July 2014 Notes

In blog, film, magazine, tv on August 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

Sidetracked – Sidetracked continues to deliver great content and beautiful images on the web – I did think that some of the previous content had just a bit more ‘wow’ factor, but on the other hand each article currently on the site became more interesting as I got deeper into it. The 2nd Volume of the print magazine is available for pre-order at the moment. Rating: 4 of 5

Timecrimes (2007): Not terrible but doesn’t really amaze since some of the time travel concepts feel like well used ‘tricks’ at this point (you will likely start guessing some of the plot details a few minutes into the movie…). Rating: 3 of 5

Stalker (1979) – Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is definitively a film that has stayed with me since I saw it in 2011 so I am not sure why it took so long to watch Stalker… But while Stalker is well regarded I had a much harder time staying interested than I did with Solaris. The imagery is stunning and the premise is compelling and interesting – but this film seems much more stripped down than Solaris, and perhaps for better or worse the additional ‘spectacle’ that Solaris has is an important element in keeping my interest in the rather heavy material. Rating 3 of 5 (clearly this is a masterpiece and the visuals are stunning – but I had such trouble staying engaged…)

Finding Vivian Maier (2013) – I think one of the amazing things about this film is that the hype around it takes nothing away from the power of the photography – there is an interesting story about a person here which in some films would be the central element, but here what ultimately lifts the scattered details of her life and the history of her work into something worth watching is the art. I did find the Wikipedia entry on Vivian Maier worth reading after watching the film – it has a few details that I found interesting, and not what I expected after watching this film. Rating: 4 of 5

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Not as bad as some, about what you would expect? Rating: 3 of 5.

Borgman (2014) – WOW! Didn’t really have many expectations going into this film and it completely entertained and amazed. I loved the strangeness, and I loved that it felt like the story was the primary concern over logic or detail – quite a trick to get the balance right between magic and reality, here it is done very well – definitely reminded in some ways of the works Haruki Murakami that I love. Rating: 5 of 5

High Country News – For a number of years I have seen and occasionally paid attention to articles from High Country News (‘for people who care about the west’) and just recently subscribed. You can read their mission page and browsing may give you an idea of typical content – but the important detail is that they are able to produce consistently interesting content, and that is magic! Rating: 4 of 5

See Dee Tee Bike – This is the first post in an ongoing series by Scott Morris on riding the CDT – while every individual post may not be magic the whole series and overwhelming number of great details and pictures make this an ongoing delight! Rating: 3 of 5

Orange is the New Black – Season 1 – Watched Season 1 of this ‘prison drama comedy’ on DVD – this series started well enough but by the last 4 episodes or so it really lost me, I understood how the details were adding up to get to the season finale – but I think it could have been done with about 30% fewer episodes. Not sure I am interested in the next season. Rating: 2 of 5

True Blood – Season 6 – It is probably good the next season is planned as the last – hard to figure out why I keep coming back to this, but there is no doubt I will watch the next season! Rating: 3 of 5

Déjame Vivir – Summit of my Life – The 2nd film in this series that follows Killian Jornet on speed ascents on a number of summits – while there are several destinations in the film the Matterhorn is the star here with some breath taking shots of the mountain and the ascent. Rating: 3 of 5

Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) – An interesting documentary about an early attempt to make Dune into a film – this is a great documentary, but the Dune part – while interesting – almost seems like an excuse to have a conversation/tell a story with Alejandro Jodorowsky who by part of the way thru this documentary comes across as strange/interesting/charismatic enough that frankly doing any documentary where he could tell stories about his films would probably be great! Rating: 3 of 5

I am spending quite a bit of time lately working on Hike Lemmon which combined with ‘life’ has kept me very busy – reading anything long has continued to be one of the things that has fallen away and it seems odd to go so many months without reading a ‘book’, but I happy happy frantically creating right now so that is enough.


