Monday, June 02, 2008

May's Books & Movies

First things, first: Let's go, Red Wings! Let's go, Red Wings! Let's go, Red Wings! Let's go, Red Wings!!

I will not even comment on how much Sid the Kid is disgusting me with his whiny-ass attitude and poor loserness to say nothing of his incredibly lame-ass play-off beard. If you can't grow one, SHAVE!!! You look stupid.

Now, on to our previously scheduled programming:

It's the beginning of a new month and we all know what that means. I bore you with my reading and movie watching lists for the previous month.

I did a LOT better in May than I had in April (which was beyond pathetic).


Paper Lion by George Plimpton – 374 pages – this was the 40th anniversary edition with photographs never before seen. I couldn't care less or know less about football, but this book was quite enjoyable. When he would describe plays that he had to learn, my eyes would glaze over, but thankfully, they were rare, indeed. I'm sure I appreciate this book more because it was about the Detroit Lions, as opposed to any other team, but I think it's a book worthy of being read. I wanted to watch the movie, but it's not out on DVD yet. DAMMIT!!!

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs – 368 pages – I was absolutely loving this book and already predicting its nomination as Book of the Month, but then (HUGE SPOILER ALERT) the main character died and it pissed me off so badly, it wasn't even funny. A woman in my own knitting club also read it and at our monthly get together two weeks ago she mentioned it and how much she hated it (it was particularly bad for her because her mother had just died). Honestly, it could have been writing by Danielle Steele, the ending sucked so much.

You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen – 248 pages – Darn near every woman who stopped by my desk while I was reading this book picked it up and read the jacket and expressed interest in reading it. Obviously, it struck a chord with them. I don't know how helpful it was for me, because darn near all the examples in the book didn't apply to me or my mother. Figures that I have to be different even in that regard. My mother never says "You're wearing that?" Although she hates my haircut, she's learned not to say anything. And she's never ever ever ever said anything like "When are you going to get married?" So, while my mother might drive me crazy in some respects, she knows where NOT to go.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – 336 pages – I had read this before, but with the movie out on DVD and a copy from Netflix being in my house, I wanted to read it again, so I can be appropriately ticked off when they change the story to suit some BS reason. I still liked it even after a second read. You'll notice that the movie didn't get watched, but it wasn't from lack of trying. The DVD that I got from Netflix was unplayable, but I have to say I saw enough to know that I'm going to be highly annoyed when I do finally watched it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – 203 pages – That link takes you to the original Outside magazine article on which Krakauer based the book. Even though I have read other books by Jon Krakauer, I had never read his first. I picked it up sometime last year and finally got around to it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I think I might be adding it to my queue soon. I felt sorry for Chris/Alex, the young man about whom the article and book are written. At the same time, I was very much impressed at all he did in the short time he tramped around the continent. I know that do not have the wherewithal to survive in the circumstances he created for himself. And I don't just mean his final trip to Alaska, but all of it. I feel very sorry for his family who had to suffer with not knowing where he was for those 2-3 years of his tramping, but also not knowing why he was so angry with them that he would take off and not tell them where he was. A very sad book.

No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts with new postscript from the author – 356 pages – A good dozen years ago I got into reading mountain climbing books, including Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. In that book, Krakauer talked a bit about Ed Viesturs and all he had done (along with his team) to help the survivors of the '96 Everest tragedy. In all the other books I've read, nobody has ever had anything bad to say about Ed Viesturs, so when I saw he had finally written his own book about being the first American to climb all fourteen 8000 meter mountains without supplemental oxygen (and only the sixth person in the world to do it), I had to get it. Ed Viesturs is a man whose hand I would like to shake. He seems like one of the truly good people in this world. His mantra is "Getting to the top is optional (or great or something like that), getting down is mandatory." He talks about the friends he has lost in the mountains over the years, including the two guides on Everest in '96, which made me tear up all over again. So sad. (if you're going to say something negative about how they do it to themselves and how it's not necessary to climb mountains, or some such BS, I don't want to hear it – just for the record – do it at your own blog.)


5/5 – Ocean's Thirteen (K) – What can I say? I like the Ocean's movies – all three of them. I think they're fun and smart.

5/11 - The Sandlot - 1993 – We watched this at my sister's house on Mother's Day (in an effort to get my brother-in-law's nephew to shut up about his video game – if I could remember the name of the game, I could tell you all about to beat it, because this kid talked for HOURS about it). The YS and I were the only ones in the house (except for Mom and Grandma, who don't really count because they never see movies) who had never seen this movie. Everybody would walk into the room and say, "Oh you're watching The Sandlot." It was pretty darn funny. I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. I could see at one point where the plot was going to go and I dreaded it, but in the end I quite enjoyed the movie.

