February 19th, 2006


2/19/06: Voom

Word count: 8271 | Since last entry: 2077

Wow, has it been a week? How'd that happen?

Well, I know how it happened. It happened because it was a series of individual days, each of which found me writing until well past what should have been my bedtime, and it didn't seem worthwhile to stay up even later to write about the day.

Apart from the writing -- a consistent 300 words per day, which feel a bit sloggy and space-filling, but, as I keep reminding other people, the purpose of the first draft is to create "cookie dough" which can then be formed and baked into something worth reading -- it has been a pretty busy week.

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Tuesday was Valentine's Day, of course. I bought a package of spacey retro kiddie Valentines and hid them all over the house before Kate woke up. It took her nearly a week to find them all. In the evening we stayed home and cooked a nice dinner for ourselves in our wonderful remodeled kitchen -- grilled salmon with Moroccan spices, braised carrots, and couscous. After which we watched a romantic movie: Shall We Dance with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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Thursday was another Portland International Film Festival movie: Tapas, from Spain. It was trying to be a Spanish version of Tampopo, and it was amusing and sometimes affecting, but somehow it failed to satisfy. Maybe a romantic comedy in which a man's wife leaves him, a woman takes up with a boy half her age and then dumps him, and another man commits suicide, has several strikes against it.

Friday was another PIFF movie: Kinky Boots, from Britain. This one was my favorite of the festival, lightweight and formulaic but very well done for its genre. The plot involves a shoe factory in a small Northern industrial town, whose hapless CEO saves it from bankruptcy by changing its product from brogues to kinky boots for transvestites. The show is absolutely stolen by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the coolly efficient assassin from Serenity, as Lola the outragous drag queen. I believe he even did his own singing in the several musical numbers. This one's got distribution from Miramax, and I recommend it.

Saturday I had critique group, and got the final bunch of crits on the Jupiter story. Very much a mixed bag, but the consensus is that it nicely written, but distanced... too much told and not enough shown (I was afraid of that). I also got a great suggestion to punch up the ending, if I can make it plausible.

Saturday afternoon we were supposed to see The Sun, a Russian drama about Emperor Hirohito. We even had purchased advance tickets. But the review in Friday's Oregonian was so scathing ("brutally dull, slow and dreary... fritters away a great concept... vacuous in its screenwriting, shockingly crude in its visual technique, deaf to the needs of an audience in its pace... an ordeal to sit through") that we decided to skip it.

Saturday night was a Bar Mitzvah party for a 13-year-old of our acquaintaince, at which we played Pictionary and Lord of the Fries Collapse )

Today managed to vanish completely into a haircut, lunch with kate_schaefer and her family, and our final PIFF movie: KZ, a moving British documentary about the current state of the Mauthausen concentration camp -- a sobering tourist attraction surrounded by a living city. It seems inappropriate that the homes and taverns where the camp's officers lived and drank are still in use today; but it would seem equally inappropriate to sacrifice the life of an entire town (and every other concentration camp town) on the altar of memory. One of the camp's tour guides is clearly obsessed with its history, which is affecting his health and marriage but permits him to give a tour that cannot fail to touch those who take it. Such people are deeply unhappy, but beneficial to society. It's just a shame that we need to have them.

Tomorrow is a holiday. No specific plans, other than going to the gym. And Tuesday's my 45th birthday -- I already received an MP3 of my parents singing "Happy Birthday", so anything else can only be an improvement (hi, Mom!).