Secret Passages in a Hillside Town

•February 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment


The first few reviews are out for Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, written by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and translated by your faithful correspondent. This is the same author who wrote the brilliant Rabbit Back Literature Societyand his second book is just as wonderful and “gloriously strange”, according to the (5 star) review in SFX.

My favorite review so far is a short and sweet one from Goodreads:

“One of the best books I’ve ever read.” – Michelle Rose.

More about the book at FELT Cooperative.

Available through Pushkin Press, on Amazon and Amazon UK, or at your favorite local bookstore.

A cinematic life can’t take away pain, but it can make it more aesthetic, make of it a kind of wine of emotion, a music of feeling.


Bicycle Kites

•January 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

They’re wind puppets!



Several kinds of feelings of freedom in one delightful thingy!

Down to Earth

•January 15, 2018 • 2 Comments

A film by Anna Vasof.

Down to Earth from Anna Vasof on Vimeo.


Our Favorite Films of 2017

•January 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Rick and I have a tradition of saving all of our tickets to plays, concerts, films, and anything else that involves buying a ticket, then looking through them at the end of the year and remembering all the fun tickety things we did.

Here are the best movies we went to see in 2017:

Toni Erdmann

The previews for Toni Erdmann made it look like a typical quirky, cringe-inducing comedy, but the rapturous reviews made me think there must be more to it–and there is. It’s such a moving story of a father trying to reconnect with his daughter. Bit by bit, in a series of hilariously preposterous scenes, you get glimpses of the girl he misses and why their former oddball affection matters so much to him.

Get Out

Get Out is thoughtful and funny. It’s a smart person’s horror movie, a mind-bending allegory in the great tradition of sci-fi social criticism. It is just as insightful as you would expect a movie by Jordan Peele to be. You’ll want to see it more than once, to relish all the biting cleverness you missed the first time through.

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki

Based on the real-life boxing match between the Finn Olli Mäki and the American fighter Davey Moore in 1962, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is about deciding what matters most in life. While preparing for the big fight, with the hopes of the entire Finnish nation weighing heavily on his shoulders, Olli Mäki is also falling in love. The black-and-white cinematography is wonderful, the period feel of Finland in the 60s is fascinating, and the story is sweetly told.

Sami Blood

Sami Blood was our favorite movie at the Seattle International Film Festival. It won the SIFF Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Space Needle audience award for its star, Lene Cecilia Sparrok. It expanded my understanding of Sami culture, and what it means to live in any displaced culture, and it felt very true to my own experiences of girlhood and sisterhood and leaving home for the wider world. I didn’t cry at this movie, I wept.

Predictions for the Coming Year

•December 31, 2017 • Leave a Comment

crystal-ball-1478195126FLEIn 2018, you will eat breakfast. You will spill water and wipe it up. You will hear a song and it will remind you of someone, and you will wonder where that person is now.

In 2018, you will be reading something and you’ll stop reading and think, Why am I spending my time reading this?

A child will smile at you.

In 2018, you will see a stranger and you’ll think you know that person, and not be able to remember where you know them from, and then later you’ll remember why their face is familiar.

You will wash your face. You will see your reflection and think you look terrible. You will see your reflection and think you look good.

In 2018, you will have a headache, and then the headache will get better. You will change clothes. You will be planning to meet someone and you’ll rehearse in your head what you’re going to say to them.

In 2018, you’ll cover yourself with a warm blanket. You’ll feel sunshine on your face. You’ll sit with someone for a long time, talking.

In 2018, you will be surprised.

The Ink Spots with Ella Fitzgerald: I’m Beginning to See the Light

•December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Happy Solstice, everybody! For us northern people, the days are getting brighter, if not metaphorically then at least literally.

Here are the Ink Spots and Ella the Great singing I’m Beginning to See the Light to celebrate.

