Saturday, August 31, 2013

Things Part Due (Italian for Two): The Roads Oft Traveled

No Excuse. Sheer lack of time management and situational awareness (and other such Good Business catchphrases). Months go by and my handful of readers stumbling haplessly upon this blog get nothing from my fool brain. Many a thing has happened. Many a place visited. Many a night not slept (either working or being an insomniac). There may be, and in fact likely are, many more interesting posts I could make, but all things in good time. For the time being, revisiting the thing theme is my desire. Largely due I am convinced to the muchness of moving about I have done of late, I am inspired by the various paths and vias out there that get the World from a to b (and beyond!). Be they manmade, or just a path in the woods.
I've always found the road less traveled requires an intense soundtrack. And fig newtons. And probably some patience wouldn't go amiss, either. Dodgy trucks on dodgy roads doing dodgy things at dodgy speeds...
 Because really, one never knows, does one? When a truck full of highly explody flammable fluid will have a whoopsie and cause a trifle bit of bother.
On the other hand, the road most traveled just requires patience and a good goal - unless that goal is just the same office one inhabits every day, in which case the final ingredient is an active imagination. And jerky. Any drive can become a scene from one's next novel or the next great psychological thriller, if one just lets one's mind wander. Even the weather knows when the end goal is a less than ideal place to be. Seems to say "nooooo... don't gooooo...only pain and darkness lie this way...turn baaaack..."
Whichever type of travelled road one finds oneself the journey just as good as the destination? People are always saying it is. I am always saying it depends (about more than just a trifle waffly about things). Sometimes, for example, the journey is all firey and burnt on both sides, and smells rather like soggy leather.
But sometimes out of the smelly burnt dark, come signs of life. Friendly signs of life, at that. Serving as both a momentary companion and a part of the beautiful view along the trip, moments like this make the journey much more tolerable, and downright lovely at that.
I was recently the victim of a hit and run. And no, it was not in my current residentiary city (Naples, Italy). In a crosswalk on 6th in San Diego - with the little glowy man telling me it was my turn - some prat in a large SUV swung round for a left hand turn and clipped me with his dirty great bumper. So aghast was I that this had just occurred, I did not have the presence of mind to get the vehicle tag. Too, there was but one bystander/witness, and he didn't have the angle. Thus, just a rose for my trouble did I receive from said bystander. It didn't make my leg not hurt, but it did make my heart swell a smidge and renewed a bit of my faith in humanity (which the guy who hit me had severely dinged).
Right. Sorry. Blog about roads, not flowers. But still. How do these things happen? Any rate, back to it. Say your road becomes less, shall we say, supportive. Whatever then? This simply means the journey becomes more precarious, but there is certainly no need to fuss in excess. Watch your step and enjoy the ride. You might even learn something, or better yet, enjoy the trip all the more for it.
Just to be a bit cheeky (do contain your surprise), I believe that the water is just as valid a "road" as anything else. Mayhaps being of the Naval Profession has influenced this perspective. Regardless, I like a bit of sailing. Or swimming. Or floating. How great is it to just cruise and not be restricted to the same, em, restrictions as those landlubbers in their wheeled transport.
But really, what if there were no roads? Easy there, Doc, I don't mean like that - though I'd certainly take the hovercar were it to be invented (I'm talking to you, sciencey types...). These folk don't play the car game, and it seems they have a good thing going. Sure, there are boaty issues to think of, and the whole city sinking might give one pause, but those are easily dealt with, and only persons with unlimited life spans need worry about Venice totally falling into the drink.
When it comes right down to it, we are all of us a'travlin' on along many a road, route, via, or way (deep, I know). Things don't always go according to plan, but usually the view is pretty great along the way, and the right mode of transport and the right companion make all the difference.
Besides, any day now, my TARDIS may come, and one must always be of a mind to go.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Good Old Stone Face... And the Marble Statue

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If I'm honest, mine are hardly worth that many. Each is worth a few pithy or sarcastic comments, but we are talking in the neighbourhood of dozens of words (at best). Where am I going with this? Well, when a picture is taken of a face carved in stone, the words become rather more limited, which I find a bit of a challenge. Particularly if one is discussing old statues of Greek and Roman myth-people, as they all seem so very dramatic (gratuitously, even). Sure, there are reasons for doing this, and some have to do with the school/style of the time. That is not my point. My point is probably nearer to that I find life can often be summed up by odd stone faces.

Allow me to demonstrate. Here we have "Triumphant Nude Bloke Holds Aloft Grotesquely Severed Head of Snakey-Haried Lady." Trust me on the nude bit... this is not that kind of blog. Notice, however, how calm the visage, how light but steady the grip from the slightly out of proportion but very muscley left arm. This is often how I imagine myself when I achieve vindication. Of any sort, really, even if just because the thing I told everyone would happen, did. Or when I see the guy who threw me under the bus last week get told off (because I was being far too nice to do it myself... why do I have to "pick my battles?" sometimes I just want to pick them all). Any rate, I digress. Triumphant, Snakey, Vindication. We've all been there.

