unicorn quest

Creative writing, bicycling, wild west living, volunteer work, crafts, literature, religion and philosophy, all delivered to you by a 40 year old aspiring writer with Rosanna-Rosannadanna hair and glasses!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Don't Come Knockin' Update

Don't Come Knockin', the movie that I participated in as an extra back in the summer of 04, the movie shot here in Butte Montana, starring Sam Shepard and Jessica Lang, finally premiered in Butte. I was unable to go as I had to attend a funeral, but have heard that director Wim Wenders had some sad news: "I will have to dissapoint some 30 ladies in Butte--the beauty convention scenes have been cut. They will be on the DVD in the director's cut, though."

Rats! I and the other girl extras will just have to wait for the DVD.

Of course I went to see the movie anyway. Even if I hadn't been in it, just the fact that it was made in Butte, my adopted town, and by Wim Wenders too, whose movie Wings of Desire is one of my all time favorites, dictated that I'd be seeing it for sure.

And I was not disappointed. The beginning of the movie takes place on a movie set, and is very humorously sarcastic about the film biz. Fully half of the movie takes place in Butte, and everyone here in town agrees the cinematography is excellent, and that Wenders has captured the atmosphere of Butte perfectly. There's even an appearance by the famed mirrored car--look for it.

The story itself is simple and spare, like a short story.
A Western star leaves his movie set abruptly and discovers he has a son he never knew about. He comes to Butte, where he'd had an affair with a woman many years ago, to meet with her and the son he never realized existed.

The Butte setting is perfect for evoking the lonely feeling inherent in the story, and the impression of missed opportunities.

I urge all my friends, relatives and acquaintances to go see this movie and see why I moved to Butte, and why German director Wenders calls it his "favorite city in America."


An added plus for me was the punky music, reminiscent of the Nick Cave songs on the soundtrack of Wings of Desire.

In one scene a stray dog befriends Shepard's character,
and at the screening I attended an audience member shouted out "that's Butte!" It's true--stray dogs are notorious for roaming our streets at will, sometimes in packs. It was obvious to me that Wenders has visited Butte multiple times. He said in an interview that it reminded him of his hometown in Germany, also a small mining town.

Again, for those who missed my posts on the filming itself and my experience as an extra, check out the July August and Sept 2004 posts. There are also some posts on Evel Kneivel days under summer of 04. March of 05 contains posts on Butte's infamous St Patrick's Day celebration, which I hear is now listed as one of the top St Pat's Days in the country.

Go see the movie, and feel free to comment here on how you liked it!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Happy Fall Posted by Picasa

Childhood Halloween

Why did I love Halloween so much as a child?

Let me tell you, it wasn't just the candy.

Like all kids, I loved the chance to stay up late, I loved to be scared, but safe at the same time, with my mom and my little sister close by. I loved dressing up.

But strangely enough, one of my favorite parts of the holiday was the chance to peek inside other people's houses. All year long I'd walk to school, play in the neighborhood, look at the outsides of these houses and wonder what went on inside, what kind of furniture they had, what pets. (Can you tell that even then I was a budding writer???)

One of my favorite encounters was with the neighborhood "witch." She was an old lady with bushy grey hair who lived in a pink stucco house at the end of the street. Because she didn't come out much, and probably because when she did, she didn't comb her hair, we kids decided she had to be a witch. We'd take the long way around her house, and kind of duck down to avoid being seen. If our ball fell into her yard, we'd make a running foray to grab it and then run away just as fast as possible. She had only loose, dry sand, and straggly cactuses growing in her yard, further discouraging kids from coming around.

One Halloween we were brave enough to knock on her door--with our mom along of course. The inside of her house turned out to be well-lit, and decorated with colorful knick-knacks of the 1960s variety, such as giant plastic grapes on the coffee table, and harlequins hanging in the kitchen. She beamed at us, and instead of candy, gave us giant shellacked red and black cutouts of sleeping Mexicans in sombreros, which we promptly took home and put up on our bedroom walls.

