Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
After reading the book I wrote:
"This is the story of Christopher McCandless, who, after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his struggles, and he apparently starved to death, though his mistakenly having eaten poisonous seeds likely contributed to his slow death.
Krakauer, is clearly sympathetic to the young man, and seems eager to discredit those who lashed out at McCandless after his death for being foolish at best, and having a death wish at worst, by drawing parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father.I enjoy Krakauer's writing, but I wasn't entirely convinced. McCandless stuck me as being a very, very bright kid, but lacking even a modicum of common sense. That he survived for 4 months was a miracle."
Penn is even more sympathetic to McCandless, he's made a lovely film in tribute to him, and after seeing this movie, I am convinced. The young man's charm comes through in spades, and you're left with the tragedy of the early death of an idealistic, albeit somewhat foolish, young man. Emile Hirsch does a wonderful job as McCandless, and the physical transformation as McCandless starves to death was amazing. (Hirsch lost 40 lbs during the filming). He also conveys the tragedy of a young man who comes to realize that life has so much to offer and so much to be shared, only to lose his life before he could put these realizations to good use.
Penn filmed the movie in the same areas that McCandless travelled and the scenery is spectacular. The soundtrack rich with Eddie Vedder's original songs was the perfect accompaniment; I've already downloaded the soundtrack album off of iTunes.
Into the Wild is only playing at one theater in Orange County, but it is worth tracking down when it goes into wider release. The photo below is a self-portrait of McCandless taken in Alaska. The camera and undeveloped film were found after this death.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
My nominee for nice story of the week, is this story about the Miracle League, a baseball league for disabled children. The little guy in the photo suffers from a condition where his spine doesn't connect to his legs, but check out the look on his face as he closes his eyes and swings at the ball, and you can tell the people who put this league together are doing a good thing.
It's been an exhausting week, and this, for me, was a nice reminder that work isn't everything, and it's important to keep things in perspective.
The League has been an inspiration for the non-disabled participants too. Each of the players is assigned an "Angel in the Outfield" who assists the player during the game. This young man, who was in a program for trouble youth, came to the League the first time as part of a public service assignment, and now comes back on his own.
May we all do something this weekend to put a smile on someone's face.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
With the coming of fall, we've had a fair amount of fog lately, and every evening, the fog horn has been sounding . . . I can hear it now as I write this.
Today I had meetings up in Century City, and left in time to stop at my favorite taco joint in LA - Tito's Tacos in Culver City.
Two tacos - with cheese. Beef is all they serve, and it's really good quality meat. Crispy chips and tasty salsa, add a large soda, and you have the perfect meal for under $5. Tito's is one of those places that brings people from all walks of life together, and everybody gets along. I think there must be some understanding among the local gangsters that Tito's is a war-free zone. As folks order their food and then wait for it to be served, everyone is unfailingly polite to each other as they make sure who's waiting and who's ordered, so that no one is cut off in line. I'm sure there is some life lesson to be learned from this to make our communities friendlier, but other than serving tacos all day, I'm not sure what it is.
I watched more network tv tonight than ususal. Let me say that "Kid Nation", a show I will never watch, has already been done - it was called "Lord of the Flies".
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I started this sweater last winter, and put it aside. I picked it up again last weekend, and it's going pretty quickly. I hope to finish it for my trip back east in a few weeks. And thanks to everyone for the great suggestions of things to do and see in NYC!
Krakauer, is clearly sympathetic to the young man, and seems eager to discredit those who lashed out at McCandless after his death for being foolish at best, and having a death wish at worst, by drawing parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father.
I enjoy Krakauer's writing, but I wasn't entirely convinced. McCandless stuck me as being a very, very bright kid, but lacking even a modicum of common sense. That he survived for 4 months was a miracle.
I had loaded up my iPod this week, so after finishing Into the Wild, I started On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I read this book 25 years ago. I was spending the summer in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had taken the train down to Brighton for the weekend. While walking around Brighton, I stumbled into a small book store where I bought On the Road, and then started reading it in a local pub. I was killing some time before I went to see one of the Star Trek movies at a cinema in Brighton. I'm not sure of the name, but it's the one in which Scotty dies, and they play Amazing Grace on the bagpipes . . .
What are you reading?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I want to be a part of it - new york, new york
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - new york, new york
I wanna wake up in a city, that doesnt sleep
And find Im king of the hill - top of the heap
These little town blues, are melting away
Ill make a brand new start of it - in old new york
If I can make it there, Ill make it anywhere
Its up to you - new york, new york
New york, new york
I want to wake up in a city, that never sleeps
And find Im a number one, top of the list, king of the hill
A number one
These little town blues, are melting away
Im gonna make a brand new start of it - in old new york
And if I can make it there, Im gonna make it anywhere
It's up to you - new york new york
So what would you do with a few days in NYC?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Work has been crazy, so I'm thrilled to be home tonight with no briefcase sitting near my couch. I think I'll take a hot bath and read some more of The Queen's Fool. Phillipa Gregory writes historical fiction that is pretty entertaining. In Fool, Hannah Green and her father, both Jewish, have fled persecution in Spain where Hannah's mother was burned at the stake. Hannah has the gift of "Sight", and is brought to Court by Robert Dudley to spy on Queen Mary. . . . . intrigue to follow!
I got my foul weather gear (rain jacket and pants) by mail order from Cabelas that I bought in anticipation of rainy weather in the Berkshires. . . . Vacation is just around the corner!
The new season of the Biggest Loser starts tonight. The transformation these folks undergo is truly amazing and inspiring. . . .
Are you looking forward to any of the new fall shows? I'd say that Chuck - the show about a computer nerd spy, and Journeyman, about a time traveller, look promising. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to new episodes of the Office, 30 Rock, Dexter and L&O Criminal Intent.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Ok, so far I am 0 - 1 on my football picks. I took the Saints over the Colts on the Thursday opening night game. This pick is reflective of a problem I have with my pool selections - letting my like or dislike for a team interfere with picking the most likely to win.
I am a in winner's pool and a loser's pool. For these, you have to pick a team each week that will win, or lose. Any week you are wrong, you are knocked out. And you can only pick each team once. There is a 10 or 20 dollar buy in at the beginning of the season, but with a lot of participants, the pay out can be pretty substantial. My winner for this week is New England; my loser is Tampa Bay.
This weekend is also the local chili cook-off. 10 to 15 local bars, restaurants, businesses, or just groups of friends, enter their special recipe into the competition. There is a live band and raffle drawings and it is generally a good time. The fact that each group tries to buy your vote by offering up an alcoholic beverage of some sort doesn't hurt the festive atmosphere.
I don't have a lot of money in the stock market, but I did actually stumble onto one good move. The first stock I ever bought was a few shares of Walmart - purchased at probably its highest price in the last 50 years. About 2 years ago, I decided to bail out on Walmart and invest the money in Wild Oats instead. Some of the reason was financial - the growth potential was better, and some of the reason was political - that I'd rather have my money in a company promoting organic foods, than in, well, Walmart.
Anywhoo, the deal for Whole Foods to purchase Wild Oats recently went through, and all the shares were purchased at $18.50/share - a nice profit from the $8.00/share I paid! The money remains in my IRA, and I need to find another stock to invest in now . . . too bad Target is priced too high as well . . .
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
And, I have to say, from the perspective of a person living at the coast, I'm glad summer is officially over, and life at the beach can return to normal.