Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Penultimate Truth

Book: The Penultimate Truth
Writer(s): Philip K. Dick

This book has a remarkable premise but unfortunately the ending is rather weak. The premise is brilliant and typical PKD: most of the population of earth lives underground while the nuclear war rages above. At least that's what the people think. Their only information from above comes via a television where their leader tells them what's happening. But when one man leaves the shelter for the surface, he finds the war's been over for years and the leader doesn't even exist -- he's an artificial man puppeted to keep the lie alive. Many of the concepts in his novel are just brilliant, but the ending just left me flat. It seemed like little had changed, though of course stuff had, it was just subtle.


Friday, April 29, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Movie: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Writer(s): Douglas Adams

Not a bad adaption of the book. It includes a few things from other books and doesn't necessarily follow the plot of the first book exactly, but it does capture the soul of the books. The casting is excellent (especially Arthur Dent), but like the book, it's a little uneven. The humor's not always the laugh-out-loud kind, and not all of it translates well to the screen. Still, it's a decent film, and it's definitely fun.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Kung Fu Hustle

Movie: Kung Fu Hustle
Director(s): Stephen Chow

Really cool kung fu comedy with fantastic cartoon-like special effects, stylish martial art moves, crazy characters, and a hilarious plot. The story's about a war between the Axe Gang and the people of a slum. In the middle of the conflict is a young man who wants desperately to be a gangster but is hilariously incompetent. As the war escalates, better and better assassins are brought in, each crazier than the next. But all is not as it seems. I won't spoil it by revealing more, just emphasize that this is an awesome film with a great story at its core and it's probably the most fun you'll have at the movies this year.


Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Selling Grandpa's House

I worried it'd be hard to convince Grandpa to sell his beach house, but I explained it carefully and he seemed to understand, even pointing out that it's better for him to be more inland and that he doesn't go to the beach any way. This afternoon we met with the notary to have Grandpa sign. I'd given Grandpa a note that explained what we were doing and every time he wondered what we were doing I reminded him to read the note: "Sign papers to sell the Oceanside house." Everything was great until the actual signing. Then he balked. It wasn't that he wasn't wanting to sign it -- it was that he insisted on understanding every word of the one-page contract (power of attorney for my mom to sell the house). Nothing wrong with that, except his short-term memory is so poor he couldn't remember our explanations and kept asking the same questions over and over! Finally, however, after nearly an hour, he seemed to conclude that everything was in order and he signed. Whew! I'm glad we don't have to go through that again!


Monday, April 4, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

Ah, what a relief to be home. It was a long trip, nearly two weeks, five states, seven plane rides, five security checks (including a real hassle in San Jose where they made me take off my shoes and belt and wanded me and everything [Lesson: don't get to the gate an hour early as the bored security people have nothing to do but check you extra-thoroughly]), and six different sleeping places. I got a lot accomplished, but it's good to be home. Grandpa is here (came home last week) and seems to be doing well. He's sure glad to be out of Oakwood. It was a nice place -- even he admits that -- but he'd much rather be here. Of course he'd rather be at his own house, but we're going to have to sell that (he can't live there any more so there's no point in keeping it) and that's going to be our next big adventure.


Saturday, April 2, 2005

MLS: New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes

Soccer: MLS: New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes

One of the coolest things about the timing of this trip was that I was able to end up in San Jose the weekend of the Earthquakes' opening game of the season -- awesome! It felt a little surreal going to a game now that I live so far away, but the stadium atmosphere was a familiar feeling. The game was good. Not great, but good. The Quakes looked awesome in the first half, totally dominating with a solid two goal lead, but in the second half they got too comfortable and pressed forward too much and forgot to defend: New England came back into it with two goals to tie it up and that's the way it ended. At least it wasn't a loss -- that would have been horrible -- but it still felt a lot like one. Blowing a two goal lead at home doesn't inspire confidence. Still, the game showed that San Jose can score and play, though their defense -- what used to be their best attributed -- needs a lot of work. Fun evening, though. I will miss this dreadfully.


Friday, April 1, 2005

Sin City

Movie: Sin City
Director(s): Robert Rodriguez

This is a fantastic, brilliant, wonderful movie. It's full of anti-heroes, gray characters of criminal backgrounds. It's a collection of semi-related stories based on the comics of Frank Miller. The stories are unusual, ultra-violent, grim, and tragic, yet filled with an inspired sense of wild fun, witty dark humor, and film noir nostalgia (similar to the Kill Bill: Volume One series). Just wonderful if you're into that sort of thing.