Painting by numbers.

I really should be cleaning my bathroom. I want that on the record. In fact, when I finish here? Cleaning that bathroom. Because hair and gunk and the usual. Sometimes I think letting our cleaning lady go was the biggest mistake I made last year, but she was a luxury and luxuries needed to be trimmed.

Besides, like so many cleaning ladies, she was starting to slip. Next time, I hire another service.

So, what a weekend. Lots of work, a little bit of cooking, and a long bike ride in Windsor, because why not? You pop through the tunnel with the bikes in the back of the car, find a park to launch from, and then…discover Windsor isn’t much of a cycling city. There were some nice parks, some decent lanes here and there, but not enough. So we rode here and there and did what everybody does in Windsor — found a good Chinese restaurant and ate dim sum, then stopped at the duty-free for some Niagara-region wine.

“I don’t know about you, but ‘Wayne Gretzky’ doesn’t do much for me on a wine label,” I told the clerk. She said “Dan Ackroyd” did even less for her.

There was also this: “Tim’s Vermeer,” a perfectly amusing little documentary about one man’s quest to duplicate a Vermeer painting, not for fraudulent reasons but just to see if he can figure out the tricks of how Vermeer managed photorealism in the 17th century.

As with great documentaries, it starts out being one thing and ends up being about something else entirely — the magic of art, mainly. On iTunes and Amazon Primenow, soon to be on Netflix, no doubt.

Have a good week, all. I’m going to watch premium-cable Sunday-night TV.

Posted at 12:30 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

35 responses to “Painting by numbers.”

  1. Sherri said on August 25, 2014 at 3:44 am

    In light of Ferguson and the most recent Court session, I have the opportunity to meet the national president of the ACLU Monday night in a fairly small group – small enough that I should be able to ask her some questions. Is there anything you’d like me to ask? No promises, but I’ll do my best.

    296 chars

  2. Dexter said on August 25, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Not wishing the summer be gone, but Sunday night premium cable is completing the lightest summer offerings in many years. For a while there, nothing was worth watching. I veered away from “True Blood” when it just got ridiculous a few years ago and I never went back. The first few seasons were spellbinding, I just thought they jumped the shark a long time ago.
    Last year we had the brilliant “Low Winter Sun”…I think that was on regular cable’s AMC. Finally, a few weeks ago we got “Ray Donovan” back. If you have missed this show, go back and pick it up. The acting is great. This is Jon Voight at his best, and I think “Midnight Cowboy”is the best movie ever made, but that was filmed 46 years ago, and as a mature adult, Voight hasn’t always had killer roles, but man, is he ever great as Mickey Donovan. Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan is also at his best here, and the brothers and wives and reporters and girlfriends are fantastic.
    Soon we get the final season of “Boardwalk Empire”, and “Fruitvale Station” will be premiering in October as I recall.

    1071 chars

  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Re: ACLU — how is the definition of privacy changing in ways we should push back against? As college-age people become more and more accepting of life lived in a facial recognitioned, massive-data-based world, and take it as a given that they are “recorded” for life, and as older Americans are enthusiastically calling for police cams which will record a vast swath more of public life (look at all the oddities picked up by dashboard cams as it is, not just “crimes” per se, and multiply that times ten with lapel cams on cops), is part of protecting civil liberties necessarily re-shaping the public narrative on what privacy is and isn’t? Because the rising generation is, in many ways, sounding like they’re ready to give away the store and say “what is privacy, anyhow? Wanna watch my hat brim video of my day on vacation in Key West? It’s uploaded to my Vine.”

    868 chars

  4. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Pam’s all hooked into Outlander, and now I suppose I am, too.

    Civil Liberty questions? Maybe the ‘fruit from the poisoned tree’ (or however they say it) is the defense? – retroactively putting the means of collection (of “evidence” – or whatever) on trial is the route?

    272 chars

  5. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 9:18 am

    So, how many of all y’all have done this ice-bucket thing for ALS?

