Thursday, March 31, 2011

Four movies in one week

We watched four DVDs last week at the beach. Here they are, starting with my favorite:

Amazing Grace"Amazing Grace" is the story of William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament in the late 1700s who lobbied for the abolition of slavery. I had heard--somewhere--that the hymn "Amazing Grace" had been written by a former captain of slave ships, John Newton, who had a religious conversion during a terrible storm. But I did not know the story of William Wilberforce, Thomas ClarksonOlaudah Equiano, and others who worked valiantly to abolish slavery in the British Empire. In fact, I knew very little about the connection between slavery and the United Kingdom...not only how the empire was built on the backs of slaves, but also how courageous it was for Britons to reject slavery at their own economic peril. (This was discussed toward the end of Half the Sky, which I finished recently.) I couldn't believe that Mike didn't know more about his brave era in British history (they abolished slavery through government, while the U.S. needed a war). He told me that it must be because the British are so humble. Yeah, right. This was my favorite of the four movies we watched last week.


The Sixth Sense (Collector's Edition Series)We are probably two of the last people in the country who hadn't watched "The Sixth Sense." This movie recently came up in discussion at my book group, and everyone there recommended it. Bruce Willis was much younger back then! It was creepy and clever...reminded me a lot of Odd Thomas, which my book group read earlier this year. It's about a boy who sees ghosts, and it made me look behind me...especially after dark! Mike figured out the ending toward the beginning but politely kept from sharing it. Not me...I tend not to try to figure things out in advance and would prefer to be surprised at the end. I recommend this film, if you can stand a bit of suspenseful spookiness.

Junebug"Junebug" is about Madeleine, a British art gallery owner (played by the lovely Embeth Davidtz, who was Miss Honey in the wonderful film, "Mathilda") who marries George, a man from North Carolina. The newly married couple go back to North Carolina so she can woo an eccentric, self-trained artist, and they stay with his very southern, dysfunctional family. The only happy person in the family is George's sister-in-law, Ashley, played by Amy Adams (she was nominated for an Academy award for this role). It's a quiet, independent film, and it grew on me. Fair warning (and spoiler): avoid this movie if you have lost a child or have a difficulty with those circumstances. Excellent acting and I love Amy Adams. But oh my goodness, what sad lives these people lead!!! I found it all a bit depressing.

Man on Wire"Man on Wire" is the story of French tightrope walker Phillipe Petit's highwire walk between the World Trade Center twin towers in 1974, shortly after they were built. The film won the Academy award for best documentary in 2009, among other awards. The film has been on many critics' lists of best films of 2008. It was a fascinating story of how they engineered this legal and amazingly daring feat, but in the end I was gravely disappointed in Petit's personal character. All four of the films we saw were good, but this was my least favorite. At times I felt it moved too slowly and jumped back and forth...and I wanted to cheer for Petit but was disappointed in the way the experience changed him.

Indiana Republican Rep. Eric Turner thinks women will pretend to be rape or incest victims to get abortions

Seriously. Watch his statement here...followed by Rep. Linda Lawson's impassioned response. (Lawson used to be a sex crimes investigator.)



What is really unthinkable is that Turner prefaces this opinion by saying "I want to be very careful--I don't want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through a rape or incest..." WTF? Then he goes on to do just that. Read more about the bill in the Indiana bill (which Turner has proposed) here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring beach break, Part 4: dune sliding and driftwood forts

As our week drew to a close, we went to Barview Jetty to slide down a BIG sand dune. (My sister's childhood friend Amy and her family gave us the idea--her parents have a beach house in the same neighborhood as my parents'.) It wasn't quite as slippery as we had hoped...so we're not sure if that's because it had been raining, or if our sled was inadequate. We didn't get much speed, but perhaps that's just as well because it was a BIG hill.

Climbing up the hill

At the bottom of the dunes

Kieran sliding down the hill--when he was still in a good mood!
About 15 minutes later, he was in a huff and went off to sulk...we were never absolutely sure why!

Saturday we had a wonderful sun break (the term Northwesterners use to refer to rare moments of sun during the winter) and hit the beach, with the camera in tow. During the winter, the very long stretch of Nedonna Beach often gets covered with logs...but this winter was exceptional. And the wonderful bounty of driftwood has brought out the true creativity and industry of the engineering beachgoers. All up and down the beach were wonderful, intricately constructed forts. It was a wonderland for a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old!

Fort #1

Mike sitting in the hole

The kids informed me that it was a romantic spot and he was waiting to give me a kiss!

Fort #2 (sort of)

Chris

Kieran

They actually look like they like each other! ;)

Lots of big logs!

The other obsession of the week: sticks!

Fort #3 (with the best view)

Setting up

The great picture window!

Nick

Climbing on driftwood

A happy boy--Fort #4

Me and Nick

See the sticks? He was the stick boy (carrying them for Nick)

Fort #5 (my favorite)

This one had benches built into the sand and was huge!
I love this photo of the boys.

Fort #5

Look at the intricate weaving


With my "tiny" boy


Cool archway

Fort #6




Half-started fort

Fort #7


Huge tree on the jetty (the one Mike and Kieran were sitting on in the following photo, from a few days before)



Fort #8

Nick's favorite one

Just a bit of the driftwood


View of the jetty

So many lovely things to climb on!


On our final day, we spent most of our time cleaning the house...which was just as well since we had NO sun breaks. I didn't read as much as I had hoped, but we watched four DVDs and I actually practiced my mandolin. We ate and drank too much (and the kids had dessert practically every day!). I didn't touch the knitting I brought. Most important, though, we enjoyed just hanging out with each other!
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