Friday 5 for July 13: The Road to H. E. Double Hockeysticks

From here.

  1. What are some titles in your to-read stack?
    My stack is huge and keeps getting huger.  Some books I’m really looking forward to are David Mitchell’s Slade House, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe, Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, and a whole bunch of cozy mysteries I recently took a break from.
  2. What are the highlights of this weekend’s to-do list?
    A bit of work for the side gigs, for sure.  Some housecleaning.  A trip to the swap meet for black t-shirts.  Maybe the World Cup final.  I’d like to squeeze in a DVD or two as well.
  3. Which current or upcoming movies are you looking forward to?
    Still haven’t seen The Incredibles 2, and there’s this Ben Foster film called Leave No Trace that interests me even though it’s only playing at Kahala, a theater that’s a bit out of the way for me.  Crazy Rich Asians in August.  A modernization of Little Women at the end of September with Lea Thompson as Marmee.
  4. What’s something you meant to do this past week that will have to wait until next week?
    Really wanted to make a bunch of cucumber kimchi but with Camp NaNoWriMo taking up almost every evening, it’s been tough to make time.  Plus I’ve really tried to put a high priority on getting enough sleep on work nights.  It’s tough to find time for that.  I also have a boatload of films to write reviews for and some website-related maintenance I’ve putting off.
  5. What’s an unfinished project (unrelated to media consumption) you haven’t touched in at least a year?
    Ah shoot.  I started my first cross-stitching project a couple of years ago and it was going really well, but I haven’t had time to finish it up.  It’s sitting in a very visible, prominent space in my living room to remind me that I want to do this.

Camp NaNoWriMo July has consumed me these past couple of weeks and it will continue to do so until the end of the month.  More about this later.

Review: Book Club

Book Club (2018)
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Wallace Shawn, Richard Dreyfuss, Alicia Silverstone, Ed Begley Jr.. Written by Bill Holderman and Erin Simms. Directed by Bill Holderman.

Four women who’ve been friends since college have now been a book club for more than thirty years. Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen play Diane, Vivian, Carol, and Sharon.

Diane is a recently widowed mother of two adult daughters. She’s going through some reidentification and is unsure of herself, but she’s not nearly as disoriented as her daughters perceive.

Vivian is a builder and owner of hotels, apparently a self-made business success who doesn’t let relationships with men get too serious because they interfere with her independence.

Carol is an empty nester, married to a great guy (Craig T. Nelson) but unhappy with her nonexistent sex life.

Sharon is a judge, divorced for fifteen years. Her adult son is engaged, her ex-husband is dating a much younger woman, and she spends her evenings with a fluffy cat.

At one of the book club meetings one of the women passes around copies of 50 Shades of Grey, which draws complaints and derision from the group, but “bestsellers” is the club’s theme this year, and so they give it a go. The novel inspires them to make a few changes to their love lives, each in her own way.

Some of the sequences are ridiculous, but I suspect we’re meant to take the themes seriously but not the stories, and if you’re capable of doing this, you’ll find a few things to like here. I already have a Mary Steenburgen bias, so I love every scene she’s in, pretty much. Of the four main characters, Candice Bergen’s Sharon is perhaps the most interesting.

I was frustrated with Diane Keaton’s character Diane, because she’s forced to play a character who’s nonassertive around her adult kids, a mode that doesn’t suit the actress well at all. It isn’t until nearly the end of the film where we see Keaton shine as an actress. I wished her story could have begun right there.

It’s a harmless movie, but in this era of gigantic comic book superhero films, its existence and box office popularity feel important. Here are four celebrated actresses of proven competence, yet how often do we get to see them in starring roles anymore? The movie is worth seeing if only to send a message to Hollywood that there’s a market here. Let’s not waste good talent.

6/10
61/100

Friday 5: Happy ASLIRT

From here.

It’s about trail mix, you see?  ASLIRT.  Trail mix.  Or trails mix I guess.

