The main thing I interacted with was the weather and the animals
January 6, 2017 12:34 PM   Subscribe

billy barr (who doesn't capitalize his name) has lived in a cabin in the Colorado woods for 40 years, and has been recording the snow levels twice a day, every day, all winter long.

A 5-minute biography of him and his snow logs made by Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions was selected by National Geographic's Short Film Showcase, which includes many other fantastic films.
posted by brainmouse (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I don't truck with people who don't capitalize their name. It's policy.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:37 PM on January 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

I like billy and I like this video.
posted by gwint at 12:41 PM on January 6, 2017

I figure however I sign it, my Name, as a Platonic Ideal, will always be capitalized. Unless it was his mother's idea, and she put it down that way.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:42 PM on January 6, 2017

There is a similar story about a Liverpudlian who monitored sea levels I believe.

I love these systematic observational obsessives.
posted by srboisvert at 12:46 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't truck with people who don't capitalize their name. It's policy.

Non-capitalizers tend to be strange, but they can be reasoned with. It's the people who write their names in ALL CAPS that you have to avoid at all costs.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:49 PM on January 6, 2017 [11 favorites]

Particularly if you want to avoid hearing damage.
posted by Brockles at 12:54 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is there a graph of his numbers somewhere?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:00 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I record battery bank voltage between daily and hourly, and mostly look back at not the numbers, but the frequency of readings to see how worried I was about running out of power. Only 6 years of logs so far. :)
posted by joeyh at 1:02 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Non-capitalizers tend to be strange

I sign my name non capitalized, but that's only because I think capital cursive J's and T's look dumb.
posted by mayonnaises at 1:12 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

billy is one of my favorite people. When I came out to the lab as an undergrad for two summers (yipes, the first is now 15 years ago!), he was a kind, quirky, welcoming presence. I remember that we put on a Shakespeare reading and billy agreed to be the Duke in As You Like It, and gave the famous sermons in stones speech, about finding joy and wisdom in living apart from the world, "exempt from public haunt." He read from the words written on his arm, a bit shyly, telling us about finding "books in brooks" and "sermons in stones." He would not change it, and I am so glad he is still out there, watching, understanding, and protecting the world.
posted by SandCounty at 1:16 PM on January 6, 2017 [19 favorites]

Hairy Lobster: Is there a graph of his numbers somewhere?

Apparently, yes (Flash required), though I haven't played with it much. It looks like his data is available there, too.

(So excited, I love this stuff!)
posted by cowcowgrasstree at 1:43 PM on January 6, 2017

I'm reminded of On Kawara's work (link to the Guggenheim exhibition which introduced me to him), which deals largely with repetition and daily activity. My favourite work of his was the "I Got Up" series in which every day he sent to an assortment of friends and acquaintances a postcard containing the statement "I got up" and a timestamp. He did this for nearly 12 years.

I read Kawara's work as being partially existential -- each day taking the time to reiterate that he is still in the world. Interestingly, his life couldn't be more different from barr's - Kawara traveled extensively and traces of his peripatetic life are in all of his works.

All this to say that, for me, the inevitable tendency to evaluate barr's activities for their contribution to climate change science risks obscuring what, to me, are equally fascinating questions about his life. barr conceived of, and managed to create, a life very different than most people, but there are only hints in the video of what that means and how that took form.

Anyways, neat film and thought-provoking story. Thanks for sharing it!
posted by ianhattwick at 3:04 PM on January 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

I had an ex with a wild old uncle who lived in a cabin on a mountain in West Virginia. Everyday he'd get up and write on the calendar "not too hot, not too cold." Predictive? Prescriptive? Never could figure it out.
posted by gorbichov at 9:31 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

i enjoy that the internet allows us to consume in ~2 minutes a work of forty years of payshunce and persistants. then onto the next click!
wonderful contradictions...
posted by danjo at 7:00 AM on January 9, 2017

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