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January 29, 2011

I was just a boy giving it all away
Adam Faith

Deep Sea Hunting by Photoneu
Click images for desktop size: "Deep Sea Hunting" by Photoneu
I saw a picture of my puppy. I was slightly stunned to see how mature, elegant and regal she looked.
When I look at her I still see her as a little puppy, the little girl who played "Alligator: with me, The Van where she'd hide under the bed and try and pull me into her "swamp".
The serious little girl who stayed with me in the hospital growling at the nurses when they came in and constantly looking up and checking on me. The puppy who went to therapy dog school and played tricks on me but still tried her hardest to please me. And the young lady who won a second level discipline obedience class while never having attended any obedience classes.
I look at her and I see all those puppies and dogs and they shrink down into one who waits for me.
She's my dog. We belong to each other.
I miss my other two dogs plenty. The gentle dog misses me too. The giant dog . . . who knows what thoughts go through his brain.

I set my alarm clock to wake me with radio, then I set the station to a top 40 pop station. Nothing gets me out of bed faster than turning off a top 40 tune blaring from a cheap radio.
A few days ago I was startled to hear a Jason Mraz tune. I'm not a fan, but I'd been working on a tune for the past few weeks. I'm always working on a tune the past few weeks, at least in my head. This one I was stumbling around with the lyrics, trying to clarify and enunciate some feelings. The harder I worked on it the more obscure things became, until I heard this Jason Mraz track, "Lucky".
The chorus pretty well summed up everything I was struggling to say in verse after verse: "We feel lucky to be in love with our best friend".
And that was it. That was all I was trying to say.
I'm never too sure how I feel about having my lofty emotions perfectly encapsulated in a pop song . . . but there you go.
Intitled by Solano Lopez
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Solamo Lopez
I guess the lesson is to always say things as simply as possible and to avoid the glitter and too much deep thought. Hey, maybe Jason Mraz is a genius! I still work off the standard that anyone who can do something that I can't must be a genius. I still got ego.

I have been hearing some interesting music lately. I guess everyone is psyched by the Jack White/Wand Jackson collaboration. Watching the numerous videos is a two edged sword. Seeing Wanda, my adolescent throbbing need, be real 50 years later is too much for me to comprehend or accept. ut that's offset by Jack White. He's pulled together one of the best rock bands I've ever heard and with him DANCIN' around the stage in his cat clothes and playing band leader is as thrilling as being at the birth of rock itself.
The record's not bad either.Voyage of the Rock Aliens
The other band is strange. they took their name from a Sonics' cut and even cover a Sonic's tune. And somehow they've become a country band??
I first heard "Boss Hoss" when someone sent me a demo of them covering the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper". I thought they were strange but great. I just assumed they were another garage revival band with enough talent and attitude to take things to their own level.
Their latest album is "Low Voltage" and its insane. The band looks like a 21st century Tex-Mex Salsa outfit. Too many guys in cowboy hats. The album is filled with brass, strings and fiddles, bass saxaphones and harmonicas and, of course, guitars filled with truck driver 8 part harmoney and it sounds about as country as the White Stripes meet the Beat Farmers. A distinctive and welcome sound.

That's it. Still working. Still suffering. Still trying to get my wife into this country (legally). And looking to survive the newer ages.

January 22, 2011

There are three constants in life: change, choice and principles
Stephen Covey

Dreaming Sighs
Click images for desktop size: "Dreaming Sighs" by Unknown
My mother-in-law was cremated at 1:00 PM on Friday.
I couldn't be there. Canada.
My wife is as devastated as you'd expect. She'll survive. She's tough enough for that even when she Tobor the Great doesn't believe she is.

Now I hate being an adult and being mature. Things like this make me regret it. I want to go back to those days of complicated decisions like whether or not I should iron my underwear.
It doesn't seem right that from life to the grave should take just a week.
Not fair at all. Just unvarying and inevitable. It's the pragmatic, existentialist attitude I have that takes affront at all this. It's the way it is and the way it has always been and people never expect it or learn from it or anticipate the sadness and madness we all carry within us. It sickens me that selfishness overwhelms compassion for many of us. But that is unvarying and inevitable too.
Ibsen said something like, "The majority is always wrong." Steve McQueen liked to quote it. We are the majority.
But we're also the white knights and the only hope each other has.
If we weren't that there'd be nothing left but despair.
My top ten flics for 2010 list is only 3 movies long.

