A Friday Gift

October 14th, 2011

Hey, I have obtained hi-res copy of Velvet Goldmine on my hard drive.  What does that mean to you?  It means I am willing to share some screencappy wallpapers today.  Click to visit, then click Download, if you’re so inclined.

And sometimes Photoshop can’t improve on perfection…

See these eyes so green…

October 11th, 2011

Facebook is being weird and not letting me post videos correctly today, so here’s a video dump of everything I wanted to link to today, for your time-wasting needs.  Screw off, FB!

Have been in the mood to watch this and Curse of The Cat People for a while.

And you can’t watch those without this getting stuck in your head…

Love that song so hard I can forgive Dave that hairdo.

And then all of that led YouTube to lead me to this, which I haven’t seen but now must…

 

 

Exhibit 178

October 7th, 2011

In my ever-growing metaphysical case that Ewan is my husband in a parallel universe.

I just recently learned that Ewan’s middle name is…..Gordon.

Gordon happens to be a traditional name in BW’s family.  BW’s father, older brother, and nephew are all named Gordon.  I think there are plenty more Gordons further back, but I don’t feel like digging out the genealogy shit.  I would like to figure out how to get the Parallel Universe Transponder machine working, though.

Never Tell Me the Odds

October 5th, 2011

This is a movie review about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new flick 50/50, but if I’d said that straight off, nobody would read this post because who wants to read about a cancer-themed movie?  So I’ve willfully mislead and lured you with Mr. Sex-in-a-Blaster-Holster up there.  It worked, didn’t it?!  Though seeing the bottom of that cover is peeving me as I type this with that “EPISODE IV” bullcrap.  Just call it Star Wars, FFS, Lucas you asshole…

Anyway, 50/50 was a pleasant enough little film, but not terribly remarkable or memorable in any way, as you can see how easily distracted I am while trying to write about it.  Movies for which you feel nothing are the hardest to write about.  Though it’s painful during the viewing, I’d honestly rather be appalled or offended by awfulness so I could at least milk a decent rant from the experience.

50/50 is the type of movie (i.e. a comedy) I’d never ordinarily see, but JGL in the lead made attendance compulsory.  As a comedy, it is more in the “warm chuckles” vein than “guffaws.”  That’s fine by me.  I also very much appreciated 50/50 for what it didn’t do.  A movie about a main character with cancer that doesn’t (though there were a few musical montages that came close) veer into schmaltz, sentimentality, cathartic crying, or pink-ribbon feel-good bullshit is a thing to admire.  When JGL’s character throws out an offhand reference to Terms of Endearment, you know the filmmakers are telling the audience exactly what kind of film 50/50 does NOT want to be.

That said, although 50/50 wasn’t bad in any way, it also wasn’t outstandingly good in any way.  It’s worth watching once for JGL, who turns in a very solid and restrained performance.  Seth Rogan didn’t make me want to kill him.  It also had a greyhound in a few scenes, which was nice.  But I can’t advise rushing out to see it.  I told BW that if he hadn’t brought it up, I probably would have forgotten I’d even seen 50/50 by the time we finished our 20 minute walk home from the theater.

Of the two films this year involving cancer and a loveable leading man with a cute dog, Beginners is the clear winner in terms of originality and memorability.  Save 50/50 for a Netflix on some day when maybe you have a cold or the flu; it will pleasantly pass the time, won’t be too challenging, and give you a smile or two.

Yes, thank you for your input

September 28th, 2011

I’m not dead.  I have been struggling with chronic depression/total lack of motivation to do ANYthing since the dog situation ended as it did, which is coinciding with one of the busiest several weeks of my life working on Driftless Film Festival 2011.  An extremely bad combo.

I would vent a bit more about that, but truthfully I don’t have time.  Maybe soon.  In the meantime, Sherlock is going to sum up my primary emotion for me.

Naysayers: 1, Me: 0

September 9th, 2011

We’ve come to the hard decision to relinquish Ciaran back to the greyhound rescue.  He’ll be returning to his foster home tonight.

He is really a perfect dog, and this is not at all his fault.  But his presence was starting to wear down on Gandalf’s iffy health.  He (Gandalf) has not been eating much at all since Ciaran has been here, and because of the lymphoma and prednisolone he takes he needs to keep his weight stable.  It’s possible he could have improved with time, but since he’s already frail to begin with, we didn’t feel comfortable experimenting for that long.  Also, it would be much easier on Ciaran to go back to the foster sooner rather than later.

