Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Heya... This is the Momster (a.k.a. Mrs. Novena)

Sister N has asked me to let everyone know that she has reached her destination safely, and is currently resting and meditating in her new cloister... But she's feeling a bit under the weather, thanks to some nasty microoganisms disguised as a "nice meal".

Lesson of the day: NEVER EAT FISH IN AN UNFAMILIAR RESTERAUNT (the focus of Sister N's current meditation).

So... She made it... she's officialy residing in a "Blue" state... but she feels like crap, and isn't quite in to hooking everything up and posting just yet.

Not to worry! It's nothing we haven't ALL encountered at some unlucky time in our lives. But it sure damn stinks when it happens!

She has also found that her cell phone is acting a little fuzzy now that she has a few granite mountains between her and the rest of the country...

So she has asked me to let everyone know, and hopefully she will improve over the next day or so and be back to Bitchin in all her glory!

6:44 PM ::
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Goodbye, Memphis

Today has been my pack-and-clean day, and I still have a lot to do (yes, even this late), but I need a break. I spent a good part of the afternoon rummaging through my old boxes in storage looking for books I might need for my academic work this year; I didn't actually find much that was useful, but I found a lot of stuff I'd forgotten about. Besides the obvious books (lots of books), there were old papers, old artwork, collected newspaper clippings, photographs, a copy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from the day after Bill Clinton's 1992 election (CLINTON WINS), a few vintage paper editions of Feed Magazine, even my winning history fair project from the ninth grade. Pretty trippy... god, I was such a teenager back then.

I've gotten one timely piece of good news. After spending two politically-charged years in blood-red Mississippi, whose airwaves are oversaturated with Limbaugh and his ilk, I have discovered that I will be welcomed to Brattleboro by a once-conservative radio station that has since flipped sides and become an Air America affiliate.

BRATTLEBORO -- A southern Vermont-based radio station will trade in the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk show hosts for the liberal commentary of Air America next week.

WKVT-AM 1490 in Brattleboro will replace four of its weekday syndicated conservative talk shows on Jan. 17 with programs from the fledgling liberal radio network Air America, which launched in March.

The station will be the second in Vermont to broadcast Air America programs, which include shows hosted by comedian Al Franken and actress Jeanne Garofalo.

The Brattleboro area is highly liberal in its political beliefs and the Air America shows will be a better fit for the station's listeners than the conservative programs hosted by Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, said WKVT program director Peter Case.

"We're calling this a right-to-left switch," he said. "For many years, our programming leaned to the right, but Brattleboro is a very liberal area and our lineup had to reflect that."

(source)

Sweet, welcoming Vermont. Now all we need is to get Mike Malloy on in Bratt and life will be perfect.

My journey there, however, might not be so sweet; the weather forecast is telling me that I'll be dealing with a lot of rain on my way out tomorrow, and might be rained on for the greater part of the trip. Even if I get out past it, it'll be chasing me the whole way... until, of course, I hit New England, at which time it's likely to turn to snow.

This time tomorrow I hope to be in Virginia, hopefully somewhere around Roanoke. The day after that, probably between Bingamton and Schenectady, New York. On Saturday, I'll have arrived in Vermont, and depending on how long it takes me to get sorted out and hooked up, blogging will hopefully resume shortly thereafter. I feel awful for missing out on the big current stories -- the Bush administration's admission that there are no WMDs in Iraq being chief among them -- but real life calls, and when this transition is over I'll be in much more amenable surroundings.

So check back in a few days, when I will have magically turned into just another blue-state liberal academic blogger. Hooray!

9:47 PM ::
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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Not So Good At Goodbyes

Sorry for the temporary slow-down on the blog... it's not that there's nothing to talk about (if anything, too much), it's just that with all these preparations to move, I lack the time I would normally put into the blog. I have just under 48 hours left to get stuff done, and I'm steadily working my way through the list, but predictably I have left the most annoying parts of the process till the end.

And there are some things to do that seem superfluous but are really important to me... getting in those last bits of quality time with Memphis friends doesn't help get me ready, but I wouldn't think of leaving without doing it.

Tonight, I guess, is basically my last Co-op workshop. Pretty weird. I remember my first one well, since I presciently recorded the event in a diary:

22 May 2002

Right... so, last night I ventured out and met a group of guys (mostly guys) who have just formed a "digital filmmaking co-operative." They're doing free workshops on making digital films, out of a sort of hippie church in Midtown. I say "hippie church"... it's one of those open, semi-non-denominational things that tend to attract a very hip, progressive, peace-n-justice congregation. (Why is it that I can theoretically have a lot in common with a group and still find it so difficult to identify with them?)