    (talk about meta-trends and getting caught in today’s sticky social web)

    142 chars

  6. Joe Kobiela said on August 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Both myself and mrs pilot Joe have done it and also donated.
    Anyone else?

    84 chars

  7. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I got dragged in by our daughter (the 16 year old), and Chloe (the 10 year old) got dragged in by gramma (who would pass for 29) – so Chloe and I teamed up and got drenched in razor-like icey-cold water last night, and we have donated to ALS

    241 chars

  8. coozledad said on August 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I built a tabletop camera obscura about twenty years ago, and when you slide a piece of tracing paper on the platen, it’s hard to look at the reflected image and not think of Vermeer. He may not have worked directly from such an image, but the muted outlines and fuzzy solarized patches of color could have informed his style.

    Canaletto used a full room version.

    365 chars

  9. Dorothy said on August 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Dexter we are equally enamored of Ray Donovan at our house. Jon Voight is a force to be reckoned with, isn’t he?! I’m hoping they’ll get him and Ann-Margret together in upcoming episodes. I am also looking forward to the final eps of Boardwalk Empire.

    252 chars

  10. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Did you all see Patrick Stewart’s ice bucket challenge video? Definitely a man who’s got his priorities right.

    155 chars

  11. nancy said on August 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I was a “Ray Donovan” fan before, but last night I became a superfan. I also want to party with that crazy family — if only for the music. Great direction by Live Schreiber last night, too.

    190 chars

  12. nancy said on August 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Oh, and Cooz — you will LOVE “Tim’s Vermeer.” It’s the camera obscure, but also some other tricks, most involving a mirror.

    124 chars

  13. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Carolyn Hax, one of WaPo’s advice columnists, lost her mother to ALS at a fairly early age. At various times, she has written about this and invited readers to join her in walks and other fundraising efforts. She also hosts weekly online chats, and last week’s chat contained this exchange:

    Q. Hi Carolyn, As someone whose life has been profoundly affected by ALS, I was curious about your opinion on the ALS ice water bucket challenges. Care to share?

    Overwhelming gratitude.

    ALS is awful in a bunch of ways, but one crucial way is that it doesn’t affect a lot of people, but devastates the ones it does. So, what that produces as far as fund-raising is a small, haunted core of people who wonder if they will ever make enough noise to get something done. Remember, there has been progress in research as there has been with so many other things, but in actual treatment, we haven’t got much more than was available to Lou Gehrig himself.

    Enter the ice bucket, and we’ve got money that might, just might, make a dent.

    So, those of you who have contributed should know that your good work is being noticed.

    – August 22, 2014 12:21 PM

    1192 chars

  14. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I’m on the Ray Donovan bandwagon too and agree that Jon Voight has been terrific.

    I wish I understood more how to judge various aspects of moviemaking. I mean, how do we know what the director told the actors? What were the alternatives? How might another director have done it differently?

    If anyone knows a good article or book that relates to this issue, I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    403 chars

  15. basset said on August 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I think someone on here mentioned being from Warren, Ohio… I get a daily antique-car email which includes old street scenes so the readers can ID all the cars, today’s was a 60s pic from Warren:

    275 chars

  16. Charlotte said on August 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I’ll put in a plug for my dear friend Elwood Reid’s show, The Bridge, on FX. Although it is very very dark. But watch it! So my friend will keep his job! And his kids can go to college!

    ACLU — what can we do about this terrifying shift in the cops mentality from “protect and serve” to “demand compliance or else”? I have been known to have a temper, especially when my adrenaline is going (thanks all you boy cousins with whom I fought physically throughout childhood), and as a slightly older person, if some peckerwood cop started pointing guns at me and demanding I what? get on the ground? comply with some confusing orders shouted unintelligibly? I could get myself in trouble. And I read a heartbreaking article about mothers of large black autistic sons, who live in terror — their kids are incapable of compliance. This idea that our duty to the cops is to obey at all times — that alone seems like not an erosion, but the end of civil liberties as we know them.

