LEAVE WOMEN ALONE
Thursday, May 10 2007
Yesterday had been the 4th anniversary of the marriage between Gretchen and myself, but because of scheduling problems yesterday, we decided to celebrate it tonight, the 4th anniversary of the big party we had the day after our wedding. One of Gretchen's grateful students at the local community college had given her a $40 gift certificate to Guido's, an Italian restaurant on Ulster Avenue out near the Jiffy Lube and Salvation Army. As expected, Guido's isn't the hippest restaurant in Kingston, and even if it was that wouldn't be saying much. The crowd there averaged a good bit older than us and the only people younger were children brought by their parents. Still, the food, though not steller, wasn't bad either. Indeed, the salad, which was tossed in a large bowl in front of us, was exceptional. This (and similar salad experiences at Stella's Uptown) caused us to wonder if perhaps Kingston is ground zero for some sort of ongoing salad renaissance. Guido's salad was more complicated than Stella's, with tomato and chick peas in addition to the lettuce, garlicy oil, and fresh-grated Parmesan. More importantly, for Gretchen at least, it lacked cucumber, which is usually the first thing added after lettuce to salads such as these. Gretchen hates cucumber, and no, not because she has some allergy.
After dinner we went to the Hudson Valley Mall and snuck into the theatre to see Disturbia, a movie that promised right there in its name to be a disturbing thriller. Unfortunately, though, it turned out to be more of a lame teensploitation picture. The teen characters were completely unremarkable and unsympathetic, devoid of complexity or a single personality quirk. They relied heavily on teensploitation clichés such as the attractive blond love interest, the sexless non-white sidekick, and the mopey protagonist, played by Shia LaBeouf (whose room is anachronistically outfitted with posters from a Gen-X teenhood). The character played by Shia LaBeouf commits an assault early in the film and is put under ankle-bracelet-assisted house arrest, whereupon he rediscovers his unremarkable suburban neighborhood using binoculars and video cameras. What makes it a remake of Rear Window is that our hero eventually discovers that his neighborhood contains a serial killer, a completely undeveloped character who apparently doesn't know enough to lay low even when he knows he's being watched.
At first I thought perhaps my inability to relate to the youthful characters reflected a generation gap, but then I remembered all the teen movies where teen characters have done imaginative, interesting things such as Welcome to the Dollhouse, Ghost World, and even Hard Candy. Aside from the casual techno-savvy portrayed by these youth-of-today, the main characteristic of Disturbia's teenagers was their stifling conformity, drawn into particular focus when the main character was claiming not to appreciate its manifestation in the love interest whose beauty was utterly conventional. It was the worst movie I'd seen in a very long time.
Normally driving home from the mall we'd take 209, but tonight we drove through Kingston. There's an anti-abortion sign featuring a glistening (and vaguely-hunger-inducing) fœtus in front of the Catholic school on Hurley Avenue, and at some point as we drove past it we noted (and were delighted) by the fact that it had very recently been augmented with the message "LEAVE WOMEN ALONE" in flat black spray paint.
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