But the church isn't important, these guys are. They have a pretty sweet spread out there, with an office, screening room and lounge all to themselves. They have computers, cameras, etc, pretty much everything they need. Most of them -- Denny, Joshua, and another guy -- were very friendly and warm. The other one, that I would tentatively label the leader/ego of the group (Morgan I think?) was less so, while not unfriendly. We shall see -- usually the people I feel that way about end up becoming either my best friends or arch-nemeses.

I feel okay about it all -- I don't know how well I'll naturally fit into this group, but I expect it can be mutually beneficial one way or another. The thing I wasn't expecting was how strange it would be to start doing film stuff in a place that isn't LFS, and with people who aren't Ismo, Nordo, Beckoid and Tatonka. I had no idea how much of an impact this new context would make, and what a strong counter-force it's been so far. No wonder it's been difficult to get going. (I wonder what else I haven't realized yet.)

They're organizing a small film festival which I shall try to help with as much as I can. (I'm also trying to hook up with the [Name Redacted] Documentary Film Institute/ Festival, a much more significant thing.) And I'm also going to my one Memphis high school (White Station) tomorrow to assist on Morgan's shoot. Anyway, it's good to keep busy and stay in practice.

I also got my new tripod today -- a Manfrotto 3130 fluid head on 3001BD legs. It's nice.

Morgan, of course, became one of my most beloved friends in Memphis and a source of many fuzzy hugs; a few years on, I would happily cross continents to help out on any film of his. Denny and Josh (and Brandon, not mentioned above, as well) proved to be great guys indeed, and I spent more hours than I care to count at that hippie church. I even managed to fit in pretty well, in my way, and I've met a lot of other amazing people during my time with the Co-op, too -- I won't list them by name because there are too many to remember accurately, and I would hate for anyone to feel neglected; you guys know who you are. On the other hand, those LFS people I couldn't imagine working without at the time -- my relationships with them have either died tragically or simply dissolved over time. And then I've spent three years proving my worth at the doc fest, earning a permanant place whenever I want one, and my Manfrotto tripod is still nice, still serving me well. And oh! The things I hadn't realized then would've blown my little mind.

So these frustrating years in Memphis have not been without their consolations. I'm really going to miss these people, and everything connected to the Co-op especially. I have come to genuinely love them all.

I still hope I manage to get away and not come back, though.
4:25 PM ::
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Monday, January 10, 2005
Green Light

Wow, what a relief.

The one potential hitch in my college re-matriation strategy was my financial aid package. As you may know, I am poor, poor, poor, and my college is one of the most expensive in the country. They are, however, very good about financial aid -- they use the full fees paid by the wealthy students to subsidize enormous discounts for us proles, a very socialist system that allows them to maintain some semblance of socio-economic diversity on the campus. It's good for everyone. But there was always the possibility that they might not be able to come through for me on one of many arcane technical points, and even a modest shortfall could have blown a hole in the scheme. I have been quietly sweating over it for several weeks.

But I got my response today, and they really did a great job for me... loans will be necessary, and work is definitely a part of the equation, but I have been given resources enough to proceed.

So there it is. All systems, as they say, are go. I leave on Thursday.

I had another dream last night that strangely mirrored the one I described yesterday. I was walking on city streets and passed a church that was partly on fire just as the fire department was putting it out. In my dream, nobody had been hurt (although the fire department seemed to be half made up of small children), and no massive destruction had resulted... it was benign as fires go. But the repetition of the theme -- fire in a communal space -- seems notable.
5:12 PM ::
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Sunday, January 09, 2005
It's Like A Party In My Subconscious Mind



This didn't really burn down.


My mind is already casting forward to Vermont. I woke up this morning out of a dream in which I was already on campus. There were minor changes (apparently the dining hall had been re-built after a fire, of which I saw photographs on the walls... is it just me or is there rather a lot of fire in my dreams?), but it was still recognizeably my old college campus.

The weird thing was, I knew everybody there. The entire student body appeared to be made up of both major and peripheral characters from my past. But while I recognized and knew them, only a handful of them seemed to recognize me. It was a lumpy sort of homecoming.


1:14 PM ::
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