The Gandalf situation placed a lot of stress on the household in an already stressful situation, which made it very hard for us to learn to enjoy our new jobs as dog-owners.

Despite that, Ciaran was settling into our house just fine, and was probably the least stressed of everyone here.  We love him quite a bit, but we have loved Gandalf for 17 years.  I just really hope that being a “returned dog” doesn’t hamper Ciaran’s chances of getting a new home.  And I PRAY that he is adopted by someone worthy of him, because he truly deserves the best.  If anyone out there knows someone in the PGH area in the market for a gentle, loving dog who doesn’t bark or shed, is good with cats, housebroken, and only asks for lots of neck scritches and belly rubs, please put them in touch with me or Going Home Greyhounds.

I feel like a tool for attempting this in the first place, as so many people did “tell me so.”  I should have heeded all the shocked reactions of all the people who know us as “cat people”, but I let optimism get the better of me for once.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has come along on this process and been supportive.  Those of you who have bought stuff for Ciaran, rest assured that some of the things will be going along with him, and the rest will be brightening the lives of local shelter dogs.  Some of you dog-owning types will also probably be getting surprise packages in the mail of some random dog supplies.

Sincerely,

Crazy Cat Lady

The Results Are In

September 1st, 2011

Ciaran was the People’s Choice of dog name by a wide margin.  Although it wasn’t really a vote, perhaps everyone’s opinions helped me to see the shortcomings of the other name choices.

As for whether to adopt the dog or not, that decision, too, seemed to be taken out of our hands.  He (and his foster people) came to visit on Monday night and after about 45 minutes of anxiousness at the unfamiliar surroundings, flopped down on our living room rug for belly rubs and played with a toy a little bit.  He had to be coaxed to leave at the end of the visit.  Essentially, he came in the door Kiowa Kosmic and left Ciaran.

We are going to pick him up on Saturday to take advantage of the long weekend.  My house is filling up with boxes of dog supplies (yay, Amazon!) and of course I’m scared to death.  This is a fundamental change and I’m having lots of, “OMG I’m ruining my life!” moments.  But I’m often terrified of positive things (trips to Scotland, for example), that turn out to be all for the best once undertaken.  The hard part is riding out the anxiety until the trip gets underway…once we embark on the voyage and start DOing, the fear dissipates.  I think bringing Ciaran into our home will be similar; life has been the same around here for so long, it’s time for (positive) change lest things get too stagnant.

Paging the Nobel Committee

August 27th, 2011

Some hero, some bastion of world peace and bringer of light, made a GIF of my favorite scene from Shaun’s Don’t Look Down DVD.  If I was still Catholic, I’d figure out how to nominate them for Sainthood.  All I made from this scene was a bunch of caps and a desktop wallpaper.  Unworthy!

What’s in a Name?

August 26th, 2011

You know why I like having pets?  Because you get to give them names.  (That’s also the only appealing thing about having kids, IMO.  But people keep refusing to let me name their children.  Jerks.)  I love naming things; it allows me to make lists and obsess and nitpick.

Probably getting ahead of ourselves, but things are continuing to go well at the foster home, and if we choose to adopt Kiowa Kosmic after Monday’s visit he will need a new name.  However, I’d rather start on the decision process now than HAVE to decide at the last minute and make a dumb choice.  Naturally, we have lots of options.  Just as naturally, we can see the good and bad in them all.  Help us!

This is not a vote, but I’d like to get some discussion and opinions going.  After the jump are the choices and rationales behind them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scenes from 1960

August 23rd, 2011

Have scanned a few more photos from my MiL’s collection.  I like this group because they’re all from 1959-60, around the time of her graduation, and feature some nice-looking Rockabilly Texas kids.

Just head over to this album, the new pics are the last 10 or so in the group.

Dog Update

August 22nd, 2011

On Aug. 13, the Going Home Greyhounds folks went to the track to select more adoptable dogs.  Our turn on the waiting list had come up, so they were looking for a dog that would meet our wants/needs based on the long coversations we’ve had with the rescue counselors. Their pick was the fellow above.

His racing name was Kiowa Kosmic.  (Kiowa is the owner/breeder’s “brand name.”)  He’s four years old and retired from racing at the end of May this year.

