Archive for January, 2007

Sachiko on the Island

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Category: Automotive

The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai was not, I regret to say, all that or a bag of chips. The lighting and camera work were great, by 70s grind house standards, which is unfortunate, because this movie was made sometime after 2003. The action sequences were really bad, to the point that I started to wonder if they were intentionally bad, and the sex scenes looked like people always fear they look having sex rather than anything you’d want to actually see on screen. This was definitely intentional. The metaphysical commentary didn’t make any sense at all, although in all fairness that could be down to the translation. The political satire was kind of clumsy.

On the plus side, It was pretty funny all the way through, and the actress that plays Sachiko gave performance that was spirited, if not a whole lot else. It was definitely also surreal, and gets some points for sheer craziness value.

In case anybody’s wondering (I know I was) what the Monday-night audience at the Drafthouse downtown looks like for Japanese existentialist-surrealist-action-comedy-satire-pornos, it’s this: all white. Like all white. The guys were roughly equal parts movie geeks (small, stylish sunglasses, clean clothes, combed or at least finger-combed hair, a few extra pounds, and frequent girlfriends) and geek geeks (small, unstylish sunglasses, ripped and/or stained t-shirts, uncombed hair with dandruff, and an utter lack of girlfriends). I wore contacts and have no hair, so I don’t know what group I fit into. I wore a holey T-shirt underneath a clean Brooks Brothers shirt, so that’s a wash too.

About 1/3 of the audience were women, mostly there with the movie geeks. There were also a few scattered women who’d come with other women, and virtually no women that came alone.

All in all, I think it was probably the Monday night Drafthouse that determined the demographics more than what was showing.

On a side note, I watched The Island today, because I was sick and at home, and it was a lot better than I expected, a stylish sci-fi action flick that starts out all THX 1138 and ends up all The Rock. It’s a Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Rock, Pearl Harbor) flick, so a lot of things blowing up and miraculously failing to kill our erstwhile heroes is to be expected, but the action sequences, while improbable, are imaginitive and well-executed; the CG blends seamlessly with the live action footage. The production design is pretty damned awesome, with lots of shiny metal and glass lighty-uppy future stuff, although, inexplicably, a lot of 2000-era cars appear to be driving around 2050-era Los Angeles. At least they chose for one of these vehicles the Cadillac Cien; although it is referred to in the movie as an antique, it’s quite possible that this is the only car Cadillac’s ever made that can claim to look futuristic, and it’s pretty to watch on the big screen. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson give simple but effective performances that bring a lot of life their characters, and do a down-pat job of the most frequent task asked of them, which is to look pretty and run really fast while things blow up around them. It’s not a movie with a lot of nuance, but it is in the end at least something more than it should have been, and only slightly less than it could have been. Even Stephanie Zacharek, who was just making up reasons not to like it lest somebody in her weekly movie critics circle accuse her of failing to look down her nose at Mr. Crash!BOom!, seemed pretty halfhearted in her dismissal.

Stupid google maps tricks

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Google maps gets lost.

my brain feels like it was just smashed out with a slice of lemon…

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

…wrapped around a large gold brick. Thanks to everybody that came out. Final damage:

115 Lone Stars (1 keg)
12 Anchor Steam Old Foghorn
6 Anchor Steam Anchor Bock
6 Independence Bootlegger
6 Sierra Nevada IPA
6 Leinie’s Sunset Wheat
1 17oz Fuller’s ESB
1 17oz Fuller’s London Porter
1 20oz Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball
3 11oz Red K Cider
750ml Macadamia Nut Liqueur
250ml Grey Goose
250ml Sauza Hornitos
500ml Bacardi Gold
750ml Ciclon
3l + 12 x 12oz Coca-Cola
12 Dr Pepper
12 Diet Dr Pepper, if you don’t think people were desperate

…and we still ran out before the party was over. Well, we had liquor left, but no mixers.

Once I managed to drag myself out of bed and could crawl to the living room, I spent pretty much the whole day playing Viva Piñata. It looks like a kids’ game–hell, it’s a perfectly good kids’ game–but it’s got a lot more depth that you’d probably think. Think The Sims depth. The whole thing is kind of Animal Crossing meets The Sims meets Pokemon. If you own an XBox 360 you owe it to yourself to go read a review. When you breed ‘em they go back to their place and do this “romance dance” that’s different for each species and pretty hilarious for all of them. The moths have this blaring techno with flashing lights, but every time the lights flash off, they just fall to the floor, and when they flash back on they fly toward the ceiling….anyway. Hilarious.

I will go see Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation next wednesday at the drafthouse downtown, so if anybody wants to go with hit me up. If you’ve never been to Spike and Mike’s, then go watch some Happy Tree Friends. If you laugh, instead of wondering why the people who do laugh aren’t already in prison, then you’ve been missing out.

