March 5th, 2006


switching to glide

ood morning weekend LiveJournalers! Last night, after a day of errand running and thrift-store rummaging I came home and promptly fell asleep on the floor in front of the fireplace by 11pm. A late-night phone call from welfy woke me enough to put a few more logs on the fire then go to bed. I woke up this morning at 9:30 am, put on a corduroy jacket to take the chill off and made a pot of coffee. I'm currently waiting on my wife June to pop through the door and ask if the starch in my shirt is okay.

y mom has been recovering from a double knee-replacement surgery for the past couple of months. Yesterday she had a physical therapy appointment in the morning and a hair salon appointment in the afternoon. I tagged along for the day, running the afore mentioned errands and rummaging the afore mentioned thrift-stores. One of the errands was to have my income tax forms prepared and calculated. I was fortunate that there was no line at the tax preparation service of my choice, so I was done with that in about an hour.

My return looks nice. With it I shall thwart the piracy highway robbery greedy pigfuckers 30% interest being charged me for the consumer credit I obtained when purchasing my old Dell laptop a little over a year ago. The remainder of the balance shall be used to pay down my credit card, which I nearly maxed buying my current laptop.

The thrift store rummaging resulted in the purchase of a striped Brady Bunch shirt and the corduroy jacket which warmed me this morning. I had briefly tried the jacket on in the store to gauge* the cut and fit and was pleased. Upon wearing it post-purchase, I began buttoning it up and it felt weird. This was because the buttons were on the wrong side, meaning I had purchased a lady's jacket. No matter, I'll be wearing it anyway. I like's it.

don't get terribly excited about music as I once did, but there are still things which come along that make me giddy. An album I dearly love was only released in a single print of 1000 vinyl LP's in 1992. It's so rare in fact that Allmusic makes no mention of it, despite my having submitted a Discography correction for the artist not once, but twice. I never bought the album, but became enamored with it while DJ'ing at my college radio station back in the day. An on-line friend of mine provided me with a really horrid mp3 rip a number of years ago, produced from a cassette dub of the vinyl.

Upon discovering the wonderful site Gemm last year, I added the artist to my notification list, so that if any copies of this rare album were added, I would know about it. Last week, multiple notifications began to fill my inbox. Upon following the link over to Gemm, I discovered that the album has been remastered and reissued on CD, complete with 4 bonus tracks from the era it was recorded. Sweet.

I'm not hopeful that anyone will successfully guess what album this is, and frankly, I think there's only handful of you who might be knowledgeable of the era/scene to take a stab at it. In the not so distant future, I will probably make an entry about this album in a more appropriate forum.

ather than continue doing long posts about movies/DVDs, I'm going to start tacking one on to the end of entries or doing small ones featuring one or two movies on days when I don't have anything else to write about. Today is special, since it's about a trilogy: the so-called "Man With No Name" trilogy, which I became inspired to watch after plowing through Robert Rodriguez's own man-with-no-name trilogy. As I ventured into Sergio Leone's gritty vision of the American west, I came to the realization that I had never seen any of these films in their entirety and/or unedited for television.

These films are not a true trilogy in that there is no contiguous storyline. Clint Eastwood's lead role is a different character in all three films (and three different names, despite the informal "title" of this trilogy). This is also true of Gian Maria Volonte's "Boss" role in the first two films and Lee Van Cleef's characters in the final two films. The only constants aside from the director, composer (Ennio Morricone), and lead actor is the iconic hat, poncho, and short cigar utilized by Eastwood at some point in all three films. If you've never seen any of these movies, I highly recommend them: they are classics of cinema and the reason the term "spaghetti western" became a universal term. These films are important because they mark a shift in the way westerns were made: away from the clean-cut Rawhide/Lone Ranger TV-style western and away from the sanitized early film westerns. Leone's portrayal of the West was dirty, sweaty, and smelly. People have facial sores; are legless and hunchback. The cinematography is often breath-taking, especially in GBU.

A Fistful Of Dollars - (1964)
The one that started it all and made Eastwood a star. His name is Joe, and he comes to the dangerous town of San Miguel, a border town with a small problem: two bosses. One of them is a guns dealer, the other is an alcohol bootlegger. Joe pits them against each other working for both as a hired gun. The final sequence of this movie is one of the best showdowns ever.

