Mel’s movie madness September 2016 edition

I actually watched most of these earlier in the year. I caught cold twice, once in February and again in March. Aside from watching Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, which I’ve since convinced Phil to watch so I could enjoy it again, I watched a few movies.

I’m just going to go over four here, but I’ve also caught The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2, The Scorch Trials, and The F Word. I enjoyed them, but they weren’t provocative.

These were:

Snowpiercer

Holy dystopia, Batman.

When an attempt to reverse global warming backfires, the world is left a frozen wasteland. The only sanctuary is a train that continually circles the earth and contains the last survivors of mankind.

The movie started dark and only got worse. The protagonist is an antihero who starts in the caboose, the poorest section of the train. Abuse, murder, and the theft of children set him on a desperate mission to reach the fabled engineer and mutiny.

Progress through the train is measured in death and several scenes are almost Gilliam*-esque in their quality. Absurdity and grotesquery only serve to reinforce the nightmarish existence of the people on the train.

When our “hero” reaches the engineer, Wilford, the rebellion is revealed to be another planned part of life aboard the train. Population needs to be controlled and small children are required to act as replacements for worn out parts.

The train is a self-contained ecosystem. Everything must be controlled.

Oooh. This one was dark. But it made me think.

*Not incidentally, the hero’s mentor is named Gilliam.

Jupiter Ascending

This movie has been trashed by the best, and I don’t disagree with the criticism levelled at it. But it was fun.

I enjoyed it despite all the ridiculousness.

Check out Emily Asher-Perrin’s review for Tor.com for a much more thoughtful take 🙂

Kill Your Darlings

I wanted to watch this one because it was about the beat poets.

I know the facts were fictionalized for the screen, but it was a well-written, well-acted, and compelling story.

And, of course, it made me think, not about the beat poets, but about the characters and their various journeys on screen. That, for me, is what makes a movie, when I forget what it’s supposed to be about.

The Danish Girl

Eddie freakin’ Redmayne.

The Danish Girl is a lush period piece about Dutch painter Einar Wegener, as he uncovers his identity as female, becomes Lili Elbe, and seeks a doctor compassionate enough to help her become fully female.

This movie tore my wee heart.

As tragic as the ending was, the movie was about love that transcends gender as Einar’s wife, Gerda, and their friend Hans, support Lili to the end, and negotiate their various relationships through the journey that is transition. None of them are perfect, but the movie is all the more heart rending for it.

So beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts on these movies.

I’ll catch you up on the rest of the midseason follies in a bit.

Mel's Movie Madness

Mel’s Movie Madness: March 2016 edition

Though I have seen more movies recently, I’m going to focus on four: Ant-Man, Deadpool, Sword of Destiny, and Pixels (believe it or not).

Ant-Man

I watched it recently on cable and enjoyed it. Marvel is doing a fairly consistent job of offering an entertaining movie experience, in my opinion, anyway. [Please note: I’ve also watched Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I wasn’t as thrilled with that movie and other reviewers have done a much better job than I can of pointing out its shortcomings.]

I liked the brief frame at the beginning of the movie with a young Dr. Hank Pym facing off against an aged Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, denying them, and the government, access to his technology.

I also appreciated the decision not to pursue this as Hank Pym’s story, per se. I think it makes for a much richer backstory in a more global sense.

Paul Rudd does a good job portraying Scott Lang, an engineer turned ethical thief burglar, who, upon his release from prison determines that he will not, for the sake of his family, continue to pursue his criminal ways. Sure, he was a geeky Robin Hood, stealing the ill gotten gains of corporate America and returning them to the victims customers from whom they were originally obtained, but his ex-wife, now dating a cop with a hate on for Lang, would never let him see his daughter again.

Re-enter Hank Pym, now retired and attempting to foil his former protégé from enacting a corporate takeover and selling Pym’s secret technology (which he has reverse engineered) to the highest bidder.

Pym needs someone expendable, not his daughter, Hope, who has remained in the family tech firm as a spy and who would like nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy. In short, Pym needs Lang.

Pym’s been hiding more than the Ant-Man suit, though. Hope’s mother, A.K.A. Wasp, was lost in the quantum realm (not adequately portrayed, but we have no scientific context, so what the hey) during her last mission with Pym and was the main reason Pym decided the technology had to be hidden.

