Monday, February 28, 2011

Listen to: Iron and Wine Tiny Desk Concert

Great tiny desk concert by Iron and Wine here courtesy of NPR and Sam Beam has a rockin' beard so there's that too. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sometimes I wish...

This post is inspired by Sometimes I Wish - Colin Hay. In the song he goes on to tell how he thinks about what it would be like for him to be born in a different era. I wonder about this from time to time.

What would it be like to have been born in the time of the Spartans (431-404 BC)? It probably would have been pretty lame for most of us. Some of us wouldn't have made it much past birth. We would have been bathed in wine shortly after we saw the light and that would have been it. The rest of us would have been thrown out because we were too small. What was left would have been trained in...KICKING ASS. Now I would imagine that this life would have been pretty boring. Going to the gym all day every day, beating each other up, bleeding all the time just to become soldiers. That was life to most of them, I guess. That's what wikipedia tells me anyway. I probably would have been a lousy soldier for the Spartans. I wouldn't have understood the borderline military paranoia that they created. Although it would have been sweet to fight in slow motion and dine in Hell...

The next era of interest to me probably would have been the good ole-d American West (1830-1920) because everyone had a horse and a gun. Now don't get me wrong the hats were pretty nice but I think the horses and the thrill of adventure are what would attract me to this time. Louis and Clark had finished their expedition only a few years earlier which meant there was still a lot of uncharted territory. Maybe I would have tagged alongside John Muir exploring California and the Northwest or possibly lived long enough to see the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawke.

The point is this era would have been great. Plenty of people proudly wearing mustaches and enough cattle to go around. While most hicks were probably out lassoing the loose bulls the rest of the people were carrying on the Industrial Revolution. There really was a lot going on. And in 1901 I would have been able to see the birth of something wonderful, the New York Yankees. Lastly there would have been wiki wiki Wild Wild West...

Don't hold your breath. Some of you may have seen this coming. The final era I would have liked to have lived in don don donnnnn, the late 1960s and on into the 1970s. Now I guess you could say this is somewhat of a cheat since I've picked to modern decades, well if you feel that way I don't care. The 60s were great mainly because of music and drugs. The Beatles released Rubber Soul (1965), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Then there was the development of rock with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in the 70s. A few other reason why this time period was great. The cars were beautiful, the beer flowed like wine, and the movies were epic as well. 2001 Space Odyssey (1968), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975), and Star Wars and Annie Hall (1977). Good stuff. American media was really hitting it's stride.

Although these would have been some interesting times to live in and I guess it doesn't make much sense for me to start out with an era I wouldn't like to live in and then move to two that I would, maybe I just like making fun of 300 whenever I can, Colin Hay's song is about a little more than this. He goes on to say:

You can never have it all.
You can have some things some of the time.
You can have most things nearly all the time.
But you can't have it all the time.

I've always liked this song because it has a fun and light vibe to it but then moves onto something deeper. Colin Hay's lyrics aren't known for being something you stew over for months and finally figure out what he's meaning like Bold as Love, but I still appreciate them just as much. It's nice to hear that we can't have everything in life. Most of the time we are just fine. Most of the time we just want a little more. I know for me all the time I need to practice a little more contentment.

Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything. - Aesop (Juno and the Peacock) Thank you John Bartlett.

If I've missed a great time to live in or if you have something else you'd like to tell me, commenting is encouraged.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Obama's 2012 Budget: Interactive Representation

Here is an interactive display of Obama's proposed budget. Education is still one of our lowest priorities or so it would seem from how much we're willing to spend on it. Federal Student Aid will be cut by 10% leaving their total budget to be $12.8 billion. Military procurement and research, cut by only 5% each, still has a combined budget over $200 billion. Why not combine student aid and defense spending and buy each home one of these?

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Oscar Screenwriting Nominees Q&A Podcast

A good discussion on screenwriting and the biz hosted by Jeff Goldsmith. Some talk of how The Black Swan is a prejudice movie and why 127 Hours isn't politically correct.

Original blogpost here.

Top Albums of 2010

Here is a list of my favorite releases of last year. They're in alphabetical order. Enjoy and if I've forgotten any or if you think these albums are duds then leave a comment.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs: A great follow up album to Neon Bible.

Caribou - Swim: Not sure what genre of music Caribou is but this set of songs is solid.

Drake - Thank Me Later: Poppy rap/hip-hop but executed well.

Jonsi - Go: Jonsi, the frontman from Sigur Ros nails his solo album.

Kanye - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: A decent rap album form Kanye again.

M.I.A. - Maya: Her sophomore album is good. Check out Space.

The National - High Violet: This album and Jonsi - Go were probably listened to the most. The National was my best discovery of last year. Good from start to finish.

Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back: Dig this album, pretty soft spoken but consistent.

Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History: My favorite pop-rock album of the year.

Vampire Weekend - Contra: Again I'm not sure how to classify it but an excellent album by Vampire Weekend.

The White Stripes - Under Great White Nothern Lights: Best live album of the year. Pure rock. I'm so sad that I won't be able to see them live now.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

RE: Both Sides Are Braced for Debt-Limit Debate

On my flight back to Denver this weekend I read the NY Times article about the budget debate. The article is mostly a report on the thoughts and proceedings of both parties. The Treasury Department's legal borrowing limit will be reached soon, the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner is advising that the limit will be reached at it's earliest on March 31.

