Friday, June 28, 2013

Stuffed animals, dying traditions, and citizenship

My 2-year wedding anniversary was this last week (on Tuesday, thankyouverymuch!) The hubby and I celebrated by putting on our finest and most glamorous black-tie-event couture and dancing the night away upon a yacht. Michael Bublé performed at midnight, and he wrote a special song just for us. My husband then gave me a string of champagne pearls and a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings. As a surprise gift, I bought him the yacht.

You probably didn't believe that, which is fine, because what we actually did was exchange random gifts in the morning (including a stuffed Totoro, a Justice League t-shirt, and The Princess Bride [the novel]) then ate made-from-scratch chocolate chip pancakes for brunch. We had dinner at Sushi Station in Arlington Heights, then went to see Man of Steel at the Keno Drive-In theater just over the border in Wisconsin.

This is Totoro. If you've never seen the movie, you're missing out. It's adorable. This is likely one of the best gifts Joey has ever given me. Ever.

And here is our shared half-a-ticket. Behind it you will see a quote about drive-in theaters, from a three minute video they showed before the film. If it's too small for your squinty little eyes, it says, "America once had 4063 drive-ins. Only about 400 survive today."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a very sad truth. But it wasn't always. I spent many summer nights camped in a car at the Valley 6 Drive-In in Auburn, Washington. I saw Chicken Run there, and Jungle 2 Jungle, and some others I definitely can't remember. But I do remember having a good time, and even as a kid I reveled in the fact that I could bring my own snacks. A recent article, written in March, explained the high likelihood that the Valley 6 is now closed--forever.

It might seem like no big deal to most people who have never been to a drive-in (including my husband, whose first drive-in experience was just on Tuesday) but to many of us the realm of drive-in theaters is magical and comforting. I was happy to see that the lot was over half full. Many families actually brought portable radios and camping chairs and sat outside with blankets. One family even brought their dog. Between the two movies that night (they showed World War Z first) there were kids running around in front of the big white screen, playing with the projector lights as they waited for the next movie. They continued to play there while the "drive-in movie info" film ran, and even the advertisements didn't disturb them. 

The ads didn't disturb me either, probably because there were only two other than previews, which brings me to this: Drive-in theaters are better than the regular theater hands down (weather pending.) Here's why.

1. Drive-in theaters are more accommodating. You can fit truckloads (literally) of cars in the lot. This also means you don't have to pay for building upkeep, or heat bills, because the parking lot is also the theater.
2. Drive-in theaters are cheaper. $8 for adults, $4 for kids, and the Keno Drive-In actually has a deal on Tuesdays that's just $12 per car. (pile 'em in, folks!)
3. Drive-in theaters usually start movies late. We left for the theater half an hour early (Man of Steel started at 10:30, we got there at 10) and World War Z was still playing. We saw the last third of the movie, which was a nice surprise.
4. To add to point 3, drive-theaters ALWAYS offer a double feature. One ticket (or half a ticket in my case, haha) allows you to see two movies. That's $8 per person for two movies. Got that?
5. Drive-in theaters can't stop you from bringing your own snacks. There have been a few times I went to a Starbucks or some other coffee joint before a movie, and because I'm a terribly slow drinker I had to sit in the lobby and sip my drink--or just throw it away. At the drive-in, you could bring a four course meal in the car if you wanted to. The drive-in companies claim that they make most of their money from concessions, but I'm not too worried about that because, hey, no one can resist movie theater popcorn in an old fashioned cardboard cup.
6. Drive-in theaters allow you to be comfortable. You can sit in your car, with blankets, and pillows. You can sit in the open trunk with a puppy on your lap. You never, ever have to worry that there will be enough seats in your row for the huge group you came with. (Yes, I've had that problem too.)

The negatives:
1. Smokers. The solution: roll up your window. (or bring air freshener!)
2. Driving around to find a spot. The solution: try to get there early.
3. Walking to the bathroom in the dark. The solution: bring a flashlight. You probably have one in your car somewhere, silly.

You can see now why they're better overall, and I hope at least a few of you out there remember how enjoyable movies at the drive-in are. Be a good citizen and go support your local (or not-so-local) drive-in theater. Now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Antagonizing (and a questionnaire! )

Life post-graduation has been antagonizing. I am thrown between utter fascination of things and ideas and the potential for creativity and then whipped back into a sleepy, glass-eyed stupor consisting of aged iced tea and watching The Cosby Show on Hulu. I've had trouble sleeping at night, regardless of an imposed bedtime of 10 o'clock or waiting until my eyes won't stay open, which is typically around 12:30. The moment I get comfortable and my husband begins to snore I am either struck by a thought that won't be tamed or the upstairs neighbors begin playing a video game with large explosions. Hubby sleeps through them. I am not capable of such blissful ignorance. But of course, if I wanted to take a nap during the day, no problem! Except that then I get a horrible post-nap headache especially on days like this one with atmosphere the density of fog on Mt. Everest but hot as a deep African jungle.

And I know what you're all thinking. Or, at least, what my mother is thinking! I should get a job. Lord knows I try to. I have made myself a beautiful resume and I have advertised myself on three websites (not including FB). Most of the time I don't get replies at all, and sometimes I get an immediate reply, but usually the person says, "Oh, I just found someone to tutor my daughter for free. But I'll send your name along!"

But I don't want to write about job searching or my reasoning behind not looking for burger-flipping jobs (maybe some other time. sorry, folks.) and I definitely don't want to talk about my frustration with the people who look for babysitters and tutors. What I DO want to explain is that somewhere in the midst all this frustration is a beautiful thing called art.

I mentioned in my last post, a whole three weeks ago, that I've been doing a lot of painting. I painted a dresser and a bookshelf. I fixed another bookshelf. I've made quite a few other things as well, and due to a recent trip to the North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, where I picked up a few free items, I now have a mountain of ideas and things to mess with. But I want to do something more constructive with them than just put pictures up here.

I'd like to start a craft blog. I tried this on here once before and while it seemed like a good idea at first, I certainly had no idea what I was doing. I look back at that post, which I put up in December, and I roll my eyes at myself and I cringe and feel like my very own most annoying friend who is that crazy but inept Pinterest lady. I know that many of you ladies out there have meandered (or scoured) your way through Pinterest, so you've seen the sort of blogs I'm talking about. With that in mind, I want to ask a few questions, if you'll kindly respond in the comments below.

1. What features of craft/DIY blogs do you like the best?
2. What are two or three of your favorite craft/DIY blogs?
3. What about these sort of blogs frustrates/irritates you?
4. I can't think of a good name for my craft blog. Any ideas?

So pass this on to your friends, because I'm very interested in the responses! These sorts of blogs are everywhere these days so I'm really curious to see what "the people" actually think about them.