Obviously what Brian considers to be “dumb stuff” is extremely relative.Of course to Danielle this is all just his inability to perceive genius. (probably because he thinks it’s norman)
I confess, because of whenI got back from my trip too latte to get my Scarecrow selection for the week but fortunately my library picks suggested a theme and I decided to catch up on Studio Ghibli. Much as I’m a huge fan of Ghibli’s work I’d been lax on my viewing since Howl’s Moving Castle. I was more than happy to play catchup. These two are the most recent films of the Ghibli lineup and allegedly the last films of their two respective creators.
The first on my film is The Tale of the Princess Kaguya by Ghibli’s number two master. Isao Takahata. I can’t say I’m technically a fan of the man’s work. I love Pom Poko but Grave of the Fireflies is so depressing I’ve never been able to last through the first half hour but I can’t deny his brilliant craftsmanship.
The tae of princess Kagura is a mostly straight retelling of the classic folktale The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter. It tells the tale of a Bamboocutter who finds a tiny princess inside a bamboo shoot. The princess turns into a baby girl who grows at an unnatural speed. Because of this she is nicknamed “Little Bamboo” by the children of the village. From there she is taken to the city and trained to become a princess.
This film is utterly gorgeous. It is all handdrawn in an incredibly simple style, looking almost like a picture book. (And for some reason William Steig keeps coming to mind.) It takes it’s time to show all of the different emotions of the princess over her life and experiences. I especially like the way the otherwise thin pen lines are replaced with what looks like dry brush when an especially emotional scene takes place.
When I first heard about Hayao Miyazaki’s supposedly last film, The Wind Rises I imagined an extremely personal artsy piece that sadly might not be interesting to his normal fanbase. I’ve haven’t been so glad to be to be wrong for a long time. This was very good and on my list of best Miyazaki films I’d happily put it up there with Porco Rosso and Houl’s Moving Castle.
In The Wind Rises, Miyazaki tells the true(ish) story of aeronautics engineer Jiro Horioshi from his childhood to the nineteen forties with him completing the first experimental prototype of the Zero fighter plane.
During this we are told the story of the love of flight (something Jiro would never be able to do himself due to his poor eyesight, and the power of genius and creativity.
As always Miyazaki’s strengths are his wonderful lyrical style and his meticulous attention to detail. As well as showing his famous love of flight in all of it’s glory.
I love how he plays against type with his characters, the best example being Jiro’s no nonsense boss who at first glance comes off like a bitter little troll, almost an anime version of Gilbert Huph from the Incredibles, who turns out to be Jiro’s strongest supporter.
My favorite scene is the shocking portrayal of the Kanto Earthquake. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an earthquake portrayed a shockwave before with the houses going up and down as if on top of a giant water bed. The accompanying sound effect makes it seem organic almost a living thing that doesn’t care about the quickly growing chaos that it caused.
As I mentioned earlier, my Maine vacation ended on a slightly sour note when my iPhone drowned in the mud of a salt marsh. Because of this I had set an appointment at the Apple Store. Mostly to grasp at straws, but be told my device is dead. It was indeed dead.
So after receiving the mandatory platitudes and condolences from the genius bar, I went shopping. Unfortunately AT&T doesn’t subsidize the purchases anymore so I had to choke on the full price. Also I wasted way too much time getting all the settings working. But otherwise It’s a much better machine than my old one with a lot more storage space.
But the question remains… Is the water color that had me focussed that I didn’t notice my iPhone in a marinating mixture of saltwater and silt with the viscosity of pea soup for a half hour worth it? Well… you be the judge.
So this was it after two weeks I’m heading home. We left earlier than the “be there with two hours” rule required because my Mom had to be back in Walpole by lunch for a lecture My Dad had been working on for the entire time I was here. Considering the stress Powerpoint’s… personality was giving him in that time, he definitely deserved Mom’s support.
So anyway here I am waiting at 9:30 in a relatively relatively empty terminal for a 1:00 flight. I entertained myself by looking for a payphone to call my possible ride. (As you recall my phone sustained severe mud damage the day before) Browse the tourist shops and draw fellow travelers.
When 1:00 came around I couldn’t help noticing that the plane was getting noticeably late, and since There was barely an hour between flights in Chicago I was started to getting a little worried.
