This is just awesome
This picture of Rem Koolhaas’ Mandarin Hotel going up in flames a couple days ago really resonates with me. The hotel was part of Beijing’s hyper-modern CCTV complex of building, including that crazy looking building next door.
It is a picture straight out of Blade Runner, a film that almost single handedly changed science fiction and our vision of the future. And now that future is here with us, and going up in flames.
It is interesting to note that the photo in the New York Times story holds none of this haunting resonance. It’s just a couple people laughing at a building burning down.
Always liked this commercial from Nike.
Hope you do too.
Last week we took Lorelei to the movies for the first time. No it wasn’t some kiddy movie, we saw 21, a rather boring film about card counters and gambling casinos. Kevin Spacey phoned in his performance, the young stars were a loathsome bunch, and I’m not exactly what Larry Fishburne was doing besides collecting a paycheck. Bleh.
Monday I rented a passel of videos. Monday night we watched Things We Lost In The Fire. Very good movie, powerful and depressing. Two thumbs up.
Last night we watched I Am Legend and Into The Wild. I Am Legend was okay. Funny how realistic yet fake the desolation of Manhattan seemed. And those vampire/zombies. Phony baloney. But not that bad for a blockbuster movie.
Into The Wild was very nice. I enjoyed it. I read Krakauer’s Outside article back in 19-forgotten, and the “Into the Wild” follow up book. Great movie. Great photography. Great music by Eddie Vedder. Cool. Check out this movie.
Tonight – well I will let you know.
One thing I’ve discovered while feeding the baby in the early morning hours; television sucks at 4:00 am. No surprise there. An endless succession of infomercials and bad reruns populates the cable netherworld at those hours.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover something that I never really thought about before. Seems like the major networks are putting their programs up on the web these days. And not just clips or highlights – entire episodes are available to watch, commercial free. And some even sport entire seasons and even multiple seasons. I guess it’s time to finally watch Lost. And Heroes. I’m currently working through a show I’d never even heard about until last week. It’s a post apocalyptic show called Jericho, sort of in the vein of The Day After miniseries. A town in Kansas survives a nuclear attack and the troubles that appear afterwards, from disease and fire to out of control armed government contractors (a la Blackwater). I find it amazing the lengths networks will go to in their efforts to keep stuff off Youtube. Hats off to them though, it’s perfect for a geek with broadband and sporadic television watching habits.
Four dogs belonging to actor Ving Rhames were impounded yesterday after police discovered the mauled body of Rhames’ live-in caretaker on the front lawn of his California home. Rhames was not in the country at the time.
These were not the family’s golden retriever. Police rounded up three bull mastiffs and a bulldog from the premises. Rhames gave an interview in 1999 were he discussed his love of dogs and his mastiffs in particular.
Taliea and I went to the movies on Thursday. We saw Ratatouille. And it is really good. Go see it folks, I give it two thumbs up!
Though that climactic scene with all the rats in the kitchen made my skin crawl…
My buddy Walt sent along a link to a Los Angeles Time article on the Max Havoc fiasco, featuring an interview with Ralph Coon, Congressman Bob Underwood, Senator Ben Pangelinan, producer John Laing and director Albert Pyun.
It just amazes me that elected officials on Guam were that gullible, though I really enjoy the quote from Laing about Felix Camacho staring down Carmen Electra’s dress and muttering something about how that’s Hollywood.
The saga continues around this crummy film:
A California judge ruled this week that John Laing’s lawsuit against GovGuam, Gerry Perez and GEDCA should not be heard in California, saying that a Guam court has more jurisdiction over the case.
GovGuam is suing Laing, Laing is suing GovGuam, and the terrible movie still sucks.
If you read this blog, and you like it; then go drop what you are doing and go see Children of Men right now. It is a powerful movie, one that goes a lot deeper than the usual suspense thriller or dystopian futuristic movie. I’m not going to go into praising it; plenty of people around the interweb more skilled in versification than I have done so already. But I have to say it was really cool. The scene where Theo (not an accidental name, by the way) pays a visit to the upper class enclave is just haunting. First time I’ve ever heard King Crimson in a movie score before too. And there was a goddamn Pigs on the Wing hanging over the Thames at the end of the scene. Now that’s my kind of dystopia. It is a bleak, harrowing movie that I need to see again.
