hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Ever since I first got a LiveJournal account, my interests list has included "arthurian legend" or "king arthur" or some related term. One of the things I love most about Arthuriana is not the classic story itself; there really is no one true version of the legend of King Arthur. Whatever historical personage or personages may have inspired the original tales, the existence of an old Arthur as ruler of anybody has become hopelessly irrelevant by now. No, what I love is seeing all the different versions of the stories, seeing how old visions get altered with time, seeing which mutations have made their way in to the legendary bloodline, and wondering which variations will survive in future versions.

Today's movie-watching--a double feature--reminded me of this. Not because the movies I watched had anything to do with Arthur of Britain, mind you. Well, unless... no. While Willy Wonka could conceivably be a valid modern interpretation of Merlin, Charlie Bucket's family isn't nearly dysfunctional enough for him to be Arthur. Still, watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory followed by the more recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory does get the mind spinning off into odd directions. The 1971 film with Gene Wilder has vastly superior music, of course, and I can easily imagine being friends with that version of Willy Wonka. (I half suspect I already am friends with the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka, though he may not be entirely aware of it yet.) Johnny Depp's version--well, he's someone I might enjoy talking to for limited periods of time, but I'd encourage him to find a reputable therapist who isn't an Oompa-Loompa.


In other news, I went to the grocery store today for orange juice, olive oil, and Kleenex. Sadly, I neglected to buy any chocolate.

3 Things

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 11:24 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Last night I watched The Time Traveler's Wife, which proved to be a great way to indulge my love of cheesy time-travel stories. One thing bothered me, though. I am, as far as I can tell, very much a heterosexual woman, so I don't expect to be attracted to unclothed women on screen. However, I'm pretty sure my reaction to seeing a topless woman's back should not be "GAH! Ribs!! Vertebrae!!! Cover it up! COVER IT UP!" So could someone please tell me that the actress and/or body double ate a sandwich sometime after filming this movie? Lie to me if you have to. Please.

Adventures in copyediting (or lack thereof). One of the books I borrowed from the library today is about the human nervous system, a subject of great interest to me. The book is written with kids in mind, but I'm hoping it will refresh my memory of all those things I learned in college and somehow managed to forget in the last twenty years. Anyway, one sentence in the section about the structure of neurons reads: "Although the cell body is usually just 5 to 100 micrometers, or μm, (0.0002 to 0.0004 inches) in diameter, axons can range in length from 1 millimeter to as much as 1 meter (0.04 in)." On the same page, in a section about synapses, it says, "Between the tip of each axon terminal and the point on the target neuron (usually a dendritic spine or the cell body) to which the axon sends a nerve signal, there is a tiny gap. It measures about 10 to 20 nanometers (3.94 to 7.87 in) across and is called the synaptic cleft."

Any kid reading this book uncritically is going to come away with some very confused ideas about how to convert from the Metric system to the Imperial system.

Early New Year's Resolution: In 2011, I intend to read at least one book in each of the ten main classes of the Dewey Decimal Classification system. And even though it's a part of the 900s, I might include Biography as an eleventh category since the local library shelves those books separately. I'm pretty sure I've read books in most of the big ten this year, but I'm also pretty sure I'm not going to read anything in the 400s before this year ends, which is pretty sad considering I was a linguistics major once. This resolution should be pretty easy for me to keep, anyway, unless I develop a sudden aversion to all things nonfictional.

(Wow. In January 2008 I resolved to get a haircut. I really should try to do that sometime soon, you know.)
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
For those interested in such things, here are some of the DVDs I've watched recently:

Dark Passage. Back when we were in high school, my friend non-LJ Jenny and I used to search the TV listings for any movies with Humphrey Bogart in them. Even if the movie was shown at 3 a.m. on a school night, I would get up in the dark to watch it (lucky Jenny's family had a VCR (Betamax)). This is the only one of the Bogart/Bacall movies I never saw before this year, and it may well be the weakest of the four. But even if it's not a piece of cinematic greatness, it's still well worth watching. After all, no movie in which Lauren Bacall has a perfectly legitimate reason to tie Humphrey Bogart to her bed could be all bad.

The Shop on Main Street (Obchod na korze). This is a piece of cinematic greatness. A film made in Communist Czechoslovakia about the kinds of choices people made during the Nazi occupation of Slovakia, it is also fairly depressing.

Television Under the Swastika. A TV documentary about the world's first broadcast TV network: the one run by the Nazis.

Kestrel's Eye. Birdies! If you like watching birds, you will like this movie; if you are uninterested in birdwatching, this will bore you to tears.

Jesus Camp. I'd heard from secular and non-charismatic Christian viewers that this documentary was creepy, frightening; and I'd heard similar things from folks who grew up in environments similar to that of these kids. As someone who grew up as part of a liberal mainline Protestant church, what I wasn't expecting was that I'd sympathize so much with the people running the camp. The filmmakers did a good job of documenting a lifestyle that was obviously alien to them, and the bit with Ted Haggard is a fascinating look at the face of sheer cynicism.

