Monday, August 20

I got tagged.

The Other Ones at Alpine Valley, looking up the hill. We were stage right and had this view. (I only brought a disposable camera and it was too dark to take any good pictures.)

Deb tagged me. (See what I get for being nice and wishing her a nice weekend?)

1.) I shook Phil Lesh's hand backstage at a concert. (see above)

2.) I've owned a 65 Corvette convertible, a (new) 72 Monte Carlo, a 74 Corvette T-top, a Harley, a Triumph (still own - doesn't run). I currently have loans out in my name for my kid's 2001 Honda Civic SI (sweet car, 5 speed - very fast) and a 2001 Grand Cherokee. And what do I drive? A 1998 Cavalier with 140,000 miles on it. At least it has a sunroof.

3.) I'd rather sit outside and read on Sunday afternoons in the fall than watch football. And to make that even worse, I have NPR on rather than the game. (Daughter Amy gets disgusted with me.)

4.) I was a fire bug when I was a kid. I started fires in our "old" barn (not the cow barn, a lesser used barn - very stupid - a friends brother died in a barn fire when I was about 10).

5.) I've never seen Citizen Kane (some say the finest movie ever made) but have seen Howard the Duck , Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Adventures in Babysitting a total combined 25 or more times.

6.) Stole a car idling outside a local bar and left it across town still running. More of a prank than anything but it also saved me from walking home. (It ran out of gas before they found it.)

(Pretty close to what I climbed. Sitting on the domed top was scary.)

7.) I don't necessarily like heights but when I was a kid on the farm, I climbed to the top of our silo and sat on top of it just to prove I could (the rungs that you climbed up on were horribly bent down and looked like they would pull out of the concrete).

8.) I don't get excited about getting together for holidays. I try to arrive late and leave early. Some of my siblings annoy me, but then after a couple drinks they end up being alright. (That could be taken two ways - my drinks or their's.)

Monday, August 13

Straw Dog(s) Days of Summer.

Well, they got my name right. I just don't know where that extra P came from.

I killed it.

I was catching up on my weeding. With the rain, I let the weeds around the tomatoes go. The ones by the tomatoes were pretty good size.

I started pulling up big clumps of weeds when I noticed the tomato cage was also pulling up. I had snagged the tomato plant with the weeds and had totally pulled it out of the ground. I tried replanting it but somehow it knew. Within 10 minutes the leaves had wilted. I killed it.

End of story? No, in fact it made me think of a few things: Weeds of course (seaon premiere tonight, yea).

Which stars Mary Louise Parker and I also thought of the dark (and obscure) movie, Reckless, that I had liked her in.

Californication (season premiere tonight, yea) with it's strange spelling which stars David Duchovny.

Kalifornia with it's strange spelling and David Duchovny.

Weeds on Showtime:


Release Date: 1995

Ebert Rating: **

By Roger Ebert Nov 17, 1995

`Reckless" could play on the same double bill with "The Nightmare Before Christmas," although I'm not sure anyone would be singing carols on the way out.

It's a dark comedy that begins with the creepy underside of Christmas, and branches out into the creepy underside of just about everything else. It's one of those films where you think it's only a dream, and then when everyone wakes up, it's worse.

The movie stars Mia Farrow as Rachel, wide-eyed and trusting, and comfortably wrapped in the happiness of her marriage. On Christmas Eve, she hears a noise downstairs, and turns to her husband (Tony Goldwyn) for comfort, only to see him burst into tears and confess that he knows exactly what is causing the noise: a hit man he hired to kill her.

Rachel tries to escape by crawling out her bedroom window, which her husband slams on her; then she slides down the roof, lands in a snow bank, and is off on a macabre series of adventures. Her house, and the landscape it occupies, are creations of the production designer (Andrew Jackness), who makes everything a little too small and a little too idealized to be real. The house seems to have about half a room on every floor, and the landscape looks like a Christmas card painted by an artist who has had severe difficulties mastering the skill of perspective.

