Friday 5: Gear

Friday 5 from here.

This isn’t the exact corker I have, but it’s pretty close. You turn this thing over so that the plunger is on the underside. Directly below the plunger is a cavity into which you put a cork that’s been soaking in water overnight. You squeeze the the other handles together, compressing the cork in the cavity. Then you turn the device back up (so it’s oriented as in this photo), place the cavity over the mouth of the wine bottle and plunge the plunger, forcing the cork into the opening of the bottle. The cork expands to fill the neck.
  1. What kind of specialized equipment do you own for a specific non-electronic hobby or job?
    Okay, here’s one I may not have written about.  I used to make wine.  Fruit wine, as opposed to grape wine.  I still consider it a hobby despite having put it on hold for the past ten years or so.  Still read up on it, still window-shop the winemaking vendor websites, still make plans for the next batch I plan to make.  The hobby of winemaking suits my personality very well: it requires some intense attention but not every day.  It requires a lot of patience.  And it helps if the winemaker is a bit adventurous.  So I have a bunch of winemaking stuff: carboys, bungs, airlocks, hydrometers, funnels, and tubing aren’t exclusive to winemaking, but I have a corker, a device that squeezes corks so you can insert them into the necks of bottles.  Also corks, yeast (Montrachet and Champagne) and other chemicals to keep things either sterile or alive.
  2. In what way can this equipment be upgraded or souped-up, and how difficult or expensive would the update be?
    There’s definitely high-end winemaking stuff but it’s not a lot better than mid-level stuff, so I don’t feel the need to upgrade.  I did get one of the better corkers; it’s a device I’m rather fond of.  My next toy, whenever I get around to making my next batch, will be an air gun.  I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called, but it’s like a blow-dryer amped up, the sort you might use if you were shaping plastics.  You  know the foil that wraps around the mouth and upper neck of the wine bottle?  The air gun shrink-wraps the foil there so nothing messes with the corkWhen critters are aware of something good behind the cork, they will nibble at it until they finally get through.  Please don’t ask me how I know.
  3. In your fields of interest, what’s the gear envy like?
    You know, I don’t know any other winemakers, so I wouldn’t know.  I look through the catalogs and there’s stuff I want, but I don’t necessarily envy people who have it, perhaps because I don’t know anyone who has it.  If I hung out at the local winemaking supply store more, I would probably have a better answer.  As you can tell from my verbosity, winemakers love talking about winemaking.  I seldom go into the supply store anymore, but whenever I do, I take my purchases to the register and I can count on the cashier to ask me what he or she asks everyone: “What are you making?”  It’s mostly a homebrew store, actually, and I guess homebrew people are about the same kind of person as the winemakers.
  4. What’s something you own the old version of because it’s better than the new version?
    If you’d asked me this question two weeks ago, I’d have said my iPhone 5s.  I held onto that thing as long as I possibly could because I didn’t like the larger sizes of the newer models.  I no longer think this, and I feel great about moving on.  Oh shoot, I meant for these answers to be non-electronic.  I suppose the easy answer is books, since reading is my favorite thing in the world.  This question is difficult.  Who’s the banana who wrote it?
  5. What’s a hobby you don’t engage in that intrigues you mostly because of its equipment or tools?
    You know, fishers seem to have cool stuff.  Oh, and bowlers.

Review: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)
Written and directed by Mark Hartley.

Until I popped this DVD into my player, I don’t think I’d ever heard of Cannon Films, although I consider myself a casual fan of Troma Entertainment, the super-low-budget-film company that seems to be Cannon’s kindred spirit.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about the rise and fall of a movie production company owned by two cousins who just loved to make movies. Gifted salesmen, they made a career-long practice of coming up with a movie title, creating a movie poster, showing the poster to possible investors, and collecting the money for production, often before a script was written or actors cast.

Their figure-it-out-as-we-go approach often meant budgets far lower than expected, story changes in the middle of filming, and bizarre casting decisions. Yet like Troma, Cannon seemed to figure that low budgets meant easier profits, and they could put out a lot of movies in short amounts of time if they didn’t sweat stuff like quality or cohesion. As long as their films had lots of sex, monsters, and explosions, sometimes in the same scene, they knew people would have a good time and come back for the fifth and sixth sequels.

