Thursday, May 29 2003
The roof of my house has no gutters, which wouldn't be much of a problem were it not for the fact that it sits on a steep hillside. Water falling off the uphill eaves tends to soak into the ground, only to reappear at spot leaks in the basement. None of these leaks are especially severe - their major effects are circular discolorations around drywall screws. My method of dealing with the shed water on the uphill side of the house has been to dig ditches allowing the puddles to drain away, but this has been an imperfect solution, since the water has the opportunity to soak into the foundation from the soil even if that soil is being drained. Today I undertook a project to upgrade the drainage efficiency of one of the ditches by lining it with a sheet of black plastic. Mind you, I'm no fan of ditch plastic, but since the ditch is also lined with flat pieces of bluestone, the plastic would all be buried and invisible.
One of the advantages of increasing the drainage efficiency was that I could capture the water and funnel it all through a pipe for use elsewhere - where I don't yet know. For now the ditch draining a quarter of the house's roof flows from a three inch PVC pipe ending under the south deck. I can extend this pipe later and use it to, say, supply a pond full of frogs, lily pads, and mosquito larvæ.
In the evening Gretchen and I watched our second Netflix movie, the 1981 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice. It's such a convincing remake of a 1940s movie - right down to the style of acting and mood music - that you become subconsciously convinced that you're watching an actual movie from that period. Thus when the first sex scene comes, its awkward realism is such a shock to the system that you're hit with a rare form of cognitive dissonance. Allow me to term such unexpected modern details in an otherwise flawless period piece "deep anachronism." In this case, it greatly heightened the enjoyment of the scene. "This is better than pornography!" Gretchen exclaimed.
I'm particularly fond of deep anachronism, but only if it is done in a convincing way. I add the "convincing" requirement, since such mindfucks are attempted a lot more often than they are successfully pulled off. (An example of an unsuccessful attempt is the movie Far From Heaven, which tends to beat you about the head with its modern inclusions.) Besides this version of The Postman Always Rings Twice, the only other convincing example of deep-anachronism that comes to mind is musical. When I first heard songs from Guided by Voice's Alien Lanes, the production values and rock stylings subconsciously convinced me that I was hearing something from the late 1960s, but occasionally a guitar rhythm or a specific lyric would briefly shock me out of that conviction. Here's an example from the song "Hit":
This is called "the coming of age"
Riding into town with the giggling faggots.
Starting blizzards and other weird weather patterns
We participate in the shit
Now that's a hit.
Here's another from the song "As We Go Up We Go Down":
I speak in monotone: "Leave my fucking life alone"
As we go up we go down.
The use of such obscenities is unknown in late-60s rock, at least the kind you can buy in a store, yet here they are used so sparingly that you can listen to a good half dozen songs without being zapped out of your late-60s spell. (Okay, okay, the MC5, blah blah blah. I never heard of those fuckers when I was mining the classic rock strata in Redneckistan.)
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