Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Overwhelming Time Suck

We are currently experiencing overwhelming time suck due to MFA residency from May 30th - ?    As a reminder, the  regularly  scheduled programming, to which we will return ASAP, is:

  • Movie Review Mondays
  • Live Tunes Tuesday
  • Wanderin' Wonderin' Wednesday
  • Theo Thursdays
  • Feline Fridays

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Avengers

Wow. Just wow.
My IMAX Movie Ticket - Pricey But Worth It

As a comic book junkie since I was about seven years old, I was floored by the Avengers. 

I had high expectation because I'd heard good things, and my recommendations were all met. It highlighted the humanity of each hero, and each hero spent some time in the spotlight. On top of that, each hero had different amounts of time with all the other heroes. And there were not only some great action moments and combat scenes, as to be expected, but there were also some great comic moments.

So how could you possibly make this event even better?

See it at the IMAX. I'm not the biggest fan of 3D, but I'm a huge fan of the IMAX. 

In answer to your unasked question? No, you absolutely cannot wait until this movie comes out on video. This is a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen, IMAX big if you can swing it. You won't regret a single penny.

5.0 / 5.0

Cast list (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
  • Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
  • Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk
  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor
  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  • Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki
  • Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
  • Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Gangstagrass

So the posts will be somewhat sporadic this week, and possibly the following week as the school year comes to a close. But keeping me company on my busy days will be a new band that my Mom heard on a show called Justified (which also looks awesome).

I may be biased, because I do love genre-bending bands: Gangstagrass is all sorts of rap and bluegrassy goodness. Perhaps somewhat they have the same mix that draws me to the wondrousness that is Devil Makes Three.

Gangstagrass’ self-titled album

But Gangstagrass is seriously fantastic stuff, reminiscent of the successful genre blending, at least for me, found in Sublime and Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Here are some tunes to whet your appetite. 

Justified (TV show theme song): 

'Put Your Hands Up':

'Steel's Gonna' Be the Death of Me':

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 17 - A Hasty Departure?

:: Unday Night, the 98th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
Five city watchmen poured past him into the large tavern's main room.  The fire that blazed in the mason fireplace illuminated the slick wet chain armor and drenched uniforms of the grim guards.

A stocky, powerful man, unkempt black hair and beard dancing in the strong winds, strode into the bar as if he owned it and, pointing a thick finger at the disguised Theo, bellowed "Seize the assassin!".

"So much for a disguise.  But by Casastan's good graces how did they *find* me?” grumbled Theo out loud to nobody in particular.

Still clutching the mug which held his cider, Theo threw the liquid into the face of the lean and wiry brown haired guard who was in the lead and simultaneously jumped a wild swing from a stocky blonde guard with a closely trimmed beard.  "A terrible waste of perfectly good cider, I apologize from the bottom of my soul, Bink."  Discretely dropping a folded note with his left hand, Theo pounded down with Kindle's hilt onto the helm of the thin guard.

"This isn't a performing circus, Girdin push up your helm!” screamed Corbin in a commanding and infuriated voice.  "Klynd cut the wretched scurry into quarters!  A hundred pieces of gold to the man who hands me his heart!"  Corbin's gaze crackled with malice as his eyes locked with Theo's.  The desperate scurry read hatred in Corbin's eyes as he almost felt the words "You *will* die!" cross the distance between them.  Wind whipped in through the open door, carrying sheets of rain into the wide doorway while lightning illuminated the dark frame of the Chief Advisor from behind with a halo of molten white.

"My, you certainly are a charming fellow.  You don't have to kill the king to gain power, the people would overthrow Orson just on the weight of your own special charisma,” grinned Theo with strained sarcasm as he threw the remains of the rag from Kindle.

Despite the wild thoughts that flew through Theo's head, his blood surged in his veins and he felt truly alive. 

But his mind swelled with theories of betrayal and thoughts of confusion.  Lizbeth, what of Lizbeth?  Could she be the one that told of Theo's plans to be at the Ancient Oak?  Is that why Corbin and his men were able to get here so quickly?  She seemed the soul of sincerity last night?

