Friday, October 20, 2006


it's indian summer in the bay area. meaning, it's 83 degrees today. join me in saying "what the hell?" there is no hint of crispness in the air, though the sun is setting earlier and the leaves are slowly turning. i haven't been here in a while, so i can't remember if this is normal or not. my friend said her azaleas are blooming because they think it's spring. sometimes i enjoy it and sometimes i wouldn't mind a little brisk autumn rain, a la vancouver.

in an effort to keep too many of my brain cells from dying, i continue to patronize the library resources. here's a few things i've seen or been thinking about lately.

rented this movie. it's an old akira kurosawa movie. he's a classic japanese filmmaker, and a few of his films were made into american westerns. i don't know if this is a particularly popular one; i just kept running across references to it and finally decided to find out why. there are all sorts of cinematic elements to this movie that would appeal to film geeks, but unless you're into that kind of thing, i don't think you'd really be into this movie. but it has a lot to say about how people perceive things and tell story. a man is killed; there are 3 different witness accounts of what happened. which one is true? no one can be fully objective. (for those that watch veronica mars, the first season episode where she is trying to find out what happened to her when she got roofied at the party and possibly raped - that story structure was a play on this movie) i often feel that tension when i write. i view an event one way because of who i am; another person can have a totally different perception of the same event because of who she is. is one of more right or true than the other?

i must really be into subtitled films because motorcycle diaries is the third movie i've talked about here and they're all subtitled. this one's about the early formative experiences of che guevara as he travelled around south america. the film is quite poignant, and the film appeals to the socialist in all of us in the desire to help the poor in society. of course, i don't agree with che's ideas about the necessity of an armed revolution. afterward, i really did want to hit the open road like he did. (plus the guy playing che is rather dreamy. that always helps draw people to the revolutionary cause. viva!)

then i read a book of wendell berry's essays and it make me want to move out to a farm and settle in for 20 years or so. you know, be connected with the land and all that. i'm so easily inflluenced these days - there are much worse things to be influencing me i suppose. it was "What are People For?" good stuff. i'm glad to finally get a chance to read him. today i interviewed at a coffee shop and listening to this woman talk so passionately about the craft of roasting coffee made me think of him.

i had coffee with the mssions pastor the other day. a petite barely 5' tall filipino/japanese dynamo of social justice. an incredibly refreshing conversation as we shared our stories and the winding path both of us has taken to end up at this point. she understood the uncertainty and culture shock post-school kind of feeling. hoping hang out with her more. plus she really tight with the pastor of the chuch that anne lamott goes to - apparently they went through seminary together. from the stories anne lamott wrote about her, she sounds really cool. i'm volunteering for this walk-for-AIDS event that the church is helping sponsor this weekend. i figure hanging out with her more often would be a good thing and perhaps more effective to connect with other people as we serve togther. it gives more context (and perhaps shared perspectives) for me and other people than the small groups i have been to.

some friends go to this informal gathering once a month. several small groups get togther, have dinner, and someone shares a lesson. in discussing relationships, the language of finances in reference to people gave me much to consider. "investing" in someone, "spending" time with them were the terms bandied about the most. the meatphors were acknowledged, but not much was made of it either way. there are all sorts of expectations built into these concepts that i thought so odd to apply to people. because we are not commodities. if you "invest" in someone, are you then expecting a "return" or "payback"? how does this work in the scheme of God's economy (if economy is a word that really applies)? because i'm pretty sure he doesn't operate this way. and yet this kind of thing is deeply ingrained in all of us. my life coach says i have this chance to act differently with my family, yet to not expect anything back, the important thing is that i changed. and i am surprised at how little that really appeals to me.

hm, least lighthearted, most rambling post ever. i feel all jittery. this coffee i just bought had better be decaf or there is really going to be hell to pay.

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