Saturday, April 28, 2007

Catch Up

EDIT: I had this fantastic catch up post typed out.. and then Blogger decided it didn't need to be posted. ...

The short version plus:

Vonnegut died. So it goes. He will be missed.

Virgina Tech. Whoah.

I had dental work on 4/20. Lots of fillings (6-8?) and 3 wisdom teeth yanked. Not too bad, really. I got a cold the next day. That lasted 1-2 weeks. Over it now.

The CDs I got myself for my birthday are hotness in an iPod. Very good stuff. Happy am I. Sorta.

eHarmony has failed to come through. Completely.


And I need to see Next because it's based on a Philip K. Dick story (even if the movie doesn't quite follow the story and reportedly stinks).

Aaaaaand that's all I have for the now. [10:04 PM, 5/02]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to meeee,
Happy Birthday to me!

Today is income tax day. In 1979, it was also Easter Sunday and my birthday! In celebration thereof this year, I.. went shopping.. for CDs.. that I paid for myself (mostly - except the gift from my grandparents). Well, in all fairness, i get 20% off from FYE on my birthday (vs. 10% off normally) so it was worth it. Good stuff - I got 14 CDs and 2 DVDs.

Woot & Cheers to all!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I saw Grindhouse on Friday night.

CAVEAT: This is two feature-length films in a row. That is, this movie is 3 hours and 20 minutes long. Yes, that's a damn long time for a movie. No, that doesn't adversely affect my opinion or recommendation.

This is really two movies - "Planet Terror" directed by Robert Rodriguez and "Deathproof" directed by Quentin Tarantino, reviewed separately below. Both directors 'aged' the films, adding scratches, dirt, and dust, to simulate the feel of the real Grindhouse films. Note that there were some hilarious fake movie previews interspersed here, including one directed by Rob Zombie (fake trailer segment "Werewolf Women of the S.S."). Whoah - "Apart from US theaters, the two segments started as individual movies and had different release dates in cinemas all around the world."

"Planet Terror

In "Planet Terror", a deadly pathogen is released on an army base and turns the townspeople into zombie-esque carnivores. Of course, they're lucky enough to have Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodríguez around to battle the flesh-eating monsters, though McGowan uses a gun for a leg, as you've seen in the trailers (undoubtedly).

"Planet Terror" opened with McGowan giving a go-go dance. I can only begin to express how good an opening this is. It's probably 3 steps from softcore porn. I actually contemplated the beginning of this review at that time, ready to note that the movie went downhill from there.. only it didn't. "Planet Terror" is a beatem-up zombie action flick with plenty of blood, guts and zombies. (I would add in T&A except both movies had plenty of that.) Thankfully, the action never stops - it just keeps going. I really enjoyed this one.


"Deathproof" stars Kurt Russell as a psychotic driver who enjoys killing women.. up until he meets his match. This one is *slightly* less action-oriented, sporting some of that quintessential Tarantino dialogue. However, it also features a 30-minute long car chase scene that is simply intense. A great movie with a killer plot (pun!) and a fun time.


Good lord is this a good one. GO SEE THIS MOVIE, NOW! It's that good. Rodriguez and Tarantino successfully assemble a fantastic atmosphere that grabs you from the start and never lets go. It's also incredibly irreverent (mostly by not taking itself too seriously) and damn funny. Everyone in the theater was laughing and enjoying the ride. For that's what this truly is - a ride. You become a passenger through the twisted talents of two fantastic directors and a host of wonderful actors and actresses. They nailed it dead on. Just sit back and experience it. It may be long but you'll love every minute of it. I can say with no reserve that this one is about as perfect as you get for the goal (B-movie-esque "Grindhouse" flicks). I can't recommend it enough. Go see it.

3 Movies & 1 Play In Short

But not necessarily in that order.

Happiness (link): The official line in one sentence - "Three middle-class New Jersey sisters all have their problems with their families and sex lives." This movie is messed up. One can guess that the main topic is "happiness" and how different people seek it in different manners. And when I say different, I mean very different. To wit, Pilip Seymour Hoffman is an obscene phone caller and Dylan Baker is a psychiatrist and a pedophile. Yeah, not for the faint of heart. I thought it was "okay" at best. Just a bit too messed up for me - so much so that you lose the direction (of the film) for the unsavory details (like the pedophile).

L4yer Cake (link): I bought and watched this one because it stars 007 himself, Daniel Craig. Don't make the same mistake I did. First off, this is a British flick, and I don't mean "British" like Lock Stock or Snatch where you can still understand the dialogue. To put it bluntly - I turned on the English subtitles and I needed them. Second, the plot is convoluted and confusing. Granted, I probably lost a bit since I only turned on the subtitles 1/3-1/2 of the way through, but even so it was not clear. I suspect it could have been a good movie with an interesting plot if only the dialogue and plot were clearer. Clearly this is not a ringing endorsement.

