~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Un peu fatigue ~ Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm oddly tired today. Or, perhaps it isn't totally odd. I rode my bike to the meditation circle last night. It was fine going--a touch taxing on the hills, but not too bad. Coming home... *sigh*. A sad, sad thing, when you have to pause three times on the final hill because you're all tired. And it's not even that big a hill--it's just that the road has an uphill incline leading up to it, so I was already slightly winded before I even started. I guess it's been a long time since I've ridden any distance--or at all, in fact. Still, it was pretty sad. I was glad that it was after dark, so no-one was likely to notice me huffing and puffing.

I'm hoping to bike to the meditation circle on a reasonably regular basis (as opposed to walking or driving), so things might improve. But the meetings are only twice a month at this point, so they might not. Heh.

And then today, I walked a bit. I also wrote 3,000 words, so that made me happy. But maybe that's got me a bit tired as well. They're coming in tomorrow to do the flooring--it'll be nice to have it done, but it will also mean that I'll be out of excuses for not putting stuff back into the kitchen. I'm hoping to do a bit of that tonight, once Tom heads off to his band practice (it's Rocktonic tonight, no the group I'm involved with).

I also decided to offer a set of four beginners' ballroom dancing classes at the UU. Of course, I've never taught it before, but I'm hoping it will be fun--that's the main thing, really. I would like people to have fun and maybe learn a few steps in the process. I don't think we could expect to do more than that in four weeks. We're going to cover Swing (triple time and a bit of single time), Rhumba, Cha-cha and a fourth dance that I haven't decided on yet.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all the other dances that we happen to know. For instance: tango is fun and dramatic, but no-one ever plays a tango, except by request, and then you're likely to be the only people on the dance floor. Waltz is the other way--everyone has their own way of waltzing, and the "ballroom dancing" style is particularly incompatible with most of the others, since it covers a lot of space. If the dance floor is sparsely populated, it's fine and looks very nice. If the dance floor is full, it's an obstacle course trying to navigate your way around. Same thing with foxtrot (though most people just do triple time swing, because the music can be similar, so the dance floor is full of people doing a different dance and once again becomes an obstacle course). And samba is rarely played, except by request.

Apparently, the ad for the classes will be running in the latest newsletter, so I'm committed now. I'm kind of glad about that, actually--otherwise, it might be tempting to just let it fall by the wayside. So, Tom will be there, and will definitely be teaching the "lead" parts and going around to help with technique, but I'll probably be doing most of the rest of it. Fun--I hope! And again, hopefully not too nerve-wracking. I wonder if many people will sign up? I suspect that there may be some interest, but child care might be an issue for those with young kids.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 7:04 PM::::



Melinda's All Gone Pete Tong ~ Thursday, April 20, 2006

Several nights ago, Tom and I were faced with a minor conundrum. Our movie channels presented two slightly intriguing offerings: a recent Woody Allen effort, "Melinda and Melinda" and a Brit-Canadian mockumentary "It's All Gone Pete Tong."

We ended up watching "Melinda" (I missed the first bit, I'll admit--but got the idea about the premise from what I could hear of it in the kitchen). As a preface to my comments: I've pretty much gone off Woody Allen since "Celebrity". I used to be a fan--I still love the vintage stuff like "Annie Hall" and even "Everyone Says I Love You" was a good laugh. But Branagh playing the requisite Woody Allen character grated heavily on me; I ended up walking out of the film, and haven't really looked back since (the romance had already soured with "Deconstructing Harry" which, aside from the premise, was just barely this side of mediocre, IMHO).

So, with all that, I felt somewhat cautious going into "Melinda." And alas, the caution proved justified. The premise (once again, a clever one, worthy of an Alan Ayckbourn play--just as the premises of so many of Allen's other works have that often-absurdist, PoMo, off-the-wall charm) is that there are two playwrights debating about whether a given story would work better as a comedy or a tragedy.

There are common, sweeping strokes--represented by the eponymous character's appearence as the catalyst in the lives of two different couples. Love triangles ensue, one with a tragic and the other with a comedic outcome. Kind of neat, non?

Alas, despite the fact that the two interlocuters are apparently playwrights, the proponent of the tragic version of the tale rarely strayed from cloyingly trite dialogue and tedious melodrama that left me disengaged and impatient (I think it was meant to be played for laughs with a "wink-wink" and-isn't-this-sooo-over-the-top kind of humour that wore thin after about one scene). In small doses, it's funny, but that sort of thing is difficult to sustain. 'Nuff said.

The comedic component was a recycled Woody Allen standard that was done far more effectively in such classics as "Manhattan"--even "Mighty Aphrodite" at least had the benefit of featuring a Greek Chorus that did song and dance routines of old standards. At any rate--the comedy featured Will Farrel as the Woody Allen figure: married, and lusting after Melinda. His version of Woody Allen was slightly less annoying than Branagh's, but somehow only Allen himself manages to deliver his more obnoxious retorts without being insufferable.

So, both versions were kind of yawners and just reinforced my disinclination to go out of my way to see any of Allen's latest films. Though, I'm told that "Sweet and Lowdown" is pretty good--and having seen Sean Penn in "Mystic River" and "21 Grams", I'd actually be willing to check that one out.

We caught "It's All Gone Pete Tong" a few days later on the NOD (=TMNOD=>The Movie Network On Demand). The premise: a top DJ discovers his hearing is going. The title is Cockney Rhyming slang for "It's all gone wrong." It features some rather good quotes, the standout being "Aside from the obvious example, the music industry has generally been dominated by people who can hear."

