Sunday, January 30, 2011

That Facebook Movie


The Social Network (2010)

Director David Fincher's biographical drama chronicles the meteoric rise of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) from Harvard sophomore to Internet superstar, examining his relationships with co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake).


Jeez, what to say about this movie…it’s gotten so much praise.  I can say that I absolutely agree with all that praise. 

The director, David Fincher, took a movie essentially about court depositions and computer programming and made something dynamic and fascinating.  But then, Fincher was the director that brought us films like Fight Club (a favorite of mine) and Zodiac, so we, as viewers, were in good hands.

While I have enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg in films like The Squid and The Whale and I think he was excellent in his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, he didn’t seem to give the audience a performance out of the range we’ve seen in other efforts. 

Oh, one interesting thing I learned about the movie is that the Winklevoss twins were played by one guy (named Armie Hammer).  That’s right, one guy played the part of both twins (I hope he got paid double).


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Way behind

I’m eight movies behind.  That is to say, I’ve seen eight movies, about which I haven’t posted.  So, I’m going to do a series of posts to try to catch up.  This is the first.

Serpico (1973)

Based on the real-life story of NYC undercover cop Frank Serpico (an honest man who was grievously wounded for refusing to take part in the corruption forced upon him by his peers). Serpico is at once an indictment of corrupted authority and a shining testament to one man's effort to reform the NYC Police Department.


A Pacino movie that is nearly 40 years old.  In addition to taking in the acting, the plot, and so on, I was enthralled with the actual 70s cars, clothes, and norms – New York City in the 70s!  There are so many movies that try to re-create the 70s in film that it was interesting to actually see it as it really was.

I had no real expectations going in and watched it on a whim, but found it surprisingly compelling.  I say “surprising” because I don’t find modern cop films to be my cup of tea usually and expected something similar from this.  Serpico beats the pants off of most modern cop films.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



Yep, this is a public service announcement.  Specifically, this post is bringing to your attention the power of a compliment

When someone pays you a compliment, it’s not so much just that you have some satisfaction of knowing that you are doing something well (or whatever the case may be), but it’s even more that someone noticed you.  In our very distracted world, having someone actually see you, let alone appreciate something about you, feels rare.

I received a surprising but pleasant compliment tonight and I’ve been feeling good for a few hours from that.  It makes me think that we all (including myself) need to notice people more often and let them know.  Ok so this is coming post-yoga, which may explain some of the “love everyone” vibe.

Anyway, if you need help coming up with compliments, I found The Surrealist Compliment Generator.   So feel reassured that you can turn to this tool the next time you are staring longingly into the eyes of someone you adore.  You can tell them something like this (from the Generator):

I find your eye sockets to be a wondrous amusement park of neo-plastic pleasures and oncogenic delights.

Also, if you want to take care of complementing several people at once, you might think about something like this:


That concludes this Public Service Announcement.  Oh, by the way, you are special and I like you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar 2011


The nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced today.  Overall I feel that the nominees this year are populated by very deserving candidates – perhaps more than in past years.  Last year I wasn’t too excited about the nominations and last year was the first year the Academy allowed ten movies to compete for best picture.

Best Picture – I’ve seen them all this year!

  • Black Swan – good but not going to win
  • The Fighter – excellent, has a chance!
  • Inception – I enjoyed it but not going to win
  • The Kids Are All Right – I thoroughly enjoyed it but not going to win
  • The King's Speech – excellent, this will probably be neck and neck with a one or two others.
  • 127 Hours – amazing but not sure that it’ll win best picture
  • The Social Network – the perfect representation of our times – this won the Golden Globes this year…just sayin’
  • Toy Story 3 – definitely an animated film deserving of accolades, but not going to win.
  • True Grit – ugh, this will probably be a contender.
  • Winter's Boneloved this one and it’s an underdog, great acting, etc, but not going to win.

Despite my feelings about the various films, my money is split between The King’s Speech (12 nominations overall) and The Social Network (8 nominations).  If one of those two don’t get it, The Fighter probably will.

Directing – Yikes, I’d be ok with any but True Grit winning.  David Fincher won the Golden Globe.

  • “Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
  • “The Fighter” David O. Russell
  • “The King's Speech” Tom Hooper
  • “The Social Network” David Fincher
  • “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Actress in a Leading Role – I can’t comment because I haven’t seen Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine.  Natalie Portman won at the Golden Globe (for a drama).

  • Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
  • Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
  • Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
  • Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actor in a Leading Role – I’ve seen all but Biutiful.  The one I want to win is James Franco, but I suspect Colin Firth has this one in the bag (he won the Golden Globe for a drama).

  • Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
  • Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
  • Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
  • Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
  • James Franco in “127 Hours”

I’m not going to go through every category.  You get the idea.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Iron Man 2 Splice

Bad, bad movies.  I’m not going to go on too long about these.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The first Iron Man was surprisingly enjoyable.  They really nailed the elements of an American summer movie – action, sexuality, technology, charisma, witty banter, etc. Iron Man 2 is clearly riding on the coattails of the first movie. 

The characters were annoyingly magnified; all of their worst traits were played up and spotlighted.  There were new ridiculous elements like Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansen playing agents of some super secret US Army unit.  The plot was predictably reminiscent of the first Iron Man.  And it went on toooooo long – two full hours.


Splice (2009)

With Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody starring, I thought there was a chance for this movie.  Nope. 

Netflix description:

Ignoring instructions from the pharmaceutical company that funds their research, groundbreaking genetic scientists Elsa (Polley) and Clive (Brody) continue with an unorthodox experiment to create a human-animal hybrid, a new life form they dub "Dren". When they see their fantastical creation, Clive warns that it should be destroyed, but Elsa refuses -- a decision she'll regret when Dren makes deadly plans of her own.

While the concept was compelling and did raise the interesting questions about genetics and the pandora’s box of tinkering with nature, I ultimately didn’t handle the strange sexual twists that well.  I think I’ll leave it there.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Highlands Saturday

Because there was a film festival to attend and a new restaurant to try, the bulk of Saturday was spent in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. 

I attended two separate film sessions at the Festivus Film Festival.  Both were at the Oriental Theater, which is a cool, old theater that I had never been inside. 

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Session 1: 2:00 pm “Doc Double” – two documentaries back to back.  These were supposed to be inspiring documentaries about the triumph of the human spirit and so on.  The first one was about surfing and helping kids on Bali surf and get money for school.  It was mostly surfing.  If you’re not a surfer and/or don’t know anything about surfing, all the surfing shots look the same.  It was chilly in the theater so I wrapped myself in the tee shirt I won and nodded off.

The second documentary was the draw for this session – “Conquest of High Passes.”  Disabled cyclist traveling through the Himalayas and persevering.  It turned out to be a little dour.  The whole thing felt like rainy day wrapped in a wet blanket.  I blame this on the cyclist on which the film focused.  He was alternately talking about what an inspiration he was and talking about how horrible everything was. 

The next session wasn’t until 6:00 pm, meaning there was time to check out the area.  Lots of house-shops (i.e. little local shops in converted houses), art galleries, and coffee shops.  In one gallery/framing shop (metro frame works) there were to shop dogs – Greyhounds! 

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They also had some art by artist Chris Vance that appealed to me.  This is just one example:

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Since the break between sessions was so long, there was time to shoot over to the 32nd/Lowell area for a stroll.  More cute shops.  I love this octopus mural.

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Dinner was at Hops & Pie (specializing in craft brew and artisan pizza).   The pizza was pleasantly tasty but the beer on tap was really special.  Here’s a bit of the draft beer menu:

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I had the Oaked Arrogant Bastard (you don’t get that on tap too often!):

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After dinner it was back to the film festival for Session 2: Laugh Track Short Films.  These were much more satisfying than session one’s documentaries.   Many of them were witty and at least half had me actually laughing out loud!  “Chump and Clump” was my favorite – two animated dudes and their adventures at a bus stop!

Afterwards was the last stop of the evening – Forest Room 5 – for a final beer.  This is somewhere I don’t get to very often because it’s in the Highlands but it’s an eclectic place that has various sized logs for bar stools and old farming and mining films playing silently behind the bar.  It is always pretty crowded. 

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That was my Saturday! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Ok people, if every there was a blah time in the blah life – January is it!  The office seems unnaturally quiet and even outside is somewhat muted with people avoiding the single digit temperatures out there.  My antidote is warm (not hot!) yoga and movie viewing.  I have seen five movies in the past 15 days.  I’m not going to tell you about them right now.

This blah time provides the opportunity to get to know my old friend interwebs again.  I would like to share some of my useless findings.

  • Beardo – something no one should go without on a frosty winter day (or night!), a hat with a beard attached!  Heck with the balaclava on your next snow sports outing – get one of these.



  • Cushzilla:   “Ultra Comfy Leisure Lifestyle Costume PJs for Men and Women. With a pocket.”  These are actually just bizarre pajamas, but their web site does a good sell.  For example, they make a pitch for wearing this at the office, perhaps for casual Friday.


Here is just a model of the pajamas:


I adore pajamas but I don’t think I’ll be getting these flattering duds anytime soon.

