Tap dancing

Sun, Aug. 13th, 2017 09:32 pm
scarlettina: (Default)
My tap teacher was complaining about being old today. He's 35. I'm in the oldest person in the room by at least 20 years. I suspect he knows I'm older than him; I'm not sure he realizes by how much. I'll tell him at some point.

Last class, we did paddle rolls, a step I remember from childhood. I can still do them, and do them fairly quickly. I did them in front of the teacher and he asked me why I wasn't in Level 2 yet. "Next session," I told him. "I wanted to make sure I had everything down." Practice, practice, practice.

Which reminds me, when I have money again, I need to order myself a practice floor.

I came home today and massaged both my feet. I've had some pain in both my feet and my ankles. I'm going to keep dancing. I will not let this stop me. I will just have to baby my feet and ankles more. Also lose some weight.

I'm loving these classes. It gives me joy to be doing this. I feel competent and I'm having fun. And it's something only three other people in my life are doing right now, one of whom is far away. It feel like it's mine. I know that sounds strange. No one has a monopoly on their art. But I love that it's different than anything nearly anyone else I know is doing. You can see a little video of me with a small sample of what I've been learning, if you like. It all makes me wish I'd done this a lot sooner.
scarlettina: (Madness)
One morning in 1985, I had a dream.

To put this dream into context, let me remind you that in 1985 I was a freshman in college and living on Long Island, Ronald Reagan was president, and his nuclear saber-rattling toward the Soviet Union was unprecedented. We were, as Freddie Mercury put it, living in the shadow of the mushroom cloud.

So one morning, I had a dream. I was standing in my elementary school cafeteria which had a wall of tall, broad windows. I was standing, facing that wall. All the lunch tables had been pushed up against the wall of windows, and through the glass I saw an angry gray-and-red mushroom cloud rising . . . rising . . . from a flat horizon. And then I felt the rumbling.

And then I woke up. Sat up. The bed was shaking. The house was shaking.

And I thought, "Oh my G-d. It's really happening."

The rumbling stopped. My bed stopped moving. But I didn't move for another minute or two.

I got out of bed and turned on the radio. It turned out that the tristate area had had an earthquake.

But here's the thing: I genuinely thought the end had come because the president had been promising it so frequently and so adamantly. For that moment, I was terrified, horrified, and sure I was about to die in a radioactive conflagration.

This morning, in the wake of Donald Trump's promise of fire and fury yesterday, I woke to a headline in the New York Times that says, "Trump Says Military Is ‘Locked and Loaded, Should North Korea Act Unwisely'". And I'm feeling the rumbling again.

This isn't 1985; it's 2017. We have an incompetent, spoiled narcissist with no political, military or diplomatic experience in the White House, making statements sure to increase international tensions. The secretary of state tells us that Americans should sleep well at night and that he has no concerns about the president's rhetoric. I have to wonder which reality he's living in.

This is a baby playing with matches and a powder keg. This is our country. This is our lives. I never thought that I'd wake up feeling the rumbling like I did that morning in 1985. And though there was no earthquake in Seattle this morning, as soon as I read the news, I felt, for one brief moment, the earth tremble.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
I have been thinking about games lately, mainly because I have an idea for a board game and I'm reading up on the design process.

Specifically, I've been thinking about why I enjoy Ticket to Ride so much. Even when I don't win, it doesn't matter; I enjoy the process of the game play itself. I find it enormously satisfying and winning the overall game doesn't really matter to me when I play. I've realized that it's because the game has win conditions within win conditions.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, the idea is that you are building railroads piece by piece across the country on specific routes determined by the cards that you draw. In order for each route to count, you have to complete it, laying down all the specified segments of the route. There are reward points for finishing each train route. There are reward points for the person who builds the longest route--which often means connecting several routes that you build over the course of the game. And then there are reward points for the segments of the routes that you build. The person with the highest point count overall wins. As I said above, win conditions within win conditions.

When I meet any of these conditions I am satisfied. Sometimes players compete for hubs where several routes meet. Sometimes laying down my route means blocking you from completing yours. There are cut-throat players who do this deliberately. Often I don't, but sometimes? Yeah, watch out! My personal win conditions tend to be completing routes I've drawn and completing the longest route. If I happen to win the game with all of the conditions listed in the paragraph above, that's awesome, too. But no matter who wins the overall game, if I've completed my own bits, I generally have fun and enjoy myself. I've started to think of this as the "fun condition."

