Sunday I had several wonderful diversions to keep me from thinking about the Empty Meaninglessness of Life:
Got an early-morning call from drarwenchicken, with the ritual question: "Are you hungry?" That means going out to eat! We went for breakfast at the Detour Café. I typically expect wait-time anywhere on a Sunday morning, but we got a table right away and the food was excellent. I always enjoy spending time with drarwenchicken. Each of my siblings have lived in Portland for some part of their lives, but I'm so very glad that she's decided to stay here and not follow the others to California.
Since that went so quickly, I had time to update my website before the next event. Then sanguinity, grrlpup and I went to see "March of the Penguins!" We arrived at Cinema 21 moments before the box office opened, so we were able to grab the best seats; front and center in the balcony. Now, I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy watching penguins for 80 minutes, but the movie has some problems. It probably looked great on paper, especially after the success of "Winged Migration," but the producers didn't think through what penguins actually DO during the nine months of the breeding cycle. Mostly, they walk (rather slowly), and then STAND AROUND. There's not much else to do when cradling an egg or hatchling on your feet in Antarctic sub-zero temperatures with gale-force winds. When we get to the part where the penguins swim (which is our favorite thing to watch penguins do), it lasts only a few minutes, and involves a predatory seal, if you know what I mean. In the movie's favor is that the penguin chicks are way cute, there are some great shots of the scenery, and it is terribly impressive that a crew braved the extreme conditions to make this film. But the narration is overly dramatic and leaves too many unanswered questions for those of us fascinated bye the science aspect. To sum it up, it was kind of like having sex; after days of anticipation, one starts in with great excitement, but soon one's mind is merely enumerating all the ways it's not as good as one hoped until it's finally over, and all that's left are feelings of disappointment tinged with shame.
After our post-movie snack and critique in the park, we went to the NaNo barbecue at the home of nmaki! Although it was one of the hottest days of the year, we gathered in the shady park across the street from nmaki & C's house, ate and watched their boys pour buckets of water on each other. Highlights were getting to talk with C about his book project (he seemed apologetic that it was "boring technical stuff," rather than narrative prose, but it's still exciting to see a project starting); meeting kr8vkat's Steinway, who very patiently listened as we all chatted about writing; and the apres-barbecue session in the living room. I'm sure there are other NaNoPDX people who take their writing seriously, but that core group seems like they're the ones that have the talent and tenacity to see things through to publication. It's really great to get to hang out with them. All in all, a wonderful party, and even though we were all tired, there was much foot-dragging and new conversational gambits on the way to the cars, as if nobody wanted it to be over.