Well, Rocky’s trip to Greeley this weekend fell through, so I wasn’t able to do the entire movie marathon (the ten Best-Picture nominees shown straight through, starting Saturday morning and going until Sunday morning). But I did get to see four of the films: Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right, and True Grit.
It was really fun. For the $50 buy-in we got lanyards, $20 gift cards to the concession stand, and a “concierge” outside the theater. The folks inside the theater were all serious movie folks, so you got that real “filmie” vibe that you get at film festivals. I brought in my bag with energy drinks (didn’t need them), slippers, and a book for in-between movies. There was enough of a gap between movies to stretch, hit the concession stand, and relax, without its being too long. The staff were all incredibly helpful and friendly. The gift card got a large popcorn and large drink (with free refills on both, so you’re set for those two things for the whole marathon), a good hot dog, and a small candy—plus, there were restaurants around and I had some self-heating meals in the car, if I’d needed.
I don’t know if I could have really lasted through all ten films, but after four I was feeling great. I’ve seen as many as five or six films in a single day at film festivals, and thought that was my limit, but…well, film festival films can be really hit or miss. 50% of the time, they’re downright disappointing; maybe 10% of the time they’re really good, and 3% of the time, they’re fantastic. So after five festival films, I’d usually be asleep (also, those marathon watching sessions are during a festival, when I’d be working, or watching movies for ten days in a row, or both. So I start already wiped out.).
But these are, by definition, the best films of the year. They were fun and emotional and touching and exciting, in ways that festival films usually aren’t (one can only watch so many two-and-a-half-hour coming-of-age stories about a transsexual Pakistani goatherder or whatever). I was nowhere near tired after four films. It was the fun of a film festival, but compressed to 24 hours, and with uniformly great movies.
Anyway, next year I’d like to see if I can make all ten, and bring Rocky and friends to share it with. It was a blast.
Taking a short cut through the desert in Thebes, near the Valley of the Kings (I was walking rather than pay for a taxi), I came across a dug-out courtyard that I was able to climb down into via some rocks and scrambling. There were various gated doorways in the courtyard, but one gate was open. With my little flashlight and walking slowly (the tunnel was filled with bats madly-squeaking) I went exploring in the tomb. One dead-end tunnel, but another one went to a hole at the end. In front of the hole were a couple big baskets. The first was filled with broken pottery; the second was filled with old linen mummy wrappings; and lying on top was a wrapped mummy arm! The scene: a tunnel, only about a meter twenty high, me crouching there in sweat and covered in dust, bats screeching away behind me, with a dying flashlight in my mouth and holding up a 3000-plus year-old mummy arm in the flashlight beam!
I was riding my motorcycle through some 4-wheel-drive trails near the Dead Sea. Great roads—bumpy and unpaved, but not too difficult; it was the first time I’d really done that kind of riding, and it was incredibly fun! I even found a nice spot way off the road, set up my tent and camped in the desert for the night. I woke up at some point in the night, and looked out to see a group of five camels walking slowly across a flat bit down below me, lit up by the moon.
Unfortunately, as I was enthusiastically bouncing my way back to civilization the next morning, I guess I hit a bump too hard and flattened my rear tire. So there I am, out in the desert, miles from anywhere, with a flat tire. It was the first time I’d had to fix a flat on the road (I’d done it once before, but in the comfort of a garage). It was a good thing I’d woken up so early; it was hot work, but finally I got it removed (take off the saddlebags and the whole wheel, using the weight of the bike via the kickstand to break the tire seal), patched, replaced, and inflated, and returned to the highway. Only to find a bit later that afternoon that the patch hadn’t held, and so I had to go through the whole thing again.
If trapped in flooding room, bunch up tablecloth so air is trapped within, helping you to float without tiring until you reach the skylight, which you can punch through protecting your fist with another bit of the tablecloth
If threatened by extra-dimensional beings manifesting as tablecloths, drape yourself with tablecloth to blend in until a chance to slip away presents itself
Wolves pounding towards you? A simple tablecloth lasso over a nearby branch and you can climb to safety with ease
Challenged by maniac to produce tablecloth or be stabbed; produce tablecloth
There are three things that I buy—or want to buy—too many of. They are:
Jackets and coats. I always want the perfect one for any situation. Cold and raining: lined trench coat. Raining but hot: thin rain jacket. Cool (casual): leather jacket. Cool (semi-formal): short black wool peacoat. Cool/cold (formal): long black wool peacoat. Hiking in the mountains: windproof shell over fleece. Etc.
