Saturday, February 27, 2010

Irrewind, 20100227: Adult Fiction

*Yes, I know that this is not the 1st or 3rd Saturday of February, but because of the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory, I had to adjust my posting schedule... and I didn't want to let February go "Irrewind-free," so nyah.

I certainly didn't mean for this to happen, but it sorta did. Wait... you have no idea what I'm talking about, so let me back up.

Somewhere along the way I developed a reputation (a small one, but a reputation nonetheless) for writing "adult fiction." Some might call it erotica, I might call it porn, whatever, but you get the idea. Whatever it's called, it was an accident. In an attempt to learn how to write women (and characters in general) better, I went the way of sex. Primarily as an exercise, mind you, but also because I, well, like sex and am intrigued by the notion of being able to write it well (I'll get there one day!)... so why not?

Anyway, in recognition of this new, er, goal of mine, here you go:

"The Anniversary"
It was a cool Texas night. Autumn was fading into winter. But she did not know it. Had she thought of it, she might have had some poetic inkling concerning the weather or the changing of the seasons, but her mind was elsewhere. Hundreds of feet up in the air, protected by the shatterproof windows of her hotel room, the temperature and time of day were far away from the landscape of her mind... Read More

"Push"
There's both a shy and aggressive nervousness in fumbling around in the dark. Lips struggle to stay locked together as two bodies sway clumsily around the room, as if separation might signal the end to it all. A subtle scent of alcohol mixes with faded perfume and cologne and only adds to the vertigo. The edge of a bed strikes the back of knees in silk stockings, and the free fall begins... Read More

"A Kiss by Extension"
His hands move slowly, aware of her heightened sensitivities. Lips place themselves against lips, resistant at first, but gradually relaxing. There's a hint that he's tasting her, though she's not quite ready to return the sensation. A tongue rolls gently in circular motion, offering subdued exhilaration in its attempt to encourage. He wants more, but she's unsure... Read More

"Linger"
A foot falls, then another. Timed to the breathing of approaching surprise. Ambient sound creates shadows in which to safely exhale. The gentle beating of a ceiling fan whips the air, further inhibiting the long-obsolesced ability to feel movement. Her silhouette, perfectly curved in the dark, tunes itself to the music of this silent dance. A foot falls... then another... Read More

"Amid Hints of Sensation"
The stain on the dress is not hers. Hidden amid the black and white polka dots, Natalie can only imagine what her roommate might say - or worse, ask - were it more obvious. She bundles it to further hide the spot, hoping to prevent any possible revelation to any possible visitor, blithely unaware that her confused but all too revealing smile is cause enough to elicit questioning. Feeling the grin, Natalie raises the dress to cover her face, unsure if... Read More

There's also that rather (as one reader put it) intense sex scene in The Storms of Dust, but I'll let you find that one on your own. However, as a bonus, here is the original version of the poem "Arson" that went up this past Tuesday:

"Arson" (original)

flick, switch
match strike
a burst of flame
quenches… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On a Sea of Oatmeal

Captain Tenebrio Molitor made his way across the deck, double-checking the efforts of his crew. They were a novice crew and knew little of the affairs of the sea. Despite this, their Admiralty had made its inexplicable decision and the crew was promptly dumped onto the ship, Endeavor.

The Captain approaches his Executive Officer, expecting the news of the day. "How goes it?" Molitor asks… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

San Diego Chargers: Long Live LDT

Well, the expected has happened: LaDainian Tomlinson, the face of the San Diego Chargers for most of the past 9 years, has been released due to a cost-cutting move (there is, currently, no salary cap for the 2010 season, so that's not the excuse). Do I like the decision? Of course not. Do I agree with it? Part of me does, but part of me doesn't. Sure, he had an off-year, but athletes are allowed those (aren't they?). That this is the third year in a row he's shown a decline and that he is over 30 years old is what sealed his fate, but I call bullshit.

Whatever... there's a small chance he'll resign with the Chargers, but I'm not holding my breath. So until something miraculous happens, I'm just going to assume that what's done is done, and I wish LDT the best in the remainder of his career. I can think of other Chargers let go because of cost-benefit analyses who wound up being effective players for YEARS after their release (Junior Seau, Leslie O'Neal, Drew Brees, Ben Leber), but in typical A.J. Smith fashion, such phenomena are ignored.

