back contents next March 4, 2000

Not a Saturday

EileeneToday is only a partial Saturday. It was Saturday when I awoke this morning, lazily. It was to the sound of the phone ringing and Mike rushing out of the bedroom, down the treacherous stairs, to catch the caller before the answering machine picked up. It was bound to be my mother (confirmed later), calling to see if we needed to borrow the car this weekend. Mike's car is still in the pound (to make a long story short, Mike drove sans much-needed driving documentation and the car got impounded; it's still in the pound because Mike doesn't have on hand the registration/proof of ownership he needs to get the car out; that documentation should be arriving in the next week or so), which means if we are to run errands or buy groceries in any large quantity, we would need to borrow my parents' car.

We're borrowing it tomorrow. I'm a little glad that we have to do thing this way, because for the past few months, Mike has been buying groceries alone. He'll always buy whatever I request him to buy "special" for me, but I really enjoy grocery shopping. I love looking down row after row of canned and boxed goodies. Smelling the earthy cool smell of the produce isle (except for near the fruit, where the air is thick with sweetness). Mike and I used to make a few hours of it: going down almost every aisle, making sure there are no overlooked items. The only aisle we don't walk is the one that sells baby food/products and dog food/products (Note: in Illinois and here in Jersey, these two groups of items always are in the same row together. Is there a rule for such pairing? Like the pop and chips). It's fun and extremely domestic. It made us feel "together". Now that I'm working late hours, Mike has done the shopping by himself on weekdays when he's not working or immediately after work around 5pm. I've missed our shopping times and I'm excited that tomorrow, we'll be doing it together again.

So, it was the typical lazy weekend day when I awoke. However, I realized that I've got work to do and started hacking away at it, without having breakfast. The stuff I had to do for work is fairly basic and much-needed for a prototype we're delivering tomorrow. The tight deadline (we're going to meet it, although in typical circumstances, I would consider it an "impossible" one because both the designers and I aren't spending enough "quality time" with the material to get it done in the best way. Right now, I'm just pumping out code, fast and working but not as clean as I would like it to be) necessitates working this weekend for me.

I took a break after my stomach started grumbling around brunch-time. I made myself lunch, wolfed it down, and proceeded to fall asleep in the living room while watching an old Avengers episode. A few weekend hours.

When I woke up, I returned to my work, stopping only for a short time later to eat a forgotten tuna fish sandwich. I stopped working when dinnertime came along and I took my daily shower before popping out to the local diner with Mike. I'm nearly finished and an hour or so of work tomorrow is all that is needed to complete my portion of the prototype. I'm tempted to leave it until Monday, but it's better to be safe than sorry: the number of changes and tweaking the designers will require tomorrow might take up more time than I expect. Better plan for the worst.

SatyriconThis evening, I rented Fellini's Satyricon. The cover intrigued me, the faces of a young androgynous boy, heavily made up, with the most striking eyes and a wreath of flowers in his hair and an older man with heavy wrinkles under his eyes and sagging jowls. I love the quote on the cover:

"There is no end, no beginning.
There is only the infinite passion of life."
-- Fellini

The back is a bit dubious, something I noted mentally in the store and something that Mike noticed when he picked up the box at home:

Fellini Satyricon is a spectacle in color, recreating the bawdy and lecherous days of Nero's reign in ancient Rome. It immerses you in a universe unconcerned with human dignity and obsessed with perverse sex -- forced or purchased. But, in Fellini's own words, it is also "an allegorical satire of our present-day world... a science-fiction film projected into the past, not the future... a journey into the unknown."

Now that I've watched it, I do have to agree: it is a "journey into the unknown". It still is! I have absolutely no real idea what the film was about. Here's the stuff I did figure out:

  1. The main character, Encolpio, is a man with a penchant for young boys.
  2. Encolpio has a friend, Ascilto, who is sexually voraceous, but is into women (for the most part).
  3. The first fourth of the film is the main character looking for and being with his young lover, Gitone (?), the attractive androgynous creature on the videotape cover. Gitone is quiet and doesn't speak much, mostly in juvenile hand gestures. The first act ends when Giton leaves Encolpio for Ascilto and Encolpio is alone. Despondent, he is about to kill himself when...
  4. earthquake stops him and he seeks refuge with a poet friend. The poet introduces him to a lavish lifestyle and dinner parties (one thrown by the old man on the cover, a rival poet). The second act then brings Encolpio to reunite with Ascilto and Gitone as they are taken prisoner by a wealthy man who lives on a boat.
  5. Ascilto and Encolpio manage to escape servitude when the wealthy man is stripped of his power due to a change in leadership (the current emperor commits suicide/is killed) and the third act contains their adventures together. They stumble into an empty house and partake of the food and company of a left-behind servant girl. Then, the film makes a strange leap into...
  6. ...a story where Ascilto and Encolpio are involved with kidnapping a god, Encolpio being cursed with impotence, and finding a cure for him.

I've never seen a Fellini film before, and I am impressed with his lavish sets. The sets for What Dreams May Come were called "Fellini-esque" and I didn't understand exactly why. Now I do. The acting is strange. You know that beer commercial where it's artsy and a clownish character comes to the camera, stares, and says, "por que demando por que"? That's exactly what the film was like. The roman feast scene has side characters staring right into the camera for no apparent reason. It adds to the disconcerting feeling of the film. "You're not supposed to do that!" protestations sounded in my mind.

A visually stunning film, but confusing and incoherent at times. Mike noted, "The problem with the movie is that it's a symbol. The symbolism so obscure that references to it make no sense to you since no direct connections are made." I agree. It's an old film and if it had political references, I probably wouldn't get them. I am content to say that it is a striking film with fascinating use of color and detail, but nothing more than an orgy for the eyes. Atleast, for an Asian-American twenty-something living in the year 2000.


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Image from Satyricon, from Internet Movie Database
© Copyright 2000 Eileene Coscolluela