News of Karl
Quote du Jour
Jake: You've been to Chicago?
Jake: Was it wonderful?
Well, the back room, that I tend to call my studio, is still unpainted. I finally sanded the walls, but my sister says it needs to be done again. I guess I didn't get it smooth enough.
The sidewalk project is in abeyance until it rains. I am going to dig up a strip one foot wide on either side of my walk, put in a border of bricks and fill it with red "lava rock". Into this bed I will insert foot lights to guide me up the walk.
The TV project is in abeyance as well. I'm calling it "phase one complete" as it is now in extremely watch-able condition. I've put the projector on top of a television cabinet about 7' tall. The receiver, cable box and DVD go where the television should properly sit, and have turned all of these toward the end wall of the house. The setup is far from perfect, but it produces an extremely large (128" diagonally) very viewable picture. I am enjoying movies a great deal this week.
Phase two involves the screen. I have spackled the wall and will sand it today. I have some signature bright white matte finish latex and will paint the entire end wall with it. If that does not make a suitable screen, I'm going to save up and purchase "Screen Goo" (to the tune of about $300) to paint a screen on the wall. Either way I hope to have a proper screen in the next four to six weeks.
Phase three of the TV project consists of ceiling mounting the projector, moving the receiver, cable box, DVD, etc. to a better location and running all the wiring through the ceiling and under the carpets. I expect phase three to be complete sometime before I die.
I haven't been able to play an online game for a while. I just can't see 'em well enough. The big screen, however, may open up that possibility. My son Joe is headed my way on Monday to set up Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft. I will enjoy seeing if I am able to play an online game again. If I am I may take up City of Heroes once more.
In the last few months I have collected over seventy recipes that I want to try. I've just bookmarked them but never printed them or tried to prepare the dishes described. I'm beginning a project to add them to my web site's recipes page I won't actually publish them there until I've tried (and liked) them, but I want to get things going again.
I've been seeing George less often of late, on a three week schedule instead of the two week that was the norm. I'm thinking of dropping things back to a monthly then dropping altogether by the end of the year. I need to find a new psychiatrist to manage my meds, but I think that my therapy is going nowhere.
I've been dreaming a lot lately, but have not recorded any of them. I haven't gained any real insights by recording my dreams. Some of them have been interesting, though. They often seem unique. I have a lot of dreams that are very unlike any others. I do have repeat dreams, or patterns that repeat, but I don't know the significance.
I recently saw an article titled "Fun with Medieval Movies" or some such which gave some quick reviews of movies that dealt with the middle ages or related stuff. I'm posting their reviews and my reviews of their reviews. It was a "top ten" sort of list. I present them in the order they chose. I would have ranked them quite differently I think.
1981; directed by John Boorman; stars Nicol Williamson, Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Cherie Lunghi, Nicholas Clay, Liam Neeson
John Boorman's visually stunning epic effectively depicts the Arthurian legend at its dramatic best while maintaining humor and charm. Lavish costumes, sets, and location shots enrich a story closer to Malory's Morte D'Arthur than any other film.
This movie would have been nearer the middle of my list. I enjoyed Excalibur but found it to be a little jarring at moments. This review goes on about the costumes but I thought them rather "off the rack". Can't go wrong with Liam Neeson, though.
Shakespeare In Love
1998; directed by John Madden; stars Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench
The Oscar-winning story of young Will Shakespeare and the vibrant actress who becomes his muse. A brilliant, amusing, and entirely delightful film.
I'm a big fan of this movie. I loved the fact that it gave Shakespeare a personality for me. He has always been just "the bard" and never a person, just an anthropomorphization of a great playwright.
The Court Jester
1956; directed by Melvin Frank & Norman Panama; stars Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury
The Hollywood version of the middle ages is sterile and full of men in tights, but it's funny and clever when Danny Kaye takes on the role of a jester and spy. The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle...
I love Danny Kaye. This is one of his best. It's savagely dated and not for everyone.
1985; directed by Richard Donner; stars Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick, Leo McKern
Humor lightens a love story that would otherwise be cloyingly sweet, but is instead profound, in this fairy tale about a couple under the tragic curse of an evil bishop and the cheeky thief who may help them break the spell.
My son Jon hated this movie, said the sound track sounded like a '70s cop show. Soundtrack aside I loved this. Rutger Hauer is a favorite of mine. While I'm not all that wild about Matthew Broderick, his role in this movie was excellent. He turned in a stand-out performance. Michelle is easy on the eyes, Leo McKern is not. I like seeing them both, though.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
1938; directed by Michael Curtiz; stars Errol Flynn
So much fun! and still my favorite version of Robin Hood after more than 60 years. Dashing Errol Flynn, lovely Olivia de Havilland, sinister Basil Rathbone, gorgeous technicolor Merrie Men, and Alan Hale Sr. stealing scenes right and left -- what more could anyone ask?
Possibly my favorite "medieval" movie. Absolutely, without doubt, the BEST Robin Hood ever.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
1975; directed by Terry Gilliam; stars Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Enjoy the strangest depiction of the Arthurian tales ever in this hilarious film classic. Beware the Knights who say "ni!" It makes an especially good double-feature with Excalibur or Alexander Nevsky.
Either you like Python or you hate Python. I can quote whole scenes verbatim from memory. This is near the top of my list.
1998; directed by Andy Tennant; stars Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Anjelica Huston, Patrick Godfrey
Enjoyable version of the Cinderella story set in 16th-century France paints a picture right out of an illumination by the Limbourg brothers. Barrymore is delightful as the strong-willed, good-hearted heroine; Huston's a perfectly wicked stepmother; and Godfrey is a likable Leonardo da Vinci.
Didn't like it. Watched enough to be sure I would hate it. Drew Barrymore bores me. The movie sucked.
Much Ado about Nothing
1993; directed by Kenneth Branagh; stars Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale
This amusing, witty and nicely-filmed version of Shakespeare's comedy casts Emma Thompson as the sharp-tongued Beatrice and Kenneth Branagh as the infuriating Benedick. Is it any wonder their friends think they're made for each other?
I loathe Kenneth Branagh. If he can act he has yet to prove it to me. Michael Keaton is usually annoying to me, in this he was severely so. Why was Denzel in this movie? I thought he knew better. Shakespeare on bicycles? It was uninteresting to an astounding degree.
1996; directed by Rob Cohen; stars Sean Connery, Dennis Quaid, Pete Postlethwaite
A dash of Arthurian legend intensifies this funny and touching adventure about a Dragonslayer, the last Dragon, and the truth about good and evil. Great special effects.
Ok. It was "cute". But it had a good story! But the acting was really ok! But the special effects were good! Ok. I had some reservations.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
1993; directed by Mel Brooks; stars Cary Elwes, Roger Rees, Amy Yasbeck, Tracy Ullman
What would a "most fun films" list be without a Mel Brooks movie? Most Robin Hood flicks (particularly Prince of Thieves) and other medieval adventures are raucously lampooned in this farce. Not Brooks' best, but still bound to provoke some chuckles.
I found this unreasonably funny. Cary Elwes usually suits me in the roles he plays. I particularly enjoyed him mocking Costner. Mel Brooks rarely fails to amuse me. There were a number good jokes. I even liked the musical numbers.