Tuesday, November 25, 2008
First, Netflix is finally dropping HD-DVD on December 15th. Can't blame them, they announced they were going to phase it out in January. But I have about thirty movies in my queue in HD-DVD, so I'm trying to get through as many as possible. Which is difficult, since I spent a week and a half trying to get a copy of The Wild Bunch that works. I got two defective discs in a row, and today I received another replacement disc, which was cracked in half. So I gave up; The Wild Bunch is available on their Watch Instantly service, so I'll watch it that way, high-def be damned. I should say, I don't blame Netflix, I imagine problems with the condition of their remaining HD-DVD stock drove their decision to finally drop the format completely. I can't expect them to last forever.
The second reason Netflix has been dominating my attention is that the new xbox update, with streaming movies from Netflix Watch Instantly, is now live. I'd been watching Netflix movies on the Xbox via unofficial software and Vista Media Center, but that stopped working a few weeks ago (since I knew the official solution would soon be available, I didn't bother trying to fix it). But now I have a simple, smooth means of watching streaming movies on my HDTV. And I've been very happy with the final product, mostly. I know the selection could be better, but I have 500 items on my Watch Instantly queue, so I can't complain. I like the focus on indie film and documentaries, and the addition of Starz content is a nice plus. Picture quality, under ideal conditions, is great. There are even a small number of films available in high-def, including a few films that were already near the top of my list, like the new John Sayles movie Honeydripper. No one would confuse the picture quality with Blu-Ray, but I was impressed. But again, that's under ideal circumstances. Which means before 6 PM or after midnight. During the peak evening movie-viewing window, I go from four-bars quality (the best), to three or two bars. I stopped watching one movie, the quality was so bad. I don't know if this is because my cable internet connection is slowing down on my end or if Netflix's servers are being hammered (I suspect the former), but it's disappointing. But for the most part, even the lower-quality streams are acceptable, and when all goes well, it's DVD quality or better. And it looks like Netflix just renewed it's deal with the BBC, a lot of their stuff that was scheduled to expire at the end of the month no longer is, so that's a plus; it looks like I'll still have time to watch Yes, Prime Minister once I finally finish watching Yes, Minister.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
So, my last day at the aquarium is a week from tomorrow, and I'm supposed to start at the library that Friday. I don't know my schedule yet, I have to go through the background check and physical and all that before they talk to me about my schedule. But it's a full-time position, so I look forward to actually having an expendable income again, and not having to feel quite as guilty when I buy stupid crap I don't need. And like I said, I scouted out the commute this weekend, and checked out the library, it's very nice. And San Marcos isn't quite what I expected, less developed, pretty. So while the commute makes me a bit nervous, overall I'm very excited by this new opportunity. I will miss the aquarium, but it's nice to again have a job I can consider a career.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I remember the epigraph that opened Coming of Age, taken from A. A. Milne, which stuck to me at the time and seems well-suited to Terkel (I'm going from memory, so don't quote me here):
Sometimes when the fight begins,
I think I'll let the dragons win.
