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A Casual Chat   —   Personal

I'm feeling chatty today so let's sit down with a steaming cup of joe and talk a while, shall we?

Portland has been enjoying a nice bout of snowy goodness. Other than last Sunday it hasn't really accumulated much, but it's nice to see it falling in large pretty flakes from the sky on my morning walk to the bus stop. It's a nice reprieve from the winter rain. But while Portlanders know all about dealing with water, it seems we're still not well versed in dealing with ice. There are no plows or salt trucks that run in the downtown or surrounding areas, so it is required that in order to drive during icy conditions you must have snow chains on your vehicle. For Adam and I this is not a problem, mostly because we take public transit to and from work, are in walking distance to grocery stores, video stores, bars, and movie theaters among countless other shops, and only use the car for comic book ventures and band practice nights. Both of which can be postponed or canceled due to unsafe driving conditions. But for some, the weather is a most unwelcome inconvenience. Nat lives at the top of a very big and steep hill so when the weather gives us ice, she's trapped in her apartment until nature allows her to drive safely. But you East Coast / Midwesterners wouldn't know anything about that now, would you? But, despite my cold fingers and daily boring wardrobe of jeans and sweaters I will enjoy this snow and cold and ice until such point that it decides to leave us with only the rain in its wake.

Christmas is upon us and my giddy excitement is bubbling to the surface as the presents under the tree mount and the stockings above the fire place sag. Our Xmas tree is beautiful and often times I turn on only the tree lights and sit in the dark among the jewel like colors spilling from its branches. The cats seem more playful than ever, sensing a festive atmosphere with the presence of the tree and gifts, and so they chase each other and run wild from room to room, Commodore of course meowing into corners practicing his vocal pitch. Two days ago they actually ran circles around the tree, stumbling through wrapped presents and all, like the tigers in Little Black Sambo, I half expected them to turn to butter! And as the days before Christmas get fewer I will start my annual rewatching of my Christmas time classics, Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown's Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and this year I'm adding the Christmas time horror movie, the original 1974 Black Christmas to the mix. Let the slaughter begin! My mother said to me on the phone today, after I chided her for "being no fun" when I heard that she and her husband had already exchanged gifts, "Christmas is for kids" she said. My immediate reaction was "No way!" and then I prattled on at length about the hows and whys of my love for the holiday. But giving it more thought I think I may agree with her, Christmas is for kids. But I'm using the term "kids" very loosely and more referring to the spirit and attitude of an individual rather than the age. Maybe it's because I don't have kids that I still feel like one. And by god, I hope that feeling never quits.

Adam and I just spent the last couple of weeks watching roughly 12 hours of The Beatles Anthology documentary. Sometimes when I look back on the musical portion of my life that was before my discovery/appreciation of The Beatles, I'm amazed by how I had lived so long without truly knowing what musical riches I was purposefully ignoring. It wasn't until I was about 26 years old that I begrudgingly agreed to give Revolver a listen. And then it happened. It was like opening my eyes for the first time after being asleep for years. It was everything I had ever wanted to hear but never had known existed. If one can reach a musical listening enlightenment I did so at that time. Afterward I immediately needed to devour everything the Beatles recorded, every album (after their early pop days). I was in love. And what's more, I was awe. On my birthday of the year I went through my own little Beatles mania, Adam bought me The Beatles Anthology DVD box set. Well, by that point I'd listened to every album from Rubber Soul to Let It Be and then some, about two dozen times. My belly was fat from Beatles gorging. So I waited, oh, only a few years, until I was finally craving a serious Beatles fix that no CD could satisfy. Enter, The Beatles Anthology. It was glorious. Many of the facts spoon-fed to us in this documentary I'd already known. Not much of the music was surprising. And I'd seen so many of the imagery before. What I found fantastic however was my appreciation for getting to know the band mates individually through old interviews, concerts, candid videos and all the like. Whereas I'd never given two craps about Ringo before, now, he was so likable! Always the good chap that not only kept the rhythm for the Beatles as drummer, but also turns out to be a solid friend and devoted band member, a nice grounded ying to everyone else's eccentric and overachieving yang. George Harrison, who I'd also never really paid much attention to before, turns out to have great stage presence, often smiling and laughing during performances, lightening sometimes sullen moods and offering soft deference to Paul's sometimes insistent creative opinions. John Lennon, who I'd often thought of as the Destroyer of the Beatles (what with Yoko and all) so therefore Evil, I found to be very mild mannered yet often times whimsically peculiar, which I found lovely and charming. And in his early years, before the long hair and silly round glasses, he was quite handsome. Tall, fair haired, slender, elegant ... much like a certain husband I know. In short, dreamy. And of course there's Paul McCartney. Paul had charisma! On stage he was always smiling and bouncing and was usually the one to do the talking to the audience, actually he was probably the most vocal of the group when it came to interviews and such. As Adam said at one point, "Paul loves the camera", and what's more, the camera loves Paul McCartney. There wasn't a single personality among the four of them that I didn't absolutely love, and for very different reasons (as described above). So, a worthwhile 12 hours spent indeed. And right now, at this very moment, the song Love You To from Revolver is playing in a loop in my head. All Beatles, All the time.

