Friday, December 22, 2006

yesterday was our anniversary. we went to dinner in a restaurant in Concord, yes snooty old Concord that was in Thoreau's crosshairs. afterwards we drove around a little, because some people have taken to decorating their homes with lights and whatnot, which is rather fascinating to look upon. well, were we surprised to see luminarias (bags with lit candles inside) lead into the woods near the river. and further, a bonfire could be seen. actually, what 1st caught our attention was the number of cars parked by the river. also, the sound of drums. where were people going? natch we had to find out. Beth put it together, a druidy, pagany thing going on. well don't that beat all! it so happens I LUV witnessing sacrifices, they really make you stop and consider things. (just kidding). we walked to where the luminarias began. someone was there photographing a standard which showed sun and moon in a yin/yang sort of configuration. Brother Sun and Sister Moon. the guy told us that he'd heard of this gathering before but had never seen it. we followed the path in. coming widdershins was a couple with a baby carriage. the path was uneven with roots and rocks. I'm not sure there was a baby in the carriage but there was a large drum. in a clearing we found a group of maybe 20, men and women. all of whom were in their 50s: retired hippies!!! I mean, you bet. 6 were gathered with guitars singing a country blues. others were clustered talking. I don't know how pagan the festivities might've been, could as well have been a reunion of Deadheads. things were breaking up. the fire was beautifully set up, a campfire really but riproaring and lovely. the people ignored us. the photographer had made his way in and was taking pictures of the people and of the the sun standard set up nearby. I felt like an outsider because I'd dressed in a tie just to prove to Beth that I can still do it. I probably looked like The Man. that Beth and I were married on Winter Solstice was intentional, so this little celebration felt natural and right. neither Beth or I was brought up religiously. I attended a Unitarian church with my parents. nothing religious about that. you can't get too excited about being non-committal, and so the Unitarians floating along in mildly liberal satisfaction. when I learned about morris dances, the Golden Bough, etc, I got more interested in things pagan, tho I've never like joined and circles or whatchacallit. Easter, for instance, attracted me more when I could connect it to fertility rites. so anyway, our hippies friends apparently make it an evening every solstice. the juxtaposition with staid Concord aint lost on me. the area of the gathering was held sacred, so I've heard, by native Americans. the colonials, natch, determined the land was a good place to pasture cows. so anyway, a clear cool night, the river roaring by at whatever the very least speed a river can move and not be a pond. Beth and I finishing off 6 years together, a time that, honest to god deserves a book to be writ, if either of us are strong enough for that. and we're lucky as anything.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Beth and I shopped a bit yesterday. 1st, late lunch at Panera, where I had onion soup in a carved out boule of sourdough. the French have made it law that a croutons must be part of the onion soup experience. included with the soup: a nice hunk of bread. must have more bread, must have more bread... 1st stop was L. L. Bean, with a specific item in mind. when I went to Franconia College, in northern nowhere, New Hampshire, it was considered a big adventure to drive all night to Freeport, Maine and hang out at the Bean store. at the time it was the only Bean outlet, and it was a sumptuous all night store, to accommodate hunters and grass-inspired hippie types. I never made the trip but a fellow at school would frequently remind me of the time we drove to the store. I'd tell him that I had never made the journey and, with appropriate baffled pause, he'd reply, really, are you sure? whenever the store was brought up, my father would intone the store's slogan: L. L. Bean, the best I've ever seen. he knew the store when you could meet the famous L. L. hismelf. it seemed like a friendly, fresh store but we were there only long enough to learn that hand crank flashlights that can charge cellphones were out of stock (for a friend). so a trip to The Mall became necessary. at the front of the Discovery store, someone was stationed with the charge of greeting customers and playing with toys. previously, said toy was a flying saucer, a radio-controlled fan provided the aeronautical oomph. this time it was a radio-controlled dinosaur. it was a high energy, constantly moving toy that sharply resembled the perpetual motion terrier pup we came close to adopting, the Terrierist. the Apple store continued to look hip. psst, we got something for Erin. Brookstone, another store full of gizmos, actually had the cellphone charging handcrank flashlight. I got new earphones for my measly half gig last year's iPod Shuffle. sigh. at Circuit City, I gave them my computer so they could add memory. I was told the chips can easily be replaced. last week I opened this machine up and removed a chip, just to see what up. I thought I got it back in but when I restarted my computer it reached a point then went blue screen then out. that sort of thing discombobulates me, even tho I managed to poke at the thing to set it proper, so I was happy to follow the recommendation of letting a greenshirted tech guy perform the operation for a financial consideration that I considered worthwhile. I remained at the counter while Beth applied peeled eye to televisions and cameras. a tv was on behind the counter at which I waited. the show was oook I forget the name, a celebrity news round up that rounded up the tidiest tidbits of essential info, which were exploded via electronic magic into once key areas of my brain. a full nelson was applied to my brain 1st off in seeing Lara Spencer as one of the "reporters" on this show. I think she killed off the bouncily enthusiastic twins on Antiques Roads showmaking them get their own show. the point is that this Lara Spencer, seemingly cool and snooty, has PBS cred, and hadn't ought to, under any circ, be on a celeb news ooze, where haughtiness is reserved for, you know, Gary Burghoff of MASH fame, and not pandering celebrity news show hosts. I mean really. the big story was of Miss USA almost being dethroned by Donald the Trump for having partied somewhat underagedly. there was a press conference in which a heated Trump and a mortified Miss USA paid public pennence, altho perhaps they spelled it correctly. the Trumpmeister barked out that the miscreant must go into rehab, which he made sound like a punishment rather than an assistance. if she doesn't shape up, we'll be seeing a new Miss USa, and you know how rocky it can get when there's a change of Miss USAs midterm. I hope it doesn't come to that. there was a shocking story about Britney Spears getting onstage at some club and doing a strip tease. apparently she kept her clothes on, which I guess is the shocking part. unfortunately I cannot recall more news items but I know they were equally captivating if not more or less so.

