Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fargo


A couple of weeks ago I watched Fargo. It's been so long since I first saw this amazing movie and it totally holds up. Funny, strange, intense, bleak. Excellent performances.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Randy Rainbow at Birdland

The other night I got to see the talented and charismatic Randy Rainbow at Birdland.

This year -- I mean last year -- I was tightly wound around the election, and his video parodies were such a welcome relief from the frightening insanity. I was first introduced to him on facebook during the early debate season, when he did a serious of "GOP dropout" videos. So hilarious. I was hooked and eagerly looked forward to each installment. Every video I watched at least five times.

At Birdland he screened and performed along with some of these. It was fun, but also kind of moving to be in an audience watching these. Kind of like a sense of community.

The evening also featured a number of singers whose performances complemented the videos.

I will say one thing -- the entire election season when I enjoying Randy Rainbow's videos I never for a second thought Trump would actually be elected. Back then (so long ago, our halcyon days), it was fun to laugh at the big ridiculous jackass and the surreal debates. But now that he has won it feels different. I think that was some of the energy in the room, seeing these videos in retrospect created a kind of sadness for our country. It was good and important to be among like-minded people. But disconcerting realizing how much of the country supports such ugliness.

Anyway, looking forward to more Randy Rainbow parodies after 1/20.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gosford Park

The other night I watched Gosford Park, a sort of old-fashioned, Agatha-Christie styled movie directed by Robert Altman. It was a little confusing because in the first 10 minutes you are introduced to about 25 characters who all mumble in English accents.

The relationships and conflicts seem pretty cliche, and the lack of emotional response to the murder at the center of the plot was a bit forced. The final revelation at the end was not as dramatic or interesting as it might have been.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Flight

The other night I watched Flight, a movie starring Denzel Washington as hard partying commercial airline pilot who manages to land a plane under the most intense conditions. He remained calm during this incredibly intense and frightening incident and is seen as a hero. However, aspects of his life surrounding the flight lead to an investigation, and from this point on I was uncertain what direction the movie was going in -- was this going to be a conspiracy movie? a movie about terrorism? a movie about personal redemption? Well, only one of those was correct.

I liked Flight. It kept me interested, and most of the performances were solid (John Goodman was atrocious though -- totally overacted in a badly-written two-dimensional part).

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Puzzles: 2016


Here are the puzzles I did in the fall of 2016. I guess theres a cat theme. These were all 500 or 550 pieces. The one with the fire place was the hardest.

Puzzles: some from former years


I decided I want to add puzzles to this blog. This post is a bunch of puzzles I've done in recent years.

An Alice in Wonderland (500 pieces); a tooniverse (550 pieces); a special one of a childhood photo (500 pieces); a Wizard of Oz (500 pieces); and a Charlie Harper (550 pieces, I think); a French painting (500 pieces); another tooniverse (550 pieces), and 1,000 piece poker cards puzzle -- the image is of the box, but I did eventually finish it.

I like doing 1,000 piece ones the most, but the cats make it difficult.





Friday, December 30, 2016

Of Human Bondage

For a month or so I have slowly been reading Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. I started just reading a little a night. I had read this before in my teens or twenties, but do not remember much of it from then, and probably didn't get it.

I loved this book. Reading it slowly works well, as it's an in-depth coming of age story, starting with the death of Phillip's mother when he was around 8, and ending when he is 30. He is introspective and isolated in his childhood, largely unhappy and friendless, and has a club foot which separates him from his peers and others. It is a source of shame but also provides an opportunity for him to see the people around him from a unique, at times painful, perspective.

There is an unrequited masochistic love story that is central to the plot, but to me Of Human Bondage is more about someone who thinks and feels deeply exploring different ways of living in the world, and his meditations on love, art, human nature, suffering, religion, etc were not dry and pretentious, but earnest and heart-wrenching.

Unfortunately the ending was rushed and I thought a bit too pat. I was disappointed. Also, I would have liked to continue to read about Philip. I wish Maugham had pulled a "Rabbit" a la John Updike.