aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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catching out
Posted by dav at 2002 September 17 11:42 PM
File under: Movies

Tonight I saw the most fantabulous documentary: Catching Out.

It was one of the two full-length features (it's mostly shorts) of the ~6 night Madcat Film Festival here in San Francisco. The Madcat is an international festival for women filmmakers.

Catching Out is about freight hopping in America. I went with a few friends, one of whom has hopped trains before, in fact she did a 36 hour trip just last month. I've been attracted to the idea of hopping a train since my teenage years, and I've been talking about it with Estrella (the one who has done it before) for at least a year now. But after seeing this movie, I'm practically erupting with lust for the rails.

It was an absolutely inspirational and well-produced film. One man in particular who was portrayed in the film (I think his name was Lee) just really had his shit together. I mean this was a guy who was unfettered, awake and aware.

You know, frankly I hope you (whoever you are) never see this movie. Freight riding is a hella fragile ecosystem and wide distribution of the film could cause disruptive interest. I shouldn't have even seen it. But I tell you what, here's something to get you started: The Starship and the Canoe. This is a book I read a few years ago that had a similar inspirational impact on me.


This movie stoked my wanderlust. Then it picked up my wanderlust, tossed it repeatedly in the air, praised it lovingly, called it "the best
little wanderlust ever," fed it too much coffee and administered to my wanderlust a nearly-lethal dose of methamphetamine.

I loved the way the film captured the Travel Writer's Dilemma -- that is, when you witness something wonderful you really want to share it with your friends, your family and the world. But each time someone writes about or photographs or films a great place they're speeding the process that will destroying the wonder in that place. They're beckoning the tour buses and the pollution and the souvenir shops.

Anyway, one of the movie's train-hopper kids bemoans this and tells the filmmaker that it's just not cool to film this, to spread the word about train hopping. He goes on and on about how great train hopping is and how publicity will kill it. Then she asks him why he agreed to be
interviewed, to take part in the film and tell the world the wonders of train hopping.

In that moment he embodies the Travel Writer's Dilemma. He pauses with a pained expression for that moment, then he prattles on again about how
great train hopping is and how bad it is that people want to publicize it.

The kid is just like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Theroux, and the maker of this movie. They're all guilty of saying what a pity it is that great things are being publicized, while simultaneously adding to that publicity. Now Dav is too.

Three travelers can keep a secret -- if three of them are dead.

Posted by: sean@cheesebikini.com on September 18, 2002 11:02 AM

There's no way that if you respect the rails would you be out there making it shine all bright for the general public, It's an underground world and needs to stay that way.

Posted by: Antistyleking530 on November 21, 2002 04:36 PM

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