After being neutured and adjusting to his foster home for a week, we were able to go and meet him yesterday.  They did an excellent job dog-shopping!

He is calm, and so very affectionate.  Just really wants to be with people and get hugs.  Greyhounds often have a lot of weird phobias since they’ve led such a sheltered life.  But the foster said he hasn’t been afraid of anything on walks, and he didn’t even react to the Biblical-level thunderstorms we had last week.  He has a low prey drive and is good with the foster family’s cat.  We took him for a walk and he came to heel automatically.

He seems to be a wonderful dog.  I like that he has a white chin, chest, and paws like everyone else in our house.

This week, the foster will be working to teach him how to use stairs.  A week from today, she’ll bring him to our house to meet the cats and see what he thinks of our place.

Such is the news for now.

Damn, it feels good to be a Gandalf

August 14th, 2011

Muse. Confidant. Best friend.

Today is Gandalf’s 17th birthday and we are pulling out all the stops in a multi-media extravaganza!

First, pictures…(click for full-size)

And more pictures..

And of course, literary tributes from the Great Minds of Our Century…

Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

And finally, a musical homage that gets to the essence of what we all love about Mr. Gandalf in a way of which I know he will approve…

Peace out, G.  You mean the world to us!

Hope Springs Eternal

August 11th, 2011

It happens every year.  Movies keep getting worse.  I venture to the theater less and less often, and when I do, the trailers I see make me want to slit my throat.  But every year I find a handful of Fall and Winter films that give me thin hope that perhaps all is not totally lost in Hollywoodland.  Herewith are the movies I’m looking forward to for Fall 2011.  Please, please gawd..don’t let them suck!

In roughly descending order of interest, they are:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

GARY OLDMAN.  As the LEAD. In a movie for GROWNUPS.  That isn’t part of a kiddie book or a comic franchise!!!  HOLY LIVING SHIT!  The original of this had Alec Guinness as the lead; it kicked ass then, it will kick ass now.  I have always maintained (to anyone who’ll listen), that Gary is his generation’s Alec Guinness.  Vindication!

Contagion

I’m obsessed with plagues.  I love plague movies.  Good director.  Get to watch Gwyneth die a horrible death.  Jude Law and Kate Winslet.  Consider my tickets pre-purchased.

50/50

Unlike Gwyneth, about the LAST person I’d like to see die a horrible onscreen death is Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Yet this little dramedy about a young cancer victim looks charming.  Can you use “charming” and “cancer” in the same sentence?  Only JGL’s face could make such a thing possible.

Coriolanus

Love Shakespeare adaptations.  Ralph Fiennes is a demigod.  This movie would be a lot higher up my list if not for the presence of Gerard Butler.  But it still looks very kick-ass, and Brian Cox is a BOSS.

The Thing

How convoluted is this?  This film is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing…which in itself was a remake of the infinitely superior in every way Howard Hawks 1951 The Thing from Another World.   As you may tell, I never cared for the 80′s remake.  Tried to watch it again recently and my opinion of it only got lower.  John Carpenter is a hack!  Nonetheless, I’m interested in this prequel because: 1. Carpenter didn’t direct,  2.  effects (and soundtrack) can’t possibly be as cheesy,  3. Joel Edgerton.  Love me some Joel Edgerton.

Ides of March

Hate Ryan Gosling, but Phillip Seymour H. makes up for him.  I think Tinker Tailor will kick it’s ass, as far as being a political thriller goes.

S’truth!

August 7th, 2011

Remember back when Flying Fox first debuted his goatee, and I said it looked sort of Reynard the Fox, sort of Ren Faire, sort of swashbuckling? (Ed.Note, these are good things.)  I was right!  There was something niggling away in my subconscious; it just took a while to surface.  I now understand what Shaun is going for:

Sir Walter Raleigh by way of Clive Owen!

Elizabethan Clive

Well played, Fox.  Well played.

Elizabethan Shaun

We All Scream For Ginger

August 2nd, 2011

See? But no, I’m talkin’ about….

OMG

Trader Joe’s Lemon & Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream!

Read the rest of this entry »

Panth..ur…Foxes Win!!!

