Haikai Fest: "Reverse Time Capsule"

Apr. 17th, 2014 08:19 am
jjhunter: silhouetted woman by winding black road; blank ink tinted with green-blue background (silhouetted JJ by winding road)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Let's take a breath for poetry. It is April, and as good a time as any for a collaborative poetry fest. Please find below a starting stanza or two of a brand new shiny haikai (what's a haikai, you ask? think extended haiku: alternating stanzas of 5-7-5 and 7-7). Comment with a new stanza responding to the original theme. Someone (most likely me) will respond with another stanza, and so on and so forth throughout the day.
===

statistics, not calc.
skills, not grades; life, not college
things I wish I'd known

Go "Joe"

Apr. 16th, 2014 10:20 pm
missmediajunkie: (Default)
[personal profile] missmediajunkie
"Joe" is being trumpeted as the return of beloved movie star Nicholas Cage to the realms of serious acting. He gets a pretty juicy role here as the title character, an ex-convict with a past who befriends a troubled teenager. However, this is also the comeback of director David Gordon Green, who got sidetracked with idiot mainstream comedies like "Your Highness" and "The Sitter" for too many years, and is finally finding his way back to his low-budget dramatic roots with "Joe" and last year's odd but interesting "Prince Avalanche." And it also features another major turn by Tye Sheridan, the young actor last seen in "Mud" and "The Tree of Life."

Sheridan plays Gary, a Southern kid living on the brink. His father Wade (Gary Poulter) is a vile, abusive alcoholic who puts his son in the position of sole provider and protector of his mother and sister. Gary gets a job clearing trees with a work crew run by Joe (Cage), who is impressed with Gary's work ethic and determination, but reluctant to get involved personally. Joe has a violent streak he's been trying to keep at bay, and has made enemies, including Willie (Ronnie Gene Blevins), a local degenerate who nurses a major grudge. At stake is the modest, but honest life he's managed to build for himself with girlfriend Lacy (Heather Kafka), and his small circle of friends. However, Joe inevitably finds himself giving into his instincts on Gary's behalf.

I admit that I nearly forgot what a low-key, subtle performance from Nicholas Cage looked like after years of his notorious hamming around in one bad blockbuster after another. As Joe, he still gets a few explosive outbursts to play with, but they're well grounded in the context of a thoughtful examination of a complicated man who is caught between the need for self-preservation and the new role of surrogate parent to a boy who sorely needs one. For the first time in a long time I forgot that I was watching Nicholas Cage onscreen, forgot about all those tell-tale mannerisms and wild-eyed facial contortions he brings out so often, and just got to enjoy his work. And it was great to see.

Tye Sheridan also continues to impress, now three for three in a great run of films. His character here shares about equal screen time and narrative emphasis with Joe, and is equally as compelling. Sheridan is so good at embodying inner conflict, and Gary has plenty to be conflicted about. His best scenes are where we see his dark side manifest, where we see the building frustration and rage growing in him that might become a more destructive force than any singular, immediate antagonist. The surrogate parent-child relationship that forms between Joe and Gary is a pretty convincing one, unsentimental and unforced, that manages to hit all the right notes.

The real star of the picture, however, is its setting. David Gordon Green's personal projects share quite a bit in common with the work of Jeff Nichols, who directed the superficially similar "Mud," another coming of age tale set in the American South starring Tye Sheridan. I admire "Mud," but I prefer "Joe" for its wonderful, simmering tensions, it's rich atmosphere, harshly beautiful environs, and its rougher cast of damaged characters. There's an uncomfortably genuine nastiness to the villains, particularly Wade, which really enhances the impact of the occasional bursts of jarring violence within the film's universe.

This commitment to authenticity extends throughout the film. Everything we see is run down or worn, and value is tied heavily to functionality. Dogs are a major metaphor, kept by several characters for protection rather than companionship. "Joe" doesn't move quickly, and many of the opening scenes are devoted to showing the daily routines and the familiar rhythms of Joe's life. I've seen the film described as an exercise in misery and impoverishment, but there are several moments of happiness and small victories that show the characters have plenty in their lives worth fighting for.

