Monday, September 27, 2010

Sidewalk Film Festival

This was my first time to attend Sidewalk and I am officially a lifelong fan! I had such a great time! I saw 12 showings total: 7 documentaries, 4 narrative features, and a block of 9 short films. I love movies and it was the perfect day, just running from one venue to another seeing lots of different viewpoints on the world. I did a lot of walking and a fair amount of stair climbing and didn't eat any crap. I stuffed my purse full both days with an apple, a banana, almonds, cheese, and crackers. Lots of water fountains for my water bottle. It was the best weekend I've had in quite some time!

Pretty crappy to come home to a freon-leaking a/c unit and a damp spot on the ceiling. Repairmen are inbound bright and ugly tomorrow morning and I may be shopping around for a loan.

Has anyone else seen any of these films?

Documentary Films

The Entourage's Adrian Grenier decides to turn the tables on a 14 year-old member of the paparazzi by following him around.

"The incredible true story of how the greatest graffiti film of all time was never made..."

NY Export: Opus Jazz
Shot on location in New York City and starring an ensemble cast of New York City Ballet dancers, NY Export: Opus Jazz takes Jerome Robbins‘ 1958 “ballet in sneakers” and reimagines it for a new generation in this scripted adaptation.

Until the Light Takes Us is a 2009 feature documentary about Norwegian black metal, from directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell. The film features interviews with the originators of black metal, includingVarg Vikernes who is interviewed in prison, where he was incarcerated for killing a bandmate. The film attempts to unravel the truth behind the church burnings and murders committed by a group of young musicians the media called "Satanists", but who, in reality, had far different motives. The film focuses mainly on the events surrounding the genesis, rise, and continuation of the genre and the people that created it. Before the documentary, we saw a short 2 minute film, Delmer Builds a Machine, about a little boy who builds a God-killing machine.

Follows a group of hopefuls to the National Grocer's Association Best Baggers Competition in Las Vegas. Before R, S, B!, we saw an 11 minute short feature, In Brilliant, about two high school seniors in Brilliant, Alabama with different world views and ambitions.

Keeping the independent/punk spirit alive, barbershop quartet fan Robb Topolski takes on the nation’s largest cable company, only to find himself at the center of a federal investigation, inspiring a larger story of censorship, individual voice and access.

Dozens of Utah DVD retailers attracted unwanted attention from Hollywood heavyweights when, in the name of conservative family values, they began sanitizing films of sex, nudity, profanity, and violence. Outraged over the unauthorized editing of their work, prominent filmmakers began to speak out, thrusting the two groups into an intense legal, theoretical,
and moral battle that would last six years before coming to a shocking conclusion.

Narrative Features

A hyper-stylized mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy, Dogtooth is a darkly funny look at three teenagers confined to their parents’s isolated country estate and kept under strict rule and regimen — an inscrutable scenario that suggests a warped experiment in social conditioning and control. Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a “telephone,” an armchair is “the sea”) — until a trusted outsider, brought in to satisfy the son’s libidinal urges, starts offering forbidden VHS tapes in return for sexual favors.

During a stopover in Germany in the middle of a carefree roadtrip through Europe, two American girls find themselves alone at night when their car breaks down in the woods. Searching for help at a nearby villa, they are wooed into the clutches of a deranged retired surgeon who explains his mad scientific vision to his captives’ utter horror. They are to be the subjects of his sick lifetime fantasy: to be the first to connect people, one to the next, via their gastric system, and in doing so bring to life 'the human centipede'.

A new space race is born between NASA and the ESA when Charlie Brownsville, Hank Morrison, and Dr. Casey Cook compete against an artificially intelligent robot to find out what's up there on the red planet. 'Mars' follows these three astronauts on the first manned mission to our galactic neighbor. On the way they experience life threatening accidents, self doubts, obnoxious reporters, and the boredom of extended space travel.

This romantic comedy is told in the playful style of a graphic novel- using a unique animation process that director Geoff Marslett developed specifically for the film. Underneath the silliness Mars is also an exploration of exploration. Why do we want to know what is out there? How do we react to what we find? Is it really that important? And where does love fit into the whole thing?

