the second half of the
ucla game was the first time in the tourney that ucla played really well.
i feel sorry for any team that has to face them if all their players are
playing well at the same time. unfortunately for ucla, that hardly ever
happens. shipp is still in his slump, mbah a moute finally had a good game
yesterday and westbrook has been mostly average. the bench didn't play
all that well yesterday either, but i guess they didn't have to. i think
memphis might be too big and athletic for ucla, but ucla definitely has
a chance and they're one of the toughest sports teams i've ever seen.
pickles a scam. how many
people actually enjoy the pickle on the side of their turkey sandwich or
the sliced pickles on a hamburger? what a waste.
went to (new) idria
[also visit here] this weekend.
left saturday after meryl got off of work (it was her first day working
for the a's as an intern). got to idria late and didn't end up at the blm
site that we had intended because of a wrong turn. ended up sleeping on
the side of the road at a turn out several miles away from idria. went
back there in the morning (today) and got to see the town in the light
of day. definitely a ghost town, though not as eerie during the day as
it was when we first saw it at night. there are "keep out" signs all over
the place, but that didn't stop us from exploring. i think the pictures
will tell a better story than i could, they're below. we tried to make
it on a 13 mile road that connect idria to coalinga rd. which runs into
the blm site that we had planned on camping at, but this was impassable
to cars (though that didn't stop us from trying). later we talked with
a couple of locals on motorbikes and they said that even jeeps couldn't
make it through that road sometimes.
overall it was a great
little trip and an interesting town to visit. hopefully it'll be a historic
site at some point.
the town was abandoned
this is the rotary
this appeared to be
a general store. the crap splattered on the walls was probably ketchup
or salad dressing which filled the shelves to the left and right of this
this is part of the
rotary furnace building
a treacherous stairway
adjacent to the rotary furnace building
taken above the rotary
furnace building where employees likely lived/ate. most of the earth here
was an orange-ish color.
i've become an ikea expert
over the course of the last week. spent over $5k there last week, assembled
furniture for about 5 hours on saturday and another 4 hours or so today.
went there another two times today; even had lunch there. hopefully i'll
be done with the ikea furniture assembling project by this time next week.
josh shipp needs to break
out of his slump, it's killing ucla. his shot block at the end of the last
game was redemption for that game, but the competition gets tougher every
game so he needs to snap out of it.
latest proposed waste of
money at the alumni house is the transome window project. we had one carpenter
come in and bid the project and he said that transome windows would be
difficult to impossible in the space we wanted so he suggested a metal
mesh or lexan window alternative. the metal mesh bid came in at over $3k.
we got another quote last week because the suits at the alumni office don't
want to spend that much money. the only thing the new guy could do for
anywhere near $2k would be simply nailing up a couple sheets of plywood
for about 80% of the 40 foot stretch with the remaining 20% to be covered
by a metal mesh to allow for some airflow. in looking at the bid sheet
i found some laughable elements: $300 to paint the plywood (we're talking
three 4x8 sheets at the most, we have the paint so they wouldn't have to
buy that, and it wouldn't take much more than 3 hours to paint for anyone
who knows what they hell they're doing. last time i checked painters don't
make anywhere near $100/hour), $1400 for the carpentry (it's a one day
job for two guys, easy), $400 for materials (admittedly i don't know how
much the metal mesh is, but you're talking less than a 2x6 foot piece so
it can't be that much. a sheet of ac plywood costs $31 [i double checked
today] and they wouldn't need more than 2 or 3 sheets), $50 for "equipment"
(not sure what the hell that is, but it's probably bullshit), $30 for removal
of debris (this one is actually the most reasonable, the dump will probably
charge about half that, but you have to figure the labor/gas to haul it
there), and the final line was the "overhead/profit" listed at a paltry
$300 (yeah right). i guess we all have to make a living.
i check out the home repair
newsgroups from time to time and found this one. the subject heading was
"small hole in my roof"
"I have a small hole in
my roof. My father said it was probably caused by a small piece of
a falling meteor or a piece of that destroyed satalite tv the government
blew up in space a couple weeks ago. I guess the cause of the hole
dont really matter. The thing is the hole is about the size of a
penny and water drips in the kitchen sealing when it rains and sometimes
when its not raining. I called True Value Hardware and did not get
any help because the guy was some kind of pervert. He told me to
buy a cocking gun and put a little cock in it. I'm not sure what a cocking
gun is, but it sounds dangerous and I dont allow guns in my house.