"Joe" has a lot of themes and ideas that have seen a resurgence in American film lately: Southern culture, coming-of-age stories, deteriorating working class families, and rural survival thrillers. The mix here is very strong, and "Joe" works as both a character drama and a more accessible genre picture. I sincerely hope that this isn't just a digression for both David Gordon Green and Nicholas Cage, because this is the best thing that either of them have been involved with in several years. I have to wonder why Green hasn't ever tried making a more profile thriller.

As for Nicholas Cage, I didn't realize how much I'd missed him in films like this and roles like this. "Joe" could be a real turning point for him if he wants it to be.
---

Wednesday reading

Apr. 16th, 2014 08:02 pm
cofax7: No such thing as too many books (Too Many Books -- Ropo)
[personal profile] cofax7
Hey, it's Wednesday!

Recent reading: My internet was out over the weekend; I got a lot of reading done. Among which: Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette. Which is really rather sweet, even though it's a novel of political intrigue. Kind of hurt-comfort, although much of the hurt is offstage. I really enjoyed it, and didn't want it to end.

I also just the other day finished Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, which I found ambitious and really interesting. I didn't have as much trouble tracking the POV as I expected, and I liked the way Leckie challenged our male-as-default gender problem through pronouns, language, and cultural behavior. I also liked the plot, which I found interesting, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Oh, and I read Machines of Freedom, an X-Files novel by Amal Nurriyah. It's set after the 2nd movie, and it's about how Mulder and Scully (and their kids) (and Skinner, Doggett & Reyes) save the world from colonization. I rather enjoyed catching up with the old gang again.

Current reading: I'm on a reread of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I'm on jury duty this week, and it's kind of difficult to switch back-and-forth from the trial to Jonathan Strange fighting with Wellington in the Peninsula, though.



Next up: I'm not sure. Possibly Elizabeth Bear's Range of Ghosts; I read the first chapter on Amazon and thought it was interesting, and I haven't read any Bear since the original Hammered trilogy, some years ago.

Recovering....

Apr. 16th, 2014 05:33 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Did ok on my trip, but just ok. I also got through work today. And I wrote a blog post because it seemed like it had to be done. But now I'm totally done touching a keyboard. Exhausted, in pain, a bit fevery feeling all over. I have not managed to unpack yet. Moomin helped me put away clean laundry. Zond7 ordered us groceries and cleaned up and we have a helpful house cleaner coming tomorrow. I need serious rest.

Read The Goblin Emperor, which I highly recommend! OMG... more like this!

Also, Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest.

Both excellent!!!

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2014 06:14 pm
copperbadge: (safety CAPTAIN!)
[personal profile] copperbadge
A LOT HAS HAPPENED TODAY.

Mum and I have been texting all day about how:

a) The last of Mama Tickey's inheritance came through which means
b) I'm paying off all credit card debt tomorrow but
c) The Tickey family is not as excited as I am because one of my (THOUSANDS OF) stepcousins rolled his SUV down a 200-foot ravine yesterday evening.

Now, he survived, and apparently the worst he took was a broken nose and a broken arm, so there's that at least. But it's a hell of a mood swing to hear "You will never have to look after us in our old age" followed by "[stepcousin] is in the hospital btw, apparently he drove his car off a cliff by accident."

I believe that particular stepcousin is the one who wore jeans and a rodeo shirt to Mama Tickey's funeral. Coincidence, or a gentle reminder from the afterlife? Hm.

The incoming inheritance will be very nice, but I'm a little paralyzed by it. It's more money than I've ever had to my name in my life. Good, but perplexing.

Aubergine song

Apr. 16th, 2014 11:02 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Most of my set last night wasn't quite this lewd, but this was the only song that got recorded!

