Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Unworthy Filmgoers

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If I had the authority, I would have kicked out the two people sitting behind me in I Am Legend before the movie ever started. Not because they were talkative, which was annoying enough, but because they didn't deserve to be there. Their film ignorance was shown to be enormous during the Dark Knight trailer.

Guy 1: There's a new Batman movie? Didn't Jim Carrey play the Joker?

Guy 2: No, that was the Riddler.

Guy 1: Oh, who played the Joker?

Guy 2: I don't know.

It's bad enough to not even know there's a new Batman movie coming out, but to not remember who played the Joker in 1989?! Alright guys, I'll give you a clue, since you're clearly clueless.

Also, you're both banned from seeing any movie not involving

Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay (Sick to my stomach over a remake of The Birds. Remember Gus van Sant's Psycho?! Apparently not.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What?! (DVD Edition)

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The packaging of multiple movies together at a low price is out of hand.
Fargo + Raising Arizona makes sense. Same directors.
This, however makes me want to slap the collective MGM marketing department.

I have to question if any of them have actually seen either of these movies. Honestly, what's the connection here? Money?

This one I found in Target. Apparently the newest trend in DVD packaging, promoting your movie in 2D!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I love a good documentary film. Editing together a coherent story culled from hundreds of hours of footage must take a lot more patience, and in some ways, perhaps even greater skill than a scripted story. I just finished watching "Comedian" for the second time since it was released on DVD several years ago. There are moments in the film that capture Seinfeld at his most vulnerable (professionally, anyway.) "Comedian" falls into the first of what I think would be one of really only three categories for documentaries. The well known, the obscure, and Ken Burns who really shouldn't need an explanation, so skip it.

The well known would be things (or people) like Seinfeld of course, 9/11, the Apollo Program, Trekkies (although there is a lot of the obscure in that one). The obscure: American Movie, Paper Clips, The King of Kong.

Recently, though, there seems to be an unlikely subcategory of documentary (no, not global warming). The web site. Granted, I've only come up with two, but I'm confident there will be more to come.
24 Hours on Craigslist, the site for which had a banner ad for:
Truth in Numbers: The wikipedia Story

As absurd as either one of those sound, the absurdity just makes me want to see them more.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Strange Dream

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Let me preface my dream by talking about a few things that happened before I went to bed last night. One is that someone asked me what is my favorite movie (Back to the Future).

Another is that I watched this:

Not completely sure how that plays in, but I'm sure it does. Anyway, last month there was a concert where the Honolulu Orchestra performed a LOST Symphony, and between songs Terry O'Quinn spoke (I think he read from a fictional diary or something.) Anyway, mash that all together and you end up with my dream, I guess.

In the dream someone was performing a musical tribute to Back the Future similar to that of LOST, but different celebrities were coming out between songs instead of just one. The particular one in my dream happened to be Matthew Fox from LOST, and he was wearing studded red leather jacket similar to what Michael Jackson might have worn in 1985. Since Back the Future came out in 1985, and is an important year within the movie, it made sense to be wearing the jacket. What I realized later is that he was being even more clever than I could have imagined. Michael Jackson.....Michael J....Matthew Fox....Michael J. Fox.

Either my subconscious is a lot more clever than me or it's just a crazy dream coincidence.

Answer: YES!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Return of the American Western?

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Is the American Western making a comeback? Perhaps it's just perception, for two big westerns released close to the same time does not a comeback make. However, I saw 3:10 to Yuma today, and I'm excited to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford as soon as it gets a wide release (Roger Deakins is about the only person who can interest me in a movie just by being the Director of Photography).

As far as 3:10 is concerned, it's a remake of (or at least shares the same Elmore Leonard short story for source material with) the 1957 film of the same name. Even having seen the trailer, there were some pleasant cast surprises in the film, namely Alan Tudyk, Peter Fonda, and Luke Wilson. And like all the good westerns of the 50s and 60s (okay, probably not), the leads are fleshed out by a Kiwi and a Brit (that's Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, if you happen to live under a rock, Batman vs. Gladiator.)

In the interest of keeping this short, 3:10 is a great mix of the old-style western and modern movie sensibilities. All is not black and white, although it starts off down that road. It's rated R for good reason. It's very violent and bloody. Although it's not shot by Roger Deakins, Phedon Papamicheal (The Pursuit of Happyness) can do no wrong with the various New Mexico locations as a backdrop. The story draws in the viewer from the first 30 seconds and never allows time for his mind to wander after that. The only 2 things that even reminded me I was watching a movie were a couple of minor continuity errors where the editor chose a take on a long shot that showed two men operating the gatling gun after one had already been shot off the coach, and another where snow appears on a slope after having not been there seconds earlier.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

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There are three "events" (that word isn't nearly large enough to contain them) of the 20th century that I find interesting enough to justify reading entire books on them. The Wright Brothers, World War II, and the Apollo program. We are lucky enough to have a movie theater here that specializes in films that the brand-name cinema chains won't carry. Although there are still movies that never make it to any theater in this part of the country...or at least state, this particular one has shown a couple of must-see films lately. Once and In the Shadow of the Moon.

I got to see the latter film on Thursday and it's easily better than anything showing at the cineplex right now. The story of the Apollo program is told in the words of those who are most passionate about it, the men who lived, worked, ate, slept, and even drove (or as Buzz Aldrin claims, was the first to urinate) on the moon for three days of their lives.

The film is a combination of historical footage, from the Apollo program and earlier, and new interviews with some of the 24 men to have orbited the moon (12 walked on the surface, of which 10 survive). For anyone who hasn't read a few books on the topic (and wasn't around to live through it), this is the movie to see if you want to know how things really were when, as the tagline says, "The whole world looked up." With only 100 minutes to tell the story of 9 flights to the moon, and how we got to that point, there's never a dull moment. These were men on a mission, but the awesomeness of what they did was not lost on them. Even 38 years after the fact, Alan Bean continues to try to convey what it was like to go the moon through his art, my favorite of which is this:

All the footage is real, nothing recreated digitally. Sitting there watching the gigantic Atlas V rocket lift off in slow motion, even in a modest sized theater, if it doesn't bring a lump to your throat with an appreciation of watching history, you may want to check your pulse. These people put men on the moon with less computing power than I have sitting next to my left foot. Apollo 11 even overloaded the memory available in the lunar lander. All the biggest moments from the time are there, Walter Cronkite, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 13. (For some of the best Apollo stories, though, a different source will be necessary. Either the book A Man on the Moon or the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon is a good start. For example, what did the 3rd man on the moon, Pete Conrad say as he stepped off the ladder? "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me.")