Lang is recruited in a so-convoluted-as-to-be-absurd sting operation and his determination to go straight crumples at the first real challenge, but overall, I found the movie entertaining and the denouement satisfying in a sappy way. The teaser in the credits was also satisfying and sets up the next instalment nicely.

Deadpool

I had to drag Phil out to see this one in the theatre. I knew from the trailers that it was going to be all kinds of irreverent, politically incorrect, and infantile humour. Right up our alley (lol).

From the opening freeze frame to the Ferris Beuller’s Day Off teaser in the credits (there was a second, plot-oriented one as well), we loved it. I know a lot of critics have stated their disappointment in the film, but I respectfully disagree. Let them say there’s no accounting for taste. I’m good with that.

Wade Wilson is a killer. He manages to function because of his startlingly off-colour and scatological sense of humour. Post Special Forces, he works as a mercenary, but we have a perfect “save the cat” moment when we get to see the nature of (at least one of) his current assignments. He protects children from bullies.

After he finds the love of his life, the clichéd hooker with a heart of gold (but really, isn’t it a perfect match?), karma catches up with Wade in the form of cancer. There is no cure. So, in desperation, he signs up for the experimental treatment of all experimental treatments, enforced genetic mutation.

Wade’s lucky (kind of). His genetic mutation expresses itself as immortality. He can, essentially, survive any physical injury, even dismemberment. His cancer is cured. The price? He now looks “like an avocado had sex with an older avocado . . . your face is haunting.” It’s really not that bad. Admittedly, he looks like he’s had first degree burns over 100% of his body, but it doesn’t make me want to vomit (c’mon, it’s Ryan Reynolds).

Then, the guy who transformed Wade and tried to kill him kidnaps Wade’s girl. The game is on.

Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead are there mostly to highlight the contrast between the typical X-men we’ve met to this point and Deadpool. Actually, they may provide analogues for the two negative reactions audience members might have to Deadpool as well.

Deadpool exacts his revenge without remorse. He kills. Unapologetically. Even as Colossus tries to “show him a better way” and Negasonic Teenage Warhead reacts with a solid “meh” to everything he says and does, Deadpool bulldozes through his nemesis’s minions, has an epic throw down, and saves his girl.

Of course, he must then face said girl’s displeasure because he left her without a word months ago.

It’s all good in the end, though.

You just have to leave your maturity at the door and enjoy the movie. Seriously.

The Sword of Destiny

This is a Netflix original movie and a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Michelle Yeoh returns as Yu Shu Lien, the only survivor of the first movie. [This is the Chinese tradition. Most stories, except those for children, are tragedies. Please don’t hate a movie because of its genre or tradition.]

Li Mu Bai’s legendary sword, the Green Destiny, becomes the focus of a warlord who wants to possess its power in order to ensure his military domination of the region.

Yu Shu Lien once more becomes involved when she travels to honour the death of the man who has been entrusted with the sword’s protection. She is soon reunited with Meng Sizhao, also known as Silent Wolf, the man she was to marry prior to the events of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She thought he’d died fighting the warlord Hades Dai, but Silent Wolf only thought to offer her the choice to marry her true love, Li Mu Bai, and let everyone think he’d died.

There is another young, star-crossed couple, witches, vendettas, and a lot of fabulous martial arts battle scenes. The Sword of Destiny isn’t as epic in scope as the first movie, but it is a solid follow up.

Though it may be a spoiler, they eschew the traditional ending for one more suited to Western audiences.

Pixels

This movie surprised me. I hate Adam Sandler movies on principle, but this one was bearable. Colour me amazed. There were many cringe-worthy moments and a number of huge plot holes, the effects were cheesy (but that’s probably because they were all based on 80’s video arcade games), and the acting was over the top, but it actually has some storytelling chops. And I laughed my ass off. Peter Dinklage in a mullet—gah!

Crazy, eh?

Warning: This one is totally spoilery.

The movie begins with critical backstory. In 1982, Sam Brenner and Will Cooper attend the World Video Arcade Gaming Championships where Ludlow “The Wonder Kid” Lamansoff joins them and they dominate the competition until, in the final, Eddie Plant, the returning champion, defeats Brenner at Donkey Kong.

From this experience, Brenner learns that he is a loser, and it is the lie that defines his life.

