Things I didn’t expect to see in Victoria Avenue the morning after a heavy snowfall the week before Xmas: this guy.
Judo Canada has ratified it, so it’s official: I have my sandan rank. In English, I have my 3rd degree black belt in judo.
For this one, I had to learn (or perhaps re-learn is a better way to put it) the katame-no-kata, aka the groundwork kata. I quite like it, and hope to sharpen it up for possible competition.
Thanks to all who have supported me along the way.
Is Die Hard the best Christmas movie? I dunno, I’ve always leaned toward The Nightmare Before Christmas*, myself.
But this article makes a compelling point for others, too. I just re-watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in the summertime, during my writing retreat. (How is that five months ago already? Man, time flies.)
[M]ost of his films [have a] fairy-tale like sheen, similar to what makes Die Hard so successful. And making it Christmas in L.A. (which the majority of his films do), offers a different sensibility to the use of the holiday on film.—Emily Asher-Perrin, Die Hard is Great, but Shane Black is the King of Christmas Explosions
* Oh who am I kidding? Nightmare is second; A Charlie Brown Christmas is first, even if it’s only about half an hour long.
A fascinating article on the Planetary Society website: Whose Stars? Our heritage of Arabian astronomy:
Greco-Mesopotamian constellation figures bear Latin names. Their brightest stars are designated with letters of the Greek alphabet, yet most of them bear proper names that derive from Arabic. Even so, many of these star names are Arabic descriptions of Greek constellation figures, not Arabian ones.
Learn more about the Arabian star and constellation names, like, for instance, ath-Thuraya (aka the Pleiades) and her Hands (one amputated, one henna-dyed), Aldebaran (the Follower), al-Jawza’ and the Shi’ra sisters, and more.
It’s fascinating, and at least part of the reason I’m posting this is to bookmark the article for later re-reading. I think it might be a useful thing for a science-fiction writer to know about.
Header image: Pleiades (or I guess ath-Thuraya), taken by me in 2015.
Some deliciously funny writerly meta-snark from John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire.
Well, I thought it was funny.
In the photo above, I caught what I think was a C-130 Hercules turning. I think the military might have been doing some flight training.
I caught a few meteors on camera tonight. It was mild in town, but the wind out in the country made it very cold.
I think I might have seen more meteors than I photographed, actually. They were all over the sky. And even the brightest two, in the photos below, barely show up.
I guess I’ve got some more learning to do about shooting meteor showers.
Last weekend I watched The Old Man and the Gun at the Evans Theatre. I loved it.
Forrest Tucker (played by Robert Redford) robs banks. We meet him as he’s robbing the latest one. He’s polite, he’s charming, he’s got a gun that he shows the manager (but that we don’t actually see till much later). He makes his getaway, and after he’s switched cars he spies a truck broken down on the side of the road. It’s driven by Jewel (Sissy Spacek), whom he offers a ride home (after the cop cars go screaming by, hunting a getaway car he’s no longer driving).
Forrest is in a gang with Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits). The media dubs them the Over-the-Hill Gang. They don’t seem to need to rob banks, not for the money, at least; they seem to enjoy it.
(Aside: Teddy’s tragicomic Christmas story was my favourite scene in the movie. It’s got nothing to do with the story, but it says something about his character.)
Rounding out the story is the police officer John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who is determined he’s going to be the one to nail the Over-the-Hill Gang. Will he succeed? Will our plucky anti-heroes get away with their next heist? Will Forrest and Jewel’s meet-cute turn into something deeper? Watch the movie to find out. It’s worth it.
Few things in this movie are stated outright. What appears at first glance to be an old-timey hearing aid is more likely a police-radio scanner, and this revelation makes it easier to understand how Tucker manages his getaway in the opening scenes. As mentioned, we don’t actually see his gun for quite some time, and it’s unclear by the end of the film if he’s ever even loaded it, much less fired it. One of the centrepiece heists isn’t even shown on-screen; we see a bit of the planning, a lot of hand-wringing by the Over-the-Hillers (“Can we even do it? Is it worth trying? I can’t run near as fast as I used to”, etc), and then a news report about the crime as Tucker puts the loot into its hiding place.
It’s a fun movie, a funny movie, and a sneaky, sly movie. I loved it.
I read recently that Robert Redford decided to retire after making The Old Man and the Gun because he wanted to go out on a fun movie. I think he did a fine job.
This past Sunday I had to run a couple errands. As I left the house, I noticed there was a police car parked facing the wrong way on the street in front of the house a couple doors down.
When I returned there were about four police cars. I went up the back alley, planning to loop around and park in front of my house. But there was police tape strung across the back lane, and another police vehicle blocking the way. I backed out and parked further up my block. I made a mental note to check the police website later, to see if there were any details in the daily media release as to just what was going on.
Well, there were:
On Sunday morning at approximately 07:52am, Police were requested to attend to a residence in [my block] for a female who had been stabbed multiple times in the arms, legs and mid-section. Police learned several items including the victim’s vehicle were stolen at the same time. Police believed two male suspects were involved [note: turned out it was a single suspect] and may be armed with firearm. […] At approximately 6:10pm, the suspect was observed leaving the residence on [another street]. Police conducted a high risk vehicle stop and the suspect was arrested.—Police media release
So yeah. Wow.
You go up, you go down.
I saw this stairway on Twitter, and thought it looked, well, amazing. It made me nostalgic for the stairs in my childhood home, to wit:
Dad made the risers. They’re varnished wood, crazy slippery in sock feet, shaped like the end of a canoe paddle. The central column, if I recall correctly, was welded by a close family friend, Gilles.
Man, I loved those stairs. They were the best.