Sunday, September 14, 2014

Does the NFL have a "Woman Problem" or do Women have an "NFL Problem?"

Am I getting old or is our culture getting dumber?   People don't like to think of themselves as herd animals, but Jesus Christ, we're a bunch of cows.

Item:  Ray Rice

In case you've been living under a rock, Ray Rice punched his then-fiance/now-wife, then dragged her unconscious body through a hotel.  There's video.  You've probably seen it more than once.

If that leads you to think that Ray Rice is a piece of shit, a failure of a man and a generally horrible human being, then you're onto something.  It should not, on the other hand, lead you here:

Can you believe in women's rights and enjoy football? Can you be angry about Ray Rice and the NFL's inadequate handling of him but still feel okay about watching the game? The answer, to both, is no.
 A couple things:

1)  Liberals need to figure out just exactly why they hate the NFL and then stick with it.  Is it because of concussions?  Is it because of racist team nicknames?  Is it because the NFL is "awful to women?" I get that liberals want Roger Goodell's head on a spike, but they need to come up with a good reason.

Not 10 dumb ones.

2)  "Can you believe in women's rights and enjoy football?"

It is not as obvious to me as it is to Dr. Peggy Drexler that the answer is "No."  Millions of women, it seems to me, are quite capable of simultaneously believing in women's rights and also enjoying the game of football.  To suggest they are not should be as insulting as the idea that women must choose between their careers and having children.

3)   "Can you be angry about Ray Rice and the NFL's inadequate handling of him but still feel okay about watching the game?"

Again, I don't see why not.  Ray Rice is one man on one team.  And while I agree the NFL's handling of the Rice situation was initially inadequate, shouldn't the later response --rule changes and banishing Rice from the league-- have any influence over our thinking?

Me, I'm going to watch as many games as possible today, comfortable in the knowledge that Ray Rice won't be playing in any of them. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Good Things in Life

A Broncos victory.  (They almost blew it?  No way.  The Colts never gave up.  It was gladiatorial combat, the best kind.)

A new season of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix.

My "Friday" and three days off.

Shwarama twice this week.

New book by James Ellroy coming out tomorrow.

A big ass 30 hour audiobook on the history of the ancient world from Audible.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Cops: Ferguson

This is too funny. I love the part where he stabs the basketball.

Basketball is a known gang activity.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Now That's What I'm Talking Bout

Good news on the metal underground front:
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY drummer Reed Mullin has confirmed that the band will reunite with its onetime guitarist and vocalist Pepper Keenan in 2015 to record a new studio album and embark on a tour.
I have tried, and failed, to like a Pepper-less COC.  Pepper's a better singer than Woody or Mike Dean, but I've also missed his song-writing influence.  COC were never better than when Pepper ruled the roost.

Their Deliverance album gets all the love, and it should.  It's a great album.  But there are some cuts on Blind, which is getting a limited edition release on vinyl this year, and Wiseblood that I cannot live without.

 Like this one:

Past regrets and future fears,
Turns a boy into a man
Sooner than planned
All the same, the boy remains
Even though he's free,
He can't fly with these heavy chains

Conventions of Sports Movies

I watched Ron Howard's racing film Rush last night, and while it was a passable, even enjoyable, movie, it got me thinking about how formulaic sports biopics have become.

Example:  Show me a sports movie that does not, at any time, cut up to the announcing booth for expository purposes.

And hey, I get it.  In our media-saturated world, sports memories are more likely to be memories of sports broadcasts, and if you want people to think you "nailed it," evoke that memory. 

But it's a bit lazy on the part of the filmmakers, if you ask me.

In a sports movie, if the stakes are unclear or the action confusing, just cue the announcers.  They'll explain it.  "Hunt needs to place third or better to be World Champion.  It's the race of his life."

Imagine your average car chase or shoot-out relying on such a convenient gimmick.  "Oh, the SWAT team just arrived.  The bank robbers are really going to need to step on it if they want to get away."

