Monday, October 31, 2005

Weekend Update (and Trick-or-Treat ramblings)

[begun @ 4:20]

Sorry, SNL fans (or Horatio Sanz-haters) this has nothing to do with that other Weekend Update.

This has to do with what I did this past weekend.

Friday--worked all day, was bored that night. I can't even remember anything that I did. Oh wait! I do remember something that I wanted to do, but it failed so I guess I blocked it out of my memory.

Friday afternoon I looked at one of Google's many subsidiary internet offshoots--Google Video (beta). I had seen it briefly mentioned in recent news articles, but it wasn't until last Friday afternoon that I perused the site a bit. It has an unremarkable design, as befits the Google schema, but the content was intriguing--many videos posted from (apparently) anyone, about anything. I didn't try and search for any particular topic and I didn't watch any of the videos--because well, internet + video + corporately-owned workstation = DON'T CONNECT TO RANDOM PORN! (My math skills served me in good stead.)
But, it did give me an inkling of an idea . . .
I have been wanting to find a way to post video clips to my own blog site for a long time, but didn't know how to make it happen. When I saw Google Video, I thought this would provide me the avenue I needed. You must realize, however, that I don't own an actual video camera--just a digital camera that can capture short video clips.
As it turns out, Google Video doesn't recognize the format that my camera's "video" function operates under. Maybe there is a way for me to get around that, but as of this writing I haven't devoted any time to discovering it.

And it was going to be so good! My inaugural clip was already recorded and set . . . a nice tribute to my air conditioner.

Saturday--spent the morning tackling a week's worth of laundry. I first sorted everything into appropriate piles (colors, whites, towels/sheets, delicates, dry cleaning). That took a while. Then I started washing this week's delicates while moving last week's delicates upstairs to be put away. Speaking of putting away, my next task was to actually PUT AWAY the other clothes that I folded last weekend and had just plopped down in the guest bedroom.
You know, I don't actually dislike laundry. The folding and sorting suits my anal retentive tendencies, but the putting away--coming last in the process as it does--hits me when my laundry-related enjoyment has ebbed away. As a result, the stacks of folded garments sit in stasis until I can't take it anymore.
The other reason that I had to get those clothes out of the guest room was because Tegan's parents were arriving from Georgia that afternoon. (More on that later)

After I put last week's laundry away, I decided to rearrange furniture in the kid's rooms. Up until now we have used Tegan's old childhood bureau/shelving top as two separate items in Ruth's room--changing table/bureau and bookcase/place to dump crap. As T and I had once discussed, I decided to move that unit into Ariel's room, reuniting it into its intended upright form. This considerately opened up Ruth's floorplan and left her with no place to put her books. But since Ariel's new furniture had the shelving top, we could move her books there and take Ariel's old bookcase and put it in Ruth's room.

We also moved the older and more beat up of Ariel's two bureaus and put it down in the basement. Originally we were going to pitch it altogether, but I reconsidered. It can be useful down there as a repository for random junk and might someday remind us to spend money on making the finished half-basement a more livable space.

Shifting all of these things around took up several of the morning hours and by the time I was done, it was time for lunch. While T. was getting the kids dressed (yeah, that's right, they spent the morning in pajamas) I started on lunch. When the sandwiches were grilled and the soup warmed, everyone sat down.

We convinced Ruth that Nana and Papa wouldn't arrive until she tried to take a nap. (Yes, I KNOW we made deliberately false statements regarding causality to our child, but she WON'T take naps anymore and we were desperate!) Once the kids were quiet, Tegan sat down to do some work and I left the house to do some errands.

When I returned, the grandparents had arrived and the rest of the day was spent doing many random things. I was desperately trying to fix all the little things that I normally ignore until company arrives--blown light bulbs, slowly-draining sinks, piles of folded laundry--because when T's parents come, they usually do all of those small household chores that we ignore, and what kind of visit is that? They say they don't mind, but it always makes me feel like I don't deserve to be a home-owner.

Sunday--the big day and the main reason Tegan's parents came. We drove to Indianapolis to see The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: The Exhibition installation at the Indiana State Museum. Tegan's parents are fresh from their LOTR-themed trip to New Zealand and didn't want to pass up this chance to see the movie's costumes, props, technology up close. (Truthfully, however, it was Tegan's mom that REALLY wanted to see it and she wanted ME to see it too.)
It was a very detailed showing of a lot of beautiful costumery, intricate props, and everything else that the Special Edition DVD tell you about. Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed in the exhibit, so I have very little actual imagery to share. The website linked above shows some pictures, but nothing can compare to the actual experience.

For instance, near the entrance is a long rectangular case that houses the funeral boat of Boromir as his body goes over the Falls of Rauros (FotR).

The boat is life-size, as is the insanely-lifelike Boromir figure in the boat. I truly expected the figure to move as I stood there examining it.

Besides all the stuff you might expect--costumes for all the major characters, demonstrations of computer-aided video capture animation and forced-perspective camera techniques--

there were display cases that showed very small props you could never see in the movie, such as many items stuffed in Saruman's library and eating utensils that the Uruk-Hai carried. (Did you know those beasts carried forks, knives, AND spoons? So civilized!)

The driving there and back again took up the entire day, so there isn't much else to report.

[7:00 pm]

We are now one hour into trick-or-treating tonight (now ACTUALLY on Halloween itself!). Tegan and I took the kitty-cat girls out while the grandparents manned the front door. Ruth was a bit freaked out and so Tegan took her home quickly while I kept on walking with Ariel. We circled up and down the street and said hello to many of our neighbors. (I just got visited by teenagers who barely even tried to dress up. I was never so brazen.)

