I just finished watching Claire Denis's I Can't Sleep for my postmodern melodrama class. It's the first film we've seen this semester that I can't categorize as a melodrama. If it is, then it's a more subtle one. I liked the film, but it's so subtle and enigmatic that I can't begin to explain what it was all about. I'm sure I'll come up with things to say in the discussion tomorrow. It seems like my best ideas come during class discussions where I surprise myself with some--if I do say so myself--interesting observations.
While we're on the topic, my class discussion on Moby-Dick on Monday went OK. The professor really helped me out. He's a great man. He manages to keep the discussions interesting and there are rarely any slow spots in the discussion. I started off a little shaky. I chose to offer up an idea I had about the book's commentary on masculinity and I thought I spied an eyeroll from someone in class. It's a constant worry of mine. I'm not well-read on criticism, most of which puts me to sleep, so most of my comments and my papers are founded on my own reactions to the work. I often worry that they are too simplistic. Most of the praise I get is for writing "thoughtful" and "sensitive" essays. I suppose those words describe me well.
With about six weeks left in the semester, I need to gear up for the term papers. I also have the language exam I need to take. It's going to be a busy next few weeks. I'm looking forward to the holidays, a time to relax and buy presents. I love presents. Gosh, this year has flown by. I need to assess how the year has been. It's been a great year, building off the momentum from 2004. I think it could have gone even better, but at least it leaves room for improvement in 2006. I'll leave the 2005 year in review for the inevitable end-of-year blog entry.
One of the things that I couldn't have predicted a year ago was that I will have run two marathons in one year. Yet I have, and in about five months I'll be running a third. Less than two weeks after having just run a marathon, I registered myself last night for the 21st Los Angeles Marathon. It's official. I'll be running, that is, if I'm not injured. Last night was the deadline for a $75 registration fee. From now on it's $85 to register.EDIT: I just looked up the website, and they have extended the early registration deadline to until December 1.
I haven't run much since the marathon last weekend. I did an easy three miles with TNT on Saturday, but apart from that, I've been immobile by choice. Today, though, I went out for a sunset/early evening run at the Claremont Wilderness Park. Initially I wanted to just hike it and take some pictures, but I got delayed by a chat with a friend. By the time I got to the trails it was almost sunset. I had to run or else I'll be walking in complete darkness, but even running I got caught in the dark. I almost sprained my ankle running down the hill. I ought to invest in a headlamp for evening runs.
I didn't time the run, but I think it took me about an hour to complete it. Not bad considering I was intentionally running slow and had to take it easy on the downhill. I also took pictures while running, but none of them came out very well. The pictures of the city lights were too blurry and it was too dark to take a picture of the mountains. Next time.
I really should be exhausted right about now, but I'm not. I was up until 3:30AM last night watching Spellbound. What a terrific documentary. It manages to touch on Americana, the immigrant experience, competition, family unity, and the American Dream. The film looks at eight disparate Spelling Bee contestants. Some come from well-to-do families, some from poor, rural homes. Some have parents that drill them to succeed and win, while others were just happy to leave their homes for the first time. Angela, the first contestant we meet, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her father is a Texas ranchhand and speaks not a word of English. Yet she's a champion speller. Another kid, Neil, is the son of highly-motivated, to say the least, Indian parents. They compare their Spelling Bee training to going to war. They have two spelling coaches for him.
I won't ruin the ending, but it's a feel-good movie. I got choked up knowing the effort and meaning they had placed on the whole thing. It reminded me of running a marathon. Actually, there are very few things lately that don't remind me of marathon-running. It really is a metaphor for life.