When one of the cousins saw a breakdancer on a Los Angeles sidewalk, he immediately set into motion the production of a movie about breaking. He hired the dancers who would be his stars, hurriedly wrote a story about them, and raced through filming because he heard that another studio was filming Beat Street. For Cannon, it was about getting out there first, not best. Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo were among Cannon’s first hits, but they were not the last.

Other well-known hit-or-miss-but-mostly-miss titles the company cranked out are the Happy Hooker and Emmanuelle series, three Death Wish sequels, the American Ninja trilogy, almost every Chuck Norris film including the Missing in Action and Delta Force series, Runaway Train, King Solomon’s Mines, Over the Top, Masters of the Universe, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Barfly, Invasion U.S.A., and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. At the same time, it is a hilarious yet impressive filmography. Is there a movie fan older than thirty who hasn’t seen at least a small handful of these pictures?

Writer-director Mark Hartley interviews nearly thirty actors, producers, and directors about their memories of working for Cannon, including Bo Derek, Sybil Danning, Richard Chamberlain, Dolph Lundgren, Molly Ringwald, Franco Zeffirelli, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira!), Tobe Hooper, Elliot Gould, Robert Forster, and John Avildsen. Some of them have nothing nice to say about their experiences with Cannon, while others wax a bit more nostalgic. The tone is mostly one of amusement, but many contributors admit that there was something valuable about making these films, and something valuable in the films themselves.

In one segment, the directors talk about how the execs at Cannon promised that they would be allowed to make the movies they wanted, with very little interference from leadership. They don’t seem always to have kept the promise, but you can see why such noted filmmakers as Avildsen, Hooper, Zeffirelli, and John Cassavetes would be willing to work with smaller budgets for a company with Cannon’s checkered past. Zeffirelli says his Otello, a Cannon movie, is the best film of his career.

Would you rather act in a crappy movie or no movie at all? Would you rather direct one with a small budget but creative control, or one with much more backing but much more oversight? These are identity-defining questions, and if nothing else, Cannon offered actors and directors the choice.

This is a funny documentary and making art is a funny thing. Should lack of talent or resources keep you from the joy of creating? I say no, and if there’s some sincerity in Cannon’s love of making movies, maybe there’s something valuable in the art itself.

I laughed aloud multiple times, and am inspired to check out more of the Cannon team’s work.

8/10
81/100

Review: Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 (2018)
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter. Written by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch. Directed by Gary Ross.

Debbie Ocean has had five years (in prison) to plan a heist involving the Met Gala, a $150 million diamond necklace, seven other women of questionable ethics but unquestioned skill, and maybe the guy responsible for her being locked up all those years ago.

It’s a heist flick and it’s meant to connect to the Clooney-Pitt Ocean’s films, and while it’s not as good as Ocean’s 11, it’s at least as interesting as Ocean’s 12. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are great together and I would like to see them together in something else. Rihanna holds the screen surprisingly well and is the pleasant surprise of this movie. Anne Hathaway really shines, and almost steal the movie, which leads me to ask once again why people hate her. She’s luminous.

My biggest problem with the movie is that we don’t really get to know much about the other characters, and since they’re also played by interesting actresses, this is a disappointment. Is it possible to have a good heist movie that also develops its characters well? I wanted to know more about Sarah Paulson’s character especially, but Mindy Kaling’s and Awkwafina’s could also have used some development. I feel mildly ripped off.

Ocean’s 8 is notable for starring a large cast of women actors, something one just doesn’t see enough of. A similar cast of only men actors would come and go without comment, which says something about the importance of more films of this sort. As of today, the film has grossed $117 million worldwide against a production budget of $70 million, which would seem to indicate that there is a market for this kind of thing.

We should celebrate also that two of Debbie’s eight accomplices are Asian, and there is no affirmative action in effect here: Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina have already proven their talent, so no excuses need to be made by anyone. If anything, perhaps a few apologies should be sent their way for taking so dang long.

The story works if you sit back and just go along with it. Get too invested in expected twists or unexpected turns, and you may feel like you paid $15 for a $5 ride. Recommended for streaming, but maybe not for box officing.

