Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Foxy Boxing Day!

America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! Not a Boxing Day tradition, but wouldn't it be grand if it was...?

The poppers, I'll pass on.

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Frickin Holidaze =)

Merry Everything!~

Tis that giving-to-people time again, and I no send card. Make pixel
pictures instead. Now, done. Not so much complete, but done. You go
look now.
You push keys of arrows and bar of space. Get your
present. Some bells, no whistles, some infringe of rights of copy.
Maybe fun. Maybe funny?

Happy solstice season greeting to you!

Wham Wham Wozzle!

Keep on beepin on~

Sunday, December 23, 2007

a last-minute gift?

Frickin frackin sazzafrazzin... Why do I do this Holidaze thing to myself every year?

Cuz you're an idiot?

Oh yeah!

You two...~

Well, if it doesn't get done, the Mass Lottery has got a fine suggestion...

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I really love this game. I'm not really even good at it. I'm just happy that it IS.

Check it out =)

(Be sure to click the CONTROLS button to learn your special, nay, *miraculous!* combos, like "Fishes and Loaves," "Dove of Neutrality," and "Rain of Frogs."

Holy crack.

I think the name, intentionally or not, references a line from THE SIMPSONS. I suppose in the end, anything you could possible say will have been a line from THE SIMPSONS, eh? I can't quite place it, tho. Was it the PAPER MOON scam parody? I want to say that Bart cries, "Bible Fight!" and he and Homer start hurling bibles at one another... Can anyone help me out here?

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, December 10, 2007

it's beginning to look...

Holiday lights along my commute, before and after.

It's not *exactly* funny, but it's inexactly funny, donchathink?

Does anyone remember the DAILY SHOW segment, "Poll Smoker?" =)

And, an odd conjunction of tree and lamp that made me pause. Just cuz.

I love lamp.

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

previously, on Broken Arm...

So, I went back to the ortho doc's office on Wed before Thanksgiving. I got x-rays of my arm taken, and then sat down with the P.A. to get the low-down. The first thing she says to me after looking over the x-rays...

So, Brian, have you... sustained a fall recently?

Umm. No.

Oh! That's good!

And then she moved on. I was knocked a bit off balance by the question, and everything that it implied about my x-rays and arm, and I just filed it away and let her continue. She explained that she would prescribe occupational therapy for me, and set up a follow-up appointment for January sometime, to see how it works out. I recovered enough of my head by that time to ask her the important question...

Can I go back to playing volleyball?

She asked me again about how/when my arm still hurts, thought about it, then added an order to my occupational therapy scrip to make or fit me for a protective splint that I can wear when playing volleyball. At the time, I thought that was a Good Thing, but now, a week and change later, I'm thinking that I will wait until that January doctor's visit before I step back on the court to play, protective splint or no. I mean, you know the way I play.

Me being me, I took a couple of digital snaps of the x-rays on the monitor while I was waiting for the P.A. I don't have the experience and know-how, medically, to know what I was looking at when looking at the pictures, but I know I didn't like them. The new bone growth looked to be happening on the outside surface of the broken bone, and not filling up the gap, where the break occurred. I mean, I really thought, visibly, there's still space between the two pieces.

Anyhow, I shared my pictures of the pictures with a non-ortho doc acquaintance who explained that it could be that soft tissue is filling that gap, physically slowing down the healing of the bone. Stupid soft tissue. I never trusted it.

Occupational therapy will teach me some exercises that will help increase circulation to the injured area, which should stimulate the healing. If, however, the soft tissue persists in interfering, well, Other Stuff will hafta happen.

Let us not speak of Other Stuff now.

Bottom line. I won't be playing any volleyball until I get some kind of verdict from the doctor in January. Dagnabbit.

I hate that I hafta keep pushing off my return date, bleah. But it's been over four months and the injury still bothers me, and well, the you recall the doc's first question to me? Not exactly the most optimistic sign.


Back to the movies for me.

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, November 29, 2007

a pick-me-up

The Walken, dancing to, entranced and touched by, "Weapon Of Choice." A now-oldie but forever-goodie. This always makes me sweetly sad-happy, w moments of joy.