Eyewitness Video: Monster. From the same people who put out Eyewitness Books for children, this is a fun half-hour survey of scary creatures--mostly real but some mythical--with all the pretty visuals you'd expect. Small children probably love this. Reactions among people old enough to have developed phobias are undoubtedly more mixed.

Blade Runner. A reminder that my monitor is really rather dark.

Nova: Venus Unveiled: The Magellan Space Probe. PBS program from 1995, rather good. My only complaint is that the soundtrack seemed to feature more of "Mars: The Bringer of War" than "Venus: The Bringer of Peace."

Nova: Fractals: Hunting the Hidden Dimension. Fractals are always nifty, and I liked learning more about Benoit Mandelbrot himself.

Ultraviolet. When my non-LJ friend Rory used to take me to movies, she was almost always the one who chose what we would see. Turns out I still have a high tolerance for silly action flicks like this. (Note to IMdB reviewers who say you've never run across a movie worse than this one: You obviously haven't been trying hard enough.)

Movie Listinging

Sunday, July 6th, 2008 03:05 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Taken from [ profile] daisydumont, this is one of those memes that give you an idea of how little I've consumed of our popular culture. Feel free to laugh...
Entertainment Weekly's list of the top movies )

You know, this list doesn't reflect my taste much at all. Mostly it reflects the taste of whichever friends were in the mood to drag me to movies with them.

Cultural literacy

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 11:36 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Because I like to horrify people occasionally with my lack of cultural literacy, let's use Moosebutter's song "Star Wars" to look at my movie experiences.

First of all, I have seen precisely one Star Wars movie: the first one (Episode IV), once, in the theater, when it was still fairly new. It was long, long ago and far, far away, in other words. On the plus side, I do have a couple of the smaller Star Wars-related Lego sets.

So, now to the movie music in the song itself:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: In school, on very slow days like the day before a long vacation, did your teachers ever give up on trying to pound knowledge into your wandering mind and decide to show movies instead? If I remember correctly, Close Encounters was one of the lessons in my 8th grade earth science class.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Have never seen any of the Indiana Jones movies, though I seem to recall riding a related amusement park attraction.

Superman: Saw this one. It was another slow day in middle school.

E.T.: Never saw the movie, but I did read the novelization.

Jaws: Never saw the movie, but did see the shark model when I was a kid visiting Universal Studios in CA.

Jurassic Park: Never saw this movie either, but I did read The Lost World when I was recovering from surgery.


Monday, July 8th, 2002 08:46 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Well, my decision last Monday to put off phone calls until Tuesday proved to be a sound one after all. On Monday I got to be as antisocial as I desired, and the next day I not only managed to get something useful out of those phone calls (frustrating as they were), but managed to have fun conversing with the landlord and a prospective future housemate that afternoon in spite of the fact that I was sitting in a room with no air-conditioning on a nearly 100-degree day. Didn't have as much fun that evening when I went walking in the pollution so thick you could cut it with a knife if only you could stop wheezing. But it's summer in the DC area, so that's what you'd expect.

Last Wednesday was also a decent day, all things considered--I had a couple more productive calls, then spent the heat of the day in an air-conditioned library. Cool (literally).

Thursday, of course, was Independence Day. Y'know, it's great that my country had its birthday & everything, but I personally don't think anyone should be allowed to take time off until I get an income of some sort. These 4-day weekends really are an obstacle to someone who needs help finding a job. Anyway, I spent much of the day listening to British music (a July 4 tradition of mine, please don't ask why), though I did take a fun tour of the house the guy across the hall is buying.

Friday was a long day, but much fun indeed. A friend of mine I hadn't seen in a few years read my LJ and offered to take me shopping for athletic shoes. Yay! We met up with another old friend from high school, ate lunch, and then went hunting for a pair of shoes I can walk in. As much as I hate shoe shopping, those two friends actually made it enjoyable. I love those guys. :-) (Sadly, the shoes we ended up getting had a rough seam inside the left shoe--a problem I didn't notice on Friday while walking on flat surfaces, but which gave me a blister on my little toe after 10 minutes walking on Saturday. Ouch.)

As if seeing my wonderful friends & getting shoes weren't enough, I got to take a tour of one friend's new addition to her beautiful home, then was invited to join them & a pair of adorable almost-eight-year-olds to see Lilo & Stitch. Loved the movie. (I identified with Lilo as soon as she talked about her doll having only a few days to live...) All in all, a great day.

Saturday & Sunday--spent recuperating, mostly listening to Launchcast & trying to concentrate enough to read books.

Today--made a few more phone calls. Went to the grocery store. Now typing this because I'm finally lucid enough to do so. Unless I'm much mistaken and this is all coming out gibberish. I'm never quite sure these days.

Plans for tomorrow--Hmm. I'm not expecting any phone calls until Wednesday. I have no phone calls to make until I get the information I need on Wednesday. I can't think of anything useful to do until I at least get the forms I'm expecting in the mail. Wow. I may actually be able to spend the whole day online or at the library or something like that without that guilty nagging feeling that I should be doing something else. (But I'm sure I'll manage to feel guilty anyway.)


hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)

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