Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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I've been under the weather this week. I've got some sort of head cold: somewhat headache, body aches, cough, sore throat, etc. I don't think it's the flu as I don't have fever. I guess it's a part of life. Makes you grateful for being well, and sympathetic for those that have chronic illnesses. I can't imagine being sick with some sort of illness all the time, it must be a real drain on one's energy and outlook on life. That's one reason I'm all for medical marijuana. If it can benefit some people, why not?

At any rate, I've got the head cold thing. I should get up and dressed. The library is holding a book for me, and they called yesterday. It's the James Gurney book, Imaginative Realism. I've currently got two books on loan here right now, one is the Stan Lee book, How To Write Comics, which I picked up just to peruse and see what he has to say. It does have some information in it that's worthwhile. There's also a bit of the history of comics, their origins, the difference between comic strips vs. comic books, but also a few things I've found that make it worth picking up. There are also guest writers that add their two cents, like Mark Waid who suggest a few books for writers: like a dictionary and thesaurus, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, and something I'll look further into, the grammar book, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves. He also suggest Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Making Comics, and William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. Another writer, Shannon Denton, offers these titles: Shot by Shot, and How To Draw the Marvels Way.

Writer Margaret Atwood list ten items she feels budding writers should have:
1. A small notebook to carry around when ideas strike you that's small enough to carry around with you.
2. A large box--for drafts, unfinished work and so forth.
3. Mortification: Writers and Their Public Shame complied by Robin Robertson
4. Roget's Thesaurus
5. The Stretching Handbook--for writers or artist--exercises to straighten out that writer spine or bad elbow. Sounds silly perhaps, but she's probably right.
6. A Novel in A Year--Louise Doughty--stating, it is what it is, to get one started.
7. How Not to Write A Novel, by Mittelmark & Newman.
8. The Art of Instinct by Dennis Dutton--why do humans make art, including narrative art.
9. The Gift, by Lewis Hyde--How is art situated in the world of commerce? Or, why do so few artists make lots of money?
10. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer On Writing, by Atwood--What is writing and how does it differ from other art forms, and who are writers, and what do they thing they're doing?

At any rate, several suggestions, along with Stan Lee's Top Ten Tips for Writers, the three-act structure, the importance of subplot, timing and tension, and some nice graphics to go along with some of the other information. I mostly picked it up as I was curious, and it looked like a fun read.

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I also picked up a cook book, The New McDougall Cookbook. It has over 300 ultra-low-fat recipes from the creators of the McDougall Program (or diet plan), by John McDougall, M.D., and Mary McDougall. Again I picked this up just to check it out, and look at some of the recipes as I've been pretty interested in nutrition and health lately. I was never in a position to do much about it when I worked steady. I tried to eat a good diet, but I knew I probably wasn't, and at the same time, I wondered, well what is a healthy diet? So I'm still trying to find out more about that one. One thing I have come to understand, there's too much prepared & processed foods, which are bad for you, there's too many people overweight with health issues, and for my own concern, I'm just wondering well then, what is a good diet? How can one optimize their health by eating the right nutritious foods? It's an on-going process, and one that I can see there probably isn't an easy, pat answer. However, from what I can tell, just from my limited findings, leans a great deal towards a vegan vs. meat vs. processed food diet.

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Unknown is the last good movie I've seen in a while. It's an action film that takes place in Berlin, in which Liam Neeson plays a doctor, who in Berlin attending a science conference. When he forgets something at the airport (I think it was his briefcase), he takes a taxi back to get it, and is involved in an auto accident, which gives him amnesia. From there the story takes on aspects of mystery. It's escapism, and has mysterious men tailing him, and had sort of a Bourne Identity feel to it that I enjoyed.

Just a run down of the past movies I've seen, they've been hit and miss. Here are a few others some recommendable other not so much:

Terri--sort of a fable, about a kid that wears pajamas to junior high, and how this misfit kid finds odd friends and relates to the world around him. I found it interesting, but I'll be damn if I know why. Oddball film for sure.

Magic Trip--a documentary about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and their trip to NYC Tomorrowland. Kesey wrote the books, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and Sometimes A Great Notion. It's a documentary about the drug culture of the early 60's, and also comments on Kesey's LSD experiments that he participated in sponsored by the CIA.

X-Men: First Class--an okay super hero film. I enjoyed Captain America a bit more, though it was ok, however, I'm not a huge mutant fan. I'm getting pretty burned out on super hero films too, somewhat.

The Tree of Life--I felt this movie was over-hyped. It's loose in structure, a lot of pretty cinematography, but not much there for me. Pass.

Why We Fight--a documentary on why we go to war (mostly lying politicians), it's worth a watch for sure. I'll leave it at that.

Nanook of the North--supposed to be the first documentary made about an Eskimo and his family, follows them through a year and how they live in such a brutal environment. Pretty interesting.

Hanna--I didn't think I'd like this as the premise of a young fifteen year old girl becoming this super human that doles out justice 007 style is just a bit too far fetched for me. The same type plot has been done before like in the French film, La Femme Nikita, and for me anyway, done better.

Win Win--Paul Giamatti plays a lawyer, part time wrestling coach, who becomes a legal guardian for a elderly man within the early stages of dementia. He meets the man's grandson, a trouble teen, and takes him under his wing and allows him to stay with him and his family, as the teen's mom has drug problems. A fairly worthwhile watch.

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