Sunday, March 29, 2015

Your Sunday Squirrel

I took this yesterday.  It's nothing particularly special.  Somebody else was feeding this fellow, so I was relieved of having to provide a peanut.  The person doing the feeding was amazed at how tame this guy was.  I thought he was pretty skittish.  I couldn't get any closer than this to take a picture.  Tame indeed!  Well, it's a good thing that they are flinchy and unpredictable.  If it wasn't for that, all predators everywhere would have eaten them long ago.  So I guess it's part of natural selection that they act totally crazy all the time.

So Long, Toyota of Seattle

I swear, last week this lot was full of cars.  There were those multi-colored plastic pennant-things everywhere, just like a real-live car dealership.  But these guys have packed up and moved to SODO.  How do I know?  I read this sign:
They're planning on building something very large on the lot.  It will hopefully match all the other large buildings that are currently under construction in the area.  OK, so this is at 7th & Blanchard, a little outside of Belltown, in the area known as the Denny Triangle.  It sounds mysterious.  I'm thinking it needs another name.  Since Amazon is the major builder, how about the Amazon Basin?  Or how about Large Buildingville?  Anything is better than the Denny Triangle.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here is a wet little fellow that I saw today in Denny Park.  He was pretty skittish, but nothing compared to the squirrels in the Arboretum.  Those guys don't mess around; they take one look at you and dash up the nearest tree.  They don't care if you're bearing the world's most delicious peanut or whatever.  They don't want anything to do with you.  And once they're up their tree, they look down at you in only a way that an expressionless rodent can - as if to say that they can really mess you up if they want.  Only they don't want.  Not right now anyways.  Dumb, unfriendly Arboretum squirrels!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Your Sunday Squirrel

I'm reading this very scholarly and academic book about squirrels right now.  It turns out that they're far less erratic than anybody thought.  There are things they can determine about foraging and habitat that no one could have predicted.  OK, so most of the subjects are either fox squirrels or eastern gray squirrels, but it pretty much sums up all squirrel behaviors.  All I know is that squirrels love to eat peanuts and that they don't appreciate direct sunlight or leaf blowers.  That's it.  This book is way smarter than me.

Please Open Soon!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have this place open up just two blocks away at 3rd & Bell.  In fact, I thought it was already open this morning, so I decided to negate all the good stuff I did at the gym.  Not open!  Oh, the disappointment!  They're actually due to open on the 17th.  Funny thing, I could have gone to the original at 1st & Virginia, but that never even occurred to me.  Anyhow, I'll stop by once all the recording is over.  And that will be soon.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Few Words about the Best Movie Ever Made

Every time I watch this film, I think that the spell will be broken; that I'll suddenly be terribly bored and unconcerned with the plight of the characters.  Even worse, I secretly fear that somewhere in its three and a half hour running time, I'll nod off and start snoring loudly.  It never happens.  None of that.

I went to Seven Samurai yesterday at the Cinerama and it was fantastic.  It was the first time that I noticed how good the overall pacing is and how there are no unnecessary scenes - only those essential for telling the story.  Sure, it's a long film, but it doesn't seem that way at all.  When you think about how good this film is and think, "Why the hell am I wasting my time watching Birdman or Guardians of the Galaxy?"  The answer is an easy one: because there is only one Seven Samurai, whereas the world is full of lesser films.  You could watch Seven Samurai every day, but that might diminish its impact.  It'll still be the best movie ever made; it'll just be a bit less special.

OK, Kurosawa has his share of masterpieces.  Me, I favor Yojimbo and Sanjuro over Rashomon and Hidden Fortress, but Seven Samurai takes the cake over all of them.  There isn't a film out there that blends a strong story with such wonderful acting and great directorial technique.  The result is the best movie ever made.    

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Your Sunday Squirrel

I took these yesterday.  I can't decide which one I like better, so have them both!

Belltown in Bloom

It's happening, people.  Warn the others!

Fists & Fury

Here's another reason to love the Cinerama: they're showing kung fu and samurai films till next Wednesday.  So far I've gone once, to Drunken Master.  The marquee is wrong, The Legend of Drunken Master is the sequel; this is the original.  Both have Jackie Chan, but the original is just filled with gleeful rudeness.  There's a whole lot of farting and barfing.  And of course, Jackie Chan (with his dorky eighties haircut) is spectacular but not as charming as he would be in later movies.  He's actually pretty bratty, but hey, that's the character of the film, whose message is: if you drink while you fight, you can't lose.  Damn straight.

In just a few minutes, I'm off to a showing of Seven Samurai.  I've seen it many times in theaters and at home, but never on a screen this big.  It's my favorite film of all time.  I also think that it's the best movie ever made.  So yeah, I'm pretty excited.

Tomorrow night is Black Belt Jones, a horribly cheesy cross-exploitation film.  I can't wait.    

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Birdman Wins Big

OK, so Birdman won four Oscars.  It tied with Grand Budapest Hotel for total, but it took home more in major categories.  Now, I'm happy for all involved, but I have to say that since I've seen Birdman, I've really had some second thoughts about it.  It's a well-written, well-acted and well-directed movie that completely misses the mark.  The more I think about it, the more I believe that it's complete malarkey.  I've written about this before, but the notion that art has to be dangerous in order to be valid is utter hogwash.  If you throw in a bunch of professional actors acting very unprofessionally, then its impact is further blunted.  True, it's about a group of flawed individuals putting on a show that will redeem Michael Keaton's main character.  But if anybody was ever as disruptive as Edward Norton, then they would never be able to act again anywhere, Broadway legend or not.  And the most maddening aspect of the entire film is that the staging of these Raymond Carver stories doesn't even appear to be that good.  If it wasn't for the intervention of the aforementioned dangerousness-that-proves-art, it would be just another sub-par, pretentious vanity theater production.  Sure, it has some surprising comic moments along the way and Emma Stone is quite good, but its view on art is so childish and it being such a central theme makes much of the film grate on me.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: art is not achieved by mistake or in desperation; it is made by people who hone the craft.  It is a calculation.  If that sounds like a bleak assessment, it isn't.  If you know how it's done, you do it.  And it isn't done the same way every time.   It always changes, which is why inspired mistakes and desperation don't help matters at all.

Funny thing, I wasn't overly crazy about Grand Budapest Hotel.  I felt it was all light and little heat.  It was very tough to care about any of the characters, especially those whose manners were more wooden.  It does offer the standard Wes Anderson charming awkwardness and attention to detail, but it left me cold.  Mind you, I loved Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom.  Those should have won all the Oscars, but what can you do?  Anyhow, that was this year's Academy Awards.  At the party I went to, I only got 10 out of the 24 categories right, so no prize for me.  Oh well, that's what I get for not betting on Whiplash.