Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stormy Weather

Today has the potential to be really scary, since they're forecasting severe storms for the afternoon. After seeing yesterday's devastation in Oklahoma, that's even more frightening. With us, it's likely to be high winds and hail, with the high winds blowing the hail horizontally, and there I'm fortunate that my townhouse is on the "safe" side of the building away from the direction the storms will be coming from. Still, it will be hard to get the images from Oklahoma out of my head when the winds kick in. I spent my childhood not too far from there, and I've never seen anything like it.

Meanwhile, I had my own scare as I was watching the news coverage about Oklahoma last night. There was a loud thud from outside. I went out to the patio to check on what it could be. It came from the area where the cabinet holding the water heater is, so I was worried that the water heater had failed. Unfortunately, I've been having issues with that cabinet door. The door is rotted through, and it won't shut all the way. I turned in a maintenance request on that more than a year ago, but the HOA decided to table that repair. The hinges are also messed up, and trying to fully shut the door pulls them out of the wall. I figured it was potentially an emergency, so I sprayed WD-40 on the hinges and forced the door open so I could see inside. The water heater was okay, but the drywall in the ceiling had fallen in, and that's the sound I heard. The online maintenance request system allows you to leave comments for work orders, so I added a snarky note about how much money they saved by tabling that maintenance request, since the door being stuck ajar meant that the interior was exposed to the elements, and now they're going to have to put in a new ceiling. I had a response first thing this morning, and they're sending someone by to look at it. At least this one is on the HOA, not a repair I have to deal with.

But the adrenaline rush from that bit of excitement meant I was finally able to stay up late enough to finish reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Really, this is a book best read in one sitting -- a good rainy Saturday book -- because it weaves a spell and I think it would be wonderful to remain immersed in it for hours. Unfortunately, I had to read it in bits and pieces before I went to bed at night. It's difficult to describe the plot because this is a more "literary" fantasy novel that's more about ideas and atmosphere than story. Basically, there are two magicians who have very different philosophies on how to do magic. They have a running contest going on in which they each select a student, train that student, then have those students compete against each other. This seems to have been going on for centuries. The latest contest, starting during the Victorian era, plays out in a mysterious circus, where the young man and young woman who are competing create all kinds of wonders. The problem is that they don't really want to compete. They want to work together, and they fall in love. But the contest doesn't end until one of them is dead, and the circus is linked to them.

For me, the main appeal was the imagery of the circus. I want to go there so badly. It's only open from sunset to sunrise. Everything is black or white, and there's all kinds of magical stuff happening, so it's like going through a dream. The circus builds up a group of fans who follow the circus around the world, and the fans attend wearing all black and white so they can feel like they fit in, but with one red accessory to acknowledge that they aren't really part of the circus. I'd kind of like to see a movie based on this book, just to see what imagery they might use to bring the circus to life, but I'm not sure even the best special effects houses could outdo my imagination. The plot might be difficult to film, though, because it follows a couple of different timelines and jumps around until they converge. That would be confusing on film, but I think the story would lose something if told chronologically.

Anyway, stock up on caramel corn and hot cocoa, wear black with a red accessory and let yourself be immersed for the best experience. Then you'll want to go to a circus -- something more like Cirque du Soleil than Ringling Brothers.

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