One of the biggest reasons I live the life I do and have cultivated the lifestyle I have is its flexibility and the ability to be spontaneous. Do I often do anything with that? Not in my opinion. From other people’s regimented perspectives, maybe it seems like it, but to me, spontaneous is buying a ticket to Japan in the morning and leaving in the afternoon.

The other night, Sunday, the internet connection in my house stopped working. I was already half-asleep and it was 2 a.m. so this should not have mattered to me in the least. But somehow it made me irritated, and thus wide awake. And suddenly, after speaking for some time about the film La La Land earlier in the evening, and getting excited to see it (even if it had not registered in my head before this conversation), I thought at 2 a.m., randomly, “This would be a good time to jump in the car, drive to Oslo airport and fly to some city where the film IS playing!” (I had already checked to see that it’s not been released in Sweden or Norway yet.)

Exercising freedom and flexibility is always in my reach and I never take advantage, certainly not fully. This seemed like the right opportunity. Of course, is it rational to jump out of bed, where you’re already half asleep and dressed for sleep, get your things together, buy a ticket and go to Berlin (city of choice) just to see a movie that, even a day earlier, you would not even have given a second thought to?

No, pas du tout. But it was never about what is rational. Seems like lunacy, but it’s less about the movie and more about just doing something crazy and unexpected because I can. If I don’t have kids, complications, obligations (other than work, which I can do at any hour), should I not be taking full advantage of the freedom that that affords?

I didn’t do it when that middle-of-the-night urge struck – the internet connection started working, so my tiredness took over again, but I was halfway out the door and then spent the next day, Monday, debating whether I should go Tuesday instead. I was not as spontaneous as I might like to be – but now, sitting at the Oslo airport working for a few hours while waiting for a flight to Berlin, I can say that I was spontaneous enough at least to go for it the next day.

The last time I went to a cinema was in 2009; I had returned to Iceland to visit and saw whatever Star Trek movie was new that summer. And somehow have never returned. This seems like, if not a monumental way to break the dry spell, a novel and memorable one.

Lunchtable TV Talk: Stranger Things


I never imagined, when he was young (or when I was young, for that matter), that Matthew Modine would, in middle age, come to play a range of (semi-)evil masterminds. But both here in Stranger Things and in the short-lived and flat Proof, Modine is just that. He is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, pulling all the strings. Would you have imagined that when you saw him Vision Quest or Full Metal Jacket? (Well, maybe. In his long career, he has been and done almost everything.)

That’s not really the point, though. Where Modine fits into my brief and redundant narrative is that he, having been a fringe fixture in 1980s movies, fits well into a Netflix show that revives the 80s and its entertainment, its style and its feel down to the last molecule, Stranger Things.

I am once again hitting a wall in terms of finding an original thing to say about it – it’s been wildly popular (so much so that it took the Netflix platform down) and thus picked apart and analyzed to death. That happens with sudden phenomena such as these that feed so many different things:

  • Winona Ryder revival: a real one this time; for those who were not around in the late 80s and early 90s, Winona was a kind of offbeat ‘it’ girl; a shoplifting conviction and a lower profile made it seem as though she disappeared. She worked steadily but had both lost some of the indie/grunge cred that ignited her earlier career and, of course, aged out of the “it girl” title. She’s appeared in the Star Trek reboot and Black Swan as well as the lauded Show Me a Hero. She never went anywhere; nostalgia and the popularity of this show have just catapulted her back into the limelight.
  • 1980s nostalgia: oh, that dreadful fashion and hair; paeans to 1980s youth adventure films; nods to 1980s classic horror
  • Sounds: That unbelievable and dreamy soundtrack.
  • Immersion therapy: We have other 80s love stories on TV (Halt & Catch Fire), which are great, but you don’t really get to immerse yourself in the time and spirit as much because it’s a weekly. Stranger Things was nothing if not an eight-hour-long time-trip into 1983. And for those of us who were there, around the ages of the boys in the show, riding their bikes all around town looking for their lost friend, Stranger Things has brought that entire era back to life believably (perhaps nowhere more than in the wardrobes and sensibilities of the teens like Barb and Nancy).

All that said, I am not one of the people who loved this and gushed about it. I liked it, I binged on it. But do I anxiously crave another installment? Not so much. I was never THAT into the 80s as they happened, hated being a kid and being around the kinds of kids who are the protagonists of this movie, and I always thought Ryder was overrated.

random american eyes – USA v Portugal – corey hart wins


I missed the first US goal v Portugal in the World Cup match tonight because my VPN proxy was on the fritz – and this led to many random statements, thoughts and directions.

First when I said, “I am glad Team USA did something even if I was unable to see it with my American eyes”, this led to discussion about how “American eyes” sounds like a song (and made me think of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the conversation between the Bajoran Kai Winn and Cardassian Gul Dukat, “The kosst amojan is not for your eyes”). We discussed “Bette Davis Eyes” and other one-hit wonders.

I mentioned how Canadian Corey Hart should have been a one-hit wonder with “Sunglasses at Night” but somehow got at least one other hit with “Never Surrender“. My conversation partner said, “I have no idea who that is. Coreys Haim and Feldman but that’s all the Coreys I know.”

Not only did I educate him about 80s “icon” (haha) Hart, I naturally had a reference to Kids in the Hall. The “only Coreys I know” made “these are the Daves I know I know… these are the Daves I know” spring right to mind.

Never surrender, people. If Team USA could hold its own against Portugal (even if it was a draw) and if Kim Carnes can still be out there singing when her Bette Davis song is all anyone remembers, and Hart … well, Corey Hart may not have surrendered, well, we can keep on keeping on.