I promised a listing of memorable movies, books and music from the past year. So here’s ten movies I found interesting or enjoyable.
- Akeelah and the Bee – Yeah, I think it was that good. An uplifting and enjoyable movie about spelling bees and kids learning valuable life lessons. Nothing wrong with that.
- Casino Royale – Finally a gritty, nastier Bond. It was a little too long, but it certainly kicked ass. After years with the effete Remington Steele guy, the new Bond actually looked like he could do some serious harm to people.
- The Proposition – A grisly and gripping drama of the Australian outback.
- Borat – Man, an ass whooping on America. He pretty much skewers everyone and everything about America in this picture. And that bare ass wrestling scene made me almost piss my pants it was so funny.
- The Fountain – Pretty much incomprehensible to most folks, and it ultimately sucked, but I did enjoy most of it and the ideas it broached.
- The Illusionist – A mystery, a romance, and magical, murderous plot. I found this movie completely enjoyable, much like a good heist film. I knew what would happen, but it was cool watching it all come together by the end.
- Dave Chapelle’s Block Party – Dave Chapelle is cool. This documentary/concert movie is cool. The music is cool. I wish I was that cool.
- An Inconvenient Truth – So the world’s melting. Al Gore makes his case over and over again.
Whoops. That ain’t ten movies. Guess it wasn’t exactly a banner year for films. And I didn’t go to very many movies this year.
And of course a list that needs no introduction, the crummiest movies I saw all year:
- The DaVinci Code – zzzzzzz
- X-Men III – Loud, stupid, summertime sequel crap.
- The Fountain – yeah I know I said it was good. But the end really sucked, especially when all the creamy white goo spurted from the tree of life. That was just ridiculous.
- V for Vendetta – pendantic, and far too self important for an action movie.
- Inside Man – I’m starting to loathe Denzel Washington as much as Tom Cruise and Nick Cage.
- Crank – this just sucked. Absolutely the worst film I actually paid to see all year.
I seriously think this is every movie I saw this year, including a couple I caught on DVD because they never made it to Guam.
- I won a free tank of gas today! How cool is that? Thanks Hit Radio 100 and 76 gas stations. Saved me $45 this afternoon. I only wish I’d filled it up with the super unleaded.
- This is good for a chuckle or two; Yeti@Home. I especially like the bit about “Download Version 1.00 of YETI@Home for: Windows, BeOs, OS2, Linux, Amiga Workbench, Atari ST, Altair, TRS-80, Vectrex, Babbage’s Difference Engine, Palm Pilot, Sega Genesis and Timex Indiglo (sorry, not available for Macintosh).”
- I went to see Clerks II yesterday. It was crude, pretty stupid, and gut busting funny. Here’s a review from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family website. It makes me pine for the good old days and the wonderfully succinct movie reviews in the Catholic newspaper we received, Pink Panther – MORTAL SIN, Star Wars – CONDEMNED, The Exorcist – oh yeah, CONDEMNED.
- As far as condemned movies go, I watched Corpse Bride a couple nights ago. It was quite enjoyable. Tim Burton is a twisted genius who needs to make more puppet movies.
- What is this, a real life Da Vinci Code? The body of one of a powerful member of Opus Dei movement has been found under a bridge in Italy, mutilated and badly beaten. Gianmario Roveraro disappeared two weeks ago after a meeting of his local branch of Opus Dei and was reportedly being held for a €1 million ransom.
- Saturday’s paddle was a real Marlin Perkins kind of morning. We paddled north past Two Lover’s and met a pod of dolphins off Tanguisson. They played and swam with us for a half hour as we worked our way northward, and it was magical.
- Speaking of the ocean, the large swells made me think again about using all that wave energy to generate electricity. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg over at Sustainablog is thinking along those same lines. Using the ocean to generate power is a tempting idea, but it will require lots more research before anything viable is attempted. The power in those swells though, if we could harness that for our needs.
So I was pleasantly surprised to hear that money really doesn’t buy happiness, since it looks like I will never be making the big bucks because I started working during a recession. Poor me, thinking that hard work and honest effort were their own rewards. Guess I’ll always be a Slacker…
Speaking of that seminal movie, Salon has a nice write up about the movie and how well it has withstood the test of time after 15 years. Richard Linklater has gone on to other things, but he still has a soft spot for the disaffected and unemployed. The long delayed A Scanner Darkly opens this week in limited release, and I’m looking forward to it. Of course it is the quintessential type of movie that never plays on Guam. But there’s always video; and Slacker is available on DVD now too. Cool.