Evil Things
On January 9th 2009, 5 college students left New York City for a weekend in the country. 48 hours later, all 5 students simply vanished without a trace. There were no leads and no evidence...until now. Before Evil Things, we saw The Tub, a 12 minute short film. A man accidentally impregnates his tub. Morbidly funny.

Short Films

The Thing About Being an Assassin
An intimate and impressionistic look at a super-sly assassin working in the realm of the ultra-business class.

Jason and Christine were a couple in love. But things begin to turn one-sided when communication breaks down.

A Dread of Red
In order to spend eternity with her vampire fiance, Trina must first deal with his blood phobia.

An infertile breast pump salesperson deals with having to choose a sperm donor.

Girl in the Box
A creepy box, an evil man and a girl in a scary situation. We love the silly, scary, gory slasher flicks of the 1980's. Our inspiration came from the horror films that we rented as kids based solely on the video box art (such as 'Happy Birthday To Me.' 'April Fool's Day' and 'Sleepaway Camp') that always had trailers for equally campy movies that revealed the entire plot - ending and all - that we were too lazy to fast forward through.

Lucy in Lala
Lucy lives in her own world. She likes to jog on Saturdays. She has an awful imagination. She has a warped sense of humor. She just can’t seem to make it work. Lucy will do whatever she can to relieve herself of a crappy life.
The Lost Interviews
a series of job interviews highlighting the poor state of the corporate job market.

Brian (Clifton Lewis) is dumped by his girlfriend Claire (Jennifer Leonard). After the breakup, Brian is talking to his friends John (Marc Patterson) and Derrick (Clark Andrews) about why he loves Claire. Brian retraces the steps of his relationship, struggling to remember the day he and Claire first met. When confronted with the question 'Why do you love her?', Brian doesn't have an answer. That is, until his memories help him rediscover the small things in life and 'Claire-ify' what's worth fighting for.

A Face in the Woods
A young man runs out of gas on his way to his mother’s funeral in this haunting yet spiritual look at the grieving process.

Friday, September 17, 2010

wee, wee, wee..all the way home, illustrated

Here he is, in all his dirty, hoggy glory while I avoid him to get back in the car!

A motorcycle almost hit him...would have been fatal for man and pig alike no doubt.

The white siding on the house is level with my, shall we say, bust line...and that is a 96 gallon garbage can to his left. Maybe "giant pig" was a leeetle bit strong, but he was big enough.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

wee, wee, wee...all the way home

Let me preface by saying I do have a few photos which I will upload later. Alas, they are only of the pig by himself as I was too busy later to take action shots. I will forever regret that...

It's been a month or more since this happened and I have absolutely no excuse for dragging my feet on blogging about it other than I am sometimes a lazy slob in a to-do list sort of way, not a clean-house kind of way.

Anyway, about a month ago I got home just at dusk. I have to walk across the road to check the mail box so I park in my drive way and walk across the road. When I turn to come back, I see a HUGE pig, nay, a hog coming from the woods toward my car. I jumped in the car just as it arrived and started sniffing all around the car. It was not a wild boar or anything, but it was big enough to look in the car window at me and it had tusks as long as my fingers. He sniffed around the car a few times then wandered into the back yard so I drove up to the front door. He then popped back around the house and sniffed all around the car again. I sat in the car and watched him. I wasn't getting out under any circumstances until he was not around. When he again wandered into the back yard, I grabbed all my stuff and fled into the house.

Of course, the first thing I absolutely had to do was call KT. Her 7 year old daughter answered the phone:
Essie - Hello?
ME - Hey, Essie! It's Aunt Holley!
Essie - Hey, Aunt Holley! What are you doing?
ME - I'm standing at my front door, looking a GIANT PIG in my yard!
Essie - .......what?
ME - *I repeat what I said*
Essie (yelling) - Momma, Aunt Holley says there's a giant pig in her yard!
KT (at a distance) - ...wait, what? Let me talk to Aunt Holley!

