Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Adaptation Jones

Last night, I got to go to a private screening at Google of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (info here and here). This movie is absolutely incredible, and I wish I could tell you all to go see it, but unfortunately that's easier said than done since it's not generally available. There is a short trailer you can watch, though.

Here's the deal: In 1982, a few 12-year-old kids in Mississippi get together and decide they're going to remake the entire Raiders of the Lost Ark movie themselves, scene for scene, shot by shot, line for line. And over the course of the next six years, they actually do it, pulling in friends for various roles, piecing together sets and costumes and props from whatever they can find, and doing all their own stunts and special effects. The result is completely delightful and inspiring. A couple of decades after they finished, it was somehow resurrected and shown at a film festival, where it just blew everyone away. As one review put it, it's like "seeing [the movie] again literally for the first time."

Some of my favorite things, from both the film and Q&A with the (now grown up) masterminds behind it:
  • The scene where the bar is set on fire was done in one of their mom's kitchen, pouring rubbing alcohol over things and actually setting them on fire.
  • With spider monkeys not generally available in Mississippi, they used the lead actor's (very patient) medium-small dog to carry around and drape over their shoulders for the monkey scenes.
  • For the fight on the truck, they had a truck with no engine that was either pushed or pulled (depending on the camera angle) by people off-camera to give the illusion of driving. (It looked a little slow, but other than that, I couldn't tell they weren't actually driving.)
  • The-kid-who-played-Indy had his first ever real kiss in the "where doesn't it hurt" scene.
  • The ship rats appeared to be somebody's pet gerbils.
Anyway, the whole thing was immense fun, and if you ever come across an opportunity to see it, I highly recommend doing so.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Riddle Cemetery

Ashes We had a family trip up to Riddle, Oregon this weekend. Uncle Jim had been keeping Grandma Jackie and Grandpa Marsh's ashes for three months and three years, respectively, and it was time to get everyone together with the two of them one more time. Jackie was a Riddle before she was a Waldon, and it was her family who founded the tiny (pop. 145) town of Riddle several generations previously. The cemetery there is full of Riddle headstones, and Jackie and Marsh's was waiting for them, next to Jude and Bob's, her father and brother. Jim brought the shovels, and we dug them a cozy little space, sang and prayed a bit, and said goodbye. We've had a Celebration of Life for each of them already, so this last little bit with just the family around was a good way to complete things. Those of us who weren't able to get up to Oregon were there in spirit.

The rest of the trip, though brief, was also good. I was glad to get to spend a lot of time with Dad (and a bit with Lacey) on the drives up and down. The whole family had dinner Saturday night at Wiley's World in Ashland, which I highly recommend to anyone who happens to be around there. The highlight there was the marionberry cobbler, made with berries from a bush right behind the restaurant, with homemade ice cream. Everything was fantastic, though, and I was waddling my way out when we were done. We also went to the Oregon Cabaret Theatre to see a show called Return to Planet Lisa. Lisa Koch has a pretty funny music/comedy act, which she performs in a variety of different personas. And Riddle even made an appearance in a song (to the tune of My Favorite Things) about small southern Oregon towns no one has heard of. That amused me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

1.93 Books Per Day

In approximately the last month, I've acquired 58 books. This is wonderful. The major sources have been the Menlo Park Library book sale,*, and Mom downsizing her library. Luckily, I also picked up a new bookcase left on the sidewalk. Still, I should probably slow down a bit soon. Yes, I'm a bookaholic.

* Technically, I've also given away a dozen books on BookMooch, which would affect the overall change in my library size. Still.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Swing Central's SYTYCD

Swing Central has started up a So You Think You Can PARTNER Dance competition this month (info here), as a take-off on the TV show. It started last night, and before you all start wondering, no, I'm not in it. I was having partner-finding difficulties for a while, then I did too many redowas last week and got unhappy shins and ankles. So at that point I just got kind of frustrated with the whole thing and wrote it off. (My dancing parts are feeling mostly better now, though I was dancing rather gingerly last night.) But I will be going to Swing Central every Tuesday this month to watch the contest, at least.

Last night they started things off by playing a series of different dances (swing, waltz, tango, salsa, cha cha, polka, hustle) for the contestants to dance to. They had the option to dance to anything they wanted, as long as they did at least three of them. In future weeks, they'll have fewer dances, with one particular style each week being required. As the competition gets narrowed down, the couples will also start getting to dance one at a time, rather than all at once, which will make it easier to be a spectator/voter. There were definitely some people I watched more than others when they all danced together, though that probably bodes well for them anyway, if they can hold attention like that.

Anyway, I'm not going to publicly post my prediction for who will win this, since I know too many of the people involved. It'll be fun to watch, though. I encourage everyone to come by for some swing dancing and spectating. (The competition happens in the middle of the regular Swing Central dance, so there's still lots of just regular dancing.)