Norman Reedus "animals are people too" (les animaux aussi sont des perso...
norman and wolf
siptah57

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,...why?
norman and wolf
siptah57
This will be full of spoilers because that is the way I roll. I have been waiting so long for this movie to be released in the U.S. I even had the opening day marked on our calendar only to find out that "limited release" meant 2 screens in L.A. and 2 in New York. Bastards. So another two week wait and finally a 45 minute trip to the nearest biggish city since our local cineplex wasn't showing it and the next closest cinema has seats that are so close they are crippling. Finally the husband and I were kicked back and ready to watch, and watch we did. I was riveted and the theater was completely silent the whole way through. When it was over the man sitting to the right of me turned to me and said "did you understand it?" I was quite surprised and said yes and he pressed "You understood what happened in the end?" I said yes and commented that it was kinda refreshing not to be spoon-fed everything. We discussed how wonderful the tone and setting of the movie was. Then on the way out, husband and I were talking about it and another man spoke to us as we were passing. Weren't we confused by it? I told him maybe a little but in a good way and that was completely true. I was looking forward to discussing different parts of it with my husband and getting his thoughts on some of the scenes. I loved this movie and didn't find it very confusing at all. I was really surprised to go on-line and see how many people couldn't follow what was happening!! Why??? Is it because some people have a harder time with face recognition and simply couldn't tell the characters apart? Normally I would include myself in that group but since I also am a bit of an entertainment Anglophile I knew every actor in that ensemble, perhaps that gave me an advantage. My husband doesn't though and he had no trouble following it. Nor did the friend who I went with to a second showing. There is really a hot divide between the understanders and the non-understanders with accusations of lying when you say you understood it or of being stupid if you didn't. Personally I wonder if alcohol is involved. Dinner and a couple of drinks most definitely won't mix with this movie. You need all your attention for it. I was looking forward to seeing it again since I was sure that I must have missed things so I went with a friend who is a huge Colin Firth fan ( well, who isn't ;-) ) On second viewing I did catch Smiley lying to Jim about the fate of the agents in Hungary after he was captured and the belief that he sold everyone out to save himself, something I had completely missed the first time around. Important to me because it put my original interpretation of Jim's final act in question. I thought it was a mercy killing, now I'm not so sure, it seems like it could be an act of vengeance manipulated by Smiley. I particularly like my husbands suggestion that he was ordered to do it, cleaning up so to speak, and that he was going back to the Circus. The most telling thing I took away from my second viewing was how straight forward the story was. They were really not coy at all in the storytelling. Esterhaus asks "What about Smiley?" and there a close up of Smiley (and a long sequence of Smiley and Control leaving together after Control announces that Smiley would be leaving with him) It seems very obvious yet my husband, who was able to follow the movie without much trouble, confessed that he didn't know who Smiley was until he saw Jane Smiley's letter. Ricky Tarr tells the Secretary that he can check on who he is with his boss, Peter Guillam. Next scene is a long sequence of Guillam walking down the street and entering the Circus. Connie Sachs explains her suspicions about the Russian diplomat using pictures, text and video, verifies that her suspicions were correct and still people were confused about who he was and why he wasn't arrested. Dates and names are mentioned again and again. Once you realize the Christmas party is a flash back it shouldn't be that confusing the second or third time you go there. Is it because there was no big twist or reveal? That the movie didn't act the way people expect spy movies to? It went from point A to point B and on. A straight story with one nice slow-burning suspense scene with Benedict but otherwise an understated unfolding of a tale where the hero is a middle aged spy who's preparation for capturing the mole involved taking off his shoes, removing his revolver from it's plastic zippered pencil case bag and eating a mint.God, I loved it.     

The End of Harry
norman and wolf
siptah57

We'll be leaving in less than an hour to see Harry Potter. Woohoo! We would really have liked to see part 1 again before we went but just couldn't get organized enough to do so. Usually we would have seen it a couple of times in the theater but David broke his leg not long after it opened and we never got back to it. I hope I'll remember the first part well enough. Really, really looking forward to some serious Snape time in this one. Curious how they are going to do it, my poor broken hero. Be back later with some thoughts, I'm sure. 


