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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bummerman Strikes Again!

So it was 102 degrees in Seattle today. Dingo, Moose and I decided to sit out the afternoon swelter in the air-conditioned opulence of the Pacific Place theater. To kill four hours, we saw (500) Days of Dumber Summer... a rom-com that dares to ask, "What if... boy doesn't get girl?!" One of the producers was apparently so stricken with this novelty that he insisted that the film have a lame narrator that immediately points this twist out after the opening credits. If only the narrator had instead said, "You probably won't like this film very much because, even if it's a bit novel, the charisma of the lead actors only goes so far and the film doesn't really have that much to say." That would have been awesome. At one point, the film actually takes a lampooning jab at European cinema (Bergman among others) which takes an awful lot of balls for a film this shallow.

We walked out and I had to buy a calorie-laced icecream cookie sandwich to get the sacharrine flavor out of my mouth. Next stop was Public Embarrassment Enemies. I cannot imagine a better cast or a more fascinating and roguish lead character being more completely squandered. Note to Michael Mann: Your hi-def video cameras look like TOTAL CRAP. If I wanted to watch TV, I'd stay at home and watch my FREAKIN' TV. The great thing about film is that it looks distinctively like film... not like outtakes from an episode of COPS. Also: How is it even possible that two and a half hours of Johnny Depp could be this boring. The script is partially to blame... but the editing was even worse. It showed all of Peter Jackson's restraint combined with all of Uwe Boll's talent. Not only did the tommy guns sound exactly like a string of firecrackers, at one point a gun suddenly goes off about 3 inches from a hostage's head. The actor doesn't even flinch. If there's one unforgiveable sin in action flicks, it's impotence... and this one had about as much punch as a Dustin Diamond haymaker.

These films rated 70 and 75 respectively on Metacritic.... Higher on Rotten Tomatoes. Is it possible that the heat made me a tad grumpy and that these are actually above average offerings? Or is it more likely that the REST OF THE WORLD SUCKS and that ONLY BUMMERMAN SEES THE TRUTH!?!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stave It Off's Official Sexiest Women

A long time ago, I published my list of the Stave It Off 20 sexiest guys. It was one of the most commented upon posts my blog has ever seen. At the time, I intended to do this companion piece honoring my list of sexiest women, but for some reason it took me three years to complete. I was very wary of publishing this, cautiously adding names to a theoretical list over the years, but never figuring it would see the light of day. It seemed safe and playful to objectify men at the time. I didn't worry about reactions to the piece, or anyone complaining about it being shallow. Writing about women in the same vein however is fraught with peril. Even choosing the photographs was dangerous. (Google image search quickly reveals that most of these folks have been photographed in various states of undress.)

Ultimately, I decided to post this because I don't want to be so careful and PC as to ignore how delightfully sexy all these women are. I don't want to downplay how much I look forward to seeing them continue to create, perform and evolve. While none of them compare to my own wonderful and lovely Olaiya, they are luminous.

You'll probably notice that vapid is not sexy in Stave It Off land. There are no Paris Hiltons, no Jessica Simpsons, no Jessica Albas. Also, there are a few close calls that missed the list due to some of their professional endeavors. Beyonce Knowles was amazing singing At Last at the Obama presidential ball... but often looks like a posing tool in the rest of her professional work. Similarly Scarlett Johansson was a lot more likable before all the makeup ads and Tom Waits covers. Some of you may roll your eyes at my inclusion of some famous sex symbols like Salma Hayek, Monica Bellucci and Angelina Jolie. Fair enough; I'm an indie kind of guy and didn't want to publish a list that looks suspiciously like a Maxim magazine cover girl gallery. But I can't bash these ladies just because "being sexy" is what they do. That's a deceptively difficult task. Those who embrace it and carry it off deserve some credit too.

In the original post about men, I eventually broke the list into subgroups... categories of sexiness if you will. There were the intellectuals, the bad boys, the golden boys, the sensitive artists, and the man's man types. With this list, I see the warrior, the seductress, the geek, and the girl-next-door. All 20 selections to the official Stave It Off sexiest ladies list seem to fall into one of these four categories. You can probably guess which is which. In no particular order... here they are:

Serena Williams

Salma Hayek

America Ferrera

Rose Marshack

Janeane Garofalo

Lucy Liu

Bjork Gudmundsdottir

Emily Watson

Christina Hendricks

Gillian Anderson

Gina Torres

Michelle Yeoh

Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Connelly

Macy Gray

Monica Bellucci

Sarah Silverman

Angelina Jolie

Lauryn Hill

Jenna Fischer

Others strongly considered for the list: Parker Posey, Kim Deal, Natalie Merchant, Grace Park and John Leguizamo.

I hope that none of you readers find this offensive, but feel free to comment if you do. Or feel free to comment if you don't. While I find the idea of beauty pageants repulsive because we honor stereotypical forms of physical beauty with little appreciation of character, poise, talent, intelligence, humor, etc... This list isn't meant to be another document supporting the idea of that a woman's role is to be sexy to men, and that there is only one prescribed method to achieve that. I'm hoping, instead, that this document testifies to the fact that there are all kinds of sexiness... and that appreciating sexiness doesn't mean that we have to demean anyone or demand anything of anyone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Gonna Do It

I was just Googling the lyrics to Kodachrome, so that I could create a Paul Simon-referencing title for this post. I couldn't remember if he sang, "I love to take the photographs" or "I love to take a photograph." What I quickly discovered on Google is that everybody and their cousin has used that line on the main page of the photo blog or Flickr account, so I'll restrain myself.

I got a Nikon camera. A D60 SLR. It's the nicest camera I'll probably ever own. I broke it in at the last Little Spark event... and the early results look promising. I don't have any idea how to use the advanced features yet. The manual is a 190 page beast that I'll probably read in chunks over the next year. But the low-light color balance seems a million times better than my old camera. Not to mention the better shutter speeds, autofocusing mechanism, etc. New pics will be up on the Little Spark blog within a day or so. Now all I need is a snazzy zoom lens!

Update: Here's my first low-light food pic: A margherita pizza from Delancey's Little Spark Event. Looks pretty appetizing to me (even without any Photoshopping!)