Monday, January 21, 2019

Oscar Nominee Predictions


I need to preface this; in what was maybe the best year for films in 20 years, we are likely to have an absolutely terrible group of oscar nominees. Also, for every Weinstein or Spacey, there's an overcorrection to continue supporting a Singer or Farrelly. Depressing, but true.

Last year, I did pretty well, with 90/122 outright, or 118/122 if you count spoilers. Let's see if we can do better this year...

[Edit 1/22: Actual picks in bold. 91/121 outright, and 113/121 counting spoilers. So better outright, but a more fun/unexpected year overall.  Perfect categories: Best Picture (in order!), original screenplay, and production design. Left field non-spoiler nominees; Marina de Tavira, Pawel Pawlikowski, Ballad of Buster Scruggs for Screenplay, Green Book for Editing (also: what.), Never Look Away for Cinematography, Border for makeup (yay!), One Small Step and Late Afternoon for animated short.]

Best Picture
Locks:
A Star is Born
BlacKkKlansman
Roma
The Favourite
Vice
Bohemian Rhapsody
Green Book

Up to 10 nominees:
Black Panther
A Quiet Place
If Beale Street Could Talk

Spoilers
First Man
Crazy Rich Asians
Mary Poppins Returns
First Reformed
Hereditary
Ballad of Buster Scruggs (SUPER unlikely, but it was in the NBR top 10, and the Coens are often well received by the Academy)

Ughhhhhh what a year. The Favourite is the only lock I really love. (And, my same caveat as always; 117 films were mentioned as "best picture" or "top 25" by various voting bodies. The Oscar nominees look like they are going to be particularly far from critical consensus or my own tastes this year (please see this, this, or this for some alternates. Personally, I'm giving myself till the 31st to catch up on a couple more things before making my own 2018 picks. (After that, we get into Noir City, Modern Cinema, Mostly British, and Fritz Lang at BAMPFA, and I'm not going to have time to catch up on much more.))) I'd love to say Spider-Man or Mission Impossible, since the trend this year seems to *really* be box office (which is why Crazy Rich Asians and Mary Poppins are in for spoilers) and those two are really great films on top of being successful.

[Ed: Perfectly as predicted. Ughhhhhhh.]

Best Actress
Badger.
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me
Glenn Close, The Wife

Those 4 are locks. Normally I'd look to the SAGs for my last choice, but will the Oscars really go for Mary Poppins?? It seems unlikely to me, but since things are terrible, I'll put it in for my last choice:
Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins

Spoilers:
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma. I would doubt this one (she's been up for almost no precursors aside from the CCAs), but apparently Netflix is spending ALL THE MONEY, so I don't feel comfortable counting her out.
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
Rosamund Pike, A Private War
Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians
Viola Davis, Widows (I think she only got the BAFTA nom for Steve McQueen being British (and, you know being VIOLA DAVIS), but she is loved by the academy.)

Sadly, no Charlize Theron, even though I thought she was quite good in Tully. Really sad: no Regina Hall from Support the Girls.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book. UGH
Christian Bale, Vice
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
John David Washington, BlackKkKlansman

Spoilers:
I'll put Ethan Hawke for First Reformed here, since a lot of folks are pinning hopes there, and he seems like the biggest maybe (trading for John David Washington, who I think has the edge, given I expect BlacKkKlansman to pick up several other nods).
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate
I mean, I suppose Robert Redford (Old Man & The Gun). I doubt Ryan Gosling and John C. Reilly, but those are probably the only others in play.

Personally, I'd want Ben Foster in Leave No Trace, but 2018 does not give good things.

Best Supporting Actress
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Amy Adams, Vice
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place

Spoilers
Claire Foy, First Man
Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots

Marina de Tavira, Roma

Generally good. I don't think Thomasin McKenzie should have been submitted for supporting, but I do think she's brilliant. I also thought Elizabeth Debicki was great in Widows.

