Sunday, January 22, 2017

March Into the Sun

Part of me feels like I missed a big opportunity not going to DC....or Chicago or Boston.

By all accounts, Cleveland had a decent turn out for the Women's March. Clearly not as big as those aforementioned cities. Even my sister-in-law went to the one in Charleston. And I had friends or family who attended in New York, San Jose, Columbus, Portland and Atlanta as well.

There were also a bunch to headed to DC for the main event. I mean, after all, it was deemed, the Women's March on Washington. The DC Metro reported that yesterday, there was 82,000 more riding their trains than on inauguration day.

Allegedly there were over a half-millions people at the DC march (some reports of 650k). So many so, that people didn't wait for the official route, as it moved to slow and took over other avenues and streets.

I certainly didn't see these crowd numbers along what few images I saw of the inaugural route. ....though Dump and his press secretary will tell you I'm lying misrepresenting.  Yeah.  And the Metro is fudging their numbers too ?




Our piddly-ass rally we went to last August.  Though to be fair - the one we went to might have had more port-a-potties.   ....and let's face it, the lack thereof is what would have kept me away from DC.

As it turns out, Becca and her youngest ducked out part way through the DC march. I get it. The crowd can be overwhelming.  ....and well.....Madonna.

Oh Madge. All for women's rights, she is. She's all against ageism and sexism. I mean, that's what she says is the problem against her. It's not. It's her shitty music. But somethings are easier to blame, I suppose.

I'm not sure how I feel about the turn-outs in other regards.

Had this event happened the last week of October, would the election have been different?  But on the other hand, did anyone believe - or want to - that Dump would be where he is now?  Is that the difference? No one thought this kind of turn-out for this kind of travesty was necessary?

My big beef is the aftermath. While I think the march was great and it mattered, but the question is: to whom else?

Do you think anyone residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is going "oh nooooooo.......the women don't like me?"

The problem is - he doesn't give a fuck.

Neither do the majority who reside at the other end of the Mall.  (and no, not the clerks at Things Remembered.)

Well, Dump does - in a way. It's a twisted irony with him. If he didn't care what people thought, he wouldn't tweet or speak at press events about it so much. Yet when it comes to actual action - he doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself. His supporters just don't see that yet.

The march is good for organization and a call to action, but for change in Planned Parenthood, ACA, Equal Pay or Education (just cross gun control off any list with this administration now), you're dreaming.

This fuck is going to be a long hard one. And with no lube. And it's gonna last four years.



....that said, I'm sorry I didn't go to the march. I'm not sure I could have handled being in DC with the administration - and lack of pooperies - but I'm sure I could have survived for a good cause.....and with a pack of Depends.



Song by: Echosmith

Saturday, January 21, 2017

You Are the Light

In these dark times, we always have Shep Saturdays. He and his sister (not pictured this week) are just sweetness and light - even when they're not.

Shep has been really good for both 710 and myself. Our work days are shorter, as we strive to be home with him. He is good company - unless he's eating a shoe or biting the carpets.

I was happy happy to not have watched a single minute of yesterday's inauguration. Save a few mockeries of C.H.U.D. Kelly whatshername, on Facebook, I missed all the comments too.

I tell ya - cutting out news and op-ed pieces has made my life less stressful.

......now, back to the Shep-man.

Petey's old bed. 

Shep has never used it once. It's a toy chest. 

710 being conquered by Mr. Shep after getting home from work. 

He's always so frickin' happy to see us when we get home....and vice versa. 

PetPeople bath time. 

We had a muddy day at the dog park. He's doing better at baths, or at least tolerating them. 

Doggie Matrix. 

Canine play date with Shep's best friend, Kooper. 



Song by: Long Justice

Friday, January 20, 2017

End of the Run

It's the end of an era.

A pretty fucking good one at that.

Obama was not a perfect president, but he came as close as anyone in my lifetime (so far).

The tenor of Obama's presidency was one of civility, strength, honor and doing what was right for man/womankind regardless of the fall-out.

Barack didn't hit all the marks all of the time, but I felt he did the right thing for the right reasons more often than not.

That is not a small feat.

I could sit here and point out all the things I thought he did well. No healthcare system is going to be trouble-free. You're talking about 300MM citizens. Yet, he made great strides. And if you've seen, in his last week in office, the ACA has more people for it than oppose it. I think they are now afraid of losing what they had.....without knowing what it might be.....if anything.

While I'd never vote for any politician based on some so-called gay agenda or issues only (and I do know people who do that), I was impressed at Obama's inclusion of the gay community in his policies and politics. It was not immediate, but when he got there, it was sincere. It was not to score political points, but for the same rights as other Americans.

By all accounts, Obama could have had a better working relationship with Congress. But by all observances, they had no desire to work alongside him either - and he still accomplished more than one might think, considering the impediments.

I won't leave out his wife either. I have to admit, I'm still stunned - yes, stunned! - that people fucking opposed her passion of eating healthier and exercising. What a monster she was!

Barack or Michelle could have said the sky was blue, and people on the Hill - and the hill folk - would have disputed it.

You wouldn't think a leader of the free world speaking eloquently would not be such a big deal - yet 44 is stuck between 43 and 45, and those are two reasons I stopped listening to much of NPR and nightly news.

U.S. politics has always been a down in the dirt(y) game. From 2000 on, the elections have gotten nastier, and candidate after candidate completely unqualified - though it hasn't stopped people from voting them in......then complaining about them before re-electing the same scum.

I did see Obama as a break in the cycle. And he was. Unfortunately, with his election and subsequent re-election, America got ugly and uglier.  So now we are here.

I will lament the loss of Barack Obama. I will revel in his legacy. While I do believe history will rank him as one of the great ones - I'm already there.

We shan't see another president like him in a while. Possibly not in my lifetime.

