Bad Dreams — Fund this Graphic Novel!

Working as a barista at one of the busiest coffee shops in a string of small mountain towns I meet quiet a few interesting folks. Today I am not talking about the interesting (read crazy) folks who often sunbaths with windex or talk to themselves on The Redwood Deck. No, rather I am posting about one of the way rad lover of bagels, who also happens to be a way rad artist.

Gary Winnick is a long time customer who is currently trying to get his graphic novel Bad Dreams in print. The reason I am posting about his graphic novel is because it is currently only available as digital download. I have no review of Bad Dreams because I loathe the idea of reading comics on a computer screen, and I have antiquated technology. So I am asking you to fund Bad Dreams not only to support a local artist, but also so that folks like me will have access to this comic series. It’s a beautiful thing these days that we can fund these kinds of projects allowing artists to retain full control over their work. So let’s get this funded!

Fund this novel on Kickstarter, get cool swag:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/badreams/bad-dreams-volume-1

Like Bad Dreams on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Baddreamsnovel

Survived the summer.

Part One of this summer was great.
Part Two was sad and lonely.
The end.

The highpoint was Pika and I visiting Daniel in Yellowstone

But now it’s fall, and fabulous, like fall, also starts with an “F’. Correlation does not imply causation, I know. 
I am on my bicycle more, just got a new light from Light & Motion so that I can ride in those early morning fall hours to open the coffee shop. Tonight I’ll be testing it out on a night ride. Training to do a very small overnight ride to the Pigeon Point Hostel sometime in the near future (longer trips after that when money allows).
Films that I have watched are going to have to catch up big time in another post.
Books however were the main thing this summer. I read Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, and John Dies at the End. I am currently working on Blasphemy and There are Spiders in the Book (and Xenocide when I get a copy). I recommend the Ender series to pretty much everyone. John Dies at the End and the sequel are only going to be for those who don’t mind really immature “male” humor. It’s so funny though, and did you watch the film???! 
As to Blasphemy, I love Sherman Alexie and need an entire post just for his films. I saw him with my friends at Santa Cruz Bookshop at the end of September. He is that amazing kind of individual who can make you laugh just about as hard as he can make you cry. 

NPR is over.

Did you hear? NPR is OVER!

No, really….all joking aside, this is the end point for me: Kick the Can: Soda Machines Beg For Experimentation

NPR knows what’s going on. In plugging Sodastream they support Apartheid.

Where to get news? I’m going to put my own plug in  for Democracy Now, Colorlines, and Electronic Intifada. Those are news sources that I trust. Whether you support Palestine or Israel, neither or both, you too might be done with NPR. Get your news elsewhere.

What do you listen to/read?

More Film Reviews.

Well, I knew better and I still drank coffee this evening. After the nervousness, jitters, and outright sick feeling wore off I found myself unable to sleep, and thus accomplished this:

Hanna is one that Daniel told me to watch, and told me several times. He was right, it was one of the most engrossing films I’ve watched in a while. I don’t generally watch action films, but this one falls under the category of intelligent action: by which I mean there is a very coherent and intriguing plot; the violence is not just for violence’s sake; and it’s just gorgeous. Watch it.

Beautiful Creatures was really pretty boring. It’s pretty much like Twilight with out the “Oh no they didn’t!” factor and minus all the Mormon business. That was the whole draw with the Twilight series for me: How much more ridiculous can this shit get?! (Palm to forehead — sparkly, abstinent vampires!) Really though this one was not a train wreck and nor was it good, so I wasted my time watching Beautiful Creatures. Sure I watched it for free, but don’t you waste your time or your money. Don’t watch it.

The Master was opulent in terms of how it was shot and that the characters were absolutely loathsome,  yet brilliantly played. Joaquin Phoenix gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time, he was just fabulous. Both Freddy Quell (Phoenix) who is a psychologically unstable WWII vet with addiction problems, and Lancaster Dodd (Seymour Hoffman) the leader of a cult “The Cause” are characters that I felt ill at ease with. At moments Freddy Quell made me very uncomfortable as I have had to deal too much with people like him in the past, but despite the discomfort I was riveted. One of the phrases I remember Dodd uttering (I think several times in the film) goes more along the lines of, “We are humans, and not animals.” Quell of course is portrayed, and treated by other characters, as very animal-like (read uncivilized). However I felt like something shifts slightly in the last conversation the two have near the end of the film. It seemed to me that I could end the film being reminded that Dodd was really no less “animal”, or flawed than Quell. But no, neither character was redeemed or changed. It was not warm and fuzzy. I will be watching this a second time on a bigger screen and to get a second look at the acting/dialogue. Watch it.