[I'm somewhat surprised - money talks, I guess. That seems mean - I actually think she was great in Roma, and I'm pleased she's in here, but she wasn't up for a single precursor.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Spoilers
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Steven Yuen, Burning
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

If only: Hugh Grant, Paddington 2. Or Josh Hamilton in Eighth Grade.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Peter Farrelly, Green Book UGH
Adam McKay, Vice

Spoilers
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

NOMINATE DEBRA GRANIK YOU COWARDS
(Or Zhao, Ramsay, Heller, Kuasama, Jenkins, Etc etc)

[YAY NO PETER FARRELLY. BOO NO WOMEN. YAY YORGOS! I was considering putting Pawel Pawlikowski in after his BAFTA nom, but I thought.... nooo.... there's no way the Oscars will nominated two foreign directors in one year. And then they did! (The last time two foreign language directors were nominated was 1976; Lina Wertmuller & Ingmar Bergman.) Also on the Bradley Cooper front - the man was still nominated for 3 Oscars this morning. He was hardly snubbed.]

Best Screenplay - Original
Roma
Green Book UGH UGH
Vice
First Reformed
The Favourite

Spoilers
A Quiet Place
Eighth Grade
Sorry to Bother You

Screenplays are trickier this year! A couple of big ineligibilities for the WGAs.

Best Screenplay - Adapted
Can You Ever Forgive Me
BlacKkKlansman
A Star is Born
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace (I have to have hope. And it WAS nominated for a USC Scripter, which is a pretty good bellwether)

Spoilers
Black Panther
Death of Stalin

Ballad of Buster Scruggs [totally unexpected (0 precursors), but as I mentioned under best picture, the Coens are fairly beloved.]

Best Animated Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
The Grinch
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Spoilers
Mirai

Best Documentary
Free Solo
RBG
Three Identical Strangers
Won't You Be My Neighbor
Minding the Gap

Spoilers
Hale County This Morning This Evening
Shirkers
Of Fathers and Sons

YAY! A GOOD CATEGORY!

[WHOA. It's like Jane all over again! Won't You Be My Neighbor won the PGA, CCA, was up for the DGA, ACE Eddie, and had noms from CinemaEye, AWFJ, Indies, Gothams, DocNY, and NBR top 5. It was not up for the IDA, and I wonder if that was the forecaster. Also yay Hale County! I haven't seen it yet, but it is at the top of my catch-up list]

Best Foreign Film
Roma (Mexico)
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Burning (South Korea)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Spoilers
Birds of Passage (Colombia)
The Guilty (Denmark)
Never Look Away (Germany)

[Whoa no Burning.]

Best Editing
A Star is Born
Roma
Vice
The Favourite
First Man (I don't see it getting Best Picture, so I'll be surprised to see it here, but it was nominated by both the ACE Eddies and BAFTAs, and won the CCAs)

Spoilers
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody UGH

Green Book. [That... does not bode well for anything.]

Best Cinematography
The Favourite
First Man
Roma
A Star is Born
Cold War

Spoilers
The Rider (unlikely but a GIRL CAN DREAM. And he did get the Spotlight award from the guild.)
If Beale Street Could Talk
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody UGH BAFTAS WHAT

Never Look Away. I have NEVER HEARD OF THIS. Oh.... wait. Yes I have. It's the German foreign film. I was not expecting a non-Roma foreign film in the craft categories.

Best Costumes
Black Panther
The Favourite
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Poppins Returns
Bohemian Rhapsody (ARE YOU KIDDING ME)

Spoilers
Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Mamma Mia
Crazy Rich Asians
BlacKkKlansman

I will say I am chuffed the guild recognized Oceans 8, because Cate Blanchett's wardrobe was the best part of that film.

Best Makeup
...what. You thought I'd go with a picture of Dick Cheney?
Vice
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody UGH

Spoilers
Mary Queen of Scots
Suspiria

I'd REALLY love a Suspiria nomination, but I'd be happy for Black Panther to get it over Bohemian Rhapsody. I don't think Stan & Ollie will get in, since Vice will (and does the padding/real person/aging thing). And you'd think I'd remember by now why makeup only gets 3 nominees, but I don't.

Border! [I'm so pleased! This seemed super deserving, but unlikely to make it in. It is also in my catchup list.]

Best Production Design
Black Panther
Mary Poppins
The Favourite
Roma
First Man

Spoilers
Crazy Rich Asians
Fantastic Beasts
If Bohemian Rhapsody really sweeps things, then it could get in here as well.

