Saturday, June 06, 2020

I apologize for not posting anything in months.  I appear to have nothing to say lately.  No words at all, nothing to offer, nothing to share.  I should look for some tags or something.  I'm safe, my family is safe.  In fact, very little changed for me, as I already worked from home.  My daily routine stayed basically the same.  A grocery store trip once a month instead of once or twice a week, but that's about the only difference.  I don't live in a big city, so I never had to stop walking my dog daily or anything like that.  I hope everyone stays safe and sane while the world continues to go bonkers.

I have not been watching many movies.  A few here and there.  Mostly I've been watching South Korean dramas on Netflix.  As most of these shows run a minimum of 12 eps, and usually 18... that's a lot of hours per show, which keeps me nicely occupied.  I suppose I could review the ones I've seen... but I can't seem to muster the energy, and I'm not sure anyone cares.  I will say my two favorites so far have been Memories of the Alhambra (2018) and Tunnel (2017).  I burned through both of those shows in ridiculously short times. The first is about an augmented reality game that bleeds over into real life.  I always liked the song "Memories of the Alhambra," but now, if it ever starts playing during a thunderstorm, I'm liable to freak out. It's such a lovely song, and I LOVE the frightening context it took on.  Good stuff.  The second show is about a cop who accidentally travels through time while pursuing a serial killer.  I love time travel stuff, and this was a great show.  I loved the characters, loved seeing how the police in a different country work on a case, loved watching the lead try to adjust to the current year after jumping forward from the 80s.

Other than that, daylight hours are mostly spent outside doing yardwork.  Pulling weeds daily, mowing and edging twice a week. I put a small garden in this year, with more than just my normal tomatoes.  If stuff grows well, I will expand the area next year.

My aspen grove with lupines and Silver
No sunlight, so these look washed out, but they're pink, with a yellow lupine in the background.  I had a deep maroon one, which was my favorite, but Silver dug it up when it was just coming back, and it didn't survive.  Sigh.
The purple lupine

Saturday, February 01, 2020

The Never have I ever Writing Tag

1.  Link to and thank the blogger who tagged you. (Thanks, Hamlette!)
2.  Include the graphic somewhere in your post (or make your own!)
3.  Answer the questions truthfully and honestly.
4.  Tag 3 bloggers.

Never Have I Ever…

…started a novel that I did not finish.

hahaha.  Of course I have!  I've started many a novel that I didn't finish for all kinds of reasons.

…written a story completely by hand.

Many. Oh so blooming many stories.  Also a whole novel, and several half-finished novels.  Mostly, all this question does is date me.  There were no computers when I started writing.  I grew up writing everything by hand.  And then editing, and then re-writing it neatly by hand.  And it takes a very long time to copy an entire novel neatly and cleanly in cursive by hand, let me tell you.  And then, if it was important enough, possibly typing it up on an old typewriter.  Which also takes a long time because when you messed up, you'd have to type that page over.  So yeah, basically every story and novel I wrote through college (including all stories and essays for coursework) was handwritten first.

…changed tenses midway through a story.

…changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft.
No. (or if I ever did, I don't remember it now.)

…written a story in a month or less.
A story?  Sure, many many stories were written in way less than a month.  A complete novel in less than month?  No.  Three months is the fastest I ever completed an entire novel.

…fallen asleep while writing.
No.  This is a very strange question.  Do people actually fall asleep while actively doing things?

…corrected someone’s grammar irl/online.
Rarely, but sometimes I can't stand it anymore.  Like people who use in regards to instead of regarding.  And misusing nauseous when they mean nauseated.  But only in real life, not online.  I tend to say very little online.

…yelled in all caps at myself in the middle of a novel.
Of course.  Usually of the "FIX THIS LATER" variety.

…killed a character who was based off someone I know in real life.
No.  I don't base characters off anyone I know.  Fiction and real life are two very separate things.  I write fiction to escape real life.  I'm sure as little fishes not going to put anything or anyone remotely reminiscent of my own real life in there.  That would defeat the purpose!

…used pop culture references in a story.
No.  I tend to write scifi/fantasy and that doesn't lend itself to pop culture references.  I would feel weird referencing other things anyway.

…not researched anything before starting a story.
Like nothing at all?  Not character background or world or anything?  No.  I have to know something, even a minimal something.

…used “I’m writing” as an excuse.

…written between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Very rarely and really only during college when something was due the next morning.  I am not that kind of a night owl.  Them's sleeping hours!

…drank an entire pot of coffee while writing.
No.  I don't drink coffee.  But I have been known to drink multiple pots of tea while writing. 

…laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene.
Occasionally, though not as often as you might think.  I tend not to write as a writer, so if I'm laughing like an evil villain while writing a scene, it's because my evil villain is actually laughing in that scene. 

…written down dreams to use in potential novels.
I used to.  Had one completed novel's premise come entirely from a dream.

…published an unedited story on the internet/Wattpad/blog.

…procrastinated homework because I wanted to write.
Thank goodness homework is so far behind me, but yeah, back in the day, of course.  Constantly.  I did just about anything to procrastinate doing homework until the last possible moment, but writing was the most fun excuse.

…typed so long that my wrists hurt.
Only back before I had an ergonomic keyboard.

…spilled a drink on my laptop while writing.

…forgotten to save my work/draft.
Only really back in the early days when computers didn't autosave stuff.  It was one of my primary complaints against computers when I first started using one... if you didn't save or something happened your work was gone for good. Handwriting was clearly the superior choice because your words couldn't be swallowed by the ether.  Yeah.  Nowadays, I hit ctrl-s every other minute, it seems.

…finished a novel.
Yes, several.