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, November 25, 2007

watching BSG: RAZOR

"It's been revealed... Helena Cain, and Gina Invierre, are lovers. Brought to you by Quizno's. Mmm mmm, mmm mmm, mmmm. Toasty!"

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. Frackin' LOVE seeing the old-school new-school Cylon Raiders! =)

p.p.s. Starbuck: Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Frackin' brilliant! Cuz, Thrace's character was played by Dirk Benedict in the original series, and you might remember that Dirk played "Faceman" of the A-TEAM (another Larson production), and the Colonel's thing was, "I love it when a plan comes together." (Also, in the show opening, Faceman crosses paths with an old-school "toaster" at Universal Studios. =)

Frackin' nerd pop culture jackpot!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

to pie. I pie. You pie. He/she/it pies...

The day after our housewarming evening, I was in the kitchen, chucking some stuff in the bin. I happened to look down into the trash can and saw a crunched up empty tin pie pan in the rubbish. The scene inspired in my so-called mind the PUNchline to a joke...

"Can't we just let pie-gones be pie-gones?"


Haven't come up with a perfect set-up for it yet, tho.

I was reminded of that brainwave by how I spent my late evening tonight...

I may try to knock another one off before turkey day. Just gotta see how my schedule, nonsomnia, and need for distraction work out, donchaknow.

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, November 19, 2007


"Grunka- lunka- dunka- di- darmedguards..."

"Honey comes from a bee's behind... Milk comes from a cow's behind... And have you ever used toothpaste?"

"Compadres, it is imperative that we crush the freedom fighters before the rainy season. A shiny new donkey to whoever brings me the head of Colonel Montoya... And by that, of course, I mean it's time for the worker of the week award!"

"Inanimate? I'll show you inanimate!!!"

Ever-lovin' thanks too all y'all cahootzers!



Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, November 18, 2007

things presented...

My material take this year (so far, at least =). Thanks to the JGs, the sis, and the all-powerful Zorky. Not pictured here are some very appreciated winter clothes from the parentals, and Cormac McCarthy's NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which I treated myself to.

In the digital category, we have...

Thanks, designfemme! I don't know that I'm worthy of taking Anton's spot in the image—I think I'm probably more gas station attendant than avatar of Death, maybe Bell's deputy—but perhaps, someday... someday...


Call it, friendo.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WRISTCUTTERS: it only works when it doesn't matter

site | trailer
WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY. Caught this at the Kendall tonight on my own. A charming bit of romantic misadventure in an afterlife reserved specially for those who have taken themselves out of the game. Enter Zia (Patrick Fugit, of ALMOST FAMOUS). Depressed, lovelorn, heartbroken by his lady, Desiree. He gets out of bed one day and decides to leave it all behind, but proper. He takes the day to clean house, chuck the trash, put everything in its place, dust-free, have one last look out the window at an otherwise lovely day out, and then slash the ol' handnecks.

And that's where the story starts. He finds that the afterlife, or at least, his afterlife, is pretty much like the beforelife, only crappier, more worn out, and even more joyless. It takes a while, but he's almost settled in and okay with this new non-life. He's got a crummy job, hangs out at bars in his time off, and has even made a best friend, Eugene, who in his previous life was a Russian immigrant and unaccomplished rock star. The one thing that haunts young Zia in his death is the one that haunted him in life—his lost love, Desiree. When he runs into an old acquaintance from life, he learns that Desiree went and offed herself a month after he did, which means his beloved, his reason for living, and dying, was sharing his sentence in suicide purgatory. With that, he hits the road with Eugene in search of Desiree, claiming he can "feel" her presence somewhere in the desert wilds outside of town. On the road they encounter many characters, and pick up a hitchhiker, Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon, of KNIGHT'S TALE), who is on a quest of her own, to find the People In Charge and plead her case and win a return trip back to the beforelife. Wacky fun ensues.

