Mar 13, 2011

Weekend Activites

I've spent the whole day - or almost the whole day - listening to podcasts by iPod Witch, my current favorite Pagan. In case you are wondering, no, I'm not giving up my religion for Wicca or any other, though I have come close to lean into the Wiccan Path or the Islamic Way, I'm quite attached to my Christian heritage. Sure, there have been times when a few pharisees - like Pat Robertson (I always get his name mixed with Robert Pattinson's, only Robert is a pale, hairy, corny vampire and Pat is a pharisee who really needs Jesus in his life) - but still, I believe in God - and most importantly God believes in me and I'd like to make Him see His investment profit (hey, He made me an economist!) - so a few rotten apples won't spoil the whole bucket for me.

Anyway, I have been dying to write to her, but I'm soooo far behind with her podcasts, I believe it would be a bit stupid to send her a comment NOW about something she mentioned two years ago. So yes, I'll wait until I catch up to write to her. I finally dowloaded all the episodes I had missing from the last I heard yesterday to the current one (still a freaking lot of episodes, but I guess I better count my blessing while I have podcasts to listen to, for onces I catch up I'll have to wait until she uploads a new one again, instead of having always something fresh to listen). Probably I won't have time tomorrow to listen to her during the day as in the morning we have a meeting with the boss, and we are supposed to talk about the year's workplan - which we (the team) should have put up, but we didn't and I actually have a plan, but I don't know how it would come out if I present this plan without their previous knowledge, evidently worked out by me and me alone.

I'll make a small break here to explain the team's dynamics. We are basically a four-member team, called among ourselves as "Prices" as that's our main task: work and check over the fee proposals and service price proposals other areas come up with, as also prepare the fees from scratch. However, thanks to the latest developments our roles are to be changed - basically everybody will do their own prices and they'll be fully responsible for them - thus what shall we do now? This is the great question that we should have answered a while ago, but the "head" of the team  - the one "oldest" in the team - was too lazy to take care of the topic, and the other two devised a plan that included Hyne-knows-what, so I retrieved, and thought that I would leave my idea in the drawer, to be pulled out only if their "team work" didn't get through. Well, it seems it didn't so I'll probably have to pull of the proverbial rabbit out of the hat tomorrow and save the day... if my idea pulls out, that is.

This will pretty much occupy me for the longest time, presumably, so no podcasting. This means that probably I'll be listening to her on my way home, and on my way to my super-hot dentist, and perhaps - if the dentist is okay with it - during the dentist visit. I'll have to ask though, as dentist happent to need the attention of the patient by keeping the mouth open all the time, rinse and other stuff. So we will see about that.

I'm still new on this "podcast" thing - I really don't consider three days in this anyway near "initiatied", so yes, I'm still new on this thing - and so I had a few ideas about how should I go about it. My main concern was to not be able to listen to the podcasts outside the iTunes (or the iTunes store site), so I considered purchasing an iPod. Now, after the horrendous experience with my first and last iPod, to say that I was adamant about it would be a crass understatement. However, what could I do? I researched the current available iPods and set my decision on a green shuffle. I was still rather unhappy about it - it is an iPod after all, and I'm a hard to bring around customer, when the brand has failed me in such a HUGE way - so after some thought and talk with my friend and coworkers, Smurf, I tried uploading the podcasts to my phone - a lovely Sony Ericsson. Sadly my current phone is not as friendly as all my other ones, so though I loaded them on the memory card, under a predestined folder labeled "PODCASTS", it took me for ever and then some more time to find it on it.