5/18 - Waitress (N) – 2007 – I rented this because of my Nathan Fillion obsession. The YS watched it a month or so before me and didn't know who Nathan Fillion was (sad, so sad) and asked me "Is the bad husband?" so I was all worried that he played someone icky and that would have made me sad. Thankfully, he didn't play the icky husband. Whew! I have to say that I loved this movie. I even watched it a second time right away with the commentary. It's a sad movie, not in plot, but in knowing that the director who also wrote it and acted in it was murdered shortly after it was finished and before it appeared at Sundance, and that the little girl at the end with Keri Russell was the director's actual daughter. It makes me sad thinking about it.

5/26 - Because of Winn-Dixie - 2005 – My boss lent me this book a good 3 years or so ago, and I quite enjoyed it, so when I saw the movie was showing on TV, I DVRd it. I should learn from this, because I didn't re-read the book and I quite liked the movie, even though I'm pretty sure there were things in the movie that weren't in the book. I thought Jeff Daniels was perfect as the preacher father and the little girl who played Opal was amazing. I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to people who have children.

5/26 & 27 - Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (Sundance) – 2007 – My DVR only captured Chapters 1-3 & 6 of this mini-series and it bummed me out a little bit. I'm not quite sure what I think of this show. It's not really a movie, per se, but a female director basically films herself talking to her girlfriends, about her relationships, etc. I found it quite interesting, as the director is a single woman about my own age, but, perhaps, it's the difference of living in Detroit vs. New York, or maybe it's just the differences between the two of us, but her life is vastly different from mine, and I don't mean in general terms, but more in how we view relationships with the opposite sex, etc. I had a little trouble relating to her, but that could be my Catholic upbringing… ;-)

5/28 - Garbage Warrior (Sundance) – 2007 – The Garbage Warrior is an architect who has used garbage to build houses in the deserts of Santa Fe, NM. The houses are self-sustaining – no electrical or water hook-up – and made from bottles (plastic and glass) or tires, etc. It was utterly fascinating, especially watching him fight the New Mexico legislature trying to get laws passed that encourages people to be creative and try new things (after losing his architect's license). The film showed him in the Andaman islands after the 2004 tsunami where he was asked to build houses that can withstand another earthquake/tsunami. The whole villages turns out to help and are thrilled with what he shows them (the children of the village collected plastic bottles to be used as construction material and were paid a few rupees per bottle). After the Andaman islands, he's next shown in Mexico after Hurrican Rita where he discusses how countries ravaged by natural disasters are more willing to learn new ways to do things. After these events, the NM legislature finally sees the benefits of his bill and gives the green light for his experimental area. I would definitely recommend this movie, especially for those people who like the whole idea of living "off the grid" or new ways to put garbage to a good use.

Book of the Month has to be No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts. It was a toss-up between this book and Paper Lion, but while Paper Lion didn't make me want to read more books about football, No Shortcuts has me going through my bookshelves picking out the mountain climbing/adventure books I haven't read yet.

Movie of the Month is Waitress - and not just because it had Nathan Fillion in it. ;-)

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At Monday, 02 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Damn. The old guy lust has infected you too? *sigh*

At Monday, 02 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Oh... and you'll be happy to know that I've decided not to watch the game tonight.

You see... I tuned in at the start of the third, and Pitt was ahead 2-1. Then I watched for a few minutes and Detwah scored twice making it 2-3. So I stopped watching, and then just popped by to see the score and it was OT tied 3-3. I ain't watchin' the rest!

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

I did post - I just did it today and my post is the same as yours - books & movies. :D

I have the Stardust book but haven't read it yet - I loved the movie so for the movie's sake, probably a good thing I did it in that order! And Waitress...such a great movie!! Nathan is adorable (how did your YS NOT know him???) and even though Jeremy Sisto is a creep, he's still yummy! :D

And no words on the Wings...although I will say I love me some Chris Osgood!

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

In defense of not shaving and the playoffs (and really anytime sports are involved) I have to go with not shaving for one reason. If you sweat soon after shaving your face and neck burrrrrn like crazy. If I know Mona has chores planned for me on a weekend I won't shave, just to avoid the discomfort.

