Monday, February 28, 2011

I didn't win

I entered the contest to guess the Oscar - Academy Award - winners this year. They were actually quite easy to predict. From best picture to supporting, my picks were all correct. But I got the tiebreaker wrong: I chose The Black Swan for Best Cinematography instead of the actual winner, Inception. The Black Swan dance sequences were both dizzying and stunning.

Did I see all the nominated films? Of course NOT! I did see and appreciate The King's Speech and The Black Swan and Winter's Bone. That last film was SO un-Hollywood, which is a good thing in my book. I love foreign films, and indie ones, and this was more like an indie.

Here's an example of a dichotomy in tastes: my brother was incredulous that I enjoyed Run, Lola, Run and O Brother, Where Art Thou (even though he rented the latter!) Lola was so creative with its animation and the music and hijinks in O Brother were hilarious. His pick for a good movie was X-Men (I thought it was OK.)

I did see Inception, which was visually fantastic, but the plot had holes in it that were big enough to disturb me. Winter's Bone is worth seeing: GO AND RENT IT! The SA nominee, Jennifer Lawrence, is marvelous in it. John Hawkes is also compelling.

The Fighter is a film I haven't seen. Melissa Leo is such a chameleon (read: great actress) she is probably deserving of her Oscar.

I didn't win, but I came close! Did you guess the winners correctly?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm such a city girl that wildlife always excites me!

As I type this, it's raining somewhere on Oahu - this is according to my Google desktop toolbar. I heard ominous thunder a while ago, and before that, when we went on our after-dinner walk, there was scary lightning in the sky.

On our way home, we saw our favorite bird, the Fairy Tern, a white tern - in Hawaiian Manu-O-Ku - alight in a tree. The probable reason I find it attractive is that it looks like it's wearing eyeliner. It also has a distinctive long black beak and forked tail.

Saturday, we'd gone up to the North Shore to the Waialua Farmer's market, then eaten sushi and poke at Haleiwa Beach Park. We spotted a pair of these birds with very distinctive yellow chests, greenish backs and red beaks guarding a nest in the branches above us.

Later, we walked along the retaining wall above the beach and I pointed to green Hawaiian sea turtles close to the shore. As we got closer, people on the beach below us were a mere couple of feet from the turtles. They were too intent on their own concerns to listen to us pointing to the creatures close by who were feeding on seaweed. My favorite memory is a wave picking up a turtle as it moves legs and flippers and "surfs".

I'm such a city girl that wildlife always excites me!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mercedes drivers have it in for us

I almost didn't make it to the open market this past Monday. I walk the 4 blocks with a backpack slung over my shoulder. With any vegetable luck, it's full of green and colorful goodness when I make my way back, wheeling it.

My usual route takes me down my street, 2 blocks down the main drag, then one long block to the lower parking lot of the park. As I crossed the driveway that morning, TWO Mercedes were impatiently trying to exit when suddenly, another attempted to enter. It was a standoff. And I was in their way.

There is precedent for this. Two years ago, DH was on his way to the Stinky Place - which is what I call the cigar shop where he spends some time - when he had a rude surprise. He was headed south down Punchbowl Street in the center lane when the Mercedes driver to his right decided she wanted to be in HIS lane - IN THE INTERSECTION.

She scraped the side of our Nissan Altima, but luckily, DH was OK. And unlucky for her, 5-0 - Honolulu Police - was the car to the left of DH.

Isn't timing EVERYTHING? He saw it all.

Poor DH had a lovely time explaining this to his insurance company as well as hers, making sure to mention they should corroborate it all with the patrolman. Yes, she claimed DH "Sped into her!" Well, there was $5K worth of damage to the Nissan, and apparently almost twice as much to the Mercedes.

They may look innocent, but we keep an eye on them, as Mercedes are known to have it in for us!

Friday, February 11, 2011

There is no end to what I don't know

To put a dent in that mountain, I'm reading the philosophy volume of "200 ideas you really need to know". It came as a box set at Borders.

Aside: is Borders really dying? I hope not. I prefer them to Barnes & Noble.

Since there are 3 other books in the set, there are actually only 50 ideas I really need to know in this title. The book introduces philosophical topics ranging from knowledge to ethics, aesthetics and more by presenting them in a brief but concise way.

Here's the Amazon listing. The other 3 books in the set include mathematics, religion and physics. The one I'd really like to read next is on economics.

What's interesting is that my doctoral-student son saw this and immediately wanted it. It's a summary of the big ideas, all in one place. I told him I'd give it to him when I'm done.

I'll send it to him in the next care package, along with the somen, tsuyu and Hawaiian Sun juice packets.

Saturday update: a newspaper article this morning confirms that Borders is on the verge of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Here's a WSJ online article with more details. Pity. And no, I don't own an e-reader. See here.