Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I know.

I'm sorry. It won't be the last time I neglect this blog; it hasn't been the first. Those of you still here, thanks. Its now less than a month until we get on a plane and go to England. We're excited and stressed.

Our house got listed for renters today. Pics in the "Virtual Tour". I find it amazing that houses still get sold or rented when basically all real estate sites have such appallingly poor web design, but so it goes.

I went to England for a couple of weeks, during which I worked about 150 hours, but I still found a little time to go look at houses and eat at some pretty decent pubs and curry houses. I think we're going to like it there. I originally had my heart set on some kind of stone barn conversion out in the country, but after driving through thick fog on twisty narrow roads, and after seeing what town has to offer, the idea of living in town is growing on me. It's a small town, anyway. But it has nice parks and Victorian townhomes, and its pretty. There's still a chance we'll end up in some little village surrounded by sheep, but town is probably where we'll end up. We won't actually find the place until after we're there, but it was nice to have a look around and see what's where.

Now begins the difficult task of sorting through all our stuff; deciding what goes to storage, what goes with us, and what simply goes away. I am fortunate to be married to someone who is a natural organizer, which makes many things about this easier for me - I am not very good at this sort of thing on my own.

On to media reviews:

The England Mix is done - thanks for contributions, you probably will get your copy shortly if you're on my list. If you think you should be on my list but didn't contribute, leave me a little note below telling me what you've done for me lately and get me your address (email to dave dot younce at gmail dot com, don't go posting it in comments) and I'll see what I can do.

Spice, History of a Temptation , by Jack Turner. 3.5 stars out of 5. It's fascinating for people like me, who want to know just how pepper came to be used as a common rent payment, or why the phoenix was said to smell of cinnamon, but its tone is rather academic (I suspect it's Jack Turner's dissertation turned into a book). There are some rather tawdry portions where spices as aphrodisiacs are concerned, but mostly it's about how spices came to have such value that the quest for them fueled the age of discovery. I liked it, but then, I was stuck on planes for hours and hours.

Michael Clayton: I watched this on the plane on my way over to the UK, and liked it quite a lot. Clooney is excellent, as is Swindon. 4.5 stars.

Big Love - Season 2: Oh fine, I admit it - I watched this show despite the many ill-informed email chain letters I got from LDS friends warning me about it's evil depictions of the Church. Actually, the LDS church is rarely mentioned, and when it is, it's usually treated with respect. Mostly I came away from Season 1 saying "Man, I'm glad that's not us". But Season 2 is just too hard to make myself want to watch - the show is really, really good at drama. But watching this family held together by threads is just too much for me anymore. So I'm moving on, but amiably. It was interesting, but I've no time for it anymore. 3 stars.

30 Rock, on the other hand, just gets better and better. We're only about halfway into the first disc of the first season, but it's a keeper. 4 stars.

To Have and Have Not: There's definitely chemistry between Bogart and Bacall, and it's pretty good - if I'd never seen Casablanca I'd have thought this was excellent. I have, though, and Casablanca's the better film. Their stories are similar enough that I think you'll see the connection too. 3.5 stars.

Something the Lord Made: Alan Rickman and Mos Def as pioneering heart surgeons in the mid-20th century. Both are excellent, but the combination of racial tensions and medical suspense makes it harrowing to watch. Excellent, and recommended, but I am unlikely to watch it again. Oh yeah, and its a true story. 4 stars.


Maren said...

Aha! I knew you had a life going on somewhere! Your place looks all spiffy- I like the little guy's new bed. Is your backyard grass really that green right now??

I liked To Have and Have Not. I thought the story wasn't as well-developed as Casablanca, as you say, but a fine movie anyway. She was something like 19 in that, wasn't she?

Good luck with the whittling down of possessions. I always view moving as a sort of death, followed by Christmas (when you get to open up all the boxes again). Keep us posted on the developments.

Disco Mom said...

More like a white elephant party, since all the stuff in boxes you open is used and sometimes a surprise, pleasant or not. And it's never what you thought or hoped it would be. You can tell I have a move coming up and am dreading the process in the extreme.

But yeah, congratulations on getting this far and returning to touch base with us! Where are the England pictures? That's what I really want to see, since you asked. We are planning a trip down the first weekend of April to do a little scouting of our own so hopefully we can see you one last time :(

I have no experience with any of your media reviews except I did watch part of the first season of Big Love, but I lost interest much sooner than you did. Too many problems that I didn't want to be bogged down with. I've never gotten into 30 Rock in a committed way, just here and there.

The other night I watched a Netflix documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, about Sudanese orphan exiles called Lost Boys who were relocated to the US and experienced running water, electricity and other western things for the first time and worked on assimilating. Narrated by Nicole Kidman, won some Sundance awards. So many things about Africa, and Sudan in particular, are overwhelmingly sad and disturbing, but this documentary kept a good balance and made it personal with the 3-4 guys it followed. Recommended. Also just watched Becoming Jane about Jane Austen - a bittersweet story and interesting to see parts of her life that came out in her novels. Next on the queue is Hermie, A common Caterpillar (cartoon) and Across the Universe. STILL reading Tale of Two Cities. It's slow going because I've been busting my butt on my blog book, which I uploaded tonight to be published. Woohoo!

hemisphire said...

Thanks for the England Mix, even though I failed to make a contribution. At the time everything that came to mind was already on the list, but after listening to it, I came up with the following (for Volume 2):
Led Zeppelin - Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (technically Wales)
Queen - God Save The Queen
Queen - Brighton Rock
No Bond?
Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK (I prefer the version by Megadeth)
Steeleye Span - London
Heather Nova - London Rain
Electric Light Orchestra - Last Train To London
Paul McCartney - Mull Of Kintyre (technically Scotland)
Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever (how did the Automatics get 3 tracks while the Beatles got just one?)
Screaming Jets - Living In England
The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset
Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
Pulp - Mile End
Blur - For Tomorrow
Darkness - English Country Garden
Dire Straits - Portobello Belle
Eddy Grant - Electic Avenue

Unknown said...

Sorry I missed lunch on Thursday.

I hope evil renters don't paint over the "Unique castle/cave mural painting."

Saw Michael Clayton last night. I have to disagree with your assessment: I thought it was just mediocre. Maybe I'm just put off by all the hype, especially for Clooney. He plays the same character in every movie.