Friday, June 30, 2006

A Matter of Perspective

I was reading in the bath when my first call from Thrillerfest came in. *Not a report, but an inquiry into the marital status of certain attendees.* (see below)

Which did make me wonder just what was going on at the opening party! But, setting that aside, I had a chance to chat to a few people who previously had only been names on posts and emails.

It was during that exchange that I griped about how hot it’s been here – around 90F.

They laughed at me.

Okay, okay, so it’s much hotter in Arizona. Step outside and evaporate. But for Alberta, it’s pretty damn hot. Every animal in this house is trying to stretch out in front of a fan or find a spot of concrete in the unfinished part of the basement.

We’ve been setting temperature records, people!

It isn’t as hot as it is some places in the world, even some places I’ve been. A woman was telling me the other day she’s going to Costa Rica, the Pacific side. Just thinking about it made my body temperature elevate five degrees. Not to mention the heat we experienced in Bali, but again, another story.

Recently, I saw someone make a remark about an author. Their complaint was that the books were filled with what they called “padding”. They gave examples of the dead-end pursuits of the investigations that didn’t pan out during the course of the book.

I wanted to respond to the person, but I couldn’t find the words to express what I thought. Not without being snippy.

Then Linda L. Richards said, “One reader's padding is another's exquisite detail.”

So diplomatic, so well said. And it sums up how I feel about broad-judgment statements about books.

This is why when I review books, I try to evaluate them based on what they are, rather than what they aren’t. If the book is dark, I don’t get upset about a little blood being spilt. If it’s a cozy, I wouldn’t expect that.

It would be like watching The Lord of the Rings and saying, “Not bad, but they used magic, and that just threw the whole thing off for me. It’s so unrealistic.”


Last night, we watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Again, no spoilers.

But what a movie. This movie wasn’t the kind of ‘heavy dark’ that Frailty was. It wasn’t light comic fun either. But a blend of the two. A very entertaining movie that I actually wanted to watch the dvd extras for afterward, because it was so well done.

So, two movies this week. Both very different in tone. But both were great.

I’ve been trying to get a good picture of Buttons and Simon together, and this isn’t it. But if you look at their faces, you can see the similarity of the markings. Simon is practically a clone!

And sorry for the brief post, but I’ve been wiped out. Hopefully, my schedule will level off next week.

* did I say my first call? This might not be entirely true. But you should see the look on my husband's face when men call for me. Thrillerfest: a few hundred bucks. Plane fare: another few hundred bucks. Food: not much money. Alcohol: several hundred dollars. The look on Kevin's face when men phone me? Priceless.


Trace said...

Another movie I have to get, now. I love those dark movie. Dark books, too.

I love the pics. So cute! I just wanna cuddle them all.

Take a rest, Sandra. Have a nice cup of coffee and put your feet up. You deserve it.

Vincent said...

My trip to Madrid has taught me the difference between heat and humidity. I was never uncomfortably hot in Madrid, despite it getting up to 38C (I don't do Fahrenheit), but felt less comfortable back here in sticky Britain where the temperature probably hasn't topped 25C. The relative humidity however, is 38 here in Leeds (and probably higher inside), but only half that in Madrid. So hot is one thing, hot and humid is something else.

Bill Cameron said...

Marital status? Oh my. Amazing what a little desert air and a decanter of Zima will do.

I have been meaning to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but this comes up or that. Thanks for the reminder! Now off to deal with Friday as quickly as possible so I can start the actual weekend!

M. G. Tarquini said...

It's not hot. It's a balmy...91 or so at the moment, going up to 105 or so.

People are such wimps about weather.

DesLily said...

such cute babies! I wish the house I am in wasn't so dark that i need a flash taking cat photo's so I don't take many "face forward" because all I get are big flashbacks in their eyes...

with the ice at the polar caps melting so fast it's no wonder your temperatures are warmer then normal.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Trace, you're going to love this movie too.

Vincent, you're right. Humidity is horrid!

Yes Bill, it's always funny when someone phones and says, "Remind me again. Am I married?"

"Not to me, you aren't."

Usually followed by, "Oh, thank GOD!"

That's right Mindy, I defend my right to be a complete WHINER! My hair went frizzy. I hate my f---in' curly hair.

