Four months and $820 after I brought it to the mechanics’, I got my Yamaha Seca II bike back! It runs all nice, the tires are new, the seat’s been re-covered, it should be good for a long while. I was a bit worried about the riding because it’s been like three years since I’ve been on a bike, but as soon as I got on it, it was fine. So—add one more option for the driving around. Got it home yesterday and spent some time polishing it up and replacing one broken body part. I can’t wait to really do some riding!
Crazy thunderstorm last night…hail, sheets of rain, wind, and lightning flashing about every half second. I was just on the couch reading when I heard the tornado sirens go off (in downtown Denver!).
Anyway, like 50,000 people don’t have power, and I’m not one of them. Damn. I like power outages! I’ve got about a zillion lanterns, headlamps, and so on that I could easily ride out a day or two without power (I’ve always said that Burners are among the best prepared people for this kind of thing—we’re used to setting up housing, kitchens, etc. in the total absence of utilities, and living comfortably in such).
Ah, well. Everything’s back to normal now; it was fun while it lasted, though. *sigh*
I wonder if it’s possible to look at a list of one’s favorite movies and see if there are any connections or common threads—are quirky comedies more often represented? Certain actors or directors? Shared themes?
Not that I’d know what to do with the information, other than its being interesting. Or maybe just a step up from Netflix’s “Suggestions for You” feature.
Anyway, here’s a list of films I like. I haven’t exhaustively gone through my memory in case I forgot some, and it’s just a first-draft list, so some might get knocked off. They’re not in order-of-favoriteness, either. But to start:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Garden State; The Brothers Bloom; Finding Neverland; Prospero’s Books; Brick; Amelie; War, Inc.; The Big Lebowski; Clerks; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; The Fifth Element; Frida; Girl with a Pearl Earring; Trainspotting; The Usual Suspects; O Brother Where Art Thou; Northfork; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Shortbus; Sin City; The Station Agent; Princess Bride; Synechdoche.
Thoughts on similarities, anyone? (“Quirky Comedies” is obvious; I see a real Magical Realism/Fantastical trend, too.) Suggestions for movies I’ve missed seeing or forgotten to include on the list?
Last weekend a new cinema opened up down south, and they were doing a “shakedown cruise” for their new staff, with $2 movies, $2 popcorn, and $2 drinks. The movies were all a year old or so, but still, we went on Saturday and Sunday and saw:
The Dark Knight - Wow, this was fantastic. I hadn’t seen it yet, but it was really worth it. I loved the philosophy behind it (about how the Joker is the opposite of Batman, but necessary to him—reminds me of the movie Unbreakable), how the Joker isn’t really evil, but just completely amoral, how there’s the White Knight (Harvey Dent) and the Dark Night (Batman), and how Batman is what the city needs him to be… Heath Ledger’s acting was incredible, of course. Great movie, and good to see on the big screen. Five stars.
Gran Torino - Also really good; Clint Eastwood is good as grumpy old widower racist, but there was something very “Hallmark Movie” about it, like it was written specifically to tug at the heartstrings. This was my complaint with the last movie he’d directed that I saw—Million Dollar Baby, which just seemed so specifically crafted to play on the audience’s emotions. Four stars.
The Tale of Despereaux - Beautiful animation, but the story seemed…weird. Like there were big gaps in the explanations of things, or the plot just didn’t seem complete. Three stars, I guess, for pretty.
Other movies seen recently:
The Matador - I love this movie. First-time director/writer, quirky story, Pierce Brosnan totally playing against type (and totally subverting his James Bond persona), funny but touching, with a pair of twists at the end, and great cinematography. This is a quirky, unappreciated gem, like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Five stars. [Netflix]
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon The Movie - I had hopes for this one, even though I never really liked the TV show that much, but it seemed that this one was a lot of weird for the sake of being weird. I actually didn’t finish watching it, which never happens. One star. [Netflix]
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane - I heard this was a creepy classic horror film, but it was just kinda silly. Girl lives alone after her parents both die, but pretending to the world that the parents are alive. Eh. Two stars. [Netflix]
Based on a restaurant review in Westword, we visited the White Fence Farm restaurant, in Lakewood (http://whitefencefarm-co.com/). It was wholly bizarre. First off, it’s like its own little theme park: petting zoo, treehouse, carriage museum, gazebo, aviary, duck pond, gift shop, arcade, horse-drawn carriage rides, etc.. The theme is probably “Rural Midwestern America 1910”—the waitresses all are wearing ruffled prairie dresses It’s set up for huge crowds (though we got in with about zero wait at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday), with numbers and waiting rooms and introductory videos and such. And finally, in keeping with the theme, the restaurant stresses religion—there are religious quotes around, stuff like “Prayer isn’t allowed in schools—but it’s encouraged here!” Weird.