In a sports movie, it becomes a kind of crutch, an excuse not to tell the story visually or dramatically.  It always seems to end with people watching TV screens.  Cut to the ex-wife, watching the race on TV.  Cut to the old racing partner, watching TV.  Cut to the crew, watching the TV in the pit.

New rule for sports screenwriting:  No announcers.  No people watching TV.

You have already chosen a dynamic, interesting subject to stage and photograph.  Let it, finally, speak for itself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Fragment - Ghosts of War Edition

Sometimes I feel like I've giving up writing.  I haven't, but I have for too long been undisciplined about it.  It seems strange now, but I used to feel guilty if I didn't have at least some kind of daily writing session.  Now I'm lucky if I allow myself one a week.

Last week, though, I had a session that put to shame my recent writing habits.  I took a late day nap, found myself waking up around bedtime, mind fresh and brimming with ideas.  I sat down and forged ahead, expanding on a few paragraphs I had started and abandoned. 

A thousand words later, I had a scene. Here it is.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Dmitri blinks blood out of his eyes. He attempts to roll over, trying to come to all fours so he can push himself back onto his feet, but he’s pinned and can’t move. A swirling dustcloud in the gray sky is all that is left of the obliterated building he had been standing in. Rubble had fallen all around him, burying him under layers of concrete, steel, and glass. Something pokes him in the side every time he takes a breath and his legs feel like they’re a mile away, crushed and hidden under debris, not really legs anymore, just a distant throbbing numbness.
The thought flashes in his mind:
I’m going to die from this.
This makes Dmitri angry and he makes a renewed effort to squirm out of his trap. The movement only makes pain explode in his bones, the spear in his side ripping new tears in his internal organs. The renewed warmth there, he realizes, is his own blood. He cries out, his voice barely a whisper above the shrill buzz in his ears. Explosions and thunder sound hollow in the distance, kicking up waves of particulates that continue to slap him in the face like a hot wind.
His body starts to go ice cold and his breathing becomes more ragged. Not long now, Dmitri thinks. At least it will be quick.
But then his mind drifts to his companion, an American named Monte. The two of them had been cowering at opposite ends of a heavy desk when the building disintegrated around them. A big man, bigger than Dmitri, Monte had no better chance of surviving the blast than Dmitri. He no doubt is lying a few feet away, crushed under the same rubble, dying in his own way. If he isn’t already dead.
Having no better last words, Dmitri calls out for his friend. The most likely response, he realizes, is silence, but he hopes for some sign that Monte is still there. Buried and twisted, broken and pierced, the most important thing it seems now is that he doesn’t go out alone.
After a few moments, there’s a response, Monte’s voice, muffled but close. He’s saying, “I got you. Hang on, man, I got you.” Over and over, “I got you.”
Dmitri can hear him digging, pulling debris out of the way, and then he feels a hand brushing dirt from his face and wiping blood out of his eyes. Monte’s dark face, eyes whiter than anything Dmitri has ever seen, staring down at him. His face is streaked with grime but otherwise, he looks untouched.
He says, “I got you.”
Dmitri watches him lift chunks of concrete and ceiling tile, scooping away the debris with his bare hands, relieving pressure bit by bit with each handful. Dmitri can breathe again, but each breath bubbles out through the jagged tear in his torso. Rebar, he can see now, attached to a section of roof, that first impaled him before toppling and gutting him like a fish.
His horror at the wound is matched in Monte’s eyes. Dmitri tries to say something, but his words get lost. Another try results in, “It’s bad, innit?”
“Don’t worry, man. I got you,” Monte says, his voice gentle and resolute. He frees Dmitri’s gnarled legs, stacking what is left of them into a parallel leg-shaped configuration, and he sets Dmitri’s arms, also broken, one bone sticking out at the elbow, to his sides.
Dmitri feels all of this at a distance, like he’s a remote observer experiencing the moment objectively. Monte yanks out the rebar. Blood spurts. Dmitri’s body contorts, his eyelids fluttering. It all happens over there as Dmitri watches from over here. He’s someone else now, somewhere else.
Monte’s hand closes Dmitri’s eyes and he leans down to whisper something in the dying man’s ear. The words are quiet, in a language and dialect that Dmitri’s fading mind cannot understand, but they are imbued with meaning. Dmitri can sense that, even as his consciousness drifts out of this life and into the next one, and he finds himself wanting to stick around to hear what Monte is saying. Dmitri forgets the pain, forgets the fatality of his wounds, and he listens.
And as he listens, he begins to feel a surge of warmth and light welling deep within his chest.
This is it, he thinks. This is what it feels like to die.
He takes in one final breath, and then he lets go. Darkness swallows him.
And spits him back out.
Dmitri gasps as he comes to on the rubble heap, Monte still crouched over him, dust still swirling in the sky, the battle still raging around them. Monte’s eyes are closed as if in prayer and his lips move in chant-like whispers. As if compelled by the power of Monte’s words, Dmitri’s broken body twitches as it begins to reform itself, vital organs and bones reconstituting, blood vessels splicing together, muscles finding tendons, wounds forming seams, then scars, then nothing at all.
The air tastes of blood and ash, and Dmitri is surprised he can taste it. He wiggles his toes and he feels them inside his boot. His hands clench at his sides, the elbow throbbing but no longer broken. His torn shirt flaps around the flawless skin that now covers an abdomen that had been moments before split open by a rebar knife.
Monte still hovers over him, his incantations still a mumble of nonsense, his eyes still closed.
Dmitri puts a trembling hand on his shoulder and Monte’s eyes open. Dmitri expects to see shock, considering the miracle that has just occurred, but he only sees relief.
Dmitri wipes blood out of his eyes. And then he sits up.

