Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is ravelry a word?

I have discovered bliss. This site manages to capture everything that is good and geeky about knitting and crocheting. Details abound. I can upload photos of my projects along with the pattern, the yarn, down to the types of needles used. It is still in beta and you need an invitation but it kept me occupied for several hours and added too many projects to my list.

Ravelry and my site

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

worth as many words

I love photography. Not the actual taking pictures part because I do not have the eye for it. But I enjoy captured images, most of them evoking laughter, surprise, amazement, empathy, or some other emotion. The links below, especially Time's amazing images are some of my favorites to visit.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

where's the fire?

Now that the first ten episodes have aired on Nickelodeon, the third and last season of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is in full swing. I have not been ecstatic about the Fire Book but there have been exceptional episodes and still makes me laugh out loud. But Aang and gang are alone in the fire nation and their powers and friendship are growing. Now Aang, the Avatar, has returned and I sincerely hope that he learns some firebending soon because both Azula and Firelord Ozai are very powerful and manipulative. I will not spoil anything for those reading but I was happy with the other fire nation characters in The Day of the Black Sun. I am eager to see it all play out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

in search of a skull

Well, it is not the Indiana that we knew but the image of an aging Harrison Ford illuminated from the back, whip, leather jacket, hat and surrounded by cobwebs gives me hope. More at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

all will be revealed

So I love Batman. The whole brooding hero thing is all me. Plus, the guy has no powers . What is more sexy than a caped crusader who can fight like a ninja. It is the best of both worlds. That being said, I was not a fan of Batman Begins because it was too dark (not thematically but the film was actually too dark). And the editing was atrocious, à la Bourne Supremacy, where the choreography was lost. Don't get me wrong, the look and feel of Gotham was superb and Bale was spot on. Plus, Gary Oldman as Gordan makes the entire film. I just wanted something a bit cleaner with more detail. I hope they take this into consideration when they release The Dark Knight. I love the fact that it isn't "Batman 2" or "Batman Returns" or some other silly second movie title. Instead it feels like it is another story. If you have not glanced lately, take a look at the promotion. It is already big.

update: the cards are now gone and the joker is fully creepy

and if you can't wait that long, here is a sneak peak: The Joker

complete the set

Gosh, so much going on and not enough time to blog. I was happy to hear today that NBC has picked up "Life" for the rest of the season. I love this drama and hope that it continues for a while. I completed two soundtrack sets this past week. One was the fantastic game series, Halo by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori. Now that Halo 3 has been released for Xbox 360 (I still have not played it yet!) the story and its score are complete. The soundtracks are an amalgamation of drama and action with a nice electronic blend, except in 3 the themes have been rerecorded orchestrally and with a choir. I love the themes and can not wait to hear it with the game. And last but certainly not least, I received the final installment of Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings The Complete Recordings which is a five disc version of The Return of the King. How wonderful to finally hear the portions of the score which were not on the soundtrack in all their glory; that little violin at the end of the lighting of the beacons, the fellowship theme sung by choir on the side of mount doom, and the little breathers which hint at each and every theme with only a few notes. These soundtracks have given me hours upon hours of listening and have changed my interpretation of the story through the dissecting of every motif. However, it is not over. A book about Shore's score is still to be released and I look forward to its analysis.

Friday, November 09, 2007

legano, ni legano, is gray area

Cutting Edge quote there. Too bad I had to miss the goal of the season last night. If you are looking for good soccer, head over to Twellman's

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Big damn heroes

I did not start out liking Naruto. The anime focused on the young ninja who was whiny and annoying. Plus, his main strength is his determination and not his ninja ability and to me, this is boring. I like my heroes special, strong, moody. Which brings me to Sasuke who was just that. Meanwhile, Naruto grew stronger and Sasuke grew jealous. So Sasuke goes off to seek power and revenge. Naruto goes after Sasuke to bring him home. The bitterness between them, despite their previous camaraderie, was felt in their last meeting when they both fought to kill. Now, it seems, Naruto, is a top notch anime which has improved both in character and animation. I can not wait to see how things work out.

Which brings me to the end of the Bleach run on adultswim for a while. They have switch to Death Note, another interesting anime. But the thing that bothers me is that they stopped right as the Soul Society arc gets really good. The big hero scene (I do love my heroes) when Ichigo shows up and brings his bankai. The big scene is that much more enjoyable because he shows up dressed to kill with his big ass Zanpakuto and stops Rukia's death with the best line, "Yo!" God, how I love Bleach. I hope it comes back soon. Meanwhile, I will open my mind to other anime and try Death Note.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Let's talk 2007 Fall TV

It is not the most stellar season. Frankly, I feel there is something missing. After thinking about it, I found it was the lack of a fast talking, witty, pop culture reference show à la "Buffy", "Gilmore Girls" or "Veronica Mars". Without this kind of writing, TV feels empty. Sure a show like that never reflects real life or true situations but hey, what television show does? Still, in a dimly lit room somewhere, Joss is writing the 'next' show that makes me all giddy and fanatical. Anyway, a girl can dream. But even with the dismal season, there are a few good eggs in the basket. Let's take a look

"Chuck" - A less charming rip off of "Jake 2.0" with Betty's beau Christopher Gorham, "Chuck" plays the shy geek card against an energetic Alec Baldwin and typical blond spy, Yvonne Strzechowski. Even the geekiness is less than par with encoded images having been downloaded into Chuck's brain. At least Jake had some powers, this guy just decrypts images leaving the audience to witness flashes on the screen and a 'doh' moment when Chuck tells pretty blond what it means. So far the plots are weak and the chemistry superficial. There is potential. I like the brother and sister relationship and the fact that Chuck and his friends are part of the 'Nerd Herd' computer fixit guys who work at a place called 'Buy More' which is next to a 'Weinerlicious'. That's two shows that have made generic names for typical American commercialism and have to say, fun stuff. But the action should pick up or the writing should improve quicke because both are just average and can not sustain this show as quality television. Next to Adam (please oh please throw a toaster at someone every episode!), Zachary Levi has got it down as Chuck. He is such a lovable geek.

