Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Virgin No More

It only took twenty-seven years, but it has happened at last.

Last night, I watched a Star Wars movie for the first time ever. Yes, you read that correctly. I had never, until less than twenty-four hours ago, watched any of the Star Wars films in whole or part. This, even though I am of the generation that cannot remember life before the first of series came out.

My parents found my indifference to the craze puzzling, other kids found it bizarre. I didn't care. I never bought an action figure, didn't ask for the bed sheets, never fought a light sabre duel on the playground. When The Phantom Menace came out and my contemporaries went bananas all over again, I rolled my eyes and stuck Enchanted April into the VCR to drown out the noise.

Last night, the lights at the AMC River East Gigantoplex went down, that theme music came up, the opening text crawl started, and the normal seven-year-old child I never was came bubbling up to the surface.

I am still not certain what hit me. It makes no sense. I hate, hate, hate science fiction. I don't like loud noises and I don't ride rollercoasters. I don't go to action films, I never wanted to be a pilot or a soldier and war movies make me sick.

Moreover, the movie is well beyond dreadful in some aspects. When it tries to be romantic, it sinks utterly. George Lucas's idea of the perfect woman, embodied in Natalie Portman's anorexic Padmé (where did she carry those fat twins? in a handbag?), is that of a science geek who can't get a date with one. And the mumbling underwear model who turns into Darth Vader is such a crummy actor that he couldn't convincingly scream for water if his hair were on fire. (Which, come to think of it, it was.)

So explain to me please why more than once I wanted to stand up and holler? Why I was gripping the edges of my seat trying not to jump up and down? Why I wanted to grab C (whose idea this movie date was) and all the people around us and shake them and say, "Did you see that? Did you see that?"

C has promised to show me the other movies damn quick.

It is deeply disturbing to discover at age 34 that one does, after all, have an inner child. I thought I'd finished digesting him a long time ago.

Teddy Bear News

On Friday, I managed to get over to Knitter's Niche before it closed to see about ordering more teddy bear yarn, since of course I'd been told that it was out of stock.

I was waited on by none other than Mary Ann herself, the infamous Mary Ann, she of the crabby disposition. Here's surprise number one: I liked her. She's gruff, yes - but attentive, learned, and utterly dedicated to knitting. She's enormously helpful, even patient with well-meant dumb questions, but if you're expecting a twinkling grandma who will offer you a cup of tea and pat you on the back you're in for a shock.

She also admitted to me that she knows what people think of her, but that after all the years in the business she's just sick of certain types of people. Her specific example: Lincoln Park trixies (a local term for clueless, snotty yuppie women from a snotty yuppie neighborhood) who come into the shop five minutes before closing with yarn bought in New York City. They expect her to wind it for them for free, and then teach them to cast on. She said she has no problem telling that sort of person to get the hell out of her shop, and I don't blame her.

Surprise number two: the yarn I wanted was not out of stock. Not remotely. Before placing the special order, Mary Ann checked the shelf again and there was the yarn I'm using. About 18 skeins of it. It comes (says Mary Ann) in bags of 20, and I'd bought two for this bear. When I got home, I checked and sure enough - same dye lot. Not only were they not sold out, they'd never sold any except what they sold to me.

So after a momentary pause, Jack the Teddy Bear continues. Three leg pieces and half an arm piece to go.

When I laid out the various finished pieces on the table all I could think of was Darth Vader being cobbled together after his nasty encounter with the volcano.

And Also

On Saturday, C and I went to Wicker Park (an artsy Chicago neighborhood not yet destroyed by suburbanites) to visit his friends Liz and David. Like all C's friends, they're fascinating. He's a painter, she's a poet. They had twin baby girls about seven months ago, and since the babies spent many months in the hospital we hadn't had a chance to meet them yet. It was well worth the wait.

I think bunny and/or kitty hats will be in order (for the babies, not the parents).

Before we met up with them, we visited a used bookshop I've never been to, and I got (among other things) a solid old copy of Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies and a terrific six-dollar copy of Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. And you didn't. Nyah.


goblinbox said...

