$30 isn’t a suc­cess­ful yard sale. I was pret­ty crab­by that day; but that was made up for by grilling stuffed pork chops on Mon­day, mak­ing home­made green tea ice cream, and find­ing out that home ren­o­va­tions can con­tin­ue next Mon­day. I just have to get rid of all the unsold yard sale crap, the free crib that we got [sans pro­pri­etary hard­ware for assem­bly] and try to get our hands on anoth­er one via Craigslist, fin­ish clean­ing the walls, prime them, paint them, move all our crap out from the mid­sec­tion of the house for the ren­o­va­tions and find out what the hell is tak­ing my sec­ond batch of floor­ing deliv­ery so long. Still much to do.

Also, I was cat-mar­ried the oth­er night, appar­ent­ly.

I sup­pose I should explain this. Deb­o­rah was cat-mar­ried to an actu­al cat in a pre­vi­ous life [aka Bal­ti­more]. She was unaware of this at the time, but after I explained it to her, she decid­ed that she should cat-mar­ry me as well. I guess she’s a cat bigamist.


So Deb­bie calls me yes­ter­day from the hos­pi­tal. A kid fell on her and the kid. Or, to be pre­cise, a kid pushed a kid right into her bel­ly. I’d nev­er rid­den my bike home so quick­ly, and rolled out to Huron hos­pi­tal to find out that every­thing was okay. So we sat starv­ing [not allowed to eat!] until they let us go. Had sushi to recu­per­ate, but this week has been mad­ness in the evenings, resched­uled appoint­ments, and hos­pi­tal unex­pect­ed­ness result­ed in me tak­ing the day off of work today to try to keep the house togeth­er.

I got the veg­etable gar­den start­ed. Or, more pre­cise­ly, I got the row of toma­toes plant­ed. Straight­ened the house, put­tered in the yard, did the laun­dry. Almost ready for the garage sale tomor­row. So much to do.

Small Complaint

This year it seems like it is tak­ing for­ev­er to warm up. I was rid­ing to work ear­li­er this week, head­ing north­bound on West 25th when I noticed that the flags on my side of the street were blow­ing at me. Which is nor­mal since I usu­al­ly ride into the wind on my way to work. On the oth­er side of the street, I noticed that the flags were blow­ing with me, which also makes sense, because on my way back from work I usu­al­ly ride into the wind. Nor­mal­ly this is just slight­ly annoy­ing, but even though I’ve lived in Cleve­land for 5 years now, I’m still not used to the late cold and hav­ing frozen hands and ears in late May. Thank­ful­ly it is sup­posed to get into the 60s this week­end. By late next week it will prob­a­bly be 90 until Novem­ber when it will drop to 40 again. Heh.

Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur

A part of this view­ing list: Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion Spine #420: Agnès Varda’s Le Bon­heur.

After quite a long hia­tus from watch­ing Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion films [and an abortive reen­try with Noah Baumbach’s Kick­ing and Scream­ing], I got back into the swing of things with this charm­ing­ly men­ac­ing film by Agnès Var­da. Fore­most, the film is beau­ti­ful to watch, with shifts in col­or sig­nal­ing shifts in theme, and a sub­jec­tive cin­e­matog­ra­phy that fur­ther refines the viewer’s atten­tion to exact­ly the bits that Var­da is inter­est­ed in us being inter­est­ed in. Often a series of zip cuts will alert us to a character’s state of mind by show­ing us at what they are look­ing. For the most part those swift bits of ephemera are exact­ly what the char­ac­ter isn’t pay­ing atten­tion to, like the first time François vis­its Emilie’s apart­ment, he looks at every­thing but her, though we know she’s the only thing on his mind. A sim­i­lar tac­tic with a dif­fer­ent result is used the first time they go on a date. He stares at her chest while all else is out of focus and she speaks to him, he is out of focus while talk­ing as she observes the cou­ple behind him.

Le Bonheur

But for all of the quick cuts and strange uses of focus, the film pro­ceeds at a state­ly pace and seems to cov­er much more diegetic time than one short sum­mer. I think much of this feel­ing is accom­plished through the edit­ing, short scenes that con­sist of long takes result in cuts that elide time only, leav­ing space to be filled by the moments on screen. At one point a series of extreme close-ups illus­trate the ping-pong pro­gres­sion of François from wife to mis­tress and back. The grace of the edit­ing is fur­ther enhanced by the use of still lives. shots are framed and held in such a way that the mise-en-scène becomes a char­ac­ter; a rum­pled bed, a kitchen win­dow, a flower arrange­ment, all are sig­ni­fiers for the true state of things. Last­ly, an entire paper could be writ­ten on the use of Mozart; he isn’t a char­ac­ter in the film, but his music serves as nar­ra­tion and under­score for the emo­tion­al aspects of the sto­ry­line. I’ll leave it at that. It is bet­ter expe­ri­enced than described.

Le Bonheur

The sto­ry starts out in mun­dan­i­ty and con­tin­ues in this vein for the major­i­ty of the film. This focus on every­day activ­i­ty is the strongest emo­tive force; it sucks the view­er in with recog­ni­tion and betrays the view­er with the insid­i­ous same. It is a sto­ry about a hap­py fam­i­ly and the hap­py husband/father who hap­pi­ly starts a hap­py affair because he is so filled with hap­pi­ness. It even­tu­al­ly all comes out in the wash, with fair­ly pre­dictable con­se­quences, but the final few bits of the film turn the mun­dane into a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror show for the view­er [but not for the char­ac­ters]. This mas­ter­stroke acts some­thing like a warn­ing for those who are look­ing for one, but seems more akin to doc­u­men­tary than moral­i­ty play to me.

Le Bonheur