Considered Thoughts

{75/365} – Happy New Year & Black & White Wednesday

I knew once I pulled out the Polaroid that my niece got it. She was completely enthralled with the magic of instant image. While she watched the photos develop, she scrutinized them with glee – “Look at this one – so much red!” “Look, this one has some green in it!” So even though she blew through 15 exposures, it was worth it to see her face everytime a new image came into focus – or not into focus. But, she even liked the crappy ones – they’re neat! I’d share them, but I’m too tired to start scanning, and they’re frankly, not that inspiring. But, we had fun and I think she’ll enjoy looking at them from time to time – remember when we took those? Remember the Polaroid?

I did take a few with the digital DSLR – just a few. Danielle was in photographer mode having snatched the Polaroid, and this is the first pose she gave me:

danielle2

I’m not particularly a fan of this “maybe I have to go to the bathroom” pose. So, I begged and pleaded, and she gave up this one:

 

 

daniellenewyears

 

Much better!

And my nephew?  There’s no posing.  It’s very hard to catch him in a still moment – so taking a picture of Jake is just like catching a glimpse –

Jake2 

Jakennewyears1 

These were processed with Paint the Moon’s “Hope Chest Action” – a way back machine for black and white.  Love it!

So, go on over to Long Road to China for Black and White Wednesday!

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Hmmm, somedays, maybe, you just have to use a flash . . . or convert to B&W.  My mom and my niece, Danielle, suprised me today and came into Philly for lunch.  Lovely way to end the week!

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danielleandgrammy3 

danielleathardrock 

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Passage

Every week, I get a dozen emails from Amazon – bestselling mysteries, New York Times bestsellers, bestselling cookbooks, etc.  Today, I received, the Best Books of 2010 – So Far.  No 1?  The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not get sucked into the hype that has attached itself to this doorstop of a book.  This book is nothing short of terrible.  So terrible I didn’t finish it – because finishing it would have been an oxymoron – there’s no ending.  It’s a planned trilogy.  And it’s not a stand alone. 

I read a review of the book that didn’t quite pan it, but was hardly a drum banger, and it suggested that this was the book Mr. Cronin wrote in order to send his kids to college.  Well, if you want to put some change in his pockets, buy his earlier books – Mary and O’Neil and The Summer Guest – simple, beautiful, well drawn character studies, not this magnum opus mess-us.

The Passage has received a lot of “word of mouth” publicity – well, really, its only one big powerful mouth that’s pushing this book – Stephen King.  And why wouldn’t he – it’s a total ripoff of his Stand, and what’s the highest form of flattery?  Imitation.  King has been sucked in by this 700+ page ass kissing, and now he wants you to get sucked in too.

Don’t, I repeat, Don’t do it!

I can’t even believe I’m going to say this, but here it goes – deep breath – the New Moon saga series vampires are more compelling than the goons in this book.

And, if you really want the pants scared off of you, and you want good zombie/vampire stuff, literally eat your face off stuff – rent 28 Days and 28
Days Later.  That’s about a four hour investment as opposed to the time it’ll take you to get through this garbage – and the next two.

Listen to Lemon – she’s imploring you –

lemon in living room

Movie Review – Inception

How hard do you want to work to like a movie? In other words, how long do you want to spend thinking about it after it’s over – and I don’t mean think about it in terms of, “That was thought provoking!  It really made me think about x (race, adoption, love, marriage, etc).” I mean, thinking things like, “wtf? What happened at the end?”  And then, after you spend hours analyzing, twisting, trying to remember clues in the movie, determining that you have to see it again, see it again, and then, still, no answer . . .

Do you find that satisfying?

Even if the answer is yes, wait – don’t jump on the Inception bandwagon just yet –

Because even if you come up with an answer, you might just not care, because there’s no reason to care about any of these characters, their manufactured dreams or their futures.

Don’t worry about reading this review and being “spoiled” – I can’t tell you what happened at the end, because I have no idea, and I really don’t care.

Inception is about a thief – a thief who can enter your dreams, steal your most precious industrial commodity in a shoot-em-up action packed dream, and sell it to the corporation who hired him to pilfer the “information,” whatever that is.  These dreams don’t look like any dream I’ve ever had.  I have the same dream over and over – it’s a panic dream.  I’m late, or maybe I’ve missed a test on the eve of graduation, and I might not graduate.  Maybe I’m not that imaginative, maybe I don’t dream in cinemascope – but my dreams never involve car chases, AK-47’s, or hand grenades.  And these dreams have no dream like quality to them – everything is in focus, the action in the sequences are linear, and really, the whole concept just makes very little sense.

When you think about it.

So do you want to think about it?

Because if you want to think about it, you will be very disappointed.  If you don’t want to think about it, and just go in and watch the stunning cinematography in glorious IMAX, go.

A couple of summers ago, I read a review of the at the time new Michael Ondaatje book, Divisadero.  The review was glowing, but as an aside, it mentioned that it might just be a book you have to read twice.   I’d heard that before, and I threw caution to the wind.  The book was nonlinear.  The characters did not seem to connect.  It wasn’t until the last chapter you understood how all of the pieces fit together, and the narrative became cohesive.  Huh, I thought, I’d actually understand it if I read it again.  But, I didn’t, because I got it, and I’m lazy.  But, a second reading definitely would have provided a payoff, and made the reading of it a deeper, richer experience.

