Little things can cost you everything.

In no order--

-Since I was little, and as far back as I can remember, I've always been interested in minor characters, and the people that play them. In literature, yes, but mostly in film. While the protagonist(s) hog up the attention (and are usually Big Celebrity Names), the little guys really appeal to me. And the little guys in film are usually played by the same folks. From the classic Sidney Greenstreet/Peter Lorre tagteam, to John Ford's "stock" company (Ward Bond, Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen, and so on), to David Morse, to M. Emmet Walsh, to Luis Guzman. And on and on. And tonight, I celebrate: a minor character comes through. On the show "24," Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce (played almost silently for five seasons by Glenn Morshower) proved pivotal to the plot of tonight's episode. And the character actors around the world rejoice.

-I'm not superstitious, but something odd has been happening to me for the past year or so that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. I don't look at the clock all that often. Really. Let's say I look at the clock ten times a day. At least once it'll be 11:11. No lie. I'm not making this up, people. It's like, why not some other time? Maybe, I'm supposed to remember it because terrorists will take over the Beaver Valley Mall, springing from the hidden layers they set up in all of the abandoned husks of stores that left the mall over the past year, locking down all of the entrances and setting up heavy weapon emplacements, saying they'll set off bombs they constructed overnight in the 47 different cell phone kiosks (while the security guards were talking on CELL PHONES near the food court) unless their demands blah blah blah, and no one will know how to disarm the bombs. No one but ME, that is, because I'll sneak in through the air ducts and enter "11:11" into the phones and disarm them, and then--of course--the terrorists will surrender because they were foiled by a bookstore employee. Well, the terrorist leader won't; he'll dash off to Spencer's and hide amid the cloud of acidic incense smoke that always seems to waft from the entrance, and since no one can survive the stench, he'll make an escape by hiding in the recycling dumpster out back (that everyone fills with non-recyclables) and jumping diving out at the last second, blending in with the non-observant news crowd that's sure to be in the parking lot. Just keep your eye on the news for this-- story at 11:11.

-Something that's been on my mind the past few months: community and regionalism. I'm not sure if this is a trait that's mainly manifests in my generation, but many people (at least the vocal ones) always talk about how much their stomping grounds suck and how they want to move and when they move it'll be so much better. So, it's basically that if you think you see a problem or flaw in the town/county/region, you toss it away and go to a cooler place. (I'd say you can see the same sort of "throw it away if it doesn't suit me" mindset in almost every aspect of American culture, but that's a rant for a different day.) I thought this way for 22 and a half years. I felt like Beaver County was a hellhole and needed to be carpet-bombed into oblivion. But then something happened. I don't know what event or thought or idea triggered the change. I really haven't thought about it. Now I don't want to run. I want to stay and fix, get my hands dirty, network, influence, change. It's funny how so many people my age (many of the Geneva students talk about how there's "nothing to do" in Beaver County). I beg to differ. I can look out my window on any morning and watch the sunlight bleed through the trees in my backyard, the hill tilting at just the right angle to let some of the warmth creep past my blinds. I can walk through West Aliquippa on a fall day, see the tiny, isolated community boxed in prisons and railyards and abandoned mills, noticing frail Italian couples brushing the blind on the door aside just so to watch the outsider, the whole scene reeking with surreal, worn, blustery, even majestic beauty. I can drive past the cemetery in downtown Beaver, the headstones that and monuments that barely reach over the top of the surrounding wall blur by in a hypnotic way. I can watch the water from the Beaver River--where it joins the Ohio--lap over the sand at the waterfront park in Rochester, doing my best to ignore the rain that's dusting the water's surface (and my head in turn). I can run on Hopewell High School's track at night, a few weeks before the students return from summer break, cool winds licking my ankles as I listen to Michael Penn CDs and spot rabbits chasing each other in the field just over there, beyond the fence, and then hit Bruster's for a bowl of chocolate ice cream when I'm finished, for a few minutes not minding that the lactose will make me double over an hour later. Now, Beaver County isn't perfect; in fact, there are many aspects that need to be improved. But will I move away because some band I like doesn't tour here or they don't have that one store I like or there isn't "culture"? No. I'll stay and join the fight.

-Oh, and since when did "culture" equate people with arts degrees going "tut tut" in a Starbucks, talking about literary theory, balancing their mochafrappachino while they're trying to type on their laptop? Sorry to sound angry; maybe Wendell Berry is impacting me.

-So, Matt Reed, when are we going to start recording?

-Michael Chabon--Pulitzer Prize-winning Pittsburgh author--said this in an interview: "...I think the best science fiction, the best mystery fiction, the best horror fiction, ought to be put on par with the best quote-unquote 'literary fiction.'" I agree wholeheartedly. Genre fiction is looked down upon, and I don't understand why. I think Raymond Chandler was one of the best writers of the 20th century, and now--60 years after his prime--he's finally starting to get his dues.

-Why do people buy pickup trucks when they will only make them lower to the ground and add neon lights to the running boards? Why do they need the truck bed? To hold their ego?

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 1/30/2006 06:43:00 PM,

5 Comments:

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Erica said...

I can relate completely about people hating where they live, and not understanding it at all. I've gone from LA, to Houston, to Seattle/Tacoma, and now to here... everyone hates where they live! To me, I am jealous. Every place I've lived has had it's own charm and beauty, it's own flavor. I've liked some better than others, but none was the hole-of-dispair that the natives made it out to be. Those people who grow up, get married, settle down, and live their whole lives in one spot really have somthing special.

 
At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Janet said...

yeah, i've noticed the "hating" thing too... for some reason... i've just given up on it... it's a bad habit. it more happens that people are like... when i'm a senior... or a junior... or when i'm not taking this class... or when i can live off campus... if only i didn't have to be on the meal plan... etc.(because... you know... all these people are about helping beaver falls [I <3 BF], so there has to be other things they hate)

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous buddy said...

You have Berry-itis, my friend. One of the most wonderfully sad afflictions a thinker can have. May you "sufer" from it for the rest of your life, my friend.

But seriously, I can totally see the mark of Wendell Berry's stuff on your observations of Beaver County. And that's the wonderful thing which that man is able to do to a mind through his writing... Re-connect you with the beauty you never lost, you just lost sight of. I too have felt this pull again, reading "A Continuous Harmony", and resolve to just observe creation around me with a little bit more sensitivity now.

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger mattreed said...

1) people hate their own town, until their team goes to the superbowl...

2) WB: one way to be for civilization is to be against what passes for it

3) alas, my guitar is out of tune. and i am going to need practice.

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger Alicia Bennett said...

Hi there, just wandering the blogosphere and I found your blog. I really enjoy how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

what is a time share

 

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