BLOT: (18 Jul 2010 - 02:44:48 AM)
In the original short story, you have a very pared down confrontation between the souls of two men: Deputy Marshal Paul Scallen and Jimmy Kidd. It is short, even for the medium, and most of the action is dialogue between the two characters: Scallen, paid a supposed pittance of $150 a month, versus the young, cocky out-law that comes to have respect for him despite not wanting him to succeed. The story builds up to a gun-fight in the street after a desparate lurch towards the train station. I'll leave the ending a surprise, but Elmore Leonard's prototypical story is upheld: schlocky but determined, good-guys jaw with not-unfriendly bad-guys and contests of wills, often demonstrated by gunfire, are taken more as a game amongst equals. It is classic Western through and through, part-hokey and part-heroic, with no room to bat around anything like angst or regret.
Now we come to the 1957 version of the movie. Deputy Marshal Scallen is turned into Dan Evans, played by Van Heflin, a down-on-his-luck farmer who out of sheer desperation takes up a crazy plot: escort a dangerous prisoner, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford, playing Wade off just as faux friendly as Jimmy Kidd but older and more established in his outlaw ways), to Contention to get him on the train to Yuma. The overall scenario remains the same: prisoner must be escorted by man acting on behalf of the law, with too many baddies on the outside. Except now we have a back-story and some build up. We also have the added tension of seeing Evans's life and desperation. If Scallen gets gunned down, it's a lawman going down in the line of duty. If Evans gets gunned down, it's a man dying for a lost cause. True to the original short, this version of the movie largely rotates around the hotel room and the baring of souls between the two men. Also, like the prototypical Leonard story, we have two people who are odds but you would not call adversaries. If you were to score this one on the action-index, your number would likely be very low. You could almost adapt it to stage as is. It's not about that, though, but more about honor and the gambles we take and such.
Now we come to the 2007 remake. Evans and Wade are retained, except now Wade is no longer the mostly-gentleman-outlaw but a complete pyschopath who regularly enjoys killing and Evans is no longer down-on-his-luck so much as luckless and unable to stand up to fate except for this last desperate plee for a couple of hundred dollars that, presumably, won't even fix the extra-large serving of bad-plight the screen-writers have piled upon him. This sums up everything that is wrong in the overall fair to middlin' post-
The end tally goes something like this. The story is great for its leanness, the diametric opposite to the overstuffed 2007 edition. The 1957 movie is the most complete package, and the final shoot-out feels a little less convenient than the story version. The 2007 movie has some strong acting by its leads, and some additional backstory, but gets mired down into too many branches and resolves too many things by turning it up a few notches. If you had an edited version that got rid of most of the side-trips, probably excised William (the agnsty son) for the most part, and toned down the violence to something near a realistic level: it might be the best of the three. As it is, though, the overly treacle bits in the 1957 ending feel more together than the bullet strewn 2007 one. Since the 1957 adds to the characters of the original story without detracting from the friendly but deadly masculinity that Leonard is great at, I'm going to to go with it as my favorite. Then the story. Then the remake.
BLOT: (17 Jul 2010 - 07:51:23 PM)
By about the middle of the past week, I was so exhausted that I had honest to goodness "shut-down" moments during the day. I would find it harder to breath, nearly impossible to keep my eyes open, and in general I would be ready to go to sleep *right then*. It had actually carried over from the week previous, where, on Friday night after getting home from work, I had had an attack so hard that I was completely convinced that I was going to fall asleep in my study chair and nothing was to be done for it. This week, the worst attack was probably Wednesday and on Thursday I had a similar one except I was able to keep it under control. I did so because, on Thursday, I met up with a couple of people that I have known online for a bit but never met in person and I didn't want to cancel on them just because I felt tired. After that, though, I promised myself sleep on Friday (which I got, after about a 8-hour day on campus) and that seems to be doing my body some good. I'll continue the "getting too much sleep" game the rest of this weekend, and hope that kicks whatever is wrong with my body.
