Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 in Review - Answers Posted

This will be the last chance for points in 2016.  Three points for the first person with a perfect score.  Two points for the person with the most correct, if there is no perfect score. Deadline: 11:59 PM, December 31, California time.

1.  In January, this U.S. city was declared to be in a federal state of emergency due to contaminated water.  FLINT, MICHIGAN

2.  In June, the UK voted to leave the European Union.  This was called...?  BREXIT

3.  In August, the Summer Olympics were held where?  RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
4.  Bob Dylan unexpectedly won which major award?  NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
5.  Who placed third in the 2016 U.S. presidential election?   COLIN POWELL

6.  In January, the former Davy Jones died.  To what did he change his name to avoid confusion with the lead singer of The Monkees?  DAVID BOWIE
7.  In March, this former FLOTUS died.  NANCY REAGAN
8.  In April, Prince died.  Name his two most famous backing bands.  THE REVOLUTION AND THE NEW POWER GENERATION
9.  In June, Muhammad Ali died.  What was his name before converting to Islam?  CASSIUS CLAY
10.  In November, Leonard Cohen died.  Which of his songs has been covered by Jeff Buckley, K.D. Lang, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bono, and Bon Jovi? HALLELUJAH


Friday, December 16, 2016

Film Friday

The Amazing Spider-Man:  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary.  Peter Parker becomes a costumed vigilante and dates the cool girl.  Decent job from Leary.  Stone was better in Easy A.  The villain was silly.  Okay movie, but that's about it.

The Loves of Hercules:  Mickey Hargitay, Jayne Mansfield, Massimo Serato.  Hercules travels to Ecalia to avenge the murder of his wife.  He then is smitten by Queen Dianira.  Adventures ensue.  Mediocre acting, lame script.  Hargitay was the 1955 Mr. Universe, so he at least looks the part.  Mansfield's acting was really bad here, and her sex appeal was downplayed, so I have to wonder why she was cast in the part.  Serato's decent as the primary villain.

Clash of the Titans:  Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson.  Perseus must find a way to defeat the Kraken or Argos is doomed.  This could have been better than it was.  There should have been fewer, but better-developed characters.  It could also have been longer.  Good job by Arterton as Io.   

Knife in the Water:  Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz.  A married couple encounter a hitchhiker and take him along on their sailing trip.  Director Roman Polanski's first and only Polish feature film.  Niemczyk reminded me of Jerry Orbach.  Umecka was a hot one.  It's mostly three people on a boat, so some viewers might be bored.  I think it's worth watching, as long as you don't send any money Polanski's way. 

Batman:  Adam West, Lee Meriwether, Burgess Meredith.  This is in the style of the TV show. So it's campy and light, not the serious, dark Batman of the recent films.  The Penguin, The Catwoman, The Joker, and The Riddler team up to take over the world.  Plenty of funny bits.  Meriwether's excellent as Catwoman.  West, Meredith, and Cesar Romero (Joker) do decent work.  The Riddler (Frank Gorshin) seems kind of superfluous.  Not impressed by Burt Ward as Robin.  

Dog Days:  Maria Hofstatter, Christine Jirku, Viktor Hennemann.  The lives (mostly problems) of residents of suburban Vienna.  Some brutal stuff, so not for the faint of heart.  It's a bit uneven.  I wish some of the stories had been developed more, and others had received less focus.  I can't recommend it, though I won't say it's worthless.    

Rachel Getting Married:  Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Debra Winger.  A young woman who has been in and out of rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister's wedding.  I think the first half or so was better than the second half. It tried too hard to be p.c.  There's a drawn-out dance sequence that almost had me hitting the fast forward button.  But Hathaway is excellent as Kym, the MC.         

Casino Royale (1967)David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress.  With Barbara Bouchet, Deborah Kerr, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Woody Allen.  A James Bond spoof, with emphasis on the title story.  There were five different directors.  Sellers quit before his part was finished.  Some good acting and attractive women, but it should have been better.

