Saturday, September 22, 2007

1480 Movie Review

Saturday, September 22, 2007

[Note - If you're looking for the Cusack/Jackson ghost movie, that's "1408", not "1480".]

The best part of the movie we saw tonight will be reviewing it.

My friend apologized in the parking lot for dragging me out for it, but I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in a theater, so I said "Oh, no, it's ok. Better a bad movie than no movie at all." She agreed. At least we have the experience to complain about over dinner for a few weeks.

The movie was "Silk". The novel may or may not have been good, there's no way to tell short of finding and reading it. The screenplay was terrible. The acting was wooden. You know how you have a runthrough of a play at some point during production, to map out placements, props, lighting, timing, when everyone just walks around and reads the lines? That's what this was like. Just reading the lines. Flatly. There was not only no passion, there was no emotion. Nothing. There was a brief moment (the hung boy) when the lead actor almost used his facial muscles, but the director didn't take advantage of it.

The trek across Asia to Japan could have been interesting, but the director blew it. Distance shots of one terrain after another of plod, plod, plodding. And since the guy went back two more times, we got exactly the same plod, plod, plodding scenes two more times!

My friend complained about the music, but I didn't notice the music.

What finally killed it for me, what destroyed the last bit of charity I may have had for the screenwriter or director, was the "twist" at the end. It was simply impossible. The woman who wrote the letter could not POSSIBLY have known that the woman in Japan and the man had never touched. That she would write what she wrote (hell, that she would write a letter at all!) is simply inconceivable. Unless, of course, as I suspect, the director left out all of the human relations part of the story so he could fit in the plod, plod, plodding.

Unless, of course, I slept through that part without realizing it. I don't think I did, but given the pace of this movie, I could have, I suppose.

My friend started giggling at the "twist" at the end, and her suppressed giggles sounded like sobbing. It was weird, but I was slightly embarrassed that someone might think she was overcome by emotion. "Like, duh? What kind of idiot are you, lady?"

The theater, on the other hand, was very comfortable. Tiny, a few rows of individual comfy bentwood easy chairs, with soft thickly upholstered seats and backs. Low enough that my feet touched the floor, with backs high enough to lean your head against. And every chair had a brightly colored or patterned throw pillow. With a warm afghan or shawl, I could happily have slept through the movie.

1479 Equality

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm going to dinner and a movie tonight with a friend. She had received gift coupons to an art theater for her birthday, so we're going to use them. The restaurant is the same one my date and I went to on Thursday, and the theater is across the street from the tiki bar with the music trivia. The movie is "Silk". The reviews weren't wonderful.

My friend was disappointed that I didn't go to it Thursday with the guy ("It's Silk! Isn't that neat?"), but hey, just the name doesn't make it worthy. Besides, I don't especially care for movies on dates. Given the choice between sitting next to a guy looking at the screen, or sitting across from him looking at his face and talking, well, I prefer interaction.

Jasper discovered my bed yesterday afternoon. I was sitting on the bed hemming a dress, and he jumped up. He loved the deep eider comforter, too, but I warned him that if Miss Thunderfoot caught him up there, she'd kill him.

More evidence that he's younger than everyone thinks - he discovered his tail. The comforter kind of pushed his tail up and around as he was snuggling into it, and he acted like he'd never seen it before. Diving, leaping, spinning, in a sea of marshmallow, trying to catch it, looking all around when it disappeared.

The last pool party of the season is tomorrow. At least three people have reminded me to bring a bathing suit. Why? All anyone is going to do is stand around looking at the water. The air may be warm (we seem to be having a brief heat wave, an Indian Summer) but the sun is too low to warm a body.

Which reminds me - autumnal equinox tomorrow. Stand those eggs! I've got one standing on the counter right now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

1478 Falling

Friday, September 21, 2007

I hadn't updated in a few days, not because I was busy, but exactly the opposite. Nothing happened. I had no thoughts.

Last night was better.

I met a friend downriver for a leisurely dinner on a patio on the riverfront, after which we moved to a "tiki bar" next door, where it sounded like there was a band. There was a band - two guys who managed to sound like five!

Then we discovered that they were running a music trivia thingy between sets, with t-shirts and caps as prizes.

Now, my friend knows a lot about a lot of stuff, like all the fun NPR shows, Monty Python, sports, on and on. He has not only high intelligence, but what amounts to a photographic memory. I swear he remembers everything he has ever seen or heard, and he is incredibly aware of everything going on around him. His mind runs in overdrive. And the thing he knows the most about is music.

After he had quickly won two t-shirts and a cap (a very nice black-on-black that looks really good on him, and which I am holding hostage), he was barred from answering, and then they had to bar him from whispering to the guy next to him.

After that he was so ... cute. Hate to use that word, but it's the only one that fits. When he knew the answer and everyone else was stumped, he was hopping up and down in excitement, and a time or two had to pace to the far end of the bar, presumably to avoid blurting. It was so nice to see him so engaged. It was like he dropped 40 years. I could see what he was probably like as a boy.

I'm still fighting it, but I may be falling in love anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

1477 I'm Very Bad at Titles

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogger has been very shy today. Hardly anything would load for me. It wasn't my connection, other stuff was accessed just fine, but Blogger timed out no matter what I was trying to look at. I'm hoping I'll be able to complete this entry.


Kitty update:

I am absolutely convinced that the women at the hotel where I rescued Jasper are mistaken that he'd been around since before the flooding. They must have him confused with, perhaps, his mother. When I caught him and thought he was at least six months old, I thought he was going to be a small cat, because holding him he reached from my breast to my shoulder and he weighed less than five pounds. Three weeks later he'd doubled in size, and weighed seven pounds. Three more weeks and now he reaches from my waist to my shoulders, and weighs ten pounds! He's still very muscular.

