A few of us went out to La Playa Mexican restaurant in Beach, ND for dinner. I saw an owl in a tree on the way over. As for the restaurant, the food was pretty darn good for way out here. I felt bad for our server, who was also the owner, who had to run the entire restaurant because her waitress didn't make it to work. I thought she fared alright for what she was having to pull off, even if I exhausted my beverages and didn't have silverware for a while after I got my food. The rice was very good, the beans average, and the chicken enchilada was very good.
After dinner, we hit up the Bijou Theatre, a very old-style theater (with neon lights next to the screen for authentic, not retro, 1950s appeal). It costs $5 for a movie, which is all right! And the candy's only a dollar! I didn't buy any! We watched the Spiderwick Chronicles which was an OK movie. I might have liked it better if the old woman behind me wasn't dying of tuberculosis. The movie is family fare with monsters that are probably too scary for little kids and a simple plotline that was a little dull for my tastes. Maybe I'm just too perceptive of foreshadowing, or else it was way too easy to pick up on: the friendly creature that seems extraneous but clearly wants to eat birds, and the tendency of the big ogre to turn into a bird, etc. Running from CGI monsters just isn't fun for me anymore. Overall, the concept of kids seeing something that no one else will believe is well overdone by now, the only twist here being that information is the object of desire for the antagonist. And why didn't the ogre just grab the kid and beat (or waterboard) the information out of him, instead of fixating on getting the book! the book! the book! For all the unexpected star power in the film, it just makes the Harry Potter franchise look that much more amazing and appreciable on multiple levels.
There had been discussion on the way to Beach whether anyone had seen the Northern Lights at all this winter. No one had. On the interstate returning from the movie, we did see them. There was an arc of glowing gray haze from one horizon to the other to the north, with vertical ribbons of light that came and went throughout the arc. There was just the faintest hint of green to the color. We drove up to Johnson Plateau in the park (where the first prairie dog town is) and observed them in the darkness of that spot for a few minutes, but we all got cold very quickly. It was the best I've ever seen of the Lights.