The playing of Cthulhu Munchkin with some "new" friends was a lot of fun. It's been about a year since I have gamed with anyone new. It's always an initial worry because some people just approach games, all games, differently than I do. I play for sitting back and relaxing with the rules being there just to assure that everyone gets a fair whack. Some people play very, very competitively and will shut down if they aren't dominating (and if they are dominating, they can't stop mentioning how awesome they are). Todd and [not the brother] Danny were both really cool to hang with, played with just about the same sort of speed/humor that I do, and I always like meeting the next generation of geeks (this time in the shape of Todd's son, Connor).
After work on Friday, I had the option of shutting down immediately, or trying to salvage something of the night. I went for a bit of the latter. Sarah and I swung by Jamo's and got a pair of cheese-burgers and sat out on the patio. Then we tripped over to Bridge Street and parked and walked around. Last Friday, when Jimmy and I went, the place was so busy you could barely breathe. It was still busy this week but it was ok in comparison. Lots of kids and tired looking parents, not quite so much of a crunch. Strange, too, since it was actually drizzling while warm last week and this week it was kind of cool and clearing up. At any rate, went by the Vintage Wine & Cigar place and picked up a Honduras leaf Sancho Panza and headed back up and around the walkway that used to circle the "lake" and now mostly circles the drained, half-filled thing that is where the lake used to be. After a few minutes, migrated to the bench about as far from Bridge Street as you can get (which is the only bench along that path once you get past the first few meters) and just watched people come in and out of the Station and the Melting Pot and listened to distant chatter and such. It was kind of nice being "near people" while also far apart. Cue Camus'
Today ended up involving more people watching even though I slept until 12:30 (like I said, I was tired). Sarah needed a refill on her coffee and so we went down to the Kaffeeklatsch and picked up half a pound for her. Also got me this nice, neat ceramic coffee/tea mug from there. It is by Diana Walls (her card only links to her graphic design site). I dig it. It's a light, what I would call "cactus" green on the outside with a slight marmite (as in the jar) shape with a deep purple interior. Holds right at a pint, slightly more. Here's about the best picture I could get of it without going so far as to set up my camera (which needs new batteries) and trying to get technical.
After leaving the Klatsch, we headed down to Sam & Greg's and I got a large Nutella gelato while Sarah got a chocolate/coconut mix. Both were excellent. Mine moreso. After gelato, I sat back with a Red Hook ESB and we watched the various families and people go by. Left S&G's to head down to Big Spring Park, which we haven't been much at all since the construction started, and first went around the cooler, smaller, less busy side (what is the mini-park called? Does it have a name). Watched the fish and such for a bit, and was surprised to see a round-tailed muskrat swimming around. I dug around until I found this page that included pictures of lots of North American wildlife. This is almost exactly what he looked like, by the way. Awesome swimmer. He would both swim as fast as the fish and then would get to the wall and would use it to push himself along to go even faster. He was just going up and down the little waterway section. At one point, he came up to me and then stared until Sarah came up behind me and then he bolted back underwater and swam off.
The rest of the trip around the park was nothing special. We we crossed Church street and then went over to the place near The Embassy where it used to loop around and found that part shut down and also under construction. The main park-lake is covered in various pollens and debris and isn't super attractive right now, and there were tons of people out. It was cool and not too sunny. I understand. We meandered back around to where our car was on Clinton and came on back home.
Now, we have a brisket (the first one I've ever cooked) just about done in the oven, and some bread on the way, along with a few other dishes. Not sure what we'll watch tonight, but something relaxing. My goal is to be in bed before 2am and then sleep another ten hours before I start back with the next week.
