Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Friday Fun

First things firstly, as Burt Ward would say: Friday night is moovie nite! I'm going to the Crest to see The Sea Inside at the 6:45 pm show on Friday, 4/1 (no fooling!). This one has been on the radar for a while, and it looks like the Crest is starting to get in synch with my viewing preferences.

Before the sedentary pleasure of viewing a Spanish art film, I intend to have some fun that's a bit more active. Otis and I will be biking the Burke-Gilman trail on the second PB&J ride of the season, me with my newly-tuned bike and new squishy seat. I think we'll have the sammiches first (not firstly) though - we're aiming to be at the Gasworks at about 1:00 pm. We'll prolly be riding down from the Ridge, so time is approximate. Give a call or drop an e-line if you want to meet up at our place or somewhere else besides Gasworks. We'll be aiming at a Matthews Beach/ trail-mix-and-water turnaround.

See you there!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Baldy is back

The Great Experiment is over: there is no Leo-like topknot or Jin-like ponytail in my future. The razor has come out and and I am once again a baldy-bean.

Rainday morning

It's a shame that even with all the grayness and wetness that we have been experiencing for the past few days (and all that will be coming in the next few) we will still be having a water-shortage summer.

It wound up being Otis, Andres(1), and I at the show yesterday. Shultze was a great movie - we all commented that it seemed less Metro-y and more Seven-Gablesy or Harvard-Exity: very much an art film. It was also engaging, charming, and touching. Afterwards, we went to Tully's in the Best Western, learned more than we needed to know about the three stooges, and sat by a fireplace in sumptuous furnishings. Sweet.

Here's a link to something we should be seeing in a month or so.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Saturday DAY is moovie nite...

Let's go to the movies! The Crest is a washout again, so here's the deal: we're going to hit a cheap matinee on Saturday. I'm going to go see Schultze Gets the Blues at the 1:20 pm show at the Metro Cinemas on Saturday, 3/26. After the show, we can have an earlyish dinner or head over to Green Lake for a bite in the grass (if it's nice out) or get some coffee-ann. Lemme know, or see you there!

John watches movies

Johnbai went to the movies last Saturday and provides the following reviews. Discuss.
Gunner Palace: Before agreeing to watch Gunner Palace (GP) I checked the reviews, looking for clues to the filmmakers' political agenda. I was absolutely NOT going to sit through a pro-war propaganda fest, and I didn't really want the depression of a bad Michael Moore style piece either. Every review I found stated clearly that this film did not have a political agenda. In fact, GP is a film that has no clear motivation other than to share stories and perhaps revel in the artificial drama of the situation. The only stand it takes is that we should listen to the voices of those Americans actually serving in Iraq. And so it presents them. But this produces an effect like "Cops" on steroids. The filmmakers let the cameras roll and the actors indict themselves. Just like "Cops" we see assholes abusing power, unmitigated bigotry and arrogance and nothing approaching leadership, compassion or justice. No matter how pumped up and dramatic the setting, the tales of typical bastards being bastardly isn't really worth watching.

The film itself is shot by a Seattlite living along with an Army regiment stationed in the bombed-out former palace of Sadam's son. As a sympathetic journalist, he is clearly given deep access. He rides along on raids, interviews troops in their make-shift barracks, shoots their parties, gives camera time to the aspiring rap stars in the troop, etc. The same dozen soldiers appear in most of the footage, giving you a sort of history with each character. Many are given longer moments of camera time to answer questions about how they feel about the war, their role as a soldier, about the Iraqi people, etc.

Some impressions: Wow, these kids are young. They are 19 years old arrogant jackasses (like so many of us were at 19) holding the most deadly assault rifles on the planet, living in a country where anyone could be the enemy. They are both scared and macho. They seem self-righteous when locals throw rocks at them and yell at them to go home, and self-righteous when they push harmless local clergyman into the dirt and yell at them to shut up. They don't see any connection between the two behaviors. The narrator/cameraman never points out this hypocracy (and in fact, may not see it), but it's clear if you're actually watching what's going on. The only Iraqi's ever given air time are those working with the US military as local assistants. And they are mostly protrayed as buffoons for the soldiers' amusement. A lot of humor is evident, from the shenanigans of our "boys" occupying (and partying in) a former palace, complete with a swimming pool out back, to certain troops hamming it up for the camera. At one point, the joke is that one of the soldiers can't be bothered to learn to correctly pronounce "salam aleykum" And a few times the film actually made me laugh, after which I felt a little sick.

