I finished reading Dance of Dragons this week, took me about 2 months with school going on. I liked it, kind of made me sad it will be a couple years before I can get the cliffhangers resolved. It's nice to see Martin beginning to pull all the threads in for a conclusion. I just hope he doesn't decide that he needs to throw another 200 characters in for some reason and therefore have to write another few. Having said that, I can't think of anything else I've ever read that has been so expansive in scope. He just keeps expanding and building out. It seems like the author lives more in that world than this one.
I also read the new Junot Diaz book, "This is how you lose Her". While definitely not as good as Oscar Wao, it's worth reading if for nothing but the writing voice. It's got some killer prose. Also, it's fun knowing Spanish, I can't imagine a non-speaker getting as much out of it as there is so much slang and conversation snippets that don't carry the same weight without knowing the meaning. Oh yeah, and the whole thing is pretty depressing, so there is that. A really glum look at several different kinds of relationships that all take place in somewhere the main character's have a hard time truly calling home.
On Friday night we went and had a barbecue with some old friends from Alaska, one I hadn't seen in several years. I tried my hand at pool and realized that I've not improved over time at all. Something I wish I could instantly get better at.
On Saturday we woke up and went to the Salt Lake Market, bought some really good pluots and popsicles, chicken sandwhiches, and tried to go see "Chicken with Plums." Unfortunately, the theater had a malfunction and they had to cancel the show, so we went shopping for groceries and headed home.
Saturday some friends had us over for scones and introduced us to a game called "Words on the Street." and thoroughly destroyed us twice. I felt so much rage about it that I immediately ordered the game and vow to NEVER lose again. I'll let you know how that goes.
Sunday we went to church and took care of some housework. We went to some ward members' house for dinner and just had a nice quiet evening.
Monday I went to lunch with a friend, did some studying, laundry, worked on a song for a while, and started a new book. It was a relaxing day. That night we went to Natalie's friend's house for dinner and I played some accordion for FHE. Five Green and Speckled Frogs.
This week for the Criterion flick I watched Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast from 1946. It was a bizarre experience. Definitely the director values form over story. It almost felt like watching an old horror movie at certain parts instead of a fairy tale. It seemed like a Lon Chaney monster movie. While this was definitely not one of my favorites, there were some redeeming qualities:
-Dude knows how to do atmosphere. Everything felt different when you were transported from the little villa to the Beast's castle. Call it an outdated effect, but I loved the moving statues and busts and the hands sticking out of all the walls. The two settings contrast each other so well without the tricks available today. It actually does a better job than most movies where you are plunged into some other world, because directors today can't resist trying to even make the mundane world look great. Go watch the newest Alice and Wonderland or something like that, and try and tell me that the contrast in Beauty in the Beast isn't better.
-The Beast is sufficiently creepy. The scene that really sticks in my mind is where Belle sees him after a nighttime kill and he is smoking and yelling at her. It's not even all that realistic looking of a mask, but it is strange enough to feel uncomfortable, like you are seeing something you are not meant to see. Also, when he is drinking out of the stream and Belle's hands, you get that same sense of discomfort. I like that the movie ends with Belle wishing that he was still the Beast, it kind of cracked me up by how little sense it made. If I remember correctly, she states that she loves Avenant and is glad the beast looks like him, but kind of wishes he was still the Beast. He seems kind of annoyed by this. What a weird twist.
-My brother and law likes to talk about all the loop holes in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Something about how the appliances sing about how they have been rusting for 10 long years, and the beast is supposed to be turning 21 at the end of the movie as the rose blooms, and therefore, the kid was only like 11 when the witch turned him into a beast. What was he doing in the castle alone at 11? Where were his parents? And maybe his parents just told him not to let strange old women into the house! Anyway, if he has a problem with that version's plot issues, he should never watch this one. All sorts of stuff happens that is never really explained, including golden keys, Belle somehow falling in love with the Beast, buildings filled with treasure, people turning into beasts, the beast looking like Avenant, what happened to the father, and the flying off among other things. Because of all this, like I said above, I think it's best not to worry at all about the story and just enjoy the bizarre imagery.
-The slow motion scene with Belle running into the castle was extremely cool looking.
So Next week I am watching one of the many movies about the Titanic without Leo and Kate, it's called "A Night to Remember".
Thursday I will go see Buck 65 in concert. I am way excited. Maybe too excited.