Anyway, the thought of the iPod was in my mind, and as wanted to check a branch of my favorite bookstore in pursue of the religion books I want to research for my post-series, I decided to go to this mall at the Western side of the city. However, this mall is a bit far, and me not taking my car still anywhere (Dad is taking it to the mechanics tomorrow to fix the little mess on the right side) it meant getting home late. Then, as I left the office late, there was no chance for me to go there, so I ended up making up my mind and going yesterday. Now, weekends are my rest-days, so I don't usually go anywhere that far (or anywhere at all), yet since I had to research the books and check on the iPods, I picked up myself and went. I had already checked up the shuffle both on ($45) and ($49), but these would entail for me shipping&handling fees as well as taxes, so I wanted to see how much could I get it for at the iCenter. About the books, thanks to listening to Brook, the iPod Witch, I've got some titles (I actually have some of them, but they are in Hungary now, like Uncle Bucky's Big Blue Book) which I already added to my cart to sum up an outrageous amount that would certainly set me back, but would really send Kari howling - if $500 and 23 items is anything to go by, hehehe.

I also contemplated the idea of going to the movies, as I haven't been in a while since the local movie theatre complex has been presenting only crappy movies I wouldn't watch not even under torture. This other mall is somewhat bigger, has more movie halls, and thus more films present. There wasn't really anything in particular I wanted to see, though The Rite and Black Swan did linger in my head. Black Swan particularly, as Grouser/Grouch, a blogger chick from Asia I'm avidly reading made a fantastic review on it. However, since Black Swan won Oscars (or was it only one?), I wasn't really feeling it for the movie - I have the tendency to pull away from anything famously awarded, as I'm suspitious of all these awards and am usually convinced they are not granted on merit or quality, but cocksucking or political agendas.

Anyway, I went to the mall, checked the schedules for the movies and between The Rite and Black Swan, the later seemed more accesible, not to mention Anthony Hopkins was looking so scary I - the coward - decided I would go watch that - if ever - with a friend. However I left it to fate. I went looking for the iPod shuffle first. I was horrified. Not only the service at the iCenter was catastrofic (and I hope it wasn't because I wandered in in faded, bleach stained, frayed jeans and a loose cotton, traditional Native cut shirt with no make up on - full on "chancletuda" or eco-activist style), but the prices were in US$, not local currency (that pisses me off) and the prices themselves were higher. I'm certainly not paying THEM $85 for a shuffle, when they don't pay as much as I do in s&h and taxes because they bundle. So no. Besides, by then I figured out the podcasting from the phone, so why on Earth would I need a shuffle? If it would have been under $50 I would have purchased it, just 'cause, but pay $85 for something that might pull the funny on me like the previous one? No way, José.

Next stop was the bookstore. Now, since the moment I crossed the threshold of that sacred place I knew I would not emerge from its bowels empty handed. Well, I didn't. Sadly I didn't get anything on Wicca or any really worthy books on Islam, Judaism, Budhism or any other that would set me on the right way to get what I need for the posts. However I've got a D.H. Lawrence book - nobody would say I'm a fan of Anaïs Nin ^_^ -, a book by Jiang Rong titled "Wolf Totem"  - inspired by Episode #26 of my favorite witch and her love for wolves - and a fluffy book by Lauren Weisberger, writer of "The Devil Wears Prada" - I love the movie - titled "Chasing Harry Winston". All in all I was really happy with my purchase and even browsed other things, like - prepare for this - cookbooks. No, I'm not going Julie Powell in here, but I was thinking that maybe my cooking capabilities need improving and my cooking range extended further from fried eggs, mashed potatoes, dill-seasoned meat and pasta (express service food excluded), being that in the near-to-mid future I might be managing my own household and cooking skills well honed would be a blessing. No good cookbooks though. 

Is it me or every cookbook has recipes with weird ingredients you have no idea where to get or even how the hell they look like? Maybe it's because I live in Latin America and in here the wide arrange of versions of Spanish slowly threatens into breaking one language into 35 different ones. Besides, what you can get in Mexico isn't the same you can get here, so yes, book after book I paged looking for ONE where I knew all the ingredients or at least could substitute them properly  - then thinking about Hungary, where I'm not sure I can get shrimp, crab, lobster, langostine, oysters or squid as they call the all "sea fruit" and can't tell the difference from one to the other, let alone if you go as "Oh yes, I would like fidel shrimp, not camel shrimp". Then avocado in Hungary? Mango? Pineapple?  - fresh, I mean. In Hungary their idea of pinapple is a thing stuck in a can, white and slightly scented.