Anyway, there's now talk that the Chargers will trade Antonio Cromartie for a proven, veteran running back to fill LDT's shoes. That is the most likely scenario, followed closely by A.J. Smith's love for building through the draft. Outside of these two options, Chargers fans are (so far) relegated to pipe dreams.

However... there's a third option that I've been mulling since before the Chargers season so painfully ended against the New York Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs: acquiring a new backup (via whatever method) and reshuffling their existing roster.

Given that LDT is gone, the Chargers are left with Darren Sproles and Michael Bennett at halfback and Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert at fullback. Sproles is not an every down back (and might not be retained, anyway) and Bennett is likely to follow Tomlinson into "old man" territory and be released in the next couple of years (if not this one). Which leaves Hester and Tolbert.

Think about it. Hester is not a true fullback, and if one were to compare Hester to the other Charger running backs from the 2009 season, his closest comparison is... oh, snap... LaDainian Tomlinson. Tolbert IS a true fullback (a good blocker, a good runner, and a good receiver), and is a much better fit for offensive setups that require a bona fide fullback. Both runners place high on A.J. Smith and Norv Turner's list, and it's not inconceivable to me to see a HB/FB combo of Hester and Tolbert filling the San Diego backfield for a long time to come.

Is it likely? No, but I'm still surprised that no Chargers beat writer has presented the possibility.

We shall see, I suppose.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Holy cow. The River of Mnemonsyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory is over, and I'll be honest: I'm exhausted. Voting is underway amid some fierce competition and I can't wait until the entire process is over.

It's nice to get back to a much less demanding schedule. Mondays and Wednesdays, for the past couple of weeks usurped by the challenge, are now back in the domain of ranting about things that I feel like ranting about (regarding matters of which you likely care not).

Kind of a pity, really, that I can't think of anything to say. My brain is still trying to dump the story I spent so much time on. Ah, well... I'll normalize in a few days, I'm sure.

Random Musings

In addition to Theme Thursday, I've begun participating in another writing group called Magpie Tales. It's a similar group, but uses an image as a prompt, rather than a word. My only hesitation with the group is that the entries are due on Tuesdays, which (if you take a look at my intended posting schedule) pretty much preempts all of my work to one of the two groups. Where am I going with this? Well, in all likelihood, while I will most certainly participate in both, it's probably not going to be on a weekly basis anymore. After all, there's still the normal bi-weekly The Tenth Daughter of Memory to worry about.

I need to travel. Overseas. I haven't for a while and I can feel it. I'm a bit of a wanderer and I don't like staying in one place for too long. I've received invites to Croatia and Morocco. Anybody else feel like offering a couch?

Been enjoying Chuck on NBC and picked up Burn Notice on USA. Love 'em. Also caught Human Target on Fox, and while I'm a huge fan of the comic books, I'm so far unimpressed with the television version. Lost, however, seems to be recapturing some of its old magic.

I find it hilarious that, due to the dominance of the Canadian and American teams, Women's Hockey might cease to be an Olympic sport.

Speaking of the Olympics... anybody else enjoying their fade into irrelevance? Maybe I'll expand on this at another time, but maybe I won't. I think they need to go back to holding the entire Olympics every 4 years, rather than the 2-year rotation between Summer and Winter.

Eh... that's enough from me for today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Undiscovered Countries

*Part nine of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from SPQR, Part III

***

We have seen better days. Juin takes a mere instant to register the deaths of Margerison and Elona. Their bodies, motionless and partially crushed, lie in the distance mere feet from each other. Shutting off what he can of his mind, he tries to determine if he had, in fact, seen the remote fall to the ground. If so, he hopes Calvin - who is near the bodies - will find it and see if it's functional. A device created to stop devices that were created to destroy. It is the never-ending story - so far, at least - of human history. Ambition and a… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SPQR, Part III

*The third section of part eight of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from SPQR, Part II

***

Elona was a dancer not because she loved to dance, but because she wanted to fly. Her parents began sending her to ballet classes when she was only six, and though she at first hated it and convinced her parents to let her quit - Russian instructors tend to be rather harsh disciplinarians - she was reintroduced to dance via the tango when she was eleven. She had a strong crush on her partner, a 12-year old whose eyes she still remembers. Even at such a young age the boy had power; his lifts made her feel like a bird… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*concluded in Undiscovered Countries

Friday, February 19, 2010

SPQR, Part II

*The second section of part eight of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from SPQR, Part I

***

Dunsworth is a short and squat little man. That, combined with his smooth and round facial features, makes him appear about 20 years younger than he actually is. A Canadian engineer, he is Kopeikin's number two when it comes to machine research. The two of them lead the group on a tour of the laboratory and begin to answer questions that the group has had since the beginning of the war.