Be warned, there are several graphic depictions of suicides. I guess this film would be categorized as a "dark comedy," but really, for me, it's charming fantasy quirk. That's what this film has got. A few people off themselves. It's not the end of the world! Sit back and enjoy it! The premise of an underpowered more-of-the-same afterlife is a simple what-if creative winner for me, but throw in a love reunited by suicide, a commune for trivial miracle workers, essay questions at the gas station, a self-proclaimed messiah (played more by G.O.B. Bluth than Will Arnett, but that's a good thing =), and a black hole in a station wagon, well, what more could you ask for?

The eclectic and talented cast of suicide players has many fun familiar faces, including Leslie Bibb (Shannon, from LOST), Jake Busey (STARSHIP TROOPERS), and Tom Waits (Tom Waits =).

It's sweet to watch Mikal rebel against the joyless, smileless nature of the place by vandalizing warning and direction signs everywhere she goes.

I really like the portrayal of Zia's last hours of life. The whole cleaning thing. It's very respectful, you ask me. The notion of suicide came up in conversation a couple weeks ago and it's exactly how I thought it should be done, if you're going to be proper and just plain civil about it, y'know? I thought his very last moment was quietly frickin hilarious. Ask me if you want the details. It's not a huge thing, but I really appreciated it and don't want to spoil it for anyone else here.

Gotta say, the filmmakers found some amazing sites to shoot to push the run-down setting of the suicides' afterlife. Along the roadside, you'll find husks of cabins, sprawling power stations, massive electric towers, and deserted cars, half buried in ditches. Desolate, but kind of picturesque (there's a lovely, and ultimately funny, moonlight scene). The movie has got the style of this afterlife nailed.

A little bit of movie deja vu... WRISTCUTTERS reminded me of SIX-STRING SAMURAI somehow... In texture, or flavor. The spent world of an environment, the road trip thru desert wilds, and the stops along the way, and probably the rock ballads by the Russian rocker playing on cassette in the car. Not a bad thing to be reminded of.

Just say yes to the kooky premise of WRISTCUTTERS's concept of the afterlife, and everything else about the movie will fall into place. You'll dig this dead buddy picture/road movie. The Kendall only has it thru Thursday night, so get over there quicklike to check it out.

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: Coen Brothers brilliance, aka Death and Texas

site | trailerSaw NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN tonight and I was smiling almost the whole way through. It is some kickass Coen Brothers greatness. A FARGO, relocated, regionalized, even, for Texas. Ray explained to me a bit about the strength of the author of the original novel, Cormac McCarthy, and I'm definitely gonna hafta start eating up his stuff on my commute.

Gotta say, this has been a brilliant week of moviegoing. Caught EXILED on Wednesday night with In, Monette, Joe, and Ray. Saw AMERICAN GANGSTER on Thursday night with In. And tonight, COUNTRY, with a grand crew: In, Jen, Tricia, Kim and Jeff, Heather and Jason, Larry, and Ray. Ray tagged in for Joe, who was along for dinner earlier, but couldn't make it to the late show.

The film follows a regular good 'ol Texas cowboy, Llewelyn Moss, played sure and steady by Josh Brolin (between this and AMERICAN GANGSTER, he's having a damn good week!). While out in the plains, hunting, he comes across a blood trail that doesn't belong to any wounded game. It leads him to the scene of an apparent drug deal gone bad. In the aftermath are a dozen dead bodies, a truckbed loaded with dope, and a suitcase full of money. Llewelyn carries off the cash, intent on securing early retirement for his wife Carla Jean. Unfortunately, as the movie's tagline says, "There are no clean getaways."

Sent to recover the goods are several gangs of thugs with machineguns, and one cold-blooded, merciless, methodical, killer, basically, Death, with long hair, blue jeans, and vacant-to-wild eyes, played with inexhaustible menace by Javier Bardem. Tommy Lee Jones plays the down home Texas sheriff who's two steps behind the ensuing carnage. Happy times follow.

Jen put it very well when she said she couldn't recall another big screen villain whose presence was so relentlessly scary. About halfway thru the film, I realized that this guy was an equivalent of a curse, from the JU-ON/GRUDGE films, given flesh and blood form. Unstoppable, amoral, governed by unearthly and inhuman rules. More a force than a person.

He's the freakin smoke monster on the LOST island.