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2014 01:27 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
All that bird watching wore her out.
Read more... )

Poem: "To Be (To Dream To Be)"

Apr. 16th, 2014 09:09 am
jjhunter: blank-eyed cat would like to convince you sitting in a box is the thing to do (cat in a box)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Originally posted as a comment reply to one of D's cat photos.
___

To Be (To Dream To Be)


every ear and whisker says
my body is ready

o birds, you do not know
the foe beyond
the air you cannot pass

the taut spacing of her midnight hair /betrays the singing of her legs )

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2014 12:34 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
We spread birdseed on the office windowsill. Birds get fed (and stop flying into the window as frequently), cats get entertained. there are 2 pigeons and 3 starlings on the other side of the sill right now.
Read more... )
jjhunter: Closeup of monarch butterfly (butterfly closeup)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Let's take a breath for poetry. It is April, and as good a time as any for a collaborative poetry fest. Please find below a starting stanza or two of a brand new shiny haikai (what's a haikai, you ask? think extended haiku: alternating stanzas of 5-7-5 and 7-7). Comment with a new stanza responding to the original theme. Someone (most likely me) will respond with another stanza, and so on and so forth throughout the day.
===

I don't fall in love
I leap — like faith, unknown if
loved one leaps for me

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2014 07:01 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Someone is grumpy about all the attention being paid to the upstart.
Read more... )
missmediajunkie: (Default)
[personal profile] missmediajunkie
It feels a little disingenuous to be writing up this post now, because "Mad Men" isn't going to be premiering its last batch of episodes until next spring, thanks to this business of splitting Season 7 into two chunks of seven episodes apiece. But if AMC can cheat, so can I. The season premiere aired last Sunday, and the exiled Don Draper is facing 1969 and the end of the '60s. What do I want to see happen to him and the rest of the ad execs in this final year? I did a "what if" post looking at possibilities and predictions last year, but this time around I want to get more concrete.

"Mad Men" has been all about examining and poking holes in the iconic '60s image of masculinity personified by Don Draper in the early seasons. From the start he's always been a facade, and over the course of the last six seasons that facade has been slowly chipped away bit by bit until we find it in a state of total disrepair at the start of the seventh. Don is left feeding ideas to Freddy Rumsen and resisting the lure of Neve Campbell, having been burned too many times by previous affairs. The episode's final, haunting image finds him alone, unable to sleep. At the same time the show also tackles other familiar figures like the ascendant working woman, in this case Peggy Olsen. For all of Peggy's talents and all her drive, we find her in a place not much better off than Don, her work compromised and her personal life all but nonexistent.

This isn't where I want these two to end up. Oh, I'm not rooting for some kind of fairy tale ending where they pair up romantically and go off to found their own advertising firm of Whitman and Olsen, but I do want them to both survive the decade and make it to a place where they're prepared to tackle the next one. The internet has been full of speculation that Don is going to die in the final episode, but I'd be much happier with a metamorphosis, from Draper back to Whitman, perhaps, or from Draper into someone new. Peggy, I suspect will either claw her way to the top or simply walk away from Sterling Cooper and the world of the mad men in the end. Both could be read as victories, and I'd be happy to see either outcome.

Betty and Sally didn't appear in the premiere. Though her part in the show has been drastically reduced, I still identify with and root for Betty. I doubt that there's more narrative space left to really explore her world, but the Betty and Sally relationship deserves some more attention. I hope these two can figure out to connect with each other, or at least reach some kind of mutual understanding, now that Sally has become disillusioned with her father. From their last encounter, Betty may still have some maturing to do, but she's grown up enough to get over Don. I'd like Sally to be able to do the same, maybe mirroring the scene with Roger and his daughter next week.

Speaking of Roger, I honestly don't see much hope for his redemption at this point, so I can only hope that his decline continues to be spectacular. The possibility of Joan becoming a real wheeler-dealer at the firm was raised this week, however, and suddenly I want her to be a successful account woman very badly. Pete Campbell showed up amusingly tan and happy, and though the little rat has caused a lot of grief over the years, I've grown fond enough of him that I hope he finds a way to stay happy and put all the bitterness behind him - though I know he probably won't. At the same time, I want something really nasty to happen to Teddy Chaough.

