January 31, 2004

a wintry week

Geesh! What a week! It began with termperatures so low the numbers had to be dusted off from lack of use. Two days ago, pipes blew in the parking garage - because of the cold. Around the city, fire crews have been running their arses off putting out fires in minus forty (-40) temperatures at night. (The aftermath of one looked like the end of Dr. Zhivago with the ice built up from hosing down flames.)

And the week wrapped up yesterday with slightly warmer temperatures - and snow. All day! And it's freakin' snowing again this morning. Where the hell did El Nino go? Hmm?

I'm thinking I'll watch Kostner's Open Range tonight so I can see what Alberta is supposed to look like. (It was shot down Calgary way.)

January 26, 2004

rules for winter

There are certain rules for winter and I'm a bit annoyed that no one seems to be following them this year. I'm thinking specifically of this rule:

When it's freakin', bone-numbing cold there is no wind!

Today, we have a bracing -33 degrees (Celsius). But the wind chill is -45! Why is there wind? Don't these people know the rules? Doesn't anyone enforce them?

I should listen to my doctor and move to Hawaii.

endless winter

I can't remember a year when I was so anxious for spring to arrive (and it's still a long way off). This winter seems interminable.

I've become a recluse as I wait for weather that is less inhospitable. All I want is to be able to open windows and let air in. So far, whenever it begins to warm a bit and become a little less hostile, whammo! Another blast of Arctic air moves down and shuts us back in a deep freeze.

The older I get, the less amusing this winter thing becomes. Geesh.

January 24, 2004

le stink

I don't think I generally waste time writing about bad movies, but every now and again I see something that prompts me to post a review of a stinker. Like this week and the unfortunate Hollywood Homicide, which is actually a well made movie that suffers from being mind-numbingly boring.

Someone asked me the other day why I don't have a lot of caustic reviews. They wanted to see some sarcasm and so on, the sort of thing generally reserved for really bad movies. I suppose there are two reasons.

The first is simply that I can't be bothered wasting time writing about something that isn't very good. I would rather just put it down to some time wasted and move on to something better and worth talking about.

The other reason is my own distaste for those reviewers who seem intent on demonstrating their pompous wit. The reviews seem to be more about, "Hey! Look at me! Aren't I something?" than about movies and the why's and how's of what makes them work or not.

Mainly though, I prefer talking about something that has impressed me than something that hasn't. (Like, for instance, The Postman Always Rings Twice.)

January 18, 2004

terror, disaster and a few laughs

Watching football ... Meanwhile, I've posted a few more reviews, including Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (from 1960). To be honest, while I admire the movie it isn't at the top of my favourite movies list.

What else was added? Let's see ...Oh yes, Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending (a pretty good movie, by the way), and 1953's Titanic. (Not the best of the big boat movies, and definitely not one of Barbara Stanwyck's better performances.)

Oh would you look at that ... Peyton Manning just tossed an interception. Must run and see how all this turns out.


January 17, 2004

home again

Returned last night from a few days in Vancouver. Wasn't quite ready for the chilly temperatures. It was warm (for Edmonton) when I went to the west coast. It was even warmer in Vancouver. But when I got home?

Godfrey Daniel! My knackers were knockin'! Someone make it go away!

By the way, while in Vancouver I picked up a few more discs, all older films: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 - "Their love was a flame that destroyed!"), The Master of Ballantrae (1953 - another Errol Flynn film) and 1953's Titanic.

January 11, 2004

new reviews added

I've added two new reviews: the 1962 John Frankenheimer film The Manchurian Candidate and Steven Spielberg's 2002 Catch Me If You Can.

So why do I do so many reviews after the fact? Well, I do them when they are out on DVD, for one thing (though I don't often comment on the DVD aspect). For another, I like older movies, many of which have few reviews available on the Web - at least not as many as new movies have. While I do reviews of new movies (new when out on DVD), everyone else does reviews of them as well and while I may occasionally have some interesting comment to make it's not as if I'm adding anything new to what everyone else is writing.

Finally, if you look at my comments on Catch Me If You Can you'll see that first impressions are not always the same as second impressions, especially when those second ones come after viewing a movie some distance from when it originally comes out.

Hope that made some sense.

looks like Steve Buscemi

Would the real Steve Buscemi please sit down?

I suppose there might be a vague resemblence, but really ... when you look at the two of us I don't think there is anything similar beyond the gaunt, skull-like appearance of the head. And I'm pretty damn sure that our bank accounts down look anything alike. (I'm assuming he's in the black as opposed to me ... My accounts sport a different colour.)

Despite this, I constantly get, "Hey ... do you know who you look like? That guy ... You know, he was in Reservoir Dogs? What's his name?"

"Steve Buscemi?"

"Yeah, that's him!" Blah, blah, blah and so on. Anyway, for Buscemi fans, I understand he's in Tim Burton's latest, Big Fish.

January 10, 2004

submitted to BlogsCanada

I've submitted The Burble to BlogsCanada. I hope it's not too confusing for anyone paying a visit. The Burble is the blog portion of Piddleville, which is mostly about movies. The blog, however, tends to ramble about everything and anything (none of it terribly profound).

There's also the problem of a very ramshackle architecture to Piddleville. One day (I keep telling myself) I'll organize it properly.

But geez ... that involves so much work.

January 5, 2004

happy perihelion

Oh my ... It's back to work today. There is a definite lack of enthusiasm on my part. However, once back and doing a few things maybe the blood will start flowing again and sheer activity will lift me out of this lethargic morass.

