February 9th, 2011

blah (artist: Alma-Tadema)

Not to put too fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet.

I spent quite a while today searching (both online and at a local hardware store) in hopes of finding some kind of plug converter that would allow me to use this blue canary nightlight in our bathroom (though there is no light switch near the outlet, nor is there a picture of a lighthouse on the opposite wall -- Have no idea what I'm talking about? Listen to this song. It rocks.). Unfortunately, our electrical outlet in the bathroom is *sideways*, which would cause this blue canary to lie in a rather unnatural, unbirdlike, horizontal position if we used it there. And that's where we need just such a light. Sadly, I was unsuccessful in my search, but I have not yet given up hope. I will most likely resume the hunt tomorrow.

Ting and his guys got back to work on the garage project today, including removing, raising, and replacing our kitchen window (which looks out on the roof of the garage and which did not leave enough space between the surface of the garage roof and the bottom of the window). The window looks *fabulous*, and it works ten thousand times better than the old one. Many of the windows in our house are these crappy aluminum windows that don't latch well, don't slide well, and look ugly. Ting replaced the old one with a vinyl window and Shannon and I are very happy with it. He and his crew also did some other work on the garage, and it is now ready for the roofers, who will be coming on Friday. Ting also gave me the number for the garage door folks he recommends, so I will call them tomorrow and see if they could take on a project in a week or so, when the roofing and sheet rock are done.

We've got some other home improvement projects we want to talk to him about, too. Well, that we want *me* to talk to him about, since Shannon hasn't been involved with this whole process very much.

Tonight: new "Top Chef" and new "Criminal Minds." Wednesday is my #1 tv night. But I must always eat something tasty while watching "Top Chef." It's a moral imperative.

Help? (Never mind!) -- and then recommendations for some of my favorite foreign films

Okay, once again I find that my Google-fu is weak, and I wonder if any of you can help me. I'm trying to remember the name of a very good foreign film I saw (at the now defunct Parkway Theater, where patrons sat on couches and pizza and beer was delivered to you while you watched the movie) in the mid-1990s. Here's what I remember about it, though some of this may be warped by my creative memory:

- It was in Spanish with English subtitles, but it wasn't made in Spain. Maybe somewhere in South America? Central America? I can't remember.

- A little boy was lost in a station (train station? bus station?), and there was only one woman working there. She was rather grumpy and misanthropic, but she sorta took him on as a project and tried to help him find his way home.

- Over the course of the movie, the woman grew and changed as a result of spending time with the little boy.

- The title was something like The Station Agent, but that's not it.

Katherine, did I see this movie with you?

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ETA: The movie was Central Station, and it was made in Brazil in 1998. It is not in Spanish but Portuguese. The station referred to in the title is Rio de Janeiro's main railway station (Central do Brasil, which is the original title of the film). Now that I've solved the mystery, I can rent the movie and watch it again! (It's available on Netflix.)

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I've also recently rediscovered what is perhaps my favorite movie of all time, Tony Gatlif's Mondo, which is not on DVD and therefore almost no one has seen it. I saw it at the U.C. Theatre (where the seats were extra lumpy and rats ran across the aisle in the dark, but where they showed fabulous foreign, classic, and art films) in the late 1990s (probably around the same time I saw Central Station, come to think of it). It's a French-language film about a 10-year-old (approx) boy who just sort of appears mysteriously in the French town of Nice and lives, homeless but absolutely adorable, like a Dickensian urchin except cuter, among the residents, getting to know them over time and developing relationships with them. The movie is just magical, and it is visually gorgeous, probably the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, though I must admit it doesn't have a lot of dramatic plot. Like I said, it isn't on DVD (though Amazon has used VHS copies for sale), but you can watch it in its entirety on YouTube here. I highly recommend it!

Oh, another foreign film recommendation: The Cup, which is about young Tibetan Buddhist monks who are obsessed with soccer, and who desperately want to watch the 1998 World Cup final. It's all about the meeting of ancient tradition with modern culture (much like the charming 1999 Chinese film Shower, which I also loved), and it's both thoughtful and thought-provoking, but also quite funny. You can see the trailer for The Cup on YouTube here.

Shower is available on DVD and from Netflix (which is how I saw it in the first place). The Cup appears to be only available on VHS. Hmm. Perhaps I shouldn't be telling y'all about movies that aren't generally available. Am I taunting you? Well, see these movies if you get a chance.