December 1st, 2011

Star Wars - Fly away...

Memories of weather

I was a Southern California kid. I no longer feel like I ever was a Southern California kid.

Yes, I was born in Portland and then lived my first 2 1/2 years in Virginia Beach, VA, but my memories don't kick in until -- this is so apropos for a Navy kid -- a day in summer 1976 as my family moved into Rancho Bernardo, CA. My first time in desert; the heavily modified desert of Southern California, but desert nonetheless. So I started remembering the world in a place where it was usually warm and dry. I don't remember it ever being terribly warm, or maybe I just got used to the warmth, but I do remember "terribly dry": the hill to the west of our neighborhood once burned right up to the fence line a few blocks away from our street. No houses were damaged, thank goodness.

My main experience of another environment and its climate was visiting my grandparents in Portland. That's where I first saw snow. And I mean "saw": it was probably in the early 1980s, a Christmas that we spent with the grandfolks, and outside there were flakes. I ran to a bedroom to get more clothes. I bundled up. I must've been really wary of being cold. In the time it took for me to get into outside clothes, the snow flakes had stopped falling. Was I that wary of cold? Maybe so. I was a weird kid. Right now I don't feel like listing the many, many ways I was a weird kid. Anyway.

So it was warm, but really mostly reasonably temperate. Then there was Camarillo, CA, where we moved in, I think, late 1980/early 1981 when I was in first grade. We were there until summer 1982. And HELLO, SANTA ANA WINDS. One of the things I remember about Camarillo: fences after they'd been knocked down. Also? the winds once blew directly down Bronson Street, the west-east road where our rental house was. I took advantage of this. As an experiment, I got out my bike, sat on it, ...and the winds blew me west down the street without my having to pedal. WOOOOOOOOOO. That was cool. I probably had to have a strong grip on the handlebars, though: no raising my arms like I was on a roller coaster. And pedaling back against the wind was a pain. I'm guessing I just gave up and walked the bike back.

So I was getting better about getting out into weather. I regressed a bit come summer 1982 when we moved back to Virginia Beach, where my weak-constitutioned body had to try to breathe humid air again and went Oh HELL no. I remind people that this was a move from desert to a place just north of the Dismal Swamp. Appropriate name. For the first few weeks, just walking outside the air-conditioned house made me feel ill. But, alas, there's no network of underground tunnels or climate-controlled skyways in Virginia Beach -- the place barely has enough east-west expressways -- so I had to bear it. Took me years to really adapt to Virginia humidity. But I had several years to do so. And my body grew up and handled weather better. (Eventually I outgrew carsickness, too. Yes, I had that.)

Thank you, body, for growing up and getting stronger so that I no longer felt like I was held together by spit and baling wire.

This entry has been inspired by the news of how strong the wind's been in Los Angeles. Where I never lived, but which was close to where I lived. At least by Southern California standards.
Clay. Bill...Clay.

You're going to be so sick of this icon by the time I'm done. But I won't.

Posted without comment (yet) is this quote from writer-director Frank Darabont from an interview about his Green Mile adaptation:

I want more movies showing us the potential of ourselves. People seeking what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature," rather than necessarily being mired in all the ways in which we can fail -- spiritually or emotionally. I want to see more movies about working through those pitfalls and coming to a better place. Hey, I just described Frank Capra, didn't I? [laughs] That's another thing I've always admired so much about Steven Spielberg's work, and George Lucas's work. Not to say that there isn't room in this world for nihilism, but we seem to be nihilistic at the exclusion of all else in our movies of late. And that's very disheartening to me. I don't want to get into a big debate about Hollywood's responsibility, but it's all too easy to tell a stupid story about a guy who solves his problems by picking up a gun. Not that I don't like the original Die Hard, because it's one of the best movies I've ever seen [laughs]. I love that film! But even there, there was something greater going on. I've always described Die Hard as a guy who spends the entire movie [laughs] trying to make up with his wife.


Betcha didn't think that'd get mentioned, yes?


From "Walking the Mile: An Interview with Frank Darabont," by Daniel Argent, Creative Screenwriting, Vol. 6. No. 6, Nov./Dec. 1999