30 12 2009

I don’t consider myself much of a movie person, but: I am totally groovin’ on Netflix.

Long ago, I watched movies. There were a couple of discount ($2 and $3) movies houses in Minneapolis that my (broke) friends and I would regularly attend, and my friend J. and I spent more than one Friday night wandering around. . . man, what was the name of that independent vid shop on Hennepin? Pandora? Pandemonium? something with a P . . . pulling VHS boxes off the shelves until we hit on something we were both in the mood for. And my friend and departmental director K. would often coax me to one of Montreal’s theatres.

But in Boston? No.

I could blame this on Boston, but, really, I just wasn’t in the mood. Not for years. Even when I lived with Paul in the unmentionable building in Bushwick—P. of the movie-hundreds—I didn’t watch many movies.

New movies, that is. I’d watch any old shit that flitted across cableland (how many times did I watch Independence Day and Peacemaker?), but actually investing myself in an unknown story was not something I cared to do.

But then I told my parents about Netflix, and they got on it and loved it and I thought, Shit, I’m tellin’ other people to do this, and I still can’t be bothered?

And I’m totally digging it.

It helps that I can watch it on my nifty external monitor (thanks for the Xmas $, mom and pop!), and I think that I have to go through this little ritual of maneuvering the monitor into place (I don’t use it for regular web surfing or writing), pulling my comfy chair forward, and dimming the lights, sets the mood.

I’ve also seen some good, really good, and even great, movies: A Christmas Tale. Blue. Let the Right One In. The Lives of Others (my favorite thus far). Rachel Getting Married. SerenityAway We Go.

I thought Syriana and Duplicity were only okay, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time in watching them.

And I watched a couple of old favorites—Hopscotch, Sneakers—as well as happily re-rotted my brain zipping through Armageddon and Notting Hill.

I think two things make Netflix work for me: One, the streaming. I was unwilling to pony up the dollars for cable, but had maintained that if I could get decent, limited cable or movie coverage for 10 bucks or so a month, I’d do it. Et voila: movies on demand and via mail, for under 10 bucks a month.

The second are the queues. I can find movies I want to watch at some point, and drag them into line. I don’t have to keep lists (as with books, which are on scattered bits of paper everywhere) on a movie I think I’d like, or might want to watch at some point when I’m in the mood for that sort of thing, but can plunk it into my queue and not worry about it.

It’d be nice if they had a search by-subject or keywords, but what search they do have is all right.

Anyway, this is an appreciation of Netflix, not a love song. (The usual demurral: brand-loyalty-is-for-suckers.)

And the appreciation is secondary, because, really, this is a love song to movies. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed dipping into another fully-formed reality, how much stories and characters and lives could affect me so much.

I think I stopped watching movies both because they could affect me so much, and so often, they didn’t affect me at all.

It’s nice, just to come back to that, that affect—affection. Yes.

Tired of sleeping

30 12 2009

I do love to sleep.

When I think vacation I think: I can sleep in!

Weekends? Sleep in!

Days off? Yep, sleep in!

It’s not that I have anything against the morning (it’s afternoons I could do without) but my body and my brain have informed me—repeatedly—that they’d much prefer to remain tucked in and unconscious to any dawn awakenings.

When I was in high school, I could enjoy the early morning after a long night: after watching the moon rise red over Lake Michigan, rise into white, then fade away, we’d squint at the sprawling yellow elbowing its way over the horizon.

Or in Madison, I’d pull all-nighters before stumbling to class with that paper in hand.

Nonetheless, while I remain a night person, the last time I met the morning at the end of a long night was some years back, in Montreal, after hitting an after-hours dance club. It was March or February, I think, and a bit of shock to fall out of the dark club into a white, white (it was snowing) morning.

Can’t do that shit no more.

All of this is a very long prelude to the observation that even I, who in high school was known for my 13-14 hour sleep sessions, who will turn over if the damned radiator wakes me even minutes before the alarm goes off rather than get up, who requires a ritual to get out of bed each and every morning,  even I can have too much bed time.

I was mildly sick on Thursday, sicker on Friday, sicker sicker on Saturday, sicker sicker (with fever!) on Sunday, and, while recovering on Monday, was nonetheless still unable to rise with my alarm and go to work.

I slept. I got up, putzed around on the computer, then would take an hours-long nap. Read a bit, watch Netflix or Hulu, then to bed early. Repeat. Repeat.

All that goddamned sleep. When I finally woke after noon on Monday (after my abortive attempt to return to the working classes), I thought, God, I’m sick of lying down.

Fucking flu: Robbed me of one my one pure pleasure.

I actually didn’t mind getting up to go to work today.

I’m not too worried, tho’: I’m sure I’ll be silently cursing my fate when the radio blares tomorrow.