Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Saw Blind Shaft yesterday at the Ken. Overall I found it interesting, but felt the film tried to distance itself a bit from the bleak view that opened the film. What's so different about the kid they set out to kill from the man they killed the first time around (and presumably the other people they have killed in the past) that they suddenly have flashes of compassion? Not to mention a billion-to-one coincidence thrown in for good measure. But I enjoyed the grittiness of the plot, if I wouldn't go as far as the New York Times, comparing it to the work of Cornell Woolrich.
There were six trailers before the film, not including promos for a film festival and a contest. Thanks, Landmark Theatres. I thought the five they showed when I worked there was one too many. At least their pre-show advertisements are more civilized than those shown by their competition. I get particularly annoyed by the anti-piracy spots at AMC and others. Thanks for showing your appreciation that I paid to see your movie with a lecture about how it's wrong not to pay for movies. What annoyed me the last time I saw the stuntman trailer, it had multiple emulsion scratches, and an awkward splice half-way through it. Why watch a high-quality digital product at home, when you can come to AMC Theaters, where they don't give a damn about the product we put on our screens. Grrr...
The Adams Avenue Roots Festival is this weekend, May 1st and 2nd. I'll be out of town Saturday night, but hopefully will see some of it, Saturday morning or Sunday.
Mary Chapin Carpenter will be on Letterman tonight. Haven't heard much about the new album, read a review in No Depression that sounded like damning with faint praise. Looking forward to hearing her perform something from the new album.
Jane Goodall will be here at the Birch Aquarium Friday night, 7:15, accepting the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. I'm off Friday, but might come in to hear her speak.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
I've spent the last week or so mired in self-pity, which is probably no news. Feeling like I've lost control of my destiny. And deciding that maybe I had my one chance at happiness about 5 years ago, and that was it, and now it's all over. Which is ridiculous, but at least I've found a new moment from my past to dwell on, most of the others were becoming worn out, like Rosaries I'd worried away. But hey, why look to the future, that's more depressing.
Though I suppose I have been looking a bit to the future, trying to figure out some summer trips. Vegas, of course, but I'd like to take a non-gambling vacation as well. I've never been to the south, was thinking Tennessee, or Kentucky, hear the Blue Ridge Mountains are beautiful. But having given it some thought, I'm thinking the South might be more of a spring break thing, might be a bit too hot and humid to hike around in the summer. So the two choices I'm giving the most serious consideration to is Colorado, the Rockies, which I haven't seen in at least a decade, or the Pacific Northwest. Once I get Anna Karenina read for class, I plan to research the matter a bit and try to make a decision.
Got The Complete Peanuts in the mail on Wednesday. It is, of course, awesome. All the reviews emphasize how different the strip was in its infancy, but I was surprised more by what was there from the beginning, especially with Charlie Brown. He doesn't take life's slings and arrows with quite the awkward grace (if that isn't a oxymoron) in later strips, getting angry more often then usual, but the pathos of the character is there from early on. In one strip, Patty is fighting with Shermy, and calls him a Charlie Brown, to which he replies that she has gone too far, while Charlie Brown just watches the conversation despondently. But the strips are quite a bit different, especially in visual style, with a lot of pac-manesque profiles. And a lot of the humor early on depends on the children's playing with adult roles and failing to recognize their youthfulness. In an early strip, some of the kids stand below a sign, "Look Out For Children." In the last panel, they decide the children aren't coming, and leave. (Later on, they realize a similar sign refers to them, and are delighted that they are famous). The books will get even better once Shultz hits his stride, but even this first volume had me laughing, a lot, and feeling touched as well. The book itself is well-designed, incidentally, with decent supplemental material, including a great interview with Shultz from the 1980s, and a helpful (and sometimes amusing) index.
Keep watching the Freaks and Geeks DVD, and loving every moment of it. Only two episodes remain, after which I will be very sad. Saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, after several false starts (turns out the stomach upset that prevented me from seeing it two weeks ago was a lingering illness, which was probably partly to blame for my recent depression). I really didn't care for it, felt the whole film was hollow, but can't really put my finger on it. I can say I did not share the critic's rapture with Kate Winslet's performance.