…cried while writing a scene.
Yes, though not as often as you might think, given how many beloved characters I've killed off over the years. Usually, I get gutwrenched, but not teary.  But I did bawl when I wrote the ending of one of my novels, "While Gods Lie Dreaming."  And I cried all through writing the ending of my novella, "A Frost of Bones."

…created maps of my fictional worlds.
(one of my novel's maps)

…researched something shady for a novel.
I don't know about shady, but stuff about murders and weapons, sure.

And there you have it.  I'm afraid I'm not going to tag anyone, cuz they people I would tag are already tagged.  But, snag if you want to!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

1917 (2019)

I'm so glad I got to see this film on the big screen.  It was really good, though not for the faint of heart.  The camera movement is silky smooth as it does its astoundingly edited one continuous shot throughout.  The editing is flawless.  Don't know how they did it, but the result is magical.  I got teary twice, not from anything sad, but just from the power of the visuals coupled with the score by Thomas Newman.

The scene that goes with "The Night Window" cue... holy smokes.  I would go see this movie again, just to experience that moment again alone.  The soaring music is one of best cues I've heard in years.  It's got some Ralph Vaughn Williams influence, but even more, it's got some exquisite Alan Hovhaness-ish going on, but given that those are two of my favorite classical composers, I was in heaven.  I purchased the score within 5 minutes of getting home from the movie.  I have not needed a score so badly in years.  How I've missed real powerfully emotional music that makes me want to listen to it in headphones and disappear into the notes, but "The Night Window" does that and then some.

I loved the simplicity of this movie.  Our heroes must deliver a message within twenty-four hours to the front line to stop the troops from walking into an ambush.  That's it.  The journey to achieve that goal is at turns violent and beautiful, brutal and gentle.  There are friends; there are enemy.  The way the movie is filmed, you become a third soldier, accompanying them on their mission.

This movie is a fantastic follow-up to Peter Jackson's documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, which I saw twice in the theater (once when it came out, and once last December when it was re-released in 3D).  Everything the documentary showed and the soldiers talked about is here in 1917.  The documentary added a sense of depth and knowledge to the fictional film that just made it even more moving. 

I saw this film with my mom and brother-in-law, and we all felt wrung out, but... rewarded. 

I'm avoiding spoilers and the like, but I just have to say, the opening few minutes where we simply watch the characters walk from a field into the trench, but looking back at them, not actually seeing where we're going, but watching backwards, seeing the walls grow higher and higher on either side as we descend -- wow.  It was one of my favorite moments.  The choices made of where to put the camera, when to look ahead, when to look behind... it's masterful.  This is a powerful and extremely well done movie.  Kudos to everyone involved.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year - year in review - movies

Happy New Year to everyone!  Hard to believe it's 2020.

This last year has not been a stellar blogging year for me.  I really made no attempt to maintain this.  I had no energy at the end of the day to blog, and nothing I felt compelled to share.  We'll see what 2020 brings!

Let's take a look back at 2019.  I actually went to the movie theater 36 times.  That's quite a lot!  This was a mix of new movies, Classic TCM big screen movies, operas, documentaries, and repeat viewings.

Let's take a look at my entertainment takeaways from 2019.

There were three movies in 2019 that I went and saw multiple times in the theater, and all three of them are favorites:

1.  Avengers: Endgame
2.  Midway
3.  Captain Marvel

All three were fantastic.  Endgame wrapped things up in just the right way, showing how powerful an ending can be when it's earned. I loved it.  I also loved Captain Marvel. Midway I managed to review a couple weeks ago, but I failed to review the other two at all.  Sigh.  Captain Marvel had a fantastic cast, a fun story, and a great ending.  It's everything I want out of a superhero movie, and it led so nicely into Endgame. It jumped right into my top five Marvel movies.

I have two other favorite movies from 2019, ones seen on Amazon Prime and Netflix, respectively that make my top five favorite movies of 2019.

4.  April 9

5.  The Highwaymen

April 9 was discovered almost by accident.  After Midway came out, after I watched a couple of the WWII documentaries on Netflix, I was looking for more WWII movies, and, in scanning what Amazon Prime had to offer, I found a movie I'd never heard of, a Danish film about Germany's invasion of Denmark, on April 9, 1940.  As I'm still studying the Danish language daily on duolingo, I decided to see what this movie was all about.  And I discovered a fantastic little gem of a movie.  This movie is so well done it instantly jumped into my favorites of the year, and it is also jumped into my top ten favorite movies about WWII.

It follows a bicycle squad (!) through the day of invasion. I love this movie for many reasons, but one of them is that you only see things from their perspective, never the German side.  This is one of the first movies that really gave me a sense of what it would be like on the ground, fighting for your country, not knowing what you're up against, just following orders the best you can.  I love the cast and cared about the soldiers we followed.  The movie ends with some short interviews with Danish veterans who lived through it.

This movie was so good, I promptly showed it to my family, and they loved it as well.  My nephew still talks about it.

I also found my grasp of the Danish language is decent... except that despite all the vocabulary I've learned, there are still so many words I don't know.  If I hear something I've studied, I can translate, but in a war movie, there were simply so many words duolingo hasn't taught me.  But that's what the subtitles are for.  If you're not put off by foreign films and subtitles, I highly recommend this movie for a slightly different look at WWII.

The other movie I loved was Netflix's The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.  This one's about the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde and was really well done.  I love Costner, of course, but what surprised me was just how much I loved Harrelson in this movie.  He was fantastic, and my favorite scene was when a couple of hoods tried to jump his character.  Hah!  The dynamic between Costner and Harrelson was great, and this movie was one I immediately wanted to watch a second time.