Clever, clever. At any rate, though the first act (in which we see DJ Frankie Wilde's life before he discovers his hearing is going) is rather offputting--or was to me, at least. In that sense, it reminded me of "Bad Santa"--where the opening act almost had me turning it off, but I was glad I didn't because I found subsequent bits absolutely hilarious in a really, horribly politically incorrect way. Though I didn't find "Pete Tong" quite as funny as all that, through the second and third acts, it shaped into an engaging, amusing film that was ultimately--and unexpectedly--sweet and rather heartwarming. Again, it hit all the standard turning points along the story arc--but was nonetheless rewarding and likeable. I'd definitely recommend it over "Melinda", if you can manage to get through the first act.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 11:58 AM::::



Snakes on a Plane ~ Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I wonder what that movie could be about?

Apparently, there's been a lot of hype, just based on the title, which really cracks me up. I'm pretty curious to see it, at this point, though it sounds like it will be a not very good B-movie. Also, snakes don't particularly scare me. I actually like them and think they're cool (it's amazing watching snakes move). So the tension would have to come from the writing, pacing, etc. because snakes in themselves aren't scary to me, even if they are in a closed environment like a plane. (Just like Arachnaphobia was inherently scary to people who fear spiders, but I kind of like spiders too, so it wasn't for me.)

We recently began a subscription to McLean's and I'm surprised that I actually like it so far. It's full of interesting little tidbits (like the Snakes on a Plane thing). It makes me feel like I am not totally removed from things. I like it when a film comes out or somesuch and there's a familiarity there, like "I've heard of that and was intrigued by it at the time" sort of gig.

And speaking of gigs, the band will be rehearsing next Sunday. I hope I feel like less of a fifth wheel this time 'round, but I'm not convinced. The musicians are just so good. Still, I'll keep going, if only for my fleeting opportunities to sing a song or two and bask in the sun briefly. It's even nicer when the musicians are this good and they just follow you. Wow. (*glug glug* a bit out of my depth... *glug*) It sure pays to have a husband who suggested forming the band in the first place. ;-D My inner diva couldn't be happier. My inner realist/pessimist, however, is fretting away. We'll see who wins

Other interesting Mclean's tidbits:

Ikea is now in the housing business--houses targeted at low income families ("it should be affordable for a single nurse with one child"). From the pictures, they look rather nice from the inside. The exterior has a bit of the look of one of those rental camp cabins at popular wilderness areas--again, based on the one picture in the article.

"Express kidnappings" are apparently on the rise in South America. This was interestingly corroborated (pre-corroborated? I heard it before I read the article, so I guess it's the latter which is doing the corroboration) by Elsy. She's from Caracas. She talked about how pretty much everyone she knows has been kidnapped (she hasn't, but her stepfather, her mother, various friends, her aunt etc. have been).

When I asked for more details, the situations she described sounded more like hostage or holdup situations (rather than targeting someone, kidnapping them and demanding a randsom, which is how we think of kidnapping, and is also apparently (?) widespread in South America--specifically Brazil and Venezuela). But, it sounds like it might be an idiomatic difference: they call this "express kidnapping" where someone who looks affluent is held at gunpoint and forced to go to a bank machine or whatever and draw a whole lot of money. It also adds nuance to the name of the Venezuelan film she wanted us to see (because it was Venezuelan and apparently there aren't a lot of films coming out of the country--though alas, our local video store didn't have a copy, so I shall have to check at some of the more distant rental outlets), which is "Sequestro express" (sp?) or "kidnapping express"--or perhaps more accurately "express kidnapping"?

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 9:28 AM::::



The long Hiatus ~ Monday, April 17, 2006

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since my last post. The good news: I've done some writing in the interim. The bad news: it's never enough. :-D

It all began when I had news that Avari Press 1) existed and 2) was running a contest for a Young Adult novel. I had something sitting about that could possibly fit the bill. Problem was, it was kind of like our kitchen: in the midst of renovations, with bits and pieces of its contents lying about the house, gathering that special kind of "renovation dust" that's especially hard to clean off.

So, that was when the blog ceased, for I learned about the contest 1.5 weeks before the deadline. Happy, albeit suspenseful, ending: I got the mss mailed just under the wire, on the final day that it could be postmarked (because of course, our printer is sitting in our front foyer right now, and because of whatever crazy configurations and technomagic nonsense is going on, I wasn't able to get it to print, even after I reinstalled the drivers and did the appropriate dances and incantations. Tom came to the rescue with an eleventh hour printout). In addition to that particular deadline, "crunch week" also happened to be when Tamara needed my final picks for Periphery (theme: Southern Revival). Unfortnately, I only found the submissions sitting sandwiched between my front door and the screen door three days before those were due; we never use our front door, and there's a printer sitting in front of it for the nonce.

And then, the ensuing weeks have been occupied with doing a bit of Regency Revival, as well as installing shelf liner, blinds and other immensely entertaining rituals and tasks (let it be noted that I detest shelf liner, and this recent close acquaintance with it has not endeared me to it at all).

Right now I'm procrastinating over writing my next scene. I guess I should get to it, though. I'm at 242 or so pages, so that's not bad at least.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 4:22 PM::::


P r o f i l e

Anduril Elessar
Susan Deefholts

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