Thursday, September 22, 2005

Elephants, Right Now This Very Minute

I love the Wildcam. Thanks, Susan!

Yeah, the World's Still Divided by Tongues

So, naturally last evening's events and all of y'all's well wishes conspired to make me feel foolish for being a grump.

Marianne had been planning something for two or three weeks prior to yesterday. My birthday's actually today (no synchronicity on that point, Meghan), but since she's headed down to Bean Blossom today we decided to celebrate the night before. Oh yeah.

All I was given was an address, and the instruction to be there at 5:30-5:45. So I walked from work, and at about twenty to six I arrived at La Scarola, which looks like it's been there forever but is in fact pretty new. And OH MY GOD was it good but I'm getting ahead of myself. Marianne showed up and gave me presents (I got The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil!). We had an excellent cabernet--I don't know how to talk about wine, but it had a sharpness at first just like I like it, and then it was very mellow and full and tasty. We shared a sausage and peppers appetizer which was STUPENDOUS and then I had the Pesce del Giorno, which was tilapia served with capers and tomatoes and linguine and, like I said, OH MY GOD. (Yeah, so red wine isn't supposed to go with whitefish. Do I care? No, I don't.) Afterwards, just to taste it, Marianne had tiramisu and I had cannoli. Most of the time cannoli is too sweet for me, but this was, just, wow. I was too full to finish, but wow.

We had to be Somewhere at 7:30, so we headed downtown. I was looking forward to the surprise. Marianne still wouldn't tell me where we were going, but also seemed amazed that I hadn't guessed it yet. She said everybody in town has been talking about it, which I guess goes to show how out of the loop I am, because even when we got to the Water Tower Water Works and into the lobby and I saw the posters for Hephaestus I was totally in the dark. Never heard of it. But I was seeing Greek mythology and acrobats, so I knew this was going to be cool.

And it was. The performers are circus (and Cirque) veterans, or maybe even circus royalty; there were three-count-em-three Wallendas in the show. Yeah, I wasn't sure they were real either. But they were real, and one of them--Erendira--stole the show as Iris. It was a wonderful show all around. A very different telling of Hephaestus's story from what I've seen before, focussing on Hera's immaculate conception and then rejection of her twisted offspring, his fall from Olympus and rescue by Thetis, his development as a smith and the entrapment of Hera.

The Water Works is a small space (about two hundred seats), and the balcony seats meant both that we had a great view of some of the airborne stunts and a limited view of some of the ground-based ones. But wow. There was a contortionist, there was hula hoop madness, there were rings and ropes and tightropes and trapezes and bungees and flying fabric work, and there was juggling and mad pounding percussion and great costumes. The only thing missing was a net, which gave Marianne (and me, let's be honest) some moments of anxiety, as she is not loving the heights. Personally I am a sucker for this sort of spectacle (I pretty much worship Cirque du Soleil and the Peking Acrobats and all that sort of thing), and this was a great show. If you're in or near Chicago, let it be known that the show has just been extended another week; beg, borrow and steal to get you some tickets.

After that, it was home again to have some more wine and watch some Curb Your Enthusiasm and then fall asleep at the stroke of 35, which is not so bad after all and I beg your pardons for whingeing about it, as Dr. L. might say. Good day to you all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Except that I Would Rather Snort the Mountain than Ski It

Which John Cusack Are You?

Via Gwenda at her new home.

Don't You Wanna Hang Out With the Bleach Boys Baby

Possible reasons for crankiness:

1. Have fallen out of exercise routine, am getting chubby. Used to be incapable of putting on weight, now developing gut. Not fair.

2. Am behind on everything. School, writing, new TV, life schedule (see below).

3. Fiction-sale dry spell. OK, 4 months not that long, but seems like forever.

4. The Year 1989. The Berlin Wall, the Czechs and the Poles, Gorbachev, and that guy who stood in front of the tanks outside Tiananmen. Their fault for raising expectations too high.

5. Impending 35-year-old-ness. Not old, but definitely middle-aged. And yet. Was supposed to have published first novel by now. Actually, was supposed to have done that at every five-year-interval since 20. Was bummed then, too. And, progress being made. But, never had goals like other people's; be married by XX age, have house by XX, make $X,XXX,XXX before XXth birthday. Really only had one goal; see book in print. Will happen, but not by tomorrow.

6. Incompetent megalomaniacal alcoholic fundamentalist still in charge. WTF?

7. All things considered, would rather be in a cabin in the woods reading Don Quixote, but not for reasons Carlos Fuentes says. Like Carlos Fuentes very much, but makes Quixote sound boring. Quixote not boring. Quixote hilarious and moving and absurd and fascinating and wonderful. Quixote best novel ever written, yes, but no need to blather about how important Quixote is. Make Quixote sound fun as Quixote is and everyone will want to read Quixote. Just saying.

Am off to undisclosed (to me) restaurant and event this evening, to celebrate impending 35-year-old-ness. Should be tonic for crankiness. Will report later. Will bring back pronouns next post.