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Monthly Archives: September 2006

workaholic Eric is a boring man

Laughingrobot-SnipOn one of the problems with leaving the 9-to-6 corporate world for grad school is that the alternative hours can sometimes be a lot worse. Due to a combination of over-committing myself, underestimating the amount of work I’m taking on, and a confluence of deadlines, I figure that in the seven days between last Saturday and yesterday, I put in 90-100 hours of coding, much of it pretty tedious. This is really not the way I would like to do things.

Still, it’s interesting to observe the kind of state this puts one in, though not entirely pleasant. Mostly, I feel remarkably hollowed out. My actions feel mechanical. My interactions feel scripted and overly efficient. My empathy, enthusiasm and humour have left me. (Though the empathy thing may be a pre-existing condition — touch-feely, I am not.) Not only am I not my usual witticism-dropping self, but one night I tried watching an episode of The Daily Show, but all I could think was “this is boring, I should debug my controller class and go to bed so I can wake up in time to catch the 8:47 bus”.

However, I think I’m finally done the Vancouver Art Gallery ActionScript side project that has become such a time sink, and I will never, ever use ActionScript for client-side computing again. Which means I can spent this weekend going to the film festival and planning my trip to Thailand. So huzzah for me!

White & Nerdy

Weird Al, you’ve done it again.

The fact that I read on Slashdot that it was leaked to YouTube just makes it extra-delicious.

Needless to say, there’s a wikipedia article. “The equation in the background of the chorus is Schrödinger’s wave equation for the hydrogen atom; however, there is an error in that Planck’s constant is displayed in place of Dirac’s constant.”

a bitter viffer

Viff Poster 2004 SnipI just bought my tickets for the Vancouver International Film Festival. As usual, there’s a lot of dreary-looking films about artists and diseases and camcorder-powered political diatribes, which… yeah. Keep it up, guys. Maybe one day we can finally scrub the last vestiges of cinematic art from art films.

The VIFF specializes in Asian cinema, but they seem to completely miss a lot of what I want to see. Are Kim Ki-duk and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang such household names that they doesn’t need their films picked up by the VIFF? They both have new films that played Toronto and I wanna see them, dammit! Not to mention Werner Herzog’s new movie with Christian Bale. Though at least that one, I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually be able to see.

In some past years, I’ve bought a pass and watched three to five films a day. But as you may have noticed, I’ve grown a little frustrated with the VIFF’s programming, so this year I’m just buying a handful of tickets to films I’m really interested in seeing.

  • The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. “Famous” Lacan scholar Slavoj Zizek tours cinema from a psychoanalytic perspective. Yeah, I know. Still, Zizek is a much more entertaining writer than his colleagues, and I’m curious to see this. I really like grand overviews of cinema from specific viewpoints.
  • Colour Me Kubrick. John Malkovich in a fact-based role of a man who pretends to be Stanley Kubrick.
  • The Root of All Evil? One of my heroes, Richard Dawkins, wails on religion for a while.
  • The Host. “A mutant emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people.” Sign me the fuck up!
  • Syndromes and a Century. Seeing this Thai film based on the rapturous reviews coming out of the Toronto film festival.
  • Hana. With Afterlife and Nobody Knows, Kore-eda Hirokazu makes it into the ranks of Japanese directors whose films I’ll go see almost no matter what.
  • Big Bad Love, Juvenile A. Miike Takashi, too, but for different reasons.
  • Woman on the Beach. Another film getting raves from Toronto.
  • Renaissance. Anime-inspired French sci-fi. I’m half-expecting a pretty, pretentious wreck of a film, a la Ghost in the Shell 2, and half thinking I’ll be disappointed if it’s not.
  • Radiant City. A documentary about suburban sprawl that the festival guide is selling in the most obnoxiously simpleminded and preachy way imaginable? Word!

aka Cave Chicks

I just saw The Descent. I’ll probably write more about it later, since it’s the kind of film I love discovering and recommending.

In short, fantastic. Probably the best movie I’ve seen this year (though my cinematic consumption has been way down in ’06). It’s smart and original and filled with subtle references to other films and unexpected twists. It’s one of the few horror/thriller movies that actually got to me — even before things get really hairy at the halfway point, there are moments of truly heart-pounding tension. In fact, there’s a scene early on with a woman squirming through a cave that is so freaking claustrophobic, I had to close my eyes. But it’s not just scary and intense, it’s also really good, which is also exhilarating in itself. It’s like watching Jaws. Not that’s it’s quite at that level, but it’s the same kind of feeling. Oh, and the photography is amazing — almost all of the movie takes place underground, lit my flashlights and flares, and it really feel like it.

All that, plus smart, ass-kicking, blood-splattered ladies in spelunking gear. And who doesn’t dig that?

avast, I be keelhaulin’ yonder ActionScript 2.0 ‘neath a bloodred moon this night, Jim boy

Arrrr, it be International Talk Like a Pirrrate Day!

What? Don’t be knowin’ how in th’ name of Jolly Roger t’ be prattlin’ on like a salty sea dog? Just watch this here instrrructional video, matey.