6/10
67/100

Review: The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects (1995)
Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Kevin Spacey, Suzy Amis, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito. Written by Christopher McQuarrie. Directed by Bryan Singer.

A friend gave me a terrific day-by-day movie quotes calendar, one of the rare such calendars that you don’t fall behind on, because you really can’t wait to see what the next cool quote is going to be, unlike those word-of-the-day calendars which you always lose interest in because you can’t remember yesterday’s word so what’s the point in looking forward to tomorrow’s, or tearing off the last six weeks’ worth of days just to find out what today’s is?

On Monday, May 14, I shared on Facebook a photo of the May 12/13 quote: “I volunteer as tribute” from The Hunger Games (a movie I like based on a novel I love). I explained that the Monday quote was from a movie I hadn’t seen, The Usual Suspects.

Yeesh. You’d think I’d said I hadn’t seen The Sound of Music (which I haven’t). My friends seemed genuinely concerned. “You must see it!” many commented. Since I work on a university campus and have borrowing privileges, I borrowed the DVD that very afternoon and told everyone to cool it. I was finally going to see it.

The next day, I received two text messages from friends asking if I had righted the wrong. I hadn’t, but I promised I’d do it that evening.

And I promise, it doesn’t please me to say this, but the movie is just okay. I know. I’m sorry!

The film is something of a noir, and its dialogue is written in the noir style, which I really enjoyed. Five con artists are involved in a heist that turns out not to be what they thought they were signing up for, and lots of people die. I’m not spoiling anything because that’s sort of the way the film opens.

The characters are well-imagined and the dialogue is really great. Kevin Spacey provides some lovely voice-over narration reminding you that the joys of a good noir don’t always emerge from the plot. Very often, it’s the look and feel, the sound of the language, the feel of the shadows, the often unspoken emotions and unmentioned sexual tension that makes you stick with The Big Sleep even though you’ve watched it once a year since you were fourteen and still don’t know what the story’s about.

If these were the only things to consider, I’d rate this movie much higher; in fact, the middling score I’m giving it is really the average of these strengths against its major weakness, which is a plot hole I will spoil in the very last paragraph of this review, after my rating. It’s a plot hole I can’t just brush away, because it reduces all these other good ingredients to little more than a pretty good actor’s workshop in movie character tropes and pretty good language. In other movies this can be more than enough to endear me. In this one, all it does is make me certain that my friends are going to disown me.

It’s an okay film. Things about it are great. One thing about it is awful.

5/10
55/100

SPOILER COMMENT:
Even though I am an English major and should always be on guard, I sometimes forget about the device known as the unreliable narrator. This is not one of these times. Alerted by my friends that there was a twist, I predicted the twist very early in the film and was all but certain midway through. Kevin Spacey’s character is about as unreliable a narrator as they come, something I noticed right away, so the moment of the reveal didn’t leave me merely unsurprised, but annoyed. The truth of his identity means practically nothing in the movie actually happens. It may as well be the old waking-from-a-bad-dream reveal. If we can accept the reality that it was all just a really good story, this might make it all okay, except that despite its near-excellent language, the good story itself doesn’t work, since we are privy to conversations and actions the storyteller would never have been aware of because he wasn’t there. Imagine your kid telling you an elaborate lie about how the cookies disappeared, in which he says, “Before I came home, Sally told Betty that they could make it look like I ate the cookies.” The lie is obvious because the storyteller can’t possibly know what Sally or Betty said. Filmed a different way, where we only see everything through Verbal’s eyes, his made-up story could at least be a fun gotcha! moment. As it is, it’s just a movie where something happens but we don’t know what.

Review: The Pitcher and the Pin-Up

The Pitcher and the Pin-Up (2003)
Drew Johnson, Corinna Harney. Written by Drew Johnson and David A. Burr. Directed by Drew Johnson.

Twelve minutes into The Pitcher and the Pin-Up (originally released as The Road Home), I said on social media, “This may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”

My feelings didn’t change through the first half, but there’s some college baseball action in the middle that doesn’t suck. The acting doesn’t suck, the editing doesn’t suck, the lighting and sound don’t suck, and the music doesn’t suck. The only thing that sucks is the writing, and the writing reeeeeeeally sucks.