Best Visual Effects
Avengers Infinity War
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Black Panther
First Man

Spoilers
Welcome to Marwen
Christopher Robin
Mary Poppins Returns

Best Score
If Beale Street Could Talk
Isle of Dogs
Mary Poppins
Black Panther
First Man

Spoilers
A Quiet Place
Ballad of Buster Scruggs
BlacKkKlansman
I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for an (unlikely) Annihilation nom


[WHOA NO JUSTIN HURWITZ. I mean, I'm personally glad, because I thought La La Land was a travesty, but that seemed like a lock!]

Best Song
Shallow, A Star is Born.





Oh, I'm sorry. Other songs will be nominated? Okay then:
All the Stars, Black Panther
Girl in the Movies, Dumplin'
Trip a Little Light Fantastic, Mary Poppins (It is BIZARRE to me that this and The Place Where the Lost Things Go were submitted over A Cover is Not the Book which was WAY better. (Although, I can't tell if the rap was mixed poorly, or just didn't project well in the Castro's not quite Dolby speaker system.))
When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings, Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Spoilers
Revelation, Boy Erased
I'll Fight, RBG
The Place Where the Lost Things Go, Mary Poppins
I would LOVE to see Suspirium here, but it seems very unlikely.

Best Sound Editing
Roma
A Quiet Place
First Man
Black Panther
A Star is Born

Spoilers
Mary Poppins
Bohemian Rhapsody
Mission Impossible Fallout

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE SHOULD BE A CONTENDER FOR THIS IF NOTHING ELSE. BUT REALLY IT SHOULD BE A CONTENDER FOR EVERYTHING.

Best Sound Mixing
A Quiet Place
First Man
Black Panther
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody

Spoilers
Mary Poppins
Roma
Avengers
Mission Impossible Fallout

Best Short Documentary
My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes
A Night at the Garden
Zion (I actually quite like this one (it's the one in the shortlist I've seen before (I only just found the link above)), but it did win the IDA and end up on the DocNY shortlist. You can go watch it now!)
Lifeboat
Black Sheep

Spoilers
Women of the Gulag
End Game
Period. End of Sentence.

[Noooo. I liked Zion.]

Best Live Action Short
Icare
Caroline
Detainment
Marguerite
Skin

Spoilers
Mother
Wale
Fauve

[Aww man! I had Fauve and Mother in category and then second guessed myself.]

Best Animated Short
Weekends (I LOVE this one. Go watch it!)
Lost & Found (There was another short this year (last?) called Lost Property Office, that I was TOTALLY confusing for this one until today. Not to mention Lou, from last year, which was Pixar's short about Lost & Found items.)
Bao
Bilby (I really want to see this one. Bilbys!)
Animal Behavior

Spoilers
Pepe le Morse/Grandpa Walrus (this is up for the Annies)
Age of Sail
Bird Karma

(I don't think these are likely to be up, but you can also watch the short-listed One Small Step and Late Afternoon)

[YAY WEEKENDS. Also!! I wonder if those last two being available online made a difference???]

General Thoughts:
How many craft nominations do we think First Man is going to pick up without a Best Picture nod? And how few for Green Book? [VERY FEW for First Man! Seriously; who did Damien Chazelle piss off? (It's 4 for the record.) And none for Green Book, but that editing nod is out of left field and bad.]
I have not checked Gold Derby, and don't have the time tonight, but I do wonder how my picks stack up.
I really need to see First Reformed. [Still true.]

[As always, I love Deadline's scorecards. (Disney's 17 noms is kind of scary, but I'm pleased to see Fox Searchlight and Annapurna doing well.). Here's the breakdown by film. I'm SO THRILLED the Favourite leads. Not thrilled with Bohemian Rhapsody or Green Book (obvs.) This doesn't really change my catch-up list (First Reformed, Burning, Lean on Pete all still have priority), but I might add Never Look Away to the list.... And I suppose I'm going to have to see Vice.
The Favourite — 10
Roma — 10
A Star Is Born — 8
Vice — 8
Black Panther — 7
BlacKkKlansman — 6
Bohemian Rhapsody — 5
Green Book – 5
First Man — 4
Mary Poppins Returns — 4
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — 3
Can You Ever Forgive Me? — 3
Cold War — 3
If Beale Street Could Talk — 3
Isle of Dogs — 2
Mary Queen of Scots — 2
Never Look Away — 2
RBG — 2]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018 mixes


Past mixes: 200820092010201120122013201420152016, 2017

So much music this year! So much to enjoy! I was quite obviously obsessed with Dirty Computer, High as Hope, Be the Cowboy, and The Kids are Alright. Outside Lands was great, and well represented here. I only just got the two Blindspotting albums and the Spider-verse soundtrack, so look for those next year...