Republicans apparently can't decide what they would like to cut. They are willing to only cut out of what they consider discretionary spending. Obviously for them this doesn't include the military budget ($660 billion) which is six times higher than China's and accounts for 40% of the total global arms spending (see, another). The US and our allies are responsible for over 66% of the world's military spending. Surely we can't cut dollars out of our military budget. No, let's cut things like green energy and keep Bush tax cuts. That seems like a great idea.

The Tea Party view is also profound "We’re telling them not to raise the debt limit," said Mark Meckler, the co-founder and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “When your credit card is maxed out, you don’t go to the credit-card company and say, 'Hey, if you would just give us more debt, it would be O.K.' " It's a great idea to just let the US Treasury department default on their line of credit. That wouldn't affect the markets in any way. Let's just be stubborn and let a fragile economy decline again.

Democrats aren't satisfying either. Obama is rolling over and giving away his power. It's beyond my understanding as to why he lets Republicans stay put on every single view they have and he meets them on their side, willing to "compromise." It's not a compromise if you're not getting anything in return (conflict resolution).

It's so bothersome to see our national debt rise year after year and the Democrats won't stand their ground and eliminate these stupid tax cuts for the top 2% and that we can't cut the military budget, which is insanely big, and keep some good things...or this, this must be good.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Top 10 Movies of 2010

1. Social Network - A great movie that isn't really about Facebook. The screenwriting is spectacular. The conversations are intriguing. The score by Trent Reznor is just enough. David Fincher has done a great job of keeping this film's pace upbeat and there is never a dull moment. Let's end the Jesse Eisenberg or Michael Cera discussions now.

2. 127 Hours - This movie did not come as a surprise to me but what did surprise me was how inspired I was when I left the theater. I couldn't wait to get home and start planning my next summer's camping trips. After listening to the Creative Screenwriting Podcast featuring Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy it sounds like they kept this movie very true to the real events that Aron Ralston faced. From a summary this movie might seem boring but Boyle did Ralston's experience a wonderful justice and kept things interesting. James Franco is great in this and seems like he is probably a lot like this character in real life. Love Sigur Ros - Festival playing at the end.

3. Somewhere - Sofia Coppola's newest movie is about an actor who doesn't really know what he's doing in life. The only thing that defines Stephen Dorff's character is where he is located at any given moment. He drives a Ferrari because he has the money. He pays strippers to come to his hotel room and pole dance to the Foo Fighters - My Hero and Amerie - 1 thing wearing matching outfits but they just dance and leave, nothing more. He doesn't show any emotion when they're dancing. These stripper scenes crack me up. This film is great in its portrayal of an artist who can have pretty much anything he wants but in the end he doesn't know what he wants. Through the course of the movie he figures out what he enjoys and it's great watching that unfold.

Honorable Mentions:
Enter the Void - Gaspar Noe's cinematography
Easy A - Tucci family dynamic
I Am Love - Tilda Swinton

*It's possible this list might change once I get to a few other movies that are on my list: A ProphetCarlosDogtoothAll Good ThingsBlue Valentine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This past weekend I watched the movie Greenberg with my girlfriend Michelle. We had to watch it in several pieces because of my inability to stay awake through an entire film. Disappointing, I know. Although I had to put the bits together it was an interesting movie. Based on Noah Baumbach's previous works The Squid and the Whale, a very solid movie and Margot at the Wedding which I wasn't a big fan of, I wasn't too sure of what to expect. Stiller did a great job playing the neurotic Roger Greenberg who is burdened by people in general.

Throughout the movie Greenberg talks about "writing a letter" when coming across less than pleasing situations, situations that wouldn't even bring a thought to the average persons mind. Towards the end of the movie we see him mailing letters to a mish-mash of vendors from Starbucks to the local vet. One of his letters gets published in the Times. It's these letters that keep him from going insane which we know he already has.

Roger Greenberg used to be a musician and broke up the band for the same reason that he writes his letters, because things aren't right. He is now a carpenter which seems like a great job. He comes to LA to take care of his brother's dog and "do nothing." But by trying to "do nothing" he seems to fall in love with his brother's house keeper played by Greta Gerwig. Stiller's character is one of those people that can never be happy with anything. He knows that he's in love with Florence, Gerwig's character but he tells his friend, Ivan, that he doesn't want to pursue it because it's easy.

In Greenberg we see Roger go through the movie and we're not sure if he learns anything. In the end he makes a rash decision and ends up not going through with it because it isn't right. It's his general unhappiness with the situations he puts himself in that ends up saving him from making a bad decision but it's also this attitude that keeps him from being happy.

I like this movie and actually was surprised by it. Stiller is good in a not straight up comedy role. I found myself laughing more than Michelle did but I think we both enjoyed the movie and probably for different aspects. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie.

To say that I'm excited for this movie wouldn't be quite correct, I'm really more nervous than anything. It takes some balls to make one of the greatest books into a movie, let alone a 1000 page great book. From the short bits that I've read around the interwebs it seems like they've done a good job in making this movie at least how the financial investors or I should say investor wanted it. With a release date of April 15, 2011 I'm guessing they have everything filmed and mostly produced so hopefully there will be some kind of trailer soon. Although trailers never can be trusted for how good a movie will be or what the story is like ie. Spider-Man 3, 300, etc.

If anyone reading this post has not read this book go buy it and finish it. Even if you don't agree with the views proposed in the book it's still a great novel. If you have read Atlas Shrugged and agree or disagree that it is a great book please leave a comment below. Let's not be afraid of discussion.