Monday, December 11, 2017

Last Year's Snow Was Falling

Image from TV Tropes

Last Year's Snow Was Falling is a 1983 Russian claymation-type short film that takes place during the winter before the New Year. I watched this online but can't find a source now that'll let me embed it. This page has it, though, with English subtitles.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Lives of Tao


The Lives of Tao (2013) is the award-winning first book in the Tao science fiction series by Wesley Chu. This has a fascinating concept of aliens who crashed here early in our planet's evolutionary timeline and who have been trying to get off and go home ever since. They cannot endure our atmosphere and survive by living in host bodies. In this way they have directed human evolution and history. Just know in advance that this isn't a feminist-friendly world; everything -even the female characters- is from the male perspective.

from the back of the book:
When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he's losing it.

He isn't.

As of last night, he has a passenger in his brain -an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. Split into two opposing factions -the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix- the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet... and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that's what it takes.

So now Roen must train to be a hero worthy of his unwanted companion. Like that's going to end up well...
The Huffington Post has a positive review. Strange Horizons concludes, "This is the science fiction equivalent of beach reading, and I imagine that it will find solid success with a broad swath of SF readership." Fantasy Book Review describes it as "an action packed, secret organization, globetrotting sci-fi thriller."

SF Signal gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Publishers Weekly says, "the execution doesn't live up to the concept."

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Hateful Eight

Hateful Eight is a 2015 western directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, and Channing Tatum. If you like Tarantino films like I do, you'll like this.

trailer:



The New York Times has a lengthy review that includes this: "His provocative rereading of history is overshadowed by a plot that manages to be both cumbersome and flimsy." The Guardian calls it "hard to hate but tough to love".

Roger Ebert's site opens with this:
Quentin Tarantino's ultraviolent, ultra-talky sorta-Western "The Hateful Eight" is an impressive display of film craft and a profoundly ugly movie—so gleeful in its violence and so nihilistic in its world view that it feels as though the director is daring his detractors to see it as a confirmation of their worst fears about his art.
Empire Online says, "On a par with Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight starts low-key but ultimately delivers big, bold, blood-soaked rewards. Roll on, QT Western number three." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience rating of 76%.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Our Christmas Tree


and some other of our decorations:




We're enjoying Christmas movies and music and signs of the season.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Fanny and Alexander

Fanny and Alexander is a 1982 Ingmar Bergman film. It begins at Christmas. Not a typical holiday movie, but -honestly- isn't that a good thing? I am impressed by it.

I have the Criterion edition of the theatrical version. DailyMotion has it in parts, with the first part here. If you watch it there, the other parts are linked at the top of that page.

trailer:


The New York Times has a glowing review. The Guardian says this is where to start with Bergman.

Slant Magazine says, "How the imagination at once mirrors, deflects, and rearranges reality, especially in childhood, constitutes one of the myriad strands that make up the core of Ingmar Bergman's monumental Fanny and Alexander." Senses of Cinema says, "As an elaborately constructed, compulsively watchable piece of large-scale fiction made for the screen, Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander) is an achievement with few equals".

Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies and concludes,
At the end, I was subdued and yet exhilarated; something had happened to me that was outside language, that was spiritual, that incorporated Bergman's mysticism; one of his characters suggests that our lives flow into each other's, that even a pebble is an idea of God, that there is a level just out of view where everything really happens.
Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and concludes, "An accomplished masterpiece, with excellent performances and rarely bettered direction." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

My Exercise Routine

I'm putting this all in one place, gradually having found videos of each of the exercises, so I can make sure none of them fall off my radar. I'm going to add this link to the sidebar on the right with my other exercise links.

I don't really know what I'm doing here and haven't seen a physical therapist or trainer, but I've tried to put together a plan that will help my balance and functional strength and maybe even slow my bone loss. I welcome suggestions and recommendations. I know some of these are probably duplicating others and that I could most likely make better use of my time by eliminating some of these, but I have no idea what that would look like. When I run out of time or energy I quit, so I rarely do all of these on any given day.

