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Ripley and Terry: Stumbling upon another unexpected movie-making connection

February 13, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken Feb. 13, 2015 Author’s note: I love finding connections between things, and I especially enjoy when my blog helps me stumble upon links. Here’s another instance of that. MEM The other week, I went to a used bookstore and traded in some books and DVDs for different books and DVDs. One of my new […]

Finding unexpected connections between comedic improvising and fiction writing

July 8, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken July 8, 2013 This summer, I signed up for Improv 101, a class in improvisational comedy offered by DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro, N.C. I had a lot of different reasons for doing so. Among them: I wanted to try something different; I wanted to do something funny; I wanted […]

Summer 2020 computer catchup, part 3

September 9, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comSept. 9, 2020 In December, mindful of my fight to open up space on my MacBook Pro hard drive, I downloaded and purchased a one-year usage license for CleanMyMac X, a program from MacPaw. And I… well, I don’t remember doing much with the software after that. Until recently! A few days […]

‘Force 10 from Navarone’ and ‘Overlord’ are World War II movies that traffic in tropes from very different genres

July 24, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJuly 24, 2020 Author’s note: The discussion of Overlord, the second movie covered in this post, may not be appropriate for young and/or sensitive readers. MEM I did another double feature of sorts this week, watching a pair of World War II action movies. As with The Vast of Night and Cosmos, […]

The 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle ‘The Running Man’ is peak 1980s cinema

July 17, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJuly 17, 2020 It’s hard to think of a movie that delivers as big a concentration of sheer 1980s-ness as The Running Man, the 1987 action-adventure flick. The star is Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose first three big movie roles were as the title characters in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer […]

Short takes: ‘Alice Isn’t Dead,’ ‘Glass Houses’ and ‘Explorers’

June 6, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJune 6, 2020 Joseph Fink adapted Alice Isn’t Dead, his striking 2018 horror novel, from a podcast of the same name. Both book and podcast describe a harrowing series of journeys undertaken by Keisha Taylor, a chronically anxious woman who becomes a long-haul trucker after seeing her missing wife in the background of […]

More than you (or I) ever wanted to know about USB cables

March 4, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comMarch 4, 2020 I wanted to add some odds and ends about the computer stuff I’ve been posting about. First, USB ports on Macintosh laptop computers — that is to say, the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. I wrote on Friday that these machines had had USB Type A ports since […]

Yoko Ogawa’s ‘The Memory Police’ is a simply written novel that limns the ways that people and societies deal with loss

February 26, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comFeb. 26, 2020 The basic premise of Yoko Ogawa’s short allegorical novel The Memory Police is utterly fantastic: On a large unnamed island, possibly part of Okinawa Prefecture, items and concepts vanish at sporadic intervals. But this foundation comes with a nasty twist: A paramilitary organization, the eponymous Memory Police, enforces these […]

J.J. Abrams caps an iconic space-opera franchise with the flashy but not necessarily compelling ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

February 20, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comFeb. 20, 2020 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the 11th entry in the blockbuster space opera, opens with a blast from the past. As the series’ signature opening crawl that follows the film’s title (see previous sentence) and episode number (nine) announces: The dead speak! The galaxy has heard a mysterious […]

Items for Feb. 15, 2020: Lost pens, new pens, computer storage

February 15, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comFeb. 15, 2020 Various items: • Sometime over the last week, I lost a red pen. It’s not a big deal, I guess, but it was still annoying, especially because when I checked my office supplies at home I discovered that I didn’t have any red pens in reserve. I use red […]

Short takes: ‘Famous Men who Never Lived’ and ‘Meddling Kids’

January 28, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJan. 28, 2020 The New York City that Helen Nash and Vikram Bhatnagar travel through is not the one they knew. The two main characters in K. Chess’s 2019 debut novel, Famous Men Who Never Lived, are UDPs, or universally displaced persons. Their New York City has been destroyed; they are permanently […]

Marriage, money and inequality haunt the four March sisters of Greta Gerwig’s strangely delightful ‘Little Women’

December 30, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comDec. 30, 2019 Little Women, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, is a charming chronicle of a Massachusetts family, particularly the challenges faced by the four young daughters. Alcott’s book, published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, was based on her own life. In reality, her family […]

Adventure and intrigue await a small party of climbers at the top of the world in Dan Simmons’s ‘The Abominable’

December 6, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comDec. 6, 2019 1924. Europe is recovering — some parts more quickly than others — from the Great War. The world’s highest summit, Mount Everest, has yet to be scaled, although the Royal Geographic Society and other adventurers are keenly interested in doing so. Mountaineering in general is a hazardous endeavor, even […]