While the current state of being is less than optimal, I am proud to have experienced a man like Obama as my president.



Song by: Debbie Harry

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fire Meet Gasoline

Ooooooh......we went to our first city public forum two nights ago.

Ok, technically it wasn't a 'city forum' but a larger neighborhood one, as "they" are developing an area adjacent to our 'hood.

The plan is for stores, restaurants, upscale housing and possibly a boutique hotel.  oooooh.

Oh - and an 8 story parking garage.

Have you ever seen the show Parks & Recreation?  One of their hallmarks is their forums.  Usually there are a handful of folks you see forum to forum, but others are sprinkled in there too. It's crazy conversation, usually indicative of nothing relating to the topic at hand.

And it's hilarious.

And as it turns out: spot on.

O.M.G. People b crazy.

I'd say there were about 90 folks at this shindig. 710 and I - like always - skewed slightly to the younger part of the crowd. I mean, this was a Gold Bond / Centrum Silver crowd. I suppose this is what some people do to get out on a Tuesday evening.

Mind you, the presentation wasn't perfect. It wasn't even fully formulated, as it was somewhere between the pre-planning and planning phase.  The firm had won the RFP, but other than that, buildings were concepts.....occupants were non-existent and one beloved bakery doesn't seem willing to reacclimate with owners after they tear down the existing building.

It was not far into the presentation before the questions / comments started coming.

A woman, who is also a neighbor, had very strong opinions on how to select and architect and what the style should be: ultra modern.  She and her husband have a very contemporary house, but the business district is 1920s. I don't know modern would work there, but......I'm also open to ideas. Lorna was not. She wad adamant. And she did not seem to like the idea that they would entertain other styles.  ......not that they're even vetting architects as of yet.

The few people younger than us were dismayed there would not be a park / playground.  "How will you ever attract younger residents if you don't have a playground.......even if it is just two swings?"  It all reeked of Helen Lovejoy.

From there it went off the rails.

"When are they going to paint that rusty old bridge?  They painted one side......but the other is still untouched!". 

Ok.  First......that bridge is about a mile from the development in question. It belongs to CSX. And it resides in another city. Oh - and these are business developers.

"Are you going to have dual traffic flow on Stokes?" (it's currently a 3 lane, one way street).  That street runs through two different cities - - and is even farther away from the aforementioned bridge.

It was fairly clear these two men didn't work for the city or any municipality. They're not city planners.

I bordered on amused and annoyed. I wanted to hear what these guys had to say about the development, but that got shut down as they tried to respectfully answer crazy ass questions that had nothing to do with anything. And of course, I was dying to hear what other nonsensical things would come out of the mouths of the crowd.

That said - we were moving in on the 90 minute mark with a slight end in sight and then to open it up to Q&A.  Ugh.  That could take forever, regardless of how entertaining it might be. It was now almost 22:30 and we still had not had dinner and it was boiling hot in the venue.

Still we laughed about how much it is like Parks & Rec.

I highly suggest, if you have the chance, go to one.





Song by: Sia

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chelsea Morning

I suppose if I was as big of a bleeding heart liberal as I think I am, I'd be jumping up and down for Obama's commuting of Chelsea Manning's sentence.

Yet, jumping I'm not.

I didn't even mutter or think "oh, good".

I am torn on what Manning did as being admirable or whistleblower as opposed to treasonous. The reality it, war is a dirty business (yes, a business). It's not pretty, it's not fair - and the reality is, Manning couldn't possibly know what she released may have had bigger implications than she could possibly fathom.

I agree with Obama that Manning's sentence was excessive.

And while I seemingly gravitate towards the queer blogs, the people who are / were for Manning's leniency always brought up the transgender aspect. As if that was some kind of a free pass or a special accommodation for the circumstances for which she was charged.

That's where my bleeding heart stops pumping.

If we - as queer folk - want equal rights and not special rights, it goes with all the territory, though I don't think her sexual identity was the reason for her excessive sentence.

There is also that Julian Assange connection. That guy is a creep of creeps - who may or may not have truly contributed to the 2016 election. So that's still unforgivable. Assange did say he'd waive extradition if Obama pardoned Manning. I bet commuting the sentence does not count and he'll live forever in the Venezuelan embassy.

It seems my views have not changed a lot in the last 3.5 years.

Am I glad Manning is getting out early?  Yes, but due to harsh sentencing. Do I think she should have never been in prison in the first place?  I'm going with a 'no' on that one.

There is Dump Talk about rescinding Obama's commutation, but we'll see.  This "man" has such big fish to fry - this seems piddly. But the "man" is all about piddly. He has no vision on those bigger issues.




Song by:  Judy Collins

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DNA

DNA is the building block of life.  And a tattoo for Moby....the blogger, not the musician.

For the holidays, I got 710 a doggie DNA test for Shep. Let me tell you  - it was not cheap.  I'm not complaining or anything, it's just I got a mid-range one and the others were way way more pricey.

710 did the work. He had to scrape the sides of Shep's mouth, with three different swabs.....for 45 seconds each.

Now, that doesn't sound so bad, does it?  

Look at your watch for 45 seconds. Three times.

Now try it with a dog who likes to each anything that is in his mouth.  It's like infinity +1.


On another note, 710 got me a DNA kit for the holidays. The ancestry.com one.

No one had to scrape my mouth, but I did have to spit into a container. I had to wait for the bubbles to go down on it to make sure there was enough saliva.

So you see all these commercials about how these folks thought they were from one part of the world, but found out they were another. It's like their family has been lying to them their entire life.

The potential weird part of the ancestry thing is: if other relations have done the same test, they can tell you.....or connect you.....or something.

I don't think that matters - as I know my sisters. Assuming they are my sisters. And assuming they are my only sisters.

This could be a good thing / weird thing for adopted kids.....who are grown and now find family this way. Or for that second family you always assumed your grandfather had who now discovers you.