If the point of a game is to have fun, then Ticket to Ride meets my fun condition. I need to bear this in mind as I work my way through this game idea. And I need to think about other games I enjoy and why I enjoy them.

NOTE: To my friends who have been designing games for decades, yes, yes, I know: this is probably 101-level stuff. But as a friend said to me tonight, everyone finds their own road.

Which direction?

Mon, Jul. 17th, 2017 12:58 pm
scarlettina: (Madness)
Sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going. The fact that gmail occasionally seems wonky, delivering email a day late, doesn't help. I don't know what to think sometimes. On the other hand, I recently had this exchange with my therapist:

Me: I need to stop thinking and just start doing.
Therapist: You need to stop doing and just start being.

Oh, right. It's all about being. This mindfulness stuff is hard.

"Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before . . . "
scarlettina: (Default)
1) I had a perfectly marvelous 55th birthday, and I'm hoping that as I have begun, so shall I continue.

2) I have acquired new tap shoes that fit me better and I'm delighted with them. I took my first class in them yesterday. My feet felt better, I didn't get unreasonably tired, and I mastered the steps we were doing a little quicker, I think, for not having to compensate for shoes that were too long. I'm actually looking forward to practicing!

3) I am excited about the new Doctor. It was time for a woman and I find myself ready to reengage with the series. I liked Matt Smith well enough but found the storytelling in his seasons weirdly disjointed. I liked Peter Capaldi, but after disengaging with Matt Smith's Doctor, I found myself unable to reengage. I am curious and excited about Jodie Whittaker as 13. I'm in and look forward to her premiere. When, now, is the regeneration episode?

4) Farewell to actor Martin Landau and director/auteur George Romero. Landau looms largest in my experience as Commander Koenig of Moon Base Alpha in Space: 1999 and, of course, as Bela Lugosi in the film "Ed Wood." I know, I know, Mission: Impossible--but I was too young to be captured by it at the time. As for Romero, he changed the world with "Night of the Living Dead." He certainly changed the horror genre, giving us a new kind of monster that has survived generations and multiple iterations. Respect to both of these gentlemen.

5) I need to devote a couple of evenings to finishing laying down the ideas for the board game I've been thinking about. This idea will not let go.

And so I am 55

Tue, Jul. 11th, 2017 08:42 pm
scarlettina: (Have A Cookie)
Yesterday, I celebrated my double-nickel birthday. I made a point to make it a lovely day, having brunch with [personal profile] lagilman at Portage Bay Cafe, an afternoon on my balcony cleaning it up and gardening a bit, and dinner with J and KG at one of Seattle's finest restaurants, Canlis, where I've never been before. It was a lovely day, a satisfying, slightly self-indulgent day. I felt loved, revived, and supported.

I am not where I thought I'd be at this point in my life, but I am trying to make the most of where I am. And there is a lot of goodness. I'm financially secure with a lovely home, a loving family, and the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for. I am mostly healthy. I'm in useful, effective therapy. I am working hard to determine what I want and how to go about getting it. I am reprioritizing my creative time, energy and pursuits.

I find myself wishing that my parents were here. I would love for them to see where I am and who I have become. I would love for them to meet the man my brother has become, and my delightful sister-in-law and niece. I would love for them to meet so many of my friends, interesting, creative, remarkable people that they are. I would love to ask their advice about this thing and that. It didn't occur to me until tonight that I've been missing them both lately even though I have lived most of my life without them.

I want more travel. I want to produce more creative product, whether it's projects I write or edit, performances I give, jewelry I make or photography that I pursue. I want to continue the slow redecoration of the house, and the slow shedding of stuff. More to come, I guess, as the year unfolds.

Happy birthday to me.


