Val Recommends: 20 Feet From Stardom

Last week I recommended a film and so far no one seems to have liked it. So, I thought I would try, try again.

This time I’m recommending a documentary called, 20 Feet From Stardom.  It tells the story of some of the greatest background singers in the history of recorded music.

Watching the film it was amazing to be able to put faces to the voices I’ve heard on classic songs. Check this Academy Award winning doc on Netflix right now!

I hope you enjoy this! 🙂

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10 Things…

Here are ten things that I like or I don’t like or are just of interest at the moment.

01. There’s a really good film on Netflix called Gimme the Loot. It’s a nice little indie film set in New York City. And, of course, it is a coming of age film.

02. As you know Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is missing. It’s been missing for almost a week. No wreckage has been found as of Thursday night. Everybody seems to be guessing what happened, so here is my guess.

I think the plane suffered a slow loss of pressurization. Which would result in a slow loss of oxygen in the cabin. A very rapid loss of pressure in an airline cabin happens very quickly as the name implies. And since it happens very fast it’s very easy for people on board as well as the aircraft itself to sense that pressure was suddenly lost.

But, with a very slow loss of pressure, many times it is very hard to detect for both passengers and the aircraft. Which can lead to a situation where the passengers and crew are overcome by hypoxia and are unable to react by using oxygen masks.

In a situation like this if the plane was flying via the auto-pilot at cruise altitude it can continue flying itself until it runs out of fuel or collides with terrain such as a mountain.

Do you have any theories?

03.  Here’s a really nice song from a group called The Internet. It’s called “Dontcha”. Let me know if you like it.

04. This winter I was really jealous of all the snow most of the country got. Some people think the weather in Northern California is almost perfect. It never gets too hot or too cold. It doesn’t snow and it rarely rains. We get a bit of fog but most people think it adds to the beauty of the area.

For me, however, the weather here is torturous monotony. There’s no real summer nor a real winter. The weather here is a cross between spring and fall all year long except without the rain.

I crave contrast. How can you really appreciate winter without a summer? Or truly appreciate spring without winter?

I miss the coziness of winter and the brutality of summer. And the in-betweeness of spring and fall.

Does that make sense?

05. The WNBA season is right around the corner. And I can’t wait! This off-season while most WNBA players were in Europe making some extra bucks WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins was home in the States living the life of a movie starlet.

Sky made the rounds during the Awards season in L.A. and appeared in the infamous Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Some people have been very critical of Skylar’s star status on and off the court. She had a very average rookie season and the naysayers have pounced. They’ve been calling her over-rated and that she is only a star because of her unquestionable beauty.

I think the naysayers are being unfairly harsh with her because of that beauty.  The vast majority of rookie athletes don’t come into the league and take it by storm. Most take 2 to 3 years to develop into the players they are expected to be. So, I look for Sky to be a bit better this season and really come into her own the following season.

Hopefully between now and then she won’t let the naysayers get her down. Go Sky!

07. I’m hooked on Plantain chips now. They are so good and you really can’t eat just one. Have you had them?

08.  If you haven’t checked it out, Dara has a great blog called Truly tafakari. You will find Lots of really relevant posts about all sorts of things there. Enjoy!

09.  If you remember I talked recently about trying tai chi. Well, I’m still at it. My mornings are much better because of it. Now I’m thinking of adding meditation to my day. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately and how it can enhance your life in all sorts of ways.

Do any of you practice meditation? If so have you noticed any changes because of it such as better moods, etc.?

10. Lastly, I’ve had a crazy wanderlusty thought recently. That’s to buy one of those passes from Greyhound, pack a backpack and hit the road for a month.

You can buy a pass for unlimited travel for a month for about $400. At least that was the price last time I checked. And if I remember correctly you can travel between as many cities as you like for that month.

I’d love to pack a backpack and head to New Mexico and explore a few cities there. Then for some reason I’ve been wanting to go to Montana and maybe the Dakotas. After that I’d love to spend a few days in Chicago and then check out all of the urban farming in Detroit I’ve been hearing about.

What do you think? Sound like a fun idea or pure craziness? Would you ever do something like that?

Welp, those are a few things on my mind at the moment.
What do you think of my little musings?
What’s on your mind?

Greenthumbs, School Shootings, The Beach and Morgan Freeman

01. I find it amazing how quickly the media has moved on after an incident at an Atlanta school on Tuesday. A gunman fired at and entered an elementary school and took hostages. Although no children were shot you would think that there would be more of a national conversation regarding school shootings and gun control, right? Oh, but, this occurred at a mostly Black school. So, never mind.

02. Do you have a green thumb? I do. I’ve had a green thumb since I was a kid. My mother used to keep house plants in the picture window of our living room. They were in pretty bad shape. Then when I was about 6 or 7 I started taking care of them. They flourished! Since then I’ve had great luck taking care of houseplants. I’m not sure why I’m good at it but, there’s a bunch of stuff that I’m not good at so I’m just going to enjoy being good at this.

03. Have you seen The Butler? I haven’t. I still haven’t seen The Help. I wonder what’s going to be the next film about us. We’ve already had Driving Miss Daisy, so that covers driving. We had Corrina, Corrina, starring Whoppi Goldberg, about a nanny. So, what’s next? The Cotton Picker? The Shoe Shiner? I think there is a place for these types of historical films but, can we get a love story? Or a sci-fi flick? Or a coming of age drama?  All we get are crazy comedies, Black dysfunction films or these historical dramas. Sigh.

04. Welp, Summer is almost over. Labor Day is just about a week away. I had a very quiet summer. The Girlfriend and I only went on one trip. That was to Santa Cruz. They have a really nice boardwalk there that’s an amusement park. I really prefer to travel in the Fall and Winter. There are less crowds and cheaper fares. What about you. What season is your favorite for travelling?

Val’s Netflix Recommendations

So, as you may remember, I finally have Netflix. And, I have been really enjoying it. It is a wonderful alternative to way over-priced cable, which I haven’t had since 2008.

Anyway, I thought I would share some great films and docs I’ve seen on Netflix recently. I hope you will feel free to make some recommendations to me as well.

01. The World Unseen – This is a love story set in 1950’s South Africa. It stars the amazingly beautiful Sheetal Seth (above) and Lisa Ray. It follows two ethnically Indian, South African women as they deal with the restrictions and abuses of apartheid while developing a special friendship.

02. El Infierno – This is a Mexican gangster film with a lot of twists and turns. For some reason this film is marketed as a comedy but it is decidedly not. There are funny situations but this is a film about Narcos, Mexico’s political corruption and love. Warning, it is very violent. And the film is in Spanish so there are subtitles.

03. Carrier – This is a series about life on board a naval aircraft carrier. It follows a number of different sailors and aviators throughout their time at sea. The series is very honest and doesn’t pull any punches about life in the navy or on board a carrier. The series is definitely not a recruitment project.

04. ESPN Films: Unguarded – This documentary is part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series on different sports topics. This particular one is about former pro basketball player Chris Herren and his struggles with substance abuse. The feature documents his rise as a high school star and his troubled college and pro careers.

05. Religulous – I’m not really a Bill Maher fan. In fact I think most times he’s a somewhat racist idiot. But, he hits it out of the park in his documentary about questioning the worlds religions. Maher travels around the U.S. and world asking religious people, scholars and clergy about their faith, religious teachings and much more. If you are religious and are easily hurt by people who question religion and religious faith then this isn’t the doc for you. But, if you have an open mind and want to learn a thing or three about religion then this is a great doc to see.

I hope you get a chance to check out these films. If you do please let me know what you thought of them And, I hope you have some Netflix film recommendations for me as well.