...for the record, I only think one of those things could happen......as I'm not adopted.

Now my father always poo-poo'd my assumptions that his father had a second family, but for the life of me I never understood his devotion to his own dad. I'm not going out on a limb to say he wasn't the most likable man in the whole world.  He wasn't the most likable man in his own house - and he was the only man in his house.

So while it might have surprised my father to know he had a half-brother somewhere, I'd kind of raise my hand and say "nailed it". Little does the new half-half-half brother know that the family fortune was pissed away years ago.

Oh, it also tells you who in history you might be related to. ....and you just know it's gonna be someone shitty like Eva Braun.........or worse, David Spade.

In two weeks or so, we will find out if Shep is truly a Basset Shepard mix. Or if the test is reliable at all. I'm expecting it come back Husky, Poodle.

In five weeks or so, we'll find out if I'm the same thing.

I certainly feel husky.



Song by: Empire of the Sun

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Music Monday

It's Erik's theme this month. Songs that make you cringe.

Erik loves INXS, so his own theme is gonna come back to bite him in the ass............thanks to me.

Now, I like INXS too. Like, not love.  I own their music, but I can tell you this was the turning point for me.

I was fine.......for a while......with "I Need You Tonight", but after MTV played it for 7,402,882nd time (and that was just in the summer of '87), I was almost out.

I was totally out with the follow-up 'song', "Mediate", which I think "I Need You Tonight" just morphed into.

Lord, it takes it a step beyond 'cringe'.

Clearly someone got Michael Hutchence a rhyming dictionary and he used it for all it was worth. ...and then some.

And worse, someone got a guy in the band a Kenny G Sax™.

One might call the video an homage to Dylan (Bob, not Thomas). I might have thought that early on, but then I just scrapped that. You even have to figure Dylan was annoyed - had he ever watched this.

Ditto with the people at Websters.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Site of the Month

Almost three years ago I my Site of the Month was a Countries of the World Quiz.

I didn't do very well, though I did see flaws with the site itself. Yet, I kept playing.

Then a little while ago, they threw a new version at me. Countries of the World With an Empty Map.

Countries would fill in, as you identified them. It makes it a little harder when you don't see what exactly is missing, but that can actually be an advantage. It makes you think, it makes you strategize.

I do attempt to go continent by continent (or area of the world), though there are some things that go out of order - like if I fill-in 'New Guinea', I also then do "Equatorial Guinea', 'Guinea'  and 'Guinea Bissau'. ....just to get them out of the way.

Still, I did find a flaw - at least for me - that keeps me from achieving 100%.


You'll see even with 1:26 to go (you only get 15 minutes to do the quiz), my last choice -and it's always my last fill-in - is not a correct answer.  Or is it? 


Mind you - my keyboard does not allow me to put an accent over the 'o', but aren't they adhering to details just a little too much?  

If I put in Burma, I get credit for Myanmar. Surely they could give me credit for no ^. 

....and here is why I call bullshit on this oversight.......




Really???

79% of all people taking this quiz got 'Cote d'lovire' right??   That means they all have that ^ above the o.

Bullshit.


Because of that, my 99% seems hollow. 


Still I play, because this game can soothe my OCD, while it also spurs it.  It's a complicated life I lead. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday

Saturdays are my safe place.

It was just a sucky as hell week. It was the week before and I don't see much change this upcoming week. So coming home to the ani-mules is the best part of my day.

Boomer in the bed he got for xmas. 

I told my sister it was way too big for the little guy. She said it's there for when Shep comes over.  As if that dog is going to lie on the floor. Sofa, chair or bed for him only - thank you!

Shep: squirrel hunter.  

Window to window.  For hours and hours. At least he doesn't bark at them. 

Shep getting water. Sophie safely ensconced on the other side of the door. Watching. Waiting. 

Moo-icide.  Murder. 

In theory it was a good toy purchase. The cow's tail was rope, good for tugging and swinging around. In the end (i.e. Shep at the stuffing out of the cow's face).   $8 down the drain. 

Sophie would like to ignore Shep here too.....but it makes that impossible. 


Today, weather permitting, Shep has a play date with his bromance buddy, Kooper. I want to see them play, but it is going to be in the low to mid 20s.  blech.



Song by: the Carpenters

Friday, January 13, 2017

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 82nd 12 of 12.

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

Created by Chad Darnell and picked up from, what I can tell, any number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just Erik and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.


05:25.  Grim, wet walk. 

Raining - and would be pouring before we finished. It was 53 degrees....in January. No worries, as was headed to 21 later in the day. 

06:05.  Someone is really excited for breakfast.

 07:10.  At my desk. Caffeine near by.

 11:25.  Administrator's Monthly Meeting.

It just felt like a soul crushing meeting.

 13:10.  Break time!!!

Yes, the Admin meeting lasted 100 minutes.

14:45.   I have a pistachio problem.

But it's still better than having a dark chocolate problem (which I also do have - just less so these days).

15:10. One my way to my second job. 

Oh yes, "they" gave me a second department for which to oversee. It's only been four days, but so far so good.....at least for now. 

 16:20.  Meeting on decreasing preventable medical mistakes.

18:00.  Putting on the boots.

My dress shoes stay at work during winter months. I use the boots to get to the car and back. It's all very Working Girl.  I'm more Joan Cusack than Melanie Griffith. 

18:20.  Stair Pie.

Its been on the stairs in the employee garage for four days now. I'm just waiting to see if anyone will do anything about it.  Clearly I'm not. 

18:40.  The Pizza Boy: He Does NOT Deliver.

You have to go pick it up yourself. Especially if you left work much later than expected and have no desire to cook dinner when you eventually get home. 

19:15  New Runner. 

