Friday, January 24, 2014

Nordic Boy's 3 Part Birthday

This year, my dude asked for three things for his birthday. One: a day off work for both of us where we spent the whole day doing interesting stuff, but he didn't know what and wanted me to plan it. Two: a very low-key activity of some sort with his most favorite Seattle people. Three: a fancy dinner and a night out seeing something arty. I am happy to say that I came through for him on all three things. After months of him taking care of me, I really, really wanted to plan a bunch of stuff that was exactly as he wanted. And I did. Yay, me! (Oops, see how I turned that shit around and made it about me again? DANGIT).

We took the day off on Wednesday and I took him to a history museum which was a total score. They had old timey tools there, and old timey printing presses, and old timey factory machines. My guy likes old timey stuff in a Ron Swanson sort of way. We then walked around in the surprising sunshine and ended up on the Ferris wheel. It was good times. Thing One: DONE.

I tried to make us reservations to go bowling but the reservation lady jacked it up and so we didn't know whether we were showing up for bowling on Friday night or if we were showing up to shoot pool. I sent out an email to Nordic Boy's pals saying that all I knew was that we were going to be rolling some sort of balls around for sport, but I was not sure of ball size or rolling format. We showed up and it turned out to be pool, which was fine. If you play pool with me, Nordic Boy, or our friends, we are not pretending to be not good in order to pool shark your ass. We are really just that stinky at it. At any rate, drinks were drunk, balls were rolled, fun was had. Thing Two: DONE.

Saturday night I made us reservations at our current restaurant obsession, got dressed up all swanky, and went to stuff our faces. After that we went to the opera. Rigoletto (or "Rigatoni" as we like to call it because we are SO FUNNY) was the show. I have many things to say about that opera. First of all, it will never cease to amaze me the sheer volume that comes out of those humans. Like, it is blasting right out of their faces in a way that does not seem right at all. Second, this thing had all of the elements of an episode of Scandal- kidnapping, beating, murder, affairs, betrayal, all of it. Opera does not tone down the drama, y'all. Third, of all, I know it is a cliche but it really is true that sometimes characters in an opera take an awfully, awfully long time to die. This girly in Rigoletto got stabbed, and she sang, then she got rolled up in a bag and dragged around (NO JOKE THIS OPERA WAS THUGGISH), then she got unwrapped, and then she sat up and sang a bunch more and THEN she croaked. It was bananuts. At any rate, Thing Three: DONE.

Birthday times, over and out.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Consumables #83

My 100 Movies in 2014 resolution is going along at a rapid clip. I have watched 12 movies so far, and I am not even trying to watch at a faster rate than normal, and that seems like a lot of movies for it to be mid-January. I guess? I mean, I still eat and sleep and work and spend non-movie-watching time with Nordic Boy and family and friends and errand and do chores and exercise and do all sorts of other things in my day. Not to mention intaking copious amounts of other media like books and tv and podcasts and musics. Why do I feel the need to apologize for my movie watching rates right now and assure you that I have not fallen into a hole where my sweatpants have grown into my couch and my veins are filled with nothing but the oil and salt from too much popcorn? I don't know why, but I do. I WATCHED A DOZEN MOVIES IN TWO WEEKS WITHOUT TRYING BUT I AM STILL A GOOD MEMBER OF SOCIETY SHAME SPIRAL AHHHHHH.

Anyhoozle. Let's talk about 'em.

The Water Front
You know how Netflix has those microgenres in their recommendations? ("Classic tearjerkers with a strong female lead" or what have you). I wonder if they have one called "The People of Michigan Get Screwed But They Are Scrappy and Will Fight Back." If they do not, then they should. Think about it: you've got your Roger and Me, your Searching for Sugarman, your Detropolis. Listen, I am not knocking it, for I'm a prime audience for those movies, for sure. I am just saying there are a lot of them, which is unfortunate only insofar as there are so many ways that people are getting screwed and having to fight back about it. This one is about how water is being privatized in the Detroit area and how citizens in that area are fighting for their right to affordable water.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
Let me see if I can explain this. This Swedish documentarian makes a film about Dole, as in the banana company, that is critical of their business practices. Dole brings a lawsuit against him, and so he makes a film about his battle with them over the lawsuit. This is that film. Meaning, it's the film about the original film. The thing that fascinated me the most about this was the parts that showed the political process in Sweden. Which, hello, yes, me, boring.

