Friday, December 31, 2004
Any other resolutions? I suppose I'd like to make school a higher priority this year. And read more books for pleasure. But I figure physical fitness is a worthy goal to focus my self-improvement efforts towards. I guess I can resolve to not be so boring, but I don't really think you can do anything about that. I suppose I can say I'll stop buying more DVDs when I have so many I haven't watched, but I doubt I'll keep that one.
I drove up to the cemetery today. I meant to go Wednesday, that was the second anniversary of Dad dying, but I didn't. I figured I should go today, figuring it was a nice activity to end the year with, rather than starting the new year on a downer. It wasn't raining here when I left, so I got fairly soaked. My first stop was my mother's parents' graves. I knew roughly where they were, and saw the Christmas tree that my mom had said she put out on the graves earlier this month, so I went to where the tree was. But it wasn't their grave. It took me a minute, but I found their graves without too much trouble, but there was nothing on it but some leaves and flowery remains. And it occurs to me that the other woman's grave, which had several plants and flowers, was now bedecked with my grandparent's Christmas tree. Someone stole a tree from their grave. So I am outraged, but I didn't actually put the tree there, so I cannot say for sure that it is their tree. And I figured it was possible the wind blew it away and someone innocently returned it to the wrong grave (but could the wind have blown a potted christmas tree up-hill?). So I stood there a few minutes, debating if I should move the tree. Because if I was wrong, then I would be the one stealing from a grave. Not to mention the ill will this would breed in the plots. I finally decided that my grandparents feuded with their neighbors enough when they were alive, and I didn't want to start any trouble. So I left the tree. When I got to my dad's grave, it had a tree identical in its packaging, confirming my suspicion that mischief was afoot, but decided against going back and moving the tree. I think they pick up all the decorations after the first, anyway. Anyway, I paid my respects to my dad and my mom's parents. I have some family buried at Fort Roscranz, but Dad was the only one who could ever find their graves. Someday I should go find Aunt Millie (I think there's a directory somewhere).
You know, come to think about it, there were few if any flowers or plants or flags or pretty much anything on the hillside where my grandparents are, except on that one grave. I think they harvested all the booty and put it on their beloved wife and mother's grave. I smell a rat. Grrrr.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
I saw The Incredibles Christmas night. Again went to the Pacific Trolley theatres, and again they were pretty slow. Unfortunately, it seems like they cut corners in the presentation of the film; it annoys me to see all these signs telling me that it is illegal and wrong to download digital quality bootleg films off the interent, and then put a subpar product on the screen. The sound in the auditorium I was in was pretty bad. But I suppose it wasn't any worse than any other theater around here. Some kids sitting nearby were a bit annoying, but not too bad, no one was screaming or anything, and considering it was a kid's movie, I put up with it with gentle good humor. The movie was okay, nothing special. Held my interest, at least. Mom had suggested we see Spanglish, which I have no interst in seeing, and then she suggested Meet the Fockers, which I wouldn't mind seeing, but I didn't think she wanted to see. So I suggested The Incredibles as something we both could enjoy, and we both did. I almost suggested The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but my mom hated The Royal Tenenbaums, so I decided against that.
Incidentally, I watched about half the episodes of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, and while they do have a great cast and production values, I find it hard to recommend them. The stories which were featured on Alfred Hitchcock Presents were done better there (Jose Fererr is great, but he's no Peter Lorre), and those that weren't (or at least that I've never seen) were tales that were hardly unexpected. Especially when Dahl's introductory segment gives away the ending. Though sometimes this doesn't matter. Like in "Neck:" if you can't figure out Joan Collin's head is coming off, I feel for you, but it's still a lot of fun to watch, both for her and for her butler, played by John Gielgud. But I'd save your money for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVDs.
And in keeping with a theme, I'll point out that the first season of the original Twilight Zone comes out on DVD Tuesday. I believe every episode has already come out on DVD, but in "best of" sets of three or four episodes, without much in the way of extras. At full price, they were rather expensive for what you got, but I've gotten some real good deals on some of my favorite episodes; especially since the season DVDs were announced, the original DVDs have been steeply discounted at times, so that I believe I paid less than $5 a pop for some. The season one DVD is expensive (Amazon wants $80 or so), but seems a better value. But I doubt I'll buy it. I like the show, but I've seen them so often, I don't really feel a need to own them. I catch it on TV every once in awhile, and watch a few episodes during the annual marathon, and that suits me well. If I see it for under $50, though, I'll definately snatch it up.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I probably have only two main complaints with the film. First, The Reptile Room gets short shrift, which is a shame, because it is probably the most cinematic of the first three books (though The Wide Window is suited to the screen, as well, and is doubtlessly the best portion of the movie). The whole first half of the film, in fact, feels rushed. And second, Sunny's dialogue was atrocious. The baby (twins) that played Sunny were fantastic, but her unintelligible words are translated via subtitles, which attempt to turn her into some sassy comic relief, the Poochy of the movie, if you will. Rather than thoughtful commentary on their prediciments, or bold condemnation of Olaf's deceitfulness, we get quotes like "She's the mayor of crazytown." Lets hope they tone that down if the rest of the series is filmed.
But overall, I liked the film. The look of the film was great, as was the soundtrack (by a Newman). Stay for the end credits, well worth it. I hope the rest of the books make it to the silver screen.
Monday, December 20, 2004
After opening gifts, we went out for breakfast, then I ventured out to the post office to mail some packages. That was hell. By the time I found out how much they cost, I had just given up, agreed to pay whatever they wanted. But at least I got them out.