Flash forward to adulthood and Brenner is a member of the Geek Squad while his buddy, Cooper, is President of the United States (yes, strains credulity, but bear with it. It’s actually one of the least absurd events in the movie).

After meeting up with his bud, the President, at a local media event, Brenner has to install a new gaming system. The boy, Matty, informs Brenner that he’s received the system not because it’s his birthday, but because his parents are getting a divorce.

Brenner bonds with Matty over gaming, and comforts Matty’s mother, Violet, by revealing his own sad story on infidelity and betrayal. They are both called away after an awkward personal moment and each accuses the other of following them all the way to the White House, where Violet, Lieutenant Colonel Van Patten, has been summoned to an emergency meeting, and Brenner has been called in for moral support.

A strange alien attack has taken place, pixelating a US Military Base in Guam. Brenner recognizes the form of the attack as one of his 80’s video games, but his insane suggestion is dismissed, and so is he.

Lamansoff, now a conspiracy theorist, has hidden away in Brenner’s Geek Squad van and reveals himself to Brenner. At Lamansoff’s basement lair, he reveals a video taped message from the alien enemy. They’ve used 80’s television to deliver their ultimatum.

After the World Video Arcade Gaming Championships, a time capsule of all the arcade games was sent off with one of the deep space probes. Aliens retrieved it, and interpreted it as a declaration of war. They have created light weapons based on all of the 80’s video games and Earth will have three lives, and three chances to beat the aliens. If Earth fails, it will be destroyed.

Brenner and Lamansoff take the tape to President Cooper, and while the military dismisses them again, the aliens attack and destroy the Taj Mahal with Araknoid. They only have one chance left and the President gets the military on board. Violet creates light canons to fight the aliens and Brenner and Lamansoff try to train Navy Seals to fight them.

When the aliens attack next, using Centipede, the Seals prove unable to master the patterns of the game and anticipate the attack. Brenner and Lamansoff must take over and use their expertise to defeat the enemy.

The next challenge is issued. Pac Man will attack New York. Eddie Plant, who is serving time for fraud, is sprung from prison and Toru Iwatani, the inventor of Pac Man, is recruited. Though the team, now called the Arkaders, defeat Pac Man, Toru is injured and Eddie ends up in the drink.

At the victory celebration, Matty discovers that Eddie had cheat codes etched into his aviator shades. Eddie confesses that he used the same trick to defeat Brenner in 1982. The aliens announce that the Arkaders violated the rules of the game and Earth is now forfeit. They abduct Matty.

The Arkaders are stripped of weapons and abandoned; the military will take things from here. Cooper absconds with four light canons, and joins Brenner, Lamansoff, Violet, and a contrite Eddie in an attempt to avert disaster.

The final confrontation pits Brenner against the alien leader in—you guessed it—Donkey Kong. Matty and two other captives stand in the place of the princess as the prize. Brenner struggles until Matty reveals Eddie’s cheating during the battle against Pac Man and back in 1982.

Brenner rallies, beats the game, and saves the world.

Like I said at the outset, this is a deeply flawed movie, but the storytelling works well enough to save it.

I won’t necessarily recommend it, but I had to mention it in this review because it demonstrates the power of solid storytelling.

Yeah. That’s kind of the way I felt O.o

See you on Tipsday.

Mel's Movie Madness

Mel’s movie madness, September 2015 edition

I just checked, and my last edition of Mel’s movie madness was a year ago. Yup. I’m a movie-watching machine (self-deprecation mode engaged).

Despite my lack of movie-watching prowess, I watch movies like I read books and watch television series (Series discoveries will be coming up later in the fall season once I’ve had a chance to watch a few of the new and returning shows).

So with each of these wee summaries (HERE BE SPOILERS) I’ll be offering takeaways for the working writer.

American Ultra

Phil and I decided to have a date night last weekend and I wanted to see American Ultra. We’d heard decent reviews from a couple of our trusted sources, Richard Crouse of Canada AM, and Eli Glasner of the CBC, and decided to give it a try.

It was supposed to be dinner and a movie, but ended up being a movie and dinner deal because of the timing of the shows. The theatre was practically empty because it was a long weekend. It was practically perfect.

For those of you who don’t know, American Ultra takes the premise of such movies as The Manchurian Candidate, the Bourne series, and Conspiracy Theory, and transplants it into stoner culture.

