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    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2007
    Sorry for my lack of participation here recently. I've been swamped with work of late and otherwise busy. It's been a while since I posted any sort of update, so here goes. I hope everyone eles is doing well as well:)

    I got rear ended the other week. Turns out that the guy who hit me was a cop. An undercover cop. No issues there, we just pulled into a parking lot and he called the police, who wrote up a report etc... Apparently the little city near me is quite the criminal hotbed. Lots of drugs, and even a murder lately. Score. Even little towns have their ghettos, I guess. Interesting discussion, but I'm still trying to get my car fixed. I got an estimate and he filed a claim, and I just need to work out when I can go and get the car fixed. This is really annoying when combined with the hectic work schedule. Still, it should work out in the end.

    I'm thinking about getting a new car. I'm not sure what I want to get though. I had considered getting a hybrid a while ago, but since I've moved here, my commute is less than 5 miles, so it really wouldn't make sense to get a hybrid. I'd get better mileage, but it'd take a long, long time to make up for the extra cost. If I lived in the city, and worked out here, then it would be a different story. But I drive an Xterra now, and I only have to fill up every two weeks or so (if that). Plus, with my relatively frequent trips to the mountains, offroading capability and lots of cargo space is a huge benefit. Also, I like that I can drive easily in the snow (not that I couldn't in a regular car, but it would be much more annoying. Some of you probably have to deal with much more snow than I, and would probably proclaim me a wuss, but still. I'm used to being able to get in my car and go, no matter what.) I'm pretty happy with Nissan, and my family has a great relationship with the local dealer, so I'm thinking about a new Xterra or a new Altima. I'm not sure which to go with.

    As previously mentioned, work is crazy of late, and shows no signs of slowing down until the end of September (ironically, since that's the start of the holiday season and we're a retail company, but my job typically entails getting new stuff out to customers before the holiday rush, so now is typically the busiest time of the year for me.) As you might imagine, the scale of what we're trying to pull off is rather large (hence the long hours). On the one hand, I like my work and it's better to be challenged than bored, but on the other hand, who likes to work so much? All's well that ends well, I guess.

    Let's see, what else. I've seen a lot of movies lately. In no particular order:

    Ran - Kurosawa, great but long and deliberate. One of the movies on my "Need to See List" Play along here: http://www.listsofbests.com/list/37357/compare/mciocco I'm about 36% done my list. Not bad for a couple of weeks, eh?

    Bourne Ultimatum - Good stuff, one of the better movies of the summer (if not the year) and it's amazing to compare what a good director can do with the shaky camera, quick cut action style with what a bad director does (I'm looking at you, Michael Bay!) Greengrass is awesome, and I love it when good directors slum it by working on genre pics. He really seems to have mastered the cinema verite style, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

    And crap, I gotta go. How's everyone else doing?

    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2007

    I am doing well. Working is going well (i.e., I got a raise not too long ago) and my boss actually told me when more people are hired into my group, I'll become the manager of it, which is weird. I mean I'm happy about that but I never really figured I'd have a job like that.

    A couple friends and I did a Bourne marathon since none of us felt we'd remembered the first two movies very well and, uh, seven hours of MAAAAAATT DAMON is quite a bit. I think we managed to get all the Team America quoting out of our system about a third of the way through the second one so we weren't obnoxious in the theatre. I liked the third one too but not as much as the others. I love hand-held-style cinematography. Not that I don't like cleanly-shot films where obviously someone has a steadicam but I think there's a sense of being there that comes across with really well-done hand-held stuff.

    I watched The Fountain not too long ago too. I liked it but I thought it could have used more to ground it. By the end it felt like so much of it was symbolism and philosophy that there wasn't much tangible left to it. Gorgeously shot thought. Aronofsky is definitely great behind the camera.

    Ehm, what else? I've been taking classes in a martial art called Krav Maga that was developed by the Israeli military. It's been a lot of fun to learn so far. Most people I've mentioned it to don't know what it is and then seem a little off-put when I describe it in detail, which is funny to watch. It's a pretty brutal fighting style is the thing. Like the move to get out of a headlock doesn't just involve getting out of the headlock itself but also repeatedly punching your attacker in the crotch and shoving them to the ground by their nose. But like I said, it's really fun to learn, and it's a good workout, which I could definitely use since my job has me sitting on my ass for like 50 hours a week and is located in a part of town with a ton of good restaurants for me to fatten myself up at on my lunch breaks.

    Good luck with your car stuff (both settling your claim and getting a new one). I take it the damage to your car wasn't too bad?

    Hey everyone, what the hell should I do with the weblog I created?!
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2007
    Try to take over the world!

