Sunday, July 06, 2008

July Books & Movies

This past week was what I call Forced Vacation. Now you'd think that meant I had time to read, comment and post, but I didn't feel like being anywhere near my computer really...and I did spend as much time as possible outdoors. I'm damn near golden brown...LOL! Okay, golden for me is more like off-white as a friend stated last night. Still, I won't blind you with the sun glaring off my legs right now and that's pretty darn good for me.

My tan would be even better if I hadn't had to spend Tuesday at a funeral. A dear friend's father passed away (or as people at my church say "had passed"), and she expressed a desire for me to be at the funeral when I was at the funeral home on Monday. I couldn't, in good conscience, miss it when I had nothing going on other than planning to sit outside.

The one thing I really wanted to do was get down to Hines and swing on a swing, but it didn't happen. You'd be amazed at the muscles you use to swing...and how old it makes you feel. ;-)

Thursday was a crappy, cold, miserable grey day, so the trip to Grandma's to sit by the pool and play with the Terror Children in the pool did not happen. I actually watched TWO Netflix movies that day. I don't even want to tell you that last time I watched a Netflix movie. I'm just hoping Netflix takes a note and doesn't throttle me the next time I watch 20 movies in one month.

Oh, that reminds June Movie and Book list! I had thought I'd post them on July 1 (Happy Belated Canada Day to any Canadians), but yeah, we all know that didn't happen.


Everest: The Unclimbed Ridge by Sir Chris Bonington and Dr. Charles Clarke - 199 pages - I told you last month that I was getting back into my mountaineering books and this month will prove it. This was a sad book because it was the 1982 expedition where Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman lost their lives. Nobody knows what actually happened, although Peter's body was found in 1991. To this day Joe's body is still missing.

The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston de Walt - 297 pages - I had read this book when it first came out back in 1997 as a rebuttal to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air book. The link of the book is to a review which is brilliant and much better than I could do. Suffice it to say, that if you read Into Thin Air at some point in the past and came away thinking that Anatoli Boukreev was a reprehensible human being, then you should read this book. I own both and won't lend one w/o the other. Anatoli's link takes you to an interview he gave in 1997. Don't judge the man until you read his own words.

Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer by Anatoli Boukreev, Collected and Edited by Linda Wylie, Foreword by Galen Rowell - 232 pages - This book was mentioned in Ed Viesturs' book (from last month) and I felt it was necessary to read Anatoli in his own words (translated from the Russian), as opposed to him trying to put words into English (see: The Climb). This was a beautiful book, as it gives the reader insight into Anatoli's heart and mind. It's much too sad that he died on Christmas Day in 1997 getting caught in an avalanche while trying to climb Annapurna.

Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest by Maria Coffey - 183 pages - Maria Coffey was the girlfriend of Joe Tasker who died on Everest (first book read this month) and she tells what it was like to be the one left behind when your loved one is a high-altitude mountain climber. It wasn't all "woe is me" or anything like that. She told it how it was. And she tells of the adventure she took with Hilary Boardman (Peter Boardman's wife) to Everest in an effort to say good-bye, and perhaps, to understand what drew them to the mountains. Of all the mountaineering books I've read, this one comes closest to explaining why people climb 8000 meter mountains at the risk of their lives. She went there not understanding how Joe was able to leave her so often and for so long, but came away with a new appreciation. It was an amazing book.


6/1 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum - 1966 - I watched this on the free movie channel, you know, the one where you pick what and when you want to watch...what the hell is it called...oh yeah, On Demand. I thought I was going to do really well on movie watching last month since I watched this on the first day, but I didn't. It was funny, silly and completely ridiculous. I'm sure everybody in the world has seen this already, so I don't have to recommend it or not, but if you like silly and haven't seen it, go for it.

6/22 - Stardust - 2007 - Okay, I can see how, if you hadn't read the book recently, someone could like the movie. I watched it so late in the month that I had sort of (but not completely) forgotten the nuances of the book. However, bloody hell, follow the fucking book. I understand having to leave stuff out because the movie would last a week otherwise, but then don't add in shit that didn't happen. I was doing relatively well with the changes until it got to the very end and that just pissed me off. One of these days I will learn NOT to read (or re-read) the bloody book before seeing the bloody film. It was very action packed and fun. Oh, and for the record, Robert DeNiro's character in the book was not gay and did not prance around in a fairy costume...and his crew wasn't scary in the least.