It might be a myth, a legend, or the underpinnings of a government conspiracy, but there’s this thing out there called the MK Ultra program. The CIA supposedly used experimental procedures and drugs to control the minds of American and Canadian citizens.

It’s an enduring fascination, judging by the number of movies that have been made about it.

Mike Howell just wants to work at the local convenience store, get high, and work himself up to propose to his girlfriend Phoebe. He saved up and wanted to make the ultimate romantic gesture by proposing to Phoebe in Hawaii, but he suffers debilitating panic attacks whenever he tries to leave his hometown of Liman, VA.

Mike knows he’s fucked up, in more ways than one, but one night, a strange woman comes into the store, repeats several cryptic phrases to Mike, and then leaves.

Shortly thereafter, Mike notices two men messing with his old beater, and when he asks them to get away from his car, they attack him. They have knives and body armour. All Mike has is his lunch—a noodle cup—and a spoon.

Shenanigans ensue.

Because this one’s still in the theatres, I don’t want to get too spoilery here.

I enjoyed the movie thoroughly.

Takeaway: There’s nothing new under the sun, but you can give a tired premise new life by changing one critical piece of the puzzle.

Interstellar

I’ve heard the complaints. It was hella long. It was boring. It was all kinds of crazy and implausible.

I loved it, though.

To me, Interstellar had the same feeling as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Contact, both epic science fiction movies, and both all kinds of crazy and implausible.

I watched it with Phil (at home), and he warned me that he would be screaming at the screen before long, as he had with Gravity, which I have not yet watched. He didn’t, though. In fact, he said that the movie took the same liberties that many of the classic science fiction authors took, and that it was, by and large theoretically sound if not factually so 😉

The premise is that Earth is dying and it’s taking humanity with it. In school, everyone is expected to become a farmer, because, though the world’s population is significantly reduced, one by one, all of our staple crops are dying off. We’re down to corn, and even that crop won’t last long.

Science and scientific achievements are no longer encouraged, and history has been rewritten so that space travel was all a hoax concocted during the cold war to force the enemies of America to waste their time and money on trying to win a space race that didn’t exist.

A widowed former NASA pilot, Cooper, farms with his father-in-law, son, and daughter, Murphy. Early on in the movie, Murphy asks her dad why he named her after something bad (the implication: the other kids have been teasing her about it). Cooper clarifies and explains that Murphy’s Law isn’t that something bad will happen, it’s that anything that can happen, will. Epic moment of FORESHADOW.

Murphy’s gotten into trouble at school for fighting with the other kids and not toeing the line with regard to the accepted view of the space program. She’s also trying to figure out why the books on the shelf in her room keep falling.

Eventually, a dust storm reveals that it’s not a poltergeist (Murphy’s theory), but gravity being used to send messages. Cooper deciphers the message—a series of coordinates—and they’re off on an adventure.

The coordinates take Cooper and Murphy to the vestiges of NASA, who have been trying to come up with a way to save humanity. Plan A is a massive space station that would theoretically save most of Earth’s population as well as frozen specimens of animal and plant embryos. Plan B is to investigate a number of planets that can be accessed through a stable wormhole that has mysteriously appeared near Saturn.

Cooper is recruited for the mission, his son takes over the farming operation, and Murphy—resenting her father’s departure—ends up being inducted into NASA as a theoretical physicist, helping to solve the problem of getting Plan A off the ground.

Despite the tragedies that ensue, Interstellar is a hopeful story about survival, perseverance, and love.

Takeaway: I can sit through a complex, two-plus-hour epic, as long as the pay off doesn’t leave me on an ultimate downer. I’ve realized recently that this is how I like my books, too (and how I write them), long and complex, replete with tragedy and triumph.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel’s done better with the Captain America series than it has with some of its other offerings recently.

The big question here is: who can you trust? This is a big problem for Steve, because he grew up in another age in which trust of authority was ingrained and the delineation between the good guys and the bad guys was clear.

S.H.I.E.L.D. turns out to be an ends-justify-the-means kind of organization. Hydra has turned Buckey into a brutally efficient assassin, and Steve struggles to do what’s right in the face of the enemies, and frenemies, all around him.

