Sunday, September 7, 2014

MORE ON THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY


It's great to be back at The Sunflower Resort at Lake Pomme de Terre on pretty much the anniversary of moving back to KC.  This place has barely changed since the last time I was here, maybe 22 years ago.  Neatly painted cinder block units in a row of 10 with a modern update: a communal microwave in the utility room.  The recreation room, which used to feature a ping pong table and a refrigerator with soda you could tally on the honor system, has been converted into "suites."  The minnow tank behind the rec room is also gone, and the badminton court is gone too.  TV's in every room now, too, and cable. But other than that, it is the same simple and affordable place to hang out at the lake and swim on the rocky beach (don't slip on the mossy boat ramp). 

It has been quite a year and now the annual seasonal cycle is almost complete, with the JC Nichols fountain dyed red Friday for the Chief's opener.  We closed on a 1919 bungalow about two weeks ago and I am enjoying eye-popping terracing and drainage bids as a form of comedy science fiction.  (Yet, the difference in housing costs between Eugene and KC, is still even more eye-popping.)  Our new place is around the corner from Go Chicken Go, so our first investment should probably be an elliptical trainer or rowing machine.  I'll have a studio space for music and won't have to worry about apartment neighbors.

I was thinking about taking pride in a city and what that means.  I didn't grow up in the city, I grew up in the suburbs, and we've only been here a year, so having pride in our city might be pushing it a little bit.  But I love our new city and love learning more about it. 
 

An informal anniversary top ten:

1. Jogging at Mill Creek Park (site of the pink Chiefs fountain, at the entrance to The Plaza).  I have logged many laps around this park and so has Tracy.  I was running the other day and she rode down with Pablo in a sling (her bike with the basket got ripped off).  That was a sweet moment, I'll always remember that.
 

2. Our neighbor Sara, who is 84, and still volunteers to help the elderly.  She picks up trash along the block every day and generally says "God Bless You" in lieu of "see you later."  She was a member of the church down the street when it dwindled to a membership of a hundred or so.  Now it is a booming youthful church and everyone there seems to be hot, well-groomed, well-dressed, and the young women are all pregnant or carrying babes in arms.  Walking past I feel like I'm in a Mumford and Sons video shoot.  Chatting with Sara is almost church enough.
 

3. Being among lifelong friends and family again.  What's better than this?  Maybe only playing in a band with lifelong friends, people I played with when I couldn't play a lick.  We made fliers and album covers before we could even finish writing an actual song.
 

4. Hot weather.  Humid weather.  Sunny weather, hot, cold and in between.  Weeks and months of it.  Dry, cold weather, snowy and icy weather, frozen nostril hair weather, slip and fall on your ass weather.  This is the first late summer in 23 years that I don't have a sense of dread about 8 months of barely modulated cool, wet weather setting in.

5.  The weird funky sewer smells that drift up from the drains at intersections.  Under the city is another city, it smells funny.  All the city workers--painting fire hydrants in a big Richard Scarry mural of my imagination.

 
6. Record stores: Zebadees, Mills Records, Vinyl Rennaissance, It's A Beautiful Day.


7.  Walking the different neighborhoods: Brookside, Waldo, Coleman Highlands, Hyde Park, Old Hyde Park, Manheim Park, West Plaza, Valentine, Roanoke, Midtown Wesport, The Plaza…
 

8. Fireflies, cardinals, lots of different kinds of bugs, tropical hibiscus blooming in the humidity, deciduous trees of all kinds: oak, ash, maple.  There's an owl who lives at the corner of 39th and Main. Our friend who is renovating the buildings there takes pictures and says it is a real rat hunter.
 

9. Restaurants: West Side Local, Baked in Kansas City, Pot Pie…and of course Minsky's.
 

10. Working at an architectural signage and design/fabrication firm that has existing work all over the city (and maybe in your city), with local work underway that I get to contribute to. Getting to know vendors of many types all around the area--metal fabricators, imaging shops, screen print, architectural glass--and learning more about all the expertise and skill sets and disciplines that I support at our shop, as subcontract guy. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A SUMMER'S TALE


This movie had a kind of unique effect.  Eric Rohmer's films are famously slow and short on plot.  AKA "arthouse favorites." And this one was about an awkward and at times not very likeable young man and his self-inflicted romantic foibles.  At one point I even hoped that he might fall into a well or a sinkhole, to make the movie shorter.  

But the funny thing about A Summer's Tale is how it resonates (for me, anyway) days after.  I don't remember the people as much as the weather, the setting, the beaches and the plain, patient way the human plot was filmed.   Maybe the lesson is that we waste time calculating and not being present.    Or to quote Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the story was the wave, not the water.  And the moments of warmth and kindness in the movie stand out.

And what's cooler than a one-off showing of a slow arthouse flick on a Sunday afternoon in August?

Robert Ebert reviews.