Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kong interrupted

I'd planned to share my thoughts on Kong:  Skull Island after seeing it earlier tonight.  Unfortunately, a little over an hour into the nearly two-hour movie, someone or something triggered the fire alarm at the theater.  We all exited, waited a while, and then learned that was it for the night.

In case I don't get to watch the rest of this film until after it hits DVD, I will say that I was having a pretty good time watching it, the effects were decent, Samuel L. Jackson was doing a good job of chewing the scenery, the soundtrack was excellent, and plot holes were abundant.

I'll tell you more when I know more.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Music in the park on a sunny afternoon

Barcelona wasn't exactly warm that afternoon, and in the shade of the trees many people zipped up their light jackets, but as long as you were walking in the sunshine, the temperature in Park Guell could not have been more perfect.

Click an image to see a larger version.

I was in the minority in short sleeves, just another tourist who had to pay to gain access to the steps of the wonderful complex at the park's lower main entrance.

From the famous lizard partway up the steps

to the mosaics on the ceiling of the structure

it sang with color and with Gaudi's genius.

The view of the city from atop the structure gave way to the Mediterranean in the distance,

while the walkways under the neighboring overhangs transported you inside the skeleton of a beast long vanished.

Up and up the breath-stealing steps led, until I reached the top and surrendered to the curving paths, which wound me once again downward.

In a corridor not far from the bottom, a lone violinist played a song I could not name but vaguely recognized.

I moved closer and leaned against a rock wall just outside his setup.  I closed my eyes.  The sun's hands on my face were as soft and gentle and warming and loving as a mother's embrace of her baby.  The music filled my heart to the point that--and this is the sentimental, silly truth of me--I thought I might not be capable of containing the pure, wordless, unburdened joy of that moment.

If I have ever given a reader that much joy, for even a single instant, then I have done at least one thing of wonder.

I remained there, utterly still, eyes closed, for I know not how long, and then the music stopped, my heart released its control, and I opened my eyes and walked on.

A perfect Barcelona moment.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


I saw this movie on a drizzly Sunday night in London, at a cinema that was running it on a gigantic screen.  I watched from the second row in the balcony, a beautiful seat from which to take in the entire film.

I absolutely loved this movie.  The story, the cinematography, and the acting were all excellent.  Rather than the usual superhero movie formula of action, action, snarky comments, and more action, Logan relentlessly follows its decaying namesake character as he reluctantly ends up in another battle when all he's trying to do is live under the radar and take care of an increasingly frail Charles Xavier.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart turn in very strong performances in those roles, but young Dafne Keen steals the show as a mutant girl with enormous powers and minimal socialization.

My only real complaint about the film is its reliance on a bit of footage and dialogue from Shane, choices I consider to be blunders, but even with those errors the film is a powerful and compelling work that never wavers in its intensity.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll stop here.  Go see Logan.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


While in Las Vegas for The Ultimate Fighter finale last December, Kyle and I ate twice at a place with exceptionally tasty gelato, Amorino.  We were surprised to learn that the company has a location in Raleigh.  I've since tried gelato from there, and it was very, very good.

On my recent European trip, I encountered Amorino stores in Florence, Barcelona, and London.  All of them were always full of customers.

If you like gelato, definitely get to the Amorino location in downtown Raleigh and try some of their offerings.  I'm partial to the amarena, but I've not tasted a bad flavor yet.

If you do, I'm betting you'll join the folks in all of those towns and more who've learned that Amorino provides reliably good gelato in multiple countries and locations.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A few quick thoughts on the occasion of my birthday

Far less of everything--summer, Christmas, new music, hot movies--awaits me than is behind me.  That is a sobering and difficult proposition to accept.

I continue to feel 16 inside.  I am as churned up as I have ever been.

That said, I feel I have gained some measure of self-control and maybe even of wisdom.

I am not accomplishing enough.  I must pick up the pace.

I cannot fathom those who are bored by life.  I could live a hundred lifetimes and never be bored.  So much art and food and beauty and people and life to absorb and revel in, and never ever enough time.

Monday, March 13, 2017

I hate to hit you with another trailer

but you seriously must watch every second of this amazing bit of video.

When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says, “take the wheel,” and proceeds to manually re-direct a torpedo hurtling along the ice, I want to explode with joy.

I can't wait for this one.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

At the top of today's most want to see movie list

are two films with very strong women kicking butt.  One is the better known and long expected Wonder Woman movie.

The other is one I learned about only recently but which looks like even more fun.

Oh, yeah, I'm there for both of these.


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