And I dont have a "little" cock, I have a big one and it's too big to fit
in the hole. What can I use to fix this hole? - The Family Guy 1944"
davidson is looking good.
that curry kid is something else. pure shooter and has some good moves.
needs to bulk up, but could be a kevin martin type player in the nba.
stanford barely escaped
thanks to brook lopez's great shot. ucla also escaped a close one. shipp
had zero points, but the game winning block so all is well in bruin country.
great couple games. duke fell which is also nice, but hurts my bracket
a bit. doesn't get much better than march madness. cal is up against ohio
state on monday in the n.i.t. arizona state plays the evil empire (florida)
on tuesday or wednesday, also in the n.i.t.
confirmed that mississippi
valley state had the fewest points in ncaa history (during the shot clock
era). they said that "mississippi state setting a record for fewest point
in a game..." i think they should have said "ucla set a record for allowing
the fewest points in a game..." not only is it a nod to the excellent defense,
it's also a more positive way of looking at it (great defense, as opposed
to awful offense). gotta stay positive.
i don't think there has
been any point in the last year that i haven't had a scab, scar, or burn
on my arms or legs. construction is a bloody field.
decent first day of march
madness. usc was disappointing, didn't know that they had such a tough
time rebounding. that was the entire difference of the game. if they had
gotten half as many offensive rebounds vs. ksu then they would have won
the game. ksu had something like a 20-5 offensive rebound advantage; that's
ucla looked impressive
during the parts of that game that i saw. unfortunately it was such a blowout
that they didn't show much of the game. my dad was there, though, so i'll
get the full report from him later i'm sure. they allowed just 29 points,
i think that's the lowest since the advent of the shot clock.
arizona lost, that was
predictable. pac-10 looked either really great or bad today. stanford,
ucla, and wash state all had big wins and arizona and usc lost.
duke looked like crap.
they're overrated, but i think they have a somewhat easy road to the sweet
16/elite 8 so i think picked them to get to the final 8 and then lose to
my electrical class is
done. will hopefully add the plumbing class next week when that one starts.
been real busy lately with
work and whatnot. worked until 1:30am on sunday and 9:30pm on saturday;
about 20 hours in total. good news is that i got all three rooms painted
(meryl helped for about 2 hours on saturday which was nice) and prepped
for the carpet. that went in yesterday and the transformation is rewarding.
had to trim a couple doors because the padding/carpet made them drag, installed
some door stops, etc. going to ikea tomorrow to buy about $6500 worth of
furniture which i will assemble and put in place over the course of the
next week. the best part of the renovation so far was the installation
of some conduit which added a receptacle to a wall which previously had
none. this was bid at $1200 by a contractor. including a conduit bender,
all the materials, and my labor it cost less than $200 to do it myself.
did it to the same specs (3/4" emt, compression fittings, #12 awg thhn)
for more than $1000 less. pretty sweet.
also did a minor electrical
repair for jon and monique. electrical work is pretty fun, but i think
i still prefer carpentry.
haven't seen any movies
lately, hope to remedy that tonight with a late screening of dirty mary,
crazy larry. 70s car chase movie (ala two lane blacktop and vanishing point).
pretty lame day overall.