    You got hit by an undercover cop? That's kind of funny in a "That sucks that they hit your car, but kinda funny who it was" kind of way. More on the suck side, since it was your car. Sorry about that.

    I'm doing alright, for the most part. I did manage to draw some unwanted attention to my site, though. One of the sites I visit regularly got hit by a DDOS attack, and the owner received some threatening e-mails, and I mentioned "Wow, that sucks." Well, it turns out that it was a bunch of Anon people from 4chan or wherever, and now they've put my blog on one of their lists, so I'm getting tons of hits and spam and blah blah blah. It's mostly just annoying. But, then, I haven't gotten any violent threats. I don't care if I get hit by stupid troll comments- I can delete those, but the threats and the way that they post personal info about people that piss them off (soc numbers, phone numbers, addresses?) is disturbing.

    So, that's fun.

    I watched 13 Tzameti yesterday and the original Premonition on Friday. Both were pretty good, although I liked 13 Tzameti more than Premonition. 13 Tzameti was pretty tense, and had a really stark kind of minimalist feel similar to Pi. Premonition was just kind of weird, and had a few spooky moments, but, ultimately, didn't work for me. It's too slow in the middle, even though the final scenes were pretty cool. Eh.
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007
    Dyre, I pretty much agree with your thoughts on the Fountain. Shameless self promotion of my blog on my own forum: http://kaedrin.com/weblog/archive/001165.html

    Krav Maga sounds interesting and somewhat familiar, though I don't think I've ever seen it anywhere. You should make a movie featuring Krav Maga action scenes. Remember when they used to do that in the 80s? Some american dork would go learn an exotic martial arts technique and then some hollywood studio would make a bad movie about it. Fun stuff. You should revive that genre Dyre.

    Car damage wasn't that bad, but I need to get a new rear bumper. The metal part is dented and pushed in a bit, which cracked the side frames of the bumper (which are plastic). You can't really notice the fulle extent of the damage unless your looking for it, but it obviously needs to be fixed. But otherwise, the car is running fine:)

    I echo Sam's sentiments of world domination via your blog. Or, you know, you could just write about movies and music and and games and stuff. Or you could post photos. Or cheese. You could totally corner the cheese niche of the blogosphere. If you post semi frequently, I'll put you on my blogroll. Guaranteed to increase your traffic by 3 visits a month.

    Sam, that sucks. Back when I used to frequent a lot of political blogs, it seemed like there were days when I couldn't access any of my normal reads, as they were ALL brought down by a DDOS attack (it didn't help that a lot of bloggers used the same service - so centralizing the service means it was easier to do more damage - gah). Anyway, I imagine that must be really annoying.

    I watched 13 Tzameti yesterday and the original Premonition on Friday.

    I've never heard of either (though I have heard of the dumb-looking remake of Premonition), but they sound interesting:) Alas, as my netflix queue approaches 100 movies, I doubt I'll get to them anytime soon (perhaps a pruning of the netflix queue is due).

    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2007
    I looked up your review after I watched it, actually, because I thought I remembered you having a similar opinion but wasn't sure.

    I think I absolutely need to revive that American-knows-a-martial-art genre! I believe to best represent the genre I have to either compete in a tournament against the masters of my fighting style from the country it originated in or be on a mission to liberate my family or the president from a disposed dictator that seems to be from some amalgamation of a number of third-world countries throughout the globe. He'll be Columbifricanese and smoke only the finest illegal cigars.

    As far as the blog, I bet you there is a totally killer cheese blog out there that I could never compete with. My only hope is to program something that allows you to actually download the scents of various cheeses. Like you put a disc in the drive and my program causes the drive to go haywire and scrape the CD in just the right way to replicate the smell of Vieux-Boulogne. Then your computer catches on fire because the program is still in beta.

    I've never heard of 13 Tzameti either but the little plot blurb on IMDb makes it sound pretty cool. Actually, I can watch it through Netflix online, as it turns out. Sweet! I think I'll watch it tonight! I just watched Amores Perros (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who did 21 Grams, which I liked, and Babel, which I haven't seen yet). I'd say it was good overall, although the middle story was kinda dull. I think if you're going to a story like that one, you have to go all-out and hit hard with it, and I think to do that it would have to be its own movie. I thought the first and third stories were very good though.

    Sam, that sucks about the spam/possible DDoS stuff. Maybe you could bill your blog as THE BLOG THEY TRIED TO SHUT DOWN and get some renegade cred going. This happen(ing) to 79soul or no cookies for me?
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2007
    It's happening to No Cookies For Me. The reality is that there's very little they can do. It's a blogspot blog, which means that, you know, they're not going to eat up my bandwidth, because... uh... I don't have any. They've tried to use image reaps to shut down other blogspot blogs, and they eventually gave up because it wasn't working. They've got a few taken down because of TOS violations, but I'm not really worried about that. It's mostly just annoying. Of course, as far as I know, they haven't posted any personal info about me, nor have they made any violent threats against me, so I'm doing okay right now. They're very weird.