Si Vales, Valeo
BLOT: (17 Jul 2010 - 02:22:05 AM)
You know the analyze your writing to see who you write like site, right? Well, if not, it does exactly what I said, except kind of poorly. I've heard lots of jokes of people putting in a writer's works just to see if s/he shows up and it rarely works out like that. Tonight, I decided to screw around and entered this (totally 100% original Doug) sample: I was in New England, south of Boston, walking down cyclopean streets when a batrachrian chorus erupted from behind the gable house. What mad mystery was this, what unknown horrors lurked in the dark, unseeming corners of the mind? Cyclopean mad Arab told of the unspeakable horrors birthed in some eldritch corner of the forgotten aeons of history. Fear the mad piping mad insanity center of the universe Dunwich deep ones and the Necronomicon, too. Cyclopean..
Whom did it return as a result?
BLOT: (15 Jul 2010 - 03:24:38 PM)
This has a heavy dose of "it sounds fake!" splattered all over it, but I think it is real, including an awesome "so that's how it happened!" pic: Woman allegedly poses as boy, solicits sex from Springboro teen. The gist? A 31-year-old woman posed as a 14-year-old boy to get sex from a 16-year-old girl. This was apparently only found out after time was spent together in a hotel room. Time. You know. Like...special time. Then it gets weird, victim runs away and is found three days later? Sores on the feet? Older woman brought her to a hotel room shared with older woman's parents? I don't know, but there you go.
Is it fake? You got me.
BLOT: (15 Jul 2010 - 12:16:40 AM)
When I was 15 or so, my brother and father watched
The story in 19 words or less: meteorite hits sexually frustrated fundamentalist farm and turns crops, animals, and humans into monsters; farmer's plight; maggots; Wil Wheaton. Ok, now that you are caught up, let's firmly place this movie into that heady nostalgaic era of horror history where movies to a man involved prosthetic masks and things made in blenders that go "gloop". As I've said in previous posts, this was the generation of horror makers inspired by the increasingly boundary pushing horror of the late 60s and 70s while simultaneously were cast in the light of a shallow, style before substance vibe filling up the cinemas. Very few horror movies at this time were actually scary, most were about gore and gags (meaning the funny kind) and likable teen characters cast against adults that were thinly disguises representations of Reagan-era mentalities.
If you don't pull punches, then you end up with my initial assessment: "It's like Ozark Noir had carnal relations with a bad horror movie and this is the accursed child sprung full grown from their sinful loins." If you pull a few punches, you find some delight in the quirkiness. Still, when the meteor comes crashing down the black bar holding it up is clearly visible in a scene, the first half's plot feels like the scrapings for a South-based soap opera, the TVA inspector Willis steps in for Dr. Forbes just as soon as that character is out of the picture, and so forth. It's a sloppy movie ripe for picking when around friends, telling a story that has potential. Oh, and the meal worms they use for maggots...half of them seem to be mostly dead. At least the exploding cow scene (as well as the melting woman scene) are worthy of the era.
A rather Meh movie with Good potential to be that sort of surrounded-by-friends bad horror you can kick back with on a Saturday night. Not the grossest movie by any shot, but it has its moments of grody. Drop this one on a 15-year old horror fan, though, and you might impress them just fine.
BLOT: (14 Jul 2010 - 11:48:53 AM)
Opposing Views, which claims to be a site for experts to go head to head but in reality seems to be more a site where backyard (read: blog) reporters can yank content from other sites and rewrite for postings, has an article up about how McDonald's Accidentally Puts Condoms In Happy Meals. To quote a fair chunk of the article:
The BOLDING is mine.
5,000 Happy Meals were distributed with colored condoms instead of a plastic toy from the movie The Last Airbender...The condoms were intended for the Provincetown, Mass. school system, which recently established a policy making them available for students of all ages...The packages were so bright and colorful that they were mistaken for small toys for Happy Meals, but unfortunately most of the workers do not read English, and thought 'Ribbed Latex' was a character in the movie," said Robin Anderson...The mistake led to an incident in a Brewster, Mass., McDonald's, where more than a dozen 8-year-olds attending a birthday party all opened their condoms at once, and immediately blew them into balloons and started batting them around the restaurant...The McDonald's incident also caused problems in Provincetown, where the schools accidentally received the restaurant's shipments of Last Airbender toys, and several were released to students who went into their school's nurse's office seeking condoms.
