Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Classic Movie Review - Kiss Me Deadly

"Kiss Me Deadly" by Mike Hammer... a film noir masterpiece, an absolute must see. The photography is classic, with great location shots around Los Angeles. The soundtrack, not just the music, but the way ambient sounds reinforce the mood, is haunting. The acting is modern in the best sense. Really powerful performances, especially from Gaby Rodgers, the waif with the heart of ice.
Warning, there are several scenes of really excruciating violence. It takes place mostly off screen. Nonetheless, if you're sensitive to that sort of thing it might give you nightmares.
This movie is the last word in Cold War nihilism and angst.
Here's the IMDB page for it.
And it can be found on Youtube.
I'll spare you the details. They can be found on the IMDB site. Here are a few stills.
Nightmarish and disorienting opening shot of Christina (Cloris Leachman) running down the highway panic stricken and naked except for a coat.

Nick (Nick Dennis) one of several thoroughly fleshed out supporting characters bringing a lot of vitality to the story.

Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) and Velda (Maxine Cooper), more than just an assistant and able to be quite ruthless in her own right.

fist fight at night, ending with the assailant falling to his death down this vertiginous flight of steps.

Lily Carver (Gaby Rodgers)

Charlie Max (Jack Elam) not happy at all at what he just saw Mike Hammer do to his fellow henchman.

One of the many great location shots. Much of it was filmed in Bunker Hill, all of which was torn down in the 1960s.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday at the Farmers' Market

- Saturday at the Farmers' Market -
Couldn't have asked for lovelier weather today. Don't expect it to last since the reports show rain on Monday and Tuesday. But today is Saturday and it's Market Day! So forget your troubles. Come on. Get happy. (Yes, I stole that last line from the Arlen/Koehler song.)

Here are a few photos. Hope you enjoy.

A bientรดt!

The corn is growing fast. These have doubled in height in the last 3 days.

The tide was low this morning.


Everybody enjoys market day.

More stuff. Brightly colored.

A beautiful antique wood boat has taken up residence in the port.

The chateau is lovelier than ever, a grand dame who is more beautiful with every passing year. The place has been subdivided into apartments. There's a spacious 1 bedroom for sale right now, asking 67K euros.

A glass of wine BEFORE dinner. Am I turning into a lush?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Warm Days and Cool Nights at Rancho Escargot

Warm Days and Cool Nights at Rancho Escargot -

Well, warmish days anyway, when the sun comes out between cloudbursts. This is, after all, Brittany. And even though we're teetering on the leading edge of summer it's still a very mild place.
Three months away and I return to find the wild and weedy things thriving better than ever at Rancho Escargot. Some of the brush reaching up to shoulder height I decided it was necessary to take action. Time to pull them out by the roots (again).

They're kind of pretty, in their own way, and they provide habitat for all kinds of creepy crawlies. But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do... and that means pulling them up by the roots in preparation for taming the landscape with a "real" garden. None of this haphazard nature stuff.

But then new information appears and priorities change.

It seems the town will be laying a new sewer line in the street and we're going to be hooking up to it. That means they'll be excavating right at this corner of my garden, where the stone wall is at its most precarious.
It's a corner I've been planning to work on for a while but have been putting off. Now it's top priority. So that means clearing out all the brush behind it.
Nothing a strapping young fellow of 50 (51 in a few days) can't handle in a couple days of work. The corner in question is at the far right. At the left is a small section of wall that was plastered long ago. Just to the left of that, between it and the corner, I'll be taking the wall all the way down to the ground and building some steps from the street up to the garden.

Next step, clear out the stuff growing in the wall itself. The disassemble the wall to about 2 feet above street level. After that I will go back to the garden side and dig out some of the dirt from behind the wall, mounding it behind, and rebuild the wall, leaning slightly into the garden. This will be more stable and will look very nice.

Last problem, the telephone pole at the corner is completely rotted out and is now leaning on my wall for support. I need to call the phone company and get them to repair it. They really should put the lines underground. They did that in most of the neighborhood but skipped our little corner for some reason.

I'll add to this blog post as I get farther with the work.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Click, click, click... There's no place like home

Well it worked, I closed my eyes, clicked my heels 3 times, then bought a plane ticket, train ticket, packed my bags, took a taxi to airport, a plane, a bunch more trains, another taxi... and when I opened my eyes I was home, not quite magically transported, but transported nonetheless.

Here's one of the many reasons I love it here.

This morning I went out and stocked the larder. I had to as the kitchen was empty. What you see before you is all local produce (except the tea), organic and delicious ... and here it's the norm, what you get at the local market.

Starting top left and going clockwise:
Croissants and whole grain bread baked this morning at the bakery down the street.
Pont l'Eveque cheese from a local dairy in ... you guessed it ... the village of Pont l'Eveque
Organic local strawberries over yogurt from a local dairy
Golden Delicious apple, locally grown
and in the center of it all TEA from Ceylon.

Today I'll devote the day to cleaning the house. It's in pretty good shape, not too musty from having been closed up. But I'm finding evidence that a mouse moved in during my absence, so a thorough cleaning is in order. Tonight I'll set up the "humane" trap and see if I can catch the little fellow. Hopefully he's not the clever one I had a few years back who figured out the workings of the trap.

Rancho Escargo is thriving. The heavy rains of mid-Spring combined with some recent clear weather have been exactly what was required to make the assortment of wild stuff thrive.

So tomorrow I'll don the gloves and get out the sickle and start clearing the jungle again.

Eat your heart out Martha Stewart