"Reaper"- Which leads us to the other geek show. Even though it is on The CW, "Reaper" provides more entertainment and plot than "Chuck" has so far. The premise is this: When Sam was born his parents sold his soul to the devil and now he must work as a bounty hunter and send escaped souls from hell back where they belong. It seemed doomed from my point of view but both the devil and Sam have proved me wrong. The devil is played by Ray Wise and does he ever fit the part. His every scene is fantastic and his motives are still very unclear and the mystery adds points in my book. Sam works for 'The Work Bench', TV's version of Home Depot or Lowe's and though he has no focus, plays the ever wavering bachelor very well. There are a few problems, specifically an average boy - girl scenario. 'He likes her but will not tell her his secret' just drives me crazy. It was a nice twist that she did not go back to school and an unexpected move is always a plus. I like his friends too, though I wish we had more of Ben and less of "Sock".

"Pushing Daisies" - If one show was to scream novel, this is it and is my pick of the season. A fanastical and visual journey into the world of reanimation which has the look and feel of a Burton film. And please, the chemistry between our 'touched' hero, Ned and undead Chuck (who names their kid Charlotte Charles?) is boiling over. I can imagine that the ever changing ways of them touching without actually touching is going to be the thing with this show. The audience is swept into the lives of its characters intertwined by little details given in the form of a narrator, the ever fantastic voice of the Harry Potter audio novels, Jim Dale. In fact, the narration and the scene formation culminating in the character looking directly at the camera reminds me a lot of Amélie. With a fantastic cast (again I beg for Kristin Chenoweth to sing in every episode) and an even more enchanting plot, "Pushing Daisies" is here to stay.

"Life" - That being said, my next favorite new show is "Life" and it all has to do with Damian Lewis. Lewis plays Crews, an LAPD policeman who was accused of murdering his business partner, wife, and son when DNA evidence, 12 years later, acquitted him. He was released, promoted to detective, and awarded some billions of dollars for compensation. So the plot, while fairly droll, has some potential in that the crime is still unsolved and the audience gets pieces every episode. His partner also catches my interest and she has done well trying to understand and deal with this confounding man who has a house but no furniture (I love the zen) and keeps company with a known embezzler (a brilliant Adam Arkin). Lewis, my newfound love, steals the show. With a piercing stare and a love for life, the character Crews and the actor Lewis go hand in hand. It must be the mystery or the scars beneath the surface. Whatever it is, it draws me. If you have not seen "Band of Brothers", netflix the sucker and enjoy the ride. He has only improved with age and "Life" is the little known secret of this year's premieres.

Look Ma, no hands!

I detest needles and anything having to do with doctors or blood. I can count the number of times that I have been stuck with a needle and NOT fainted without any hands (zero!). So imagine my apprehension when some insurance that I am buying said they needed to draw blood. I basically spent three weeks worrying about it. But things worked out fine. It turned out to be a great day with temperatures just hovering under 60 degrees. This alone made my day. The nurse came to my house which also put me at ease. She hummed and only had to prick me twice. I lay there with my arm over my eyes and felt only little nausea. But the best part, no fainting. Banner day for me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kettle Corn

I do not know who created this tasty treat but it happens to be the best stuff on earth. Kettle Corn is a perfect blend of salt and sweet and just happens to be the basis for the title of my blog. Usually I have to wait for some festival that has a stand and buy the largest bag they have but I found a fantastic recipe which is easy and tastes just like you buy at a fair. For my pot, you need just a little more oil or you burn the corn. Try some, I guarantee you will love it.

Kettle Corn Recipe

Oh, and here is a little history

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hello Halo

So I have played the first and second on two different consoles. I have yet to tackle the third, deterred by the price. But I love the Master Chief and the entire story. This advertisement is awesome, simple yet effective in its emotion, and utterly enjoyable. I can not wait to finish the story.

Victor victorious

I had not watched a netflix movie in weeks due to my trip to Italy and my mail being stopped. Finally receiving them this week, I was able to enjoy, again, what I love so much. Watching the kind of movies I like in the comfort of my home. This weekend, one disc in particular gave me perfect enjoyment and that was The Best of Victor Borge. Victor Borge (1909-2000) was a talented pianist and comedian. He combined his love of music with the most fantastic gags. But after all the hilarious stunts, the sheet music gag, the opera singer, the duet, and the inflationary language, the man sat down and did what he is best at: playing the piano. The man was pure genius on the keyboard. If you have never watched him, put it on your netflix list now. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Life goes on

I have not blogged in a while. However, when I tried to pick something to blog about, I found there was a lot going on in my life. There was the whole trip to Italy where I spent a day in Venice and a day in Milan. Oh, and there was the work part of the trip too. Perfect weather and perfect food culminated for a rather perfect trip. Then there is the matter of playing Doom 3 on my Xbox 360. Oh how it reminds me of the good days when my brother and I would play for hours in front of the computer. I have to admit that I had low expectations of the game but am enjoying it immensely. ID has done a wonderful job of updating the demons and story for a scarier, most excellent first person shooter but never sacrificing what made it a great game in the first place. I wish my brother was around to experience the multiplayer. Then there was the series premiere of Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 3. The first episode of the most anticipated season of fire bending was a little less than fantastic but the second was back to its old form, hilarity with magnificent heart. Was there ever a funnier brother than Sokka or a more tortured character than Zuko? Please someone start watching this show so I can share the love. Nevermind that the Buckeyes are kicking butt, that Beckham will continue to be on the disabled list until the end of the season, or that hockey starts today. I will not blog about the premiere of the 2007 Fall TV season of which nothing has sparked intense feelings as yet. I will not speak about my excitement at seeing the Macy's Day Parade in New York City this year. No the one thing in my life which seems to have made the most impact is that two of the only people I knew when I moved to Austin are now moving away. In this time of an unsteady job and a more unsteady life, it saddens me to lose two good friends. Something like that makes you realize that life is short and friends are scarce. Make sure you appreciate the ones you have.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In need of a doctor

In its greatest episode yet, "Blink" had very little of the doctor in Doctor Who. Mostly it was about Sally Sparrow (great names in this show) and how the lonely assasins, the weeping angels, stole the doctor's time travel box and how Sally had to get it back to him, losing several friends in the process. The story was nothing truly novel but I find it is the characters, themselves, in this series that capture my attention. Most of them are never one dimensional and their humor is usually spot on. The doctor always finds himself in the greatest of situations and the fact that he time travels is aways appealing. I have not seen the previous versions of Doctor Who but, in my opinion, David Tennant is the best. Catch up on this show by watching the first season online at Netflix.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A king of an album

It is official. The release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the complete recordings is Tuesday November 6. 5 discs: 4 CDs and one DVD; 3 hours and 50 minutes of music total. I can not wait.

