7.30.2006

Pandora's Box

Pandora Internet Radio - Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio



Ok, this is officially the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. It is actually motivating me to blog when not much else was. (I've been working on a lot of other crap.) I stumbled across this website while reading a news article about face recognition software & comparing yourself to what celeb you look like, and I thought this was more interesting as I've already compared myself on that website. (I don't look like anyone really. I got Ziyi Zhang and some Latina singer that's incredibly popular in Mexico or somewhere.) At any rate, the basic premise behind this is that you give it a song or an artist and it will create a radio station for you. You tell it what songs you like or don't like, and that radio station changes. I put in Muse, and it gave me Muse to start with (it doesn't always start with what you give it), then followed up with The Killers & The Statistics. I've never heard of The Statistics! But I like them now. They basically take things that are musically similar to whatever you give it. Muse is very melodically meandering phrasing with electric and acoustic instrumentation. Or so says Pandora. So it finds other songs (Songs, not artists) with the same traits, and lines them up for you. But it doesn't tell you what it's going to play next. It's all a big surprise. And if for whatever reson you don't like a song, you just give it the thumbs-down, and Pandora will take it into account. It's awesome!!



Question of the Day: What's your opening song?

7.24.2006

Better Than Nothing

So it's been a while since I posted here. I have to say I'm sorry for that because I kept meaning to, but every time I had time to, there was either a movie on, or the phone would ring, or something else would happen.



Like now for instance, it's really too hot to sit here with my computer on my lap to update my blog. The weather here is insane. It's not really like the surface of the sun or anything, but it's really hot, and we don't get quite enough airflow to cool this place off. Since we don't have a/c i'm sitting here sweating, and thinking that there wouldn't be anything nicer than a cold shower...



Question of the Day: Do you have a/c?

7.22.2006

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

This is such a cute movie. It's a complete best-friends-teenage-girl-chick-flick. It's all about these 4 girls who were born within a week of each other and spend all their time together. They have a summer they have to spend apart, and magically, they find a pair of jeans that fits them all. They decide to share the pants and they travel from Greece, to Mexico, to Maryland and to Charleston. Each girl has life changing experiences while wearing the pants. Lena finds love. Tibby works at making a movie and befriends a younger girl with cancer. Carmen meets her dad's new family. And Bridget tries to escape the sadness of her mother's death with a cute soccer coach.

It's all about coming of age, and I wish I had seen it when I was 16.

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round

James Coburn Rules! This movie was complex and a little hard to follow at first, but slowly each thread they trailed out to you got wound up and got threaded into an intrcately woven masterpiece. I really enjoyed it. I got interrupted a few times, which made it harder to follow, so when you watch it, turn off your phone, get your snacks before hand and just sit and watch. It's a fairly straigtforward crime movie, however intricate. They don't tell you what their crime is until halfway into the movie. The plan is even harder to decipher. You don't learn that until the execution. I think that's why I like it so much. They don't tell you: "first we're going to do this, then we're going to do this, and your role is this." It's all understood between the characters, so they don't really discuss it. They don't need to.

A really solid movie with great acting and a bit of a twist at the end.

Swimming with Sharks

This movie messed with my head a bit. Probably because I work in this industry and while I don't have a psychotic, demanding, demeaning boss, that demands unreasonable things from me, I do have a boss who expect things of me, and I get yelled at when I don't perform. That said, this movie scared the crap out of me because it was so close to what people can do when they snap. When one person takes too much crap from another. Oh and the way this movie was made was amazing. Kevin Spacey, as always, was amazing. Frank Whaley, I've never heard of, but he was good in this. I found him annoying in the way I find most young actors (John Cusack being the exception) from that era annoying, but he fits the role. I couldn't help think that his job would've been so much easier and more difficult today with computers, and a digital rolodex, or a palm pilot with all the phone numbers.

Scary in how true it could be.

Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade

And now for the final (so far) movie in the Indiana Jones series. I love that they're talking about making a 4th. I think it's great, but I just don't know what's going to happen with it. It's supposedly in pre-production and has a script that they finally like and all of that, but who knows? In this one, Indy's dad, a grail historian goes missing, so Indy has to go find him. They both sleep with the same girl (which I find funny, but with these two actors, eminently believable), but she's a slut and doesn't make it in the end, so it's all ok. I love that they explain his dislike of snakes and the scar on his chin at the beginning. (The Young Indy played by River Phoenix, of course.) And the hat. It's great. I think this is a fabulous movie and the trilogy as a whole while a little formulaic in plot and overreaching undertones and whatnot, is wonderful. No one delivers lines like Harrison Ford or Sean Connery. And they're great. The lines, if they had been done today would be considered dated and cheesy, but then, they were great because they hadn't already been used 500 times. And they're still funny!!

I love Indiana Jones. I guess it why I actually bought these movies rather than renting them for a change...

7.20.2006

Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom

Of the 3 Indiana Jones movies, this is my least favorite. Probably because it shows that Indy is not infalliable. He falls, if only temporarily, to the evil guys, to their magic. Plus the chick in this movie is really annoying. I still can't figure out why he brings her along. I think he essentially kidnaps her because he thinks she's hot, and then she has to go along with it. I do love the inventive way they get out of the plane. And while I was watching it this time I noticed that there's always a vehicle chase. In the first one it was a truck, in this one it's a mining car, and in The Last Crusade it's motorcycles. It's inventive, but formulaic. Yet it works.

Once again Harrison Ford saves the day and wins the girl. No matter how whiny she is...

7.13.2006

ho-hum

Sad to say, the shampooing did not get the orange scent completely out of my car. It's slightly gross, but it still smells vaguely of rotting oranges. Especially after it's been sitting out in the sun for a few hours....



In other news, I don't think this is the job for me after all. It's rather too similar to being an agent Making deals and coming up with budgets and giving estimates and all of that. I don't think it's a long-term thing for me. I think I either need to be on-set or further up the food chain in an actual advertising agency, which is more likely. I don't know what I'm doing....



I started looking into immigration to New Zealand again. I was really interested in it when I first went there in 2004, but I knew I needed work experience, so I stayed here for a while. But now that I have a bit of work experience beyond my schooling, I can consider it more thoroughly. But I've still discovered that I think I need experience within New Zealand to qualify properly for Migrant Worker Status. They add up points based on a number of factors, and you have to have a minimum of 100 just to apply. I have 90 at this point, but if I get even a few months of experience in New Zealand, that will boost up to over 160. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to do this or not. If I do, I couldn't leave until at least April 1 because I signed a lease on my apartment. That will give me plenty of time to consider and really think it over as well as save up money for the move and to maybe buy a place when I get there because renting isn't as big there as here. It's a lot to think over and just the plane tickets are really expensive. Worse comes to worse I could go work for a year and then come back. It would be a really good experience. Even if I lived out of a youth hostel at NZ$20 that's only NZ$600/mo which is still only around US$350 or so. And that's for a dorm room. If I get a single, it'd be about double that or more (I can't remember). It might even be less because I could pay a weekly or monthly rate.



Question of the Day: What was the last crazy thing you did that changed your life?

7.08.2006

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Complete Classic. Do I really have to review this for you? It's the first of the 3 Indiana Jones movie that have been made. They're supposedly making a 4th one, but we'll see about that. This one had some of the really classic stuff in it. The fist with the crazy-sword guy where Indy just takes out his gun. "Bad Dates." "They're dates. Ya eat em!" Some geat stuff. Alfred Molina at the very beginning. I totally didn't recognize him at first. All the Indiana Jones Movies are great. Ok really though: this one is essentially about the fact that the Nazi's have found a legendary city where the lost ark was hidden that was buried after a year-long sand storm. For those of you who don't know, the Ark (or the Ark of the Covenant) is the thing the Jews used to carry the tablets that Moses had with the 10 commandments inscribed upon them. The only thing that I laugh at with this movie is the special effects at the end. Rather silly.

Classic. Plus Harrison Ford is Hot. (With that capital H.)

The Emperor's New Groove

It is my humble opinion that this is the best Disney movie ever. I love this movie. It's not a love story. It's not about animals (well, not really). It's not about little kids. They don't burst into song every 5 minutes. It's about a spoiled brat of an emperor who gets turned into a llama. It's really really good. It's a kids movie that adults can really enjoy without resorting to double entendre like Shrek does (don't get me wrong I love Shrek). The cast of voices is wonderful too. The guy who voices Kronk is so perfect for that, I think he's awesome. David Spade, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman are all fantastic voices.

