Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm Ready for My Close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Who knew that Sunset Boulevard was right here in Portland’s Hillsdale neighborhood? Certainly not I. Also, who knew that there was such a thing as a combination bus stop/deer crossing in the middle of a city? Here’s proof.

Bus Stop/Deer Crossing

I spotted this sign yesterday in the Healy Heights neighborhood, while B and I were on yet another walk from the fabulous book Portland Hill Walks, which, I know, I tout endlessly on this blog. I simply cannot thank the author, Laura O. Foster, enough for getting us off our East Side asses, across the river, and up some of those magnificent hills on the West Side. Yesterday’s walk had us climbing a total of 1,000 feet to the Stonehenge radio tower on Council Crest. Sadly, there’s nothing very Stonehenge-ish about the radio tower except that it’s owned by KGON (“Classic RAWWWWK”), which plays music that dates back almost to the Druids. OK. Not quite.

I saw two PIFF films this weekend, including Paheli, the one that got such divergent reviews from my Indian acquaintances (“a must-see” vs. “worst movie I’ve ever seen”). I found it to be delightful, despite the fact that it starred Shah Rukh Khan, India’s most famous male movie star, but, in my opinion, an actor of very modest talent with a rather puny bag of acting tricks.

The film was set in Rajasthan in northern India sometime in the recent (or maybe the distant) past and everyone wore gorgeous traditional costumes. Check out Shah Rukh here in the biggest turban you are ever likely to see. He also wore curly-toed slippers and even did a few dance numbers wearing them. I have to admit, my assessment of him rose a bit when I saw him do that.

For a Bollywood film, the plot had surprisingly few gaping holes or flapping loose ends in it. In fact, I don’t think it had any. Everything fit together quite nicely within the story’s own parameters. Since it was based on a folktale, supernatural things happened. For example, large red marionettes kept popping in and out to comment on events and dispense advice (not unlike a Greek chorus), but I got used to that. Plus, there was a very exciting camel race, a love triangle (of course), and blindingly colorful dance numbers. I enjoyed it very much. The 2 hours and 20 minutes (relatively short for a Bollywood film) flew by.

I have a bit of a lull in my PIFF schedule, so I’m going to try to watch some speed skating on the Olympics tonight, if that is even possible. The local NBC station Web site is not at all helpful, listing figure skating, snowboarding, and speed skating as tonight’s offerings, but who knows in what order. I do not, under any circumstances, want to get stuck watching figure skating. I hate those flippy little costumes, with the creepy fleshtone body stockings stretched over any bits of bare skin (what is up with that?), and I hate the chopped to bits “medleys” they skate to. Whoever splices together the music for those programs has no musicality at all. They cut to something entirely different right in the middle of a musical phrase. It makes me crazy. I have the same issue with gymnastics.

I guess the answer to this would be to tape the Olympics (of course, we are too Stone Age to have TIVO. I don’t rightly even know what it is or how it works, in fact). B actually taped some of the Olympics last night, but if I watch last night’s tape then I might miss tonight’s speed skating. But if I try to watch it “live” tonight, I’m almost certainly going to get zapped with some figure skating a slew of horrible commercials, and those brain-curdlingly inane human-interest stories. Since I rarely watch TV, my TV-watching technique is very rusty—I don’t have a good method for separating the wheat from the chaff. I know some people would just knit through the offending bits of the Olympics, but A) I'm not an accomplished enough knitter to do that and B) I’m out of yarn and am waiting for another skein to come in at the yarn shop so I can finish my sweater.

I don't know why I'm expending energy even thinking about this, really.


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