The story isn’t just loaded with cliché; it’s an uninterrupted string of clichés from beginning to end. I recently declared The Room the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but at least The Room is packed with stuff you’ve never seen before. I’d much rather watch The Room again. You might have to pay me to spend another evening with The Pitcher and the Pin-Up.

Danny and Melissa are childhood friends who clearly love each other but act like they don’t. They drift apart when one goes to college on a baseball scholarship while the other poses nude for a magazine, hoping it will launch a modeling career, although what she really wants to be is a poet. Someone plays in the College World Series. Someone marries a jerk. They get closer; they grow apart. Life is rather cruel to both, but in their brokenness they discover they have always loved each other.

Worst baseball movie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.

2/10
27/100

Friday 5: Opposite Day

From here.

  1. What food, normally eaten cooked, do you prefer uncooked?
    Fresh Kahuku corn.  Or really any corn grown locally.  It’s so crisp and sweet, I don’t get why people feel the need to put it on a grill or boil it in water.  Whenever I go to the north shore, I keep an eye out for vendors selling it out of the backs of pickup trucks — it’s aaaaaaalmost as exciting a part of a north shore cruise as a plate of steamed prawns.  Oh, and don’t forget the raw egg on rice, on sukiyaki, or in bibimbap (I have to ask for them not to cook it; Koreans don’t seem to have as nice a relationship with eggs as Japanese people).  Raw egg with shoyu, aji-no-moto, and kim chee is one of my favorite everyday breakfasts, ‘though I’ve mostly given it up because of the rice.
  2. What food, normally eaten uncooked, do you prefer cooked?
    I really like wilting mixed salad greens in some olive oil and then mixing them up with mashed potatoes and a little bit of wasabi oil.
  3. What food, normally eaten cold, do you prefer hot?
    This reminds me that there are places in this country where people drink hot Dr. Pepper, which at the same time fascinates me and grosses me out.  Exactly the right combination for a late-night experiment someday.  I’m going to cheat a little and say either tomato juice or vegetable juice.  I use it as an ingredient in my slow-cooker stew, and although it’s perfectly fine cold, I do prefer it after a few hours soaking up the flavors of beef, thickened slightly with some tapioca starch.
  4. What food, normally eaten hot, do you prefer cold?
    Okay, I have two great answers for this, and if they gross you out I would just implore you try them.  First, macaroni and cheese.  I’m totally serious.  Cook it however you normally cook it, then set it aside until it cools to room temp, then put it in the fridge and eat it the next day.  It’s even better with ketchup.  Second, Pizza Pockets.  It’s been years since I’ve had them, but when I taught at a school that had no food service, I had to have some quick options for days when I just didn’t have it in me to make lunch.  Pizza Pockets, baby — specifically the pizza variety of Hot Pockets.  Take ’em out of the freezer in the morning, let ’em sit out all morning, or leave them in the fridge from the night before, and eat them without zapping in the microwave oven.  It’s then basically a crusty cheese sandwich with marinara and pepperoni.  What’s not to love about that?  Thawed but cold is the way to go.  Oh, and I know I’ve written about this before, but canned pork and beans.  Always keep a can in the fridge, then eat right from the can, maybe with a drizzle of ketchup.  Just like Boy Scouts days.
  5. What are your favorite dinner meals to have for breakfast and breakfast meals to have for dinner?
    Seriously, any leftovers from dinner the night before are great breakfasts, but I’ll agree with the popular answer and say cold pizza for breakfast.  For dinner, it’s tough to beat corned beef hash, eggs sunny-side up, and rice.  One of God’s perfect foods.

Review: Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch (2005)
Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Ione Skye. Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly.

It’s frustrating when a movie has the right pieces, a good concept, well-imagined characters, and a lazy script. Bill Simmons, perhaps America’s most famous Red Sox fan, has famously said he hates Fever Pitch because Ben, the main character played by Jimmy Fallon, does something near the end that no Red Sox fan would ever do.

