Friday, January 11, 2008

Weather, TV, Books - I have opinions!

Far be it from me to criticize the navigational abilities of weather, but I feel that we may need to stage an intervention. First, hurricane force winds and rain and flooding in NW Oregon. But okay, it's off the ocean, and the ocean is, if anything, powerfully unpredictable. Maybe even weather can't help that. But now a tornado? In VANCOUVER? I mean, that's just crazy talk! And it turns out there was an even more devastating tornado in Vancouver in 1972.

Momentary digression: I just saw an ad for the Portland Bridal Expo and it had some of the WORST film ever. The final images are of a "bride" traipsing down the runway and then a freeze frame right after she's turned. It's shot from below and at an angle, so imagine that her head is a straight vertical line at the center top of the shot; her body is a straight line from her neck to the bottom right corner of the screen, but turning in the middle so there's an almost nausiating sense of wrongness; her right arm is (if I remember correctly now) swinging out ahead of her from her far side, aimed towards the lower left corner; and her left arm is bent at the elbow, forming a triangle with her hip as the base and her elbow as the apex. The bouquet is in her left hand, looking stapled to her hip. And all of this is shot from below, so there are shadows under her chin and nose. It's a bridal expo, people: it's filled with people who know how to favorably photograph any bride in any light. But no: you picked the guy who usually shoots the car show because he knows the layout of the Expo Center already and will give you a discount if you buy him a hotdog.

Also, I've been reading a lot lately because... well, sadly, not because I love to read (which I do), but because of the writer's strike and Pete having Halo 3, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect and now The Orange Box. [Fox 12 Morning Show update: one of their on-the-spot reporters is in a rented tux, dancing with a woman at the Expo Center. I think it's a very stiff box-step foxtrot. Oh God: he's trying to rumba and is doing that little twirling your hands and then shaking one to the side on the final beat thing. ::shudder::] I've read a lot of PD James mysteries, which I highly recommend. They're smart, James Doesn't try to prove to you that her detective is smart through gimmickry (like one writer who made a point of telling you that her main character had a 180 IQ, a perfect size-8 body and connections to Mossad in the first chapter of every book), they don't encourage you to solve the mystery yourself -although you sometimes can- and they don't usually end in the detective squaring off against his foe in a mano a mano battle to the death. I would start with an early one, like "A Mind to Murder" or "Unnatural Causes" before reading some of the later ones, like "The Black Tower" or "Death of an Expert Witness." The best of all (in my opinion, and of the one's I've read) is "Original Sin." It's like a thick set of character studies and is ultimately a rumination on the nature of family, personal loss, cruelty, revenge and forgiveness. But it helps to understand the main detective (Dalgliesh), although it isn't necessary to follow the plot.

I also just read "Stardust," which is a very sweet fairytale for adults because it has some cusses and some sex - but tasteful sex! It took about four hours to read, so if you've got a flight to take, it's the kind of paperback you can read on the plane and leave for the next passenger.

Yesterday I finished "The Golden Compass" and now I'm on to the second in that series, "The Subtle Knife." They're really good - fantasy adventure stories starring children without ever being cloying or new-agey. I picked them up because I was told they made fundamentalist christians mad and I had to know what all the fuss was about. The first one is more, "Oh, and also, in this world the Church is more like the Spanish Inquisition Church than the Church of today, and that's bad." But the second one is proving to be more, "And religion in general is a bad thing, tearing apart the universe and sending jackbooted thugs to your door." But we'll see. Mostly they're just really fun to read without making me cry (::coHARRYPOTTERugh::).

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