Sunday, February 28, 2010

Julie and Julia and Up

In my quest to see all (or as many as possible) nominated films, I've checked two more off the list: "Julie and Julia" and "Up".

As someone who just started blogging (in earnest) I found Julie and Julia... interesting. It inspired to be a bit more creative with blogging (don't expect that here... I'm on a mission just to see this "Oscar" thread through.) I thought La Streep was perfection, as usual. I like Amy Adams, too. Stanley Tucci is much overlooked for his subtle, yet high quality, work. I would liked a bit more around the relationship between Julie and her husband. I might have wanted to know more about Julia's struggle with being childless and less about her interactions with her co-authors. I enjoyed it, nonetheless.

I did not enjoy "Up". It started off with a melancholy tone that I found unique in a mainstream animated film, but it soon just felt maudlin. Come on, Pixar... let's not shoot for cartoons exploring loss and aging... and I wouldn't have minded if a saccharine song, or two, was thrown in the mix. I didn't love it. I'm not sure I get why it's nominated.

And, as La Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada" would breathily say, "That's all."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oscar Nominated Movies 2010

I'm on a mission this year. I want to see all the movies nominated for the major awards (film, director, actor, actress, supporting actor/actress, foreign... that might be it).

Just saw Avatar... and it was the second Oscar nominated film I saw in the last two days (the other was District 9), both of which had--as their morality-driven plotlines--subjugation of others. The others in both stories were aliens. Not being an overly sci-fi guy, I wasn't sure I would enjpy them. But I did, in both cases. They weren't obnoxiously preachy but definitely drove home the message that we are too easily motivated to desecrate others' cultures, families, or--in the case of Avatar--spiritual/belief systems so that we can maintain superiority. Both films smacked of what we did to the Native Americans in the 16th century (nod by Avatar) or the Japanese-Americans during World War II (nod by District 9).

At the end of both movies, I didn't feel very good. Avatar--sorry for the spoiler--has a happy ending but, still, I was just left feeling like a big, oppressive white devil. I think that's the point of District 9, but I don't think that's the point of Avatar. I couldn't get past it, in fact, to appreciate the latter for the rest of what it intended to evoke.

Wednesday, I will receive Inglorious Basterds from Netflix. I'm not anticipating that will be particularly uplifting.

So... I'm going to watch Up as soon as I can.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Son

I just need to say this... my son has stolen my heart.

I have a 17 month old little boy who is, by turns, the source of the heartiest of my laughs and the target of all of my love and affection.

And I think he likes me, too.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Starting a Blog

I used to "write" on Sometimes I journal-ed pithy, amusing items... sometimes the posts were intended to show how artistic I was... using lots of enigmatic phrases that I wanted to read as "groovy" I am. A couple times, I indulged my inner, brooding adolescent, pondering love and issues of the heart.

Today, I want to start a new blog about diarrhea.

I was talking to my good friend, Michael, about my trip to Ghana. I explained that I incurred a bout with something that caused me to have "the runs". He thought I should blog it.

So, I had been cruising along just fine, not struggling with any of the "there's-no-place-like-home" issues that we were warned about--things like: hunger (as a result of the tiny portions we'd be fed), the interminible heat (NO air conditioning in ward-style rooms where the outside temp hovered in the 90s), and bugs (we heard about bites the size of baseballs and, even, a story of egg implantation in someone's arm where he "hosted" some larvae until it "hatched"!) I had resolved myself of these things before I left the United States and was "struggling through" just fine.

Then, all of a sudden, I ate a meal and felt it process from chew to evacuation... all in about 3 minutes. I knew I was in trouble. In general, it's really unpleasant when that happens. Specifically, when you're living in close quarters, where the toilet stall is sort of in a hallway (or a de facto hallway because it became a passage from dining room to sleeping quarters for approximately 32 people), it's intolerable. And, of course, you have no control.

To put this in the proper context, I haven't... um... evacuated in such a manner... publicly, since the fall of 1990, I believe. That strangely temperate day in 1990, I was alone in an office and felt like it was a safe time to just, um... let 'er rip. Long before that, I recall, I once went five days "without", when I was camping with a large group, because I couldn't bring myself to sit--or even hover--on, or over, the makeshift toilet... and ESPECIALLY not when someone might know what it was that I was doing.

So, you understand, this quite public moment of Ghanian bacteria-induced diarrhea was agonizing for me.

Thank God for Cipro. I began pooping them... excuse me... um... POPPING them, immediately.

The problem took care of itself after several days... and then it was time to get on a 14 hour flight to return home (JUST in time!) The point is, though, that such an experience really numbs you a bit to talking about poop... even allows you to blog about it. People I have known who spent any substantive time in Africa all say this: once you've been humbled by your intestines in public ways, you can never go back to it being a dirty little secret!

So, there you have it... an auspicious start to a new blog... poop... or, more specifically, diarrhea.

I promise more cerebral topics in the future. Also, likely, more to come on poop. Or diarrhea.