It has been dark the last few weeks, which is to be expected at this time of year. But it has also been freakin' cold. So the desire to leave home has been nil. The result?

I discovered on the Web (on the Doc Searls blog) that today is the sun's perihelion. Or, given time zones, maybe it was yesterday. I dunno ... But if the earth and sun are closest today, I've got to wonder: Why's it so ding-dang damn cold here?

For all intents and purposes, I have been a recluse over Christmas. Come to think of it, I've been a recluse over the last few months.

This needs to be adjusted in 2004. The sooner the better.

I have just noticed I've been peppering this entry with catch-phrases and cliches: "for all intents and purposes," "come to think of it," "the sooner the better," and so on. This is indicative of a mind working at less than 50% efficiency. I am dull, I am dull ...

I noticed to that awards were given out a while back for over and ill-used phrases and words. Terms like "metrosexual" and "bling-bling" were highlighted. I believe that once I've been back in the office for a few hours I'll be able to add more than a few myself. (Currently, I have erased all memory of the Land of Cubicles and Processes.)

January 4, 2004

tourists on mars

This image is appearing on Web sites everywhere so there is really no need for me to post it as well. So why do it?

For the same reason the image is showing up everywhere: here is something our planet is doing that may have actual value. This is an image sent back from the Spirit rover, part of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

I'm no science guy but I do have intelligence enough to recognize space exploration is about our future. It's a small little light on an otherwise dull horizon.

Imagine what we could do if rather than running around and sounding off about why the other guy is wrong, or spend our lives working on trivialities in order to "increase shareholder value," we put our minds and resources into something useful like this.

Space exploration, while about long-term survival, is not only about long term survival. It's also about the absence of borders on human imagination. It's about lives less ordinary.

Exploring space is important if only because it is interesting. And God knows this planet has become a very dull, self-obsessed place. (Speaking of God, he or she must be bored witless by us.)

Correction: the planet is not dull and self-obsessed. We are.

January 1, 2004

rehashing an old year

This could have been a rarity along the lines of flying pigs. It was intended to be a letter, of sorts. Not only that, it was to be disguised as a personal letter. It began with a version of this opening paragraph, and continued so:

I may be playing fast and loose with the term personal; this is a kind of form letter. But it’s a personal form letter individualized, if by nothing else, its seasonal nature. It is also very modern as it doesn’t make use of paper. It makes use of the electronic medium which, in truth, is another bit of fast and looseness. It is really another form of indolence along the lines of individualized form letters. Being electronic, no stamp licking is required and there is no need to hunt down a mailbox.

My laziness is not total, however. I did some research into what to put into a letter such as this. While there was no consensus among the people I asked, many responses favoured a year end cap. “Tell them what happened to you in 2003,” these people said.

It seemed a sensible idea. Unfortunately, as I found when I first attempted this, nothing happened.

Yes, 2003 was characterized by a disturbing void. It was distinguished by an absence of anything resembling “something.”

But you can’t let such things get you down. You need to examine them. I did. As with deciding what to put into my seasonal form letter, I did some research. It produced astounding results.

It turns out things did happen in 2003. However, at birth I was granted a memory commonly referred to as a “sieve.” It is not that it retains nothing but that it retains the irrelevant and discards the significant. Therefore, while I remember what I was eating when I first watched the DVD special edition of “Bull Durham,” I have completely forgotten the incident last February when I was taken prisoner during a home invasion by a group of Western independence Alberta feminist-terrorists. (Don’t worry, the RCMP tell me the affair ended peacefully, though I don’t recall this.)

I have since made inquiries and discovered some of the things that happened in 2003, at least in my world. I can’t, however, completely vouch for their veracity because of my poor memory. I am taking all this on faith though I question some of these.

As with many, I did some travelling in 2003. I did not go terribly far afield. Except for one trip, I restricted my movements to Canada, particularly western Canada. So at varying times I was in: Calgary and Red Deer, as well as the environs of both Red Deer and Caroline, all in Alberta. I was in British Columbia, including several visits to Vancouver where I enjoy infuriating the locals by gazing goggle-eyed at the rising buildings and shiny downtown streets while saying in an awe-struck voice, “Gee, this is great! It’s just like being in Toronto!”

(Head gear is recommended if you choose to do something similar.)

I think I was in a few other places in B.C. I have a vague recollection of boats and rather steep snow-capped hills but this may be an image confused by the Paramount Pictures logo.

I also went to Seattle, which was green and lush and filled with amazing seafood. This was the best trip. I was even in a kayak on a great sweep of lake where water planes terrorized us by landing without regard for people or sailing craft that may have been there first. They dive-bombed us as if it were Pearl Harbour.

I just remembered: I spent some time in Ontario, in cottage country, the Lake Huron area. I was with relatives and friends and met an amiable dog named Murphy (named after the family name on my mother's side). This is probably my favourite place in the world.

Well, that was as far as I got with my 2003 rehash. I’ve never been very good at looking back and remembering things. Sometimes it feels as if nothing happened and perhaps this is the case. But I don’t think so.

I often run into friends who say, “Do you remember when we ...?” And I reply, in some amazement, “Oh yeah. We did that, didn’t we?”

So I can throw out any notion of ever doing personal memoirs. What could I write about if I can’t recall anything?

On the other hand, I could make it up as I often do. Fiction is much easier to write, at least for me, because you’re not straight-jacketed by facts.