  1. What are your favorite and least favorite nuts?
    I guess pistachios are my favorite, but I want to shout out two non-nuts that are nutty enough for consideration: cashews and pumpkin seeds.  Although I certainly don’t dislike them, I’m beginning not to be thrilled about either walnuts or pecans, exept in a pecan pie.
  2. What are your favorite and least favorite berries?
    My favorite are blackberries, with strawberries a close second.  My least favorite are raspberries, which I will eat if they are placed in front of me but will not place them in front of me myself.  You know those berry mixes in the freezer aisle?  I don’t buy those because a third of those mixes is always raspberries.  I’ll be darned if I’m going to pay for them.  I will make my own blueberry-blackberry-strawberry mix myself, thank you.
  3. What are your favorite and least favorite tropical fruits?
    It’s a sad thing that I have lived in the tropics pretty much my whole life and do not love tropical fruit.  I guess I’ll go with lychee as a favorite and mango as a least favorite, although there’s a local tradition of pickling green mango, and that’s pretty good eating, I guess because I just love vinegar so much.  In recent years, I’ve taught myself to like banana.  I am now trying to do the same with papaya.
  4. What are your favorite and least favorite varieties of M&Ms?
    My favorite are peanut butter, with rice krispies second.  My least are either those berry-flavored ones the mint ones.  I dig mint with chocolate (those Hershey Cookies & Mint bars are amazing), but the mint in the M&Ms is disgusting.  It tastes like brushing your teeth and eating chocolate at the same time.
  5. What are your favorite and least favorite raisin-containing foods?
    My favorite are cinnamon raisin bagels.  My least favorite might be bread pudding.  I eat them when they’re in there, but I can’t help feeling like they’re degrading a perfectly good bread pudding.  You know, it’s also true of rice pudding with raisins.  Let’s just keep raisins out of any pudding.

Friday 5: Scattergories, Part 8

From here.

I rolled the letter G.  I like it.  Surely not a gimme, but not crazy difficult either.  I always find G words intriguing.  For example, what do you think is the largest American city whose name begins with G?  Galveston?  Grand Rapids?   Can you even think of other cities beginning with G?  I just looked it up, and it’s Greensboro, North Carolina, whose 2010 Census data says it has 269,666 residents, good enough for 68th largest in the country.   Next is Glendale, Arizona, with 226,721, the 87th largest.  Gilbert, Arizona (91st), Garland, Texas (95th), and Glendale, California (112th), all come in ahead of Grand Rapids, Michigan at 119.  Galveston doesn’t make it into the top 311.  Sheldon Cooper was a big fish in a small pond, I guess.

    1. What’s a movie you love whose title begins with the letter?
      Librarians say The Greatest Showman begins with G, but maybe that’s cheating.  I mean the title isn’t Greatest Showman.   Movies I’ve seen that legitimately begin with G include Galaxy Quest, Garden State, Gates of Heaven, Gattaca, Get Him to the Greek, Get Low, Get Smart, Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal, Get on the Bus, Ghost, Ghost World, Ghostbusters, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Global Metal, Glory, Gnomeo & Juliet, God Said Ha!, Gods and Monsters, Goin’ Coconuts, Going Ape!, Gone, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Good Hair, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Goodfellas, Gosford Park, Grand Canyon, Grease, Gremlins, Gross Anatomy, Groundhog Day, Gulliver’s Travels, Gung Ho, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Gangster Squad, Garden of Words, Gimme the Loot, Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla, and Gravity.  There are some great movies in that list, but my favorite is easily Groundhog Day.  Top 20 movie of all time for me.
    2. What’s a popular tourist destination whose name begins with the letter?
      The Grand Canyon certainly qualifies, but the Texas Rangers (Texas again?) play in Globe Life Park in Arlington (the “in Arlington” is part of its name), the Cincinnati Reds play in Great American Ball Park, and the Chicago White Sox play in Guaranteed Rate Field.  I would rather visit each of those ballparks a few times each before the Grand Canyon .
    3. What’s something you do, whose name begins with the letter, when you’re very happy?
      I’m neither much of a gloater nor gamboler, so how about just grinning?
    4. What’s a frightening animal whose name begins with the letter?
      Are you supposed to be afraid of gila monsters?  No?  Okay then:  Great.  White.  Shark.
    5. Who’s a person you admire whose name begins with the letter?
      My first answer is Geddy Lee of Rush, but I talk about Rush all the time, so let’s take a moment to appreciate George Thorogood.  George is sort of Geddy’s opposite.  Where just about everything about Rush is precise, considered, exact, almost strangely (and beautifully) mechanical, George’s playing style is loose and messy, dirty and nasty.  It almost seems like he just puts his chording hand wherever it lands on the fretboard, and he does something with whatever sound happens to come out.  Someday I’ll take formal lessons, and I envision myself telling my instructor to teach me how to play like George Thorogood.  This live video of my favorite Thorogood song is super cool because it includes Elvin Bishop.  “One drink ain’t enough, Jack; you better bring three.”