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Week 1 & 2 - The New Year! Hear!

I think I'll break down on my blogging pace a bit this year. At least for now. To nurture the New Year while it's still fresh and dandy, maybe. To watch the weather shift and the snow melt away. To hop along the ice patches and see where this road leads me.

The New Year's off to a bit of a slow start, but at least I'm all caught up on the Walking Dead now, and on my One Piece manga (from 48 to 66 since my last post), finished last year's Project 2016, started on this year's Project 2017, and now I've caught up on the weeklies too.

I spent the last weekend (and then some) with my nephew - we toured museums and stayed up late nights playing games, and this weekend a group of relatives came over for one final Christmas feast before Christmas goes out the window, which is what we're been doing today, with exceptions for long walks; rejoicing in the rare and rejuvenating spring-like sunshine that lingers outside for a few hours. For the second day in a row. Maybe tomorrow it'll be back to the usual shades of gray.

Though the snow missed Christmas by a slim margin it came back around... a while. We had the most amazing winter weather right at the start of the new year, and enjoyed it fully. Apart from walks, surprise visits and temporary celebration: I'm back to work again, and falling behind on past projects and site stuff. Sorry S3C, no prime number post for 11/1/17! Some other prime time.

It's been a pretty good two first weeks though, and you can hear a bit of them here and here, in this year's first two Project 2017 recordings: one weekly - be it freestyle for other, until this year is over. I'll formulate something better for that later on. I'm actually not all the way through last year's project yet *shame*, but the New Year's supposed to be a fresh start right? So best stay fresh; move on with the new! And finish the remainder of last year's dues when time grows huge.

In other news I recently upgraded the RAM in two of my computers: the old and the home office one. I upgraded 4 x 256MB DDR sticks to 512MB on the old - maxing it out entirely, and added 2 x 1GB DDR2 to the new, bringing it up to 5GB total.

I tried a pair with a bit lower Mhz first, which brought down the speed overall, but managed to get a pair with the same speed via work, and replaced those the next day. Today, I've ordered a batch of 4 x 2GB sticks, so when those arrive I'll have maxed out this setup as well. Capacity-wise, at least. Apparently both mobo and CPU set the bar for how high bus speed your computer RAM can have, though I'm not reaching for the top there yet. It seems bus speed's not the most important thing, even if it does make a difference.

The gaming computer... I can't upgrade that one yet. No spare DDR3 lying around, and apparently large-capacity RAM is expensive! So I'd better wait till I need them. Maybe until I actually have time to play.

I'm back to my no-shopping obsession again too... which come to think of I haven't posted about on the blog yet, so you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. More on that later then.

The minutes are slowly counting down now, and the counter marks the end of the second week of this grand New Year... I'm not feeling as free and unshackled as I hoped I would; with a bit of a backlog of old projects trailing after, but with a little less reviewing movies, and a little more doing what needs to done I should be caught up in no time. The New Year's off to a slow start, yo... but it's picking up!

You can browse all weekly posts of last year here. And hey: looks like I'll keep the tradition going. If not with weekly, the maybe a double every once in two. :) Until next time: have a good few remaining minutes!

Ciao.

Week 52 - Happy New Year!

So we're standing on the doorstep of a new era, once again!

The shift sure passed fast - as did the week before it. I don't have my old calender beside me to remind me of what I did each day, but after last Christmas weekend... not that much has happened. I've been sitting in. I've been out a bit. I had one day of work in the middle of the week, and then it was back home, and back to work on all I've been working with here. My site, mostly. Lost projects. Old projects. I've managed a bunch, and though my short-lived session of free days started with great stress rather than joy and celebration (it's Christmas goddammit), I calmed down the closer we were to the bridge, slowly accepting that there's just so much you can accomplish in a single year, and I feel I made the most of it. Or at least: much of it.

Looking back, I'm impressed at how well I ended last year here at the CDB blog. I wrote a good (more importantly on-time) final poem, posted an inspiring message from George Orwell, the one-hundredth edition of my semi-frequent Music Video Mashups, and both yearly recap and weekly post in one (a few days after deadline - but just in time for the New Year), all on that final day! I wish I could, but I just can't top that this year. I even had a free GOG give-away back then, at the very end of the post. Wonder who claimed that one.

Instead of doing things as impressive as the above yesterday, I wasted the few hours I had doing important things with the site. Upgrades - and such, but I have nothing to show for it, just a sense of accomplishment I'm trying to treasure as the New Year sets in. Some things to take off my todo list, at least.

On the other hand: though last year's pre-New Year accomplishments seem nice and dandy, I was barely active at all on the days leading up to the grand finale, as I have been now. Low on time, but catching up, as I still am. I posted a quick Happy 2017! yesterday, along with rushed accompanying artwork, but as for my resolutions... I think I'll re-use last year's bit of wisdom: Don't tell anyone about your goals until you achieve them!