I have hated our old one since time began. 710 ordered a new one. The old one is underneath it. He was just checking it out to see if we would like it.  I do. 


......and your Baker's Dozen. 

20:53.  In the mood. 

.....for sleep.  It's been one rough week. Though not ready for bed before 9p, because I'm not 83 - but I turned on the lights knowing I'd be up there before too long to get my beauty sleep. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

the Difference

What a difference 18 hours makes.

I watched Obama's 'farewell' speech. It was nice. It was good. It had great moments, but it wasn't great.

Sorry - it wasn't.

What it was, was a last taste of class, style and dignity from a president. Something that won't be seen for at least four years.

Allegedly, case in point, that 18 hours later with a "press conference" by Dump.

Admittedly, I watched none of the clips. Admittedly, I never ever every plan to watch him. While I will say, I'm kind of dying to see his first State of the Union, it is highly doubtful I will.

I did read about the "press conference", but could only take away bits and pieces. It seems by any news account, it was a shit fest. Hell, when Fox "News" (ok, Shepard Smith) calls out the incoming administration, you might be losing your base.

Granted - that will be short lived. And Dump supporters can lament the "main stream media" all they want, but when freedom of the press is truly shunned, then all you have is propaganda. And let's face it, when it comes to Dump, the so-called liberal media has been doing nothing than letting him get away with that......so they don't have far to fall.

But back to the two.

But the dichotomy of the two being so public in such a short period of time is.....well......unnerving.

I keep thinking of this upcoming presidency as some kind of anomaly - and it is - but one that is there...........forever.  History books.  A library in the future (as if he's ever been in one!). g-d forbid some kind of monument. Even the U.S. Hall of Presidents down in Disney will now have this dickknob.

I've done pretty well without reading the political news lately. I know that makes me part of the problem. I am burying my head in the sand when I can. Our friends, David & James, have vowed to not talk about politics, though admittedly they said, somehow it always steers back to it.

And it does. While we haven't made the same vow, 710 knows I feel too soul-crushed to discuss intelligently about someone who can't be discussed logically, let alone intelligently.

It's a pickle.

I feel your tears Barack.  I fear I'll be shedding many over the next term.




Song by: matchbox twenty

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ad of the Month

This ad is actually a few years old.

I stumbled upon it once while probably watching Will & Grace reruns on Logo.  Well, I'm assuming....just a hunch.

Some of the Vegas ads are funny in their own right. Some are just so-so. But this one makes me smile more than laugh, which can invariably be more difficult.

While I'm guessing 87% of the gay population would go for the blond guy, it's the brunette guy I find cuter.....though I think that it is because of his timing and his reaction that he'd actually consider it.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winner

It's the moment of truth.

Ok......that happened Sunday. But you know, I needed to make sure Russia didn't hack into the system and change vote tallies. And that there was appropriate investigation and hearings into such matters.

I also have post-traumatic stress disorder from having to endure watching Jimmy Fallon for anything longer 1.882 seconds.  Not at a time.  I'm talking cumulative.

Though it has taken me a while to catch on, I'm realizing that Mike is "letting" me choose first, and then he makes his selections. How very convenient. One of us (cough cough me cough) does the heavy lifting, and then someone else comes up from the rear and makes mostly the same selections, save a few so, he can win, even if it's only by one.

It's somewhat brilliant when you think of it.

And it's somewhat sad.

That kid he sat next to in math class who was always crouching over his paper?  So Mike couldn't cheat off of it. Is it any wonder I had to go over the ballot again and again?

So here is what it came down to:

Best Picture, Drama  - we both lost
Best Picture, Comedy or Musical - we both
Best Actor, Drama - we both won
Best Actress, Drama  - we both
Best Director - Mike won
Best Actor, Musical or Comedy - Mike won
Best Actress, Musical or Comedy - we both
Best Screenplay - we both lost
Best Supporting Actor - we both lost
Best Supporting Actress - we both won
Best Original Score - we both won
Best Original Song - Mike won (he was very nice about winning this category...........NOT!)
Best Animated Feature Film - Mike won. 
Best Foreign Language Film - Blobby finally got one!


Of course, the cookie prize thing was overshadowed by the one and only Meryl Fucking Streep (you must scream it like Billy Eichner).

Mike and I chatted during the presentation - we are both quick wits if I say so myself. So it was a fun back and forth most of the night, still at 21:23 I knew I was mathematically eliminated, so I knew I could go to bed at a reasonable hour.  ......then there was the introduction of Meryl.

I IM'd...."Streep always gives a good speech".    .....and how right I was.

Usually she is quippy and sardonic, which is why she'd be my selection of the one person with whom I'd like to have dinner. Last night she was really neither. But she was spot on.

And she also ruined my run of trying not to mention Dump.  Save a very brief pseudo-reference to him on January 1, you have to go back to December 23rd since I've truly brought him up - - kind of like a hairball.

The beauty of her speech - she never uttered his name.

That and she brought note several note cards up on stage, looked at the top one for about 2.6 seconds and never referenced them again. And no one, I mean no one, plays off Meryl Fucking Streep.

....and then it was over.  And Mike (as always), got the first word.




I've read little of the 'aftermath'. It seems it was all too predictable. He seems so predictable.

Then there's the whole, 'Hollywood has no place weighing in on politics'. or 'what do actors know about politics'.

{sigh}

What does a reality tv star know about politics?   It's rhetorical folks.

I get that Ryan Gosling, as handsome as he be, might not have a say, since he's Canadian and all, but why is an actor different than a steelworker when it comes to having opinions?  They both use many of the same services, such as utilities, roadways, etc. They both pay taxes, unlike you know who.

Yes, actors have more of a platform from which to speak. But so did Dump - and his supporters didn't seem to mind that. Hell, they even elected him.

But while Mike and Meryl think they're the winners of this Golden Globe thing - neither were even close. The big winner was................wait for it................