But then again, perhaps I won't,
Because they're dragons, so I don't.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I'll give it a week or two and see if it improves, but if not, at least Netflix labels all the Starz movies, so I can avoid them in the future.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I found this documentary about Stan Rogers on Google Video. I've only been able to watch the first half (keeps crashing Safari on my computer at work), but it looks like a good introduction to him, with some wonderful music. Playing it at work, my coworkers thought it was my contribution for Talk Like a Pirate Day, but to me every day is made for Sea Shanties.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Closer to home, I enjoy trail running in Mission Trails Regional Park, but there's no shade to be had there, and it's been a bit to warm to run there recently (and I'd like to build up some more leg strength before tackling some of the hills there). So I've been settling for Lake Murray, which is technically part of Mission Trails, but certainly doesn't have the same vibe as as the rest of the park. More like a wide asphalt road available for running, with some sort of puddle next to it. I tend not to really take in the sights of the lake while I run, though I enjoy looking at the hawks overhead and squirrels scurrying across my path. In my mind it's mainly just a practical outdoor running path when nothing better is available. I did run there around dusk a few weeks back, though, and as my run came to an end back at the parking lot, the sun was beginning to set and a lone duck was swimming across the lake's surface, and I realized that, considering it's less than five minutes from my house, I'm lucky to have such a pretty place so readily available. Uncharacteristically, I took my iPhone instead of my iPod with me, so I had a camera phone with which to snap a few shots. Not what I'd call profoundly beautiful, just the sort of everyday loveliness it's easy to take for granted, and just one more reason I'm glad I'm out there running.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
In August, I ran 33.9 miles. Considering my milage for the year is around 92 miles (I was remiss in keeping my log current in January/February, but doubt I ran more than 15 miles or so the two months combined), that's well over a third of my annual running-to-date condensed into one month. A bit over a mile a day, which isn't bad for someone trying to get back into the swing of things. I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be, but I'm at the point now where I can start building up mileage. But just getting that base in place is the most important thing. Getting into the habit of running four days a week, regardless of how far. Not that I don't want to gain speed and endurance and increase my mileage, but the greatest gains come from doing nothing to doing something, so while 8/9 miles a week isn't all that impressive compared to my training at my peak, that's still a major improvement to my lifestyle. I intend to improve from where I am now, but further benefits will be incremental. The important thing is to keep up the consistency, make running a habit again. And I seem to be on track there.
So while things are going good, I should ask myself, why do things always go wrong? I tend to say injuries, but there was really only the one bout with plantar fasciitis, and otherwise I've been injury-free (nothing that didn't go away after taking it easy a day or two, anyway). The plantar fasciitis still stands out, since I was pretty much at the top of my game at that point, and never really got back to the point where running was a habit after that hiatus. But looking over my notes, I see the factor that's consistently to blame for my bad years is illness. I get the flu in September or October, and never quite shake it completely until January or so. So this year, I'm doing what I should have been doing for years, and getting a flu shot. I work in customer service at a family-friendly tourist attraction and volunteer in a library, so I'm exposed to lots of people, including lots of snotty kids, so it's no surprise I get sick a lot. And endurance exercise has a tendency to lower one's immune system a bit. So while I've always been slightly skeptical of flu shots, next month I'll be lining up to get my injection. And hopefully that will help assure that I'm able to line up at the starting line of the next 5K I decide to enter.
This especially caught my notice because Ira Hayes, of "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," belonged to the Pima tribe. So had he not drowned in a ditch, he probably would have lost his feet to diabetes by now. In any event, it seems like some small solace that the water has been returned to his land.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I went to see The Dark Knight recently, and drove up to Mira Mesa to see it in the IMAX theater. While the screen was smaller than I anticipated, it was still well-worth the drive and additional cost. It was the first Hollywood film to actually use an IMAX camera to film several scenes, and those scenes just look amazing. As for the movie itself, I liked it. Not as much as I loved Batman Begins, so it was disappointing in that sense. But it was still a first-rate action movie. See it in the theaters if you can, and if your community has IMAX, go for it.
In addition to the Hayes Carll album, this week's special $5 albums are also some great choices. In particular, I'd be remiss in not noting that Pink Martini's Hang On Little Tomato is $5 this week. So if you don't already have that album, don't spend too much time feeling ashamed, just rectify the situation by laying down $5 at Amazon.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Oh, and yeah, I'm alive and everything, just lazy, I'll get some pictures and thoughts about Comic-Con up soon.
Friday, July 25, 2008
The book I chose to read, incidentally, was A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon, which was almost as good as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is high praise indeed.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
In other sports news, the Badwater Ultramarathon was earlier this week. 135 miles, through Death Valley and to the trailhead to the peak of Mt. Whitney. I used to see it on TV occasionally, Wide World of Sports or something like that, but I haven't been able to find anything about it being televised this year. The webcast is archived, though.