State of the Union
norman and wolf
siptah57

It seems that our lives have been in such disarray lately. It's tempting to say it has been since David broke his leg but in reality it started before that, when he began to work the swing shift at the hospital. I had never lived with a zombie before. I didn't like it. Our lives had no structure. There was no time that was sleep time, wake time or work time, it was all smeared together. There were no week-ends and I went two years without knowing what day of the week it was. I made sure he got up when he was supposed to and fed him because he really couldn't be trusted to get up on his own. Left to his own devices he would have slept for 24 hours, alarm  blaring in his ear. He was so fatigued that when he broke his leg I was actually kind of relieved. At least he was going to get some rest. Of course they laid him off just when he was getting ready to go back on light duty and his job became getting another job. Not so easy in this economy. Our smart, well educated and very capable friend is still unemployed two years after her job was cut, or at least underemployed, making due with a week-end job and the occasional temp positions and is looking down the barrel of bankruptcy. David fared better. He was let go in January and is employed again by June although at a wage that is like he climbed into the TARDIS and went back in time 15 years. It is, however, a normal Mon-Fri, daytime job and I figured it would be a good time to go back into a paying job myself. I really don't care what I'm doing for work, just something that will take up the slack of his lower wage. During the time when we were both free David's brother called and asked if we would be agreeable to help care for his wife's elderly step-mother who had come to live with them. We said yes because you do for family and they have been very helpful to us over the years. It would be good to be able to return the favor. We made arrangements to go there and get training basically, but in the mean time David was hired and I begain to look for a job in earnest. We went , but with the idea that we were going to have to tell them we weren't going to be as available as we originally thought. After talking to my sister-in-law though I realized she really needed help. SHE needed help. She REALLY needed help. The whole situation was fraught with emotional landmines since this elderly lady, Bess, is the wicked step-mother and was (and is) hated by the children of her husband's first marriage. My sister-in -law is caring for her because she feels it is the right thing to do, because she is attempting to put her faith into action and to help herself find some sort of closure to the anger she still has. I realized that I needed to do this thing. In a lot of ways I would just as soon be flipping burgers at McDonald's but I don't really care if someone gets a good Big Mac. I do however care if my sister-in-law loses her mind or has a nervous break-down. It's better for Bess too. I have no emotional baggage with her. She is just a peppery 96 year old who deserves to be cared for to the best of my ability. That includes kindness and compassion and tact, things that my sister -in -law is struggling to provide. So I have a job now. It's irregular and the wage is less than I would be making if I were doing it for a respite care organization, but it's acceptable and I'm helping my family so it's all good.  

the other Frankenstein
norman and wolf
siptah57

We just got back from seeing the Jonny Lee Miller as The Creature and Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor version of Frankenstein for the first time. I can't believe how different it seemed to me. I've seen the other version twice and although it was a while ago I was pretty sure I remembered it. The camera shots seemed different and the DIALOG seemed different. I can kinda see the camera possibly changing but not  the dialog. It must be because of the change of actors. Amazing really. I confess that I am a BC fan so I am obviously going to be biased in his favor. JLM was brilliant as The Creature. He starts out as very childlike which makes sense since he based his performance on his 2 year old son, Buster.  The thing that I took away from watching his Creature progress was how ANGRY he became. Some other's reviews I've read have seen him as being less menacing than BC's Creature but frankly I found him more so. The physical altercations between The Creature and Victor happened in a flurry of violence that was very convincing, although I think some of that was BC, who wasn't afraid to really thrash around and go down hard on the stage. Still, The Creature really was JLM's role. He was powerful in it and it suited him. Benedict Cumberbatch's Creature was a tour de force however. It's a role that has changed even his fan's ideas of what he is capable of. When I commented on the strength of JLM's  performance as The Creature my husband said "Yes, but there were parts from the other Creature that I missed." Me too, and if I'm completely honest it would be all of it. My perfect Frankenstein would have BC in both the roles. I feel so guilty about thinking that, poor Jonny, I'm so sorry. And BC's Victor! There was a lot going on there. He even made me feel some sympathy for the character, which was a first for me. There is an expression I like "When you find yourself in a hole, first thing to do is put the shovel down."  To me Victor found himself in a very deep hole and was desperately trying to get out of it but he just couldn't bring himself to put the f**king shovel down! I also felt that while JLM's Victor seemed distracted and disconnected most of the time BC's felt like he was a laudanum addict  teetering on the edge of a breakdown. When he enters his lab and sees the Creature for the first time he is well and truly freaked out. When JLM's Victor ran shouting from the room during that scene I thought he was perhaps going to get help, but I had no illusions about BC's Victor. He was running, screaming from the room in fear. He obviously he hadn't really thought what he would do if he actually succeeded in his experiments. It also occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons BC's Creature didn't feel as scary to me was that he was being played across to a rather passive Victor. Almost as if BC's emoting was being absorbed or muffled by this sort of soft Victor. The scenes between the two in this version however were like BOOM! All the Creature and Victor scenes in this version were far superior IMO but I preferred BC's Creature in everything else. Right now I would love to watch the other version again to compare and remind myself but it no longer exists. :-( Not unless they make a dvd and although I fervently hope I'm wrong, I really don't think that is going to happen. One last thing and it's a ridiculous fan girl observation. I have always thought of BC as being quite graceful and athletic. I've watched him  race, leap, hop, climb, fold himself in half and arrive on scene by sliding down a two story steel pole. Give the man a long, swishy coat and he strides and sweeps like a champion. He has an impressive physical presence. As noticed tonight in the preview documentary when he is sent out with the other actors to walk around the set during rehearsals , off he goes in converse sneakers, jeans, ratty tee shirt and hair sticking every which way, his natural stride a goofy, loping, and to me completely endearing, walk. What an actor! :-D