The Island President
Another documentary (yes, I like a documentary) about Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, who is known for his fight against climate change due to the fact that the Maldives is being alarmingly affected by rising sea levels.

Keep your expectations low on this one and you'll be fine. There are several under-explained plot lines, like one where Jodie Foster plans a coup whereby she can take over a computer program and yadda yadda she unseats the president (huh?), and I think she is trying to have some sort of South African accent (I think? or maybe I am projecting because the director is South African) but that goes horribly wrong. So just, expectations: low.

Somehow we managed to find this still playing on the big screen in 3D, and I am so glad we did. It was definitely the most captivating use of 3D that I have ever seen, although if you are prone to the throw-upsies then you might not enjoy it quite so much. I guess I had never realized it before but the thought of being untethered in open space is effing TERRIFYING. And yes, basically the whole movie is: something goes wrong, figure out how to fix it, something else goes wrong, figure out how to fix it, something else goes wrong, figure out how to fix it. But I was totally engaged with that loop the entire time. I loved that the Sandra Bullock character was not sexualized in any way (Hollywood will usually find a way to put a lady in a sexy jumpsuit if she is to go to space). Even when she has to take off her space suit and she is essentially in her underthings, they are normal underthings and the camera does not shoot her lasciviously ever, which I'm just saying hardly ever happens. There were things about the script that I could have done without, but overall, I thought it was really good. And could George Clooney look any more Buzz Lightyear? I do not think so.

Yeah, you know the drill on these superhero movies. But this one was pretty good. Can I just ask you what the deal is with Wolverine's muttonchops and crazy hairdo? Is that like, his style choice, or is there something about his mutation that makes him have those things? In this movie there is a period of time where he has grown out all his hair, and then when he comes back to society, he unwillingly gets cleaned up by his rescuers, including a haircut and a shave. Next scene, he arrives with that damn cheek-beard and the headwings. So, did he tell them to style it like that? Or did they just have to for some reason? These are the things I think about.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
I remember as a child being FER-REAKED OUT by the child catcher, but for the life of me I cannot see why now. I also have a super strong memory of the Old Bamboo song and the Doll on a Music Box song. Oh Dick Van Dyke, I heart you. And also, BENNY HILL IS IN THIS MOVIE. That just don't seem right, people.

Dancing Dreams
Documentary about choreographer Pina Bausch and how she selected a bunch of teens in Germany who had never danced before and taught them her famous piece called Contact Zone. There were many things about this that blew my effing mind. First of all, the fact that these non-dancy, non-performy teens, who had all of the self-consciousness that teens have, actually did this piece which has many parts in it where you have to make yourself extremely vulnerable and awkward on purpose, was crazy. Second of all, that the community and the parents in that community allowed those teens to participate in a piece that asks such deep questions about gender and sexuality was astounding. Europe really is less freaked out about sex than we are. It was pretty awesome.

Before Midnight
The third in the Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight set of movies, and it was my least favorite. This one had a little too much "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" talk. Plus, I get that it's supposed to be showing different sides to a multi-faceted long term relationship, but these two really do not seem to like each other much at all. Even when they were being nice to each other there were constant verbal jabs and little cruelties and not a lick of kindness. I get that relationships can be hard but I just wanted them to break up already.

The Square
Documentary about the "Arab Spring," especially focusing on the events in Tahrir Square in Egypt, this had amazing footage, told a complicated story really well, and was simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking. There was crying on my part.

Cutie and the Boxer
Documentary about renowned "boxing painter" Ushio Shinohara and his 40-year marriage to his wife Noriko. The movie showcases their struggle with poverty, their struggles in their marriage, and their artistic journey together. Noriko, who has assisted Ushio to the detriment of her own artistic career, is stepping out on her own with her artwork starring her alter ego "Cutie." Totally fascinating.

20 Feet from Stardom
Documentary that celebrates the largely unknown female back up singers that fueled Top 40 hits from the 60s through current times. These ladies got pipes, y'all. Loved it.

Woo wee. You stuck with this whole post? You deserve a dance. (Does this song seem dirty to you? "It's useful in the underbrush to have a hefty spear?" Anyone? Just me? Ok).

Me Ol' Bamboo, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Boy's Birthday

Oh my pretties! So many things.

My unlucky attempt at ice skating has left me no worse for wear, except yesterday all of a sudden my ankle felt janky all over again. On the plus side, when my ankle feels janky I get to call it my jankle. So there is always a plus side.

