Monthly Archives: March 2013

Just Jazzy 88

Happy Easter Weekend

The only thing better than a good friend, is a good friend with chocolate.
The only thing better than a good friend, is a good friend with chocolate.

Sacred Henges of Standing Stone

Counterintuition is the subject for Prompts for the Promptless this week.  It is a seemingly simple concept representing a truth that is contrary to common sense or the expectations of intuition.

I would like to ramble on about how getting too much sleep makes you more tired, or how being extra active gives you more energy, but I don’t know how much sleep is considered too much and I don’t know what being active actually means, so I’m just going to post a couple of pictures.

Also my grandchildren will be arriving for the weekend shortly, and this is my last chance for some coherent thinking.  Whatever that might be.

This is my photo!  I was there!
This is my photo! I was there!

Okay.  Who thought Stonehenge was a great idea?  And then who decided it could actually be accomplished?  And how the hell did they manage to build it, never mind hauling the rocks halfway across the country before they could even get the whole thing started?

My intuition tells me that some ancient druids sent a message to their faraway relatives about an impending visit saying  “It’s cold up here, bring some big thick socks.”  And the message got misconstrued as “There’s no boulders here, bring some big frickin’ rocks.”  So they did.  And the rest is history.  Or pure conjecture, which sometimes turns out to be the same thing.

stonehenge 2 001

It’s an amazing sight to behold, and still a mystery as to how these gigantic stones were moved and erected thousands of years ago.  Intuition (and common sense) tells us it simply couldn’t be done, but there it is.

It also defies common sense to believe that there is a portal hidden amongst the stones, leading to a different dimension.  We were not allowed to go close enough to find out.  Personally I’m not ruling it out, though.  This world is a magnificently strange and wonderful place.

Judgement Day at the Bookstore

I probably would not buy this book. It sounds unbearably sad.

 

Daily Prompt:  If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

GAH!  It’s that stupid favourite word again!  By the way, I learned to spell it with a ‘u’ and I see no reason to stop doing so.  But I still hate it.  It is maybe my favourite word to hate.   Because picking favourites seems to be beyond my scope of abilities.

There is no single book I prefer above all others.  I would have a huge problem choosing a dozen books I love because how do you stop at some finite number?  I would keep adding to the pile until it fell over and killed me, putting both of us out of our misery.romance cover

Other than that nit-picking little point, I can see the beauty of this prompt.  Book cover art is no doubt a big hook in getting people to pick up a book and look at it more closely.   Sometimes the genre is easily identifiable by taking a quick glance at the cover.  For instance, if there’s a bare breasted woman with her head flung back and her eyes closed being ravished by an unbelievably handsome chisel featured body builder, you can be fairly certain it’s not a cook book or a travel guide.  Although if it’s in the self-help section, who knows.

I like bright colours and pretty pictures and great art work as much as the next guy, and recognizing an author’s name is always a big plus.  But mostly it’s the brilliance or the weirdness of a book’s title that gets me every time.  The Cheese Monkeys (Chip Kidd), Ella Minnow Pea (Mark Dunn), When God Was a Rabbit (Sarah Winman) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon) come to mind.

And did you know there’s a prize for thinking up weird book titles?  You can read about it here.  And then you just might find yourself wanting to do some further research on Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop among other things.

So I guess my advice to all you book writers out there is to think long and hard about your book title because even if your book is complete crap, a catchy and crazy title will be enough to get someone like me to buy it.  Although I might draw the line at Bombproof Your Horse (Rick Pelicano and Lauren Tjaden) simply because I don’t own a horse.

Otherwise, it sounds pretty good.

The Telephone Doesn’t Ring (aling-aling-aling)

bang bang lingo lingo

Awwwww….ooooooooh!

It’s been a long hard day, all alone at work,  holding down the fort for over nine hours without a break.  So I’m tired, and a little punch drunk maybe, because this song on YouTube is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

I’m sure tomorrow I’ll wonder what was so funny about it.  Whatever.  Spanish Doo Wop.  Amazing stuff.  This is a track from Bang Bang Lingo Lingo Vol. 7.  I kid you not.  So turn up the volume, make up some doo wop lyrics and sing along.

