I Would Like to Thank the Academy…

Well, actually, not the Academy but my building’s super. The gift of silence he gave me for Christmas Day really was golden. This is the second day that things have returned to the New Normal and now I fully understand how I’m not completely nuts for fantasizing about going on the roof with an ax and pounding the shit out of the infernal engines that have ruined my humble abode.

But that’s just fantasy. I would be the first suspect if something like that happened. Plus, I couldn’t afford to pay the cost of destoying property, which I believe would be higher than any satisfaction I’d derive from the destruction.

Practically speaking, I’ll make a point of dropping in on my super to thank him. But I’ll also ask if it’d be okay to call the cop who intends to move out to get a sense of an ETD. Regardless, I should make one resolution for 2005: Look into and apply for co-op housing. The concept itself just seems so sensible if outright ownership isn’t an option anytime soon.

Christmas Film Festival Concluded

After my blog entry on Christmas Day, I did exactly what I said I would. I drove out to this amazing lookoff BeeGoddessM and I “discovered” late last August in West Pennant. The sun was shining brightly over the water as the moon was rising behind me and a traditional Norwegian Christmas carol was playing on the radio. It was amazing — the kind of gorgeous moment you wish other people were with you so that they could be mesmorized by it, too.

I came back home between this drive and my night at the movies, and thankfully I did: Lonestar from Nashville returned my call a few minutes before I was to step out to go to the cinema. Life has become too busy for both of us and, as a result, we hardly keep in touch anymore. Everyone in his life seems to be doing well, except his son. He gave me a three-sentence précis of what is up with his “boy” (who’s in his mid-30s) and, obviously saddened and upset, concluded with “He’s seriously fucked up and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” We promised to try to keep in touch more in the coming year.

Whenever I go to the movies, I’m taken aback by how expensive it is. For two films plus popcorn and pop for the second flick, I dropped $30 on Christmas night. A lot of people were there — going to the movies has obviously become a Christmas tradition for many — but there were precisely five of us to watch Kinsey at 6:50 and eight for A Very Long Engagement at 9:30. Particularly the low attendance at the latter surprised me although maybe it shouldn’t have, this being Halifax and all.

I liked Kinsey. It’s remarkable that, more than 55 years after the publication of his first volume on male sexuality, the validity his work is still being debated. When it comes to human sexuality, it’s still okay to hold a discourse that is at odds with actual practice, as if repeating a falsehood over and over is going to turn that falsehood into an indisputable fact. Also fascinating to me is the continued collective obsession with what is “normal” and the desire to be “normal.” Of course, a “norm” (or statistical average) is arrived at by the summation of all variations divided by the number of samples, which usually leads to a bell curve where results in either extreme end are few and thus unusual. And if the “unusual” results in real harm, only then is it problematic. Equally problematic, however, is determining whose yardstick should be used to determine harm. To me the line is clear but, to others, my line would be deemed too permissive.

Meanwhile, what can I say about A Very Long Engagement! Despite having the same director and lead actor as Amélie, this film is not a variation on the same theme. I loved the whimsy of Amélie and a few scenes made me laugh so hard that I was crying. AVLE isn’t as whimsical and, dare I say, as a result, I liked it even more than Amélie. The depictions of WWI trench warfare are gruelling but, in the end, they all serve to advance the storyline; the violent scenes, while difficult to watch, aren’t gratuitous. Because I speak French, I probably have an advantage while viewing this film, as the characters’ accents matter (south of France/Corsica versus Brittany or Île-de-France). I don’t want to give any spoilers, but if you get a chance to see this film, do so!

Post-Christmas Surprise

Dec. 27/04 Blizzard

Thank you, Carolinas, for spawning and then sending our way this magnificent blizzard. At least it’s not quite as bad as last February’s White Juan, except that this one seems to have developed very suddenly. We’re to expect as much as 50 cm (20 in) of snow in the Halifax area and the wind is at its peak as I write (N74 km/h gusting to 98km/h, or N45 mi/h gusting to 61 mi/h), plus it’s very cold (currently -6C with wind chill of -21C, with an expected temperature drop to -15C tonight with continued high chill factor). The Cobequid Pass between Truro and Amherst — the road between Halifax and Moncton — is closed; all flights in and out of Halifax and Moncton are cancelled; shopping malls in Halifax closed by 1:00 pm today; the region’s police forces are warning people not to venture outside due to whiteout conditions. I can’t see the Macdonald Bridge from my apartment nor, for that matter, much further than the other side of the side street where my apartment building is situated.

I must say that, as a result of the Juans, the weather warnings are much better than they used to be. All regional TV stations were displaying a blizzard warning marquee all night from late afternoon yesterday. Although the big stores were closed yesterday due to it being a Sunday AND Boxing Day, most people had a chance to look around their home for missing supplies and go to the nearest convenience store to stock up. Having seen 50 cm turned to 95 cm less than a year ago, we now know that anything can happen.

Of course, I’m careful not to whine about what’s happening here right now given the unspeakable horror in South Asia. It’s hard to wrap your mind around a death toll of 22,000 (and climbing). There was no warning for them…