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    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2007
    I hope everyone is having a good holiday...mine was pretty decent, though I'm exhausted from having to be up early the last few days.

    In non-holiday news, Kris and I took the train into Manhattan on Saturday to see Rob Zombie and Ozzy at Madison Square Garden. It was an awesome concert and a fun trip, though we should have left hours earlier and done more sightseeing. We might do a day trip in the near future specifically for that...I really want to see the Met and some other stuff.

    I took some blurry cellphone shots, a couple of which came out ok...they're on Facebook and Myspace, and I suppose I should use one of those other sights to put them up for anyone that might like to see them but doesn't use those silly sites. When we go back for a specifically sightseeing trip, I'll bring my actual camera and take some nice pictures, but I didn't want to have my camera at the concert. I especially want some shots of Grand Central Station...it may be one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen.

    Not much else going on...I'm going to another concert on Thursday...going to see Clutch in New Haven. No plans for New Years as of yet...probably keep it pretty low key anyway.

    Hope everyone is doing well!

    • CommentTimeDec 27th 2007
    Happy Birthday Jesus to All!

    NYC is awesome. I love it there.

    I've been using my time off work to mostly play video games (Mass Effect is awesome, NHL 08 is very good too), hang out with friends more, and sleep. The sleep bit is weird, 'cause I usually have a lot of trouble sleeping, but the past few days I've been sleeping like 10 hours a night.

    New Years I'll probably spend at a friend's place. Should be fun but I was hoping for something a bit different.
    • CommentTimeDec 27th 2007
    Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you all!

    I've got the week off, and have also been catching up on my sleep. And movies. And video games. I got Super Mario Galaxy for Christmas, but haven't had much time to play just yet.

    I also got the Kubrick boxed set, which is awesome. I've only watched the Kubrick documentary so far, but I've seen all the other movies in the set (2001, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, FMJ, and Eyes Wide Shut) and they're all brilliant films. I think the one I like the least is Clockwork Orange, but only because it has such a dim view of humanity - it's still a brilliantly made film.

    I also got some good books. Godel, Escher, Bach, which seems like pretty heavy lifting (both literally and metaphorically) and a couple Heinlein juveniles (which I'm shamefully not familiar with - I've only read his "classics")

    I'm trying to compile a top 10 movies list for the year, and it's much more difficult for me this year. A lot of critics are saying that 2007 is the best year in a while, which kinda baffles me. I guess a lot of the great movies this year are just coming out now (or will be soon), so maybe that's it, but I'm still having trouble. Here are the ones in consideration:

    No Country for Old Men
    Grindhouse (the whole thing, not just Death Proof)
    The Lives of Others
    Zodiac (borderline)

    In Consideration
    Rescue Dawn
    Gone Baby Gone
    The Bourne Ultimatum
    Michael Clayton

    Movies I still want to see before doing the list
    The Orphanage
    Triad Election
    Angel A
    The King of Kong
    There Will Be Blood
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (don't know if I'll be able to get to this one)
    Into the Wild (ditto)
    The Savages

    Movies I don't particularly want to see even though everyone says they're good
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    The Kite Runner

    And there's probably a bunch of other movies in each category (except the definites). This year's movie awards are probably going to be much more fun, as it's much easier to hand those awards to mediocre movies with exceptional elements (which seems to be common this year). As an unabashed genre hound, this year has been mildly disappointing, despite some excellent entries (notably Grindhouse, which is pissing me off because there isn't a big Grindhouse DVD set that cointains the original theatrical cut. Fuckers.)

    Anyway, I've babbled enough. I should go shower or something.

    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2007
    I really don't want to see the Kite Runner. I read the book. It made me very sad.

    I heard pretty good things about Sunshine, and very good things about Into the Wild (read that one, and it's sad too, but in a different way than Kite Runner).

    I saw I Am Legend this weekend, and I liked it a lot. Will Smith is a good actor, which I forget a lot, and he's usually in pretty good movies. This is another book I read, and I liked the adaptation...the stuff they changed felt correct.

    I want to see Sweeney Todd, too. I usually don't like musicals, but its Tim Burton, plus I've heard good things about it.

    I have Godel, Escher, Bach. I got it about a year and a half ago. I like it, but I'm still only halfway through. It's a here or there read for me, rather than a sustained one, which isn't necessarily bad. I enjoy the subject matter a lot. Godel's Incompleteness theorem is one of the most fascinating things I've ever encountered. And Hofsteder's (spelling..?) format is fun, if a bit loose.

    I called out of work today. I may have the plague.
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2007
    Oh, and I was actually fairly disappointed by Zodiac. It felt like it built (slowly, I might add) towards a climax that was never there.
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
    You're the first person I know who liked Zodiac. I haven't seen it because everyone I knew that watched it thought it was so terrible.

    Sweeney Todd is The Awesome. If you like Burton, I suspect you'll like this. It's a bloody, twisted musical about the perils of obsession and revenge, and it plays it excellently. It's full of spectacular sets, excellent performances, and fantastic costume design. Lurved it, I did.