June 2014 Notes

In film, tv on June 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Life Of A Mountain: Scafell Pike – This is a great documentary by Terry Abraham about Scafell Pike in England’s Lake District. There are beautiful shots of the mountain and coverage of walkers, nearby communities, local shepherds, mountain rescue… I loved the range this covered – really unique and passionate coverage of the area! Rating: 4 of 5

Doctor Who (series 4) – Watched Voyage of the Damned and first 3 episodes – this seems like something I should like but this is the second time that I have failed to get into the newer Doctor Who. Rating: 3 of 5

May 2014 Notes

In blog, magazine, music, photography, podcast, tv on June 1, 2014 at 7:08 am

Sidetracked – Personally I see very little on the web that really really blows me away – don’t get me wrong I often see interesting design paired with content I don’t really care about, photography that is amazing presented on a site that is fine but not exceptional or bursts of brilliance surrounded by content that is more of a shrug. Sidetracked on the other hand – wow, for me – personally – this is really it – I am impressed, jealous, amazed and inspired!!!!!! Rating: 5 of 5

Matthieu Gafsou – There is an astounding amount of imagery on the web – but finding great images that I connect with is tough. I was amazed by these photos – and then continued to be amazed at the number of work/assignments that I connected with. Rating: 5 of 5

The Selfish Giant (2013) – Not fast or uplifting film – set in Northern England this story follows two teenage friends who get into scrapping – beautiful bleak scenery, complicated real characters and plot details are well worth watching. Rating: 4 of 5

True Romance (1993) – I don’t think I ever saw this in the 90s, although certainly possible that I just don’t remember… There are interesting details here – the unexpected craziness of Christian Slater’s as he talks to an imaginary Elvis in the bathroom, the one scene appearances of a number of characters, the strange interaction between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. Overall it just didn’t add up to more than the whole – a few interesting scenes and stacked with notable actors but… Rating: 2 of 5

Godzilla (2014) (in 3D!) – about what you would expect – a little longer maybe and thankfully lacking the classic comedic sidekick character. Rating: 2 of 5

nikki nack [Explicit] – Tune-Yards – The album W H O K I L L is a current massive favorite of mine and I occasionally play Bird-Brains. This album doesn’t live up to W H O K I L L for me – still an interesting listen no doubt, but not as interesting and exploratory. Rating: 3 of 5

Awake – Tycho – Reasonably often I find myself listening to certain instrumental Album Leaf tracks and this seemed interesting, I can see putting it on occasionally, but didn’t seem to have any stand out track that I craved more of. Rating: 3 of 5

Jerry Kobalenko, Eric Larsen, Fjellpulken, Acapulka – I don’t know why I came across these sites this month – I certainly have no Polar expedition ambitions, but I enjoyed photos and maybe even more the gear, certainly would not have know before this where to go for an expedition worthy pulk… Rating: 3 of 5

Nonhuman Rights Project – “The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only organization working toward actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.” I don’t feel like I have the legal knowledge/perspective to comment directly on this directly – but shouldn’t we seek to elevate the treatment of all living beings? Rating: 5 of 5

Hayduke Trail Hiking Resources Bundle – Download – Andrew Skurka – good to keep dreaming! Rating: 4 of 5

Leor Pantilat’s Adventures – I have had this blog in my reader for some time – but it wasn’t until I listened to an interview with Leor Pantilat on UltraRunnerPodcast that I looked back over the posts and information on this blog and thought about how often he is getting out for great adventures, not giant expeditions or famous repeats – but a more human scale exploration of the wilderness. Rating: 3 of 5 (Inspirational!)

An Idiot Abroad Seasons 1 and 2: A strange ‘reality-show’ comedy – in season 1 Karl travels to the 7 Wonders of the World, disliking most everything and often only participating in anything local when forced to by circumstance or the shows creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The thing is I don’t quite know why it’s so funny – is it inappropriate, stupid, honest, guilty pleasure… some strange mix? But it works. Season 2 is more of the same – still funny but not as good since, in a general sense, you know what will happen. Rating: 4 of 5 (For season one/the idea)

Carnivàle – After watching the 2 seasons that were made of this I was surprised that more did not get made – not perfect, but an interesting overall story line with many of the stories told without over-explaining what is happening (a few with more time than I think they needed) and a visual look that is still fresh today. Well worth watching even if the story arc stops a little short. Rating: 3 of 5

Dark Needles Loop – A great trip – “3 1/2 day, 110 mile backpacking route starting from the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, thru the very remote country of Beef Basin and Fable Valley, and down into the bottom of Dark Canyon. Then back again (can’t forget that part).” Part of my fascination with this is that there are surprisingly few outdoor companies talking about great trips like this that their staff/management is doing – quite a renaissance for Ultimate Directions after a number of lackluster (imho) years to emerge to emerge as perhaps the most authentic mainstream outdoor company of the year! Rating: 5 of 5


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