The next day, while trading candy and telling tales of our adventures with all the other kids, we made the big announcement that the lady at the end of the block was not, in fact, a witch. Some refused to believe it, but some vowed to go trick or treating to her house next year.

Hope you all make some spooky new friends this year!

I will be hitting the costume and karaoke parties in town, possibly with a band of boy and girl pirates in tow.

More Halloween adventures coming soon! Boo!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Let's Go! Posted by Picasa

unicorn quest

BUTTE'S NEW CHAMPION
October 20 is Levi Leipheimer Day
By Bill Schneider, 10-11-05

It’s still a two-wheeled deal, but now Butte, Motnana has a new hero. Move over Evel Knievel and your motorcycles. Make way for Levi Leipheimer and his muscle-powered bikes. On October 20, the Mining City will honor a hometown hero Levi Leipheimer who has become a leader in the cycling world.

Leipheimer, a Butte native who raced throughout Montana and surrounding states during his junior years, is coming off an impressive year. He placed sixth in the biggest cycling event of them all, the Tour de France, and won the 2005 Tour de Germany. Leipheimer is currently team leader of a pro team sponsored by Gerolsteiner, a Gernan bottled water company.

At 1:00 pm, a bicycle parade, for cyclists of all ages and abilities, will start at the Butte Plaza Mall along Harrison Avenue and end at the Butte Civic Center. “We are encouraging everyone who loves to ride to join Levi for this special ride,” says local cycling promoter John Coulthard, “and every child who attends will receive a free raffle ticket to win one of several special top-of-the-line bikes.”

Following the parade, an official ceremony with festive music, free snacks and beverages, will be held at the Butte Civic Center Annex and will include Montana state officials and local dignitaries. Coulthard said Leipheimer will speak with local young people about his personal journey. “His message of hard work, perseverance, and staying drug-free will be just part of his uplifting message.”

Coulthard also encouraged local school children to wear their school colors for the parade, noting that public schools will be closed for teacher conferences.

By Bill Schneider, 10-11-05 | add comment | email this story | read more like this


Why I missed Levi Leipheimer Day

Yes, I the bicycling fiend had to read about it in the paper and hear from Uptown friends about the cool bicycle parade. Why? Because they aimed the event at children--we adults were stuck at work as it happened Thursday during the day.

Still, I'm glad they did it. I'm glad Levi was overwhelmed. And I'm glad his hometown is finally honoring him.

Now if they could just make it as splashy an event in the future as they do for Evel Kneivel (reputedly not a very nice guy)--

But that may be too much to hope for. There's no potential for beer sales involved with a Tour de France contender. Maybe bicycling just isn't considered as "cool" yet as motorcycle jumping.

But maybe someday...

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Hang in there Texas! Posted by Picasa

New Orleans VS Rodney King

What just happened in New Orleans really didn't surprise me. I was headed for New Orleans via Amtrack some 8 years ago, when we got the unhappy news that a hurricane was headed straight for it, and the city may be destroyed. We all lamented our soon-to-be-ruined vacations as the train chugged along. As it turned out, the hurricane veered that time and destroyed the island of Antigua instead...

I was in LA during the Rodney King riots. The government response was similarly slow and inefficient. We had curfews, rioting, snipers, food riots, lots of looting, fires, and every kind of mayhem. Meanwhile, the national guard did not even arrive for 3 days. It might be amusing or interesting to watch on tv, but let me tell you, if you're in the middle of it, it's scary. LA is a 24-hr city, and when you see all the gas stations and convenience stores shut down at dusk, you think the Apocalypse has arrived.

My cousin Janice gave me a first-hand account of the 9-11 evacuation procedures. She works in the Maybelline building, about 50 blocks from ground zero. They rounded up everyone in the area and herded them "like cattle" into football stadiums, and there they sat for a very long day without food or water, feeling like sitting ducks for the next terrorist attack.

