Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Christmas Story Experience

We had a busy Christmas weekend. We've been busy enough since then that I guess I'm just now getting around to finishing up this post. Here goes...

As I mentioned, Christy's holidays from work were Friday/Monday while mine were Monday/Tuesday, so I took the Friday off so that we could head North after work on Thursday night. We got in at Christy's Folks' place late Thursday or early Friday. We were able to take it easy for the most part all day Friday. Christy and I went to see Narnia with Paul, Christy's brother.

Christy's sister and family arrived Saturday afternoon. We did Christmas dinner and presents that evening. Most of my spare time was spent playing Battlefield 2 on Paul's linked PC's. Very cool!

We left early Sunday to try to get back to Indiana for a gathering with my Dad's extended family. The trip back was interesting. Hannah took a really good nap in the car and we made it all the way to northern Indiana before she woke up. The weather held out all through Michigan, but almost as soon as we got into Indiana, what had been mostly light rain turned into sleet and then snow. Visibility quickly decreased and the snow began to accumulate on the roads. After we'd seen several vehicles that slid off the road, I decided it probably wasn't safe to be going 80mph. Nevertheless, we eventually managed to drive through the storm, but it was right about then that we came to Ft. Wayne and both the car and it's inhabitants were in need of fuel. We found an exit that seemed to have lots of options, but although there were many restaurants, almost all of them were closed for the holiday. Finally, we found an IHOP and rejoiced at the sight of lights on inside and cars in the parking lot, so we stopped and got to the door before we saw the sign that indicated that they had closed at 2:00pm. It was 2:45 and those inside were apparently just finishing up. We were almost resigned to the idea of eating whatever we could find at a gas station when we noticed a parking lot full of cars. Even though we didn't have the roast duck and even though we were disappointed that we were not serenaded with "Fa ra ra ra ra's," we were truly grateful for the Golden China Restaurant where we could sit down for some nourishment on Christmas day.

Meanwhile, the storm had caught up with us and we had to take it easy once we got back on the interstate. We stopped in Alexandria to get the car we had left at my work so that we could return my Dad's car which we had borrowed for the trip to Michigan. Headed south again, but now Christy and I are driving separate cars, I've got a wide awake 3-year-old sitting directly behind me whom I am trying to keep entertained, I'm trying to keep one eye on the road in front of me and another eye on Christy in my rear-view mirror, all the while, the roads are not getting much better and we're running late for Christmas dinner with family.

Finally, the snow let up a little south of Anderson and we were able to make the rest of the trip without disaster.

We arrived at my parent's house several hours late, but were still able to get something to eat and visit with family. We were still a little miffed at not being serenaded at the Chinese place earlier in the day, but were relieved when my Dad and Uncle Billy got out their nose-flutes, providing musical entertainment of another snort, I mean sort.

Since we had arrived late, we also stayed later at Mom & Dad's than we usually would. Christy had to be back to work on Tuesday, so we really wanted to be home all day Monday to relax a little bit, so after transferring luggage, etc. from one car to the other, we headed back to Anderson and got home a little before 1:00am. It was a lot of driving for one day and we were exhausted, but we were glad to be home.

After last year's 10+ inches of Christmas snow and treacherous driving on Christmas day this year, I'm ready to go on record saying that "White Christmases" are definitely overrated.

Here are a few pictures from Christmas family gatherings:

Films Recently Watched:

Double Indemnity (1944) dir. by Billy Wilder
I love the dialogue in this picture.
For Example (Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson, an unhappily married woman; Fred MacMurray is Walter Neff, a fast-talking insurance salesman):
Phyllis: Mr. Neff, why don't you drop by tomorrow evening about eight-thirty. He'll be in then.
Neff: Who?
Phyllis: My husband. You were anxious to talk to him weren't you?
Neff: Yeah, I was, but I'm sort of getting over the idea, if you know what I mean.
Phyllis: There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.
Neff: How fast was I going, officer?
Phyllis: I'd say around ninety.
Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.
Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.
Neff: Suppose it doesn't take.
Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.
Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.
Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.
Neff: That tears it.

For completely unrelated films, the plots of Double Indemnity and this next one, A Place In The Sun are strangely similar. Boy falls for unattainable girl. Unattainable girl falls for said boy. But there is an obstacle to boy and girl being together. Boy plots to remove (i.e. murder) said obstacle. Boy believes that he has successfully removed obstacle and gotten away with it. Just then, everything unravels.

A Place In The Sun (1951) dir. by George Stevens
Based on a true story (which I've already spoiled, for the most part for you, above), George Stevens' A Place In The Sun stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters. The film really puts you in the mind of George Eastman (Clift's character). You feel his angst, paranoia, fear, desires, etc. Well done.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) dir. by Stanley Kubrick

Punch-Drunk Love (2002) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson
This was my second viewing of this uncharacteristic Adam Sandler movie. There is something beautiful about this film, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) dir. by Terry Gilliam
Between this and Clockwork Orange, I think my little mind might be blown. I don't even know what to say. Anybody else seen this? This one may have been best summarized by a quote I saw on the IMDb, "It is as if Fellini directed a Cheech and Chong movie." Did I laugh? Yeah, a couple of times. Did I get it? No, I don't think so. But that's about what I get from what I've seen of Fellini, too, so, there ya go.

Goodfellas (1990) dir. by Martin Scorsese

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