Poor Rachel, an idealist who hardly expected to be cast out into the dark and wintry night, finds refuge in a telephone booth and then is rescued by a kindly stranger named Lloyd (Scott Glenn). He takes her home to meet his wife, Pooty (Mary-Louise Parker). Her story is that she's deaf and mute. Rachel feels safe for a time in the bosom of this adopted family, but motives are shifty in "Reckless," and nothing is as it seems. (Santa, for example, is revealed as more than just an anagram for Satan.) The movie now takes her on a cross-country journey. The press book claims she visits all 50 states. I didn't count them all, but I did notice that she kept turning up in towns named Springfield, and the movie informs us that there is a Springfield in every state. (I have Webster's Geographical Dictionary right here on the shelf, and could look that up, except I'm afraid that if I find out it's true I will be compelled to tell everyone I know.) Among the characters still to be encountered by Rachel are the volunteers at a sinister "not-for-profit" organization, an unhelpful psychiatrist, a troubled nun and the host (Giancarlo Esposito) of a game show named "Your Mother or Your Wife?" Because there is no clear thread of logic (or illogic) running through these encounters, the movie plays as if it's longer than it is: Stories get tedious when they seem to be arbitrary, and audiences don't like it when their instinct to make sense of everything is frustrated in a capricious way.

That's not to say the movie doesn't have its qualities; the production design is intriguing, and Farrow knows exactly what she's doing with her innocent naivete. (Asked if she sees her parents, she solemnly replies, "Not since they died.") The movie was directed by Norman Rene, from a screenplay and stage play by Craig Lucas; their previous work includes "Longtime Companion," the heart-breaking drama about AIDS, and "Prelude to a Kiss," in which an old man somehow gets transmogrified into Meg Ryan's body. Both of those films were strongly story-oriented. "Reckless" seems cast adrift - thrown out into the storm with its heroine, to wander hither and yon.

Cast & Credits

Rachel: Mia Farrow

Lloyd: Scott Glenn

Pooty: Mary-Louise Parker

Tom: Tony Goldwyn

Season premieres for Weeds and Californication:

Weeds was of the main reasons I added Showtime to my cable menu.

Following it will be the new show, Californication starring David Duchovny. I was a big fan of the X-Files remember him in the dark movie, Kalifornia, also starring Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis.


Release Date: 1993

Ebert Rating: ****

By Roger Ebert Sep 3, 1993

"Be careful what you ask for. You may get it." Old saying Once in a very long while I see a film that cuts through the surface of movie violence, and says something important about the murderous energies at loose in society. "Kalifornia" is such a film - terrifying and horrifying, yes, but also unflinchingly honest, and so well acted that for most of the film I abandoned any detachment and just watched it as if I were observing the lives of real people.

The film brings together four people who are, by themselves, fairly recognizable types. But while an ordinary film would simply plug them into a story, this film forces them to actually deal with one another, so that we see a confrontation between voyeurs who are turned on by violence (as long as it's at arm's-length) and those who are actually capable of killing.

The movie introduces us to two couples. Brian and Carrie are smart, ambitious yuppies. Early and Adele are wretched white trash.

Brian (David Duchovny) is a writer with an interest in mass murderers. Carrie (Michelle Forbes) is a photographer, a would-be Mapplethorpe with a low, no-nonsense voice and a certain cool detachment. They want to move to California, and Brian suggests a cross-country tour of the sites of famous mass murders. She can take the pictures, he can write the text, and they can get a book out of it.

Early and Adele, played by Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis in two of the most harrowing and convincing performances I've ever seen, live in a slovenly rented trailer. He's on parole. She's a slack-jawed child-woman who repeats cliches that seem to have been imperfectly learned from television. The landlord is on their case about the rent.

Brian and Carrie need someone to share the gas and driving for their trip out west. They put up a card on the bulletin board at the university. Bad luck: Early, who has been sent over to the campus by his parole officer to take a job as a janitor, sees the card and decides it's time to take off for California with Adele. Of course, that's a parole violation, but what the hell: Before he leaves, he murders and buries his landlord, to teach him a lesson about bugging people for the rent.

Most of the film takes place on the road, as the writer and photographer gradually become aware of the nature of the people who are sharing the ride. It is here that the movie reveals its greatness. A lesser film would simply be a thriller in which the protagonists would desperately scheme to escape from the killers in their car. "Kalifornia" is much more subtle than that. It's about the strange fascination that some people feel for those who seem tougher and more "authentic." Usually those who romanticize in that way have never had to deal with anyone who hurts others just for the entertainment value.