    Oh, and you forgot one of the ultimate martial arts tropes: The outsider called in by the police to compete in an illegal underground fighting tourny to get on the inside and expose a slave trade/drug running outfit. Perhaps you could call the movie "Tired Tropes Two: American Martial Artist Kicks Some Serious Ass!" You'd be an American fighter going back to the country of his martial art's origin, being brought in by a government you don't trust to fight in an illegal underground fighting ring to get on the inside of the organization so that you can expose the slave trading ring that captured your brother, the president, and is forcing him to sell drugs on the streets of North Cublumbiafricaq for the Russian dictator that has overthrown the rightful ruler, all while wooing the beautiful woman who knows a complimentary fighting style, and who dies tragically at the end while giving you a sacred weapon passed on to the True Master of your chosen form. Because you, DyRE, are the True Master.

    13 Tzameti is pretty badass, but, then, I'm a sucker for stark, minimalist, black and white films that like to ratchet up the tension. I'd avoid reading many reviews of it, if you can help it. I knew very little about it going in, and I think that helped, since the first half of the movie is sort of a mystery, kinda... you and the main character don't really know what's going on for the first half. And that's how it should be! HA!

    As far as Babel goes: Meh. It was okay, I guess. The story about the Japanese girl is really interesting, but deserves a whole movie, not the thirty minutes it gets. The other three stories aren't as interesting, and the connections between the stories are sort of loose. Plus, I found the whole thing sort of heavy handed: LIVING IN THE THIRD WORLD SUCKS! AMERICANS ARE CLUELESS AND HELPLESS OUTSIDE OF THEIR COMFORT ZONES! THEY HAVE RESOURCES THAT HELP THEM SURVIVE THINGS THAT THIRD WORLD PEOPLE CAN'T! TOURISTS ARE OBNOXIOUS PRICKS! OMGZ!!!

    It was bleak and stylishly depressing, and Cate Blanchett looks a little bit like my ex, so there you go.
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2007
    The martial art cliche I was thinking of was the DyRE could play a troubled jewish teen who gets sent off to Israel, where he's whipped into shape by his grey-bearded grandfather, a Krav Maga master. DyRE learns the secrets of Krav Maga, then returns to his old neighborhood and takes up a teaching position at the local ghetto school. At school, he connects with the disaffected youth by relating his lessons to Krav Maga. But wait, trouble is brewing, as a local Jewish gang, also Krav Maga practitioners, doesn't like what DyRE's doing. The movie culminates with a no holds barred fight to the death between DyRE and the leader of the gang. DyRE of course wins, but is merciful (though there's lots of speculation and worry that he might kill the guy).

    If 13 Tzameti is available on the Watch Online thingy from netflix, I might watch it soon. Or not. You never know with this crap:P

    See, I have no desire to see Babel. I saw 21 grams and I though, wow, this is well done, but I never want to watch it again. And honestly, I hate movies that lecture me in the way it seems that Babel does. I'll probably see it at some point, but it might be a while. Crash seems the same way, and it's been hovering on my netflix queue at somewhere around 10-15 for, uh, a year now.
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2007
    If someone ever chops Babel up and you can just watch the part about the deaf girl in Japan, I'd go for that. The rest, yeah... preachy is a good term for it.
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2007
    Ah, see, I really dug 21 Grams, although it's probably the only movie I simultaneously enjoyed yet felt like it was dragging. I guess this multiple story thing is Iñárritu's style which, in 21 Grams, didn't feel as separated as it did in Amores Perros. The connections between the characters in Amores Perros are minimal. Like the model in the second story is connected to the guy from the first story because she's the one his car crashes into when he's being chased by the dog fight gang dudes but the connection pretty much stops there, whereas the 3 characters in 21 Grams were all involved in the same story and having huge, continuous effects on one another. The connections in Amores Perros seem like an afterthought so each character's story seems more like a small, individual thing and stuff like the middle story about a model who becomes disabled are things I don't think really work in most cases unless they're given the detail and intensity that being a movie on their own would give them.

    The Babel DVD arrived and is waiting for me to watch it but I just bought an Xbox 360 so I'm probably not going to get around to it (or sleeping) for a while. (I heartily recommend Gears of War on the 360, by the way.) I did watch 13 Tzameti and echo Sam's sentiments. It's good and the less you know about it, the better it will be.

    I have to go save my neighbourhood's kids from the local Krav Maga gang now. Catch you later.