Monday, February 08, 2016

My Music Monday

Songs not of our tongue - 'tis the theme.

This one is on the borderline. They sing in English and their native Celtic. Technically to many in Ireland, they're not singing in any foreign tongue. To us - they can, at times.

I loved to love Clannad, but I can't say I actually "loved" them. I first came upon them when they did a duet with Bono. I was all about U2 back then - never heard of the band, but went out and purchased them so I could have the song "In a Lifetime". So I think I pretended to enjoy Clannad more than I actually did....or do.

The irony?  U2 fell out of favour too.........for the most part.

Yes, they have an Enya quality about the band, but Enya is the sister of band members Máire, Ciarán and Pól Ó Braonáin and was once a member of the band herself. And I'm guessing there are only so many styles to sing in Celtic, hence the similarities.

While I did like some of their songs, I won't deny it became tedious to listen to for any length of time. Some of their English speaking songs were better than Celtic, but the latter had their moments.

My choice is the theme from the never-seen (by me) Harry's Game. Honestly, I don't think the song has a name other than "the Theme from Harry's Game".

Clocking in at only two and one-half minutes, anyone can tolerate almost any song for that length of time.

The video is a bad transfer. Just horrible. And Máire Brennan looks like a bad version of Marcia Clark. Though lord, to have the guy's butt chin at the 0:49 mark.

That alone will probably get you to hit 'play'.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

45

Six movies in six weeks.  This is insane.

With all are adult movies - ummm...I mean, mature-themed movies - as of late, for the last few months, almost each and every time we have been, we have seen a preview for 45 Years.

Well, not at Star Wars or Sisters, but.......

45 Years looked "serious" and it was. The preview showed quiet conflict, and there was, but from said preview you (or: I) only thought I knew what it was.

I was wrong.

The movie took forever to come to town. Je was afraid I wouldn't see it before I needed to make my selections for the 5th Annual Academy Award Guessing Game®, as Charlotte Rampling is up for best actress.

The set-up, if you will, is the approaching 45th anniversary of Geoff and Kate, and the party that surrounds it. That and an event from prior to their marriage comes to the surface to cause a wrinkle or three in their relationship.

I assumed, from the preview, that the wrinkle would be a child given up for adoption. It is not.

The news of the finding of his ex-girlfriend's body from a mounting climbing accident 50 years prior, seemingly obsesses Geoff. I say seemingly, as the more you watch, it is Kate who is equally, if not more so, obsessed. The ensuing fissure of their relationship is a metaphor for the one that Geoff's ex fell through five decades prior.

Rampling was great!  (she is also great in the London Spy show I mentioned in the last movie review.) While she is not in exactly every shot (though close), she is in every single scene. Her face says and conveys more than any dialogue she is given. It's quite an art, actually. This is her movie.

Andrew Haigh (who produced all of, and directed some of, Looking) did a nice job. I liked his use of colour and scenery. I like how he used the mundane things of everyday household fixtures to convey stability when it might not actually exist at all.

I dare say the real story of 45 Years probably begins at the end of the film.....but you'll have to see it yourself to decide.



2016 Movie Count / Goal:  06 of 18


Song by: Elvis Costello

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Repeat

This might be a first - no new pics of either the dog or cat this week.

Work has been pretty busy, but really it comes down to home time and it's just been trying to nurse Petey back to health.....so no real pictures.

He's better. Not great.

I kid you not - he so hates one of his meds (only another week to go!), that as soon as he smells it, he leaves the room. We don't even have a chance to get it into food. And this Baytril is supposed to be a chewable treat. As if.

And Pete can smell it in chicken or hamburger, so he won't touch that either. We've "tricked" him with certain foods and right now, he's not onto me putting it in scrambled eggs.

Oh yes, I'm scrambling eggs in the morning before I go to work...............for the dog.

I get Cherrios.

Still, there is nothing I wouldn't do for the little man. I get our time is limited. The doc and I had a long discussion on his recurrence of pneumonia so soon after his last two bouts. No doubt his immune system is compromised and probably will never fully recover. We're talking about keeping him on a low-dose antibiotic for long term - to help ward off more infections.

Sure, that raises the risk of drug resistance, but it's impossible to say how long that will take, and he is almost 14. These are just horrible, harsh realities.

So, no new pics, but I thought I'd find older ones, plus one handsome guy (Logan) who inhabits the tea shoppe we go to after yoga.

 Petey - right after we got him, when he still had a lot of brown on him.  

 Hangin' out with his pops (me). 

Soph - atop of me. Smug little kitty. 

...and Logan. Handsome guy with pretty blue eyes.....and just as nice as can be. 


I'll work on new pics of our kids this upcoming week. Hopefully Mr. Pete will be further on the mend.




Song by: David Guetta

Friday, February 05, 2016

Loft Music

It's been a while since there's been a yoga post.

A. None of you really care about my yoga practice.

B. There are only so many times you can discuss going to a studio and doing your poses.

Normally, I try to limit these to the different times - like at the Rock Hall, or Museum of Art or the Gay Games.

At least those are somewhat different.

