Improv – Two Etudes (2015Oct29)


Thursday, October 29, 2015                                             3:38 PM

When I listen to other music, I am open-minded and forgiving—if something doesn’t catch my ear at once, I’m willing to give it a chance. When I am feeling very hard-headed and down-to-earth, I can’t enjoy music as much as I otherwise do—engaging one’s critical faculties too completely puts one in the position of ‘finding fault’—and no creative impulse can survive such a negative onslaught.

It only now occurs to me that I always turn my criticism on ‘high’ whenever I judge my own efforts—and in doing so I’m being less fair to myself than I would be to a long-dead stranger—so today I’m having a moratorium on self-doubt and self-criticism. I enjoyed playing this improv on my piano and that’s all there is to that.

Pixels_2015

Speaking of being open-minded and forgiving—I just watched Chris Columbus’s “Pixels” on VOD. Liberals doses of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ are required (and a little THC doesn’t hurt either) but if, like me, you are a fan of Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, and video arcade games—then “Pixels” is funny, and a lot of fun.

First of all—I love movies where the characters start as children and then, through the magic of “30 Years Later…”, we begin the real story of the characters in the present day. It’s a great way to give a story depth, especially something as goofy as “Pixels”. Secondly, I love a movie where no one is inherently evil—childishly stupid, yes—misguided, greedy, not thinking things through, … whatever—yes—and I think this is closer to real life. Reality never seems to have a positive villain—for every issue there are just a lot of sides, a lot of needs, and a lot of pigheadedness—but rarely pure evil.

The good guys win and the guy gets the girl—other features I’m always in favor of. No lengthy wrong-turns into gloom and despair—another plus. Factoid hunters on IMDb point out that many game characters used were derived from post-1982 video games, which belies the film’s premise—but if that was the most unbelievable part of this movie, the world would be a very strange place.

What I enjoyed noticing was all the kid actors’ credits—many of the smaller roles were played by children with last names like Sandler, James, and Covert (one of the producers of the film) and I can only assume that the film’s set was very much a family affair. And if you look closely, you’ll catch a glimpse of the actual Professor Toru Iwatani, inventor of Pac-Man, doing a cameo as a game repairman in an early scene, at the Electric Dream Factory arcade. Good times.

In my walk earlier, I felt a strong regret that I hadn’t brought my camera, so I shot a few snaps out the window to use for today’s video:

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20151029XD-AutumnInOurYard (4)

20151029XD-AutumnInOurYard (1)

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