That said there's some stuff about Christmas that I like and some things I missed this year. I mean I do appreciate and enjoy a wintertime festival of lights, visions of sugarplums, Tchaikovsky, etc.. Although the Nutcracker isn't really Christmas music, it's music that's set during Christmas, like Die Hard. Well anyway we listened to the Nutcracker, and at the last minute I set up a sort of a tree, and hung up some decorations I got in the mail: a felted piece of pumpkin pie from my niece and some décor du mélange from Pearl Pony. I also took the opportunity to hang up my one extant Christmas tree ornament, featuring Crusty Tim.
Sakiko said that the Japanese idea of traditional Christmas dinner is to have spaghetti, roast chicken, strawberry shortcake, and beer, so for the past couple years that's what we've done, minus the chicken. Personally I find there's something so pleasant about a big spaghetti dinner, and declaring beer as a specialty item for a certain event, instead of just an unwinder at the end of a stressful workday, that's very nice I think. Spaghetti is great for a crowd, and in common years we tend to assemble one, collecting friends that are otherwise not doing anything else. Maybe they're estranged from family, or something precludes them from going home, and they don't want to be alone. Or: they're like "sure, why not". That's also valid. We have a big dinner, then some movies, then whoever wants to sleep over sleeps over, and then pancakes in the morning. I guess this Christmas style is a holdover from when I lived in punk houses, but instead of "let's do bad stuff while the house is almost empty" it's like "who wants spaghetti".
This year the crowd was off the menu, and it seemed like it would be more fun to make a more complicated dish for two, so we had lasagna, and cheesecake. I still drank beer. Since Dan Wars wasn't there to insist that we watch a Christmas-related movie (Gremlins, Batman Returns, Ghostbusters 2), we watched Kong: Skull Island. It was great, and at one point someone onscreen says "Santa Claus" out loud, so Dan, I hope that makes you happy. I think Kong: Skull Island might be my favorite King Kong movie? I've said it before but while Hollywood works out the enourmous (and ill-advised, bordering on evil) task of creating a believably emotional CGI human face, we're going to get more and more emotive CGI gorilla movies. "Sensitive gorilla" is a fun thing you can achieve reliably with today's movie tech, in the same category as emotive CGI toys in the late 1990s, hairy cartoons in the early 2000s, and buff CGI humans in face-covering masks after that. Hopefully the gorilla trend lasts a good long while. I liked each one so far.
In the morning I still made pancakes, but I got a little upset with myself because they were underdone, but then I relaxed, because who cares, and anyway you can just put them back in the pan, which I did. I drank coffee at a leisurely rate and thought about my parents, who on Christmas mornings of my youth really fought to get some time for breakfast before we opened presents by the tree. In the current time period I just sipped my coffee and looked out the window for a while, a situation I find extremely enjoyable.
A few nights earlier, or maybe it was that night, I had a dream that one of Nick's friends from college (someone unknown to me) was the editor of a new full-color dictionary, and to my surprise, the dictionary quoted me extensively. I looked up the entry for "pogo" and it said "the reaction of the spirit to the presence of the source". I don't think that was one of my contributions, but maybe it is now? I bring it up because in addition to Christmas, Hannukah, and the Solstice, last week also had a rare planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that moves Earth out of the earth age (the last 200 years, industrial revolution, resource accumulation etc.) and into the age of air (???). That's a pogo feeling. Honestly I don't know what I'm talking about with astrology stuff, and it seems like every couple years for pretty much my entire life there's been some "major astrological event" that presages our humble planet's entry into a new era of great change and just maybe world peace, so I tend to take these announcements with a pinch of salt, if not ginger. That said, I appreciate astrology stuff when it offers a helpful framework. Earth to air, qua "pogo", that's helpful for me in the moment.
links / misc
- The Pogo Never Stops - Funeral Dress is a pogo punk band from Belgium with songs so reliable and transparent you could basically call them hymns. They have songs about whether the beer is free for punks (it is) and if the punks are back in town (they are, o ho). This is their song about whether or not the pogo ever stops (it doesn't). [youtube]. Dutch pop band Gruppo Sportivo also has a song called "The Pogo Never Stops", which precedes the Funeral Dress song by many years, and probably inspired it, because what are the odds. It's a very different song but also great and also about the pogo never stopping- [youtube].
- Osteopathy exercises - I'm not saying this is going to work for everyone but in getting over my (honestly very mild) back pain I rededicated myself to doing these osteopathy stretches I posted months ago, and I think it really helped. I'm doing exercise #3 here: [link]
- Nice words from Tom - gee it really is nice to get a good review! Tom Bubul has some nice words about the castle in his recent "nice things of 2020" year-ender. Thanks Tom! [link]
- Related to the last list item... OK I know this is kind of thirsty but I'm looking back at the year's posts trying to figure out what are "the good ones", and I was just wondering, if there was one, or a few, that you especially liked, can you send me a note? Or within a post, if there was a little thing that stuck with you for a while, a concept or a sentence or a couple words... what was that? Though frankly I wish it were otherwise, I'm in "looking back" mode trying to compose a "highlights reel" of sorts, and I could use some guidance. Send me an email or leave a comment on the contact page: [link]. You can leave a pseudonymous comment if you want! The previous posts are here: [coatroom]
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A Movie Round-up