because sometimes my synapses actually connect, and a coherent thought results...

12 March 2008

a feel-not-so-good movie

Last night, I went to a screening of a Swedish documentary film called The Planet, presented at the Cleveland International Film Festival courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing. All I can say is, see this movie if you are able. It is a sobering look at the sorry state of our planet, in a "just the facts" style that strips away any controversy, partisanship, or hidden agendas, relying instead on numbers to make its arguments.

The audience last night was disappointingly small, and some of the commentary I heard afterward indicated that some folks clearly missed the point, but these are the same people for whom a life-changing decision involves who to vote for on American Idol. Oh well, as was mentioned in the film itself, denial of extremely bad news is a common defense mechanism.

This not to say that the film is perfect by any means. While it opens with a montage of African landscapes that then turn the camera 180 degrees and expose how overrun by human society some of these supposed "pristine" landscapes have become, some of the montages could have been snipped a few seconds sooner. The pacing was a bit slow. Also, the soundtrack, composed mostly of techno/ambient backbeat loops intermingled with context-specific sounds and looped audio bites from some of the interview subjects, was very effective, but sometimes heavy-handed.

Count the "Symphony for Jackhammer, Mason's Chisel, and Concrete Slurry" :-) that underlined a segment on urban development among the more effective pieces, while the sampling of the phrase "killer instinct" from an Indian TV hostess talking about the growth of consumptive society in her country was repeated a few too many times. The repetition of this stupid git's words, combined with her vapid expression, left me wanting to put a bullet in her head by its end. On second thought, maybe that segment did exactly what it was supposed to.

The movie, while long on exposition of the problem(s) (but brief on runtime at under 90 minutes), was unfortunately short on answers. I hazard to think that may be indicative of the world at large, though. We've gotten here, we know we're here -- now what?

11 March 2008

moms are cool...

I know that's a very general statement, and now, here's some proof to the theorem. A week ago last Friday (Feb. 29), I started coming down with a nasty-ass case of what I swore was Stephen King's "superflu" come to life - we're talking congestion bad enough to convince me that Robert Frost had it wrong; the world wouldn't end in fire or ice, but in one giant ball o' mucus.

I was NOT a happy camper, but being the dutiful, though somewhat neglectful, son that I am, I phoned my mom and spoke with her briefly, since I'd not done so in far too long. I wasn't on the phone all that long, because talking wasn't all that easy at that time, and I didn't harp on the fact I was sick, since that's not my style.

On Friday, when I came home, I forgot to check the mail slot on my front porch, and so didn't see the parcel slip until Saturday. By the time I did see it, the "Blizzard of '08" was in full force, so I wasn't able to pick up the package I was told was waiting for me. I left work a little early yesterday so I could make it to the post office before closing, all the while wondering what I was receiving, since I knew I hadn't ordered anything recently.

The mystery turned to pleasant surprise when the parcel was handed over to me, and I saw my mom's distinct handwriting on the addresses. I hurried home, and opened it up with the reckless abandon of a schoolboy on Christmas morning. My mom, immediately after I'd gotten off the phone with her, had taken the time to compose and send a "care package" of instant chicken soup, tea, hot cocoa, honey, Buffalo wing-flavored pretzel nuggets, microwave popcorn, aspirin, and the ultimate "comfort food" -- a package of Double-Stuf Oreos.

It goes without saying that I called to thank her immediately. I don't deserve such a cool mom. Anyone reading this, tell your mom you love her, right now...