Javier Bardem is freakily good at playing the role of a light-sucking black hole. Quite a change from the last role I saw him in, from GOYA'S GHOSTS, a corrupt and transparently opportunistic intellectual bishop (or whatever) of the Spanish Inquisition, who plays at being an untouchable spiritual and then revolutionary leader, but under it all is a selfish, unprincipled, dirty dog of a man.

(I forget if I ranted on that film already, but given everything that it was supposed to be, and should have been, w a cast including Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgaard, and Bardem, well, it was a turd. Bleah.)

Llewelyn does a remarkable job staying ahead of the hired guns, for longer than he had any right to expect, but over the long run, he can't outlast Death, who deals from one hand with a pneumatic piston, capable of punching holes in both steel locks and human flesh, and from the other with a deadly *silenced* shotgun.

The FARGO-ness of the film is pretty strong, once you adjust your brain to register it, like looking at one of those 3-d pattern pictures, y'know? It's in the characters, the stark setting and region, the patterns of the amateur outlaw, the professional killer, and the keen cop-detective. The Pepe Le Pew-ness of the pursuit, at many levels. The quiet, silent, building of tension, leading to violent release. I also tasted a little bit of THE PLEDGE, in Tommy Lee's trailing of the killer, and as I said, the unlikely flavor of JU-ON. That's just my so-called brain, y'know.

But it's not derivative. This story and its characters are OF themselves, y'know? They're not bizarro knockoffs. The comparisons happen to be there. That I can see and make them is more revealing of what the C Brothers appreciate and know they excel at than any indication of, I dunno, pandering or shortcut taking.

Ray confirmed that much of the dialogue seemed to be lifted faithfully from the original writing. I can immediately see why the Coen Brothers chose to adapt this. The words that come forth from the characters are already uncannily Coen-esque. Short, playful, dialogue, between wife and husband, recapping their days to one another, and even between sheriff and deputy, reconstructing the timeline of a crime while sorting thru the aftermath. Matter-of-fact delivery, at times, almost without emotion, with just about every line delivering information about the subject at hand, but also about the history and relationship between the two speakers. That sort of thing always knocks me out. The matching of the Coen Brothers cinematic skills with McCormac's story is a conjunction of stars.

A quick doff of the hat to the animals in the film. I've gotta say, this film features some amazing canine acting and stuntwork. I can't give up the details here, but I think you will be suitably impressed and aghast.

A beautiful shot...

Death has tracked the money to a room in a motor inn. He gets a room of his own to set up shop. We see him take off his boots, and then pick up his weapons, gas cannister in one hand, silenced shotgun in the other. Next, there's a cut to him padding stealthily outside the rooms. The shot is framed centered on his socked, shoeless feet pacing in measured steps on the concrete, flanked on either side by the silenced muzzle of the shotgun and the butt end of the air tank. This is Death, coming for you. Feckin cool.

Speaking of. I should see about closing my eyes and getting some shuteye. There's a lot of Good in this movie, particularly if you are a Coen Brothers admirer. I may hafta revisit it in a future spoilery post. Overall, it was a fun night w some loveable characters... and that was just dinner before the movie! Heh.

Except for some non-optimal seating arrangements, it was a good night out w a fun crew and an amazing film. Has me even more wired than usual, I guess. Frack, it's almost 4.30am. Bleah.

Keep on keepin on, friendo~

the giving T

Friday morning at the Central Square T stop... Looking for some commuter reading material? Check out the turnstile lending library...

Cannot confirm any affiliation with the giving tree stumps.

Keep on keepin on~

it's beginning to look a lot little like...

At Downtown Crossing this evening, a big tree went up by Macy's. Guess Filene's won't be sporting one this season, eh?

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How d'ya like them apples?

Poor, stupid, pretty apples...

(Kudos to my sister for cluing me in to the above shot. I almost never sit on that side of the dining room and just didn't see it.)

They don't even know...

Huzzah! It's a pie! My second, now.

Did I mention that I'm hard-wired for bacon...?

Fry, little piggies! Fry!

What? You never heard of pork chops an' apple shaushe?


