Monday, November 26, 2007

For the holiday season

Essential listening: Money and Moral Balance, from Speaking of Faith.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Sunday of (Pagan) Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent for those of us who celebrate the winter solstice ( use the word "pagan" parenthetically above because I'm a little uncomfortable with it--I wish there was some better way to express it).

Advent means "to wait," as in waiting for the rebirth of the sun at the solstice. This is a time of waiting, of counting down days and weeks, and that is certainly what I'm feeling in my life right now. I'm waiting for my trip to London--I'll arrive on the day of the solstice--and, in some ways, waiting for things to get better. I've been sick for over two weeks now; I'm waiting for that to subside so I can do more than lie around at home. I'm also generally dissatisfied, and goodness knows I'm waiting for that to end.

So tonight my friends and I got together, like we do every Sunday, and had a fire, talked, ate cookies (a good Sunday-before-Advent tradition), and enjoyed being in from the cold and the rain.

Future Advent season activities for me include: watching The Nutcracker featuring Baryshnikov, ice skating in Centennial Olympic Park, and perhaps creating a handmade nativity scene showing the birth of the sun.

Film: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The list of things I love about this movie could go on and on. Noir. Robert Downey Jr. being hilarious and poignantly sensitive re: sex and women. Shannyn Sossamon. Dash Mihok (who just hasn't shown up in enough random places lately). Val Kilmer as a gay private dick. On and on.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

dir. by Shane Black, 2005

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the AMPTP's math

Well, no, I'm not really going to talk about the AMPTP and their misleading math. Statistics are easy to manipulate, as we all learned in high school.

But I do want to post this quote I found on Wikipedia, because it perfectly illustrates my main argument against the AMPTP's greed:

If they gave us everything we had on the table right now, if they gave us everything we wanted—everything—and they then made a deal with the DGA and matched it, which is what they'll do, and then they made a deal with the Screen Actors Guild and tripled it, which is typically what happens....if they did that—if they gave us everything—on a company-by-company basis they would be giving all of us less than each of their CEOs makes in a year. And in some cases, a lot less.
—WGA president Patric Verrone (1)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dirty little secret

It's true, I did spend tonight at Borders reading--but vehemently not buying--Gossip Girl. And I loved all like 6 chapters that I got through. I full intend to go back as many times as it takes to finish.

You know what else I want to read, now that I've given in to this dark desire? Francine Pascal's Fearless books. I remember loving them when I was in high school, which is essentially several years too old to be reading something like that. And, let's face it, I never read YA books when I was a so-called young adult, but have blissfully discovered them and rediscovered them at pretty much every important stage of my life since then.

So. Gossip Girl and Fearless. I am so hip.

You know you love me. XOXO.

WGA letter writing

I just spent my lunch break writing letters to the heads of the networks whose TV shows I watch, voicing my support for the WGA strike, and informing them that I'll be boycotting their networks and sponsors for the duration.

I feel a bit better now.

The next step is to compile a list of my favorite shows' sponsors, and write them letters explaining my boycott and asking them to pull their advertising from the networks until the strike is over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ew, Big Media

So a quick look at some lists of companies owned by the media Big Six has led me down a path of endless research, checking and re-checking Wikipedia to find out just who owns what. Whose pockets am I really lining when I plunk down $10 for a movie in the theate?

I've decided to boycott all the struck companies listed by the WGA on their site. Except for possibly a few films that I've been dying to see since before the strike was even looming.

The saddest part about this is that I now have to boycott favorite things like Amazon (partially owned by Time Warner), HarperCollins (owned by News Corp), and yes, even my beloved Television Without Pity (recently bought by Bravo, which is in turned owned by General Electric). Actually, I'm sticking to the TV rule for TWoP, so my boycott starts when the networks run out of new episodes of my shows (as the site will stop having recaps for them).

In the meantime, I'm compiling this super-huge list of companies owned by the media Big Six, which I will eventually post here.

