If you have not seen these flicks yet, and if you can stomach violence, go see Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth. Children of Men’s use of sound and color to convey the struggle for hope and survival made it the most remarkable futuristic film I’ve seen since Blade Runner. The nightmarish, yet strangely beautiful, fantasy of Pan’s Labyrinth, interwoven with a brutal tale of the end of the Spanish Civil War, is simply stunning in its originality. Neither film insults its audience by neatly filling in the story; instead they challenge the audience to find the meaning. Mexican directors are making beautiful films these days.
Aside from that, not a hell of a lot is going on with me. I had lunch with my parents on Sunday. I was able to keep my it’s-cold-out-leave-me-the-hell-alone prickliness from getting the best of me, and we had a decent time. We went into a British imports store, and I found this shelf of goodies. Let it not be said that American food is the only thing worthy of a bit of mockery.
Mmmm. Sauce. Fruity Sauce. Tasty. Gimme some Marmite. I’ve spared everyone the tinned Spotted Dick on the top shelf.
This morning I woke up to this beautiful sight out my living room window. Finally, a bit of the white stuff.
Baby, it’s cold outside. Brrrrrrrr. Shiver. My friend called me earlier this afternoon, trying to psych herself up to brave the elements. The conversation went something like this:
“Have you been out yet?”
“No, but I’m looking out the window. The sky’s beautiful. Does that count?”
“God, it’s cold.”
“No kidding. I’m not sure if I want to go out. Are you going out?”
“I really should before it gets dark. It will be depressing if I don’t.”
“Yeah, but it’s cold as fuck out there. I’m nice and warm in here. Still, it’s such a nice day.”
“Where did all this wind come from?”
What she did, I do not know, but I did indeed go outside. Or, more specifically, I walked outside and got promptly into my car and took a drive around the salt marshes in Ipswich. Here are some pictures.
After my little jaunt, I stopped into the specialty grocery shop in downtown Ipswich for some good-quality balsamic vinegar and mustard. The shopkeeper and I both commented on how frigid it was. The last time I’d been in the shop, it was seventy-five degrees, and he had the door wide open. That was two weeks ago. We just aren’t ready for this, we said.
I’m trying to psych myself to go out again, this time to a movie. I just might make a nice dinner and have a salad with balsamic vinaigrette instead.
Dive saved me from having to come up with a post idea today (sorry, I’m not feeling terribly creative this week). For some reason, he’s really into his spices. He’s asked us to post pictures of our spice racks. Well, I have a little spice shelf. I get my spices at the health food store, and I got cute little jars to put them in. I keep them on a shelf I bought at a flea market a couple of years ago.
Enjoy the spicy!
Off subject: I do not watch a lot of things on You Tube, but last night I saw this video at my sister’s house. You may have seen this before, but I hadn’t. I laughed my ass off. I’m still singing the song.
This morning I added
a bit of honey to my yogurt.
I think I permanently
maimed my honey bear.
It’s still way too hot here for January, but at least I needed a light sweater today. Inspired by the sunshine, I took off for a little town not too far from here and did some wandering around. Apparently I wasn’t the only one inspired. A street musician, wearing some multi-colored quilted jacket, was wailing away on his recorder. In between little trills on the thing, he’d yell out “Aieeee!” or “Arghhhhh!” I tried not to make eye contact with the madman as I passed, but he started to follow me a little bit, inclining his head in my direction as I sped away. I ducked into a shop, and the owner explained that he just does that. She simultaneously turned the music up a bit louder. Poor thing, having to endure that all day.
After walking around for a bit and getting a junk-shop fix (where I saw the ceramic bust, above) I stopped for a coffee at a little café. There I did some knitting, reading, and uninteresting eavesdropping (gossip about a friend’s impending divorce—these friends don’t think it’s a good idea—and the wonders of Tide detergent pens). It always disappoints me when I take the time to listen in and the conversation’s boring. Oh well. I was being rude, so I guess it serves me right.
I also read this interesting passage from my book (The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, a little literary candy about vampires). In it, the father of the narrator is musing about the change in landscape from Istanbul to Budapest:
It is a gradation of towns, of architecture, of gradually receding minarets blended with the advancing of church domes, of the very look of forest and riverbank, so that little by little you begin to believe you can read in nature itself the saturation of history. Does the shoulder of a Turkish hillside really look so different from the slope of a Magyar meadow? Of course not, and yet the difference is as impossible to erase from the eye as the history that informs it is from the mind. Later, traveling this route, I would also see it alternately as benign and bathed in blood—this is the other trick of historical insight, to be unrelentingly torn between good and evil, peace and war.
I thought briefly about the way the Earth has memory that can be sensed from being in a place. I also resisted the though, because I don’t like to think of nature as being solely a reflector of human history—we don’t define it; it defines us. But then my coffee was getting cold, and it was time to go.
Today’s wrong, but it’s hard to be upset. After a gray and drizzly morning, the clouds parted in an instant, leaving a clean, clear light that was almost as jarring to the senses as the record-breaking heat. Driving toward the beach with the windows rolled down, the newly-washed colors popped in a way that I’ve only ever experienced while on drugs. I turned the music up a bit louder and drove along with a star-struck grin on my face. Everywhere, everything, screamed amazement. I walked along the beach, not even wearing a sweater, in awe. The clouds returned as I headed into town, and the sun played off them. I watched shadows play off buildings the way I do when I’m stoned. But I wasn’t, which made the experience that much more incredible.
This isn’t good. The heat today should convince anyone that global warming is real, and that we need to do something about it. Now. It might already be too late. What’s more, this day is going to make winter all that much harder to bear when it does come. My senses are awake. I’m ready for life to begin again, and it’s not real.
Here are a few photos from my day. My camera did not do justice to the intense colors, but you might get the idea.
This was the view of the water from
the bridge heading to the beach
Another view from the bridge
This moldy orange looked like a
scary little face to me
View of the beach
Water crashing on Bass Rocks
Boat on the Essex River
We’re having a snow day here in my neck of the woods. Everything was so peaceful and pretty that I decided to go out and snap some pictures.
Another View of the Essex River
Snowy Branches Outside My Window
Snow on Good Harbor Beach