We spent a lot of our weekend at home this past weekend, so naturally this was the time for a rainstorm that caused the power to be out for a lot of the time. And lookit, I know my wimpy Seattle ass has no room to complain about being cold (when my mom is all "it really warmed up today! It was EIGHT DEGREES!"), but I hope it's not too annoying to say that I was feeling so much love for my furnace when that power came back on. I mean, I was marveling at the invention of all furnaces. Furnace people, I salute you!

Also, I forgot to tell you that I up and did a super un-me thing and made some New Year's Resolutions after all, yo! I honestly think this is a first for my whole life, maybe? I am fixing to read 100 books this year, watch 100 movies, and go on 100 dates with people I love. Oh and also I am going to try to take a photo every day. That's right, I have gone from no-resolution-lady to Ms. Resolution Up the Yin Yang! Go big or go home, is what I always (never) say. Actually my resolutions are less about making changes to my life (I already read lots and watch lots and love lots and photo lots) and more about counting this shit up and getting to make lists of them all. AND HOO NANNY I LOVE A LIST.

Lastly it was Nordic Boy's birthday this week and so we both played hooky for the day. We went to the Museum of History and Industry and learned us some stuff about local history like a couple of old farts (I guess you could say historic farts), and then we walked a bunch (the sun actually came out! In January! In Seattle!), and then I went to work for a few hours (oops, I only played semi-hooky), and then we went over to the Seattle ferris wheel and took a ride in that (this city is pretty pretty pretty), and then met up with Biogirl for dinner. It was such a lovely day for that dude o' mine.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sliding On Ice, They're Watching You

Looky looky, it's 2014! Our century is fourteen, which means it is just getting acne, surliness will start to settle in, and it will spend a lot of time in the bathroom "just washing up." Ah yes.

My year has been going along pretty ok so far. I attempted ice skating for the first time in my life and it lasted a good 7 minutes or so. At that point it was time for my butt to kiss the ice, which it did. Unfortunately the romance shocked my ankle and made it so my ice skating career, at least for the day, was over. Let me ask you this, young readers. WHY do only little children get those ice skating walker devices? And also WHY do only little children get double-bladed ice skates? I saw many a whippersnapper fall on the ice and they all just popped right back up because children are made from bouncy materials. It's us older brittle-boned types that need extra help, is what I say. Anyway. As I wiped out (and hey you guys, ice is super freaking hard and causes butt bruise, in case you were wondering), all I could think was the exact same thing I thought as a child in Michigan every time I was forced to be in snowy environs and that is "I AM FROM FIJI WHAT THE HELL WHY" which is a perfectly reasonable thing to think when one is genetically predisposed to white sandy beaches and 80 degree weather. And THEN when I mention this ice skating fiasco to anyone all I hear back is about how this person broke a bone ice skating and that person got a concussion once when ice skating and another person ripped a tendon while ice skating. Like, 5 or 6 different people are telling me these things. WHY ARE WE ICE SKATING, PEOPLE. I do not understand the universe.

Anyway. Ice skating. Worst.

In other news I took my pal L to lunch for her birthday which basically turned into a symposium about Sister Wives, and if you watch that show too you know what I am talking about, Willis. I also hung out with my friend Jenny, and lastly spent a lot of time planning for the upcoming year with Nordic Boy (with spreadsheets!), because we are gigantic, festering nerds.

For those of you in the parts of the country that are buried in snow, I hope you are doing ok and that you have heat and supplies and that you aren't getting cabin fever. Stay safe, people (no ice skating). It has been making me positively warm in the heart-cockles to look at the Facebooks and see all the posts on there of people offering to make grocery runs for each other and shovel sidewalks for each other and make sure their neighbors are ok. I know some good peoples.

When Delium was a kid he thought that Hall and Oates were saying "SLIDING ON ICE" instead of "Private Eyes," and that's how I sing it to myself even now. Want to join me?

Private Eyes, Hall and Oates:

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Holidays Out, New Year In

Got gussied up, had a fancy meal, hung out with friends, exchanged gifts with Biogirl, stayed up late, spent New Year's Day in our pajimmy-jams, had a long phone chat with my mom (2 degrees in Michigan! NOT NICE), making enchiladas for dinner, and feeling the love.

Happy New Year, everyone. I am thankful for all my blog friends, and wish you a loverly 2014.

Joy to You Baby, by Josh Ritter