Sun, Jun. 25th, 2017 11:23 am
scarlettina: (Default)
When I was a kid, raised on movie musicals, I wanted to take tap dancing lessons. I saw Gene Kelly, Ann Miller, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, and I wanted to dance. My mother insisted that all dance grows out of ballet and I had to study ballet first. So for a couple of years I studied ballet. Finally, I got to study tap and I adored it. Of course, by then, some of my passion had waned, mostly because I had to do what my mom wanted me to do first; it was harder for me to want to practice, and my mom badgered me about it. (It was thus with music as well. I wanted to study violin. She didn't want to "have to listen to that scratching all the time" so I played flute instead, and wasn't as passionate about it.) Eventually lessons stopped because there was no money for them, and that was that.

In my thirties, I tried going back to ballet and I enjoyed it. Problem by then, of course, was that my body hadn't grown into ballet form, and so by the fifth or sixth lesson, I was having pain in my legs that meant I was actually damaging my hips. I went to the doctor about it, and was told that I had to stop or I'd do permanent damage. When I quit the class, the teacher was disappointed. She said, "But you're good. You're the only person in the class that actually knows what she's doing." C'est la vie.

Earlier this spring, I started taking tap lessons. I love it. I'm good and I know it. My teacher says so. I'm practicing (perhaps not as much as I should be, but I am). The things I learned as a kid are coming back almost instinctively. I went yesterday afternoon to try to find better fitting shoes than the ones that I have (mine are too long and the ball of my foot isn't hitting the toe tap the way it should). It felt good to go looking for tools for my art that were actually appropriate. Thank goodness that beginner tap shoes aren't as expensive as street shoes! Anyway, because my feet are short and wide, the shop is putting in a special order to try to get some pairs that are suited to my strange-for-dancers feet.

I have a tiny little dream. My tiny little dream is to get good enough to perform locally. I don't know if that will ever be possible, but I want to try. I love being in front of an audience. I know I have presence. I love the bling and shine of being on stage. And I think I can entertain; I've done it before. And so we go.
scarlettina: (Default)
Who here should I be reading? Who should I be getting to know?
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
As a result of her surgery, Sophie has a large shaved spot on her side, in the midst of which is her giant incision, stitched up and looking like something Frankenstein might have done. The temptation to touch the shaved area is just too strong to resist, because it's the closest I get to actually touching her rather than her fur. Don't get me wrong: her fur is thick and wooly and soft and luxurious and I love to pet her. But it's not touching her. I am very careful not to touch her incision, but I can't help touching the very warm (101.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the normal temp for a cat), velvety area around it. Her skin is that mottled, motley pattern shown in her fur; she's a true tortie calico, right down to her dermis. And right now she has vanishingly short, velvety stubble, lovely to touch.

She's being very assertive about spending time with me, which delights me, because she's so often cowed by Zeke, who can be very jealous. But Zeke is staying out of her way, which also pleases me. She's not being harassed during her recuperation.

She is my little sweetheart and I think she's feeling better than she's felt in quite some time. She seems to be recovering well. This is a goodness.


And now for something completely different. As [personal profile] ironymaiden would say, here's a shiny object I found on the internet.
scarlettina: (Reality Check)
A couple of remarks on Facebook this morning got me thinking about contrasts and distinctions.

1) An acquaintance of mine posted a single phrase: I need a girlfriend. The conversation that ensued was . . . enlightening. A couple of his female friends advised that he work on himself and that love would come. (This has been my occasional thought about this acquaintance, as it has often been about myself.) Some of his friends asked him what he could possibly need a woman for; girlfriends, they said, were all whiny, needy and expensive. And this acquaintance of mine said, "You mean it doesn't get better? At least the last one had the body of a goddess." At which point, I thought, "Ah, you're not looking for a girlfriend; you're looking to get laid." There's a difference. It also made me remember one of the many reasons I've never dated this acquaintance of mine. He reveals himself too often to be exactly the kind of man who doesn't see women as real people. We are useful for particular things, but mostly we're adjuncts to men, from his perspective.

