The Hunger Games

On Wednesday at one a.m. Pippa announced that she wanted to see The Hunger Games when it came out at midnight and purchased two tickets.

Unfortunately, I was not the most enthusiastic participant in the excursion, but I went none the less, armed with a book, earplugs, and an expression of distain and superiority that would rival Lady Mary Crawley’s.

I wouldn’t say that I disliked the experience—I ended up running into Leigh and hung out before the movie started—but it wasn’t something I ever would have chosen for myself. I don’t like dystopia. Fantasy to a certain extent is fine. Have fun trying to pry my fingers away from my Harry Potter books or Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but once we get into the fascist-government-controls-everything-we-must-rebel-because-of-love-and-other-good-things type of book, you can almost always find me sneaking out through the back window.

Of course, this is not to insinuate that I look down on dystopian literature as some lesser genre. Dystopia just doesn’t suit my tastes. Some of it is spectacularly written and excellent, but I’m just not a fan of the set-up. It would take a pretty exceptional book to get me past the first few chapters (think Fahrenheit 451).

However, I will do anything to get Pippa reading, so I bit the bullet, and read The Hunger Games. And yes, it was very well paced and Suzanne Collins created interesting characters. Sadly, I couldn’t make myself fall in love with the story. Kids fighting each other to the death is never going to fascinate me. All it makes me want to do is take a class in outdoor survival and shoot guns (I figure both of these skills will also be necessary in case of a zombie invasion, so I should brush up on my campfire starting and marksmanship abilities regardless).

It’s also worth noting that I am not a big fan of movie theatres. They’re always loud, the people on the screen are huge and intimidating, and you’re stuck in your seat for over two hours. I always wear ear-plugs and spend a lot of the experience feeling anxious. Even weirder, I have trouble watching (or reading, for that matter) movies in chronological order. I prefer to get about a third in, then do the last eighth, and then the eighth before that, before returning to where I left off and watching (or reading) the whole thing through. I also have to read or be told a detailed plot description before beginning a tv show or movie. In short, I am not the ideal person to take to the cinema.

However, even though I didn’t care for the story, fell asleep for about half an hour in the middle, and felt rather anxious about not being able to pause or skip forward and backwards, I have to say that the movie was very well done and that I had an okay time. I was impressed with the CGI—the control room for the Games was superb—and Jennifer Lawrence combined the right amount of vulnerability with grit in the role of Katniss. Even better, it stayed very true to the book, and I was absolutely thrilled that Suzanne Collins was both a co-screenwriter and producer. For a adaptation, it was brilliant. I wasn’t bored the way I thought I might be.

Afterwards, Pippa and I walked home through the humidity, and Pippa worried about the safety of being outdoors at close to three a.m. I momentarily sat down in the middle of a normally busy avenue because there weren’t any cars, and I’ve always thought about doing it. And then I crawled in bed and slept for a few hours, dreaming of knife fights.

In other news, I burned my finger with acid yesterday. The skin is all white and rough, and I can’t feel it when I poke it with things. However, just like the time I lost a piece of my scalp, I will not be posting a picture. You’ll just have to believe me that it looks super cool. Well, cool for a chemical burn on an index finger.

Ella Goes to the Drive-In

Pippa has wanted to go to the drive-in movie theatre here at the beach for quite some time now. And since Jeanne, her best friend, is here with us this time, we decided to give it a shot.

I was very hopeful that something interesting would be showing, but of course, the only thing on tonight was a double feature of The Smurfs and Crazy, Stupid, Love. We’re twenty minutes into The Smurfs, and I’m ready to run out of the theatre and down the highway screaming in horror.

The good thing is that it’s fifties/sixties themed, and before the first feature, they showed old ads and played the national anthem, complete with subtitles and animation. I particularly enjoyed the rocket going to the moon.

The little blue things just showed up in Central Park, and they’re playing and ruining the Vampire Weekend song, Holiday. I’ve got at least another three hours of this. Golly geez.