I should mention that Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nellie McKay will both be on tv this week, Carpenter on Letterman Tuesday, McKay on The View on Thursday. I've been listening to a lot of good stuff lately, which I always mean to mention here but only do sometimes. I see where some people preface their posts with what they're currently reading and listening to, maybe I should do that. Today I was listening to Magnetic Stripes' 69 Love Songs, disc 2, which seems to be the only one I ever listen to. That replaced The Pine Valley Cosmonauts Salute the Majesty of Bob Wills, a truly amazing piece of Western Swing. God, have I started listening to a lot of country lately. But good stuff. But Nellie McKay has spent the most time in my CD player since I got my copy, though I'm making a point of giving it a bit of a rest. Shakira and Lyle Lovett round out what I've been listening to the most. Because I'm sure you cared to know.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Friday, April 16, 2004
Which wouldn't have been an awful fortune; bland as it is, at least it's a fortune. But when I opened the cookie, this is the side I saw first:
Pretty weak. Of course, it's not the worst "fortune" I've got. That would have to be this one, received some time back from a chinese restaurant in La Jolla, the name of which escapes me:
Now that's a new low.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Monday, April 12, 2004
But I must keep this short. Freaks and Geeks arrived in the mail, and I want to watch a few more episodes before bed.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Got home around 9, and then was on the computer off and on until noon, trying to remove a trojan horse that somehow got on my computer. Reset the home page (and kept resetting it back when I would change it), and kept redirecting me from any web site to some lame search-engine-cum-viagra-ad. Renewed Norton Anti-Virus, which didn't help at all, and ad-aware failed me (which is unusual, as it's usually a fine program). Fortunately, even though I couldn't get to google, the google toolbar (god bless it) worked, so I found a website that said it would remove the offending spyware. Did some more google searches to make sure this page was legit, and after finding some media mention of the site, downloaded CWshredder, which found the offending code and removed it from my computer. So huzzah and kudos to Merijn.org for saving my ass this Easter morning. Not sure how I got infected, Mom said the computer was working fine when she got on it, but it was all funky when I got on it, so at least it appears to be her fault.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Friday, April 09, 2004
Thursday, April 08, 2004
My calves were killing me yesterday. I went running in the morning, and after about a mile I had to stop and stretch, they were so tight. Stretching seemed to help, but I decided to cut my run short anyway, given that I knew I had a fair amount of walking to do at school. Now my feet are bothering me from the uncomfortable shoes I wore to the opera. But I shouldn't complain.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Thursday I spent the day in Los Angeles, where I saw "Let's Eat: Feasting on the Firesign Theater." I went up early and explored the neighborhood, so I wouldn't have to worry about traffic. Went to Griffith Park, until the rain forced me to my car. Did some shopping, bought a book and a magazine at Book Soup, and some touristy crap at Farmer's Market, where I had dinner. Also bought Tanner some gourmet dog treats from the bakery there.
Then it was on to Royce Hall at UCLA, for the Firesign Theater tribute. I'd been looking forward to this for some time, and about five minutes into it, I had to wonder, why? I mean, should it have really been a surprise that the evening was, for the most part, terrible? The skits of the Firesign Theater, performed by people other than Firesign Theater, hastily assembled, with little if any rehersal time, why is this necessary? It wasn't that their wasn't a lot of talent on-stage, or that the acting was horrendous, it was just a matter of the timing always being a little off, just enough to make it truly painful to watch, probably more painful then if it truly had been spectacularly bad. Howard Hessman was okay, but most of the people on-stage just didn't quite have the Firesign Theater style, which isn't a put-down, just a fact. One exception was Bob Odenkirk, who limited his involvement to a few brief appearances as Ralph Spoilsport, a character very much in spirit with the fake ads on Mr. Show (i.e. Cock Ring Warehouse). But once he'd done his bit, he had the sense to get off the stage. Todd Rundgren and Stan Ridgeway (the latter being a saving grace of Hal Wilner's last such show, the Randy Newman tribute) both proved themselves adept at comedy, outshining the established comedians like John Goodman. I stuck it out through intermission, and the second half was better, probably because it was more plot-driven material, like "High School Madness," where the off timing wasn't as damaging. But I left early, in order to get home at a decent hour (about 1:30). So if they did "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger," probably my favorite routine, I missed it. All in all, it made for a disappointing evening. Though it served as an excuse to sleep in 'til noon and miss both my classes Friday (we were just watching a documentary on Tolstoy in one, so I can make that up on my own).
Rear Window was on TCM yesterday, so I watched that for the two-hundredth time. The Trouble With Harry was on after that, but I figured I should do some reading for school, so I passed on that. Read some Tolstoy, and played some video games; Target had a good sale on video games, so I bought several, and got a Target credit card, so I got an extra 10% off my purchases that day. Bought Super Mario Bros. 3 (using the original nomenclencure), Yoshi's Island, and Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (I believe called Paper Mario in the original release). Nintendo has a real racket going re-releasing old games, but at least it's win-win. I remember badly wanting Super Mario Bros. 3 as a kid, but not getting it, for whatever reason. Now I can fill that void that has haunted me my whole life. Thank you, Nintendo, thank you.