Two Lovers (a film)

At first Two Brothers movie seems like it is going to be an underwelming cliche, but then the realism of the situation and the main characters circumstance seems to relatable.

In heinsight, what was really cool about the movie was that I felt like I was watching two different films.  Was this part of videographers genius?  I think yes, absolutely.  Scene by scene, I would be trying to predict kept waiting for something specific to happen in the movie.

On the one hand,  a cliche story about a kind of nerdy boy’s crush on a beautiful slightly “out of his league” blonde who lives in the fast lane.

Second, a dark and stormy man who seems troubled at times, and who could explode any minute; but then he is super good to his parents and sweet to a girl to who loves him.  That is, he is sweet enough to love the people who love him.

Was it a brilliant Joaquin Phoenix performance, the videographers behind the camera, or a combination of both that had me wondering the entire time what was around the corner for the main character?   Probably both, right?

Mitch Hedberg

Ever liked something so much, you just wanted to share it with all your friends?   Well Mitch Hedberg standup fits that bill.  The late Mitch Hedberg may be the best stand up comedian I’ve ever seen.  There is something so balanced and clever in his delivery. Check out his standup and don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Romantique Hotels

Ever since I visited the Casa Santa Domingo, a 16th century convent that was converted into world-class hotel (see my blog post from my visit), I am interested in staying in historical hotels with wood-burning fireplaces.

Staying in historically significant buildings just adds so many layers to the hotel-staying experience.  Staying in building that is hundreds of years  old makes for a romantic experience, which I describe as a connection to timeless aspect of human life.

I’m not surprised therefore to have discovered Romantique Hotels, which is a network of privately owned, historic hotels in Europe.   I think this selection of hotels make for efficient directory of places to consider for your wedding, anniversary, or just your next vacation.   Order a catalog of all the hotels in the Romantique network here, or browse the different specialties (e.g. wine, gourmet cuisine, etc.) and activities (e.g. golf, culture, etc.) offered by the different hotels.

wooden electronics

So I’m keen on the recent trend of infusing real wood into the list of materials used in the design of electronics.   Partly, just because I like it, but also because I think the growing number of electronics that are being designed to include wood as a material reflects a growing desire to stay connected to the analog elements of our world (i.e. where things grow linearly over time, things moving slowly is ok and even feels right, and where uncertainty is embraced, and where the experience is about feeling and interpretation; not computation, nor exponential growth, nor optimization).   We cannot help but be drawn to mother nature; and the opportunities to feel connected to her in this digital age are growing slimmer  by the moment.    Headphones and other electronics built out of wood is evidence of this.  These designs are telling us that people have so little opportunity to engage with the analog mother-nature part of world, that we have to integrate this part of world into our digital experiences.

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Casa Santo Domingo (Antigua, Guatemala)

If you ever travel to Antigua, Guatemala (say for a destination wedding like I did), I highly recommend staying at the Casa Santo Domingo.  The converted 16th century convent, now luxury hotel, is a special place.   In January 2010, it was a Conde Nast Gold List Hotel (#681) – World’s Best Places To Stay, and #1 in Guatemala.   Thing seem in balance there.  Nothing moves too quick or too slow.  The centuries old architecture (from the monastery) blends in balanced form with modern accents and accommodations.  The rhythm of nature dominates that of fast-paced technology, making for a relaxing retreat inside the walled fortress-like compound of the hotel property.  Gardens, patios and balconies off every room, tropical plants that grow in the air drape walkways, and even macaw parrots are kept near the pool area.   Everything is kept in proper proportion to remind you just enough of where you are, which is very much still an ancient Spanish speaking village.

The food served at the hotel restaurant is also excellent.  Knowing we were staying in a country where tap water was not safe to drink, we all ate and drank confidently and happily the food and drink served by the resort restaurant.

Pricey, yes, but Casa Santa Domingo is worth well worth visiting if you travel to Guatemala.  If you are looking to get away from it all and just decompress, it may even be worth traveling to Guatemala just to stay at Casa Santa Domingo.    P.S. You would be mistaken to interpret the outdated design of the resort’s website to be reflective of anything more than it being a low priority of the resort.


One style of room at Casa Santa Domingo


Kseniya Simonova sand art

Below are videos of Kseniya Simonova’s sand art performances.  I think Performance 1 and Performance 2 are better than Performance 3.  If you watch one, watch Performance 1.  Kseniya was the Ukrania Has Talent’s 2009 winner.  It isn’t so much the story she is telling, but how she tells it.   There is something about the effects she is able to create with the backlit sandbox that allows her to perform a drama.   Do you think the music is critical?  Comment below.

Performance 1:

Performance 2:

Performance 3:

American Beauty

1/23/2010  2:20pm

The title sounds so cliche, but the movie’s content is anything but.  I am watching American Beauty and realize it profoundly affected the way I think.  Then when I get to the “plastic floating bag” scene where Ricky is showing Jan the most beautiful thing he ever filmed–a plastic grocery bag and Fall leaves are being blown around in cyclone of wind in the corner of two brick walls–and I realize that what keen observation of things we see all the time but don’t look for, is beautifully rewarding and calming (the American Beauty screen writer described the scene so ellogquentally as “just a minute away from a snowfall”), because it shows us the beauty in the common things.

Don’t Buddhists practice this philosophy of life, whereby they are keen to everything, from simple color to the presence of grass or the shade provided by trees.

Passing Strange

You might want to seriously consider ordering the DVD of this Spike Lee-directed film featuring the award-winning Broadway rock musical of the same title.   It was an incredible performance of an intensely human and well written production.   Tip: watch through to the very end…the encore and audience reaction seals the deal.    Learn more about the production and how to pre-order a DVD on the production’s website.

In Treatment

I watch this HBO original series and am consistently impressed by how well written it is, and how great a job all the actors do, making the characters seem real.   Beyond the quality of the writing and acting, however, I like how the show puts on center stage many societal and cultural changes that are occurring here in the U.S.   Also packed into each episode are behavioral psychology lessons.

Check out the show’s website at