Keep on keepin on~

an empty theater

I hit the Kendall last week, Wednesday night, to see SLEUTH, an alternately stark and charming one-upsmanship duel between two eccentric characters played by Michael Caine and Jude Law. When I got into the theater, just as the trailers were ending, I found I was the only one in the room. Granted, it was a Wednesday night, but I'd been there for many a weeknight show for all kinds of films and was never the lone viewer. Then I remembered my walk home from the T thru the even more ghost town-like than usual streets. World Series fever, duh. =)

Well, being alone in the theater, I figured I'd take a random snap to remember the occasion...

If a dope sees a movie and no one is around, does it make a sound? Or something...?

Or maybe this is more a Schrodinger's Cat situation...?

Which baseball games at Fenway are so great that they demand the fighter jets fly over? Is it only World Series games? It feels like I've been surprised by the roar of those engines more than a half dozen times in the past few years, but y'know, it is the last few years that the Sox have been World Series contenders and winners, eh? Well, when I'd heard them before from inside my apartment, wherever I was living at the time, I thought of it as the worst kind of noise pollution. Talk about disturbing the peace! This may sound ridiculous, but post-9/11, the roar of engines overhead, close or powerful enough to rattle windows, is far from a relaxing and welcome sound, donchathink? Of course, if I'd been a better Bostonian, a Red Sox citizen as it were, I would've known they were coming and been prepared, right? Yeah, I suppose. Well, this time around, Wendesday night, before hitting the Kendall, I was outside, walking from Kendall Square towards Inman. A quickly growing thrum of a sound snapped me out of my walking-home zone and drew my eyes up.I was in this courtyard between two buildings, an apartment complex and some genetic internet pharmaceutical borg, and I had a clear view of the sky for miles, to the north, I think. I saw four jets, flying directly toward me, given how well I could see them, at low altitude. I could feel the thrum now, in the air, growing. When they were practically on top of me, I saw these white balls expand behind the engines of the planes and then turn to orange triangular trails. This was accompanied by a huge boom which diminished to a roar. Afterburners. Or whatever (like I know =). And in a split scond the jets were gone, zipped out of sight towards the city in a split second. Pretty cool.

A second later, out of the glass walled lobby of the tech co building stepped a security/concierge guy, wide-eyed and holding a cellphone to his ear. He saw me and asked, "What the hell was THAT?!"

To that I offered, "There's a game tonight, isn't there?"

"Oh shit, yeah!" And he went back to his phone convo and retreated to his desk. As I walked out of the courtyard area, out of view, I could see him clicking a remote and shuffling thru channels on one of the monitors in the lobby. Heh.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

happy frickin Halloween =)

Keep on creepin on~

SATURDAY by Ian McEwan

But it's too late for apologies now. Unlike in Daisy's novels, moments of precise reckoning are rare in real life; questions of misinterpretation are not often resolved. Nor do they remain pressingly unresolved. They simply fade. People don't remember clearly, or they die, or the questions die and new ones take their place.

p. 159.

Thanks to Paris Jen for putting the book in my hands.

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, October 27, 2007

CONTROL: Joy Division tunes and every shot a gorgeous photograph


Saw CONTROL tonight, the biopic about the musical life and conflicting loves of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division. Had some JD fans and non-fans in the away party—In, Rowan, Kim, Jeff, and Al. Myself, I'm kind of an amateur fan, familiar with and dig most of the music, but mostly clueless about the story and history of the band and its members.

* October 30, 2007. For an excellent, more musically informed and fan-minded take on the film, please check out designfemme's very fine write-up.

It's the first feature film directed by Anton Corbijn, who's known better until now as a photographer and director of music videos for the likes of U2, Joy Division, Nirvana, and Depeche Mode. I knew his name as a photographer and figured he'd done music videos, but didn't know the extent of his video experience until discussing with Kim after the movie.

I enjoyed the movie for many reasons, but the cinematography is probably the greatest. This guy Anton is a damn good photographer. I felt that every freakin shot in this film was framed for thoughtful and striking composition. No doubt the black and white helped trick my brain into paying attention to just that.