2) I saw a production of "Cabaret" last night, and remarked upon the fact that a couple of people laughed at the end of the song "If You Could See Her," with its horrifying, deliberately anti-Semitic punchline. I said that I wasn't sure whether or not they laughed because they were shocked or because they actually thought it was funny, that in the current political climate it's hard to tell. A friend responded that it's an old show, and that when he saw it in the 1980s, people laughed then, too. I responded, "I don't think the age of the show has anything to do with it. It's a shocking moment, signaling a major cultural shift in the play." He said, "The age of the show was in reference to your thought on current politics." But the more I think about this exchange, the more I think he really didn't get my point. Did he think I thought the show is contemporary? Is he not aware of my more than passing interest in theater and awareness of at least some of its history? Possible, certainly, but I'd be surprised if that were the case, given how long we've known each other. Art--good art--remains relevant despite the passage of time. It will provoke different conversations in every era. Either he missed my point, or he really thought I had no idea what I was talking about. The longer I know this man, the more we butt heads about particular issues, the more I think he hasn't been paying attention, which is . . . disappointing. Or maybe it's just that we've lived such completely different lives that we don't know how to communicate with each other--a thought that has never occurred to me until just now.


Thu, Jun. 22nd, 2017 07:46 am
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
In last night's post, I mentioned that Sophie had an abscess. I won't get into giant detail, but the TL;DR version is that apparently she and Zeke had a tussle at some point. He bit her and the wound healed, but she developed an abscess in the fat layer under her skin. It had to come out. I took her to the vet, she stayed overnight and she's home now with a giant scar on one side and an Elizabethan collar to keep her from picking at it.

(I tried to post a picture of her here, but DW has an unfamiliar picture-posting system, and I can't seem to get it to work. I'll figure it out eventually.)

She's doing just fine. She's eating, pooping, and getting used to life with an E collar. Last night, I closed her in the upstairs room, collar on, with food and a litter box. This morning, as if to show me who's boss, I woke to find the collar laying in the doorway to my bedroom and Sophie nowhere to be found. The door to the upstairs room was still closed. The only way she could have gotten out was to climb up and over the loft edge, and then jump down onto the easy chair on the main floor. No, there's nothing wrong with this girl. She's going to be fine. But this all means that I'm going to have to keep a careful eye on her. If she can remove her collar and drop it in my doorway to spite me, then it's going to be a tricky two weeks until she can stop wearing it.

:: sigh :: Cats.
scarlettina: (Default)
So one of the concepts we deal with in DBT is "willfulness." It's the idea that you are not participating effectively in the world as it is, or that you're not doing something you know needs to be done to move toward a goal. When we say "in the world as it is," we're talking about radically accepting reality: if it's raining, then it's raining and there's nothing you can do about that if you don't like it. (That's the mildest of examples. A more realistic one might be if someone is terminally ill, there's nothing you can do about the illness; you have to accept it. Denial is willfulness.) You have to accept it--not deny it or argue about it. Only then can you move into "willingness," which allows you to find your way to making a commitment, first to accepting that which feels unacceptable and then making a choice to do what needs to be done and doing it.

The last few days have been challenging. I started a meditation practice. I started an inner child visualization practice. I continued to journal in my DBT journal, which I won't be sharing here. I did these things along with my DBT homework and mindfulness practices. I was taking my medications regularly. Somewhere over the weekend, something in me got willful and I stopped pretty much everything. I tried to meditate; I had no focus. The inner child visualization just stopped. I stopped keeping the daily mindfulness journal that's part of DBT. I stopped taking my medications. At the same time, I discovered that my cat Sophie had a giant abscess that would have to be removed; she went off to the vet yesterday for surgery.

This morning, I had a therapy appointment and everything sort of crashed.

I didn't have my diary card with me. Then I had to admit that I stopped all of these things: meds, meditation, mindfulness and so on. And then we got digging into why. The answer was simple and devastatingly difficult all at once. I was taking care of myself, and I suddenly got skeptical about the idea that I was worthy of that kind of self-care. I'd even started thinking about going back to Weight Watchers. So what did I do? I made myself sick eating badly yesterday. Literally sick. I got three hours of sleep last night because I felt so physically awful and I was so worried about Sophie.

That not taking care of myself, that skepticism about me being worthy of self care, was willfulness. I was not participating effectively in the world as it is, a world in which I am worthy of that kind of self care, a world in which it's important for me to be healthy so I can function properly and can move forward willingly. We talked about where these ideas were first fostered inside me, we talked about how much care taking of others I've done over the last few years, we talked about how all that care taking made it easy for me to put aside my self care, allowed me not to examine my attitude about self care and my worthiness of self care and the love needed to maintain it.