Last Sunday, David and I trekked to the west side of Cleveland - I know, right? - to practice in a loft space.



It would have made a good one bedroom apartment.

The instructor isn't bad - she's the one who did our yoga on the beach this last summer.

It was nice to go outside of the gym or the normal studio. It was more fun to have hang-time with David, who came over to see the recovering Petey. As I suspected, Petey roused from him convalescence to pay attention to his favourite human - - which it turns out, is not me.

Actually, that's ok. I love watching Petey and David together. He is the dog whisperer.

So for the next few weeks, there is yoga at this place. Donation-based. And then it's tea-time.



Song by: the Weekend

Thursday, February 04, 2016

There's the Girl

I've been trying to get to see the Danish Girl for weeks.

It's been tough - as there have been so many good movies out there lately, it's been difficult to find time. And it did not help when it was in limited theaters and at limited times.

As has been the norm the last month or two, we are catching many of these movies on what is most likely their last week of showing in an actual theater.

It also did not help that the Danish Girl was lower on 710's list. And by the time did was on deck, it had moved out of our Drexel-like art house theater to what I would call the ghetto mega-plex. For sure I thought we'd be the only ones in the theater on a Sunday, January later afternoon. But then - there is no football until next week....so what are straight older couples going to do?

Let's start out - well four paragraphs in - that 710 was really happy we ended up seeing the movie. I was too. But to be fair, it was good, not great.

Tom Hooper provided decent direction, it was shot extremely well, excellent locations and finely acted. Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander were strong leads - and dare I say stronger when they are together than when apart.

And if going by the only title reference in the film, it seems that the Danish girl would (or could) be Vikander's character, not Redmayne's.

I found Redmayne much more intriguing as a man at the beginning of the film than as a man posing as a woman during. He was good as both, but had much more nuance at the start. And it was a little unnerving how much "Lili" looked like Molly Ringwald.

Vikander was strong all the way through, though very different than her turn in Ex Machina.

There was a familiarity about Vikander too - and I finally saw she had a Helen Bonham Carter-esque quality that was shown in Hooper's own, the King's Speech.  I'm not saying this was a bad thing, but there seems to be a style in his work.

The film had some predictable plot points, but that didn't make it much less satisfying. Visually, the filmmakers did a really nice job. Actually reading about Lili and Gerda, the story they didn't get to - mostly Gerda's - might have been more interesting than what actually showed up on the screen.

There was also a Jack Russell in the movie which got some nice close-ups. 710 kept jabbing me with appreciation of doggies.

And some guy named Matthias Schoenaerts had a role. Normally, blondes aren't my type, but give a guy a good suit (or tux) and a ton of pomade and I'm on board.


This image doesn't do him justice. Later, 710 was checking his IMDB credits. Apparently they haven't gotten to the entry where he stars in my dreams.

(Actually, looking at his Gooooogle images, he might look great only in this movie.)

And Ben Whishaw, Q, from the newer Bond films, is in it. He's good for his limited role. And he stars in a TV series, London Spy, which so far has been great.

I can see how both leads got their Oscar nominations. I can also see why the movie, even though it's good, didn't get a best picture or best director nod.

I'm glad we saw it on the big screen. Now it's time to go see Chris Pine on the big seas. Well...maybe. Advertised in theaters months ago, it's barely a blip with TV ads and such. I fear being released in January, it's one of those movies that looks good in clips, but in truth is a bomb.


2016 Movie Count / Goal:  05 of 18



Song by: Heart

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Dry Cleaner from Des Moines

....and so it begins.....officially, that is.

The 2016 Presidential Erection Election.

Yip-dee-fuckin'-dee.

I've said it before and should this blog be around four years from now, I'll say it again:  who gives a flying fuck about Iowa?

No offense to the Iowans.............kind of.

For either party, this caucus gets the nominee wrong 50% of the time. Not the actual elected candidate - the fucking nominee. So much time and effort wasted here.

BTW.....ditto for New Hampshire. Their selection success rate is almost equal that of Iowa.

I mean, good for Iowa (and New Hampshire). All those booked hotel rooms, food per diems etc from staffers upon staffers who are just there to check a state they've never visited off their list. It's nice their state revenue goes up slightly every four years......but at what cost?

My lord, the human sludge that passes through town after town - each more reprehensible than the last.

Let's take the two GOP front-runners.......shall we?

I mean, it's a lose-lose scenario. You want to see (t)Rump get knocked down a peg.....but because of that human bile has to win.....and yes, I'm referring to Ted Cruz. It takes the phrase "the lesser of two evils" to new heights.

They're both negatives, so who could possibly be "lesser"?

Well - there are lessers....but Huckabee dropped out yesterday. The question is: why hasn't Fiorina or Santorum? Or Carson (who is allegedly running just to sell books and build some kind of fucked up 'brand')?

As I suspected, Kasich's NYT endorsement was of zero help. He got 1.9% of the vote......which is exactly 1.9% more than Jim Gilmore (who?) got.

I did love this Tweet though....



And of course, I could not resist throwing up on FB that Cruz is BFFs with Satan and Pinocchio.



It's a fucking shit-show. The entire thing.

