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April 30, 2006

Ian and I have known each other seven years. In that time, we have moved - majorly, like entire lives in boxes, needing storage units and large trucks - five times. Now, I'm packing for Move Number Six. It's a shorter move, just down the road 10 minutes, not to another state (or country!), but it still means everything goes in boxes and we need to rent a truck. We have many of the boxes from previous moves, some that date all the way back to Santa Barbara, all nicely pre-labeled so I don't have to think much about what goes in to which. It's handy, but I think I'm going to have a Ceremonial Box Disposal when this move is done. This time, we are planning to stay in one place for more than two years. In fact, I think we should have a party in three years, just to say "It's the longest we've ever lived in one place!"

When we were traveling Europe, I did most of the packing every time we checked out of a hotel. I came to think of it as "erasing ourselves", making sure we didn't leave anything behind, removing all traces that we'd been there. Which wasn't really the case because there was trash in the trash can and we'd slept in the bed so it's not like the room was ready for the next guests or anything. But still, that's how I thought of it.

And for this move, the thought's come back to me. We're erasing ourselves in one location so we can draw ourselves into another. Kind of like Harold and his purple crayon, drawing ourselves where we want to be. I just hope I've drawn enough boxes for all the stuff and enough friends to help us move them all.

April 26, 2006

It's official: Global warming, climate change, whatever you want to call it, is in.

"Climate Crisis!" "A Threat Graver Than Terrorism!" Wired and Vanity Fair, two popular, mainstream magazines, the kind you see at the market checkout line, are taking the global warming message to Average Joe.

About damn time.

I suppose there was a time when I didn't know that global warming was a danger, likely to affect the world within my lifetime, but I can't remember it. I have fuzzy memories of reading Time magazine exclusives, probably when I was in junior high or my first year of high school. At the time, if it was in Time, it was fact. And if it was fact, surely everyone knew about it.

I'm wiser, presumably, now. Or at least more jaded. The Reign of the SUV dawned after I knew about emissions, so clearly, global warming wasn't something everyone knew or cared about. I remember a letter to some editor, taking a publication to task for treating global warming like it might be a serious issue when "it's been the worst, coldest, winter here in New England in my lifetime."

It's been a disheartening several years as the science has gotten more certain, the predictions scarier, while the leadership marched off to war to protect our oil interests. These two magazines, and Al Gore's new documentary, are the first bright spots I've seen. Going mainstream with the facts, as scary as they are, in ways that (hopefully) will get to a wider audience. If the leadership won't lead, then the people have the responsibility to get there on their own. If the goverment won't curb greenhouse gasses, it's our job to do it.

Bruce Sterling once said that we needed to make environmentalism sexy before it would go mainstream. George and Julia, we're glad to have you green.

April 23, 2006

Watched Peter Jackson's King Kong; we got through it in two evenings, but only because Caitlyn went to bed early for one of them. The movie is large and very pretty to look at, but uncomfortable to watch at times (not just for the enormous bugs), and it left me with an unpleasant aftertaste.

Jackson has said a number of times, even in an interview on the back of a Kelloggs' Pops' box, that he was remaking a film he saw as a child, a film he credits with getting him into the movie business in the first place. King Kong is a remake, not an update. The bits with the Skull Islanders still carry tones of early 20th Century white man perspectives on non-white, primitive cultures.

But it's the line at the end that sticks uncomfortably in my head, the famous "It was Beauty killed the Beast." It's wedged there and makes me sutter, "But, but, but..." whenever I run up against one of the sharper edges. Because it's just an excuse to make opportunistic, money-grubbing Carl, and the audience, feel better. Beauty didn't kill Kong. Fear and ignorance killed him. The sudden presence of beauty and kindness in his life merely makes his end a tragic one. By blaming Beauty, no one has to change his habits or his world view to make room for things wild or beyond human control. By blaming Beauty, we get to go back to Skull Island, build a tourist resort, and charge safari fees for those who want to see the dinosaurs and the over-grown bugs. This time, nothing unplanned will happen in Jurassic Park.

April 21, 2006

Ian pointed me to The Brick Testament this morning... Bible stories lovingly illustrated in LEGO! Which, of course, raises the question: Does LEGO make little Egyptian headpieces for little LEGO people? And if so, what doesn't LEGO make?

The fun thing about The Brick Testament is that by rendering the stories in LEGO tableaux, it reinforces the story nature of them. Nothing quite like being able to pop headgear off and on as Isaac blesses his sons. Humans tell each other stories, to share experiences, to explain things, to answer The Big Questions. We have told stories regardless of culture, throughout history. Maybe story-telling, not speech or humor or morality or whatever else has been suggested, is what sets us apart from the animals.

The Bible is a collection of stories, perhaps our greatest, oldest anthology. As much as we might wish that it were instead a simple checklist "How to Live a Good Life," it's more complicated. Kind of like life.

April 07, 2006

I've just stumbled across the trailer for a documentary coming out this summer. An Inconvenient Truth premiered at Sundance this year, and the buzz is rather impressive. (Sorry. I looked around for a non-Moviefone, non-AOL trailer for the movie, but they appear to have the exclusive at the moment.)

It seems a bit odd to get excited about a movie that's bound to be as depressing as hell, but there it is. Perhaps I've yet to give up on the idea that elements of pop culture (movies, for one) can make a critical difference in how ordinary people live and how governments conduct themselves. Perhaps I'm looking for a counterweight to the silliness of The Day After Tomorrow or the sensationalist fuzzy science of the book that "inspired" that movie. Perhaps I just want to see other people as scared about climate change as I am.

Of note: An Inconvenient Truth is a Participant Films production. If I'm naive, so are these guys.