Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nine Tissue Movie

Always reluctant to watch the movie version of one of my favourite novels...I took a leap yesterday and watched Wuthering Heights. I started crying from the first scenes, it was ridiculous but very cathartic. Not just little sad tears but that really awful ugly cry. The whole movie. Nine tissues.
The novel was written in 1847 and this movie version was directed by William Wyler in 1939 and is beautiful though it veers from the plots in the doesn't matter, this movie captures the cruelty of Cathy and Heathcliff and their eventual peace as ghosts. So often it is forgotten that this is really one of the greatest ghost stories ever written, along with A Christmas Carol, Woman In White, The Shining and The Turn of The Screw How could the shy conservative woman Emily Bronte understand that death, sex and evil can be terribly perverted and connected?.
William Wyler is an awesome director and has directed many movies that I love and also explore sex, evil, women and death including Carrie, The Collector, The Little Foxes, Jezebel and the film noir The Letter.
Funny, I never thought Lawrence Olivier was good looking before, but he is wonderful and lovely as Heathcliff. And Merle Oberon what a mysterious beauty and what an actor!I really laugh at myself that I didn't want to see this movie in case it failed the novel. Sometimes it is best to approach a movie version of a novel as a response to a book rather than a literal rendition. This movie made me want to seize the day and be so happy for all the fun things in my life.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friendly Reminder About War, Farming and the Car

"The flood of synthetic nitrogen has fertilized not just the farm fields but the forests and oceans, too, to the benefit of some species (corn and algae being two of the biggest beneficiaries) and to the detriment of countless others. The ultimate fate of the nitrates spread in Iowa or Indiana is to flow down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico, where their deadly fertility poisons the marine ecosystem. The nitrogen tide stimulates the wild growth of algae, and the algae smother the fish, creating a "hypoxic," or dead, zone as big as New Jersey—and still growing. By fertilizing the world, we alter the planet's composition of species and shrink its biodiversity." Michael Pollan.
It takes a half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn. Why would ethanol be a positve choice for your family car? Ask Fritz Haber:

Fritz Haber? No, I'd never heard of him either, even though he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1918 for "improving the standards of agriculture and the well-being of mankind." But the reason for his obscurity has less to do with the importance of his work than an ugly twist of his biography, which recalls the dubious links between modern warfare and industrial agriculture: during World War I, Haber threw himself into the German war effort, and his chemistry kept alive Germany's hopes for victory, by allowing it to make bombs from synthetic nitrate. Later, Haber put his genius for chemistry to work developing poison gases—ammonia, then chlorine. (He subsequently developed Zyklon B, the gas used in Hitler's concentration camps.) His wife, a chemist sickened by her husband's contribution to the war effort, used his army pistol to kill herself; Haber died, broken and in flight from Nazi Germany, in a Basel hotel room in 1934.

His story has been all but written out of the 20th century. But it embodies the paradoxes of science, the double edge to our manipulations of nature, the good and evil that can flow not only from the same man but from the same knowledge. Even Haber's agricultural benefaction has proved to be a decidedly mixed blessing.

When humankind acquired the power to fix nitrogen, the basis of soil fertility shifted from a total reliance on the energy of the sun to a new reliance on fossil fuel. That's because the Haber-Bosch process works by combining nitrogen and hydrogen gases under immense heat and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. The heat and pressure are supplied by prodigious amounts of electricity, and the hydrogen is supplied by oil, coal or, most commonly today, natural gas. True, these fossil fuels were created by the sun, billions of years ago, but they are not renewable in the same way that the fertility created by a legume nourished by sunlight is. (That nitrogen is fixed by a bacterium living on the roots of the legume, which trades a tiny drip of sugar for the nitrogen the plant needs.)

Liberated from the old biological constraints, the farm could now be managed on industrial principles, as a factory transforming inputs of raw material—chemical fertilizer—into outputs of corn. And corn adapted brilliantly to the new industrial regime, consuming prodigious quantities of fossil fuel energy and turning out ever more prodigious quantities of food energy. Growing corn, which from a biological perspective had always been a process of capturing sunlight to turn it into food, has in no small measure become a process of converting fossil fuels into food. More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen made today is applied to corn. From this article by Michael Pollan.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shakespeare Baptism

1) I love Shakespeare. So much I will sit and read a play, not even acted out in a movie or a live performance.