Takeaway: Even if your protagonist is Mr. (or Ms.) Perfect, tear out the underpinnings of their values and see how they manage. This is just another way of saying that we authors love to torture our characters, but you knew that already, didn’t you, clever people?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, part 1

Last year, I’d seen Catching Fire and said I wasn’t really impressed. The second instalment was an iteration of the first, with the stakes raised a little more. It was basically about getting Katniss from competing in the hunger games to the rebel base in District 13.

Mockingjay, part 1, however, was better. It was about how Katniss, after having been broken by the games, starts to rebuild. And of course, as she seems to be making headway, she’s broken again.

I thought it was interesting how events played out in this movie and will probably see the next one, just to say I have. I’ve only read the first book in the series, though. I’ll eventually get there, but since they’re sitting on my shelf, there’s no urgency at the moment.

Katniss’s initial goal, to protect Prim, is presented again, this time not as an alternate Tribute for whom Katniss voluteers, but as one of many refugees from the districts that have found their way or been taken to District 13.

The real sacrifice in this movie is Peta, tortured and brainwashed into a blind hatred of Katniss and all she stands for. Though he’s retrieved from the Capitol, he’s drastically changed, perhaps forever.

It could be argued that the sacrifice has become all of Panem outside the Capitol, but Peta is a very concrete symbol of what will happen to the people of Panem if President Snow has his way.

Takeaways: You can only have your protagonist at the mercy of external forces for so long. She has to act. Also, you can’t use the same motivation repeatedly without that motivation losing its power. It has to change. That’s what I think was bothering me about Catching Fire, ultimately. Weak sauce.

The Maze Runner

This is another YA dystopian novel/series that I have not read, but I was curious to see what it was about.

The premise: a boy with no memories is sent to live in a compound surrounded by a giant maze. The other boys who have preceded him all live in the Glade in fear of the reavers, fearsome, robotic monsters that live in the maze and hunt anyone stuck inside it overnight.

Thomas eventually remembers his name but, in short order, breaks every rule of Fight Club the Glade there is. He runs into the maze without authorization. He manages to kill one of the reavers and rescue one of the maze runners. He won’t shut up if he thinks he’s right.

Rather than punish him, as many of the other Gladers want, Alby, the leader of the Gladers, makes Thomas a Maze Runner.

Then, the unthinkable happens. A girl is sent to the glade and with her a message: this is the last one EVER.

So, of course, Thomas decides he’s going to figure out how to get everyone out of the Glade and the Maze, despite a swarm of reavers released from the maze to kill them all.

What could possibly go wrong?

Though I saw the denouement coming, the movie was entertaining.

Takeaway: If nothing else, be entertaining. This is something I may have to work on. I tend to the grim side of dark in my novels. Unrelenting has been used to describe my work o.O

I’ve seen other movies in the past year. Dark Shadows (campy, but not challenging), Frankenweenie (sweet, but disturbing), and a number of others that have failed to make much of an impression on me. Rest assured, I’ll share anything from which I’ve gleaned some Writerly Goodness.

That’s it for this week.

Hope the coming week is full of all kinds of Writerly Goodness 🙂

Mel's Movie Madness

Mel’s movie madness

First, a confession: I don’t watch a lot of movies. When I do, it’s an occasion of some variety.

In the case of the first movie I’ll be discussing, Phil and I both had the day off, I was departing for Calgary the next day, and we decided to see it as a “date.” I’ll let you decide what kind of commentary that makes on my life.

I’ll see more movies during the spring and summer because we subscribe to the movie package with our cable so we can watch Game of Thrones.

You may not be surprised to learn that besides Guardians of the Galaxy, I’ve seen a sum total of three not-on-network-TV-yet movies.

Without further self-deprecation, here’s what I learned from these movies:

Guardians of the Galaxy

This movie, in keeping with Marvel’s other recent offerings, was enjoyable. It had no pretensions and knew exactly what it was and what it promised the audience. Further, it delivered on the promise. Always a good thing.

There was an appropriate amount of backstory and it left some healthy gaps for the audience to fill in on their own. I really appreciate it when a movie doesn’t spoon-feed.

I loved the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and the purpose it served for Peter Quill, A.K.A Star Lord, and his story arc.

When we first see Peter as an adult, dancing to his music as he perpetrates a crime, we learn so much about him. It’s a brilliant bit of visual storytelling.

