Sunday, March 28, 2004

Springfield, Missouri

My mother flew in to Houston on Tuesday, and together we drove to Springfield, MO yesterday. We stopped briefly in Durant, OK, at Southeastern Oklahoma State University where I attended for a year (1986-1987).


Friday, March 26, 2004

REAL World Conference 2004

I had a wonderful time at the first REALbasic conference. There were about 150 REALbasic fanatics, most of whom I knew via the Internet but had never met in person. It was great to put faces with names, domains, and products! I even learned a few things at the conference sessions and sold a few subscriptions, so the trip was well worth it.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Starsky and Hutch

Movie: Starsky and Hutch

Pretty silly and full of itself, but fun film. I initially wasn't too interested because I couldn't really remember the original TV show, but except for a brief cameo at the end by the original two stars, the old show was irrelevant. Though set in the 70's, this was a very modern film. Mere entertainment but enjoyable.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Midwest Trip

Today I embark on my road trip to Chicago via Houston. Yes, that's bizarre, but that's the way it works. I'm going to the REAL World Conference in Austin next week, and instead of flying, I'll drive and visit relatives in Houston, Missouri, and Illinois. It will be a lot of driving but should be fun!


Friday, March 12, 2004

Secret Window

Movie: Secret Window
Writer(s): Stephen King (book)

A nice little Stephen King story about a writer going mad as his life falls apart (he's in the middle of a divorce). It all begins when a stranger appears accusing the guy of plagerism, and then bad things begin to happen, like his dog being killed. As the stakes go up, intensity does as well, and the twisted ending is very cool. Johnny Depp, as the writer, is the best thing about the movie, giving a fantastic performance. He's a bit bizarre, a bit quirky, and yet still likable. Unfortunately, the film isn't perfect: the first half is slow, with not much happening, but once it gets going, it goes fast, and the ending is excellent. One of the best things is that the ending just ends; there's no series of silly red herring endings Hollywood seems to like so much. Good film.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Touching the Void

Movie: Touching the Void

Terrific film about the real-life story of two British mountaineers in the mid-80's who attempted to climb an unclimbable mountain and while they succeeded, one of them nearly died during their descent. It's a fantastic story of survival and human willpower. The one guy falls a short distance and breaks his leg horribly (the lower bone actually goes up into the thigh bone vertically). He's doomed, right? But his partner won't abandon him and comes up with a plan to lower him on a rope. The longest rope is 300 feet, so he's lowered 300 feet, hangs on the side of the mountain while his partner climbs down, then the process is repeated. In this mannor they descend most of the way down. But finally they reach a place where the guy is lowered over the edge of a cliff -- he's danging in open air and there's no way for him to grab a hold of anything. He's run out of rope and can't go any lower. With his broken leg, he can't climb the rope. He's stuck. He screams but his partner is too far away to hear. The partner is holding on for dear life, bracing himself, waiting for the weight to come off so he can climb down himself. He waits for hours, but nothing happens. Eventually he thinks his partner must be dead -- why else wouldn't he anchor himself to the snowy face of the mountain? As he begins to slip himself, he realizes he's got no choice. If he doesn't cut the rope, he'll be dragged down and both men will die. So he cuts the rope. The partner with the broken leg falls... into the jaws of a crevace! Thus when the partner descends, he never sees his friend and continues on, thinking him dead. The man with the broken leg reallizes he must find his own way down. Miraculously, he does, literally dragging himself across miles of ice, snow, and rock. It's just amazing. I really liked the way the film is presented. It's technically a documentary, but it doesn't feel like it. The two men talk to the camera, telling the story, and their voices are overlayed as actors re-enact their horrible ordeal. This works well as there's hardly any dialog necessary or even appropriate, as not much talking happens on a mountain (the men are usually separated and connected only by slender ropes). Excellent film.