Archive for January, 2012

Super Slider Sno-Skates

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I was wandering through the park today and I found myself in the old gravel pit section where families flock in winter to do a little tobogganing.  I espied a young unit who had kitted out some inner tube sliders with what appeared to be duvets.  Their children were nestled in like Faberge Eggs and having a whale of a time.  I can’t say I blamed them – their transports looked like elaborate barcoloungers with downy after market upgrades.  I wondered if they had cup holders.  Or MP3 players.

I have gone tubing before, and it is a whole pant load of fun, but these contraptions raised the common ‘boggan to a level of art.

I must confess to feeling more than a little envy.  Were I to embark on a sliding adventure I would certainly opt for the pleasure disc I observed over the strips of hard plastic (or industrial strength garbage bags) that served the same purpose when I was young.  Remember Super Slider Sno-Skates?  An item that probably should have been marketed under the far more accurate name “The Coccyx Killer” (perhaps with two “k”s, for effect).  Or the Krazy Karpet? (See!)  As low-tech as polymer can be and I loved them both.  I begged for them but my parent’s resisted so we consoled ourselves with the traditional toboggan. This probably explains why I have my original front teeth and enjoyed an intact tailbone for the duration of my childhood.

I tried to find pictures of the Sno Skates and this is the best I could find:

I could be wrong but doesn’t it look like this child’s family has preemptively strapped some braces to his legs?  The body language, the sense of impending doom – ah, the memories!

It has been an unseasonably warm winter to date (to be honest, the aforementioned family was really doing a bit more mud sliding than tobogganing) and I will not be heard to complain.  But when Old Man Winter eventually wraps his icy fingertips around this town you may find me across the street surfing down the park’s icy slopes.  IF I can find a way of sawing my sectional couch in half and taking the bedspread with me.  I am inspired.


All Noomi All The Time

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I have been thinking quite a bit about the two different portrayals of the Lisbeth Salander character from the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larrson.  I saw the original Swedish version (with Noomi Rapace) a few days before the English remake (with Rooney Mara).  Both actresses were very good but I preferred the former’s interpretation initially, a sentiment that has grown with the passage of time.  Why was this?, I wondered to myself.  There has been quite a bit of press about the fact that Rooney Mara’s portrayal was a conscious attempt to make the character more vulnerable.   And here’s my question:


I have not read the novels so I cannot attest to how faithful either portrayal is to the original text, but what I CAN say is that I don’t need my female heroines to be vulnerable.  No one questions the emotional motivation of a John McClane (Bruce Willis in the Die Hard Series) or a Jason Bourne (Matt Damon in the Bourne trilogy) or an Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible franchise).  It is expected for a guy to be a clever, driven leader who operates on wit and instinct rather than emotional burden.  Lisbeth Salander has a dark past that is hinted at and the actions that take place in the films are by no means easy but I love the fact that she is strong and determined.  She plays a brilliant hacker with a steel trap mind.  When she exacts her revenge or defends herself it is with a calculation of the determined, not the reactions of a wounded and fearful animal.  And I like it.  One of my favorite scenes has her tasering the genitals of a biker and then stealing his motorcycle.  Ha!

My heroes in real life are strong.  Jane Goodall embarked on a journey to the heart of Africa to live amongst her beloved chimps.  This would have been a feat of impossible courage for a woman of 26 in 1960.  And who did she travel with?  Her mother.  How cool must SHE have been?

Birute Galdikas and Dian Fossey followed similar paths in Borneo and Rwanda.  No one asked them if they were doing it because they had daddy issues.

In a different genre, Chrissie Hynde put a guitar between her hips and the world and proved that a woman could rock just as well as any guy.  And I have been minding the rule of the punk poet priestess from Patti Smith to PJ Harvey.   Aretha Franklin demanded respect and dammit, she got it.

I have a crush on Bill Clinton, but truth be told I may have a bigger one on Hillary.

There are countless examples in art, literature, politics, science and the humanities of women who marched and broke new ground.  Hell, every part of civilization throughout history has been affected by the courage and power of women.  I want to know about the ones who kick a closed door down when they see it.  I don’t need to be told that they only found the strength to do so because of the abuse they suffered or their secret need to be loved or approved of.  Screw that.

I guess my note to Hollywood is that we should be given a little credit.  We can handle a woman who takes care of business without having to be assured that there is a tender, vulnerable side to them.  I guess some people may find that scary.  I think it is pretty sexy.



How I Spent My Winter Vacation

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

This is Noomi Rapace.

And this is pretty much who I spent my vacation with.  It all started with the Swedish version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” which was playing on one of the movie channels just before Christmas.  I watched it and very much enjoyed her performance.  I checked out the English language version on Christmas day to do  a side by each comparison and quite preferred her interpretation of the Lisbeth Salander character to the newer version. It inspired me to rent both “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest” which I watched back to back in four and a half hours of subtitled glory one lazy evening in the week.  I decided after many days of complete sloth to take myself to the movies and went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downey and Lo! if Noomi was not the female lead in that as well.  The capper was discovering that Dragon Tattoo was airing again on New Years Eve where I was enjoying my annual anti social lock down.  If you total the running times of all the screenings it comes to almost twelve hours, which is about eleven and a half more hours than I spent interacting with friends and family.

I am not complaining, by the way.  I am not a Christmas fan and this was pretty much exactly the holiday I was looking for.  A complete lack of snow, periodic napping with a complete disregard for the chronology of the day, unadulterated consumption of all foods and food like substances.  It couldn’t have been better.

And now a new year.  I made a pact with myself back in November to do one fun thing a week and to report back on it.  While I have managed to take in quite a few interesting plays and shows I can happily report that I have discovered that the best way to give yourself writers block is to announce that you are going to write on a regular basis.  Perhaps I can change that it the coming days.

This is going to be an interesting year.  I have a new company to launch and an adolescent one that needs some attention.  I am taking an improv class which is something I have wanted to do for years.   I have a couple of idea I want to develop and a brain that needs to be kept stimulated.  I don’t know if I believe in resolutions, but I know I have a lot of things that I want and need to get done this year.  I need to take a deep breathe, set my determination, and wean myself off this damn Noomi Rapace addiction.