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Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

kill_bill_2.jpgYesterday was errands day. The downside of my start-up work lifestyle is that my free-time hours during the week are infrequent and generally spent going to the gym and/or being pretty tired. The upside is that, unlike PhD work, I can usually step away and relax for an entire weekend at a stretch and get things done. Hence, errands day. My errands yesterday all took place down in Kitsilano, on a day of cold wind and pouring rain. Anxious to get out of the rain after walking in it a couple of hours, and hungry from skipping breakfast, I wandered into an empty sushi bar and ordered a bento box, which I ate while watching the rain pour down on the occasional Burrard Street pedestrian.

I know eating sushi by yourself on a rainy day sounds lonely, but I actually kind of dig it. This despite the fact that I tend to resist eating alone in restaurants. I think it’s some lingering adolescent self-consciousness — during high school, if you don’t have a clique, you are nobody. At Miller Comprehensive, being a “loner” ranked somewhere below the lowest cliques, which at least were composed, by definition, of people who weren’t loners. And a loner eating by himself, in front of everybody, was the very lowest of the low — almost certainly a serial killer, homosexual or Satanist, or all three. This point was emphatically presented to me by my more popular peers at every possible opportunity. Incidentally, I’m still shockingly bitter about high school.

But now… there’s something quite serene about being served a well-prepared meal on a quiet, rainy Saturday afternoon. I make a mental note to do it more often. Sitting in a quiet pub with a book and a Guinness is something I really enjoy, too. It’s classy, even. Something I can imagine Bertrand Russel doing. I make a note to do that, too.

After my bento, I had one more errand to run — off to Future Shop to buy a spare cable for my new iPod (an iPod Touch — it is awesome and I love it). Skimming through the DVDs, I saw the two Kill Bills. I’ve kind of been hoping that they would come out in a special edition one of these days, but it’s been three years now with no word, so I finally caved and got the no-frills DVDs. The price was right, at least: $20 for the pair.

And then home, where roommate Meghan is watching the finale of season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watch the final episode with her — she points out that Buffy really should have been able to stop Faith during her big “you killed me but I’m still gonna make sure Angel suffers and the Mayor ascends” speech (you know the one). I agree. That scene never quite worked for me, either, and it makes Buffy seem kind of weak in the biggest crisis of her life. Then we make dinner (garlic and bok choi stir fry), setting Meghan’s wok on fire in the process. Fire is not good for the nonstick coating, it turns out. And then we settle in for a few hours of Kill Bill with other-roommate Hendrik. I bravely refrain from pointing out all the pop culture references (Charlie Chan! Lady Snowblood! Bruce Lee’s jumpsuit!), but can’t resist talking about Shogun Assassin when The Bride and B.B. are bonding. Shogun Assassin fucking destroys. But would I let my four-year-old daughter watch Shogun Assassin like The Bride and Bill do? Probably. I’d be an awesome dad. And also, David Carradine’s lisp. What’s up with that?

This somehow leads to a discussion of the future of smoking and automobile safety. I suspect in fifty years, people will be dumbfounded that we put up with our current levels of automotive carnage, if not smoking. I also wonder why assassination isn’t more common in real life, something Tyler Cowan observed. Gangsters kill each other all the time (nearly daily in Vancouver, these days), so there are certainly people willing to both order and perform these contract killings. But it seems that political assassination is pretty rare, considering how many public figures there are standing in the way of something to be gained. I’ve been thinking a lot about utilities and variance lately — is it that the hard-to-predict outcomes of assassination correspond to an extremely high Beta coefficient on the expected utility, making the cost prohibitive? Beta, if I understand correctly, is a mathematical finance term that quantifies the amount you can expect to be paid to take on risk — it’s why stocks (high return, on average, but with a significant probability of very low return) pay more than bonds (low return, but you are reasonably certain to collect it). Or is it simply that the personal risk of being an assassin is so high, few rational assassins will take on the job: political assassination may be uncommon, but completely anonymous political assassination where the assassin is never identified seems quite rare. Morbid as they are, I find these thoughts oddly reassuring. The world may not be understandable, but the possibility exists of modelling our ignornace.

And so, in conclusion, I give Kill Bill: Volume 1 eight Hattori Hanzo swords out of ten, and Kill Bill: Volume 2 an impressive nine Hattori Hanzo swords out of ten. Those are very high ratings. You should go see this both parts of this movie.