Speaking of places we've all been...the following should look familiar.
No? Ok. How about this?
Well, maybe not EXACTLY this, but... Ok, maybe this is better.
I think it is safe to say that we can all sympathise with the above struggle. Maybe you've been the angry guy holding the nasty club-thing, beating your enemies to a pulp. If so, good on you. Sometimes, though, we all get that "I'm the bleeding centaur again!" feeling; that "Life has me in some freakish sleeper-nelson-choke-hold and is about to club me in the torso" sensation. I know I have. At the very least, I know we have all at one time or another (don't deny it) made this face, even if just inside where no one could see it:

Another face I am fond of making is this one. This, "I know something you don't know," face. Sometimes it is very short lived, and sometimes it is followed by the above shouty upside-down face. But devious wench that I am, the devious face is one of my faves. On others, however it can be a bit unsettling, particularly if that other is a child. Or a superior at work. Or a cat.

Life, in so many ways, is a struggle. We struggle for money, time, things, positions, advancements, notice, clothes sizes, immortality, and so on and so forth. Sometimes is seems we are always going from one fight with a lion...... another with a wild boar (or a roaring bore...)

And sometimes it can all be solved by hugging it out, right?
Aww... don't be like that... hug it out....
Come on... Please? You'll feel better! Please?

Alright, you two. Just stop. That's more than enough. I'm calling a truce. In the name of the... uh... Hold on, I got this.... on the tip of my brain... Ah stuff it. Carry on!

On days when we don't struggle, sometimes things just go quite right. A bit eerie, but take it, right? And when things are a bit ok, just wallow in it, because dammit, you ARE doing it right, and people DO think you are the best, and lets face it, you are just too sexy for any of them...
 That's right. Who needs a stinking catwalk when you can just sit there in front of a fountain and bust all kinds of moves for the crowd?

To close, Life makes us do some crazy things, but it is just in return for doing Crazy Things to us. Sometimes we feel a bit like the nutter with the just know he's doing something naughty.

Other times we feel like Really Confused Guy...or maybe Really Concerned / Sad Guy. Takes some weighty stuff to get brows to furrow just quite that deeply. It's going to be OK, there, bud....

And other times still, we feel like Gerard Butler in that one movie...Seriously... is this not him? "THIS...IS... Florence?" Either way, badass here plans on ruining someone's just know it. Look at that head cock and deeply serious face. I want to have his mood. That face would stop the line-of-sight taskers in their boots.

 All just stuff that makes a girl wonder. And wish. To not be one who talks a good game but really just be a wuss. Take that, Universe! is what I say (in my head...)
Hmmm... I guess it IS that kind of blog...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Things Part One: Innie or Outie?

Warning! Excessive use of capitalisation ahead! Proceed with Caution. 

What is it about things? Things are everywhere. They do everything. And nothing. They make up everything. But not nothing. Hold on…. does that make…right. Good. Where was I? Yes - Things. One can apply Relevance (or Irrelevance) to things, but whether manmade or not they are Simply There. Simply. Maybe time has taken its toll; all things wear down after a bit. But still we give them Purpose. Makes them family, though much more in the modern sense of it than the "we all look alike and have the same name" way of Yore. Sounds a bit odd, but go with it. I've had a bit of time off from thinking about this blog, so the theme reflects that break (no references to mental breaks will be tolerated, thanks very much). 
Right. Thing Families. Fences. Walls. Houses. Churches. All are designed for two simple purposes. Keep People (possessing any number of legs) In, and Keep (other) People Out. Yes, yes, I'm leaving out Castles, but what are Castles if not walls, churches, houses, and the odd Great Hall and Armoury? These days there may be rather fewer castles being built, but fences, houses, walls, and churches are rampant. Moral and other subjective evaluation aside, the keeping of In and Out, are really just practical matters. A fence divides one bit of land from another. But the very nature of the dividing makes it a force for the keeping of In and Out. I build a fence to keep my cows or horses or whathaveyou In and to keep you and your cows or horses or whathaveyou Out.
Whether an imposing fence of many feet in height, or a simple low-lying indicator of separation, the sentiment is the same. This is Mine; that is Yours (or Somebody Else's, but either way, Not Mine).
Walls are really the same. They are just more butch versions of fences. As humans evolved, so did their idea of playing nice with others. This meant that mere fences did not quite effectively get the point across.
Especially when I decide that what is Yours ought be Mine; I'm hardly going to wait politely at the fence and ask nicely. Not when I have armies and battering rams and catapults and such. OK. That train got away from me a bit. Moving On. 
In effective segue, walls are somewhat important to the construction of buildings/ And we all know (I hope) that both houses and churches are types of buildings. Shall I talk houses and churches together? If you believe of such things, churches are Houses of Lords (ooh… thought provoking, there, Parliament of England…what exactly are we saying about ourselves? The royal we, mind), and as such may ought be compared with the Dwellings of Lowly Beings.
We'll just see where this typefest takes me. So… Houses. Warm, cosy, homey, housey, secure, locked, fenced, guarded, protected… Houses.