I do yoga 6 days a week, using the poses illustrated on my blog post here, holding each pose for 30 seconds. I do weights M-W-F.

Standing:

Standing Hip Flexion:



Hip Abduction:



Hip Extension:



Front Knee Raise (I rest weights on my legs during these):



Squats:



Sumo Squat:



Bicep Curl:



Lateral arm raises:



Front Arm Raises:



Reverse Fly:


Shoulder Press:



Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension:



Horizontal Row:



Dumbbell Cross Punch:



Lunge:



Hands and Knees:

Bird dog (hold for 30 seconds each side):



Floor:

Seated:

90/90 Hip Stretch:


Tailor Sit:


Tricep Dip:



On my back:

Straight Leg Raise:



Single leg bridge (I do a regular bridge as part of my yoga practice):


Hip Abduction with strap:



Thigh Squeeze (I use a towel instead of a ball):



Triceps Extension:



Dead Bug:



Dumbbell Pullover:


Stability Ball Reverse Crunch (with bent knees):



Pelvic Tilts:



Incline Bench Press (I use a ball):



Figure 4 stretch, both sides:


Knee to Chest:



Side-lying:

Clam:



Hip Abduction:



Hip Adduction:



Side-lying Kickback:



Side Plank (sometimes I do this propping on my hands with my arm extended, and sometimes I prop on my forearm as shown in this video. I hold the pose 30 seconds):



Side Plank Leg Raise on extended arm with bottom leg bent at knee (I'm still looking for a video of just this single pose, but it's demonstrated in the video below beginning at 49 seconds):


On my stomach:

Prone Leg Extension:


Prone Leg Kick Up:


either this T-M-Y on a ball (I use light weights with these):



or this I-T-W-Y on the floor:



Reverse Snow Angels:


Pushups:




On the stairs:

Standing Calf Raise:


Crossover Step-up:


Seated on chair:

Scapular Squeeze:

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Deux Fillette Finlandaises

Deux Fillette Finlandaises (Two Finnish Girls):


a 1907 painting by Sonia Delaunay, who died on this date in 1979 at age 94. Born in Ukraine in the Russian Empire in 1885, she moved to Paris in 1905. Wikipedia says she
spent most of her working life in Paris and, with her husband Robert Delaunay and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. Her work extends to painting, textile design and stage set design. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964, and in 1975 was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor.
This is a photo of her taken in 1901:


This is a video/slide show of some of her art:



This is video from a conference associated with an exhibition of her work, especially her textile work. An interesting look into her biography is an early part of the video:



In 2015 the Tate Modern held a retrospective of Delaunay's career, which you can read about here and at the Tate site here. You can read the transcript of an interview with her here.

Please join the bloggers who participate in the T Stands for Tuesday gathering where we share a drink together. I wonder what the Finnish girl in the painting at the top of the post has in her cup. I always start the day with black coffee.





Monday, December 04, 2017

A Christmas Carol (1982)

This Australian film is an animated adaptation of A Christmas Carol from 1982. To be honest, the animated adaptations often seem much of a muchness to me. I find the background music in this one to be annoying. This isn't by far the worst one I've seen, but I won't watch it again.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Big Bugs


The Big Bugs exhibit at the Memphis Botanic Garden contains a series of large insect sculptures. The website says, "Representing eight different species, this nationally recognized traveling art exhibit features ten giant wooden bug sculptures towering up to 18 feet tall. Big Bugs will inhabit all 96 acres of the Memphis Botanic Garden." The artist is David Rogers.




It was a beautiful day, sunny with a high in the mid-60sF, and there was some fall color:



Saturday, December 02, 2017

Mon Oncle Antoine

Mon Oncle Antoine is a 1971 French Canadian film. Wikipedia reports, "The film has twice been voted the greatest Canadian film ever in the Sight & Sound poll, which is conducted once each decade. The Toronto International Film Festival placed it first in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time three times." The heart of the film takes place on Christmas Eve.

part 1:



part 2:




Roger Ebert considers it one of the "great movies".