Cafe Monteverde

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Okay, I haven’t been to the office since Friday, and you know what I really, really, really miss? Cafe Monteverde. Cafe Monteverde ground fresh and made fresh all day long, with the big grinding machine that always grinds the right amount for the big metal carafe. Cafe Monteverde with honey and half-and-half, and a couple of Nutri-Grain bars, one strawberry and one apple cinnamon, and a mini-York peppermint patty to round out a healthy™ breakfast. That’s what I miss.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction–or, the Tao of government.

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Category: Friends

Republican majority goes so far over to the side of the business community that their pet war turns into a huge spending gang bangananza, with private contractors repeatedly violating every orifice of the American taxpayer until they’re so spent they don’t have any energy left over to actually do the job they got all this money to do. Orgies always end like that, and the morning after is always icky. Now the Democrats are the majority.

Fox news goes so far to the right as to call Ted Kennedy a “hostile enemy”; Bill O’Reilly goes on a mad rampage against the well-known commie lefty pinko bastards over at MSNBC, who years earlier, along with virtually every other nationwide TV “news” source, skewed violently to the right to chase that selfsame demographic Fox News* monetized to begin with. In response, their viewer base continues to grow older and more irrelevant. More people in “generation next” get their news from the Daily Show than any other source. You can argue about whether that’s a good thing, but I don’t doubt it’s a reaction to the previous newscape.

Voting machine companies go so far away from what marginal accountability existed under previous systems that they spark an immediate–and almost immediately effective–backlash by so many respectable computer scientists and voting rights activists that electronic voting machines may actually end up what the public (the cows!) always thought they were intended to be to begin with–the most auditable and reliable voting technology available.

The Bushies go so far with their clandestine spying on the American people that they spook their own spooks, who run screaming to the media outlets and the American people.

Sometimes I fear there’s hope for this country yet.

Then again, I just read Sidney Blumenthal’s How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime, a collection of articles he published in The Guardian and Salon dating back to November, 2003, and there’s nothing in the public’s late revelations about the perfidy of this administration that wasn’t laid out in plain site and in plain words lo these three years ago. So, maybe not.

*–Not to be confused with plain ol’ “Fox”, which, Rupert Murdoch would rather you forget, is the network that gave you “The Family Guy” and “American Dad”.

Law of the day

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The Cool Law of the Day is the second law of thermodynamics, which states, roughly, that if people don’t start being smart about energy then their children will die shivering in the cold and dark. And probably wet. Wet, cold, and dark. I just like the imagery.

More than half the women in the US are currently living without a spouse. This is not actually true of men, because women live longer.

What’s really disturbing to me is that I’ve got less than two years left in the 25-to-34 demographic. Fuck! I mean, I can live without the love of human people, I’m solid like that, but what will I do when I no longer bask in the warm love of the marketing community?

At least Pfizer will still love me. Except my dick’s hard all the time anyway and I plan on dying early rather than taking blood pressure medication, just so’s I can save the money and blow it on heroin. So I guess that’s fucked too.

This is the second day in a row I’ve worked from home because of inclement weather. Hachi keeps staring at me like he wonders what I’m doing here. I think I’m going to wait for him to go to sleep, then wring his neck and boil him up for lunch, ‘cuz Milano’s takes forever to get mah pizza out here. He’s nodding off now. Gotta go.

Enough Talk! [ Conan throws his dagger, hitting the lead soldier in the gut.]

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower wasn’t exactly what I expected, but Gong Li chewed up the scenery and the whole movie is shot like the Peony Pavilion scenes from House of Flying Daggers–lots of primary and pastel colors, and rich, complex textures overlaid on other rich, complex textures. It’s set almost entirely in a palace made from brightly colored glass lit from within. The whole movie looks like it’s made of candy, and for that reason alone I want to eat it. It’s more a triumph of style than substance, a celebration of pattern, repetition, and symmetry that kind of reminds me of In the Mood for Love or 2046, only more so.

Rocky Balboa was better than I expected. The direction is no more than workmanlike, but I think Sylvester Stallone probably doesn’t get as much credit as a writer as he deserves. His stories are simple, but he manages a pretty good job of keeping them compelling and memorable. It was a good movie.

Pan’s Labyrinth was damned good. Kind of a crazy mix of a fairy tale fantasy story and a real world horror story with the same themes and plot points playing out in both.

Both movies I’ve seen at the draft house in the last week or two had trailers for The Host, a Korean funny/scary monster movie I’m going to go see the night it opens, and The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, which the drafthouse describes as “not your everyday existentialist-surrealist-action-comedy-porno.” You know I gotta go see that tomorrow night, with a tagline like that.

Did you know that Dr. Ruth is a trained sniper and wounded war vet? I am not making this up.

If you haven’t seen this Spiders on Drugs video, you should have. It could save your life, man. Your life.

This guy can draw a perfect circle instantly freehand.

Chad Vader is awesome. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

Lambert’s, in the Schneider building next to city hall–damn good. Have the sausage po’ boy. Have the the pulled pork cuban. Do not have the brisket frito pie with the goat cheese. Really. Unless you like goat cheese. Which I don’t. What was I thinking?