As one of the astronauts put it, "One day we were test pilots. The next we were American heroes...and we hadn't even done anything yet." As far as I can tell, that's the last time we really had such as a thing as an American hero at all (except maybe Batman ). No more ticker tape parades, or a million people in East central Florida trying to find a place to watch history happen. In the Shadow the Moon is a chronicle of another era, and I look forward to see the DVD on my shelf next to From the Earth the Moon, For All Mankind, and Nova's To the Moon, and Apollo 13.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Batman doesn’t hang out with Superman

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I was recently reading an article in The Times UK online that listed their "top" movie-adapted comic book characters. They listed Batman way too low, but that's a different matter. The Batman section of the article mentioned the possibility of placing Batman in either a Justice League or Batman/Superman movie. The article was against it while Nolan/Bale are going strong with the franchise, but it's a bad idea altogether, even if there is no other Batman movie in the works.

Batman is my all-time favorite comic book character, so if it sounds like I'm down on him in the first paragraph, stick with me and you'll see that I'm not.

Batman has no superpowers. How can he be a superfriend if he has no superpowers? Every other superfriend I can think of can fly, while Batman is tagging along in the Batwing. In a world that has Superman, who can physically do seemingly anything, how is there a place for Batman? Superman is an alien with superpowers attributed to exposure to our "yellow sun" as opposed to the "red sun of Krypton". (I don't really understand how they can both be referred to as suns when they're both stars, and the NAME of our star is The Sun.) The point is that there's really just no need for Batman unless he's the brains of the operation, which he very may well be. As a human, his skills have always been his brain, his money, technology, and yes, his physical prowess. But if Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne are at the same place, Superman won't need Batman's help. While it may sound like I'm arguing that Batman isn't needed...well, that's actually because I am. He isn't needed in Superman's universe, but lucky for us, he lives elsewhere.

Gotham and Metropolis are the same city...in different universes. Gotham and Metropolis are both names used for New York City. Gotham, appropriately, in the best Batman adaptations, has an emphasis on the gothic style using stone and concrete, often shown only in silhouette. (Nolan strays a bit on this point, whereas Burton probably shows it best.) Metropolis, on the other hand, is a shining beacon where all is steel and glass, bright and shiny, reflecting daylight. It's a serious stretch to suggest that these are the same city, yet they are both versions of Manhattan viewed through different lenses. One lens is blue and red, the other, black and yellow. Since Gotham and Metropolis can't co-exist as different cities in the same universe, neither can Batman and Superman.

Batman is the Dark Knight. He is and should be the versions of Batman seen since 1989 (I don't acknowledge any film made by Joel Schumacher, Batman Beyond doesn't count, and The Batman is really just how Batman would look if he were Japanese.) The dark, brooding, vigilante of the night is the reason I prefer Batman over Spiderman or...whomever. This is the Batman of Burton/Keaton, Nolan/Bale, Frank Miller, and even Timm/Conroy to an extent. This is exactly how he should be, a man alone, only Alfred knowing the whole truth. Does this Dark Knight sound like someone who teams up with friends to hang out and fight crime?

Someone knowledgeable about Batman or comics may argue that "my" Batman isn't even the real Batman. But look at the first 1939 comic. Batman was dressed in black and grey. Not blue and grey. He didn't talk like Adam West. He didn't even have Robin (who I think makes the everything a little too "Ace and Gary"). Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the 1943 or 1949 serials, but black and white actually seems like a terrific format in which to tell Batman stories...if only the Batsuit didn't look like Batman pajamas.

While there clearly is no definitive Batman, these interpretations of the Dark Knight, as opposed to 1/2 of the Dynamic Duo, is the one I want to see. A version that could have come much sooner if the 60's TV show had taken itself seriously instead of as a live-action cartoon.

What it really comes down to is a question of what's more believable, a super-rich, intelligent, martial arts student with incredible gadgets, or an alien from an exploded planet who can fly fast enough to reverse the rotation of the Earth? Yes, we in the real world would laugh at a man in a batsuit. As Bruce Wayne says, "A guy who dresses as a bat clearly has issues." But even the villains used in Batman movies are more believable than other comic book adaptations. Sure, even some of the traditional villains are a stretch, but none of the ones used in movies have required a superhuman or supernatural explanation such as Sandman or Venom...or that solar dude from Superman IV. There have been what I would consider "mistakes" in the stories created for Batman. The introduction of Batmite makes me shiver.

But I'm willing to overlook these atrocities, the completely useless character of Robin, Superfriends, Scooby Doo, Timm's Justice League and Teen Titans as long as Warner Brothers can keep Batman and Superman in the respective universes.

(Is it sad that the longest post I've written is about Batman?)

TV, Music, DVD, oh my

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NBC, having broken their relationship with Apple and iTunes, is giving away series premieres for several shows through Amazon's Unbox video service. Last night I watched Chuck and was completely caught off-guard when the last song before the credits rolled turned out to be "Missionary" by The Brothers Martin (Jason of Starflyer 59 and Ronnie of Joy Electric). I'm not aware of any significant airplay for the band, so I have no idea how the Chuck producers got ahold of the song. They've only released one album under the Martin moniker, and SF59 and JE both have relatively small, but extremely solid fanbases.

The Criterion Collection has a new DVD release of The Lady Vanishes coming out. When looking it up online, I stumbled upon a Finnish region 2 DVD release of a The Lady Vanishes remake. Keep in mind, this is a remake of a Hitchcock film (bad idea 1), but the DVD cover looked really familiar. Hitchcock also directed a movie called North by Northwest. Judge for yourself:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And I Quote...