While the phrase "You know how I know it's fake? Because it's fake..." is a good response, keep in mind that people are actually responding to the story as though it could be possibly true. These people are ignoring things like:
When you read the more obvious fake, original version of the story, it see it is meant to be more of a parody of the fact that some of the same people are for banning of McDonald's toys and for the handing out of condoms to school kids. The joke about mistaking "Ribbed Latex" for a character was meant to be as much as a jab at no one actually seeing
So we have an obvious joke, and kind of a bad one, a dumb-man's The Onion, being cited not just once but twice as a legitimate news article. Or maybe not, maybe cited as a joke but at any rate there have been several commenters who have picked it up and passed it along. I ask, here: what is to be done? Seriously. If you are so anti-hispanic that you think they would make such a mistake, then you pretty much assume that any Mexican could do any number of evils. If you assume schools are so stupid as not to notice such a thing, why are you even sending your child there? And yet, the comments and some of the passing along of this story suggest that people do have those biases and are viewing the article through them, instead of actually going "Um, that's a pretty dumb joke, especially the blew them up and played with them all at once line."
BLOT: (14 Jul 2010 - 12:56:36 AM)
The spilled words marble across the floor
Green rolling and blue bouncing
Dancing retreating the grey carpet seeing
Chagrin embarrasses the best of us and
The smile your face asks quietly to forget
But what once said, is said and that's
Just yesterday's way of staying forward
And then we're moving toward some were, telling
Of its afterword, afterward,
To the river's bank, flowing into the mist
Falling into the sky and the stars shimmering
Simmering the sounds of tiny thoughtful
And we might as well sit here, holding hands
Note: This poem is in the same rough category/series as "And, Singing And the Hint Wells White": a mostly impressionistic take on the fragility of relationships over time. Unlike the first one, though, which is written from a couple at the end of a relationship, this one takes place at the moment a couple decides to move past some mistake. Certain "series" cues include a smile used as distraction, the concept of water flowing up into space, and the use of colors to catch the couple's emotional states. There are at least two more in the series. The next will deal with a couple sticking together as the rest of the world tumbles on around them, and the last is post-breakup and deals with hopes and dreams drifting away. I'll probably right a fifth, that concludes their story, but not sure what it'll be just yet.
BLOT: (13 Jul 2010 - 10:13:06 PM)
While this isn't precisely a remark about my job, it was drawn on a night where I had to convince the two students that they had to do their own research and no, there wasn't some magic tool to do it for them.
BLOT: (13 Jul 2010 - 05:07:49 PM)
BLOT: (13 Jul 2010 - 03:31:32 PM)
The article: More women lured to pornography addiction.
My favorite dumb quotes from it...
At no point in time does this article address (a) what constitutes addiction, (b) anything more than pop-psychology as to why this hypothetical addiction is bad, or (c) reasons/ways this addiction might actually exist in relation to the rest of their life, or (d) reasons/ways to fight the addiction. Instead, it spends the whole time rehashing, over and over, how getting horny causes us to lust after objects and not relationships, and why this is not what sex is about, and how it is surprising that women might like porn...you know...since it leads to rape. What's most frustrating, it seems to suggest that ANY viewing of porn constitutes an addiction, which is probably the root of that dumb "more addicting that crack" quote.
*: Guess what, ladies? Yes. Yes it was.
BLOT: (13 Jul 2010 - 11:38:13 AM)
I didn't really like the
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit Sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof, of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her, and peer...
BLOT: (13 Jul 2010 - 01:17:13 AM)
By the way, having seen a couple of places that tried free printing as long as they could...this is 100% true.
Written by Doug Bolden
For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".
"The hidden is greater than the seen."