2) I have a script that has a character who does a play performance of Love's Labour's Lost within it...I am not finished this script yet, but it is a full length movie time frame.
3) When Shakespeare was in grade four, his school class was memorizing Ovid. What did I memorize in grade four? The back of a CAPTAIN CRUNCH cereal box.
4) Shakespeare was baptised on April 26, 1564.
5) The city of London was rampant with terrorism. People who lived outside the strict Prostistan code sometimes had their heads hung on posts at the city gates. The political climate of Shakespeares times probably contribute to the relevance and strength of his stories to our lives.
6) King Lear was a very popular play in the last century...possibly reflecting the self-awareness, or educating the awareness of dysfuntional families.

7) I am very inspired by the following definition by Northrop Frye's on comedies in Shakespeare: There is another aspect of Shakespearean comedy that we have not yet discussed. Northrop Frye has identified some of Shakespeare's comedies as "Green World" comedies, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of those comedies. As Frye says, "the action of the [Green World] comedy begins in a world represented as a normal world, moves into the Green World, goes into a metamorphosis there. . . and returns to the normal world" (85). The principal characters converge in this Green World, typically a forest, and all of their conflicts are worked through and resolved. This convergence in a forest is what we have observed in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
This Green World is also maternal; that is, there is something about this world that engenders new life, and often there is a character, usually female, who dies and is revived, either physically or spiritually. Thus death is a part of comedy because comedy embraces all of life's experiences, but death in comedy is not tragic because even if the dead character is not revived, the character's spirit lives on in one or more of the other characters. Therefore, death allows the other characters to re-assess their lives and live them more fully.

The Green World is a place of magic, transformation, and discovery. It is also a place of incongruities, where things and people seem to be out of their element. For example, in some of Shakespeare's English forests, we find palm trees and lions. It is a place where time seems to stop because the demands of the real world have been left behind. And because the constraints of the real world have been left behind, the characters are free to explore new ways of seeing and of being in the world. Often characters are placed in these new situations involuntarily, but the adversity and challenge of the new experiences facilities their personal growth and makes commitment to life, marriage, and society possible.
from here: click.
Painting of character Olivia, in Twelfth Night by Edmund Blair Leighton in 1888.
The twins,a boy and a girl, both seduce Olivia. (Helena Bonham Carter) 8) I watched a movie version of Twelfth Night the other day. At first I found it quite was slow and extended beginning. The version I saw was directed by Trevor Nunn and starred Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kinglsley. I gave it another try yesterday afternoon and next thing I knew...I was very happy with the movie. I see now, that the quiet beginning, meeting a set of twins as they perform on a ship, followed by thier stormy shipwreck, separation and then survival actually gets you accustomed to the characters. At first I found Ben Kingsley "Fool" bland...but he grew on me. The first half hour was rough for me...but by the last 45 minutes and half hour he story and characters really deliver and it is a riot to see the mystaken identities and genders play out. There was a line about attraction :like aquavit to a midwife" that had me laughing it was such a funny midwives were drinkers, or pouring it on the birthing mothers or something...I just kept laughing about it all yesterday.
9) I 've watched In Search of Shakespeare BBC/PBS special twice. I also own the book version. It's central thesis is that Shakespeare's parents were Catholic, and he was secretly raised with the old school religion combined with a rural oral tradition of ancient folk tales. And of course, Ovid.
10) Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet, died at 11 from the Bubonic Plague. Yes, his son's name is very close in sound to Hamlet.
11) This was a fascinating book about a painting found in Ontario, Canada a few years ago, and potentially a portrait of a young, and rather sexy Shakespeare. This book records the processes taken to prove or disprove whether it was possible for this painting to actually be made at the time of Shakespeare. Various studies were made including finding the wood it was painted on came from trees that grew in 15th century, would have been dried and tempured just about the right time approriate to manufacture into a thin board. Good fun, like a mystery novel.
12) two sites with some pictures:Piccies of Willie and Painting Shakespeare
Intense analysis of movie Twelfth Night 13) I haven't read this essay yet, but will start to work through it it after I drop round and say hi to YOU! I am looking forward to this inasanely long essay because it explores the style of this movie version by Trevor Nunn...and at first I was very resistant to the movie, but now have high regard for it's style and pacing.:I can't wait to compare my thoughts and this article. Me= NERD!!! This is my Thursday Thirteen Week Edition #36 .

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Regis Is Back!

