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1.27.2016

Steve Jobs: The Movie

OMG the decision to put Seth Rogan into this movie.  Could an actor be more insipid, vomit-inducing, self-loving and not-funny-when-trying-to-be-funny?

Wow.  That almost blew it for me, but somehow managed to sit through all 122 minutes of this rather bizarrely conceived movie which consists entirely of about thirteen dozen heart to heart discussions between Steve Jobs and a litany of 'important people in his life' back stage preceding various product launches.  ("Important people" include Joanna Hoffman, Steve Wozniak, Christen and Lisa Brennan-Jobs' daughter, and Andy Hertzfeld)

1.26.2016

Two Awesome Women Writing Podcasts

I have just discovered two awesome writing podcasts.....both of them hosted by women, no less.  (Women constitute a overwhelming minority in the land of podcasts).

Write Now with Sarah Werner
Initial this podcast felt a little dry, however now (after having listened to about three episodes) I've found it very encouraging.  She drops a podcast about once a week, and discusses various aspects related to writing--for example her most recent episode dealt with all of the aspects of starting a writing group.  Werner lives in South Dakota (or was it North?) for some reason.  She has a gentle, quiet voice, which is perhaps why it felt dry.  However, you can tell that she's really trying to speak to an individual, and in doing so I've felt very connected to her.  

1.20.2016

The Big Short

The Big Short felt like a whole-hearted attempt to have a serious discussion while swimming in a pool of jello.  This movie is reminiscent of what T.S. Elliot bemoans in The Wasteland, or Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities.  In fact, this entire movie--the substance and the movie itself--is one vain, gigantic bonfire.

Adam McKay directed The Big Short.  He's done some work with Saturday Night Live and it shows.  He did not refrain from deep sea diving in gouda to come up with some of the jokes in this movie.  Quite literally, he operates a penis humor level--in once scene a penis is drawn on the screen as a character discusses a health issue.  Towards the end of the movie, after showing pithy quotes from people like Mark Twain across the screen, he's loosened up a bit and writes; "'Truth is like poetry. And people fucking hate poetry' ~over heard in bar in Washington DC."

See what I mean?  Wince-inducing.

The movie breaks down the 4th wall.  A lot.  Several times in order to condescend to us, the idiotic viewers, and explain a 'complicated' and boring aspect of mortgages and bonds.  (At the beginning of the movie a narrator actually says "you don't really know what happened during the collapse.  Sure you have a sound bite that you recite to make it sound like you know what you're talking about, but some average idiot like yourself doesn't have a clue.") One such scene shows Margot Robbie in a bubble bath drinking champagne and explaining adjustable rate mortgages.

The Big Short essentially follows the investment decisions of 3-4 sets of people who discerned the mortgage bubble and went short on mortgage bonds around 2005-6 and then reaped lucratively when the bubble burst in 2008.

1.19.2016

Enlightened

SO AMAZED by this show.  How did I miss this?

Wow, it's like, shockingly good.

Love the Amy character; she's ridiculous and idealistic yet you can't entirely write her off.

Some of the office scenes when she's transferred down to work in the basement are as funny as the BBC Office.  Loved the boss in her department, played by Timm Sharp.  Man, what a great cast.

Mike White.  What can I say?  Really wish this show had continued another season.

Love the relationship that develops between him and the CEO's assistant.  Molly Shannon plays non-comedic roles so well.  Loved both of those characters; how they both have a tendency to create small, insular lives--yet she's working to make her's bigger.

The only character I wasn't totally buying was Amy's mother.  Her inability to relate to her daughter struck me as almost senile.  Think that a loving mother would have been on a closer wavelength.

This show really surprised me.  I highly recommend it.

1.17.2016

Seahawks vs. Carolina

Ah, geez.  What can I say......I'm bummed, but not so much as I would be had the Seahawks lost by 31, as it looked like they might at the end of the first half.  A one possession game isn't an ass kicking, but then a loss is a loss. (is a loss is a loss).

