Saturday, August 26, 2006

Greetings From Bangor!

BANGOR, Maine - Hey all! I'm currently sitting in the corner of a Howard Johnson Lounge at the Howard Johnson Inn here in Bangor, Maine, listening to Johnny Cash playing on a jukebox and a preseason football game playing on a big projection TV, typing up this update on the first day and a half or so of my weekend trip to Maine.

Not sure if I have much to report, really, to be honest. We got a head start driving here yesterday evening in our Rocky Ridge cruiser (not an RV, alas), entered Maine early this morning, did some driving and sightseeing around Acadia National Park, took in a bite of some of Maine's good old seafood---lobster, to be specific---and then came here at Howard Johnson Inn to stay the night.

Perhaps the only real reason for this entry is just for the novelty of being able to begin an entry with a dateline other than EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J., hehe. Isn't it...well, novel?

It's been pretty fun so far. I've tried to spice things up on my end by using this trip opportunity to bring out a digital video camcorder my dad had bought for me last year and play around with it: taking beautiful moving nature shots of it, more or less, and trying to frame them in inventive ways---some medium long shots here, some wide shots there (especially with people standing atop high rock formations). My favorite kind of shot so far: the slow zoom-outs of the sort Stanley Kubrick used often in Barry Lyndon. Perhaps Kubrick overused the effect just a tad in that film (arguably his best post-2001: A Space Odyssey feature, but that's just me), but I like the effect it creates: the sense of human figures being dwarfed by their surroundings. Nature is so vast that it probably is greater than us measly human beings anyway.

Don't worry; I'm just experimenting and having a little bit of fun with the camcorder. Nothing ambitious about it. It would be nice if I did have a true-blue high-definition digital video camcorder, though: if I was lucky, maybe I could come up with night shots equalling some of Dion Beebe's nocturnal shots in Michael Mann's Collateral in near-surreal beauty. (It got pretty foggy last night; the fog gave the streetlights a haunting halo effect, an effect increased by the fact that there were so few cars on the road. Eerie. Too bad I didn't get any of it on video; it would have been a keeper, I tell ya!)

None of us got a whole lot of good sleep last night, suffice it to say: notwithstanding a few rest stops here and there, my father basically drove on throughout the night, and our vehicle---again, not an RV---isn't necessarily conducive to deep sleep, to say the least. So tonight is supposed to be our "catch-up-on-sleep" night. We'll see about that, heh.

It can sometimes be...well, interesting (to put it charitably) to be in the same car as my father and mother when we're going to an unfamiliar area: somehow they almost always seem to end up exasperated at each other when it comes to directions. Usually it's the result of my father not quite understanding a direction my mother gives, or my mother not making herself clear to Dad. Sometimes I feel as if I should try to intervene; then I remember that I myself haven't had a great deal of experience with map-reading and stuff like that. Sometimes it makes me think how I'd fare if I was either being given driving directions or had to try to direct my wife or someone else; would I become as easily irritated as my dad sometimes gets?

Funny moment of the day: we were at a beach in Acadia briefly, but since the beach didn't allow pets, someone had to stay behind and watch after our dog Dusty. There was also another dog there, a much bigger one, being held back by his owner. This led to a bit of a standoff between both dogs as they both stared each other down and made plays at each other. And guess what? Our dog "won"; the bigger-size dog slunk away and Dusty came back to us panting in what I interpreted as triumph. Well, maybe my description takes the humor out of it, but it made me laugh (and no, there was no deep message or introspective thought I got out of it). I did catch some of the "fight" on video; if I could somehow place it on my blog...

Anyway, tomorrow looks to have more sightseeing on the menu, as well as a possible trip to a folk festival that's currently going on in this area (until tomorrow). So I might be able to squeeze in an update tomorrow night for all of you interested (or so I assume) readers.

But boy, am I tired tonight, from all the non-sleeping I did last night!

Oh, and no Stephen King sightings. But then I'm not really expecting any. (Sucks, though, that my family didn't decide on this vacation earlier in the month; we could have perhaps taken a "Tommyknockers and More" bus tour that would have passed by King's house if we had been around the area on August 13, according to this website.)


odienator said...

It's too bad it was foggy out. Maine has some great starry skies. I've been there once, and will be there again next weekend en route to Nova Scotia.

I was afraid I was going to run into Stephen King, an author whose early works I love dearly (and whose book on writing is right next to Strunk & White on my bookshelf). I've panned several of his adaptations, including the one he directed (Maximum Overdrive). I can see him sending rabid dogs, killer cars and my pseudonym to kill me.

I remember some of the road trips I had with my parents. There would always be yellin' and cussin', but never about directions. And there were a helluva lot more people in the car, as I am the oldest of five kids. Geez, it's been 21 years since I had to endure one of those trips! I don't miss them!

Is Dusty a pit bull or something?

Hope you had a good time up there, and at the folk festival. The last folk festival I went to, I encountered a singer who sang a lyric whose meaning I'm STILL trying to figure out. Someday I will get my answer!

Anonymous said...

Road trips with the family can be great, even though there may be minor distractions. And for you, its a perfect time to focus on the here and now and enjoy the time spent with the folks and not get caught up in arguments about your career, etc. I hope this is what happened and that you had a terrific time in Maine.

The Stephen King bus tour looks a bit cheesy, but for real King fans it might be fun. Maybe you can go back to catch the next one?