It was a bit of a rush getting ready Wednesday morning, but the trip to the airport and the flight went fine, and Sara's dad was waiting for us in the parking lot just a short walk from the baggage return.

Wednesday nights are his jam session at Encanto park, but Sara and I decided we were too tired, and left to go to sleep early instead.

Except for some brief rain on Friday it's been sunny, so you can stay pretty warm outside, but the actual temperatures have been cold enough to get some frost at night, with highs under sixty. The house isn't heated, so for sitting around inside I'm actually dressed more warmly than I normally would be in Michigan. But I came prepared, so I've been pretty comfortable.

Sara's parents always feed us well. We usually don't eat out at all while we're here. And living in Arizona they're still producing a lot of good food from their yard even this time of year. Sometimes it feels like a large part of the day is devoted to preparing for or cleaning up after meals. Or, well, in my case, mostly watching other people do that.

They have DSL, but it's only usable from the one Windows machine, fine for the occasional email or web browsing, but awkward if I want to work with data from my laptop or something. Various attempts to hook up my laptop directly or to configure the little travel wireless router that came with me failed, thanks to Earthlink's stupid MAC address filtering and some problem I can't figure out with my router.

So Sunday we made a trip to Fry's to pick up a wireless router, which will also make it easier for Sara's mom to use her new laptop. It's strange how much that makes me feel back to normal.

My gift for Sara was due to arrive from Amazon today, but what came instead was an Amazon box with the correct tracking number on the outside but someone else's order on the inside. I went through their standard return procedure and, just for the heck of it, googled for the intended recipient and called her to let her know what happened. It'll get sorted out, but not till we're back in Michigan.


The last couple days have been taken up with tying up loose ends, last-minute shopping, some errands, and some work. Tommorow morning we get on the plane for Arizona.

That's all!

party, Lola

If I could have only one superpower, it would be the power to sleep at will in any situation. But the possibly related skill of being able to eat a month's worth of food at once could have been useful at this Friday's party at Sofia's.

I spent the rest of the weekend at home, trying to get a bunch of loose ends tied up before we leave for Tempe on Wednesday. This morning I woke up (very late) to the season's first really big world-carpetting snowfall. I had this feeling I should have taken advantage of it somehow--maybe made a snowman or gone sledding or something--but lacked the energy.

Last night we saw "La Gloire de mon Père", based on a novel by the same name by Marcel Pagnol. It was charming enough, but I didn't see what it had over the book.

Then tonight we saw Demy's excellent "Lola". It's fun to see the shared character (Roland Cossard) and other little connections he makes between it and the two big musicals of his I've seen ("Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" and "Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort"). It was earlier than those two, must have been made under a much tighter budget, and the singing and dancing is reduced to one or two short scenes (both in character--"Lola" is a dancer). But the constraints don't lessen it at all.

BSG, winter

It was the annual movie night for the book club tonight. We watched a couple episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I wasn't won over. I guess it didn't get much of the chance--it would be more interesting if you watched enough to get a good sense of the characters. It seemed to be a tremendous loose-ends generator in the way that neverending TV series tend to be. I think I'll avoid it.

In the last month or two we've moved to our winter (flannel) comforter cover, and a down comforter. Tonight we're bringing out the really heavy artillery: it's actually two down comforters that velcro together. You feel like you're sleeping under a giant marshmallow.

Chambers and Stravinsky

Sara and I met for dinner at Sushi.come after work and then went to Hill to see Evan Chambers' "The Old Burying Ground", followed by "The Rite of Spring".

I don't think I've seen the latter in concert before, so I'd never realized how massive the orchestra is--the stage was packed. It was great to set right up front and get the full force of it.

And the Chambers premiere seemed very big too, though the orchestra wasn't quite as huge. It was beautiful, though I might still have preferred hearing it with just voice and piano in the basement of the library....

I'm too boring to think up good titles

I finished reading Molière's "Tartuffe". The ending is a lame deus ex machina, with an all-powerful prince setting everything to rights. Obviously I don't know how to read Molière. Actually, my favorite parts are the flowery dedications; l'école des femmes has a good example.

We saw the Hepburn/Grant comedy "Bringing Up Baby" at Dave's Saturday night, after dinner at Sabor Latino. I was carrying around a spaghetti squash from the farmer's market through all of this; one of the non-obvious consequences of doing everything without a car is that you don't have a trunk to put things in.

Today we spent home.

Thursday I got my teeth cleaned.

That's about as exciting as it gets here.

flights, bugs, questions

This morning Sara got us flights to Arizona for Christmas, after fighting with some web reservation system for a while. I'll admit I'm looking forward to being someplace where it isn't bitterly cold outside.

I go to this seminar in the law school every now and then, and then I'm reminded why I don't go very often. Every student seems to be required to ask a question. They're also required to submit comments to a class website beforehand. So there's this long line of people who have to ask (uninteresting, to me) questions. And you can't just put your hand up. People with questions to ask are put in some long queue and called on by the instructor. I've never figured out the system. Why would I?--by the time they got around to me I'd probably have forgotten what I wanted to ask. Anyway, it makes the whole thing kind of tedious. Oh well.