I called in to work sick today because I felt so awful and was so tired. I knew I'd be having to care for Sophie, a kind of care taking I was totally willing to do, that I accepted needed doing and that I was responsible for. But I also had to take care of me, which meant accepting that I am worthy of care, then doing what's needed: taking my medications, journaling, being gentle with myself about starting over again.

Practice makes progress, as a WW leader said to me years ago. Progress. That's all I can ask for.
scarlettina: (Reality Check)
Some of you may know that I've been doing a rather intensive therapy called dialectical behavior therapy (known as DBT). If one can be said to "come out" as depressed or suicidal, then I guess I qualify for "coming out." I've never attempted suicide, but for 8-9 months last year into this year, it was a primary thought pattern for me. The darkness got pretty bad; it was a daily phenomenon. I didn't think that my presence on Earth mattered, that it would be easier for everyone if I disappeared. I didn't think I was worthy of love. And, surrounded as I was by friends and relatives so many of whom were suffering with cancer (very specifically, six people--friends and family--were all dealing with it at the same time, all different flavors: brain, prostate, pancreatic, breast; it was awful), I couldn't bear the thought that life was nothing but sickness and devastation and loss. Cancer was the primary trauma of my teen years; to have it come roaring into my environment so aggressively all at once was horrifying, especially with the prelude of Jay Lake's journey. I thought about what I'd do to myself, how I'd do it. Three things kept me from taking final steps: the thought that I didn't want to put my brother into the position of explaining to my niece what I'd done or why I'd done it, the fact that there's still too much of the world left to see and too many people to love, and the anti-depressants I've been taking. It still peeks through occasionally, but I have the tools now to deal with it.

DBT has helped pretty significantly. It's a combination of cognitive and behavioral methods that address thought and behavior patterns in a very systematic way. It actually requires the use of a workbook! But what the workbook does is concretize the internal work that one does as part of the therapy. It draws on evidence-based therapies and a little bit of Buddhist philosophy to foster specific coping skills:

Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change

Mindfulness is a separate skill that is emphasized and practiced hand in hand with each of the other three skills. I've completed two of these modules so far, and they have definitely been helpful. Two friends, independent of each other, have observed that these days I seem more centered and grounded. That's what I've been working toward. I have one more module to go. I need to decide, after that, if I'm going to do the course again. It is expensive and it is a lot of work, but it's clear that the work has made a difference.

I've also started to do heartbeat meditation for 20 minutes every morning. This is a relatively recent practice, and I have a lot of work to do. But what I've found is that it helps me start my day in a more balanced, mindful way. I'm not as angry as I've been (and I've been very angry for the last two years), and I'm finding that it's helping me in other ways--but I'm not prepared to talk about them yet because I need more evidence before I'm sure that what I'm experiencing is substantial and consistent.

I've been wanting to write about these things for a while. I have refrained from doing so because I was concerned about "how it would look" or "what people would think." This morning, I've decided I just kinda don't care. These are issues that I have been dealing with and the things that are helping me cope. I wanted to be honest about what I'm feeling, thinking, and doing. It's been a big part of how I've been spending my time this year, and not writing about it seemed like corking up something very important. If there's anything here that can help other people, then I'm glad for that.

I also wanted to say, mainly, that I'm glad I'm still here. I'm looking forward to what I hope will be a good summer.
scarlettina: (Default)
1) What was the first recipe or food you learned how to cook?
I don't remember for certain, but I suspect that it may have been scrambled eggs. Or muffins from scratch.

2) What recipe or food did you cook most recently?
I think the last thing I actually cooked was a hardboiled egg for breakfast.

3) What recipe or food do you cook most often?
I tend to lean hard on pasta or on egg dishes. I'll have an egg-and-cheese omelette at least once a week.

4) What is your favorite recipe?
It's a toss-up between my mother's brisket and the Better Homes & Gardens lasagna.

5) What is the recipe you make that impresses other people the most?
The aforementioned brisket, though my friend Jeffrey wiped the floor with me with his recipe.