August 1st, 2011

OMG, XGames 17 on Saturday night!  I know none of you care but TOUGH SHIT!  That was some Friday Night Lights-level of epic, unbelievable victories.  It was up there with Sid Crosby Wins Gold for Canada Single-Handed in “leap around the living room screaming” joy.  Damn, I still want to run around my ‘hood shrieking “Whoooooooooooooo!!” and setting couches on fire, but BW won’t let me.

Here’s how it all went down…

We watched the skate qualifying prelims at 7:00/ Shaun put in one or two awesome runs then fell for the rest.  I tried not to get nervous.

10:00 pm.  Finals start.  Shaun is in the second heat, along with the dude who has won the XGames for the past 5 years in a row, Pierre-Luc Gagnon.  PLG is an incredible skater, and he’s technically perfect, but somehow his performances lack excitement.  Even though I know he’s pulling off hard tricks, it never LOOKS like he’s doing anything incredible, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, the format is free open skate; each guy gets to perform as many runs as he can during the 10 minute time period.  They keep your highest score and throw the rest out.  Dude with highest score at the end of 10 minutes wins.

One of Shaun’s early runs was FUCKING INSANE.  I can’t find a video of it to show you, and I so wish that I could.  You’ll have to believe me.  It was scored an 89.33, so DAMN, was it jaw-dropping.  I thought for sure Foxy had 1st place in the bag.  But then…

PLG puts in one of his usual great runs that look awesome to the judge, but not to me.  It in no way looked any harder or technically better than what Shaun had just done, but the judges gave it a 91.66.  At this point, I am screaming “NO FUCKING WAY!” at the TV and preparing an angry Facebook post about how NHL refs must spend the summer judging at XGames.

And I’m telling myself that I, and Shaun, should not feel bad because for gawd’s sake, he’d just done some inhumanly possible stuff and scored an 89.33 and the judges were biased and what the hell ELSE could they possibly expect him to do…

And there was only 30 seconds left in the free skate and it didn’t even look as though Shaun would have time to squeak another run in, and if he did, how could he top a 91.66 with seconds left to spare??

And then he did it.  He did the Shaun thing.  The Sid Crosby thing.  He reached inside himself when it counted and he performed something incredible and made it look natural as breathing.  And THAT is why every hater in the world can go and suck it, because none of their hate can stand in the face of this.

Here’s the run.  My heart was hammering so hard during these 30 seconds I thought it was going to jump out of my throat.

YEAAAHAAHAHAAAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  You just cannot MAKE that shit up!  (Ok, in the case of Friday Night Lights, you can.)

And here’s the followup interview.  This is why I love Shaun…he’s just pulled off the impossible, again, but he never takes it for granted.  He is SO genuinely overjoyed, and humbled.  He loves what he does, it clearly all means so much to him even after all these years.  Does a sellout behave like this?

Love you, Flying Fox!

QHB1

July 30th, 2011

One year ago yesterday, we lost our beloved friend Gulli.  I just wanted to post something to say that we still feel your absence keenly, little buddy, and we think of you all the time.  If I concentrate, I can hear your purring and feel your paws kneading my lap.

Miss you, Pumpkinhead.

Do do that Yudu

July 20th, 2011

BW and I recently borrowed a Yudu home screen-printing “system” from Tim The Enchanter.  I thought it would be fun to make some tshirts from a very cool Syd Barrett graphic that I stole from someone on Flickr a while back.  Although I’m happy with the results, I don’t know if I would seriously recommend the Yudu to anyone.  In terms of cost, it definitely doesn’t hold a candle to real screen-printing equipment.  However, real screen-printing equipment can take up whole rooms, so it’s impractical for the home hobbyist.

More than anything, the Yudu reminds me of an outsized Easy Bake Oven.  It’s a big box with a lightbulb and a fan inside.  There are emulsion sheets (sold separately) that you apply to their screens, then you dry the emulsion using the unit’s built-in fan.  This takes a very long time…a few hours minimum.  The next step is burning your design into the emulsion; this is done by inserting the screen into the unit and turning on the mega-watt bulb.  That only takes about 10 minutes.

Then you’re ready to print.  The manufacturer says that you can do multi-colored printing, but I’m dubious.  We found one color to be clumsy enough.  It doesn’t help that for multi-colors you’d have to buy even more sold-separately accessories.

