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Showing posts from July, 2006

The things I promise

Ah, I said I'd write about the magical books I've been reading, didn't I? And here I am out of time--though I have had a pretty productive day for me.

Somerwhere in May I jotted a note to myself to read some Lessing; went to the library and found a new Doris Lessing that was a sequel to Mara and Dann, so had to read Mara and Dann first. After I tried to read the sequel immediately, but a major character DIES about 15 pages in and that was so heartbreaking to me I couldn't continue for a while and read some other things in between. Among them I read A Call for the Dead by John LeCarre because we had gotten the old BBC series of Smiley's People from Netflix. I was going to write about that too at some point--this was in that strange, sad draught of mid to late June where I stopped posting. I was going through a video game addiction at the time. They wax and wane with me depending on how much of life I can face. Anyway when we watched Smiley and then it's PREQUEL T…

More on Crash

The morning after, I think it is somewhat manipulative and the cuts (one character going through a doorway to another character coming through a doorway) quickly became annoying. We were set up to feel, as it were. Which is not to say that it is a bad movie, just that one should be aware of being manipulated.

The Shelf! or how our books are arranged

Recently read a very funny passage about the overuse of the ! in films of the 60's (Hitari!) and how obviously today's audiences are not going to go see "Million Dollar Baby!" Anyway, I've been meaning to write these comments on some books I've read recently for awhile and this is the best way to start.

I've been reading a lot of books from "The Shelf" lately and it's making my head hurt. First, you should know that my husband I have a lot of books. A LOT of books. As in I had quite a few books when I met him and he had a staggering amount and now we have more books than some branch libraries. I'm not kidding. Friends are boggled. We once passed on an apartment because there wasn't enough wall space for the bookshelves. Our dining room is really just a library with bookshelves all the way round. Two of the walls have brick and board that H (Husband) constructed so they go up to the ceiling. We moved 51 banker's boxes of books when…

Crash and Syriana

We watched Crash tonight (the 2005 Crash--not to be confused with Croenenberg's film of the Ballard novel). Wow! I see why it won the Oscar, though I have friends who disagree. It felt like a very good novel. Actually, what it reminded me of was the short lived TV show Boomtown, also about interlocking lives in LA. (Yes, I know I never link things and that's frustrating to readers, but I barely write here at all--to look for and add the links is more than I can manage now). I screamed, I cried, I shouted F*&K! I felt for these people; I knew these people. Saying that, it also felt like a fairytale in some ways. I was prepared for it to be unredeemably bleak, but it was hopeful--that people can make the right decisions in the wrong moment even when bad decisions have been made before. Film wise it was a little choppy--felt like a first film, too much slow mo', too many lingering shots, or blurred shots, and just a hair's breadth (is it breath or breadth? English lit…

Red Queen's Blog

My friend J, Red Queen, wrote this and I am crying. I wanted to link to it to share it, although it's rather a closed circle as Red Queen is one of my few readers, but perhaps I'll get others, and perhaps I'll send some to her as well. It's just lovely writing and some of the things she says about her father could describe mine to a t (what does that mean, to a T--another time). She and I have talked a lot about our mothers, daughters and mothers, and some about our fathers. She met mine a year before he died at my wedding 10 years ago. In my father's euology I spoke of how he was (paraphrasing George Elliot's Middlemarch) a man not much noticed and yet for those who knew him, a remarkable unsung man, like so many in the world. It sound like J's was too.

Creating Sense Memories

Wetware

Wetware is here, apparently. My husband and I have a long standing debate as to when wetware will hit--both in terms of the technology available and the public's willingness to use it. Wetware is a term in sci-fi for direct interface with technology--wet human brain straight to silicon one--eliminating that annoying gap between brain and fingers. (According to Wikpedia it's also a jokey term FOR the human user already, as in, "Oh, you got yourself a problem with the wetware." Or, "It's not your computer or your software, idiot, it's you.") I think the term has been around since at least the mid-80's (though the concept may predate it--we've always known that to maximize computer use we would need to maximize us) and I've been aware of it since the early 90's. So listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," today one of the questions involved a new system for direct interface to increase the human ability to recognize image…

Kurosawa's "High and Low"

Just watched this. WOW. It's almost two films in one. The first is like a play, all set in a living room where the amazing Toshiro Mifune (many have commented on how weird it is not to see him in samurai garb) must come to a difficult moral decision. He has just mortgaged everything he has to buy controlling rights in the company where he works when he receives a phone call that his son has been kidnapped and the ransom is almost the same amount as the cost of the shares. Then he finds that the kidnappers have mistakenly taken his chauffeurs's son, not his. If he pays the money he's ruined. If he doesn't... The police are brought in and stand impotently like some Greek chorus while Mifune struggles with the decision. The most agonizing character is the chauffeur himself. He brought in his son's sweater before they realized that he'd been taken and he stands helplessly clutching it. His body language conveys such grief and defeat. Mifune (I read after) was 5'…

Bread and circuses

Tonight I did something I'm ashamed of: I watched two episodes of Project Runway. Well, I read while they played on the TV, but I looked up a lot. Bless me, Readers, for I have sinned and I feel unclean. I hate reality television, even something as "positive" as this, someone will get a lot of money and a start in fashion from it and no one has to eat bugs or cheat on their loved ones or set fire to themselves. For every supposedly positive thing that reality television promotes--rooting for a fan, an underdog, rewarding some talent--there is something dark and horrible, because in the end we are all waiting for someone to crash and burn on national tv, and we all know that the most talented (whatever that means) is not going to walk away with the prize (Clay Aiken, anyone?). I got sucked in because of the first challenge which was to make dresses using only material that they had ripped from the dorms where they are staying. I love a good challenge esp. of materials, an…

I'm BAACCKKK!!

Mad random thoughts again. Will I have time to get them down? Will I make time?

One thing that occurred to me while writing the massive post below was tense in English. For awhile I was writing in present tense--I land, I walk, I see--but that becomes distracting esp. jumping about as I do and I went back in and changed it. There are so many tenses in English. It's part of what makes learning English very difficult. Past perfect, past imperfect. Japanese as I recall has only two. How different that must be and how difficult then to try and learn English and get all those strange endings right.

My trip to San Francisco to see Hyde

Travel broadens the mind but thins the wallet.

I love to fly, and yet I was stressed about this trip--perhaps leaving my husband, perhaps such a fundamentally foolish mission; I envisioned earthquakes and plane crashes (seeing X-Men III the day before I left didn't help), but nothing more untoward than extra baggage searches, leading to a last minute dash to leave my multi-purpose tool with my husband before they confiscated it, occurred.

Flying out over Boston harbor (during ascent) I watched the islands recede. Landing in San Francisco and I was again watching the ocean give way to curved shore lines. They are such similar cities after all. San Francisco is still bright and shiny yet sadder too, perhaps because I am older and am seeing it with my own money and my own time--before I was in a comfortable car with my aunt and uncle, on their dime. My hotel was small and neat, as I wanted. I rested briefly in my room and then walked, yes walked, all you fools who attempted to drive, …