My question--how many times does this have to happen before our elected officials come up with a decent evacuation/emergency plan?

Next time it could be YOUR city!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Why I Love Montana Posted by Picasa

Recent Bicycle Adventures

At this moment in time I am working a very stressful, unsatisfying job, just so I can collect a paycheck and pay bills. My solution to this stress problem is not beer, chocolate or robbing banks.

The last couple weekends I've been hopping on my bicycle, bigtime.

I was riding in the Deer Lodge National Forest a couple weeks ago when I came upon a female moose, chewing avidly on a bush. I turned my head and saw a baby moose standing beside her, regarding me soulfully, as if to say "what are you?" I got off the bike and stared, having never seen a real live moose before, let alone two. Their fur was wonderfully velvety and chocolatey brown. Momma moose suddenly stopped chewing and began giving me the evil eye.

Visions of all those "When Animals Attack" shows began flashing through my head, and I got back on the bike and took off at top speed.

I told this story to several native Montanans and they all said I'd been smart to leave in a hurry. "Some old guy got mauled by a mother moose," my 19 year old co-worker Brandi shared. "Those female mooses can be vicious. You did the right thing," Adrian said.

The next weekend I decided to go over Pipestone pass, and then turn around and coast down. But the weather was so lovely, like fall, the roads so quiet, and the forest so enticing, that I ended up riding 40 miles round trip, halfway to Whitehall, and almost didn't make it back to Butte before sundown! The road will do that to you--it hypnotizes you, so that you just want to keep going. It took me 2 hours to go 7 miles up the steep grade back towards town, and then a mere 20 minutes to coast all the way down, at probably 40 miles an hour. It's exhilarating to be going as fast as a motorized vehicle on a bicycle!

This trip I saw two young male deer with short horns, with the velvet still on them. I was alerted to their presence by the thunk of their hooves on the rocks. On the edge of the forest I saw three very young deer, with orange-brown hides, wide innocent eyes, and white spots on their backs.

Last night I said to Adrian, "don't forget--find out what I need to do to get a hunting license--do I need a Montana i.d. card???"

Yes, I'm still coasting on my Oregon i.d. Maybe it's time to switch.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Adrian and Car Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The Big Sky Posted by Hello

Get out of Town!

The other night I started out on a short after dinner joyride, and decided to just keep going.

Keep in mind the facts that a)my bicycle needs a tune-up badly, b)I was out without tools, a patch kit, water, or money and c)the sun was low on the horizon.

I had just spent 8 hours helping two friends move
from a basement apartment to an upstairs apartment in the same building, which sounds like a piece of cake, but it wasn’t. They are both teachers, and own a ton of books. They are newlyweds, and own a lot of appliances and fancy food serving platters. Last and worst, they inherited some extremely heavy hundred-year-old furniture, worthy of the “Antiques Road Show”.

I have not been really, truly out of town on my bike since two summers ago, when I still had my camping gear, and my partner who knows how to fix things! So, the other night I was taking a real risk, knowing full well I might be hiking miles back to town.
It was worth it.

I rode past the airport, past the RV repair places, one of which my sweetie works at by day, past the BLM offices. Pretty soon the road narrowed to two lanes. One of the roads turned to dirt, and a sign announced “road ends in five miles; no truck turnaround.” I took the other road.

Before long I was back in the enchanted land of rolling green hills, tumbledown wooden barns, and cows. Every half hour or so I’d see a pickup truck, but other than that, there was no traffic. The downhill climbs were steep enough to propel me to the tops of the next hills.

I got off the bike for a moment and looked back. I could see Butte in the distance, like the Emerald City, and a toy plane landing. Seeing Butte tiny and off in the distance made me happy.

I came to a crossroad sign which warned “school bus stop ahead.” The sun was beginning to set, and it was time for me to turn around. Of course my gears locked up on a down hill, and I had to pop the chain back into place, leaving me with black grease all over my fingers.

It was wonderful to get a taste of the open road again!