The plane finally arrived about twenty minutes later and we were off. I spent the flight drawing, writing and worrying if we would get to Chicago before loading for my next flight.
We arrived in Chicago with fifteen minutes to spare. Unfortunately that amount was spent on waiting for a shuttle to my gate which was in another building separate from the rest of the terminal which was ten minutes wasted and when it finally came it was a tiny thing that I briefly didn’t think there’d be any room for me. To make matters worse there I was still a little paranoid about making a stupid decision after the last time. Finally We got there and there with a final sprint past twenty gates getting there five minutes before boarding ended.
The flight from Chicago went as well as a four hour flight can go, I didn’t get bored, and my legs were screaming at me that if I ever won the lottery they’d never let me ride economy again.
So I finally got to the baggage claim happy the day was finally over (barring the lugging fifty pound back pack a quarter of a mile to the lite rail thing) and I enjoyed riding the new lite rail, but there was one last snafu to finish off the day…
I had heard that Metro was messing with the north bound busses to encourage everybody to use the new U-Dub light rail station, but I thought there were still some of the traditional options. After all my trip planner to the airport mentioned a few of them two weeks ago! When I got off at Westlake station however this turned out not to be the case but I had to lug the damn duffel bag to confirm this. So then it was back to the tunnel buy another ticket and take the light rail to the U-Dub and then take another bus to the Ave and stagger four blocks to my apartment.
Safe! I’m not moving!
So right now, I’m staying up relatively late to shake off the jet lag while getting a little bit of work done, fighting the personality my Computer seems to have developed after a two week nap.
All in all a greatest trip.
Well my last full day in Maine was a bit of a comedy of errors. I went out to paint and chose a nice bit of cove the looked nice. It also had the benefit of having a dry place to sit. So I started to do the preliminary sketch and it went well until I reached for my paints only to discover that I’d left them at the house.
To move quicker I left my backpack there, after all it’s the middle of the woods, right? When I got back I met up with Finnegan a Golden Retriever I’d recovered a couple of times before, and his owner. Immediately I was asked if that had been my bag she had seen. While I knew she didn’t take it I was feeling chronically stupid for a second. (Not to mention Finnegan had a level of friendliness that could traumatize small children.)
The painting came out great. But as I was packing up I realized I couldn’t find my phone. Pulling on my headphones I pulled up what looked an iPhone made entirely of mud. It had fallen into the marsh and by the look of it had had a little time to marinate. At first I hoped the mess was just cosmetic but as I cleaned off the mud the screen began to streak. I shut it down and went back to clean it.
Unfortunately the streaking continued. Not to mention the battery was completely dead. I looked up a few forums to see if there were any ways to dry it but ultimately I had no choice but to give it time to dry and hope for the best.
I went out again to take more pictures and maybe do another painting. After taking a lot of pictures of an area called the Rock Glen, a very pretty stream with lots of moss covered borders, I filled up my camera’s data chip. While this was something I was hoping for it gave off a little bit of a “when it rains it pours” vibe, leaving me feeling a little bit burnt out and not feeling like painting.
My Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon on another nature trail, which had a lot of stuff that I wish I had room in my camera to take. Including some amazing ferns. We spent an hour painting a view of the trail’s coastline.
We went home and I spent the rest of the evening packing and making sure everything was ready for the trip back west tomorrow.
This day started with me having the morning to myself, as my Mom was helping with the wasp wrangling. That is to say the tiny parasitic wasps my dad studies. This time of year the females have just come out of their pupa and immediately starts giving off pheromones. My Dad and his assistants have “lassoed” the females (yes it was a tiny rope) so they can’t fly farther than five feet. Then they monitor the males who come a courting.
When my Mom came back we went to a Nature Conservancy sight called Laverna which was the way to get to an amazing bit of rocky coastline called Brown’s Head. Unlike many of the other amazing bits of rocky coastline, here the granite strata had been pushed up in ways I had not scene before and was appropriately awed. Unfortunately my camera’s battery died before I could take even half of the shots I wanted. On the way back home we visited an old friend.
Later after supper we went to a lecture on Colonial economics and taverns. (getting sloshed on Rum despite all the blue laws was something the founding fathers did)