Anyway, it was worth it for the fried chicken, which is exactly what the review said. The sides (pickled beets, cottage cheese, kidney bean salad, and corn fritters) were good, and unlimited, but the fried chicken is what was really fantastic. Super crisp, not greasy, and tasty…possibly the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (I’m not actually a fan of fried chicken, so I don’t have tons of experience to base this on, but…).
After dinner Rocky and I walked around the grounds, and petted the goats and sheep in the petting zoo, and sat out a crazy rainstorm in the gazebo. It was a really nice night, despite eating so much it hurt…
Camping trip was certainly adventurous! Left Denver late, driving on crazy dirt roads through the mountains in the worst rain storm that I’ve seen in years. After some misdirection and a couple double-backings, got there and slept in the car the first night, eating Chinese food we picked up before leaving Denver (a nice tradition—it’s good not having to make food when we arrive!).
Started on the Goose Creek Trail through the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. The first quarter mile is through Hayman Fire burn area, so lots of dead trees, but at least now there’s some good ground cover—grasses, moss, bushes, and aspen saplings. Trail continued to the shafthouse site, where there were some cool old cabins and an ancient pump from when they had tried to block the underground river and create a reservoir.
The trail was really nice—a mix of being in the forest and on the hillsides where you got views of the rocks and valleys. Lots of really nice camping spots, though not many of them were the requisite 100 feet from waterways or trail.
Stopped early the first day, found a perfect spot away from the trail, close to water, really secluded, but with a fire ring and pretty flat spot surrounded by trees. Set up camp, built a fire, had dinner and dessert, and went to bed early. It was nice setting up camp while it was still light.
Next day continued the loop; found a spot where the river came pouring out of a cave, which was cool. Got about halfway through the whole loop, when we realized we’d left something at the last campsite, so we decided to turn back rather than continue the loop (which would have been kind of a press anyway…the north leg of the loop was a lot of steep hills and switchbacks, and was taking us a lot longer than the east leg had). Went back to the campsite and got what we’d forgotten, then as we were headed up the hill, got caught in a real torrential rain/hail/thunder/lightning storm. We huddled under a tree, hoping it would last five minutes like the storm the previous day, but it just continued and continued. Ugh. Finally it let up and we continued to the top of the hill (didn’t want to go over the top of the hill in a lightning storm…and as Rocky pointed out, I was carrying long metal hiking poles!) and down back towards the car. Camped out near water back by the cabins, but it was uncomfortable—everything was wet: spare clothes, packs, even our sleeping bags had gotten wet. We managed to build a small fire, though, and had dinner, and stayed warm that night despite the damp.
Next day just packed everything up wet, since it was going home. Only took about two hours to hike back out to the car; then we drove home, stopping in Pine to look at an old store, and in Bailey for dinner (just Wendy’s, but after days of dehydrated food, man was that burger good!).
Hill is Burning is a semi-regular gathering of Mayor and I and friends and other Burner-y types, usually at Charlie Brown’s. Sort of a version of the old Burning Man Meet ‘n’ Greets at the Thin Man, only with a lot less regularity.
Anyway, this will be the first post-Apogaea H.I.B., and the first of the ones ramping up to BM 2009, so if anyone wants to join us and breathe in the [metaphorical] playa dust, come on by! Charlie Brown’s, 10th and Grant in the ‘203; starts at 6:00 p.m. and goes ‘til 10:00 or so. Look for the freaks.
There’s always been a taste difference between regular Coke and “Mexican Coke,” which you’ll find in Latino restaurants and grocery stores here in Colorado. I’d always heard vague things about “less carbonation” or “sweeter” (both of which may also be true), but I just read that the real reason for the taste difference is that Mexican Coca-Cola is made with sugar, while American Coca-Cola is made with corn syrup. a-HA!
Speaking of Mexican sodas, when R. and I were in Oaxaca, we found “Pepsi Retro,” which was supposedly all natural, all original ingredients. It tasted almost spicy or herbal, and I really liked it. I think it was probably made with sugar rather than corn syrup, too. Wish we could find it here… Tasty artisanal sodas are easy to find, but unfortunately, expensive.
I’m really excited about our backpacking trip this weekend (leaving Thursday after work, getting back Sunday). First hiking trip of the summer (‘cause I was working on Colossus and Apogaea up through June). Got all our gear, got maps, got trekking poles (from Christmas, this is the first chance I’ve gotten to use them!), got freeze-dried food… Now if the weather will just cooperate, it’ll be great! Somewhere between 19 and 21 miles through the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, on the Goose Creek, McCurdy, Lake Park, and Hankins Pass trails. Woot!