July 23, 2005

Friday Night Penguins

Last night we threw the kids in the car and sped out to Providence for a 9PM showing of "March of the Penguins" at the Avon.

Ahhh -- summer.

No way you can get away with something like that during the school year. But my kids are night owls, like I am. They can watch an 80 minute film that starts sometime after 9. And they'd never been to the Avon before. I'd never been to the Avon restroom before.

Friday was the last day for visiting programmer Brandon at the office. I am the only one on the project who lives to the west, and people fell silent when the question came up regarding who was going to return him to T.F. Green airport.. Awkward silences when you're talking about who is going to drive the guest back to the airport are true to their name. I'd already been ferrying him from the hotel every morning, so I spoke up. Driving him around gave us time to talk about everyday things like the weather and Russian submarines.

Once he was safely at the mercy of the transportation security folks, I sought out lunch at the bar of a nearby Legal Seafoods. The area around the airport seems to me to be an odd world. All the comings and goings skew the human landscape. But that's a post better left for another time.

Once fortified, I continued on with my day. Thanks to traffic, there was no making it back to the office before close of business.A sad loss to be sure, but it would be made up for remotely. That's what we have the "information age" for.

Remember those commercials "Have you ever attended a meeting from the beach? You will." Prophetic, perhaps, but who the hell wants to spend their time at the beach in a meeting?

The fact is, you can't attend a meeting from the beach. After all, the beach is almost as much a state of mind as it is a place. If you are in a meeting, you are not at the beach. I guarantee it. If you're lucky, you're at the beach and your co-workers think you are in the meeting because they see you on a computer screen or hear your voice. But I imagine that teh experience is still ruined for you. It's tainted.

If you are one of those people who thinks you can be at a beach and at a meeting, there is probably still time for you to get that fixed, and shame on your parents for whatever it is that they did to you.

March Of The Penguins

Before the show, I climbed the steep stairs at the Avon Cinema up to where the restrooms are. On the tiny second-flor landing there was an ancient vending machine with, among other things, two little packages of Whoppers malted milk balls for 2 quarters. I did not bother to resist.

The men's room is ancient and microscopic, though 3 men could actually stand in there at once. Four if they were the friendly type. Only two could use the facilities at once... assuming some sense of decorum.

Back downstairs, my daughters had never been to such an old-fashioned theater before and we discussed the curtains, lights and such. Also, the "flexible" timing of the show's start.

The film itself is everything you may have heard, if you've caught the reviews. The penguins are amazing creatures, and the story of their journey -- essential to the continuation of their species -- is unfathomable if you have not seen it. Morgan Freeman narrates this tale which is by no means sugar-coated. There is hardship and irreversible tragedy. But there are also beauty, love, triumph and even some humor.

If you are at all interested in what makes penguins or people tick, you will not be sorry you saw this film. You may b very sorry if you miss it. See it with other people, if you can.

Home Again

We left the theater just as the first drops of rain were being squeezed out of the saturated atmosphere. In the distance to the east, where we were going, lightning lit up the clouds in surprising shades of blue, yellow and red.

Instead of finding the highway, I took a turn into East Providence. Using only the compass and a CD player, we made our way back to the ranch via back roads we'd never (or rarely) traveled before.

Posted by James at July 23, 2005 10:16 AM
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Just a note of thanks for picking up on "the Beach" theme.
Will be enjoying "March" soon -- on your recommendation -- and adding it to our "Animals are the Funniest People" Collection (which includes Winged Migration, Whale Rider, and anything by Jamie Uys)when available.

Posted by: ThirdMate at July 23, 2005 12:04 PM

Here's my review on Whale Rider, if you're interested. I am usually not satisfied with my own movie reviews, but I'll pass the link along in case it is of any use.

I didn't review "Winged Migration" but I remember liking it. There was less of a story that I identified with, but it was certainly a beautiful film.

But the penguins... really made me feel like a slacker parent, I tell you.

Posted by: James at July 23, 2005 12:12 PM

If you like animal movies (I already told Maggie), see if you can track down a copy of The Bear. It's a movie with a plot, but it's mostly about a bear cub, and there's almost no talking. Great movie. We ran into it on cable a few months ago, and my sister's kids were spellbound. And let me tell you, it takes a lot to spellbind all three of them.

Posted by: Julie at July 23, 2005 1:07 PM

Thanks -- I'll add it to the Queue.

I guess I do like those kinds of movies.

If I were an evil marketing drone, I might have given March of the Penguins the tag line:

You will believe a penguin can cry.

Which probably proves I am not cut out for marketing.

Posted by: James at July 23, 2005 1:32 PM

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