Thursday, June 01, 2006


Hello Everyone! And Happy June! Tomorrow I'm leaving on a jet plane, but unlike the song I know when I'll return ā€“ Sunday night. I'm off to Milwaukee for my first race of the season and life is good. I still need to pack, but I've gotten a bit complacent over the years about packing for races, so I just wait until the last minute, and then I forget the damn tickets (that was Cleveland last year).

The Memorial Day Weekend was like this: Family, More Family, Slightly Less Family, A Bit Less Family. I'm a tad family-ed out. Friday was my last DSO concert of the season (I did have tix for tomorrow night but they have been given to my aunt & uncle) and I went with two of my aunts who were in town for my cousin's wedding which was Saturday. Sunday was a BBQ at my aunt's (the married cousin's mother) house and then Monday was a BBQ at the BAB's house. I discovered that when it comes to one aunt I have about a millisecond's worth of patience for her. I have had issues with another aunt, so I feel like Iā€™m always walking on pins & needles with her. The other aunts are all fine. In fact, I was checking out Aunt #1's Egypt pictures and about fell about of my chair when I saw this man. I couldn't even speak as I stumbled over my tongue, "You know ā€¦?" Aunt #1: "Oh, Hawass? Yeah, I've known him for years. We went out to dinner with him." There were pictures of him scattered throughout the CD so they saw him a lot on their trip (them = my aunt and her friends). I was dumbfounded. And the pictures just made me that much more anxious to get back to Egypt, but that'll not happen until 2008, so I wait.

Since it is a new month, it's time for the monthly feature showcasing my reading and movie watching for the previous 31 day period.

First up, Movies:

Babylon 5: Season 2, Discs 3-6 (N)
The Lady Vanishes + Commentary (so watched it twice) (K)
Amores Perros (N)
North by Northwest (K) (Commentary only)
Babylon 5: Season 3, Discs 1-6 (W)
Babylon 5: Season 4, Discs 1-6 (W)
High Anxiety (N)
Expo: The Magic of the White City (N)

I've mentioned my obsession with Babylon 5 previously, so just figure that I recommend these highly.

The Lady Vanishes & North by Northwest are both Hitchcock, so again figure that I recommend them. I have seen them both so many times that I thought I would check out the commentary. It was interesting, but unfortunately this whole idea came about after Hitch was dead so we're not getting commentary from him which I think would be fascinating. Warning: I picked up three more Hitchcock books, so they'll be appearing on the Books Read List at some point, so no, the Hitchcock Obsession has not died.

Amores Perros was highly recommended to me. It's a Mexican film and could definitely be described as DARK and not very happy. It's a bit on the Memento side in the set-up as it follows the 3 or 4 different story threads. If you like dark, sad foreign films I would recommend this to you.

I had seen High Anxiety before, but before I had watched all the Hitchcock movies I could find, so I thought I would see if there were any references I had missed. The only one was the HUGE one of Spellbound, but other than that, nope, I caught all of them.

Expo: The Magic of the White City appealed to me because I had read the book The Devil in the White City sometime last year. I had never even heard of The White City before the book, but I really wanted to see more of it, as I'm a visual person and have trouble visualising things from words. I do much better with lots of pictures. This documentary wasn't exactly what I expected, but it was narrated by Gene Wilder (whom I adore) and it was interesting and did show me more, so things make more sense now.

I'm being lazy and don't feel like linking today.

On to the Books:

The Flies (Las Moscas) by Mariano Azuela
The Bosses (Las Caciques) by Mariano Azuela
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

I'm a little disappointed in my reading for the month of May, but watching all that Babylon 5 and being beyond lazy and NOT going to the gym really messed up my reading schedule. I am vowing to do better this month about reading and going to the gym.

Unless you have great interest in early 20th century Mexican history, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Mariano Azuela stories. I enjoyed them, and the book that I bought with them did have a nice Foreword which explained some things. The Flies was amusingly sarcastic while The Bosses was darker and more serious. It reminded me of Los de Abajo (The Underdogs) also by Azuela which I read while in college. I might have even read in Spanish but crap it was so long ago who remembers. Anyway, they weren't exactly uplifting, but worthwhile.

