Whee! We're real Californians now!

We, and all of our possessions, are fine; the house shook for about 10 seconds and everything rattled on the shelves. Apparently, if you were in a place (like a shop) with plate glass windows, the quake was strong enough that the glass actually rolled; like a wave traveling through the glass. That would be interesting, if rather nerve-wracking, to see.

I have shame because we are totally unprepared for Hallowe'en this year - not even a pumpkin. We did manage to remember to get a bag of candy from the drug store, so we won't be reduced to giving out packets of take-out soy sauce to the little ones, but I'm not sure if we'll be home early enough to see the majority of the trick-or-treaters.

A friend from R:tAG's work had a Hallowe'en part last Saturday, which was fun though we ended up watching Feast which I could have lived happily without ever seeing. I kind of wussed out for a costume; I just wore the Steampunk outfit (the apron one, not the red velvet coat; it's still warm here) instead of making something new. I have a great idea for a Kali costume, though I idly wonder how offensive that would be to the average Hindu. Mind you, there's nothing new there.

Here are some Hallowe'en links!

Fantastic Entree

Fantastic Cupcakes - and links to other spooky food too
Fantastic Project
Solstice Wreath - OK, a little early.

Edited to Add: We did get a pumpkin! R:tAG's workplace had a punkin-carving contest (and I hope he posts pix - some were awesome) and there were a couple left over when I went to pick him up. So I grabbed one and did some hasty jack-o-lanterning:

We only got two trick-or-treaters, though; it seems like no-one goes out after dark (which happens around 6:30 now; don't even get me started about Daylight Savings Time and the gummint's mucking about with it). Luckily, we anticipated this by buying candy that we like. None of those horrid little wax-paper-wrapped molasses chewy things for us!

Movies, movies, movies… always the go-to subject for blogs, n’est-ce pas?

Edited to add: I didn't realize people might be worried about us what with all the fires in San Diego. The fires are awful, but we're fine, San Diego's about 700 km away, and as far as I know our area hasn't even been seeing refugees. Back to movies!

A while ago we took a flyer on Coffee and Cigarettes, which Netflix recommended to us apparently based on our renting history. I have to say, it was a good choice, and we’ve actually discussed this movie more than any other we’ve rented. It’s very arty; a collection of short and seemingly pointless dialogues* in different places, all between two or three people, always involving coffee and cigarettes. All the scenes are shot in black and white, so visually the differences are smoothed out and you’re free to concentrate on the other content. Figuring out the relationships, parallels and differences between the scenes is actually really interesting, if vaguely reminiscent of a first-year English class (but hey, I liked first year English). This is a very subtle and nuanced movie, which to some of y’all will mean “excruciatingly boring” but if you want a conversation starter, this is good.

On the absolute other end of the scale, we had to go see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. I was very pleased to find that the Disney 3D technology (polarized lenses, not the old red/green cellophane kind) actually works for my wonky eyes. Since this was a remake of original content, the 3D was rather understated... more 2.5D. You won’t find yourself dodging 3D-effect spears or anything but I still found that the dimensionality let me notice new things. Or maybe that was just ‘cause this is the first time since its release that I’ve watched it on a big screen. Either way, it was fun.

And lastly, we also went to 30 Days of Night, because hey, vampires! I had never read the comic** so I had no idea what to expect. A friend expressed surprise that I was going to see it since I don’t like horror movies*** and I asked ‘Isn’t it going to be sort of Anne Rice meets Northern Exposure?” Well, not so much. It’s a stock horror/shock film, with some pretty gaping plot holes, but at least the vampires were pretty smart**** and there was some good atmosphere. The film was shot in New Zealand, apparently! I guess the real Barrow didn’t look real enough, though I’m pleased to see that the film-makers got little details like the name of the airport and the houses on stilts correct. Also, the movie ought to have been called “67 Days of Night” but now I’m just being picky.

* There’s one scene in particular that gets tooth-grindingly repetitive but which has a moment at the end that for me completely redeemed it and made it fascinating. I emphasize “for me”; R:tAG still found it annoying.