"Marciszewski was a bit naive, eh, just a tad. But he wasn't stupid." Dunsworth speaks with an almost childish abandon, and his… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*continued in SPQR, Part III

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SPQR, Part I

*The first section of part eight of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory (it's also an entry in the weekly Theme Thursday event).

*continued from Upon Reflections

***

It is a strange thing to take comfort in the fact that Rome is in ruins. Though most of the vaunted city is demolished and hidden beneath rubble, that it has not - like Trieste - been erased from existence lights glimmers of hope in each member of the group.

Juin maintains his place as the point man, while Calvin has joined Rossella in silence, leaving Margerison and Elona to theorize with each other what is happening in the capital of one of the most famous empires of history… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*continued in SPQR, Part II

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upon Reflections

*Part seven of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from Gray Matter

***

Sand succumbed to fire, morphing into a molten pool of tenderly-distilled magma, glowing in the relative darkness. A man's face, unevenly striped with soot and sweat, appeared from a shadow like a devil in the dark. An observer had nothing to fear, however, as the smith's intent was one of creation, of beauty. There was little evil in his thoughts and even less in his movements, nothing more than a desire to reflect upon reflection… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***



*continued in SPQR, Part I

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gray Matter

*Part six of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory (it's also an entry in the weekly Magpie Tales event).

*continued from Heaven and Hell

***

An American, a Frenchman, and a Brit tie a Russian to a tree. Only this is not a joke.

The American, Argent, sees nothing but a man who should be killed. A few days ago, Kuznetsov twice pointed a gun at Argent's head. Kuznetsov also failed to punish one of his men for raping Rossella. The fact that Juin killed the rapist does not figure into Argent's calculations. The Russian will die. It's only a matter of when… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*continued in Upon Reflections

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Cupid... You're a Prick

Dear Cupid,

I usually only write one letter to an imaginary figure per year, but since Santa Claus has already proven that he is illiterate and, thus, incapable of writing back, I figured I'd write a letter to you. In short, I'd like to state that your aim clearly sucks and that you need to go back to Artemis, Pan, Robin Hood, Rambo Jesus, or whomever the Hell you took archery lessons from, because I sat at home by myself for Valentine's Day. I got nothing. Just a few texts from some girls who I know who were kind enough to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day. Sure, I appreciate their sentiment, but let's face it: they were rubbing it in. While they were off being swept off their feet by some dude who was only interested in a holiday screw, I was screwed by being relegated to watching the women's USA hockey team kick the crap out of China in a Winter Olympics that I am otherwise uninterested in.

Perhaps you're too busy fluttering around on those far-too-retardedly-small wings of yours to be bothered to take a proper aim and make a proper release. I don't know. All I know is that you suck. The only chocolate I had was some dried out M&Ms from the bottom of a cookie jar, and the only flowers I saw were dead because someone up there in your fake-ass pantheon decided to make it snow in the American Southeast and kill all the flora.

Did Saint Valentine and Saint Patrick switch days this year? Because pretty much everyone I know was rather drunk... you guys saving the one-night stands for March or what? How about some fucking lucky charms, asshole?

If I ever see you floating about, rest assured I'm gonna take a shot at you. And I ain't gonna miss. I hope your Hallmark royalties run out and you die a slow painful death from starvation. Prick.

Sincerely,
JeffScape

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Heaven and Hell

*Part five of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from A Tautology, Part II

***

Evening, Today: There are loud noises echoing from over the ridge and their origin is unmistakably machine. They are so loud and so many that Margerison and Elona have been crawling for the last mile. Both can smell the ocean, and the city on the other side of the ridge can be no other than Trieste. There is excitement between the two, but also fear. Though unsaid, the former British police detective and the former Russian dancer miss their friends greatly. It has been almost two days since they left the others during the incident with… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*continued in Gray Matter

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Tautology, Part II

*The second section of part four of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory (it's also an entry in the weekly Theme Thursday event).