Monday, December 18, 2006

ready for the jam bands

, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

I appreciate when poets write about their craft, the inklings of curiosity and the so forth that moves the writer, in this instance Shanna Compton. I could tell a different tale but no reasonable competitive basis exists. nor, I should add, am I or anyone going to save poetry, however much one might sneer, erupt or defy malfeasance in the poetry biz. neither shall poetry be killed. in saying this, I don't want to indicate that tales of Christmas trees falling down are not of the poetic. if I need to defend myself. which I don't.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

since you're not doing a whole lot (reading this blog), you probably could spare a moment to read the latest at Antic View, or assay my latest pix at Flickr. links are conveniently to the right, but use the left side of your brain for best results. I like how I flounder around with Jeff Harrison's percipient questions (Antic View), and I take total credit for the weird wonders that walk onto the viewing field of my camera. elsewise go see how Jimmy's dealing with the issues, that could be important too.
we had a party saturday night, our Christmas party. I didn't get to bed till after midnight. at 4:00, hello kitty advocated that I rise. a feeling of numbness made me refuse. at 5:00, however, I woke out of habit, and was awake enough that I just got up, tho tired. what did I see in the living room? why, the tree reclining on the floor. of course I had plenty of energy. I proceeded to remove all the ornaments and lights that weren't smithereened, a slow process. not to exaggerate, but it was a sort of Katrina moment, seeing things so messed up. in sooth, it wasn't quite so bad. our collection of ornaments includes some sentimental items from both Beth and me, plus our gaudy new haul. some of what I had are/were literally more than 100 years old, tho for the most part ratty looking items. we have since sawed the trunk again and set the tree up. decoration will occur anon. I did the dishes then went to bed for a short snooze around 10:30. the tree probably wasn't securely set in the stand the first time. the mystery is that the cat never showed up for breakfast, an amazing neglect of his inborn duty. his 1st and 2nd Christmases he took to climbing into the tree but he hasn't done that, being a husky fellow, the past couple. so we don't think he knocked the tree over. possibly the tree fell when he was in the room, thus scaring the bejesus out of him, but Beth thinks he was on the bed the whole night. Beth's niece is visiting us, but our cat, Mowgli, accepts her. he doesn't accept a bunch of strangers in his home as we had the night before. so maybe he's in a pout about the incursion of strangers raiding his abode, but that rarely causes him to miss a meal once the coast is clear. anyway, this afternoon we went to Orchard House in Concord, home of the Alcotts. instead of the usual tour, like we had of the Old Manse on the 4th of July, they had a presentation. each room of the place was hosted by an Alcott family member. that is, Bronson, Marmee, Louisa Mae, etc. it was a pleasant, different approach. Concord had a snootful of idealistic, iconoclastic thinkers back then. hard to imagine now. the town has always been well-heeled. as recently as 15-20 years ago, it still had a working class element to it, mostly due to its farms. today it just wants to go mcmansion, altho it remains a pretty little town. just snobby as shit. after our tour we had dinner then took in a couple of extreme Christmas homes. you know, with mucho lights. one of these displays is excessive, no question, but with a certain amount of taste. the other is kitsch to some power I have yet to compute. illuminated Santas up the wazoo, including Homer Simpson as Santa, the Grinch as Santa, Mickey Mouse as Santa. I took pictures tho I doubt they can give any sense of the wonders. if that 2nd house could be deconstructed, woo hoo, it'd have something to say. a couple years ago, the lights on the roof spelled out SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, for the particular benefit of planes leaving and arriving at the nearby airfield. so now i shall take a look at pictures and then reclaim the sleep I missed.