However, this does mean I've seen all the Bond films.  Including the short shown during the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony and the 1954 TV version of Casino Royale.        

Under the Tuscan Sun:  Diane Lane, Sandra Oh.  American writer gets divorced and moves to Tuscany.  It's a fun little movie.  Good for Lane fans. Nit-pickers might not like it.

Hannah and Her SistersMichael Caine, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Woody Allen.  Written and directed by Allen.  The personal and professional lives of New Yorkers, with emphasis on Hannah, her two sisters, her husband, and her ex-husband.  I liked the film more when Hannah's sister Lee (Hershey) was in it.  I found Hannah (Mia Farrow) to be kind of annoying.  I didn't like the ending.  So it's not Allen's best work, but it's a decent film.              

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Stolen from Tex's blog:

1Do you like bleu cheese?  No.
2.  Have you ever smoked?   Yes. Very briefly, in college. Like not even a full pack.
3.  Do you own a gun?  No.
4.  What is your favorite flavor?  I have no idea. Different moods call for different flavors.
5.  Do you get nervous before doctor visits?  This seems like a rich person's problem.
6.  What do you think of hot dogs?  Microwave-friendly, not too expensive if you buy the right kind, not bad tasting.  Off my menu though, thanks to my weird semi-vegetarian diet.
7.  Favorite movie?  Yikes.  Annie Hall, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Casablanca.  It's tough to choose across genres. 
8.  What do you prefer to drink in the morning?  Iced coffee.
9.  Do you do push ups?  No.
10.  What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?  I no longer wear jewelry.
11.  Favorite hobby?  Reading, I guess. 
12.  Do you have attention deficit disorder?  I don't think so.
13.  What’s the one thing you dislike about yourself?  Ha. Only one?  That I hate my life, but I lack the courage to end it.
14.  What is your middle name?  It's the same as my father's first name.
15.  Name three thoughts at this moment:  The pres. election showed the true colors of a lot of people, I need to finish a story I started writing, need to complain to the audiobook company but complaining is exhausting.  
16.  Name three drinks you drink regularly:  Iced coffee, Sparkletts water, store brand vitamin water - cherry flavored.
17.  Current worry?  Financial and dental stuff.
18.  Current annoyance right now?  The Left
19.  Favorite place to be?  Somewhere else.
20.  How do you ring in the new year?  With a bottle - usually Kahlua.
21.  Where would you like to go?  A better place.
22.  Do you own slippers?  Not officially.  I do own a pair of shoes that have become slippers.
23.  What color shirt are you wearing right now?  I am currently shirtless. 
24.  Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?  Huh?
25.  Can you whistle?  Not really. Not enough to matter.
26.  What are your favorite colors?  Black? 
27.  Would you be a pirate?  Depends.  Not thrilled about living in Pittsburgh.  But if my wench looks like Keira Knightley, I'd have to consider it.
28.  What songs do you sing in the shower?  I take requests from women.
29.  Favorite girl's name?  Gosh. Laura, Stephanie, Monica, Erin, Jennifer (because I hate myself), Michelle, Kelly, Shannon, Ariel
30.  Favorite boy’s name?  Not either of mine.  Sheesh.   
31.  What’s in your pocket right now?  Nothing.
32.  Last thing that made you laugh?  My own lame sense of humor that amuses only myself.
33.  Best toy as a child?  My Hot Wheels collection. 
34.  Worst injury you ever had?  Either the forehead injury from hallway football or the forehead / left shoulder / legs injury package from being hit by a car.  
35.  Where would you love to live?  A better place.
36.  How many televisions do you have?  Zero.
37.  Who is your loudest friend?  Not really a befriender of loud people.
38.  Does someone trust you?  No.
39.  What book are you reading at the moment?  Lone Star Noir
40.  What’s your favorite candy?  Chocolate. 
41.  What’s your favorite sports team?  Eagles, followed by whoever is playing the Cowboys.
42.  Favorite month of the year?  They all suck.  I guess I'll pick September.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday Ten

Name the Christmas movie / TV special for each clue.  First to get all of them right will receive three points.  If nobody gets all ten by December 20, the entrant with the most right will be awarded two points.