Monday, July 14, 2008
And as reports come in, it looks like the release will be day-and-date with the PS3 release. Holy fuckin' shit, indeed. Honestly, did this leak out at all? I hadn't heard any Final Fantasy XIII port rumors in a long time, am I just not following the video game blogs as obsessively as I should? Or did my inattention actually make this happen?
Other than that, nothing too groundbreaking, but some cool stuff still came out from Microsoft's E3 presentation. Portal: Still Alive coming to the Xbox arcade, pretty much a port of the original Portal, with a few extra levels. This would have been exciting at launch, had it spared me purchasing the Orange Box just to get Portal, but too late for that now. I'll probably buy it again, though, as long as they add a reasonable amount of new content to the single-player mode (new online modes don't interest me). A massively-multiplayer online version of 1 Vs. 100 has the potential to be awesome, especially with real prizes on the line. And at last the Netflix partnership we all knew was in place is official; I'd be more excited if I wasn't already streaming Netflix Watch Instantly to my Xbox with an unofficial plugin, but it will be nice to have an official solution that actually works well (vmcNetflix is great, but freezes up a lot).
But, yeah. Final Fantasy XIII. Wow. I've been getting bored with these big new product presentations, like the last couple Apple announcements, because there's no surprises. And then, bam, Final Fantasy XIII goes multi-platform. Amazing. I recently started playing the original Final Fantasy, with the intention of playing through the entire series. Now that will be a lot cheaper to pull off.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I browsed the iPhone app store last night, downloaded some free programs that I can load on my iPhone when I get home tonight and upgrade the firmware, which was released this morning. Streaming Pandora on my iPhone sounds pretty sweet. Some nice-looking paid programs available, too, I'm sure I'll be sporting crosswords and sudoku on the phone soon.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
The most interesting thing I found in the discussion about the difference between impulsive and planned suicides, is that those whose suicide is preceded by well-documented mental illness and multiple warning signs choose hands-on methods, like pills and slitting wrists, while the impulsive choose to jump from great heights or use a gun. Yet it is the impulsive methods that are most successful; "The natural inference, then, is that the person who best fits the classic definition of 'being suicidal' might actually be safer than one acting in the heat of the moment — at least 40 times safer in the case of someone opting for an overdose of pills over shooting himself."
I, personally, was of the "they'll just find another way" mindset on bridge barricades, but it makes sense that one might impulsively jump to one's death. I am not in a habit of randomly falling over in my day to day life, but I'm always convinced, when I find myself near a railing, I'm somehow going to accidentally clear the jump and plummet to my death. I have dreams where I'm up at a great hight and resort to crawling on all fours to avoid falling, and I still manage to take a fall. More a fear of heights than suicidal impulse, but it still helps me understand how such things happen.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Yes, that is the greatest thing you have ever seen or ever will see. But the upcoming documentary about the Rock-afire Explosion looks pretty sweet, too:
I've never been to Showbiz Pizza Place, I don't think; it was all about Chuck E. Cheese around these parts. But they had a similar act, and I did have a huge crush as a child on the purple Hippo, who was based I believe on Dolly Parton. She sang "Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," and I just thought that was hilarious, because you wash shampoo out of your hair, not a man. Silly hippo. I'd watch her over and over again. So I wish it was her instead of the Rock-afire Explosion that was enjoying a Renaissance, but I'll take what I can get.
Anyway, I did some internet research, and my first true love was named Dolli Dimples, and while the name obviously came from Mrs. Parton, she's more cabaret than country:
All of which just goes to show, sometimes you think there's no reason to get out of bed in the morning, but then, bam, you find something that makes life worth living.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Failure, here, would actually be a form of vindication. His opponents argued that allowing him into the Olympics was tantamount to permitting the use of jet packs. If his prothesis is such an advantage, how come he can't qualify? It's almost as though there might somehow be some disadvantages for a runner to have only one leg. Who would've thought?
Still, though, I hope he does manage to qualify. I understand that, even should he not qualify, he might compete in a relay event; I'm not sure if his awkward starts are more or less of a disadvantage in a relay setting, but I would assume he's not particularly well-suited to the format. But in any case, good luck, Oscar.