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"[Doug] Liman says [Knight] Rider was itching to be remade because it's 'the Shakespeare of our generation'"

Entertainment Weekly issue number 958

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bud Ekins

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Random thought: As I sat today eating my home-grilled hamburger for lunch, I once again wondered, what confused person first called it that, and why no one bothered to correct him? "No sir, this one is made of beef, not pork"

One of my favorite WWII movies is The Great Escape. Probably the best known scene in the entire movie is where Steve McQueen's Virgil Hilts jumps a tall barbed wire fence on his stolen German motorcycle. And even though they let McQueen do the stunt where the motorcycle was stolen (he played the German who layed down the bike after hitting a trip wire), the production simply wouldn't let him make the jump. He was perfectly capable of making the jump, but they couldn't risk shutting down such a large overseas film production.

Enter Bud Ekins. Good friend of Steve McQueen fellow bike enthusiast, and Hollywood stuntman, including another stunt in Bullitt. The stunt certainly fooled the audience. Even in the still shot, it's hard to tell it's not McQueen.

Monday, October 1, 2007


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I really, really want to like this show. When a show is marketed at "Ed" meets "Alias", what I hear is peanut butter + chocolate. Unfortunately, the reality is more like oil + water.

Yes, the show has the quirky qualities that made Ed so watchable, except the dialogue isn't as clever, and after two episodes, it isn't really that funny, so I find myself wishing it was Thursday night instead, so I could be watching 30 Rock and The Office. The show takes itself too seriously to really go for the big laugh, or even just a really good subtle one.

"Computer nerd (herder) falls for attractive CIA agent working undercover to protect him" certainly sounds like an interesting premise, but the two sides to the show seem somehow in opposition to each other. Someone should be able to pull off a story about a guy who downloads all the government's secrets into his brain (accidentally), and keeps his day job at "Buy More", while Adam Baldwin's NSA assassin character also gets a job there to keep an eye on him. I can say, though, fairly definitively, that that person is not the "director" who calls himself "McG".

If the quirky side of the show is too serious to be funny, then the action side of the show is too slapstick to be taken seriously. Despite blatantly borrowing musical themes from sources such as the Bourne series, the action sequences lack the gravitas required for us to believe there's any real danger to the characters. It really sits on the border of being a parody of an action show more than anything else.

Unfortunately, the best thing I can say about tonight's episode is that one of the secrets apparently stored in Chuck's brain is that "Oceanic flight 815 was shot down by [indistinguishable]." If you don't get it, then you won't care anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

That’s crazy!

Decisions, decisions....


Congratulations, you are the grand prize winner in one of our summer promotions – the Trade or Buy Summer Sweepstakes! As your prize, you can choose to receive either a new iPhone (8GB) or 50 new CDs of music!

In a few days, you will receive via mail an envelope from lala.com. To claim your prize, please complete the declaration of eligibility in the package and return it using the self-addressed, stamped envelope enclosed. Also, please reply to this email and let me know if it's ok to recognize you as the winner on the lala.com site.

Once I receive your declaration of eligibility, I'll also be in touch via email to confirm your prize selection. If you choose to receive the 50 new CDs, you may want to start compiling your list now, along with a few alternates in the event that any are not in stock. Please note that the CDs must all be available for sale on lala.com, and the total price of the CDs cannot exceed $599.

Thanks for trading and buying on lala.com!


Valerie Cousineau


Monday, September 17, 2007

Oktoberfest and belt buckles

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Why is it considered acceptable to misspell October just because the suffix "-fest" has been added on to it?

I was watching series premiere of (the soon to be forgotten) Big Bang Theory and one of the many nerd characters was actually wearing this:

Now, I'm thinking that between this nerd belt-buckle "fad"(?) and using it for things like this, the controllers are going to be in short supply and high demand at some point. Someone, somewhere is going to decide that they want to get into some retro video gaming, and not be able to find any controllers to use with the NES because they're all busy holding up people's pants. Also, this is a really bad idea:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This is where I came in...

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Some should really write a book on the origin of certain phrases in the English language (and I'm including British English here as well. "Bob's Your Uncle"?)

I think my favorite story behind a given phrase is the now less-used phrase, "This is where I came in." Someone may use that phrase just before leaving a room, and it's not referring to the door they walked through in order to enter.

Before the 1960 theatrical debut of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, theaters didn't sell tickets for a certain movie for a certain time. They just sold tickets to the movie, then people could go in and leave whenever they wanted. So it was almost assured that a ticket-holder would walk in sometime during the movie, which would result in seeing the ending of the movie before the beginning. Once the movie got back around to a scene they recognized..."This is where I came in"...and time to leave.
Of course this ruins any movie that is intended to have a surprise ending, thus:

Was I the only person not aware that they are now building usb ports directing into computer monitors?

I found a couple of pretty interesting bands yesterday. One calls herself ComputeHer, and she plays in another band called 8 Bit Weapon. They both use 8-bit sounds from sources such as NES, Gameboy, Commodore 64, toy keyboards, and laptop drum pads to write original music. (One game specifically mentioned was Burger Time.) Anyway, the most interesting part about their 2 latest releases is the packaging. Hand-crafted CD "cases" built from 5 1/4" floppy discs (with the magnetic discs still inside).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pigeon Monkey (that’s really all I could come up with this time)

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It's impossible for me to not post this. The picture just about begs to be the setup for a punchline.


The abandoned monkey who has found love with a pigeon

13 September 2007

They're an odd couple in every sense but a monkey and a pigeon have become inseparable at an animal sanctuary in China.

The 12-week-old macaque - who was abandoned by his mother - was close to death when it was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province.

After being taken to an animal hospital his health began to improve but he seemed spiritless - until he developed a friendship with a white pigeon.

The blossoming relationship helped to revive the macaque who has developed a new lease of life, say staff at the sanctuary.

Now the unlikely duo are never far from each other's side, but they aren't the only ones to strike up an unusual friendship.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Get a Clue

I don't think I've seen the movie Clue since I was a kid, but I've recently had a desire to watch it again. ($6.08 at DeepDiscount, but free at the library.) There are lots of board games based on movies or TV shows, but I can't think of any other movie based on a board game. (There was never a Monopoly movie was there?)

