Friday, August 29, 2008

Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet?

Why is Dave online at...10:42 in the p.m.? Well, I'll tell you.

We got out early for the holiday, so I got some lunch (and ice cream) and came home. Changed into some scrubby clothes. Watched a movie (more in a sec). Was going to watch Disc 3 of "Alias" (Season 2), but the disc won't work in either my DVD player or PS2. I'm suspecting a misprinted disc, which stinks, because it means I'll have to wait half a week before I can get the disc via Netflix. If you're not aware, Alias (which had the same creator as LOST) is not a show you can skip episodes of. Alliances switch faster than Sydney Bristow's hair color. I gotta take it step by step.

So what to do, what to do... I'm gonna get offline here as soon as I'm done. Nothing good comes of being online, with no one around and nothing to do, at almost eleven on a Friday night. (IOW: David's royal rooftop--need I continue?)

So I'm about to curl up with a book and nod off. Party animal, I am.

But a few words about a few things.

Sarah Palin--I like it. I really really like it. She's smart, young, maybe inexperienced (but has more executive experience than Obama, having run an entire state for almost a year), but she's a reformer. She challenged her own party's corruption and won. She's a hockey mom with five kids. She's pro-life. She's pro-gun. She's pro-military (her son is about to be deployed). And she's pro-drilling in ANWR. Total Republican up-and-comer with a sincerity and humanity that others lack.

Rock on, McCain.

"Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pressl--I'd heard lots of good buzz about this book, so when I saw it on the book sale table at work, I snatched it up immediately. To blurb: the book is the first person account of Blue Van Meer, a brilliant but socially awkward high school senior whose political-science-professor father has moved her from town to town nonstop since her childhood. For her senior year, she is thrust into the ivied halls of St. Gallway private school. Blue is so oppressively well-read that nearly every paragraph includes quotes, references, and allusions to a library of reference materials (most of it likely made up, much as Susanna Clarke does with "Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell"). For the first two hundred or so pages, the book is a bleak comedy of manners, as Blue tries to interact with and possibly befriend "The Bluebloods"--Gallway's elite clique. She's urged to do so by her inspiring and mysterious teacher, Hannah Schneider. For a while, you (the reader) are thinking, "Okay, so this is a less-repulsive Brett-Easton-Ellis/Cruel-Intentions type of story"--until the plot becomes more twisty and shocking. Suddenly, it's not just a dark comedy, it's a tragedy, a mystery, a nearly absurdist hard-boiled crime drama. Ultimately, the novel has a lot to do with growing up, finding a way to overcome your past and withstand the shocking and earth-shaking storms that life throws at you.

In other words, recommended for those with the stamina for five hundred pages, who appreciate the well-timed cross-reference, and who can overlook some scandalous behavior and bad language.

"I'm Not There"--I just watched Todd Haynes' "biopic" (loosely-used term) of Bob Dylan. Wow. What a trippy film. Dylan is essentially played by six actors (including an African-American boy and a woman, the lovely Cate Blanchett), who are really playing six different characters, none of whom are fully "Bob Dylan." The film explores more of the "myth of Dylan" than the man himself, splintering off six different aspects of his character, his persona, and letting them grow and develop lives of their own. The narrative is told out of order and flashes back and forth between the characters--which is totally appropriate, if you've read his autobiography ("Chronicles Vol. 1"--TOTALLY worth your time, fascinating glimpse of who he is). The fact is, the film is oddly respectful of Dylan the man; there's a degree of distance from the real-life flesh-and-blood version. You never see the "real" Dylan in any one portrayal, because few of us are every fully one thing, one persona, one character. But with all this convention-forsaking story structure, you still care about each of these characters, almost individually.

(This is the point where, were I writing a "real" review and it weren't after eleven, I would describe each of the characters with all the appropriate actors' names. However, I'm lazy and tired. Go find it on I will say that Heath Ledger was frustratingly good (as in, I wanted to smack his character) as The Actor, Blanchett as the Provacateur, Christian Bale as the Protester-Turned-Preacher, and Richard Gere (who usually really has to win me over) as an aged Billy the Kid. No lie. TRIPPY FILM. The other two, the boy who called himself "Woody Guthrie" and the younger Dylan being grilled about his work, are great as well. Really no complaints about the acting.

The editing was great, the music was wonderful (a mix of Dylan's original recordings, with some covers of his work), and while it was a little long and suffered from some Peter Jacksonism (a few fake endings), I really enjoyed its experimental nature. If you like Bob Dylan's music, and/or you like unusual/nontraditional storytelling in film, I'd recommend this to you. (Content-wise, it's an "R"--language, drugs, guns, partial nudity, sex, rock-n-roll. So use your judgment.)

The Cubs--are something like 35 games over .500, and have a real shot at winning 100 games for the first time in 73 years. Seriously--Year. Of. Destiny. There's room on the bandwagon if you wanna jump on.

That's it. Be good. Have a safe Labor Day. Go to church on Sunday, call your momma, all that jazz.

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