Goldie Hawn.


That fucking drunken / drugged out mess. She couldn't read. She could barely stand. And she couldn't even see the microphone stand. Amy Schumer showed that she is a real actress, as she didn't let on how mortified she was.  ....and she didn't laugh.

Yet, with Meryl Streep's speech, everyone forgot about that entire incident. Hell, they forgot who won best picture.

Still.....with the distractions and all, when it comes down to it, I need to get a set of cookies to Boston. I'll try to time it with Mike's birthday and make it a two-fer.

Because that's the kind of great guy I am.



Song by: Pet Shop Boys

Monday, January 09, 2017

My Music Monday

There was a time that R.E.M. could do no wrong. Even their bad stuff wasn't very bad. And it certainly wasn't cringe-inducing.

A while back, someone mentioned the time the band went off the rails and could pinpoint it to 1991's "Shiny Happy People".  Sure they brought in Kate Pierson from the B-52's.  Sure it was bouncy. Sure it was everything that Michael Stipe is not. But it never made me cringe.

That song is not the worst thing out there, let alone from the band. Yet, it's not at the top of its craft either.

I can take that cringe factor of REM back a few years from that example to 1988 with "Stand" from the album Green.

Just annoying as fuck. Especially when it the next song in sequence was arguably one of their best songs ever, "World Leader Pretend".

The official video for "Stand" is just as cringe-inducing, so I won't show it.  I'll do a similar one, but done with LEGO.


Sunday, January 08, 2017

Young Lion

Lion is a story in two parts.

Based on a true story of a young boy, Saroo, who gets separated from his brother in a small town in India and ends up 1200 miles away - alone. This would be part one.

The following part is Saroo as an adult, brought to the remembrance of his childhood and the potential strife his family had endured - along with with the inevitable search.

While clearly not two different movies, each section moves at its own pace and have two different tugs of the heart and head.

For the most part, I enjoyed Dev Patel's performance of the adult Saroo. Yet it was the young Saroo that made the movie. He was able to convey the love of family, the fright of being lost, alone, hungry et al. Young Saroo is adaptive, resourceful, brave and inquisitive. That actor holds more weight  - and while at times uncomfortable to watch, also very engaging.

Patel's performance is much more restrained than in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, or even Newsroom. He could chew the scenery there.

The issue with the movie becomes the second half. One gets the need to know where one comes from in any circumstance, and more so in one like this. It's just the round-about of doing it seems underwhelming.

I finally figured out Rooney Mara has one acting style - and it's "boring". There seemed to be little connection to Patel's character. And Patel has way more lustrous and impressive hair than Mara.

I wanted more of a connection between Patel and his adoptive parents played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham (whom I haven't seen since he played Faramir in the Lord of the Rings). The semi-connection that comes across is more from direction or script than it does from the actors abilities....except maybe Mara's.

Kidman gives a gives a great monologue in her big scene, but someone needs to tell the costume designers, just because the real woman Kidman portrays has crappy hair, doesn't mean the actress does too.

In the second half you get glimpses of what could have been better. In the first half, it is played nearly to perfection.

I'll give no spoilers.

Lion is a good movie, not always an easy one. I'm on the fence if it is Oscar worthy - which people are jabbering about. But nominations are not out, so we will see if it is eligible.




2017 Movie Count / Goal:  02 of 24


Song by: Vampire Weekend

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Welcome Home

For a short week at work, it was a shitty one. So it's always fun to come home to the kids who just seem to love us not matter what.

Look who are becoming somewhat better pals? 

He's THE man. 

Shep's duck.  A present from our niece. 

Dad's Home!!!!!!

Another brother and sister shot.



Song by: Joy Williams

Friday, January 06, 2017

Silence is Golden

So, Good Ole Mike IM'd me yesterday - yesterday !! - to challenge me to a Golden Globes contest (which is on Sunday).

It would be our first, though he claims we've done it before.  Je don't think so.

As I mentioned to him, the Globes has weird-ass categories, like 'Best Drama or Musical performed by Left Handed People with A- Blood'.   Mike added......who stutter.

There is little rhyme or reason to their categories. And he suggested we play on them all. Lord.

I'm happy to do the movies, but I think I'm staying away from television, as it could take me another night to get all the categories in here. There's a lot of editing just to get it to this level. Sometimes HTML isn't all that fun.

Mike thinks he's all that, because he's seen one (!!!) movie this year. One.  (pssssst......he's voting for Manchester by the Sea for everything.....evening in categories it's not nominated).

Now if I want to win (and I do), I have to think like the Hollywood Foreign Press.  UGH! Torture. Remember, these are people who gave Madonna a Best Actress award!   Yeah. That!

These aren't all my choices of what's best - just what might win.

Which comes to the real reason Mike messaged me today. He must be out of cookies. It must be hell for Peter and Otis with Mike's Holiday Cookie DTs in full effect. He just needs a fix and sees me as an easy target.   .....and clearly, I'm an enabler.

So......away. we. go.

Best Picture, Drama 
Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water,  Lion,  Manchester by the Sea,  Moonlight

Yeah - like anyone is voting for a Mel Gibson movie!  

Best Picture, Comedy or Musical 
20th Century Women,  Deadpool,  Florence Foster Jenkins,  La La Land,   Sing Street

Best Actor, Drama 
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea Joel Edgerton, Loving Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic Denzel Washington, Fences

It might be Washington, but the Other Affleck is riding great reviews. 

Best Actress, Drama 
Amy Adams, Arrival Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane Isabelle Huppert, Elle Ruth Negga, Loving Natalie Portman, Jackie

Weird choices. Miss Sloane was out for 17 minutes. Though Huppert might take it. It is the foreign press. Portman will get it though I don't think her performance was that strong.  

Best Director 
Damien Chazelle, La La Land Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Yeah, like anyone is voting for Mel Gibson. 