He's quite the lover. He has developed a new habit - he grooms me. He'll drape himself over my lap, and then lick whatever skin he can find (raspy tongue hurts!) over and over on the same palm-sized spot of my arm or thigh. If he can't get to skin, he'll groom my clothing. We're going to have to discourage that.


I live in a rural area. There are spots around here where there is no cell service. However, I found out today that within an 8-mile radius of my house, there are at least 91 signal-emitting antennas, 52 of which are on 22 high towers, and 39 of which are individual "roof-top" installations. The closest tower is .7 miles away. My house is high, so the electronic garbage is probably all zapping through me right now.

See for your address.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

1476 Fatty Acids and Autism

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"A team of New Jersey scientists believes it has found ways to detect biological risk factors for autism through simple urine and blood tests, a discovery that could lead to groundbreaking medical treatment for the neurological disorder.

The team of 16 scientists, mostly drawn from the campuses of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, say their findings, the result of more than two years of study on how the body breaks down fatty acids, could be a breakthrough for what is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the nation, with no known cause or cure.

The UMDNJ researchers say they have found that children with autism are unable to metabolise key fatty acids which help the body fight inflammation that causes damage to the brain and other organs."

The story, including possible treatments, is at

The discovery is of course most interesting to people who have or know people who have autistic children, or autism in their families. Daughter, living in NJ and working with nursery school aged children, is very aware of the rise of rates of autism, especially in NJ. She thinks NJ is toxic (duh?), and is worried about having a child there. I'm slightly worried for future grandchildren.

But my immediate thoughts reading this were about Jay, the part about "children with autism are unable to metabolize key fatty acids which help the body fight inflammation that causes damage to the brain and other organs".

A lab report noted that the tumor seemed to originate in an area of the brain that had suffered an old trauma. Jay had difficulty handling the inflammation resulting from the treatments. The intracanial inflammation and swelling, and the steroids necessary to control it, caused more damage than the radiation or surgeries or even the pressure of the tumor itself.

Late in the battle he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which some consider related to autism.

Is it possible that, as in autism, Jay was "unable to metabolize key fatty acids which help the body fight inflammation that causes damage to the brain and other organs"?

Did the tumor happen because of the old injury, and an inability to properly handle it? Could one of those "cocktails" of fatty acids have helped him to avoid the collateral damage of inflammation?

Asperger has been called "the nerd disease". Do brain tumors occur at a higher rate among nerds? Has anyone ever asked? The Albany doctors told me that there is a "brain cancer hot spot" near here, across the river and a bit north of Poughkeepsie, and they could find no unusual environmental factors there. Uh, it's a rural area with a proportionately high population of ex-Evil-Empire employees...

... otherwise known as nerds.

I wonder if any doctor would be interested in this observation?

Monday, September 17, 2007

1475 Shofar Virtuoso

Ok. Is this only one shofar? Nothing is said of a bugle backup, but there are a few spots where I have to wonder, like when his lips seem to be off it but there's still sound. I don't know. But if this is all one guy with one ram's horn, this is pretty impressive. Any opinions?



I asked a Jewish friend to check this out, and he says that it doesn't sound right, that the reverb is wrong, that he also noticed the sound when lips were not on, and it sounds like there are at least two, not one.

I checked out the guy playing it, and he's not Jewish, he's Christian, he just plays the shofar. The hosts are from some group that fosters Jewish-Christian dialog. That was interesting, because when I first saw the set, I thought "evangelical Christian" before I noticed the Hebrew scattered around. Which then reminded me of an article I'd recently read about how some Jewish folks are suspicious of fundamentalist Christian groups who want to get friendly - because no matter how much they innocently deny it, their purpose is proselytizing and conversion.

Oh, and that's not a ram's horn. A ram's horn is short, usually has only one-half curve. The longer shofars that we usually see these days (better sound) is actually an African antelope horn.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

1474 Buncha Bits

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We had the second bylaws revision meeting today. Went very well. Ziggy and I don't get along on some things, but we do seem to work well together. Makes sense, I guess. We've both been well trained by The Company. I had hoped this would be the last in-person meeting of the committee, but we have the election schedule to work out yet, so I guess there will be one more.


I happened to walk into the kitchen today, and caught an interview with Jeff Gordon, the race car driver, on the kitchen TV. (I'm pretty sure that's the name. Young, good looking, right?)

It stopped me cold. For half a second I thought it was Ex#1. Jeff is much better looking, smaller nose and rectangular face, but the two of them have exactly the same mouth and eyes, and exactly the same way of moving them. It's uncanny. I left me wondering what Mr. Gordon's mind is like, wondering how vicious he could be when angry.


A Jewish friend was talking about how one does not write the name of God, and that's why in the blogs of religiously observant Jewish folks, you'll see "G-d". Because you can't write the name.

Um, since everyone knows what you mean by G-d, hasn't that become the name? Simply an alternate spelling of it? What is the purpose of the prohibition? Does substituting "-" for "o" satisfy the purpose of the prohibition? Like maybe when God does a universal Google search for his name, He won't find your (vain?) post?

I find use of "G-d" very annoying. Either write it or don't, but don't pretend the "-" makes a difference. There are many names for God, "G-d" is one of them by definition since we all know who you mean, and, well, you just wrote it, you bad person, you.

It's hard when nobody wants their pictures in your blog. I had to cut folks out of this one:

Me, feeding ducks. Gully's, Newburg, Mensa Mirthday celebration, August 17, 2007.