As for the Dems, well, Hillary has to be shitting bricks a bit. A 0.3% win?  I'm sorry - "win"?

I was never one for seeing her as invincible - nor do I think she should be. I'm tired of people playing the "anointed one" game.  I like Bernie. I hope he pushes her to the left a little. I hope people see he's not taking major donors and she is - she's not as revolutionary as people think.

Still - the power people give Iowa just astounds.

And to think - another like 20 weeks of primaries.

Yayyyyy!



Song by: Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

All Over Again

It's Groundhog Day.




Honestly, if Winter remains like the first 43 days of the season, I can deal with 'six more weeks'.

Sunday was 57 degrees, and today is slated to be 52. Yeah - I'm ok.



Song by: Johnny Cash

Monday, February 01, 2016

My Music Monday

The music theme for Erik and myself (selected by myself - though he's agreed to go along with it) is foreign-language music.

Really - not looking at Italian pop artists or anything, but people singing something not in their native tongue.

In theory, it should be simple - no?  I mean, the demographics skew to a lot of songs sung in French, but I'll try to limit that as much as possible.

So let's start with the least likely language deviation: Swahili.

And who are the best representatives of that culture other than the gals from Bananarama.

Actually, "Aie a Mwana" was one of the first songs I ever heard by them - even before they did stuff with Fun Boy Three. The funner Bananarama before Stock Aiken Waterman got their hands on them. It is also a song that had been covered long before this band, and since. Not that I ever know those versions.

It's a fun song - but it's one of those songs you can only kind of pretend to sing phonetically - and one you could never actually interpret. Well at least I couldn't.

Of course, maybe some of you took Swahili 101.


Bananarama "Aie a Mwana"

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blues From an Airplane

Bummer. Another music death.

The death of Paul Kantner, co-founder of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship went mostly unnoticed this last week.

While most people would be hard-pressed to know who he even was or what bands he was in, was probably due to being overshadowed by the other two singers in the band - Marty Balin and his never-actual wife, Grace Slick.

Still Kantner was instrumental in founding Airplane in the mid-60s and getting it up and running. He stayed with them for their duration, only to form Jefferson Starship with Grace Slick a few years later - and then Balin came along for the ride.

Kantner had nothing to do with Starship (sans Jefferson) which had two big, albeit questionably talented hits, with "We Built This City", "Sara" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now".  Kantner actually had to sue this band to stop using the name "Jefferson Starship".

And one would be hard-pressed to say he was the only driving force behind Airplane. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassady (later forming the band Hot Tuna) were equal in those roles. But it was Slick and Balin who had the hits.

Slick, but mostly Balin had the hits in Jefferson Starship too. Still, Katner was the driving force for that iteration's debut with Dragon Fly.  I even featured his song, "Ride the Tiger" in a My Music Monday slot a few years ago. It was one of the few he took the lead on vocals and writing.

Still Kantner, for me, had a lasting impact. I was way into both Jefferson Starship's music, then the Airplane's songs. Red Octopus was one of my first disks to purchase back in 1975.

But he was a founder of the rock San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the mid to late 60s - along with Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service. They bridged the gap between the folk days and the rock days - touting freedom and love.  .....and drugs.

Kantner and Jefferson Airplane are rightfully ensconced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That organization makes some iffy choices, but they certainly got it right with that one.

I'd say that Paul Kantner would be missed, but in ways he has been so overshadowed by his band members, he was never really out there. While, like all of us, are blips in the universe, it would have been nicer if more news outlets reported on his passing.


Song by: Jefferson Airplane

Saturday, January 30, 2016

We All Feel Better in the Dark

I wish I could say we "all" feel better.

We don't.

Petey is struggling. After his 'panic attack' we had one decent, but not great day. The following day - yesterday - it went from bad to worse.

He's hanging in there. But it was another trip to the vet. Another vet bill. And another diagnosis of pneumonia.

I've always said how quickly things turn for this poor boy, and this no different. There was nothing wrong with his lungs two days prior, but poof - bad lungs yesterday.

Another day at the vet. More opiates to slow his heart rate from going too too fast - and another two weeks of antibiotics. It sucks to watch him struggle and suffer.

That all said, here are a few pics from the week.

Hangin' at Nana's house after dinner

Hangin' at her house - like she owns it. 

On his between vet days - very interested in the goings on in the kitchen. 
Sophie was very interested in what he was doing. 

Thursday morning - his 'better' day - as I was heading off to work. 


Hopefully we can overcome this. I worry - a lot. I fear there are only so many times we can weather this storm. Usually it's once per year.......and already we're at the third time in three and a half months. 

Here's to a better week. 



Song by: the Pet Shop Boys

Friday, January 29, 2016

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!



Q:  When is a Record of the Month not a record?

A:  When it's a fucking cassette.


I really like Arcade Fire - and their concert two years ago is still one of the best live shows I've ever seen - but they make it really really hard sometimes to be a "fan".

First you have to fight off the comments of only "hipsters" like the band. I'm as far from being a hipster as you could possibly get. At least, I'd like to believe that.

