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Hike # 2 in the Fine Month of June 2016

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Maybe the truth is that all this walking isn’t about my health–it’s simply an excuse to play nature photographer!

Forgive me…I had never heard of a single poet except Robert Louis Stevenson until I was in high school. By which time I knew a whole lot of RLS by heart.

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, 

And what can be the use of [her] is more than I can see….

For [she] sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, 

And [she] sometimes gets so little that there’s none of [her] at all. 

I don’t love it in the foothills yet. But every place is beautiful isn’t it? Next week back to the Bosque, a new part of it I’ve never walked before. Please let there be ducks and geese.

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The Big Short Beasties

The Big Short was kind of funny, kind of sad, all terrifying if you stop for a minute to contemplate the ‘Beasts of Banking.’

Please go to the review in the Times (URL below) so I do not have to make the slightest effort to describe the content of this film. I’ll just say that it’s a comedic docudramatic account of how a lot of mediocre but very greedy people in every branch of banking and real estate brought a lot of the financial world and by default a lot of real people to their knees…and how a few smart and maybe slightly less flawed guys saw it about to happen and made a ton, a Ton, a TON of money with their foresight—and felt a bit sad about it.

It really is an odd film, not exactly a story like Wolf of Wall Street, with a ‘main character’; here money is the main character and it has a perverse sense of humor. One of those films you can just as well watch on the small screen. But good.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/movies/review-in-the-big-short-economic-collapse-for-fun-and-profit.html?referrer=google_kp&_r=0

FRIDAY SUNSET. WHICH EVEN THE BANKERS CAN'T RUIN.

FRIDAY SUNSET. WHICH EVEN THE BANKERS CAN’T RUIN.

Room

IMAGINE SEEING THIS IF YOU WERE BORN AND HAD LIVED FIVE YEARS IN ONE TINY ROOM, NEVER LEAVING IT.

So much film, so not-enough time, American and foreign films and documentaries. Eighteen in all. Oh yeah plus a couple of films with black stars or directors that should have been nominated. Twenty then. Five down, fifteen to go. Only evenings after gym when I’m too tired to do anything else are eligible as show times. And Saturday night after writing all day.

See what I do. Make everything too much. So I almost fail. Or fail.

But what a treat it all is anyway. Friday night it was Room. The book drew great praise but I did not read it. And honestly, went reluctantly to the show…which turned out to be excellent. It gave reality to the horror stories of real-life kidnapped women, held prisoner and bearing their captors children. I know there are books out there and probably documentaries from actual incidents but I’ve missed them so this was my Oscar-film reality check.

A review tells us very succinctly the gist of the story: Held captive for years in an enclosed space, a woman (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. The action, or lack thereof, takes place in the smallest of spaces, the garden-shed prison and, although the pace is deliberate, Larson and the boy, Jacob Tremblay, keep us with them. The kid, in fact, should have been nominated for an Oscar. Truthfully he is as good as Quvenzhané Wallis, the girl in Beasts of the Southern Wild and that is about as good as it gets.

In any case this intimate, almost claustrophobic, small film manages to feel authentic and kind of important.

Mustang

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I picture a wild creature, lean and swift and tough, racing against the wind. And the mustang in this movie is just that…a wild young girl racing against her family’s attempts to tame her. Mustang is a beautiful film, submitted for a foreign film Oscar as a French/Turkish/German production. I had a lovely couple of hours at the Guild—the last time I was there was sometime in the 80s for The Gods Must be Crazy (Botswana). Once again I’m vowing to go often from now on. It’s like being a kid at the Royal Theater in Northome, Minnesota.

Here’s part of a review from The Atlantic:

Mustang tells a straightforward story of female empowerment, but it’s the way it tells that story that makes it deserving of all the accolades it’s received, including an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film. Though the movie has won (superficial) comparisons to The Virgin Suicides, it has a more distinctly female perspective and is too close to its subjects to feel voyeuristic. The trouble begins in the first 10 minutes of the film, when some nasty gossip and a misunderstanding turns innocent fun into a minor sexual scandal, leading the girls’ relatives to increasingly shut down their access to the outside world. The Turkish-born French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven balances out the film’s creeping claustrophobia with quiet (and not-so-quiet) acts of rebellion, unexpected humor, and warmth, and the result is a tender and fresh coming-of-age film that honors the bonds of womanhood and sisterhood without taking them for granted.

