Monday, January 12, 2009

Lions Gate Stopover, Late Lights and weekend movies

The pleasures of cycling seem to have gone up a notch or two, after almost three weeks of walking and taking the bus because of snow and ice-covered roads.  Rather like how good health feels after an illness.  On Monday, I had a little time before school, and stopped on the Lions Gate Bridge to photograph these trees on my right, as I headed north.  I wonder if they leaned away from each other in this dance pose before the snow.  If so, they didn't catch my attention.  Maybe it took the backdrop of light filtered through mist fog to highlight the featured trees.

The bridge angles seemed to call for dancers or musicians or some artistic representation.  I wonder if anyone has ever thought of choreographing or composing a bridge piece.  I once heard a performance on the radio called Port Symphonies that was done with ship fog horns and sirens.  Hm....  a ballet or modern dance performance, or a symphony on the Lions Gate, would be incredible.

And another kind of light.  Bill and I began our weekend on Friday evening by eating supper at the Naam. 
We eat there fairly frequently.  There's usually a line-up and the service can be slow, but we have a favorite friendly waiter, and there's always live music, and I enjoy the Dragon Bowl.  Bill likes their Pop Eye Spinach Pizza.  But, I digress.  Afterwards, we made a right from 4th onto Stephens Street.  At the SE corner of 5th, the lights on this house reminded me of the ones I posted about some weeks ago on Cypress Street.  In my day (I don't believe I just said that), if all Christmas lights weren't taken down by January the 6th, people thought of the house owner as either lazy or a bit strange.  In a weird sort of way, I prefer the lights after Christmas.  They're not reminding me to get my shopping done, but just adding a bit of fun and brightness to Vancouver's typically rather drab and dreary January weather.  Bill often senses before I do when a picture moment presents itself.  He was already stopping before I thought of getting the camera out.  I liked the reflections on the fence, and also some that were in the puddles on the street.  My puddle pictures didn't work, nor did the ones taken from the front of the house, but these side views were more successful, I think.   

We saw two movies on the weekend, Revolutionary Road and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  The first had incredible acting that held me spellbound, but I have to say, I don't do conflict well.  Knots in my stomach settled in and stayed there for pretty much the entire movie.  Painful, watching two unhappy people torture each other emotionally.  And Benjamin?  I won't say I loved it, but it grew on me as it went along.  The idea of becoming younger as everyone around you ages was well handled.  I came home and read the Fitzgerald short story afterwards, to find that it was about as different from the movie as it could be.  Probably a good thing that the movie took the same theme but little else from the original story.     


  1. Nice bendy tree. To me they always look like they are out of Dr. Suess books when they are like that.

    We saw Benjamin Button on Saturday and my response was similar. It was OK. I think Brad Pitt is a cutie patootie so I also got more interested as the story moved along. We are lined up for Slumdog Millionaire on Friday.

    And I was wondering yesterday whether you had read Ahab's Wife. If not, I recommend it.

  2. Thanks, dp. Really appreciate your comments. 1.Although I've only come across Dr. Suess on the odd occasion when reading with younger kids (missed him growing up - after my time I guess), I know exactly what you mean by that tree observation. 2. Yup, Brad is real easy on the eyes:) I'll be interested to know what you think of Slumdog Millionaire. I saw it a couple of weeks ago. 3. I haven't read Ahab's Wife. Will definitely pick it up. Love to get your recommendations. Just finished Sweetness in the Belly. I'm a bit hazy on both the political and religious references, but learned a lot. Now need to make time to look some of them up in more detail. I loved the beginning and conclusion a lot. Got a bit bored in places in the middle. It seemed, at times, to be written as a way of educating those of us with my lack of background, and while I appreciated that, at the same time, I think the story line suffered a bit for it. I have The Book of the Negro (I think I have the title right) in my pannier today. Just ready to start it. As much as I love Jane Goodall, I lost momentum reading her book and have put it aside. Maybe a project for holiday time when I'm less distracted.

  3. Funny -- I didn't get bored at all during Sweetness in the Belly, but I also read it while I was in Toronto helping my mom after a surgery. I read differently when I have a lot of time for reading, and I am probably more patient with the boring bits. Having always wanted to travel to Ethiopia I did appreciate the history lesson and being forced to consider the absolute turmoil into which one's life can be thrown by big ideas in religion and politics. I can't imagine a life in which I am conducting a global search by snail mail for friends and relatives I was separated from at short notice. We have it so easy. Anyhow, I am glad that you didn't hate it!

    Will let you know what I think of Slumdog Millionaire. I am always wary of such films, but my boss loved it and we usually see to eye-to-eye on such things.

    Ahab's Wife (Sena Jeter Naslund -- I had to look it up) was based on one line in Moby Dick that refers to Ahab's young wife in Nantucket. I read it several years ago now on the recommendation of my mother (we see about eye-to-ear on such things) and was very impressed. I think you will like it.

    The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill? I remember quite liking Some Great Thing, but that was some great time ago.

  4. It walked the "good movie" line pretty well, wavering between "meh" and "holy wow" now and then.

    Wary because I hate it when films made for western audiences portray life in other parts of the world as something lesser. Danny Boyle didn't commit that crime IMO -- he managed to portray life in India as different but not better or worse than life anywhere else. Just life.

    Some of the plot features made me roll my eyes (when, exactly, did these people fall into everlasting love?) and I found the use of english to be very distracting. The main actor was great and the kids were fantastic. Could the creepy urchin lord get any creepier?

    I'm glad I saw it. But it was no Such a Long Journey.

  5. dp, thanks! I definitely didn't hate sweetness. I'm thinking its quieter pace after Belle Canto, coupled with, as you noted, a different reading mindset as i returned to work, made me less able to absorb some of the information that seemed to me to interrupt the plot. It's a book I won't forget, and Ethiopia's history has moved to the front of my consciousness.

    I was annoyed through much of Slumdog. The kids' acting was impressive, but I still came home and told Bill I hated the movie. Realize now I was tired, put off by sound volume in the theatre that caused physical pain, and like you, impatient with some of the plot details. It was clever in many ways, no question, but it still bugs me that it is sweeping so many awards.

    I'm really enjoying The Book of Negoes so far. By coincidence, Cristina mentioned it in her last blog entry (linked from mine). Apparently she read it in 48 hrs. I used to read very quickly, but seem to have slowed down a lot. I refuse to blame old age. Maybe all that fresh air from biking could serve as an excuse:)

    Will look forward to Ahab's wife. Love this bookclub aspect of blogging. Definitely opening up some new avenues of thought.