Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Orthodox Jews in a Paddleboat

Well, let's see. I've been feeling cruddy for the last two days, which is obnoxious. I think it's starting to lift a bit now though - if I have one more ridiculously long sleep session I bet it will be gone. It also sheds some light on how I managed to lose six pounds last week despite not going to my weight lifting class and eating lots of crap. Should have paid attention to the scale and gone on a detox diet and slept more. Oh well. But I am moving back down toward 107 lbs, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy because that's what I've weighed since I was like 14. And I'm doing it by excercising more AND still eating whatever I want! And getting sick. Shhhh . . . If I ever go over 120 lbs and I'm not pregnant I bet I'll have a panic attack. And have to eat some Ben and Jerry's to calm down again. Haha, I don't think I know how to diet. I heart food.

Which reminds me of the great Michael Pollan article Unhappy Meals, which appeared in this week's NYT magazine. You'll have to buy it for $5 or subscribe to NYT Select to read the whole thing (not a bad idea really; one of those things I plan on doing once I pay off the credit card). Therefore, no linky - you'd just get an abstract. However, you could just buy The Botany of Desire or The Omnivore's Dilemma. Pollan's style is eminently readable and a lot of fun besides. In The Botany of Desire he profiles four plants and their interactions with humans: tulips, potatoes, marijuana, and apples. In addition to the book providing a reason to read about pot (I especially like the bit where he's growing it out behind the barn and the sheriff brings by some firewood) you get to learn that Johnny Appleseed's apples were only good for making cider. Which is to say, booze.

Anyway, the article is just wonderful, and it suggests not eating anything that your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, ie., no breakfast bars or other processed crap. I plan to try to behave myself next time I go to the supermarket. Down with corn syrup! Up with fruits and veggies and nuts! They taste better anyway and are kinder to the environment. And therefore my health. Gotta keep my life in line with my values.

In other news, I am back to seriously considering applying to CU Law school. I made it to a talk on Machu Picchu given at the Changes in Latitude store. The speaker was a woman named Ruth M. Wright, who in addition to helping work out where the water came from at Machu Picchu (she's been there at least 15 times with her husband; they have a permit to study it) went to CU Law and while there drafted and passed the legislation setting the 55 foot limit. And then she went on to become a state legislator and minority leader (Dems, of course) and help save Colorado from various evils . . . yeah. And wrote an excellent Machu Picchu guidebook with all the requisite nerdy detail. May just have to take the June LSAT and apply for Fall 2008.

Cat put the deposit down for Machu Picchu - Peru, here we come! This was Cat on the phone:

Me: Hi!
Cat: Hi! I'm going to send the deposit to the trek people.
Me: Ok, how much do I owe you?
Cat: Uhh, $150 I think. *pause* So we're really going to do this?
Me: Yeah we are! Wait, are you asking?
Cat: Well, just checking.
Me: We're going to do it, and it's going to be amazing, and we can check it off the "do before I die" list!
Cat: Ok. As long as we're sure.

This from the girl who called me last summer to announce that she was going to hike the Inca Trail next June, did I want in or not? I agreed with some trepidation due to my serious lack of athleticism and dislike of dirty hair and bitey insects. But it's the freakin' Inca Trail! The answer is yes. The answer is always yes. Oh well. That's what friends are for - to convince each other to do ridiculous but worthwhile things.

The picture is from Prague, Spring 2004. Orthodox Jews in a paddleboat! My current desktop. Anyone for Europe sometime soon? Wanderlust has set in . . .

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Just saw this movie last night, and I'm still digesting it. Very, very good, go see it. Guillermo del Toro is always brilliant, but I enjoyed this the most of his work. It's one of those rare films where everything clicks into place and is believable. Loved loved loved it. See the composition of the shot above? The whole film is like that, stunning. It is also very dark and has one of the most terrifying monsters I've ever seen:

A picture cannot fully convey the horror of this thing. Or the coolness of the special effects that created it, not to mention the room behind it which is really incredible. I have no idea how much of it was created and how much blue-screened, which is great! del Toro was smart enough to allow things to be dirty or torn or whatnot, so you don't get that give-away perfection that you normally have with computer work. I'm pretty sure this guy is just really, really hungry, but ewww . . . scary.

There is no shortage of horrifying violence and gore in this movie, but I think the way that it is portrayed is important - no pulling punches, just the horror of death and blood. I think some of us need to see that and understand how lucky we are to live in the places and times that we do. And to remember that you have to fight to preserve that freedom as well. It is 1940s Spain . . .

Guillermo del Toro kept a wonderful sketchbook full of ideas and images. You can check it out at the Pan's Labyrinth website. A fairytale for adults, indeed.