Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory End of Year Movie Post

Managed to get through a few of our Holiday favorites:

(some were just in the background when we were wrapping presents or making candy, but I'm counting them anyway)

A Christmas Story (1983) dir. by Bob Clark

Christmas Vacation (1989) dir. by Jeremiah S. Chechik

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) dir. by George Seaton

The Polar Express (2004) dir. by Robert Zemeckis

And...since I missed the year-end round-up at the end of 2008, the following is a list of films watched during the years 2008 & 2009:

A Christmas Story (1983)
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Polar Express (2004)
Gaslight (1944)
Léon (1994)
Man on Wire (2008)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Revolutionary Road (2008)
Rushmore (1998)
Same Time, Next Year (1978)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The Big Chill (1983)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
The Iron Giant (1999)
Public Enemies (2009)
Up (2009)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Atonement (2007)
Babel (2006)
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)
Cars (2006)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Cloverfield (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Five Obstructions (2003)
Death Proof (2007)
The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)
Evan Almighty (2007)
Even Pigeons Go to Heaven (2007)
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008)
Gran Torino (2008)
Heroes (2006)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Juno (2007)
King Kong (2005)
The Lake House (2006)
Amélie (2001)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Miami Vice (2006)
Most (2003)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
At Night (2007)
Rambo (2008)
Ratatouille (2007)
Star Wars (1977)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Transformers (2007)
Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
WALL·E (2008)
Wings of Desire (1987)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Le Samouraï (1967)
Babette's Feast (1987)
Apocalypto (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Casino Royale (2006)
Blood Diamond (2006)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Happy Feet (2006)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
The Queen (2006)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #4



Don't miss another new post directly below about Harrison's third anniversary of the day on which he was born.


Just a few days before we officially celebrate the birth of the most important baby that's ever been born on this planet, we celebrated the birth of another one of my favorite baby boys here today.

Harrison turned three today!

Christy had over a few of the families for whom she babysits and a few other local families and Harrison had a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday party.

Harrison was convinced that he wouldn't actually turn three until he had eaten his Thomas birthday cake. He never budged, either. When he woke up this morning, I asked him how old he was and two fingers popped up. "This many," he said.

Just before he was about to eat his Thomas cake (which was after 10:22am, his official birth minute -- for those of you keeping track) -- he was asked again -- still two, said he.

While he was eating his cake, the question came again. Finally, that third finger popped up. He is three!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Friday - 'Best of 2009'

It's hard to look back at a year's worth of photos and say, "this is my best of the year." I'm not big about "best" or "favorite" anything, so my task is doubly difficult.

What I've chosen here generated some buzz (for me, at least) on Flickr when I posted it and I am quite happy with how it turned out, plus, I don't think I've posted it here previously.

Freak Out and Ferris Wheel

This was taken on the Midway at the Indiana State Fair. It was a case where a bit of patience definitely paid off -- and a bit of serendipity didn't hurt either!

I was experimenting with some long exposures on the moving rides. I think I was shooting an angle on the ferris wheel when I noticed this ride had gotten into my frame accidentally. I noticed the cool pattern given off by this ride's dual motion. This ride, named "Freak Out," both swings occupants in a pendulum fashion and spins them, simultaneously, producing this pattern using a long exposure.

I went around to the other side of the ride and found a spot that I could put my tripod that was mostly out of the way of foot traffic and had some compositional elements that I found pleasing, as well.

The problem was the lights on the passenger seats didn't stay on all the time. They seemed to turn on and off intermittently and each ride only had one or two full-height swings, so it took a few tries to get one with which I was happy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #3 -- Photo Friday - 'Clothing'


And now it's time for 'Silly Stories with Jeremy', the part of the show where Jeremy comes out and tells a Silly Story:

Feel free to skip down to the photo, as I anticipate that the following story will be a massive letdown for anybody crazy enough to read the entire account hoping for some kind of payoff that would make reading it worthwhile.

Still here?


You may or may not know that I sing in my church choir. We're not exactly making records, but we manage to get our music learned and polished so that we usually enhance worship instead of distracting from it.

As many church choirs do, I suppose, we prepared some special numbers for this past Sunday morning where the choir was featured.


Rewind to this time, last year, when the choir did something very similar around Christmastime. Last year, the dress code for the guys was black slacks, white button-up shirt, and a black or red necktie. Simple enough, right?

I'm happy to say that all the guys complied with the requested dress code, but as the dozen (or so) of us began to show up for rehearsal that morning, we quickly began to notice a trend which held even once all the guys had arrived: the tenor voices were all wearing black neckties and all the bass voices were wearing red ties. This had not been planned.


Back to this year -- the same dress code was announced and many of us remembered last year's accidental color grouping by voice. Some decided that, this year, we would adhere to the trend that appeared accidentally, last year. This left me with a couple of dilemmas.

