Friday, August 27, 2010

Russian Ark

I randomly found a movie called Russian Ark in a Blockbuster one day but wasn't feeling risky enough to spend $5 to rent it. Luckily, I remembered the title years all these years later and got it from Netflix. What intrigued me about the movie many years ago was the fact that this 96-minute movie was filmed in one take.

The movie is in Russian (with subtitles) and it shows scenes from 300 years of Russian history as the camera winds through a museum. I'm not up on my Russian history whatsoever but The Wife is, and she really enjoyed those aspects of it. Me, I just thought it was pretty cool to see an uninterrupted shot for 96 minutes. It's kind of weird because you're so used to scene transitions and the cuts every director has in a movie. You're sitting there almost expecting to see a cut, or a wipe to another scene. There are times where they are stalling for a little bit of time but if nothing else, you should check out this movie for the feat. There is also a 40-minute documentary on the disc about how they shot it and the coordinated efforts it took. The shot you see in the movie was their fourth attempt at getting it done and if it didn't make it on that take, the movie might not have made it at all.

So, if you're into Russian history, you'll love this movie. If you're into movies that were shot in a really unique way, you'll probably like it, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

27 Degrees

The attached image is (allegedly) the weather forecast for the next few days. I'm going to go on record as saying it's bullshit and there's no way it will drop 27 degrees between now and Saturday.

Will there be a drop? Maybe, but I highly doubt it will be anywhere as dramatic as my iPhone is indicating. As this article on Cracked points out and this other, in-depth piece referenced in that article, weather forecasters are generally full of malarky.

Check back on Saturday and see how far off they were. My prediction for Saturday - sunny and 85ยบ.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I made pudding for the first time in years last night and it is DELICIOUS. Comedian Greg Behrendt has a bit about pudding that I can't find online anywhere but trust us, if you haven't had pudding in many years, give it another shot. Your tastebuds deserve it.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Wow, Netflix. You're getting very specific with your movie recommendations.

I pretty much stopped going to Blockbuster because they didn't have a section for 'critically-acclaimed revenge movies from the 1970s.'

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The Wife and I saw Aerosmith recently and the show was good, but not great. The set list and energy started off really strong through the first six songs. Then it just reached a lull in the middle and somewhat picked up at the end. I think we were both expecting more but considering the age of the band, maybe we shouldn't have.

Here's a recap of the setlist:

Back in the Saddle
Love in an Elevator
Falling in Love
Eat the Rich
Livin' on the Edge
What It Takes*
Mama Kin
Last Child
Lord of the Thighs
Guitar solo
Stop Messin' Around
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Sweet Emotion
Baby Please Don't Go
Draw the Line
Dream On
Walk This Way
Toys in the Attic

* - where the show started to drag.

I think two of the lowlights were the drum solo and the Joe Perry vs. Guitar Hero Joe Perry guitar solo. On the way home, I was talking to The Wife about how '80s bands always had drum solos and guitar solos during concerts. On some music documentary (either about Poison or Def Leppard), I heard they did this because the other guys would go backstage and hook up with a groupie. I think drum and guitar solos are still a leftover relic from those days but I can't imagine Steven Tyler wants to go grab a quickie at his age.

Of course, the overall concert experience might have been hindered by sitting in the lawn section 5 miles away from the stage. However, we got the tickets for $10 from a special promo and there was free parking, so $20 for an outdoor Aerosmith concert can't be too bad overall.

Here's the video for one of my favorite Aerosmith songs - "Love in an Elevator" --

Monday, August 9, 2010

Unforward Back

Remember by previous post about potentially going back to my old job? Yeah, that's not going to happen. I had a good meeting with the current manager, but I was still skeptical about the overall stability of the company. They're doing good but are still a minimum of 3 years away (my guess) from doing great.

Things seemed to be going well enough with the re-interview, so they brought in the CFO. I caught up with him for a few minutes and expressed some of my concerns. He asked me what type of salary I was looking for, and I told him. His response was, "Huh. That wasn't the number we were looking for." Dude, I don't even make that much! They best they could offer me was my old salary when I was working really, what would be the point of going back to a potentially unstable company just to make my old salary?

*sigh* Oh well. They understood they were far off on the compensation, so I'll be at my current job.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

San Francisco

As part of our Northern California adventures, the Wife and I went up to San Francisco for the day. My previous two experiences in SF probably combined for a total of 8 hours - 3 of which were spent at a concert. So this was kind of my first real chance to explore SF and...I kinda had some issues with it. The traffic is f'ed up. The streets and navigating your way around are f'ed up. Parking anywhere is f'ed up...everything is crammed in and feels really tight.

However, I had a good time, probably because I wasn't doing the driving. We parked at Ghirardelli Square and walked over to Fisherman's Wharf where I tried the famous, yet unimpressive, Fishwich. On our way back, we went to Ghirardelli's to get a milkshake and to get our parking validated. Said milkshake cost $6 and the guy informed us we had to spend $20 there in order to get validation. So you have to spend $20 to get a $10 validation credit...? Sounds like a deal.

Luckily, I walked to the diner next door where the 16-year old host couldn't care less and gave us validation. We then found our way over to Golden Gate Park which also proved confusing. *sigh* Oh, San Francisco, I want to like you more but you make it a little difficult. I'm looking forward to seeing how you and I do next time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Garlic Festival 2K10

The Wife and I recently went up to Gilroy for the 2010 Garlic Festival. We went on the Friday of the 3-day weekend festival which was a smart decision. It was pretty packed but judging from the traffic we saw on our way out of town, it gets pretty insane on Saturday and Sunday. They had a ton of food booths, some arts and crafts people, cooking demonstrations and three stages of music.

We spent the entire day there just wandering around listening to bands and eating way too much food - garlic bread, garlic fries, garlic sausage sandwich, garlic calamari, garlic steak tacos, beer battered crab garlic fries, garlic popcorn and of course, (free!) garlic ice cream. Unlike the garlic ice cream we had at The Stinking Rose many years ago, this only had a hint of garlic to it. It was pretty refreshing on a warm summer day, too.

All in all, it was a pretty fun time listening to music, eating and people watching. Some people had garlic hats and one guy was dressed up as a garlic bulb.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Second Skin

I recently saw a documentary about MMORPG gamers called Second Skin. MMORPGs are video games like World of Warcraft and Everquest where you create and develop your character, taking him from a novice to a pro. The game is played online where you make friends, join a guild, and complete quests together. Second Skin is very interesting and well put together, even for someone like me who has a waning interest in video games.

One of the interesting things they touched on was the real world relationships that develop out of a simulated reality. Several people have met and fell in love because of this community. For a few of them, it's a welcome change to feel accepted by a group. Some may be considered "different" because they're in a wheelchair or they may not be the most "attractive." But they play the game online, talk to others and are accepted just based on the communication they have, not what they look like.

At the end of the movie, I felt left with question of where the bigger problem lies - is it with the gamers who are by all accounts addicted to the game and spend their free time playing it? Or is with society who still has issues accepting people that are different? I learn towards the latter as the answer, but if you're 35 years old and lost your job because you're too attached to levelling up your cleric troll named Targun, perhaps you need a look in the mirror as much as society does.