Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Slice of Happiness

Lindsay Nehls and John ____ opened the Freespace Project on at 639 Main Street on Friday; an incredibly awesome accomplishment. They've got a store front right in the heart of downtown, next to the Aronoff, and (perhaps even more notably) they had a huge turnout. The place was packed, and in evesdropping on conversations I noted a remarkable diversity. There were a lot of artists obviously, but I heard people talking about LSATS, corporate stuff, and so on. Its neat that they're able to draw on a diverse audience. 

 Heath and Dan performed a Bach guitar piece, which was wonderful and a strong reminder of how far I have to go before I can say I'm "good" at the instrument, 'cause they were awesome. They did a couple Neutral Milk Hotel songs and threw in a mandolin, another instrument I've been thinking it like to learn to play. Corey read some poetry, which was cool and weird. I'm unqualified to comment on poetry, so I won't.

They put a few big rolls of paper down and encouraged everyone there to make art. I (predictably) did some swirly colors, a few ambigrams (love/lust, Thought, and my TJMurphy/Extropian one), and a helix with its formula in Cartesian coordinates winding around it. Also made a three sided mobius strip out of clay.

Lindsay encouraged me to finish my sculpture project so she can show it, so on Saturday I got a bunch of foamcore and made a half-turn of the sculpture, optimistically hoping that she'll still show it if its made of foamcore rather than steel. I found a good solution to the problem of getting the rungs to stand at the right angle (and thus for the helix to have the right diameter); a string glued diagonally across the opening. Since each string is at slightly different tension, it makes a sort of melody when you run your finger down it.  

Saturday night I saw Rockn-Rolla, the new Guy Richie film. I didn't even know that there was such a movie coming out, but I started developing great expectations for it around 5 0'clock when Rachael came over and told me about it. Pretty badass, and good filmmaking. My emotions were effectively manipulated (I realize in retrospect); there were points in the movie that built up the awkwardness and uncomfortableness, and for a moment I thought it was just falling flat. Then, ahhh, turns out that was the setup for a joke, and the resolution of the awkward tension makes for… funniness.

Turns out I'm not the best film critic, I'm lacking vocabulary and points of comparison. I liked the movie, at any rate, and I feel like its automatically one of those movies that forever gets alluded to in banter. I also have serious trouble with over-suspending disbelief; EG I decided that I could be a rockn-rolla too for a few moments. I had similar thoughts after watching the Godfather. Illusions of… grandeur? Probably the wrong word, since one of the things I get from the Richie films is the arbitrary chance randomness of underworld people rising and falling. The characters are buffeted about by forces beyond their control, and they behave erratically enough to flummox the plans of the people trying to control them. And that's life for a lot of people, just bouncing from circumstance to circumstance, pretending to have control, and trying to find some way to enjoy it. A dark rumination, perhaps, but the first step to avoiding the trap is recognizing that you're in it (thanks Frank H_).

On Sunday, Dad and I got my motorcycle working! Turns out the problems were: a faulty sparkplug, leaving the key in the ignition drains the battery (and makes it look like there's some major electrical problem), and me not understanding how the fuel petcock works (lol; petcock). The diagnosis and fixing process was therapeutic, its fun to work on a machine that's both simple enough to fix and mysterious enough to be surprising. We poked around, took things apart, cleaned stuff, put it back together, trying to start it between each tinkering. At some point it fired up and ran, to which our reaction was something like: "Um, ok… so why did that work?" I suspect that's what "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is all about.

Dad's assessment of "a fuel problem" turned out to be true.  There was, in fact, no fuel at all flowing into the cylinders after it ran for a minuet or two because the carburetor float chambers were emptied and the fuel petcock was off. Simple fix, yes, but it took taking the carburetors apart before we realized it. Not immediately obvious when the apparent problem is "not starting" and there're a bunch of other possible causes.

I rode it around the neighborhood, the thing's got some serious power. I never really opened it up, but it pulls pretty hard with just a little bit of gas. Death on Wheels! I realized the merit of effective gloves when I went inside, my fingers were so cold it felt like someone hit each one of my fingernails with a hammer. Ah, if only I had brought it up there sooner!