Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 - Hypnotic

Try this little gizmo just for fun. Go to this web site then start clicking on the squares. Have fun. To clear, hit the space bar. There are other toys on this site too. Have a great day. m

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 17, 2009 - LOST

So what have we learned? Jacob was introduced but we don't have much of a clue as to what he's up to. And he has an enemy, who for some reason wants to kill him but can't. But these events began possibly hundreds of years ago and he looks just the same. Jacob lives in the base of the mysterious statue and weaves. He also travels the world interacting with all the major players of the island. He also has the need to touch them all, if only very slightly. He's obviously manipulating their lives but to what end? Who's his mortal enemy and why did he take on the guise of Locke? What was the "loophole" that led to Jacob's stabbing? Will Juliet return from the dead? Or is everyone dead from the hydrogen bomb exploding at the cliffhanger ending? Or does everything "reset." As always, more questions than answers piled up. So that's everything I would be discussing with another fan of the show, but I don't know any other fan. It's probably my favorite show. It keeps me guessing, keeps me interested, and has the added "sci-fi" element so there simply are no rules to what's coming next. Next year is the last year and it's going to come to a conclusion and not go on for another 10 years without an answer. It would be very disappointing if the conclusion doesn't own up to the 5 seasons before it. So you have plenty of time to see all the episodes and catch up before the last season. And then we can talk about it.

So the weekend was gorgeous. It was a little cool, in fact we had a frost warning on Saturday night but we escaped around here. But I love cool sunny weather. I got a lot of chores done around the house. I painted a hallway. I tried to pick colors for the bedroom, but I couldn't decide so I rearranged the furniture. I mowed the lawn for the first time this year and it looks so nice. When you mow those weeds down it's just all green. There was a big bare patch in the front yard so I planted seed. I washed a few windows. Went to the farmers market. And to top it off I broke out the bar-b-que and indulged in some good food and a margarita this evening. Oh and I finally saw "Vicki Christina Barcelona" after having waited 4 months for it to be available from Netflix. It was a good movie but I'm a bit at a loss as to why it was so popular. I don't think I've ever waited that long for a movie. And so tomorrow it begins again. Have a great week. m

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 10, 2009 - Saw it. Loved it.

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mother's in my life. I hope you have a day to remember and enjoy it thoroughly.

And now for something completely different:

Yesterday was cold and rainy in the morning. I went to the farmer's market but it was just too cold and wet. This time of year there isn't much in the way of veges and fruit. Luckily friends were on hand and we headed off for some coffee. Next door the Sundance theater and an early matinee showing the new "Star Trek" called to me. I really wasn't planning to see opening weekend but I was just in the mood. It was a good choice, there were no more than 20 people in the theater. I loved the movie. It held my attention, put me at the edge of my seat, and even brought a tear to my eye. This movie is in the genre of "Batman Begins" and "Superman Returns" (which I did enjoy even though it wasn't a mega hit). You got a lot of history, character development, smart writing, well thought, funny, excellent special effects, and of course a good story—totally unbelievable but it is Star Trek after all. And in one bold plot twist they revamped the entire fictional history of Star Trek so future productions are free to do anything they want. You have to see the movie for this to be explained but it does involve black holes and time warps. Enough of my rambling. Go and enjoy the show. m

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009 - It's Odd Day

Yes, It's Odd Day. I'm sure you've all heard of it. No? Neither had I but I guess it's pretty rare. Three consecutive odd numbers (5/7/9) make up the date only six times in a century. The last was 1/3/1905 (1/3/5). Oddday.net has the scoop. Do something odd to celebrate. It's not hard. I'm sure you already do plenty of odd things. Just ask those who circulate around you. I'm sure they'll find something odd you do. I have yet to decide my oddity of the day. I'll let you know.

My version of a film review: Just finished watching "Synecdoche, New York." It is the directorial debut from Charlie Kaufman and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. I believe the title is a play on the word Schenectady, perhaps it's a reference to the new, yet very skewed world that the title character creates for his fictional theater production within the film. This will no doubt bring back the feelings one had when watching "Being John Malchovich." One of bemused confusion. Is this a dream? Will he wake up? When will it stop? Ultimately I couldn't stop watching. One feels in a state of always missing something and the need to watch that scene again. There's some big message in here somewhere.

The story revolves around Caden (it sounded like Caton to me) Cotard, a theater director whose wife and daughter leave him, much to his dismay and confusion. Caden's health takes a turn for the bizarre and he receives a "McArthur" genius grant which seemingly gives him untold resources for a creative project of his choice. He decides to stage a massive theater project that tells stories about every aspect of life. The breadth of the project continues to expand as Caden moves into massive warehouses with hundreds of actors and elaborate sets that go on for miles and for years. In fact for the rest of his life. By the end he has created the entire city of New York under massive glass domed structures. The production gets so big that he hires a series of actors to play himself, his assistants, wife and lovers who all interact with him day and night. Ultimately he has the ability to direct his own actions by directing his surrogates who in turn direct him and toward the end he gives up his life entirely to his surrogates direction.

One of my favorite scenes is when one of his soon-to-be lovers is looking at a house to purchase with a real estate agent. The house is on fire and this is taken into account by the prospective buyer. She says, "I love the house but I'm worried about the fire taking my life." In subsequent scenes this home, throughout the film and over many years, remains on fire. And no one ever comments on this. An example of the dreamlike atmosphere of the entire film but this is one of the few scenes I found comical.

Perhaps I've said too much but really it might actually help knowing what you're getting into on this one. Some will find it tedious and at times unbearable. I don't know that it's a "love it" or "hate it" kind of film. More like "tolerate it" or "hate it." I don't have the stamina to actually watch it twice but I might take a look at the Special Features and commentaries on the DVD. I recommend it with reservations and yet it is oddly compelling. A perfect movie for viewing on Odd Day. It may spur some thought and some interesting discussions. m

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 4, 2009 - Art is Mr. Natural

Friday night I went to the Chazen Museum for the opening of an exhibit called "Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix, 1963-1990." When I was in college in Cincinnati I had a roommate who collected underground comix, mainly from an artist by the name of R. Crumb. I can't imagine that you haven't heard of him or at the very least seen his most famous images and characters—"Keep On Truckin," Mr. Natural, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Fat Freddie's Cat to name a few. The comix were a celebration of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll and quite a departure from the mainstream super hero comic books. They were also part of a rebellion against mainstream society, commercial publishing, and conformity. For me they were also hilarious, disturbing, eye-opening, educational, titillating, and rather mind-blowing. What can I say, I led a pretty sheltered and uncorrupted life and that really hasn't changed. Although I was never a huge fan early on, over the years I have come to appreciate the sheer uninhibited originality and talent it took to create them.

The exhibit is an extensive compilation of original art, printed pages, comic book covers, original sketches, statuettes, buttons, rolling papers and much more. I also learned that unique and rebellious art wasn't the only thing that separated these artists from the mainstream. As described on the Chazen web site, underground cartoonists "received royalties for their work, retained ownership of their original art, automatically retained copyrights, developed an alternative distribution system, and reveled in an uncensored environment. This subculture challenged the economics of publishing as well as social and artistic norms." I hope you get a chance to see the exhibit. It runs until July 12th.

On a side note this weekend was absolutely gorgeous in my neck of the woods. We had a long and trying winter and very few really warm days in the month of April. Not to mention I'm finally getting over the cold that I brought back from St. Paul. But this weekend it finally felt like spring in Wisconsin and everyone was out to enjoy it. Have a great week and stay healthy everyone. m