The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The glimpses I've seen of J.J. Abrams' new STAR TREK movie look terrific. FINALLY someone has the nerve to re-imagine the original material. One complaint I had about the movies: where are the creatures? I mean, monsters, you know? Big, meat-eating animal thingies. Even on the television series they occassionally had monsters. The movies all seemed like they were consciously trying to limit themselves to television-scale imagery, and as a result, the films all felt...small.


Great meditation this morning. Clear and strong. Should be a good work day.


Strange, strange thing. Watched QUANTUM OF SOLACE on DVD yesterday...and liked it quite a bit. I'm wondering about my original reaction. For one thing, the action scenes were far clearer on my 42 inch screen than they were in the original theatrical presentation. The direction was still a little sketchy--there were a couple of times when I just couldn't figure out exactly where everyone was. But the acting was terrific, the writing was better than I remembered it, and...well, it just looked and felt a lot better. A fight scene in an elevator was still absurdly choppy, but another fight scene was among the best in the entire series, and I was dumbfounded that Eon productions would let their director frame and shoot his movie so it would look better on the small screen than it did on the big one. Of course, maybe if you have to choose one or the other, it would make sense to choose the medium that will last decades, not weeks. But clarity is important in 007 action scenes.

Really, in a number of ways it didn't feel like a "Bond" movie at all...except that it did, in the re-invention sense. I'm more excited about the next movie now.


"Let The Right One In" is possibly the best vampire movie I've ever seen. This Swedish film about the friendship between two young children in a town where people are being mysteriously slaughtered...well, you don't want to know more than that. Extremely artful and almost dream-like, "Let the Right One In" is genuinely disturbing, and actually engenders the off-kilter emotional responses to vampirism that so many films strive for, and so few achieve. I don' t want to say more about it. See it!


Adam Crafter quantified the difference between diet, exercise, and diet/exercise quite nicely:

"I have different set points at different action vs. eating combos:

If I'm lazing about, and not IFing I can get near 260lbs. (historically)
Just hard exercise, normal diet: 230ish.
Just IF, no exercise 225.
IF, some exercise 210
IF, hard exercise 190 and possibly below."


This is so clear: If you want to lose weight, control both input and output. Anything else is playing a game.

It is heartbreaking that so many people don't want to hear it. Almost every week, I hear something new about the negative health effects of overweight. And the way society reacts? Frankly, society reacts to overweight the way it reacts to sickness--avoidance, a bit of disgust, a lack of attraction. And we can regret the way we treat the unwell, perhaps, but this is the situation as I see it: there ARE a raft of real-world, non-subjective negative effects, we know it even if some are in denial, and the social reaction is based on this reality. I suspect that we react as if the "disease" is communicable (which it is: habit patterns definitely spread from one friend or member of the family to another). And a relatively small percentage of the American population has a specific attraction to the well-padded, even if we accept it in the people we love. I think fighting against this isn't going to be very productive. If there wasn't a giant amount of research linking obesity to a wide range of life-shortening issues, that might be different.

Assuming there are no major fear or power issues, the biology/physics of weight loss are simple (if sometimes grueling). And what bothers me is all of the otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people who continue to obscure the realities. Inevitably, people talk about either exercising OR "dieting." Never both at the same time, because once you walk down that road, you meet the truth, and that's something that we, as humans seem to be willing to go to any lengths to avoid.

ᅠDiet (lifestyle change)+Exercise+Weight loss

Or turbo-charge that:

I.F.+ Interval training+Fear Removal exercise=REALLY efficient weight loss.


So far, 90% of the mornings when I do yoga with Jason, his school behavior is perfect. More than if we're just hanging out, and MUCH more than if I am preoccupied in the morning. If the yoga has something to do with it, it might be just teaching him to breathe properly under stress. Or center himself. Or take his bountiful energy and put it into something relatively quiet (I use both ordinary yoga, the Tibetans, and Scott Sonnon's Prasara flows). Or maybe it is just the power of Daddy Time.


Irene said...

We do morning Tibetans with my 8 y.o. son, but I haven't been aware of any changes in his behavior in school. The problem we run into is time: getting him up, dressed, breakfasted, Tibetans, and to school by 8:00 is hard enough. Getting him up half an hour earlier to squeeze some of Sonnen's stuff in there as well just doesn't seem nice.

Anonymous said...


I'm curious about your thoughts on the fat acceptance movement, and the possible negative health impacts especially in extreme cases where children are encouraged to enjoy being obese.

Evan Robinson said...


I've seen you make the blanket statement before about "calories in, calories out" and weight loss.

Have you read "Good Calories, Bad Calories"? If you haven't, you need to. And if you have, you need to either read it again or consider that there might be something to the science described.

There is some good science on the idea that the human body is a complex system which attempts homeostasis, and that all calories are not the same. In particular, there is something different about some carbohydrate calories because they make the system behave differently than fat or protein calories.

So while the general idea that you need to reduce your input, increase your output, or do both has some merit, it's not that simple. If enough of the calories you take in are the wrong kind, you will have trouble losing weight, no matter what else you do, because your body is going to try to store those calories away instead of burn them.

Anonymous said...

Time may help, but I bet doing Yoga with Daddy is helping a lot.

The life lessons that really stick are the ones that aren't just said, but lived right out in front of you. My guess is that doing yoga with Jason lets you not just tell or even show but do things with him that don't really go well into words.

Definitely something I'll remember, for when (and if) I'm ever raising any kid of my own!

--Erich Schwarz

Marty S said...

Steve: A quick survey of the internet seems to show a lot of disagreement on how the body handles different foods with respect to burning calories. However, it seems clear to me that different bodies are more or less efficient at using calories. So two people sitting in front of a computer posting a comment are each going to burn a different number of calories. This means some people must restrict their calorie intake to a greater extent or exercise more to maintain the same weight. For those at the wrong end of the scale, the question is how much are they willing to sacrifice to keep their weight at an optimal level. This is an individual decision based upon the individual's value system.
For instance, lets accept that being overweight will shorten your lifespan. A longer lifespan may not be a goal of every individual.
Your three criteria for being happy/successful are
1) a great body
2) a great relationship
3) Financial success

if you live too long the body goes, your partner passes and unless financial success implies Bill Gates type money your money goes. So why would you want to live that long.

Joseph Lewis said...


In the new Star Trek trailer, when Kirk is on the ice planet, you can see a giant worm monster lunge up out of the ground (in the first few seconds). I think you may get your wish!

BC Monkey said...

Quantum of Solace, unless I missed it, is the first Bond movie in which he doesn't sleep with the "main" girl of the movie. I wonder what was up with that?

Shady_Grady said...

I picked up "Let the Right One In" this past Tuesday. It was the only one in the store. It looked interesting. I'll probably take a look at it over the weekend. Your mini-review raises expectations.

Steven Barnes said...

BC Monkey--

I think Bond not sleeping with the "main" girl was a matter of his emotional damage from the death of his love. While he could have recreational sex, he could not involve himself, even a little bit. Ideally, Bond would have had no sex, with anyone. but then the fans would have been pissed.