After their ambitious double disk, Reflektor, and their long tour, they had a limited release documentary film called the Reflektor Tapes. If it ever came to our art-house theater, I missed it.

That is fine. But they released five new songs and one remix from Relektor on the Reflektor Tapes.....and only one fucking cassette.

Seriously.

I'm sorry - but what a complete douche move. They make it hard for people not to believe those 'hipster' comments.

Vinyl might be making a comeback - but cassettes are not. Nor are they ever going to. And who (besides possibly me) still has a cassette deck? Oh yes, I still have it, though it is packed away along with my 5-CD changer......and my CDs.

But honestly, what is the fucking return on investment with this ploy?

You market is extremely limited and the expense of finding some manufacturing facility that actually makes pre-recorded cassettes must have been the proverbial needle in the haystack.

And what exactly is the point of making music that such few people would fucking hear?

Of course, I assumed that the cassette thing was a limited release and then eventually vinyl, cds and downloads would follow.  This is why one never assumes. It is still only available on cassette.

Finding no other way, I might have used the last year to try to find some of those songs via illegal download file sharing programs. Yes, the band gets no money from this - but the way I see it, they were kind of asking for it.  (come get me RIAA - I dare ya!)

Even the file sharing has been a struggle, but you can see why: not only does some poor sap have to actually buy the cassette, but then convert it to an .mp3 format.

Who has the time, energy or inclination?

So a year (plus) later, and I have two of the three songs. THREE. And just like those bears - one is good, one is bad, and one is just about right.

Loving "Crucified Again".  I like "Get Right" - with a more industrial feel. I have a harder time getting into "Aporcrypha".

Maybe the other two songs and one remix would make the album.....or break it. But we'll never know.

So......

Q: when is an album review not an album review?

A: when you don't actually (and can't actually) acquire the album.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Panic

Poor Petey.  Poor 710.  Poor Dog Walkers. Poor Us.

The Petey Cam is a good thing - and a worrisome thing.

710 tuned in yesterday to see Petey circling and circling on the floor and making coughing, shortness of breath noises. He texted me to tell me so, but unfortunately, I was in no position to leave work and go home.

Petey is the huge disadvantage to not working at home. Sophie can pretty much take care of herself. Petey? Not so much. He's a senior.

By the time the dog walker got there, Petey had two accidents in the house. That is SO not him.

710 rearranged his day, left work and got home. He also called the vet. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), the vet tech who simply loves loves loves Petey answered the phone. While she first gave him an appointment, she changed her tune and told him to bring in Petey right away.

Phew.

That made me feel a little better.

Petey was so short of breath they actually had to give him an opiate to calm him down. It seems counter intuitive but it worked. Of course, he had oxygen, a steroid shot and a pulse oximeter too. 710 had to leave him at the vet for four long hours.

As his lungs and throat were clear, meaning no signs of pneumonia at all (though to me he exhibited all the symptoms - even though he was fine when I left for work) the best the doc could come up with is that Petey had had some kind of panic attack.

Since I had a work dinner last night, I couldn't even come home right from the office. 710 had him all bundled up on the sofa (which is no doubt where I'll be sleeping keeping the dog safe and comfortable).

Though Mr. Pete is on an inhaler once a day for the rest of his life, he is now on a second one - - twice a day.

For a few days, until he rebounds (hopefully), the dog folks will come by twice a day. It's a small price to pay.

Someone once told me that getting old isn't for sissies.....was that you Spo?  This is the same for elder pets.




Song by: the Smiths

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cooking with Blobby

Pasta.

It's what it's all about. Or seems to be about.

Let's face it - making pasta after a long day at work is usually fairly painless. But there are only so many ways to make it - or that I know how to make it. And I want to mix it up.

710 actually saw a similar recipe on-line, but for the life of me when it came time to make it, I didn't know where it might be housed.

Also, after a long, hard day at work, you really should pay attention to the directions, because there is a huge difference between 3T of butter and 3T of ground pepper.

It's amazing what reading part of one line and part of another will do.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I caught the error before actually cooking, but not before actually grinding three tablespoons of pepper.  ....though I have to say, my forearms look great now.

Unsalted butter - 3T
Ground Pepper - 1t (slightly different than 3T!)
Spaghetti (8oz) - though a semi-thin egg noodle might have worked better
Pecorino - 1/3 C finely grated
Parmesan - 3/4 C finely grated

I know the photo shows heavy cream, but I didn't end up using it. I think that was for the better.

Boil pasta, reserve 3/4 C up of the pasta water.

.....in the mean time......

Melt 2 T of the butter. Add the pepper, swirl around. Not twirl around.  
Add 1/2 C of pasta water and bring to a simmer. 

 Add pasta and rest of butter. Use tongs mix together. 

 Add Parmesan. Toss till it melts.  Take pan off the heat. 

 Toss in the Pecorino until it melts.  Serve. 

I topped with some fresh basil.........and a garlic bread stick never hurts. 


The dish had a good flavour - not a great one. The pepper was........well.......peppery. It's a good thing I didn't use 3T of it. Yikes.

Maybe a little cream would have helped.

