Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Who is Hugh?

The Revenant, a novel by Michael Punke, is soon to be a motion picture. It will have a wide release on January 8, 2016 with a limited release (Oscar politics) on December 25, 2015. It tells a story about Hugh Glass.

The director and cinematographer of Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, respectively) are collaborating for another probable Oscar contender for 2015. Emmanuel Lubezki is an extremely talented cinematographer, especially in collaboration with Alejandro, Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity and Children of Men), and Terrence Malick (Tree of Life, The New World).

They shot the upcoming film using only natural light over 9 months. I'm excited to see the results.

"The revenant, he knew, searched for him." This sentence was on page 201 (there are only 257 pages if you include the Historical Note). It wasn't until reading that sentence that I decided to look up this word that is the title of which I did not know the definition. It refers to an individual who returns after a very long time, or in fictional cases, the dead, which makes a good title for a book about Hugh Glass.

Hugh Glass was a frontiersman of the early 19th century. In a company of men, he was attacked by a bear, and nearly killed. Two men were left behind to bury him upon his death.  They left him before he died without any provisions. Somehow, he survived.

Not too unlike The Martian, it is a story of survival. Michael Punke's story, which is a work of fiction, tells the story as one of vengence. The thought of revenge is what motivates Hugh Glass to crawl/trek back to civilization.

Upon watching the trailer a second time after reading the book, I noticed that the movie will definitely deviate. There is no mention of a son in either the book or historically.

In doing a little research on this amazing story of survival, I found the 1971 movie "The Man in the Wilderness" starring Richard Harris which is loosely based on Glass's story. There is also the 1976 book "Saga of Hugh Glass, Pirate, Pawnee and Mountain Man" as well as the 1994 book "Wilderness" by Zelazny and Hausman.

I'm exploring no further, however. I'm content with having read the book and embellishing in the anticipation of the upcoming movie.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Two Times I'm Reneging

A while ago I insinuated the following two promises.

  • If Bernie doesn't win in the primaries, I will support Hillary.
  • If the Cardinals don't get past the Cubs, I'll support the Cubs. 
As the title of the post suggests, I'm not going to follow through on either of those. I will explain why I'm not going to support Hillary in the general election below. Since I decided to renege on this promise, I thought "why not renege on two?" There is no other reason for the second bullet point than the simple fact that I can't stand the Cubs. 

Erin and I hosted a debate watching party for the first Democratic debate on Tuesday, October 13.  Since we don't have cable, we were not going to host a party until we found out we could stream it on through our Playstation. 

First, just let me say how happy I am that we got rid of the nonsense of cable television long ago. When we started to stream it in, I thought "WTF are we watching... a game show?!?" 

That frustration aside, I then watched the debate.  There were a few times I slapped my forehead. It wasn't because of the answers given, it was because of the questions asked.  Instead of watching something substantial, that the American people should be interested in watching, I'm watching what drives ratings, and sadly, what the American people are actually interested in watching.  

In the end, I felt my candidate did a great job. I also thought everyone else did a decent job considering where they are at respectively in the race. 

Then the media happened. 

Every morning I get a newsletter delivered to my inbox from NYT, Washington Post, The Guardian, and the WSJ (just for a little dip into the other side's voice).  I'm not sure why I was so shocked at the power of what big money can do. In all that I read, Hillary was the clear winner, and no other candidate was even remotely 'presidential'.  

A friend posted this meme in which I found more truth than what I found in all of the media I read that morning: 
I'm not a debate analyzer. I agree with both Bernie and Hillary on nearly the same percentage of issues, with a slight favor to Bernie, so the theatrics of a debate and who 'won' or 'lost' will not change who I stand beside. 

Bernie didn't prepare for the debate. He winged it. Not out of disrespect for a presidential debate, but because he is honest.  

My favorite line of the night was when Bernie admitted that although it wasn't good politics, "the American people are sick and tired about hearing about your damn emails." I've been thinking this for a long time, and I wondered that if it came up in the debate, whether Bernie would take the high road and maintain his extremely high standards of focusing on issues rather than the political bullshit generated by media, or succumb to the pressures of the political game. He took the high road. 

And the media gave the point to Hillary. 

Bernie doesn't have a Super PAC. He's raised almost as much money as Hillary from individual donations.  Any decision he ever makes as president will be his own, and not influenced by big money.  I respect that. 

The media doesn't. 

Since the media has infuriated me (and since I live in Kansas, and it won't matter who I vote for in the general election), I will never side with Hillary.  I will write in Bernie's name if I have to.  Sorry for reneging on this, but the media has pissed me off. 

Go Mets. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

A 5-Year Anniversary Poem for my Lovely Wife

A Surly Furious Can is Red,
A Surly OverRated Can is Blue,
Five Years ago on this Day,
I happily got married to you.

(The Honeymoon)
Russian River's Logo has a Pine Tree,
The one for Lagunitas has a Dog,
We drank beer at both places,
A Redwood would make a big log.

(1-Year Anniversary)
Double Mountain had great beer, 
Everybody's had good food, 
We hiked Multnomah Falls,
Because we were in the mood. 

(2-Year Anniversary)
We got a free tour at New Belgium,
At Avery we met up with Joe P,
We hiked to the top of the Flat Irons,
From there it was easy to see

(3-Year Anniversary)
We got our 4 beers from Allagash,
Maine Beer Co was our Holy Grail,
I took a cool pic of the sunset,
And we hiked the Appalachian Trail.

(4-Year Anniversary)
Harpoon was a big brewery,
Trillium was a great find,
The Freedom Trail took forever,
since beer kept getting us behind.

(5-Year Anniversary)
The move messed with Fall Break,
My 20-year got in the way,
So we'll celebrate our 5-year,
with beer and hiking on a different day.

Love you, sweetheart!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Automobile: America's Top Killing Machine

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm a pretty good driver, and I enjoy the privilege that I have to drive. Every so often, I have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get my license renewed. I have to admit, I absolutely loathe it. We can probably all agree that it is not a fun experience. 

So why do we have to go through such an ordeal to renew our license, or even get one in the first place? It might have something to do with the fact that the automobile is the top killing machine in America. 

When I give that a quick thought, my perspective begins to change. Now, I wonder why isn't the ordeal I go through at the DMV more complicated? Why can't we pull together as a country, state, or city, and create the best mass transit in the world? After all, we live in the best country in the world, right?  

Even though I'm a good driver, I realize there are so many out there that are not good. There are plenty of good drivers out there as well, that are not so good after they spend 6 hours at the bar and drive home. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that if I had to give up my privilege to drive even though I enjoy it and am good at it, to keep the rest of these ridiculous people off the road and to save countless lives and to keep us all safe, I would do it, as long as we had an amazingly efficient mass transit system. 

According to The Atlantic, 33,561 people died in car crashes in 2012. The same article suggests that in 2015, something other than the automobile may take over the top killing machine in America.

Unsuccessful so far, I've been trying to come up with a parallel with both car accidents and gun deaths. Our privilege to drive gives us means of transportation, but as I've brought up above, there could be ways of providing safe and efficient means of transportation without needing the privilege to drive. The right we have to bear arms gives us a means to shoot with the purpose of hunting, sport, and defense. Is there a way we can fulfill this purpose without actually needing to bear arms? That's a tall glass of nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. 

I'm obviously bypassing the hobby part of both. Some people love cars/trucks. Some people love guns. They wouldn't give them up for anything. Even though it may prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of people a year, people want to keep their cars and their guns. This is the world in which we live, so we might as well get used to it.