Friday, September 07, 2007

DCI 2007

If you have never seen a drum and bugle corps competition, you are missing out. If you have never seen the Drum Corps International World Championships, then tune to ESPN2 on September 25 and 26 for the rebroadcast. Forget that these kids, ages 13-22, march and play at the same time. Forget that they train and practice hours, days, weeks at a time in mid summer, sleeping on gym floors and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Forget the anxiety of competition, the lasting friendships, and the pleasure of performing in front of thousands, six judges, and friends and family. Forget all that and sit back and enjoy something so unique and very fun. The visuals, the music, and the technique all combine to create amazing performances and ESPN2 has the top 11 corps to vie for the world champion. My favorites were Carolina Crown's horse show and The Cavalier's Billy Joel Show. They only show about 5 or 6 minutes from each show but it is probably the best part. I would not have minded seeing the whole show of the top three though.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Season One

Target had this set for under $40 which is pretty good for a six disc set. The packaging is nice, with comic rendering and not a lot of flash. I like the understated logo of this series, a world surrounded by light signifying the eclipse and the impending doom.

I immediately watched my favorite episode, the future one where all the twists and turns occur. I watched with audio commentary which, I have to say, was a bit much because the actors were talking too much to distinguish anything. I watched un-aired pilot with creator/director commentary as well and was happy to hear they cut the terrorist story all together. It was too much and would not have captured me as easily. Then, I moved on to the score extra. I have not been a big fan of this series' music. It is too ethereal for me. But after hearing them talk about the mixture of instruments to try and pull together all the story lines, I had more respect. Then, to prepare for the upcoming season finale, I watched the last episode. Without having the rest of the season to feel the building anticipation and fear of Skylar, it was hard to get into it. However, the one character who never fails to capture admiration is Peter Petrelli. Milo just oozes compassion. But without the antics of Hiro and Ando, Claire and Noah Bennet's underlying suspicion, or Skylar's evil looks (though there are plenty in the finale), it was hard to feel like it was something great. If you have not seen the trailer, search YouTube and be disappointed that Peter has no mention. September 24 can not come fast enough.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fly Away Home

In 1996, Fly Away Home hit theaters. A quirky movie about a girl, her dad, and the geese they taught to fly. I love this movie. It hits all the emotional high points of the father daughter relationship. Also, the geese are characters unto themselves and they are utilized so well in the movie. Some of the images of Anna Paquin in the fields with those geese are breathtaking and the quiet loneliness she plays after her mother's death, to me, is very poignant.

Most of all, of course, is the score. Well before Mark Isham's rise to fame for his work on Crash, Fly Away Home is a splendid use of acoustic instruments, solo violin, cello, marimba, and accordion. He develops just beautiful themes for flying, the geese, and Amy's mother. In particular, the flying theme is one of my all time favorites. The album for this is impossible to find as there was only a promotional album created. I am lucky to have a bootleg but it contains other songs from some of Isham's other works. Still it is worth it for the track, "First Flight". But if you are interested, the Special Edition DVD has isolated score with some small breaks for Isham's commentary.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Anticipating more anticipation

For those of you who are not Lord of the Rings or film score fanatics, the announcement of the third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King complete recording is due any week now. There are no words to describe how much I am looking forward to this set. Rumors have it that there will be four discs not three (plus the usual DVD of 5.1 complete recording). There is a book in the works also on Shore's music for the movies and now I read that more rarity discs may pop up. I am guessing rejected portions of the score. While the price tag is high, the hours of listening make up for it. There is no comparison

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hello, David

I only just said the other day that David Beckham's worth is if he can make those shots. You know the ones where he is 30 feet back and it bends right into the goal. Well, last night he knocked my socks off by doing just that. The first goal of the game at 27', he gets a free kick which soars over the wall in lands right in the back of the net. It was fabulous and a fantastic debut (he played for eight minutes on Sunday but we won't count that). Welcome to the US, David.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dynamo duds

Well it was exciting. Four goals, two overtime periods, and a PK shootout ending up with CF Pachuca moving on to the Superliga final. I had a blast in Houston cheering the Dynamo but they disappointed me one time too many. Their attacks were few and far between and their middle men could not hang on to the ball. In my opinion, the better team won. The final semifinal is tonight at 10pm EST.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One more for the books

A literary giant praising talent. Let us hope that books written for adults can capture what J. K. Rowling did. I can safely say that my bar has risen.

J.K. Rowling's Ministry of Magic by Stephen King

I have always enjoyed Entertainment Weekly and King's and Stein's back pages. They always had something to say and usually did it with reverence.

Monday, August 06, 2007

My seven

Greg and Selena are so creative. After reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, how fitting to list your own Horcruxes. Here goes...
  1. My Lorée oboe
  2. My DVD copy of Mononoke Hime
  3. My first Christmas ornament
  4. My piano charm on my charm bracelet
  5. The picture of me, some sorority sisters, and Brutus Buckeye circa 1997
  6. My copy of The Star Wars Trilogy: The Complete Soundtrack Anthology by John Williams
  7. My Ph.D. thesis
If you were to ask me who I would kill for these, I would say I am not as picky as Voldemort. Just line up seven lawyers, politicians, and a few cockroaches.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

thoroughly entertaining

It is one of my favorites. Not sure why, but Thoroughly Modern Millie is just plain fun. So when I heard and read that Austin's Summer Stock program was putting on the production, I jumped. The Summer Stock program consists of high school and college students working with professionals to put on full productions. They are the cast, the crew, and everything in between. I must say, I was wholly impressed. The Mary Moody Theater at St. Edward's University is about a 200 seater theater in the round (or square) and the choreography played to its strengths. Both Millie and Billy were top notch and Ms. Dorothy topped them both. She had some pipes and a great presence. The dancing was even great, feeling quite professional. Kudos for an exceptionally good time.

There are not many chances of Broadway productions in Austin. The theater that usually hosts the tours is down for the year. Guess I will get my kicks elsewhere.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reality TV, anyone?

"Television is the first truly democratic culture - the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want."

~ Clive Barnes
New York Post Dance and Drama Critic

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Though it ends, I am not sad. Though there is death, all is not forgotten. Though we weep, there is also laughter.

For years of pleasure, many thanks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

rats and machines

Remember when I said it looked like fun? Well it was. Transformers is a fantastic bout of transforming action full of world peril and hilarious moments. There were only a few corny lines and two horrible characters. With these oversights, perfect summer fun.