Cory?  No, it was impossible, he'd known Cory since before they'd been able to walk.  They were the closest of friends and he couldn't believe that he would mislead me, it would be like distrusting himself.

Theo heard the low strum of a crossbow bolt, and threw himself down behind the bar.  Theo looked up to see a quarrel quivering in a hogshead where Theo's head had been moments before.  Tearing off the remains of the old woman garb, Theo sprang for the end of the bar and the stairs which led to the second floor.

Bink, crouching low behind the bar, seemed extremely frazzled as he watched another quarrel sink into the wall beside Theo.  But apparently Bink was frozen by indecision, as he threw another anxious glance at the guards in front of the rough wooden planks of his bar.

"Granville, Merce, sink a quarrel into him!  For the love of Kyntous, put him down!” howled Corbin from the other end of the room.

Parrying a thrust from the stocky, blond haired guard, Klynd, Theo leapt from the end of the bar to the closest table.  Theo felt a quarrel graze along his side, leaving a trail of trickling blood.

"If you promise not to take me to prison, then I'll give you crossbow lessons,” cried Theo to the reloading crossbowmen. Jumping to the next table, Theo narrowly dodged a mighty overhanded swing from Klynd.  Apparently Girdin, having readjusted his helm, was rejoining the melee.

"Stay still you blasted squirrel!” growled Klynd, thunking his heavy sword into the table where Theo had been but wicks before.

"I'm going to make you into a hat for making me look the fool!,” replied Girdin to Theo's wildly frantic attempts at evasion.

Theo leapt again, and was able to place his foot on the first step which lead upstairs.  Unable to outrace the guards, Theo had to spin to meet them on the wide staircase.

"Don't worry men, there's enough of me to go around,” said Theo cheerfully.  Looking at both men, Theo knew even he couldn't defend against two trained swordsman, his only salvation was getting out of the situation all together.

Again hearing the low thrum of a crossbow, Theo tried to move and parry at the same time, but felt a hot pain in his right thigh as a quarrel sank deep into his leg.


Gritting his teeth, Theo pulled out a throwing knife, and proceeded to bury it in Klynd's foot, pinning it to the ground.               

"Errg.  You bastard,” yowled Klynd.

Theo barreled up the stairs, favoring his left leg.  He could feel the head of the quarrel shifting inside his leg, and the pain was excruciating as he ran.

"Get him you fools, he'll take to the roof!” shouted Corbin.

Pounding open the first door that he came to, Theo could hear that Girdin and possibly another guard were right behind him.  Theo looked out the window to the rain slicked cobblestones which stretched out before him, just as the room's door slammed open behind the cornered scurry...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Parties

Thursday (5/3) was great because my friend Phil called! He was on his long commute home, and we kept on getting cut off, but it was still fantastic to talk with him. I told him we should make it a weekly thing. Next Thursday perhaps?

LED Origami Paper Lanterns
Friday (5/4) found us heading out to a cafĂ© to get some work down. I got some correcting done, and a wee bit of writing. Chika got some translating done.  With the 8th graders we made origami paper lanterns with LEDs, batteries and paper. Fun!  Cool!

Saturday (5/5) was a day of partying. One of my students celebrated her bat mitzvah and it was a beautiful ceremony, the first I’d ever been to. I even got a bit teary thinking of my little 7th graders taking this big ol’ step towards adulthood. That and the fact that she’s just a wonderful person, quirky and unafraid to speak her mind. Then I zipped down to a friend’s Cinco de Mayo get together down in Greenville to partake in wondrous food and discussion.

Nipo's New Kitty Door & the Cellar Beyond
On Sunday (5/6) we mostly worked around the house. I installed a cat door.  Nipo is still just okay with it, but she’ll groove on it before long. Slowly getting settled in and starting to dig through boxes.

Monday (5/7) I walked to school in the morning and, ummm, yeah. Maybe some other stuff that I don’t remember.

Tuesday (5/8) included a trip to see The Lucky One. Hmmm. Overall quite a forgettable movie. I’d chalk up to okay story, okay acting and abysmal editing and directing. I mean, I wasn’t expecting a lot, it was based on a Nicholas Sparks’ book, but it could have been a lot better. Look at The Notebook. Okay, a bit on the cheezy side perhaps, but I have to go out on a limb and proclaim it a really great movie.  