Love note 1
norman and wolf
siptah57

The other day we were going through a stack of old papers searching for the horse's registrations when I came across some diary pages. They were not from my diary but from David's. Many, many years ago, we went through a phase where I encouraged David to keep a diary and he thought it would be fun to do so we bought him a nice notebook and knowing myself I probably covered it with some artwork and he carried it around with him. He rarely actually wrote in it though. I took to writing in it secretly so that when he DID finally open it he would find notes from me. Usually I was waiting for him while he was occupied doing a horse thing, generally carriage driving. The following one was written while waiting at Fuller's Arena for David to return from a drive with one of his clients, a peppery old school teacher (in her 90's, now sadly deceased) named Matthew and her Gypsy Vanner Pony, Steptoe.
I think I was set up today. Off you go with Matthew, which you NEVER mentioned. I was thinking- do Orpheus at 12:00, be at Whole Foods Market by 1:00 and home by 3:00 at the latest. It's 2:30 and you are still off driving. Rat Fink. I think you brought that book for me. When you brought it I was thinking- why is he bringing that? When does he intend to read it? Why does he seem so nervous? No wonder. If you had told me I might have brought the right one, or at least my music. You are on probation, young man. You better wa couch! I love you anyway, even though you are a sneaky rat bastard. Love, your wife.

 And then there is this one from the Polish Cultural Day parade.
I think I write in this thing more than you do. Where are you now as you are reading this? I am sitting in our truck babysitting Izora and Katie. A stranger reading that would think we had children, twins perhaps. Izora, that's an interesting name. Sounds old world German. Perhaps they are immigrants. I hope you have fun with the Polish ladies. May they feed you many delicious galumpkies. See what a generous wife I am, to wish you fun with other ladies? Large Polish ladies with generous galumpkies? All men should be so lucky. See you at the party tonight, remember, studio 18. Love, the better 2/3rds 

A date with Frankenstein, pt.2
norman and wolf
siptah57

Being a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and knowing that the play is very Creature- centric I was certain that I would be satisfied with seeing only the Benedict as Creature version. Now after having seen it all I can say is I most certainly am NOT. I really feel I MUST see the other version. It struck me as strange the number of people I have read about that have seen it multiple times. Not just twice, which is understandable, but as many times as they can. Now it makes more sense to me. Everything about the production is so rich and intricate, the staging, the writing and especially the main performances. How can you really see it in only one viewing? Never mind the fact that it is actually two plays. David doesn't know it yet but he is destined to see the Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature version also and I actually don't think he will mind.There are a lot of themes addressed in the story. To my mind nature vs. nurture, what constitutes life, the meaning of humanity, scientific responsibility and, I am sure, many others as well but at the very end there was a scene that really got me. The Creature says mournfully that he is different. He tries to find words that make it clearer but he comes back to the same thing. He is different and there is no acceptance for him. All I could think of is all the parts of society that are still marginalized and have difficulty finding acceptance. Gays, the differently- abled, the obese, the mentally ill. etc. The people that other people turn away from. They may not be the only one of their kind but you don't have to be the Creature to feel isolated. I really had a moment of heart break that was totally outside of the story. It was a friggin' brilliant piece of dramatic art and there was applause in the auditorium at the end, including my skeptical husband. I'm so grateful that The National Theatre has pioneered this cinema screening format. I know I won't hesitate to spend the extra money to see a play broadcast again. With luck perhaps other theatres will get on the bandwagon. The Metropolitan Opera already does it but we only have one person interested in opera in the house, plays are the better bet. Oh, how I would love to see War Horse.