All the Clue characters are so completely over the top. And forever stuck in my mind is the girl singing, "I am your singing telegram." BANG! She's shot dead right on the step of the front door.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Take Two

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Well, my recent blog certainly sparked a bit of discussion from the masses (okay, well at least two, but not all responses were posted as public comments).

One response came from 1/2 of a married couple who wrote that they almost exclusively hang out with single people. Fair enough.

First I want to clarify that my comments are generalities and readers should not make any attempt to apply said comments to anyone within my circle of friends and/or acquaintances. It's possible the exceptions outnumber the rule in this case. One situation sure to give rise to an exception is when the single person has been friends with one of the two married people since well before they got married. But I would see it as difficult to get to be good friends with a couple I'd never met before they were married.

Some of my frustration also comes from sitting through 3 weeks of sermons on marriage at church last month. They have marriage classes and marriage counseling and marriage sermons, but there is nothing devoted to singles (and having "singles" events in churches seems like social happenings designed to get the singles together so that some of them might become couples).

Also, some of the previous post was intended to humorous. I always question what will translate well across the webernet. Some things make sense inside my brain better than they might when written, resulting in, "I had to read one of the sentences in your first paragraph a couple of times before I understood what you were saying." Such is the challenge of impersonal communication. How does one communicate sarcasm without having "tone of voice" at one's disposal? Emoticons? I don't even know which one that would be, but I don't think it's this one: . I'm pretty sure that has something to with a horrible car wreck involving the top of the car being sheared off as it plowed under the 16-wheeler.

Completely unrelated:

Could "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" be the best movie title of all time?

If anyone has lots of spare time, spare crayons, a knife, and incredible patience (talent should go without saying)...

Friday, September 7, 2007


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"High School Musical 2" debuted on Disney Channel on August 17 to a record-shattering audience of 17.2 million viewers to become the most-watched individual program in cable TV history.



Thursday, September 6, 2007

Flying Solo

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So for the past year I've been on the road to single-ness (end it already!) and one thing has become painfully obvious to me.

Unlike a year ago, I'm content to be single. What I have the problem with is the couple-centric culture. A society that acts like there's no room for a single person. Think about it. If a couple goes out to dinner, who do they invite to go with them? A single person? Even two single people who they clearly are not trying to fix up together? No, it's another couple, unless they're playing matchmaker. Movies, books, TV, music, all about couples. Even the media devoted to following the people creating these forms of entertainment are only interested in one thing. Who's hooking up with whom? By the culture's standards, everyone should be in a relationship, coming out of one, going into one, or looking for a new one, or else there's something wrong with them. "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

My dad is always printing stuff off of the interwebertubes to send to people in his prison ministry (and he wonders why he's always out of ink.) Well, he decided to print me something about "moving on." Okay...I was pretty sure I'd been "moved on" since last year. But one of last things on this list talked about dating. So when he asked me about what he'd printed I told him it didn't apply because I'd already moved on, and have no intention of dating. He said "Why? God created Eve for Adam."

Yeah, look how well that worked out for him. He's got this genetically perfect woman with whom he's spending all of his time...and she doesn't own any clothes, so this guy's definitely not thinking with his brain. In fact, his brain isn't even turned on. So he can hardly be blamed when she comes up to him and tells him to eat something. And what does he get for listening to her? He loses his home and job. And women wonder why we don't listen. Well, at least now you know when we stopped.

Friday, August 31, 2007


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Last week I posted about the hopeless impossibility of keeping up with the output of quality movies, books, music, and next month, TV (curse you NBC and your claim on my Monday and Thursday nights!) And that doesn't even take into account all the great films, literature, and music from before I was even born (another under-represented person in my past movie watching has to be Capra, which fits perfectly with my actor from last week, Stewart.)
I found a quote from an article called "Time Crunch" that puts things into perspective.

"I calculated it would take me 14 years to read all the books, watch all the videos and listen to all the music in our home library - 15 if I include our eight-track tapes.

"As I decluttered, I thought of several time-saving changes we need - projects for those of you with free time. [One being to] beg entertainers to stop being so entertaining. It would be easy to quit watching LOST if they quit producing it."

-Erik Johnson

To state the obvious, this whole topic is really just about prioritizing what's important. Is watching a hundred movies from a list, or finally being caught up on all the books I own so I don't feel bad about checking others out from the library really all that important? Of course not, so why does it feel like I'm missing out if I haven't seen a given film? And then, if I watch a film and really like, I'll just feel the need to spend money on the DVD, so then it becomes, "When will I ever have time to watch this one again?" Lately my rewatches have been more TV shows more than anything, probably because they're shorter, and because The Office and Firefly never get old.

I just have to accept the fact that no matter picky I am with my entertainment dollars (which, between knowing someone who gets free movie tickets and getting movies from the library isn't even that much), the industry will always out pace me. And, no, I haven't made it around to watching anything by Raymond Bernard, yet. In fact I have 1 movie and a TV show checked out from the library.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Consuming Entertainment

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Yesterday I received a free credit card "reward" $25 Borders gift card in the mail. So of course the first thing I did was start to browse through my wish list to see what I could get while paying the least amount possible. I stumbled on a DVD set from Criterion that I had put on my wish list not too long ago; 394 minutes, three DVDs, two movies from the 1930's by a French director, Raymond Bernard. From everything I've read, I'm fairly certain I'll enjoy the movies (by all accounts, the most faithful adaptation of Les Miserables, and a WWI drama titled Wooden Crosses.) So the problem becomes the fact that if I do like this director, he'll become part of a long list of directors I enjoy, and whose films constitute an incredible backlog of movies I'd like to watch, even if I just watch the best ones from each. It becomes overwhelming, and sometimes a distraction from the real world, as is just looking at the stack of unread books I own.

The same goes for actors. I just picked up a sheet of Jimmy Stewart stamps at the post office today, and just looking at Amazon, there has to be 30 or more movies he was in that I'd like to see but haven't, yet.

