Sunday, March 21, 2004

Hot and cold running weekend, the blog version.

A strange, two-headed weekend. Saturday was so warm (60s F) that we were out most of the day, for a while at the Spring Valley Nature Reserve, one of the least-developed parts of Schaumburg. But as the sun started to go down on this equal day-night weekend, we couldn't leave it at that, and we went to inspect consumer electronics at a well-known consumer electronics megastore near the Woodfield Mall, which is the heart of hyperdeveloped Schaumburg.

After all that, when I finally got home, I had no taste for keyboards or iMacs or digging through old papers looking for something interesting to publish at this site. March has been a hard month for that. Historically -- speaking in terms of personal history, that is -- March usually isn't that interesting.

Sunday, to pick up the two-headed analogy, was so cold (30s F) that it was hard to go outside, so we didn't very much. Spent a lot of time with the new electronic toys, as usual with new toys. The toys encouraged us to stay home and pursue video zombification. For one thing, the RF modulator has made it easier to play back some of our home-made tapes (8mm) and watch them on the TV. Over the years I haven't been zealous about videotaping, though I do have a few tapes from some of the trips we took when Lilly was a toddler, and for some reason she gets a kick out of seeing them. She was less interested in some of the footage we made before she was born.

Kids! No interest in history.

(When I hear some sentiment like that, I usually don't take it too seriously. What people often mean is that people younger than themselves have no interest in the older person's nostalgia.)

Played around with some of the features that make DVD a value-added video proposition, such as the fact that you can change the movie's language, within certain limits. One of our purchases on Saturday was the DVD of Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi), Miyazuki Hayao's exceptional animated feature. Built into the disc are the original Japanese, English and I believe a French soundtrack. Also, I watched the companion piece to Citizen Kane, the American Experience episode called "The Battle Over Citizen Kane," a fine documentary in the shape of twin mini-biographies of Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst.

Watching this kind of thing can have peculiar side effects. This particular documentary made me want to go off and see the Hearst Castle, if not Xandu. We were nearby the Hearst Castle on a family vacation in 1973, but didn't visit, because we would have had to wait all day to get in.


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