a bear along the Stick Trail
Saturday, September 20 2003
I had a housecall late this morning to set up a simple component stereo system at the residence of one of Gretchen's on-again-off-again clients. It was a tiny stereo, with the tuner and amplifier built into one of the small Grey's Anatomy-sized speakers. After I had it all set up, the client was somewhat disappointed by the loudness of the system - turned all the way up to eleven, it couldn't quite fill her great room with the thunderous swells of her Grieg CD.
Later I drove out to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to give Gretchen and colleagues some moral support as they staffed the annual shindig, a festive fundraiser of hay rides, face painting, rummage sales, raffles, and a silent auction. To this last activity I'd donated two coupons for free computer repair service.
It was a surprisingly hot day, and there were few convenient shady places. After taking a bunch of photographs, I went sat on a chair under a shade tree and amused myself reading random excerpts from The Dilbert Principle. I never understood Dilbert until I got a dotcom job - before then, Dilbert was only a little funnier than The Family Circus. By the way, if anyone happens to know of a funny frame (either intentionally or otherwise) from the Family Circus, please exercise your rights under fair use and send it to me. And no, Dysfunctional Family Circus doesn't count.
Mr. Peepers, Director of Security at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
A chicken and a pig.
Phil the Cat (who Gretchen successfully relocated from the
Ulster County SPCA) shows why his name springs from the word filthy.
Phil has lots of fans, one of whom sent him a care package that included
the cat bed visible on the left.
A spider on Goldenrod out in a Catskill Animal Sanctuary field.
A yellow hornet gathers wood pulp for use in building her paper nest.
People silent auctioning, etc.
This afternoon as I was taking the dogs down the Stick Trail (in that tract of private land between the two prongs of State Park land), suddenly the dogs saw something interesting and ran down into the valley below. As I saw their little black forms passing behind the trees and receding in the distance, I figured they'd seen a deer. Then I looked up and was amazed to see that they'd suddenly made incredible progress climbing the hill across the valley. Wait - the black I was seeing wasn't them at all. It was a massive adult black bear clambering down out of a tree not 200 feet away. The bear was a terrifying thing to behold, an enormous predator alone and unsupervised in his element, much bigger than my imagination had expected him to be. And he was rapidly shinnying down out of a tree. I was looking around for a tree to climb - just in case I needed to escape - when I noticed the bear charging directly away at amazing speed - looking more like an awkward computer-generated animation than anything natural. It was exhilarating to be so close to something so thoroughly untamed. I suppose the dogs felt a little like I did, because they never started barking and I saw no evidence of them giving chase.
In the evening Gretchen and I watched a videotape she has of the Daytrippers, an indie film starring the likes of Liev Schreiber and (of course!) Parker Posey. I have trouble paying enough attention to a movie at the beginning to understand why the actions are unfolding the way they are, and this time I had the added burden of having just talked to one of the movie's stars the night before seeing it. Actors are like shapeshifters - it's a little hard to get a handle on who they really are based on the exposure you normally get to them: in movies. It's something I hadn't ever thought of until yesterday.
Anyway, I loved the Daytrippers. I've never seen characters so fully developed and having such realistic personalities in a movie before. Gretchen and I discussed it afterwards and we couldn't say enough about the character development. Even the incidental characters in the little penthouse-plots were sketched out in a mandelbrot of nuance.
Later Gretchen was admitting to me the discomfort she felt by yesterday's experience being drawn to famous people. It seemed so irrational and contrary to her sensibilities, especially when the famous people have personalities that aren't the slightest bit compelling.
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