** Graphic novel!

*** There is no way to covey that in-joke properly via typing, is there?

**** Favourite line “Yeah, the UV light worked, but they’re going to cut the power soo…” [[click]]

Well, we went on the Victorian Cemetary Walk and Picnic and it was a hoot. I didn’t finish the ruffled skirt to go with my polonaise so I used a black modern velvet one, and we had to rent a hat (for me) and a frock coat (for R:tAG) but we still looked quite smart if I do say so myself.

The walk was fascinating and fun; the organizer was full of interesting stories about the cemetery in general (designed by the same man, Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York), and the inhabitants in particular.

This is the mausoleum of the Ghirardelli family, famous for their chocolate,* and this was also my favourite story. A daughter of Mr G. died tragically young, and the priest did not come in time to give her the Last Rites. Until then, the Ghirardellis, being a good Catholic family, had buried their dead in a Catholic cemetery. But after the no-show priest, Mr. G. had this mausoleum built in Mountain View, and then he and two of his sons went in the dead of night to the Catholic cemetery and moved all the Ghirardelli dead to this new plot.** But the absolute best part was when R:tAG leaned over at the end and whispered to me “And in the Catholic cemetery, he left replacement bodies made of chocolate!” I’m still laughing about that.

If you’ve seen the Dr. Who episode Blink, you’ll know why this creeped me right the hell out. The angel statue is in front of the door to the crypt, and there’s a mechanism to swing it out of the way when someone needs to be interred. The mechanism is still functioning, by the way, and it was just poor timing that we couldn’t see it in action (the caretaker couldn’t be there the day that we were).

Here’s another geek reference, which also shows one of the marvelous views from the cemetery. It’s still a very popular place to stroll, dog walk and picnic.

We also played a game along the walk; identifying famous Victorians by their supposed last words. I got one, but it was hardly a challenge.***

And then we had a picnic, where people had brought tables and chairs and china and real silverware and everything so it started off as a proper Victorian affair but because these were 20th century costumers, some people ended up in only corsets and bloomers to show off the finer points of their undergarment construction. It didn’t get to the point of “Le déjeuner sur l'herbe” or anything, though.

So it was a very good weekend; we got out of the house, met some great new people and learned more about a local landmark. I'd like to go back to the cemetery with a sketchbook and the camera. We didn't see near enough of it.

* Some of you who have visited us might recall Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

** He also included some decoration that would be deliberately offensive to Catholics (the Masonic symbol, though he wasn’t a Mason, and the upside-down torches). I’m not clear on how the upside down torches would wound Catholic sensibilities. Maybe it was a Victorian thing. Any culture where you can insult someone using flowers has some pretty complicated semantic layers.

*** Oscar Wilde: "Either this wallpaper goes, or I do." Probably apocryphal, though.

A friend of ours just lent us a movie and warned us that we probably would hate it because it was “weird”. Well, I loved it. It’s Kamikaze Girls, and all y’all should see it. It gave me great dreams last night, where the girl-biker gangs from the movie sort of blended into a W:tA LARP, and it was a lot of fun. Our social life here isn’t at near the same level as it was in S’toon (a combination of time, aging, and laziness) so I think the thought of belonging to a gang (or pack) has even a stronger fascination for me than usual.

In that vein, there was rather pointless bickering in a knitting forum about the practice of calling non-knitters “muggles”* and whether this is bad because it means we’re identifying people as “other.” To me this is sensitivity taken to the ridiculous extreme. Everybody is someone else’s “other.” Language becomes pointless without the ability to classify.

Here are some links! Enjoy!

Why Women Worry So Much - So the summary seems to be that women are more likely to apply past experience to predict the future. Isn’t that also called… intelligence? Also, in the Yahoo feed where I read this, this headline was immediately followed by the headline Six Die From Brain-Eating Amoeba In Lake which I found sort of amusing in that I think the first headline should maybe have then been “Why Men Don’t Worry Enough”.

Red Figure Chucks
- beautiful beautiful shoes. I can’t imagine ever wearing these.

To Live and Die in D&D - R:tAG just ran an introductory D&D session for The Apple Couple and me, starting at first level, and we got two hit points away from TPK. And those hit points were not possessed by the same character, even.

Happy Solstice!

Really good headline

Maybe a new contender for best LOLCats

Cool photo

* A Harry Potter reference; “muggles” are non-magicians. In the books it’s value-neutral, and Ms. Rowling herself said that she spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with a term that didn’t sound derogatory


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.