Stringing Away February Blahs

February Blues

What’s your bluest month of the year? For me, it’s easily February. Ironically, the shortest month of the year feels like the longest, because nights seem endless and winter is at its deepest. Long, cold nights make for oppressive days.

 

Music

But there are things out there that can help speed up time by lifting one’s spirits. One such found treasure often resides in music.  Fantastic music. Check this out. This gives me Snoopy Happy Dance Feet!

Take On Me – aHa – Brooklyn Duo at Carnegie Hall. The Brooklyn duo are a couple team that do piano/cello covers of popular music. Check them out on Youtube, Spotify, etc.

Books

A Monster Calls, and while this is billed as a YA book, it is really applicable to any age group starting with teens and beyond. One of the constants of life is death. If we’re lucky it doesn’t happen to someone we know or love until later in life. For each of us, this first encounter can be extremely traumatic and debilitating. Death’s reach is everywhere. It can strike down anyone we know. Friends or family. Siblings or parents.

My mom passed away when I was almost fifty so I was very fortunate. Almost 11 years later, I still deal with. I lost a writing friend, last year to cancer. He was just one year older than me. Others I know have not been so fortunate. Some lost a parent as a child. A Monster Calls deals with a young boy and his mother’s battle with cancer.

The symbology in the book is heavy but the stages of grief the boy goes through are real. Love the book. Need to hunt down the movie.

Dark Matter, by the author of Wayward Pines, Blake Crouch. Crouch has mastered the art of the thriller. Dark Matter is written with a lean, mean style that borders of being near point form at times. But Crouch’s evolution as a writer from Wayward Pines to Dark Matter is quite visible. In Dark Matter, there is enough breathing room established that made me care for the characters, especially the protagonist, which Wayward Pines never did.  If you’ve read, The Flicker Man by xxxxx, you should check out Dark Matter.

Movies

The Ritual – an English horror movie that was getting some buzz but when I watched was left underwhelmed. It borrows elements of The Blair Witch Project and The xxxxx Man but offers nothing new or of note.

Thor Ragnorok – the most underwhelming Marvel movies have been the Thor movies. The character and the world he inhabits are just too goofy to take seriously. There is never any sense of true consequences or danger as this world is about gods and magic. Both of which means that anything that can happen can also be undone. But this installment was at least fun as director Taiko Watitiko has the proper sensibilities for such a universe. Playing off of Chris Hemsworth’s innate comic timing, throw in a dash of the Hulk, a pinch of Led Zeppelin, throw them all into a blender, and you get a silly, fun romp of a flick.

Cloverfield: The God Paradox – an interesting situation where Paramount, desperate for a franchise that can compete with the Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm machine, felt that the latest flick in the Cloverfield film family was not strong enough to release theatrically. The God Paradox is easily the poorest of the three films so they dumped onto Netflix and cut their losses. They thought well.

 

 

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Family Fueds

Fast & Furious 6

What can one say about this franchise?  It maintains the kinetic car carnage and mixes a team of misfits that form a family to tackle the next set of baddies. Round it out with a likable cast with liberal sprinklings of humor and this has become a franchise built to last.

Too long by 20 minutes, there is a whole section where Paul Walker’s character goes off his own to prison to find out some information, that could be excised from the movie with nary a beat mixed.  Vin Diesel growls his way through the movie, and performs one death defying feat that exceeds even the loose limits of physics established within the franchise framework.  The Rock is suitably pumped up but his cop character could be played by anyone.

The franchise is already revved up for a sequel with the ending sequence revealing who the big bad for the next installment is.  And the reveal is a biggie.  Fellow action star Jason Statham will lock horns with Diesel in FF7.

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Ghost Brothers of Darkland County – Stephen King, John Cougar, & T. Bone Burnett

My hardcover edition has been in the house for awhile and after several listens of the 17 tracks there is a lot to like in this album.  I rate at least 10 of the tracks very listenable and actually they stand on their own with no knowledge of the play needed to enjoy them.

Overall I’m happy with this edition – gorgeous sleeve to hold the book, which is a soft, dark brown pebble that looks like a photo album.  Wish it was hard cover too though.



The major knock I have is there is no full version of the play on either the DVD or the CDs.  Disappointing.  The minor knock I have is the discs are stored in cut out pockets on the inside of the back cover.  Would have much preferred jewel cases. A matter of preference.  

The book is much larger than I expected, it’s 11 x 11 inches – thought it would be more disc sized – which is great because it makes reading the Libretto so much easier with the larger text.  Reminds me of a LP album.

All in all a very nice package with 2 fumbles.