Thursday, December 27, 2007

Walden, again

, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

unusual Christmasiness this year: we watched a lot of movies. okay, 1st, the solstice, Beth and I celebrated our 7th anniversary. we ate at the Colonial Inn, which belonged to the Thoreau family back in the day. a festive 19th century New England atmosphere to the dining room. afterwards we sought out the solstice drum circle by the river. it was too cold, dressed (nicely) as we were, so we passed on. saturday following, our Christmas party. Beth loves to cook for crowds. I help but Beth does the heavy lifting. essentially every dish in the house gets used, and that's what I did sunday, cleaning them, that is. on the 24th, we did a little food shopping, then visited a nearby gallery that we like. and so on, Christmas. a roast with Yorkshire pudding. I've had 3 versions of Yorkshire pudding: my mother's mine, and Beth's, all derived from Fannie Farmer, whatever edition current when my parents married in 1944. eggs, flour, water, and salt. usually throw it in the pan with the roast and potatoes. this time, more like a popover, baked in a cast iron pan. our nucular Christmas tradition. so anyway, the things we watched:

Hogsfather, presumably a BBC production, of one of Terry Pratchett's books. I read the 1st 20 Disc World novels pretty much as they came out, now I'm way behind. I turned Beth onto them, and she has read every one, most of them multiple times. now Erin has begun reading them. the production had the usual low rent special effects typical of British tv, but also the solid acting. Death, who has temporarily replaced Hogsfather (read Santa Claus), is a wonderful character. most adjustments from the book made sense, like the absence of the Death of Mice, a little rodent Reaper. surely the cgi for that would have killed the budget, as would making Death's jaws move.

Pirates of the Caribbean--seen it maybe 4 times and still love it. Depp and Rush have great fun with their roles, scenery is great, special effects, swordplay, etc. all lost in the ensuing crap. the 3rd one both put me to sleep and angered me. surely a 4th is due, whether they can scrouge up Depp for it or not. it can be the Keira Knightly show.

Fellowship of the Ring/The Two Towers. lots of issues with this but it still holds up okay. the stalwartly heroic Aragorn was a linchpin in the books and Viggo (who I want to be, someday) does the same for the movies. when he sends Frodo off, so that he can meet the oncoming orcs, you think, poor orcs. it's not that I have anything against Liv Tyler but any scene with her in it was bereft of energy. absolutely useless plot addition. Cate Blanchett was ridiculous, too, as the hey look at me Elf. so went all the Elves, really, except Orlando Hottie and, perhaps, Mr Smith. Jackson just didn't have a way to deal with these timeless creatures. Merry and Pippin were too Bowery Boys for my taste. the homoerotic theme certainly filled the book but it becomes oppressive in the movie, all that male weeping and hugging. it's funny to think that this movie may be what people know of LOTR. not that it aint being read (when the new Harry Potter is finished), but that Elijah Woods IS Frodo, etc. New Zealand looks like home to me.

Monday, December 24, 2007

several recent additions to Antic View here. the conversation that Jeff Harrison and I have here is Poet Work.

strange emanations from the paranormal world continue to be documented at Amazement Stuff. my approach to the paranormal is, of course, rigorously scientific, but don't think my discoveries cannot scare the bejesus out of you.
we've gone to the mall numerous times this Christmas season. we go without the shopping imperative, for the most part. instead, we go and look. I'm very fond of this. I don't know what sort of business season it is but it seems more lively than last year. one time, we went to the Apple Store because Erin's new iPod had a problem. they were fine with replacing it, but tried to make him wait 3 days for a new one to ship in. I gather the point of that was to prevent merchandise leaving the premise at this special time of the year for free when a crazed holiday shopper could be carting away the selfsame. after some dialogue Erin got his Pod. which just shows to go you, but while awaiting the final judgment I noted 20, that's TWENTY, people working at Apple. and a Motley Crue, too, older humans as well as young ones. and pretty darn busy. I love my 4 gig Nano dearly, with a love that's true, but it is all I can do not to yearn for... but I'll cut it off there. I notice that Sony has a store that looks to be modeled similarly. less well lit, but offered as a spacious meeting place between people and their potential new electronic toys. a more refined experience than the noisy intensity of Best Buy and Circuit City. for ambience, J Crew took the cake. the store is new to the mall. whoever designed its look deserves a gold star. the rich colours were beautiful and eye catching, the place was open and inviting. both Abercrombie & Ef and Hollister opt for dark stores and barriers to prevent anyone seeing in/out. obviously a segregation, filtering out parental units and other duds. plus the imperative dance beat to set the hormonal climate. we had a couple of pretty wonky episodes with disinterested store help. given current economic trends, you'd think stores would labour to brighten up the help. we were at the local package store where we noticed a giftie item labeled Abacus. it was in the display of specialty bottlings, in a fancy box, your basic winery sucker punch. I knew it had to be a wine but there was no telling further. Beth remarked on the box and the cashier enthusiastically said, oh yes!. I inferred she knew something about it so I asked for details. she didn't really know, but she enquired of someone of apparent greater responsibility. he said it was a wine, and that was all he was willing to divulge. earlier, at Whole Foods, I happened to notice that one of the items at the prepared foods counter listed trisodium phosphate as an ingredient. my guess was that it was a preservative, which I didn't see the need for. and I didn't see how well it might fit the all natural spectrum that Whole Foods boasts. I asked of the person at the counter, who said she didn't know. I found that perplexing. when we got home, I applied my questions to Google. Abacus is a lardy dardy bottling from ZD Wines. I always detested the fake clamour of such bottlings (in my days working in a wine store, that is). a fancy, uesless box to dazzle thee, and the wine is what? that a winery reserves certain lots of wine for their special bottlings means, literally, that their other wine is 2nd rate. it's a bullshit marketing scam that shouldn't be acceptable. but you know, iPhones and Wiis with their instrumental rarity, playing you and me to a fare-thee-well. oh well. regarding trisodium phosphate, it is indeed a preservative. it also has the feature of softening acidity. I still don't get it in terms of Whole Foods, all natural, and what not. NOR do I get that horrid song, "Santa Baby". I gather that Marilyn Monroe 1st sang it. I've heard it several times in stores. this must stop. it is a stupid song. and speaking of stupid: those inflatable outdoor decorations. they creep me out. Santa on a Harley, hahaha.