As per usual, I skipped into a second feature (I hate paying full price for a film these days) and found Ratatouille enjoyable but not up to the charming standards of its predecessors. Again, extremely gorgeous to look at but almost hard to believe. That sounds silly about an imaginary kids film but because it took place in the human world, it was hard to convince me. I am sure that is my practical engineering side talking and I should get over it. A nice film but for me, only just that.

Seven Deathly Questions

Scholastic asks seven questions as the Potter series comes to fruition. By far, the most interesting question is whether Snape is good or evil. As I have just finished re-reading book four, I believe that he is good. There is just too much evidence for this argument, the top one being that Dumbledore trusted him beyond all measure. We have to trust our late noble leader. Furthermore, Voldemort himself says that one of his most trusted Death Eater is lost forever something that I think will come back to haunt our fearless army for never would Voldemort really trust Snape again. I fear that Voldemort will betray Snape which will eventually lead to the cheater of death's downfall. Optimistic me believes all will be well in the end.

And I must say that the last few chapters in that book are the hardest ever to read. How much that poor boy goes through in one night. How much we love him for it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Riding the rails

If one thing bothers me about this country, other than the media and the lawyers, it is the fact that we have no high speed ground mass transit. The highway system, while impressive and longstanding, is becoming atrocious. Roads fall apart in no time with the amount of traffic and poor weather. Construction is a never ending hindrance. Gas prices are not decreasing and please do not get me started on people sitting in the left lane talking on their phones and going under the speed limit. I understand the logistics, the fact that we would need to invest quite a bit of capital to get things moving, pun intended, but perhaps we should be investing in this country more than we are currently.

Here in Austin, after seventeen years, we will have commuter train transit (on existing tracks) into the city and to San Antonio. Why this was not adopted earlier, I will never understand as traffic in Austin is very poor with only two north-south routes that envelop the city and only an east-west that sits at the south portion of the city. Rush hours are parking lots and enough to make my blood pressure rise to the outside summer temperatures.

Let us hope that this country thinks ahead and starts planning for a better way to travel throughout.

Hey America, Make With the !@~$ High-Speed Rail Already

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

a beautiful Declaration

An impressive and throroughly enjoyable dissection of the Declaration of Independence by Stephen E. Lucas. It is a long piece but, to my satisfaction, speaks not only to the meaning of the document but the poetry, the sonorous phrases, and the linguistic nature of each chosen word. A must read by any person doubting or needing reaffirmation of the true genius on which this country is built.

Declaration of Independence: Stylistic Artistry

lucky me

More touring of Texas this weekend took me to Ft. Worth and Dallas. I stopped by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit, the only southwestern location of this tour. It was pretty interesting though I skipped most of the learning centers for kids. I just enjoyed the costumes and models of ships that were used in the films. The keenest thing was you could see how used they were with scuffs on the shoes and little LED lights in the models. While the gloss from the Star Wars universe, for me, has receded, the creativity of the series still rings true. A lot of the creatures, ships, and locations while extreme are based in fact and that will continue to make the fantastical story endure.

After a side trip to the Russel Stover outlet for some sugar free candies for my aunt, I headed to Pizza Hut Park for the FC Dallas - Houston Dynamo soccer game. It was great to be there and it is a great park. However the game was scoreless with little shots on goal. Not the best introduction to my professional game debut. I hope next time, and there will be a next time, is a better game.

Finally, after spending some time with my aunt, we drove to Shreveport, LA for some gambling at the casinos there. Shreveport is no Vegas or Atlantic City, but there are plenty of casinos and shopping. I suck at gambling because I hate to take risks. I cringe at televised poker tournaments watching these thousands of dollars being wasted on cards I know are going to lose. However, that day was my lucky day. I happened to win $172.80 on the penny slots. I should have bought a lottery ticket.

Friday, June 29, 2007

From 50,000 to 12 million

First printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: 50,000
First printing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 12,000,000
First and the many subsequent times reading the series in full: priceless

It is a phenomenon. That is the only way to describe it. A phenomenon in which a little boy grows into a wizard. One that garners friendships that would last a lifetime and a seven year (ten years in real time) struggle of good over evil. The laughs, the tears, the curses and magical feats that are etched in every reader's mind are proof of that phenomenon. And it only gets better with each and every read. While I am a person who reads, watches, and listens to things again and again, the iteration of reading Harry Potter has become a universal hobby. I am ecstatic to be a part of it.

Vive Harry Potter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer fest

As a movie lover, it is very hard not to get excited when blockbusters arrive in the Summer. Sure, most of them are monotonous, vapid works but they provide just the right amount of distraction to the unbearable weather and monotonous, vapid piece that is my life. This Summer has already seen big money with the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and those lovable thieves and their Ocean chronicles. More is yet to come with the third installment of Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum. Also Transformers and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix step up to bat looking for that treasured All Star. But most interesting of all, to me anyway, is Ratatouille which is looking very good so far. I always think after each of Pixar's film that the next installment can not live up to its predecessor. I thought that of Cars, which while entertaining and glorious to look at, did not have that extra element that is found in Toys, Monstors Inc., Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles. Judging from the response of Ratatouille though, it may just make the grade. On a similar but un-blockbuster note, I am very interested in Vitus, a Swiss-German film about a piano wunderkind trying to live as a normal boy. It looks like the perfect companion to these action packed flicks with very little character development.

I have said before I do not go to movies in the theatre much anymore. But as the temperature and more significantly, the humidity, increases those dark cool theaters look more and more enticing. I may make it out more than once in the coming months to check out these titles and more.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Gold Cup for the US

Congratulations to the US Men's team who defeated Mexico 2-1 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was a clean match and an exciting game.

On a similar note, I have been to the past two Austin Lightning games and suffered through two 2-0 losses. I hope things improve. I make my way to Dallas next weekend to watch the top teams of the Western Conference of the MLS, FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo. There is no end to my excitement.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This week on repeat, rhythm and rhyme

I have previously written that I love Gershwin. Well now this means both George and Ira. This week I have "Fascinatin' Rhythm" on repeat and it is a superior version sung by no other than Ella Fitzgerald. The epitome of George and Ira's collaboration, this song does no wrong. I especially think that Ira's lyrics are perfect in rhyme and accent. Lyricists, especially then get little respect but Ira was pure genius and had to deal with an egotistical brother to boot. I definitely know how that feels (love you boys!).

TMNT and my love of acronyms

Yesterday I was in Target and saw that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles, the original movie not the recent one, was on sale for $7.50. Seriously how can you pass that up? I have fond memories of this movie, watching in the theater with my brother and then again and again. I was in love with Casey Jones. Of course, I could not sleep and had to pop in the 90 minute flick. I was ecstatic to find I was laughing out loud, a rare feat these days it seems. It is amazing how little things can cheer you.

