Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Kimbell Addition

The new museum addition by Renzo Piano to Louis Kahn's masterpiece original building opens over the Thanksgiving holiday.  KERA radio has an interesting talk with Piano HERE.

Kimbell Art Museum - believed public domain photo

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Missed Ada Lovelace Day

This year the date of Ada Lovelace Day (like so many others) just slipped past me.  Named for the first computer programmer - who happened to be female - the day celebrates women in science and technology.  (In a previous year, I responded before with a post on early female architects  HERE.)

But today there's a great post over at themarysue.com that nicely expresses the Go-Girl-Tech! vibe of Ada's celebration: a  dangerous study of the remains from early huminins found in a cave in Africa, this mission can be accomplished only by paleontologists who are also cavers.

All Female Team of Spelunking Scientists!

Cave photo by Ik Ikrig - public domain at publicdomainpictures.net

TheMarySue.com is worth visiting for the girl-geek of pop culture and, as today, science.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Catching Up

Busy, busy...

But here are a few highlights from the books 'n movies front lately (as I scramble to get back into a regular schedule posting here... and in the rest of my productive life!).

Films:  Just saw the knuckle-biter Captain Phillips.  A very intense study of the real-life  story about Somali piracy.  Tom Hanks's performance is riveting.  I do wish the film makers had had the grace to cut away and end the film just a few minutes sooner - it just seems wrong to watch this tough character finally fall apart once he's saved.  He has every right to!  But give the guy some privacy, right?  The very human portrayal of the pirates makes the film, I think, turning this from just another action flick into art.  I'm hoping to see the other current crisis-on-the-sea movie, Robert Redford's All is Lost this weekend.

I tried watching This Is the End the other night on DVD.  I'm not at all the demographic the filmmakers were aiming for... but did anyone find this apocalyptic brat-pack film funny?  I could see it trying.  Pirates: Band of Misfits however, remains a light but amusing claymation/animation romp with a great alternative version of Queen Victoria.  Funny.

Books:  I lost steam in reading Telegraph Avenue.  Beautifully written, coming from Michael Chabon, but... after being interrupted I never quite got back into it.  I think because I can see the ending coming too clearly and don't (just personal taste) find the ambiance of jazz, blaxploitation/martial arts movies, midwifery, and Berkeley engrossing.  I may go reread The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay instead because I like the world of comics, golems, and Brooklyn better.  (Personal taste.)

I'm in a funny mood.  I want adventure and vicarious thrills, even a touch of the creeps.  Probably the Halloween/November weather.

I got all excited at the library because several authors I follow had new books.  Sadly these were all to some degree disappointing.  Charlaine Harris's last book in her Sookie Stackhouse series (basis for the True Blood TV show) was... O K.  It ended about as I thought it should, but I got the feeling the author herself was tired of the series well before it was actually all written.  (The TV show went off the rails completely at some point.)  I can, however, heartily recommend the first book Dead Until Dark as an entertaining stand-alone.  Then you may find yourself reading the whole saga just to see what happens to Sookie.

On the other hand, though I enjoyed the earliest Anita Blake vampire novels by Laurell K. Hamilton, the series... Well, first I stopped buying them, and after this last library trip I've now officially stopped bothering to check them out.  By page 15 or so it was clear the story has dwindled to boring vampire politics, confusing yet boring interpersonal relationships, or more sex... which reads like self-indulgence.  For me the books are now unreadable.  But the early ones?  The title of the first novel says it all: Guilty Pleasures.

Speaking of which... I'm working my way through a Buffy-thon.*  Enjoying it all over again.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course.  Now in mid season 4.  Then maybe Master and Commander again for further sea adventures.  Remember the fun film Cowboys and Aliens?  How about making a Pirates and Vampires?  Pure popcorn!