Yes, I am still alive.
I’ve gotten more than a few comments and emails about where I’ve been. Just fell off the horse for a couple weeks there. A combination of factors really; been really busy at work, my free time is suddenly very busy, I lacked the desire to post anything worthwhile, and I got involved in reading a couple books that left me rather depressed. Let’s tackle all these points and get everybody up to speed.
Work has been busy and it is burning me out. Since last summer I have been essentially alone in my analyst position at work. The other guy moved off island last August and my workload basically doubled at the worst possible time. We hired a replacement in late October, but it took him a couple months to get him up to speed. Right about the time he started getting useful he got offered a federal job and left. That was four months ago now, and it is starting to look like we just aren’t going to fill that position. I’m getting burnt out, deadlines are slipping yadda yadda yadda. Nobody wants to hear me bitch and whine so I’ll just shut up about that.
Let me point out I took today off, the first day off I’ve had since last August. The lure off a four day weekend was irresistible – and I still went into the office for three hours yesterday to run some jobs. Gaah!
At least my second excuse is for a positive reason; I’ve been paddling canoes again. I might have mentioned it before, but yes I am paddling again and it is great to be back in the canoe. I love it, I love everything about it, the workout, the team spirit, the communion with the water, the swell of the waves, the whole canoe culture appeals to me. I wonder why I stopped paddling back in 2002? Oh yeah, now I remember. Those damn typhoons. Anyway, I’m paddling just about everyday now. Mornings, evenings, and weekends are spent out on the water and I am finding it a panacea for my work related stress.
As for blogging though, I am afraid I am suffering through a patch of ennui. I’ve been doing this for several years now and I sometimes feel like I’ve done all I can achieve with blogging. A short story here, some pictures there, a couple links to interesting or oddball stories. I mean, this starts to bore me sometimes. How many photos from Cassini taking pictures at Saturn can I post? Perhaps I need to rethink what I’m trying to do here, refocus my energies towards a different direction. I dunno, I need to think about it some more I guess.
Lastly, I fell into a bout of depression while reading through a couple books and watching some movies. Let me say, On the Beach by Nevil Shute is an astoundingly sad novel. And to follow it up with 1984 was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, they are both very good, well written, and vitally important novels (especially 1984 – God it is a harrowing blueprint for our society) but they are both complete downers. And to follow up my reading with a couple movies like La Grande Illusion and Syriana… Let’s just say I watched Dave Chapelle’s Block Party last night and it was a breath of fresh air to watch something so infectiously joyful and full of life. I think I need to read some lighthearted summertime fair too, maybe Finnegan’s Wake?
Well at any rate, I am back to blogging and I will start posting up my usual links and photos shortly. Right now however, I am going for a hike on my day off.
It’s been a long, long while since I mentioned any movies on this sight so I thought I’d post a little bit on some recent movies I watched at home and on DVD:
- The DaVinci Code – Yes, I broke down and went to see this movie last Friday. What can I say? It was just as silly as the book, albino killer monks for crying out loud. I guess some people will like it, but it seemed like a spiritless enterprise to me. Tom Hanks was wooden, Audrey Tautau looked embarrassed, and Jean Reno was completely wasted. Find all that talk of Knights Templar and the Holy Grail fascinating? Then read Umberto Eco’s marvelous novel Foucault’s Pendulum instead.
- Domino – A bloody, incoherent, violent train wreck of a movie. Didn’t make much sense, but it looked like everybody enjoyed making it. I honestly thought Mickey Rourke was dead like a decade ago, and this movie did nothing to dispel that notion. The way he shambled around on screen I expected him to start moaning “Brains, brains” at any moment.
- 2046 – ‘One of these three is not like the others…’ A beautifully sad, poignant film, mesmerizing and rapturously shot. It is a series of love stories revolving around one man and 2046; a room, a year, a memory, a destination, and ultimately one fascinating movie. It takes a second viewing and knowledge of In the Mood for Love, Kar Wai Wong’s previous movie, to piece together this tesseract of a film.