Disc 1
1. Crazy, Classic, Life - Janelle Monae. 


2. Washing Machine Heart - Mitski



3. South London Forever - Florence + The Machine



4. Miracle - Chvrches (I saw them at OL this year, and they were surprisingly excellent live)



5. This is America - Childish Gambino. Obviously the video of the year:



6. Lemon - N.E.R.D. & Rihanna. I think I heard this at the end of last year, but I only got it in February. They were also at OL, and with this dancer, who is so incredible:



7. Majesty - Nicki Minaj ft. Eminem



8. Worship - Lizzo. Lizzo was easily the discovery of OL for me this year. She put on an incredible show.



9. Pressure - Muse



10. You Should See Me in a Crown - Billie Eilish



11. The Kids Are Alright - Chloe x Halle



12. Patricia - Florence + The Machine



13. Geyser - Mitski



14. The Draw - Bastille. Not sure how I missed this years ago, but I like it:



15. Screwed - Janelle Monae ft. Zoe Kravitz. (Below is the audio, but this is the segment of the film with Screwed in it - not available as a separate video that I could see: https://youtu.be/jdH2Sy-BlNE?t=894)



16. Burn It Down - Fitz and the Tantrums. Another one I missed:



17. Hunger - Florence + The Machine



18. Dirty Water - Foo Fighters



19. Would You Fight for My Love - Jack White. Continuing to play catchup



20. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues. My favorite holiday song! I got to go up on stage to sing it with Taylor Mac this year, which was lots of fun. (A good tip I heard recently, replace *that line* with "You've taped over Taggart!")





Thursday, November 1, 2018

October Challenge


Once upon this blog, lo these many moons ago, I actually tried to track my annual halloween challenge;

"Speaking of which, stick around for the next month. I'm going to see how many I get through. I've got all sorts lined up - classics, film noir, creature features, black humor, foreign masters, ones of questionable taste with cute boys. Should be fun."

Of course, pretty much every year, I find I have overbooked myself wildly, and I get through 4-6 films within the month. Not that that's terrible. I've slowly worked my way through such classics as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil: 


This year, though, I started the challenge in mid-September, and I actually tried to block off times for watching things, so that even if some of those were dropped for other obligations, I would still make it through a bunch. Additionally, I've started another film challenge: watching all of the movies in my 100-year watchlist. And before starting this challenge, I flagged which of those counted as horror/thrillers (29; with a further 18 alternates). And that's before considering what's coming out this time of year, what with fall festivals premiering the new Halloween and Suspiria (sadly not out till November), as well as things like Border and In Fabric. Plus I needed to catch up on earlier films from the year like Hereditary, Unsane, and a Quiet Place. So I had lots to get to, and an actual schedule. 

Day 1: The 39 Steps. This was very enjoyable! Mostly because Robert Donat is charming, but also because as an early Hitchcock, there are some very brilliant shots, and some that were totally perplexing in their 'you still have things to learn' sort of way. Also, an early film exemplar of some very tried and true tropes: the bickering couple being handcuffed together, the villain reveal, the stranger drawing another in on a spy plot and immediately kicking the bucket. 4/5 stars; lots of fun. 

Day 2: I binged the Brooklyn 99 Halloween episodes. Because. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 3: Opera tickets to Roberto Devereux. (So good! I really loved it. I hope they do the other two in the trilogy.)
Day 4: Castro double feature of Battleship Potemkin/Battle of Algiers. 
I *thought* day 4 was the Castro double feature and went all the way down there only to discover I had the date wrong. Yay for losing 90 minutes during a busy week! So what I actually ended up watching was Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves and Denis Villeneuve's Enemy. The Company of Wolves might have worked better as just straight up vignettes/anthology, but the creature effects are pretty great, and there are lots of good doggos in the film. 3.5 stars.

