Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Well, the moment that I have been dreading has come at last; London Hydro is moving to Time of Use pricing for their electricity as of tomorrow at least to some degree. For the people who have typical day jobs, they can avoid much of the high periods in the summer, provided that the smart meters are working properly.  What really annoys me is those who whine about working with that new reality like that jerk who bellyaches in a letter to the editor in the LFP about not being to eat his oatmeal in the morning. Can't these people think of the bigger picture even if the provincial government could more diplomatic about these measures, expecially concerning the wind turbines initiative?

While in principle, this new pricing structure has some logic, I'm going to be a frustrating position myself.  Namely, I share the house with a commercial tenant in the front who obviously operates largely in the peak times for electricity and all my attempts to work within the strictures of the pricing will be countered by their demands. Working from home now, I know I am not going to be blameless in this situation, but would it kill them to at least turn on their ceiling fan?

On a lighter note, the Brickenden Awards show was an enjoyable affair celebrating the best of London local theater. As much as I appreciate friends like Jayson McDonald get the recognition they deserve, the even better treat was reconnecting with the people whom I know. There are times when I feel so isolated that knowing there are other who would stop and talk to me on their own accord can be a subconscious shock to me. In that regard, last night worth it for meeting people again and knowing I am a part of this community in some small way.

In that spirit, I want to get back writing my reviews and I'm thinking of venturing into creative writing like converting a short story I wrote and read for the Fringe Festival's FringeWords event years ago. I have to stretch my wings as a writer more seriously if I want a real future and this kind of exercise can only help. Fortunately, I know some good online resources like PlotBot and I intend to use them as best I can.  All I need is to summon the fortitude and drive to get this going, which is a challenge in itself. 

It's not that I have anything better to do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Thoughts

Sorry I've been quiet so long, but blog writing is a practice that can become a chore so easily and a major distraction like an election can throw you off easily.

So, I'm starting again with somewhat more modest agenda at first to get back up to speed.

To begin with, focusing on a little light good news is in order and the 2012 Oscar nominations that just came out fits that bill, as presented on their official website

All in all, while I think the idea of a flexible number of Best Picture nomination list is unnecessary, at least many of the choices seem decent like Moneyball and The Artist, although it is simply unacceptable that  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close got a nomination when it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of  only 48% when more worthy independent films like Take Shelter are snubbed.  Furthermore, there is simply no equivalent of last year's Winter's Bone for a small independent film being nominated and maybe the firm 10 nomination list would have helped.

For me, the real race is for Best Original Screenplay where the most creative films like Pulp Fiction and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind typically get their due. For this year, it's a much more equitable mix with The Artist, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, Midnight in Paris and A Separation being a good mix of mainstream, independent and foreign that the Best Picture nominations are so rarely are.

On a more personal preference, it is gratifying to see Kung Fu Panda 2 get a nomination for Best Animated Feature along with Rango and Puss in Boots with two foreign independents while Cars 2 is ignored. Even though Rango has the edge, KFP 2 was a film I saw 6 times in 3D that had a tremendous emotional power and narrative richness that enthralled me.

By contrast, Cars 2 was nearly unbearable as a film created primarily because of the $5 billion in toy cars the first Cars managed to sell. For me, enduring 45 minutes of a film seeing the character, Mater the tow truck, being a jackass around the world is not my idea of a good time. We all know that Pixar is supposed to be better than this and they proved it before with daring and acclaimed films like Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up. I just hope this award snub will send the right message to Disney's animation head, John Lasseter that he has artistic standards to keep to.

The real oddity is Best Original Song only has two nominations: "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets and "Real from Rio" from Rio.  Surely, there must be some more worthy material for at least a third, but I have heard that the state of movie music has been in real decline.

So, as much as complaining about the Oscars is as common as obsessing about them, I've choices in poorer years and I look forward to Oscar Night as always.