I never read Paper Lion, but I've seen the movie on TV a few times. You get a real sense of what Pro Football is and the guys who play it. They have Alex Karas mic'd during some scrimmages. He was one scary guy.

I read Stardust a few years ago, but I must have borrowed it from the library (probably the Snow branch) and haven't reread it. It wasn't super fresh in my mind when I saw the movie and as a result probably enjoyed more. I did recall a few things that were missing/changed, but it's hard to fit 364 pages into 120 minutes, so I forgave the film makers.

On to The Sandlot. You just now saw it? You're killing me, Smalls!

That movie is an all time classic. The scene with the lifeguard kills me every time. The narrator makes it "He'd kissed a woman. He'd kissed long, and he'd kissed her good."

There's so much in that film. If only something exploded it would be the perfect movie.

As an FYI, the perfect movie is Joe Versus the Volcano. It's got suspense, drama, comedy, romance, adventure and explosions. But that's just one man's opinion.

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - Nathan Fillion isn't old!!! I'm thinking he might be younger than me!

I wish you had watched...maybe we would have won - staying up for three OTs made for a good time this morning.

Heather - ;-) I love Ozzie, too.

Jorge - They shave during the regular season with no problem. A couple of Red Wings know their beards are pathetic and they shave. Easily done.

Yeah, I probably shouldn't have re-read the book. I understand you have to leave things out of book - it's when they change/add things that drives me crazy. You thought the book was good enough to make it into a movie, follow the bloody book!

I actually loved The Sandlot, although I was worried when he took the ball. Those things never work out well.

I've heard Joe vs the Volcano was absolutely horrible!

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger MW said...

I actually watched Paper Lion a few months ago, not because I cared about the story (I didn't), but because I love watching perfectly restored movies that show the world the way it looked when I was a kid (even if I didn't grow up in the city).

The Friday Night Knitting Club... (HUGE SPOILER ALERT) ---- Aw, rats! And I was going to read it too! ;-p

No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks. ---- Maybe someday scientists will find the disorder in people's brains that makes them think freezing to death - for no sensible reason - is fun.

Waitress... It's a sad movie. ---- I feel the same way about the excellent il Postino (1994). It was directed by Massimo Troisi, who also played the lead character (a very likable one). Against Troisi's doctor's wishes - in real life -, he kept putting off a heart operation in order to finish the movie. He died of that heart ailment twelve hours after filming was completed. It's impossible to forget that fact as you watch the movie. I highly recommend it.

Garbage Warrior... After these events, the NM legislature finally sees the benefits of his bill. ---- I saw this guy on the news long ago. It really should be none of the government's business what people build on their own property, but most Americans just don't care enough to call them out on it.

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I read a Knitting Club book, but I think I recommended it to you. Was it Friday NIght Knitting Club? I don't know. I thought you would like it because you're in a knitting club.

My daughter's favorite film is "Waitress." I thought it was all right.

Loved Stardust, the film. Have yet to read it though!

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

You know that part where I said my comments about Joe Versus the Volcano was just one man's opinion?

I meant it in the literal sense. :-)

I'm reasonably sure that I am the only person with that opinion, and that includes the producer, writer and director (whoever they are).

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

Stardust is one of the few Neil Gaiman books that I have not read. Loved the movie.

Nathan Fillion, who is FIVE years YOUNGER than me, is NOT OLD, no matter what LL says.

I really enjoyed watching Waitress, and yes, not just because of Nathan Fillion. Made extra sad by the real life circumstances that happened outside the film, it is a touching movie. Love the whole mother/daughter thing going on. And I want some "Falling In Love Pie". Among others...

At Tuesday, 03 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Just because he's younger than the two of you, don't mean he's not old... ;P

At Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

MW - I'm pretty sure Ed Viesturs didn't freeze to death. I still need to see Il Postino. Spoken like a true libertarian. ;-P

Beth - Did you read the Friday Night Knitting Club book?

Jorge - Ah, so you're the one person who liked that movie...good to know. ;-)

Fermi - I'd recommend the book, of course.

LL - You're so sweet, as always. Pppphhhhhfffffttttt!!!

At Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, Blogger Scott said...

Out of all the reviews, I'm going with Garbage Warrior. That sounds totally intriguing. I'm still working on getting a copy of Stardust from my library, but it's always checked out.

At Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Hey Kath! Guess what I'm not watching tonight! :P

At Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, Blogger Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'm guessing you're a huge Firefly fan, then?

At Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - So far, it's not working...nyah nyah! *knock on wood* ;-)

Toast - Yeah, I was bitten by the Firefly bug. ;-) A friend gave me the series for my b-day two years ago and I think I've watched the entire series at least two times and more than like three.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Paper Lion I've always wanted to read. I hope he didn't get too injured playing. That's absolutely crazy he managed to pull off that stunt. But then again, it's the Lions, so how much worse could he have made the team? Sorry. I shouldn't have gone there.

I checked out Stardust from the library and returned it without reading it. Shame on me. I really do want to read it, but time was the issue. The movie sucked. Michelle Phieffer was great and so was Robert De Niro, but the rest of the movie was atrocious.

I have yet to see Hollywood do Gaiman any justice.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

ZS - I would be perfectly willing to mail you my copy of Paper Lion (and Stardust, if Scott doesn't take me up on my offer to mail it to him), so that way you don't have to worry about library due dates. I just ask that I get it back eventually. ;-)

I still haven't watched the movie (there's been important hockey to watch), but hopefully soon and I can judge for myself how bad it is. The Netflix blurb talks about Tristran (for some reason Hollywood took out the extra "r" in his name) "BATTLES", not in the book. I'm hoping it's a mistake on the Netflix blurb writer's part and not what actually happens in the movie, because that'll piss me off.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

I read Paper Lion when I was a kid. One of my favorite sports books ever. Never saw the movie.

Garbage Warrior sounds the most interesting of the movies by far.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr. - It's hard to argue with you re: Garbage Warrior, it was very fascinating. I was actually envisioning myself living in the middle of freaking nowhere reliant on nothing, since you also grew your own food. Of course, I have no clue how I would get yarn, as my vision included me having so much time to knit.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Anonymous Natur Line Sex said...

What an experience to wear those.

At Thursday, 05 June, 2008, Blogger MW said...

Kathleen: I'm pretty sure Ed Viesturs didn't freeze to death.

MW: You know full well what I mean. I wasn't referring to just one particular individual. ;-)

Kathleen: Spoken like a true libertarian. ;-P

MW: So you believe that Americans should not have the right to build whatever they please on their own private property (just so long as they don't infringe in some physical way on their neighbors' property)? You honestly think, for example, that Americans need to pay some busybody government bureaucracy a fee in order to get their snooty permission to build a sun room onto the back of their house? Ah, that poor, outdated Constitution. What were those naive fools thinking when they wrote it back in 1787?

Kathleen: I was actually envisioning myself living in the middle of freaking nowhere reliant on nothing, since you also grew your own food.

MW: Sure! You can be easily influenced to live in the west by some "crazy" old guy who builds houses of out garbage, but when I suggest it, it's like the end of the world! LOL!! ;-D

At Saturday, 07 June, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Kathleen - Thanks, but it's not the library's fault I can't manage my reading time. My Grandma sent me a book to read and I also bought Peter Lynch and Jim Cramer's books (I don't want to work in my 60s, it's not about me being rich, but not having to work).

So, yeah, I'll get around to both books, but other books keep getting in the way. Thanks for the offer though.

Oh, by the way, also read a fellow blogger's Masters Thesis. Funny thing is I learned a heck of a lot more from her Masters Thesis than most books I've read recently. It was 56 pages long, but not an easy read because it was so detailed with fact after fact (as Masters Theses have to be).

At Monday, 09 June, 2008, Blogger Ben O. said...

The Sandlot is a classic. Watch it with kids. Totally fun.


Great stuff.

Ben O.

At Monday, 09 June, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...


This is not related to anything you’ve posted, and you may already have heard, but just in case…

I was listening to “Fresh Air” on NPR today and she was talking to Anton Corbijn about his movie, Control. Apparently it’s about Joy Division and has just been released on DVD.

Here’s a link to the article:

At Monday, 09 June, 2008, Blogger Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

For want of an error already made where I missed someone on my travels, let me know if you are on my route around the states. I'm doing both coasts and the deep south. It'd be a hoot to meet you

At Wednesday, 11 June, 2008, Blogger Sal said...

Nathan Fillion is NOT old, he's a year older than me and I'm often told that I'm not even middle aged (although I disagree, I mean how old do you plan to be?). I loved Starust and saw it on a miserable flight back from Brasil, but I have not read the book. Netflix doesn't have Garbage Warrior, but it is on dvd, hrmpf...

At Monday, 16 June, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I read a Knitting Club book, yes, wait, let me see which one it was right now. Heading to my online library's website....

OH NO, it was "The Knitting Circle." A book about a knitting club and it made me think of you. Sorry about that!


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