One of those “I don’t know what to watch” films picked at random on a bleary-eyed Saturday night, ANTHROPOID turned out to be a diamond-tipped needle in the haystack of infinite streaming choice. Detailing a part of history I knew little about—the assassination of the Third Reich’s architect of the Final Solution, Reinhard Heydrich, by agents of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile and the atrocities the Reich unleashed in the aftermath of Heydrich’s death—ANTHROPOID is elevated above similar tales (like Bryan Singer’s 2008 effort VALKYRIE) by a stellar cast (led by Cillian Murphy) and a solid emotional through-line that makes the denouement of the film that much more tragic. While the pacing can be a bit tedious in the first half, once ANTHROPOID finds its way it careens to a climax that one hopes to avoid but one upon which history has other ideas. Recommended.
The time change and its enforcement of springing ahead into a sleep-deprived stupor. The day awaits.
I always did enjoy a good mad scientist movie.
Between the hours of my wife’s departure for her work among the humans and her return, I’m mostly devoid of human contact, marching ever-forward into my destiny as the figure in Colin Nissan’s New Yorker piece, “I Work From Home.” In that period of solitude with canines and imaginary people, I find something of a foundation in (arguable) humanity by honing and perfecting a routine.
The questions I face: do I measure out my cereal before or after I cook my omelet? During the melting of butter? Or during the time between eggs making contact and their placement on a smiley face Fiesta plate, folded like a business letter over provolone? Should I return to my office after the day’s 3.6-mile run in the 20 minute interregnum between it and the anointed hour to cook lunch? Is it best to set an alarm to conclude lunch or let it end on its own, when it’s done, so I can add another ten minutes before the workday ends at 2PM or should I take into account the clockwork need of The Morkie to go outside precisely when I’m ready to go back to work (the dogs are, if you couldn’t tell, creatures of habit as well…perhaps I’m turning more into a dog than anything else; fine by me)…
I am my own lab experiment.
Hopes of a snow day vanquished in the face of mounds of snow/fluff on the ground. Hopes of words of any quality appearing here vanquished in the face of who knows what. Mental incapacity? Mental over-capacity? A struggle since Monday. If you are going to write on a regular basis, you have to be willing to write badly, according to Jennifer Egan. I’ve been willing this week, it seems. Dietician appointment went well. Continue with stabbings as is; repeat daily. Currently more adroit with insulin injections than with words.
A morning when I don’t want to write here, when I question the utility of it all. Creative schizophrenia rampant: To whom do I owe these pieces? (No one but myself). Who reads them? (It doesn’t matter/But it does, doesn’t it?/No, not at all; you forget what you’ve written by the time you hit publish). No doubt a byproduct of one truncated day and one eliminated day but one that demonstrates how essential this place is for me. The work of the writer is simple: to show up and write words, even—especially—when one doesn’t want to. All of the 60.1 pages and 14,900 words (according to the stats on the Ulysses sheet I use to compose these maunderings), that comprise the 92 (93) posts on this site are the results of a daily revving of what passes for my creative engines. Some days they sputter like a cold lawnmower, others they blast down the straight stretch of SR 95 between the towns of I forget the first one’s name and the aptly-named Funk. But no matter what, they must be ignited. To work.
A truncated time limit today of 15 minutes from the normal 30, as there is a Morkie that must be delivered promptly to her grooming appointment so as to end her present appearance as a scraggly bobbleheaded lion. She will be clean for a total of nine to ten minutes (possibly) following her shearing before rolling in the mud wrought by the madness of our current weather.
Tomorrow will likewise be a short day, or possibly a non-existent one, as I have a follow-up appointment to make sure my blood sugar (wonderfully appropriate that its initials are BS) is copacetic and to adjust daily stabbings accordingly.
If DOCTOR STRANGE represents the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s on a solid path, one that opens up new storytelling dimensions (literally) and brings engaging new characters to life in moments ripped from psychedelic Ditko dreamscapes and the stellar Brian K. Vaughan / Marcos Martin mini-series DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH. However, like every Marvel film before it, it isn’t without its problems.
