19 May 2008

Movie and Smoke

Some movie reviews from the past week. Also, four hours of secondhand smoke (heavy smoke) exposure has made me sick for two days straight. Pathetic. I hope to kick the cough by tomorrow.

Once is as good as they say. Not even like a movie, like something else entirely. Just watch and enjoy. The music is awesome, but the way it functions as a not-movie is its own kind of brilliant.

Marie Antoinette was also really enjoyable, I was suspicious of it ever since it came out, but the history and the costuming were just fun to watch. On top of that, I actually ended up liking it. It took this figure who clearly profited from excesses in her lifestyle that depended on the deprivation of many others (the degree of excess might be debated, but when other folks are in breadlines, I think excesses is a safe word), made you sympathetic to her and made you enjoy watching the absurdity of the court, and then ended with a nod (not lingered upon too much) to the Revolution and the deposing of the monarchy. I liked that because I think it is a pretty accurate appraisal of how I feel living in this country most of the time. We are all a bunch of Marie Antoinettes running around, consuming in a desperate confusion, profiting from an accident of birthplace, and living excessively by the delegated deprivation of people worldwide. To the point that however nice and charming many of us are, whatever happens to us on a societal scale might go down in history as justice.

The Ground Truth -- wow. This documentary is the best thing I've seen, read, or otherwise been exposed to on the current war. The brutality of some of the cadences these soldiers are trained to (singing about killing kids while they're at prayer), along with their stories told so honestly, and with no sense of entitlement, it's amazing. It ends with a tearful apology to the Iraqi people that is completely self-implicating. And the song they use is Patty Griffin's "Mary," which will make you cry even in a happy setting.

I saw the new Narnia movie. I actually did NOT like the first one, mostly because everything felt so Jesus-related. I know, I know -- it's not like I hadn't read the books as a kid (and loved them) so I had full warning, but somehow twenty years has made me much more jaded about Christ allegories. This one was much less so, with a sassy Narnian dwarf nonbeliever thrown in (another point over the first movie, which had the low-level creepiness of Mr. Tumnus).

14 May 2008

Not Blogging for a Month? Priceless.

It's really been a month? I...honestly don't know what happened to that month. I think maybe I should look under my bed. Or in my garage, which was cleaned out entirely by me in order to create a new, functioning craft room. Oh, that's where. That, and the garden, from which I ate a delicious radish seedling salad for lunch today. Snooty types call this "microgreens," I call it the only way I can bring myself to justify thinning seedlings that are otherwise perfectly healthy and happy. And apparently, nutritious and delicious. I realized today that I would be a terrible cheetah, I would never be able to bring myself to thin the herd. OK, so I did a lot of time-wasting things this month too, but overall it's been a very productive and efficient month except for the whole totally-dropping-the-blog-ball thing. Turning over new leaf...now!

Random run-down of stuff to report and/or endorse:

- Visited Eastern State Penitentiary on my most recent trip to Philly for the conference. This brings my number of prison audio tours for the last three month period to two, a number that makes me wonder if the universe is telling me something. The most priceless moment in this trip was when one of the wings of the prison was closed off (it almost looks like a Panopticon design, which made me absurdly excited, but alas, apparently it's slightly different or whatever). It was closed off for an Anthropologie catalog photo shoot. I do not lie. If you look at my pictures, you will see the crumbling, ruined prison cells that will eventually serve as a backdrop for $168 embroidered skirts.

- Beer is good. I've discovered I totally, sincerely (unlike when I lie and say a beer tastes "pretty good" every other time I drink one) love the house-made Flemish sour ale at a Belgian restaurant in Philly. Oh, I'm sure they have that on tap everywhere.

- Square dancing is awesome. And I'm so totally good at it. OK, "good" in the way I say most beers are "good." Square dances are becoming a Eugene hipster/old coot mixer tradition lately and I couldn't be happier.

- Glen Hansard and the Swell Season concert with some fine folks was a night of total fun. Glen Hansard is adorable. Tomorrow I get to finally see him in action in the movie "Once." I cannot wait.

- The Grocery Outlet. I'm finishing this post having just returned from a trip there, my second in a week. At most stores, you find the same things week in and week out, ever predictable. Boring! Where else but the Grocery Outlet would you find Smoothie Flavored Skittles, or Smoked Bacon Pringles, or "Factory Seconds" Almond Roca? You may not always like everything you find there, but you'll always find something you like, even if you never knew you liked it until that moment. Your favorite discontinued flavor of Haagen-Dazs or perhaps some chili-lime pistachio nuts? I feel sorry for those who have not enjoyed the good times of buying your groceries in outlet form. In my hometown, it's the only grocery store around.

- Books. I'm going to take a real stand and say, they're a good thing.