And that is the main gripe with the Yudu:  cost.  Something that expensive should work better.  If I’d paid for a Yudu, I’d be pretty miffed. It’s a damned cost-ineffective way to make just a few items, and too unwieldy to make high volumes of items.  You’d honestly spend less money finding a real print shop that accepts small job orders, and paying them to make shirts for you, particularly for a multi-color design.  Or uploading to Cafe Press and doing it there, but the print quality won’t be as good.  Either is cheaper than Yudu, especially once you factor in cost of shirts and the all-important convenience factor.

Lest I sound too bitchy, the part where you finally get to screen your design onto your object WAS fun.  And our screen did come out very nicely; the design was crisp and retained all its detail.  The end products are very cool, but I don’t think I’ll be Yuduing anything else in the future.

Absolute Beginners

July 13th, 2011

I am writing this review purely so that I can spend time looking for pictures of Ewan from the movie.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time looking forward to Beginners.  Unlike every other movie I’ve looked forward to in recent memory, it did not leave me disappointed.  It absolutely justified my insistence on seeing it the very first day and ditching BW so that I could see it at one of the very first showings of the very first day.  (OCD + movie fandom.  It’s not pretty.)

That said, Beginners is not quite the movie I was expecting, nor what the trailers would lead you to think.

I thought it would be more of a light-hearted comedy.  Instead, it is a very quiet, thoughtful series of ruminations.  Much like watching a slideshow of the main character’s  (Oliver, as played by Parallel Universe Husband) memories;  the show unfolds at his pace.  We linger longer on the memories that matter most to him, even if they don’t always make sense to us.  We random glimpses of moments that seem out of context, but isn’t that how memories work?  But soon a narrative emerges, and if you just relax and let it play out you will be rewarded with that rarest of treats:  a movie that doesn’t TELL! EVERYTHING! through EXPOSITION! and OBVIOUS EDITING! and MUSIC CUES!

Beginners is a movie that shows.  The actors’ faces tell the story, and they are a great group of actors playing very human characters. Melanie Laurent’s ‘Anna’ teeters on the brink of manic-pixie-dreamgirlhood, but somehow skillfully avoids falling down that elevator shaft.  Christopher Plummer is masterful, I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t get a Best Supporting nod.  (He’s gay! AND dies of cancer!!)  Ewan is fantastic here.  I think his atonement for The Island and Angels & Demons is complete.

Further, he spends most of the movie looking pensive and a little sad in nice lighting.

Like that.  Reason enough to see the movie, why am I still typing this?  Do you need to be reminded that he talks to a little dog throughout?  Don’t you have a soul, or what?

Anyway, the only time that Beginners falters is when they step out of the narrative and show you Oliver’s (an artist/graphic designer, just like director Mike Mills, upon whom the character is based) drawings.  Those sequences start to feel like heavy-handed TELLING compared to the rest of the film, but I think they are forgivable because 1. the drawings are quite clever and 2. Beginners is a movie that takes place inside an artist’s head so it wouldn’t make sense if we didn’t see some of his art.

I know that Beginners is in quite limited release, but if it appears in your town, do go!  If not, add it to your Netflix queue immediately.  I think I’ve talked myself into seeing it again, anyone up for it?

The Summer Wind

July 4th, 2011

2011 has been a year of terrible losses.

Very early Saturday morning July 2, our dear friend Jean passed away.  Jean was the mother of one of our oldest, closest friends, Cheri, and has been a part of BW and my lives since high school.  She was stricken by a sudden, massive stroke late on Thursday.  While we are all reeling from her loss, I am grateful that her passing was swift, and that she did not have to linger or suffer.

Jean was one of the most giving people that I had the pleasure to know.  She treated BW and I like her own children, and in our turn we thought of her as an extra mom.  There were times (like during our wedding planning) when blood relatives were giving us grief, but Jean was ALWAYS in our corner.  She was the best kind of Family…the kind that you choose.

One thing that BW, Jean, and I shared that was a delight to Jean (but a source of irritation to Cheri) was our mutual love of Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.   BW was constantly burning CDs and DVDs for Jean, and then we’d hear it from Cheri about having to listen to her mom’s Frank all day at home.   On car trips, Cheri would routinely be outvoted on the music options.  Jean in turn would then lord it over Cheri about what better taste BW and I had than Cheri.  :)

That’s a long-winded way of trying to explain how, when I got the phone call from Cheri, the first thing that popped into my mind, and has stayed there more-or-less since was this….

Farewell Jean.  we will miss you more than we can say.