Summary?  Lucky One = bad, Notebook = good. 
On Wednesday (5/9), we drove around to a few thrift stores in an attempt to find some things for the house, but were unsuccessful. At school students are still working on the Big Picture and I think grooving on it.  Really seeing the connections between all the seemingly disparate elements in science. Yay! And Barack Obama made a stand that the LGBT should no longer be discriminated against. Huzzah!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Michael Penn vs. Great Lake Swimmers

I love the simple beauty and sadness of this Michael Penn song from the '90's. This is an acoustic version from when Penn was on the Letterman Show:

Penn's debut album, March:

A more recent song that brings to mind the same degree of longing, and perhaps a bit of the sadness that Penn's song evoked?  The Great Lake Swimmer's Rocky Spine:

Vote below on which song you like better and why!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feline Friday - Caption Contest!

Who can post the best caption for this picture on my blog?

The first two that came to my mind?

Is that Elvis?

Do they serve margaritas in this joint or what?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 16 - A Disturbance at the Sign of the Ancient Oak

:: Unday Night, the 98th of Jhyel's Slumber ::

Theo woke from a nightmare about treason accusations and horrid beasts, only to remember through the sleepy haze that that was the unfortunate reality.  He looked past the pooled and cold remains of the candle, as well as a fair number of wine bottles to see the sleeping form of Cory.
Theo, with a nudge of his foot, was rewarded with a change in Cory's gentle breathing pattern.  A push that would be considered a kick if it weren't between friends finally woke the sleeping scurry.

"What, did we run out of wine?” came Cory's sleepy and sarcastic voice.  Theo kicked and heard a muffled "oof" from beneath the blue, faded wool blankets.

"We have to figure out what we're going to do.  We need information, because right now we don't seem to have much.  My guess is that whoever is planning on assassinating the king is the one behind these false accusations.  We've made some influential enemies, we just have to find out who they are, or we're next to powerless.  Also, if they *know* that we have some information about the plot, they may hurry their plans ahead,” said Theo in an anxious, yet matter-of-fact voice.

"Isn't it possible that you just snubbed one too many scurry lass and that their powerful parents are now out to get you?” smirked Cory, who dodged Theo's right foot as it lashed out.  But Cory wasn't fast enough to dodge the right and was entangled in his blankets as he lost his balance.


"That is quite possibly the most intelligent thing I've heard out of you since I rescued you from Tisden Weald” laughed Theo, unable to contain his mirth, despite the incongruity of the remark.

*         *          *

Cory and Lizbeth were valiantly trying to hide their smiles, but were losing the battle.  Theo stood before them, dressed in a drab grey shift and was stooped over, leaning on Kindle, which was wrapped in rags and strips of random cloth.

"What are you laughing at you nasty children?” came the cracked and aged voice from beneath the dreary cloak.

This was unfortunately the deciding victory and both Lizbeth and Cory, unable to stand, fell to the floor with tears of laughter and aching ribs.  The sight of two scurries laughing so hard is funny indeed, and Theo, unable to contain himself, joined in their infectious laughter.

*         *          *

Theo, looking cautiously from beneath the brim of his cloak, spied the oak sign swinging wildly in the wind which whipped down the cobblestone street.

The Sign of the Ancient Oak was a wondrous sight indeed for Theo.  Few people were out on a night like this, despite the unseasonable lack of frigid temperatures.  Just as Theo cracked open the door, the first plump drops of cold rain began to fall.

"Ahhh” breathed Theo, as he pulled the wonderful tavern air into his lungs.

Losing himself momentarily in the delicious smells, Theo recovered and immediately scanned the patrons that were enjoying themselves this evening.  He looked about for someone who might be suspicious, anyone who might be a spy for the city watch.

Giving a quiet sigh of relief, Theo hobbled past the first line of rough hewn, but finely polished tables, past the well-used chairs and finally settled at a bar stool at the far end of the bar.

Due to the slow night, Bink came right over to the disguised Theo. 