Michaelangelo: I love being a turtle!

Who the hell is Nicolas Hooper?

He is the unknown composer to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that's who. His clips of the score play at the movie's website and I have to say, I am pretty impressed so far. A fantastical feel, almost Elfman like to several clips with just the hint of the original Williams theme. In my mind, when a composer can hint at the theme with just a few notes and not beat you over the head with it, it usually works very well. I use Lord of the Rings as an example. By Return of the King, Shore had to play two notes and you knew to which theme he was referring. I was hoping Hooper could do this and the few bars we get seem to hold true. The official soundtrack release date is July 10, 2007.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tommy, can you hear me?

This weeks track on repeat is "Cousin Kevin" from The Who's Tommy. I love this production. Maybe its the simplistic chorus that fills the air when that guitar starts playing. Most likely it is the fact the its signature colors are yellow and black. Whatever the reason, I love to sing along and this particular song is excellent. I particularly enjoy the guttural British that Cousin Kevin speaks as he says "nastiest play friend".

Monday, May 28, 2007

More Star Wars fun

30 years is a lot to celebrate. Empire Magazine decided to commemorate with 30 different covers to the magazine. This is a lot of fun.

Empire: Magazine

A cloned animation

So it seems that the original version by Samurai Jack's Genndy Tartakovsky was not enough and now a CGI version of The Clone Wars is set to hit the small screen. While beautiful visually, I am reserving judgment until I see the depth of characters that I enjoy. Still, there is something to be said for lots of jedi kicking ass.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Friday, May 25, 2007

A long time ago ... 30 years to be exact

Today is the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars, i.e. Star Wars IV: A New Hope. A big happy birthday to a franchise which even though has been less than brilliant in its latter years, has proven the test of time. Maybe its time to watch the original, non CGI films again to be reminded how special the trilogy was and its impact on my life and the genre.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Alech Taadi

These past two weeks my repeating song has been Alech Taadi by Cheb Khaled on his album Sahra. This is the song that plays in the cab chase scene in The Fifth Element. Sung in Arabic, it has fantastic rhythms. It was hard to find but the rest of the album, N'ssi N'ssi is also pretty good if you do not mind Arabic and French music. Lots of fun, this one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Oh my God, the Indians win it!

There are very few sports movies that I enjoy. But the ones I do enjoy, I love to watch over and over again. This weekend I was vegging because, seriously, the past few months have been brutal as far as work is concerned. On HDTV was one of my favorites, Major League, unedited and commercial free. It was beautiful and actually got me in the summer mood, something particularly hard to do with me in Texas. Here, summer started a month ago. My other favorites are Little Big League, Hoosiers, and Field of Dreams. Let us hope they make their way to the HD screen soon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Goodbye, girls!

Gilmore Girls is a goner. The announcement came today that the fast talking, pop culture referencing series is ending after a weak seventh season. I feel this is the best move that it could make even though I will miss Luke, Lorelei, Stars Hollow, and most of all, Emily Gilmore.

On a similar note, despite a still quirky and fun filled Veronica Mars return, complete with love triangles and hate crimes, it is probably off to the gallows. The best thing about this show is Ronnie's relationship with her Dad. I feel this season has been on again off again when it comes to this but when they hit the screen together, I jump for joy. Here's hoping for a senior season.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Imperial forces have entered the base

The United States Postal Service is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars. They are releasing a commemorative stamp pane in 22 days. Unique express mail packs are now available and I am thinking of sending myself something to get one in the mail. On top of that, there are R2D2 collection boxes in select cities throughout the country. I was lucky to be in one and stopped by one windy day.
If anyone out there loves me, send me a postcard with one of those stamps on it after May 22.

USPS Star Wars 30th Anniversary

Monday, April 30, 2007

One giant leap in time

Seriously, Heroes took a huge leap in entertainment tonight. I actually love when shows do the whole 180 thing with characters. It was great to see almost every one on the flip side of things. First, Hiro was amazing. Not only a battotsu warrior but clearly a genius when it comes to making timelines. He actually used string as a representation of a person and crossed them at important points in time. And finally, we get to figure out what "save the cheerleader, save the world" means. If Sylar had gained Claire's powers, he would be un-killable. Of course, that is actually what happened but hey, points for answering one question. We will not mention a certain show on an Hawaiian island which tends to just ask more and more questions.

How cool is Peter Petrelli with that scar. I thought he could regenerate like Claire but maybe he did not heal himself on purpose, to remind him of what he did. Man, he had some great powers and pulled out all the stops tonight. The end fight was a little bit of a let down but it was still fun to watch him and Sylar face off. I was worried that Parkman turned to the 'dark' side. He must have been really brainwashed to do so but I guess losing your wife and kid can do that to you. Finally, I find it truly comforting that the two characters who do not have powers, Mohinder and Ando, are the glue that holds these special people together. With all the twists and turns, the unexpected match ups, and the predestined meetings, Heroes has matured into a goldmine of TV entertainment. Congrats and welcome to the big club.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Speaking of witches

I just received something which cements my Potter fanaticism in stone. Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers. Yes, that's right. Harry Potter in French. Time for me to put my years of study to good use.

A tall order of the phoenix

It does this to me every time. Again the new Harry Potter movie gets me all geeked out about the books, the film score, the movies and the hype that surrounds it all. Since book three is still my favorite, you would think that I would not get excited about yet another release of a movie in a franchise seemingly just out to make a buck. But they do it to me everytime they play the theme and this trailer tops them all, clipping flashbacks of previous movies to really pull us in. Also, it is great is it to see it in a great format, up to 1080p.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Confessions of an addict filer

I love to organize and can probably be considered anal to anal retentive. Not only do I keep track of bank accounts and taxes but things like manuals to my cell phone and receipts to large household items like my washer and dryer. I thought this was weird and so did not mention to many people. However today I was reassured that I was, in fact, not a single souled filer. There are others like me and this article mentions the manual thing. I was so ecstatic, I had to share. guide to filing

By the way, lifehacker is a great site for picking up great tips on searching the web and using mozilla software.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Not quite an Easter Spring

Texas is making up for the month long 100 degree spout last summer. First, flurries in February and now, sleet in April. How wonderful that I get to experience this craziness.

