Archive for November, 2007

‘Tis But a Flesh Wound
28 November, 2007

Sean Taylor died on 27 November at the age of 24. As is expected, the puff pieces began, lionizing the deceased. Whilst I’m sure his death is a tragedy for his mom and himself, I don’t know the bloke well enough to comment on whether his death is the tragedy for us all that the media would have us believe.

Apparently someone broke into Taylor’s home eight days prior to his death, ransacked it, and left a knife on a bed. Early reports indicate that on the night before his death kicked in the bedroom door and fired two shots at him. One of the bullets hit Taylor in the upper leg. Such an injury would be negligible to John McClane and his peers, but severed Taylor’s femoral artery, which ultimately turned out to be fatal.

On the face of it this may appear to be a random act of violence. However, when considered with Taylor’s history of armed confrontation, it may seem a bit different. Perhaps the knife was intended as a warning. Certainly burglars rarely initiate violence, preferring to flee with the booty. Rather, someone busting into a room and firing at another sounds more like a hit.

Whatever really happened (if we’ll ever know) there is a lesson to be learned: minor injuries in the movies are life-threatening injuries in reality, so always be prepared.

Dan in Real Life
23 November, 2007

I am a fan of Steve Carell‘s work on both large and small screen. In general comic actors’ attempts to transition into dramatic roles fare poorly. His performance in Little Miss Sunshine was intriguing enough that we went to see Dan in Real Life in the theatre.

The film was visually beautiful; kudos to Lawrence Sher and Sarah Flack. The soundtrack was quirky but worked. But the real strength of the film was its script and the actors’ performances even though I don’t know if I would have cast Juliette Binoche and I don’t care for Dane Cook‘s work. Carell brought a tangible poignancy and pathos to his role. I found it quite, surprisingly good.

Despite including one of my favorite sight gags, I would classify Dan in Real Life more of a romantic drama than romantic comedy. I recommend this film to those looking for a love story that strums the heart strings and plucks a few laughs.

Drag, Drop, Dig
23 November, 2007

Safari 3 introduces tabbed browsing to Safari. I’ve played with tabbed browsing off and on with Firefox for a couple of years. My approach to tabbed browsing versus windowed browsing is still immature. I tend to use tabbed browsing when drilling into a highly-linked subject. (cough) Wikipedia (cough) I tend to use windowed browsing for separate subjects, such as Tcl man pages contrasted with Google searches on debugging make files.

This morning I was drilling into the successors of the Cannonball Run and I wanted to reorder the tabs. As far as I can tell reordering the tabs is not possible in Firefox but, since Safari is an Apple product, I tried dragging the tab to the end. It just worked!

That attention to detail is one of the reasons I’m a big fan of Apple products.

Lucky Man
20 November, 2007

On the drive last week I heard a song I sort of like. (The tune is catchy enough but any references to cardiac issues give me the heebie-jeebies.) But I really like the lyrics of “Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry.I’ve proven empirically that life contains plenty of bad stuff without any extra help. So I try to always look on the bright side of life. Despite its reputation for alcohol abuse and marital infidelity as thematic elements, modern country music contains quite a few songs with an optimistic tenor.I’m coming to believe more and more strongly in gratefulness. Not a contrived, faked gratefulness, (Folks, be careful whose advice you take, whether Joe Rogan on lunar landings and hallucinogens or Oprah on self-improvement) but an honest, heartfelt thankfulness for what we have. Too often people use gratefulness to invalidate complaints about their mistreatment of others. “It could be worse…” It could also be better.Gratefulness is not an excuse to stop trying. Rather, it’s showing respect for the things we do have, no matter how small. One of the things for which I’m grateful is the opportunity to keep trying to make things better. Another is that I was born into the healthiest, most prosperous era in history. Of course, I’m also grateful for my right to complain about the things for which I’m ungrateful, too.I’m a lucky man.

The Condemned
17 November, 2007

I watched The Condemned today. While it reminded me somewhat of Commando, the formulaic film wasn’t quite up to that level. Certainly Stone Cold carried the film but I think Arnold has the better comedic delivery. Perhaps it was the way the role was written, but Madeleine West‘s character was remarkably annoying. The villainous producer played by Robert Mammone was a thinly-veiled swipe at Mark Burnett. I recommend this film for viewers that like Commando and its ilk and would find a completely predictable, next-generation version enjoyable.

The Futura Is Wild
14 November, 2007

My eldest is working on a poster for a science project and, without any help from me, chose Futura for the typeface. My kids are brilliant, even without their Mac.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
12 November, 2007

We watched I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry over the weekend. If you like Adam Sandler films, you’ll probably like this one. But I didn’t find it as funny as Happy Gilmore or as heartfelt as The Wedding Singer. While I applaud the message of acceptance of sexual minorities, it wasn’t handled in the most sensitive way. But it is an Adam Sandler film.

Aluminium Foot
11 November, 2007

Like most who work outside the home, I spend a fair amount of time commuting, something around 200 days per year. Even without my other reasons for paying close attention to automobiles, I get plenty of opportunity to observe how others drive. Being the (possibly neurotically) introspective type, I compare their driving to my own. One of the differences I’ve noted: I’m first off the line and last on the line.

I have quick reflexes, pay attention to the signals, and want to get where I’m going as fast as possible. So as soon as the light turns green (presuming it’s safe to go), I go. But I also try to drive efficiently. So I avoid hard acceleration and use compression braking as much as possible.

A green mini-van driven by a “soccer mom” was in the lane next to me today. At each signal I would leave right when the light changed only to be passed by her a few seconds later. Apparently she didn’t know when the light changed but then floored it, only to stand on the brakes at the next light. I don’t care for that approach to driving or to life.

I try to keep my life the same: minimize the highs and the lows. Like many with fair complexion I have a robust fight-or-flight reflex. All by myself I naturally experience a fair amount of emotional dynamic range. So it’s in my best interest to limit the external amplification as much as possible.

That is not to say that there is never a time for acceleration or animus. Or in the vein of the James Dalton: be mellow until it’s time to not be mellow.

Only at the Oregon Zoo
11 November, 2007

During today’s visit to the Oregon Zoo I was reminded of one of the things that makes Oregon great:
L. L. Bean yuppies, Birkenstock hippies, and Suicide Girls all in the same place.

U Cubed
11 November, 2007

A few weeks ago my youngest asked what “UFO” abbreviated. Upon hearing “Unidentified Flying Object” (and not being at all interested in Project Blue Book) they began identifying lots of unidentified things by their abbreviations. Today I was treated to “UUU”:

Unidentified Urinating Unicorns