    977 chars

  17. Dorothy said on August 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I can’t answer your questions, Jolene, but having directed a play, all I can say for myself, personally, is if you cast the show correctly, a lot of the rest takes care of itself. That’s just my opinion. I take a light hand when it comes to directing, unless I see something really awful that doesn’t line up with my vision. Actors are usually very intelligent and we’re all reading the same script. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what to do.

    468 chars

  18. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I second Charlotte’s recommendation for The Bridge. Scary plots and great acting from the leads–Diane Kruger and Damien Bichir–as well as many supporting actors.

    If you have OnDemand or HuluPlus, it’s worth going back to watch the first season and the earlier episodes from this season. Also available on iTunes for $1.99/episode.

    Thanks for the comments on directing, Dorothy. Have always been fascinated by that sort of role in various kinds of performance–coaches of pro sports teams and conductors of high-level orchestras, for instance.

    551 chars

  19. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    So is this bit related to current events?

    The lead:

    GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — Police say two people are dead and more are injured after an explosion at a recycling plant in southern Illinois. Granite City police tell television stations KMOV and KTVI that the bomb squad has been sent to the Totall Metal Recycling plant. They say that officials fear more explosions, perhaps from live ammunition rounds.

    and the closing sentence:

    Granite City is about 8 miles northeast of St. Louis.

    643 chars

  20. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Jolene, when you say –

    Have always been fascinated by that sort of role in various kinds of performance–coaches of pro sports teams and conductors of high-level orchestras, for instance.

    you remind me of the best principal I’ve ever met. The guy is a dynamo, and a motivator of staff, and a fixture amongst the young folks – he’s got the magic.

    And, interestingly, he told me that he went to college to become a teacher specifically so he could be a football coach; and then after succeeding at that, one thing lead to another, and he became a great administrator – and now a principal at one of our largest high schools.

    (He looks a bit like Adam Levine, and Pam says I have a man-crush on him, fwiw)

    729 chars

  21. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Sounds like an industrial accident, Brian.

    42 chars

  22. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    the ‘live rounds of ammunition’ caught my eye…(!)

    51 chars

  23. Deborah said on August 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Jolene, Roger Ebert wrote a book about the director Martin Scorsese. Called “Scorsese” I think, he goes through it a movie at a time and talks about why the directing was so effective and how it was done.

    204 chars

  24. Deborah said on August 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    We’re working on another landscaping project today, not as physically daunting as the previous ones we did the last couple of weeks. Trying to use stuff we already have so we spend as little as possible since we don’t own. Hard to describe but we have an ugly chain link fence along one part of the property that is between our property and the one next door, there are mostly vines on this fence so you can’t see it or through it, but there are holes where you can see through it so we’re trying to plug up those holes with potted plants that we’re attaching to the fence with rope. It actually looks pretty good so far. We could kick ourselves for not thinking of this earlier.

    679 chars

  25. nancy said on August 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    The main thing you need to know about directing is, it’s very different for TV and movies. In film, the director is the boss o’er all — he sets the tone, the visual style, the acting style, etc. (This is an oversimplification, I know; it’s a collaborative process with the other creatives on the project, but generally, he’s the boss.)

    In TV, the creator, or showrunner, has that role. Sometimes they’re director-types, sometimes they’re not. (I don’t think David Simon has ever directed an episode of his shows.) TV directors work more anonymously because they can’t go making big creative decisions. You don’t want a Scorsese with his big swoopy shots in episode 1, and a Woody Allen with his static camera in episode 5. The actors can’t be whipped with the Lash of Overemotion here and wear the Handcuffs of Restraint there.

    That said, there are ways to distinguish good directors in a TV series, and a lot has to do with smaller details of shot setups, etc. I think Schreiber did a great job last night, but he had a great script to work from. But I notice he used a camera rig — can’t remember the name from the class I took — that he himself wears in the scene where he’s going downstairs and we’re supposed to know wow, this guy is hammered. (It’s sort of a reverse-POV thing that telegraphs “woozy.”) I thought he handled the final dance scene beautifully. Just a nice job all around.