There's a deep class difference between the two couples - between Brian, with his yuppie sportswear, and Early, with his greasy hair and careless tattoos and smelly socks. And between the feminist Carrie, and Adele, who observes curiously, "I used to smoke, but Early broke me of it." The yuppies, though, with their liberals' reluctance to show bad manners, try to "accept" these two strangers and to make allowances for their behavior.

A certain bond even grows between Brian and Early. Brian, for example, has never fired a gun. Early has. Brian is fascinated by Early's gun (Carrie is terrified). Early lets him shoot out some windows in an abandoned factory, and Brian is like a kid with a toy.

It's also exciting - a rush, a high - when the two guys go out drinking one night, and when a guy in the bar takes offense to Brian's appearance, Early steps in and kicks the guy almost to death.

Early is not stupid, and has a better sense of Brian than Brian has of him. As Carrie gradually discovers that Early beats Adele and is probably a sociopath, Brian is being halfway seduced by Early's lawlessness. Not that he wants to get involved, of course.

But it's intriguing to be so close to it.

Gradually, by slow, logical steps, the director Dominic Sena and the writer Tim Metcalfe reveal to Brian and Carrie the full reality of the situation they've gotten themselves into. Here's a middle-class couple who thought it would be a gas to revisit the scenes of mass murders, and whaddaya know? They end up with a real mass murderer, right in the same car, and it isn't fun. Not at all.

Dominic Sena is a director unknown to me, but he shows the kind of mastery of material here that I've seen in other early films such as Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets," Terence Malick's "Badlands," John McNaughton's "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" and Carl Franklin's "One False Move." The suspense screws up tighter than a drum-head. The characters remain believable; we have a conflict of personalities, not stereotypes. The action coexists seamlessly with the message

A woman sitting behind me at the screening objected out loud, from time to time, to the movie's "depravity." If she hates it so much, I wondered, why doesn't she leave? Afterwards, she admitted it was "very well-made," but that she feared "the wrong people could see it and get bad ideas." I think the point of "Kalifornia" is that it's altogether too comforting to believe that people need inspiration to hurt and kill. Some people, the movie says, are simply evil.

They lack all values and sympathy. And they don't need anybody to give them ideas.

Cast & Credits

Early Grayce: Brad Pitt

Adele Corners: Juliette Lewis

Brian Kessler: David Duchovny

Carrie Laughlin: Michelle Forbes


Actually this is my burn pile with morning glories taking over. We aren't supposted to burn except for a couple weekends in April and October.

Whenever I see or hear the word deadfall it makes me think of Pet Sematary (the book, not necessarily the movie). In the book, there was a wall of deadfall at the end of the Pet Sematary that lead to the "real" cemetery: an ancient Indian burial ground.

Rama and some of the garden pickings.

I had tons of peppers too but they are out of camera sight. I'm going to try making some stuffed peppers in a day or two. Amy gave me bulbs for the two types of dalhias on the right. The ones on the left have been with me for about 10 years. I dig them up each fall and store in the basement.

My shortest flower.

I don't know if it just got a late start or if is supposted to be so short. It is only about 8 inches high.

Thursday, August 9

Garden sandwich.

Garden Walk.

I still entertain myself walking around the yard taking videos. I took these during a stretch of really hot and humid weather with rain forest like downpours during the night. I had kept up with weeds for the most part though all this rain is sure to get me behind again.

Analogy wise, the middle of this post should be something I like (and filling).

I got Icky Thump as a belated Father's Day present. The more I hear 300 MPH, the more I like it. Bluesy.

They do alot without a bass guitar and the lyrics as usual are interesting. That made me think of Portland Oregon, which I also liked for the lyrics. And of course Loretta does a great job.

Portland Oregon, Van Lear Rose Loretta Lynn with Jack White.

300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues, Icky Thump White Stripes.

Garden Walk, backwards with an appearance by Cubbie (above of course).

Lastly, back and front of the garage.

Odds and ends of pots. The morning glories don't seem to mind.

More moonflower.