December 29, 2007 at 8:58 am (watch)

Go see it. Atonement is a fantastic movie, and in my mind better than the highly acclaimed novel on which it’s based (I rarely concede that), although I have to admit that I barely remember the book. (One review of the movie said that it significantly alters the ending, and I have no idea what the original ending was.)

My usual problem with books-turned-movies is that so much of the good stuff–characters’ thoughts, lyricism, sprawling subplots–has to get cut to fit into a two hour movie. But Atonement, for all its year-and-country-jumping, hinges on a single event, almost a single moment. So losing subplots doesn’t hurt, and instead tightens the movie so the tension is even greater.


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Naked People

December 20, 2007 at 6:51 am (look)

I recently finished five paintings (well, seven–one work is a series) for my figure painting class. Here are some pictures! The paintings are all pretty large–several feet by several feet. Which one is your favorite? Or maybe you hate them all. That’s okay too, but if you tell me that don’t be surprised if you find phthalo blue oil paint over all your prized possessions.

Yes, I know he looks like Jesus. We didn’t get to pick the models or the poses. Also, this one didn’t photograph that well. There are more detail shots (of this and others) on my Flickr account if you’re interested.
This one was painted from standing on a stool, above models who were seated on the ground.

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Pieces for the Left Hand

December 5, 2007 at 8:12 am (read)


I first read eight stories from Pieces for the Left Hand, by J. Robert Lennon, a couple of years ago when they appeared in Best American Short Stories 2005. They blew me away. I had never read anything so short–each story is really an anecdote, one or two pages, with no dialogue–that contained so many sly twists in such a matter-of-fact telling.

Since the full book, of 100 anecdotes, was only published in the UK, and since I’m lazy and cheap, I never bought it. Then, a friend gave me the book for my birthday last week and I finished it in two days.

The stories are written as if they’re about people the narrator knows from life in his small town: “my friend who moved to the city,” “A local novelist,” “a professor at the university.” Although the stories don’t interconnect, they’re cohesive stylistically.

If you can get your hands on this book, do it. And then share it.

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December 4, 2007 at 8:55 am (look)

Today I found out about this young artist named Justine Ashbee, and she’s awesome. She makes drawings exclusively with Sharpie markers, and creates undulating forms and tentacles that have amazing folds, volume and motion for being line drawings. Maybe she’s so creative because she’s high from all the Sharpie fumes.

Whatever the reason, I’m a fan. And the fact that she maintains such precision with no chance to erase or cover up a mistake is pretty impressive. I bet her trash can is full of false starts where her marker slipped or something.

Here are a few pieces. (I have to have them this big or else the lines distort.)



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