One complaint I have, is I have lost multiple games because I got colors confused. Nothing's worse than saving up red cards and suddenly realize you're trying to build an orange line. Ditto purple and blue. I notice they mention this at the above-linked review, so it might be an issue above and beyond my color-blindness. Early on, I also made some mistakes about city locations; the name of the city would appear right above a dot, and I wouldn't realize until it was too late that the label actually applied to the dot towards the left. But I soon got that figured out, and even the color issues aren't as bad now that I'm aware of the problem, and since the colors are static, I've pretty much memorized the more troublesome routes. Catan, to its credit, has a color-blind mode, optional offline and standard to ranked online matches, which helps me out.
But yeah, if you have an Xbox 360, check out both games, if you haven't already. I always feel a little silly, having bought an expensive video game console, only to spend most of my time playing simple board games on it. But they're hella fun, and Catan in particular is brilliantly executed, and the computer AI makes for a skilled opponent, mostly.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
My favorite part of the article is on page two, talking about the depositions of the game-buyers who did claim to be offended. Brenda Stanhouse, negligent mother, claims to have not been aware that the game features prostitutes, or that you can kill said prostitutes and steal back the money you paid them for sex acts. "I'm aware that there is killing in the game," she explained, "I wasn't aware of the stealing." Good god, stealing, you say? Next, they'll be dancing!
According to the article, a lawyer is trying to get the settlement thrown out. And I wish him good luck. The part I object to was having to affirm that I was in fact offended. If I bought the game, I should get the money. Just leave it at that.
I wonder if Brenda Stanhouse's son got GTA: IV.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
In any event, I'm just grateful this blog's semicolon label is getting some use; I'd hate to think I created it for naught.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So I'll be going to the one-at-a-time plan. And, of course, being on the one-at-a-time plan will make me more conscious of time, and the need to return movies promptly. As things stand, I am rather lax about returning movies; I recently watched Mutiny on the Bounty (on HD DVD), after it had sat in my den for two months. Sundays in the Park With George has been here almost as long, as I haven't been in a musical mood, I suppose. But now, it'll be all about the turnover. I'm confident I'll cost them more money, but my monthly fee will be halved. Great business plan, Netflix.
And to add insult to injury, I was just informed Mom's Nero Wolfe DVD is defective. My goodwill towards Netflix has evaporated overnight; if that was their goal, congratulations, mission accomplished..
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
I witnessed a rather gnarly bicycle accident a few years ago, and I did stop. But had I not personally witnessed the accident, had I passed by after the fact, and had I seen people on the scene, I certainly would not have stopped. And had I been on the sidewalk in Hartford last week and witnessed this accident, I like to think I would have had some more composure, and gone out in the street to direct traffic, but I probably wouldn't have. And I probably would have felt ashamed afterwards, and lost some sleep over it. But it needn't be so, as I don't think the pedestrians did anything wrong here.
Oh, and I watched this tape about a dozen times, and waved my co-workers over to watch it with me. What does that say about me? It's probably more damning than the behavior of the pedestrians in the video.
UPDATE: On subsequent viewing, I realized that the car immediately behind the hit-and-run vehicle, who appears to drive away, actually stops at the intersection where the assailant turned, and is presumably trying to get a license number or description. So that's one more person off the shit-list. I'd say people's ill will would be put to much better use directed at the driver who actually crossed the center divide, ran over a 78-year-old man, and drove away.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Anyway, things are almost back to normal. A few programs won't work with my 64-bit version of Vista, but no huge loss. DVD43 won't work, but I'm thinking, now that I have a 750GB hard drive in my computer, I might use my 1TB external hard drive to rip DVDs to, then convert that raw data into a format most appropriate for my iPhone or Xbox. No point copying a film ill-suited to watching on a tiny screen to H.264, when I'd rather want to see it on my HDTV. This is especially an option now that my computer is not so painfully slow; converting one hour of footage off a DVD into H.264 used to take about 70 minutes, but now takes only about 10.
