Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Reader, 108 Sun Salutations

Went to see The Reader with Sascha last night. I'm not a big fan of forced new year celebrations, so seeing a movie I've been eagerly awaiting at 9:30pm would be the perfect way to ring in the new year. But alas, apparently movie theater employees had more interesting plans, as that show was cancelled for yesterday. Nevertheless, we saw the 7pm show and made plans for dinner at Figlio instead.

I'd read The Reader (and plenty of other books) when I was broken last summer. It's an excellent book, and I was anticipating being disappointed with the movie as often happens, but the movie was earning rave reviews. The reviews were right: the movie was very well executed. Extremely well in fact. Kate Winslet put on what must be the performance of her career. Much credit must be given to the book and the screenplay, but Winslet's character is very nuanced, and she pulled it off well. I lived in Germany for two years, and I have to say that it portrayed the German angst over the Holocaust and the (tragic) German reserve very well. Everything that was going on beneath the surface came through, whether you've read the book or not. Some liberties were taken with the chronology and a couple of scenes to translate events to the screen, but nothing that distracted. This is a must see movie, well-deserving of the awards it's earning. (Besides, you get to see Kate Winslet naked - need I say more?)

Figlio, by the way, was excellent. I'd never heard of it before, other than crashing the bar during a Cat 6 mustache ride. I had the lobster ravioli, and it was yum! At $2.50 per ravioli square it was a bit pricey, and you didn't even get any sides, but I've paid more for mediocre food, so really, it was a pleasant splurge.

Today I did 108 sun salutations at the yoga studio. For the non-yogis, a sun salutation is a flowing series of poses, usually for the purpose of warming up the body in preparation for more advanced poses. There is a tradition of welcoming the new year with 108 sun salutations (an auspicious number), so I joined a heated studio full of fellow yogis and yoginis, packed mat to mat, for an amazing practice. There was a real sense of community, and it was an intense way to start the year. You'd probably have to be there to understand.

Another year gone by. A year marred by a seriously nasty bike crash, a stock market crash, a dangerously incompetent president and business leaders, ethnic and religious bloodshed around the world and accelerating global warming. But there is hope for a better 2009 as the majority of Americans have learned the hard way that change is needed, and we all play a part in that change. I'm hopeful that 2009 will pave the way for great years to come, and I hope everyone emerges well from the doom of the moment. No matter how bad things are for us right now, remember that we're pretty privileged compared to most of the people in the world. Be thankful, be kind, and be present.