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy 
Colin Farrell, The Lobster Ryan Gosling, La La Land Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins Jonah Hill, War Dogs Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

He's foreign. The film offbeat.   ....and it's not Jonah Hill.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy 
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women Lily Collins, Rules Don't Apply Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen Emma Stone, La La Land Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

You know Benning is serious about her performance because in every scene in the trailer she's smoking. Oooooh.....acting!

Best Screenplay 
Damien Chazelle, La La Land Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Just spitballing here. It will probably go to Moonlight

Best Supporting Actor 
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins Dev Patel, Lion Aaron Taylor Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

I'd vote for Patel, but last year's Oscars kind of will force the hand of any black man who isn't Will Smith......you know, cause he sucks. 

Best Supporting Actress 
Viola Davis, Fences Naomie Harris, Moonlight Nicole Kidman, Lion Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Davis might not fit into that mold I mentioned right above. Williams might take it, but probably not. 

Best Original Score 
Moonlight La La Land Arrival Lion Hidden Figures

Original Score. The only musical.  Slam and dunk. 

Best Original Song 
“Can't Stop the Feeling,” Trolls “City of Stars,” La La Land “Faith,” Sing “Gold,” Gold “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana"

I liked "City of Stars", but it's gonna come down to Timberlake or "How Far I'll Go" from the Hamilton guy, Lin Manuel Miranda. 

Best Animated Feature Film 
Kubo and the Two Strings,  Moana,  My Life as a Zucchini,  Sing,  Zootopia

It will probably be Moana, but I'm hoping here. 

Best Foreign Language Film 
Divines,  Elle,  Neruda,  The Salesman,  Toni Erdmann

I'm looking forward to seeing Elle. It looks great. Toni Erdmann looked dreadful, though the trailer kept saying how "hilarious" it was.  It wasn't. 


I suppose bakery is on the line. I don't mind if I lose to and need to concoct something - it's going the post office that grinds my gears......and losing.

I am assuming I'm tipping my hand at the 6th Annual Academy Award Guessing Game®  selections, but not all of these will be on that ballot.

Oh - and the Golden Globe itself?  F'ugly.  Only the People's Choice Award might be worse. But the GG looks like something stored in Bellatrix LeStrange's vault at Gringotts. Or at Mike's house in Boston.

I kid.....I kid.

Madame LeStrange would never own anything that tacky.



Song by: Garbage

Thursday, January 05, 2017

To Live and Die in LA

Like last year, we kicked off the movie season early. Day 2 - only because we were too fucking lazy to do anything on Day 1.....and we had dinner plans with my mother, so it waited a day.

La La Land was the choice.

It has such great word of mouth - though I'm now beginning to think whomever they hired as their PR firm has been working overtime to get it on everyone's 'best of the year' lists.

Doubtful it will be on mine.

I don't actually know if it will end up in my Top 5 for viewed in 2017. I can tell you, it would not have made the top 5 for 2016.

I'm not saying La La Land isn't good. It's fine.

I'm saying it's not great and it's not all that.

Sure, I am fine spending $6 (it was a Monday matinee), or even twice that much, to stare at Ryan Gosling for two hours.


TOTALLY worth it.


As it goes, the taglines of 'bringing musicals back' is crap. Don't 'they' say that once every 2-3 years when one comes out? And as musicals go, the songs are mostly lackluster (I liked one).

The big opening number - I thought it was a crappy sound system, but it wasn't. It was so poorly recorded until they got to the end where they sang the same line over and over, I am not sure I truly picked out a word they were singing. When you have a few 100 people performing a sequence like that, it's best to make it worth it.

The acting is good. The story is good, if not horribly original. The cinematography is good.

But when they tout the movie as 'song and dance', you kind of better mean it.

Neither Emma Stone or Gosling (even with his Mickey Mouse Club background) are singers. They're just not. They are not horrible, but when you think someone in a musical, these would be the understudies personal assistants. And when you put their voices together?  ehhhhhhhhh.......no. They just don't work together.

Gosling fares better than Stone, but I might just be cutting him a break on this looks. As much as I was intrigued by his "City of Stars", it lost all shine (get it?  get it??) when they did it as a duet.

Then there's the dancing. There isn't a lot. I'm not necessarily complaining. The first real number (Stone & Gosling) on the street I thought was good. The one at the Griffith Park Observatory was just wires. It's visually pretty, but the guys running the pulleys and levers do most of the work.

If anything, jazz is more the center of the movie than song & dance, much like the way director Damien Chazelle featured it in Whiplash too.

It sounds like I'm down on the movie - and I'm not. While I read no actual reviews of the film beforehand (but plenty after), I'm not sure what I am missing with all the praise that has been heaped upon it.

Fine is fine. But fine isn't great.   ...and Ryan Gosling can certainly pull off a pair of spats.



(oh, 710 doesn't know it yet, but I settled on 24 as our movie goal for 2017. It's ambitious to say the least, but it's two movies per month.  It's a 25% increase in the goal of 2016, but a decrease of 4% from actual movies we did see.  Anyway, I'm hopeful - and we're already 1/24th in.)


2017 Movie Count / Goal:  01 of 24


Song by: Wang Chung

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Like in the Movies

Since we went above and beyond any movie year - ever - I felt the need to wrap it up with what I thought was good.

This opens myself up, of course. Is it the best movies of 2016 that we saw?  Or just the best movies we saw in 2016?

Keep in mind, of the 25 movies we took-in, 5-6 movies in 2016 that actually had 2015 release dates. I fear that would limit my 'best of' if we took away the 2015-ers.

I know Raybeard did his Top 10 list, but he sees far more movies than I do. And If I did 10, that would be close to half of those films.   .....and some are borderline anyways, so......   Raybeard and I do have a few choices in common too.