"What can I get you young woman?” flattered Bink with a disarming smile and a twitch of his tail.

"A taste of your Bink's famous Oakleaf Cider would suit me just fine,” came the old, but equally flattering voice from the depths of the hood.

"Aaah, a taste for the cider.  It's likely to put dent's in your memory, so be sure to keep count of the number you're drinking,” said Bink, gobbling up the adulation as he poured the cider from the battered wooden hogshead behind the bar.

Placing the cider in front of Theo, Bink stuttered when the disguised scurry lifted the hem of his hood and winked.

"That'll cost you a ..."

"How are things Bink, miss me?"

"Theo!  You're wanted for treason!” Bink whispered harshly.

"Thank you Bink for reminding me of the painfully obvious, I did notice that a number of city watchmen had arranged a welcoming party for me upon my arrival.  And would it put you out to not draw *quite* so much attention to me?"

"Oh, sorry, sorry.  Where's my head.  Too much time has passed between tending bar and all my youthful adventures.  Enough about me though, what are *you* doing here?"

"I'm here for information.  There's a plot to kill the king, I can't explain it know, but it seems like the people who want the king dead have decided to throw a few extras into the bargain.  Seeing as I'm one of them, I'm not really excited about it.  I don't have long though, what news do you have?” continued Theo in a conspiratorial hush.

"By Phoshaina's tears, who would want to kill King Orson?  I really haven't heard much about your treason charges, except what you probably already know.  Saw is being held in the dungeon of the castle, along with some sort of metal construct.  There's a lot of talk about the man of metal."

"Yes, that's Tinker, but they're in good health?  They haven't melted him down?  And they haven't ... *hurt* Saw have they?” spoke Theo, raising his voice a bit over the noise as a few customers left and two entered.

"No, they're both hale and healthy, but who knows for how long.  As for you, Chief Advisor Corbin has offered a large reward for your life, he cares little if you're found dead or alive.  Apparently he'd prefer it if you're found dea..."

The sound of the door slamming open startled everyone in the bar, especially Bink, who seemed to almost jump out of his skin.  Theo whipped around at the noise, and immediately wished that he'd finished his cider.

Five city watchmen poured past him into the large tavern's main room.  The fire that blazed in the mason fireplace illuminated the slick wet chain armor and drenched uniforms of the grim guards.

A stocky, powerful man, unkempt black hair and beard dancing in the strong winds, strode into the bar as if he owned it and, pointing a thick finger at the disguised Theo, bellowed "Seize the assassin!"...  

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Movin', Movin', Movin'

  • Thursday – 4/19 – Made candles in class with the students to review the phases of matter. They came out really well. Melted a lot of candles down in the crockpot. 

SDS Students @ the Cottonwood Nature Preserve
  • Friday – 4/20 –I’m a homeowner!!! Took a group of my students to the Cottonwood Trail Preserve to help clean up the area. Pull weeds, tidy some thoroughfares, etc.  Signed all the documents for the house closing. 

  • Saturday – 4/21 moving sale. I expected to make no money on the sale, but we actually made $50! Which we then promptly blew on a meal out at Ford’s Oyster House.
Yard Sale @ 30 Celand Street

  • Sunday – 4/22 – Started my critical response paper on Ender’s Game. Looooooove that book!

  • Tuesday – 4/24  -Spent a fair amount of time putting together The Ten Ten Ten Tranfusion, figuring out love songs from one main character to the other in my novel, ‘A Map to the Heart of London’, then posted the mix on my blog and on 8tracks.

  • Thursday – 4/26 – Began work on the Water Bottle Rockets with the 8th graders. Met up with Clay and Amanda at Barley’s for some science teacher catch up on what’s up with them and CHS.

  • Friday – 4/27 – Packing, packing, packing. Three hours of sleep getting ready for the move. Slept from 3:30am – 6:30am.