A date with Frankenstein
norman and wolf
siptah57
David and I went to see the NT Live Broadcast of Danny Boyle's Frankenstein tonight. It was playing in Shelburn Falls at Pothole Pictures, a venue that we have never been to before. Shelburn is small, really small and Pothole pictures is a funky place. It is in the Memorial Hall auditorium and is run completely by volunteers. The auditorium is old, the seats are horrible but the screen is good , so it's all good. They actually have huge stacks of seat cushions for people to use, most obviously hand made, in the back of the room. The nice little old lady who let us in (we were the first ones there, of course) said "Make sure you help yourself to the seat cushions" We stalked up and down, seat cushions in hand, to find the perfect distance and plunked ourselves mid- screen. I had read just about everything I could about the play before I realized I would get a chance to see it, and of course told David all about it as well, so in a way that was too bad. I can't even begin to imagine what the experience would be for someone completely unknowing to sit in that audience and watch it. Even knowing almost everything that was going to happen, I was riveted. At one point I realized I was leaning forward in my seat, my hand over my mouth. The whole opening sequence when The Creature is trying to learn how to use his body, OMG. He has no voice and no understanding, just the instinct to stand and move. It reminded me of a new-born foal, only hands and feet are more complicated to control than hooves. Benedict Cumberbatch played the Creature and unlike the other performances he wore a loin cloth thing rather than being nude. Contrary to some people, I was all for it. I adore him but I don't think I'm really comfortable knowing that much about him and the camera was really loving the close-ups. I'm sure that they took into consideration that it was showing globally as well but I have to say that watching him flail around and drag himself across the stage I was glad his sensitive bits had some protection. I don't have one myself but I was still like "Eee, be careful there!" Besides I was busy perving on his toes, they are really long (as are mine) and he was doing things like trying to grab snowflakes off the ground with them. That whole scene when it is snowing and he is so totally distracted by the miracle of snow he can't concentrate on the blind man's teaching, capturing snowflakes in his hands and then peeking inside to see them, oh my heart. It's 1:30 a.m. I'm getting sleepy so I think I'll make this post in two parts and hit the sack *yawn* 

