I got out of the house and did something unusual.
I went out to see a movie tonight. There's a new theater that just opened up, and it's only a couple of miles away from the apartment. Despite my hermetic lifestyle lately, I braved the new place to go and see
Jet Li. Martial arts, ala "Crouching Tiger". Beautiful photography. Profuse use of digital effects, though a lot having to do with color and image manipulation rather than CGI creatures or monsters.
Chinese, with subtitles.
Not sure whether I liked the story. It's good, but it is very Chinese, and fundamentally alien to my sensibilities. I had sort of the same reaction to CTHD, so if you liked that, you'll probably like Hero.
The new place is what they call the Jordan Creek Town Center. It's a couple of square miles (2 million + square feet of shops) of a "city of malls"-- if you've ever been out on 94 north and seen the development there, it's something similar, but perhaps a bit more aesthetically pleasing. There is a lake with fountains and bike trails, a bunch of restaurants and shops.
It's not like they have destroyed the scenery to build a mall. West Des Moines is a rapidly growing place. It is suburbia in all of its glory, all shiny and new. BIG security presence with uniformed guards and vehicles all over the place. And what was there was farmland, which is pretty much in abundance all around here. There's even a large barn still standing nearby, kind of incongruous to the Joe's Crab Shack and the huge fountains.
The Theater itself is really swank. We're talking marble and stone, with a snack bar that looks like a buffet-- a kind of art-deco inspired style, but a bit more lush. 20 individual theaters, all THX with the big cushy seats. If you've been to Block E, it's almost indistinguishable, but the lobby is much swankier.
The whole place is actually designed to be more of a hangout. It's not linear with cross streets and such-- it's more organic and curvy. Check these photos out. Sailboats at a mall?
And it's close. Not quite walking distance, at least not yet, but it would be perfect for a bike.
On the other hand, it's a giant corporate monster completely assembled of chain stores and franchises. It has no soul.
But it does mean there is a Best Buy close to the apartment.
More to the point. I actually got out and did something today. Something not related to work. And I realized that I am letting myself be defined far too much by my work here.
Getting out was good. It was fresh and different, and even though it was soulless and corporate, it wasn't predatory.
And another, smaller realization: one of the reasons that I've been avoiding going to the movie theater was because I am alone, and I haven't seen a movie alone for a very long time.
Hell, I used to do it all the time. I used to make a point of seeing at least one movie a week in the theater. Not so much anymore, because DVDs have relieved some of the burden, and I rather like the DVD experience, but along with that came a sort of relinquishing of the movie theater to date night activities.
So really, today was a crucial step in my development. It may not seem like much, but it is there, and it is meaningful to me.
Still a long ways to go,