  • Saturday – 4/28 – We moved all day. Took the extremely helpful movers, Ken and Jim, out for dinner. John, who also helped us move, left early, but gave us a housewarming gift of a washer and dryer; extras that he had hanging around. Two of my 7th graders surprised me by mowing my lawn as a housewarming gift. Awesome!  Made my day, my week, maybe my month or more! Below?  First morning in the backyard of the new house!  :)

  • Sunday – 4/29 - Three hours of sleep getting MFA Packet #5 finished, the final packet of the semester

  • Monday – 4/30 – Turned in the final MFA packet of the semester. Also took care of various paperwork and schtuff, meal plan, housing document, etc. for the MFA residency. Realized that I wouldn’t be able to attend the Carolina High School graduation, which sucks. I’ll catch one of the rehearsals.

  • Tuesday – 5/1 - So busy I didn’t even remember the blog, never mind write the blog for Tuesday. I did walk home from school to the new house for the first time. I started listening to Haruki Murakami’s The Wind Up Bird Chronicles.

  • Wednesday – 5/2 – Walked to school in the morning. Recorded ideas for points and directions I wanted to take with A Map to the Heart of London. Fired off water bottle rockets with the 8th graders. Mixed results. Some awesome, some just flopped about like fish trying to fly. The record height was 119 meters (about 360 feet)!! Swamped at work. Staying at school until 6pm every day.  I feel like my head is going to explode and I have almost no downtime.  Rrargh!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Movie - The Station Agent
The Station Agent is quite possibly the best movie you’ve never heard of.

The story revolves around Finbar McBride, masterfully played by Peter Dinklage, who has a passion for railroads. He works in a model RR store, but unpredictable events land him in unforeseen circumstances. A quiet, solitary man, he tries to keep to himself, but finds himself entangled in the affairs of Joe and Olivia, portrayed to perfection by  Bobby Cannavale and Patricia Clarkson.

The movie is a slice-of-life movie about the things that bring us together and the things that drive us apart. There are deeply funny moments, but there are also touching, and sad moments.

This is one of those movies that sneaks up on you, but then stays with you. I suspect that if you like this movie as much as I did, you’ll find it something of a touchstone to which you compare other movies. And you’ll suddenly be recommending it to all of your friends.

5.0 / 5.0

Abbreviated Cast List (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Peter Dinklage as Finbar McBride
  • Bobby Cannavale as Joe Oramas
  • Patricia Clarkson as Olivia Harris

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 15 - Thoughts Jockey for Position

:: Solday Evening, the 97th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
The warm soapy water felt wonderful as he felt Lizbeth's skillful fingers kneed and stretch his tired muscles.

"Mmmm,” said Theo, thinking he might pass out from the mix of pleasure and pain which radiated from his fatigued back.  "Lizbeth, never let me forget why we're lovers,” was Theo's response to her tender affections as the pleasant feelings invaded his mind, creating a drowsy warmth.

"You needn't tell me that Theo, as she playfully nipped at his neck"

Theo turned in the bathtub and slowly put his hand to Lizbeth's face.  The white suds contrasted with her brown eyes and Theo could feel himself slipping into those dark pools of warm chocolate.  He kissed her tenderly at first, holding her face lightly, caressing the short, soft fur of her face and then the kisses become more passionate, full of longing and desire.

Lizbeth, stepping into the warm, swirling waters of the pounded copper tub, let the soapy liquid engulf her slowly.  Theo felt Lizbeth's familiar and comfortable weight settle upon him, and as always they fit together as if two parts of whole were coming together after a long separation.

After it seemed that night was blurring to day and day to night, their love making reached a crescendo.  Water surged over the edges of the tub and splashed loudly on the cool, tile floor.

"I love you Theo..."

Theo had heard those words many times and Theo had heard those word in many places, but never had he heard these words spoken with such emotion and sincerity and never had these words stuck a chord in him like this time.

A moan escaped from Lizbeth's parted lips and Theo gritted his teeth and groaned as he felt the muscles in his body tense ... and then release.  Lizbeth fell exhaustedly into Theo's waiting embrace and the now cooling waters of the tub.  Feeling light headed and dizzy, Theo could see blazes of white stars in front of his eyes.

"You don't have to say anything Theo, I know you very well, perhaps better than you know yourself,” said Lizbeth, replying to Theo's very thoughtful and somewhat guarded looks.

