Sunday, March 19, 2006

V for Very Good

I really hate it when Blogger gets all temperamental and shit. I finally have a spare mo’ to post or troll-and-comment, and Blogger’s all “Request Timed Out – Repost Your Comment 97 times?” with two buttons – “yes”, and “yes, and please repeat this question”. Also, the fucker won't post my picture this week. Fortunately, I know a workaround or two. Bite me, Blogger.

So, St Paddy’s day was pleasant. The previous week was an endless and exhausting rush from one thing to another after being shorted on Monday due to the weather. Also, my agency had a technology fair on Thursday, and that’s usually my other meeting/consulting/development day, which instead I spent in a large conference room showing my nifty PowerPoint presentation (that’s what I did at home on Monday) over and over and over again to hundreds of my fellow employees, and making small talk about what exactly it is that I do. After hearing the music I selected for my PowerPoint about 90,000 times, I think it will be a while before I voluntarily listen to Sippie Wallace or The Polyphonic Spree again.

For Friday, while I really would have loved to have fixed a brined pork roast (Irish “Bacon”) with cabbage and taters, there was absolutely no time to get that together, so I went with a nice, simple, Stout and Irish Cheddar Fondue from last month’s Bon Appetit. While in the liquor store, I flirted briefly with the idea of trying to get Boo blitzed on either Irish Car Bombs, or Irish Flags, but settled for just the Guinness, and threw the whole meal together in about 45 minutes. Which for a Friday was just about perfect.

Also worked out well since S and M (of North Dakota trip fame) came over for dinner, and M is a notoriously picky vegetarian. After dinner, they swept us off into the wilds of downtown on a Friday St Patrick’s Day (“Go back to Edina, ya drunken freaks!”) and we went and saw V for Vendetta at the Block E theaters. Ehhhhcellent!

Highly recommended. I haven’t read the graphic novel, so I don’t know how it pleases the purists, but I thought it was really great for an issue movie masquerading as an action thriller. I’m hoping the somewhat-misleading trailers bring in lots of people who could stand to have the polemics spoon-fed to them. It’s a wry commentary on mass-culture, current politics, the nature of terrorism, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the power of symbols.

I particularly enjoyed seeing Stephen Fry (who has written his own take-off on Count of Monte Cristo themes) make the most of a small but pivotal role, and Priscilla's Hugo Weaving, in the Guy mask, is actually less wooden and more emotive than he was in LotR. This would be a brutal role for any actor (and in fact the first guy they cast bailed part way through) but he really rises to the challenge.

Lots of good performances all around, and while the pacing, and sometimes dialog, can be a bit uneven, it hits enough thought points to be impressive. It’s by no means a perfect film, but it’s pretty damn good. Go already!

In closing (and without any relevance to that which has gone before), I noticed this article in the New York Times today about the search for next great American opera. Which got me thinking – will Brokeback Mountain resurface again first as an opera or an ice capades show?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Snow Day

Well. So, when they say "no travel advised" they actually MEAN "no travel advised". While I was able to scooter to work on Friday, I could see that would be ill-advised today.

So, I set out for work this morning, caught my usual bus in front of the house just running 2 minutes late. Got downtown just in time for my transfer to the St Paul express, and it was nowhere to be seen. It eventually showed up about 13 minutes late, and wisely didn't pull too close to the curb; part of the entertainment for the previous 13 minutes was watching a number 14 bus try to get unstuck and moving forward again.

40 of my closest friends and I climbed aboard with the 60 or so people already onboard, and we crept along out of Minneapolis, getting to the freeway at the time I'd normally be at work. And that was it. About halfway along the ramp we had to stop for traffic ahead, and the bus kind of lurched and jack-knifed right up to the curb as the driver braked - the back end swung way out slick as if we were playing crack the whip. Ahead of us, an earlier bus was pretty much perpendicular across the lane of traffic. We sat for about 30 minutes to see if it would clear, and another bus managed to spin out behind us blocking any hope of backing up (it would have been unlikely, but it was now thoroughly impossible.) Sat for another 45 minutes, and decided to hike back into town, so walked the 300 or so yards back down the ramp, past the perpendicular bus behind us, and trying to avoid the stalwarts still trying to negotiate past the blockage.

Smiled and chatted with the nice WCCO camera guy, and continued on to the lightrail station, which was the closest stop heading back into city center. Fortunately, the trains seemed to be running smoothly, though very crowded. At about 9:30 am, I caught the train, ending my efforts to get to work, which had begun at 6:45 am.

Went to the gym, took a brisk swim and warming steam, then ventured out and caught a bus back home again.

I'm "working from home" therefore.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's Not Writer's Block

One of Duane Bryer's Hilda series
It's fatigue. I don't know why I decided that boosting my work, classroom, and workout schedule this week would be a good idea. I feel like I've been repeatedly kicked down stairs. The weather, though warmer, isn't really helping. This whole time of year in Minnesota is sort of like a brown-paper-wrapped package. There's the possibility that something really great will come out of it when the time is right, but for now, it's boring, dirt-colored, and cold.

So, Oscar® drama, eh? I so did not care, nor do I think it matters as much as a lot of people seem to think it does. I actually think it was an honor for Ang Lee to be awarded for the picture; and hell, it won three of the little gold men total. But I don't honestly think it was even the best gay picture of the year, much less Best Picture. My friend Noel Vera over at My Journal Or: (see sidebar) sums it up best, I think. No doubt Crash wasn't the Best Picture either, but honestly. It's the Oscars® for Fuck's Sake! Titanic was a Best Picture winner! The Greatest Show On Earth was a Best Picture winner! Forrest Fucking Gump was a Best Picture winner! Was the real best picture this year even nominated? These people don't have taste! They're movie people! You spend 364 days a year making fun of what they're doing in Entertainment Weekly and People! (You don't? Well, you should.) In the words of the Best Original screenplay, 1987, "Snap out of it!"

In other news...well. Not much. Here's some fun stuff I found on the web this week.

Sims2 meets Depeche Mode in a lovely little video for Suffer Well. Sung in Simlish, no less!

Beliefnet's Swami Uptown Blog had this link to a very heartening article about the state of the nation.

A very impressive live-action version of The Simpsons intro.

Sorry this post is so lame. God I'm tired.