Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm running on nothing but caffeine today. The series of movies last night kept us out until 1AM, then we had to recap when we got home. I think I finally fell into bed around 2:30 or 3AM. I'm supposed to get up for work at 6AM. Needless to say, I was late.

Today was a day destined to be unproductive. Not only was I dog-tired, but I spent the entire day cleaning up messes created by network problems last night while all my jobs were running. I love doing scut work. Of course, I don't know that I'm fit to do anything else today given the lack of sleep.

The movies: overall, about what you would expect from this type of festival. There was a range of quality and enjoyment with only one that I regretted spending the money on. Details:

The Axe - a French film with subtitles. It was one of those films that shouldn't have been funny, but it had everyone rolling. At least those that could keep up with reading the subtitles and watching what was going on. Out of the four, I'd put this one at number three.

Mondovino - This was supposed to be some sort of documentary about the wine industry and the fight of the little guy against the big, multinational corporations. I only know that because National Geographic did an article last month that covered the same ground far more coherently than this film did. There was so much jumping around interviewing different people that I lost complete track of who was arguing what with whom after the first hour. We left about an hour and a half into the movie because we were hungry and because none of us understood what the point of the movie was. Obviously, this was our least favorite.

My Summer of Love - British, so no subtitles (woo hoo!!), but in parts I wish there had been. British idiom can get pretty thick sometimes. This was Michael Moore's contribution to the festival, so he was hanging around the theater before the movie. I had a chance to talk to him for about two minutes. It was pretty cool. He gave a little speech before the movie started, and he was pure Michael Moore. Anyway, about the movie. It was certainly British with a good story with a lot of depth. Typical of European films, there was little violence, and a lot of nudity. There is just something about Euros that makes them want to scamper around nude a lot. At least the subjects of the film were pretty easy on the eyes. Of all the movies, all three of us enjoyed this one the most, although personally I would not say it was "best."

The Woodsman - Kevin Bacon plays a child molester just released from prison. The movie is disturbing on several levels, the most significant for me being that by the end of the movie you are sympathetic for the guy. Because of the subject matter, I can't say we really enjoyed this one, but I don't think that was the intention. I walked out disturbed and conflicted, so in that sense it was probably the best of the four in its ability to impact the viewer, but I can't really say any of us enjoyed the movie.

A note for Traverse City merchants. All I hear is this incessant whining from you about how everyone goes to the mall instead of downtown. This four-day film festival was your chance to show off. You are blowing it big time. I mentioned we left our second movie early to find something to eat. Because we were downtown where the parking is a complete joke, we had ditched the vehicle in front of someone's house and were on foot. We had limited time, so that ruled out a regular sit-down restaurant. I had a minor with me which also ruled out most of the bars-with-food places. No problem; while walking from place to place, we noticed several small sandwich shops. Only one problem; they all close by 4PM. Lucky for us, there is a Subway tucked into Front Street, otherwise, we would have had to walk to the car, drive to some fast food place out on the highway, eat, drive back, repark the car, walk to where the movie was showing, most likely arriving late. This is one of the most-hyped things to happen in Traverse City since we moved here, and the local merchants didn't think it was important enough to stay open later. Nice move, idiots. And while Subway was open, the management there wasn't much smarter. There were only two people working, which meant they both were making subs as fast as possible, with no one to clean tables or restock anything. So we felt like we were literally in a New York subway trying to find a place clean enough to sit down and eat.

All I can say after spending over ten hours in downtown Traverse City is that a lot of businesses there seem to want to fail. And I will continue to shop at Meijers and WalMart, which at least are open hours other than the ones I work.

Tonight, we only have two movies on tap: The Baxter and Grizzly Man. I'll report on those tomorrow at some point. The problem is that it looks to be a very busy day tomorrow as well, with a lot of stuff going on. We want to hit everything, but that is not possible without violating physics. I will try to get something posted, but no guarantees.

From today on the web, another call to ditch the shuttle. This won't happen until NASA destroys the remaining orbiters in launch and/or landing failures. There is too much pork in the shuttle for Congress to ever kill it, and NASA's shuttle operations have become too entrenched. They will literally have to crash every last one of them with the full loss of the crew before anything changes.

From the part of NASA that still knows how to do things, we have more water on Mars. This time, it is a large frozen lake in a crater. It just keeps getting better and better. And the rovers are both still chugging along more than a year after they were supposed to die. NASA can do some things well.

Speaking of Europeans shedding their clothes, here is one for the weird file: a clothing-optional museum. If it's anything like a nude beach, it will mostly be an argument that clothing is a very good idea for the vast majority of the population.

And Vox takes on another touchy subject: why women treat their friends like crap. I can't claim vast personal experience here, because neither Debbie nor myself have friends (inside joke; please don't flood our blog with comments). Seriously, I see this mostly in the context of the office. Most women (not all) that I have worked with don't seem to understand how to get along with co-workers. Sure, guys argue constantly, but it almost never escalates to the level of personal attack. Any time I see two women in the office going at it, there is nothing but personal attacks. Every guy I have ever worked with is endlessly amused by this, and some will even throw gasoline on the fire by encouraging one (or both) sides to keep escalating. I have no explanation. It seems very illogical.

And that's all I have today.


Anonymous said...

Tell us more about your interaction with Michael Moore!! What great words came out of his mouth?

PapaCool said...

PapaCool asks if it is wrong to tune into the live broadcast of the space shuttle landing just like many would a NASCAR race? You hope no one is killed, but you watch to see the crashes? Just being honest here.

Admin said...

Wow! Comments. I hope these haven't sat out here too long unanswered. I get so few, I'm not in the habit of checking for them.

My entire conversation with Michael Moore consisted of me shaking hands with him and telling him thanks for all the work on the Traverse City Film Festival, and welcome to Traverse City. Then I chucked him on the shoulder and told him to "not pay attention to the assholes; we all love ya, man." He laughed and responded that he's gotten used to it and it's just background noise because it is so predictable and repetitious. That's it. My ten seconds of vicarious fame.

Personally, I've only watched a couple shuttle landings, even though I follow space related news very closely. To me, it's just a big, ugly airplane landing. So, no, I won't be using my limited time to gawk at the shuttle landing. If NASA would build a re-usable VTOL that landed on a tail of flame like God and Buck Rogers intended, now that I'd watch, not from a desire to see it crash, but just to see cool hardware in action.

Also, something the average Joe Six-Pack probably doesn't realize is that if the shuttle fails on re-entry, there really isn't going to be anything to see. It's not like it will wait until twenty feet off the ground, then spontaneously explode right in front of the TV cameras. If anything goes wrong with the heat shield, the action will happen in the upper atmosphere and all we will see is a flash and/or a few meteor streaks from falling debris.

Besides, given all the precautions, I'm predicting an uneventful landing, followed by a permanent grounding of the fleet and the cancellation of the American manned space program. NASA will continue to spend half of its budget on shuttle operations, just as it managed to spend half its budget on shuttle operations during the last two-and-a-half years that the Shuttle has not left the ground. Eventually, someone in Congress will grow balls and cut NASA's budget, guaranteeing that Chinese will be spoken at the first permanent lunar colony.

And by the way, I'm not sure how you found us, but thanks for stopping by!!