Ariel had fun, but I think the desire to EAT the candy won out over the logic of trying to acquire MORE candy. But, that's okay. Maybe her teeth will survive the sugar onslaught. By the way . . . our rule for tonight is that they are allowed to eat three pieces that they collect, but that serves as their after-dinner dessert.

  • What else can I say about Halloween? Well, what costumes do I remember wearing as a kid . . . hmmm, the first one that stands out was Underdog. Did I wear that or did my sister MA? No, I think she was Raggedy Ann that year. Anyway, those were the old style costumes that had a flimsy outfit to put on your body and a plastic mask with eye holes, a small mouth hole, and an elastic cord holding it on your face. Those masks always made my face sweat!
  • Uh, what else was there? Come on, Burb! Think! I know that I never dressed up as the Headless Horseman--because of my longstanding fear of that cranially-deprived spectre. Odds are good that I tried to dress up as Luke Skywalker or possibly Yoda one year. Well, maybe not Yoda, but I know I had Yoda Underoos once upon a time.
  • I am sure I went as Superman at least once. I used to spend perfectly average Saturdays running around with a bathtowel safety-pinned around my neck, but I hope I made more of an effort on Halloween night.

Well, since I can't think of any more of my own costumes, maybe I could keep a list of costumes that I see from visitors:

1. teenager pajama/baby girl?
2. two random teenage boys in elaborate masks
3. a tween "Devilish Angel girl" (thanks Bill Clinton!)
4. a "hippie" (I used the quotation marks intentionally in that description.)
5. two teenage girls who were as dressed up as if they had come from a session decorating the gym for Homecoming, which is to say they had no costume AT ALL. But that didn't stop me from giving them handfuls of candy. I've GOTTA get rid of this stuff and the frequency of visitors is definitely slowing down. I would say we save it for next year, but we'll forget where we put it and only buy more as a result.
6. A cadre of five or six girls just came and went with various outfits that I couldn't all catalog without being accused of ogling them. They probably wouldn't understand my efforts to document my time spent on the porch. But one of them complemented my on my "nice laptop!" (Schwing!)
7. Little Orphan Annie (a classic that refused to die in the twenty-first century) accompanied by "Evil 84-year-old Lady." The face paint was indeed evil-seeming and wrinkly; the age specificity was commendable. The father that joined them ALSO complemented the laptop (no "schwing" whatsoever this time), allowing me to break out the joke I had just thought up: "No razor blades in THIS Apple." Hi-yoooooo!
8. Five boys came by all sporting various sports outfits--football, hockey, cycling, _____. Football Boy said that they have seen many people whiling away their time with laptops. Is this the first cyberspace Halloween--created by the critical mass of wireless connections and falling laptop prices? Can't I do ANYTHING original? sob!!
9. A brief lull and then a visit from Death (with purple accent colors . . . REALLY?), Strawberry Shortcake (a crass marketing gimmick that may become a classic over time as memories degrade), and Brutus Buckeye.
10. Two more girls--no parental supervision for these ten- to twelve-year-olds--one a pirate, the other an elf. And while I can make a tangential reference to popular movie stars ("Elf") let me note that while waiting for my next visitor, I see that Jennifer Garner is getting ready to produce a movie. Click here for details on Sabbatical. I guess I am intrigued? It sure sounds better than more about Elektra.
11. Four boys--a ninja, two more versions of Death, a vampire without his cape ("I kept stepping on it," he said.) Pseudo vampire asked if I was using a Dell (poor branding skills, I reckon). I corrected him and said it was an Apple. He asked if he could have an apple and I told him that "We [weren't] allowed to give out apples." I don't think he understood what I was talking about, which I guess means that kids are safer today than they used to be or the whole apple/razor blade thing was more urban legend than reality?
Incidentally, I am spending my time in between visits to try and beef up my Netflix queue. Just added some David Lynch as well as Richard Linkletter's "Waking Life."

Well, I think it is about time for me to pack it in. The designated Trick-or-Treat time was from 6 to 8 and it is almost 8 pm. Plus, I am getting a bit chilly. I got through one-and-a-half bowls of candy, so that is pretty good. And I should cyber-pologize to Tegan for suggesting that the candy she bought wasn't good. It wasn't all chocolate, as I would have bought, but it wasn't crappy either. There were Tootsie Rolls of various flavors, there were Smarties (not my favorites, but not bad), there were Dum Dums. So, all in all, not bad.


Sven Golly said...

Critical comment: As the young heroine told her English professor father (William Hurt) in the movie made from Anna Quindlen's (title?)book, "Less isn't more. More is more." This style works for you, especially the detailed explanation of the entertainment value of laundry and the intricacies of altering the feng shui of rooms! However, admitting that you made false statements could come back to bite you (or indict you) someday when you run for public office.

Personal comment: I'm picturing Tegan's Tolkien-loving parents getting a kick out of the exhibition in Indiana, thinking they're pretty hip for old people, then realizing they're probably my age (young)! The Boromir figure and boat sound awesome and - uh - transporting. The exhibition of puppets from the Lion King at the Wexner were like that.

Clarification: When you say (5.) that the two girls had "no costume at all," I get a mental image that, as a responsible adult, I'm not supposed to have. Please elaborate.

David said...

Sorry Sven! The aforementioned girls had on clothing that consisted of jeans, sneakers, ____erville North HS t-shirts--in short, nothing holiday related. Sorry for the confusion.

And, yes, the Lion King exhibit at the Wexner was indeed similar with one exception: it was MUCH more well-lit. The LOTR exhibit was dark, illuminated with spotlights and floods. The Taymor exhibit was bright, cheerful, and equally impressive.

Sven Golly said...

Thanks, Burb, that first mental image has been replaced by a different, more socially acceptable one. And thanks for reminding me of Julie Taymor's name, one of those people who have way too much talent for one human.