Below are my Top 5 and they are in order - and two are 2015 releases (the underlined titles are hyperlinked to my past reviews - if you care. The hyperlinks in the text are to the official movie url). Mike - or anyone wishing to play along in the soon to be 5th Annual Academy Award Guessing Game® - can take note in how I might be voting.

Kubo and the Two Strings
I kept waiting for a movie that would knock Kubo out of my top place. I don't think one did. Again, it is not my style, but the trailer was enough to intrigue me and the movie captivated me. Motion-stop, Japanese animation in the big scheme does not speak to me. But in this instance, I took to heart the movie's first line: "if you must blink - do it now".

Spotlight
I struggled with not making this my top movie. I think it was just timing of seeing it almost a year ago is why it is at #2. Still Spotlight is deserving of anyone's top list for the last year. A tough subject matter for sure, and extremely well tackled. And Mark Ruffalo was robbed of his Oscar.

Manchester by the Sea
My friend James said, "it was a great movie......that you only have to see once".  I totally hear what he's saying. Manchester by the Sea was not an "up" movie, but as I said: well acted, written, directed and shot. The subject was just real and not always pleasant, such as life.

45 Years
One of those blink and you miss it movies was 45 Year. At least in Cleveland, it wasn't here long and opened very late in terms of circulation, but I'm glad we had the chance to see it. Charlotte Rampling did such an amazing job, but was robbed of her Oscar by daring to speak up regarding an all white Academy Award nominee list. She inadvertently dissed Will Smith - saying nomination is about ability not color - that she should have been handed the award right then and there for saying that.

Eye in the Sky
What could have been just an excellently edited trailer, turned out to be a really good movie. Considering non of the principals in Eye in the Sky have a scene together in the same location, the film editing was just as good at the trailer. It's a good story too and topical too, as we look at different avenues of warfare. And it was Alan Rickman's last role.


I will say, I did have some movies on the cusp I wanted to include in my top 5:

  • the Lobster being one. I gave it an iffy review, but I will say, the more I marinated on it after seeing the movie, I grew to like it more.  
  • Sing Street being another. It's not a classic, but I liked it. 
  • Deadpool.  I know - it never occurred to me that I might like it - but I did. A lot. 
We like the Big ShortFlorence Foster Jenkins and Hunt for the Wilderpeople too (though I know Raybeard did not enjoy that one), but not enough to make the top 5....or possibly 8.

I will go on record my least favourite movie of the year was Ghostbusters. I am constantly surprised how many people claim to have liked it. I smiled maybe twice during it and laughed a total of zero times. 


We have not yet set a goal for 2017, but suffice to say, viewing is already underway. 


Oh - by the way: what were your favourite movies you saw this past year?




Song by: Chrissie Hynde

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Stardust

Finally got around to seeing Star Wars: Rogue One.

It was our last movie for 2016.

Unlike the others, I didn't feel the need to be their opening weekend. To be honest, I had read next to nothing on the film so didn't know where it fit into the Star Wars timeline, or if it did. I thought it might be a complete separate storyline.

Then, I saw a picture of Vader and figured it had to be somewhere after Episode III and before the end of Episode VI. But that's all I knew.

To be fair, we had tried to see it the day after xmas, but it was sold out. I had heard this from a number of other people who had tried to see it at different theaters and in different states. I guess no one was going near a store to return anything.

I took it as a good sign when John Williams sat in front of us at the theater.

To be clear, this was John Williams our neighbor, not John Williams the composer. Still - maybe there was kind of message being sent.

Now, I know many people loved Rogue One. I know just as many who thought it to be dreadful. I fall somewhere between, but closer to the 'love' part.

I'll give a brief synopsis, but even if you're planning on seeing it, technically there are not (m)any spoilers if you've ever seen the original Star Wars film and can put 2+2 together.

Visually, there are lots of nods to a New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I would say part are for nostalgia, part to join Rogue One into the first trilogy. They do it somewhat seamlessly and often with no actual recognition or exposition to the fact. It forces you to either go "hey C3PO!" or if you're less savvy, "why the fuck did they just show those two droids?"  Ditto with Bali Organa (Jimmy Smits).

They do it to let you know that 'those two droids' will play a bigger part in the "next" installment. It's just not said. It's a reference point.

The CGI?  Eh - some was good. Some not. Some just downright fucking creepy.

All the Rebel fleet coming out of hyperspace to a screeching halt looked cheeeeeeesy.  It's like the self-braking cars. Sure it's great for you if you're driving, but if the car behind you doesn't have it, you're still gonna have a fucking accident. It's just like someone did a lot of copy / paste on their iMovie program and didn't know when to stop adding Rebel ships.

Peter Cushing - back from the dead by like 30+ years was the creepy one. It looks more stop action than anything that easily flowed. It kept reminding me of Anomalisa. Nothing about it was natural - though in our group, I seemed to be in the minority about it being well done.  Such is my life.

CGI'd Leia wasn't much better.

The filmmakers didn't go too over the top with the technology. Maybe it's just my take, but this sequence butts up right against Epsiode IV which has one in the franchise that has the least amount of gadgetry. I think they had to keep basic with basic.

The cast is passable. It is certainly the most diverse cast in the Star Wars franchise. Indian (!), Black, Female, Irish, Hispanic. I don't know if Forest Whitaker was doing a Blue Velvet bit or not. The main female character reminded me of a lesser Olivia d'Abo, but with dark hair.....and less talent.

And I loved the new droid - K-2SO. Finally a sarcastic droid. Not some fussy protocol one or a too cutesy roly one. And who doesn't love Alan Tudyk?

The story was itself was good. It's a nice lead-up to a New Hope and it fills in some gaps between the Clone Wars and Epi IV.  Organa even pseudo-mentions Obi Wan serving with him in that war - just at Leia would do hologram-style in the next film.