And, if I had to read Divisadero again, that would have been ok – because the second read is free.   Second time of IMAX – not so free.  And then, you’d have to spend time with these not very likable characters again.  Leonardo DiCaprio’s thief is supposed wracked by guilt, yet, there’s no real redemptive moment in this movie.  And the plot – that in order to be able to return to his family, Leo’s thief must implant an idea in the mind of a corporate scion who is on the eve of inheriting his father’s massive empire, that he really wants to break up his father’s life’s work, and start all over again . . . because . . . or else . . . I don’t really know – world domination?  A monopoly?  Who cares.  The other characters?  I know so little about them, that I don’t even remember their names, and I just saw the movie on Sunday.

Anyway, this review is becoming almost as incomprehensible as the movie.  If you’re looking for beautifully filmed action movie, go.  If you think you’re going to become enthralled with a dream world, and become wrapped up in the levels upon levels of dreams, and begin to also question what is reality, what isn’t and what is the reality of the end of the film, spare yourself.  You’re never going to get that second time around payoff.

Tea with My Grandmother

Vintage Summer Peach

In a comment to my Who I Am Post, Piroseper asked about my sweet little teacup.

There are actually three teacups, I just put my favorite in the hodgepodge picture of my life of things.

Tea Cups3These teacups were my grandmothers’s. 

I remember going to my grandparents’ apartment as a child.  They had several apartments while I was growing up, but in each apartment, the set up was always the same.  There was a large couch, across from a television set.  There was a marble coffee table in front of the couch, in the shape of an S, and on each end of the couch, there were cherry wood end tables.  On each end table was a scary looking lamp, with a gargoyle carved in the marble just below the light fixture.  And, as ugly as these lamps were, that’s how beautiful the teacups looked, resting on the top of the tables.  There were six cups, and when my grandparents passed away, my mother and I split them up.  I have three cups, my mother has three.

My grandmother came to this country from England.  She, her parents, her sister, and her two brothers first settled in Canada, where the first wave of the family had moved.  But, there were no jobs, and the boys found themselves across the border in Detroit, finding jobs in the auto industry.  My grandmother often visited them, and during one visit, at a vintage keg party, she met my grandfather, and it was not long after that she married him.

She moved to Philadelphia.  A brother and his family, and various cousins stayed in Canada.  Another brother moved back to England, and I still have family there, as well.  And, even though the family found itself on different continents, in different countries, they stayed close, visiting when they could.  And these teacups were sentimental gifts that were given to my grandmother when she would visit.  I wish, when she were alive, I had asked her about the teacups – about which teacup was gifted on what visit.  There are pictures of my mom with her Canadian cousins, different summers, different hairstyles – which cup went with which summer?  At least one of the cups was a gift from her brother, when he visited from England.  I don’t know which cup, and neither does my mother.

teacups 

My grandmother had the loveliest hands.  I did not inherit them – I have my father’s small stubby fingers.  My grandmother had long, thin fingers, and beatiful nails.  At some point, before my mother made me throw them away because they smelled of mothballs, I had a bag of little white gloves that my grandmother would wear to work.  When I look at these little cups, I think of her with white gloves, sipping tea. 

teacups2 

Not that she actually drank tea out of these cups.  In fact, I think she became an Americanized coffee drinker.  But, no matter.  During the Depression, she didn’t have depression glass, she had these lovely cups.  And, when I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to touch them.

I was always told they weren’t for play, they were special.

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Husband working on the 4th
Sigh.
Don’t worry – he has icecream waiting for him when he gets home!

Movie Review – Knight and Day – Endless Endless Darkness

I’m sure at some point, when you were a child, your mother told you – if you continue to make that face, your face will freeze that way.

You know what face I’m talking about – that puckered face, that unnatural, eyes-wide open, my face is contorted in pain face – yes that face.

And, you heeded your mother’s advice – you stopped making that face, your face developed normally, and you didn’t need any medical intervention upon face freeze.

Cameron Diaz failed to listen to her mother.

Mrs. Diaz – you failed, your daughter’s face froze – it froze in horror, panic – that look, on her, that says – eek!

For 90% of the movie, Cameron Diaz’s face is frozen in a perpetual state of what I can only assume is supposed to pass for acting.

It wasn’t acting when I was 3 — I made that face to be funny, but it wasn’t funny, it was annoying, and my mother knew it.  And, some things don’t change — it’s still annoying.

The other 10% of the movie, her character is drugged.

Yes, that’s right, drugged.

The writer’s of this movie were so incredibly lazy that when they couldn’t figure out exactly what to do with her in a scene, or how they would develop her character in way the character could cope (uh, maybe you ought to take your finger off the trigger, that’s it. . .), they have Tom Cruise’s character stick a needle in her.

This movie is a complete offense to women.  Period. 

At one point, in her drugged state, Tom Cruise’s character undresses her and puts her in a bikini.  This turns into a big laugh by the end of the movie.

Please, tell me, I know I’m a stick in the mud about these things – but can someone tell me what is so funny about drugging a woman and undressing her?  Har har?  Please.  Frankly, I was horrified that we took my 12 year old stepson to this movie, that presents this woman character as a ditz brain, lunatic, who the male lead can drug at will, and who, when she is supposedly finally “taking charge” – the only bright idea she can come up with to find the guy and win him over, is to set herself up as a damsel in distress who once again needs rescuing.

Woman of the world – unite – do not see this movie.  Do not let your sons see this movie.  Do not let anyone see this movie.

Definitely, the worst movie of the year so far.

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