I also watched Good Omen: Making of Stardust...sadly, I don't remember much of it.

Hmmm...Book of the Month: I'm going with a tie between Above the Clouds and Fragile Edge as they both gave me a different insight into mountain climbing.

There was no movie of the month, really, but I guess I'll give it to Stardust, in a default.

It is now time to go to bed, as I need a good night's sleep since I have to go back to work tomorrow. Supposedly, layoffs will be continuing throughout the month of July, so if you wouldn't mind praying, thinking good thoughts, lighting candles, crossing your fingers, etc. that I keep my job, I would greatly appreciate it.

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At Sunday, 06 July, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

If I get tan at all, it is usually a farmer's tan, and looks ridiculous. No forced vacation here - in fact, I worked my ass off last week due to other people being out. I'm hoping things slow down a bit this week. I'm not optimistic.

Hey, for once I might have seen more movies than you did this month. But how long have I been reading that one book now? In my defense, it is over 700 pages and since I have to study, I only read at bedtime (and all too quickly doze off).

I liked Stardust (the movie), but have not yet read that book. Sounds like I'd like the book better.

At Monday, 07 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I bronze. It comes with the Mediterranean blood.

So why was the vacation forced?

And why Hines to jump on a swing? You can't be to far from that park over by outer drive and Merrick (it's a pretty good park).

And what's with all the mountaineering books?

I have some insight into those kinds of folks. People who climb Everest are the same kinds of people who dive on the Andrea Doria. Like Everest, if you die there it's too risky to recover your most of the time.

A few of them get caught up in the idea of having done it, rather than enjoying the "doing" part. They get themselves killed most often. In my opinion, those types are often impatient and willing to take unacceptable risks. In other words, they're idiots. Others are just unlucky.

I can't tell you about people who are left at the base of the mountain or on the shore. If you ask Mona she'll tell you she worries.

At Monday, 07 July, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

Omg, I do the farmer's tan thing too.

And you have a definite Everest them going with books.

Oh, and I really loved "Stardust," but haven't read the book. Now I'm scared to read the book. =/ My son loves Neil Gaiman.

And ... oh yes, I'll keep my fingers crossed. Sorry about the funeral. As a general rule, I won't attend any except for my parents and siblings ... that's it. My husband has sworn to die after me.

At Monday, 07 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - The book is almost always better. I work hard to avoid the farmer tan look. Lots of skimpy tops and since I no longer have races to attend, I don't have the high top tennis shoe issue.

Jorge - German-Irish Redhead with blue eyes - not exactly known to bronze. ;-) Shutdown. No clue where Merrick is. I think you need to read the books before you judge. Yes, there are definitely people who get caught up in the moment, but others turn back mere meters from the summit because they realise it's too risky - like Ed Viesturs (last month's books).

Beth - It meant a lot to my friend for me to be there. It was hard for me to justify not being there while just sitting outside reading. Don't be afraid of Neil Gaiman, do yourself a favor and read his books.

At Monday, 07 July, 2008, Blogger Sal said...

You have no idea how much I adore you... remind me to buy green candles.

At Monday, 07 July, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

I'll second Kat's recommendation - definitely read some Neil Gaiman!

At Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Hmmm... was the theme of last months books stupidity? Because that what it'd take for me to ever climb a damn mountain on purpose... :P

Me? I tan like a bronze statue...

Wha? Why are you looking at me like that? Ok, ok... maybe more like an alabaster vase...

At Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

Let's call Merrick as somewhere between Monroe and Adrays/Pelham.

The park is a couple of blocks east of Merrick, but that's the only street over there that I know. It's knd of triangle shaped and has a walking track and palyground equipment and I think an "ice rink" in the winter. Head down Outer Drive and you can't miss it.

Mona doesn't bronze either. This time of year I have to dress her in welding gear just to get her from the house to the car without her flesh being peeled off by the Sun.

And I am not getting down on the climbers, just comparing different types with divers I know or have read about. The ones in the moment are usually the good ones. They're in it for the right reasons. I've found, at least in the SCUBA community, that the divers that get killed are either diving beyond their ability or in some sense, in it for the glory.

The difference is in how they tell the stories. An in the moment diver/climber will tell you about the experience from start to finish and generally downplay or not discuss any close calls. At the same time they won't encourage anyone without thier level of training or experience to try and copy them.

The glory hounds will prominently dislpay a photo of themselves on Everst or the china they brought up from the Doria. They want you to ask so they can impress you with their willingness to risk their lives for the ultimate adventure.

