Category Archives: Movies

Buffet Paralysis

Choice is good; too much choice leaves me paralyzed. Not talking about dating again, though I could be, but that’s too boring. I’m talking about social media generally ~ there is simply too damn much of it now. When we had only Usenet (BITGOD), supplemented by our frantic, gossipy, occasionally flirtatious backchanneling emails, that already took up way too much free time, especially for those of us trying to do Serious Writing. Gawd forbid if we had Real Jobs too, yipes.

Then came, what, some other drippy sites, then blergging, then faceblop, which isn’t just one thing now, but has spawned into a devilmass of special groups to soak up every fucking minute of the day. Yes, you can turn off all those notifications, and I have. Also, there’s twatter and instapeep and group chats on messenger… and this doesn’t even touch actual news sites and e-magazines we might want to read and a constant flow of shows to watch via Prime or ‘Flix or whatever thing plus books on Kindle all piled up and regular books too and it’s all driving me insane. Good for you if you have a handle on all this shit. Yay you.

I’m paralyzed by this. I feel if I neglect Facebook and chats, then friendships will fade, especially with people I don’t see in meatspace. If I give up Twitter, then I won’t have a “presence” to promote the books I never write anyway. Instagram is no big deal to spend less or no time on, but it takes up the least time in the first place, so that doesn’t help much. I already don’t read as much as I’d like to, for a writer. I don’t actually watch many movies at home and no TV shows now that Game of Thrones is done for a while. I’ve been writing nothing this summer, nothing at all.

Summer’s almost over and I’m really bummed about my lack of progress. I have a few new poems this year, that’s it. No inspiration for a new novel and only a few more ideas for poems. BITGOD I used to feel I had plenty of time to myself, plenty of time to write, even time to exercise after work, and I have that same amount of time now… I just have to stop letting the internet steal it. September is always a good time for me to make a fresh start. Perpetual student here.

~*~

PS: Don’t bother looking up BITGOD since I just invented it. Use your noodle. 🙂

Advertisements

Twelve Years Gone By

Please excuse my lack of bloggery… I was busy attending my daughter’s wedding. ❤

I seem to be out of writing mode, which will change shortly as I’ve rejoined a great prompt group that meets weekly, plus September always motivates me. I’m a student at heart. New school year, crisp notebook, let’s go!

But in the meantime, I wanted to say something, so I decided to turn to my trusty old Ultrablog archives. Apparently I said nothing 10 years ago (hard to believe), so I went back 12 (I don’t like elevens). Twelve years ago I was married, had two children living with me, and for some bizarre reason went to see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Now, if you had asked me point-blank an hour ago, Paula, did you ever see the Dukes of Hazzard movie? I would have said no and I would have probably even denied knowing there existed a Dukes of Hazzard movie. But archives do not lie! And if Google Drive says I saw a movie, then I saw it. I suppose in the scheme of things that forgetting the Dukes is no great loss. I hope I don’t forget anything important however, such as a subthread from Game of Thrones.

I said I liked the movie except for Burt Reynolds being miscast as Boss Hogg. I also said the TV Roscoe was funnier and I was disappointed that “Boots” played over the credits at the end and we didn’t get to see the sexy car wash scene. I have no idea what I meant by that. The Nancy Sinatra song? Wha? I suppose I could look all that up, but someone will know, so I’m not going to bother.

I really miss when my online writing friends blogged instead of blopped on Facebook. FB is junk food for writers ~ and not even the good junk food like tacos or Oreos, but the worst junk food like those skinny yucky pretzels. You can sit there for hours and eat a million of them and you’ll never be satisfied, only thirstier and thirstier.

Pretzels

Tick Tock

It’s after 9pm and I’ve accomplished nothing tonight.

Well, that’s not precisely true. I spent time calling and emailing peeps in attempts to fix mistakes and figure out confuzzling stuff. But there’s so much more. I feel completely stressed out by all the things. I haven’t written any poetry lately, though I’ve scribbled down ideas when I’ve thought of them. That’s not the same though, a couple words here and there. You lose the mood, the feeling, the gestalt of the piece.

I didn’t do much over the long weekend because I didn’t feel well. But that’s not really true either. I cleaned a bunch, hung out with friends, watched fireworks, crossed a lot of items off my list. I keep adding stuff to the list though! I’ve been reading a good book (Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life), but I wasted some hours watching bad movies too. 😦

It seems as though all these electronic time-savers just gobble up more and more time. I long for the days of the checkbook and pencil ~ I am officially old now. So many of my hours are eaten up by “helpful” technology, a sparkly illusion of convenience. No, I’m not giving any of it up or asking for advice; I’m just complaining, right here on my laptop connected to the internet. It’s what I do.

I have a million tabs open up there… mostly poetry sites I want to check out, maybe to submit stuff, or to get ideas, or whatever. They’ve been open for days, maybe a week. But I’m not looking at them tonight ~ I’m too tired now. W10 wants to update again, but I can’t let it cuz I’d have to close the tabs. These tabs, and the whole North Korea problem… it’s all making me very anxious.