For about 4 years I've kept a journal of every movie I've watched and book I read. Sometimes I have to step back and make sure I'm not watching something just to have one more thing to write in the journal, or to be one step closer to having seen all the movies I'd like to (which will never happen.) I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy what I consider to be an art form, and not just something to pass the time or fill a void.

Speaking of entertainment, I never cease to be amused by people walking behind their self-propelled golf bags on the golf course.

Another random thought: Do you think the people driving around in their new Mini with a UK flag on the roof know the car is made by BMW?

Finally, my newest cousin was born two days ago. His big sisters seem to have very different opinions of him. The picture tells it all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mixtape Revolution

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I doubt there are many people who still have cassette recorders, let alone still use them to make mix tapes, but this is quite a clever way to market flash drives as music sharing devices, packaged nostagically (even includes a blank track list, which is completely obsolete, given that the music files should contain tags for artist and title, and playing the songs in the order they are on the "tape" is really meaningless.) Wow. That was a long sentence.

Ironically, the same day I post this is the day I overshoot my monthly download limit from the free mp3 hosting site I've been using, so I can't even embed a song with this post. Oh well.

(Click picture to purchase)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Faster. Faster! Faster would be better!!"

As of last night I quadrupled my RAM and have an operating recordable DVD drive installed (bring on LOST: The Video Game!)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bourne Again

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Wow! At the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, viewers just need to stop and take a deep breath. Why? Because they've just spend 111 minutes forgetting to breathe. Bourne 3 is a wholly worthy conclusion to Jason Bourne's search for his past. It could arguably even be the best of the three movies, although Identity will probably always be my favorite (Franka Potente was a huge loss).

All the best elements of the other two movies are present yet again. Real chases shot in real, exotic locations. No obvious CGI is used, and some of the stunts with motorcycles and cars are truly incredible. Bourne is more clever than ever in evading his pursuers, and tracking the information he believes will free him from his past. Matt Damon proved his acting chops to the world 10 years ago as Will Hunting, and he once again shows why he deserves that respect in what will surely be his defining roles for years to come. Also, the casting of secondary roles are also terrific, including Paddy Considine as a journalist for UK's The Guardian newspaper, asking the question, "Who is Jason Bourne?", and Albert Finney, who is more of a presence than a mere actor.

Ultimatum contains a large number of references to Identity, both in recycled footage played back as memories, and in an ending that teasingly brings the trilogy full circle. (Also, a musical score that recognizable from it's very first note as unmistakable Bourne.) Yet, not every question has an answer explicitly spelled out for us. Nikki and Bourne are the only two characters to make it from the first movie into the third, but questions remain as to the exact role she played in Jason's past. This is a franchise that any fan really must hate to see end (if in fact this is it). Bourne is one of those characters that we just want to live on in some form (graphic novels?), because there will always be more questions worth exploring, as long as good writers are at the helm.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

HBO thinks Americans are stupid

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I'm enraged at HBO for Americanizing a British TV show (apparenlty before airing it and also) on DVD. They changed a (fairly vulgar) line that was funny in "English" to a very unfunny (yet equally vular) "Americanese" line. I know the line was there because I downloaded the show (Extras, season 2) just after it aired on BBC2. I didn't know it had been changed because I never saw it aired on HBO. If I had known I never would have bought the American DVD, but ordered the region 2 UK DVD. They also changed a reference to Billy Piper in conversation about Harry Potter. They replaced it with Halle Barry, which sounds nothing like Harry Potter. I feel like my DVDs are tainted. Why don't they just make Greedo shoot first while they're at it?
< /rant >

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rock Your Shoes Off

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No, I don't mean socks. Maybe it's because it was sponsored by a shoe company, but I've never seen so many shoes being thrown around, which means there were a lot of people leaving barefoot. Wait. Back up.

What? Vans Warped Tour
When? Yesterday
Where? Cincinnati Riverbend
Why? Because of the musical goodness

Straylight Run - never heard them before. Really cool, unique sound.
Underoath - never seen so many girls dropped on their heads from crowd surfing
MxPx - chick magnets, magnified plaid
Funeral for a Friend- acoustic set at the myspace tent, where there were people actually at 4 kiosks checking their myspace pages
Tiger Army- California punkabilly with upright bass
Coheed and Cambria - metal-tinged progressive rock
Bad Religion - only caught 2 songs of classic punk
The Fabulous Rudies - fairly decent ska band we saw by accident
Meg and Dia - sisters on lead guitar and vocals. Good harmonies, surprisingly heavy.
Hot Rod Circuit - emo- and pop punk-influenced rock with pedal steel guitar
Circa Survive - yes, he sounds like a girl, but the lush guitars make up for it
Amber Pacific - quality pop-punk
Paramore - only saw one song. Kind of what Avril wishes she was.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Toying with Your Emotions

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I am always impressed by a body of storytelling (usually TV or movies) that succeeds in getting the audience to root for the "bad guy", often without even realizing that they're doing so. This is something that was definitely not always present in television and film, partly because of old Hollywood's own self-policing production code, part of which read, "The sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin." I'm sure this is not the earliest incident of the director manipulating the audience into rooting for the bad guy, but the earliest that always pops into my mind is the scene in Psycho where Norman Bates is trying to get rid of Marion's body (for his mother, of course). Hitchcock saw the audience as his playthings, whose emotions were his to manipulate.

Having the audience cheering on murderers is still pretty rare (guess we can add in Dial M, The Perfect Murder, and The Sopranos), but the number of heroes, or at least anti-heroes, we see on the wrong side of the law (even if the system is corrupt) is practically endless; Han Solo, the crew of Serenity, Robin Hood, arguably Batman, The Score, Heist, The Usual Suspects, Ocean's 11 (12, 13), Three Kings, Out of Sight (what the heck, Clooney? 5 heist movies?), The Thomas Crown Affair, The Italian Job, Rififi, La Trou, A Simple Plan, maybe Fargo, the list just goes on and on, including Season 2, Episode "?" of LOST, which is what brought about this post.

Apparently stealing things is also popular for remakes, looking back at the list (Rififi is set for a 2009 remake).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Does Not Compute

Honestly, I think if my computer gets any slower, it's going to start asking me for help processing binary. This computer used to run at a decent speed. Now, 1 gig of RAM is standard, and 2 is good, which means I need to at least double the memory.