And ... moving on. I just finished a book called A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons. What a terrific book! A few months ago I read a book called Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. It was about a group of young boys in 1960 rural Illinois and their (literal) summer of hell. A Winter Haunting is a sequel to Summer of Night, and is about one of the boys from the first novel, all grown up and going back to bumfuck Illinois to face some demons from his past, both figuratively and literally. It was the perfect book to be reading during a snow storm, that's for sure! Now, I know that you're thinking I should probably be finally on to reading the second book in the Twilight series, it's been sitting on top of my bookcase for the last month and you'd think I'd finally have given in to its silent yet powerful lures. But alas, I'm experiencing something my husband is more known for, delayed gratification. Whereas it's quite common for him to buy a new toy and leave it unopened on his desk for weeks, I always must rip into mine immediately, sometimes not even waiting to get home to do so. But there it is. Next up on my To Read list, The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. Because I need a little 1800's murder mystery in freezing cold snow-ridden Northern Canada tromp through the woods right about now. Tally ho!

Posted 12.19.2008 7:49:49 PM

VBOT wrote:
do you know that there are people in this world that HAVE NOT SEEN Emmet Otter's jugband christmas? people that i know and even love!!! i had to help them, and do you know what they told me? that there is a musical stage version of it. i don't know how i feel about that. mostly not good.

and the twilight second book isn't nearly as good as the first, but fear not! the third in the series rallies
Posted 12/19/2008 9:06:47 PM
N@ wrote:
Just read the damn books all ready! Why deny us the chance to discuss and giggle over teenage vampy goodness? You're not just delaying your gradification, but mine! I haven't had anyone to gush about the books with. YOU'RE RUINING IT!!!!!!

In other news - I have no idea what your jugband Christmas thingiemagig is all about. I think you made it all up. But I'm not letting you introduce me to anything else until you uphold your end of these bargains. So there. lol
Posted 12/19/2008 11:39:25 PM
N@ wrote:
Stoopid missspelling!
Posted 12/19/2008 11:40:43 PM
Dad wrote:
Oh my sweet, alas Christmas is for kids, kids of all ages indeed. Remember, growing up is optional, growing old is mandatory, try never to grow up.
Happy Holiday's to all of your readers, especially the kids in all of you.
Oh by the way, Revolver is my favorite.
Posted 12/20/2008 9:07:48 AM
Mr. Space wrote:
Have you watched any of the Beatles movies like Help? It was clear they could do anything they wanted (John has an Indian sleeping at his bedside - all riiiiiight). While it's a very silly movie it's fun to watch the Beatles have fun.
Posted 12/20/2008 12:28:49 PM - Mr. Space's website
Doll wrote:
N@ - Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas is all about singing muppets! It's classic bizarre Jim Henson ...

Dad - I love you!

Space Dude - The documentary showed the making of all those movies but I haven't watched them and actually meant to add them to my Netflix queue so thanks for the reminder!
Posted 12/20/2008 1:09:12 PM
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