And while the Rebellion v Empire is about war and always has been, Rouge One seems to take that a little more literally, though can't quite commit to which war they'd like to portray - so they give them all a visual.

You got your 'on the beach' scene for WWII.  You have your jumping out of an aircraft into the jungle shots like you're in Vietnam. You have the overheads of islands and sea as if you're in the middle-east. And then last but not least, you have the Samurai films which influenced Lucas in the first place for the first film.

Oh - and the score was bland at best, but John Williams did not write or conduct it either.

Apparently, not everyone thinks you should MST3K a movie while it's going on - like when Ograna said he would head back to Alderaan - and I'm all like, "noooo, don't do it!!!" Or when Organa (again!) said he knows someone who can transport the Death Star's technical specifications and says, "I trust her with my life", (he means Leia, even though he doesn't say it) at least James laughed when I said, "that's what he told Debbie Reynolds too - and how did that work out?!"

Knowing they had limited options with the movie, since they knew the objective and we knew the next link in the chain, they filled in gaps quite effectively. I saw no huge gaps in the story. Sure - there were 1-2 little things that bothered me: a break away from the Rebel Alliance had all of 20 people who went to retrieve the Death Star plans - yet like 60 of them died after getting to that planet. Or after giving a commandeered ship the name "Rogue One", that almost no one recognizes or has heard (or both), suddenly the Rebel Alliance knows of the ship name and uses it freely.

All of those are minor, but my geekiness picks up on them immediately.

Rogue One was a nice diversion. It's not making my top 5 list for 2016. It might not even make my top 10. But we all enjoyed it.



2016 Movie Count / Goal:  25 of 18


Song by: Mika

Monday, January 02, 2017

My Music Monday

Erik picked the theme for this month - 80's songs that make you cringe.

I haven't given it that much thought yet, but that can't be too hard, right?  Right?  And since I have five Monday's this month, I'm hoping it won't be difficult.

Full disclosure, he selected this theme and emailed it to me while inebriated on the streets of New Orleans.  So.........there's that.

It's the 80's so I'm going on record that many a song wouldn't have been airplay worthy on the radio. But as the Buggles said - video killed the radio star. And such, some songs were made for video purposes, rather than the other way around.

I can think of no other point to illustrate this theory than the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian".

In my mind, there is little redeeming value to this song, from a band that usually wrote its own music and did it well. Clearly the record company didn't think so and brought in basically what I call a 'novelty song'.

By all accounts, the band hated it, yet still perform it to this day. Hey - they know what pays the bills, I guess.

Considering all the really good music the Bangles were capable of, I do cringe a bit when I hear this - which isn't often, since I did not load it into my iTunes.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Last Year's Trouble

Good riddance 2016.

It started out so promising, didn't it?

I'd like to say I won't focus on the negatives, but there is 14 billion ton elephant in that room, and it's gonna be dumping dung on us for the next four years.

We've experienced deaths this year - canine and human, though we truly try to not wallow in those, but remember the good times we had with them.

And we've had celebratory times as well - weddings and family reunions, even if they're mini. I've seen a lot of my in-laws this years, and realize how much I really enjoy being around them. We've said we need to make an effort to do this more often, and not at weddings or funerals.

I alluded to in yesterday's picture post that I had seen a number of my cousins this year. December, six of them (and some of their spouses) were all in town. A gallery opening, dinner, a Shiva do-over, brunch and cemetery visit. And some of them got to meet Shep - which I would like to think was their weekend highlight. Robyn is trying to figure out a 2017 reason to all get together - - and she thinks it should be 710's and my 7th anniversary.  It is as good a reason as any. I truly enjoy all their company so much.

There was also the Indians. It was good and bad. They put their heart and talent into that World Series (well, except for Game 6). If it's possible to be happy and said simultaneously, this would be that scenario.  Sigh.

2017, I dare say, many of us will need friends and (some) family more than usual for a support system. At best we need to assemble a Rebel Alliance against the evil Empire.

So, so-long 2016.  I don't think I'll be missing you.


As I've did last few years, for the blog we have a few pieces of info you might (or might not) find interesting - 2016 specific *:

  • Number of posts: 400. Remember, I have Pic a Day in May (plus my regular posts) and it was a Leap Year. And I had a few instances where two posts a day seemed necessary. It is my highest posting year.  
  • Number of unique page views: 139,969 up a measly 3.4% from 2015.
  • Month w most page views: October 2015 with 15,656. 
  • Number of comments: 1,309 which is a 21% decrease. Ouch.  I blame Mike! ( comments always appreciated.....even from Mike)
  • Top post for 2016: Because you're all a big bunch of love, Kitty was the winner. After that the next four top posts were 
  • My top post of all times is still a 2010 post on Camel Toe which now has almost 132,465 (!!!) views. That is only 1,217 more hits since last year - which is down by 25,000 than the year before. (search terms: camel toe, cameltoe, yoga pants camel toe, girls in tight pants......yes, how well they know me)
  • Top Five Referring Sources (in order that is non-search engine related) oddly have not changed at all in the last year - even the order.:  I Should be LaughingDoing Time in Shaker HeightsCloset ProfessorBosGuy and Sean at Just a Jeep Guy - which is pretty good since Sean seems to have dropped off the blogging world and possibly the Earth itself. Congrats to all. 
  • Viewing Audience Top Five Countries (in order): U.S., Germany, China, Ukraine and France.

*I'm still not 100% convinced that Goooooogle Analytics are accurate.

There you have it.

I am finishing drafting this at 22:04.  I don't believe I'll be awake for the actual new year, though as always gun shots might wake me up, though they've been pretty regular since around 20:30. So far they haven't made Shep get up and bark, so that's a plus.

I hope you all have / had a safe and happy New Year.

See you in 2017.


Song by: Suzanne Vega