Carson the Accord

I am now the official owner of my 2003 Honda Accord, Carson. While I had planned for a five year loan, I did it in 4.25 years. Quite a feat since half of that was while I was a grad student. Carson is going strong with no problems on his last checkup and all I had to replace were the front brakes. We are driving to the Hill Country tomorrow as a vacation and congratulatory stroll through wildflowers and flatlands.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Battle for the stars

Battlestar Galactica ended its third season last week and I just caught up on the last three episodes. What a tremendous series. The production value rivals that of a feature length film and the eye candy that comes along with that. There are two things that bother me about this final season. One, there was not enough action. For a large ship in space being hunted by ruthless machines, I expect battles and shots being fired. Instead we are treated to short bursts of cylon ships entering space and the terrans ... er humans running for it. I wanted them to stand and fight as they did in the past two seasons. Two, the show has become too political. I realize that it was a season of change, the humans having been occupied by the cylons for a year or so, but the riots and strikes became a bit much. The one thing it does do, though, is deal with the fallout of said change. Couples splitting, fathers and sons facing off, inner demons rearing their ugly faces. There was just a little too much for my taste and not enough action to balance it all out. Finally, I just don't buy the final four cylons. It seemed a bit contrived and a last minute shock technique. But the reappearance of Starbuck (I knew they would bring her back) was a nice ending. Too bad we have to wait nine months to see it all again.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

If you could meet one person

I was listening to some music this weekend and trying to peel the hell that was my week from my mind. The music happened to be Beethoven sonatas played by the irrevocable Daniel Barenboim on PBS's Great Performances. As I watched in HD, I thought about what kind of person Beethoven was to have written such incredible music. This brought me to a question that seems should be asked in therapy or maybe in a job interview: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Well, Beethoven is on my list but at the top is George Gershwin. Incidentally, my list goes George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, then Ludwig van Beethoven but then I start to sound like Monk listing his phobias.

I have read several biographies of George and his brother, Ira. I can never get enough of his music. His personality was genuine but he was plagued with vanity and an ego which made his personal life very sad. Still he produced some of the most unique sounds and impacted jazz, opera, broadway, and orchestral music. As I was listening and browsing the web, I found that George and Ira have a website. Apparently the Gershwin Estate is still strong living off the royalties of copyrighted music. I find this extremely hopeful that their legend lives on.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ides of March

Does anyone think about Shakespeare's Julius Caesar every March 15? For some reason, I can never forget "beware the ides of March". Nice to know that I can still remember things from high school.

On a completely different note. I have been watching a lot of BBC America tv channel lately because of the "Robin Hood" series which just premiered. Excellent show, by the way. But one of my favorite shows is reruns of "Whose Line is it Anyway" back when it was really good instead of the ABC trash that came later. Long live BBCA.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Blooms

One thing I miss from North Carolina are the Bradford Pear trees which line the streets.These incredible white flowering trees would pop in the Spring only for a short week or so before they turned green. In Texas there are similar pear type flowering trees but they are not quite the same. First, they are less white and have more green leaves, diffusing the color so their impact is less. Second, they have distinct odor which is not all that appealing. But they indicate Spring and are a nice addition to the streets and walkways. This image was taken at dusk.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Quite the pickle for the heroes

Heroes goes on an offensive five week hiatus after two magnificent episodes. Now we are left with all of our heroes in the most intriguing situations. Claire, the cheerleader, has just met her grandmother and is on her way to meet her father after so elegantly picking the Hatian's pocket. I did not count that among her powers. Mr. Bennett (does anyone else feel this is not the correct name for this guy? Of Pride and Prejudice similarity, he is not) finds himself cleaning up after the premonitory painter by using a new girl who can shape shift not only herself but her surroundings as well. Very interesting. I only thank God that Simone is really dead, she was a very boring addition to the cast. Speaking of morphology, shape shifter girl also caught Mr. Bennett hook, line, and sinker by posing as his wife. So does she need to see the person to shape into them? How did she know what Simone looked like or the painter's bed for that matter? Petrelli, the eldest, has flown right into the hands of a power monger who knows and sees all. Hmm, I wonder if he has some power of his own? The mind reader is stuck in a hospital gown with no where to go and who knows what the double personality chick is up to since no one can pin down how or why her power works the way it does. Our favorite time traveler is now in a devastated New York City future after his sidekick saves his butt from the big bad curator. I have to take the chance to compare Hiro and Ando to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza chasing windmills... I mean dragons. Their cause is so noble and yet I fear they are in over their heads. Let us hope Hiro's power truly has returned and he is able to bring them all together again. Though that may be very hard since Petrelli, the younger, is now in the hands of patient zero who wants to see what makes Peter tick. Oh and Mohinder Suresh is hanging around to watch after failing to curare chai the power stealing, murdering bastard that is Syler.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

la circulation

La circulation is the French word for traffic. The French seem to think that traffic goes around in a circle whereas we all know it basically goes in a straight line, a long straight line. Austin traffic is pretty bad. I am sure it is worse in other places like DC or California. However, for such a tight knit little city, the traffic is horrendous. This is mostly because there is only one major highway through the city that moves north and south. There are two other highways on the east and west sides which move north and south but can turn into a regular road with stoplights at a moment's notice. It is exasperating. Enter Google Maps. They now have a traffic feature which in real time color codes by traffic speed major roads in select cities. Thankfully, Austin is one of them. Have you hugged a Google employee today?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Netflix Indulgence

I love Netflix. Best thing since dollar movie theaters. Netflix allows me to indulge in my many obsessions like anime or romantic comedies. It also, however, gives something back to me like helping with my French or in the case this week, renew my love for the piano. I received two movies this weekend having to do with the piano. Piano Grand: A Smithsonian Celebration was really mostly a collection of performances celebrating the grand piano but it was great to see Brubeck play his own work, Jerry Lee rock, and some fabulous pianos on display. But the highlight was Great Pianists of the 20th Century. A detailed look at some of the more famous performers from the past century including Rubenstein, Richter, Paderewski, and Horowitz the latter of whom I was not very familiar and now wish I had heard live. The footage is amazing and at times the film slows to a pace where we can watch the greats curve over the keys during the fast flittering of the pieces they played. It is utterly amazing to watch their genius and technique. But I have to say that the pinnacle of this film was Horowitz playing his own Variations on Bizet's Carmen on his return to Carnegie Hall. Oh that I could have been a fly on that wall. Now I must start saving for a piano of my own.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can't get enough