So, my opinion, now, with some hands-on time, is that, if you experience an equipment failure or for whatever reason now need a new computer, you might as well go with Vista. But if you don't need to, you'd be nuts to upgrade.
I should also note that, the weekend I first set up my computer, I was sick, Tanner got sprayed by a skunk--again!--and I found out, only too late, that the annual sea shantey festival on the Star of India was that very weekend (the highlight of my year, and I missed it!). The festival was moved from September to May, for some reason. I take some small consolation in that it was a very hot day, and there's not much shade on the boat. But a tribute was planned to mark the anniversary of Stan Roger's death, which I would have liked to hear. I suppose the wait will make next year's concert all the more sweet, but missing this year's was a bitter pill. All of which is to say, that was a crappy weekend.
Friday, May 30, 2008
The two composers are also joined together by this fun fact: Both are most famous for instrumental theme songs that actually do have lyrics (though the lyrics to "The Fishin' Hole" were apparently written after the fact by a separate artist, and Star Trek's lyrics were written after the fact because Gene Roddenberry was an asshole).
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
I should be happy, as Clinton's national political ambitions are completely dead, but I'm just disgusted. Keith Olbermann laid it all out on his program tonight; when I find a video of it, I'll add it here.
UPDATE: Here's the Olbermann video:
Monday, May 19, 2008
That said, I will concede the first paragraph of the Times artile is patronizing: "With each passing day, it seems a little less likely that the next president of the United States will wear a skirt — or a cheerful, no-nonsense pantsuit." You know, with the possible exception of "cheerful," I think it's an absolute certainty that's how the next President will dress, even if McCain wins. Unless McCain decides to start wearing bermuda shorts around the Oval Office, he'll probably elect to don a pantsuit, as he and virtually every male politican always had and always will. The fixation on Clinton's wardrobe is unfortunate. But I also doubt it had a bearing on her defeat.
Hateful bigot Geraldine Ferarro shot off her nasty, racist mouth, describing Obama as "terribly sexist," without explaining why. I guess because Obama supporters took umbrage to her speaking the bold truth about the advantages the black man has in our society, living the "fairy tale" life, as Bill Clinton put it. And a group called "Clinton Supporters Count, Too," is forming to campaign against Obama in November. Of course Clinton supporters count, too. They each count for one vote. And unless Obama's supporters don't count, that means Clinton's campaign is doomed. Edwards supporters count, too; does that mean we should just let Edwards be the president, as to not hurt their feelings? Let everyone be president, don't want to not count someone.
Which goes back to the charge of being patronizing. Clinton's supporters are begging to be patronized, demanding it. Suggest Clinton should drop out, considering she lost the election? How dare you! She can run for as long as she want. But if you say that she can still run, you're being patronizing. Yes, Clinton has the right to run for as long as she wants. Ron Paul is still running, and people aren't calling for him to drop out. And that's because he doesn't demand constant validation. Anyone can run for president, and no one can force you to drop out. That doesn't mean you should, or that people have to pretend that you can win. Clinton supporters seem to be buying into a Special Olympics version of politics, where we have to be nice and supportive and everyone's a winner. Which is fine, and in fact a wonderful and beautiful thing, for the Special Olympics. But it's just not how politics work.
So here's my main suggestion for those Clinton supporters who feel patronized: Stop demaning validation. Yes, she can run. Anyone can run, it goes without saying. When people call for her to drop out, there saying what they think she should do. They have every right to speak their mind, too, and that, too should go without speaking. So Clinton, run if you want, but stop fanning your supporter's outrage whenever anyone suggests you can't win or shouldn't be running. And be more sparing when you cry sexism in how the Clinton campaign was treated. Yes, there were elements of sexist to be found, and she wasn't always treated fairly, I'll concede that. But when one of sixteen female Senators is running against the only African-American Senator (only the third black senator since Reconstruction), blaming every setback to sexism while belittling Obama's achievements is both counter-productive and shameful (that's why your reputation is now in the toilet, Geraldine Ferarro).