I'd still try it again, I might just change things up a bit more......though honestly, I don't know how just yet.  And honestly, it took all of 15 minutes to throw together.....including the pepper grinding.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Shoot Off Your Mouth

I am curious.

When is an endorsement more of a liability than it is an asset?

Of course, one immediately goes to Sarah Palin giving the 'youbetcha' to the Donald. ....but more on that in a second.

Yesterday - I think it was just yesterday - two-time loser Rick Perry endorsed Ted Cruz.

Where's the benefit for Teddy boy? Chances are, he's already got his own stupid Lone Star state wrapped up anyways...I mean, assuming he stays in the race long enough to get to the Texas primary.

Where does Perry think his influence reaches outside of that dumb-fuck state?

I suppose that ringing endorsement is about on par with Miss Lindsey Graham stumping for ¡Jeb!.

It just makes the mind boggle - who will George Pataki get behind ????  I suppose Rick Santorum could use that single vote....as I assume that Mrs. Pataki was the only one who would have voted for George.

And I'll be up front - it took a long time for me to even muster up the courage to pseudo-watch Track's - the woman beater - mom give praise to thrice married Donald. And even then I did it via Stephen Colbert - and even he couldn't make it funny. It was painful to watch - the entire thing.

I didn't even read much about what people thought. I know what my peeps thought of it, even though we never discussed it. We didn't have to. But for what little chatter I actually heard, none of it - and i mean NONE of it - was about the fucking face the Donald kept making during her babbling.


....and this was one of his most engaged looks - even if he doesn't seem that thrilled.

Does this look like a man who was happy to be there - or happy to have this nobody there?


...of course, the Palin-tologists must have loved T-rump's comment about being able to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still win.

It's such a dangerous game he's playing. It's just fucked up.

So maybe for Donny, Palin isn't a liability. But it's tough when you're a bigger liability than she.

----------

I have to admit, lately I've been thinking a lot about the movie the Dead Zone....which is a very underrated Stephen King adaptation.

For those who haven't seen (or read) it - and it is about 33 years old - it deals with a man who lives through a tragic accident to awaken being able to see the future when he touches certain people. One of the people he encounters is a deranged Jeb Bartlett presidential candidate...and plots his assassination.

I'm not saying Mr. Trump is said candidate personified. And I'm not advocating that anyone assassinate him. But I'm not not advocating it either.



Song by:  Mick Jagger

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Music Monday

Yes, it's a cover, but it's an old timey cover. And again, while modern day artist, the song is 24 years old. That in itself would qualify it for 'oldie' status, if not old timey.

I'm closing out the month's theme with Annie Lennox and her cover of the "Keep Young and Beautiful", which she used as her closing track on her first solo disk, Diva.

Originally the song was done in the '30s, and performed by a male vocalist (Eddie Cantor - whom I have heard of through my parents) whose version was irony-free.

Lennox covers it spot-on, yet still with a bit of tongue planted firmly in cheek. Cantor's is more of a user-guide on how women should be if they want to have any worth - even though not a note or word is changed.

It's amazing what a different decade or gender can do to a song to change its interpretation.

I know I just did Lennox with the movie themes month, but can you ever use her enough?


Sunday, January 24, 2016

the Same Sad Smile

We are kicking it  - movie-wise, that is.

I may have sold us short increasing our cinema going goal by 33.33%. On paper it seems like a huge increase. If our current rate keeps up (and let's not kid ourselves, it won't), we are headed toward the 40 range.

Last evening we went to go see Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman's new stop-motion / animated movie - which is also nominated for Best Animated Feature.

We had been seeing previews for the last month or two.

I'm not a huge fan of Kaufman or his movies. He tries too too hard to be either cerebral, weird or both. To a degree. Anomalisa isn't any less weird - but really, how can you not go when the local review has this disclaimer???


Let's just say at least two couples missed that in the 'Friday' section of the Plain Dealer. They walked out of the theater during the 'puppet sex'. But to be fair, it was a little weird / uncomfortable. And I'm not sure a live-action movie could get an R rating that includes cunnilingus.

....and trust me, if there were a Goooooogle image of stop-motion scrod-chomping, you'd be seeing it as the title image. Count your lucky stars.

Per usual, I went into the movie knowing next to nothing - about the movie, that is. The previews didn't tell much of anything.

First off, the attention to detail is a-mah-zing. The hotel that "Michael" stays in, and the taxi, in which he gets to said hotel, have every little thing down - from sight and sound. The things that look "odd" are the puppets themselves. It's almost like they have a mask on their face a la Hannibal Lecter.

While only 90 minutes long, the timing is hard to gauge. It is a story basically in 4/4 time. Save one scene - a dream sequence - the pace of the movie remains the same. Until I looked at my phone after it ended, I would have sworn we did not pass the 60 minute mark.

Without too much give away, Michael sees and hears every person as same as the last....or next. So much so that there are only three voices in the movie - the main male and female character (Lisa). The rest are the characters are the voiced by the same person....same tone....same or similar, sad face, whether man or woman.

Only Lisa has a different voice; a different face. There is a reason for this. Things fall into place eventually for the viewer, as there were parts of Michael's past that lead up to her.

