones, comfort for the survivors, shame to those who ignore our infrastructure, diligence for those who work to restore and strengthen it, and a pox on Bush for politicizing it (the lying *******).

Hard to believe that I, who never took a piano lesson, obtained the sheet music of this and learned to play it (clumsily, but still...).
--the BB

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

So, I'm a book

Yes, these things are silly. But they're fun. And the world does not yet have enough silliness.

You're One Hundred Years of Solitude!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lonely and struggling, you've been around for a very long time.
Conflict has filled most of your life and torn apart nearly everyone you know. Yet there
is something majestic and even epic about your presence in the world. You love life all
the more for having seen its decimation. After all, it takes a village.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Well, I suppose this doesn't make me look very silly. So deep. So tragic. Hmmph. Very silly.
--the BB