Keeps family values In, and those who wish to disrupt said values Out. Until the age of OK To Venture Out, houses even keep family members themselves In. And of course members of other families (who wish to date members of first family) Out. Is she getting more cynical in her old age? Likely. But she'll elect to call it Practical. I love my house. And my parents' house. And all the varied sundry houses in which I grew up. They were as much a part of my formation into the Rhiannon of Today as were anything else. And much as they say owners and pets come to resemble each other, so too does a choice of house or apartment or flat or in my case villa) reflect the personality and life stage of the Chooser.
Big or small, with land or without, our houses have been just right for the family we were at the time. Similarly, as I've grown and - arguably - changed, I've chosen a house here, a crap apartment there, a lovely condo elsewhere. Sometimes I need someone, so I have a roomie. Other times, I need my own space in which to rattle about with or without clothes, and keep tidy or messy as I see fit. These times call for Living Alone. Again, the train has jumped the tracks… really cannot tie churches in to all that nonsense. So we Move On. Because I want to, and because I am typing this on a plane, and we will be landing soon. 

What was I going to say about churches? House of Lords (or Ladies, if that is your thing), and keepers of things In and Out. So I've not been to church with any kind of regularity since I was too young to have any say. However, I remember the occasional feeling of being Locked In during the service, and woe to the child who Forgot To Go before the big doors closed and the singing began. Yes there were treats afterwards as a reward (or so it seemed) for behaving for the endless hours (or so it seemed) of Church the event in Church the place. But somehow being locked in a big room with lots of Funny Old People deserved more reward than a Dixie cup of permastache-inducing punch and a triangle of cinnamon raisin toast or a minimuffin. But yes, the place is meant for keeping Out as well. Some religions are a bit more welcoming to others, but others treat the average service as a Rite of Secrets Known Only to the Chosen. God (or whoever) forbid anyone else dared challenge the closed doors. This kind of sentiment harkens back to Yore, when the Other Religions were nothing but blasphemous sorcerers out to muddle things up and the only way to deal with them was by rather any and violent method.

Thus no one wonders at the tetchiness of Religious Matters even today. We are far less likely to burn people at the stake for believing something else, but boy will we get in a state, and some will even kill. All for the sake of keeping one religion In and another religion Out.

Got a bit heavy there as I fly "home" to Italy and my job and the infernal cats that have taken up residence in my garden and my energy and my pocketbook. And a bit more bloggy than photo, but already did one that was more photo than bloggy, so Balance has been returned to the Force. Nonetheless, the keeping of In and Out is far more prevalent than we notice most of the time. And my purpose was not to get overly deep on the matter, but it does make for an interesting intellectual exercise. Besides, it let me title this blog the way I did. So there. Cue gratuitous in-flight photo of Alps at Sunset...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Forest for the trees? Up close and personal?

Devil's in the details. Right? Devil has the right idea, in that case. What are (or aren't) details, if not the stitches in the canvas, the tiles on the pool floor, the peanuts in the packing box of LIFE (the experience, not the cereal)? I always liked those Magic Eye posters so popular in the 90s. Partly because going crosseyed was fun, and partly because the discovery of the bigger picture in all those splotches was even funner. More fun still was that a certain grade school nemesis who shall remain nameless was rubbish at the things (small victories). Any rate, since then, I have loved getting up close to things (oh yeah, just in the interests of full disclosure, I'm a bit nearsighted...well make that totally blind). Some say I miss the bigger picture for my love of details, but I'll take that over only seeing the broad view and losing its component parts.

I've gone on about flowers and their ilk, but really, they look pretty cool when you get right up in there-

Growing up in Farm Country, I have seen a field or two in my day. And right across the world, those fields look pretty much the same up close. And are just as important whether they are Idaho Corn, Italian Grapes, or even African Khat. It tends to depend on the light, the colours, and the angles, but really, it all just looks fantastic.

Don't want to wax too philosophical, but much like some great high quality wood or the coolest person you know, that LIFE box I mentioned before really is a very richly textured thing (something it shares with the eponymous breakfast food). And while that texture can been generally seen from any vantage point, I find that the deeper slash closer one goes slash gets, the more one can appreciate the details. Grass is not just green(s).
Trees are not just brown(s).
Water is not just blue(s) (whatever country, island, rock, or bit of reef it might frame). I mean, for crying out loud... they don't even make Crayolas in these colours!
Eyes are more than just ocular sense organs. Nothing is quite as lovely as seeing one's own reflection in the eyes of a horse. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. They just see so very much. More than they ever let on. I suppose that's for the best.

Finally, on the lighter side of the issue, when they get to take center stage and the whole photo, little things get rather bigger... And come to life! Check out this little visitor looking like a dinosaur (those little toenails made one helluva racket on my window...)
 For the love of Mike! Attack of the Giant Neapolitan Lozenge-Shaped Bugs!!! (he's about the size of the end of my thumb, but check out all the kit he's lugging about on those wee spindly legs)
Doesn't matter how cutesy you try to make him... Vader is still the Darthiest... (yeah this one is can turn off the Nerd Alert klaxons...)