Distraction Warning: Solar Energy Policies

While I agree that the whole Russia-Trump situation is potentially a pretty big issue, so far nothing much concrete and prosecutable has come out of all the revelations. Meanwhile, a lot of other decisions are being made on the behalf of the citizenry which are being overshadowed by all the nonsense. Let’s keep investigating as long as there are legitimate suspicions (which there are currently), but let’s not also lose sight of the other goings on. They will also have far-reaching repercussions on our lives, possibly even more than what may just end up being a nauseating scandal.

Case in point: there are those who are determined to reverse our solar energy policies, in favor of increased reliance on fossil fuels for electrifying our nation’s grid. You can read this article from the New York Times, which I will summarize with my two cents below.

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Environmentalists Only, Please

I cannot support any politician-candidate or incumbent-who does not consider the stewardship of the environment as a priority issue.

If they can’t acknowledge that human existence has an impact on the Earth, they have no business making decisions for the rest of us. And even if they acknowledge the impact but don’t think we are speeding up climate change directly, they should at least agree that we should minimize our impact for the benefit of future generations. Their actions should speak for them on these positions.

Take, for instance, this article in the New York Times about an epidemic of hyperthyroidism in cats which some believe could be caused by flame retardant materials we had in our homes. Chemicals meant to protect us, but now we know could harm us in other ways. Or what about this other article showing how much post-consumer plastic is being washed up on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean? 

We have a huge impact on our environment, and it is our responsibility to minimize the negative impacts. If we don’t have leaders who recognize this, we are doomed. Representatives with no environmental agenda should be replaced in the next election by others who are committed to preserving our planet.

This is Just to Say . . .

. . . I’ll be writing more soon. And not just because the film festival is fast approaching. 

I finally had the idea that there might be an app that would make posting so much more easy and convenient for me. And behold! There is. So now I don’t have to force myself to sit at my computer and write when I can just as easily scratch things out on the bus or snuggled in bed. Yay, technology!

Digital Laze: My Fingers Need Discipline

I’ve always been a writer, such that I’ve always had an awareness of what I’m writing above what I think is probably normal. It all began when I was quite young. Being from a broken home, a large portion of my relationship with my mom was conducted by mail. We put a lot of efforts into our correspondence, which was great fun, and my mom even bought me a book to help my inspiration. I might even still have the book, now that I think about it. It didn’t stop with my mom, though. When she moved not so long ago, she mailed me a box that was filled with letters I had received in return for letters sent to quite a large number of people, some of whom I had completely forgot. I was quite impressed with myself for the achievement. Today, I can barely get a reply to a text message (exaggeration!).

My attention to the written word continued into my professional life, where much of my business is done through email with people on the other side of the world. From the start, I made a point of carefully constructing my missives to be as clear as possible to the readers. While they are all English speakers, they aren’t American so there is always a chance for confusion. One person I have worked with over the years writes (especially in the earlier years) in extensive abbreviations, a hold over from the telex days when every character counted, literally. It took me some time to decipher, and so in response I pledged to myself to write out every single word always. I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit lax. There are a few words I always abbreviate. But I still make a point of writing complete sentences, with proper punctuation and capitalization (as a result, my personal emails are practically devoid of these things). I pride myself in it. I have therefore been chagrined this week by the discovery my fingers have become quite lazy.

I was issued a new computer at work this week and have spent some time customizing my settings. I’m generally opposed to auto-correct, and have turned it off. What I discovered, however, is that on my old computer, I still had the “capitalize the first letter of sentences” turned on. Now, it seems at least half the time, I’ve been having to go back and fix my capital letters! Since when did it become so difficult to hold down the Shift key? Am I really in that much of a hurry? It has brought a new found awareness to my typing. I read an article recently about the growing disuse of periods as a signal of sincerity in typed messages. I pray I don’t fall victim to this herd mentality. It would really get my goat to have my behaviors defined by generational norms (I’m fairly safe as I’m not quite young enough to fit into the millennial range).

What does this all mean? Well, it means I’ll be paying more attention to my punctuation, in the traditional sense. So, if you get a text from me that ends with a period, there’s no need to read anything into it. When I’m being sarcastic, you’ll know it by the look on my face.

SIFF 2016: Day Ten, The End

The last day of the festival was also our last day of festival, and we found ourselves once again at the Uptown. The awards had been given out that morning, and we were in line to see the big winner, Captain Fantastic. It had a couple advantages – one, the star, Viggo Mortensen was a spotlight guest of this year’s festival, and two, the film was in large part made in the Pacific Northwest. Even without the advantages, Captain Fantastic has a lot going for it. An off beat family, raising themselves (dad included) in the wilderness of the lush PacNW, is forced to reconcile themselves with the real world. It’s funny and sad, and all around well-written. It was a hit at Cannes, and will be released in theatres in July. I’m pretty sure it will do decently well.

In case you’re interested, my favorite of this festival has got to be The Brand New Testament (Day Eight), tied with Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Day Seven). A very close second is Girl Asleep (Day Three). Check them out if you can.

If you are reading this in time, do check out some of the “Best of SIFF 2016” screenings this weekend. They will be replaying some of the films we saw, as well as quite a few others. Hurry, before they’re gone!

SIFF 2016: Day Nine

The festival is winding down, and for our penultimate screening we find ourselves returning to the Uptown for the world premiere of Middle Man, starring Jim O’Heir. Mr. O’Heir was in attendance, along with writer-director Ned Crowley, and actors Anne Dudek and Andrew J. West (they brought gifts for the audience!). The framework for the story is a familiar one, this time involving a CPA who decides to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian and the mysterious hitchhiker he picks up on the way to Las Vegas. They get stuck in a kind of time warp, like those dreams where you’re running but don’t actually get anywhere. They are so close to Vegas, but can’t seem to get out of a town called Lamb Bone and its quirky residents. A black comedy, there are some moments of gore. My favorite character turned out to be the troubadour TQ, who sang a song and dressed a bit like Chris Isaak.

This film fails the Bechdel Test. And while I don’t know that it would have benefited from passing, it does have the overall feeling of a dude pic, even if those dudes are middle-aged (or older?). The few women there are in the film, however, are pretty much treated the same as the men, so there is that. No spoilers!

SIFF 2016: Day Eight

After a quick trip to Capitol Hill for the fourth and final time of the weekend, we headed to the Uptown for The Brand New Testament. I had high hopes for this one, as it stars Benoît Poelvoorde (as “Dieu”) of Man Bites Dog fame. It’s a silly thing. I’ve rolled my eyes at people clambering to Audrey Tatou films, as if a good actor cannot be in a bad movie, or just their presence will make any film worthwhile, and here I am deciding to see a film in large part because of one of its stars. Regardless, I was not disappointed. The premise is that God has a tweenage daughter who decides to rebel against grumpy ol’ dad. With the encouragement of the spirit of her brother, JC, Ea sets out into the real world to shake things up. The real star is, of course, Ea (Pili Groyne) who starts on her path of reckoning by texting everyone with a mobile a countdown to their individual deaths. There are some strong reactions to this information, and some lives are changed irrevocably.

To be clear, The Brand New Testament is a comedy. A really great one. I’m not sure if it will get a theatrical release in the US, but I would guess it will find its way onto Netflix eventually.

After some discussion, we have concluded that this film most likely passes the Bechdel Test.