New shoes will take you somewhere you want to go. ~ Peking Noodle Co.
Something wonky is going on with the comments. It's like a direct response to my demand for more interesting spam. Anyway. I've closed all comments for the moment, mostly because I'm tired and our house is teeming with strep so I'm not enjoying the wonky the way I otherwise might.
So last night, just after I tucked Secret Lulu in bed, I went to find Mr. Poppins. He was off in a corner playing scrabble on his iPhone. No surprise there. I did not hesitate to interrupt him. Also not a surprise.
I rattled off a couple of Netflix titles by way of coaxing him away from the scrabble but, apparently, he was not impressed. Instead he asked, "How about my Helvetica movie?"
Finally someone has cause to be surprised. And it must have shown on my face because Mr. Poppins felt the need to remind me that he had mentioned this movie to me as an option over the weekend. So I say, "Oh, I remember. But I thought you were joking."
Let's rewind a little.
On Friday, Mr. Poppins came home with a movie, maybe documentary is a better description, devoted entirely to the typeface Helvetica. Now you may be familiar, through the wonder that is the Word program with this typeface. Perhaps, you refer to it as a font. If that is the case, I suggest you desist with such reference immediately. I cannot be responsible for what Mr. Poppins will think of you.
Let me explain: there is a difference between typeface and font, just as there is a difference between the alphabet and written words. A typeface is the meta-level structure of the letters. A font is that meta-level structure reduced to a particular point size and iteration, such as bold, italic, light, or some other combination. This is all very designerly and there was a time when I didn't think it really mattered but, well, I've learned not to say that out loud.
Which brings us back to Mr. Poppins coming home with a documentary based entirely on a single typeface, albeit one that revolutionized the world in much the same completely ignorable way that, say, to borrow from the movie, off-white paint made traditional white walls more easy on the eyes. How, pray tell, will the director fill up the time?
Turns out that there's a lot to say about this particular typeface: little-known history, conflict, revolution, reinvention, and ideology. Sweet Pete, there's even a woman's studies angle. Okay, maybe I made that part up, but I do distinctly remember one designer blaming the typeface for the Vietnam war. And also the current war in Iraq.
I say this for true. Although to be fair, the designer was halfway joking. At least about the war in Iraq, maybe not so much about Vietnam.
And designers are warriors. I had no idea. But they are. They are on a crusade to stamp out ugliness in the world. Or to messy it up, depending on which school of thought the particular designer subscribes. The arguments are passionate, the f-bomb was dropped. This Helvetica controversy is all far more complicated than I ever imagined, not that I ever imagined it, and--again with the surprise--surprisingly engaging.
I cannot say the same about the forced march of "The English Patient" that Mr. Poppins led me on in the early days of our relationship. Do you know that I seriously thought the title of the movie was "The English, Patient"? Emphasis on the comma to underscore how much I thought the movie was about English people being long-sufferingly patient. Although, I have learned that this, too, really is better off not being said out loud at our house.
I am freaking in love with this movie. I just can't help it. I know it's not what you, she, and her thought it would be. I know you can't stand Bella because, like, you're jealous. I know that you had this perfect idea of how everyone would be and it wasn't exactly like that but c'mon, people, this movie is my favorite.
I can't help it.
The Model claims that the people responsible should be charged with criminal negligence. She may have a point. Somewhere in the real world someone might be able to prove that in a court of law but as for me and my house, we will be going to see that movie again.
And maybe again.
I haven't gotten that far in the plan yet.
Anyway, the thing is that Edward, who is Rob Pattinson in real life, sings a couple of songs for the sound track and they totally slay me. I haven't been so head-over-heels in love with a new artist since sometime back in 1994. Also, the rest of the sound track is ridiculously killer.
So there's that.
And the whole thing was barely held together. I get that. It was a movie for people who read the book. I kind of think of the Harry Potter movies that way, too. I mean, sheesh, while reading about night after night of snuggling and coming out of class only to find Edward waiting for me--ummmm, I meant to type Bella--is compelling enough reading, it's not exactly big screen magic.
I could have done with more sex. I said that about the book and I'll say it again about the movie. More sex was in order. But at least there was a serious kissing scene in the movie and I, for one, was convinced that Bella came within thirty seconds of throwing her virginity to the vampires. Not everyone I attended the movie with was feeling the chemistry of undying love the way they had hoped, but I was at least feeling the give-hell-a-run-for-its-money, scorching lust of a couple of way-too-hott-and-bothered seventeen-year-olds.
So, again, more that.
