Looks ugly and dirty at first. Because it is. But look closer, and there's a lot to learn. Each shape has tons of implications. Things so precise you can really screw them up. Millions of explosions have happened right there in the dark across tens of thousands of miles - desert, plains, forest, mountains. Hours upon hours it has been a red hot metal gasket sandwich with the bread sliced just so. Hope I can get it to burn again.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
The Bend is shrouded this morning. Everything solid is frosted. It's cold, the sun is coming up. That dendritic rime on your windshield is pure deposited vapor. Lookout Mountain, Stringer's Ridge, the Moon Pie Factory, and the power grid are cloaked. Night has chilled the air, but the river is still warm from yesterday's upstream sun. It's not a breath of fresh alpine clouds, but I'll take it.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. It's hard to tell what matters when it comes to the preconceptions of the observer. I want to know what you, the reader, may see here. I'll tell you what I know afterwards.
From a dictionary:
From a dictionary:
The construction from whence has been criticized as redundant since the 18th century. It is true that whence incorporates the sense of from: a remote village, whence little news reached the wider world. But from whence has been used steadily by reputable writers since the 14th century, most notably in the King James Bible: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help" (Psalms). Such a respectable precedent makes it difficult to label the construction as incorrect. Still, it may be observed that whence (like thence) is most often used nowadays to impart an archaic or highly formal tone to a passage, and that this effect is probably better realized if the archaic syntax of the word without - from - is preserved as well.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
It might be December, but here in cragistan we don't worry about that. Sure, on a shining 62 degree day just weeks from the solstice, you could expect the rocks to be crowded. Earth has 7 billion people, and half of them were probably at Foster Falls yesterday. But don't forget that Chattanooga is made of cliffs - there's no shortage. Trees leafless and shivered from the night frost bask in solar wind. Light blasts down on what seems more and more like the surface of one sweet world. On Lookout Mesa, The Refuge is just waiting for some love from Wurzel while he raps in. It's the east-facing limb of a noble syncline exposing one hundred feet of pure sandy butter. By the time you clip the anchors on Earthling, there might not be anyone else on the planet.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Auld Reekie, wondering where it could possibly be coming from. No forges or steam engines anywhere. Mines in these renegade Plateau seams, but how does coal spark on a day like this? Katelyn spots the smoldering hillside through the trees. Roots boil in the hot rainy ground. Sizzling boots, an acrid nostril steam. Not a very sensible place for a stroll. It's no Centralia, but it sure is weird.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
They circle, circling. The sun slashing rock sends spirals in gusts under their wings. They plane and wheel around a lit ring burned in the blue. The star radiates and cleanses, the birds purify. Cathartes aura. We walked up there to climb, Wurzell, Whale and I. But this prow of boulder stone is an altar of repentance. We sat, consumed. Like some vernal cleaning inverted to autumn - somehow very appropriate, the dying time, time to lay the forest fallow and start anew from short hibernation. Time to let the blazing light pick your bones clean and shamble up rickety down the mountain, fresh-eyed to the fiery world. Carry nothing un-needed, take that animated skeleton and ramble the twining trail.
I just moved out of my old house. The corners were thick with a bundled year of baggage, much to jettison. Now the rooms echo with a knowing wave. I did my part. The walls are scraped clean and my buzzards will wait until next season. It's good to keep them handy.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Now it's a boomerang to West Virginia. One day up, one there, one back. Like someone tied a rubber inntertube to the back of my belt, put a stake in the ground in Chattanooga, and told me to run. When you get the rabbit in your blood, improvisation works better than planning. Glad it didn't go smoothly.
I popped a throttle cable at 75, winding it up on a strip of federal shipping lane on the state line. Just so you're clear, the Interstate Highway system only qualifies as road in a few places. When they started making bikes for it, we got all our metal covered with plastic. Because at around 75, the wind feels great when you're alone, poor when you're in the slipstream of an eighteen wheeler. Once a mile.
Decided to do surgery roadside, stashed gear in the woods, ended up with a handful of cables, thumb out. Got a ride all the way to a vault of a million Honda parts, none of which I needed. Was directed to a bicycle shop. Got dropped off there. The bicycle shop tells me to go back down the road to a man named Henry. The taxi woman took me to Bristol. I found him sidling up an aisle of pre-1960 Triumphs, a BSA, two Nortons, seven Hondas and an above-average collection of mirrors behind a window painted with the word 'Henry's.' He was wearing a grey jumpsuit embroidered with a red 'Henry.' I was pretty sure this was the guy.
Henry's is one of those places you could search for. You might only find it by accident. "I don't advertise," he tells me. The best don't need to.
He soldered a new barrel on that cable. Gave the pickup truck ride back to my bike, told race stories, talked about prize metal horses, spoke this language of shaped ore and controlled explosions. Told me nine different ways I could have dealt with the problem. "There's always something." Ask if it will hold for Fayetteville and back, he says "Don't wring it out all the way. Maybe."
Google actually just offered to write this post for me. There's a new utility that helps you choose your next word. I went to college for that. Now, your computer (actually, the probability of your similarity to other thoughts in Google's hive) can guess the next word you're likely to type. So far it has suggested a string of mediocre malapropisms, apparently boilerplate in the cloud. As planned. Here's to the unexpected.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
West Virginia this weekend, through a flaming forest forged in the Pleistocene.