Happy belated 4th (USA readers), day late, dollar short.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Illusion

Fireworks

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Spectre

Seriously, don’t even read this at all if you plan on seeing the flick.

Spectre

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Still here?

You haz been warned.

OK, I saw Spectre yesterday, and it was a lot of fun as Bond movies always are. Craig does an awesome Bond (and I was one of the original skeptics). Overall, I recommend the movie to Bond fans and action movie lovers in general.

But.

I was disappointed in a couple things. Right at the start there was something I considered a faux pas. Bond’s in a hotel room with a beautiful girl and tells her he’ll be right back. He goes off to kill a guy, get chased, leap across rooftops, etc., as he does… and then the film cuts away to the opening song and credits. Wtf? The Bond of old would have kept the date and they should have shown that. (“Now, where were we?”)

Next, I did not like two of the main plot twists. One, Franz the villain turns out to be Bond’s brother via (Bond’s) adoption, which leads to a bunch of babble about Franz killing their father out of jealousy and always having it out for Bond cuz he stole daddy’s attention. Ugh. Yuck. Two, Franz announces that he has taken his mother’s surname and is now called Blofeld (complete with white cat). No! No no no no. This was not a REMAKE of an old 007 flick, but a progression in the life and times of James Bond, and it’s totes uncool for them to grab back a done and dusted bad guy. (Supposedly, Blofeld died at the start of For Your Eyes Only.) What next ~ Scaramanga? Goldfinger? There was no reason not to have a new bad guy with a new name “reboot” Spectre. No reason at all.

I think writers should be a lot more careful with reboots/remakes and the like. Either you stick to the original and update it with cellphones and shit, or just move the hell on and write something new. Certainly don’t take a franchise and grab stale fries from fifty years ago to scatter about a film in the here and now. That’s kind of a cheat, and we know what happens to writers who use cheats a la Stephen King’s Misery.

My last criticism of Spectre is more basic. I object to this kind of SOS writing we’re seeing in action movies lately of having the hero always be a dude who is bravely going against his own government because of one flimsy piece of info, and then it turns out his boss is in cahoots with the villains, or is the biggest villain of all, blah blah blah. Usually Alex Baldwin plays a belligerent general at some point. Then, there are always one or two other peeps in the gov’t who believe in the hero and help him save the world, thereby putting their own careers in jeopardy. Yawn.

I am sick of this storyline altogether. Write something else, dammit.

Other than these minor nits, I enjoyed the movie. If it’s true that Craig is tired of playing 007 and tossing out his tux, I look forward to the next actor (rumored to be Idris Elba).

007

PS: Here are some other reviews I found interesting.

Silverado Country Fair

Rob and I went to a fair yesterday in Silverado Canyon, about 25 miles inland. It was so hot out! My car temp was 106F when we headed back. Despite that, the fair was really fun. We saw a bunch of cool art, met some of the artists, and did a craft ourselves. I was really pleased to find some dangly kitty earrings made of real silver, just like some I lost years ago, for only $10. I polished them at home and they look adorable.

Here are some fair pix…

20151010_131225

Donkey looks sad all cooped up. There were cute goats too and their owner said they’d been “debutted,” which made me feel too bad to take their pic.

20151010_114742

Rob is weaving by crisscrossing various blue yarn strands in a grooved cardboard disc. I did one too in browns and called the result a monkey’s tail.

20151010_123834

We decide to take a cookie break…

20151010_124118

Zomg! There’s a cookie in my cookie! It’s like a turducken… or would be if there was a PB cup on top of the Oreo. (Bakers, take note.)

20151010_131541

Rob won a yellow monkey in the beanbag toss! Lookit his long fluffy tail! The monkey’s, not Rob’s.

20151010_132505

Rob gave the monkey to me (aww, thanks!) and we decided to name it Donovan ~ Donny for short. Can you figure out why?

20151010_132514

I wuvs him. 🙂

20151010_190112

I bought a toy for Gatsby, and as you can see… he’s utterly thrilled.

After the fair, Rob and I went to see Mission Impossible ~ Rogue Nation at the $3 theater to get some A/C. Fun movie! And the freezing cold Coke Icee hit the spot.

What a great day. I love fairs.

Coinkydinks in Fiction

Jackpot

Not a fan of ’em. Which is why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with romance novels all along, I guess. The “plots” normally hinge on a series of ridiculous coinkydinks. In my view, the fact that the protags meet at all for the first time (cute or otterwise) is ENOUGH. Just the one. One per story. But that’s not what we get, of course, or there’d be no story. And I’ve done the same in mine too. Really you have to have a meet and meet-again (at the least). Or else what? And that doesn’t even begin to address the myriad other against-the-odds stuffs embedded throughout.

I was up early today (like crazy early) and watched a movie. I have found that if I wake in the middle of the night with a headache and go back to sleep, I will be guaranteed a migraine at 6AM, but if I get up, take aspirin, drink water or cola, I can sometimes get rid of it. Naturally I’ll be exhausted mid-afternoon, oh well. The movie I watched was In Lieu of Flowers, sort of a rom-com, but mostly about the grief process after a romantic partner has died or whatever.