next couple weeks will
be more busy than usual. might end up working every from now to the end
of the month. just depends upon how things go with the carpet installation,
painting, conduit running, workstation building, and phone line installation
at the alumni house. i'm saving them about $1000 by doing the electrical
myself, probably more by doing the painting. it's funny, though, because
the alumni association has so much money they probably don't even give
a shit. the executive director constantly claims that they're a "world
class" business, but i don't see it.
as of today these are the
best picture winners i've yet to see. most are available on dvd and i can
always goto reel on shattuck for the ones that aren't. i plan on watching
them all by the end of the year. i may have seen the olivier version of
hamlet, but i'm not certain (i know i own it though). i saw chariots of
fire once, but was nodding off while watching it so i figured i should
watch it again. saw the first part of last emperor when it came out. haven't
seen the others. also own "you can't take it with you" but haven't gotten
around to it yet.
you canít take it with
going my way
greatest show on earth
around the world in
a man for all seasons
chariots of fire
terms of endearment
out of africa
driving miss daisy
a beautiful mind
couldn't sleep last night
because i kept thinking about bending conduit for an electrical project
i'm going to do as part of the basement renovation at the alumni house.
something about electrical work that sticks in my brain more than other
work. it's very strange.
my future retirement home.
top 9 tv programs off the
top of my head:
seinfeld, this old house,
simpsons, twilight zone (original), south park, west wing, sopranos, family
guy, star trek (original).
ho hum, another day, another
great ucla game. this time they played the other northern california basketball
team in the cal bears. the bears lead about 39 minutes and 40 seconds of
the game, unfortunately for them, only the final score matters. josh shipp's
circus shot behind the backboard was amazingly lucky. the last two games
could be seen as a good sign (they're able to win in spite of playing subpar
games and they can come from behind, which shows a lot of mental/physical
toughness) or a bad sign (they tend to fall behind big and that'll catch
up with them in the tourney when they play better teams). at any rate,
the game was another ucla classic. hopefully they learn from the mistakes
they made rather than assuming all is well because of the outcome.
tuned up the bug a little
today and it seems to run pretty well. will probably do some oil changes
for our cars tomorrow. went to don's house today because he and a friend
were pulling a camry engine. never been around when that was happening
so it was cool to see how everything goes together and relates to the other
parts of the car.
great ucla/stanford game
tonight. ucla just hung around all game after trailing from 4-2 onwards.
tied it up at the end and went to ot. ended up winning by 10. vintage ucla
basketball under ben howland - trail most of the game, come back and make
it interesting. they did it against gonzaga, mich state, texas (lost by
1), stanford, etc. i love this team.
alumni house work is going
to get crazy in a couple weeks. carpet goes in on the 17th and i have to
clear the room out, paint it, remove a temporary wall, run some electrical
conduit for a new outlet, etc. definitely going to be busy this month.
installed the new carb
on the bug. need to tune it, but that'll have to wait until next weekend
when i have for myself again. though i'll probably work on saturday, so
maybe it'll happen sunday. can't wait till the leap forward with the daylight
savings time change. extending the time that we have more daylight is literally
the best thing that bush has done while in office.
won the academy awards
prediction contest i entered. i didn't honestly think that 17/24 was good
enough to win, but apparently it was. i won a $200 membership to a marin-based
film institute. it's rare that i win anything as a result of luck and/or
work at the alumni house
should be ramping up in a week or so. we've finally got a plan and the
go ahead so the moving of offices and installation of carpet, new phone
lines, transom windows, new furniture (which i still need to order) and
painting of basement will take place within the month. means i'll be busy
this month. plus there's march madness and a new class at laney starts
on april 2nd. it's full right now, but i'm going to see if i can add it
i think it's funny how
people of different beliefs always use the same fear tactic of the world
ending to make others believe whatever it is they're selling. whether it's
crazy fundamentalists who claim that jesus is coming or environmentalists
who say the world is going to be under water if we don't stop driving cars...they
all have grand visions of the end of the world and they all think it's
our fault. wonder what joseph campbell would say about it. it seems as
ubiquitous as the martyr hero.
article below is interesting.
