About writing. And reading. And being published. Or not published. On working on being published. Tangents into the pop culture world to come. Especially about movies. And comic books. And movies from comic books.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
How To Make a Cocktail (not-really-a-book-review book review)
Okay, it all started in 2017 when we went on our gold country trip and stayed in Columbia. We had this pair of cocktails:
So we started making the occasional cocktail at home, especially pina colodas, the family favorite (because you can leave the rum out for the kids). I learned how to make margaritas. But that's where we hit a wall, I guess, because my wife bought me a book, Be Your Own Bartender, and I learned how to make a daiquiri. A real daiquiri, not those slushy monstrosities.
However, the book is full of all kinds of history, which I will get around to reading at some point. I just haven't had a chance yet. My attention has been on the cocktail recipes themselves, over 100 of them. My personal favorite, at least so far, is the Planter's Punch. Which is not exactly accurate, because the recipe in the book is just an example of -a- planter's punch. It was just a catchall name given to a class of drink of which there were endless variations because every plantation owner had their own specific recipe. My wife has discovered that she loves Mai Tais, which, by the way, despite its association with Hawaii, was invented right here in Oakland, California. Also, by the way, the Hawaiian version, which adds pineapple juice, is vastly inferior to the original, basic Mai Tai.
Well, this became more of an actual book review than I'd intended, but I guess that's okay. I'll have some cocktail recipes posted soon.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
East of Eden (a book review post)
After god was gone, Cain and Abel got into an argument over the incident. I imagine that Abel was a bit smug about it all, though the Bible doesn't say that but, knowing how brothers are with each other, it's more than possible that Abel started the argument by taunting Cain about it. "Hah, hah! God liked my offering better than yours!" That kind of thing. The argument got heated, and Cain picked up a rock and smacked his brother in the head with it, killing him. I don't remember if the rock part is actually in the Bible, but that's how it feels to me at the moment.
Having done a bit of reading up on Steinbeck, I'm going to go out on what is probably not much of a limb and say that Steinbeck was very against racism, to the point of his name removed from the writing credits of a film that he felt had racist undertones that his script did not contain.
I'm not going to lie and try to pass of Eden as an easy read, but it's not a difficult one. It's just a bit long and, at times, it's difficult to tell where the story is going. But, you know, I think it's going the same place that life goes. It just goes. It's sprawling. It would never get published today at the length it is. Whole sections would get cut out, and the book would be the worse for it, so I'm glad it was written when it was and that it came out the way Steinbeck wanted it to.
Go read it.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
A Return To Writing? Who Knows...
Some of you may have noticed that I wrote an actual post last week. Ah, who am I kidding? That post received one whole comment, so I'm pretty sure it had about as much impact as a feather falling on snow. But, whatever, right? No one comes here for the words; it's all about the pretty pictures these days. I guess I can't really blame anyone for that; I do take some pretty pictures. But, you know, I haven't turned this into a photography blog... yet.
I suppose that's what instagram is for, though, but I haven't gotten very good at posting pictures to there. When they start letting me post them from my computer, I might get better at it. Right now, I have to move my pictures from my camera to my computer and, then, onto my phone to be able to upload them, and that's more than I want (or remember) to do most of the time. Besides, who puts pictures onto their phone? That's assbackwards.
But I digress...
So will I be writing more?
I don't know for sure. I want to, but time these days... Look, it took me two weeks -- two weeks! -- to write my review for Face the Music. And that shouldn't have been a difficult write up but, I suppose, with kids home all the time now...
Don't get me wrong; I don't want my kids not at home. I mean, I don't want my daughter in school, that's for sure, not that she didn't already have COVID-19, because we're pretty sure she had it back in February. We're early adopters, don't you know. But I do wish they didn't make so much noise. My kids, I mean. All the time. Background music is not my friend when it comes to writing, but I'm pretty sure I wrote about that way back in the mists of time.
Wait, wait... The Myst of Thyme.
Why wasn't that a thing?
Anyway... I have things I want to write. I have a bunch of drafts that are mostly just titles so that I will remember my ideas for posts, but getting thoughts onto virtual paper has been a... challenge. To say the least.
And, of course, with the election coming up... Let's just say that the chaos is only going to get louder.
Personally, I'm a bit tired of the chaos. The seven largest fires in California's recorded fire history (which started in 1932), as well as the first and fourth most deadly, have been since trump (#fakepresident) was elected. And I'm not saying there's any causality, but it's a difficult correlation to deal with.
Actually, I'm not saying there's not causality, either, because he, trump (#fakepresident), has been a horror to the environment. And, dude, come on, stop telling us to rake the forest! Shut your stupid, fat pie hole. Science is real, not an opinion.