Sam Riley as Ian Curtis is brilliant. He plays the gifted sensitive pretty Brit alien boy to perfection. If you're familiar with concert footage and video of the band's performances, you'll see that he channels the original's attitudes and demeanor uncannily.

For fans of the band, I imagine this film will be a hit. The musical performances are very well done (all the actors perform and play their own instruments for the film and soundtrack) and shot and don't have any of that annoying but almost standard m.o. crazy pan/depth of field crap that you always see in films with concert footage. Granted, the device works for certain bands/subjects/films (I remember feeling its coolness impact way back in THE COMMITMENTS), but it would not have fit this one.

For non-fans, I think it's a toss-up. It's a decent story, but, it's also something of a cliche of one, as far as talented rock star stories go. It's the same problem/truth I had with CASH. I mean, just imagine writing your own rise-to-stardom-only-to-burn-out-too-soon rock star story. Humble beginnings. Maverick attitude coupled with knowing and confident talent. Purity of heart. A true love. Breaking into the biz. Marriage and maybe a family, probably too soon. Life on the road and growing success straining that home life. Temptations of stardom on all fronts escalating... until... an encounter with another true love, or an addiction, or both. Losing control and slipping into a downward spiral. Repeat, ad lib, and fade...

That the story can be reduced to cliche formula shouldn't be counted as a strike against the film. It's true to its story, at least as told by Curtis's wife, as the film is based on her book. Cliches often become cliches for a reason, right? I mean, we have the phrase "tortured artist" in common use, don't we? So, the tragic story of this artist could be the tragic story of almost any great artist. This particular cinematic telling features some great music and visuals, tho. Perhaps the most interesting and unique parts of the details of this rendering of the cliche are the context that they provide for certain songs that Ian writes and performs at those points in his life.

I remember that being one of the great things about CASH. When I was watching the movie, and JC performed "Ring Of Fire," for the first time I understood (or at least, for the first time I *thought*) that the ring he was singing about was a wedding ring. That sorta blew my mind.

Perhaps I'm easily impressed.

Sadly, the loves of Ian's life—wife Debbie, played by the magickal being known as Samantha Morton, and mistress Annik—come off as rather flat. We know that he falls for them, but honestly, once the film's done, you will likely not be able to explain to anyone why. (But perhaps that's love...?) On the other hand, Ian himself, along with his bandmates, manager, and distributor, are all lively and damn entertaining characters. Their repartee keeps things light between Ian's darker self-destructive moments.

I highly recommend the film for fans of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. I also push it strongly at anyone who enjoys a good musician's or artist's biopic, particularly if you appreciate a pretty looking picture on your giant rectangles of light. If you're not so much into any of the above, I'd say you can pass. Without an appreciation of the band and the music, or the likelihood of getting caught up in the photography of these characters in their often stark and bleak environments, you'll likely feel the pace of things to be very slow. Although if you know a friend who's eager to see it, go with, and soak in some of the fan's afterglow if you can.

Reader beware, *SPOILERy* remarks follow, mostly just facts and film moments I want to remind myself of before they slip thru my colander of a memory. If you'd rather not spoil your appetite for the film, stop reading here.

The name "Joy Division," according to Ian in the film, was taken from the name of a WW2 brothel frequented by soldiers of the something-or-other. I'd always thought it was an anti-war play on military jargon, y'know?

* Looked up some more on "Joy Division" and it's from the novel HOUSE OF DOLLS, the name given to brothels of prisoners-turned-prostitutes from Nazi concentration camps, made to serve Geman soldiers.

There are so many gorgeously composed shots in this film, but the one that jumped back into my head at the end of the film when comparing notes with other was of Ian looking out the second floor window of his flat, down onto the street, where his wife Debbie passes, walking away, pushing their baby girl Natalie in her pram.

The pram was pretty frickin creepy in a number of scenes. In the black and white picture, it appeared deep and dark blackest black. Ominous and creepy.

I'd heard of how Ian Curtis ultimately did himself in, but I could never picture it. The movie doesn't show you his final fate, but gave me all I needed to picture it, and it was not how I imagined.

