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
Supertramp
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
Coldplay
7.       Islands
XX
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

Trust.


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.

So.

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.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Cabin in the Woods

It’s just an assumption that with any kind of horror movie I’ll be flying solo, because Chika is supremely uninterested in having the stuffing scared out of her. She’s already jumpy enough as it is.  J 

The Cabin in the Woods
So, as a horror movie, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods opens as many horror movies, with the main characters preparing themselves for the journey to the slaughter. Who will make it out alive? Will anyone? Who will die first? Will horror movie protocol be followed?

Well The Cabin in the Woods is like a thinking person’s answer to horror. Just as The Matrix was the thinking answer to SF. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t really all that frightened by the movie. I actually found myself more in the place of having sympathy for the main characters. That’s a positive accomplishment right there.

It’s interesting in that The Cabin in the Woods both embraces and lampoons the horror genre, while at the same time establishing itself as a true genre bender. It obeys some of the established tropes of the horror genre, but then tweaks them enough that they feel fresh. There are also a number of hat tips and nods to the horror movies that have come before.

Below, the preview, but if there are any minor spoilers in it, I accept no responsibility.



Overall it was an extremely satisfying movie experience. If you don’t like horror, well then this is definitely not the movie for you. But if you like horror, and like thinking about what makes you tick and why you get scared at horror movies, then this is the movie for you.

««««
4.0 / 5.0

Cast list (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk
  • Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan
  • Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden
  • Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski
  • Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea
  • Richard Jenkins as Richard Sitterson
  • Bradley Whitford as Steve Hadley
  • Brian White as Truman
  • Amy Acker as Wendy Lin
  • Sigourney Weaver as The Director/Game Setter

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feline Friday - Nepo

So I've decided to go the movie star route to help Mom and Dad pay for their new house and all those Masters programs. I've always enjoyed SF, so I figure that's the most logical choice: SF Action Star. Here's my interview clip for the new Wachowski Brothers movie, Catrix.

I've got a black belt in Cat-Fu, which I believe will give me an edge in the interview process.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 13 - Mysteries & Darkness


:: Solday Evening, the 97th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
  
"Oh ...” said Theo with a voice equal parts horror and relief.

"... no” finished Cory, as they both realized that escape from their immediate predicament involved a flight into the sewers.

Neither of the scurries hesitated, thoughts of mounted city guards hastening their decision.  Swimming up to the rusted grating, Theo could feel that it would be easy to fit his slight scurry frame through the wracked and corroded lattice.  But cocking a suspicious eye in Cory's direction, he suspected that he'd need a little bit of help getting his slightly stockier frame into the sewers beyond.

"You have to stop eating that rich food, Cory, it's at times like this that it really makes a difference” sparred Theo, amazingly in a cheerful mood despite the circumstances.  He was also just trying to keep himself optimistic with his joking, as the winter water's tried to sap his strength from him.

"Your just jealous that I always beat you at arm wrestling!” parried Cory.

Theo, taking a deep breath, dunked under the chill water while feeling for the opening in the iron lattice.  Grasping the crumbling bars on either side of the hole, Theo pulled himself through, still losing some fur in the process to the hungry teeth of the sharp iron.  He surfaced on the other side and urged Cory through.

"We *do* have armed guards after us, if you recall!"

"Theo, had you gone *through* quicker, we'd be in the city by now,” replied Cory to Theo, who was unable to respond as Cory took a breath and himself plunged below the waterline.          

Thankfully, one pull was all that was needed to bring Cory bobbing beside Theo in the small duct. The wavering rays of the sun dimly filtered into the sewers, feebly illuminating the filthy mortar and granite walls of the tunnel.  Diluted with the waters of the harbor, the smell was bearable at this point.  As Cory and Theo moved forward though, the stench increased in vigor

"You can almost see the fumes!” grimaced Cory.

His eyes almost watering as the rank air burned it's way into his nostrils, Theo replied, "That reminds me how much I'd like to thank you once again for getting us into this predicament."

"I suggest that we head to Lizbeth's, it will be a place of shelter,” added Theo.

"You do realize I know you're merely seeking her encircling arms and a down bed,” replied Cory.

"Aaah, jealousy does not suit you well, Cory.  It is *truly* unfortunate that *Duyna* couldn't shelter us.  And besides, Lizbeth has some of the finest red wine in Argonhurst aging in her father's wine cellar."

Theo was enjoying the verbal fencing, because it was really keeping his mind off the dreadful turn of events that he'd currently had the misfortune to land in.  That and the fact that it was now pitch dark in the sewers, now that the two had moved away from the opening which had afforded them the small amount of light that they had been getting.  Stopping Cory with a touch, Theo pulled two of his throwing knifes from within the confines of his clothes and passed them to the other scurry through the murky waters.

"I of course don't *expect* trouble, but it's safer that you have some kind of defense,” said Theo as he pressed his trusted knives into Cory's paw.

"Thanks, Theo.  I appreciate it,” spoke Cory with honest sincerity, slightly out of breath from treading water.

"Just *don't* lose them,” Theo couldn't help but add.

