Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Genie is My Inner Monologue

Genie. From Aladdin. The Disney movie? Now that I've cleared that up it may seem less strange. Strange that I had maybe named my inner monologue was one thing, but that actually it's a cartoon character voiced by Robin Williams, hopefully comical, and less strange.

Scenario: I hear something out of the ordinary.
Inner monologue (Genie): "Dost mine ears deceive me?"

Scenario: Encountering someone who... seems to be making poor life choices.
Genie: "Ooooone too many hits with a snake."

Scenario: I lose at something I'm embarrased about.
Genie: "I can't believe it. I'm losing to a rug!" (As Rodney Dangerfield)

Scenario: I did something nice for someone and they thank me.
Genie: "Right here, for your very much wish fulfillment!"

I really just wanted to share something that makes me smile, and makes me a little sad at the same time. I miss Robin Williams.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making of Gone with the Wind at the Harry Ransom Center

I'll be honest, I've never seen Gone with the Wind all the way through in one sitting. It's one of my mom's favorite movies, and it's just such a big deal I felt I couldn't pass up the exhibit at the Ransom Center on my day off.

Here are some highlights, so that I don't forget what I saw, and so that my family can get it on the excitement. Wish you'd have been able to go, too!

The planning and making of the movie spanned about three years. There was a lot in the exhibit about the casting of Scarlet (not surprising). It turns out that Vivien Leigh wasn't a candidate until a few weeks before they made the decision. Other choices included Susan Hayward, Katherine Hepburn, Tulluah Bankhead, Joan Bennett, and Paulette Goddard. Choices for Rhett (although Clark Cable was the public's favorite all along) also included Gary Cooper and Errol Flynn.

Apparently Margaret Mitchell didn't want to help write the screenplay. She happily advised and helped with the film, however.

What I found interesting was how David O. Selznick, who typically stuck extremely close to the plot of a book he was adapting, chose to balance his desire to show the South as a beautiful place with depicting historical accuracy. Apparently Atlanta's mansions are not what people would describe as beautiful when compared to others seen in the movies, based largely on large Louisiana plantations.

I snapped a picture of a funny quote discussing the same difficulties in regards to the costumes in a particular scene:

"The first people to complain about the lack of beauty will be the Southerners that we are trying to satisfy with authenticity." Ah, the South!

There was also a lot about the editing of the book to remove any mention of the KKK and "negro violence." There were letters from citizens who were already objecting the movie long before it began filming. One man wrote in that he was concerned that the movie would portray blacks in an unfavorable light, and signed his name, along with the addition, "(white)." I overheard part of a tour that was going on, and the movie explicitly took out some of the "negro dialect." After the film came out, some blacks were happy with it and others were upset that the servants seemed so happy with their places.

There was also a section describing necessary editing of the screenplay with regards to the amount of pain involved in childbirth, multiple cautionary statements about the dressing scenes, and not to portray any women as prostitutes (but to merely suggest looseness). From what I read in that little spot, the book is a lot more graphic than I'd imagined.

There weren't any of the male costumes, but several of Scarlett's. There were several sketches of scenes and costumes that I really enjoyed.

Another funny thing I saw was that for the premiere, there was a local Junior League member leading a parade. She had been chosen because her measurements most closely matched Vivien Leigh's. There was a little bit of paper with her measurements included in one of the glass cases. Oh man.

It was also sad to learn that Atlanta was segregated at the time, and none of the black actors were allowed to attend the premiere. Selznick tried to get them some credit, but got too much pushback. Ah, the South!

A great little exhibit with more information than I could have retained. I added more pictures to my Shutterfly album here:

Now I need to watch this movie from start to end!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Part III: A Skora Fit Review Thingy

I've had these shoes since September now, and I've logged 141 miles in them so far. They're still looking almost brand new. I did step in some mud this week and hose them off, so they're long free of the dust from Ladybird Lake.

Here's a list of pros and cons:

  • Zero-drop. I've been running in zero drop shoes for a while now, and I didn't want to go back. These are great, and my achilles didn't have any issues at all.
  • Durable sole. The wear on these is pretty minimal. Most shoes I've owned have been about the same, though, since I'm on the lighter side weight-wise.

Right toe

Right heel

Left toe

Left heel
  • Snug heel. This is a big one for me. I have really narrow heels. Almost every pair of normal shoes I've ever owned slide around in the heel, but with the right lacing, these haven't.
  • Removable insole. For shorter runs, it is nice to be able to take out the insole and get more of the "ground feel" other reviewers have rave about. As opposed to other shoes I've owned that have a removable insole, these actually still look like they're designed to be run in without the insole.
  • Stack height. The 16mm padding is exactly what I was looking for. It's not too squishy, and, the combo of the insole and the sole is a great ride.
  • Not ventilated. Luckily I have been running during our "winter" here in Austin, so my feet haven't been super sweaty. But I am getting lots of blisters in places I've never gotten them before -- and I think that's b/c my feet are pretty, um (ew) moist. Between my toes, and all around the metatarsals of my big toes. Blisters.  
    • Edit: Not true about the ventilation. I went out on a chill, windy day, and when I turned out from under a bridge up into big gust of wind, I felt it hit my feet. Kind of crazy!
  • Loose fit. I tried both the 7 and 7.5. Normally I wear a 7 in running shoes, and Skora's website suggested that I get a 6.5. I was skeptical and ordered the 7, but it didn't have enough room (failed the thumnail-big-toe test, and also hurt my toes on a small test run) so I exchanged for a 7.5. I also feel like my foot manages to slide around in the shoes, despite the fact that my heel and arch seem snug and in place. I tried lacing them a little more tightly, but I ended up with my very first black toenail on my left (smaller) foot. I had also been getting very strange blisters on the front of both my 2nd toes, and they callused over. This is just not something I've ever experienced. I've run in lots of brands of shoes, and never had an issue with the tips of my toes. The room seems to be at the top of the shoe. Too much stretch?
  • Dots on insoles. I don't like these. I feel like they're tiny little abrasion points under my feet. I can feel them through my socks. They don't keep my feet from sliding, so what are they there for? Maybe they're keeping the sliding from being worse?
Raised dots
Raised dots
All in all, they're really well-made shoes. They've held up very well. I'm on the fence about them, though. I think if my feet were maybe a bit wider they would be better. Since I have narrow feet, I think I should probably try another brand of shoe next.

4/19/15 Update: The more I think about these shoes, the more I wonder if I got too big of a size. Maybe the issue with my left toes bumping into the front of the shoe when I had the first pair (size 7) was because they were too big, and I should have sized down, not up? This is why we should all shop at running stores with paid shoe experts. But no stores carry these kinds of shoes here in the ATX.