Anansi Boys was typical Neil Gaiman; different, but funny (not really laugh out loud funny, but a more subtle humor, I think), and cleverly different.

I had read Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next Books, so had to pick this one up when I saw it. Fforde's work is hard to describe. He creates his own worlds out of our world, but I wouldn't call it fantasy. In his Thursday Next Series, Thursday Next is a female police office who works in the Literary Division. I'm so not explaining this at all well. ARGH!!! The year is 1984, but it's not our 1984 (or Orwell's). The British are still fighting the Crimean War against the Russians (I think that's the war, it's been over a year since I've read the fourth book in that series). Thursday is charged with keeping the peace in the literary world and she learned the secret of popping into and out of books. In the first book, The Eyre Affair, she changed the ending (don't ask me, I never read Jane Eyre) while battling this evil person. I'm telling you, I'm really not explaining it at all well. Anyway, once I figured out what the hell was going on, I really enjoyed the books, so picking up The Big Over Easy was a no-brainer. The first ten or so pages I had to reacquaint myself with his writing style and his world. In this one, the cop is Jack Spratt and he works in the Nursery Crime Division and is trying to solve the murder of Humpty Dumpty. It's extraordinarily clever and mixes in characters from nursery rhymes, fairy tales and mythology. I realise that I'm doing a really bad job at making it sound appealing, but it sucked me in and now I can't wait for the next volume in the Jack Spratt Investigates series.

And on that note, I'm outta here. Gotta pack, check the batteries on my stopwatches, mail packages and NOT forget the tix!

Have a great weekend, everybody!


At Thursday, 01 June, 2006, Blogger MW said...

If you haven't watched the final episode of Season 4 of "Babylon 5," please be sure to devote your entire attention to the TV screen ;-). In my opinion, it is incredibly profound, as I've mentioned to you before.

As for your aunt's famous friend..., Wow! Even I know him from several TV documentaries.

At Thursday, 01 June, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. I don't understand the book you wrote about ... is it exactly like Jane Eyre, but with a different ending? Isn't that stealing? I'm confused. Haha.

Hope you have a great trip!

At Friday, 02 June, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

Ah, so you read Anansi Boys then. I heard the audio version, as you saw on my blog. I have a feeling that it was better that way, read by a comedian. I had a few laugh out loud moments, and just loved his lyrical voice (Lenny Henry).

I love Hitchcock films. In fact, I think I posted about one of his films a while ago, but I can't remember the film or the actress, but I had the biggest irrational crush on her for a month or so. She died just recently. Ok, hold on.

... ok, I'm back. Shadow of a Doubt. The actress: Teresa Wright. But I got over that apparently. She had that wholesome goodness that attracted me to women of that hollywood era.

Enjoy your trip, and thanks for the spelling correction. It was too late to fix it for the contest submission. Why didn't Word pick that up?

At Saturday, 03 June, 2006, Blogger mr. schprock said...

Once again, I'm astonished at all the reading a movie watching you can do in a mere month. I'm a very slow and plodding reader ā€” I haven't checked, but my lips probably move when I read. I just started "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Have you read it? (I bet you have, in the original Spanish no less!)

I hope you have a great weekend!

At Monday, 05 June, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

MW - Um, do you mean the weird episode where they go forward in time? Already watched it by the time I posted, as I couldn't have said that I watched it in May. You think I lie in my blog????? ;-P

Beth - See, I knew I didn't explain it well. The book itself is about crime within books. The detective is a normal person who chases down criminals from books. Within the book itself, something happens that changes the ending of Jane Eyre. If you loved Jane Eyre and like creative writing, I'd recommend checking out Jasper Fforde, especially The Eyre Affair. It'd probably make more sense to you since you actually read Jane Eyre.


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