So KT gets on the phone and I tell her about the pig. He is now wandering in the road and it is nearly dark. He is almost hit by several cars and one motorcycle. One car stops in the middle of the road, next to the pig. The passenger rolls down the window and says "Hey buddy!" then the car travels on. KT and I decide I need to call the police (no animal control in my rural area) so I tell her I'll call her later. I look in the phone book for the number of the nearest police...not listed. I go to the section for the next town over....the number I get out of the BLUE GOVERNMENT SECTION OF THE PHONEBOOK says it has been disconnected. So, at this point, I make my greatest mistake...I call my father.

I called him originally to see if he had a different number for the police. I did not feel this was a 911 moment, but it was a danger to drivers. Dad did not have a number but he was REAL INTERESTED in coming to get the pig.
Dad - I've got half a mind to come get that pig. Is it wild? Do you think I could catch it?
ME - He's just roaming around the yard, doesn't appear aggressive. But he has tusks and it HUGE!
Dad - But do you think I could catch it? I'd love to have some bacon!
ME - I was just going to call the police and have them come get it. Several cars have almost hit it!
Dad - I think I can catch it!
ME - Dad, if you want the pig, come get it. But if you come over here, you better bring several people to help and it isn't gonna be me OR my stepmother!
Dad - Okay! I'm headed that way!

Oh dear. What have I done.

It is now a bit after 8pm. Full dark, I haven't had time to eat dinner, I'm tired from work, and my father drives up in their nice new car with my stepmother and their tiny, yippy dog. Yep. Did you think it would happen any other way? My dad, multiple rotator cuff surgery and double knee replacement survivor, gets out of his nice new car with a rope.
Dad - I wish I had some corn!
ME - I've got breakfast cereal.
Dad - Go get some!
ME - Wait on me!

I go get the cereal. Almost immediately, the loudest most disturbing squealing and grunting come from outside. Let me tell you, no film studio YET has perfected the pig-in-distress sound. It is louder and more guttural than can be imagined. I ran to the door and what I basically see is my father waterskiing across my front yard behind a rampaging pig. Then he loses his balance, falls, and the pig drags him down the side of my car then along the side of the house. He was just about to be dragged underneath the deck when I was finally able to close my mouth and spring to action. I grabbed the end of the rope and wrapped it around the leg of the deck as the pig darted under the deck. Of course, OF COURSE, my dad had his hand wrapped in the rope so when the pig hit the end of his slack, he AND my dad are now both making a good deal of noise. I get him untangled and he is covered in grass, mud, and other suspicious substances and is panting like a steam engine.

Dad - I caught it! N said I wouldn't be able to but did you see me lasso it?! I caught it!
ME - Dad, I don't think we're at a 100% success rate right now...what are you going to do with it now?
Dad - I going to get some bacon!
ME - I understand that, but what are we going to do with it now?
Dad - I told you, I've got a friend at a place that processes deer meat. He said he could process the pig tonight!
ME - Dad, I understand that you want bacon, but what are we going to take it IN?
Dad -...........................I'm going to have to go for help.
Dad - I thought it'd be smaller.

I give dad my car keys, since one of the pig's hind feet is now tied to the trailer hitch of his car. While he's gone, the pig is going berserk and manages to pull his car several feet backward across the grass. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he gets back.
Dad - How did it get so much slack in the rope?
ME - He pulled your car across the grass. You're gonna need a bigger boat.
Dad - *laughs uproariously* JP is coming to help!

Imagine my surprise and consternation when JP arrives in an even smaller car, with his wife. They alight from their vehicle with cigarettes and beers in coozies. JP has a pistol in the waistband of his jeans. It's now 9:30 and apparently the party is about to get started.

While dad was gone, N has remembered that someone she knows lives nearby and owns pigs. She tells my dad and now he doesn't want THIS particular bacon since it might possibly belong to someone else. I am SO tired, grumpy, hungry and sweaty that I just want the f*%king pig gone ASAP. Now, JP decides he will just go to the possible owners house (since he's not answering the phone) and get him. JP and wife leave.