I've experienced worse than this DesLily - when we went to the arctic a few summers ago - wow. Talk about roasting. It gets me when there's an abrupt change in the weather. A few weeks ago, it was chilly.

JamesO said...

The weather here's almost perfect - a lovely warm sunny evening and just right for sitting out with a glass of Pimms (or perhaps a martini - now there's a good idea). The only problem is that within five seconds of going outside I will be eaten alive by a billion billion small bugs.

No-one ever has barbecues in the evenings around here. Six o'lock on the loveliest of evenings and all the doors are shut, windows closed.

anne frasier said...

hmm, i read something about a phone call to sandra on another blog.... :D

Linda L. Richards said...

Sandra, your point about people needing to not be surprised by magic in Lord of the Rings was dead on.

Which reminded me of going to see Dogma a wonderful movie in which Alanis Morrisette has a very small role as God.

I saw it at a theater-near-you with a bunch of friends and friends of friends. After the movie (which I loved, BTW) one of the FOFs sniffed, "It was all right," she said, "but it was sounrealistic.

The comment flattened me because it was a Kevin Smith movie. (I mean, you know, Clerks, Mall Rats, et al. We're not talking high art.) Ben Afleck and Matt Damon had relatively small roles as fallen angels. And then there was the whole Alanis-as-God thing. Of course it was unrealistic. Ummm... that was kind of the point, or one of them.

So, yeah: expectations are funny things, aren't they? But you need to be able to slide your own a little bit depending on the experience. Like... going out for Southern barbecue, then being annoyed because they made a crappy salad. Or going to a vegetarian place and being mad because they didn't have ribs.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Uh, you did Anne? Uh oh...

Linda, Dogma is a brilliant example! Great movie! But certainly not to be compared to a movie like Frailty, or even Fried Green Tomatoes.

Poor Stuart (MacBride) is always getting rotten reviews on Amazon from people saying he's not Ian Rankin. And I just want to shake those people. Of course he's not! Does it say Ian Rankin on the cover? Just because he's Scottish, it's so unfair to pull out that comparison all the time.

It would be like you and I always being compared to Margaret Atwood. That would drive me nuts!

Bill, the Wildcat said...

Sandra, that's a great point about "padding." I mean... half the fun of watching "Homicide: Life on the Street" when it was on TV was that not every case got solved. Yet, this would drive some people crazy. Don't think everyone understood that the cases sometimes were the padding and that the show was going for a more realistic procedural. Definitely a tough balance, though.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I agree. Homicide was genius in its approach, a great precursor that showed what David Simon is capable of, proven with The Wire.

I watch The Wire, and see all those tangents, things that an editor might make you take out. Because all the scene does is round off a character - show you the bad side of a "good guy" or vice versa. But that's what I love about it.

Not everyone will like it, but saying, "I don't like The Wire because it isn't like LA Law..." That's silly.

Andrea at Lochthyme said...

Yup drives me crazy too...the general statements people make. Personally I like "padding" in books. :) Especially from a favorite author gives me more words by them to savor. Checked out the preview of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and it looks good. Just reserved it thru my library.

And it was hot here today too. I just wilted and had to take a nap. Course it could also have been the 3 hours of sleep I got...between the thunderstorms all night and the cute little daughter up at 6:30 am. And with me it's more the humidity than the heat. That and the bad air. But I've got the air conditioners blasting so I'm doing good now. :)

Must end post...15lb cat in lap...can't type anymore.

Amra Pajalic said...

Loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. A fried recommended it and I wasn't dissapointed. Plus I look have a rule-I'll watch anything with Robert Downey Junior. Just love him. Hearts and Souls is my all time favourite movie.

Padding is a funny thing. When it's a writer who has control of their writing then it's not padding but necessary to the story. I re-read Faye Kellerman's Justice and she juxtaposes Decker's home life with his work and solving the crime. Someone could see this as padding but it adds layers and characterisation.

But I have read novels that I feel are writing something without any context and so feels like padding. But then again someone could say that about Kellerman. So it's all a matter of perspective and personal taste.

Brett Battles said...

...dragging myself across the terminal here in Phoenix...thrillerfest is over and finally have a moment to catch up on the blogs...then I read this one...

...the world has gone official insane...