Saturday, September 9

It's hard out here for a temp

I'm exhausted. I started temping last Wednesday, and after spending an entire summer with no schedule... getting myself out the door and onto a crowded T at 8:20 is no small feat. The jobs themselves haven't been very hard (this past week I was filling in for a receptionist at a law firm) but by the time I get home all I want to do is lie down, and I end up totally conked out around 9pm.

So, there hasn't been too much knitting, and there's been even less movie-watching. The first Conwy sock is done, and I'm at the heel on the second. I'm going to try to finish up this weekend. It's a fun little pattern, and can definitely handle a variegated yarn if it's subtle enough.

I've had a TON of time to read, though, at these jobs. And that's a good thing, since before I could barely remember the last time I actually finished a book. It's pitiful. This week I finally finished "White Noise" by Don DeLillo, which I'd started in July, and I read "Love Medicine" by Louise Erdrich in about two days. It was really quite good - sort of a mix between "As I Lay Dying" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude," but about Chippewas in North Dakota. Now I'm reading "The Plot Against America" by Phillip Roth, which I also like except I'm afraid it's going to distort my view of history; I constantly have to remind myself that it's fiction, and that things didn't actually happen that way.

But movies? I feel like it's been forever since I've written a review. And meanwhile my dear friend Dana started her own movie blog (which you must check out/bookmark) and she's totally showing me up by writing about every movie she rents. And promptly. So, um, until I get back on the horse, read Dana's blog. I trust her taste 100% (okay, maybe more like 95% - Club Dread, really? It didn't get more of a chuckle out of me) and she writes well, damnit.

Here's something, though: a few weeks ago we got around to watching The Conversation, an oft overlooked Francis Ford Coppola film starring Gene Hackman. Brian was looking forward to seeing it because it was inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film, Blow Up (which Brian had studied in a class last spring). Each film is good, solid, on its own, but watching them close together (as I did) heightens the experience. The films play out the same story in two very different styles, with two very different protagonists. Blow Up is set in the swinging 1960's world of a suave, successful, jaded fashion photographer with a bit of a dark side. He casually takes some pictures of a couple in a park, and when the woman (Vanessa Redgrave) is desperate to get the negatives back from him he realizes there might be more to what he shot than meets the eye.

from Blow Up

The Conversation unfolds in the reclusive, secretive world of a seasoned wiretapper - it comes off as a more serious film from the start. Harry Caul (Hackman) obsesses over a seemingly harmless conversation between a young couple who are having an affair.

from The Conversation

Both men can't help but feel like they've witnessed something very wrong, and trying to find out what that is awakens lost feelings in both of them - they are energized, frenzied, pulled out of themselves and into a mystery. The photographs are enlarged until they're grainy and abstract, the tapes replayed, searched for hidden meanings. Many viewers might consider The Conversation a "better" film (and it is very well done, in the pacing and the acting, and it's more "psychological" in the way American cinema is), but the ending of Blow Up really pulled it all together for me. Overall the imagery was richer, and I think Antonioni took more risks (though The Conversation was groundbreaking, too, at its release).

Oh! I'll end on a foodie note. My favorite soup has been, for a long time, a Greek lemon chicken soup that my mother makes. I finally got the recipe from her when I went home last month and made a batch on Labor Day. It was my first time making soup, and to my surprise it tasted the same as hers! It's really freaking good. This recipe is exactly the same as the one I used, so give it a try sometime - it may seem a little fiddly, with the roux and the egg whites, but have faith! It's incredible stuff.