That's all I'll give away.

It's an interesting film, though I won't go as far as to say it was ultimately satisfying.



2016 Movie Count / Goal:  04 of 18


Song by: Peter Gabriel 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Standing in the Hallway

Another week; another Saturday with kitty and doggie pictures.

Petey chugging down the upstairs hallway - where he's not supposed to be 

But we'd been at work all day and he was missing human contact.....so who was I to say 'no'?

Relaxin'  ....and next to a radiator. 

Snowy Snout

Sister & Brother Sofa Time

Petey's brother, Boomer having the time of his life in the snow.



Song by: the Bangles

Friday, January 22, 2016

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!

Oh my lord, I haven't done a Shopping with Blobby segment since August 2015.

I guess there haven't been any relevant or funny items out there - at least that I've come across. Well...until now!

Thank You Blood Bath & Beyond!


Morty - you can forget your addiction to Carmex. You should totally being using Chicken Poop. 


As the tagline says: "Grandpa says if ya got dry lips, put chicken poop on 'em so you don't lick 'em." Wiser words were never uttered on Mad Men, though some might have uttered that line in Lucas. 

As Madison Avenue goes - though I'm guessing this ad campaign was not crafted there - I'd like to see the marketing research data on this product. Every spreadsheet. Every profile of every participant. Every verbatim comment written after they did their focus groups. 

Honestly, I didn't even use a filter on this - the store display is in black & white. 

And I'm guessing Becky can use this too. Sure, she claims to be vegan, but she's not eating the poultry - just rubbing its dung on her lips. Her once kissable kissable lips - that no one but Foghorn Leghorn will now ever want to touch. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Win, Lose or Draw

It's that time folks. And this year, I'm giving you plenty of notice. That is, assuming you want to participate. It is the 5th Annual Academy Award Guessing Game®.

While started by, and pretty much only participated with, Magic Mike XXS, but like always, you're all invited to join in.

The deal is - I'll post again a few days prior to the show with my picks. And you select yours. Just like you're a member of the Academy or something.

I'll be honest, I feel quite cheated this year. Any normal year, I might have seen half the movies. And this year, I've seen twice as many movies as usual and yet still have only seen half the nominated Best Picture selections. It just ain't fair.

On the other hand, Mike has "claimed" not to have seen any. He might be lulling me into a false sense of security. He's a shifty one, that Mike.

I will also be honest that I'm not feeling as cheated as Will Smith's wife thinks he was.

It's time to face facts, honey - you folks are multi-multi-millionaires profiting off Hollywood and the movie-going public while complaining about it out the other side of your ass.

And it's time to face facts honey - Concussion wasn't all that.....and even the press before opening kind of trashed the movie. And when non-Nigerian Africans mock your husband's "Nigerian" accent, well, maybe he didn't do his homework for the role.

Maybe Will didn't see his last 4-5 movies. I mean, why should he - no one else did either.

Sure, Hollywood could do more to promote non-Tyler Perry or Wayans Brother movies with people of colour. But I don't think just because you (well, not so you, Mrs. Smith....because.....well, you know....the Cosby Show spin-off.....and very very very little else) make shitty choices (hey, no one forced your husband to make the Legend of Beggar Vance) or to put on a fake accent and do a movie about sports and tragedy, automatically thinking someone should give you an Oscar nomination. Let's face it - the entire character send-up, and timing of release was nothing but Oscar-bait.

Spike Lee: same thing.....well...except maybe the Cosby Show spin-off part.

I guess the bigger picture is:  was anyone really going to sit at home and think, "Hey! I didn't see Spike Lee or Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars!!!"?  No. Not they aren't.

All that said, there are very few surprises with the nominations in the bigger categories - in my "humble" opinion. Though thank g-d that Quentin Tarantino isn't nominated for anything. If anyone was in dire need of a Silkwood shower, it is he.....or anyone he comes within 50 feet of.

I'll reserve my witty thoughts on the below nominees when I make my selections. We all have a good month to mull this over. And if Bruce Villanch can take months to write his shitty, lame-ass jokes, then so can I.

So here folks, are the nominees from which we will be making selections....should you choose to play.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight
Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Tom Hady – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spolight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Best Director
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamsson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Original Screenplay
Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Inside Out
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, Straight Outta Compton
Best Adapted Screenplay
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donoghue, Room
Cinematography
Ed Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful 8
John Seale, Mad Max Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Roger Deakins, Sicario
Best Original Score
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell, Carol
Ennio Morricone, Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars the Force Awakens
Costume Design
Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant
Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War
Best Makeup
Mad Max Fury Road
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant
Film Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Original Song
Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey (The Weeknd)
Simple Song #3 from Youth (David Lang)
Writing On The Wall from Spectre (Sam Smith)
Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground (Diane Warren and Lady Gaga) Manta Ray from Racing Extinction
Animated Feature Film
Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep
When Marnie Was There
Animated Short Film
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow
Live Action Short Film
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Ok
Shock
Stutter
Documentary
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Best Documentary Short
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond The Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah
Last Day Of Freedom
Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars the Force Awakens
Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sound Editing
Mad Max Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars The Force Awakens



Song by: the Allman Brothers

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let the Beat Hit 'Em

Oh, how fucking sweet this is!