SIFF: The Landing

Sat, Jun. 10th, 2017 07:53 am
scarlettina: (Default)
Last night's SIFF film: The Landing, a faux documentary about Apollo 18, the last moon mission. (Actually, Apollo 18 never happened. It was cancelled.) The film posits an unplanned landing not in the Pacific Ocean, but in China, and explores the question of how two of the three astronauts died. Was it the result of accidental poisoning, or were they murdered?

The filmmakers did a terrific job of nearly convincing me that all of this actually happened, of portraying what happens when mystery clouds an event, and how conspiracy theories are born. Some of the narrative was downright eerie, given talk of silent collusion with the Russians and putting people in charge who don't know what they're doing.

What adds verisimilitude is that the film started out as a short about the murder that was made 20 years ago. The filmmakers took that short, got all the actors together in the last two years and shot the documentary footage. What that means is that you've got the actors when they were young acting out the moon shot, and the actors when they're older talking about the shot as if it actually happened. It's incredibly clever.

The directors and some of the actors were on hand after the film to answer questions and they talked about their process. One of the two directors talked about his discomfort with the timing of the film's release given all the talk of fake news in the media these days. He talked about the ease with which they were able to make false things look true. They discussed how they made all the documentation--hours of photoshop. And they discussed how much of the more recent footage was improvised--no scripts, just the actors finding the characters again and talking about what happened all those years ago.

I don't know if this film will get a wide release, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It had the feel of one of those conspiracy theory docs you see on History Channel. At the end, when the director polled the audience, the group was split between those who thought the surviving astronaut was a murderer and those who thought he didn't do it. If you get a chance to see it, I recommend it. Lots of fun.


Note: I have two other SIFF films that I've yet to review. I'm skipping those for the moment because this one is still so fresh in my mind. Will get to those later. And I have one more film to see tomorrow before the festival ends.
scarlettina: (Madness)
Tired. Overscheduled. A little cranky.

I've been out so much lately, what with a full Memorial Day weekend and much SIFFing, that I'm just tired. I ditched last night's SIFF film to go to bed early, and yet still found myself awake with texting. And then, of course, being roused by cats at the crack of dawn.

I'm scheduled up for the next three, maybe four days. It all promises to be delightful, but something's got to give. The answer is almost certainly to stop making plans and accepting invitations for a little bit--but where's the fun in that? Life is for living.

I just wish it didn't take so much damn energy! :-)
scarlettina: (Default)
The Odyssey: A French biopic about inventor/explorer Jacques Cousteau. Nicely shot, well-paced, with some beautiful underwater photography, the film concentrates almost more on Cousteau's personal life than it does on his career, which makes for an interesting personal take on his story. I learned things I didn't know about Cousteau, as well as about his son Philippe, an award-winning cinematographer. Good film; glad I saw it.

Divine Divas: A documentary about eight groundbreaking drag stars in Brazil, their lives, their careers, and their return to the Rival Theater, where they got started, for the venue's 50th anniversary. Directed by the theater's owner, Leandra Leal, an actress and star in her own right, the film includes stories of her growing up in the theater and her memories of these performers in their youth. The movie has a certain sweetness about it. I admit, however, that I found it about 20-30 minutes too long, and some of the subtitles clearly lost something in translation which made this, for me, a little bit of a jumble. SIFF's description of the film describes it as an award-winner, so perhaps different eyes will see it differently.

SIFF 2017 so far

Mon, May. 29th, 2017 09:02 am
scarlettina: (Default)
Here are reviews of the films I've seen so far (links go to the SIFF listing and trailers as available), and then a request for opinions of possible film choices after:

MENASHE, about a Hassidic widower who is so bereft that even after a year he just can't get his life together. His year of mourning is ending, he's having trouble keeping his job, he hasn't been able to bring himself to find another wife, and his son's being cared for my his late wife's family who don't think much of him. He's fighting to keep his son and needs to find a way to prove to everyone around him that he's a capable father and can live up to the standards of his community. It's a bittersweet story, filmed entirely in Yiddish, and really beautifully done. I recognized just enough of the language to know that the subtitles were covering the basics, but that some nuances were lost. Even with those lost nuances of dialog, the actors' faces are so eloquent that the words almost weren't necessary. I found myself understanding Menashe's pain and feeling very sad about his choices in the end, even though they were the only choices he could make and ultimately were the right ones. A very effective film and very much worth seeing. A good way to start the festival.