*continued from A Tautology, Part I

***

"Run! Run!" Argent screams at Rossella as he opens fire on one of the scout machines. It is an act of suicide, but one Argent barely notices. He is, first and foremost, a soldier.

Rossella begins to climb the rocky foothill. In the shadow of the Alps, there is only one way to escape. She briefly considers joining the firefight, but even as her skill with the rifle increases, her skill in combat is - she knows all too well - nonexistent… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*continued in Heaven and Hell

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Tautology, Part I

*The first section of part four of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory (it's also an entry in the weekly Theme Thursday event).

*continued from The Imagination Machines

***

It's been a long while since they had noticed any significant signs of wildlife. Food had been scarce, with scavenging being the primary method utilized with which to feed themselves. But... strangely... almost suddenly... there were animals everywhere.

It didn't take Juin and Kutznetsov very long to organize hunting parties, even with some friction during the process. Though the party had been together in its current form for almost two weeks, there is still a high level of distrust. In the interest of appetites, however, the two… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***



*continued in A Tautology, Part II

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Better Oscars Telecast

So, the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards have been announced, and I'm a bit intrigued. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are slated to share hosting duties, and the Academy will get to find out that their idea of 10 Best Picture nominations is redundant, anti-elitist, and will have none of the desired effect that the Academy hopes it has (drawing in more casual viewers).

Seriously, how did they come to the conclusion that adding five more films a "casual viewer" is supposed to care about is going to make more "casual viewers" tune in? And, keep in mind, this is after they came to the conclusion that the Oscars telecast is "too long" (a notion that I disagree with, but whatever).

And, with all apologies to Kathryn Bigelow (who is my favorite female director of all time), I am wholly opposing The Hurt Locker's run at Best Picture. I just can't support that film. I don't care if it wins any of the other awards it's been nominated for (Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay) ... but I'm hoping beyond all hope that it doesn't win Best Picture. It is a dishonest film and unworthy of the honor.

Anyway... on to the issue at hand: the lengthy telecast.

The solution, if the Academy truly is concerned with the television audience, is simple. In fact, it's already in place. You know how all of those other channels air their "red carpet" specials that lead up to the actual Oscars, essentially making everyone watch bad hosts ask stupid questions on E! or TV Guide channel, right before you switch to ABC to watch the actual show?

Well, yeah... that.

As much as I'm loath to admit it, there are - quite simply - categories of Oscars that the general public simply doesn't care about. As in, really: who the Hell cares? Now, I care, and I like watching all of the categories... I even like catching the sci-tech Oscars. The again, I only watch one awards show per year, and the Oscars is it.

Sorry... back on track.

Oscar categories that the general public simply doesn't care about. Air those on another cable channel leading up to the "Oscar categories that the general public DOES care about." Give us pre-Oscar counter-programming to those banal red carpet shows. Give your viewership OPTIONS. Let's face it, options always help.

If the Academy really does want to control telecast length, this is the way to do it. Move the two documentary awards to this lead-up show on Bravo network. Move the two short film awards over. And move the two sound and one visual effects award (I REALLY hate that notion, but whatever works).

Seriously, that's really the only way it's going to work. Of course, it's a bit un-Politically Correct as far as Hollywood is concerned, but come on. The irony here is that with the additional telecast time inherent to having what is essentially two shows, the Academy would be more inclined to add new awards (such as Best Stunts), and it would become even feasible to have an entire Oscars dedicated to documentary and short film (can you imagine a Best Director or Best Cinematography award JUST for documentaries? That would rock!)

Simply put, though the Academy Awards are designed as self-serving elitist awards (and I seriously don't mean that in a negative fashion), the producers of the Oscar telecast feel the need to tailor to the viewing audience. The problem is... finding a middle ground simply for broadcast purposes is going to be far more difficult than even the imagination factory of Hollywood can handle. Pick a target (either the industry or the public), and fit your show to that. Just do it; then quit complaining about it.