Really, honestly the best, funniest Disney movie ever.

Caché

I don't even know where to begin with this movie. It's so odd and good and creepy and real and bizarre and different. It's completely like looking through a magnifying glass or a microscope at someone's life. I think the reason for this is because there's no music anywhere in the film. Not in the opening credits, not in the closing credits. No one even listens to the radio. Plus all the acting is very real. Never once do you think, "She's a great actress," because you don't even notice it. It feels very voyeuristic. Then there's the subject of the movie. It's all about guilt and what you do as a child that has impacts on your life as an adult and how you carry that into adulthood. Whether you can brush it off and go on with your life or do you stall out, or do you blame others. We watched the interview with the director and it was incredible.

Wow. (Watch the interview on the DVD.)

The Count of Monte Cristo

This is such a fun movie. I have to say first off though I have not read the book. I keep meaning to but I have not. It's so upsetting how he gets sent to prison and then tourtured for so long, but then he holds on to his hatred and it almost eats him alive. He learns to control it and use it to get him out. It's my understanding that it's ends somewhat differently than the book, but I like the way it ends. It wraps it all up nice & neat. Very American. It's funny because I've been watching so many foreign films that I can say that now. But I still like it. The acting in this is very tight. There are a lot of subtleties in the performances. Jim Caviezel is great although I still picture him in Passion of the Christ (which I haven't seen) and that's vaguely distracting. He's restrained and angry and really brilliant. There a subtlety around his eyes that makes it somehow vaguely believable that you wouldn't recognize him after 13 years, especially with the beard. If someone is very innocent and then gets betrayed and disappears for 13 years and comes back hiding half their face behind facial hair with a look of anger in their eyes you've never seen before, you probably wouldn't recognize them. He makes it work.

Fun movie, not amazing, but good. I really like the last fight scene.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

This was such a great movie to watch on the 4th of July. It's very much an image of "America as it should be" with the underlying theme of "America as it is." Jimmy Stewart is always good, but he's particularly good as the 'boy wonder' senator appointed on a lark to get a controlled vote. But thing went awry wwhen he proposes a bill that goes directly opposite what he was put there to vote for. When his opposition tries to corrupt him, he stands firm, and then they try to ruin him with scandal he doesn't back down. It's so good because it's so essentially Jimmy Stewart. I was discussing it with Jessica and no one else could play that role because he is the everyman. Everyone wants to believe he could stand up to that kind of pressure. We all love him or want to be him. He's such a quintessential performer.

Jimmy Stewart is unstoppable. He's great. A political movie I actually like.

7.04.2006

Closer

I really like this movie. It's all about love and relationships and how things really work in this messed up society of ours. There's a bit of philosophy thrown in to keep it really interesting. I love how the story line twists around too. Boy meets girl, they start living together. Boy falls for another woman. Boy sets woman up (accidentally) with another man. Boy and woman start an affair. Boy and girl are still living together. Man and woman get married. Boy and woman leave their partners. Man and girl hook up. Man coerces woman back. Boy goes back to girl, but screws himself over once again, and loses her completely. Even broken down into plot points like that, it's oh so complicated. It's wonderful. But life is like that. It's never simple and clean. You never get a relationship tied up neatly with a little bow. The acting is superb in this as well. After the first time I Saw this I really didn't like Julia Roberts in that role, but this time (the second time) I realize that it's more her character than her. She's uptight and when she's cheated on someone, she's got certain mannerisms. Natalie Portman is fantastic in her role. She's so open and fresh and wonderful. I swear she gets all the really juicy roles for girls her age. (I love her in Garden State.) Jude Law is good. I won't say he's amazing, but he's good. He delivers a very solid performance. He over does it in one scene which is where he loses me. And Clive Owen is so good. I can't really expound upond that, he's just good.

All sorts of relationships and convoluted ties. Very watchable. I like that they talk about the sex, but you never see it on-screen.

7.03.2006

The War of the Roses

A somewhat dark comedy, if you can call it a comedy. It's all about revenge and divorce. It's funny because Oliver has no idea why they're getting a divorce, but Barbara completely hates him, and you can kinda see why. The one thing I didn't like about the movie was that it never quite resolves. You never find out what happens. It's really annoying. Do they get back together? Do they split up completely? If so, who gets the house? At any rate, it's a fun movie, directed by Danny Devito.

