Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010, and Memories

To quote the Beach Boys, “Christmas comes this time each year”. Which I myself have observed, as well. We celebrate the time in our own way.

Beth, Erin,and I focus on a Christmas party. We had a party our second year together, and every year since except last year. Our digs were just too small to accommodate a party, tho we had small groups over.

Last Saturday, then, we had our Christmas party. Beth loves to plan and cook for these affairs. Excellent! Wonderful food, lots of sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and desserts. Every party has had its drum session. My panoply of drums proves irresistible, and a lot of noise ensues. Children of all ages, when the drums appear.

Ramping to Christmas is our anniversary, on the winter solstice. This year our 10th. That there lunar eclipse occurred on the same day, but hampering clouds locally made it an event I could pass on.

Our first Christmas, 4 days after marriage, there was a partial solar eclipse. Our wedding, I should note, was a home affair. Beth decorated vividly, right up to the last minute, I did the meal (bread, soup, salad, cake). Prior to the ceremony with officiating Unitarian minister, we snuck over to Concord Bridge (Emerson’s rude bridge), and made our personal ceremony. It was a brisk day with snow in the air, but two pigeons joined us. They were in mating mood, with the male puffing out in display and the female performing a revolving dance. Affronts from my family spoiled the ‘real’ ceremony.

Just to add detail, 5 days after Christmas that year, Erin and I were chasing each other with snowballs. A crafty cutback on my part caught Erin off guard. Slipping on the ice as he tried to change direction, he landed hard on his knees. He howled, which I expected. He persisted to howl, which I did not expect.

A 911 call brought lots of help, and a ride to Emerson Hospital. A so-called butterfly break in Erin’s femur necessitated an ambulance trip to Children’s Hospital, Boston. Thru a snowstorm. Some 11 hours after getting injured, Erin had a bed. Around 4:00, last day of the millennium, Erin had 3 steel pins put into his thigh, to hold the bones together. The pins stuck out from the leg. We promised Erin that we would not leave him so we did not. One of the pin sites became infected, which extended his stay to 9days. I could go on.

Anyway, a last minute thing yesterday, we decided to go to the mall to get gifts to exchange. We don’t do gifts particularly. Leastwise, we do not enter the frenetic travail of shopping under the gun.

We stopped first at Barnes & Noble, which was busy. People near the door were ready to leap out and inform you about B&N’s e-reader. I am not against such a marvel, but until I can believe that the available selection will include poetry, and whatever esoterica of my interest, I will wait.

Beth and Erin both had targets at B&N. I just wandered. No, I did not look at the poetry selection, that’s a why bother proposition. Erin and Beth came up empty so we repaired to the mall across the street. Where things seemed listless.

People were buying, unlike recent years (eyeball proof), but not eagerly. This might partly owe to being the 24th. Eddie Bauer was strafed. A customer said to an employee, you mean there are no gloves at all? and the employee shook her head. Keeping inventory tight.

A slipper mongering kiosk, actually a cart, tempted Beth and her need for slippers. The fellow there was uninterested,offered no help.

Oh well.

Beth and I want a Buddha for a shrine we have. Now, where can you buy Buddha? An Asian import store had lots to offer. It was all gimcrack, alas. It didn’t feel good. Teavana, the tea merchant, had one that appealed, but it was too expensive. We decided to hit the food court. The Indian food offered there is as good as the locally available Indian fare. You have to go into Boston/Cambridge for better.

The food court was full, and ringingly noisy. I could watch the televisions placed everywhere, but not hear them. Music videos, with all the phony mannerisms that that implies.

Finally, a visit to Whole Foods, for turkey stuffing. There have been times when it was so busy there that they have people shepherding customers to open registers. AND offering coffee and chocolate truffles to ease the wait. Not so yesterday. Whole Foods had zero eggnog. Gonzo. We watched a young boy, abetted by his father, inoculated a brie sample with this year’s favourite flu. Sigh.

Beyond finally, a quick trip to Market Basket, in the hopes of nog. Market Basket is a low-priced local grocery chain. We do not buy either meat or produce there, it is all clearly low grade. The sparse egg nog selection included cinnamon, vanilla, and Special Holiday Release: sugar cookie. Vanilla was my choice of the three. It tastes like sugar.

We watched 2/3 of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Aragorn is still bitchin’. And so this holiday season, with my small family, and love.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Watched the movie the other night. The trailers were inviting, whenever I saw them (no explosions!). Enjoyed it.

I haven’t read the book but the movie supposedly is based on facts. The idea of the military attempting to find use for New Age psychic powers is both unbelievable and not so. The operation would necessarily be crazy ass. Thus the movie.

The plus of the movie, and a word to movie makers, is the cast. Do not use defined comedic actors in these roles, or certified character actors. Instead, lean towards the old pros and stature types. Let ‘em  rip it up. It is plain fun to watch Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, and Kevin Spacey act wiggy.

Ewan MacGregor is the straight man, the witness, but even he gets a few sly ones in. The other three, they firmly involve themselves in their characters, but you see a twinkle. A blurb on the dvd cover says that this resembles the Coen Brothers at their most outrageous. I would leave the prepositional phrase out, perhaps because no one is being stuffed into a leaf shredder. The movie is goofy, that’s good enough.