There will always be next season.

Aaron Rogers' Hail Mary pass that took the game into overtime was probably the most exciting football that I saw all weekend.

Guess that's it for now.

1.15.2016

Republican Debate

Just finished listening to the Republican debates, and I know I've said this somewhere else on this blog, in a more specific way, but couldn't help but think how entirely out to lunch these candidates are in regards to foreign policy.  Can hardly even know where to start, it's as though they're reciting gibberish and we're all supposed to nod our heads and furrow our eyebrows, and decide whether we agree or disagree.

Ugh.  And as much as I hate to be the doomsday blogger, have to admit that unless we get, say, another Ron Paul up there and elected, we're DOOMED!!!

1.12.2016

Star Wars VII The Force Awakens

The last scene, filmed at Michael Skellig in Ireland, really captured my imagination and stayed with me the longest.  And from what I've seen on FaceBook memes I'm not the only one who felt this way.


To think that Monks actually lived out on this remote island and lived off eggs and fish.  In the 1500s.  Combined with my discovery of New Grange two years ago, Ireland's become high on my list of fascinating discoveries.  

But this isn't a post about the wonders of prehistoric and 16th Century Ireland.  Back to Star Wars.

After watching Force Awakens I watched A New Hope.  And have to agree with what film critics Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini said in this podcast; the special effects in New Hope seemed primitive and the acting poor to the point that it almost felt like a bad movie.  I'm amazed that this film became such a phenomenal hit.

1.11.2016

Seahawks vs. Vikings Must-see Plays


1.08.2016

Nurse Jackie

Have watched a few episodes of this show now.

The Main Character (Nurse Jackie) is St. Augustine; an extremely flawed saint.  She's having an affair, yet she gives her children kisses so hard that they tell her "too hard Mommy".  And she's even ultra-nice taking care of the patient who slapped her across the face.  Quite literally, then, she turns the other cheek.  Perhaps you can extend the St. Augustine analogy to say that she's brilliant.  In the opening scene, she knows better than the doctor how to care for a patient (and she tells him so and as a result of his mis-diagnosis, the patient dies).  Plus, she's a tough New Yorker bad ass - snorts cocaine and gives her husband blow-jobs.

I can't stand her.  Her insubordination to the doctors (or I guess I should say 'a' doctor) sounds like wince-inducing arrogance, and I really doubt she'd pull it off IRL.  And she's so awful to the nurse-in-training; constantly telling her things like "don't say 'ta-da', I don't like it".  In this fantastic world (by fantastic I mean fantasy, in that it couldn't really exist), Nurse Jackie rules.  People don't get to use expressions she doesn't like, they're immediately corrected if they call her madam, and she's smarter than people with significantly more training than herself.  Plus she's got a super, super nice husband who cooks pancakes for her when she gets home.

Curious to have seen two shows now with female leads (this and Sensitive Skin) where both the main characters have extremely devoted husbands and other men pursuing them on the side.  Does the lead female need to be seen as sexually desirable in order to carry a show?  (i.e. the next best thing to a man leading a show is a woman who many many many men want to fuck.)

How would a show be received if the female lead were interesting, smart, 'saintly', a badass, yet constantly dismally jilted by men, or solicits little to no interest from men?   Or if she has 'Fatal- Attraction'-suicidal responses to past lovers, and can never ever seem to move on?


Is this show out there?

Various versions of this woman certainly exist.

1.07.2016

The Story of Ruth

Just read The Book of Ruth.  What really struck me in this story is how Ruth lays at the feet of Boaz after the threshing, in order to communicate her attraction to him and compel him to propose.  This passage kind of stunned me, since so often Christian communities teach the notion that a woman needs to be demure, to not give her heart away, and to wait for a man to initiate a relationship.

How many times have Christian 'dating experts' said that nice Christian girls don't ask men out on dates?

Hm.   This story seems to contradict such notions.  And to suggest that a successful, godly marriage CAN transpire when a woman has 'made the first move.'