The way divorce should be.

2046

Jessica is so proud of us for watching foreign films, but it's no hardship when they're as good as this one. 2046 is a sequel to In the Mood for Love, though only the guy from it is in it. Maggie Cheung makes a brief appearance, but it's irrelevant to the story line. Basically the movie is about the guy's relationship with several different women as a result of the relationship with the woman from the first movie. It's a bit crazy because he can never really love any of them because he's still completely in love with the first whom he can never have. There's one girl he says he falls for, but I don't think he really does because she's unattainable, she's safe for him to love because she loves another. There are some really great Chinese stars in this too. I just really love it. The story is simpler in the first one, but it's more intricately woven in this one. I'm hard pressed to say which I like better.

It's beautifully done, masterfully shot and the story is interesting. The interaction is simply beautiful.

7.02.2006

In The Mood for Love

This is a Wong Kar Wai movie and as such it's incredibly beautifully shot and has some wonderful imagery in it. The whole plot is about two people who move in next door to each other and their spouses start having an affair. After they find out about it, they decide they're not going to be like their spouses, but proceed to fall in love, but can never do anything about it. It's got some really interesting aspects to it because it takes place in the 1960s, but you never actually see the spouses. You might see the back of her head, or his shoes, but you never see them. You only see the two main characters. It moves slowly but smoothly, and it's short enough you don't get impatient for it to end.

Beautiful and simple. Slow but not annoyingly so.

7.01.2006

Noises Off

This movie is completely hysterical. It's even funnier if you've spent any time at all in theater dealing with actors and all their quirks. I was on the tech crew for the play version of this movie when I was in 9th grade, so I have all sorts of memories about this show and the people who were in it. I love the cast in this. John Ritter (I wish he weren't dead) is wonderful. Marilu Henner is great. Michael Caine is always good. And Christopher Reeves doesn't creep me out in this (I don't know why but he usually does, maybe because I can usually only picture him in that wheelchair).

Hysterically funny, especially if you know even a little about theater.

New Jobs and Funky Smells

Wow. This has been a crazy week. At Innovative there was a period of training and getting to know how things worked before I was ever actually allowed to do anything. At this job, I'm kinda just thrown into things and if I don't know how to do something I have to ask. It's kinda awesome. My job description is a "Second Assistant." Which basically means I answer phones, rolls calls, put together projects, keep the office neat, and a whole lot of other stuff. I also maintain lists of calls that have come in. Next week, well, for the 3 days following the 4th of July, Maria, the First Assistant, is going out of town and I'll have to deal with all of it myself, which should be very interesting. I still don't know everything I need to, so I'm going to be calling her about 3-4 times a day with questions about what I should be doing. She said it was OK, so I will probably take advantage of that.



The funny thing about this week was that there were three birthdays in the office. So, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the end of the day all involved cake from Sweet Lady Jane (completely awesome) and some form of alchohol. Wednesday we had a Dulce de Leche cake with Tequila for Herb's birthday. Thursday we went to Violet and had dinner and red wine with a chocolate raspberry cake (and we didn't use forks which was very fun) for Andy's birthday. And Susanne's birthday is actually tomorrow, but because of the long weekend, we celebrated with a chocolate mocha praline cake and champagne on Friday. So much sugar this week. And more alchohol than I am used to.



One thing that went wrong this week was on Friday I went to get the champagne and went to Jamba Juice for lunch-stuff. I got an Orange juice for Maria and a smoothie for myself. I managed to get all the way back to the office without spilling the orange juice, and I knock it over with the champagne right as i get to the office and am getting out of the car. So, my car seriously smelled like @$$. It was completely nauseating. To make matters worse, I cleaned out my car so I could take it to get shampooed today and left the lights inside on overnight. I'm brilliant, I swear. The good thing was I called AAA, and the guy was here to jump my car 3 minutes after I got off the phone. 3 Minutes!! So I went and got my car cleaned and it cost me $29, including tip, to get the thing cleaned and just the carpets shampooed and it looks really good now. The floors are still wet, which is fine because he just finished them less than an hour ago. So my car no longer smells like rotting oranges. YAY!!



Question of the Day: What does your car smell like?