Enemy is fab. Great cast, wonderfully directed, lots of spiders. 4 stars. 

Day 5: Not part of the challenge: Castro double feature of Battleship Potemkin/Battle of Algiers. Holy fuck y'all. Battle of Algiers is so good! Highly recommended. Battleship Potemkin has a few too many montages of the inner workings of a ship for me, but I guess if you're inventing montage editing, you're going to really go for it. The steps scene is totally brilliant. 
Potemkin: 4.5 stars
Algiers: 5 stars

Day 6: A Simple Favor. This was pulpy, soapy fun. Which is what I needed at the end of the Kavanaugh hearings week. Blake Lively swanning around in tuxes. Yes please. 4 stars.

Day 7: Caught up on American Horror Story: Apocalypse. I was three episodes behind and, yay! This is shaping up to be the best season since hotel, and clearly (hopefully) a return to form. 
 
 

I cannot adequately express how much I cackled at Evan Peters and Rubberman. *mwah* Perfecto.


Day 8: The Sisters Brothers & the Kennel Murder Case. The Sisters Brothers because it was on one early prognosticator's potential oscars list. I think that's unlikely. I can see why John C. Reilly was so interested in adapting this; it's a great showcase for him. Jake Gyllenhaal commits real hard to an accent that does not entirely work. Still, the four leads are good, and it's a melancholy take on the western. I really disliked the cinematography, though. And I think it'll be too French of a western to get enough buzz for the oscars. 3 stars (and that's mostly because they did stick the ending well.)

The Kennel Murder Case: Powell with a puppy! Just snappy and fun and silly. Three and a half stars.
Look Sherlock; a clue

Day 9: A Quiet Place. So good! I had always meant to see this and missed it in theaters. Such a great premise and then just pretty perfectly executed. Four and a half stars.


Days 10 & 11: So here's where things get a little tricky, because SFFilm and SFMoma's Modern Cinema fall series is in October. Great for classic cinema, not so great for horror films. So the fall series kicked off with Pather Panchali and Aparajito, which I had yet to see (I had seen the World of Apu several years ago). These are brilliant. I really love them. Pather Panchali: 5 stars Aparajito: 4.5 stars

Day 12: Oof. This was tough. Still at Modern Cinema; saw The Bicycle Thief and The Middleman. Skipped out on Ikiru, because those first two were so bleak. I really loved the Middleman, as dark as it was (corruption in India in the 60s/70s). I thought it was very well done. I hated watching The Bicycle Thief, as much as I understand why it is considered a classic, and as glad as I am that it inspired Pather Panchali. 4 stars for Bicycle Thief, 4.5 stars for the Middleman.

If you think about it, Neorealism is just a different kind of even scarier horror.

Day 13: A Star is Born: Welp, it was never going to live up to the trailer. 3 stars
The Thing: So great! Such wonderful creature effects! Doggos! 4.5 stars


Day 14: Hereditary. Really good. I had been spoiled on *the thing* that happens, so I can only imaging what it was like for audiences who had a bit of a Scream moment. Some really good atmospheric moments, tiny jump scares, and then just really great acting. Part of why I wanted to see this (other than Toni Collette, obvs.) was that I was impressed with some of what Alex Wolff did in My Friend Dahmer and House of Tomorrow. The car scene in this convinced me (well and probably everyone else, given what a hit this was) that he's definitely one to watch. I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. I understand A. O. Scott's gripes, but the film had also been building to a lot more style than resolution anyways (or perhaps that was what I had been expecting based on director's breakout short; The Strange Thing About the Johnsons.) 4 stars.


Day 15: An American Werewolf in London. Despite terrible screening circumstances (two moronic girls thought it would be a great idea to get high, come to the Castro and talk through the ENTIRE FILM), I just really enjoyed the set pieces in this. It's so weirdly 80s, the creature effects are fab and, oh man, the corpse in the porno theater is perfect. 4 stars


Day 16: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. I got sucked into this weird little series on Netflix. The pilot is rough, and it's such a weird concept for a show, because she's not really demonstrating how to actually do any of the crafts or baking. She's showing that she's an artist who will spend several days icing a gingerbread house. But the Henson muppet sensibility won me over and it was a silly little thing to watch while I was tired. I am super impressed with her edible brown recluses, though...  
 