Well, I mean, of course for the woman, it's not. Hitting a woman is never sweet.

For a douche named Track Palin, I'm sure he isn't finding it that sweet.

Me? LOVING it.

Again, not the hitting part, but the being held without bail part for domestic violence part.

On the other hand - who cares?

I mean, we should, but it is the Palin family. Nothing ever sticks to them.

Nothing.

Ever!

It's not fair.

Loser VP candidate. Quitter Governor. Lying Mother. Lying Todd. Whoring teen daughter. Homo hating teen daughter.Divorced son whose wife had a baby three months after being married (my math might be off, but that seems too quick!).  Drunk / disorderly entire clan. Whoring (and probably adulterer) daughter who claims abstinence (it's the same 'whoring teen daughter' just older; no wiser). And now a fist-wielding son (same as the divorced; fucking out of wedlock guy).

Notice I didn't even mention that special needs kid, which may or may not be that skanky Bristol's actual first kid......just passed off as Half-Governor Palin's.

I really don't get it: Are we as a country this dumb?

This is a family who holds everyone else accountable for everything that goes wrong, but anyone who turns the mirror on them are horrible, vile people.

And this is a woman much of an entire political party looks to for endorsements, sound bytes and wisdom on family, values, and how things should work?

I wouldn't give a fuck if they just owned up to it, because let's face it - save a failed VP run and Governorship - I think we've just defined 89% of the households in Oklahoma and 98% in Mississippi.

But part of what Track is facing is a weapons charge. This is the GOP Family we are talking about here. The only way he'd be found guilty is if he didn't use a weapon.

And beating a woman? I think that is in the GOP version of constitution - a man's g-d given right. Or is that the NFL? I get them confused.

No....wait. The GOP doesn't have as many minorities.

I'd like to think that any fall-out would hit Trump with Track's mom's endorsement. But he won't care - mostly because he doesn't care about anything. His follower freaks certainly won't care - mostly because the Palins are white.

Is it so wrong that I want something bad to one of these guys?



Song by: Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam (no Full Force)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3's and 7's

"They" say celebrities go in threes.

"They" never say in what time frame - so given almost zero time parameters, of course one could eventually lump three "celebrities" (oh yes, quotes!) and call it a threesome.

Ok......maybe not a 'threesome', but....... you know what I mean.

Sure, you know I was taken aback by Bowie.

Then it was Snape......though Mr. Rickman is in an upcoming movie this Spring starring with, whom my iPhone autocorrect called, "Helen Mittens". And the movie looks really good - though don't ask me the name, as I don't remember.

Then, well, I suppose #3 was Glenn Frey.   .....though that might be stretching the term "celebrity" to within an inch of its life.

I dare say I was never an Eagles fan. I was even less so when, a few years back, their HBO special / Sundance Film premiered on history of the band. For all intents and purposes, most of the folks in that band were kind of assholes. They didn't even try to hide it - especially Frey and Henley.

Don't even get me started on "Hotel California".  eeek.

I can't say I had much against Mr. Frey - though I don't think he did anyone any favours with his songs "the Heat is On" or "the One You Love".  I can almost tolerate his Miami Vice / Michelob song.

I said "almost".

And at least it's not Timothy B. Schmidt's scrodeling why he can't tell you why.

Unlike Bowie, I can pretty much bet I'll never remember where I was when I heard Glenn Frey died.



On a related note - going by the title image, was Frey the inspiration for Lord Voldemort?



Song by: Queens of the Stone Age

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Music Monday

Old Timey music from contemporary artists. That's the theme.

This time the song is not a cover, and while the artist is contemporary, the song is still 35 years old!

I am going with Blondie and their "Here's Looking at You" from their unable to be genre-classified album, Autoamerican (arguably their best album).

It is part Debbie Harry's vocal, part the muted trumpets and woodwinds, but mostly Mike Chapman's production that define the sound.

I've always {internally} argued, that this is less a Blondie song than it is a Harry one. The majority of musicians on the track are not the band's core. Still, the entire disk transcends the band archetype - and that is not a bad thing.

35 years and I still play the album and the song often. It's modern day-ish old timey music.


Blondie - "Here's Looking at You"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

You Only Live Twice

I would like to say I enjoyed the Big Short, but like Spotlight - the subject matter at hand is a tough sell, no matter how well the film making might be.

I lived through this depression once - it seemed too soon to live it twice.

Back in the Autumn of 2008, I remember being at a conference in DC with my then short-time boss. She insisted I attend with her. On the first day, she disappeared up to her room, by mid-day the second day she was gone.

Though they were not my clients, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fell under her umbrella and the first one imploded, leaving her staff in ruins and the second one on the brink - soon to follow.

Even before the actual implosion, I remember walking around with on my docs, lamenting that economic collapse weighed heavily on me.

