8 Random Facts Meme

I was tagged.

1. I have this theory that people are either Sea people or Mountain people. I’m a mountain person. Martin was a sea person. Martin would crave the flat horizon line, and we would go to the Buffalo Waterfront to get a fix (although that’s just Lake Erie). I crave cragginess. One thing I like about Virginia is the constant presence of rolling hills in the background. I think it has to do with how one processes the sublime. The age and resilience of rock and earth comforts me at the same time that it shows how insignificant I am. For others, it’s the smoothness and erasure of the ocean that provides this effect.

2. My favorite book is Mrs. Dalloway.

3. I really like textiles and textile arts. Recently this has led me to an interest in “folk art” over “high art.”

4. I was born and razed in Birmingham, Alabama, in a smallish elite town called Mountain Brook. The schools were good and the landscaping pretty. The people who live there are, however, on the whole, atrocious. Imagine Pleasantville before color. Imagine George Bush times 30,000, all in one place.

5. My favorite color is green. Any shade of green will do.

6. I used to know a lot about music history and especially about experimental notation. Unfortunately I have not had to use this knowledge much in the past few years and it’s getting rusty. You can see some of my early fascination with scoring here.

7. When I was growing up, I wanted to be: a teacher, a journalist, a writer, a paleontologist, a nuclear physicist, an architect, a civil engineer. I was not good at math. I think I would be better at it now. Like physical coordination I think I was just a late bloomer where math is concerned.

8. I have recently become addicted to Hot & Spicy V8, with or without vodka.

8 Tags (I’m too lazy to link you, sorry): Kevin, Michelle, Lorraine, Maureen, Ernesto, Logan, Paul, François


About Jessica Smith

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10 Responses to 8 Random Facts Meme

  1. Steven Fama says:

    I’d heard about the dividing people into four categories: earth, air, water, and fire, bit I suppose mountains and the sea is a good way to do it too.

    But it’s way more than just the “smoothness and erasure” of the sea that gives comfort for those of us who crave and are rejuvenated by the ocean.

    What exactly the sea does is hard to put into words. The music of the Mermen captures it, as do the song of the Sirens, or so I assume.

    But if words must be used, I will rely on some of the best; specifically, the following excerpt from chapter 17 of Ulysses:

    What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier returning to the range, admire?

    Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator’s projection: its umplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: Its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including billions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents: gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs, and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.

  2. John Sakkis says:

    but they *are* totally both an escape…being a bay area native i used to go for long mountain hikes while living in boulder just to get closer to the ocean…if you know what i mean.

    if you grew up on a coast i think there’s a real sense of psychological claustraphobia as you move inland…

  3. John Sakkis says:

    or topographic claustraphobia rather.

  4. alixandra says:

    We talked about 1. when we were in Buffalo, and I have since taken to asking people if they are hill people or lake people – the glacier made a lot of hills and lakes in Ontario. Most people don’t find the question strange, and most *do* have an answer after little thought. Which is interesting.

  5. Jessica Smith says:

    alix, another fun game is Bird Muffin Horse.

    steve, nice use of joyce.

  6. Ernesto says:

    thanks for tagging me (if that ernesto is in fact me). will post something soon.

    my favourite book is, also, mrs. dalloway.

    i love flowers, as well.

    thank you.

  7. Steven Fama says:

    That 5 May 2000 essay is something.

    In a way, it seems to be an ur-text for your preface to OFC.

    I especially liked the paragraph on “broken signposts.” And the discussion of space/silence.

    That latter dicussion touches on Cage’s 4.33. Another one I like is the third movement (“In Futurum”) in Erwin Schulhoff’s Fünf Pittoresken for piano — written in the 1920s or 1930s. To quote wikipedia, the movement is “a completely silent piece made up entirely of rests . . .Schulhoff’s composition is notated in great rhythmic detail, and employs bizarre time signatures and intricate, though silent, rhythmic patterns.”

    I’ll add that the sheet music for this particular movement takes up but a single page; the wonder of it is that its measures are crammed with notations signifying rests, so it looks noisy as all hell at first glance, but of course is totally silent.

  8. Ernesto says:

    I’ve just posted my answers. Cheers.

  9. myshkin2 says:

    bird…horse…muffin…I hadn’t heard these categories in years! I thought they were a Philadelphia-thing. Glad to find them still in operation. (From a muffin with bird tendencies)

  10. François says:

    My answers have been posted too. Well, kind of.

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