Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #74

Haven't done the Friday Fill-Ins for a while. Here goes.

1. For me laziness and boredom are the opposites of creativity. I'm not often bored, but I'm frequently lazy.

2. The Bookman's Wake, by John Dunning was the last excellent book I read.

3. I like fill-ins because when they roll around, I know it's Friday!

4. In nature I like looking at anything I don't have to weed or trim and anything that's not going to sting me.

5. The best woman for the job should win the US elections.

6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was ______. With my belly? What am I, Santa Claus?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the Celtics beating the Pistons so my hubby will be happy, tomorrow my plans include maybe going to the book sale at a local library, and Sunday, I want to get some reading done!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Andromeda for Our Time, or The Decapitation Follies

I've spent the last couple of evenings watching the updated film version of Michael Crichton's "Andromeda Strain" on A&E. I didn't know they were doing a remake, so I hadn't been waiting on the edge of my seat or anything. But I really enjoyed the book when I read it back in the '70s, and the 1971 film was always one of my favorite sci-fi flicks. So I thought I'd give this new incarnation a try.

It was produced by the Scotts – Ridley and Tony – and that was a great recommendation. Their TV show "Numb3rs" is very watchable. In fact, it's one of the few regular network shows I do watch these days. And Ridley Scott has directed and/or produced some of my all-time favorite films.

The cast sounded good: Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack and Daniel Dae Kim – well, what's not to love, right? And I've always liked Andre Braugher, ever since that show he used to be in, about cops in Baltimore ("Homicide"?). He has a certain Barack Obama-like arrogance and smugness which I can't stand in Obama, but find very attractive in Braugher for some reason. I even like Rick Schroeder, although I haven't really seen him in anything since "Lonesome Dove," back in the '80s.

So I had good feelings about the show. That is, before the first episode aired. After that, not so much. Well, it wasn't completely un-entertaining. It's just that it didn't really have much to do with the original novel. One of those instances where they take a perfectly good book and just use the title to riff on. I hate when they do that. Especially in this case because Crichton's original yarn was such a good one – it really didn't need a lot of techno twaddle and cgi frosting to make it appealing.

When they stuck to the original storyline, the show wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, that didn't happen very often. And all the additional "fleshing out" of the plot seemed like just that – filler. The show was definitely too long – the second night's segment was mostly just poor Eric McCormack wandering around in the desert, trying to figure out what he was doing there (he should've been forming plans to dump his agent).

I don't remember that thumb-hacking/throwing bit showing up in the original novel or film, either (am I wrong about that?).

And what's with all the decapitations? I know the special effects people have learned how to make it look appallingly realistic, so I guess they're determined to get at least one good head-lopping into every movie now. But one per show is enough, guys – especially after that guy cutting his own head off. We get the point. You're good. We really don't need to see you do it over again before every commercial break.

Oh, and I could have done without all those screaming Hitchcock birds, too.

Definitely Spring

Well, Memorial Day is over and the outdoor pool is open now. The swallows have been back since the end of April. And we've actually had some nice warm, sunny weather over the weekend and for the last few days. So it finally feels like spring is really here.

I've been noticing how amazing the dogwood trees look right now. And on one of our walks the other day, I managed to remember to take along the camera. Seems everybody else had been noticing, too, because I practically had to stand in line to get a shot of these blossoms!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sad News from Hollywood

One of my favorite film directors is gone – Sydney Pollack died of cancer yesterday. He directed a lot of films (and TV shows) I liked, but four were among my all-time favorites – "The Way We Were," "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice," and "Out of Africa."

But until I started reading the obituary articles, I didn't realize he was also one of the producers of another film I love, "Blow Dry," from 2001.

Someone once wrote that he made movies for old people. Well, if that means movies that adults can enjoy, then I guess I agree with that. In fact, I'd say what we need is more directors who can make thoughtful and yet entertaining movies for old people.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Random Photo Monday: Rebecca and John

For my first Joysweb post, and in honor of her birthday on May 25th, I'm putting up a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Rebecca and John Ross Palmer.

Well, to be totally accurate, May 25th is only one of several possible dates I have for her birth. I really don't know much about her, aside from her death date and that she and John were married in 1866 in Texas.

They had fourteen children, my great-grandmother being number ten. John Ross fought in the Civil War and is buried, with Rebecca beside him, in the Confederate section of City Cemetery #4 in San Antonio.

Earlier Random Photo Monday posts can still be found on my other blog, Joy's Blog. A few samples:
Wedding Day
Siblings in Sepia