As he clumsily found footing in shallow water after all of the wretched swimming, Theo ran over the recent events in his mind

First it was clear that there was something afoot in Tisden Weald, though he was unsure what normally occurred there and therefore could not determine what was normal.  Feeling the walls, Theo told Cory to bare left at the first fork they came upon.

Second, there was the appearance of Tinker, something of a mystery, making it impossible to determine his actions, even though he seemed willing to help.  Theo shrugged invisibly in the inky darkness and Cory took a right, not following the left tunnel which ran perpendicular their tunnel.

Then there was this Corbin fellow, he's the third point.  Who was he, and how is it possible that he *owes* me?  Some imagined slight?  Did I seduce his lover or is he the father of an ex-lover, I just don't know.  And was that *Corbin* on the battlements just now?  Unluckily enough, I couldn't tell.  A straight passage and they continued on, trusting their fingertips as they felt along the uneven slimy walls. 

The plot to kill the king is a point so large that it's impossible to overlook.  From Theo's slight grasp of Daed and Argonhurst politics, he really didn't recall anything that would specifically spur an attack on the king.  It was of course rumored that the man was getting old and senile, but that was primarily vicious gossip as far as Theo could tell.  Lost in thought, Theo's mind wandered back to the tactile darkness and the increasingly difficult and wearisome act of putting one numb foot in front of the other.

*         *          *

After countless left and right turns in the labyrinthine darkness, Theo and Cory saw a gloomy light seeping from above to shine darkly on the dingy waters of the sewers.

Pulling himself up by bracing legs against one wall and back against the other, Theo shimmied up the wall, finally reaching a narrow aperture that would allow him access to the street. 

With his constricted vision, Theo tried to see as much of the cobblestoned road as he could, and was successful at seeing that most of the roadway held no-one at this hour.

Pulling himself up onto the rough hewn stone, Theo looked about and tried to determine where he was.

"You are truly a fickle god, Casastan, but it's clear to me that you're in a very good mood,” said Theo joyously, as he realized that he'd come up almost directly in front of Lizbeth's familiar dark green door...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Chattanooga!

Thursday (3/29) – finished grading my students Evolution tests!  Huzah! No grading over break!

Friday (3/30) – last day before Spring Break!  Went out to eat at the Carolina Ale House. Not too bad.

Sunday (4/1) – mostly hung out, slept in a bit. Went to see Mirror,Mirror at Camelot Cinemas!

Monday (4/2) – went to thrift stores to find various sundries, dining room table and such, but it was a bit of a wash, not finding much in the way of things we were looking for. Caught Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy at the Handlebar in the evening.

Tuesday (4/3) – drove up to Asheville for the day. Went to see Thin Ice at the Fine Arts Cinema. Yummy food at Rosetta’s Kitchen!

Wednesday (4/4) – heading out early to Chattanooga, TN. Walked around town, had beer at the Chattanooga Beer House on Southside. Went across the pedestrian bridge. Danced the various dance steps that are embedded in some of the sidewalks.

Chika Dancing the Mambo!

Chika on the Pedestrian Bridge



Thursday (4/5) – Went to the Tennessee Aquarium. Very, very cool. Then headed home.

Chika & Trav at the Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium Turtles

Tennessee Aquarium Penguin

Tennessee Aquarium Orange Jellyfish





Friday (4/6) – Wrote, wrote, wrote. Yeah, and then I wrote.

Saturday (4/7) – went to see Titanic 3D. Chika wanted to go, but I also enjoyed it.

Sunday (4/8) – Wrote, wrote, wrote. Then wrote some more!

Monday (4/9) – MFA Packet #4 due. Dinner out at Everyday Organics. Went to see Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at night.

Tuesday (4/10) – first day back to school. A bit tough getting my butt out of bed. But it was great to see the kids again. My eighth graders worked on the Wave Games, and we began our Ecology unit with the 7th graders.

Wednesday (4/11) – Chilling at home with my beautiful wife and Nipo in my lap.  J

Lap Nipo!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Thao Nguyen / The Sneaker Pimps

No live tunes today, but NEW tunes Tuesday. New to me, and possibly new to you.

A new artist, and then an old artist.

The first is Thao Nguyen, who has the pop sensibility that is vaguely reminiscent (to me anyway) of Bjork in her Sugar Cube days. I woke up a few mornings over Spring Break with this song in my head, and if you have songs that catchy you must be doing something right. Thao Nguyen is doing something right:


And a live version on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert, which actually has her playing an 18 minute mini-concert:


The second, an oldie but a goodie, is by the Sneaker Pimps from their 1996 album Becoming X.  Loved this song when it first came out in 


Monday, April 9, 2012

Movie Review Monday - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars the imminently lovable duo of Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. With its pleasant blend of romance, comedy and drama, and solid acting all around.

Ewan McGregor plays Alfred Jones, a fisheries specialist who is contacted by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (played by Emily Blunt) to help a Sheikh raise salmon in the deserts and mountains of Yemen.

Believable well handled premises abound on every level and the movie delves deeper into issues of race, political spin, following your dreams and overcoming odds.