    Juno makes my definite list, but only after overcoming those first moments of dialogue. The "Look how clever and hip I am" dialogue during the first five minutes really had me hating on the film before it even got started, but once she gets off the phone with her friend, the obnoxiousness of the dialogue toned down and actually was clever. I liked the characters, and I liked the mostly judgement-free way that sex/pregnancy was presented. Everyone was having their feelings in the movie, but the film didn't feel too preachy.

    Mostly, your list makes me realize how few movies I've seen this year. Heh.
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
    Sunshine is worth a watch, but it's also very derivative. It's like every space movie. On the other hand, there's something to be said for a really well executed space movie. But you better have your suspension of disbelief meter disabled (if I remember correctly).

    I haven't started GEB, but it seems very much like the sort of thing you just pick up every once in a while and read a few chapters of. I just had a Neal Stephenson obsession alert. In Cryptonomicon, one of his characters' names is G.E.B. Kivistik. The letters ostensibly stand for Gunter, Enoch, Bobby, but I just had a flash that maybe Stephenson intentionally did that to reference GEB?

    Damn, that's lame. I need some new Stephenson.

    I am indeed one of the few who liked Zodiac. I probably shouldn't have included it in my definites list, but it still has a fair chance at the top 10. It's definitely flawed, but I was really taken by the craft of the film. It's a little too long, and as foucault mentioned, knowing that the Zodiac was never caught does diminish some of the tension, but it was still well done. It's definitely worth a watch though.

    Sweeny Todd, eh? Well, I'm not a huge Burton fan and I hate musicals, so I've skipped it for now. But I might give it a shot at some point...

    Juno's too-cool-for-school dialogue definitely turned me off and while you're right, the worst was at the beginning of the film, it occasionally lapsed back into it later in the film, and I kinda felt it was distracting. Still, it's an awesome movie, so it's got a decent chance of making the list.

    And you know what? I didn't get to see as many movies as I wanted:P

    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2008
    I got to browsing after thinking of GEB and Hofstadter, and ended up ordering two more books by him. One is about languages and translation, and the other furthers some of the ideas from GEB.

    I suppose its silly ordering two more when I haven't finished the first in a year and a half, but I really like having stuff I'm looking forward to in the queue, and I'd rather have a lot than nothing. It's a crappy feeling to really be in the mood to read, and have nothing that piques your interest.

    Speaking of books languishing in queue, tallman, did you ever get around to House of Leaves? Just wondering.

    And I agree, it's high time Stephenson wrote something new. What's he waiting for? The 3000+ pages of the Baroque Cycle was over several years ago!

    That's a reference I never noticed before, though...highly possible that it is a reference to this book. I wouldn't put anything geeky like that past him. = )
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2008
    I did finish House of Leaves a while ago. Overall, I liked the book, but there were things I really didn't like. Just about anything the narrator wrote about himself was nigh unreadable, though there were chapters of levity. I guess I just didn't connect with that part of it. All the stuff about the movie, though, and the weirdness of the house and the explorations, etc... that was awesome. A lot of great ideas and reasonably well executed.

    I know Stephenson is working on the script for The Diamond Age miniseries (which annoys me, as I'd rather he spent his time writing more books). According to his homepage, he is working on his next novel, but it doesn't say anything about it. I'm pretty sure he's not doing any sort of continuation of the Cryptonomicon/Baroque books though. I remember reading an interview where he said he just needed to get away from those characters (or, I suppose, those families) for a while. Considering that he's probably been writing about them for 10 years or so, I'd say that's fair.

    At one point, I had this theory that the next book he wrote was going to take place during the American Civil War era. This was entirely based on the list of books he said he was reading in the Slashdot interview (guess what time period they were set in, though they weren't all Civil War stories). My assumption at the time was that we'd see Waterhouses and Shaftoes duking it out in the Civil War and around the world, but now that he claims he's working on something different, I'm not sure. The setting seems perfect for a Waterhouse/Shaftoe adventure, but I'm sure it'd be fine for an independent story as well.

    So let's call that a prediction for 2008. Neal Stephenson will announce his next book, and it will be set during the American Civil War era.

    Um, yeah, so sorry to go off on a Stephenson rant like that. I need to get a life.

    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008 edited
    I thought pretty much the same about House of Leaves. The story about the house with the extra-dimensional room was really cool, but the framework story was too fractured and disjointed to make much sense out of...way too much style over substance.

    I'm with you 100% on Stephenson. I'm feeling kind of impatient, though I suppose he may have simply taken a well deserved rest after firing off all of the Baroque Cycle pretty quickly.

    I'm pretty leery of a Diamond Age miniseries. I suppose it would have to be a miniseries, rather than a straight up movie to deal with a plot that large (and confusing), but I'm not so sure Stephenson's work will translate well into video or film. To be sure, a lot of the near future high tech will look as cool as hell, but I think a lot of what I like about Stephenson's writing would be lost in the transition.

    A Civil War era story would be really fun. I think with the setup and characters in both directions from the Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon it would be hard not to set it in that universe, but hey, what do I know? I do get worried when authors who have routinely varied their characters stop doing that; it feels like they're starting to lose their creative drive...but again, what do I know about it?

    Published Novels: Stephenson: a bunch, me: 0

    Wait, what was my point again? Oh yeah, I also need to get a life. = )