austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute

We'd gone to bed early Monday night despite it all, and strove to get up early and even managed, because we had a fairly tight deadline for something.

bunny_hugger wanted to see Arthur Christmas. I did too. Had December not been so packed we might have gone to see it ``together'', at our separate homes at as close to the same time as possible, but we couldn't work out the time for that. We hoped to go to it the previous Friday, but by then the only showing was in one theater, at 11:40 am, as if you could show movies that early, and it was past noon by the time we woke up. That's what got us watching Tintin instead, fun as we found it. By Tuesday, they were still showing it just the one day, at 11:40, but we were warned. Plus it'd be our last chance.

All of you who didn't see Arthur Christmas, shame on you. It's a wonderful movie, sweet and clever and relentlessly imaginative. (It's also given me an idea for another mathematics column). There were no end of lovely touches in its story of trying to make sure one kid isn't overlooked when the vast and highly professional industrial-grade delivery system goes very slightly wrong.

Among other wonderful moments, though, is that while the ``modern'' industrial mass-production attitude that yes, there'll be some oversights and we can live with it is presented as shameful, the methods --- the mile-wide sleigh and tight coordination of elves and all --- are not. Callousness is a wrong, but mere bigness isn't. That's a refreshing attitude. Another is that the protagonist, the endless screw-up Arthur, Santa's second son, sincerely has no desire to take over the Santa Claus business. There's no frustrated ambition on his part; he's really, sincerely, happy to just be part of a bigger and worthwhile project. Plus, the movie introduces the title of 'grand-Santa', which is so wonderful it's amazing the language didn't have it before.

Among the many wonderful small touches is mention of the Santa sighting of 1816, which threw the whole operation in a tizzy for years, and there's little propaganda-style posters around about ``Don't Be Seen'' and ``Remember 1816''. Why 1816? I puzzled over that until I realized there was a beautifully logical reason for it: what year was Clement Clarke Moore's ``A Visit From Saint Nicholas'' first published? ... 1823, it turns out. I still don't know why 1816, but I feel like there's probably some clever allusion I'm missing.

There is another curiosity which bunny_hugger pointed out: the story depends on there being a town of Trelew, Mexico, a town whose name is an unlikely phenome for a Spanish-speaking country. But it turns out there really is a Trelew, in Argentina, founded by Welsh emigrants and thus partly explaining the geographically improbable name. Details within the story make it all but certain that the Trelew, Argentina, was in mind at some point --- particularly, an actually existing street within that Trelew is mentioned --- so it's curious why there should have been a shift from Argentina to Mexico; it seems like Argentina would serve the plot need at least as well.

Anyway, fantastic movie, shame on you for missing it.

After some wandering about the mall --- we'd have ridden the carousel again except the attendant was on break, so we got some coffee and tea and a vegan cookie, after which the attendant was on a new break --- we ventured east to the Silverball museum, just down the road from the Wonder Bar we'd so recently so enjoyed. bunny_hugger had left her scorecard at home accidentally, but trusted she'd be able to pick up a new one. Following an inexorable law of history, they didn't have any and she had to scribble down her score notes on loose scraps of paper. I had a nearly exhausted notepad to use for mine.

The rotation of games at the Silverball Museum continues apace, and they had a couple which I haven't seen before, even compared to a few weeks back and my last trip there. In fact, one of the games was new enough that bunny_hugger was able to set a table high score, and to get her name recorded on the High Scores poster, a triumph at last which I have yet to meet. There had already been childrens' high scores, but she played until getting higher enough than those scores to be worth asking one of the attendants to record her achievement.

I also had my own little triumph, in the best round of FunHouse --- one of the great games of the 90s, and of all time --- that I've had in a decade-plus. It's a game I would rarely break 10 million on, but I managed it, and bunny_hugger got to hear much of the interactive hey-rube dialogue that the Rudy head made so very iconic for that era of pinball. (Rudy appeared in cameo in several other games and talking heads tried to proliferate --- the most obvious being in Road Show with a pair of talking heads --- but this just got the gimmick perfect.) And for all that, I didn't manage the actual proper multiball. Go figure.

bunny_hugger also noted an interesting quirk: a pinball game in which the high score was held, not by the male champion, but by the female. In fact, the game --- Bow & Arrow --- had the highest male score beaten by the female, the over-60 female, and the under-13 female scores.

After this we went back to Belmar and to Kaya's Kitchen, an all-vegetarian and largely-vegan restaurant which I'm reliably startled to learn once more hasn't got quite an equivalent in Lansing. For bunny_hugger it's pure delight to look at a decently lavish menu and be able to order anything, and we did order maybe more than we strictly needed. If you'd tried the simulated chicken wings you'd understand. We had, sadly, missed the chance to go to Jersey Mike's this time around, but we did reach other important mealtime traditions.

We got back home for that truly hardest of events: packing, so that she could be ready to go home the next day. But she would be going home my fiancee, and I would be going home hers.

Trivia: In an 1897 interview for Strand Magazine (reprinted worldwide by McClure's) Guglielmo Marconi asserted that his (radio) waves ``penetrate everything and are not reflected or refracted'' even through solid stone walls or metal, and claimed to be able to send them through an ironclad. Source: Signor Marconi's Magic Box, Gavin Weightman.

Currently Reading: The Origin Of Species, Charles Darwin.

PS: A Simple Demonstration Which Does Not Clarify, although it gets close, just before leaving things confused at the end again.


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