As some of you know, I've been on a diet...well, not really a diet, but returning to my normal diet of lots of vegies and salad and 35 grams of protein a day. I started doing yoga when i was about 12 years old...but hadn't been doing it the last few months. Dumb idea. Anyways I needed a serious kick in the I decided to aim to do sit-ups. I've always been a person who could do like I dunno, 5 sit-ups. Today I was at the gym for the third time this week, swam for half an hour and did 125 abdominal crunches with 10 lb weights and 50 crunches at home this morning while watching the return of the King.
Actually, I had to stop my yoga and sit-ups for a few minutes when Regis and Kelly started because I started to cry like a baby. He has been gone six weeks and heck...I missed the guy. I've been watching him almost every morning...even when I travel, for twenty years. I almost always do yoga and exercise while watching the program. As I was walking home from the pool, I realized, it doesn't look like I have lost any weight in the last two weeks...but I feel back to my energetic strong core self...and that feels really good.
I am not able to do psuh ups. Okay, I can do 5 push ups. And I fall to the ground exahausted and sore...somehow my next goal is to do twenty pushups. If you are here for Thursday Thirteen...I'm just a little slow this morning, but am working on it...please check back in a while!!! I'll be surfing your blogs as soon as I get my post done...Cheers!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stagg and Minx Rank A Couple Movies

Stagg is going to use a 12 point antler for his rating...on a scale of 1-12. Twelve being the best. I am going to use fallen gods, or archons...on a scale of 1-10. Ten being the best.

Sometimes just flicking the channel you come across a gem. Something New caught my eye when it was released but I forgot about the trailers. I have a little trick on how to get Stagg to watch some shows with me. If I can convince him that there is racial or soocial politics involved he is IN! Last year, Survivor divided tribes into skin color...answering to critics that not enough minorities were represented or given a chance in the game. (of course it turns out that even on Survivor people can learn that there is no such thing as "race") I interested Stagg in checking out Survivor last year because of the politics promised...he landed up watching the whole season for the first time. So...when I saw this chick flick on HBO...I suggested Stagg might be interested because the plot involved inter-racial dating. Something New is an awesome movie, written by Kriss Turner (Everybody Hates Chris, The Bernie Mac Show), and after seeing this movie, I will watch anything else she writes. The acting was perfect, natural and compelling allowing a bond with the characters to sneak up on you. The chemistry between many of the actors was incredible especially between the two main star-crossed lovers.and the script was thoughtful. Not only do we follow the concern of the female protagonist and her friends over her dating a man with a different skin color, but we see her remain strong and tough in corporate settings, and feel for her when her parents meet her new date. Stagg gave this one 10 points on the antler scale. I give it 9 archons out of 10. I cared about these two people and their personal challenges and desires, challenges more than skin deep. 40 years after Guess Who's Coming To Dinner shocked audiences...who would have thought we'd still have a need to examine the issues and emotions explored in this tight layered emotional story.

Inisde Man did not do very well by the critics or box office, but it was a really fun tense movie. Spike Lee directed a big sexy Hollywood movie that has entertaining characters and plot. Three fascinating characters hold our suspense,w e want to know who they are as well as what is going on? Impossible scenarios but the movie aims to give grownups a treasure hunt. We both really really liked this movie. A lot. The treasure hunt and heist aspect of this movie works as a metaphor for finding out who these three main characters are, plus, a rich entitled Christopher Plummer mixing it up with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. Big stars, big motives. All kinds of political nuggets in this jewel. Stagg gives it a full rank of antlers, which is 12 points out of 12 points.

And I give it it ten archons out of ten.

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood is an improvised and very silly and funny movie. I love this Martin short character who is an awkward selfinvolved movie star reviewer. Glick is in Toronto for the International Film Festival interspersed with David Lynch smoking and talking about his vision," I see a dark road". A murder mystery of Lynchian proportions grabs Glick by the donut as he gets dragged and drugged at a Canadian hip-hop club called "Pimps and Hosers". Well, you get the idea. Stagg gave this one a full rack, 12 points! And I gave it ten archons. Full marks for this ridiculous delight: it might even be fucking brilliant...we went crazy for the Lynch "cameo".
I recorded Belly assuming Stagg would have seen it already, I hadn't and was going to save it for when he had a boy's night out. Turns out he hadn't seen it either, this was a huge surprise for me because he saw Get Rich or Die Trying on opening night. (I just saw the 50Cent movie about a month ago, and I thought it was excellent!) Belly was trashed by critics when it was released in 1998. It stars Nas and DMX...and is one of the sexiest looking movies I've seen. I really liked it, I especially liked the Jamacian gangster honcho. He was mysterious, languid and scary. This movie is directed by one of my heros, hip-hop video GOD Hype Williams. The cinematography is gorgeous in this film, sure maybe at first glance the plot is predicatable and standard fare gangsta but I think the critics made a mistake by assuming we don't enjoy this story. The movie offers some cool characters and interesting small parts and side stories. Did I mention it is fucking gorgeous? There are a couple of wonderful homages to Brian De Palma's Scarface which I enjoyed. But if you think you've seen it all, this movie isn't for you. Tight soundtrack. Stagg's heart gives this one 10 points, but for everyone else, he gives it 6-7 points. I give this one 7 archons.