"Doubt" (link): Saw it at the Schubert Theatre in New Haven courtesy of movie.girl. Stars Cherry Jones in the lead role. The official line:
Set against the backdrop of a Catholic school in 1964, DOUBT is the story of a strong-minded woman faced with a difficult decision. Should she voice concerns about one of her male colleagues...even if she's not entirely certain of the truth? The play examines the line between gossip and truth, discipline and compassion, certainty and doubt.
I thought it was an excellent performance of a truly interesting work. There was no definitive point of view or answer espoused. Everything was very ambiguous, lending to the overall theme of doubt. There were so many good subtopics and quotations. An excellent play that certainly got me thinking about doubt and uncertainty. I highly recommend it if you get the chance.

Little Miss Sunshine (link): Wow. I liked this one. The plot is really just to hold together collective observances of a very dysfunctional family. But it works. It works really well. If you like thinly-plotted movies that give you a glimpse of imperfect people in odd situations... well, granted that's an odd preference for movies, but it describes this one fairly well. It's worth seeing if you at least occasionally watch movies that critics also enjoy.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Today, I feel increasingly restless. I don't want to sit in my chair, pouring over a patent application. I want to be... somewhere else doing something else.

Furthermore, I want to be somewhere and do something this weekend, at least on Saturday. No real reason other than an unquantifiable drive. I had thought that movie.girl and I might meet up on Saturday (as the day holds some significance for her) but I am told, via an e-mail, that this will not occur.

Which leads to further restlessness since, if I cannot rendezvous with movie.girl, perhaps there is another friend I might be able to call up and meet up with instead? But... there isn't. I'm either (a) not that close with some of my friends (i.e., close enough to call them up on a whim and meet up for something in the extremely near future), or (b) any such close friends are of a distance away (i.e., greater than 1-2 hours and/or costing more than $20 in transportation) that such an impromptu rendezvous is impractical.

In other words, I don't have any good friends who live close by. Movie.girl is about as close as it gets for impromptu and that's 45-60 min. from here. The Lawless one is more like 2-2.5 hours. I s'pose I could try LT et al. but I've only met up with them once since law school and I've always generally considered them to have active (i.e., filled) weekends, whether true in fact or not.

Clearly, I'm also feeling verbose.

I know I should: (a) pick someplace to go and go there, all else be damned; or (b) pick something to go see, all else be damned. I'd prefer not to spend too much money as that will be an issue this year, what with the 3 weddings to attend and two trips to Michigan. Similarly, I'd prefer not to go shopping (e.g., book shopping... again). If I don't go anywhere or do anything, I'll likely end up engrossed in a computer game or movie or such in order to preoccupy myself. I'd rather that not become the entirety of my weekend.

So, what to do? What to do...

ADDENDUM: Under the above view, my habits regarding movies, books, computer games and action figures could be seen as attempts to preoccupy myself at least partially due to a lack of personal interaction with friends. Granted, sometimes this is entirely reasonable and just, for example, on weeknights when there really isn't much time to go gallivanting around. However, sometimes these habits simply serve as escapes from an otherwise inactive reality. Today, and this weekend, feel exactly like that. [3:17 PM]

ADDENDUM II: Okay, I'm feeling a little bit better and a helluva lot less emo. I blame a temporary chemical imbalance induced by Passover and too much work. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Still not sure what I'm going to do this weekend (run away and join a monastery, perhaps?), but at least it feels a little less urgent. [5:51 PM]

Employment Love/Hate

Some days, I love my job. Last week and the week before that, I spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how an invention works and expanding on the disclosure. It got to the point where I derived a new formula (an equation) that will be included in the application. It was fun! I understood everything and had the opportunity to play around with it and further explore interactions.

Some days, I hate my job. I have two "urgent" cases, both requiring intensive reading and comprehension before I can make proposals. Each file will take at least 1-2 hours in background preparation before I can start considering what we need to do. Both also require additional background learning relating to the subject matter. Neither file is particularly fun.

The "love" days are much rarer than the "hate" days. If it weren't for the facts that (a) I can stand doing my job; (b) I'm actually pretty good at doing my job; and (c) it pays damn well, I would probably really dislike doing what I do. Even so, it's not always a picnic. And this is why I sometimes wonder if this is what I'm going to end up doing indefinitely, for my career (so to speak).

More With Movie.girl

Well, on Monday night, during a lull in the after-dinner Passover Seder festivities, movie.girl called me and invited me to a play on Wednesday night at the Schubert theatre in New Haven. (She had purchased the tickets far in advance at a nice discount.) A review of the play ("Doubt") is forthcoming (at some point).

After the play, we sat in a nearby restaurant, drinking beer and coffee and talking at great length. Incidentally, at that time I reminded her of my blog so she may very well be reading this. (If so, hello!)

It's always a bit odd, movie.girl and I. We both share a similar taste and interest in movies. We get along incredibly well. It's always been such a weird kind of thing, truly. We can talk about anything and everything excepting a small portion of truth (i.e., anything "us"-related). And I always enjoy time spent together. Always.

I am somewhat hesitant to relate any further specifics regarding either our topics of conversation or my impressions and thoughts relating to movie.girl (at least based on the above reminder). I think it will suffice, for the moment and the here, to observe that she is a very good friend of mine – one of those people who I can lose touch with for a while then reconnect with no sense of discomfort or disconnect. It's a quality I only find in my truest of friends, the ones who know me (the real me) better than most.