Saturday, July 18, 2015

Happy Kristen Bell Day

35 years old today.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Also, It's My Birthday

39 years old. Weird. I still feel 22. Only one more year until I turn 40.

This Week in Neat-O

Obviously, the neatest thing going on this week is all of the information and imagery that we're getting from the New Horizons Pluto mission. Here's the mission page at NASA, which is being updated every day.

:: Well, if nothing had gotten me xazzed for The Force Awakens before now, this Comic-Con behind the scenes video sure made me nostalgic. I can safely say I'm really, truly looking forward to this. io9 has a shot-by-shot breakdown, if that's your thing.

:: Some other trailers: Vikings Season 4, Ash vs. Evil Dead (the TV show I'm second most looking forward to this fall after The Muppets), Fantastic Four, season 2 of Fargo, and Innaritu's The Revenant.

:: There was also the big Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, which was more interesting to me than I thought it would be, honestly. I probably won't go see it in the theater, but it's a much better trailer than that teaser was. Interesting how many people are really excited about this considering how much they hated Zack Snyder's deconstructionist version of Superman two years ago. I'm interested to see if he plans on also deconstructing Batman, especially after a decade of Christopher Nolan's wiretapping costumed fascist.

Also, if they wanted Crispin Glover to play Lex Luthor so badly, why go to all the trouble of hiring Jesse Eisenberg to imitate him?

:: That said, the Suicide Squad preview looks like infinitely dumb.

:: Opening credit sequence for True Detective, season 2, Starsky & Hutch-style.

:: SCTV Archive posted a fantastic 8-minute video of an SCTV cast vs. crew baseball game from 1982.

:: Sad news about Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata passing away so young. Here is the E3 video the Jim Henson Company made this year for Nintendo.

:: What it’s like to be a contestant on MasterChef

:: Dwayne Johnson is impossible to hate, case file #417: Instagram prank

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Moon Cakes

Carl sent this over a while back, and I wanted to share this lovely animation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

THE BOOK OF LIFE (2014)
Beautifully rendered, extremely enjoyable animated film about two men in love with the same woman in a Mexican village beset by bandits. Manolo (Diego Luna) wants to be a singer but is being pushed by his father to follow in the family bullfighting tradition. Joaquin (Channing Tatum) is a great soldier. They both love the mayor's daughter, Maria (Zoe Saldana), who is caught between her heart's desire and her duty to the town. And the whole thing is a bet between two Mayan death gods. There's an amazing journey into the Land of the Dead that serves as the center of the movie. It's like nothing I've ever seen in animation; it has a unique look and it's very colorful, but it has the cheek and irreverence of modern cartoons. I particularly like that the film showcases death as a part of life, and has the courage to explore that. Just a whimsical, fun, gorgeous movie. ****

CARRY ON CLEO (1964)
Cute movie, but occasionally tedious. Beautiful sets, beautiful costumes, beautiful Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra. This is the third Carry On movie I've seen, and a lot of the humor is regional in a way that I recognize, but don't have the reference points to find genuinely funny. Kenneth Williams is hysterical as Julius Caesar. **1/2

IT'S ALIVE (1974)
Larry Cohen-directed flick about a couple who have a baby that is a literal monster. It's supposed to be about the impurities in our food and water (there's an early conversation about pesticides), and there are some decent scare moments. But the uneven pacing kills the tension, despite a good lead performance by John P. Ryan. **

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Noisy Room

I saw this video about three weeks ago. In it, Wil Wheaton talks about his own struggles with mental illness. I'm glad more and more people are attempting to de-stigmatize things like generalized anxiety disorder, because it makes it easier for me to be comfortable with it. I know there's a part of me that is still holding on to the old stigma and making it both harder for me to come to terms with what I have, and easier for me to judge myself for having something "wrong" with me.

In the video, Wil talks about living with depression and anxiety as like living inside of a noisy room and only being able to deal with how noisy it is at the expense of everything else. I've never thought of it like that, but it's a truly apt description. That's how I feel most of the time, and most of the time it's a real struggle to deal with. I'm not on any medications for my mental stuff (except for the occasional Xanax, which I have a prescription for but only take every one or two weeks)--and we're still in the stage of getting an actual psychiatrist to rule out or confirm my therapist's diagnosis of ADHD--and it only makes the room noisier. But for the past week and a half, I've been feeling lighter and happier and things have been a little easier for me. Even as things are going wrong--for example, the car's in the shop right now for the second time in two weeks--I'm not despairing over them, which is actually unusual to the point where I'm confused by how okay I am. I'm still grinding my teeth too much, but I'm sleeping more restfully and having fewer stress dreams. I actually woke myself up the other morning just because I felt a stress dream coming on...

The biggest triumph is that I seem to finally be able to distinguish between when my allergies are irritating me and when my anxiety is overwhelming me, recognize that they're not the same thing, and also recognize that I don't have the flu or something. I felt like I was a sickly person for about the last 28 years. Turns out I'm not. Weird.

I'm glad people like Wil Wheaton are talking about this and letting us know that it doesn't make us bad people. It's really important. The day I saw this video, I was very low. Like, contemplating something stupid low. This turned me around. I realized I'm just in a noisy room right now and I'm trying to find my way outside of it.

I realized that this is a sad chapter, but I'm not a sad story.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Muppet Monday

A very severe thunderstorm woke me up around 5:30 this morning... thunder, lightning, damaging winds, hard rain, flooding, hail, the whole bit. And we're due for another tonight. So here's a song from a 1970 episode of Sesame Street, "Rain Falls," in which Oscar the Grouch and Bob sing about the reasons they each love rain. The song is by Jeff Moss & Joe Raposo. Stay dry, wherever you are.


Also: here's a link to Mouse Info's video of the Muppets' San Diego Comic-Con panel, where they talk about the new sitcom and Pepe, Rowlf, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rizzo, Kermit and Miss Piggy make appearances. There's a noisy baby near the camera, but some great gags. One of them literal.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Song of the Week: "Cosmic Kiss"

One Tuesday, Bebe Buell--Playmate, model, rocker, author, and Liv Tyler's mother--will be 62. I've been a fan of hers for a long time, so I figured it's time I finally posted her on Song of the Week. This is one of my favorite tracks from her 1995 album Retrosexual, but I didn't know until today that there was a music video (and Liv is in it, which is awesome, as is Bebe's husband at the time, Coyote Shivers). It's a cloudy, cool morning here, and this sounds sort of like optimistic grunge, but also like Velvet-era art rock. I can't really explain the sound, but it's nice today. Happy Birthday, Bebe.