Cumberbatched!!!
norman and wolf
siptah57
Benedict Cumberbatch is a thing to behold. I can't remember when I was last so suddenly and completely smitten. Of course I was completely smitten by Colin Morgan a couple of years ago and continue to be so but that lovely Irish lad had been a complete revelation to me when Merlin came out. (Actually I realized later that I had seen him in Dr. Who. It was an OMG, yeah! moment)  Benedict Cumberbatch, however, I have seen in quite a few things without him really registering with me. I didn't even remember his name (and how could you forget something like that once it got into your consciousness) Obviously it is Sherlock that got me. On seeing it I thought that the casting was perfect and for the first time in a long time I thought I had found an actor that could pull off my favorite literary character that has not yet been portrayed in film, Francis Crawford of Lymond. Trying to cast that non-existent PBS series in my head has been an enjoyable exercise for a long time. I've come up with some interesting choices for all of the parts except for Lymond himself. No one would do since I first considered a young David Bowie, back when he dabbled in acting. The closest I've come is Colin Morgan. I have never seen him play a chill intellect or a man who is capable of military command but I have complete faith that he would be able to step into any well written skin (and even some not so well written) and be brilliant. He has the slender build and the outrageous beauty and the blue eyes but what I could never wrap my head around is that I could never see Colin Morgan playing BLOND. And blond is what Francis Crawford absolutely must be, it is actually integral to the story. So sadly no Colin Morgan although he is close. Now here is some guy with the stuffiest name ever, cheekbones that could cut glass and a tongue that could draw blood. He could do the razor intellect and wounding tongue. He could do the beauty, the slender whipcord strength and the extreme fairness. A pair of blue contacts over the gray eyes and I have  found my Francis Crawford at last! Curious I watched his other performances and quite a few interviews and to my shock Benedict Cumberbatch is no Francis Crawford, he's Will Scott! He is so affable and self-deprecating. And he's a ginger! He was totally made to play Will Scott in all his earnest and somewhat hapless passion. Well...I can't cast him in both roles, he is just going to have to play Francis, I'll think of someone else for Will but it will be hard to think of someone better. Although B.C is obviously intelligent and quite articulate he is so mild and funny. It is incredible the gulf between Sherlock and Benedict. I guess BC is the  real deal, an actor who is now in danger of becoming a celebrity. I would hate to see it happen to him. He doesn't need the exposure to get work, he is very busy both on screen in supporting roles and especially on stage where he can work to his heart's content in the many theaters in the city he lives in with his long-time partner and ride his motorcycle to work every night. Celebrity is far more likely to screw him up then help him so I feel a little guilty about joining the tidal wave that might swamp him. I just can't help myself though, I've been Cumberbatched! 

Norway?
norman and wolf
siptah57

As I walked down to the barn last night to do the chores I suddenly had a feeling that I was in Norway, or at least what I imagine Norway being like. The trees are plastered with snow, the pine's boughs bent to the ground under their load. The field is nearly featureless under the depth of the snow, the 5 foot electric fence showing only the topmost strands. And it was snowing...again. And blowing brutal cold. I told David my fancy and he said sourly  "Not Norway, Russia"  I can remember one winter that was worse but I don't remember worrying quite so much about it then. There is easily four feet of snow on the barn roof. It usually sheds it but the temperatures have been so low that every bit of snow that has fallen this winter has stayed. A couple of weeks ago we had a night that was 18 below not counting the wind chill. They had to cancel school because none of the school buses would run.  Last week after a two day storm a local barn roof collapsed and with another storm on the way there was a run on roof rakes. You couldn't find one to buy for love nor money. Fortunately those horses in the collapsed barn survived because their stalls were built under the hay loft but we began to give our barn roof the hairy eyeball. It is fairly flat on the shed extension and it needed repairs this fall, which I did myself since David had a broken leg. I thought I did a pretty good job of it but now I'm getting nervous. I have been diligent about it  this winter, raking the snow off three or four times as far as I could reach with an iron rake and my freaky long arms, but it was still only about half the depth of the stalls beneath. Normally it isn't much of an issue since I am married to a monkey boy who will climb up on anything. He would usually be up there with a scoop shovel and just take care of it but since he is just now beginning to walk without crutches, well, we are both a little bit sensitive about safety. So on to the hunt for a roof rake. After about an hour of phone calls we actually found a place that was out of them but were planning to pick up an order the next day. If we wanted one we needed to go down there and pre-pay for one. This hardware store was a real hole-in-the -wall. It reminded me of Starr and Bullocks from Deadwood. You could hardly move in there, it was floor to ceiling with all kinds of weird things. There were metal buckets hanging from the ceiling! I wouldn't have been surprised if they had the stuff you needed to pan for gold. There was also an moth-eaten old dog sleeping in the corner that had a dirty price tag stuck to the pad of it's paw, which entertained me to no end, and about eight other people jammed into that little space doing the exact same thing we were doing...pre-buying a roof rake. Well, we managed to get one and spent the next two days pulling snow off of various structures on the farm, ugh, it's wet, cold, miserable work. I actually like winter which is good since this year, because of David's injury, I have spent much more time out in the elements that I usually do. Our own private Norway has it's wild beauty. Some times it's a glittering fairytale land with sugar frosted horses but other times it's raw and rather dangerous.  You can't see in the blowing snow and you get off the path and become mired in the drifts and the fairytale sugar horses become snorting, prehistoric- like beasts, their shaggy coats rattling with icicles. Every once in a while I think I'd like to live in town again but then I think, no, not yet.  


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