Sometimes even doing it right gets you killed on the Doria (and probably Everst). I couldn't tell you a thing about the climbers who died or the one's who didn't. But I will say I'd rather climb with someone who turned back meters from the summit becuase it was the safe thing to do than with the guy who decided to go on even if there was a greater than normal risk.

Good divers follow this rule: Any diver can call off any dive at any time for any reason, no questions asked. I've called off a few and have no regrets.

Does that make more sense?

At Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

That post looked a lot shorter when I wrote it in Outlook. Sorry.

At Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Blogger mr. schprock said...

I attended a presentation once given by a professional mountain climber. He showed slides of a mountain expedition he attempted near Everest, which was actually considered a more difficult climb. He talked about the funding process and the politics of assembling the local support personnel (I think you begin with way more than one hundred people and, as you move from base camp to base camp, the number gets smaller and smaller). He talked about passing a tent once and looking inside to view the corpse of a climber dressed with the same modern gear he wore. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. I could have listened to him all night.

You know, I might take you up on that offer of Anne Rice's books. I'm reading "Interview with the Vampire" right now and am enjoying it hugely.

I could use a "forced vacation" right about now, btw...

At Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Sal - And I you...

LL - LOL! If those pics at your blog are actually you, then there's no way in hell you bronze, you redheaded blue-eyed Yukon Cornelius.

Jorge - Ah, gotcha. I have no problem with people taking pics of themselves on the summit of whatever mountain, because they need something to prove they did it, but I have more respect (for lack of the term I want, but can't come up with) for the ones who do it the right way, i.e., the ones who do it on their talent and don't buy their way to the top, like many of the people who Boukreev saved on Everest in '96 had done. No problem on the long comment, you know that doesn't bother me.

Schprockie - Perhaps I've read too many mountaineering books, but I prefer to read about the people who climb in the Himalayas w/o the huge expeditions of hundreds of Sherpas and fix the ropes themselves, and even climb w/o oxygen. You let me know and the books are yours. I think I still have your address around here somewhere.

At Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, Blogger LL said...

I'm not redheaded...

just redbearded. :P

At Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - Huh uh.

At Thursday, 10 July, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

If auto racing broke your heart, why not climb a mountain?

I didn't know they had tans in Detroit...

At Friday, 11 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr. - I have no desire to freeze to death climbing a mountain or falling off of it or getting swept up in an avalanche. And it's kind of hard to watch mountain climbing. Although I would love to get to Everest Base Camp at some point.

We may have the longest winter known to man (except for maybe Alaska and the Yukon), but we do normally have great summers when I try to be outside as much as possible.

At Friday, 11 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I suggest you take up SCUBA. You don;t generally fall off of stuff underwater.

Plus you can tan on the boat or the beach before, between and after dives.

There's clubs, so you can hang out with other divers, take annual trips, all kinds of stuff.

And if you still need speed, I promise that nothing in the wolrd will seem faster than a dolphin zipping past you while you're blowing bubbles.

At Saturday, 12 July, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

This must be National Get-A-Tan month cuz i surprisingly got one, too!

I haven't read Stardust yet and it's probably a good thing I didn't before seeing the movie.

Good luck with work!!!

And p.s There's a pic of the Eiffel Tower up in Pt 2 of the vacation pics. :D

At Saturday, 12 July, 2008, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Hey, thanks for the nice wishes! Actually I don't consider myself Canadian anymore but I did celebrate Dayofffromwork Day. Which I think most Canadians were doing anyway.

At Monday, 14 July, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

Kathleen, I don't have any friends so that means no funerals to attend. Thank God. Hey, I have read Neil Gaiman, yep yep ... just not Stardust.

At Tuesday, 15 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jorge - I'm an awful swimmer, so SCUBA diving holds little allure for me. I've snorkeled and that was minimal fun.

Heather - Woohoo! Fellow redhead getting a tan! How often does that happen? ;-)

FWG - Not Canadian anymore? Because of Harper?

At Tuesday, 15 July, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Good luck surviving the layoffs. I know from experience that it's not a fun situation to be in.

I'll pass on mountain climbing, not reading about it, but doing it. I read just the other day that Everest has something like 200 bodies on it that are just sitting there and you can't really remove them. Some are in plain sight too. That would be a good warning not to do it. Or you'd think.

At Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, Blogger Dave said...

You're right about not reading the book first. Having not done so, I liked the movie.


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