I'm always struck by how methodical certain accomplished artists are about pursuing and advancing their craft. In his childhood bedroom, we see that Ian's got two boxes on his desktop, one labelled "Bowie," another labelled "Roxy / Ferry," each filled with piles of newspaper and magazine clippings. Also on his desk are a number of three ring binders. On their spines: "Poems."

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

apple pickin' & crackin'

Where'd all those apples come from? Well, two weekends ago I went apple picking for the first time ever. Partner Joe makes an annual trip w his family, along with designfemme and Jeff. In past years, I've had scheduling conflicts, being out of town or playing in a volleyball tournament. This year, I was two weeks out of my cast, and not making any such plans, so I was finally able to join in on the apple safari.

We hit the HoneyPot Hill Orchard in Stow. Still pretty gimptastic, I hung back from climbing and picking and enjoyed watching the kids attack the trees and apples. I carried one of the large bags, which they did a pretty good job of filling. After two or three hours, I think we walked out of there with four bags full of apples. A pretty good haul. Along with Joshua and Alicia, I think Jeff did the most climbing and picking from within the trees.

The kids were crazy for apples. I think Joshua sat on a ladder in one of the trees and went through three of them, fresh off the branch. Alicia took down more than a couple on her own, thrilling us with her elegant and practical technique (she doesn't like the skin, so when she bites thru it, she takes a decent chunk, chews on it until she gets all the meat and sweet of the apple down, and *ptui* ejects the leftover skin bits—if you like, you can see her skills over at designfemme's place).

A couple years back I discovered that I'm allergic to apples, so I refrained from sampling any of the goods. Apples, apples, everywhere, and not a drop to drink... Or something...

At one point along our safari, I picked up a grounded apple, wanting to test something. Years ago—I think it was back when I was in high school—my mom showed me how she could split apples with her bare hands. Pretty frickin cool, and impressed all my sister's and my friends. I don't remember exactly how/when I learned to do it myself, but I eventually did. I couldn't recall the last time I'd done it, tho, and was curious to see if I still could, especially with the lame arm. So, I grabbed the apple w both hands, turned it around a bit until it somehow felt right, dug my palms in a little, pulled my hands apart, and *POP!* Split the apple!

Hrmmm... Perhaps the apples DECIDED to make themselves poisonous to me... in retalition for the development of my freakish talent as a threat to their existence...?

I think I cracked a half dozen or so before I realized that anyone had noticed. Joshua and Alicia weren't all that impressed, or perhaps were too hopped up on apples to focus, but the "adults" were asking me, basically, WTF? A few apple picking passersby stopped to ask and try as well. So, I held an impromptu apple-crackin' seminar with them. It turned out not to be something I could easily explain. You *can* power it, break an apple in half with just brute strength, but the way I was doing it gives you two apple halves with a flat clean split surface, and doesn't require a lot of sustained effort. I told them that I turned the apple in my hands to find a particular position. By feel, it seems to be a combination of symmetry and best purchase for my palms and fingers on the surface. The best result, I think, happens when you've found one of probably several best planes in the apple to break it, probably determined by the shape of the core, y'know?

Eh, that's just guessing. Perhaps a farmer would have some kind of real know-how about it. For me, it really is just a feeling of it being in a "sweet spot" of a position in my hands. I think you've gotta just try it.

I talked to my mom soon after the orchard trip and she was surprised and happy to hear about my apple crackin' prowess. When I asked, she said that she just picked up the skill as a child. I sorta remember her, from when she first showed me, telling me that it was a convenient skill, one that would let you share an apple with a friend. I also figured it kinda made them easier to chomp into. The apples, not the friends. She said that she thought that a lot of her friends, and probably a lot of people who grew up near farmland or in the countryside and rural areas in general, would know how to do it. I have yet to meet anyone who can already do this, or even anyone who's seen or heard of anyone being able to do this.

Anyhow, by the end of our orchard romp, both Jeff and Joe were splittin apples easily enough, and I hear tell that since then designfemme too has joined the ranks of the apple crackers. If you'd like to watch some actual apple crackin', dfemme's got a video posted of a demonstration of my freakish ability.