JP and wife come back, followed by a diesel duely pulling a horse trailer. Thank goodness! Now I have a yard FULL of men who know JUST what to do. JP and wife have either had several more beers (in addition to the ones still in coozies and being inbibed), a toke or two, or both, but they are rockin'. The men collecting the pig put another rope on the pig's free hind leg, two each take a rope, dad takes the rope around his head, and they head backward towards the horse trailer. Dad didn't know they were going to run, which he has not been able to do in years, and he goes down in the grass again. JP runs forward to grab the now free rope and the pistol falls out of his pants to the ground. His wife staggers to the pistol, picks it up, and begins waving it around. She has a beer in a coozie and a cellphone in one hand, a cigarette and, NOW, a loaded pistol in the other. She is screaming, "I've got the gun! I'ma gone shoot the pig if it gets loose! Should I shoot it now?! I'ma gone shoot it if it gets loose!" JP is yelling, "Get back, woman!" repeatedly.

The pig is finally loaded and, for the last act, my dad decides it is his favorite rope and he has to have it back and no one else can retrieve it for him. He must enter the trailer and beard the pig in its portable den. Refreshingly, nothing happens. He goes in and gets the rope and gets back out. Everyone leaves. I have some scuffed grass and several fragrant piles of pigsh!t. I can still smell the pigsh!t.

The pig has not been back, nor have I heard anything about it. I did see my dad last week and he said where ever he goes around our small little town, someone always tells him they heard a rumor he'd taken up pig wrastlin'. He always gets all the glory.

What have you been wrastlin' with lately?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

your horrible blogging friend, Holley

So, I was managing my subscriptions in Google Reader and was getting annoyed at the blogs I subscribed to that never update...then realized that I'm one of them.


If you're still hanging in there, I'm about to turn over a new leaf!

...and I have a wonderful pig story to tell you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August reads

Somehow, SOMEHOW, I managed to read 20 books in August! I did have a week's staycation and that helped a lot. All I did was sleep and read, it was great! I have spent a considerable amount of time, reading and listening both, on catching up on some young adult books. I've just run out of the store of good suggestions I built up during my grad school YA Lit class. Now I've just got to find some titles that aren't terribly popular since those are never on the shelf when anyone asks. I REALLY want to take a speed reading class!

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Second in the Uglies trilogy. Talley gave herself up so that David's mother could test the cure on her, but she remembers nothing until a shadowy figure confronts her at a party. If she can follow the clues, she may just find her way back to the memories the Pretty surgery has taken away.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld
The last in the Uglies trilogy and SO, SO good. Talley finds a place for herself in the world, but it is not a clean journey and hearts are broken, probably beyond repair, along the way.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld
The is a spin off tale from Westerfelds Uglies trilogy. Not as good as the trilogy, but entertaining and I was very glad to see Talley Youngblood again!

Beastly by Alex Flinn
Modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story...
movie coming out next year!

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
Fourteen year old twins, Grace and Conner Tempest, are adrift, literally and figuratively, after their father dies. They are being pursued by the greedy bank owner and the equally greedy orphanage manager when they decide to take their father's boat and leave. They are separated when a violent storm sinks their boat. Conner is rescued by a pirate ship, The Diablo, while Grace gets picked up by a mysterious ship with black, tattered sails like wings. This ship, The Nocturne, is crewed by vampirates (vampire pirates). Conner mourns his sister but settles in to the pirate life while Grace knows her brother is alive but is fighting some unruly members of the Nocturne crew to stay that way herself. She has unexpected allies in the vampirate Captain and Midshipman Lorcan Furey.

Vampirates: Tide of Terror by Justin Somper
The continuing adventures of 14 year-old twins, Grace and Conner Tempest. In the first book, the twins were separated after a shipwreck in a violent storm. Conner was rescued by a pirate ship and Grace by the vampirate ship. They reunited, but Grace takes a dislike to the type of pirate lifestyle aboard The Diablo and tries to get Conner to go to the Pirate Academy to head off what she sees as a wasted, violent life. Meanwhile, the vampirate captain is suffering from horrifying problems of his own and one of Grace's friends aboard the ship desperately needs her help.

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
Lawrence and Temeraire race back to Africa in search of a possible cure for the awful sickness decimating Britain's dragons.

