27March-2April2011 :: This Week
Offically changed my job title this week, with the arrival of new business cards declaring me a "Digital Strategist"; in some ways I'm still defining exactly what that means (having never clearly defined my previous role as "Technical Analyst"), but for LinkedIn, I've written the elevator pitch version:
I work to help better integrate the implementation of web projects with long-term business goals, by establishing and advising on digital strategies, and by helping flesh out ideas and requirements.
Watched the pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire (imdb); it looks like there's some great production work going on, and it shows great potential for drama, but fails to get its hooks in (character- or plot- wise) in its first hour; will give the second a try but it's not currently promising.
Caught an episode of Whitechapel (imdb), a police/detective procedural out of the UK; at first I was certain it must be set a couple of decades ago, with out-dated decorating and costume, and the complete absence of either modern technology (being used, anyway) or women or non-whites except in bit parts; I wondered if it was commentary on the white/boys club, but I suspect it's just lazy writing.
Finished Nick Hornby's The Complete Polysyllabic Spree; was a great read, funny and insightful, and as I noted last week, it's given me a bunch of recommendations for further reading; Hornby's commentary on reading, writing, genre, is all apt; eg, on Chris Coake's short stories, We're in Trouble:
So they're literary in the sense that they're serious, and will probably be nominated for prizes, but they're unliterary in the sense that they could end up mattering to people.
Or, discussing his reading choices:
There comes a point in life, it seems to me, where you have to decide whether you're a Person of Letters or merely someone who loves books, and I'm beginning to see that the book lovers have more fun.
In his closing essay, written almost three years after the first, it's nice to see the joy of reading come across again; expressing his ongoing conflict between the impossible list of books he wants to read and "stuff that can sometimes seem more fun than books"; it's obvious, at this point, that books can be just as fun at the right time.
Read Haruki Murakami's South of the Border, West of the Sun; a delightful read, and much simpler than some most of his other works, both in terms of depth and length; the simple story is deceptive though, and there's lots lurking beneath the surface, as he plays with ideas of memory and mid-life, sex and death, and inexplicable love.
Watched Battle: Los Angeles (imdb); I went in expecting mindless entertainment and was pleasantly surprised by how well put together it was; the characters come direct from a hundred other war films, but are well interpreted, with solid writing and acting; the story is simple, the small platoon sent behind enemy lines, with the alien invasion just providing a fresh setting; on a couple of occasions it could do more with the setting (there's a brief scene in which they dissect an alien to figure out where to aim to kill it, but it turns out its heart's in about the same spot anyway so nothing really changes; there's a discovery that the aliens are tracking communications, but aside from one scene this has no real impact on the way things play out), but in the end it really doesn't matter; also, and in some ways best of all, the film has no pretensions to be anything more than what it is, so the mandatory scenes between the action serve to give us room to breathe and to explore the characters, but they don't stray into over-sentimentality.
Watched Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking (imdb); her delivery gets a bit slow and obvious at times, but for the most part it's very entertaining, and her dissection of Hollywood and celebrity is worth watching.
Watched Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique (La Double Vie de Véronique) (imdb); it plays with a great concept, with two different near-identical characters in different locations, and with reality and fiction and dreams all becoming intertwined, but it's muddled and too slow at times, and the low budget sound is a problem, especially when our protagonist is supposed to be musically inclined; does do some nice things with light and colour, setting up a dream-like look, even if it pushes a little too far sometimes; one can see an early exploration of some of what Kieslowski presents in his Three Colours trilogy.
The IMDb page for the above is presenting Wong Kar Wai's 2046 as "similar", and it's true the film reminded me of his work (though of In The Mood For Love moreso), both stylistically and thematically; for the dream-like, 2046 is better, and for the love story, In The Mood For Love.
Ordered a few more Murakami's from the Book Depository; between the price difference (about half what they cost here) and their inavailability electronically, I figured I might as well top out my Murakami collection; hopefully I'll be able to get an iPad soon though, or I'll need to buy more physical books locally just to have something to read on the bus.
'September 2004', pg114 in my Viking edition, 2006 ↩︎
'October 2005', pg204 ↩︎
'June 2006', pg273 ↩︎
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- 26June-2July2011 :: This (Cordless) Week (04Jul2011)
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In which I read and watch and listen, and wonder about genre
- 27March-2April2011 :: This Week (03Apr2011)
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- Recent Media Consumption — February and March (29Mar2008)
In which I consume hours of media in a short amount of time, and rediscover television
- 7-13January2008 :: This Week (15Jan2008)
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- Recent Media Consumption (30Dec2007)
In which I consume, to varying degrees, various media
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