This Girl is Badass was so much better than Premium Rush. Okay, most American viewers will have no idea what to do with the Thai humor, but I enjoyed it and hopefully some of you will. There is really not that much in the ways of cycling scenes…but this girl really is badass, and she kicks the shit out some gangsters using various bike parts. It was a fun movie. And really, Premium Rush was so lame. I’m told that they used some actual New York bicycle messengers, and that’s cool I guess. I just couldn’t get past how poorly done the acting and CG scenes were. And that laugh? Why both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon’s character kept doing the same sounding, oddly placed, and out of synch laugh, I really do not know. The laugh got to me so much that it was the reason I turned the film off maybe 30 minutes in. Watch the Girl is Badass, do not watch Premium Rush…or I guess watch it on silence, for the cycling???

Two different films.

To catch up on film recommendations, I’ll begin with the two I’ve seen in the theater in the last half year.

I watched No starring Gael Garcia Bernal, directed by Pablo Larraín, at The Nick. I was stoked to go see this one because of Gael Garcia Bernal and that it was filmed with 3/4 inch Sony U-matic magnetic tape. So yes. The film was low resolution which I absolutely love because it actually looks like you are watching something something from television in 1988. I hear this was upsetting for some, I guess in the days of HD-Blu Ray, blah, blah, blah everything has to be crystal clear and flawless for some. However, I have still-frame memories of 1988, being two and all, but I know television was not the same beast as it is these days. That’s the point, right? Being transported to a different time and place. Then again, if you don’t like independent films, subtitles there are always Michael Bay films.

The film is based on the unpublished play by Antonio Skármeta, and is on the No campaign against Pinochet. It is from the point of view of René Saavedra, Bernal, one of Chile’s top television advertising executives. The film is not historically accurate, and one should not assume that the No campaign was entirely won by the television plugs. Film has it’s limits, which is one reason it’s always wise to continue reading non-fiction books. What I did find interesting was the film’s look at television as a medium for political campaigning, and the shift towards more comercial marketing tactics in political television ads.

Then there was the Evil Dead. Remake, reboot, sequel, whatever you call it…it was great. It was bloody, disgusting, and scary. Instead of me blabbing about the original v. the new one, just listen to what Sam Raimi has to say on it. It was scarier than the original and yet there were still plenty of references to the other Evil Dead films.

Both films I definitely recommend, as different as they are. What I would strongly recommend against is going to the theater to talk about the film, chew loudly (in a quiet film), and/or have a conversation at normal volume. Please! Please! I beg you! Why waste your money, why waste mine? The couple who had the conversation during Evil Dead, one of the people involved wasn’t facing the screen a good portion of the movie. Why? I have no idea. But I’m not thrilled.

Fragments from the last six months

Oh no! The longer I put off doing another post, the more overwhelming the next post seems. The “list” of items to put on this blog keeps stacking up, and so I will have to start this post with more recent and/or more important things, going back to others in following posts.

That said, my excuse for not updating is that I have been out and about doing things. In my capacity as a video store clerk I am failing miserably; I have watched so few films in the last 5-6 months I can hardly make any current recommendations.

In January I saw Esmko at the Independent in San Francisco, and was thoroughly surprised. Not surprised because I had low expectations, but due to the fact that I had no idea what to expect. I’d never been to a live performance of any electronic music and had only heard one of his songs prior to the show. Dude was amazing, and when he comes around again I am certain to go back. Also, the venue was small, not packed, and not packed full of cellphone-zombies.

Geocaching has become a major past time on the occasional day off. Pika (my kid) gets pretty into finding the caches, and has actually been the first to find a few. We’ve been doing a lot of hiking in general, and for having such short legs, Pika is getting good at walking most of the trails himself. One of our trips was camping in Pinnacles earlier in April, where he did the Bear Gulch Cave trail, plus some meandering up around the reservoir all on his own.

Pika crying over a pine cone near a decapitated Angel at Evergreen Cemetery.
Ring-necked Snake we saw at Pinnacles National Park
Last two items for now are that I got a bicycle! No, not the Surly Cross-Check; I still drool over, that one was out of my price range for now. I got last year’s Bianchi Volpe. I love it. I have not been on a decent bike ride since being pregnant with Pika so I am still getting my legs back, but it feels so damn good! Hopefully by this summer I’ll have some Panniers so I can drag all my work stuff from Boulder Creek to Portola (and therefore ride more days of the week).