 
 
 

Day 17: The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog and Bad Times at the El Royale
I was a little out of it watching The Lodger, so I'm going to blame that on totally not seeing the ending coming. I liked the atmosphere of the film (although hard to play up the fog in silent film cinematography), and Ivor Novello is brilliant. 

As for Bad Times, bless Drew Goddard and Chris Hemsworth for bringing us joy in these dark times. It could've used a tighter edit, but it has lots of Cynthia Erivo singing, and it turns out *THE GIF* is to one of my all time favorite songs (the whole soundtrack is aces):


After this, life got very busy between work, halloween baking, taking headshots, and halloween parties, so I didn't see anything else remotely in genre.

Day 18: Tosca at the SF Opera. Meh.
Day 19: San Francisco Girls Chorus concert (a weird repertoire for this concert, but they did a surprise pre-concert performance in the lobby with amazing acoustics.) 
Day 20: Roma (with Alfonso Cuaron and the actresses in attendance.) This is incredibly well done, and the lead actress is stunning. I'm sure it will be in the running for best picture. (I didn't *looove* it, but much like CMBYN last year, I recognize how incredibly well-done it is.)

And that's it! I didn't get to nearly as many as hoped (once again), but I got a couple crossed off my various lists, and saw the two big horror hits for this year. I may see a few more, but I'll be concentrating on anything on Filmstruck through the end of November (Dead Ringers, looking at you)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Twitter games


So everyone's seen the "recommend 5 _X_ to get to know you" games floating around twitter, right? Right. Well, I found the best one:


But then I thought it would be fun to do some of the others, too. And, of course, some of the Whys, because it is oh so hard for me to narrow things down, but lord knows I love defining myself by my pop culture.

For the above, mantophasmatodea are two fold. One is because we had some in the lab in South Africa, and they are adorable. And two because it is still incredible to me that an entire new ORDER of insects could be discovered in the new millennium. (They've since been reclassified as a family within a new order, but the point stands.) Pneumoridae are the grasshoppers I worked on while I was doing research in South Africa. Wetas because they are awesome and so very New Zealand. Delta Green Ground Beetles were my favorite of my five thesis species, and they happen to be a species of concern on the Jepson Prairie Preserve, purchased by TNC in the 80s. So, you know, synchronicity. And a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula because we had a pet one growing up, Seemani.

If that weren't enough... (also, I'm sick. This is what my cold-addled brain does.)

5 comic book runs/graphic novels
Maus. Maybe the first one I read? And so brilliant.

Watchmen. Again, just one of the best books of all time. I also happen to be in the minority for loving the movie, but it might be the casting that gets me.

Sandman. Neil Gaiman is very brilliant and I love a lot of his ongoing work, but this may be the pinnacle for me. I love a lot of the ideas and conceits in here.

Local. One of the best presents I've ever received. It's all about a young woman with wanderlust, and her eventual homecoming. Gifted to me just as I returned to San Francisco.

Bone. Stupid, stupid rat creatures!

Hon mentions:
Persepolis - too similar in genre to Maus to be in the top 5, but totally great.
Understanding Comics - so great.

Thinking more broadly about newspaper runs, well, then the Far Side, Foxtrot, Calvin & Hobbes, and Pogo would be up there (I've never read a lot of Pogo, but he's featured prominently in my childhood.) And Sluggy Freelance for being the first webcomic I followed regularly in college. Bunny with a switchblade!

My problem with a lot of comic runs is that they go on too long. I like early Locke & Key, Fables, and Y the Last Man, but I don't think Locke & Key quite stuck the landing, and I stopped reading the others about 5 collections in. Saga's holding up pretty well, but I'm a bit behind.