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Napoleon brings down all he has to bear on the British troops, including the other Celestial dragon. Lawrence is arrested for treasonous activity and Temeraire is shipped off to the breeding grounds.

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
For me, this was worth the wait! I love this series real hard. The Napoleonic Wars, with dragons! It might sound silly, but it isn't. This is historical fiction or alternate history, what ever you want to call it, at it's very, very best! Lawrence and Temeraire have been shipped off to Australia since they can't be killed or controlled.

Her Hero in Hiding by Rachael Lee
Harlequin paperback, light and entertaining. Bruised and battered woman jumps out of an abusive ex-boyfriend's car and takes off into the woods. Hunky man finds battered woman running down the isolated road to his home. Chaos insues.

Stay by Allie Larkin
I couldn't stand it, I bought this book because I wanted it to be at my fingertips WHEN i wanted to read lines, no waiting. Van (Savannah) Leone is heartbroken when the love of her life falls in love with and marries her very best friend. After the wedding, and in a drunken haze, she sort of accidentally buys a "puppy" of a foreign website...for an absurd amount of money. Enter the cute, available, hurt-before-therefore-gun shy veterinarian. There are no new characters here and it's predictable, but I laughed so hard I cried and I cried a bit too. Loved it!

Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allen
Divorced and bitter, the daughter returns home to her manic depressive mother after a shady antiques dealer takes advantage of her mother's fragile condition to clean out the house of its priceless family heirlooms for a steal, literally. After a very public showdown between the daughter and the dealer, her mother runs over him in his yard. Thankfully, he was already dead, but if her mother didn't do it, who did? Funny and fast moving, though the authors' use of parenthetical asides is a bit overdone.

Dragon America by Mike Resnick
I found this in my search for something to fill the Temeraire gap after my quick devouring of the latest in the series...alas, vastly inferior effort. Horribly characters, worse dialogue, and awful, flat, useless dragons. Boo...hiss! Davy Crockett is searching for a legendary breed of giant, fire breathing dragons to help George Washington during the American Revolution. None of the local dragons are big or dangerous enough to be of use, so he must venture out into the uncharted territory of the American West in search of crappy dialogue and fruitless attempts at arousing tension.

Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig
Romantic suspense...ex-cop PI gets a call from a wedding planner who says her brides are being killed. Bride-to-be meets ex-cop PI at the wedding planner's house when he arrives just as the wedding planner is shot and the bride-to-be is fleeing through a conveniently enormous old mansion. Again, light and entertaining.

Divorced, Desperate, and Delicious by Christie Craig
Romantic suspense...falsely accused detective on the run from his renegade partner meets sexy, single (and divorced!) greeting card photographer who lives, conveniently, alone and isolated except for her house full of quirky animals. It was light and entertaining.

Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan
EXCELLENT fantasy short story it for the library story (naturally!) if for nothing else!

All Tied Up by Cathryn Fox
Short novella, light on plot, heavy on naughtiness.

Cry Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
Short, sexy werewolf story. Entertaining if not terribly compelling.

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
OMG! This books is so good it'll make you hurt. This author describes cold that makes your joints ache, poverty that you can hardly imagine, and a brutal, vindictive world outside any boundaries my own personal reality could come up with. Ree's father, a meth cook, has skipped bail but if he doesn't show up for his court date, the county will take everything they own leaving Ree, her two young brothers, and their mentally unstable mother homeless in the coming winter.
The movie is out in limited release here in Birmingham Sept 10th, supposedly at the Vestavia Rave though showtimes are not available online yet.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Last in the Hunger Games trilogy and I loved it! Reviews are decidedly mixed on this one, but mine is resoundingly positive! The Hunger Games universe is a post apocalyptic United States where there exists 12 districts and a Capitol. Every year, to remind the districts of their place, the Capitol requires 2 Tributes from each district, a boy and a girl between the ages (I believe) of 12 and 16, to battle to the death in an artificially created arena. The winner lives a life of luxury and their entire district gets extra food and supplies. Sixteen year old Katniss's story begins when her 12 year old sister Prim is selected from District 12 and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Get 'em, read 'em: Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.