Monday, August 11, 2014

On Robin Williams Suicide

It coulda been me.

Don't know where I'm going, I just keep on rowing
I just keep on pulling, gotta row

Friday, August 01, 2014


One thing I enjoy about Christopher Nolan's movies is how much work he and his brother (his usual screen-writing partner) put into the scripts.  It's about telling a story, not about product-placement or international marketing.  It's about making the audience feel something.

A lot of the big movies this year have been absolute dreck.  Captain America:  The Winter Soldier?  I couldn't even tell you what that was about.  (Making money, I think.)  X-Men stank.  Transformers was unbearable.  So far, the only movies I've managed to care about while watching them were Edge of Tomorrow and the new Planet of the Apes, and even then only Planet of the Apes was able to get me with any heart.  (Edge of Tomorrow was merely clever.)

This new trailer for Interstellar is amazing.  Nolan packs more heart into a few minutes of clips than anything Marvel has done all year.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Rains

We must be in the middle of a mini-wet period here in Colorado.  Last October it rained for a week straight, washing out roads, flooding homes, business, and entire towns, and of course, destroying the roof over my storage closet.

This week, it's been raining since Tuesday night, and though weather reports said it would be tapering off last night, it's still raining.

From a gardening perspective, I say bring it.  My summer annuals are blooming and my veggies are producing. I just fertilized before the rains, so it's like a one-two punch of nutrition and moisture, and once the hot weather returns, the plants will be loving life.

But that said, I was kind of hoping for a semi-nice day today.   Truth is, I'm a Sexy Beast and this is my idea of paradise:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fury Road

When it was announced, I wasn't too enthused about a Mad Max remake.  But after watching this trailer, I can't wait to see it.  Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, the George Miller.

It's gonna be good.

Good One

Here we go again:
I'm tired of seeing white people on the silver screen.

First, let me note that I am white. I am a white woman who goes to the theater to see probably a dozen films (if not more) in a given year, a white woman who readily consumes TV shows and series and often blogs/tweets about them. I love film. I love what Hollywood could be, but I must say that I don't love what it is, and that is a machine generating story after story in which the audience is asked to root for a white (usually male) hero over and over and over (and over) again.
We get it.  You're a racist, sexist fool who has trouble picking her movies.  Next!