Sunday, February 27, 2011

Expedition to Cambridge

In honor of the Oscars, yesterday I decided to trek across the Charles River to my least favorite movie theater, the Kendall Cinema, because it is the only one showing "Blue Valentine."

Along the way, I noticed something more exciting than "Blue Valentine" turned out to be — the Charles River has begun to thaw! It still looked a bit arctic, with birds perching on plains of ice. But at least there was a bit of water lapping at the ice's edge.

I wrote about the icy Charles River last year, too, after my company moved into a new office where I had a clear view of the river's solid state. This year, the view has been similarly chilly. For a long time, the river was a glassy blue-gray. Then, after the heavy snowfall a few weeks ago, it was a powdery-white expanse — very "Dr. Zhivago." On a recent windy day, the powder was still there, but in a scalloped pattern. So it was cool to see moving water as I walked over the Longfellow Bridge on my way to the movies.

I wasn't sure I should stop to take pictures, because it's a long walk to the theater and I hate being late for movies, but I decided to risk it. Luckily, I did get to the theater on time, but the movie, a tale of two star-crossed, poor, and rather stupid lovers, was pretentious and disappointing. I thought the biggest problem was that the female lead was a complete cypher — I came out of the film not understanding who she was or why she did anything. On top of that, the movie was aesthetically unappealing; it somehow managed to make everything look unattractive. Food looked gross. Sex looked gross. Even the normally beautiful Michelle Williams looked a bit gross.

In other words, seeing the river-water move was definitely the high point of my outting. And it didn't even cost $8.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bye-bye, Borders

It's been a few years since I've been able to walk into a store and rent a DVD. I really hope that I'm not soon saying the same thing about my ability to buy a book.

Perhaps my suggestion is pessimistic. However, apparently I will not be buying that book at Borders.

Last week, Borders filed for bankruptcy and announced it would be closing a third of its stores. It seemed I has just heard this from NPR when I was suddenly getting e-mail inviting me to a closing sale for the Borders location on Boylston Street.

I went by earlier today and was sad to see the shelves ravaged and bright red and yellow signs screaming "Everything must go!"

The scene reminded me of the closing a few years ago, and just a few blocks away, at the Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore. I picked up several things at that sale. The sad thing about the Borders sale was that even with the current discounts, the books I priced can still be had cheaper on Amazon, some in newer editions.

Poor lost bookstore. This particular store hasn't even been there that long. I remember when it opened, probably about five years ago. I liked it because on Sundays it stayed open fairly late (10 p.m.), two hours later than the new(ish) Barnes & Noble at the Pru. (The B&N had initially advertised it would stay open until 11 p.m. daily, but it abandoned those lofty goals shortly after the store opened, as I learned while trying unsuccessfully to get a Harry Potter fix once on a Sunday night.)

As for this latest loss, the pain won't truly set in until we see what retail gem Borders is replaced with. Pray for an Au Bon Pain.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Partially finished drawings and other works in progress

It has been several months since I updated this blog, so I thought I should post something explaining why.

I have been busy with the following:
  • Going to Grand Cayman and trying to organize my photos from the trip. (I went to Cayman instead of following through with my planned trip to St. Lucia -- a hurricane wrecked that idea.)
  • Planning another trip to St. Lucia, which hopefully will really happen this time!
  • Writing an essay and completing a series of portraits for use in the Jonestown Report, a newsletter published by the Jonestown Institute, which is part of San Diego State University.
  • Working on a couple of drawings, including one that I started in December and have been tending to quite consistently since then. Even though it's only about 3 by 5 inches, it's taking longer than anything else I have done in recent memory.
  • Trying to plan a trip to South America for late this year or next year.
  • Doing the Christmas thing and visiting my family in the Midwest.
  • Buying a new laptop — I got a good deal at the Dell outlet store, and finally I can Skype.
  • Catching up on old episodes of "Will and Grace."
  • Wondering why Peter didn't know Fauxlivia was a fake.
  • Sampling new cocktails. I decided the Ward 8 looks pretty, but I'm just not a whiskey drinker.
  • Trying to learn C#.
  • Attempting to come up with witty retorts to people who say I never update this blog!

Copyright 2009-2010 by Sasha Sark. Please don't reuse without permission.
"West African Dark Blue Cloth" image is displayed courtesy of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University.