Similarly, when we meet Gamora and Rocket, and, even Groot, within a very short period of time, we know exactly whom we are dealing with.

Drax, however, was surprisingly one-dimensional. It’s not a great thing when a humanoid tree with a one-word vocabulary has more character than a walking, talking, red-skinned muscle man. ‘Nuff said.

The one thing I didn’t appreciate was how, though wonderful and capable, Gamora fades into the background to let the frankly bumbling Peter take centre stage.

Key writerly takeaways: How to craft backstory; Creating convincing characterization with minimal “screen time.”

Looking forward to a future Inhumans movie from Marvel.

Catching Fire

I watched this one on the way to Calgary courtesy of Air Canada.

Frankly, I was disappointed in this movie. I haven’t read the second in the series, but I have to assume that there’s more to Katniss’s story this time than a weary rehash of The Hunger Games.

Katniss seemed amazingly passive. I expected more.

It really didn’t grip me at all, and I actually struggled to remember what movie I had watched on the plane. That’s bad.

Key writerly takeaways: The second book in a series has to be at least as awesome as the first. Don’t let your reader down. To borrow a phrase from Brandon Sanderson and the Writing Excuses podcast, your protagonist must protag. That is, he or she must ACT.

Oz the Great and Powerful

I’d actually watched part of this on my way out to Vancouver last year for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (which I’m too poor to attend two years in a row).

I actually caught the whole movie on one of the movie channels a few weeks ago.

I thought it was an interesting take on the Wizard of Oz, but I have to say that this one was a little disappointing too.

Another bumbling, if not bordering on irredeemable, male character surrounded by powerful, dynamic women, all of whom he betrays in some fashion, and yet, he merits the title of great and powerful by the end.

I didn’t buy it and the monkey’s loyalty to Oscar made my ass twitch.

I’m sorry, but blind faith and blind luck just don’t propel a plot in a satisfying way. For me.

Key writerly takeaways: Redemption must be earned and it must ring true. Take extra care with the antihero.

Thor: The Dark World

This movie was okay for me. I enjoyed it, but I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it in a theatre.

The dark elves were physically interesting and I would have liked to see a little more development there, but unfortunately, I got a one-note villain.

While I found Thor to be the usually satisfying eye candy, I was far more interested in Loki. None of the characters received much further characterization or development, except for Selvig. I loved his insanity and his new penchant for nudity.

The biggest disappointment was the relationship between Thor and Jane. She’s supposed to be the love of his life, but he doesn’t even drop her a line when he helps the Avengers save New York.

And they never talk about it. Yes, she gives him a smack, but the implication is that the Bifrost was repaired even before the events of the Avengers movie.

I think playing the whole thing out on the screen would have bored viewers to death, but there has to be some kind of verisimilitude. People in relationships, if they are as committed as they claim, talk about these things.

Even some kind of cut scene where the two emerge from a hallway still arguing and one or the other says something particularly touching that does not drop the issue, but defers it until a more appropriate time. There is, after all, a war to fight and a multiverse to save.

And then there’s Jane herself. She’s brilliant, capable, and relegated to the role of the woman in jeopardy until she becomes empowered by gadget at the end.

Key writerly takeaways: If a secondary character becomes more compelling than your protagonist, you either have to make the secondary character your protagonist, or examine your protagonist’s arc to see how you can make it stronger. A token character of any kind is a bad thing. A good villain needs a motivation and a backstory to come alive.

And that’s what I learned watching movies.

Have you seen any movies recently from which you’ve gleaned some writerly goodness? Let me know in the comments below.

I’ll be deferring my Series Discoveries post until a little later in the television season. At the moment I have a total of three series to discuss, and for one of them, I’ve only seen one episode. Not much to work with.

Coming up: Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday as usual, and more WWC reportage on Saturday.

In the next couple of weeks, an author friend of mine will be coming to town for a couple of speaking engagements, and I might have more work-related posts coming up as I’m heading into training for the next two weeks as well.

By the end of the month, I might have an idea about the relative stability of my team, as well.

There have been gaggles of workers taking pictures of the rock in my front yard and they’ve moved a trailer into the empty lot across the street. Though they have until mid-November to do it, I might have some developments on the road construction saga to report as well.

Mel's Movie Madness