Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paint the Town - Part I

In our never ending effort to bring light and color to this desert town, and ultimately the world, my friends and I have undertaken a new project. We've amassed a large amount of canvas, sewn together, making a screen which stretches about 3 meters by 3 meters. One of my friends used his Photoshop skills (which I'm very jealous of) and combined some photos to make a model of what our painting will look like.

The next step was to project the photoshoped image onto the canvas, and trace the lines.

Our final plan is to cut the painting vertically into three sections. The first pane will display the poppies in the foreground, the second pane will show the setting sun, and the third will contain a Joshua tree. After we've finished and mounted the paintings, we're hoping to sneak out at night and hang it up in some very public place, and see how long it takes for someone to notice and remove it. An anonymous tip to the local paper might also be in order...

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Sunday, July 20, 2008


Yesterday I took the CSET- or two sections of it at least. This is just another one of those meanders in the trial; a vista overlooking a possible future. Yet I'm stuck here with my indecisiveness, my uncertainties and discontent. You know that feeling you get when all of your friends are off doing something exciting and for whatever reason, you're missing it? That's me. Life is happening, and I'm stuck here. I'm stuck here and I don't even know where 'here' is in relationship to 'there,' or why 'there' is so much better than 'here,' or why I need to be 'there' in the first place. But nevertheless, the feeling remains that there is someplace else I'm supposed to be and something else I'm supposed to be doing there.

"Work to live" they say, but it's really the other way around. We are defined by our work, not by the living that goes on in between. A friend of mine recently pointed out that even Adam had to work in paradise. He was both gardener and steward. Perhaps the difference then was that his work didn't justify his existence.

I got to San Gabriel High School at 1:20pm, and followed the paper signs to the waiting area. There were maybe 100 other people there. Many of them already had the look of teachers, that poise which comes with authority. Ten minutes later they confiscated our cell phones and led us into our assigned classrooms. I was informed that my ball cap was in violation of the "rules," and would either have to be removed or turned around backwards. This made me immediately curious as to whether they had a high incidence of cheating by ball cap. I turned my cap around and took my seat. I glanced around at the other testees, and realized that nearly all of them were taking the math section of the CSET. Ironically, the classroom must have belonged to a math teacher. The walls were plastered with charts displaying mathematical processes and equations. Typical. I suppose I shouldn't complain though. I was the only English major in there. The only help I got was from the alphabet border circling the room just below the ceiling.

I drove back toward the mountains under a line of palmtrees. The sun was sinking toward the coast and the restlessness I felt had become too much. I had to get it out of my system... The little church was bustling with activity when I arrived. I traded my flipflops for the pair of sneakers I kept behind the seat in my truck- the souls covered in duct tape. I payed at the door, just as the band was finishing their warm up. A crowd of people lined the walls, waiting. The music started and I asked the first girl I could find. We took to the floor and the rest of the world melted away. Two hours later I was taking a break near the stage, when the girl who played the tennor sax jumped down and asked me to dance. I noticed that one of her pupils was dialated, and realized that she must be blind in that eye. Even lacking depth perception she wasn't reluctant. I led her in a lindy circle, then a double outside turn, whip, and sweethart. We switched to charlston and back to lindy. The song was fast, and the band was fantastic. The song kept playing, building momentum. My cares and concerns were mixed with sweat and music, all evaporating up into the night.

The moon was full, and the evening was cool. I took the mountain road home. I rounded curves and sped along cliff sides which emptied off into the night. The headlights lit the road only a few feet ahead. This is where so many young people play their game. They drive these roads as fast as they can, often losing control and flying off in darkness. They die young.