I'm sure that going into the movie with, ahem, adjusted expectations didn't hurt but, all in all, I have to say that my biggest problem with the movie was, much like the original book, production value. There was something off about the sound, you know, like it was television quality or maybe it was that I could hear the "quiet on the set" silence beneath the dialogue.
I got used to it.
Also, there were times when the scenes were a little unevenly paced, but I chalked that up to some scenes were requirements and could not be skimped on and other scenes were not-so-much and so that kind of dictated a bit there. I mean, I would have sat through a four hour movie, gladly, but I just don't think that's done anymore. Maybe they should have made it a mini-series, kind of like how Stephen King had to go back and remake The Shining to get it all in because sometimes two hours just wasn't enough.
The thing is that even when this movie was off for me, and there were plenty of times it was:
Jasper had an Edward Scissorhands thing going on
Overall the hair on the male vampires was just way too sculpture
Alice was supposed to have a Winona Ryder circa 1993 thing going on with the pixie hair
Rosalie should have been played by Scarlett Johansson
Kate Winslet was Esme, there's no way around it
Charlie was supposed to look like the sheriff from Eureka
Edward was more emotional than I would have imagined
...didn't matter. I got past it. Because I know how to suspend disbelief. I'm really good at it.
Long story short, I freaking loved this movie.
And it broke my heart. Because I'm never going to be seventeen again, people. I know that as a thirty-three-year-old adult hobbit, this just shouldn't be news. Yet it is news. Unwelcome news. Downright disappointing, nasty, almost-as-bad-as herpes news. Because as much as being seventeen sucked hardcore,
Now I could have been offended by the implications of that comment but, well, I was already making a mental note to get the book because, really, I already knew I should read it. The only thing Mr. Poppins's comment did was make me forget that I could get it for free from Bookgirl and so I paid for it.
I really hate paying for it when I can get it for free.
Only this time I didn't mind so much because I really wanted the book. I needed the book. I was born to read this book. So I knew that my money was well spent and that I would definitely get some value, which I did.
This is the thing. I know a lot of people look at me and think I am out-of-all-proportion worried about my spawn. Let me be clear, I know this because it's been pointed out to me, kind of how one's nearest and dearest will point out a wad of toilet paper trailing from one's shoe. It is there, it is evident, and maybe most people would be uncomfortable mentioning it but, given the love we share, it would be unconscionable not to say something.
I get that.
It doesn't help all that much though. I wish I could just do a little toe-heel shuffle and skip free of my parental concerns but I cannot quite seem to shake them. So there you go.
But Andy (remember, he said I could call him that), gave me some reasons, some explanations, and some reassurance, as well as a few helpful hints. I appreciate all that.
You see, I only have the one offspring, so all of my eggs are in one basket (there's a biology pun in there, I think), so of course I'm going to be a little more concerned that Secret Lulu be a good egg. Then there's the vigilance thing. Andy calls it hyper-vigilance, because it's on all of the time in full force, even when it's not at all useful. This is not to be confused with pathological integrity, which is a term Andy invented to describe the conflict that today's parents face when it comes time for their children to do all of those things that the aforementioned parents did when they were their age.
But there's this other thing, you know, the media. Do you remember when you were little and you could full-on play in the backseat of your parent's car because you weren't wearing a seat belt. Or how you could go to the park by yourself, not to make out with your crush, but to actually swing and slide without your parents supervising you?
I have, for a long time, suspected that the reason we find parenting so exhausting these days is because we actually attempt to non-stop supervise our children. I also suspect that this is why parents these days seem to be so horrified by their children's behavior and decide to medicate them, whereas fifty years ago, boys would just be boys. It's not that the kids are so much more wild or insane, it's that the parents are actually witnessing the wild insanity. Seriously, Mr. Poppins lit stuff on fire when he was a kid and nobody even noticed.
So the thing is, there is an expectation that we will watch our own kids rather than letting the big ones raise the little ones, and we will witness things that seem significant in the context of hyper-vigilance, and we will freak out and then we will take it all very seriously because, hey, we have the internet and there are clinical, classifying, and pathologizing names for the way our kids behave and they are scary.
For example, a child can either be melting down or disregulated, energetic or ADHD, quirky or OCD. This is over-simplification but if you've ever had someone peg your somewhat-introverted-kid-who-marches-to-the-beat-of-her-own-drummer as autistic because they saw a red flag, then you know how stressful it can be to have a kid who isn't particularly excited about circle time. Because it's not just about circle time, it's about the fate of the human race. Or at least my contribution to it.
Andy has a lot to say about that. And I got it, really. So I feel better, which is more than enough reason for me to recommend this if you, too, are up to your elbows in worry.