August 22nd, 2009


Parent-participatory peregrinations

Mom and Dad took me and Aunt Nancy Weare to lunch today. And to a park. And to neighborhoods we used to live in.

Aunt Nancy, part of the Guam contingent of my family, is staying with my folks until a few days from now when she flies back home, and their day was free and so was mine so we decided to hook up. I'm not going to pass up food someone else is paying for. We went to the Laughing Planet up on Mississippi, and delighted in gazpacho, quesadillas and a blackberry lemonade so thick it was practically a smoothie. The meal was filling like whoa.

"Thank you for being willing to go to my kind of place," I told them. The area's a little more pierced-and-tatted than any of them are used to, but that's my crowd. (I'm a Goddamn Filthy Hippie in certain ways. At least Cartman would call me that.)

On my recommendation, we then drove farther and stopped at Cathedral Park under the St. Johns Bridge. Mom had tried visiting there once, and somehow wound up closer to the Columbia than the Willamette (the river the bridge actually crosses); I figured this was a good time to rectify that. We saw these young guys climing on one of the bridge's supports, which had long gaps that could be used as handholds, but we didn't watch that too long because it was disconcerting. We went on a floating walkway and almost got splashed by a wave from a boat passing it.

They took me home through neighborhoods they and other family members had grown up in; we also went past Concordia, which is an increasingly big-deal school (once a college, now a university) in the neighborhood where all three of them grew up. We went down one partly-closed street lined with houses that have been lifted off of their foundations so they can be moved (replanted!) elsewhere, and the school can develop those blocks in other ways. We also saw several former family houses.

Perfect weather for all of this, too: wisps of clouds, some breeze on the water, temps about 80. Comfortable, though I should've worn a hat. I was good at ducking into shade, like I always am. I don't quite have Gothic pallor, but I'd still prefer not to burn.

This has been a good day. Let's keep that up!
Good Omens

District 9, dudes!

Grinning through much of a movie is a good sign for me, and that's what I did at District 9 (summary: aliens reach Earth, not to invade or to invite us into the greater galactic civilization but just 'cause their ship's broken down, and they wind up living in slums like in Alien Nation, only unlike the Newcomers, the aliens here are nicknamed "prawns" and have to deal with bureaucrats and eviction).

Random thoughtage instead of thoughtful review-y stuff:

* Beautifully ugly look; so much garbage, viscera, and unexplained alien piping. I could almost smell grime coming off the screen. This is a good kind of ugly. As opposed to the bad kind of ugly I thought Cruel Intentions had. This was ugly with a point.

* I love the almost-humor of the documentary stuff. It never falls into goofiness, even though I laughed a fair amount.

* Looking at the lead bureaucrat/main human character, the phrase "Weasel Clive Owen" comes to mind.

* Oy, a lot of these characters really aren't thinking about the motivations and consequences of the jobs they're doing. Prejudices and unconscious assumptions For The Loss!

* Possibly a slight spoiler, so Collapse )

* I left the film wanting to speak with an Afrikaans accent. Don't ask me why. (Which reminds me that Arthur C. Clarke mentioned in 2061: Odyssey Three that Afrikaans is a fantastic language for swearing.)

* Swearing aliens! Swearing aliens! Swearing aliens! This makes me strangely happy.

* Ridiculously fun special effects. I'm guessing the aliens were done via both computer graphics and practical prosthetics, but they were pretty damn seamless. (Though I've wondered for years if computer-generated effects will always look fake to a certain percentage of the audience. Like how some of us (like ME) never, ever saw any images in those mid-90s "Magic Eye" posters. (Addition: Holy Crap, Magic Eye still exists. Yes, I've digressed. I'll stop now.))

8/23 addition: I want to add what I didn't say, that it does become an affecting, emotional film as it goes on. Fist you're feeling for the aliens (by the way, do we ever hear their own name for their species? I don't think so; I think they're only ever referred to as aliens or the "prawns" slur), then you feel more for the protagonist as he actually starts to realize how messed up this all is. But it stays funny.