Simmons misses the point, because knowing that no Red Sox fan would ever do what Ben does is what supposedly makes his actions reflective of the change of heart he experiences, which of course results in our happily ever after. If this were a sports movie, perhaps Simmons would have a good point, but even he says that this is no baseball movie. This, he insists, is a chick flick.

I’ll see Simmons’s insistance and raise him one more: not only is this not a baseball movie, but neither is it a romantic comedy. Oh, it wants to be a romantic comedy, but Ben’s transformation is so lazily handled that it’s more magic than romance. It tries to be a romantic comedy, but it avoids the messiness of two people working through something real and complicated, leaving us instead with an eye-opening moment for Lindsey, the main character played by Drew Barrymore.

Perhaps the writers think they’re doing something clever by focusing the pit-of-despair moments on Ben, but Ben is mostly the culprit here. Yes, we should see him wallow, but what’s Lindsey going through while it’s happening? We don’t see that she’s miserable, lonely, stuck with some a-hole of a new guy, or in any way struggling with the tension central to the movie’s plot. How does a relationship work out when one person is married to her work and the other is married to a baseball team?

“You have always loved the Red Sox,” says one character to Ben, “but have the Red Sox ever loved you back?” It’s wisdom, but it’s not the kind of wisdom that should open up the clouds so sunbeams can fall only on Ben, because we’ve already seen what Ben gets out of his fandom: some really good stuff, stuff that Lindsey knows is important.

The film avoids dealing with this conflict, and while I can totally be here for two people saying, “We have a huge problem but we love each other enough to deal with it,” why not deal with it in the movie? In even a bad romantic comedy, some kind of relationship figuring-out should happen, but we get none of it. It’s a real shame, because the film does a really, really good job of setting up and executing Lindsey’s heartbreak. Yet we get nothing of her recovery: it’s all just magic, and this is why Fever Pitch is neither baseball film nor romantic comedy, but romance flick of the annoying kind.

Ben is a high-school teacher. Lindsey is an executive of some undefined, generic sort. They are adorable together. Early scenes where they get to know each other make you think you’re seeing a very good film. In the first two-thirds of the film, I love just about every scene they’re in together and dislike almost every scene where they’re with their respective groups of friends. But this is winter Ben. Summer Ben is a different creature, which he is honest about just before summer Ben awakens from hibernation.

So far so good! This could work! At first, it does. Then the level of Ben’s fanaticism really does become a problem, as it should, and the relationship believably comes crashing down until it’s rock bottom for Ben and who knows what for Lindsey?

If a movie has a bad setup but a great finish, you can split the difference and give it an average rating. If it goes the other way, with a great setup and terrible finish, you have to slide it toward the neg. There’s a reason Reggie Jackson was Mr. October, and there’s a reason George Steinbrenner called Dave Winfield Mr. May. Fever Pitch is no Reggie Jackson.

4/10
46/100

Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany.

It’s another standalone Star Wars story, and after Rogue One I have to say I was amped to see it. Alden Ehrenreich is a terrific actor, and his “Would that it were so simple” dialogue with Ralph Fiennes in Hail, Caesar! is one of the most laugh-aloud funny scenes I’ve seen in years, so nobody needed to persuade me to buy him as Solo. I was already bought.

Solo: A Star Wars Story traces Han Solo’s early life, beginning with an escape from some kind of child labor camp (or something!) and ending somewhere vaguely familiar but nonspecific in our knowledge of the Star Wars universe. As it unfolds, we see the development of Han’s story in the years before we meet him in Episode IV.

It’s a standalone movie, but of course it’s a standalone movie about a beloved character. The writers, actors, and director have to walk a delicate line between just telling a good story and being true to both canon and spirit, and they walk it well. Although some of my female friends disagree, Ehrenreich has the swagger and cunning of the Han Solo we know. If he’s not as ruggedly handsome or seductive, he shows signs of becoming that guy. We should expect him to be a bit raw and even innocent, two words we’d never use in describing the character as played by Harrison Ford. Young Han Solo has seen things, but not that many things.

The other major, less doubtful question is whether Donald Glover could pull off Lando Calrissian. I feel very confident in assessing his performance as better than anyone could have hoped. He’s not only perfect, he’s somehow better than that, so charismatic, morally ambiguous, and charming that he almost steals the movie from Ehrenreich.

