picture #1 (deemed unacceptable because me and dr. rei weren't looking tough enough)
we hot docs'ed it largetime tonight. we saw two, back to back. first, i had dinnie with my friend k from work. we went to mcdonald's. i had my usual (big mac combo) but switched up the chaser because i saw they had a new chicken sandwich and i thought to myself, "life is all about change, let's give it a go!" it was a terrible mistake (i still ate it, but i should have gone with the filet-o-fish). they serve it on a "ciabatta" type bun (read: square-shaped, but underbaked and tasteless), and it's a heavily seasoned breaded chicken filet (okay taste, i guess) with lettuce, tomato, and a meagre swish of mayo. it's also kind of pricey ($4.69). so somehow i spent $11 at mcdonald's. but i was really hungry!
the first doc we saw was called "tehran has no more pomegranates." i thought i'd come out and represent seeing as how my bfffff is from iran and iran never gets any love. it's supposed to show the side of iran that we in the west never get to see (ie. the fact that it's a fully-functioning country with a major metropolis filled with the usual major metropolis type stuff - skyscrapers, serpentine knots of multi-lane highways, and a booming middle class at the expense of the poor). it was not an entirely successful film. it dragged and the filmmaker took a self-consciously wry and tongue-in-cheek tone that was overplayed at the expense of a thesis that translates to an audience not steeped in the ins and outs of iranian culture. so i didn't particularly feel like i got the joke, per se. there was also a shameless overuse of schlocky time-lapse and jittery edits and cuts for no reason. it's definitely important to have a counterpoint to the barrage of uni-dimensional depictions of iran that we get here in the west (ie. something that's NOT a dusty street demonstration of bearded men raising their fists in menacing anger), however i think the filmmaker could have made a stronger, more succinct point and lost his way a bit.
the other film we saw was called "blast!" it's actually an acronym for "balloon-borne large aperture sub-millimetre telescope" it's about a group of nasa funded canadian and american astrophysicists who build this telescope and launch it into the air with a balloon. the telescope is specially designed to measure sub-millimetre light, which (from my understanding based on the film) is a type of light particle that's easily absorbed by water vapour in the atmosphere, so that's why you need the balloon, to get the telescope 30-40km in the air. it's also the type of light (i think) that can be captured through the obscuring miasma of dust particles that usually hides nascent stars and forming galaxies from view. because light takes so long to travel, we can see into the past of the beginning of the lives of galaxies that are 8 billion light years away, and from that, glean a better understanding of how the matter of our universe was formed. stuff like this blows my mind (this didn't stop me from taking a little cat nap during a boring part). when they finally get the data and map it, they come to the conclusion that there's literally hundreds and hundreds of galaxies out there. it's the romantic sublime again! (note to self: brush up on william blake this summer). i love the romantic sublime as a theoretical paradigm. the film was pretty entertaining, with only some mildly questionable forays into human interest territory (boo-hoo, one of the physicists came thisclose to missing christmas with his kids) and some dodgy musical choices (stealing the calypso theme from "commando" being one, and throwing in zephyr and his pipes of pan near the end being the other). i'd recommend this film.
in between we stopped for greg's ice cream and i was a piggy and got two scoops and now i'm grossly full and flirting dangerously with heartburn. i'm going to hit some water and a shot of pepto and hope that takes care of business.
tomorrow i'm at work all day and then i'm taking dr. rei to get a pedicure for her birthday. i'm not usually one for that kind of business but i thought it would be nice to get a foot and calf massage and have my feet looking semi-presentable before i unleash them on an unsuspecting italian populace. then i think we're going to go for dinner in kensington and then home to rest.