Friend John sends a tiny text message from the North Slope of Alaska. Finding more - faint black all powerful sunblood from under the rocky hood. Stethoscope to the ground. "Up all night talking to the slope. Drilling a well, hit an unseen fault last night at 2am. Chaos. Awesome."
Monday, October 10, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Here's her recipe for juice and jelly. My Dad's classic grape brews have been circling campfires for years, Mom's jelly rainbow is in full bloom and Kelsey's first run of grapa is already famous. Muscadines always mean fall, the waning sacrament, the prolonged delicious last rites of summer.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
When I see videos like this I always try to remind myself that you can easily dismember yourself going 28 mph in a straight sober line with all your blinkers and leather in order. One drop of chaos and statistics take over. Sometimes motorcycling is a frozen scary dark tunnel of wet danger. Safety is all like "oh no, what should I do next to insulate myself from the unpredictability of the universe?" Then this grocery-getting chopper skaterider shreds underpasses and hucks the curb standing on the moto seat in a tee shirt. My daily ride seems more like a blankie now, and fate is that much more remote.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
1. rising global sea level
2. constant high volume sediment supply
3. passive continental margin
4. good tides
Conditions are perfect. We're here, foraging for wrack, waves. Sirens forage for us.
Turtle bones, whale skeletons, Jurassic pelicans. Tidal timekeeping. We found some old film in one of the closets with the shrimp nets. Thinking maybe we can restore it.
Barrier island : therapeutic. Check.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
It often happens that you can't use everything you shoot, even if it's cool. For the last few days I've been editing backwards. In this sequence, water is doing all the wrong things. The eye can catch a lot in a miniscule amount of time - droplets flowing in reverse trigger a kind of alternate reality. Like being in love at a secret swimming hole. We shot a couple playing in the creek, but I need to end up with a non-provocative version of events. I sure don't remember conducting many innocent creekwalks for two, but hey. Sometimes the best way to find the right feel is to go all the way in one direction and try to pull back from there. I decided to first do an edit of a hotter, maybe more memorable part of the trip, then axe it with the de-sexing delete key. Shuffled a bit, I think the second one is a tighter edit. You sure hate to lose the mojo though. See if you can spot the changes.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I learned nonlinear video editing in high school, and I've been using the same program for ten years. To me, learning to use Final Cut Pro at 18 was like understanding how to use a pen or a camera or to drive a car for the first time. Imagine looking at letters and pictures all your life but having no idea how they were made. All of a sudden, I could control the story.
Final Cut Pro did that for thousands of other people at around the same time. Video used to be possible only for big studios and TV stations and companies. Suddenly anyone with a camera, a cable and a mac full of hard drives could make their own little movies. Tell that to the millions of teenagers uploading videos to youtube this weekend and nobody cares - but a decade ago, it was unbelievable.
Then, a month ago, Apple kind of dumped FCP by making the newest version essentially useless for professionals. I'll admit, I was a little heartbroken at first. I'm plunged straight into learning a new set of tools under a deadline - and I'm surprised and happy to say that's a good thing. It's forcing me to break some old habits and concentrate again on making a story. Sometimes breakups are great.
Now I work with about five different programs at a time, all doing different parts of that job - arranging images and sound to tell a story. There's an endless amount of tweaking to be done with a different tool for each thing. The massive sensor inside the Red One camera generates an enormous amount of information. Four million points of light every 1/24th of a second - incident photons electrified and stored as raw computer data copied onto dual onboard hard drives. When I hook up those hard drives to a computer, open RedcineX and start working, this is what I see.
The fact that the data is raw from camera's sensor is significant. It starts out as flat and honest pixel information, ready for manipulation. You can do absolutely anything to it. With FCP, we would then render out these movies and then start editing them. That's very time consuming. And every time you change your mind about the look of a clip, you have to render it all over again. You get to continue sitting in your dark little box watching a bar crawl across the screen lying to you about how it's almost done. Lame. Tape has all but disappeared, but we've been living under the shadow of those filmish tape-like habits. Digital workflows can be the worst of both worlds. Remember how everyone used to talk about the paperless office and it never happened? And now you have just as many papers and TPS reports and piles of memos and things you could never make time to care about duplicated in two different electronic and physical landscapes? Like that.
For me, that is beginning to change. This is one example. The great thing about this new set of tools is that no matter how much I distort the image using all those settings, it never messes with the source file. I can give a clip as many different kinds of looks I want, and it just saves little matadata files. They're called .RMDs - like a handful of transparent celluloid sheets plopped over the original image, all interchangeable. And the best part is that in Adobe Premiere, I can cut a whole sequence, then go back to RedcineX, change anything, and it instantly reads the new .RMD and new colors ripple through into the movie with no waiting. What used to take a roomful of $10 millon machines and lights and 3 specialists and miles of film and hours of tweaking to achieve a single final irrevocable result now can be done in seconds by me alone at a cheap computer - and I can change my mind and redo it tomorrow.
Now, whether that fact alone will destroy all of the time-saving advancements in my digital film workflow... we'll see.