Theo's mind was boiling, real love was nothing to tangle with.  Infatuation, girlhood crushes and false emotions, these Theo could easily deal with, but this was something different, something more.

"What do you know of the charges of treason against me?” said Theo, indelicately changing the subject, to try and buy some time.

With a sigh that said she'd hoped for a different response, Lizbeth began to tell Theo what she knew about the charges that had been laid against him.

"I don't really know that much, just the bits and pieces thrown my way by father.  Apparently, when he was on watch last night, when Master of Arms Rosty came in with the orders for your arrest, as well as a description of you,” began Lizbeth.

As she reached for a towel and stepped out of the tub's water, Lizbeth continued, "Rosty then asked if anyone knew who you were.  That was when my father spoke up.  As you well know, you and my father have no love lost, but he considers himself a good judge of character.  He said that you didn't strike him as the treasonous sort, even though you were impetuous and flaunted the cities laws."  Pulling on her blue shift, Lizbeth finished, "Rosty said that word came from up above, and wasn't to be questioned.  Father came home this morning and began ranting and raving, as I told you, wanting to know how he could have misjudged you like that and how could you associate with that type of person."

Theo harumphed.  Even with all these charges laid against him his thoughts continued back to those words of such a short time ago ... "I love you".  Why couldn't he push that declaration from his mind.  He looked at Lizbeth, how she turned the extremely mundane action of unfolding a towel and laying it on the battered wooden chair next to the tub, into a graceful action that a young deer might take.  Theo truly lost track of time when he was with Lizbeth.

With an enormous effort of will, Theo forced his mind to other matters at hand.  "Perhaps we should head for the cellar, Lizbeth.  It won't be too long before your father comes home?"

"He will be home soon, I'll get some things together,” said Lizbeth. 

Theo reached for her playfully, but she was too quick and avoided his grasp.

"I'll go get some blankets and some food from the pantry.  Let Cory wash up, the water for his bath is hanging over the fire know,” she said, in a very lightly irritated voice.

*         *          *

Theo sighed and spread the thick maroon, wool blanket out on the pallet which raised him up off the damp floor.  Settling down he pulled two of the heavy, pilling blankets on top of him.

"Well Theo, we seem to have landed in quite a mess.  How do you feel about putting us in the veritable frying pan?” jibed Cory.

"Me?  Me!?” said Theo, and then just shook his head in mock astonishment that anyone could even begin to believe such falsehoods.

Theo looked over at the bulky tallow candle which was providing the flickering light in the otherwise gloomy cellar.  The viscous wax poured slowly down the sides of the candle, hardening before reaching the tin holder, but making imaginary creatures which clung to the side of the cylinder with the tenacity that only a fanciful creation could muster.

Theo got back to writing in his journal about he events that had taken place within the last eigh.  He desperately hoped to get this to the king, for it wasn't just his life in jeopardy, but a scurry life to which Theo felt quite attached.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - The Ten Ten Ten Transfusion

So this week New Tunes Tuesday revolves around a mix. A mixed CD that the main character in my novel A Map to the Heart of London gives to his love interest. He drops it into her locker on October 10th, 2010, hence the name. It's music of beauty and longing and love and hope.

You can listen to the mix here: The Ten Ten Ten Tranfusion

The track list is below:

The Ten Ten Ten Transfusion
1.       Give a Little Bit
2.       Red Right Ankle
The Decemberists
3.       Song for You
Alexi Murdoch
4.       If You Want to Sing Out
Cat Stevens
5.       Fall in a River
Badly Drawn Boy
6.       Don’t Panic
7.       Islands
8.       Your Rocky Spine
The Great Lake Swimmers
9.       Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Belle & Sebastian
10.   Beautiful Life
Charlotte Martin

Monday, April 23, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Raid: Redemption

The Raid - Redemption
Last week I mentioned that I’m definitely sans Chika with horror movies, and that also counts for violent movies. So Chika didn’t go with me to this one either. Was The Raid violent? Well I was gritting my teeth through most of The Raid: Redemption, and I often cringed, and was often tempted to look away.

But was the movie good? Hells yeah! 