Friday, May 16, 2008
So that sucked. I had access to my music on my iPod, but still the loss of the hard drive really threw me off my rhythm. As I attempted to recover my data, I stared at my computer monitor numbly, my expression I believe reminiscent of the way Tanner looked at me after I picked him up from the vet, without his testicles. Once I accepted that I had recovered what I could and what I hadn't was lost, I was able to move on, and have regained something close to normalcy. And I purchased Jungle Disk and started backing up online to Amazon's S3 service. For the time being, I was relatively whole again.
And then today, my computer wouldn't turn on. I believe it's given up the ghost. Which, I suppose, was to be expected. But again I find myself unmoored, my digital dock obliterated by the hurricane of, um, static electricity or something. I dunno. All I know is it's time to buy a new computer. This is the one I picked. A bit more than I wanted to spend, but I feel the extra money was well-spent. I'll pick it up from Best Buy this evening; unfortunately, only the Chula Vista store had it in stock, but if I wait for traffic to die down, it shouldn't be too bad a drive down to pick it up. I was hoping to delay the transition to Windows Vista as long as I could, but I'll survive. And it will be nice to have a machine that can handle multimedia better than my old system. In the long run, a new computer will be a good thing. But I'll be feeling lost for a few weeks, methinks.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
UPDATE: Colbert has some comments on this; he points out it wasn't a slip of the tongue:
Monday, May 12, 2008
Looking online, it seemed that baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was the preferred treatment, so we tried that, and it helped a little. The next day, I went to the pet stores and eventually found some deskunking agent, which helped a bit more. But Tanner still stinks. In fact, on Saturday, the entire house stunk like hell. Fortunately, we seem to have almost gotten the smell out of the house, and now it's only really noticable when you get some face time with Tanner. I'll give him another treatment or two with the anti-skunk spray, and another bath or two, and hopefully the smell will dissipate more. But I imagine he'll have a hint of skunk for some time.
As for the skunk, when I went outside later to clear the yard so Tanner could go potty, I saw the skunk scurry through a hole in the fence. The next day, I blocked off that hole, and stacked some bricks where it looks like he was coming around from behind the shed. I hope that, along with the fear Tanner put into him, will keep the skunk away. And needless to say, no more food out for the cats at night. They'll have to eat while I'm out there to supervise. Which is probably a good thing; Sable hasn't been around like she used to be, so I think the skunk might have been chasing her out.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Anyway, I suppose the takeaway is that Wii Fit is going to be huge. It really taps into the needs of Nintendo's target audience of non-gamers, and fills a real need of the typical gamer (a point well-illustrated in the hilarious video found here), and looks to be a lot of fun. I'm not convinced just how intense of a workout it will deliver; I suspect it will be underwhelming on the cardio front, while I fully expect the yoga component to kick my ass (EA has already announced a more Western-fitness-based game for the balance board). But in any case, at least there's the crazy-Japanese-wackiness factor to consider:
I'll be sure to share my opinions when I actually have the game.
Knowing Colbert's tendency to call out people he knows he can get on the show, it makes me wonder if J.D. Salinger might be making an appearance (though that joke seems to have been a one-off, or at most a two-off)
Friday, May 02, 2008
Looking at the Humphrey's lineup, there's not much worth seeing, and what is is overpriced. Lyle Lovett at $85 is tempting, but I think I'll pass.
Monday, April 28, 2008
All I know is, even though that girl I grew up watching on Saved By the Bell made that naughty movie, I turned out okay; I think this generation will somehow cope, too.