For A Few Dollars More - (1965)
Eastwood returns as a hired bounty killer named Monco and Van Cleef, as Colonel Mortimer, is his rival in bringing outlaws to justice, dead or alive. When they find themselves chasing a madman convinced he can rob the invincible El Paso Bank, they decide to team-up to catch him and his gang. When Monco learns that Mortimer has a personal interest in the demise of their target, he makes sure that the final showdown is fair and honorable. Like the final sequence from the first Dollars movie is one of the best, the first four sequences of this film are about as good as any.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly - (1966)
Leone's masterpiece is a sprawling and epic western set against the latter months of the Civil War in frontier Texas. The themes which this presents for the film, along with more attention to the development of characters to which the audience can attach themselves, make it an achievement that outstrips anything achieved by its predecessors. Lavish sets, with an extras cast into the thousands recreate companies of soldiers in extensive battle scenes. Morricone's main theme is one of the most famous scores in cinema, second-only to Star Wars, MAYBE. The final showdown is a tense and visually gorgeous Mexican stand-off between Eastwood, Van Cleef, and the incomparable Eli Wallach. This is one of the must-see films.

* I had to add the word "gauge" to my Semagic dictionary.


Chester Hide and Skin: Part III

Part I - The Exterior
Part II - Building 1
Part III - Building 2
Part IV - Building 3

fter exploring Building 1, I climbed the stairs between Buildings 2 & 3 to take some more photos of the exterior while the light was still good, most of which were presented in Part I. While wandering around the front of the building, a pick-up truck rolled-in on the tiny driveway and pulled to the rear of the building where my truck was parked. The driver couldn't see me because I was obscured by the edge of the building. I decided that it would be best if I walked back down those stairs and present myself, as I was technically a trespasser. As I emerged from the stairwell I saw a man walking from the truck toward the building. I began waving an arm high above my head, moving toward him

As I got within speaking range I greeted him and told him I was stuck in the area waiting for a load down the street in the industrial park, motioning to my road tractor idling nearby. My camera was visible and obvious, so I told him I had seen the old building and was just taking some pictures. He and his business partner were renting some space in the lower level of Building 2, operating a small snow plowing and salting service for the various commercial properties in the area. He had come to the building because he had misplaced his wallet and was hoping to find it somewhere inside.

We talked for a few minutes about the property. He's the one who actually informed me that it had been a meat-packing facility and that it had been closed since the early 1980's. He told me that across the street from the plant, hidden back in the trees was an old pond. I had seen another abandoned building across the street, directly across from the entrance to this property and had wondered if it had at one point also been part of the business. When he was a kid, he and his brother used to go exploring in the woods and had encountered the pond, completely polluted with blood and animal parts. He said it was one of the creepiest and most disgusting things he had ever seen. With the sun going down and two more buildings to explore, not to mention a half-foot of snow cover, I didn't have any hopes of trying to find the pond, but I've made a mental note to try to find it sometime in the future should I ever have occasion to return. He let me into the place where he stored his equipment, which I was thankful for, since it's the one part of the property I likely would not have been able to access were it not for him. There wasn't much to see: it was mostly open with a dirt floor and a high ceiling supported by concrete columns much like those in Building 1. There were large piles of road salt in one corner of this make-shift garage and a tractor with a front-end loader.

He didn't find his wallet. We talked a couple of minutes more. I told him I was going to explore a bit further and that I wasn't going to be a nuisance or mess with anything - just take pictures - if that was all right with him. I knew he wasn't the owner of the property, but I felt that having at least the appearance of approval from someone involved with it would be nice if someone else noticed my presence. He gave me his blessing, with a warning: motioning toward Building 3 he said, "Be careful in there, that's where the vampires live." He said it without a trace of sarcasm, irony, or humor. I've never been one to harbor much interest or faith in the supernatural and fantastic. While his tone wasn't one of fearful concern for my human blood and mortal state, it was a bit disarming for the earnest and matter-of-fact manner in which he cautioned me. My biggest concern was running into wild animals using it as shelter, vermin, and/or squatters which might not fancy my traipsing around on their turf.

He left and I proceeded to an open doorway in the rear of Building 2 near the bath house and tool shed, Collapse )