It was a beautifully choreographed supercharged ballet of savagery, violence at every turn. But what a ride. And it was a realistic situation (well, with one exception, but overlookable I suppose, especially for a martial arts flick).

But the biggest thing?

The. Fights. Are. AMAZING!

Just wow. Yeah.

In terms of overall plot, the director does a great job of establishing empathy for the main character, and the subplots are well handled. The actors, when acting is called for, are solid.

If you enjoy any kind of martial arts movie, you should definitely catch this movie on the big screen. It will still be good on the wee TV screen, but may lose some of that adrenaline rush.

4.0 / 5.0

Cast list (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Iko Uwais as Rama
  • Donny Alamsyah as Andi
  • Ray Sahetapy as Tama Riyadi
  • Yayan Ruhian as "Mad Dog"
  • Pierre Gruno as Lieutenant Wahyu
  • Joe Taslim as Sergeant Jaka
  • Tegar Satrya as Bowo

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Feline Friday - The Great Outdoors


It's all about trust.

Do I look like I'm going to run away?

Do I look like I'm going to eat some poor defenseless critter?

Hmmm. Point taken. I do kind of have that hungry look about me. I'm not sure I'd trust me either not to bolt or gobble up some tasty little morsel.

I suppose I like the color scheme of the leash, but I'm not a big fan of the lizard-belly-crawl I feel I must adopt when walking with a leash.

I guess for now I'll be content inside. 

But are there plans for a jailbreak?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 14 - Blissful and Lingering Embraces

:: Solday Evening, the 97th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
Theo lost no time and, while frantically looking about, hissed down into the grating, "It's clear, Cory, get up here quickly and meet me in the alley beside Lizbeth's place."  Rushing for the mentioned alley, the shadows swallowed the sprinting scurry as he entered the alcove.  Theo shivered uncontrollably as he felt the chill shadows fall on his virtually numb body.  "Wretched, wretched winter.  Old Grey, you and I may very well be heading for warmer climes in the *very* near future."

Cory, struggling a bit with his escape from the grating, eventually joined Theo in the alley.

"Why Cory, how nice of you to join me,” whispered Theo with friendly sarcasm.

Cory's bulky frame huffed up and down silently, but the sideways look and cocked eyebrow was worth a volume of words.

Tapping lightly, but insistently on the weathered green shutters to the right of him, Theo hoped, no prayed, that Lizbeth was in her room.

"Lizbeth, by all the Gods, open the shutters!  It's Theo!” the long grains stretched into wicks.  Theo tapped again.  "Lizbeth!"

The shutters, opening slowly and grunting quietly on poorly oiled hinges, exposed a very surprised Lizbeth, illuminated by the faint yellow lamplight from the room beyond.  "Theo!"

Theo could feel his throat tighten as the dim light from the sputtering oil lamp surrounded Lizbeth's fur in a golden halo.  "Lizbeth."  Theo, grasping her over the sill of the rough wooden sill, could feel her warm breath on his neck.

After a few wonderful grains, a mindful grunt from Cory reminded Theo that the might not want to tarry in the alley.

"Theo, where have you *been*, and you smell of the sewers!” exclaimed Lizbeth with a wrinkled nose and hesitant voice.  "Come in, quickly, I forget myself.  I just now remembered that you're wanted for treason, get in before you're seen."

Theo nimbly jumped through the yawning window, with Cory quickly clambering in behind him.

"My father has ranted and raved at me since yesterday evening.  He came home and told me over and over again that he knew that 'that Theo, I just *knew* he wasn't  good for you' and 'you're forbidden to see him, not that it will make any difference once the executioner gets a hold of him'.  He was nearly in a frenzy, especially after this afternoon's escape,” Lizbeth continued.

Theo found that he was exhausted.  Lizbeth's words seemed to be spoken in a foreign language and his vision was fuzzy.  "We need a place to hole up for a few days, Lizbeth, any ideas?"

"To begin with, father is on the midnight watch.  That gives you two time for baths,” she said with a smile.  "And yes Theo, I'll get a glass of red wine for you,” said Lizbeth, reading Theo's mind with almost uncanny accuracy.

It was times like these that Theo could *almost* think of settling down.  Lizbeth was *very* beautiful *and* she understood Theo's love of wine.