The end of the film features one of the soldiers you get to know the most playing a Jimi Hendrix style version of the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar while posing atop the bombed out palace. Its exactly this kind of grandstanding and the lack of any regret, compassion or curiosity about the culture around them that makes these soldiers so damnable. I suppose I should hate the system instead of its pawns, but this film did nothing to make me appreciate or sympathize with our troops. And while the camerawork and the "insider-access" is impressive and the stories were very "real", it's fundamental purpose (to preserve these stories for posterity... so that people will never forget) is not enough. More than once, a filmed raid resulted in apparently innocent people being "held for questioning". It is mentioned that these people will be held at Abu Ghraib, but there is no editorial comment about this within the movie. There are no editorial comments period. You have every right as a viewer to infer, to analyze, to draw your own conclusions, and I do respect the lack of heavy-handedness, but without any editorial grist to grapple with, the movie marches on like a Faces of Death installment. Its really fucking morbid and the jokes and platitudes offered up by the stars of this film ring hollow.

Robots: Then I saw Robots. It was cute and fun. A million little zingers, puns and sight gags draped onto the typical Dizney frame of "You can do anything if you try hard enough... hang onto your dream little slugger." The quality and quantity of jokes made the movie entertaining, but the painful triteness of major pieces of moralistic dialogue keep it from joining the top ranks of Pixar films. Also: Only Robin Williams tries to do anything fun with his role... ala the Djinni in Aladdin.

Personally, I am curious about the lack of editorial positioning in GP that John describes. There were some of us that felt that this was precisely what made Nora Drake so compelling - that Mike Leigh presented the story essentially without comment. I wonder if the fiction/non-fiction difference has something to do with this.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The game nite that wasn't...

Well, it went from six confirmed participants to one who actually showed. Needless to say, game nite didn't happen. But Wheylona and I had a great night nonetheless! We solved just about all the world's problems, I think...

JJ just sent me a link to an article that seems sort-of relevant to this whole enterprise in its bigger sense.

That's it for now. Today is a day of moving furniture, grading papers, and picking up Otis at the airport, yay!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Game nite in lieu

Since the discount movie slate seems bare, and since the last one was so much fun, let's do another games-night at my place. About 7:00 or so? I'll have pop, popcorn, and popsicles, plus whatever else you can scrounge out of the kitchen. Bring a board game, if you have one - I'm in the mood for a complex and textured theme-based game that I haven't played before. Either that or charades. Or maybe Scrabble. Whatever. Let me know!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

You are full of total crap

I don't know which is sadder: that some guy actually made a multi-page site for a Strong Bad Email Index or that I am on the Internets so much I actually found it.

John drinks beer

Johnbai wants us all to know that he drinks beer and shares the following, um, poetic invitation:

I'm taking advantage of one of the best happy hours in town every Wednesday night.... starting a week from today, drinks from 4-8 at the Satellite are a requisite for everyone who gives a shit about good times, good conversation, and bonding with your fellow man. [I don't think this means no women allowed - W.] So, discard your nihilism and drink with comrades as we toast the universal light that unites our fragmented and tortured souls.

PBR = $1
Micros = $2
Wells = $2
Nachos/Pita&Hummus/Etc = $3

PBR? See you there!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Alas, no moovie nite...

Okay, so What the Bleep will not be at the Crest this Friday. It has been replaced by a movie about a girl who races a zebra against thoroughbred horses. (I am not making that up.) And I have literally seen everything else that is showing there, and I still don't want to spend nine bucks, so... ? What's anyone up for? Another game night? Bowling at Sunset? A nighttime bike ride?

Chocolate Ta$ting

Linda wanted me to pass along some information about "Mark's Chocolate Tastings!" Here is an excerpt from the description:

... I will discuss in depth, the history, biology, harvest, manufacture and health benefits of Chocolate. More importantly, you will taste each of the 16 pure European Chocolate bars with me, while we discuss how to discover the subtleties of the cacao and how to search out the 400 individual flavors in real Chocolate ...

