Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Netflix Gnome

Has anybody other than me noticed that someone or something seems to mess around with your Netflix queue?

I just watched a movie that had risen to the top of my queue and been sent to me -- and my main reaction is why the hell is this movie even on my list? It was a French movie called Beau Travail. Set in the French foreign legion, and the story was about....hmmmm...guys in the French foreign legion? Kind of. and kind of artsy. but not in the good, interesting, creative way. at least lots of shots of built young studs with their shirts off. I guess that's artsy, in a way; of course we all enjoy that!

So why did I put this so high on my (long ) queue that it actually made it to me? Beats me!

The search begins...let's start with the cast, anybody here I may have seen on another movie, thought was talented (or just sexy!) and so did a search for other films? nope, don't see any likely candidates.

Okay, maybe I was playing film connoisseur, and looking for other films from a favored director (or cinematographor)(or costume designer)(or grip or best boy, whatever the hell they are). Again, nope. Turns out the director (Claire Denis) did Chocolat (a much, much better movie), but I hadn't seen or thought about that in a hundred years, so wouldn't have made me choose this one. and nobody else seems familiar.

After some searching, I did find it on one Netflix member's list of "almost gay" films or something like that, for its repressed homosexual overtones. If they were there, they were very repressed (although the shirtless studs were nice, see above!). Can I truly have been that desperate for gay flicks? possible, but...let's just say i hope not, and, in any case, I would never admit it in public here anyway.

So I guess it was the Netflix Gnome. I think he may be related to the Underwear Gnomes from South Park; a cousin, I think. In any case, he doesn't seem to get the "why" of what he's doing any better. Unless netflix got a great deal on dvds of this movie, and, rather than sending out "good night and good news" or something like that, slips this one in. Anyway, I bet he popped this baby in at the top of my list when I wasn't looking, and, before I realized it, it was on its way to that (home) theater near me. Bastard!

So, boys and girls, the moral of this entry is...keep any eye on your Netflix queue; if something there seems "questionable", then question it. Something in that may be a good thought for life in general, but that's a little too deep for me to figure out right now.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

While updating my profile...

I was adding in some interests, books, movies, etc. this morning. (By the way, wish I could figure out how to change the "favorite" in the title for the "favorite books" and movies sections; I always hate trying to decide which are my FAVORITES, always seems so absolute...can't take the pressure on a Saturday morning...)

Anyway, I thought I would comment briefly on some of them with which you may not be all that familiar (but, IMHO, should be!).

Year of Living Dangerously: A great Peter Weir movie, set in Indonesia in the politically tumultuous 1960's, this tells the love story of an Australian journalist (Mel Gibson, before he got all "Passionate"...) and a British Embassy worker (Sigourney Weaver). Well acted (especially an amazing performance by Linda Hamilton), beautifully shot, and wonderfully atmospheric, in the true Peter Weir style.

Blood Simple: One of the earlier (if not the first) Joel and Ethan Coen movies (cf, Fargo), and for my money, still one of the best. Murder story set in Texas; kind of "Texas Noir". Plenty of wonderful images and scenes, some great subtle comedy and everything we all love about the Coen Bros. And, of course, the incomparable Frances McDormand...

Tender Mercies: A sweet and gentle movie, telling the story of a man (Robert Duvall) whose life is redeemed by the power of love. Set against the barrenness of rural West Texas, this quite and lowkey movie has amazingly understated and powerful performances throughout, and tells a story with universal appeal. (WARNING: contains absolutely no scenes of thrilling action or special effects!)

The Language of Cats: This collection of short stories by Spencer Holst contains some real gems. I came across this book in a used book store 15 or 20 years ago, and after reading a couple of the stories, was hooked. The stories, are vibrant, quirky, intriguing, and many of them have stayed with me ever since I first read them. I think it's out of print, but add it to your "used book" list on your PDA or iPod for the next time you're visiting your local used book store.

My Big Fat Queer Life: This is a hilarious (and sometimes poignant) collection of short stories by Michael Thomas Ford, with real life stories of growing up and living as a gay man in the US. These stories strike me as much more real than so much gay "literature" out there, and reflects the mundane day to day life of most gay people. For us gay folks, I'm sure some of these stories will really strike a chord; for our straight friends, it may give you an understanding of how gay life in America really is for many, if not most gay people -- not all partying at dance clubs every night as in QAF, but rather dealing with the same mini-crises we all go through everyday.

Okay, sorry, got carried away. But I hope you enjoy some or all of these.

DISCLAIMER: I have received no compensation from any publisher, author or distributor of any of the foregoing for expressing my opinions here. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Quit My Job Today...sort of..

I quit my job today. Or at least I started to. I've been in a job for the last six months that has made me miserable, and I finally got up my nerve to tell my boss today that I thought it was time to call it quits. She's hoping to convince me to stay, and has asked me to think about it for a day or so before we make it official. But I really think it's time to move on. So, I quit my job today...sort of.

In any case, I thought this would be an auspicious time to start my first blog. There's been a lot going on in my life lately -- good and bad both -- and maybe getting some of the details down on "paper" will help my thinking and bring some perspective. And maybe, if anybody else ever reads these posts, something here will strike a chord with them. Probably not, but you never know. Besides, it's much cheaper than therapy.

I also, occasionally, have an funny thought or interesting idea that might be fun to put out here. Just in case somebody ever reads this and finds it interesting or funny. It *could* happen, really!