*         *          *

The warm water eddied about Theo's fur and he couldn't help but sigh quietly.  The Alcynoan was magnificent, something that Lizbeth opened from her father's wine cellar.  It was smooth and warm and slid down his throat like molten velvet.

"I missed you so, my faithful friend,” said Theo, calmly addressing the wine goblet that he lovingly cradled in his right hand.

Theo watched the fish eyed room spin lazily in the reflection of the soap bubble and felt more comfortable than it seemed he had ever been.

"Treason, hah!” laughed Theo at the memory of the attempted arrest.  "I may be a bit rambunctious at times, but treason!  And that stodgy old scurry saying that I'm no good for Lizbeth,” snorted Theo.

"Maybe he's right,” came the comfortable voice from behind him.

His paws squeaking against the pounded copper of the water filled basin, Theo spun around in the tub and sloshed water onto the floor.

"You're a bit high strung, aren't you Theo?  I think that I can probably relax you,” as Lizbeth's impish grin betrayed her mischievous mood...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Red Bowl, Birthdays and Horror!

This week was a fairly mellow week.

Last Friday Chika and I worked at Coffee Underground. I was Editing editing editing until 9:30PM, after which we treated ourselves to AlchemyImprov in the same place.

Chika & Trav at Jessica's Roving Birthday Party
The next day, Saturday, we went out for friend Jessica’s birthday. Before going out though, I finished my second to last critical response paper (for Norwegian Wood) for the semester. The book really is amazing if you haven’t read it. The movie’s not half bad either.

Sunday – mostly hung out, getting various school things done. Went to see Cabin in the Woods at the Camelot Theater, and then met Chika at Red Bowl.

Monday when I came home I was sitting next to the doorway and I looked over to see a lucky house centipede. They're such cool critters, and keep your house clean of wee pests.

Water Bottle Rocket Launcher!
Bestest of bestest things arrived at school today!  The water bottle rocket launcher! Huzzah!  Designing rockets in one-and-a-half weeks, launches in two weeks!

This evening we have no special plans except to eat Indian food from SWAD. I’ll correct a whole bunch of papers. Wheee.  Not.  The only downside to teaching. I also spent about an hour and a half on the phone transferring all the utilities over to the new property. We’re closing on the house the day after tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Other Lives vs. Pink Floyd

Other Lives
I’m going to slightly change the format for my Tunes Tuesday, just to see how it works out. When I haven’t seen a live show (Live Tunes Tuesday), I’ll do New Tunes Tuesday. On those days I’ll juxtapose a newer song that I’m really enjoying, with an older artist or song that comes to mind when enjoying the new song. It may sometime be a tenuous link, but the older band will simply have the aura of the newer song or band, for me anyway.


A new artist, and then an old artist.

The first is Other Lives. The band hails from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and originally formed in 2004 with the name Kunek before changing their name to Other Lives in 2006. I ran into their song on facebook, with a tagline mentioning that they were opening some shows for Radiohead.  This is the song that grabbed me:

And another great tune of theirs:

Other Lives is:

  • Jesse Tabish (vocals, piano, guitar and percussion)
  • Jenny Hsu (cello and backing vocals)
  • Jon Mooney (violin, horns, piano and percussion)
  • Colby Owens (clarinet and percussion)
  • Josh Onstott (bass and percussion)

Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here'
The older band is Pink Floyd. I’ve been a Pink Floyd band since high school, literally playing The Wall until I wore out the cassette. My favorite album is either ‘Wish You Were Here’ or ‘Animals’. While taking a shower this morning the song that came to mind was ‘Money’, from their eponymous ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ album, but after listening again, I felt the two songs really didn’t have the same tone at all and I had a bit of a what-the-hell-was-I-thinking moment. So I changed my mind to one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, the title track from 'Wish You Were Here'.

How are the songs alike? Perhaps it’s that both songs have a certain beautiful longing to them, a droning sense of ennui that hints at more than just the lyrics. More than that?  I guess some ineffable quality that I can’t put into words.

PS: This is actually someone’s music video interpretation of the song, but I thought he did a really good job.