The protags, Eric and Rachel, meet at a grief-support group. OK. But then it turns out Eric’s doctor is Rachel’s father. This is totally unnecessary. But even worse is when E&R encounter each other in the waiting room. Think about that. How many doctors there are and how many patients each doctor has. The odds, IN NEW YORK CITY, of you and your romantic interest having the same doc. Then the odds of you both having appts on the same day about the same time. Boggle.

Of course there’s the usual stupid thing of having people with ordinary jobs in NYC somehow managing to live in fabulous places. I suppose Rachel, a second grade teacher, has doctor-dad subsidizing her BEACH HOUSE, but we never get the scoop on Eric’s financial sitch. Whatever. It was just a fluff movie. For a supposedly broken person, Rachel always manages to look continually gorgeous and smile at every strange man, even a drunk on the subway.

I understand that everything can’t be a masterpiece. It’s fine. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. Or should I say starting them. I don’t finish most. I did get to the end of In Lieu because I had nothing else to do.

Writing fiction? Seems unfathomable to me these days, like chasing a blow-up raft that’s floated out to sea. I sort of still see it bobbing out there, but it’s so far away, and I’m tired. I write some poetry though because that’s all language and emotion. I don’t have to grind out sentences and dialog and worry about where it’s going and the point of it all.

No point.

Quickie Movie Reviews

These are old, so don’t get excited.

1. Hitch. Wow, what a fun movie! My friend brought it over for us to watch after Passover seder. It’s a typical rom-com, but almost all from the hero’s POV, which was different. Lotsa chemistry between the protags and a great supporting cast too.

2. Finding Neverland. Interesting story of how J.M. Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan. I really enjoy Johnny Depp, in whatever role. Highly recommend.

3. Pillow Talk. One of my all-time faves and it holds up decades after my first viewing. Love the witty dialog and the chemistry between Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Tony Randall is adorb and Dr. Bellows plays a phone company employee, tee hee.

4. Identity. Weird, scary, violent, exciting, suspenseful, interesting plot twists, and John Cusack. Love this movie ~ and I bought it so I can watch again because I’m still not exactly sure wtf happened there.

5. Stuck in Love. OK, this movie both intrigued me and annoyed me. I found the protag Dad oddly interesting in his obsession with his ex-wife. Annoying how he didn’t appear to be working anymore but had a big beautiful house on the beach regardless. Because having one famous book means you’re set for life, right. I loved his daughter and thought her romance was very well-done. Loved her dude. But it was super-annoying that she wrote a book while in college, tossed it, wrote another one and boom got published at a top house. Ridiculous. Younger brother is still in high school and wants to be a writer, too, natch. Sis sends his story to Stephen King who calls him personally to say he liked it, because THAT CAN HAPPEN. I found the girl’s estrangement from her mother and her boyfriend’s loss of his mom super-moving and believable. A mix of yay and rawr throughout.

More to come. 🙂

How to Suffer Beautifully

Perfect review of the new Cinderella here in the NY Post.

Ella is an orphaned woman who fully expects she is losing her chance to marry the man she loves because of her wicked stepmother. Yet instead of cursing or sulking or weeping, she sings the song her mother sang to her as she fell asleep, all those years ago.

Cinderella never bitches or blames, but continues to be kind, especially to animals. This is not “anti-feminist” as Vox asserts, but in fact Cinderella uses the lessons her mother taught her to find her own inner strengths. She would have been fine with or without the Prince.

The Brass Bottle

Brass Bottle

It came to my attention around a month ago whilst poking around on Amazon that this movie, The Brass Bottle, existed and was the inspiration for I Dream of Jeannie. I had to buy it obviously.

If you don’t know, I absolutely adore IDOJ.

 

[SPOILERS FOR THE BRASS BOTTLE!]

 

Anyway, TBB completely and utterly sucked. I mean, it was just so terribly bad, but not in a funny, cultish terribly bad way, just boringly, stupidly, terribly bad. Tony Randall was absolutely HORRIBLE as Harold the architect. He was dull and dweeby, not in any way bumblingly smart and kinda hot like Larry Hagman’s Major Nelson, but just an utter blah dork. He was funny in The Odd Couple, but not here.

The genie was Burl Ives, an old fat guy, not beautiful Barbara Eden. This changed the entire dynamic between master and genie to the point where it was just two unfunny men squabbling over shit and having misunderstandings.

Barbara played Harold’s fiancee Sylvia and though she was gorgeous, of course, she was also really boring.

Instead of the hysterical Dr. Bellows sniffing around and causing trouble for Harold and genie, it was Sylvia’s annoying father and a couple of unfunny cops.

We didn’t see cute Air Force hijinks, nor was there a goofy fun friend like Roger Healy, only a couple of stupid artists sharing a house with Harold.

The denouement was totes unsatisfying, consisting of real estate fraud, jail time, and a do-over in the “this was all a dream” sense. Blargh.