1.  "Can't see the line, can you Russ?"
2.  Boris Karloff speaks, but does not sing.
3.  Cousin Mel though.  :)
4.  The proper ranking is as follows:  Porsche, Jessica Biel, family stuff.
5.  Don't lick the flagpole.
6.  Who has an office party on Christmas Eve?
7.  Once again, a certain legendary dog proves his superiority to the humans.  This time, as a thespian.
8.  Halle Berry, Lauren Graham, Angelina Jolie.  How many souls did this guy sell to the devil?
9.  Nothing says Christmas like forgetting your son.
10.  Possibly the worst movie ever.  Though I suppose he redeemed himself in Vertigo.      

Thursday, December 8, 2016

To Begin Again: A Review

Note:  A slightly different version of this review appeared on Goodreads in December 2016.


"At the Window" -  A woman gets punched in the face by a random stranger.
"Like Smoke" -  A clerk at an airport store. 
"Soft Like Snow" -  A mother and daughter.
"Angelique" -  Two men and a female bartender.
"Rationing Sweets"  -  A father and daughter, and her boyfriend.
"Absurd Hunger"  -  A father and son.
"The Millers"  -  A mother and daughter, and the neighbors. 
"The Probability of Him"  -  Sisters and the new boy.
"Cheers"  -  A couple relocates to Texas.
"Negligence"  -  A kids' beauty pageant.
"Levity"  -  A woman dealing with memory loss.
"Always a Story"  -  A woman and her grandfather and mother.
"Composure"  -  An aunt and niece, and the neighbors.
"Asleep"  -  A mother and adult daughter, and two men.
"D20-XC8"  -  A flash fiction that seems to me like sci-fi.
"Untied"  -  A married couple and their daughter, and a mysterious woman.
"A Little Taste of Heaven"  -  A waitress and her boyfriend.
"A Poor Mentality"  -  Female roommates.
"Solitary Value"  -  A woman in a retirement home.
"Jim"  -  An affair.
"To the Curb"  -  A couple and a homeless man.
"Dandelion Ghosts"  -  Sisters and their father.
"Disengaged"  -  An old woman.

Twenty-three stories, no table of contents.  As in her 2015 collection, After the Gazebo, a lot of her stories are about familial relationships.  There's one sci-fi flash fiction, as there is in the other collection.  "Disengaged" is in both collections.

She's a high-floor writer, so she doesn't write bad stories.  But as I alluded to above, her subject matter includes family stuff, old age, and children.  All three of these are topics I usually avoid in my reading.    

"Like Smoke"
"Rationing Sweets"
"The Millers"

Without you, life is just a bunch of days going by, a bunch of things to do.
-  "Absurd Hunger"

Rating:  Low 4 / 5  


Monday, December 5, 2016

An Elliptical Gifting Guide

1.  For somebody with a short name:  the acrostic gift package.
Example:  for Beth, you might give her a book, ether, tea, and a hula hoop.

2.  For somebody who's significantly wealthier than you:  a donation to a worthy non-profit in his or her name.

3.  For somebody who likes variety:  the five senses package: a small gift each for sight, touch, taste, hear, and smell.

4.  For somebody who likes variety but doesn't answer your drunken 3 AM phone calls:  the mind, body, and soul package.  (three items instead of five)

5.  For a single, sexy female:  a subscription to The View from the Third Floor.

6.  If you're an artist:  art.

7.  If you're a drug dealer:  drugs.

Disclaimer:  Elliptical Man does not participate in holiday shenanigans, but advises.         

Friday, December 2, 2016

Film Friday

Tex's Film Challenge

1.  Adolescence:  Rocket Science
2.  Rebirth:  Laura
3.  Comic Book Character:  The Amazing Spider-Man  
4.  Set in Washington, D.C.:  Zero Dark Thirty
5.  Set in an Academic Environment:  The Rules of Attraction
6.  Failure:  Nine
7.  Man vs. God:  Clash of the Titans
8.  Man vs. Himself:  Inside Llewyn Davis
9.  Invention or Ingenius Individual:  Imitation Game
10.  Prison:  Ex Machina
11.  Dog:  Saint Laurent
12.  Loss:  Elegy
13.  Man vs. Man:  McCabe and Mrs. Miller
14.  Man vs. Nature:  Jeremiah Johnson
15.  Monster:  Dune
16.  Pennsylvania:  Silver Lining Playbook
17.  Quest:  Alphaville
18.  Rags to Riches:  A Most Violent Year
19.  Man vs. Society:  Howl
20.  Made in the 1930's:  The Blue Angel
21.  Undesirable Elements:  Silkwood
22.  A Voyage and Return:  Knife in the Water
23.  Witchcraft:  The Loves of Hercules
24.  Made in the 1960's:  The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
25.  A Yearning or Obsession:  Fifty Shades of Grey

Completed:  10:40 PM, November 30. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

After the Gazebo - A Review

Note:  A slightly different version of this review first appeared on Goodreads in November 2016.


"After the Gazebo" -  A marrying couple.  
"The White Room" - Sci-fi?
"Do Not Pass" - Antiquing in Ohio.
"The Suit" - A chance encounter on a bus.
"The Snowstorm" - A snowstorm.
"Movie Night" - A storm.
"Scratching the Silver" - A man's return home.
"Synchronicity" - House robbers.  
"Types of Circus" - An odd romance.
"The Regular" - An older man's daily routine.
"The Driver" - At the DMV.
"A Whole Toy" - At a fast-food restaurant.
"Afterthought" - A woman after her husband has died. 
"No Worries" - Office life.
"All He Had to Give" - A woman, a turtle, and men.
"Lying to Old Men" - A woman talking to a doctor.
"Static Time" - A surprise for mom.
"Getting There" - Mother and daughter.
"On Paper Plates" - Sister and brother.
"Two Flew Away" - A boy and his older brother.
"Animal Control" - Two partners in animal control.
"Disengaged" - An older woman.
"A Glimpse" - A woman on her 35th birthday.
"My Children in Times New Roman" - Pregnancy test.

Favorites:  "After the Gazebo", "Synchronicity", "Afterthought", "No Worries"

There's a lot of content related to familial relationships.  She's comfortable writing about different age groups, including the AARP demo.  She doesn't shy away from flawed characters or flawed lives.

Anyway, I rated it 4 / 5 stars, which is pretty good coming from me.  This is the stand-out line, though:

...  I dance for perverts because having a pervert tell me I'm hot makes me feel wanted.
-  "Lying to Old Men"


Friday, November 25, 2016

Film Friday

Saint Laurent:  Biopic of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, mostly focused on 1967 to 1976.  A lot of drugs and gay lust.  It certainly didn't ignore the fashion industry, but it didn't really explain why he was so important either.  Gaspard Ulliel, Jeremie Renier, Louis Garrel.

The Blue Angel:  A professor falls for a cabaret performer in Weimar Germany.  Sad film.  Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron.  Directed by Josef von Sternberg.  From a novel by Heinrich Mann.

Rocket Science:  A stuttering high school freshman is recruited for the debate team by its female star.  A quirky film.  Some funny moments, but just okay over-all.  Anna Kendrick, Reece Thompson, Vincent Piazza.   

Jeremiah JohnsonA man decides to be a mountain man in the 19th-century U.S. Rockies.  It's an interesting film.  There's JJ's struggle with the wild but there's also his interactions with various people he encounters.  A couple plot points seemed loose to me.  There's a montage that came off as corny.  But over-all, it was worth watching.  Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton.  Directed by Sydney Pollack.   From a novel by Vardis Fisher and a story by Raymond Thorp.      

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Thankful for food, shelter, clothes, and health.

Thankful to be living in the U.S.

Thankful for books, movies, and music.

Thankful for coffee.

Thankful for Britt. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


1.  Scoreboard Update:

Tex - 1
Ericka - 1
Katy Perry - 0
Everybody Else - 0

There are still points to be won in the first two rounds of the Third Floor Reading Challenge. 

I'll try to think of something else, so people who aren't into books have a chance. 

This round ends at 11:59 PM on December 31, California time.  So if you're on the east coast of the U.S. you have until 2:59 on the morning of January 1.  If you live in the middle, you need to figure out your own time zone math.

2.  I'll be stepping away from this blog for a while.  Here are some blogs you may visit in my absence:

A.J.:  Grad student (about to graduate again), bibliophile, Colorado resident.  Unfortunately, she'll be away for a few days. But she has plenty of good posts to peruse.

Ericka:  Speech teacher, connoisseur of long-haired men, audio book aficionado.

Birgit:  Cinemaphile, card artist, animal lover.

Tex:  Movie challenge sponsor, aspiring novelist, Texan.  (It's such a weird coincidence that she lives in Texas and I call her Tex.)

Jen (not the Jen from my poems about Jen):  Author of After the Gazebo, teacher of creative writing, wife of a man.

Guilie:  Author of The Miracle of Small Things, dog rescuer, music lover.

Mike:  Free lance writer, music lover, fisherman.

Arlee Bird:  Blogging from A to Z sponsor, multiple NaNoWriMo winner, Battle of the Bands regular.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Film Friday

Zero Dark Thirty 
Maya and the CIA track down Usama bin Laden and SEAL Team Six kills him.  Spoiler Alert!
I was quite impressed by Maya's level of feist.  As portrayed by Jessica Chastain, she wasn't difficult to look at either.  It was difficult to reconcile the decade or so of real-life events with the time the film had to show them.  I wish I had gotten a clearer idea of what the CIA team did between leads.  I also think the SEAL team part of the movie was drawn out a bit too much.  But over-all, I give this a modest thumb up.      

Crime d'amour 
Corporate shenanigans at the French office of a multi-national corporation.  Kristin Scott Thomas as an executive and Ludivine Sagnier as her younger protege.
I think there are some good ideas here, but it could have been executed better.  There are plot holes I can't forgive.  Also, the ladies' man doesn't seem the part to me.      
French sci-fi about Lemmy Caution, a secret agent (Eddie Constantine) sent to a city on another planet to stop the tyrannical rule of a scientist who has outlawed love and self-expression.  Anna Karina also stars.  Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
It's part spoof.  Pop culture references include Dick Tracy, Ferdinand Celine, and Nosferatu.  Caution seems to me like a cross between Philip Marlowe and James Bond.  There's an evil computer, a la HAL, though 2001 hadn't been released yet.       

I have now seen all of them, except the satirical version of Casino Royale*.
Anyway, seems somebody has a grudge against M and isn't afraid of some collateral damage.  Will 007 be able to stop this miscreant?
This is not one of the better Bond films.  The opening action sequence is over-done.  There are stretches of boredom.  It's one of the least sexy Bond films since the 1980's and the AIDS crisis.  That being said, Daniel Craig does a good job as Bond.  Javier Bardem plays the cray cray villain well.  There are some funny lines.
Judi Dench as M.  Directed by Sam Mendes.
* - Yes. I have seen the original TV version of Casino Royale.     

La chambre bleue  
An affair between a married man and a married woman ends with legal problems for both of them.  Stars Mathieu Amalric as the man, Stephanie Cleau as the woman, and Lea Drucker as the man's wife.  Screenplay by Amalric and Cleau.  Directed by Amalric.  From a Georges Simenon novel.
It's a bit on the short side - 75 minutes.  It's stronger in the acting department than the plot.  On the whole, it kind of ended up being a mid-range legal drama with a brief nod or two to steamy romance.  I'll never look at a red towel the same way again, though.  :)       

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Building a Better Autumn (mild adult content)

There were only seven of us: Mike, Pete, Robin and Andrew, Gary, Laura, and I.  We could have been called dreamers, or we could have been called misfits.  But we bought a parcel of land that a tax dodger lost in foreclosure and we thought it would be better than mainstream society. Not Utopia, not even a commune; just an alternative to our old lives, our lives out there.  

We were a diverse group.  Robin, the vegetarian chef, grew fruit and vegetables and made sure we all ate healthy. As though a cheeseburger would send former club owner Andrew reeling back into his drug habit.  I would have wondered why he put up with her if I hadn’t seen her in various yoga positions.  Of course, he had business acumen that I knew could help the group in some way.  Mike and Pete had experience in the construction industry.  Gary, my best friend since high school, was an artist, as was Laura.  Me?  I had given up on fitting into society, so I was determined to make a society that fit me.

I knew Gary had been crushing hard on a librarian, and I wanted to help get his mind off her.  So I tossed a few ideas around in my mind, and finally settled on building a better autumn.  You might think it’s a simple task, but it’s really a complex operation.  Perhaps that is why people don't try this at home.

Each of us had a role, a niche to fill in the project. Andrew used his business savvy to get the best deals on supplies.  Robin was in charge of the food and other household chores – a bit like Donna Reed with a pierced navel.  I was in charge of planning. Gary and Laura took care of the design and the aesthetics. Mike and Pete oversaw the actual building, which we all participated in, as there were only seven of us.

I admit I was reluctant at first, due to her hippy politics, but as the weeks passed I became closer and closer to Laura.  Eventually, we gave up the pretense and shared a bungalow.  She was a vocal lover, and Gary let it be known that the walls were thin.  But on the whole, life was good between us.  I didn’t even mind when I caught her masturbating to a photo of Eugene Debs. 

I won't bore you with the technical details, but building a better autumn requires an obscene amount of widgets, sprockets, doodads, and gizmos.  We worked from dawn to dusk, five days a week, on the project.  After a hard day's work, we couldn't wait to wash the dirt, sweat, and paint from our bodies.  But we could see the progress we were making and that drove us onward.    

Eventually, our perseverance paid off and we accomplished our task.  There were hugs and high fives and such.  A few of us posed for pictures, in victorious stances.  Then we took the rest of the day off - it just so happened to be a Friday.  After dinner that night, I gifted my co-workers Toblerone bars and delivered a short thank you speech, ending it thusly: 
“I hope everybody gets plenty of rest this weekend.  Monday, we start building a better winter.”

Gary was not enthused.  “I didn’t sign up for this, man.”

“Sign up for what?  Look at our autumn. We nailed it.”

“Why does winter have to be better? Why can’t you just accept things as they are?”

Later that night, I stood at the window of my bungalow, watching Gary load his Prius with his few belongings.  I wanted to go out and stop him, but I knew it was too late.  Laura seemed to read my mind.

“Let him go.”         

Things weren't the same after that night.  The remaining six of us tried to repeat our success with winter, but it was clear our hearts weren't in it.  Mike and Pete returned to the "real world".  Robin and Andrew went wherever it is married couples go.  Even Laura left.    In time, I too will have to leave.  But I'm enjoying my little corner of the world while I can: alone with my thoughts, the setting sun painting the sky red, orange, and pink each evening.  I think about what could have been.  But I know this: we built a better autumn. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Film Friday: Halloween Edition

Friday the 13th 
Zero degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Practical Magic 
I have no idea why I like this movie.


I Know What You Did Last Summer 

Blair Witch Project 

Halloween -  In which parents learn the error of naming their son after that SNL guy.  The film debut of Jamie Lee Curtis.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - I like how they chose a common street name, so kids all over the country can freak out.  Johnny Depp's feature film debut.

Thinner -  Gypsies, body shaming, Kari Wuhrer, adultery.  Fun for the whole family.   From a novel by Stephen King.

Cube -  Better concept than script.  Worth it for the cynicism.  

The Faculty -  Some high schools are worse than others.  Jordana Brewster, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen. 

1408 -  Because room #13 would be too on-point.  John Cusack is his usual reliable, if not impressive, self.  From a short story by Stephen King.

Dark Water -  Snooze fest, but it stars Jennifer Connelly.

The Trial -  Either the 1962 or the 1993 version.  From a novel by Franz Kafka.     

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Elliptical Halloween Advice

Office Party:  Don't be that annoying person who wears the same costume every year. 

Treating the Munchkins:  Don't be those people who give out fruit for Halloween.

Costume (Ladies' Version):  Don't confuse sexy with slutty.

Costume (Men's Version):  Don't try to upstage your gf or wife.  As at weddings, nobody cares how the guy looks.  Get over yourself.

Costume (Kids' Version):  It's all about maximizing your door knocks.  So wear something comfortable that doesn't restrict your freedom of motion.  Masks often restrict range of vision, so consider face paint instead, if possible.

Bartender or Waitress / Waiter:  Working on Halloween but not wearing a costume?  I can't even right now.

Lady at Bar:  Keep a close watch on your beverage.

Party People:  Don't drink on an empty stomach.  Don't drink and drive.  Don't try to convince me Stella Artois is a good beer.

Movie Watchers:  Check back Friday for some recommendations.           

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday Ten: Vampires

Vampires are female humanoids who feed off the life-blood of innocent men.  The word 'vampire' is from the Latin word 'vemporini', which also gave us the words 'feminine' and 'venom'.   

Let's get to it:

Stana Katic:  The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice

Monica Bellucci:  Bram Stoker's Dracula 

Angie Everhart:  Bordello of Blood

Aaliyah:  Queen of the Damned

Deborah Ann Woll:  True Blood

Josie Maran:  Van Helsing 

Kate Beckinsale:  Underworld 

Lina Romay:  Female Vampire

Nina Dobrev:  The Vampire Diaries 

Mia Kirshner:  30 Days of Night: Dark Days  


Note:  It's possible that not every statement in this post is 100% accurate. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Film Friday

We Own the Night 
Mark Wahlberg as a cop.  Joaquin Phoenix as his nightclub managing brother.  Robert Duvall as their high-ranking cop father.  Eva Mendes waiting to be grabbed by Trump.  So it's basically the war on drugs in 1980's NYC and its impact on this one cop family.  I think this was a mixed bag of sorts.  There's an interesting scene with cars and a much shorter scene of Mendes walking down a hall.  The Phoenix / Mendes duo isn't too hard to root for. But there's a bit more corn than I expected from a film set in the northeast.  The ending was kind of meh.    
One Hour Photo 
Robin Williams as Sy the photo guy.  Connie Nielsen as a wife / mother who needs Sy's services, because she's not modern enough to have a flip phone.  Sy's quiet, subdued creepiness is fascinating.  I think the impact of the plot was lessened by starting the movie at the end and flashing back to the beginning of the series of events.  A casual thumb up though.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 
From a short story by Alan Sillitoe, who also wrote the screen play.  Tom Courtenay as Smith, a teen-ager who robs a bakery and is sent to a borstal (reformatory).  It is discovered that he's a talented runner and he is counted on to win a race against runners from an upper crust school.  The story switches back and forth between Smith's borstal life and his life before his arrest.  With Michael Redgrave as the governor of the borstal.  It's one of those symbolic movies, with specifics representing something larger.  I just can't get on board with the key plot point.  (Also, the running scenes are awkward.  They look like actors posing as runners.)