Because it will probably feel SO good to stop.

Liberal Arts Movie Review

liberal arts

Watched this on Netflix the other night and was pleasantly surprised by some excellent casting and a feel good story with a better ending than anticipated.  There were some funny parts and some thought provoking moments.  Movie watching doesn’t get much better than that.

Cast/Synopsis:

Jesse (Josh Radnor) introverted and uninspired 35-year-old admissions officer at a school in New York, recently dumped by his latest girlfriend, is invited to speak at a retirement dinner in Ohio for a former college professor.  He goes back to this nostalgic place where his life held the most passion and promise to face some truths and revelations about himself.  He encounters some influential people in his quest for connection and meaning in his life.  (Josh Radnor wrote the screenplay, by the way.)

Peter Hobert (Richard Jenkins) the retiring professor who is second guessing his retirement. (Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.)

Judith Fairfield (Allison Janney) One of Jesses favourite teachers – brilliant, but cold, cynical, and condescending.  (Put some armour around that gooey little heart of yours.)

Nat (Zac Efron) free spirit visiting a friend, killing some time, navigating life at university on his own terms.  (Don’t say no – fortune never smiles on those who say no.)

Dean (John Magaro) intelligent but angst ridden undergraduate student, always with his nose in a book, seen as a younger more self-destructive version of Jesse himself, depressed and suicidal.  (I kind of just wish this would all be over with as soon as possible.  Why did you love it here so much?)

Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) seemingly wise beyond her 19 years, embarks on a relationship with Jesse.  (Age is a stupid thing to obsess over. What if reincarnation is real, huh? Think about that – what if I’m like thousands of years older than you?)

Ana (Elizabeth Reaser) the clerk in the bookstore back home who has been patiently waiting the entire movie for Jesse to finally notice her. (I want to be an old lady with long, gray hair in a ponytail….and I want a really, really wrinkly face….and a small house, maybe by some water. I think getting old could be really nice.)

Warning:

This film contains classical music and references to great works of literature.  And no real violence or nudity or bad language.  So I guess it’s not for everyone.

Why You Should See It Anyway:

All the acting is good, but Elizabeth Olsen shines.  We get to look at life from the points of view of three different age groups.  Zibby wants to rush forward into her future, Jesse looks back in order to find out how to move forward, and Peter finds himself looking back and wondering what happened, regretting that there is no going back.

Best Quote:

Zibby:  I sometimes feel like I’m looking down on myself. Like there’s this older, wiser me watching over this 19-year-old rough draft, who’s full of all this potential, but has to live more to catch up with that other self somehow. And I know I’ll get there. It’s just sometimes I think I want to rush the process, you know? And I don’t know, maybe – maybe I thought you were some sort of shortcut. Does that make any sense?

Jesse: If I wrote you, I would be like, “This is the best rough draft ever.”

Bear Has A Bad Day

Trifextra challenge – We are giving you three words and asking that you add another 33 to them to make a complete 36-word response.  You may use the words in any order you choose. Our three words are

remember, rain, rebellion

 

Teddy bear
Teddy bear (Photo credit: macieklew)

 

No toys at the table, remember?

Please put Bear away.

No baby, wait –

What are you doing?

Hey!  What’s this?

A three year olds fierce rebellion,

Flinging Bear out the patio door

Into the pouring rain.

<<<<<>>>>>

I Made This Ashtray One Time…

Meraki [may-rah-kee]  This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be.

Sculpture by Frank Stout
Sculpture by Frank Stout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I heart Rarasaur and Prompts for the Promptless, and this amazing Greek word meraki to the moon and back.  To me it means being impassioned and intense, happy and enthusiastic, loving and giving, all wrapped up in one beautiful little meraki package.

In art meraki could be the colors you use, in writing perhaps it’s the words you choose.  In photography it’s the subjects you see, and your unique point of view and the composition and what you do with tricks of the light to show us not just the picture, but something about the person who took it.

In cooking I imagine it’s the ingredients and the timing and the methods of putting everything together, and then the presentation and a bunch of other mysterious stuff that eludes me.  But never doubt that I put LOVE in my unidentifiable concoctions.