Bags. Similarly, I want the ideal carrying bag for any situation. One-day hikes. Multi-day backpacking trips. Traveling abroad for two weeks. Weekend getaway. Just carrying extra stuff around town.
Finally: headlamps. I want the brightest, the smallest, the lightest. I just got one yesterday, a Princeton Tec, that looks and works great, as a backup to the Petzl I got this winter. This one is smaller and lighter, and will work great for traveling (if we ever get to go traveling again!). Anyway, I’m happy with it.
I managed to fit three 55-gallon plastic barrels in my car last weekend, bringing them home to set up a rain-catchment system. One will be off the back patio; two will be linked together in another corner of the yard. I need to build some platforms so they’re raised up, but the more confounding thing is getting a hose-attachment faucet installed in the barrels. Spent some time in Home Depot on Sunday not getting very good answers about how to do it.
I just got my ticket for this! Now I’ve gotta plan the logistics of going to Greeley Friday night, staying over there, and coming back to Denver Saturday morning in time to get a good seat. Must bring energy drinks. And food. And reeeeally comfy clothes, incl. slippers. Maybe a lumbar pillow or something similar. Ooh, I have one of those self-heating meals, plus a couple old MREs, that I took to the playa years ago but never ate—I could heat those up in the car between films. Maybe a Chipotle burrito, if I have time to pick one up. And Junior Mints. And I have a shaker full of popcorn flavoring—perfect. And my ticket printout. And my light-up pen and notepad. A book or crossword puzzles or something for in-between films. Definitely something to drink other than concession-stand soda…maybe a big water bottle full of milk? I might just want to put a cooler in the car with milk, juice, fresh veggies, fruit, etc., that I can come out to between films for actual nutrition.
My friend Mercedes (Playafur) makes incredible faux fur creations. The “basic” stuff is leggings and such, and I have an incredible pair of trousers where she’s added a wedge of flame-colored fur along each side. But her masterpieces, I think, are the full-on playa coats (for Burning Man and other festivals). Usually fur on one side, something nice on the other; fully reversible, with tons of huge pockets (and sometimes a hidden pocket or two), often with a hood. You can use them as an impromptu sleeping bag, they’re that huge and warm and comfortable.
They’re really fantastic, individual works of art, and I love how, like with a work of art, she gives each coat its own name/title. “The Tweed Mouse” is one I remember. But there was one that hadn’t been named yet, and it had a checkerboard fur lining it, so we thought about it and named it “The Latvian Gambit.”
Libya’s Interior Minister has resigned and urged the military to “join the people.” Now, I’m not in any position at all to say what he should do, but it seems like all it would take would be one person in a leadership capacity (military or political) to take the reins; to say, “Military, come to me now and we will fight to overthrow Kadaffi,” then the military (and civilians) would have someone to follow, someone to rally around. Someone to tell them what to do. Without an alternative, the military will just keep following the orders of those who are telling them to shoot protesters.
I saw Coyote on the bike path, this time in broad daylight on the way in, rather than in the dusk coming home. He(?) ran down to the river bank before I could get my camera out, though. He looks healthy—I’d imagine between the tame geese and ducks and the trash bins and various river rodents, he’d be getting enough food. He’s not near any housing at all, so I don’t think he’d be noshing on pets, though I suppose he could roam a mile afield to some residential area…
My “dream car” has always been a late-1960’s Mercury Cougar. Something about the jet-plane-cockpit-like interior, the quasi-muscle-car look and engine. The headlight covers that flip up when the lights are on… I’ve wanted one for like 25 years.
And there’s no way I could justify buying—or even owning—one. I don’t have the space—if I put it in the garage, I couldn’t fit my “regular” car in there, too, which means that one or the other would have to be out on the street all the time, which isn’t what I want. There’s the $5K cost, plus insurance and registration and maintenance and whatnot, at a time we’ve got a new baby and should be saving money. And there’s absolutely no need for it—we already have a practical car that does everything we need.
*sigh* It’s just such a awesome-looking car, and at such a great price…