BYE BYE GERMANY, starring Moritz Bleibtreu, whom I've seen in other films shown at SIFF and whom I like quite a bit. Based on true events, the story follows David Bermann, a cool, smartly-dressed and ever-so-smooth linen salesman, in Frankfurt after WWII. He's survived a concentration camp, lost his family, and is trying to move on. When he applies for a business license, he finds himself being interrogated about how he survived. At times funny, at times deeply grim, I ultimately found the film very satisfying. Bleibtreu, as always, is terrific, and it was interesting to learn another untold story of the Holocaust.

THE FARTHEST, a documentary about the Voyager planetary probes, their design, their mission, the people who designed and built them, and what they've achieved thus far. I'm kind of a documentary junkie, and I have to say that this is one of the best docs I've ever seen: moving, exciting, educational and inspiring. It gave me chills listening to scientists talking about their passion, their wonder in this epic project they undertook and reviewing pictures we've all seen now with new eyes and a clearer understanding of the weight of the accomplishment. Look for for this doc on PBS in the coming year. It's well worth seeing.

THE OSIRIS CHILD: SCIENCE FICTION VOLUME ONE, an old-school Australian science fiction movie which starts by giving you the idea that the fate of a world hangs in the balance, but which, in truth, is the story of a father and child caught up in events they can't control. It's Road Warrior meets The Searchers meets a generic convict-with-a-heart-of-gold-on-the-run film. I found it a little uneven but I still enjoyed it. The monsters in the film aren't quite what one expects, the special effects are terrific, especially given the low budget and in the end, there's a nice little twist that makes quite a bit of what came before totally worth the watch. Overall it was a satisfying entertainment.

More to come as I see more festival films. In the meanwhile, I need to shuffle my schedule around a bit and so am looking for comments about the following films, if any of my SIFF cohort here on DW has seen them, specifically:

  • What Lies Upstream

  • Fermented

  • Borders

  • Backpack Full of Cash

scarlettina: (Default)
This weekend started out with almost no plans on Saturday and no plans at all on Monday. Within the space of 15 minutes, I had plans for Saturday, and now have plans for Monday. Holy cats, things heat up quickly!

Yesterday, I stopped by Fusion Beads because they were having a trunk show by a Portland lapidary whose work I quite like, and who often has Fordite available. Scored two beautiful pieces--one for a gift and one to make a pendant for myself--and took off.

Picked up CM and headed over to the Rocky Pond Winery tasting room in Woodinville, there to see [personal profile] lagilman and to taste Rocky Pond's new rose which is, I have to say, terrific. CM and I had an excellent catch up, lunch at Mazatlan, and then came home. We'd considered doing more tasting (Woodinville is lousy with tasting rooms--you couldn't possibly do them all even in a single weekend), but we both had other things to take care of.

I got home and ended up napping--that's what I get for drinking wine before lunch! And then I was off to parts south to meet TB for dinner and to do barcon at PaizoCon. It was a charming evening. My friend Stan! was impressed by my schmoozing skills; apparently he's never seen me in action at a convention before. I was entertained by how gobsmacked he seemed. It was a little strange, too, at the same time, until I realized that even though we've known each other for years and we're both convention denizens, we've never been at the same convention together. TB was a charming dinner partner and I expect we'll get together again.

And that was just the first day of the weekend! I hope that today will be a little less frenzied (even though yesterday was great). I need to slow down in the heat a bit.
scarlettina: (Default)
Here it is: my first entry on Dreamwidth! Place takes some getting used to. The colors are different, the layout is different, and I need to find all my people. But the new journal means I'll be able to get back into my journaling groove and there's goodness in that.

Over the weekend, I hope to do some updating--revise the look and feel of the journal, get my friendslist growing, and get some updates here. I have a bunch of Seattle International Film Festival film reviews to post. And I have some noodling and reflection I want to do here. I also need to subscribe and get my icon library back to its robust self.

All of this will have to wait, however. Today's plans include wine tasting, jewelry shopping, and dinner with a friend. It's a beautiful day in Seattle. May this be a harbinger of good things to come.


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August 2017

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