(Also, is there a way to block myself from looking at ebay? That place is worse than QVC, because there's always something on there you want.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Once, Again

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I went downtown last night and saw Once.

Thematically the movie is very similar to Brief Encounter (which I haven't watched for more than a year precisely because of the plot), or Lost in Translation. This movie could easily have turned out to be some clichéd student film if not for the music. But ultimately that doesn't matter, because this film wouldn't exist without the music, just like Moulin Rouge without music, or Lost in Translation without Tokyo. It's impossible to seperate music from the film, seeing as how much of the movie is based around the writing, performing, and recording of these very songs. The acting is very naturalistic (having musicians instead of actors in the roles), which helps create the illusion that we're actually watching a documentary, and the relationship between "Guy" and "Girl" is believable, despite the fact the Glen is about 18 years older than Markéta. It's an intense 1-week relationship. The kind that doesn't happen in real life, but neither do people dress up like bats to fight crime. That doesn't stop us from enjoying the story. I don't usually mind R-rated language, but someone it just felt wrong in this film. It felt forced, and out of place, and is really the only criticism I can make (perhaps because I know I'd like to show the movie to people when I buy that DVD who I know would be offended by it.) Everything else about the film, especially the music, was perfection.

As I mentioned, one of the biggest draws for me was the music. (The album is currenty 88 on Billboard, having peaked at 71.) The songs have already been in constant rotation for me since I first saw the movie trailer. If anything, this just made my first viewing of the film that much better. The films leads have been been playing a few dates around the U.S. under the name they first used to record, The Swell Season. If this movie and its soundtrack don't make stars out of these two, then we might as well give up on music altogether and all listen to "new country" and rap.

Not only am I now a fan of the music of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, but Hansard's band The Frames. To paraphrase a line from Serenity, "How is it there's a whole band called The Frames and ain't none of us ever heard of them?" Well, I've never heard of them anyway, but it seems most of their fans will quickly proclaim that they're the best Irish band out there. Not U2 or the Cranberries...The Frames. They are known for their incredible live shows, and a quick YouTube search will show that fans at the shows are more than just fans. They're fanatics. (There are also 3 live shows hosted at archive.org, which I haven't had a chance to listen to just yet.) Here's hoping The Frames can crack the U.S., musically, and bring their live shows with them to more than just a few cities.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eskimo Sandunes, Terminators

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Observant readers may have noted that the name of this blog page is Digital Mirrors and Eskimo Sandunes, and then immediately thought, "What the...?"

An explanation, a reflection on tragedy, a plea for help, a preview, and a rant.

In the summer of 1995 there was a song getting pretty heavy rotation on the alt. rock stations. It was titled Mighty K.C., and it was said to be about the suicide of Kurt Cobain. I thought it was a pretty good song, and I still own the CD because of the rest of the songs on the album. But I think most people have forgotten about the band and don't know the story of what happened between the recording of the album and its release. I recall hearing the song being performed live in the studio by the band that fall, but the guy singing it wasn't the same person. This couldn't have been long after the bus crash that killed the lead singer, bassist, and tour manager of the group, yet the other members tried to forge on. The last song on the album is called Eskimo Sandune. As far as digital mirrors are concerned, that's a dream I had once, and just you wait. They're going to outsell analog mirrors 2:1 before it's all said and done.

Many years ago I read about a music album by a band a can't recall with a title I don't remember. It consisted of 4 records, and the idea was that the listener could play any one of the 4 records on it's own, but if you started any 2, 3, or all 4 of the records simultaneously, the music would sync up and a whole new listening experience could be had. Does anyone know what band or album this is? I haven't been able to figure it out on my own.

Last night I watched the pilot for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I've been really excited about this TV show for quite some time. I liked the pilot, but I'm not convinced that the direction it took at the end is consistent with Terminator canon. I'm suspicious that some of the score used in the episode is recycled Bourne movie music. Anyway, the pilot episode is "out there". I won't tell you how to get it, but it you really want to see it you won't need me to.

What's the deal with billion dollar companies hijacking perfectly good pop songs and brainwashing us so that we can't listen to All Around the World on an Oasis CD without almost literally hearing a voice in our head saying, "Cingular is now the new AT&T"?! And now Luvs is changing a track from Magical Mystery Tour to "All You Need is Luvs"! Enough already.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Movie Theater Etiquette

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My first mistake is that I went to the cheap theater at all. I know better. The sound is sub-par, and too quiet. The screen image isn't as sharp as it should be, although sometimes it's in one part of the frame. I'm pretty sure the projectors need some work, and the lenses are probably dusty, and they probably never clean the projection booth window. So why even bother? Because it's $1.75.

I'm aware of the theater rules, both spoken and unspoken. Turn off your cell phone. No talking. No kicking the backs of seats. Don't sit right next to someone if a theater isn't full. However, in all my movie-going experiences, I've never run into the one where you apparently can't sit in front of someone. I like to be as close to the middle of the theater as possible (which was an issue for me at Batman Begins IMAX when I had to sit all the way to the left in a full house.) When I walk into a theater that only has one aisle right down the middle, and I'm alone, I'm only looking at the aisle seats.

There's a guy sitting 6 rows back on the aisle. I take row 4 aisle, but it's too close to the screen. So I move back to row 5 aisle. The old man in row 6 huffs, grabs his popcorn, stands up, walks to row 4, stares me down, and sits down in row 4 about 5 seats in. I know I'm tall, but it's a theater. It's not like he can't see over me. So I figure, great, even better. Now I get to sit in row 6 aisle, and I take his previous seat. So I enjoy my muffled, not-quite-focused movie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

787 rollout

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Allegedly this is the first time Boeing has had all their 7-series models lined up like this. They landed one every 10 minutes starting at 7:07. The 787 of course is not flying yet, so it's not included (looks like a modified cargo plane on the ramp, the 787 only has 2 engines.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The War

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It feels like I don't use this blog remotely the way I started out meaning to, and that I, instead, waste way too much bandwidth reposting things I've found and am excited about. Well, I won't apologize for it (okay, maybe for the headless girlfriend pillow, but that got more comments than any other blog I've done.) But this is something I'm really excited about. The top image pretty much says it all (except for the fact that it's partially narrated by Tom Hanks). Ken Burn, PBS, and 14+ hours of WWII. And not romanticized notions of war as portrayed by Stephen Spielberg, either, but the real stories told by the people who lived them.