it's about a film critic who watches a few classics that, for one bogus
reason or another, he hasn't gotten around to seeing before. in the end
i was left with the feeling that lasalle essentially didn't learn anything
from watching the films. he basically just took the attitude that he's
a big shot reviewer and that all the classics he watched weren't worthy
of watching for one reason or another anyway. either he had seen all the
good parts or he was too busy to watch them or they're overrated or they're
good technically, but not really worthy of liking, etc. whatever. it's
your job to have seen these films and you didn't do your job. you're a
48 year old film critic/film teacher and you've never seen blade runner,
2001, and to kill a mockingbird? pathetic. to make it worse he once taught
at uc berkeley only to become a teacher at stanfurd. what a douche. i'm
not a film teacher or film critic yet i've made it a point to seek out
films like cabaret because i want to see all the classics and supposed
greats. i'd like to think that if it were my job i'd make an even greater
effort than i currently do.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Film critic sees classics
for the first time
critic has seen everything, and all film critics have famous
classic movies that
they have yet to see. I know one major film critic,
for example, who has
never seen "Citizen Kane." But this one critic (who
shall also remain both
nameless and genderless) would never say this
publicly or admit this,
except to close friends. You can imagine that when
"Citizen Kane" comes
up this critic just smiles and nods and waits for a
chance to change the
good reason to change the subject: Even though people know
it's impossible for any critic to have seen
everything, they do
expect critics to have seen everything they've seen,
and they tend to get
annoyed when they find out otherwise. Recently, I got
a bucket of mail when
I mentioned never having seen "An Affair to
Remember." Some people
were actually angry about it.
what prompted the concept for this article. I figured I'd pick five
famous classics that
I haven't seen (or have seen only in small parts) and
watch them, and then
write about the experience. In the process, I'd have
an excuse to see "Blade
Runner," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Young
A Space Odyssey" and, of course, "An Affair to
talking about these individual movies, I should answer an obvious
question: How is it
possible for a film critic not see "Citizen Kane" or,
for that matter, "To
Kill a Mockingbird"? From an outsider's perspective,
it just doesn't make
sense. So let me explain.
see a lot of movies. But most film critics actually like
movies, so that's not
so bad. In my leisure hours, I often watch movies,
but those leisure hours
are precious, so when I do watch a movie, it has
to be something I really
want to see. There are plenty of classics that I
want to see, plenty
that I'm excited to see, but then there are titles
that seem merely obligatory
- and it's very easy to postpone seeing the
obligatory ones, and
to keep postponing them indefinitely.
especially if you're a critic, there are some titles that you will
have heard so much
about that you feel as if you've seen them already.
Some have been anthologized
in documentaries, so that you've seen the key
scenes. To sit through
them feels like going through the motions.
another thing. Everyone who watches movies prefers one genre or
actor over another.
Critics are no different, but just in the course of
doing our work, we
end up seeing movies in all genres. I'm not
particularly fond of
action movies, but I've given lots of good reviews to
action movies, simply
because I can tell a good one from a bad one. But
that doesn't mean that,
in my leisure time, I'd put on a "Stone Cold"
Steve Austin picture.
Likewise, if science fiction isn't a favorite, you
could easily end up
going years before strapping yourself into a seat to
sit through "2001:
A Space Odyssey" - especially if you've been warned by
just about everyone
(including people who like it) that it's the most
boring movie on earth.
are impressions of five classics I watched as part of my
self-imposed film festival:
a Mockingbird" (1962): This one surprised me. Over the years,
I've become familiar
with many of the good moments contained in this film,
and I thought I knew
what to expect. I didn't. First, I didn't realize
that the movie is entirely
seen through the eyes of the three children,
(Mary Badham), which presents a problem. Much of the
first hour is taken
up with the kids' fascination and fear of their
Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in his first film role).
Maybe this played as
exciting in 1962, but today that whole section drags
real interest surrounds the trial in which Scout's father,
Atticus Finch (Gregory
Peck), defends a black man (Brock Peters) on a
bogus rape charge.
