It's been quite the weekend. I think I left you with an account of the week. I'll have more on Friday, when we visited the Pawnee Buttes in a minute, but it'll be backfilled for the day. Short version was we headed north and east into the "Boonies" and Jet hiked a mile and a half straight and was cheerful as a jaybird stealing a bit of foil. We stayed in Cheyenne and headed back on Saturday afternoon, after a morning spent in the pool, at the playground, at museum for the Roundup, and lunching on random Quickie Stop food.
John and I got to see Sin City. I read that book when it was first published, and the film had so many of the original touches that made it seem like a rough, low-budget film noir with comicbook special effects and it hurt my head to realized I remembered two of the three plots, nearly in their entirety, and had lines engraved on my heart from the third. It was more gory in film, though. More Tarentinoesque (yes, I know he was a guest director), to the point of near absurdity. Two older people left in the middle act of the second story, and I didn't blame them. Not for even a normal sense of what's Too Much.
It was exactly as I remembered, though, and I admired that. And now knowing the entirety of Lone Wolf and Cub, I could see the depth of that genre's influence on the stories. In the marrow of it, even to the wolf's human femur linked right to the dog with the human hand in its mouth from Yojimbo. I have to admit that that sense of ultimate justice and what was the right thing to do even in an insane world satisfied that part of me that it satisfied when I was a young adult studying those comicbooks.
But I didn't enjoy it, not the way I thought I would given how I'd enjoyed the Kill Bill movies, how I had once loved La Femme Nikita when I first saw it more than a decade ago, and how I'd really enjoyed The Professional, Dusk 'Til Dawn, the original El Mariachi, etc.. (Okay, when I first saw it Pulp Fiction twanged my "too much" sense, too, maybe it should have).
Just a week ago I'd picked up Dan Simmon's Hard Cases to read the initial stories before Hard as Nails to see if I could get some momentum to really read that book if I borrowed it again, and it petered out for me as well. For some reason the overwhelming violence just wasn't what I wanted to see any more. It was a weird thing, like biting a Bernard C. chocolate and realizing that I could just toss the other half and not care. I guess a part of the old me is gone. Simple violence doesn't do it for me anymore, simple revenge plots just leave me cold. Kill Bill had that Mom hook to it that I couldn't resist. House of Daggers had that romantic plot that was more knotted than a planter hanger. Hero had a very fundamental question and choice at its heart. Both the last two had some gorgeous cinematography as well.
Anyway... I left feeling emptied and had a lot of dreams of old that night.
Sunday morning saw nearly a foot of snow. It snowed all day. I shook the trees before lunch. John and Jet and George left at 1 to go to Wyatt's birthday party at the Farm Wyatt and his family live in. Isabel had a nap. I had a bath. It was a very quiet day. By night, the roads were bare and nearly dry.
I read all of Terry Pratchett's Soul Music and started The Truth and that took care of any bad dreams.
This morning we had a lazy breakfast, and then headed off to return Jet's video tapes, and then headed into Denver. Jet fell asleep. We saw traffic stopped on I-25 headed north. I don't know why.
We decided to stop at The Empress for lunch and had the best dim sum we've had for a while. The Chinese broccoli was cooked *just* enough, the taro balls were dead crisp on the outside and warm through, the har goa and shao mai were perfectly steamed and not sticky, and the sesame balls had been Just Fried. The pu-ling (that's what the waitress kept calling it instead of pu-erh) tea was thick and tasty and cleared the palette. It was very, very good.
Jet even ate half a taro ball as well as his usual sticky rice.
From there we went to the Denver Science and Nature Museum and had a blast. Jet loved the Space exhibits. He got to fire a steel ball at a sand bit to see how meteors hit. He got to see water run through sand and make patterns and channels. He got to play with an infrared camera and giggle as the red faced little boy's yellow hands turned red when he rubbed them. He played with the lunar grabber, and gently put away ALL the bags and grabbers and cleaned up the area before he'd leave. He would have stood forever watching the Mars landers' movies and slides if we hadn't said the magic word "dinosaurs" in his ears.
He peered at all the exhibits in the dinosaur area, lifting up flaps and asking anyone near-by to read them to him. He suckered a few other parents and two museum volunteers into reading or explaining things to him as well as us. He had a blast.
John and he went into the mummy exhibit for a bit, while I got a potty stop, and then we all decided to peer for a bit at a display of Russian folk art sculpted in gemstones. Wow. It was just astonishing. There were about a dozen different scenes of Russian life that were all done in semi-precious gemstones of all colors and textures. There was one of two prisoners done in a zebra striped stone that was amazing in that where the stripes had come together the sculptor had put joints so that the bunching of the stripes looked like the bunching of the clothing... There was one of a grandmotherly type spinning flax on a drop spindle with a old fashioned distaff and every detail was gorgeous. The distaff was carved from petrified wood, with the grain of the wood gleamingly polished. Her babushka was made from palest amethyst, wrinkled with the appropriate stresses of being tied about her head. Thousands of details like that on scenes of three drunken buddies swaying down a street together, a *big* man enjoying a tiny cup of tea in the midst of a bath in a barrel, a massage lady beating a man with birch branches (each tiny leaf shining brilliant green), or a man cutting a chunk of ice with a saw... it was amazing stuff. Jet liked peering at each of them while perched on my shoulders so he could see them closely.
From there we tried to get home, and got caught in a horrible traffic lockup. The same stretch we'd seen locked up while going down. After an hour of it we took the next exit available, and headed home through the flat grid. Unlike in Seattle, there's always a way around here.
By the time we got home, I was sick with a headache and I tried going to sleep, but I couldn't and it was already 5:30 pm. So I tried to nap for a few minutes, and finally gave up and showered instead. When I was done, I went down, put the tomato plants outside, and walked out, barefoot, to see what everyone wanted to do for dinner. It was THAT warm outside. Folks decided to go to Durango's for dinner, so we did and everyone was well satisfied with their dinners. Jet ate two corn tortillas, a strawberry pop, and some chips. He was pretty happy with that. Everyone else really liked what they had, so I was very happy to try Mexican again. John was the best sweetie and bought me a flan to take home.
When we got back home, I ate my flan, read my book, and then tried to clean up a few things for work. I ran into a buzzsaw of emails from Friday. I need to just surf the wave as it comes, not fight it directly or anything. We'll see how it goes. I need to extract myself from the process stuff I've been mostly doing, as rewarding (and easy) as it's been, and really start concentrating on the customer stuff. I can do it and I want to, and that's nothing to sniff at.