On Happiness and The King’s Speech

I’ve been waiting to buy The King’s Speech from iTunes for months and months and months. And by months I mean since I first saw it on January 28th. (I wrote about it here.) It’s British, and it’s historic, and it has World War Two, and it has amazing actors, and I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

Tonight, I’m going to get to watch it while sitting on the couch with my parents, eating popcorn. It will make me enormously happy. It will be the perfect ending to a day filled with school work.

Two Facts and a Wish

Fact: Today, I had lunch by myself in a restaurant.

Explanation: It was the first day of midterm week, and I only had one test, which was great. I came in at eight, sat and listened to a string of presentations, and then had to leave. Of course, I had no way to get home, because it’s over two and a half miles, and I was an IDIOT and wore moccasins. (Clearly, I will never learn.) They were cute, thin, and black and looked so nice with my ballet sweater. What they did not do was protect my feet from the snow.

While I only had one test, all of my friends had two. So essentially, I was stranded with no where to go for two hours. After making plans with Cecelia to meet up later, I started my  lollygagging adventure. I stole Cecelia’s book and headed off towards the Plaza, which is a part of town with a bunch of stores and restaurants, mostly centered around a small park. I wandered my way over to the bookstore, which is independent and all blond wood floors and maple bookshelves. After picking up a million books and reading the blurbs on the back, I ordered a critical biography of Kate Chopin for my senior thesis. But I so wanted to buy out the whole store. Or at least the whole short story section.

Then, I faced a huge ethical dilemma. Do I go buy crêpes or go to the coffee/tea house? The coffee/tea house won out, and I took up residence at a table in the back. Much cozier and private. I had been so anxious an hour earlier that I had been scratching my arm ferociously (a fast way to an interestingly shaped scar), but when I was sitting in a black wooden chair, running my finger over the contours of my teacup, and admiring the tin ceiling, it all slipped away. Everything was lovely and peaceful again. No more racing thoughts, it was just me and a cup of peppermint tea, a book, and the impending arrival of a BLT on thick Texas toast and a raspberry banana milkshake.

It always surprises me just how lovely it is to go out for something entirely on my own. You would think that it would just exacerbate my problem of getting entirely lost in my head and unhappy thoughts, but every time it ends up calming me down. In so many ways it’s just as nice, or maybe even nicer, than going with other people. There’s less noise and fewer decisions to make. There’s an odd amount of solace and tranquility in sitting in restaurants alone, and after today’s success, I plan to do it more often.

Fact: Today, Cecelia and I made the last VERY minute decision to go see The Kings Speech, and it was amazing.

Explanation: Cecelia and I have been meaning to see The King’s Speech ever since it came out. But like so many things that my friends and I mean to do, the plan kept falling through. I wouldn’t get out of bed, she’d be babysitting, we’d both have homework, the list goes on. So today when Cecelia drove me back to my house in Jeff the Stationwagon (we were planning to study for AP Government and Politics midterm on Monday), we talked about trying again to see it this weekend. After I managed to somehow attach my glove to the newspaper bag, and Jeff managed to block a school bus, we looked up show times. And lo and behold, there was a showing at 4:10, and it was 3:51. We looked at each other, nodded, and ran out of the house.

I ran in to buy the tickets, and Cecelia found a spot downtown. I think that we were the only ones in there under the age of 60. But that never matters to me; I love old people. And the film was excellent. Absolutely excellent. Cecelia got her fill of the ever handsome Collin Firth, and I made a long mental list of things to Wikipedia when I got home.

I’m very rarely spontaneous, so it was exhilarating to rush downtown, willing the cars in front of us to actually drive at the speed limit and for there to be a perfect parking space on the street. It was wonderful to dash into the theatre, hurriedly buy tickets and pace back and forth, waiting for Cecelia to come running through the door, so that we could hurry down the thin red carpeted hallway to the theatre door and tiptoe down the aisle, whispering about what the best remaining seats were. (The run-on sentence award of the the week goes to Ella.) The excitement was invigorating, and I felt truly happy for the first time in weeks.

Wish: I wish every day could be as filled with as much happiness and peace as today.