Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Buffy at 1000 Idols

I wrote a little guest spot for Kori over at The 1000 Idols Project on why I thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer was idol-worthy.

Here is Kori’s Buffy:

And here is what I had to say about her:

I first heard the name “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” from one of my best friends in 2001.  He was describing how it was one of his favorite shows and I was giving him endless crap for how stupid the show sounded.  Come on, “Buffy”? I would say. Really? It sounded too much like a Dumb Teen Show to even bother with. Which is when he duct taped me to a chair and played me the first episode from the first season on DVD.  Then he asked if I wanted to see the next one.  I think I made some kind of non-committal response like, “If I have to.”  By the third episode he’d gone to bed and I was glued to the TV. I couldn’t stop watching. It was amazing. While Buffy looks like the kind of girl who would be perfect, perky and popular, Buffy is in fact, really kick-ass and sort of an outsider.  According to her creater, Joss Whedon (who is often idolized himself, inspiring such lines as “In Joss We Trust,” for his brilliant writing/directing) the idea for Buffy came from taking the idea of the scared blond that gets killed in the first five minutes of every horror movie ever made and turning it completely on its head.  Far from getting killed, this blond is prepared to kick ass. She is tough, strong, confident and completely able to beat the crap out of anything lurking in the dark. She is, as it turns out, the hero of the piece.  The character was originally written for a 1992 movie of the same name with Kristie Swanson as the lead.  According to Wikipedia, the director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, saw it as a “pop culture comedy about what people think about vampires.” Whedon disagreed: “I had written this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing.” The script was praised within the industry, but the movie was not.  Whedon got the chance to develop the idea into a TV series and in 1997, the pilot aired on the WB with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role. Finally he was able to realize his vision for Buffy the way he had originally intended.

What makes the show so powerful is that it is hard to define. One of my favorite descriptions of the show is that it is “The X-Files meets My So-Called Life.” It is about vampires and demons (or the monster-of-the-week), yes, but it is also about High School and insecurity and what it means to grow up. We get to watch Buffy dust vampires AND try to decide what to wear to prom. We watch her struggle to define herself and find the balance between all of her various responsibilities. She has super-human strength and abilities but clings to the things that make her “normal.” She is essentially struggling with what it is to be a woman, in the best, most fully realized way possible: powerful and vulnerable, strong and soft, a leader and willing to be part of the team.  The show also boasts a spectacular array of supporting characters (many of whom are also idol-worthy in their own right – Willow Rosenberg, the lesbian Wicca is another particular favorite of mine).  All of which adds up to a show that is so much bigger than it’s lead character.  But Buffy remains the heart (and strong right hook) of the show and for that, I find her completely idol-worthy.

[Check out Kori’s post here]


Happy Birthday Sophie!

I had all sorts of other grand plans for the post for today but all of that has been subsumed by one little girl.  One BRAND SPANKING NEW little girl!  My dear friends finally had their first child this morning and for the life of me, I just can’t stop smiling.  It’s been a long stressful day for other various reasons but I’m still grinning like an idiot.  I feel a bit giddy – Sophie is here!  Sophie is here!  Life flowered in a really awesome way this morning. That little girl has no idea how lucky she is to be born into the family she got.  Or maybe she does – babies often seem to know a whole lot more than they let on at first, right when they are fresh from that other place.  The older they get, the more they forget, but for the first few weeks, you can still see that glimmer of another place in their eyes.  She has got two amazing parents and a whole community of people who can’t wait to meet her.  What a joy to be so very wanted.

ANYwho, I just wanted to take a moment to mark the day.  It is not often you get to celebrate such joy in a completely unadulterated way.

Happy Birthday Sophie.  Welcome to the World.  I hope you find more joy than sorrow, more peace than turmoil, more love than indifference and more beauty than cruelty.

All my love,

Your other Auntie Jess

Maine Rogue Photographers Association

Still too hot to think properly.  We Mainahs are just not built for this kind of heat.  So maybe today is a good day to talk about what I think Maine really is about.