Why do foreign films seem both more authentic and less real than those we make here? But then I am so very stupid about filmmaking although not about the stories they tell. Do other countries make more films on the locations where the story actually claims to take place? Somehow the locations seem to play bigger roles in the foreign film offerings. Loved Mustang.  GIRLS RULE.

The Annual Movie Marathon Begins

Movie time. Off and running. Spotlight last night, Beast of No Nation tonight, Mustang tomorrow, Theeb Monday night.

This year no party. Just five-six weeks of intense movie going with a slightly new approach. I am determined to see all of the best picture (even if it means I must see Revenant) and foreign film nominees, the documentaries and the films that ‘should have’ had some nominations. And then tell you the truth about which ones were the best. I’m the kid that begged her mother for Photoplay (and Western Horsemen because my favorite shows were all about horses and their cowboys). Now I just go to a whole bunch of movies once a year and watch the news channels to see my favorite stars! So who better to keep you posted during Oscar season?

Spotlight. A cold night, warm movie-going fleeces—the old stuff you can get popcorn butter on—although I would satisfy my salty desires with Saltines for this night only, and end of a stressful week. Spotlight. A film pretty much as good as it gets. It’s the story of the Boston Globe reporters whose fierce investigation managed to reveal the prevalence of sexually abusive priests in the Catholic Church and the hierarchy that sheltered them and, in many cases, allowed their activity to continue.

Spotlight is the best of all worlds for me. Drama; journalism; revelations exposing one of my several least favorite organizations—The Church (religious institutions in general—not just Catholicism); and a cast of very fine actors. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams maybe foremost among them. I’ve never followed them particularly—even after Birdman last year—but they are so fine in this film. Strong and passionate and always making you believe they’re the real deal.

My only sad afterthought is wondering if all of that work and those revelations have actually changed much. There has been change, right? Right? Or does power always corrupt and absolute power (which religious authorities have) always corrupt absolutely? Yes is the answer isn’t it?

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Blogging

CHRISTMAS DAY 2015. FLORIDA.

CHRISTMAS DAY 2015. FLORIDA.

Blogging is an insidious pastime. Addicting. Attention-seeking. Time-consuming. I love it. Sometimes I share a thought or event or photo of some small value. Sometimes I am simply silly, self-indulgent with a cookie or a ragged leaf.

I vowed to only post ‘good writing’ for awhile. But that’s what I’m working on in my classes, for my book and it’s difficult—satisfying but not fun. It’s what I intend to do in a writing blog in the future. It’s what Time & Place is for when I’m traveling. Where’s my 2016 fun coming from then? You know—the daily small stuff.

And communicating with family and friends. How should that happen?  Facebook? Not usually. Emails? Sometimes. Phone calls? Too invasive. Texts? My thumbs get tired. Letters? Yeah, right. A diary? To be read after I’m dead perhaps.

How about I just give myself permission to keep doing this TODAY blog when the mood so strikes? Like TODAY. It’ll be fun.

ALMOST NEW YEAR'S EVE 2015. NORTH FOURTH STREET, ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO.

ALMOST NEW YEAR’S EVE 2015. NORTH FOURTH STREET, ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO.

Sundown. Walk.

I stopped posting a daily picture because most of them were. Stupid. But here’s a better view of October. In Albuquerque, the trees don’t go gold all of a sudden, instead the green dulls, a yellowish hue appears, and then one day they all fall down.

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THE SANDIA (WATERMELON) MOUNTAINS WERE ESPECIALLY JUICY THIS EVENING.

October 2, 2015. Overcompensating.

Since yesterday’s post was a bit of a cheat with that Big Trip photo, I will make up for it today by posting a few photos taken near North Fourth Art Center in our North Valley ‘hood.

Day Eighteen/Photo101: Through the Glass…Strangely

Quite fun playing with glass and what happens when you shoot into it with flash. As usual I did not get out and about to really spend the time I should with each day’s assignment/theme. But here’s what I did manage. A selfie. Glass and camera settings and me.

Day Seventeen/Photo101: Treasures

Easy choice. My mom kept a diary for a few short years when I was a baby. She was a very special person and it gives me great pleasure mixed with profound loneliness to take it out and read randomly from time to time. Touching it feels almost like touching her hand.

Nice visit tonight Mom.

Nice visit tonight Mom.

The happy and sometimes sad story of a young woman from a solid South Dakota farm who married a lumberjack in the wild woods of northern Minnesota.

The happy and sometimes sad story of a young woman from a solid South Dakota farm who married a lumberjack in the wild woods of northern Minnesota.

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