My resolutions post from last year was meant to be private until a New Year was nigh, and checked back upon it to see how I'd done, but I feel like I didn't accomplish them enough, and revealing some of them now would spoil certain surprises... so I think I'll leave them hidden for this year as well. Guess the advice above didn't work so well after all, as in: getting me to do more than I'd do otherwise. :) But this year, maybe I'll pay more attention to those goals. They're still pretty relevant. It's like I just skipped a year. I know I did lots of things. Lots of good things, just not the things I planned on doing. Where did all that time go? I didn't initially post any resolutions in 2015 either, just a motivation. One goal, if you so will. A vision to live by: Stay strong! Let go! Get better! I better.

Maybe a line's enough for the even years, and renewed resolve a must for the odd ones?

On the blog I've just posted 6 reviews - my last routine batch of this particular weekly amount, and I'm posting this post in time this time, on the week it's due, too. Would've been dishonorable to start the New Year with less. :)

Btw, here's the first post I posted last year, similar to the 2017 tribute above..

I'm feeling pretty hopeful about the new dawn of days to come, no matter how apocalyptic predications I hear of this coming year. Not sure how I'll do with the Weekly posts this year - if I will, but you can be sure I'll keep on posting! I feel like spontaneous writing might be a better creative fuel. Maybe it's time to break that routine. Let go, right? Of that one, and many other old weights.

Here's last week. I guess this might be the last weekly post in a while. The last for last year, the first for this one; with a thirst and wish for a Happy 2017! Full of visions. May the bliss come: quick! Sun sit, sun. Set. I'm forever in your debt, rich one.

CDB Updates:

  • Yearly backups, checks, upgrades, etc.
  • Optimized and secured databases (a bit).
  • PHP 5.4 -> 7 + tweaks. Old .htaccess/php.ini includes removed.
  • Deprecated WP tags and old feed links/includes removed/replaced.
  • Core Object Cache removed (hasn't worked since 2009).
  • Minor blog edits; fixes.

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.

Though it's really not that simple. Or complicated.

The idea isn't that difficult. Marty - the screenwriter, just so happens to have a somewhat psychotic friend: Billy - who also happens to have a psychopathic friend: Hans. Billy and Hans run a small business of kidnapping dogs, and handing them back to their rightful owners expecting generous reward (Hans to pay his wife's hospital bills; Billy with other intentions), and one day one of those dogs just happens to be a dog belonging to Charlie, a pretty criminal kind of psychopath.

There aren't really seven of them, though there are in the story Marty's writing. There are really only three with central roles. When Billy puts out an ad asking psychopath's with interesting stories to call Marty, and maybe have their stories told through his movie: one more appears. An outsider. He contributes, but doesn't have much to do with the real story at all. And then there's the imaginary guy who's story keeps changing: the Vietnamese psychopath, whose hooker's fate keeps changing with him. Ultimately what happens to him depends on who helps Marty write his story.

The psychotic nature of each character isn't revealed at the beginning. It takes a while before all the pieces fall into place, and though it's a very whimsical and nonsensical action/thriller/comedy/drama at times, it's also a very serious, sensible and tastefully scripted one, and at other times both violent and disturbing - but it paints a picture of psychopaths as more than just psychos.

To explain them as beings simply 'incapable of feeling' would be to say too little, and to try to explain what they are would be saying too much, but the movie has a nice way of explaining their nature without intently focusing on it: they go beyond definition. They're human, too. Their traits and characters vary, as with anyone, and the lack of empathy shining through the cracks of their seemingly unintentional charm, and their uncompromising humor, feels dangerous... yet they don't seem like intently bad people.

I guess I just wasted a paragraph on trying to formulate something I can't really put in words. It's better put in images, like the movie does. I don't mean to imply the movie in any way reveals what a psychopath is, but it plays with the concept, and characters, and delves into the details in vigorous and violent ways.

Both dialog and narrative is flush with unnecessary detail and character, and the actors work well together. There's Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and not least Colin Farrell as the somewhat unfortunate and unintentional script-writing main character. He always gets strange roles like this, it seems. Strange guy. There's probably a few other well-known actors there too if you know their names. Great cast.

All in all it was a refreshingly innate yet different kind of movie, that plays with setting as well as persona, with a perspective that frequently moves outside the plot. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

This one's actually based on a book from 1954! Adjustment Team, by Philip K. Dick. Seems some literary work really is eternal.

It's a story about a pair: two strangers who one day meet. One's running for senate, and the other's a dancer. They share an intense first moment, then lose each other in the chase, but they meet again, and lose each other again... and again, and it soon turns out there's more to their story than meets the eye.

Matt Damon plays one part of the pair, and Emily Blunt the other, and up until the end the chemistry is amazing. Charming, personal and intimate. The plot's not all action, but there's a little chase and drama, and a concept that impresses. It's an inspiring story, a bit like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from 2004, only here the theme is much more supernatural. It's like they're fated for each other, yet it's not according to the plan, and suddenly great forces are at work to stop their being together. Godly forces.