I suppose if I had a problem with this movie is that there is no positive outcome. At least with Spotlight, there was a little justice - very teeny tiny. With the economic collapse, millions of people lost their jobs and homes...unless they were in banking. Those folks just got a government bail-out and tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

That said, the filmmakers (who also did Moneyball) made the hows and whys of this devastation understandable to the average Joe without dumbing it down so much that it was painfully bad. Oddly, the use of Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez (whom I've heard of, but don't actually know who she is or what she actually does....) to explain banking terms and how things went south was fairly inventive.

I will say, I was impressed by the cast. I wasn't really thinking I would enjoy Steve Carell, but I did. I thought Christian Bale did a nice job, though I'm not sure he was the Oscar-worthy one here. Carell might have deserved it more. Ryan Gosling was good as well (and who wouldn't want to happen upon him in a bathroom - like in the title image?), though his hair do was a distraction. Brad Pitt? Meh. For the most part I don't understand his appeal (though I did like him in Moneyball).

And Marisa Tomei. She has an Oscar don't ya know. And oddly she was in Crazy Stupid Love with Carell and Gosling and in Ides of March with Gosling. Maybe they have some sort of pact or something. She was fine - don't get me wrong, I suppose they needed a female in the cast of testosterone, but the storyline was hardly needed for the overall narrative.

....and I always enjoy Max Greenfield in just about anything, so that was ok.

Like I said, there was no good take away. Maybe it's a reminder or a wake-up to the average audience member. Clearly, we got our mortgage at the time of this shell game of finance. Perhaps we beat the odds, but I can tell you our understanding of how they work was invisible to us. I'm not sure we could have ever known, no matter how knowledgable we might be. We (as a country) were and still are being taken for a ride.

The Big Short was well done, at least as much as it could be, still, it was the most silent I've ever heard an audience during a movie. And ironically - that's saying something.



2016 Movie Count / Goal:  03 of 18

Song by: Nancy Sinatra 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Home Sweet Home

I am still trying to reconcile how I get good kitty and doggie shots while I work outside the home. I do what i can.

There is the Dog-Cam

He looks comfortable, no? 

Sophie waiting for me upon my arrival last night. Just chillin'. 

Earlier in the week when it was freezing - single digit temps, actually - she made herself all cozy. 

Mr. Pete watching me fill up his tub of fud. 

.....and then just feeding from the trough. 
It's not like I was ever going to say 'no' to him. 



Song by: Emmylou Harris

Friday, January 15, 2016

App of the Month

I'll be honest up front - this is an App of the Month, but it's more than an App. There is hardware involved......and pricey hardware at that.

For the holidays, 710 sensed my guilt about working outside the home and leaving Petey all by his lonesome. Well, Pete is not actually alone, but Sophie isn't quite the caretaker for which we would hope.

710 did not get me the app, Amcrest View Lite. That was at no cost.

However, the app hooks up to a webcam. Or cams - plural - if you opt to purchase more. And that is where the price comes into play - and that was my actual holiday gift.

Our cam is not a Nest cam. Trust me, it's the known name for guys like me, but 710 is a research guy, and found a much better rated camera.

With the software and camera, we can spy on the dog (and possibly cat) to check on them while we are not at home.

Amcrest has a few apps for this, but honestly, we could see no reason to pay for one. Their Lite (i.e. free!) version seems to work just fine.

The app can support up to 16 cameras - which is quite impressive. Now, we only have one, so I can't say for people who have more than that how easy it is to toggle from one cam to the next. I'm guessing it could be a little cumbersome.

As it is, I have to tap the screen, which brings up our menu of room (no, not plural) and then tap the room before getting to the camera screen.

But then we get a good view of one Mr. Pete.


.....or not


On the second screen capture, I purposefully logged-on when I knew the dog walker should have been doing their duty.  .....and she was. Or he was just out in the kitchen getting water.....or roaming around upstairs.  Who knows?

You get a better, more proportioned image (see above) if you hold your phone landscaped.  But it's easier to maneuver through some of the options when it is portrait.



The bottom grey bar scrolls, so you can't see all the options in this image. I'm not sure Petey, as handsome as he is, is HD-ready. I'm not sure any of us are.  But you can snag a pic or video from whatever you're seeing (people robbing your house?).

You can also use your phone's mic to talk to the dog, and a speaker on the cam at home that broadcasts your voice. I have no intention of ever ever ever using this. I have guilt leaving Petey. I have guilt watching him there all alone. The last thing I need is to confuse the poor boy with my voice where he cannot interact.

But there is also an option to listen in. 710 logged on from work and heard...and then saw...the dog walker come to get Petey. He said that was weird.

One can also control the camera to pan right or left, up or down.....at least to certain degrees. So, that's kind of cool too.

It is a pretty slick system. We only have one camera. If Petey went and slept multiple places during the day, we could switch camera views to figure out where he is. Sophie sleeps so many different places, we would need all 16 cameras to look to find out where she might be. Though she's a little more self-sufficient than Mr. Pete.

And clearly, you can use this system for things that are not pet-spying: like security, if you're so inclined - having a camera on each door or something.

I try not to log on to the system more than three times or so from work. First off, it's distracting. Secondly, it does little to alleviate my feelings of abandonment. He seems fine and all, it has more to do with me than him.