That begins a full 67 minutes into the film. It's where
one might expect the
movie to turn into a searing courtroom drama, but the
energy remains low-key.
Most surprisingly, Finch's summation to the jury
is fairly limp. Considering
that he is addressing 12 Southern racists in
1932, you'd think he
might pull out the stops and try to shame them into
doing the right thing,
through every possible rhetorical means. Instead,
he just stands there
and more or less invites these dirt-poor knuckleheads
to join him on his
lofty moral plane. I knew that wouldn't work before the
jury came in. Throughout,
Peck is just great at projecting moral decency,
but in the emotional
moments his acting is less convincing.
the reversal at the end, involving Boo Radley, is too pat, and
the atmosphere of emotional
uplift feels misplaced. Sure, it's nice that
Boo is in some way
redeemed, but by the end everyone seems to have
forgotten that an innocent
man is dead because of some evil woman's
accusation and the
racist complicity of the community. Certainly, the
death of this black
man doesn't seem to have had a long-term affect on any
white person's mood.
of Boo Radley is meant to imply that there may be some hope
for the community,
but in a movie that turns on racism, the redemption of
a white man hardly
feels like a fitting climax. If you really look at it,
"To Kill a Mockingbird"
is saying that in this community the biggest
weirdo can find peace,
even if he's guilty of manslaughter, as long as
he's white. But a hardworking,
decent, law-abiding, intelligent black man
stands a good chance
of ending up dead ... but that's OK, because Boo
Radley has made friends
with Scout. Huh?
a Mockingbird" strikes me as a movie classic that has outlived
its shelf life and
is maintaining its classic status based on false memory
Frankenstein" (1974): As is typical of Mel Brooks, this movie is a
mix of dumb jokes that
aren't funny, dumb jokes that are funny and
bits that are classic and nothing can diminish them.
The "Puttin' on the
Ritz" number, the scene between the Monster (Peter
Boyle) and the blind
man (Gene Hackman) and just about any scene featuring
Madeline Kahn are all
hysterical - and, of course, I'd seen all of them
before, in documentaries,
on YouTube, everywhere. Watching the actual
movie straight through
was amusing, though hardly necessary. Somehow
everything good about
the movie has entered the culture, including the
horses squealing at
the name "Frau Blucher."
to Remember" (1957): I liked this a lot more than I thought I
would, and it was not
quite the sappy indulgence that I expected. I
the first hour, in which Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
meet on a ship, and
I thought the scenes with the grandmother, played by
Cathleen Nesbitt were
genuinely touching - and I could see how that visit
could become the catalyst
for a romance. Unfortunately, the movie struck
me as an 85-minute
feature that insisted on being 114 minutes long, and so
roughly the last half
has a stretched-out feeling, and some of the ways in
which it's stretched
are ridiculous (unnecessary musical interludes, for
example). And yet,
despite these flaws, the desire to see the two
protagonists get together,
as well as our belief in them and their needs
as people, remains
undiminished. All in all, it's a good movie, and I'm
glad I saw it.
Runner" (1982): I never saw "Blade Runner" when it was in theaters
because I wasn't much
of a sci-fi fan, and I didn't see it later because I
didn't know what version
to see. Having consulted aficionados, I decided
to watch the latest
version, which people tell me is the best. It's an
excellent movie, and
if I were reviewing it I'd have to give it the
highest rating. At
the same time, it's not what I look for in
I didn't particularly enjoy it so much as
its virtues. It's eerie, beautiful to behold and
an impressively realized
A Space Odyssey" (1968): Stanley Kubrick's compositions have a
fascination in themselves,
and there's something to be said for the
subject matter and its vision of the future. It's
worth remembering that
the film was made a year before the first moon
landing. But having
said all that, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is virtually
unwatchable, a boring,
impenetrable experience that I'm glad to finally
have behind me.