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Where tall tales, real and imagined, absurd and compelling, are served with a smile
If you’ve never seen footage of wingsuit-basejumping, you might have difficulty believing what your eyes are telling you. Rest assured, you are in fact seeing what you’re seeing. I can’t imagine how incredible this feels – though I would very much like to find out. In fact, last month I walked out of our bedroom in a brand new, lavender, personalized wingsuit. When my wife set eyes on me she summarily cut off one of my arms. I am confident I could still make it happen. However, my aerodynamics team insists that I would fly in circles.
My wife worries about bears around our home in Colorado. Regularly they descend into our neighborhood and rattle the garbage cans looking for discards and morsels. They are much like the bear in this video – except real.
So like a fine wine gets better with age, a fine man gets hairier. It is not something to frown upon. Rather it is the male human’s plumage recognizing its full potential. Like a proud peacock flaunting it’s feathery goods, manus peltus is the grandest expression of animalistic grandeur. Now, there are limits. And as demonstrated here, it is high time my better half fired up the flesh mower.
At least I agreed to sleep and eat my bacon outside. Please pardon my exposed coconuts.
So during the course of my day I often throw on the headphones and listen to some kind of mood music or other. Recently I had the inspiration while on Pandora to create a station based upon the Gladiator film score. Great move by me. Scores from films like (including Gladiator) Braveheart, The Shawshank Redemption, The Last of the Mohicans… I was alternating wildly between aggressively fired up and weepy. The end result was in fact some solid productivity so the film scores have been a constant presence.
I’ve always had the capacity to be moved by a powerful score. But sometimes it takes closely listening to the compositions of such stalwarts as Hans Zimmer and James Horner to really grasp the impact the music delivers. Of course, there are good scores and then there are iconic scores, scores that leave an indelible mark on the senses. Films like Jaws and Titanic come to mind. Star Wars, The Godfather… Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark… All great films supported by tremendous soundtracks and scores that complete the experience.
But for me, the powerhouses from the epic dramas deliver the most punch. Even the absence of scoring can resonate deeply. Take the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away. Nearly the entire movie is scoreless. Only when he finally succeeds in paddling out past the breakers and gazes back upon the uninhabited island that served as both refuge and prison does the powerful Alan Silvestri score cue up. The contrast from no music heightens the emotion of the climactic moment. Take a listen:
Though the top of my list admittedly includes perhaps some of the more obvious: the aforementioned Gladiator, Glory, and again, Braveheart.
What do you think? Are there movies that will forever be associated with music in your mind? Let’s hear about it…
How many times a day do you really stop and see what you’re looking at? Granted, this is arguably a more worthwhile exercise in the midst of intense nature. But even in a city – what are you noticing? We can boil it down even further: How many times a day to you look up? Really look up? There is a third dimension after all. Bottom line, we can all stand to see with better eyes from time to time. If you have a moment, take a look at this visual stunner from Terje Sorgjerd shot over the course of one week in Spain. A nice way to begin a Tuesday.
The People’s Republic of Boulder
This morning my wife and I broke our fast in one of Boulder’s staple (if few) greasy spoons: The Village Coffee Shop. We were familiar with the place by way of Stephen White’s Boulder-set novels in which the protagonist and his Boulder PD friend/ally frequent the no-pretense artery clogging establishment. While waiting for two chocolate chip pancakes the size of manhole covers and a side of bacon (but of course) I noticed the t-shirts that the short order cooks uniformly wore. In the middle: Village Coffee Shop. Surrounding that was their slogan: 890 Sq. Ft. of Reality Surrounded by Boulder. This is a play on an informal slogan for the whole of Boulder: 25 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality. I think both are true.
The Village Coffee Shop is refreshingly non-p.c. (and the food is terrific). If you’re a first timer, be prepared for everything to be brought to a halt as the “Village Virgin!” call goes out and everybody goes bananas. You’re then given your ‘Village V-Card’ which gets stamped (with cherries no less) each time you bring in a new Village Virgin. In the mix is free stuff of some sort that we never really got to the bottom of. I think it starts with french fries and goes from there. I’d like to work my way up to a dozen or so of the giant pancakes to stitch together as an edible quilt for next winter. Shiver, shiver, chomp. Shiver, shiver, chomp.
Back to the slogans. The tie in is right on. Boulder is surreal in almost every way. Much of its unique-ti-tude (made up word) is derived from the absurd for sure. But bottom line: it’s a pretty remarkable place and if you had to choose, wouldn’t you like to live somewhere remarkable? That being said you can’t go a single day, or even half a day, without encountering a taste of the ridiculous. Case in point – The Boulder 420 Fest, an annual celebration of all things marijuana taking place on, you guessed it, April 20th. “420” holds great significance in pot smoking sub-culture. Being Rubiksian in my squaredom and a non-pot smoker, I never understood exactly why. Even last week on April 20th itself, my wife asked me about the significance. I took a stab in the dark that it had something to do with getting baked, extrapolating from that a culinary tie in. To wit: Bake at 420. With typical acuity for my b.s., Amber pointed out that never do you see cooking instructions calling for the oven to be set at an arbitrary 420 degrees. Bake at 350, sure. But we can’t very well have a big ol’ puff fest on March 50th, can we? That would really confuse the puffers whom may find themselves reading from some arcane Mayan calendar in an alternate dimension. I’ve since learned that the rite has roots in 1971, in San Rafael, California (if any place is goofier than Boulder, it’s California, generally). Something about a statue of Louis Pasteur and a group of teenage cats known as “The Waldos.” Whatever. The end result is that 420 carries very specific (to a pot-smoker which means very vague) meaning. And every year there is a celebration en masse on the campus of CU Boulder. This past Thursday: 10,000 partakers creating a cloud of tangy haze vast enough to give orbiting cosmonauts on the Russian Space Station a contact high accompanied by insatiable cosmo-munchies. Even my father, back in lush and bountiful New Jersey, caught wind of it (not literally which is fortunate). The story he had heard was via a reporter on scene amongst the throngs of weed fairies (see video), addlers (people who have used so many drugs they are not quite right in the head), vipers (old time hippies who hang out in after hours clubs and get smoked up – both definitions courtesy of 420dictionary.com), but mostly, really, really, really, REALLY high college students (ah, tuition dollars at work). According to the report my father caught, it was the “largest gathering of marijuana smokers on the CU campus since…yesterday.” Indeed. For a glimpse of what it was like, see the video below (note: author thinks pot smokers are dirty hippies and does not condone the following behavior; on the other hand, author likes people to make their own choices and therefore does condone reader ignoring what author thinks):
Greetings, all. Because great commercials are often manifestations of great writing, The Nonsense Cafe will regularly welcome you with something you may or may not have seen before (hopefully, no). Often these will be spots from overseas, like this one for Cravendale milk by Wieden + Kennedy London.
If you have a little more time (3 mins.), another humorous offering from the agency JTW New York for Wilkinson Sword, apparently a company that makes body lawn mowers of a sort (though perhaps the ultimate messaging is a little lacking). Being prone to the occasional hair or two in places only appropriate to time-traveling cave men, this one gives me an insider’s chuckle.