This movie is a step above your average romantic comedy. It’s intelligent, though still suffers from the flaw of predictability. But to be honest, if there’s a romantic element to it, don’t you want it to be predictable? Do you want the two leads to die in a fiery plane crash? Of course not, read the headlines if you want that kind of tragedy.

So this is a really solid movie, and a decent date movie. Could you wait for it on video?  Sure, but you’ll get your money’s worth if you catch it in the theatre.

«««½
3.5 / 5.0

Cast list (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Emily Blunt as Harriet Chetwode-Talbot
  • Ewan McGregor as Alfred Jones
  • Kristin Scott Thomas as Patricia Maxwell
  • Amr Waked as Sheikh Muhammad

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 12 - The Wine Debt Grows

:: Solday Evening, the 97th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
  
Theo began to back away.  "There seems to have been some misunderstanding, I couldn't *possibly* be the person you're looking for..."

"Come along, I don't want to have to kill you.  I'd prefer that you had a fair trial, but I won't take any nonsense” replied the guard in a matter of fact tone.  "So just come along."

Theo began backing up as he spoke, "You don't understand, *I'm* not involved in the plot to kill the king.  But I can certainly tell you who may be involved!  There's a man by the name of Saker ...".  Theo recognized the guard from having him pointed out to him, his name was Cansen, and he was rumored to be tough, but fair.  Theo also recalled the unfortunate fact that the captain was also quite short tempered.

"Arrest him, Captain!  Though he seems charming, believe none of his lies!” came a voice from the top of Northgate.  This voice came from a large, imposing man who stood between the crenelations atop the city wall.  His dark hair, poorly trimmed, and his black beard, which was even more so, wavered in the strong breeze which seemed to have sprung up without warning.

"Yes sir!” replied Cansen crisply, the command of the black man apparently steeling the guard's resolve.  "You've made some powerful enemies, friend.  Now give up quietly and I'll try to have them go easy on you,” Cansen whispered harshly.

"You don't understand, *I'm* *not* *guilty*!  You're looking for a man by the name of Saker Constantine, *he's* the assassin your looking for,” continued Theo, backing up as swiftly as he could without looking guilty.  He made it a special point to keep his hands far away from Kindle's familiar hilt.  Theo heartily wished that Kindle could get him out of *this* dilemma.

"How do you know this information, lad?"  Lunging for Theo, Cansen tried to catch Theo in the heavy wrought iron fetters.  "Ungh” was forced from Cansen's lungs as he stumbled and fell where Theo had been. Cansen, looking frustrated and angry, clambered up quickly from the ground where he had fallen.  "Now it's personal, Bramblerun."

"It's not *my* fault you fell!” explained a flabbergasted Theo, as he nimbly danced out of the guard's reach.  But Theo could tell there was no explaining things to the now furious guard.  Theo began to sprint directly away from the guard, hoping to outrun him.

Cory, Saw and Tinker seemed to all be in a similar state of confusion, baffled by the sudden spiteful, turn of events.  But Cory seemed to make a quick decision as he turned and sprinted, keeping pace with the now running Theo.  Saw and Tinker still looked undecided.

Saw, apparently standing his ground, had Theo yell back to him, "Explain what's going on Saw, we'll get out of this yet!"

"Theodore!” came Tinker's grating voice of warning.  Theo spun to see the guard cock back his powerful arm and let loose with a spear.  Pushing Cory to one side, Theo threw himself to the ground on the left.  Theo could hear the spear whistle as it thunked heavily into the ground near his head.  "What have I done to deserve this,” Theo thought to himself as he scampered off the ground.  "Did I offend Casastan in some way, did I forget some religious holiday??” remarked Theo to himself, unable to shake these darkly humorous thoughts as he continued running.  Theo noted that Cory was able to keep up with little difficulty. 

"We'll head for the water, it's our only chance to lose them!” said Theo breathlessly to Cory, who nodded in understanding.  Theo knew that the Gyonbo plains stretched for many miles in most directions, and they could be ridden down at the city guard's leisure if they headed in that direction, despite the many rocky hiding places that the rough landscape provided.

Both scurries looked back apprehensively to see if they were being followed.  Theo and Cory put on an extra burst of speed when they realized that not only were they being followed, but some of the guards were starting to mount horses.

Hitting the edge of the water at a dead run, neither scurry hesitated as they dove into the icy waters of the harbor.  As the frigid water closed over his head, Theo could feel his limbs already starting to stiffen and his head begin to throb.  "Not this again, I was *just* starting to feel warm,” thought Theo as he gritted his teeth.

Breaking the surface with a gasp, Theo looked over to see that Cory was doing the same.  "You realize that the wine you owe me has just doubled, don't you Cory"

"Why Theo, I wouldn't *dream* of not *floating* you in red wine after this,” replied Cory with a smirk and a voice heavy with sarcasm despite the grim situation.  "Thought I can't possibly imagine how you can pin *this* on me."

"Oh ..,” said Theo with a voice equal parts horror and relief

"... no” finished Cory, as they both realized that escape from their immediate predicament involved a flight into the sewers...