Monday, September 10, 2018

New Year's Resolutions and Bucket Lists

The past couple of years I've tried to be a little more intentional with some life goals/habits/resolutions, largely inspired by reading Leila's How to Win at Resolutions and Wil Wheaton's Reboot. I particularly like Leila's advice about trying again at a new time if you don't get to something the month you pick it (or even within 6 months), and the fact that Wil included fun goals along some more typical "new year's resolutions" type goals. So in 2017, I made a list of 10 goals or habits to cultivate. I did one (started volunteering again), but! I really liked doing it and I more generally liked thinking about or tracking to a set of goals.

So in 2018, I made mostly the same goals again this year. I fell a little bit into the trap of 'once I find the perfect organizer/planner, I will be organized,' but I've mostly remained on track, albeit sometimes at a slow pace, or trying again on something midway through the year.

Then recently I read about the idea of a 101/1,001 list. The idea behind it is to set a list of 101 specific, measurable tasks that can be accomplished in 1,001 days (not quite 3 years). In that way, you can be a little more concrete about action items ('I will take a baking class', or 'I will meditate for 10 minutes a day for one week', rather than 'start baking/meditating'.) Plus it gives you a time frame to try to tackle some bigger bucket list-type items, without that nebulous bucket list thinking of, 'someday I will go to Japan...'

This also meant transcribing an old bucket list, as I considered which items to put on the 101 list for the next 3 years, versus what should just stay as a "bucket list item"*. The really fun thing about this exercise** was recognizing how many bucket list items I'd crossed off since making the list in 2013. Even though it can feel like there's such a big world out there still to see (my bucket list is like half travel), it's nice to take a look back and see all the fun I've been having in the last five years:

  • I've been to the Santa Rosa Plateau, Santa Cruz Island, Coachella preserve, Carrizo Plain, and Elkhorn Slough
  • I've been to Montana (also, what?)
  • I've spent a week in NYC just seeing broadway shows
  • I've been to Borneo!
  • I've visited 22 new national parks (or revisited as an adult)
  • I've started volunteering again
  • I've gone camping in the redwoods again
  • I've organized my playbill collection (although I am DEFINITELY MISSING a couple of RENT playbills. Sniffles.)
  • I've attended a highland games! Hey! Recent cross-off.
  • I've attended a masquerade ball
  • I've been to Alcatraz!
  • I've attended the Gorey ball
  • I've visited the Top of the Mark and the Tonga room
  • I've been to Mister Jiu's and State Bird
  • I've done the tactile dome at the exploratorium
  • I've tried Humphrey Slocombe (overrated, but Salt and Straw is not)
  • I've done a tarantula walk on Mt. Diablo
  • I've gone whale watching in the bay area
  • I've continued attending Outside Lands (also a weird item, 2013-me.)
  • I've been to Calshakes
  • I've purchased season tickets to the Opera and Berkeley Rep
  • I've been to the DNA lounge
  • I've had a drink at the Edinburgh castle 
  • I've been to the new Alamo drafthouse! (So many times. So many, many expensive times.)
  • I've attended a movie in the park!
  • I've attended the Oregon shakespeare festival again
  • I've tried Zombies Run!
54 Bucket list items done! A mere... uh... lifetime's worth to go. (Hellooo Colorado/Utah national parks trips)

*Just to be clear, the 101/1,001 list isn't three years' worth of a bucket list. I mean I suppose it could be. But mine, and most of the ones I've seen, are a mix of aspirational (travel here/learn this skill) and practical (I have this thing I'm planning for/that money thing I really need to take care of soon.) So like a three-year plan, but with the fun stuff included?
**other than the planning. I'm an enneagram 7. I get half of my fun from anticipatory planning. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

10-movie challenge

Alex nominated me for the facebook 10-day movie challenge. Unsurprisingly, I had a hard time narrowing it down to 10 (I ended up somewhat trying to match photos to those I was tagging.) Here are the rest I was considering. Any guesses?

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
#10
#11
#12
#13
#14
#15
#16
#17
#18
#19
#20
#21
#22
#23
#24
#25
#26
#27
#28
#29

And here are the 10 I did use:
#1. The Haunted House

#2. Moon

#3. Interview with a Vampire

#4. In Bruges

#5. Chinatown

#6. Cabaret. The old dude knows whats up.

#7. Last of the Mohicans

#8. Go

#9. Gosford Park

#10. Days of Heaven