Friday, January 07, 2005

Beyond the Sea

I've written about Bobby Darin before (here), and I was looking forward to seeing Beyond the Sea, the Kevin Spacey movie about Darin's life. I was a little surprised to discover that it was showing at only one theater within my driving range (45 minutes) for seeing movies, and even at that, it was showing only twice a day. Once I settled into the theater, however, I understood. There were only about 30 people in the audience, and every one of them was over 60. This is not the kind of audience that theater owners are interested in attracting.

I don't know what I expected from the movie, but within the first ten minutes it had reached a height of such delirious goofiness that I was completely captivated. I just sat there with a big silly grin on my face and took it all in. It's the same old story (if you saw Ray, you know what I mean): star rises, star falls, star comes back. But the way it's told is definitely different. It's so different that I can't quite describe it, but it almost works. Even the ending ("Bobby Darin is still swinging"), corny as it is, had me wiping away happy tears.

A lot has been made about the middle-aged Spacey playing a young guy like Darin, but there's even a disarming commentary about that early on. Spacey isn't playing Darin. Spacey is Darin. So there.

The music? Well, I love the music, of course. And Spacey isn't bad at the singing part, not bad at all. He's not "spot on," as some critics have said. If they really think that, they've never really listened to Bobby Darin. But he's good enough.

Beyond the Sea isn't a well-made movie. As I said, it's kind of goofy. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

My Adventures in Peru: Chapter One

On our first night in Lima, Judy and I went out to eat. Our daughter, Angela, and two of her friends came along. We finally decided to eat at a place called Eddy's. It looked nice, and the menu seemed OK. (Not ominous use of word seemed.) We had something called hamacas, a lot like tamales. Drank bottled water. All seemed well. (Note second ominious use of word seemed.)

We were fine that night. The next morning, we weren't. We were very sick, especially me. I spent a bit of time leaning over the toilet and expelling things. After that, however, I seemed fine. (Note third ominious use of word seemed.) We packed our gear and got ready to fly to Cusco.

When we arrived at the Lima airport, there was quite a line at the check-in counter, and it was warm inside the building. I got almost to the counter when a very weird feeling came over me. I said to Judy, "I think I'm going to pass out." The next thing I knew, I heard people calling my name. I opened my eyes and found myself lying on the floor.

Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. One second I was awake, and the next I wasn't. My body shut down completely and instantly.

I got up and stood there for a few seconds. I felt OK, so I picked up my backpack and said, "I'm fine."

I was wrong. The next thing I knew, I heard people calling my name. Wow, I thought. Deja vu. Except that it wasn't. I'd passed out again. And this time I had a lap full of vomit. I felt like a character in a Ken Bruen novel.

A helpful airport guy who could almost speak English hurried over with a wheelchair and rushed me to the restroom, probably to get me out of the sight of the other passengers, who no doubt thought I was Jack Taylor.

I got myself cleaned up and came out (still in the wheelchair) to discover that the airport doctor was waiting for me. He gave me a prescription for some pills and a really nasty-tasting glucose drink. He also advised me not to fly to Cusco.

I told him that I felt fine (which was true) and that I was not staying in Lima. I had to sign a release saying that I was flying "against advice."

As it turned out, I was right. I was fine, and even the flight didn't bother me. By the next day I was completely recovered and ready to do some climbing in the ruins at Saqsaywaman. I figure that if you can clamber around on a mountain at an altitude about 14,000 feet, you're doing OK. I had not a touch of altitude sickness (or sorochi, as it's called). Judy, however, did. But that's another story.

As for Angela and her friends, none of them got sick at all. And Angela ate exactly the same meal that Judy and I had. Go figure.


In response to Jayme Blaschke's demand here's a llama shot. It doesn't include me, but it does feature the lovely Judy. And, as everyone knows, if Judy was there, someone (me) had to be taking the picture. Admittedly the llama is partially obscured by the colorful indios, but it's there, all right. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

He's Back!

Bill Crider, intrepid Andean explorer, acclaimed author, and international bon vivant. Posted by Hello