24 April 2007

And the Beat Goes On?

David Halberstam passed away recently, in a car accident. If you don't know exactly who he is; you're probably among the majority. Halberstam was a journalist and a great writer.

To be honest, I only got into him because of his basketball themed books (Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made) but that expanded out to his other works and over time, I came to think of him as someone whose career I'd love to emulate; however poorly. I can't really speak on Halberstam's place in the literary world as a whole, but he had a high position in my little world.

Halberstam spoke at my University of Michigan graduation services (2000). I can't recall exactly it is that he said, but I'm sure whatever it was, it was more than "The answer is...pizza!" I probably should have listened closer, but it wasn't really my graduation, and the crowd was rowdy, so attention was lost.

Writers get into the business to immortalize people/objects/the world; but also to immortalize themselves. Do they know what's waiting beyond that breech? Immortality! Take it David; it's already yours.

23 April 2007

The Host (2007)

I watched this movie in the most beautiful movie theatre I've ever been in. They played opera before the showing, the popcorn was perfect, and the stage/theatre was just amazing. La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas, San Diego. Check it out.

I thought the movie was pretty good too. A bit slow but every time the pace slacked, the monster would arrive. That's the best part about the movie; they didn't skimp on showing the (very obviously) CGI monster. I thought the movie was hilarious as a satire but my film companions just thought it was so-so. I liked it; although I'm not sure I'd have the patience to watch it again. But I'd return to the theatre!
-Ripe Tomatoes-

05 April 2007

Grammar Style

Ever wondered how to properly use apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, and hey, punctuation in general? Check out this short primer titled, "How to Use English Punctuation Correctly," and become a pro. I've always been confused by colons and semi-colons and now that I know how to use them, I can't stop. I've become an over-punctuator; after a lifetime of being restricted to commas and periods, I'm now making up lost time. I used to score well in high school grammar class simply because I winged it; now I actually know why and what I'm using punctuation for -- sort of.

And for the "advanced" writer, "How to Avoid Colloquial (Informal) Writing." Or "How I Stopped Blogging and Started Writing." I'm still working on this one personally.

How many times have you been told to "show, not tell?" I'm barely aware of what this means, outside of the elementary school context, so here's a great explanation: "Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: Show and Tell." This book was recommended to me by an editor that knows exactly what she's talking about. Read on and figure out what narrative summary is and when to (not) use it.

04 April 2007

Buy, Sell, or Hold

"It is said that we are all three different people: the person we think we are (the one we have invented), the person other people think we are (the impression we make) and the person we think other people think we are (the one we fret about).

You could say it would be a lifetime's quest to reconcile this battling trinity into a seamless whole. Maybe, but for the time being I am convinced that, in Kurt Vonnegut's words: you are what you pretend to be."
-The Gentle Art of Selling Yourself-

03 April 2007

Cast Off

Planning some summer getaways? Not sure when to purchase those tickets? Well, here's something that might help. Farecast uses a secret algorithm (or really smart people, whichever) that looks at trends in airplane tickets. Based upon the results of that research, the site will advise you when to purchase a ticket and where to purchase it from. I myself am headed to quite a few places in the upcoming few months so this could be useful information.

I'm not sure if this site is totally accurate but it sure makes me feel good to have super secret technology on my side. I'd feel much better committing to my impulsive travel plans once I'm assured by a computer that I'm getting a great deal. Wouldn't you? Always trust computers; never humans.

Now if only there was Datecast so you can figure out when to approach a chick you'd like to get to know. "Wait, Go, No, In Your Dreams, Run." I guess the first thing to do would be to stop referring to women as "chicks" right?

02 April 2007

The Fountainhead (1949)

I didn't realize the Fountainhead movie was adapted to the screen by Ayn Rand herself. She only did it on the condition that "not one word be changed." Typical, right?

The movie isn't half bad actually. Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal are about what you'd expect as the main characters, and due to the style of the movie, all the dialogue (essentially ripped straight from the book) sounds somewhat natural. I don't think this movie could be made today because they'd dress it up for no reason; it's too idea/dialogue heavy; and current acting methods would make the movie overly campy.

Apparently, nobody liked it when it was released (in 1949, six years after the book was published), but to be honest, as a huge fan of the book, I wasn't disappointed in the movie. Sure, Cooper's dramatic monologue had the most uneven delivery I've ever heard but I can look past that.

I'm curious what a non-Randian would think of the movie. Would any of the philosophies get passed on? Or would it just put people to sleep?

This also makes me even more curious about the upcoming movie version of Atlas Shrugged -- starring Angelina Jolie (and maybe Brad Pitt) of all people. Not who I envisioned as Dagny Taggart but that's the least of my worries about how Rand's seminal work will translate to the screen.
-Ripe Tomatoes-