At a very young age (too young to know any better) I thought I would like to one day become a great sculptor.  Or at least dabble in pottery, because that wheel sure looked like some serious fun.  The idea was born with an art project in school where we were each given a lump of clay and advised to make something of our own choosing.  I painstakingly shaped mine into an ashtray.  And not just any old ashtray – this had to be the best and most beautiful ashtray in the world, a present for my mother.  Something just from me.  Something she could love and cherish for ever and ever.

A lot of creativity went into my work, if you count smashing the stupid thing and reshaping it a million times trying to get everything symmetrically perfect.  I molded my heart and soul into that stubborn little piece of clay.  When I was satisfied at last with the results (and my fingers were about ready to fall off)  I chose a shockingly brilliant electric blue for my glaze.  After it was baked and cooled and admired by all (we were kids, what did we know?) I carefully wrapped my creation in tissue paper and carted it home.

It looked nothing like this, except maybe in my dreams.
It looked nothing like this, except maybe in my dreams.

 

I was so incredibly proud to present the fruits of my labor to my mother, who did not smoke.  No one in our house smoked.  We didn’t even know anyone who was thinking about taking up the habit.  She professed to admire and love the ashtray anyway.  We decided it would make a great conversation piece and she gave it a place of honor on the window sill above the kitchen sink.  After awhile I got really tired of all the conversations about it starting off with “oh my goodness, what in the world is that?” But I never tired of hearing my mom explain how hard I had worked to make my very first piece of pottery.  It was like she knew there was the equivalent of blood sweat and tears in that thing, never mind a little girls heart and soul full of love for her mother.

I don’t know what happened to it.  And frankly I don’t care, it was butt ugly – even the artist herself came around to admitting that fact in time.  But it didn’t stop me from continuing on in life creating things with love and good intentions.  And my mother certainly taught me how important it was to appreciate whatever my own kids did from their hearts for me.

I never knew there was a word for putting yourself and a little piece of your very soul into whatever you create with passion and love, but I’ve certainly seen the evidence of it all around me.  It’s everywhere I look.

The next little miracle I come across I will be able to describe with delight and just one small and perfect word – meraki.

The Book, the Movie, the Movie, the Book

silver linings booksilver linings movie cover

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.  And I’m glad I didn’t have Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in my head when I did it.  Whenever a book is made into a movie it’s easy to be disappointed in one of them, probably influenced the most by wherever we begin.  Books make me want to see the movie, and movies make me want to read the book, and then the comparisons from one to the other keep me awake at night.  Okay, not really.  Mostly it’s just mildly entertaining thinking about our dissimilar thought processes and how differently things can be interpreted and how something can be dissected and twisted to end up with a wildly divergent result and a new meaning that never would have crossed my mind.  And then I can make up ridiculously long sentences about the concept.

This book was a brilliant look inside the head of a man with a lot of mental issues, and the story is told almost exclusively from his point of view.  Pat has lost what he thinks is only a few months (but turns out to be four years) of his life in “the bad place” spending “apart time” from his wife Nikki.  He is back living with his parents and working hard on continuing to improve everything about himself so there will be a reconciliation with Nikki and his own personal “movie” will have a happy ending.  He is obsessed with working out, has a therapist who shares his love of football, freaks out whenever he hears Kenny G, and is being pursued by Tiffany, who may be even more messed up than he is. His father mostly ignores him, his mother dotes and smothers, and his brother and best friend just want him to snap out of it and be normal.  It’s obvious to the reader that Pat is not going to get the silver lining/happy ending he’s counting on.  But he’s easy to root for, and endearing in his struggles.

I have not seen the movie in its entirety, but I’ve watched enough trailers and scenes and clips to know there are a myriad of differences.  For one thing, Robert De Niro has more lines in one snippet than Pats father had in the entire book.  In the book we see the world according to Pat.  In the movie we get to see it from somewhere else entirely – not just our own perspective but that of the screen writers and the director and the actors themselves.  It looks to be very different, but I don’t know how it could be otherwise.

This could be a first, where I’m less likely to prefer one over the other, but able to enjoy both for whatever diverse and peculiar reasons. Maybe the whole comparison thing in this case is just a silly waste of time.