Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cops, skunks, and kaiju, plus pigeon denouement

Strange night.

Cops were all over the Coquitlam bus loop - two cop cars and an ambulance, present for no reason that was clear to me. Later, as we turned in to the Pitt Meadows portion of the 701's trip, two cops boarded the bus and escorted a teenaged-seeming girl off. She may not have paid her fare - I heard words to that effect - but was bothering no one, sitting talking with her friends. On the other hand, the cops behaved like Stasi, the whole bus going quiet as they glowered at her unsympathetically and told her they were "taking her back." "Oh hell no," she replied - and immediately I sided with her, because if she's trying to get somewhere around midnight, being escorted from Pitt Meadows back to Coquitlam is a major inconvenience. Despite her lack of desire to go, and her having done nothing wrong on the bus that *I* could see (except maybe having skipped the fare), they escorted her off, and then ended up cuffing her and struggling with her outside as we drove away (she was resisiting, tried to make a run for it, but there's still something inherently wrong about seeing two big uniformed men wrestling with a frigging girl, you know?). The driver assured me afterwards that it was NOT a simple matter of fare evasion - that there was a call out that the girl was suicidal or something, and the police had been looking for her. If that's really the case, I'm sure being manhandled by the cops will cheer her up immeasurably; they behaved like their intent was to punish, not to help, but... I have to admit that I don't know the whole story. The driver agreed in spirit, as I got off the bus, that if it had been all about fare evasion it would be like we were living in East Germany... That's exactly the impression the episode gave me, to my uninformed eye...

What else to report? I saw Pacific Rim tonight. It was spectacular and hollow; overwhelming as promised, and yet still disappointing, with razor-thin characters, a plot that a kindergartener could understand, nothing writerly or engaging about the dialogue; it's del Toro's least likable film that I've seen, reads more or less like a damp Starship Troopers minus Verhoeven's wry political subtext. Of course, the monster effects and the battles and the AVX 3D are all overwhelmingly BIG, as you'd expect, and his fondness for Japanese monster movies is clearly sincere (it sort of stands to Godzilla where Peter Jackson's King Kong stands to the original). But somehow the bigger and bolder these cinematic spectacles get, the less interest I have in them; I enjoyed watching the movie while it was in front of me - somewhat in spite of its obnoxiously murky, over-packed visuals and lack of subtlety, nuance or humour (abacus scene not withstanding) - but I would never go so far as to buy a DVD or Blu-Ray of it. Given a choice, I'd rather re-visit Cloverfield (which actually has interesting characters, some nice writing, and something on its mind), or Gareth Edwards' strangely memorable, very intelligent US-invasion film Monsters, or watch pretty much any original Japanese kaiju film you can name, rather than seeing Pacific Rim ever again. Here's hoping Gareth Edwards' upcoming Godzilla reboot learns from del Toro's mistakes - though given the demand for spectacle and for ultra-huge films that employ ever more expensive technologies, so they can be presented at maximum ticket-price, it seems unlikely...

I also saw a skunk running up the street where I live, which is new. Skunks, while common in the west end of Vancouver, don't usually show up in downtown Maple Ridge. I think if I'd followed the skunk around for a couple hours, it would have been exponentially more interesting than Pacific Rim.

Finally, speaking of nature, the wind off my balcony apparently blew the pigeon eggs off. I could see the nest had been disrupted last week, and had gotten mysteriously closer to the balcony's edge; the other day I looked and the eggs and birds were gone. I'd like to thank the elements for taking care of my pigeon problem for me. Presumably they now will give up.

EDITED TO ADD: Nope, I was wrong. Understand, the last time I looked out onto my balcony and saw the Mama pigeon, I made eye contact with it for some time. It returned my not altogether friendly look with a somewhat terrified eye; I imagine it was fairly scared that I was going to fuck with it in some way. This is understandable, given that I have, in the past, chased this pigeon and its mate angrily around my apartment, thrown things at it, sprayed water at it, banged an Indonesian rattle on the window at it, and screamed at it from my window to make it go away. I've tried to convey in every means short of violence that it is not welcome to nest on my balcony (especially if it intends to shit all over it). To communicate this, I've modified my balcony to make it harder to land on, and last year, chopped up (or had the building handyman chop up) the chair that it (or its parents - I'm not sure which generation bird this one is) were nesting in, swept up its nest, scraped up its shit, and generally made its life fairly difficult. A couple minutes of sustained eye contact (with me trying to psychically channel the message that I really wished it had chosen to NEST SOMEWHERE ELSE) probably were fairly stressful to this bird, given this history.

So being a smart bird, it turns out that it has moved it's nest right into the corner of the building, where I cannot see it from the window. It's still there. I discovered it tonight, stepping out onto the balcony with a visiting buddy (who smokes). I only THOUGHT the nest had blown away - it had simply been relocated for stealth, out of view of the window.

I kind of felt admiration when I discovered this, I have to admit. Who's a smart bird? Yeeah.  I almost want to give it some bread or something as a peace gesture, to show that at this point, I am ceding the battle, at least until its babies have flown. But I think it would constitute sending mixed messages.

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