My Favorite Podcasts of 2017

•December 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I listen to a lot of podcasts, sometimes more than I really have time for. I’ve been trying to narrow it down to only the very best shows, but more best shows keep popping up, so my list never gets any shorter. Here are some of the best ones I’ve heard this year.
Homecoming podcast


Homecoming is an audio thriller about a mysterious government contractor running a shady, experimental treatment program for combat veterans. The show is fantastically well-acted, which is no surprise, since it stars Katherine Keener, David Cross, Amy Sedaris, and a bunch of other excellent actors. I’ve listened to about half of it so far, and the mystery is extremely compelling. Here’s the first episode.



I was sad when Jonathan Goldstein’s long-running show Wiretap ended, and very happy to learn he has a new podcast, Heavyweight, which has apparently been on for more than a year, and nobody told me! In each episode Jonathan tackles one person’s long-standing problem, often having to do with interpersonal relationships. One of the most intriguing episodes is about a childhood hero of his, Canadian daredevil stunt driver Kenny Carter, and the mystery of his relationship with his assistant and understudy, also named Kenny. It’s a good episode to start with, although the episode about Jonathan’s father Buzz and his uncle Sheldon is also really touching. Actually, they’re all pretty great.

Ear HustleEar Hustle

Another brand new podcast this year is Ear Hustle, which won the Radiotopia podquest. It’s created by inmates in San Quentin State Prison, and is a sometimes serious and sometimes remarkably lighthearted take on what it’s like to be incarcerated. Just having a chance to hear the so often silenced voices of prisoners is a gift. The episode Looking Out introduces Rauch, an inmate with an affinity for the animals he encounters inside and outside the prison walls.

Other podcasts that I’ve enjoyed for a long time have put out some remarkable episodes in 2017. A lot of the best ones are from Radiotopia, home of a whole slew of thoughtful and fascinating podcasts.

A Bump in the NightCriminal: A Bump in the Night

Phoebe Judge, the honey-voiced producer and host of Criminal, talks about crime of all kinds, from the horrifying first episode I ever heard, which traced the history of a classic murder ballad, to this year’s intriguing, only slightly less creepy A Bump in the Night, which reveals the source of the mysterious sounds of a new house in our very own Enumclaw, Washington.

Radio eulogyThe Memory Palace: A Brief Eulogy for a Commercial Radio Station

I’ve been listening to the short, lyrical episodes of the history podcast The Memory Palace for years. I like it because it touches my heart, and all the stories are true. The first episode I ever heard, which immediately hooked me, was about Guglielmo Marconi’s dream of building a radio to pick up sounds from the past. My favorite episode this year was A Brief Eulogy for a Commercial Radio Station, which choked me up considerably.

Coffee rifleThe Kitchen Sisters: War and Peace and Coffee

The Kitchen Sisters are longtime radio veterans who have a gift for evocative themes, whether it’s the dissident kitchens of the Soviet Union or the hidden worlds of girls. Their episode War and Peace and Coffee, about the role of coffee in the military, was utterly fascinating.

MajdRadio Diaries: Majd’s Diary

Radio Diaries gives an audio recorder to an individual and has them record their ordinary life for an extended period, letting you listen in on the reality of people from all different backgrounds. Majd’s Diary spends several weeks with a teenage girl in Saudi Arabia anticipating the marriage her parents are arranging for her. An eloquent and mind expanding podcast.

How to ArgueLove + Radio

Love + Radio is brilliant. Every episode is brilliant. Each one focuses on the voice of one person and is masterfully edited to let their story unfold in a way that nearly always comes as a surprise. Sometimes it slowly dawns on you that the person speaking is simply not to be trusted. Other times, as in the brilliant episode How to Argue, they just have an amazing story to tell. 

What are the best podcasts you’ve heard lately?

H.B. | One minute short film

•December 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The one minute tale of a survivalist.
When the siren rings in the distance, a family has to get inside the shelter… Nothing will ever be the same again.

A very short film by Gaspar Palacio.


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