Just watched The Story of Ruth.  Decent movie from 1960 produced by 20th Century Fox and directed by Henry Koster.  It compelled me to go back and read the Book of Ruth.  The movie invents a LOT.

However, it kind of had to.  Consider this passage from the Bible; "Some time after their arrival on the Moabite plateau, Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women, one named Grapa, the other Ruth.  When they had lived there about ten years, both Aloha and Chilion also died, and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband."

These Bible stories keep everything so brief, it's hard to realize the drama between just a few lines; for example it really glosses over the fact that these Ephrathites married Moabites; certainly that wasn't kosher.  Also, the deaths--how idd they die, particularly the sons, who must have been young.

So yeah, a movie has to almost invent drama, to read between the lines.  but it cetaiolnly invented some things when reading between these lines.
challenging the law, implicit that the law corners people into doing things that they don't want to do.




does not indicate that she's a princess.  nor does the next of kin try to steal her.  she does, however, lay down with him on the threshing floor.



unlikely, given that ruth and naomi both devout jews, that they would worm their way around the law, particularly by claiming to be a harlot.  hm.

yeah, the bible doesn't so much seem to see the law as an incumbrance, which would make a lot more sense (the bible establishes the law in the pentateuch, and then discusses how it goes about disobeying it).

hollywood movie.  but it does allow you to see ruth as a real person; for example the conflict over laying down at boaz' feet; that certainly would have been a difficult thing to have done.  however, in the bible she just says; I will to whatever you advise' to Naomi.

what about this notion that a woman needs to be demure and let the man decide?  she was so forward and decisive.  she initiated.

huh.  surprised me.


1.06.2016

Sensitive Skin

Really enjoyed the first season of this show (the Canadian re-make)  Perhaps mainly due to the two main characters, who I've really enjoyed in past performances; Kim Catrell, obviously, in Sex in the City.  She has so much attitude, I've just always loved her.

And, as well, Don McKellar.  Love his East-Canadian accent.  He actually directed this show, and he does a good job.   Really liked the movie Last Night.  Or enjoyed him in it, anyway.  He was the best part.   

Watched Sensitive Skin again for the second time.  Think that I'm officially in love with Don McKellar.  Although I find the story a bit unrelatable.  This woman has a SUPER nice husband, plus tons of devoted lovers landing at her feet.  Then she decides that she's unhappy with her nice husband so she separates from him and goes for a lover.

Not too sympathetic to her, nor do I see why we should be sympathetic to someone so spoiled and coddled.

Someone needs to make a show about a 30/40ish woman who's perpetually single and who meets and sometimes dates a long line of losers.  And then she has to deal with being unaccepted by society for being a single woman.   There's a story TONS of women will relate to.  And that will solicit some genuine sympathy.

Oh, and it's unclear why this couple has so much money.  She works part time in an art gallery, he writes a pop culture column.  Did they have former careers that I missed out on?  She alludes to all of her modeling, well maybe that made her wealthy.  Still.  The Jag, the swank condo, furniture.  On part time work?

I guess the movie is trying to say something about people encountering ennui or something in later middle age (i.e. 50s).  Guess that I haven't gotten there yet so I can't entirely relate.  It's cool to see a show with a female lead.

Could watch it a third time, and maybe I will.

1.05.2016

Predictions for 2016

Hilary wins presidency
Panthers win the Super Bowl.
Star Wars VII wins Best Picture.

1.04.2016

Outline by Rachel Cusk

Have come across this book for the afternoon and though it looks like a fairly quick and engrossing read, it's sickening undertones make it almost unbearable.

The book's conceit--that a woman meets several people who open their lives up to her--comes across as laughably improbably.  Her first victim is the man next to her on an airplane.  They have a heart to heart that would probably only be exchanged between some intimately connected therapist/patient.  He tells her about both his divorces, in hightly poetical language (he's not the writer, she is).
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