We’re getting into the time of year when my personal creativity seems to spark. I should be way more productive creatively in the summer, when I enjoy loads of unstructured time, but I find that I work better in the constrains and confines of a busy schedule. For whatever reason, that extra pressure helps me to eke out, if not diamonds, then at least some lesser gems.
One well from which I have drawn some considerable inspiration the last couple of years was my Pre-AP Music Appreciation class. It was a broad survey of Western music from the medieval period to the present, with a strong emphasis on the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods. Due to a combination of scheduling difficulties and lower enrollment last year, the class did not run this year.
On the one hand, I’m thankful—it’s given me more time to focus on other endeavors. On the other, I do miss the almost-daily baptism in the works of some of the greatest composers in the Western canon.
One element of the course that was particularly intriguing was learning about the lives and creative processes of the composers. Many of them lived quite tragic lives; others (rarer, it seems, among composers) lived quite contentedly.
Gustav Mahler seemed to have developed a nice little work routine, as detailed in this post from October 2021. I like the idea of having a stripped-down cottage by the sea, with a healthy breakfast brought to me as I work. Sounds like the good life!
At long last, the retrospective of worst films comes to a close. Ponty and I are both relieved to have this project done, although I think it was harder on him than me. My capacity for consuming trash—both filmically and gastrointestinally—is a bit more substantial than his own. Of course, that just means his biting vitriol is that much better:
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Worst Films: #1: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)” – I don’t loathe Star Wars: The Last Jedi as much as Ponty loathes Batman & Robin, but it’s a pretty wretched film with some wretched elements: a purple-haired female admiral who stridently engineers the worst retreat in military history; an overbearing, tiresome, SJW maintenance worker, constantly preaching about injustice; an overpowered Mary Sue who never faces any real adversity; an emasculated Luke Skywalker, bitterly drinking green milk on a distant planet; ineffectual male leads, neutered by an anti-male script; and Princess Leia flying through outer space.
Perhaps Ponty and I should host a film festival and screen these two flicks, then see which is worse. Which would be your pick?
Hurricane Ian is swirling about, sending everything and everyone into a tizzy (folks in Florida, please be safe). It’s also thrown a windy wrench into my schedule, which was already planned down to the minute for nearly every day this week.
Well, no use crying over spilt rainwater. I’m thankful for the relative safety of the inland, and that we live in a time when we have some advanced warning about the impending meteorological apocalypses that routinely batter us.
This hurricane aside, we’ve been enjoying some pleasant weather here in South Carolina—it almost feels like fall! The mornings have been crisp and cool, and even required a light jacket one day last week. Here’s hoping the sweater weather descends soon.
Here’s hoping my readers in Florida and along the coastal regions of the Southeast are safe. Audre, be sure to batten down the hatches.
Today is the first day of autumn. It’s about dang time!
Granted, I realize that autumn shows up on the calendar the same time every year. Whether (weather?) or not it makes a meteorological appearance or not, however, is a bit dicey in South Carolina. It’s very likely to be quite warm today—in the mid-nineties as of the time of this writing. We’re enjoying some cooler, crisper mornings, with a bit lower humidity, but it’s still very much summer here in South Carolina.
Nevertheless, pumpkin spiced-everything is already in stores, so even if it feels like we’re about to attend a pool party, we can enjoy the tastes of autumn here.
Autumn is my favorite season, even though it is fleeting. The period from Labor Day through Christmas is a blur of activity, with nary a weekend free for all the fall activities we see on television and in the movies. Apple picking looks fun, but who has the time?
On the plus side, Halloween will be here soon. It seems that folks have started decorating much earlier this year than usual—or have I missed something? Some people had decorations up in August, which seems as blasphemous as hanging Christmas lights before Thanksgiving.
We’re nearing the end of this long retrospective of mine and Ponty’s lists of the ten worst films, and back to Ponty this week. His excoriation of Elf (2003) nearly landed me in hot water with my girlfriend’s family, who thought I wrote the review! Here is what I did write about Elf:
Elf is one of those movies I’ve never seen in its entirety, but I know about all-too-well [sic]. It seems that every girl I’ve ever met loves this movie, but not just with some yuletide enthusiasm; they act like it’s the greatest Christmas film ever made.
Well, it turns out I was right; my girlfriend, her sisters, and her mom were none-too-pleased (is “none-too-pleased” another [sic]-able abuse of hyphens?)! They acted as though I’d blasphemed Jesus (or that Ponty did).
Well, blogging is all about churning up some controversy, right? I imagine they’d be a bit more amenable to Ponty’s next three picks (although Titanic might bring about more howls of female outrage—I’ll report back in a week, if I’m still alive after they read this preamble!):
The night has always been a time of excitement, a time when—as I wrote a year ago—music “lives.” There’s something exhilarating and fun about the night, which is why I chose the word “frisson” to convey the tantalizing possibilities of the night.
I’m more of a morning person these days, rising early, well before the dawn. Well, isn’t that just another way of saying “the late, late night”? There’s not much exciting happening at 5 AM (other than reading the Bible and talking to God), but it’s still pretty dark out. Try waking up then and you’ll see!
Still, there is a real appeal to the night. I’m at my most alert and mentally focused in the morning and—you guessed it—at night. Afternoons would be naptime for yours portly, if I had my druthers—and a schedule that permitted it.
Regardless, night is when everything interesting happens. It’s the time when things go bump. It’s probably when Bigfoot comes out to play, too.
As Ponty and I are digging into what we consider to be the best films off all time, I’m continuing looking back at our major blogging project for most of 2022: our lists of the Top Ten Worst Films. Here’s are my next three picks from that long list:
Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Worst Films: #7: The Pit (1981) – The Pit (1981) is a Canadian film about a disturbed little boy, Jamie, who hangs out with a perverted teddy bear. There is also a hole in the nearby woods—the titular pit—full of orange-eyed, carnivorous creatures, which Jamie calls “Trolologs” or “Trogs.” Naturally, Jamie feeds his perceived enemies into the pit at the urging of his evil teddy bear. Sounds reasonable.