Among the minor characters, I'm still rooting for Ken and Ginsburg to make it out of Sterling Cooper with some dignity intact. And then there are all the other supporting characters who were left by the wayside as the show rolled on. I love that we got to see glimpses of what happened to Midge and more amusingly, to Paul. But whatever happened to Sal? And Abe? Does Harry Crane get any more time this year? And what of Bob Benson and the man named Duck?

Finally, 1969 will bring the Apollo 11 moon landing, My Lai, Woodstock, Altamont, and the Manson Family murders. And even if Megan Draper isn't supposed to be a analog of Sharon Tate, I still stand by my original assessment that she's not going to be a part of Don's world for much longer. I think the relationship has run its course, and I'd rather see it over sooner rather than later.
---

the ring thing

Apr. 15th, 2014 09:23 pm
metaphortunate: (for science!)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Do you wear a wedding ring? Or a ring on the fourth finger of your left hand? If so, do you notice any difference in the way people treat you when you’re wearing it vs. when you’re not?

This question brought to you by the guy who was so very friendly yesterday, like making paper airplanes to amuse a grumpy sick little toddler friendly, like get off at the wrong stop because you just think you’ll sleep a little better if that guy that is soooo friendly maybe doesn’t know exactly what street you live on kind of friendly. Huh, I thought, that’s odd, I don’t get that much anymore, I really thought I had aged out of that, especially what with the kids and all, and then it occurred to me: because of the eczema flareup, I have been wearing my wedding ring on a necklace instead of on my hand.

Huh.

Recipe Log: Jazzing Up Brownie Mix

Apr. 15th, 2014 08:31 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor purple ruffled monster with mouthful of raw vegetables looks exceedingly self-pleased (veggie monster)
[personal profile] jjhunter
For future reference, the following improvised additions to fudge brownie mix work together beautifully:

- ~3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 1/2 tsp orange juice concentrate (I would have gone for a generous half of that in orange peel instead if I'd had it, but microwaved frozen concentrate worked just fine)
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp molasses

baked in 9x9 pan, and some chocolate frosting out of a can added on top.

*om nom nom*

(no subject)

Apr. 15th, 2014 03:38 pm
copperbadge: (writing mofo)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I have four budgets due in fifteen days, four capacity ratings due on Monday, and five biographies due on Friday, so if I don't post this now I MIGHT DIE BEFORE IT GETS POSTED.

I mean, it's just porn, but still.

Title: I Only Pretend To Know Everything
Rating: R
Summary: Steve and Natasha find a little comfort in each other (and in Sam Wilson's guest bedroom).
Warnings: Spoilers for Captain America 2.

Here at AO3 | Here at Dreamwidth

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Apr. 15th, 2014 09:03 am
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!

Haikai Fest: "Perseverance"

Apr. 15th, 2014 06:34 am
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (science flower)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Let's take a breath for poetry. It is April, and as good a time as any for a collaborative poetry fest. Please find below a starting stanza or two of a brand new shiny haikai (what's a haikai, you ask? think extended haiku: alternating stanzas of 5-7-5 and 7-7). Comment with a new stanza responding to the original theme. Someone (most likely me) will respond with another stanza, and so on and so forth throughout the day.
===

how can I give up
when I've the example of
scarlet runner beans?


illustrative images behind the cut )

GREETINGS PEASANTS

Apr. 15th, 2014 07:28 pm
alias_sqbr: (spoons)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
GUESS WHO MOVED INTO A HOUSE TODAY. A HOUSE THEY OWN. WITH FLOORS AND A ROOF AND EVERYTHING.

Currently my loungeroom looks like this.

I am so very very tired. Much boxes. Very packed.

Including ALL MY SPOONS. SOMEWHERE AMONGST THE VARIOUS PILES (we bought some more to tide us over)

*flops*
Page generated Apr. 17th, 2014 01:39 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios