Monday, October 20, 2014

Slitherin'


Walking along the Upper Newport Bay during my lunch breaks allows me a brief respite from the office. Bird calls replace phone calls. The glare of the computer screen changes to the Sun reflecting off the bay. I lose myself in the walk...until I run into something like this: a small California King Snake blocking my path. At first, I thought it was dead, lying so still. Then the head moved, and I quickly snapped a pic and scurried on my way.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Little Lost


Last night, we attended a performance of Lost the Musical: We Have to Go Back at a little theater in L.A. This musical parody fit the entire six seasons into two-and-a-half hours, hitting all the main plot points, questioning some of the more bizarre story tangents, briefly reviving short-lived characters, and skewering the main characters. And yes, it was a musical, using well-known songs but changing the lyrics to fit with the show. It was all silly fun, and we laughed the entire time. 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Big Sky

I was first introduced to Kate Bush's music when I think most of America was -- with the release of Running up That Hill from her 1985 The Hounds of Love album. Something about the music, the lyrics, that voice, just stuck with me, and I've been a fan ever since. And this particular song remains one of my all-time favorites: The Big Sky from Kate Bush:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quickie Book Review: Grief

by Andrew Holleran

After the death of his invalid mother, a tired professor escapes from his life in Florida to spend a semester teaching in Washington, D.C. Hopefully, the change of scene will do him good. To keep himself occupied, he spends his evenings reading the letters of Mary Todd Lincoln -- a woman who had given herself over to her grief after the assassination of her husband -- or wandering the city at night, visiting museums, sharing in the underlying sense of grief spread throughout the monuments and historic homes.

Grief is subtle and dark, reading like a meditation on what grief is and how different people react to it. The narrator manages to find glimpses of happiness scattered throughout Washington, D.C. -- from his landlord's neglected dog to his friend Frank and his boyfriend "The Lug" -- without allowing the loss of his mother to overwhelm him. Everything about his stay in Washington, D.C., helps him to understand and to accept his grief. It's beautifully written and evokes an almost graveyard atmosphere permeating the city -- though not in a bad way. Revisiting the past helps to figure out where to go and what to do with the future, and the narrator seems to understand that as the story moves forward.

Definitely a book worth reading.

Grief
by Andrew Holleran
Hyperion
trade paperback, 150 pgs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Skeletons

Early Sunday afternoon found us doing something out of the ordinary: going to the movies. I hate to say it, but I don't think we've sat in a movie theater in over two months. Blame it on overpriced films or the glut of we-can-wait-until-DVD fare. We're picky on how we spend our $22 plus $4 bottles of water and the occasional $5.75 bag of popcorn. This time, we made an exception and caught a screening of The Skeleton Twins, starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig.

They play Milo and Maggie Dean, a brother and sister who were incredibly close growing up until the death of their father. Milo winds up in Los Angeles trying to make it as an actor, but after a bad break up with his boyfriend, he attempts suicide. Over in New York, his sister Maggie is just about to wolf down a handful of pills when the hospital calls about Milo. Though they haven't spoke in ten years, she drops everything to head for Los Angeles, eventually convincing him to stay with her and her husband Lance, give him a change of scene and a chance to rest.

Over the next few weeks, the Dean siblings slowly reconnect, remembering the good times they shared growing up. During his stay, Milo also tries to resurrect an old relationship with a former teacher. Maggie, on the other hand, struggles with her marriage to Lance and his desire for children.

I don't want to say much more and provide spoilers in case a few of my readers want to see the film. The Skeleton Twins was surprisingly charming. Infidelity and suicide perhaps aren't the funniest of subjects for a comedy-drama, but the story and the actors do a great job of adding warmth and laughter among the darker parts. The best scenes are when it's just Hader and Wiig, either joking around in a dentist's office or Hader tempting Wiig into a lip sync of Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. The two have genuine chemistry and that makes all their scenes together so believable.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Your Own Kind of Music

Today is National Coming Out Day, and to honor those who have come out and those who are yet to do so, here's a song from Mama Cass that I think jives perfectly with the reason for the day: Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blog App

One of the first apps I downloaded to my iPhone was the app for Blogger. I liked the idea of being able to blog on the go, without the need of a computer. And the app worked easily: type a few words, upload a picture, and poof--a blog post.

But then reality sets in. No spell check so my writing was riddled with misspellings. No html tags. No linking to other websites. No resizing images so they overrun the margins.

I post something then spend too much time fixing and revising and reformatting after the fact. Who knew blogging would be so mich work!?