Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sewing Patches

Unskilled stitches erratically poke between fabric layers with fatigue. It's late, after midnight, as I finish sewing the corporal stripes onto a World War I doughboy uniform. I think of the small boy who will wear the uniform to go trick-or-treating. I think of his grandmother, Mimi, holding onto life by threads as she breathes through a tube and doctors plan one last attempt to bring her back to us. I will remember these imperfect stitches I did not plan. But then, who plans these things? Ok, if you read the headlines at the checkout, some do. For others, the inevitable comes full bore and without warning, like this thing with Mimi.

I stitch and tell the little boy that we might need to prepare ourselves for something sad as things may not work out for Mimi.  He tells me to be hopeful. I am, but I am also shaken enough to know that she is near a dangerous precipice. I sent her little boy to be at her bedside. 

My little boy and I watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, a TV special I've watched dozens of times, always with a craving for a snack cake. Vince Guaraldi plays the cheery jazz melodies from World War I for Snoopy's flying ace scenes-- It's a Long Way to Tipperary. My doughboy knows that and a few more. Heck, he taught me to sing the words. Although I've been watching that special since at least 1976, I never appreciated those songs until now.

We sing to keep away unpleasant, unproductive thoughts. No wonder the tunes are catchy, they have to be for soldiers. So I stitch for little boys, for the ones who make me feel hopeful, even on a grim night and hear joyful melodies in my head long after the show is over.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Film Food for Thought

I happily indulged in brain food last night which was particularly refreshing after having spent time with a loved one at the hospital. It is also soul food without the sauce. It's the kind you internalize, turn over in your mind, and think upon when you are driving down a long stretch of highway.

Julian Doyle, Editor, Director, and Friend of the College Town Film Festival, brought The Life of Brian (1979) to the Athena Theater last night. He talked about how Monty Python took a serious book, the bible, and looked for the comedy in it. Professor Steve Hays encouraged the audience to wrestle with different ways of seeing as a way to develop critical thinking skills. Reverend Rob Martin  brought insight into the movie and bible stories with commentary including what did happen to the leper who was cured and thus out of a livelihood?

Nourishment awaits you, three more days of the film fest. Get online, check out the schedule. You need it.

Photo credit: John Paul Sullivan

CTFF OU Schedule

Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Not Asking for It

FRC, Fuck Rape Culture, held a rally at Ohio University today. The woman wearing her brassier in the interview photo below is dressed this way to bring awareness to the concept, "Still not asking for it."

The woman interviewing her came down from Kent State because there is not an active FRC type of group there. 

As students marched up Mill Street, a few hecklers spouted off from distant balconies. The FRC leader muscled her bullhorn and led the marchers with a steady stream of chants like, "Stop rape culture now." Traffic waited on the marchers as did the rain. At the base of the Civil War monument, achievements were reviewed and more was asked for the coming year,  among them was ongoing funding for SAP the Sexual Assault Prevention program-- the five year grant funding runs out this year.

No one wore duct tape that I noticed, but it was available.

Bathroom Stall Adventures

Last year for the College Town Film Festival I connected a visiting artist with an Ohio University professor. The artist, a writer with a film made about her,  was to visit the professor's class. However, she had a bout of self-doubt, "I'm not a college graduate so why should I talk to college students in an English course?" She hid in the bathroom.

That bathroom happened to be in the English building, Ellis Hall, the home of the "feminist bathroom." After reading the many supportive messages inked onto the stall walls, she went to the class and confessed what had happened. The class then took a field trip to see the bathroom wisdoms for themselves.

This year in support of the College Town Film Festival, coming October 15-18, I was dropping off materials in Ellis Hall when I found myself (unaware of where I had stumbled) in the said bathroom. My stall alerted me to check out the Sexual Assault Prevention (SAP) program across the road in the McKee House. One of the films coming on Friday, October 17 at 7:00 pm at the Athena, is "How to Loose Your Virginity," so SAP seemed like a good place to drop off a few programs.

from the Feminist Stall in Ellis Hall at OU

I trekked over, passed out a few programs, and learned all kinds of interesting things. I asked how the center was funded. It is through a grant which was applied for, "about five years ago." I applaud OU for having someone (Susanne Dietzel was mentioned) put this kind of resource into place as it shows forward thinking considering the press on sexual assaults on campuses nationwide. This afternoon, I'm headed to the Fuck Rpe Culture rally (4:00 pm Jeff Hill).  If the name of the group offends you, read this. 

Graffiti is where the disenfranchised can find a voice. If a mark on the wall of a stall can make a positive difference, I bet you can too.

Friday, October 3, 2014

That Moment...

"You know that moment before a party when you and your significant other hang back in the car and talk about your party strategy?" asked my classmate. I was tempted to be honest and say no, but instead I nodded assuredly.

I was given a scene in a classmate's film project with the instruction to only say one line while another classmate went off on a Woody Allen-esque tirade. I learned a few things:

1. Doing five takes with four people in a car on a rainy day quickly steams up the windows.

2. When your passenger is an improv actor that says anything and everything, the preparty strategy session can be hilarious.

3. Boys always go for the French girl.

4. I realized, in real life, I rarely drive to parties.

5. Either I live in a small walkable town, or I don't have so many parties to attend.

6. Creating work is fun.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Count Killo-Watt is on the Loose

Upgrade Athens is focused on reducing Athens County energy consumption while competing to win the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Participating with the Public Relations Committee, it was mentioned that a cartoon character would make a great story teller for capturing children's interest, Count Killo-Watt was born.

Count Killo-Watt wants to suck energy! Where does he lurk? In the clothes dryer? The dish washer? How do you combat him? Superheroes alert! We need Sergeant Weather Stripper! Calling Madam Eco to the rescue!

Somebody help me here.

Spreading the word-- Athens City Sustainability Commission Meeting has a public meeting scheduled on Wednesday Oct. 15 at 6 PM at the Athens Community Center. This is a brainstorming session to hear from the community about what goals, objectives, and strategies we should build into a sustainability plan for the City of Athens. We hope you can make the meeting and please spread the word. There will be light refreshments and lots of good folks like you there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Staying in the Moment

Chaos has fueled the desire for a life so full of routine that boredom ensues. I've always thought it would help to stay in the same place for a very long time, and, though I suspect that someday I'll experience death by routine, it's yet to hit my radar. 

My quest for a life of routine is partly about channeling the fluctuations of emotion and energy that make up daily life. On that front, I aim for a  daily walk along the riverRecouping from a recent injury, grateful for mobility, I ambled off listening to conversation from On Being about noticing the moment-- an exercise to look for five new things about a person you talk to everyday caught my interest. Since there was no office to duck into after the show, I tried to notice new things around me-- the leaves starting to turn though it's August,  a few of those fluorescent yellow and black birds still fluttering about town, and that some people smile on the bike path, but they usually aren't wearing a headset.  One guy saw me trying to read his shirt. I knew he had put it on mindlessly when he pulled it out in front of himself to read it. His shirt had a Chinese character on it, and I don't think either of us knew the kanji's meaning. 

The discipline of noticing is an effective tool for getting into the moment, but it's hard to stay there.