If you are interested, go here for his website. Here's the upcoming schedule:

March 19th 1:30 pm at the Phinney Center $20 per person [this is near my house - W.]
April 3rd 3:00pm at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend $15
April 9th 2:15pm at the Hugo House on Capitol Hill $20

Seats are limited and reservations are required.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Moovie nite?

Since so many of us are gigging, unemployed, or underemployed, I have been trying to steer the moovie nites away from the first-run houses and toward the Crest or other discount places. I just checked with the Big Picture, and it looks like they don't do two-fer Tuesdays anymore, but do have $5 Monday and Tuesdays. I think the Admiral Twin in West Seattle has cheap nights, but it's in West Seattle. Anyone have any other ideas?

I would like to go to the movies this Friday. What does anyone think of What the Bleep Do We Know? I have heard that it is either an interesting meditation on quantum physics and the meaning life or a thinly veiled propaganda piece from JZ Knight (the lady from Yelm who channels Ramtha). It's at the Crest right now and might still be there next week. Any other ideas?

A question for you

So, do you care if I use your name in the blog? I guess I'm not real certain of the etiquette, but I just thought I'd ask. Let me know.

In Media Res

So, I guess I will give this a try. Instead of emails flying about, I'll just be putting stuff in here. Maybe at some point we'll make this a registered-membership site or something, but I don't think there's much to worry about right now.

I think one of the reasons I have never been strong on keeping any kind of journal is the starting. It seems that a log or journal or diary should be keyed to something - as a matter of fact, I did keep a journal on my bike trip to Europe in '92, since it was linked in my mind to the trip. I never did keep it up afterward; I haven't done any journaling of note since.

I am obviously going to just have to jump in with this blog business, though; there's nothing to hang it on. So here's the hardest bit, the first (committed) entry. I'll try to put in just enough background to contextualize it (mostly for myself) and then I'll just plow ahead.

Oh, and not to worry: this isn't going to get all confessional or anything. I really hope it turns out to be a clearinghouse for our (you know who you are!) group activities, but have no further ambitions for it beyond that. Although, isn't this how Craig's List got started... ?

Okay: Otis is in Hawaii, and has been since Thursday. She called yesterday and said it was pouring rain, but then text-messaged later and said it was sunny again. Yay! Friday night was moovie nite (see below) and it was great. Saturday was a beautiful day; I wound up having to take my bike into the shop because (a) the seat had been stolen and (b) I had shamefully neglected it over the winter and it needed a full spa treatment. I'll get it back next week. I took the opportunity to walk around Green Lake; man, it was nice.

Last night was the T-shirt party. Totally great - lots of fun people. Happy Birthday, L.! I didn't stay too late, because today was the first PB&J ride. We met at Gasworks and rode out to Matthews Beach. Just a wee ride, about 15 miles, but a good first ride of the season for us. Beautiful weather, spectacular views - we could see all the snow that isn't on the Cascades. I was on Otis's bike, and it actually fit pretty well, but I want to get some miles in on my own, of course. What a great spring!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Moovie nite wrap-up

So, moovie nite was good tonight - five folks showed up, first-time meetings happening, always good. Born into Brothels, the documentary, was a great show, although I thought it took a different direction than what I was expecting. We tried Extreme Pizza on Broadway, and the consensus was that it is fine, not great, but okay. Two items came up in the discussion for survey:

One, we expect that sometime soon, Seattle will get a new area code. In a manner much like the demise of 212 as a unique identifier for Manhattan, 206 will no longer be the only area code associated with Seattle proper. What do we want as a new area code; specifically, what would the sexiest new area code be? Sexy could mean the way it looks written down, the way your mouth moves when you say it, what it means in code; whatever. What do you think?

Two, it was moved and seconded that I let my hair grow out. Here is a picture of me from about two years ago, the last time I had significant hair:

What do you think of this idea?

Okay, so here's the deal...

I have been thinking for a while about going ahead and putting the stuff that has been in email and juts blogging it. I don't know if this is going to work or not; it sure took long enough for me to get going on it. (One of the problems was that most of the software from the different blog hosts doesn't work very well under the OS X plarform.) Anyway, it's here now, so maybe we can start up and get going. We'll see.

Firefox to the rescue!

Okay, so I am on Firefox now. This should be all formatted and junk. And all the buttons show up! Cool.

Another Try

Does this look bold?