So I gave up the books and decided to stick with the good ol' Internet for my recipe scouting.

Next stop was food. This was difficult. I did felt a bit hungry, but when making up my mind about what would I really like to eat, I sometimes take quite long and can't decide. I ended up with a fresh, green, healthy food joint my friend Shimmy and I love to bits: The Green Olive (LOV). There I tried out a delicious Pineapple & Ginger smoothie that made me feel alive. I took my time eating, and when I was finally done, the movie Black Swan was supposed to have started some 10-15 minutes ago. I still went to the ticket sellers and asked them, and they said it would start in a minute. So I bought a ticket. The previews were about to start in  a minute, so I went for a drink and some popcorn (part of my movie ritual), which then set me back because the monkey-freakers before me had trouble with their order and seemed to be unable to understand the selection. Either way, I've got to the movie, maybe lost the first two  minutes or so, but still got to the whole feeling of it.

The movie was great. (Spoilers follow from here on, so watch it!!!) The movie proposes the idea of the duality - Black Swan/White Swan - where the white is the pure and the black the bad, the rotten. It takes on the idea that good girls are shy, obedient and silent, very child like, while bad girls are loose, very sexual and drawn to vices, very whore like. Through dance and artistical interpretation the main character must find both these sides inside her for the performance, but as you watch the movie, everything seems to be a swirl of swans, black and white, either pulling the white swan further deep into the white or coying it into the black path.

There are several rings of abuse around the white swan - Nina - that blind her, for instance, to realize and react against harrassment, thus she takes it in a different way. Through the movie her body is handled as if she had no rights over it. Her body is always treated as a tool over which others have a more valid say than she has. It fits well with the portray of the artist, the dancer, the ballerina, pushing her body to the limits to fit the vision of a director, a master. As a white swan, she is visibly uncomfortable by the use of her body, the stripping of her privacy and decision making, but as she slips slowly into the black swan side, curiously kickstarted the presence of a new dancer of loose work ethics and aggresive sexual behavior, as well as masturbation. In a way, these represent the emotional transition, from child to adult, unfolding through a roughed up, complicated emotional teenager stage.

She tries to pull together the white, the child, and the black, the adult, but often gets caught in the awkward teen stage, seeking a sort of solace in her corruptors, falling for the black swan - Lily - and developping lesbic fantasies about her, but also turning to lesbic moves in a quite clear attempt to hold onto the only known element in a sea of unknown. The movie quickly fills in with many sexual elements, like fondling, which made hiss many people in the theatre.

The swan slips into a whirpool of madness, everything slipping from her hands, seeing enemies everywhere, in everything, particularly in herself, and while she gets more tangled into these, unable to healthily deal with these perceptions, the stiffling relationship with her mother only ads more fuel to the fire, eventually pushing her to an end clearly not fully grasped by her and quite confusing for her environment. It's not clean cut for the audience either, as you must sit for a while and muse upon it.

Cliché theories fit the frame: kids too controlled by their parents, overprotecting, emotionally immature parents mangle their children, and blah, blah, blah. But if you detach from these, other also surface: unability to deal with the environment, to cut out what's not good for you, unability to defend your point of view, lack of strenght to stand your ground, fear, mangle you.

Honestly, the sexual scenes where all beautiful, built on the sense of transmuting, moving from child to adult and allowing natural growth. The first time Nina masturbates in earnest has a soft yet powerful beauty about a topic requested from her: she lets go, and does so in a very human, intimate, natural way. The dance of the black swan is powerful and gathers that final step, that fulfilling transition into an adulthood that, for Nina, is to never be achieved.

It's a good movie, but if you are going to watch it, I recommend you to do it when you have plenty of time to give it thought and sip in the extent of it.

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