(Saving Private Ryan was realis-tic, gritty, and in-your-face, but romanticized just the same. For the record, I happen to love that movie, as well as Band of Brothers, and I'm very much looking forward to its HBO companion piece, The Pacific.)

Back on track, the mini-series starts September 23, and the companion book will be released September 11. The DVDs are even available for pre-order from Amazon ($90 for 14 hours?! LOST will be 23 hours for less than $40).

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Introducing the new girlfriend"

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How awkward would this be--
"Mom, Dad, I'd like you to meet Headless Torso"

Back to the (35mm) Future

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It wasn't a new print, but Back to the Future has never looked...well, bigger. The scratches on the print were barely noticeable. What was noticeable were things I could never see on my small TV watching the movie on DVD. Like the fact that when Crispin Glover slammed down his chocolate milk on the counter, some of it actually splashed up onto the actor playing Lou. But he managed stayed in character with brown specs on his white frock, allowing Zemeckis to use Glover's best take.

All I want for Christmas is a movie theater. Maybe if George Lucas was my uncle...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Let absurdity reign

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I found more, and couldn't help myself:

(Is that Chris Farley?)

Jane Austen and Transformers

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You might think Jane Austen and Transformers have nothing in common...and as far as I can tell, you'd be correct. I just figured instead of two short posts, I'd put random stuff together into one.

Let's start with Transformers. I can pretty much guarantee I won't be paying to see this one, since there are about a dozen others I'd rather see first. But other than lackluster reviews, my beef is about how unrealistic the characters seem. I don't mean that I don't believe automobiles can "transform" into self-aware robots intent on destroying or saving Earth. That's all perfectly logical, but when they transform from a vehicle to a robot, it stands to reason that the robot has the same mass as the vehicle. From my rough, eyeballed estimates, the robots are twice as large as they should be, and have at least twice the mass as the vehicles they allegedly once were. For the space taken up by a vehicle in its "normal" configuration, 60-70% of that volume has to be air. Yet when these vehicles transform, they get larger and seemingly heavier (more massive.)

Whatever. Anyway, despite the fact that I rather like the following, I think that calling them action figures (as indicated on the package) is ridiculous. Aren't action figures supposed to do something? Shouldn't they be called inaction figures? Or static figures? Still, the fact that Jane Austen has been immortalized in polyvinyl is amusing to me. (I confess, I ordered Jane Austen off Ebay. Don't judge me! The woman could write. I'll probably end up with Beethoven eventually too.)

Friday, June 29, 2007

The $100,000 phone?!

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There's no way these people really plan on paying. That would just be stupid.

Refueling (C-47, F-86, B-25)

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Wright-Patt's July 4th festival is tonight. I got to help refuel an F-86 (NX188RL) and C-47 (N277GB). Also saw a B-25 and P-51 land just before I left.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Obsessions

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Ew.com has people posting their own "must-lists", so I thought I'd post my summer obsessions here, and encourage anyone else to post comments with their's.


The Glorious Unseen
The 4400
Pudding Pops
Béla Fleck and Chick Corea's The Enchantment
Criterion DVDs (The Third Man, Double Life of Veronique, La Jetee/Sans Soleil)
Veronica Mars (I watched all 3 seasons in less than a month)
Chocolate-dipped Altoids
News on The Dark Knight
Books about LOST
Seeing old movies projected on the big screen
Waiting for my Cavaliers Eastern Conference Championship hat to come in (and there's always next year.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm Batman

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Well, I'm not, but he is....
Check out the redesigned suit.
Note that he can now turn his head.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Like LOST? Like Podcasts?

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Then you'll want to read about how LOST and podcasting have been feeding off each other from the start.

Happy 40th, Sgt. Pepper

That echo-laden voice you hear counting in the middle of 'A Day in the Life?' It belongs to Beatle roadie Mal Evans, who had been asked to count the measures in a gap in the tape that eventually would contain the song's first huge orchestral buildup.

The alarm clock that precedes the "Woke up, fell out of bed" portion was nothing more than Evans' way of signaling the end of the gap.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


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Reliable sources assure me that tonight's season 3 finale is anything but predictable. Yes, it's mostly an action show as war erupts between the 815 survivors and the Others / Hostiles / immortals(?). But the last 5 minutes is said to be the biggest reveal in the history of the show and will change the way we think about LOST forever. I'm completely spoiler-free. I haven't even watched the commercials or promos this week, so everything I know is generic and second hand. The only thing I'm sure about is that people will die. But after tonight, there's no turning back. Drink the Kool-Aid.

Here are some anti-spoilers from ew.com as written by Damon Lindelof. Everything in brackets is mine in case anyone doesn't get the references.


5. Rose quietly snuffing the life out of Bernard by holding his nostrils closed while looking distractedly at Aaron's car seat. [The Sopranos]

4. Hurley feeling a great disturbance in the Force (''as if many voices cried out and were suddenly silent'') because his cousin back in Valencia, Calif., was blown up in a nuclear explosion and no one seemed to give a crud. [Star Wars: A New Hope...duh.]

3. Kate and Juliet doing each other's hair and nicknaming Jack ''McIntensey'' and Sawyer ''McMurderedTheManWhoConnedHisParentsy.'' [Grey's Anatomy]

2. A character travelling back in time to warn all the other characters to do something, but by doing that something, they prevent a future that might have happened but never did had the character not travelled back in time, thus negating the entire reason behind everything. [Déjà Vu]

1. Sanjaya. [American Idol]

What a week...

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Last Saturday was my 6th Anniversary. The second one I've spent alone, and the first since the separation. Sunday was my birthday. (Tonight is the LOST season finale. ) Tomorrow is my divorce hearing, and this coming Sunday is 1 year from the date I found out about the affair.

