Monday, December 20, 2010

Very busy, very full weekend

Once again, my weekend comes too slowly and leaves too quickly.

Ancker came over on Friday night and and we ate pizza and watched Scott Pilgrim. Lily came home halfway through and we paused the movie, but she had seen enough of it to want to see "the movie with the knives in it!"

She didn't see that one, but she did watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Saturday morning. She loved it. She's starting to like "scary stuff".  When we got together last week, the Lord told her that the Last Unicorn movie was scary and the next day at the breakfast table she was grilling us about why it was scary and telling us that she wanted to see it.

Her interests occasionally seem macabre, for instance, she shares my interest in walking around cemeteries (she learned her letters by reading tombstones) and one time when she was a baby she took out her pacifier and offered it to a skull with flashing LED eyes. Until recently she was consistently claiming that grey was her favorite color. However, those just happen to be things she likes and she doesn't like them because she thinks they're "scary", so this active pursuit of scary things is a new trait. I wounder how it will mesh with her interest in princess activities.

She is large, she contains multitudes.

I saw Nightmare in the theaters, before I met Jen. It was one of the few movies I wound up loving as much as I expected I would. It's a technical achievement, sure, impressive more than fifteen years later, but more than that, I like the story it tells. If you're not familiar with the movie, it's the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween town. He's grown bored with doing Halloween every year, and he's looking for something new. He happens across Christmas and decides he wants to do that instead.

So he goes back to the Halloween Town and tries to explain Christmas to the villagers, but they just don't get it until he starts explaining it in terms of Halloween. "Well...I may as well give them what they want..."

I don't know why I like it as much as I do. I think it's because they're so earnest. They love Halloween and it's the only thing they know and they have this new thing to celebrate and they love it too, but they don't understand it even though they're trying their hardest. So they try to make Christmas just like Halloween, because they don't know any better.

That's how I tried to explain it to Lily as we were sitting together. I really enjoyed watching it with her. For the first time, I felt like she was appreciating something in a really sophisticated fashion. She has a lot of interests in common with Jen, but watching this with her makes me think that she'll share more of my interests and I look forward to that as she gets older.

Though long-time readers of this blog will know that I sprung forth fully formed from the brow of Zeus, I do have relatives. In the early afternoon, we went to my Grammy's house to have our annual holiday visit with my cousins. They're actually my second cousins, my father being first cousins with their mom. We were pretty close when we were kids, but as our extended family dwindled, we saw less and less of each other, generally meeting only at these holiday get-togethers and the more frequently and less happily, at family funerals.

It was really pretty nice.  We spent some time playing genealogy Tetris figuring out how Lily is related to my cousins, (second cousins, once removed) but since I had looked this up last time we didn't have to spend a lot of time figuring out the rules and we had one less thing to talk about.

We skipped out kind of early to go to our second holiday party, up at Eric's house. The kids made little Christmas trees with ice cream cones and green frosting. Lily told Frederick and Eric about "Halloweentown", which is her name for Nightmare. It's also her favorite song. Every time it ended, she asked me to go back to the beginning of the song and she was singing right along with it with a big smile on her face, "I am the shadow on the moon at night/filling your dream to the brim with fright!"

We came home to a very cold house. At the time, we thought that we had run out of fuel and Jen was on the phone with the company trying to get an emergency shipment delivered, but they wanted $300 to come out on the weekend, so we walled off the living room and camped out there with the space heater. It dropped to 46 degrees in Lily's room! I was thinking that it was probably warmer outside my mom's house in Florida than it was in my house in NJ.

I don't usually attend church with Jen and Lily, opting instead to spend my time playing video games, but Lily had her little concert on Sunday and I wanted to attend that. My Grammy came along too. Lily was up in the front row and when the worship leader mentioned that they'd be passing around the microphone for the benefit of new visitors, she started bobbing up and down and said "My Grammy's a new visitor!" Grammy was a good sport and called for the microphone and introduced herself.

The service was nice enough. Each of the different age groups of kids had something to do. Lily's group did carols, older kids put on a play about what things would be like for Jesus if he were born in modern day Bethlehem, PA with a real baby as the baby, another group of kids staged a scene of the war of the Maccabees using light sabers (while the pianist played the Star Wars theme music) followed by a scene where the light sabers became the menorah candles. I imagine your church has done something similar for their Christmas pageant.

Oh, they're Unitarians!

(Currently, my blog is the number one result for arroyo Zelazny on Google. My new goal is to the number one hit be for the phrase Unitarians worship Cthulhu.)

Jen's mom showed up at the service, so we went down to coffee hour. I was holding Lily. Her new thing is to ask if I want a kiss. If I say yes, she says "Not gonna do it!" and if I say no then she kisses me while I say "Yuck! Gross! Kisses are icky!" We did that and then we all took off for brunch at Perkins. I had the N'awlins Benedict, with "Cajun grilled chicken, marinated shrimp, smoked sausage, diced tomatoes, topped with two basted eggs and chipotle hollandaise sauce". It was terrible for me, but super delicious.

We usually rendezvous at a local market to hand Lily over to Jen's mom, but since she was already there, we just did the exchange early. Then we checked Jen's phone and learned that the oil company had been trying to reach her. They figured out that we were on the prepayment plan, so they'd be delighted to come out and give us some oil. So they did, and it turned out we had a bunch of oil, but a nozzle was clogged, and that's why we didn't have any heat. So the guy fixed that and we were warm again!

Jen and I watched (500) Days of Summer, and we're 0 for 2 for Sunday night movies. Little Miss Sunshine was just cynical and manipulative and so was Summer. It had everything I hated about Garden State. Not even the adorable Zooey Deschanel or my hetero-crush Joseph Gordon-Levitt could make this movie watchable. It made me think about the movie Pi, which I watched up in New Hamster with Tim and his then-roommate Tom. Tom walked in as the movie was wrapping up and the tortured mathematician is looking at himself in the bathroom mirror before he picks up a power drill and drills a hole in his head. Tom matter-of-factly observed, "Huh. I thought I knew all the drilling-a-hole-in-your-own-head movies out there." I was fighting down the urge to pull a Pi through every excruciating minute of this movie.


  1. I wasn't terribly impressed by Garden State, but I really enjoyed 500 Days of Summer.

    How were they alike and what didn't you like about them?

  2. I so dislike the archetype of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl that it colors my perception of any movie with them in it.