Friday, January 31, 2014


Fortunately, the weather didn't play havoc with my plans to see Coriolanus, a National Theatre Live presentation. This is the third one i've seen. I was disappointed to miss the Scottish Play (Macbeth for the nonsuperstitious) last month, because it was rescheduled eight days before Christmas, and on a day where we got quite a bit of snow. I had bought my ticket early, as the local venue where they show National Theatre Live productions offered a discounted price if you bought tickets for Othello, the Scottish Play, and Coriolanus. Because of technical difficulty, the October showing of Macbeth needed to be moved to a later date. I debated with myself about driving to see it, as the snow was just starting before it was time to go. I wondered how bad it would be driving home three hours later, and the answer was "Snowing hard enough that i probably chose wisely to give it a miss," although i was still unhappy about it.

That strengthened my resolve to see Coriolanus all the more, and, i'm happy to report, the weather co-operated. The sets were sparsely furnished, the make-up made Coriolanus's wounds look utterly believable, and it was an engaging watch. I was annoyed by the intermission as i wanted to keep watching the play. I know modern audiences expect an intermission, but Shakespeare didn't write with intermissions in mind, he meant for his plays to run nonstop.

With both Othello and Coriolanus, i found that the actors embraced the lines and made them their own, so they didn't come out sounding stilted. It's a shame Coriolanus doesn't get more press, and once again, i see that over the last four hundred years or so little about human nature has changed. People in a position of power often abuse their position and yield to their baser natures or insecurities. Coriolanus's tendency to speak his mind bluntly and his unwillingness to say something he doesn't feel simply to appease the masses or those who may be regarded as lesser reminded me very much of me.

I know people who drone on and on about Shakespeare, thinking that we should be duly impressed that they watch the Bard's plays, but really, the reason his plays have stood up so well is because they're damn fine plays. He understands the psychology of his characters has them stay true to themselves, and gives them great lines to utter, and THAT's what's so appealing.

We have some live theatre here, and i support my local thespians as i can. I must say, though, seeing these NT Live shows are a real treat, as i'd never see Tom Hiddleston appear in anything nearby. Yes, it's a bit more than the price of a regular film ticket, but worth every penny, and much less than the cost of a ticket were one to see it on Broadway.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How cold is it?

We've gone back to pretty bloody cold. Today's high was 10°F (~-11°C). I awoke to the outside temperature being 0°F/-18°C. It's back to heavy sweaters and wearing thermal underthings. We've been like this pretty much all week and shall stay that way except for Saturday, then back to more of the Really Cold.

I drove the truck yesterday for an errand and had trouble starting it today. I was going to take the car today, but i found the lock frozen. I rarely lock my vehicles here, there just isn't much point, but on occasion one hears of people passing by and looking inside other people's cars to see if there's anything worth taking. One night a few weeks back, at my knitting group, i heard a car door slam, which seemed odd to me, and when i got in the truck to go home, i saw the centre console opened up wide. Nothing was missing, and the only things i had in the centre console were a couple CDs, a pen, and about 55¢. But that spooked me enough to lock my doors for a bit.

The only way i could get into my car today to see if it would start was to unlock the back hatch or the passenger door and crawl over to the driver's seat. The car is small, a first generation Honda Insight, and it's a manual transmission, so the gear shift makes for less space. I also have the seat pulled pretty far up because i'm short.

I finally got into the driver's seat and tried starting the car. Nope, a sad lurching sound. Too cold.

I didn't bother locking it. The driver's side lock will stay frozen for the next few days at least, and between having to climb over, know how to drive a standard, and then jump the car, to get it going at all seems like too much work for anyone to steal it.

Someone on facebook shared a story about two would-be car thieves who held up a pizza delivery guy and wanted to steal his car. Only they couldn't drive a manual transmission, so they took the money and ran. I'm viewing the frigid battery as simply another layer of my anti-theft protection.

We're supposed to get to a high of 30°F/-1°C on Saturday, and perhaps the car will start then.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Robbed, i tell you, robbed!

I don't see many films in the theatre, i don't know why, really, as there are some good ones out there. Part of it may do with the fact that i have an extremely low threshhold for violence, so i do not watch violent films. That takes care of, what 75% or so of what's playing?

Two people i know who don't gush about things both sang the praises of Saving Mr. Banks. They did so separately, unaware that the other had said anything, so i thought i'd go have a look.

I'd seen the trailer so knew it was not necessarily a happy-go-lucky sort of story, but hadn't read any reviews. I didn't want to read any spoilers or claptrap that would spoil a perfectly good story, much the way my 9th grade English teacher marred perfectly fine stories by wanting us to rip them apart in search of symbolism.

And so, i went to see Saving Mr. Banks Tuesday evening. It was pouring buckets here, much of snow melting, and i arrived just as the last preview was playing. Just in time.

The acting was superb, and i realised with a start how familiar everything in the film looked. I remember when those things were nearly new, bouffy hairstyles, all things gelatin, the way tvs first showed that thin, horizontal line in the middle when turned on, and when switched off, that fluorescent, nearly lavender dot that stayed behind in the middle of the screen, as if loathe to leave. How people dressed up when travelling, and nearly every adult seemed to sip martinis.

Hard for me to believe that was 50 years ago, and i thought about the film Mary Poppins. I had seen that in the cinema when it first came out, and was enthralled. The year in the movie was around 1910 or nearly 50 years before the time i saw the movie, and 1910 looked foreign. I wondered if youngsters seeing Saving Mr. Banks would find the world of 1961 as foreign. I mean, we had cars and phones and TVs and electricity, but would it look as strange to a milennial child as 1910 did to me?

I expected to see some Oscar nominations for this film. Where to start? The actors gave amazing performances. Strong script, great storytelling, the Australian scenes were enchanting....

Nary a nod. Not even an honourable mention. For shame, Academy. I, who may see four films in the theatre a year at most, talking nearly nonstop about how great this is, and to overlook it entirely?

Robbed. Snubbed. Call it what you will, it's an egregious oversight.

Meantime, if you haven't seen it yet, go watch the film. It's worth the watch.