We went to a 3:30 screening of A Series of Unfortunate Events at the Grossmont Trolley theaters. That place is dead, which is sad, since I can remember it was considered quite the fancy theater when it opened, and well into my young adulthood. I forget when exactly they expanded the Grossmont Center theaters, but I think I was at least in high school, if not college. In fact, I remember now running into someone from high school there, well after graduation. In fact, I believe I was working at the Village at the time, and that was at the theater's previous location, so it must be even more recent then I think. But now the trolley theater, neglected compared to the mall location up the hill, is almost as slow as the Cinerama 6. But it's not a bad theater, the auditoriums are fairly large. And it was nice not to have to deal with mall traffic. I'll comment on the movie later today, if I have time (I liked it).
We then went out to dinner. Mom had suggested sushi, and asked me to select a place, so I selected Sui Shin, a sushi place I'd only been to once, but liked very much. We went down to Hillcrest, only to find they had gone out of business. Of course, being in Hillcrest and looking for a sushi restaurant only leaves one with about fifty choices, but Mom still got all worked up, what will we do, and so on. But rather then eat in Hillcrest (which seemed pretty jumping, so parking and getting into a restaurant might have been an issue), we went to Chef Taka's on El Cajon Blvd., right by our house. I'd been there before, and enjoyed it, though it was a bit expensive, mainly because I got suckered into something expensive each time. But again I was really impressed with it, and by sticking to the basics, found it reasonably priced. Michelle and Eric are a bit more on the sushi snob end of the spectrum, and they both seemed impressed. So all was well in the end.
We concluded the evening watching some DVDs that were gifted that morning. Elf was okay, too fluffy to really be hated, but I don't understand why Michelle raves about it so. We watched a best of Will Ferrell DVD, which had its moments, but I think they really do a poor job putting those DVDs together. The menus leave you in the dark about what sketch you are about to see (sometimes you can deduce that from the extreme close-ups provided, but often you cannot), and the actual choices seem odd at times. But Charles Nelson Reilly on Inside the Actor's Studio will silence the toughest critic. I just wish they would release older material. Like best of DVDs for the original cast members, or what I would really love, a compilation of short films that appeared on the show, especially, again, from early episodes. The Albert Brooks films, and the original Folksmen sketch that later gave birth to A Mighty Wind. That would rock.
So Michelle and Eric are back home, now. Eric's sister recently had a caesarian section, and the incision got infected, so that is putting a bit of a damper on the holiday plans up there, but she is doing a bit better, and I think is supposed to be home soon. And down here, I keep forgetting Christmas isn't over for everyone else, yet. Though a trip to the post office today reminded me. I still need to pick up a few little gifts for people, but mostly, I'm just waiting for the new year. That's one advantage of having Christmas early--this feels like the longest Christmas vacation from school I've ever had.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Speaking of Katz, did I mention how awesome the Home Movies DVD is? I think I might have, so I won't go on too much. But the shows, of course, are awesome, and the clips of "Home Movies" made my the crew are hilarious. I think I've watched "Baby Pranks" a couple dozen times. That kid really wants that milk.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Last night, I watched a couple episodes from Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. I bought it, again, because I got a good price (20% off Deep Discount DVD's already low low prices), and because I was curious about anything with Dahl's name attached. I was suprised to see the pilot episode was "Man From the South," better known as that episode from Alfred Hitchcock Presents where Peter Lorre makes a wager with Steve McQueen. I was unaware Dahl had written for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but looking over the episodes of Tales of the Unexpected, I see he actually wrote quite a few (or at least had quite a few short stories adapted by the show, I'm not sure which). Including "Lamb to the Slaughter," a rather infamous episode. The episodes I watched were pretty good, though you can't top Lorre's version of "Man From the South," which also includes one little flourish near the end, my favorite part of the story (I won't give it away here), that apprently was added to Dahl's version. The other episode I watched, "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat," was also apparently an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I don't recall seeing it. But I will assume I did see it, and assume that's why I was able to see the ending from a mile away. Still entertaining, and featured Julie Harris (they got a real all-star cast for the TV show). I'll be better able to say if I recommend this after watching more episodes, but seeing as Alfred Hitchcock Presents is not yet available on DVD (a few episodes are included as extras in boxed sets of Hitchcock movies), this is a good way to get some classic stories in another form.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Thursday, December 09, 2004
My sister and brother-in-law will be down here the weekend after next, and we'll be going to see the movie. Watching the clip on the CD-ROM and everything I've seen so far, I'm unsure if the movie will be good or not. Could go either way.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Anyway, one hope I had was, that the bird would survive my care. It's about 15 years old, by my recollection, my mother claims we got it closer to 20 years ago. In any event, an old bird. Gave me quite a scare earlier in the week, Monday or Tuesday, when I came home and didn't see a bird, but it turns out he was just at the bottom of his cage, where he'd been hanging out recently. So I wasn't alarmed when I got home from taking Tanner for a walk, and saw no bird, but when I went to give it new thistle, I found a dead bird at the bottom of the cage. So I called my mom and told her what happened, and the bird is now lying in state in the garage, in a check box, waiting for my mom to fly in for the funeral. Feel bad for the poor guy, but it's probably for the best, seeing as the life of a caged bird seems incredibly depressing. Not to mention the hygiene issues with keeping a bird in the kitchen. I found the rice cooker quite disgusting when I got it out from the cabinet beneath Big Al's cage (the bird was named after a Nascar star).
So that sucks. I can assure you I will be keeping a very close eye on my Mom's beta for these last 48-hours.