You see, "I go both ways." At least, that's what we say in the context of whether I sing tenor or bass. My voice is better suited to the baritone range, but we don't usually sing music that is written with a baritone part.

My other dilemma is that I do not own a necktie that is predominantly red or black. Last year, I borrowed a tie from a friend, to whom I explained the requisite tie color options. He brought me a lovely black tie which I happily wore, which turned out perfectly since I was singing with the tenors to help them out last year.

This year, I primarily sang with the basses, but occasionally switched over to tenor if the part needed some extra emphasis.

So, at rehearsal on Saturday morning, we were joking that I should wear a red and black striped tie.

Anybody regretting beginning reading this, yet??? :-)

Another thing you need to know is that my intention was to borrow the same black tie from the same friend from whom I had borrowed it last year. We both forgot all about it last Friday, though. It didn't occur to either of us until sometime Friday evening, which was too late.

So -- after our Saturday morning rehearsal, I knew that I needed a red or black necktie for Sunday morning. I stopped at a Sears department store, which is directly on my way home and headed toward the men's clothing department, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a red and black striped tie and on CLEARANCE, no less!

It was a Festivus miracle!!

So I bought it; and I wore it.


The end.

Monday, December 07, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #2


As you can see, I'm still having trouble moving on from 'tiny words.' Instead of getting smaller, my words are getting bigger! Somebody STOP me!

As much as I am enjoying seeing the group pool fill up with glorious 'Red,' I'm always up for some visual juxtaposition, so I wanted to do a shot that officially fit the theme, but contained little or no actual red color. It's a shame that the brick wall that I found is 'red' brick.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Good Night or Good Luck?

"Good Night or Good Luck?"

That's it.

That's the final poll over at This or That, the online poll site with the tagline: "Two Choices. Zero Context. Infinite Fun."

Well, the infinite fun lasted three years, and while not "infinite" in the strictest sense of the word, it was a pretty good run.

A buddy of mine from college started the site and it attracted quite the eclectic community, well beyond the group of college friends who knew about it from the beginning. Over these three years, it has been fun to get to know one another. Some (who only knew each other from ToT) have even arranged to meet in person!

Many of us are on Facebook and will continue contact that way. There is a Google Group that is intended to continue with daily polls.

Nonetheless, an era is coming to an end.

Good night, and good luck!

Films Recently Watched:

Gaslight (1944) dir. by George Cukor
Watched this on the recommendation of a friend. A decent psychological thriller along the lines of many films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Worth seeing for Ingrid Bergman's performance, alone. Also note the appearance of a very young Angela Lansbury.

Léon (1994) dir. by Luc Besson
Reviewing a favorite.

Man on Wire (2008) dir. by James Marsh
Fascinating documentary about French tightrope performer, Philippe Petit's quest to walk on a wire suspended between the two towers of the newly constructed (in 1974) World Trade Center. On the documentary, Petit's mannerisms and delivery got a bit over the top at times, but it was worth it for the story he was telling. Such an incredible achievement mostly for the sake of the beauty of the thing. Time Magazine called the stunt the "Artistic Crime of the Century." And rightly so.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) dir. by Baz Luhrmann
It's funny the things that can prompt me to watch a film. This time, one of my 'This or That' friends on Facebook simply mentioned a song from Moulin Rouge, so I put in the DVD to hear that performance. Ended up watching the whole thing.

Revolutionary Road (2008) dir. by Sam Mendes
Hardly the "feel good" movie of the year, but wonderfully directed and acted. Amazing sets and natural lighting throughout.

Rushmore (1998) dir. by Wes Anderson
I'd seen it before, but I borrowed this from a friend to watch again. Quirky and fun.

Same Time, Next Year (1978) dir. by Robert Mulligan
Recommended by a friend. The brief description made me think that maybe it would be similar to Brief Encounter. It isn't. At all. Strangers meet on a weekend retreat and proceed to carry on an adulterous affair annually. It's interesting to see the passage of time (about 25 years; mid-fifties through late seventies), and there are moments where the writing is solid, but something makes be believe this story works better on stage (for which it was written) than on film.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) dir. by Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Interesting story. Not sure it was worthy of the 'Best Picture' Oscar it was awarded, though.

The Big Chill (1983) dir. by Lawrence Kasdan
Recommended by a friend, same friend who recommended "Same Time, Next Year." :-)

This one didn't do anything for me. Quite the ensemble cast (Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close), some good moments, but again, I think that this might work better on stage than on film.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) dir. by David Fincher
Another Interesting story. Also nominated for 'Best Picture' Oscar by the Academy. Solid CG work.

The Iron Giant (1999) dir. by Brad Bird
Once again, a Facebook posting forced me to watch a movie, too late at night. Another fan of The Iron Giant mentioned that it was the 10th Anniversary of the day on which it opened in theaters. So I watched it in celebration.