In other Randy Newman news, apparently he can't outrun the damn paparazzi. LEAVE RANDY ALONE! Actually, though, this makes me wonder if I shouldn't leave a piano in my front yard, maybe it will attract Randy Newman.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
I was surprised to see how many people were in the water at La Jolla Shores. It would be silly to retreat from the water forever because of this one freak incident, but I still wouldn't get in the water the day of the attack, between the location of the attack and the sea lions at the Children's Pool.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
It did occur to me, driving home, that I should have waited until today to return the cassette. I came in with the cassette stuck in my VCR, no idea what to do; they tinkered with it for awhile and sent me on my way. A half-hour later, the tape is free. That sounds suspicious, as though I had some sort of electronic Munchausen by Proxy, getting things stuck in my VCR only so I can remove them and be hailed a hero. So hopefully my library record has not been flagged for deviancy. In any event, I don't think I'll be checking out any more VHS cassettes, no point tempting fate.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Greenbriar Picture Shows is also where I found this post about pre-code marketing, including an interesting ad for Freaks: "Tonight and Thursday with shame our screen unfolds the worst picture ever made! Don't See It! And be assured you missed nothing!"
Sunday, April 06, 2008
In all respect, I should say that Touch of Evil is one of my favorite movies, and Heston deserves thanks for managing to play a Mexican in a manner as inoffensive as possible, considering he was Charlton Heston playing a Mexican.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Anyway, in light of this setback, I decided to watch The Tomb of Ligeia instead. But it appeared that whoever last checked it out was far from kind, so I would have to rewind. But every time I tried to rewind it, I heard the VCR's motor revving for a moment, but then the unit shut down. If I pressed play, I could rewind while the feature played, but then it rewound at an extremely slow pace. I had a feeling this cassette was defective, too (which would explain why the previous viewer didn't rewind), and didn't want to risk another incident like Comedy of Terrors, so I removed the cassette from my VCR unwatched.
Cursing the antiquated technology, I decided the safe bet was to watch a film in the ultra-high-tech HD DVD format. I've had Talk to Me at home from Netflix for like two months, and decided I should finally watch it. I even chuckled to myself, thinking that, given my luck this evening, I'd probably end up getting the Red Ring of Death watching it on my XBox 360 HD DVD add-on (I actually had Talk to Me out from Netflix when my XBox red-ringed, and returned it unwatched while my unit was repaired). But I never got to that point. When I removed the disc from its Netflix envelope, it came out in two pieces. Talk to Me was released in a hybrid format, with an HD DVD on one side and a standard DVD on the other. Apparently they're just glued together or something, because they came right apart on me. I thought maybe I could still play just half a disc, but given my track record for the evening, I decided not to experiment.
So three films, three strikes. The good news is, eventually, I was able to watch My Kid Could Paint That without incident. Okay documentary, and if you're interested in my opinion, the kid didn't paint the paintings, certainly not in the manner the parents claim. To say that a four-year-old painted every painting, from the first one on, with no assistance, implies that the parents are awful people. "No, sweetheart, you have to do that alone. You're four years old, we can't coddle you forever!" Of course they helped. As one curator, who rejected a Marla work submitted to her art show before Marla's rise to fame, noted in an outtake included on the DVD, who picked the canvases? Are we to believe a four year old decided on her own she wanted to paint a triptych? Also included with the special features, which I watched with judicious use of the fast-forward button, was a Q&A session, in which one supporter of Marla basically explained to a questioner that, since he never himself was a painter, his opinion didn't matter. Of course, since he was once four years old, and no doubt dabbled in finger-painting, his claim as an artist is as absolute as Marla's. For some reason, that lady's comment really pissed me off, and angried up the blood. So, fuck you, old lady. But I digress. Interesting film, but I don't know what the take-away from it is. The filmmaker intended, before the question of authenticity was raised by "60 Minutes," to make a statement about modern art, but the unanticipated shift in the narrative muddies things a bit too much. And ultimately, I was surprised just how little I cared. It's hard to get worked up about parents exploiting their child, when she's having a fine time and now has a six-figure college fund. Perhaps there's a message to be derived from the owner of the gallery promoting Marla's work. When she has her fall, and her work stops selling for awhile, he seems glad that, at last, he can openly gloat in his big "fuck you" to the modern art community (his own work is in the photorealism genre). But when her work starts selling again, it's like that conversation never happened. So what does that mean? The business of art is driven by both spite and pragmatism? Some people are tools? Photorealism ain't where the money's at? Food for thought, I suppose.