Now, how to harness this power for good?

I hope to work my way up to human head-sized produce... =)

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I like apples. While cookin up my apple pie, extreme sportsman that I am, I decided to sample some of the goods. (I made sure I had some benadryl nearby.) Turns out, whereas a bite or two from a peeled grocery store-bought apple triggered an allergic reaction within a minute, first one slice, then another, of apples picked at the orchard went down sweetly and fine. No respiratory hinkiness, itchiness, or other allergic signs. What does this mean? Unless HoneyPot Hill does or doesn't do something to their apples that most orchards do, then something happens to apples between the orchard and the market that messes w the chemistry and causes an allergic reaction for me. Note that I am fine with processed or cooked apples, i.e. pie, crisp, juice, cider. So cooking and/or other chemical changes will remove whatever allergic agent is present. I shall hafta investigate organic or farmers' market options. Anyone else experienced this difference in reaction to apples? I've also had a similar allergic reaction to store-bought cherries, which I never went out of my way for, and so don't miss so much.

Monday, October 22, 2007

PAPER MOON: brilliant father-daughter road movie con artistry

trailer/clip | five and ten clip | Brattle series
There's an episode of THE SIMPSONS where the Simpson boys take up grifting and try running cons on everyone in town. They show up at Flanders's front door as bible salesmen, claiming that Ned's dead wife, Maude, had ordered a deluxe edition bible with his name printed on it before she'd been killed by an errant tee-shirt bazooka blast. Ned has a flash of recognition and wonders aloud at how the situation seems an awful lot like that movie PAPER MOON. Bart cries "abort" at this and he and Homer bail on the con.

Saw PAPER MOON tonight at the Brattle. I'd never seen it before. I'd known of the movie for many years, but until that SIMPSONS reference, never felt that it was a serious gap in my movies-watched-ology. It is a damn entertaining flick. Ryan O'Neal plays Moses Pray, a grifter posing as a door-to-door bible salesman, travelling the country roads of Depression-era Kansas. When he attempts to work an angle involving a young girl who's lost her mother, he ends up saddled w the responsibility of being her guardian. The girl, Addie, played by Tatum O'Neal, turns out to be just as stubborn and wily as her unwitting new mentor and quickly works her way into his schemes. Wacky fun ensues.

Also, a nice rudimentary how-to for some grifty action. If NINE QUEENS is an advanced level course then this would be a beginner one.

The Ryan-Tatum father-daughter dynamic on screen is a ton of fun to watch. Young Tatum is wonderfully willful, an old soul who delivers a powerful pouty stonewalling on demand. The way she disarms, outwits, and even outshines her mentor, repeatedly, is brilliant and hilarious.

Y'know, I never could've guessed this particular bit of cinematic deja vu would occur, but I hafta say, this film, in the flavor of the relationship and wacky misadventure shared by the outlaw and his precocious young ward, feels very much like an inspiration for Luc Besson's THE PROFESSIONAL. The connection between the two in PAPER MOON is more father-daughter than the out-of-sync lovers of Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in THE PROFESSIONAL, tho. Thankfully, cuz otherwise, that would be creepy.

Pretty nuts seeing little Tatum here and present-day Tatum playing the tattooed alcoholic wild child on RESCUE ME.

If you're in the mood for some snappy dialogue delivered by a pretty ultimate odd couple in a grifter road movie, well, you've gotta check this out. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, October 21, 2007

easy as apple pie...

My Sunday afternoon...

How dya like them apples?

Thanks to T and epicurious for their guidance. =)

The next day...

My first apple pie, and it's won the approval of my sister, a renowned pie connoisseur/snob. Seven apples went into this one. Given the size of my remaining apple inventory, I think I can bake another two, maybe three.

Keep on keepin on~

Techno Viking x Beat It

This is an overdub of the original vid, which, by the hammer of Thor, is thumpingly impressive to begin with.

Keep on keepin on~

a good day =)

Snaps from the Boston Pumpkin Festival...

Check out the Borg pumpkin cube, round noon...

(Pumpkin PI, get it? =)

Later, that night...

Keep on keepin on~