    1403 chars

  26. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Movie which has phenomenal structure and affecting artistic impact, without being gonzo:

    Breaker Morant (superb movie, from before Mel Gibson)

    Movie which has phenomenal structure and affecting artistic impact, while being a LITTLE gonzo:

    Breakfast Club (I love that movie!)

    Movie which has phenomenal structure and affecting artistic impact, while being moderately gonzo:

    The Party (from the ’60’s; Peter Sellers stars)

    Movie which has phenomenal structure and affecting artistic impact, which becomes increasingly gonzo right to the climax:

    Blue Velvet (gotta love David Lynch!)

    Movie which has phenomenal structure and affecting artistic impact, while being flat-out gonzo:

    The Wizard of Oz (timeless, really)

    740 chars

  27. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    edit: Breaker Morant (superb movie, from before when Mel Gibson became a star and a poopy-head)

    95 chars

  28. Icarus said on August 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    cleaning lady is a luxury but premium-cable isn’t? I guess you could argue it’s a necessity, especially in your line of work. When Nightingale and I first moved in together she was surprised I had never had cable TV. In lieu of us getting it, we had a cleaning lady. Now we have both but only cable for internet, which comes with some basic channels.

    354 chars

  29. basset said on August 25, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Would that be a Steadicam, Nance?

    No premium cable for us, just not interested. Only loss for us when we cut back to basic cable was Mollie B’s Polka Party Saturday nights on RFD-TV.

    Just got back from five days on the Gulf Coast with Mrs. B. Not much but black pavement and white sand where we were, heat index got as high as 109… Florida in August, what do you expect, but day-um…

    421 chars

  30. Joe Kobiela said on August 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hey Basset was in Nashville for a bit Thursday, wasn’t exactly the North Pole there either, 98 and humid. Did have time for a 3 hr bike tour of downtown. Great way to see the area.
    Pilot Joe

    191 chars

  31. basset said on August 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Perfect timing, Joe… catch ya next trip. I’d be coughing up blood if I tried to ride a bike for three hours, though…

    120 chars

  32. Dexter said on August 25, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Yeah, nance, I was surprised when Ray Donovan went a little Blair-Witchy on us there. And yes, he is a kick-ass dancer as well as a general kicker of asses in his profession.

    And now, way off topic… I just received word today a friend died down in Georgia…just turned 65, just retired days ago, and I had not seen him since a month after high school graduation when he left for the war, a volunteer. He befriended me on day one when I was the new kid in fifth grade, and we were close friends until he quit sports in grade 9 to work and save for a car in order to get some girly action going. (He did both, quite well for himself.) This news threw me into a tailspin as I began recalling all the boyhood fun and trouble we got ourselves into. Once we tent-camped and tiptoed past his mom and stole a few jugs of homemade wine his late dad had made. We were 14 and shitfaced by sundown and we began a fun night of garden raiding and tomato-throwing and as Arlo Guthrie would later sing, “all kinds of stuff”. His name was John and he never , ever came back from Georgia to Indiana once he landed that job with Georgia Power after the army was over for him and he married a lady from there. Now he’s gone and all day I re-lived all the capers we pulled, the sandlot baseball games, the long bicycle jaunts, the summer working at the local Dairy Queen, the paper routes, the donuts and highly-sugared and milky coffee we washed our donuts down with on Saturday mornings at Boney’s Restaurant. Christ, all day I felt like I had been in “Stand by Me”. Bye John. Flip side, Baby.

    1594 chars

  33. brian stouder said on August 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Condolences to you, Dex

    24 chars

  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Dexter, thanks for those stories. You made him live for me, and I never knew him.

    81 chars

  35. Jolene said on August 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Yes, great stories. It’s tough to lose your friends at any age, but memories like that help to keep them close.

    111 chars