Thursday, April 04, 2013

Day four of vacation

I'm four work days into my week off. Of course I love it! I've had a relaxing time so far. Even the weather has cooperated. The first few days were sunny and warm, int he 70s. And today is cool and rainy and in the 40s, just perfect for cozying up or making roasted vegetables.

I hear the bird under the air conditioner in the sill going and coming with food. Whenever she comes back, she lands on the AC which makes a small scratching sound with her claws on the metal. The baby birds nestled underneath it pipe up and make tiny tweets. This arouses the cats, who run from wherever they are (including my lap) and hurl themselves on the table in front of the AC to catch a glimpse of this tantalizingly close but eternally distant prey. Rinse. Repeat. LOL.

I watched Slumdog Millionaire last night on Youtube. Why not watch on Netflix, you may ask. Because NEtflix is LAME and never streams the movies I want to see. AARRGGHH!! I am getting plenty sick of seeing the phrase "Unavailable to stream" in the search results box.

It was an excellent movie which I liked very much. An 18 year old in Mumbai wins big on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" the Indian version. But before he is asked the final question for 20 Million rupees, when they cut to a break, he is arrested on suspicion for cheating. Authorities cannot believe that a slumdog of lowest class, orphaned and with no education, could possibly know the answers to the increasingly difficult questions. His story to the police in the interrogation room (no Miranda in India, but plenty of blood on the floor) reveals through the various events in his life how he happened to know the answers. His story is compelling, told with heartbreaking honesty. Eventually the policeman understands that the boy is honest, lets him go, to return to the studio the next day to answer the final question for all the treasure.

It is a hard movie to watch, seeing the extreme poverty of the slums and how the orphaned children fend for themselves. I have no doubt it was true to life. But for all its grittiness it is a beautiful movie to watch cinematically and also emotionally. I even liked the music.

I also watched Turner Classic's Young Tom Edison and Tom Edison the Man, made by the same producers, to make a bookended account of America's most famous inventor. As a side note, these two movies also were on Youtube and NOT NETFLIX. Both of them came out in 1940, featuring Mickey Rooney in the younger and Spencer Tracy as the man. I mentioned that the producers were the same because I remember the names. The producer is Considine, which was a name that my parents used to mention a lot. And who can forget the name of the associate producer, "Orville D. Dull"?

Orville used to be a common name at the turn of the last century, and how unfortunate is Dull? Trying to increase its stature with the D only makes it worse, because it points right back to the D in Dull. Oh well, I'm glad at least he had obtained good work in the Depression.

I finished Willa Cather's "O, Pioneers," a towering work of immigrants in the midwest during the 1800s. For all its towering scope, it is a short book, which means the writing was concise and also very, very good. I started Normal Lewis's Jackdaw Cake, his autobiography from eccentric boyhood in Wales to world-renowned travel writer. The eccentricity of his aunts and their life together in a crumbling Welsh mansion in the early parts of the book are so well recounted that it's slightly icky to read it. But then there is a sentence like this:

"Here the Towy finally unwound itself into the sea, its estuary enclosed in a great silken spread of sand occupying a third of the horizon, to which our century had added not a single detail but the bones of two foundered ships in the process of digestion by mud."


It's writing like that which helps me get over the eccentric ickiness of the aunts and keep plowing through. Eventually the kid has to go away to school, and I bet it smooths out from there.

The rain is pelting and the skies are gray but all is warm and well-lit inside the apartment, And, except for the rain on the metal awnings, it is quiet. Just how I like it.


Melissa said...

Thanks for the escape into your quiet life. I love the quiet, too, and steal away to claim it whenever I can. I appreciate the movie titles, too. I noticed in another entry that you liked Doc Martin. Me, too. When will it be back? Ever?
Enjoy the rest of your break!


Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Melissa,

I looooove Doc Martin. I'm Aspergers and I love watching his social interactions! I do some of the same things.

They shoot every other year. They are shooting now for a return this fall. he has said it will likely be the last season