Derik Badman's Journal

2020-04-25 10:36

One thing I wanted to do with this journal but never really did was include links to things I've read and found interesting, but then I also feel obliged to explain why I found them interesting and I didn't always know what to say. But here I am trying that anyway.

Just read "Notes on The Big Sleep, 30 years after" by James Monaco from Sight & Sound (Winter 1974) and it is an really excellent wide-ranging essay on a film I have watched many many times. Monaco covers Hawks, film noir, Chinatown, censorship, adaptations, Chandler, the roles of women in the film, and more, all while making one want to watch The Big Sleep again.

I reached that article from a related link on another old essay by Louise Brooks (yes, the actress and model for Crepax's Valentina) on Humphrey Bogart that is also worth a read. Brooks is a good and interesting writer who applies her own experiences with Hollywood and Bogart.

Spent probably too much time once again reading on the computer and cleaning up files and such. Over the week(s) bookmarked articles, pdfs, notes, etc. build up, and I'm trying to be better about going through them on the weekends so I don't end up with an overwhelming amount of stuff. Paged through an online version of a Turner sketchbook that Yale has on their site (the better pages are at the end).

I just gave my second short story another read through, fixing a few typos, but not much else. It's still hard for me to see larger problems. Are there major changes I could make? It's easy to settle on what is already done and not want to change it or delete it, but I don't want to treat any of it as too precious, as something that was so difficult and time consuming that I can't bear to see it gone. But on the other hand, maybe I don't need to change it a lot. Maybe how it came out was how it should be. It came out a lot more linearly than the third story that I am still actively drafting. For the newer one I started out writing from the beginning but then when I got stuck started just writing out different sections, filling in notes as an outling, and generally working non-linearly. That's worked pretty well for that story so far, and I think it's helping me think about where I can leave gaps and where I should fill in scenes, what can be elided.

Sitting outside on the porch a bit this afternoon. We're into week 7 of staying at home now, and at least today we have a nice day, though most days it still feels more like winter than spring. The flowers and animals disagree as they have been plentiful. For the third or fourth year in a row (actually fifth now, as I found a picture of a dove's nest from when we were first moving in) a pair of doves (could they be the same ones? I have no way to know) are nesting in the rafters of our porch. I don't think the mother, sitting on at least one egg, much likes when we come out to the porch. Doves make the worst nests. There is large pile of small twigs and brush in the corner of the porch under where the nest is, and the pile that they tried to put in the nest but which fell out is literally almost 10 times what is actually making up the nest now. Somehow they never just try again with the same materials, already all sitting there in a convenient pile. Though it also now occurs to me... if the egg fell out of the nest, that pile might act as a bit of a cushion. One year they did lose an egg because it fell out and broke on the porch.

While writing that last paragraph I looked up and saw a heron flying by with its distinctive long neck and legs. Wish I knew where I could go and see them a little closer.

I finished watching I Am Not Okay With This on Netflix this morning. I quite enjoyed it, an interesting variation on the supernatural/superhero teen drama, both darker (in mood) and more realistic than most. It's set in Pennsylvania even (in the northeastern part of the state I'm guessing) in the... 80s I guess. It actually took until a few episodes in where one of the characters is excited to hear "Jesse's Girl" at a party that I realized it was not contemporary, then on realizing that, noticed the lack of cellphones. It was unfortunately a very short season with a cliffhanger, so who knows when or if it will return. It's anchored by a narration of the protagonist's diary entries which really helps focus on her feelings, though the narrative also shows us some scenes without her.

One thing it maybe unnecessarily does, is start with a prolepsis (that it briefly returns to a few times in various episodes), of the protagonists walking, alone, covered in blood. It's surely there to add a sense of impending tension to the season, but feels mostly unneeded, because the mood of the show is enough that as soon as you realize the character has these special powers and that they seem to assert themselves when she is angry or stressed, you just know something is going to go horribly wrong.