We found Vivian Maier

Last night we had the pleasure of watching Finding Vivian Maier, a fascinating look into the discovery and life of, and the mystery of, photographer Vivian Maier. If you’re at all interested in photography, or American social history, documentaries or Art, you should check out this movie.

An unknown in the art world (until after her death in 2009) Maier was a prolific photographer, among other things, but the uncertainty about why she lived her life the way she did is what made her story so interesting to me.

I picked this up from the library completely randomly. I’d never heard of her, or the guy who made the film, but I’m very interested in photography and was hooked by the intro on the back. Words that were going through my head as we watched were: staggering, incredible, creepy, enthralling, distressing, sad, and amazing.

I really can’t recommend it enough, look for it and check it out.

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Not Very Neighborly & Poor Hospitality Expected

Last night we watched Neighbors, a relatively new (give me a break, I’m behind the times!) DVD release featuring Seth Rogen & Zach Efron (and Rose Byrne in a role that surprised me, she always struck me as more “refined” lol, but I digress) in a raunchy comedy, co-produced by Rogen. I like those actors, and the movie was ultimately pretty funny, but overall I’d have to give it a thumbs down. If you haven’t seen it don’t bother. There are funnier, better written flicks out there. Just saying.

We watch a lot of movies (or try to) on nights the Blues aren’t playing, which is fun and I sometimes just grab titles that I’ve heard are good and occasionally we get a dud. It happens. The Blues *are* on tonight and it’s their 2nd and final regular season meeting with the New York Islanders.

I’m a fan of the Isles, they’re my team in the East, but when the Blues visited Long Island last week they were treated pretty poorly by their host. Smacked around and down 3-0 after only one period, the Blues eventually fought back (figuratively) and won the game 6-4, but at great cost.

About halfway through the 2nd period, with the score 3-2 NY, Islanders forward Anders Lee hit Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson right in the face with a flying elbow, possibly knocking him briefly unconscious (watch the way Gunny falls to the ice) and putting him out of not only that game, but giving him a concussion which has him currently unable to play, missing the next game and likely any hockey skating or otherwise for the near future.

Lee wasn’t called for a penalty on the play, despite direct hits to the head being deemed illegal by the NHL. He did end up having a hearing with NHL Player Safety though only after the league learned of Gunny’s concussion. Lee wasn’t suspended (as many felt he should be) and received only a $2,286.29 fine. Half a day’s pay and the most allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement.

Concussions in sports have a glaring spotlight on them these days and while the NHL claims to be interested in eliminating dangerous plays (i.e. blows to the head) I don’t think the punishment fits the crime here. It shouldn’t matter if the hit was unintentional. It also shouldn’t have made a difference how severe the injury was. It was a direct blow to the head which was the initial point of contact. By the NHL’s own definition a dangerous play. Concussions end careers, and who know how Gunnarsson will recover from the hit. If you put a guy out by hitting him in the head you shouldn’t play until he does.

The main reason I drudge up this story is that tonight the Islanders are visiting Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Anders Lee already showed he wasn’t man enough to stand up for himself last week when, later in the game, Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves challenged him to a fight. I’m extremely curious to see what, if any, retaliatory action is taken by the Blues on the ice against Lee. I’m torn between never wanting to see a guy get hurt and hoping to see Lee bleeding on the ice. Yeah, I went there.

WWW Wednesdays: November 19, 2014

Another fun, weekly prompt from Should Be Reading. Follow along through the link or click the image.

To play, simply answer the following 3 questions in your post and be sure to add a link in the comments over at the original page.

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 I’m currently reading and just about to finish The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson. Pick it up and get to know the Fangs, you’ll enjoy the ride.

 I just finished The Long War, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, the second book in the “Long Earth” series. If you’re familiar with Pratchett’s “Discworld” series you’ll recognize a few of his nuances, but this is something completely different. You don’t need to know anything about his other work to enjoy it but read The Long Earth first.

 Next up will be Happy Hour in Hell, by Tad Williams, the second Bobby Dollar book. It’s got everything you’d expect in a book set in the underworld, plus some characters you wouldn’t. Dollar being one of them. Buckle up, because Bobby doesn’t really use the brakes. Again, I’d suggest reading the previous book before jumping into this one. Not for the faint of heart, just sayin’.

Neuromancer

Thought I’d share another book review- maybe I’ll follow some Blogging 101 advice and make this a Weekly Feature. Tough for me to commit to something like that though, it makes the blog feel too much like work. Or maybe I’m too lazy? Hrm.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of the Star Wars universe and to a much lesser extent the world of Star Trek, but I’ve never been much of a Sci-Fi reader. I’ve tried on numerous occasions but I always tend to prefer Fantasy. You might think with my technology background and enjoyment of computers the opposite would be true, or perhaps I’m not reading the right Sci-Fi.

I can say this for sure: William Gibons’s Neuromancer hooked me in the first few pages and I could barely put it down. I’m especially drawn to characters when reading fiction and Case, Molly, and Co. pop out of the pages of this book. I see now why it’s considered a classic of the Science Fiction genre and highly recommend it.

Neuromancer won numerous awards upon its publication in 1984. Gibson’s portrayal of advanced artificial intelligence, computer hacking and cyber-security were probably outlandish but are eerily familiar today. I wont give away too much, but I know advances have been made in the development of AI by entities in both private and government sectors to the point where his ideas no longer seem so far-fetched.

Another topic Gibson touches on in Neuromancer is that of genetic alteration and physical enhancement through technology. It’s another area in which our future may not be different (and soon!) from the picture of society he painted in 1984. He followed up with two more novels in the “Sprawl” series, and I’m sure I’ll tackle them next, at least to see if any familiar faces remain throughout the story.

Have you seen that Hollywood hit starring Keanu Reaves, Johnny Mnemonic? Gibson wrote the original. Yes, I know, not exactly awe-inspiring, but Neuromancer from ten years prior is worth the read.

The Prisoner of Heaven

I had to share my review of this book, being about as enjoyable a novel as I’ve ever read. The Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, is the third in a set of books, all connected but each a jewel in its own right.

This is one of those books you wish you could give more than 5 stars. Zafón is one of those rare artists who creates in a multitude of media all at once, his words like diffused watercolors, bold, bright oils, soft, blended pastels and hard, cutting lines of darkest ink, all swirling and dancing across the pages, mesmerizing, yet simultaneously solid. A firmament of reason and familiarity that leaves you with a smile on your face. Comforting while at the same time able to shake you to the core, leave you grinding your teeth.

“Prisoner” is the third novel of Zafón’s I’ve read and is quite possibly the best of the three. If you’ve read any of his work you’ll know that’s a tall order. It meandered at a point, in a slightly drunken way, but sobered quickly and left me turning pages, unable to stop reading until I saw what ends his characters were moving toward. Even in its completion “Prisoner” leaves some questions unanswered, but not in a terribly frustrating way. You find yourself transported, standing on a wrought iron balcony looking out over a Spanish city at sunrise, the colors both muted and sharp, and smiling to yourself, knowing it could only be that way.