Personally, I like the Oscars show as it's been for the past 20 years, but that's me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Imagination Machines

*Part three of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

*continued from Alive

***

They had stayed in the bunker for six days. That was five days too long for the Frenchman and the American mulatto, about enough time for Lancashire Brit and the Asian-American, and not long enough for the Russian and Italian women. The argument over when to leave remained civil for the first three days, but by day four had become heated, culminating in a mandate by the Frenchman, Juin, on the sixth day… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*continued in A Tautology, Part I

Monday, February 8, 2010

Congratulations, Drew Brees

So... I picked the Colts out of an objective analysis, but I pulled for the Saints, marking the first time I've ever clearly rooted for an NFC team in the Super Bowl (ignoring the Patriots-Giants Super Bowl, in which I didn't really root for either team). Not that I'm a Saints fan or part of the "Who Dat?" Nation, or even because I'm supporting Katrina victims vicariously through the New Orleans football team. Long time readers of mine know why I pulled for the Saints... and that reason is Drew Brees.

No, I'm not happy the San Diego Chargers (my favorite team, in case anyone hasn't noticed yet) were knocked out of the playoffs. No, I'm not even happy that Brees won a title before the San Diego Chargers (regardless of who their quarterback happens to be). I'm just happy that Brees won.

In San Diego, he proved he was willing to put in the extra effort to succeed (he won the Associated Press' NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2004), and was "rewarded" with a ticket out of town following an injury in a meaningless game. Though I love my Chargers, I supported Brees then, and I've never wavered. Hell, in his first year in New Orleans, he shared the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award with his old teammate and good friend, LaDainian Tomlinson.

Simply put, the man will do what it takes to be the best.

And now, with a Super Bowl ring and a Super Bowl MVP Award, that's exactly what he is.

At least for a year.

Congrats, Drew! Well-played, my man.

Football Musings

Even though I'm upset Drew is no longer in San Diego, I'm quite happy with his replacement, Philip Rivers.

The Chargers will win the Super Bowl next year. Well... I'll reserve that statement until after their running back controversy resolves itself.

I think Jim Caldwell, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, is out of his league. Again, I'll reserve final judgment until we see how the Colts respond to their Super Bowl loss (not to mention Caldwell's decision not to go for an undefeated record) next season.

I'm interested to see whether the NFL plays football in 2011. With the existence of two competing professional football leagues (and the possibility of a third), I'm thinking they will. If they don't, however, I predict a significant loss of power for the NFL in regards to maintaining their monopolistic hold on America's favorite sport.

That's all, folks!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Alive

*This is the second part of a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge at The Tenth Daughter of Memory. I still have no idea how it's going to wind up.

*continued from Partus Sequitur

***

"Ready?"

"Yes."

"Ready?"

"I said yes, god dammit!"

read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***

*continued in The Imagination Machines

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Partus Sequitur

*This is the first part of what will hopefully be a nine-part entry in the River of Mnemosyne challenge that's happening over at The Tenth Daughter of Memory (it's also an entry in the weekly Theme Thursday event). Hope you enjoy! I honestly have no idea how it's going to wind up.

***

The blood on the floor is no cause for alarm. At first it spread quickly, and this was no surprise, but now it seems as though it's creating a warm pool for which the soul to swim. A red liquid blanket of sorts, for that last night of sleep... that last and eternal night of sleep. He is not alarmed. He is not surprised. But even he admits to himself that his expectation was not to experience something so terribly inviting… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*continued in Alive

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Irreviews, 2010: Issue III

Well, in the short history of "Irreviews" (formerly the inappropriately-named "One-Line Movie Reviews"), this is the first time that the entire list is "SEE it" films. Sure, there used to be ten titles per list, and there are heavy personal reservations concerning The Hurt Locker, but it's still kinda cool.

9 (2009)
Director: Shane Acker
Writer(s): Pamela Pettler, Shane Acker (story)
Starring: Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly
-----
This movie did poorly in its US domestic release. Why? I have no idea, but it reinforces the notion that American audiences are pretty stupid. Whether that's true or not is irrelevant, but if you've not seen this movie yet, do so as soon as possible. Both the narrative and visual concepts behind this animated wonder are, without reserve, absolutely brilliant. I refuse to give anything else away. My only complaint: it's too short. I could've watched this story for another 10 hours.
Verdict: SEE it. One of the best animated movies you'll ever see.

