Friday, November 30, 2012

Series 3

  • After 4 days of shooting in a midwest auto plant, I came home to series 3 of Downton Abbey. Having a day off and it raining outside, I devoured the eight episodes. All the melodrama of the first series is back after a disappointing second series (saved only by the Christmas Special). The big announcement of Shirley MacLaine's role as Cora's mother was overblown. Her two dimensional character's exit was a relief. The press' hype of the battle between MacLaine and Smith never happens. This year it's all about Sybil...both of them......
  • It begins brodcasting on PBS in early January
  • Monday, November 26, 2012

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Perfect Sunset

    Yesterday walking down San Rafael st., the mountains had a perfect Maxfield Parrish quality to them. Sometimes it can be like living in a painting over here. All we need are a few nymphs and sprites.

    Gorgeous LA

    The courtyard of Ellen's new offices over @ Gorgeous productions. The waterfall drowns out the street noise of West Hollywood and the architecture suggests an old saloon. You feel miles away from LA in this setting.

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Thanksgiving Day Dog

    After devouring a turkey neck, Seven finds the last ray of warm light.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Could It Have Worked?

  • Website Vulture asked a World Bank economist if any of the James Bond villain's schemes could actually work. And then Britain's Economist chimed in as well. It seems that Goldfinger and Le Chiffre were both on the right track
  • Monday, November 19, 2012

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    The Golden Twinkie

  • We went to the grocery store today to have a last twinkie. Seems a woman was there first and bought them all, telling the cashier that they are collectors items now. We did get a twinkie 2 pack and a snoball to satisfy our taste for nostalgia. When we got home I was curious to see how the demise of Hostess was playing out on Ebay. I can only hope these postings are jokes. Or maybe there is also a bridge in Brooklyn to sell someone........
  • Thursday, November 15, 2012

    New Bird By The Bath

    A new bird has arrived at the bath. Seems to be alone unlike the usual birds. It has a very distinct single note chirp. The usual chickadees are getting used to us being around and we're not hampering their swimming pleasure.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Sunday, November 11, 2012


    We went to go see the new James Bond film yesterday and after all the great reviews, I left the theater strangely disappointed. This is the first Bond film ever to have 007 as a secondary character. The crux of the plot and the emotional heft of the film is a revenge story between M and an ex agent played beautifully by Javier Bardem. Bond does the running and jumping and shooting here but it is the M/Silva relationship that takes center stage. Bond has no Vesper Lynd or Tracy Draco to emotionally connect to in "Skyfall" and as such has no deeper dimensions outside the aging, damaged agent the script sticks him with. Javier Bardem's villain is the glue which holds the drama together. It's by the actor's sheer force of character that this film is memorable. With all the weighty verbage in this film, I would have thought the filmmakers could have given the back story to M/Silva a little more flesh. Especially with the pathos dripping suicide pact at the end. Why does he want M to kill them both? We know he hates her for abandoning him to a Chinese torture cell but this ending hints to something else. Why does he want to die with her when he sees she's mortally wounded? A missed opportunity for some good drama. As far as Bond's women, we have seen a Macao living, shower taking, boat loving mistress of an assassin before in a Bond film. As in The Man With The Golden Gun, a woman wants her employer/lover dead. But Maud Adams performance in 1975's weak entry is miles ahead of Bernice Marlohe's quivering lower lip and overly long, nervous cigarette ash. When Severin dies it means nothing to the emotional arc of the film. I never believed that Bond or Silva ever cared about her. At least in TMWTGG, Miss Anders is shown hating the sex she's forced to endure with Scaramanga. There is no scene in Skyfall to show us Severin's dread of Silva so there's only her word for his loathsomeness in a Macao bar. Eve is a good character but as she is untouchable due to the Moneypenny myths, her story with Bond can only go so far. Again, their relationship a lost dramatic opportunity in a midst of some nice banter. Aesthetically, Daniel Craig's body is getting odder. Gone is the naturalistic manliness of Sean Connery in Dr. No or Thunderball for a gym stalwart of overblown proportions. Whenever he disrobes, I feel Bond must spend more time pumping iron than firing lead. Is his butt really that hard that not even a towel can hide it's contours? Bond's relationship to M is stuck in neutral here. M is not allowed to show any warmth toward her employee. They share little more than a grudging respect. In fact she risks his life on the train bridge as she had with Silva years ago in Hong Kong and as Bond will risk her's in Scotland. She's a hard bastard but has to be. It was a sad comment on a relationship that is ultimately boiled down to a piece of desk bric a brac. The crew in Skyfall shines through magnificently. Cameraman Roger Deakins and set designer Dennis Gassner are the heroes. Their work continually amazes even when the film lapses. Alexander Witt and Gary Powell keep the action sequences tight and exciting. As far as the director, I have always felt that the more talented crew and actors he can assemble, the better his films. My view is that Michael Apted was the last "Actor's Director" that created a successful Bond adventure. And Martin Campbell remains the gold standard in action films, a director who understands action as well as drama. Skyfall's main premise that 007 will be relegated to a supporting role is it's paramount flaw. Allowing Skyfall events to be driven by Silva makes this a great action film but only a good Bond film.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2012

    New Find

    I saw this table on CraigsList while looking for a patio table. The previous owner claimed it to be Moroccan tile but I'm laying my money that it's Americana 1960's or early 70's.


  • My favorite headline from this morning's Talking Point Memo.
  • And my favorite analysis from last night via Jonathan Chait "Republicans greeted Barack Obama's presidency with a calculated wave of total opposition. They would not cut a deal on health care or on the federal budget, each time accepting the risk of total defeat rather than settle for half-measures, like giving Democrats some kind of token health care reform or small tax increase." "The gamble was that by denying Obama any support, they would render his presidency wholly partisan at best, and a dysfunctional failure at worst. They would increase their own chances of denying him a second term, and that their return to power would allow them to claim a full and absolute break with the past. They shoved all their chips onto tonight's election. When the networks called it at 11:15 pm, the totality of the right's failure was clear. And because they bid up the stakes as high as they could, their loss was unusually devastating."
  • Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    Frontyard in Fall

    Oro In Bloom

    The Oro Blanco grapefruit has been blooming like mad the past week and is about to explode with several dozen more. I'm not sure what that means since it's officially a few months early to be budding. Hopefully the fruit will stay on during the winter months.

    Sunday, November 04, 2012

    New York Magazine

  • A great cover picture from this week's New York Magazine
  • A Daughter Emerges

  • Seems our fattened spider has had her brood....or at least one offspring who finds herself on the same hunting ground as mom......