There's this new and improved fast-user-switch applet that got added to gnome recently, nice for our home machine because Sara and I share it and are usually both logged in all the time. Except it doesn't seem to do a good job of keeping track of which virtual terminal each user is on--if someone logs out and then logs back in again, the applets in other user's sessions don't seem to notice that the other user has changed virtual terminals. Argh. I downloaded the code and have been taking a look, but can't make much sense of it yet.

Tomorrow morning I get my teeth poked at. Yay.


Thanksgiving it snowed, and it's been cold ever since. Winter is here to stay.

Thanksgiving dinner this year was with the extended family of a couple of my coworkers, which was a treat. They're extremely energetic and outgoing people, and I sometimes feel like a bit of a wet blanket by comparison.

Except for some time working Friday, we mostly spent the rest of the weekend at home.

I saw "Molière" last Tuesday at the Michigan Theater. One of the people I was with described it as a "French Shakespeare in Love"; the story is woven together from bits of his plays, and it explained the central theme of his work with an early romance. I thought it was great fun, and was inspired to go back and read "L'école des Femmes" and a couple other things.

We watched a little more "Buffy". The last couple episodes I've been watching with graph paper with minutes numbered down the left side, and I keep track of major scene changes, where the commercial breaks fall, etc. I'm just kinda curious how they put these things together. And it gives me something to do while I watch.

And Friday we watched "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort", which I thought was wonderful, though it's also ridiculous. It has a scene in the middle where all the dialog is suddenly in rhyming Alexandrine couplets (why? no idea), a nice coincidence with all the recent Moliere reading.

And then Saturday I watched Truffaut's "Agent de Poche", which I also liked. Like a lot of his movies it's more a collection of loosely related little gags, but I enjoy it that way. I should just go through all his movies some time. The UM library seems to have an excellent DVD collection, actually, which I should take better advantage of.

Today after work Sara and I met to see local composer Evan Chambers present some selections from "Old Burying Ground", a big work of his that's premiering at Hill next week, based on texts taking from gravestones. For some reason I had low expectations for the idea, but the songs he did were lovely, and he performed them really well (just singing with his wife playing piano). It reminded me of Sara's dad's singing. And it was great to hear it in a small room with a small audience and the chance to ask questions (a chance I took advantage of).

wet and muddy

I rode my bike most of this week, which also helped me take care of a few errands--Tuesday night I filled up the panniers with groceries from Busch's, this morning it was produce from the farmer's market, and then tonight I rode out to North Maple to get my driver's license renewed.

It was raining during all of today's biking. This is the first time I've ridden in the rain since the failure of one of my old panniers ripped the back of my rear fender off. Boy does it make a difference--I was getting a lot more water and mud sprayed on me. I've gotta fix that some day. I probably should have put on my rain pants, too. Fortunately the temperature was about right--just cold enough to keep me from sweating while riding with my jacket on, but not so cold to make my soaked legs hurt.

The driver's license renewal was quick and painless.

Quiet weekend

Our book group discussed Clive Barker's "Weaveworld" last week. The discussion didn't give me any more reason to like it.

A fellow attendee loaned me a couple albums--Marc-Antoine Mathieu's "L'Origine", and Gradimir Smudja's "Le Bordel des Muses".

The latter follows Toulouse-Lautrec as he parties at the Moulin Rouge and then shows Vincent Van-Gogh around Paris. There's nothing much to the script, but it's quite something to look at.

"L'origine" is the first of the "J.C. Acquefacques" albums, and tells the story of characters discovering they exist inside a comic book--just the sort of nerdy self-referential humor I like. It's fun to see how he manages to put together such an imaginative series of stories from what appear to be such limited means--a bland everyman hero, his tiny one-room bedroom, his neighbor, an anonymous overcrowded city, all done in what seems at first an unwelcoming high-contrast black-and-white style.

Wednesday I stopped by the French conversation group again; it was smaller this time, with a higher concentration of native speakers. It was fun, and they were very nice, but I came away a little depressed about my progress; I can understand a lot, but it's frustrating not being able to form a coherent sentence most of the time....

Friday got pretty much written off; I did some chores at home, showed up really late at work, planned to go renew my driver's license but didn't get to it--didn't get much of anything done, really.

This weekend except for juggling and lunch afterwards at Totoro, I mostly stayed at home and did a little work and reading.

Sara and I have been slowly working through the third season of "Buffy". It gets better as we go. It's sort of impressive that they manage to give it a sense of variety, given the constraints--not a lot of time to work with, regular commercial breaks, a story that has to make sense to people that drop in any time, etc. The episode we saw most recently partially answers the question of whether people in this fictional town ever find it a little odd that they're constantly under vampire attack. (They do, they just don't like to talk about it much.)

The question that always bothers me about this sort of thing, though, is--why doesn't anybody in these sort of stories find it odd that they're surrounded by people that look like movie stars?


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