I recently talked about how I appreciate pro-Atheist movies since they're few and far between, but if this is pro-Christian, then despite my beliefs I like this approach even more.

This is propaganda done right if it is. A story that lives and breathes on its own accord, and doesn't need to explain anything to lure you in. The symbolism is obvious but never forced - maybe because even the divine element is made to feel human - in that it can be flawed, and in the end I feel like a world that worked like this might not be so bad after all. Now that this is fresh in mind, Sausage Party seems an incredibly unworthy contender in the race for faith.

I've seen this movie before, btw, but it was just as good this time as it was the last. The emotional input is a bit lacking towards the end - which keeps it from the high 5, but overall it's a compelling voyage that brings in an element of the supernatural into our own, very relatable, world. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Here's a true, somewhat glorified story about the biggest oil disaster in US history, back in April 2010, and along with it a big bash at the BP people - something I'm surprised to see considering this is a blockbuster, and Hollywood's no saint either.

That said, they don't delve much into it becoming the biggest oil spill, so much as the personal tragedy that precedes it, and the chaos that ensues within the building is the big action.

Focus lies on the people on the rig, and on a set of main characters that do their best to save each other, though the eleven lives lost in the initial explosion are the real post-movie tragedy... not the billions of people ultimately impacted by the carelessness of those BP bosses, by the disastrous effects that spill will have on the Earth and life upon it.

Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, a chief engineer working an the ultra-deepwater offshore drilling rig with the movie name, at the time situated in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Russell's the big boss Jimmy Harrell, and if there is a single villain it's BP representative Vidrine, played by John Malkovich, whose thirst for profit paves way for the disaster. Gina Rodriguez has a notable part too, and at times looks remarkably much like (her not sister - I checked) Michelle Rodriguez.

The characters all play their role convincingly, and there's a glimpse of family on the side for added survival importance. Mike is the main character, but Jimmy's the real tough guy. They work well together, and that guy who maneuvers the crane - saving the lives of everyone about to board the lifeboat at the cost of his own, he had a short but important fifteen seconds of fame too.

While the others escape, Mike and Co stay behind and do all they can to contain the situation, but in the end there's nothing they can do. They climb the stairs with the flames licking their feet, and make an impressive dive through the inferno; into the oily waters of the bay.

It's a fascinating, and dramatic chain of events, that really focuses on the detail of each operation. The machinery. The pipes. The pressure. The I-don't-remember-their-names-but-all-those-important-parts-that-were-mentioned: the inner workings of this giant metal and concrete contraption meant to suck out oil from below the seabed.

I understand they don't focus so much on the Earth itself as there's little of interest there. It's a slow death. Spill with no want for watching. Exploding rigs is what the audience really wants to see (I did too). The fire is fierce, as is every other aspect of the constructive carnage, and though a message about what it all meant for the world might overshadow personal grief, it feels like it's intentional. Like they still don't admit their guilt. As the credits roll we see pictures of the 'original' characters, and their families - from I assume both before and after the event. It's a nice personal touch, but it gives the impression that although it was a tragedy, and a great personal loss, they survived and life moves on. But it doesn't. The survivors may have healed their wounds, but the world has not, and BP keeps pumping their billions.

It's like BP is sending out a message: we are not at fault. If you want a villain, then focus on Vidrine, and not the profit-hungry machine that drives everyone like him. The crew did as much as they possibly could to lessen the damage, so hear their story, and hail their glory, and forget about the oil. I guess it's Hollywood after all.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Stand By Me (1986)

Stand By Me (1986)

Here's a movie based upon a work by Stephen King: The Body, a novella originally published in 1982.

It tells the story of four kids, as they embark on a quest to find a dead body in the woods, and traverse all kinds of obstacles to get there. They're all twelve years old, adventuring at the end of the summer, right before Junior High, and this is their memory. A tale of bonds and characters more than it is about the dead body.

It's not that complicated, but the character's are all their own, and the one who tells the story is the narrator grown up - looking back on that one last summer. I feel like I'm looking back with him.

It's nicely filmed. The settings are hazy and warm, like my own childhood. Like when you look at old photos and think back.

It's not a very spectacular or particular story, but familiar, relatable even if it really isn't. Maybe it's because the four main characters seem to collectively embody such a mass of common traits, backgrounds and habits, from life, or movies, or wherever they're fetched from. I don't relate to any one of them, or what they go through, yet it feels like they're telling my story.

It feels like Stephen King-based movies often have that tone. That familiarity. I don't recognize any of the actors except Kiefer Sutherland - most of them were kids, after all, but they were all great. Everything was great. And maybe the lack of well-known actors help you not perceive it as much as a movie, as... something else. Like a memory. A glimpse back into another time.

I wonder what happened to those other guys? Maybe they saw them... maybe they didn't.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle
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