  • Google street view:  I was helping with the design of a different blog (not mine) and was searching for some street view shots of Colfax here in Denver.  I came across one taken at Colfax and Marion St that was odd.  Again, I found this on Google maps street view.  There’s a dude passed out or something on the corner and another dude just casually hanging out…that’s kinda Colfax though.

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That is all.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

G’s Blah Year: 2010


Not an exciting month.  Yawn.


This was the month that winter eating really hit.  My friend Nadine and I spent the better part of a Sunday making cupcakes.  Here’s one of mine:

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There were also a couple of weekend days that could basically be considered Denver-Boulder food tours.  Here’s me at Proto’s at the end of one of these tours.

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Of course, the Academy Awards Show is in March and I went to Lisa’s for our annual champagne-drinking-Oscar-watching event:

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I spent a few chilly but fun days in Moab, Utah, with Trisha and Kara.  This is Kara and I on a hike in Arches National Park:


Delicate Arch


It also snowed in Denver.  This isn’t rare but I did get some mediocre photos. This was one I took from the door of my condo building as I headed out for my walk to work:

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I went to my first roller derby – lots of fun actually!  It is about as violent as you’d think.  One woman had a black eye and lots of them had bruises, but they looked to be having a good time…

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I attended my first black tie event – the Downtown Denver Awards.  I posted extensively on my girly anxiety related to what to wear to this event.  I think I did an ok job in the end:

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Hiking started in April! 

While descending Bear Peak outside of Boulder, my ankle turned on a rock and I landed in a prickly bush.  Unfortunately, my attempt to break my fall I ended up landing on my thumb.  It was sore for several weeks.  This is my in my blah hiking wear on the trail (my hiking wear is basically this and it will be featured in most hiking shots).

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Oh, on and near the summit of this hike, there are always gobs and gobs of ladybugs!  Note the piles of them in the background of this photo.

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The memorable event in May was going to DC for the WTS International Conference.  This was the first WTS conference I attended.  It was worthwhile but exhausting with social events in the evenings and getting up early each morning.  One of the highlights was a mobile tour to DC’s Union Station where there is a fabulously designed bike station!

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Did get a chance to visit Fredericksburg, VA, and Chatham Manor, which is a beautiful garden and old plantation.  It was also the site of late night mischief in my high school years…

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There are so many old, huge trees, some of which I think are “historic” and are preserved and kept upright with bolts and wires.  There are even enormous ginkgo trees.

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Also got to visit with Jake and Morgan!  Here a photo of those gorgeous children:

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Hiking season begins in earnest!  First was Cameron and Bross (both done on the same day).

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Then there was the West Elk backpacking trip with Lisa.  I have an entire blog post about this trip, but here is photo that isn’t in that post (I think my eyes are closed – typical):

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July was a fabulous outdoor month.

The trip to Glacier National Park was the most memorable thing I did in July.  This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

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In Colorado, there was backpacking into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness area and climbing of Humboldt.  Colorado in summer is heavenly. 

The view while pumping water:

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The ascent with Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle shrouded in clouds behind me:

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The summit ridge:

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Bonus!  Lots and lots of not-at-all-timid marmots.

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Then there was also the ascent of Torreys via the Kelso Ridge – so much fun (really!).  Here’s me on the ascent:

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And here’s me on the “knife edge” – I’m actually quite scared here but trying to look tough for the camera.

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Summer was winding down for me.  Lots of allergy “desensitization” shots had my immune system so worn out I was getting sick a lot.  I did get out with Lisa though – we hiked Devil’s thumb.  The mushrooms and flowers were the most memorable from this hike:

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Attended both the Fort Collins and the Denver Tour de Fat events.  Tour de Fat is New Belgium Brewing’s festival of bikes, beer, and freaks!  Thousands of people come out on bikes in costume – it’s a good time.

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This is me (left) with Amy and April on our way to the Tour de Fat opening parade.

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September also is peak time for the changing of the Aspen trees leaves to golden!  Combined a trip to Buena Vista for the Autumn Color run with a leaf-viewing trip.

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The annual Rocky Mountain National Park camping trip to listen to the elk rut is a September event.  This year Lisa and her family joined us.  Me and Lisa!

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New York City baby! Loved NYC.  There is so much to see and watch and experience. 

Loved the subway:

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Loved Central Park:

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Loved the food – but actually didn’t get many photos of it.

Rail~Volution was in Portland, OR, in October also, but there is a post on that.


Not a lot happened in November.  Went to Joyful Journey Hot Springs for Thanksgiving – that was lovely.  No phone, no internet, no TV – just reading, soaking, eating, and napping.

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A crazy month but nothing to speak of…

Happy New Year!