I have this strange thing. I like to listen to songs over and over again. The song varies from week to week or month to month. Last month it was "Number One" by Hazel Fernandes which is an insert song to the anime, Bleach. Great work out song by the way, very inspiring. Before that it was "Curious" by the Innocence Mission, the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, "Never There" by Cake, "Rooftop" track from the Newsies soundtrack by Alan Menken, and the list goes on and on. Today it is the overture to Dancer in the Dark by Björk . This has a fantastic melody which builds very slowly by some even more fantastic horns. The climax is a symphony of brass that makes my heart melt every time. Oh and the song on which it is based, "New World", is also beautiful and it has been alternating time in my car of late.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The pros and cons of Supernatural

A WB now CW show, completely unbelievable storyline, and monster of the week premise? While it sounds like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show is actually Supernatural and I have to say, I think it has that sort of potential. Supernatural does not have Joss' touch, the always intriguing plot of an extraordinary girl trying to live a normal life or any of his directorial montages. It also lacks that je ne sais quoi to give it that extra special something that Buffy always eluded. However, the Winchester boys never fail to make me laugh or cry and are always, always there for each other. Dean and Sammy Winchester are supernatural hunters like their dad before them and others besides. They have their dad's journal to help them find the ailment of whatever small midwestern town is the center of the episode that week. The supernatural portion of Supernatural is nothing to laugh at either. There is, of course, a big bad, a devil creature complete with yellow eyes who killed the boys' mother, father, and plenty of others. He is masting an army of vision prone twenty somethings for some unknown purpose and has the rest of the hunters now hunting poor Sammy. They travel in Dean's Chevy Impala which along with the classic rock songs narrating the story, has become an integral part of the show. Dean is the strong emotionless type who likes to handle the big guns so he does not have to ask questions. Sammy, only called that by his brother, is the bigger sensitive researcher type who likes to ask the hard questions. Dean protects Sammy and Sammy internally combusts with angst. Meanwhile they are brothers and nag and pinch until one of them hits the other or they end up saving the day. In the most recent episode entitled "Tall Tales" a typical flashback episode where one remembers the story different from the other, I was on rolling on the floor laughing at the over exaggerated quips of these two men who have been together for far too long. Their situations are sometimes overly dramatic but there is a very consistent thread, family. It is this common thread with Buffy that gives the show the potential to be great. There is nothing like some horror demon to bring two different people even closer than their sibling blood will allow even if they are fighting it every minute. It is fun and funny. Give this show a try and you may end up feeling a little heartfelt all the while you are cheering their Rambo antics.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Score Tracks

Well, I finally got my score blog going. Basically it is a discussion of one track from a film score. I started with X-Men because I love that track and the death of Michael Kamen still floors me. He had some incredible scores. Enjoy!

Score Tracks

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Leaky Cauldron countdown

I saw this on The Leaky Cauldron and thought I could use it on my blog. I always need to know how long to wait! The countdown begins on the right sidebar.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I knew 2007 was going to be the year

The fact that 2007 ends in the most convenient of numbers (duh...the number seven) is just too much a coincidence for the last Harry Potter book not to be published. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set to be released July 21, 2007. This totally makes up for the really crappy two weeks I have been having.

JKR announcement

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's that time of year again...

31 Days of Oscar is the Turner Classic Movies tradition of airing a full month of Academy Award nominated and winning films. It has the added benefit of closing out my list of movies to watch. Check out this year's schedule.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It isn't easy being green

No, not Kermit but the irrevocable Green Arrow. It just so happens as I was watching Justice League Unlimited on DVD, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Netflix, Smallville had a run of Oliver Queen episodes. The Smallville version of the Green Arrow was fun, if not a bit cheesy. He did a bang up job of wooing Lois Lane, getting Clark to climb out of that Lana funk and finally bring down the ever darkening Lex Luthor lab. Lex's patriotic speech gave me warm fuzzies to think of his potential presidential run. Oliver was charming and good looking but the outfit was a bit much for a Superman show with no tights. The last episode with a would be-Flash and Aquaman tried for a Justice League feel but the writing just was not there. I do want to say the slow motion group coming out of the fog thing was a nice touch.

Justice League Unlimted (JLU), on the other hand, has all the writing and character depth of a high class dramatic series. Personal storylines of heroes has become a favorite genre of mine which probably stems from my love of anime. There is nothing like angst to draw out the fan girl in me. The Green Arrow on JLU does not have a lot of angst but loves to voice his opinion as he shoots those loaded arrows with insane accuracy. He has the wit of Flash (another favorite character of mine) with the idealism of Batman, of whom there is no equal. A man with no super powers, the JLU Oliver Queen ends up being one of the most powerful characters on the show, cutting the original Justice League to their knees. What a guy. How can you not love him?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The AFI list dwindles

A little less than a year ago I had twenty movies left on the AFI list of 100 greatest movies. I just finished Apocalypse Now (2001 redux) which leaves 13 movies on this list which drives me insane sometimes. I hate not finishing something. Having watched Apocalypse Now means that I have completed the first 37 movies on the list, a great feat indeed. Most of the movies left are near the end and some are rather hard to find given there are some silent films. Of my most recent screenings I very much enjoyed The Third Man. A Carol Reed directed black and white classic, the visuals of this film are beautiful. Joseph Cotten played an excellent Marten, a seemingly fish out of water who then steals the show at the end, literally. Look for news as I finish the list entirely. I am going to have a big party that day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winter Storm 07

I love how they give the lead in to all day news coverage of the ice storm in Texas. Here is the picture stream of the ice that crippled the city this past week.

Snowing in Texas

Not a Hollow, Bleach the Bount arc

I took the opportunity of the winter storm to catch up on Bleach and in doing so finished the Bount arc. First, the arc was really filler. This means that it is not a part of the original manga. I guess the TV series moves too quickly and has to give the manga time to catch up and so creates its own story line to do so. While the big bad dude was a bit over the top in wanting to destroy the world, soul society, and the rest of his comrades, I like that there was a good comparison between his past and personality to Ichigo's. The final question gave the arc some resonance. What would Ichigo have chosen were he in Kariya's shoes?

Some other things that bothered me were Ishida's new outfit, soul society captains hovering in mid air, and the fact that no one actually was living in all the houses they destroyed in Seireitei. Still it was nice to see that the captains could hold their own and, after some perceptive observing, could easily finish off the Bount ryoka. One of my favorite fights was Tōshirō Hitsugaya against Koga. Even though Tōshirō had to bring out his bankai, he really just brought him down with one blow. It was a wow moment for me.