Something New
Hype Williams directing video of Busta Ryhmes What It Is. A beautiful song and beautiful video.
Bring Jiminy Glick to the Big Screen
definition of "hoser"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two and a Half Hour Walk.

Trucks with salvage are seen everywhere. It's a spectator sport spotting them.

The tallest building on downtown skyline in this photo is the John Hancock.

One of those apartment buildings is where we took these photos. (You might have to click on highlighted text, then scroll down...having problems making a decent link.)

Above photo: two tall black monoliths. The one on the left of photo, is the John Hancock, at 100 stories high.. The other tall black building, on the right is the Sears Tower at 110 floors high..

Quite the change from the salvage truck huh?
The John Hancock about six blocks away now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Shangri-La Diet

The Shangri-La Diet I could probably spend hours at this guy Seth's blog. Really, everything he writes about I find so interesting. He has such a great attitude towards ideas and experimenting and finding knowledge by thinking and looking at the world through YOUR OWN EYES. Seth's Blog (author/inventor of the Shangri-La Diet)

Is there A Face Lift in your fridge?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Minx Shoots Bunny With Va-Va-Va-Zoom

Exactly a year ago...Minx Cornered Bunny. Tonight I reprised my role as intrepid urban jungle photographer.
Hey compare the rabbits of Edmonton to Chicago at Voyages...hey Karen! Chi-town bunnies have much smaller ears.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fashion And Movies

1) Watched this documentary last weekend and it was so fantastic. A camera is set up in the studio of St.Laurent and follows his designs and seamstresses to create a line of haute couture. I couldn't take my eyes off the was eccentric and brilliant. Although the relationships are not explained I had the impression that his staff and himself had worked together for the last forty years, they are a a dignified family. How the clothes went from sketches to layers of analysis was magical. Yves St. Laurent, like all the couture masters is a sculptor! A terrific line form the film is when one of his seamstresses comes into the salon with a model in his gown he says" I asked you for a sausage and you made me a masteriece."
2) I didn't know it was Thursday till Saturday last week...I don't know what happened but I lost a few days.
3) I think I was all confused because I started a diet and was very tired last week...and ditsy.
4) The diet has me thinking about fashion...and what I might be able to fit into if I can lose the roll on my tummy. I am aiming for a six pack. This morning I ate half an avacado, two tablespoons of cottage cheese and a hardboiled egg. Hmm...that may have been too much food, 21 grams of fat. 8 grams of carbs. 255 Calories (that's not bad) 12 grams of protein. I just looked up a chart...I am should lose weight at 33-44 grams of fat per day?

5) Last year, I saw another documentary with a designer called Karl Lagerfield Is Never Happy Anyway. It too was fascinating to see how Lagerfield works and bring his vision to the body. A must see for fashionistas.
6) Just how cool a man can look in a good suit.
7) I think this poster is an argument alone for how movies affect fashion. Rosanna Arquette and Madonna look so cute. I just watched this movie last week...and it really holds up, as charming as when it first came out.
8) Ralph Lauren designed costumes for The Great Gatsby did not seem old-fashioned on Mia Farrow. Robert Redford was no slouch in his suits either. I think these costumes are still an influence on design today.
9) As The Passion of The Christ was being marketed and released, all kinds of people were wearing "Jesus is my co-pilot" t-shirts. Madonna preferred the goddess version with "Mary is my homegirl".
10) Annie Hall changed women's clothing for years.
11) In The Devil Wears Prada I found the movie too simple plotted, and some of the characters weak...but Meryl Streep is worth the entire movie. Everything she did was perfect! She has a response to a workers thinking fashion was mindless and not an influence on herself and Streep gives an awesome soliloquy.

"This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of a clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff." Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

12) "Stop! I don't want my hair cut! I don't want my eyebrows up or down. I want them right where they are! And I see no functional advantage in a marvelous mouth. I'm leaving now, and if anyone so much as makes a move to stop me, there'll be plenty of hair cut and it won't be mine!" Hepburn in Funny Face

13) What sorority girl hasn't dressed up as Laura Croft for Halloween?

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