One of my favorite movies of the year! It's a documentary about two men competing for the champion high score in the arcade video game "Donkey Kong". The reigning champion is Billy Mitchell. He set the high mark back in the mid-80s and is part of the gaming establishment. He was named "Gamer of the Century" in 1999. The challenger is Steve Wiebe, a hard luck guy who gets laid off and decides to pass the time by trying to beat the "Donkey Kong" high score. You may be thinking, "Gee, that sounds really stupid and boring, I don't think I'd waste my time on that movie." Well, like all really good documentaries, this one goes beyond the subject matter of the film. Sure, if you spent some time at the arcade or the roller rink playing videogames in the 80s, you may be nostalgic about the competition. But this film is hardly about the game itself at all. It's about the nature of competition itself, about how we define ourselves, how we find a passion in life pursue it, forming a community and becoming in part defined by it. These guys are Gamers, they don't just play games. Sound familiar? I'm a knitter, I don't just knit. I absolutely love seeing people passionate about something. I also got completely caught up in competition and cared really deeply about these people and what was happening. I felt the same elation and indignation during some of the tournament scenes that I do when I watch the Vikings play, which you know I'm plenty passionate about. Give this film a watch if you care about people, about passions and love competition, even if you don't give a lick about videogames.
Speaking of passion and competition, Thursday night I went to the last Vikings pre-season game. Normally I don't go to the pre-season games because there isn't much passion and competition. The best players either don't play or see limited time. The game plans are very simple and limited. It's just boring. But I'm not alone - the market was flooded with tickets and Greg didn't want to go either, so I took Bill's step-son, Ben. And we stayed until every second had ticked off that clock. It was really fun to see the game through Ben's eyes. He's become really obsessed about sports and especially football over the last year. This year is his first year playing, so now he's really excited, seeing it from another angle. Neither Bill or Beth are that into football, so it's something that Ben and I talk about all the time and it was his first time going to an NFL game. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to share that with him. I also had my fantasy football draft this weekend, so I'm all geeked up about football starting for real, now!
Saturday night I saw The Counting Crows at Midway Stadium. It was a gorgeous late summer night, so it was really fun to sit outside and enjoy some live music. I'd say the concert itself was a mixed bag. I've seen Counting Crows in concert a few times and this show was really different. They didn't play many of their older, established songs. Half of the show were songs from their forthcoming album. I tend to like to listen to a new album a few times before I see the songs performed live, just so I have some familiarity. Some of the new songs immediately worked for me, some didn't. Maybe I'll like them better after I've heard them a few times. This was the last show of their tour and the lead singer, Adam Duritz, seemed to be in a very contemplative mood.
Labor Day was a nice, relaxing day for me. I met a friend for brunch at Highland Cafe & Bakery in the old Village Bistro spot in Highland Park. The baked goods are incredible! We shared a caramel roll that was pretty much perfect. I had a Monte Cristo sandwich - the bread was homemade, thick, rich slices. The cafe is definitely worth checking out if you're in the area. I hope it does better than the other restaurants that have been in that space.
I also did some knitting over the last week, but I'll save that for another post.