Add Woody Harrelson, a new droid named L3-37, a love interest named Qi’ra, and of course Chewbacca, and you have a solid cast for what should be the first movie in a trilogy. Honestly, it’s a stronger set of actors than we thought we had after episodes IV, I, or VII, and if the story is not quite as good as some of the best in the series, it can be excused for spending more time on character development than plot.

This is not to suggest the plot is terrible. It’s decent space western stuff with unanswered questions enough to keep the audience guessing as it awaits word on a sequel. I found enough to chew on that I waited only a week before getting back to the theater to see it again. I’m fully down with this Solo, this Calrissian, and this nested series. I’ve got a good feeling about this.

8/10
81/100

Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 (2018)
Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller. Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds. Directed by David Leitch.

The problem with an unexpectedly good movie like Deadpool is that it creates fair but lofty kinds of expectation for its sequel. The first Ice Age and Shrek films did the same thing, and their follow-ups suffered for it.

It isn’t that Deadpool 2 is bad. It’s just positioned to deliver more of the same: more cleverness, more irreverence, more vulgarity, more compassion for its main character, and more unexpectedness. Either that or it might have found new ways to be equally all these things. It’s too much to ask, and this sequel isn’t up to it.

It’s still clever, irreverent, vulgar, compassionate toward its main character. It’s just not unexpected, and it’s not enough.

Even the structure of the film is pretty much the same. This is no origin story, but the movie opens in medias res, then flashes back, works its way forward and continues to the end. I guess if a thing works, you just do it again.

Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead return, and they are joined by an interesting menagerie of mutants (including a few who’ve appeared in X-Men films) as Wade Wilson attempts to help a mutant boy manage his anger before he turns evil. It’s best not to overthink it and just go along for the ride, which is fun, funny, entertaining, and even charming. Just not as much as the first movie.

7/10
68/100

Friday 5: With a Capital T

Man, I’m having all kinds of trouble sitting still enough to write anything.  Forcing myself before I dive into the weekend to at least do one of these.  The responses by other participants have been fun to read.

From here.

  1. What kind of trouble are you getting yourself into?
    Uuuuuugggggh.  I still haven’t made those appointments I missed a few months ago.  I really, really, really need to.  Next week for sure.  I actually need to get my BP checked, my eyes checked, and probably my left knee checked.  The knee has been bugging me for about three weeks and although it feels better, I still feel it with almost every step.  Also need to ask someone about my thinning hair.  Eep.
  2. What was your most recent car trouble?
    I’ve been a bus rider for a few years now, because of my most recent car trouble.  I’ve discussed this before, I’m quite sure.  But I was distracted (I was not texting or speaking on my phone) (okay, but it might have been phone-related) and rear-ended the pickup truck driven by a famous local radio DJ from the 80s.  He and his truck were fine, but my car was totaled.  I made myself not drive for a couple of years as penance.  I mean, I really could have killed someone.  But I’m sloooooooowly getting caught up on a few things and am ready for some wheels.  Hopefully before winter rolls around.
  3. What’s a rhyming phrase (such as “work jerk” or “poo shoe”) to describe something causing you problems lately?
    How about creepy sleepy?  It’s terrible, I know.  But this is what sleep deprivation does to me.  I had a very encouraging week of sleep last week, but this past week has been freaking miserable.  Last night was about as bad as it’s been.
  4. What’s something that needs loosening or unsticking?
    I have those windows that have weights hanging within the window frames, to make opening and closing them easy, like with a garage door.  One of these windows is sticking, only when I try to shut it.  There’s a weird resistance.  I sometimes have to slam it down, which scares me because it’s a very old house and it would devastate me to slam that window shut and have it shatter.
  5. What’s your favorite board game involving rolling dice?
    I have to go with Risk, a game I love but never ever get to play.  I really love Risk, and some of my best game-playing memories are centered on that game.  I once bought my friend Ross a very old Risk set.  Not the first edition, but pretty close.  Picked it up on eBay.  The old-looking world map and wooden pieces.  Box totally intact.  It was sweet.  I don’t think we ever played with it.

I’ll do more of these later this weekend, I think.  Just to get caught up or something.