Back in 2007, Matt (my husband) and I were talking with our friend Sergei about what it really was to be a photographer in Maine.  We are all big fans of the photo site flickr, but we were frustrated that all the Maine groups on flickr were about moose and lighthouses and scenic vistas.  Now don’t get me wrong, all that pretty is a big part of why we love living here.  But Maine is so much more than that.  So we decided to incorporate the Maine Rogue Photographers Association, a flickr group dedicated to all the other parts of Maine.  We posted this as our description:

The State of Maine, located as far northeast as you can go in the USA, is incredibly photogenic. Wide open ocean in one direction, forests in another, majestic mountains in a third, it is little wonder we have so many landscape photographers in this state! And yet just out of frame is a trailer home with twenty rusting cars surrounding it guarded by an alcoholic with a shotgun. Just past the trailer is a multi-million dollar mansion owned by a New York City lawyer who stays there two weeks out of the year. Maine is a place of contradictions, where incredible beauty lives 180 degrees from utter despair. It is a place that people live because they love it here, or because they’re trapped here.

We’re Maine’s Rogue Photographers. We see what the tourists don’t see. We know there’s more to photographing Maine than landscape photography, and we’re not afraid to share it.

The group has been going for more than three years now and has maintained a sizable pool of contributors (considering the restrictions on what can be posted).  Here are a few of my favorites from the group pool:

Drake's Island

Drake’s Island by brookehartley

Howland Tannery

Howland Tannery by muncadunc

untitled by e.teel

Tahir Saleh

Tahir Saleh by Sergei Chaparin


Playground by jess_leclair

Yes, this last one is one of mine.  I mentioned before that I am a big fan of the strange and unusual and this little playground out in Machiasport certainly qualified.

I know some people find the idea of this group distasteful or even disrespectful.  I have to disagree.  I think to acknowledge only the beautiful about Maine is to do it a great disservice.  It’s like pretending the only part of a person that has value is their pretty face.  There is so much more to a person that makes them whole and the same is true with our awesome state o’ Maine.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

With Child Midwifery

Before anyone freaks out, no, I’m not pregnant.  The title of this post refers to something really cool that a friend of mine is up to.  One of my oldest and dearest friends, Laura Donnelly, has finally put up a website about her amazing midwifery practice, With Child Midwifery.  She has also started blogging as well!  So far, she has posted not only about midwifery and home birth, but health care and common sense and trying to keep your family safe in our chemically saturated world.  She is insightful and concise, with a marvelous facility for condensing longer academic papers into a paragraph or two of useful information.  I can’t wait to see what she posts next!

Laura is truly one of the most wonderful people I know.  And I’m not just saying that because I’ve known her since I was 4.  This is us in 1983:

Jess and Laura 1983

(We were 5 and yes, I’m the one asleep on her shoulder)

For those doing the math, that is 28 years of friendship. This picture was taken on the way back from a trip to the Boston Children’s Museum. It was a long ride, we’d had a fun day, and I was pooped. Seriously, how many five year olds do you know who would put up with letting someone sleep on them AT ALL let alone in a bumpy car? That is life long friend material right there.

My family moved away from MA in 1988.  But somehow over all that time and distance, Laura and I managed to keep in touch.  And in 2005, by a marvelous twist of fate, we landed in the same part of mid coast Maine.  Our paths recrossed and it was just like no time had passed at all.  Well, except now there was less biting, bickering and hair pulling.  But only slightly less.  Between 2005 and 2008, Laura’s two kids became three and my boyfriend became my husband.  I really can’t express what an amazing joy it was to have her just up the road. Her love and support was (and continues to be) invaluable.

Sadly, our roads have diverged once more.  She and her family moved back to MA and my family moved just a bit further south in ME.  But our friendship has endured distance before and will do so again.  And hopefully one day, I will have need of her services.

1000 Idols

Today I’m going to share a project that a friend of mine is working on.  She is a super talented painter and illustrator and just generally an awesome person.  Her name is Kori and she is working on something she calls  The 1000 Idols Project.

From her artist statement:

The 1000 Idols project is my endeavor to create 1000 four by six inch watercolor paintings of idolized figures in order to examine the nature of the revered image. To idolize is to respect, praise or worship– one idolizes the Virgin Mary in one sense of the word, and Michael Jordan in another. We are obsessed with other people, real or imaginary, holy or secular, and so we collect images of them- musicians, gods, athletes, saints, family, even fictional characters. But why do we collect images of others, and what purpose does this reverence serve?

I wanted to show off a few of my favorites, but it is so hard to choose!  Turns out, they are all my favorites.  So here are a few that I just picked today for whatever reason. Cause they are ALL awesome.

0007 Miyazaki

0018 Aretha Franklin

0013 Bob Ross

Every once in a while an artist stumbles on exactly the thing they are supposed to be doing.  And Kori has done just that.  I’ve been lucky enough to peek ahead and I’m thrilled by some of the next images she has painted.  But I promised no spoilers, so you’ll just have to keep watching her site to see who/what comes next!