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Monthly Archives: October 2010

GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE—publicly, proudly, with panache: my working definition of a good wedding. Last month I witnessed the union of college comrade/attorney/zine impresario/poetic soul Marc and tank thinker/continent hopper/yogalista/fast friend Evelyn in the shadow of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Even after weeks of travel, I was pumped for this party.

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Walking off the tarmac at Roanoke Int’l felt novel; rare we fly anyplace small, I guess.

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The affair was “farm casual,” held at Evelyn’s rural homestead. My kind of crowd—journos, aid workers, stunt chefs, artists, floaters, and DC’s Shaolin Subliminal Ultimate Frisbee team. The marrying is going down at left (click for more detail).

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Johanna was a flower girl. I read at the ceremony, a passage from Thoreau’s Walking I managed to make ponderous, though it fit the setting and mood well enough:

We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold grey day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest brightest morning sun-light fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon, and on the leaves of the shrub-oaks on the hill-side, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow eastward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon, never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever an infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child that walked there, it was more glorious still.

So we saunter toward the Holy Land; till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, so warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn.

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It was hard to resist gazing slack-jawed at the scenery.

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Sarah’s nose collided with a swimming pool wall shortly before the event, but I assured her no one could tell.

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Toasting the newlyweds (only shot I got of them together; pitiful). Evelyn was lauded for her boundless talents; Marc, more memorably, for his “rapist” wit (oops).

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I was glad my “Friend of Marc” buttons went over, only wished I’d done something in kind for the bride.

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More weddings should have campfires.

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Aurélie played cello at the ceremony, joined later ’round the fire by Sam on guitar. A memorable singalong: “Yoshimi” by the Flaming Lips, “Dead Flowers” by the Stones, and (my fave) “Pizza The Size of Your Face,” an ode to the storied slice slingers of Adams Morgan.

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After a farm brunch and goodbyes Sunday morning (M and E were off to Argentina), we beat a path north to Shenandoah N.P., a park built along 100 miles of scenic highway at the highest point of the Appalachian Trail. It’s Civil War battlefields as far as the eye can see. Not being that kind of history buffs, we were mostly about the scenic overlooks, which are numerous and flippin’ beautiful.

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Marc: Ya done good, buddy.

>> The Rolling Stones – Sweet Virginia

TURN YOUR BACK ON THE WEST COAST FOR ONE MINUTE and weed goes quasi-legal, sold by foxy salespeople at luxurious dispenseries from Denver to Oaksterdam, with angry GUARD BEARS patrolling the yard.

Images of the state of the North American pot economy in the runup to Cali’s Prop 19 on Boston.com’s Big Picture.

This New Yorker profile from 2008 hinted at the coming craziness, though this freewheeling dope culture seems otherwordly from a Midwest perspective. ‘Round here smokers are seen as more than a little strange and the legislature busies itself banning more psycho-active plants, not fewer.

UNLOVED FILM SLIDES WILL BE SHOWING UP at second hand stores for at least a few more generations. Some photo fads hung in there as technology progressed in the ’90s and ’00s (Polaroid, 110 film), but the digital era doesn’t so much shun film and its products as act like they never existed. Digitizing old photo media now seems quaint (why bother when there’s an app for “antique”?). Slides have the same musty, irredeemable taint as VHS. So carousels, cartridges and boxes of snapshots end up trashed.

What families lose, collectors gain.

I’m sorting through 200 or so slides from an estate sale in Des Moines. The sale companies will ask $20 or more for this stuff, but they’re not in a position to argue when you offer $3. Johanna and I are taking them for a spin on the old Kodak Carousel 4600 Projector, most from 1959.

This batch has handwritten captions, which help you speculate about the life depicted, but you have to read between the scrawls: first-wave suburbanite, retired engineer, married to an avid gardener who likes dresses, National Park enthusiast, University of Iowa grad or ISU (not sure), at times a conquering adventurer, other times a quiet domestic, drawn to asymmetrical compositions and vast expanses.

Slide seeing:

> Kinks – People Take Pictures Of Each Other

YESTERDAY I AWOKE IN A FOG (literally for a change). It shrouded our ‘hood in mystery and grandeur. A sudden suburban jungle. On my way to get a paper. Click to enlarge.

The crowing of our neighbor’s illegal rooster completes the equatorial village vibe.

Some neighb’s wish this empty school would disappear. And for several hours, it did.

Bright yet obscure. Empty yet full. Familiar yet foreign. Sublimity in seeing less.

>> Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Locks In The Dublight

WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG to listen to the old-school hip-hop show on KMOJ 89.9 The People’s Station, Saturdays 12-3 p.m? I’m phasing out Good & Country on KFAI for a few week in favor of DJ Divine and crew. Kane, LL, Slick Rick, Notorious B.I.G., MC Lyte. Lots of entertaining PSAs. Testament to the masterful vibe, even “Nightmare on My Street” by Fresh Prince comes off well.

>> Antoinette – Hit ’em With This
>> Special Ed – Ready 2 Attack
>> Ultramagnetic MCs – Funky
>> De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’