September 2012

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Holy frijoles, peeps! It’s been a while since I wrote about fil-ums. A dearth of the spectacular, I suppose. Life is like that, sometimes. Average. Meh. Vanilla pudding. Though, I must take occasional exception to that last expression. Vanilla pudding, when done right, is anything but vanilla pudding, silky, smooth, delicious, the height of splendor! Yup, yup.

Starting with Safety Not Guaranteed, for it had me in stitches, loud peals at pretty regular intervals, thanks to great lines like “You’re dangling my vagina out there like bait” and “Storm Troopers don’t know anything about lasers or time travel. They are blue collar workers.” To be followed by a most grateful round of claps and cheers at the end. I kid you not. It was one of those rare moments when I actually wanted to explode with glee and happened to be in sync with the rest of the theater. Pretty awesome, if I do say so.

To the details: The fil-um centers around a magazine writer and two interns as they investigate the above ad. Did this person really invent a time machine, or is he just mad as a hatter? Well, he certainly isn’t your everyday Joe. He’s a little odd but sincere, too. He’s wounded and paranoid and completely dedicated to the task at hand. He takes one of the interns into his confidence and friendship blossoms. Then there is the magazine writer, chasing his own past while trying to get his male intern laid like his life depended upon it. It’s a great bit of everything, very human characters, romance, fun, mystery-thriller. Put it in the queue!

Griff the Invisible is an Australian import about a twenty-six year old man who believes he is a Super Hero. He’s got the costume, scads of surveillance equipment, and a sincere desire to rid his neighborhood and the world of evil. The trouble is, he’s not the best at it, and even worse with actual people. He is awkward and flails at work, falling prey to the office bully and his cronies. His brother, who sincerely wants the best for him, is also a bit clueless, trying to get Griff out of his shell and into the real world. Then he meets Melody, fascinated by science and equally drawn to Griff, the one person who sees the universe as she does. It’s about the painful ways we learn of our delusions and the people who love and encourage us, despite them.

All of My Friends are Funeral Singers, well, hmmm, this one is a tad odd, even for me. I’d venture to say that it is bordering on the avant-garde. Zel is a psychic and lives in a house filled with ghosts: a child, a bride, vaudevillians, and some musicians, too. They are her only friends, save her love, and the source of her power, giving voice to the dead and eyes to the future. She loves and hates them, yet knows no other life. When a bright light beckons the ghosts to the woods beyond, and they cannot leave, Zel must unearth the truth behind their shared existence and contemplate a life without them. It’s got a great soundtrack too, by Califone, who, as it happens, will be at Mississippi Studios on November 30th. Could be fun!

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I am.

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.

Sylvia Plath

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First of Fall

This was Saturday, the first of fall, the crispness requiring sweaters and long pants. We drove up to Multnomah Falls Lodge and had breakfast, early in the hush of morning. There was trout and eggs and huckleberry pancakes on dogwood rimmed plates. It was dreamy and lovely and a little silly, too. A fine start to the season and the day.

p.s. The hubster, when he looked at the post last night, said, incredulous at the beauty, “We live here!”

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Dreaming

I am at my grandparents’ house, in the service room, and it is late. We’ve just finished some sort of game, laughing and feasting the way we always do. I climb the squeaky steps to the kitchen, and there is a giant glass box with one remaining bit of food. I snap the lid off to take a bite. Grandma comes in, startling me, and maybe I put it back. I don’t remember.

She tells me she is going for a run, something she has never done, and I worry for her. It is one in the morning and so very dark. Undeterred, she puts on a turquoise track suit and starts down the street with me following just behind, a halo of light around her steadily moving body. Her old neighbor, jogging in navy plaid pajamas, slows to watch Grandma run. I see glimpses of brick and shiny tiles from buildings she passes.

In a flash, we are in the car, the LTD of my childhood, forest green seats and smelling of pipe tobacco. Grandpa is driving. It is winter now, snow all around and icy roads. We’re delivering packages to friends of my grandparents, sneaking around in the dark so they won’t catch us.

Along the way, we pass a collection of red brick smoke stacks in the shape of nuclear power stations. They are arranged in trios and are steaming madly. I can see pipes all along the snow covered ground, a crazy patchwork, connected hither and thither, with flames occasionally shooting from the seams. It is all very ethereal and lovely, the sky turning to greet the morning, and I ask where we are. Grandma tells me that it is a short cut Frances taught her, like it is any old route. I utter, “It’s so beautiful. Why didn’t she ever show me?”

Grandpa turns off the highway and closer to the flaming pipes, frightening me, and I tell him so. He soothes me, but it turns out to be a lie because a pipe frissons as soon as the words are out of his mouth. The flame burns my skin, hot on my left side. I look over, and my heart flutters to see Aunt Mary lying on the seat next to me, swaddled and sleeping in a white blanket, her grey hair fresh from a visit to the beauty parlor.

Grandpa gets back on the highway and it curves like a velodrome before we are back at the first house we visited, one more gift to hide inside the screen door. Grandma ties it shut with a ribbon, and we’re off again. We sputter on the ice, and the car is momentarily airborne before Grandpa rights us on the road.

Aunt Mary wakes from her slumber, purses her lips in that way she always did before smiling sleepily at me. She’s going to say something. I can feel it with an ache in my bones, but the raccoon outside the window has other designs, and I wake up. Grateful and misty eyed.

The hubster is stirring now, too. I tell him the dream, crying a little, him squeezing my hand. He knows my soft ways.

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Extravagant

You must remember always to give, of everything you have. You must give foolishly even. You must be extravagant. You must give to all who come into your life. Then nothing and no one shall have power to cheat you of anything, for if you give to a thief, he cannot steal from you, and he himself is then no longer a thief. And the more you give, the more you will have to give.

William Saroyan

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