Which is my cue to say one word: VOTE!
As I said to someone earlier today (the day I'm writing this, not the day you're reading it), trump (#fakepresident) has treated his presidency like a demolition derby, speeding around in his great clown car squeezing his great clown horn. The problem? Everyone else has tanks. And he can't tell.
That's also beside the point.
As I was saying, I have things I want to write, so, hopefully, this place will start to be more of a writing space again.
I guess we'll have to see what happens.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
Why "Racist/Racism" Doesn't Work
Let's talk about grammar for a moment.
Yeah, yeah, I know that's not what the title of this post suggests is about to happen, but we're going to do it anyway.
When we talk about what a word means, we can do it in one of two ways: the denotation or the connotation. The denotation is the specific, literal meaning of a word while the connotation, generally speaking, is how people use the word. A good example of this, actually, is the word "literally;" at least it was before some dictionaries changed the denotation of the word. Not to get pedantic, the denotation of "literally" is the literal, specific meaning of something, without exaggeration. The connotation of "literally" is the exact opposite, the figurative or exaggerated meaning of something. You can see the confusion that this kind of thing could cause if one person is using the word one way and someone else is taking it the other way.
So let's talk about racism...
Racism has a specific denotation which includes both a person's hatred of some other racial group and the belief that one racial group is superior to some other (or all) racial group. Racism can be one or both of these things.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
It's Time To 'Face the Music' (a movie review post)
We started the decade believing we were all going to die in a nuclear holocaust and ended it believing politicians and the people in power had finally realized that nukes were an unacceptable alternative. The Berlin Wall fell, and we all thought that things might be okay. In between, though... In between,
we knew saving the world would require a miracle. [As it turns out, we were probably right about that. Gen Z is probably our last chance for it.] For whatever reason, we believed that music could be that miracle.
It's not like we didn't have reason, I suppose. We had "We Are the World" and Live Aid and all sorts of similar things after that. The power of music to unite seemed to be a real thing. I suppose it's not surprising that it culminated in 1989s Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, in which music does literally unite the world. Or will. Or will have would have. At the time, Gen X fully bought into the idea that, in the end, people would do the right thing. That's what movies and TV taught us. All you needed to do was believe hard enough for things to turn out right. Bad guys would always see the error of their ways and make things right in the end. That or the idealistic earnest protagonist would show the world the true character of the bad guy and he would be defeated.
Of course, recent events have shown us that a significant number of people not just don't care about the true nature of the villain, they revel in it. Yes, white Boomers and other Trump (#fakepresident) supporters, I'm talking about you.
Which leads us to Face the Music in which we learn that music has not, in fact, saved the world or anything close to that. The idealistic earnest protagonists have failed. Their idealism was not enough. Their earnestness was not enough. They have, indeed, been defeated by windmills much like Don Quixote. And time is pretty much up.
The premise is more than apt.
Of course, the plot involves Bill and Ted attempting to finally write their song that will unite the world and save the universe from certain doom while being chased by a killer robot and trying to save their marriages. Or marriage. There is some amount of an inability for them to think of themselves as individuals. Also, their daughters get involved in trying to help out, which involves a whole separate time-travel adventure.
And that's about all I can say about the plot without getting spoilery, which I suppose I'll avoid.
I think we've all learned that music is never going to unite... anything, really. People don't seem much inclined to even agree on what music is, and music is more diverse than ever.
However, the movie is still on the "excellent" side of things.
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter slip back into their roles as if these are their true personas. And they wouldn't be bad personas to have. If more people were like Bill and Ted, the world would be a better place.
Kristen Schaal replaces George Carlin. She's fine. I like Kristen Schaal, but they don't really give her much to do and her mere presence doesn't bring with it any kind of expectation or anticipation, unlike Carlin. Much of his role was accomplished just by his being there.
The killer robot, Dennis, is brought to us by Anthony Carrigan. I love Anthony Carrigan. Barry is a good show -- I strongly suggest it -- but, even if it wasn't, it would be worth watching for Carrigan.
The daughters are played by Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine. I think it's pretty clear they are there to set the stage for future sequels in which they are the stars. That's more than okay with me. They were fun onscreen That said, it was Lundy-Paine who really stole the show. She really nailed the part of Ted's daughter. I felt like I was watching two Teds on the screen. She got his mannerisms, his mode of speech, everything. I was, like, totally impressed. Dude.
All of that and Death is back, too. Now that's an entertaining subplot.
Anyway, the movie is totally worth watching, and you don't even need to be all that familiar with the previous movies to enjoy it. Now I just need to sit down and watch them all three back to back to back.