The Hurt Locker (2008)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer(s): Mark Boal
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
-----
A critics darling, this is a film that suffers from a typical problem in Hollywood: the more you know about the subject matter (in this case, the Army and Explosive Ordnance Disposal), the less you'll like it. That stated, it is replete with outstanding performances (including smile-inducing cameos by Guy Pierce, David Morse, and Ralph Fiennes), excellent direction, and good cinematography. That it is thoroughly inaccurate in its depiction of the military is both expected and a little sad, resigning a film that could have truly been a wondrous war film to yet another example of how Hollywood likes to pretend it's in touch with geopolitics, but really has no clue. Still, Bigelow demonstrates a remarkable ability to build and maintain tension, and (objectively) it really is a good film. That stated, I didn't like it. Hated it, in fact.
Verdict: SEE it. You'll probably appreciate it more than I did.

Invictus (2009)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer(s): Anthony Peckham, John Carlin (book)
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon
-----
Based on the true story of the post-Apartheid South African rugby team and its push to win the Rugby World Cup. Make no mistake, this is less a sports movie than it is a memoir/biopic concerning a very interesting event (a couple, actually) in South African history. Though not without its faults (the soundtrack is a bit over-the-top at times), Clint Eastwood continues his streak of excellent films and reinforces my belief that he is the greatest living American film director. Invictus, Eastwood's attempt at "a Ron Howard film," one-ups Howard at his own game.
Verdict: SEE it.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
Director: Grant Heslov
Writer(s): Peter Straughan, Joe Ronson (book)
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey
-----
A comedy adaptation of the book by Joe Ronson. A completely enjoyable and genuinely funny film, it manages to present "psychic spies" in both a humorous and informative fashion. The casting is top notch, and the actors (down to and including the supporting actors) somehow take their characters seriously without really taking their characters seriously. The ending doesn't quite work, but other than that it's worth the viewing.
Verdict: SEE it. Whether you believe in this stuff or not, it's a good movie.

Up in the Air (2009)
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer(s): Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Walter Kirn (novel)
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
-----
Jason Reitman appears to specialize in films concerning controversial occupations (see Thank You For Smoking), letting us in on the probable negative impacts those occupations have on our society, while portraying the willing souls in those occupations as regular people. And, hey, it works. While there is nothing overtly spectacular about Up in the Air (including Clooney's acting), it is Clooney's public persona that so perfectly fits this film. As we would imagine Mr. Clooney in a bar having drinks, so we see the character of Ryan Bingham unveiled on the silver screen. A superb film? No, not really. But it is very, very good, and though I hesitate to claim that Clooney gives one of his best performances, he is certainly the center of Up in the Air's attention. Extra kudos for ditching the "Hollywood ending."
Verdict: SEE it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge

I haven't used a snide jerk tone in a while...

It's February. You know, the shortest month of the year. Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, Leap Year Day (when we have one). All that.

It's also the month that screws up the scheduling over at the blogging/writing group I helped start, The Tenth Daughter of Memory. See (or don't see... perhaps you're utilizing some sort of Braille-based interface), the creative exercises at 10thDoM operate on 15-day cycles. Obviously, the good ol' second month poses a problem for that. Oh, sure, we could do two 14-day cycles, or we could do one 15-day and take the rest of the month off (of which the admins, no doubt, would have enjoyed). But... no...

Instead, we created a rather insane quasi-competition that involves speed, quantity, and quality of creativity. It's going to be awesome, of this I guarantee. I'm thinking that many will choose not to participate and their excuses will fly ("too busy," "too hard," "not my thing," etc.) like pigs out of a kangaroo's ass. Translated into English, however, all of these excuses mean the same thing: "I suck; I won't be able to keep up; though I brag about how talented I am, this will reveal me as having no talent at all."

So, if you're interested, give it a shot. It'll be fun and there's nothing to lose. I mean, hey, I'm participating and a majority of my work is crap (at least 90% of it, and that's a generous estimate).

Still, if you're scared, say you're scared. We won't mind. We'll just smile and watch as you run with your tail tucked between your legs as you try to take solace in believing all of those ridiculous "oh, this is so good, you should be published" comments on your blog.

Nyah-nyah.

P.S. Because of this, you might notice me not adhering to my posted blogging schedule (count on it, actually), and I might have to forgo Theme Thursday this month. I hope not, but I might be too busy, or it might be too hard, or it might not be my thing. Ah, well.

Eat me.