At the root of those problems is the intractable Marvel cinematic formula. First film: introduction. Second film: set-up/join Avengers. Third film: result of character being in Avengers. At this point, I hesitate to even call Marvel’s films films; rather, they are a nebulous amalgamation of a streaming series, a movie, and a constant effort to show the utmost fealty to the concept of a shared universe. They are not films; they are components.
And, as this is the first film in another franchise, it must be an introduction. And introduction=origin story. Origin stories are a tricky beast, one that Marvel hasn’t quite gotten right–save for the first IRON MAN film– resulting in drama-challenged expository set-ups for future franchise installments. DOCTOR STRANGE, for all of its right notes—Cumberbatch plays Strange as a perfect balance of humor, drive, and arrogance, indeed setting him up as the new Tony Stark when Downey Jr. retires from the role—isn’t immune from the virus. It drives through the origin in a stakes-free unspooling of expository tedium: we already know that the title character makes it out alive to join the Avengers and have a crisis for having been part of the assembled world-savers.
The 45th president as case study in Twitter addiction: 535AM blasts to quench an insatiable need to say something and to deflect from the real stories in methods lifted from bullshit brand-recognition self-help/business book social media pablum by a talentless, D-list celebrity cast-off hoisted to a pedestal on the shoulders of a dedicated “tribe” of sycophants in whose praise he must bask again and again to recharge like a lizard on a rock in the morning sun before setting out to screw them over in the name of his flagrant self-interest.
This is our world. The devolution will be tweeted.
The ominous question: Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about 23 minutes left, she says.
Plumbing the depths and finding nothing but shallows this morning. It’s usually when I can’t come up with something to say that I know this exercise is essential. That habit is, as Octavia Butler said, “persistence in practice”; that it will sustain me when there’s nothing here and when there must be (not that anyone other than me cares if something new is written here—I began this project with that notion at the forefront).
Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about 15 minutes left.
Perhaps it is the remnants of fear induced by being surrounded by parents convinced that their child is the star of the show at my niece’s song-and-dance recital last night, a scene more foreign to me than Bradbury’s most outlandish excursions into the unknown, or the knock on the head from the bathroom cabinet door that splayed me out across the floor and sprung The Morkie into resuscitative action. This is what I will tell myself, anyhow.
Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about two minutes and forty seconds left.
(Stares at the screen…)
Alexa, how much time is left?
I had begun to write a third post in a row on politics but I hated it. Hated the result, hated the subject matter. Unfortunately, that leaves me with little on my mind this morning which might be where I need to be.
Three word version of what I was writing: Sessions must go.
I’ve written a great deal about social media. Too much, probably. It holds a boundless fascination for me. Twitter, especially. It is both a source of anxiety and the place I go in a misguided attempt at alleviating that anxiety. It is both essential and superfluous. It is a tool and I am its tool.
I yearn to quiet it down. To feel that I’m able to do so. To read without the need to share, without the need to feed the beast of my own perception, without hunting for that quotable line that will fit in 140 characters. How, exactly, I get there, is anyone’s guess. But I don’t think it is through being present on Twitter as much as I have been of late (if one is ever truly present on Twitter). No matter what, posting here will continue. This has been one of the most creatively satisfying challenges I’ve created for myself. Not giving it up.
The priorities: writing, reading, learning, resisting, human-ing.
Campaign rhetoric delivered in a calm and “presidential” demeanor does little beyond forcibly clicking the button on the Viewmaster of a terrifying presidency. Yet his brief display of sanity will be the discussion for the remainder of the day, at least until he gives into the normal (so-called) angels of his nature and lets loose a torrent of vindictiveness after mentally seizing upon some slight that goes against his expectation of universal adulation.
But Democrats have to do better. They cannot rely on “Oh that’s bad.” I’m sure the former Kentucky governor is a fine person, but as a rebuttal to Trump’s first Congressional address, he offered a paltry remonstrance, devoid of the fire and passion that has fueled the resistance to Trump’s bastardization of the office in marches and protests the world over. Now is not the time to play it safe. Now is the time to listen to the fire, to show that its voices are being heard by a party with a pulse.