Cal uses two fourth-quarter touchdowns to snap Stanford’s Big Game streak, 24-20

November 27, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comNov. 27, 2019 Cal quarterback Chase Garbers ran for a 16-yard touchdown with 79 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to lead the Bears to a 24-20 win, the team’s first victory over Stanford since 2009. The outcome of the 122nd Big Game clinched bowl eligibility for the Bears (6-5 overall, 3-5 […]

Stephen King’s 2015 collection ‘The Bazaar of Bad Dreams’ is a mixed bag

October 14, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comOct. 14, 2019 It was with no small interest that I began reading The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King’s 2015 short story collection. His 1978 anthology, Night Shift, gave me chills when I first read it back in the… well, a long time ago. And I found that it held up […]

Trojans come back from a two-touchdown deficit to stomp Stanford, 45-20

September 9, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comSept. 9, 2019 USC scored five unanswered touchdowns in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to humiliate Stanford in the Pac-12 conference debut for both teams Saturday night. The Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) took a 17-3 lead on the first play of the second quarter before suffering an epic collapse. Stanford’s backup signal caller, […]

William Gibson connects a small Georgia town to Russian-British kleptocrats in his intricate 2014 novel, ‘The Peripheral’

February 17, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken Feb. 17, 2019 To read a William Gibson story is to embark upon a journey of discovery.  What kind of world — often at once amazing and dispiriting — has the U.S.-born writer created, and what convoluted scheme are the characters enmeshed in, voluntarily or otherwise? Moreover, what kind of […]

Dominant Irish fourth quarter sparks a 38-17 Notre Dame victory

October 5, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken Oct. 5, 2018 The late American comedian is supposed to have once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” When Notre Dame hosted Stanford last Saturday evening in a primetime battle of top-10-ranked unbeaten teams, both teams had plenty of chances to grab a win. Unfortunately for the road […]

Aerial attack shines for Stanford in 31-10 season-opening victory over San Diego State

September 5, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken Sept. 5, 2018 The Stanford football team gave off some mixed signals as it got its 2018 campaign under way Friday evening. After the Cardinal elected to receive the ball, junior quarterback K.J. Costello and friends trotted out to start their first official possession of the year at the home […]

Hobbled Love and inspired defense carry Cardinal to a 30-22 upset victory over Washington

November 15, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken Nov. 15, 2017 Tailback Bryce Love ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns Friday evening to lead the Stanford football team to a 30-22 victory over Washington. The Cardinal moved to 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-12 while handing the 8-2 Huskies only their second loss, both in conference […]

Stanford pounds Ducks, 49-7

October 17, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken Oct. 17, 2017 Bryce Love ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns in limited action and Keller Chryst threw for 181 yards and three scores as Stanford cruised to a 49-7 homecoming win over Oregon on Saturday evening. The Cardinal moved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12 while […]

Determined Cardinal does just enough to prevail in a 23-20 road win over Utah

October 11, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken Oct. 11, 2017 All-world runner Bryce Love found just enough space against a smothering Utah defense to secure a key 23-20 road win for the Stanford football team on Saturday evening in Salt Lake City. The Cardinal moved to 4-2 and 3-1 in the Pac-12 while handing Utah (4-1, 1-1) […]

Stanford falls to 1-2 after offense sputters against San Diego State

September 19, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken Sept. 19, 2017 Author’s note: The day after this post was published, I adjusted some erroneous references to statistics about Stanford’s total offense. The team gained 254 yards, not 238. MEM A feeble offensive performance doomed the Stanford football team to a 20-17 loss at San Diego State on Saturday evening. The […]

Weekend (?) anecdotes: A deer sighting and my seat-swap roller-coaster ride

July 30, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken July 30, 2017 My days have been a bit of a blur lately, so I’m only 99 percent sure that the following anecdote took place on Saturday, July 29. I was walking a certain family dog around my Parental Unit’s neighborhood. We were heading toward a T-intersection of residential streets when […]

Fiascos and hilarity abound in ‘My Heart is an Idiot,’ Davy Rothbart’s collection of essays about life and love

March 22, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken March 22, 2017 Davy Rothbart, the Michigan-born writer and magazine editor, is like most people: Get some drink into him and he tends to develops the gift of gab. Also like most people, inebriation tends to lower Rothbart’s inhibitions and impair his judgments. What sets Rothbart apart is his knack for […]