15 August 2010

Angels With Monster Feet

Angels With Monster Feet, Monsters With Angel Wings

The day had gone and it was night.
The little girl, she hid from sight,
Not in her closet or under her bed,
She found a place inside her head.
Where she lived was not her home.
Where she lived she was alone:
There were no walls, there was no roof.
The Truth was a Lie, a Lie was the Truth.
Look up, look in,
Don't be afraid,
No absolutes,
The world had grayed:
Angels with Monster feet,
Monsters with Angel wings,
Nothing is ever quite so bad
Or as scary as it seems.

The poem is from Marvel's Secret Warriors #4 written by Jonathan Hickman (plot by he and Brian Michael Bendis). It will eventually become a tapestry or blanket or similar gift for Christian (Steve's idea).

14 August 2010

Pack It Out: The Idaho Story

We went to Idaho this weekend to see our adorable son Christian and his lovely adoptive family, and to get some serious camping in. Steve and I both love to camp, and we don't do it nearly enough. It's easy to let the daily routine take over and then all of a sudden you've camped one weekend in the last year. And when you're living in Washington, which is easily one of the most beautiful states in the union, this may as well be a capital offense.*

By what feels like freak chance and poor planning, we ended up doing no camping whatsoever. The first night, after driving all day (11+ hours) we discovered that all the campsites I'd scoped out the night before on the internets were completely full. We drove an extra sixty miles between the godforsaken tourist town of Ketchum and the campgrounds, checking hotel/motel prices ($134 at the lowest with a AAA discount) and eating a late dinner. We ended up driving out to the middle of fucking nowhere past the campgrounds and just parking off the side of the road for the night. It was late, we were totally exhausted, and we were both driven to tears at different points from the stress of having nowhere to stay legally. We slept in the car. You'll notice this as a trend.

The next day we got up, hung out at a coffeeshop for most of the morning, and in the end (after counting our remaining camping fund money and some debate) decided to get the hell out that tourist trap as soon as possible so that we'd have money left for...well, anything. We had found out last weeked that the camping around Mount Rainier was plentiful and cheap, so we figured we'd try that. It would put us closer to home so that Steve could make D&D on Sunday and so that we could enjoy taking our time on the way back. We conferred with the Hubers and met at Frenchman's Bend Hot Springs, which was awesome.

Having now met all of the Hubers, I have to say I wish we lived closer together because I love hanging out with them. I thought it would be more awkward to try to interact with their older kids, but Christian makes a great icebreaker. He's adorable. He makes funny noises, has learned to bite people, and crawls at record-breaking speed. He looks a lot like baby pictures of me. Steve and I really enjoyed our quality time with everybody.

We left Hellhole Ketchum(tm) about an hour and a half before sundown -- exactly the time of day when the sun shines directly in your eyes when you're driving west. (We were. It went down over the horizon when we got gas, just in time for my turn to drive.) We made it about halfway across the great state of Oregon before we decided to turn in for the night. We stopped at a rest stop under the darkest part we could find and slept in the car.

That brings us to today, and the final nail in our camping coffin. We woke up and started out before seven o'clock and reached the Mount Rainier area at about two. Which is when we found out that every single campground that's accessible by car was completely full up. We're not kitted out at the moment for hiking campsites, and it seems insane to keep driving around at random looking for camping spots. We came home, a day early and without any actual camping having taken place. The driving was delightful. I love long car rides and road trips and driving. I'm getting better at listening to Steve's car and anticipating its needs, even if I still mess it up regularly. We got home, deposited our stuff, took a nap, bought a fan, watched Fearless, and have generally had a pretty good night despite everything. And there's still enough money left to get both our driver's licenses renewed ($45 each in the great state of Washington) and buy me a new tattoo.

*"Capital" in this sense comes from the Latin word "capita," which means "head" (also seen in "per capita"). It's literally about execution by beheading.

01 August 2010

District 9

I know it's been out of theaters for around a year now, but I just saw District 9 for the first time. I wanted to see it in the theater, but missed it. While I occasionally remembered I wanted to see it, only now have I gotten around to actually acquiring it. (Yay, Seattle Public Library!)

So, let me tell you: everything Pete said about it a year ago is true. It is amazing. I forgot for most of the movie that the alien star Christopher was a cgi effect. I hate and love Wikas because he is so well characterized and acted, and his character is pitiable and contemptible and courageous like a cornered tiger. The world is believable, the storytelling beautiful, and the aliens feel like a real people stuck in an impossible situation. While the abundant humor at the beginning is racist (alienist?) and quirky, most of the movie is very, very humorless. And it pulls it off without becoming too heavy...mostly. The action rocks, but it's not why I'll probably buy this movie. I love Christopher, and his son. He, not Wikas, portrays the noble, brave warrior-hero. Wikas wouldn't get a paragraph in a history book if it weren't for Christopher. To draw a jarring analogy, Wikas is like Eddie Riggs from Brutal Legend: the roadie, who moves things in the background so that the star can do what he has to. Wikas is just a bit more...well, generally useless, than Eddie.

I also really like the last tiny shot of the movie that -- not to spoil it for anyone else who hasn't seen it yet -- alludes to what happened to Wikas after the end of the movie. I think that shot is the most likely, considering the way the aliens were reacting to him at the very end, which was new and different and made perfect sense considering the state of the man at that point. While any of the other possibilities could be it too, primarily the "conspiracy theory" one, I think his wife is right.

I love this one. It's excellent, amazing, and looks and feels better by an order of magnitude than the latest big-budget SF I've seen. Fuck Hollywood. :)