Playing For The B Team

Today I’m thankful for silly cinema.

I’m a fan of “B” movies.  I like goofy 1950s sci fi films, interminable 1980s schlock, and most things in between.  Robot Monster is one of my favorites – the “monster” is a man in a gorilla costume with a diving helmet.  I was only able to get through Manos: Hands Of Fate by watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) version.  I’ve seen a good number of them by watching the MST3K episode, and then seeking out the movie in its own right.

I do have favorites, but I most enjoy the unintentional silliness of the films, usually because the crew involved weren’t entirely sure how to make a movie.  Sometimes it seems they were so excited about being given a budget that they didn’t think anything else through.  I’ve got a good sense of the absurd.  Living in this crazy world makes me appreciate it more by the day.  Videos are property of the respective creators.

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The Majestic Basset Hound

Today I’m thankful for this picture.

There is no deeper meaning here.  It’s a picture of pure dog joy and it makes me happy.  I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I saw it.  The one on the right looks a bit like my sister after trying an avocado.  The dog on the left is more like me in the morning.  Dogs are about the best damn thing that have happened to humans.

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Crafting Bluntly

Today I’m thankful for rude crafts.

I’ve been in a crafty mood of late.  My mother taught me basic needlecraft and I pick it back up when I need to work with my hands.  I’ve been working on a rude cross stitch.  It’s nearly finished.  It will probably be hung in one of the public areas of my apartment, as that’s just how I’ve been feeling about the world and things occurring in it.

This is what I’m working on.  I felt like being cautious about posting a photo.

Fun aside, King Henry VIII was said to be an “enthusiastic embroiderer.”

Niblings Is An Awesome Word

Today I’m thankful that I can sometimes (rarely!) get gooey over things.

Small Human turned three last week.  Thing Two will come along around February.  Both belong to my sister.  I don’t have children.  I have no parental instincts whatsoever.  And yet, I love Small Human more than I ever thought I’d love anything.  I’m actually excited for Thing Two’s arrival.  I’m a cynic, but damned if I don’t get sentimental around them.  It’ll probably ruin my reputation as a grump.

Island Hopping

This is another oblique one.  Today I’m thankful for Polynesian navigators.

Some of my academic background is in geography.  The idea of “place” underlies more concepts than most people ever consider.  My particular interest is migrations – how mass human movements affect the places they visit, often leaving physical and cultural traces lasting thousands of years.

When European explorers “discovered” the Pacific Ocean (it is the largest body of water on earth, after all) they also found hundreds of settled islands, covering huge areas of ocean.  Many of the islands are very remote, several days’ sail from each other.  The Europeans couldn’t fathom how Pacific Islanders had found their way to all of these rocks amid the water.  The peoples of the Pacific developed a sophisticated body of navigational skills and knowledge wholly unrelated to other navigational methods anywhere.  At the risk of sounding geeky, it’s an incredible accomplishment, and really, really cool.

Only slightly related, but it was a fun film, the music geek in me enjoys the harmonies, and my language nerd side finds the Tokelauan lyrics fascinating to hear.  I claim no rights to anything.

Whoosh!

Today I’m thankful for gongs.

They have a fascinating history and appear in cultures around the world.  Mostly I like them because they produce such a great clashing sound.  I’ve always been more partial to brass and percussion instruments.  It’s reflected in some of the pet names my family gives me (like “Lights and Noise).  Gongs are both percussion and metallic so they’re the best combination of both.  My mother made me laugh uproariously when she gifted me a tiny version for my desk.  It produces more of a “tink” than a full size one but it still makes me smile.

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I Like Van Eyck

This one might be a bit oblique.  Today I’m thankful for early Netherlandish painting.

Wikipedia has a nice summary.  What fascinates me is the color and photorealism of the images.  Some of them are nearly 600 years old and you can still imagine that the sitter will just get up and speak to you about what to make for lunch.  They are that detailed.  Many of the painters included complex religious iconography.  I could ramble about particular aspects for a while.  I won’t as I try to keep these short.  Instead, enjoy my favorite, the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck.

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Jan van Eyck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common

My Phone Told Me So It Must Be True

Today I’m thankful for Duolingo.

I can make myself understood in French as long as the subject isn’t too obscure.  I studied Russian for two years at university and picked up some Welsh for fun.  I’m currently useless at both.  I’m complicating my French and trying to wrap my brain around Italian.  The Duolingo app on my phone tells me I’m 12% fluent in Italian.  I can only conjugate 3 verbs but they stay conjugated!  Who needs formal study when one’s phone can reinforce their delusions about language fluency?

Not The One In California

Today I’m thankful for Pasadena, Newfoundland and Labrador.

I’m tickled that this place exists.  I’ve been to Pasadena, California.  I stayed there while attending a conference in Los Angeles.  It’s a beautiful city full of flowers, fantastic old buildings and very tasty food.  It’s warm all year long AND the home of the Rose Bowl (if that’s your sort of thing).

I know that Newfoundland is known for being scenic and culturally rich.  It isn’t, however, warm year round.  Still, the folks who founded the town thought highly enough of their home to name it after a truly lovely place and that is awesome.