You enjoyed it because it's written utilizing practically every deep-seated Joseph Campbellian bit of symbolism IN THE WORLD. That's why everyone loves the Star Wars series - it's epic. It speaks to the part of the human soul that in this day and age is starved for heroes and heroines and stories containing resonant, self-referral layers. It's satisfying. Myth and the Hero's Journey and the belly of the whale and all that, symbolizing the soul's transformation from selfish individual to selfless protector, etc.

Anyway. You're supposed to like it, dear one! And I'm glad you did. Don't be ashamed. ;-)

And I'm so happy to hear the bear's back on track.

goblinbox said...

...to change the subject utterly, I've always meant to ask: what exactly did you mean when you picked the word panopticon? (You're in a jail with no privacy? You're a room full of curios?) I can't figure out the resonance, and I even went to the trouble of reading every single entry here. Of course, I did not go to the trouble of looking up the word panopticon, so quite likely there's a definition I don't know.

There should be a word for that, hey what, for reading every entry in a blog! Then I could say, "I even went to the trouble of ______," which would be so much more elegant.

Rebekah Ravenscroft-Scott said...

whtat idiot at the lys told you they were out of stock in the first place? I'd have their head on a plate. oh wait, i'm crabby too!

as for the movie, yes Franklin there is an inner child in there... he's just been hiding from you for a while. i think i caught a glimpse of him last weekend, though. (he likes pretty presents :)

but dont' you think Lord of the Rings is so much better than Star Wars? (don't you dare tell me you haven't seen them!)

Anonmous said...

Why did you enjoy Star Bores? The answer is as old as the Romans...its called spectacle. There’s no plot, there’s no real character development, its just one big boom after another. George Lucas couldn’t write a grocery list, let alone a movie. However, as far as entertainment goes, yeah its no doubt worth $8.50. I for one prefer the Bond movies for my cheap fun…but that’s just me

Franklin said...

Well, that's my point, Buzz. You know me well enough to know that pure pop spectacle keeps me interested for three seconds or less. So my reaction to this film is puzzling.

By my reckoning, it should have been as negative as my reactions to the James Bond movies, which I've pretty much always found to be straight male masturbatory fantasies in which clipped delivery tries to pass for wit. Well done trash, but trash.

But that's just me.

Cheryl:) said...

Mush Mook...Maybe it's the "invisible omniscience" that's trying to be conveyed...

Anonymous said...

I am still (proudly) a Star Wars virgin. And I intend to remain so. I'll hold my head high and not be ashamed that, when I die, I'll be the last person on earth not to have seen one.

I am vaguely aware of the story line, however, having seen Space Balls.

birdfarm said...

I always assumed I loved Star Wars so much (despite wooden acting, awful scripts, stupid plots, and barely a perfunctory attempt at even the most basic internal logic--"oh and have the protocol droid's mind wiped," yeah, right) because I was just the right age (six) when the first one came out.

I am intrigued that you actually liked it at all as an adult.

As for those who poo-poo it, they're just trying to be cool. I worried about being uncool when I was in seventh grade. I don't now.

Dana S. Whitney said...

My college roommate's great grandmother wrote Enchanted April. She was quite something in her day! (and the roommate's no slouch either..) Where's the bear?

www.publicidad.org.es said...

It will not succeed as a matter of fact, that is what I consider.

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Juliana Kho said...

when the first of the second three came out and was supposed to be so bad i gave up on them. i hear consistantly that this one is good so i will check it out. i also love me some ewan mcgregor. hayden christiansen is cute, but crummy. he's ok in shattered glass. how can you be bad in a


Juliana Kho said...

the first of the second three came out and was supposed to be so bad i gave up on them. i hear consistantly that this one is good so i will check it out. i also love me some ewan mcgregor. hayden christiansen is cute, but crummy. he's ok in shattered glass. how can y the first of the second three came out and was supposed to be so bad i gave up on them. i hear consistantly that this one is good so i will check it out. i also love me some ewan mcgregor. hayden christiansen is cute, but crummy. he's ok in shattered glass. how can y