1) Kick-Ass - This is a movie that slips past the mindlessness on first viewing. It starts out a simpleminded teen comedy thing but then erupts into something I've never seen before. It's a smart movie, with a hip sound track. It also includes one great performance and one great character. In one word "Hitgirl".
There's a scene in the movie that actually gets me misty eyed. Shocker. It's where the bad guys are beating Kick-Ass and Nick Cage to death on a web cast. All seems lost until an 11 year old girl's Grand Ages of Rome
Click images for desktop size: "Grand Ages of Rome" by Unknown
love for her father draws her into the heel bent world he created for her and leaves as her only legacy. She comes and systematically and believably kills off the bad guys with knife and gun. Cage has been set on fire but even while burning alive he yells out commands to Hitgirl, commands she understands even though Cage's voice is a shriek of pain, love and concern.
It's an unbelievable scene that they nearly but not quite ruin with the bathetic conclusion.

2) I Saw The Devil - I've already written about this devastating Korean serial killer movie.

3) Ong Bak 3 - Must see even though it fails as often as it succeeds. Tony Jaa will never, it appears, exceed his brilliant "Tom Yum Gum", but here he attempts so much more.

January 18, 2011

Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold
Ludwig van Beethoven

Rouge et Noir Japonais by Bylik
Click images for desktop size: "Rouge et Noir Japonoise" by Bylik
My mother in law passed away at 7:30 PM last night.
My main thoughts are concern for my wife and her ability to handle grief. Experience with grief This Gun For Hire doesn't mean you handle it better.
My second thoughts are the same as usual: We need to be nicer to each other. To rejoice in each other.
It bothers me that their are no great works of art about death. Berlioz's Requiem is about the sounds of the survivors and their imaginings of death. Stanley Elkin's "The Living End" is a sardonic denial of death. There's the brutal short movie "Aftermath" and, of course that cruddy old poem "Thanatopsis" which hides behind ancient greek to avoid the heaviness of grief.
For a subject so big that touches everyone it's been pretty much ignored except for those Sundance style movies that bore me to tears and avoid touching the subject with sledgehammers and rockets.
Even when we all know what's out there and know with that final certainty that it's coming, we're never ready. Never prepared. The worst trap is when we think we are ready and able to cope.
There's nothing wrong with breaking down at the unfairness and futility of it all. Nothing wrong so long as you know you can come back and keep moving forward, keep loving and trusting and laughing through the tears.

January 17, 2011

Always speak the truth, think before you speak, and write it down afterwards
Lewis Carroll

Sof by T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: "SOF" by T Hecker
My mother-in-law was taken off of life support at 5:00 PM today.
I worry about my wife having to deal with this alone.

January 16, 2011

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it
Lou Holtz

Design 1 by Media Milan
Click images for desktop size: "Design 1" by Media Milan
Been thinking a lot about form and content. Even had a conversation with my wife yesterday about the decline of the Technicolor monopoly and how this impacted indy filmmaking while resulting in less lush images.
Santo VS The Vampire Woman
CMy Christmas was great. My wife came down and spent 3 weeks with us and she brought Gentle Dog and Giant Dog.
Gentle Dog was ecstatic to see me and had a wonderful time. Giant Dog had his old problem of being dominant mainly due to size and having to adapt to not being alpha anymore. He likes being boss but he gets himself into trouble that way. He's happier being just one of the pack, a special one. He has to work his head around all that stuff using instinct instead of logic and its hard for him. He still had fun.
My wife and I had fun even though I got ill from just a cold. Then, she was planning to visit friends but she got sick, sicker than me! But that didn't diminish anything.
I got my roomba back. Even now I sit in the midst of clean. And I got some sweatshirts. One I like and two I don't.
My wife got a pedicure (she'd never had one before!!), a TomTom GPS and some personal things for her birthday. Grado headphones, a Kandle for her Kindle, and purple suede fleece lined slippers for Christmas.
The dogs got stuff, Lots and lots of stuff. Lots!
They all gave kisses and allowed themselves to be petted!
For Christmas Eve we went to a fondue restaurant. Now, I'm used to fondue meaning you had to dip forks of bread into cheese or, for really fancy hippie dinners, strawberries into hot melted chocolate. Those were on the menu but it was much more than that and it was interesting and exciting!
It helped as well that it was Christmas Eve. They took our picture and presented it to us gratis and let us take an ornament from their Christmas tree. A memorable evening for sure.
Solitude by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Solitude" by TitusBoy

Unfortunately when my wife braved a blizzard and finally got her and the two dogs back home she fell even iller, culminating with the devastating news of her mother having a heart attack.
This wasn't like my heart attack where I was running around calling people and complaining, this was serious.
They had to induce a coma as they "lost" her for 15 minutes and they have little idea of the extent of any possible brain damage.
The only good thing about this is that it is in Canada so there's no additional devastation caused by rip off insurance companies and greedy profiteering doctors and hospitals like we endure in America.
It now appears they give her only five days to live.