I'll also be posting links to things I find on the web, like film shorts, that are keeping me fulfilled while the storytellers I love take a break to fight for their rights.

Film: Blood Simple

This movie is totally weird, and I'm not even sure I mean that in a Coen Brothers way. Still, I made it through the whole thing. And I suppose there is something to be said for seeing where they started, considering that I've seen where they've gone.

Book: Looking for Alaska

by John Green (2005).

A seemingly simple story that is so much more powerful than the plot alone can describe. I adore John Green's characters, I love that he sets his books in the South, I love that he makes me cry while I'm reading. I can't say enough good things. The man is amazing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Theatre: The Last Five Years

at Actor's Express.

God, what a sad show. I think this is the saddest musical ever written. I cried just a little the entire time.

The actors in this production were completely awesome, with strong voices and lots of presence. Kathy was especially amazing. The set was neat, but I wonder if it didn't cause the people sitting on opposite sides to have different reactions to the characters. Kathy faced our side the most, and I felt for Kathy the most. But maybe that also was because of the writing? I can't tell.

Anyway, awesome show. best thing I've seen in a while.

Film: Zodiac

Really compelling but really long. Also, I think this would have been better on the big screen--that is the scale it's meant for. Still, it was very enjoyable.

dir. by David Fincher, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Reasons I am sad about the WGA strike

Before I start listing these, let me first voice my utmost support for the WGA and their reasons for striking. They deserve those extra cents, and I mean that in all seriousness. If you don't know much about the reasons for the strike, NPR has a good Q&A about it (scroll down).

So, here is why I am sad about the possibility of a prolonged strike:

- I'm loving a lot of shows this season, and I don't want to lose them for the second half of the year.

- Aside from Heroes, my favorite shows are new this season, and I really don't want them to get canceled because the network can't give them enough time to find their audience.

- Speaking of Heroes, the mini-series Heroes: Origins has been abandoned because of the strike. (John August reported this on his blog.)

- If programming is interrupted, the assumption at the moment is that networks will replace most of their scripted programming with reality shows. I hate reality shows, and I refuse to watch them.

- I've realized, in talking about this with friends, that TV is a market in which a boycott means almost nothing. Because the networks rely mainly on Nielsen boxes to gather ratings data, they have no idea whether or not my TV is turned to their channel. So they'll have no idea when I stop watching. As a consumer, this upsets me.

So here's to a quick resolution and an end to the strike--with the WGA getting what they've asked for.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Theatre: Richard III

at Georgia Shakespeare.

Let me just say this straight out: no one compares to Ian McKellen, and no one ever will.

That said, there were aspects of this production that I liked. The set was amazing as always, utilizing fabric and reflective surfaces in cool ways. The coronation scene and the dream sequence stood out in that respect as visually quite stunning.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Book: Specials

by Scott Westerfeld (2006).

The totally awesome end to the Pretties trilogy, which I basically raced through. I love that conditions for our main character changed so radically from book to book; Westerfeld is certainly not afraid of mixing it up, or making drastic decisions in regards to his characters and worlds. I admire this immensely.

Ending a trilogy can be tricky, but I think this book pulled it off pretty well. The action was great, and nearly nonstop, and the end was a nice stopping place for a story that obviously goes on in its own world.

And, of course, there is the fourth book left to read.

Rodin: In His Own Words

exhibit at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

I don't know if you knew this, but Rodin was a total badass. Everything he pretty much ever said was totally on point.

My favorite piece at the exhibit was the Sphinx on a Column, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you why. I loved it all, really. The Spirit of War is terrifying. Those slick, shiny nudes made me appreciate bronze more than I ever have.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Book: The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James (1898).

This is really more of a novella, I suppose, but we'll call it a book just for fun. I read it based on a reference by Jessa on the Bookslut blog, about reading something scary for Halloween.

Scary is definitely a word you could use to describe this book. But not scary in a horror movie way. Scary in a quiet, foreboding way. Very gothic. The last line is worth the entire 120-odd pages that comes before it.