Here's looking forward to the month of June...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Glorious Unseen

I just found out about this band that was signed to Tooth and Nail Records last year. It's really well-written, completely not boring worship music. I'd post a song in the blog if I could, but the only track available for download is a wma file, and the embeddable flash player I've been using only plays mp3s, so you'll have to check them out on your own.

Friday, May 11, 2007


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This is a picture from work.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

My 100th Post!

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Okay, this is probably more than just my 100th blog post, because I have deleted a couple posts here and there that I didn't feel were worth keeping around. But, I just happened to notice today that my "blog control center" tells me I have 99 posts and 2826 views. So what will my 100th blog be about? Well, just like all the other ones...nothing.

I had a conversation over lunch yesterday with another flight instructor. Inevitably the conversation turned to flying. He tried to put into words what all of us at this stage in the flying game certainly feel. He remembered back to when he was working on his private license, and there's a very specific minimum amount of knowledge that one has to be able to intelligently discuss at that level. As a person moves up through Instrument, Commercial, Instructor, there's obviously an increasing amount of information one has to study, yet the more knowledge and farther along a pilot gets, the more he realizes there is that he doesn't know. It's like a dragon who grows back two heads for every one the knight cuts off. I'm not complaining about this, but it was actually a bit of a comfort to hear a fellow instructor articulate what I felt, especially months back when I was just getting started:

"There is so much information that I don't use on a regular basis because I don't need it, so when a student comes and asks me something I don't know, I feel like an idiot, but I just tell them I don't know, have them look it up, and tell me the answer when they find it."

So, the book listed below as "currently reading" isn't quite accurate. I just ordered a signed copy after reading about it in Geek Monthly magazine. It's a post-apocalyptic comedy novel chock full of pop culture where conversations take place that read like this:

"Do you think that Obi-Wan Kenobi changed his name to Ben Kenobi just out of convenience?" Bobby asked.

"Convenience?" Erik replied.

"Yeah, like can you picture him on the phone trying to order a new droid from QVC or something? He'd be all 'Send that to Obi-Wan Kenobi. No, I'm sorry, not Joey Kenobi, Obi. Obi-Wan Kenobi. No! Not Juan Kenobi! Do I sound Colombian to you? Look, just send it to Ben, okay? Ben Kenobi.'"

Who wouldn't want to read such a book? The same writer spent a year writing a blog as a fiction character, an experiment to find out how absurd he could get before people would begin to stop believing such a person was real.

Well, I'm thinking this is pushing the limits of how much a person is willing to read, so I'll wrap it up. At least I got all the way through without mentioning LOST. (Doh!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

No, it's 3 more seasons for Lost...

...but they're short. 16 episodes each, Feb-May in '08, '09, and '10. More compressed storytelling, no filler, and answers doled out at a pace we've all been wanting for 2 years.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Single-engine plane crashes in Greene County

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Okay, I was manning the phones at the Aero Club when the call came in for this one. I'd hardly call it a crash. The guy landed the plane perfectly on the centerline. He just happened to have the landing gear up (which were tested hours later and found to be operational. For the record, I just don't consider a landing where the pilot is in control all the way to touchdown a crash. Depending on how much damage was actually sustained to the plane, it may not even be an "accident" by the FAA definition, since there was no injury. But it probably is since I assume there's "substantial damage" to the engine and propeller.) Dayton Daily found it appropriate to give them pilot's name. I'll be editing what's below so that only his first name is there. This guy was a week or two away from his commercial pilot checkride.

By Staff reports

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash of a single-engine Piper Arrow on Friday, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

William , 36, of Beavercreek, was not injured in the crash that occurred about 2:55 p.m. at the Greene County Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport, which is approximately one mile west of Xenia, according to the patrol post at Xenia.

Bill was approaching the runway eastbound and was attempting to land when the landing gear was not engaged, causing the plane to skid to a stop, the patrol said.

Bill was alone and no other aircraft were involved, the patrol said. The plane sustained damage to its underside and propeller.

The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Aero Club owns the aircraft, according to the patrol.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Lost calls it quits

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That's right, only two more seasons of Lost. The producers have won and are going to be allowed to kill their creation in a timely manner.


I read an awesome article today that presents Locke as a modern mythological hero, a la Joseph Campbell.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

EW Heroes

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Entertainment Weekly will have 5(!) different covers this week. Each cover is said to contain different clues about the final episodes of the season. They can be purchased in a bundle for $10, or just view all the covers online. The 5 covers clearly create one continuous background.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I found a really cool book-cataloging site thanks to a post on twitter. I literally gave myself a cramp in my "mouse arm" putting all my books up last night.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Concrete art

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When I started writing stuff in myspace blogs, I never intended it to be 70% reposted material from other sources. And before that, I never intended to blog at all, but "everyone is doing it".

Now that's out of the way, here's some more unoriginal stuff that's too stinkin' cool to not share.

http://www.frederikmolenschot.nl/ (click on Solid Poetry under Products)

Dry concrete tiles...nothing spectacular, but when these get wet...

they make fancy designs.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hell is for Heroes

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I bought this DVD a couple of months ago because it was cheap and it was Steve McQueen (I'm still slowly attempting to fill in all the gaps regarding McQueen movies I haven't seen.) It's nothing really spectacular. The opening titles are cheesy. The score is really dated. And at the end they mixed actual WWII footage into the movie. It wasn't horrible, either, but I find the most interesting part of the movie to actually be the cast.
Steve McQueen, of course
James Coburn
Bobby Darin(!)
and introducing
Bob Newhart

Friday, April 27, 2007


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I don't even listen to music anymore on my mp3 player. I've got podcasts backlogged, in a couple of cases, all the way back to 2005. And on top of that there are new daily and weekly podcasts always coming out. But I thought I'd take a second to promote some of the podcasts I listen to.

http://gspn.tv/ especially http://gspn.tv/lost











Thursday, April 26, 2007

Australian DVDs...

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...and their limited edition tin (or wood, for The Godfather Trilogy) packaging. Just cool to look at, I think. There are more at http://www.ezydvd.com.au/exclusives.zml

Thanks to Kevin for the link.