Throughout the arc, there were a few times that we saw Ichigo's hidden hollow come forth. These are scary moments for me and our hero. I know that there is some hidden power there that is either not under control or that wants to control him. I believe that near the end with Kariya, there was a different sort of power which came to the surface. I am eager to see the internal battle in our orange haired friend.

Who we did not see a lot of was Inoue or Chad. Two of Ichigo's devoted friends who ended up picking up pieces or running around. I hope they grow in the next arc. Who we did see a lot of was Kuchiki Byakuya. Man, this guy is the epitome of cool, both in composure and admiration. I love how he always looks bored with his opponent but can strike with impressive force at any given moment. This arc did show some touching vulnerability for his sister. I wonder if that is captured in the manga as well. We finally get to see an emotional facial expression near the end and it all focuses on Ichigo, a good moment for the series.

While there were some difficult holes in the plot, it was a damn fun ride with some pretty excellent fights both in the real world and in the soul society. Now that the series is back on track with the manga, the ride should get even more interesting. Bankai.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow in Texas!

Posted by Picasa

And it's only 10 AM

Best line of the night: "Get me Jack Bauer, now!" - President Wayne Parmer

Best scene of the night: Jack breaking down after shooting Curtis, Assad being driven away, and a nuclear explosion rocking L.A.

Best feeling of the night: Knowing we have twenty more hours to get four more suitcase bombs and watch Jack come back.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two hours never looked so good

I made the mistake of trying to work during the premiere of Jack Bauer's return. Alas, I missed the really good parts of the show, the little moments where Jack shows vulnerability. Luckily, a winter storm moved through Texas and I had some free time to rewatch 24. Besides the unbelievable recovery of Jack from two years of torture (would you really remember how to drive, let alone hot wire a car or shoot straight?), these two hours were chock full of hero goodness. He recovers from two years of silence to ask about Audrey and his daughter, gets tortured again only to find out he really will die for nothing and then rescues a terrorist from certain death to find he can not perform his CTU duties any longer. After five terrible 24 hour days, Jack has to remember what it means to be Jack Bauer. Something in which we get a chance to participate. Could anything be so much fun?

Incidentally, I do not know who the genius was that built all of Austin's roads above ground but it makes for some very hazardous driving. I witnessed a truck spin out this morning on the one mile ramp I have to take to work every day. That was fun to drive around. Then, leaving early to get home before things really started getting nasty as the temperatures dropped, I slipped on the ice in the garage and bruised my hands and knee. Despite my love of the winter, Texas just is not the place for it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Afro Samurai

Set in a futuristic fuedal Japan, Afro Samurai is an animated series showing on SpikeTV of all places. After one episode, I am happy with the story, characters, and animation. I plan to continue watching.

Afro Samurai episode 1

Children of Men

I do not go to see movies very often as the he crowds tend to bother me. But Children of Men intrigued me. It had the hint of science fiction without all the hype of a special effects movie. It was the kind of movie that plays over and over in my mind and that is not necessarily a good thing.

Children of Men takes place in England in the year 2027. The population is infertile and the most of the children have died out in a flu epidemic. The youngest person on the planet has just died in a brawl. The Earth has gone to pot and one of the only places left is England, specifically London where we meet Theo, our unclaimed hero. There is also an influx of illegal immigrants and Britain has been forced to close its borders, capturing and caging refugees and resorting to a police state. Amongst its citizens are many groups both peaceful and revolutionary. One such group is the The Fishes led by Julian, Theo's ex-wife and mother of his dead son. Julian enlists Theo to help Kee, a West African refugee get to the coast. The result is a harrowing journey for all involved as Theo and Kee make their way through a war zone.

Alfonso Cuarón has brought about a very believable dystopia. Welcome details such as the scrolling bus ads and burning animals added greatly to is reality. I am not a fan of the handheld camera. My eyes like to focus and with this direction, things become blurry and you can not catch as many details. There was one instance, however, a very long shot as Theo tries to make his way into a building with the battle raging around him. He enters a bus full of people, most who are shot to death and the splatter hits the camera. Instead of a cut, the camera rolls with the blood reflecting the gruesome scene. It only enhanced the jostle of Theo as he dodges bullets and bombs. It was an interesting choice in direction. The movie was fettered with these scenes and, in fact, there was little time when things were not happening. The inactive scenes were what made the film. As an out of focus Jasper recounts the death of Theo and Julian's child, Theo stands forefront and we relive the grief in his eyes. The blend was a perfect scene which required no action nor any effects. There was no complete score to speak of but many of the songs complemented the tone of the film. Added to that was a high pitched sound which played every so often seeming to last too long. It was a recurring theme along with Theo's loss of shoes. Moving from designer shoes to bare feet, from flip flops to used tennis shoes successfully glued his morbid experiences to the audience. Overall, the film was a dreary telling of a possible future but resulted in an extraordinary piece of art. I do not regret seeing it in a theater.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Man, did I stumble on to this. It seems that any book in the public domain can be recorded and distributed without penalty or fees. Someone took it upon himself to get volunteers to do this right, checking and double checking the recordings. Bravo and thanks for hours of enjoyment. Oh, and there are eBooks as well.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Poor Jack

If you do not want a spoiler, do not read this. But oh, how I long for Jack's return.

Matt Roush's review of the premiere of 24

Monday, January 01, 2007

The New Jedi Order

I just finished the first book of this Star Wars series occurring 25 years after the destruction of the Second Death Star (more formerly known as the Battle of Yavin). Incidentally, I love the Christmas holidays when I can catch up on my reading. I was loathed to start it because the series consists of 24 books and I had read they were not all that fantastic. However, being a fan of most of the Star Wars novels, I wanted to give it a chance. Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore was actually a pretty interesting novel and introduced a very cool dark race. However, a major character dies, one of the four which carried us through the first movie. I am not sure that I want to experience the fall out of that and so I am undecided on whether to continue. Also, not all the books are written by the same author so it seems very inconsistent. Still, I enjoy the Solo twins and the true capture of Lando as a character. And I would get to enjoy the expanded Star Wars universe and continue my fanaticism by continuing to read. I am just not sure what to do.

Avatar Book Two: Earth

I ended up watching the season finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender without knowing it. And things did not end well for Aang and the gang. It is horrible that we have to wait until July for its return. I suggest once again to catch this show on Nickelodeon. It is completely worth the time for its excellent fights, intriguing characters and riotous one liners!

Family Christmas

It was a good year. The time with family was spectacular despite catching a cold like always. Here lies the remnants of Christmas 2006 with my family.