Tuesday, 27 May 2008

$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.


Friday, 23 May 2008

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

Thursday, 22 May 2008

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

Sunday, 4 May 2008

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