Presidents’ Day Weekend

Pretty good weekend. I had to jet up to Portland on Friday afternoon to see an Oscar nominated movie, No, at the Portland International Film Festival. A derby girl friend asked if I could transport her daughter to Pioneer Square to catch a TriMet train. I contrived to get off work 30 minutes early as I felt that I needed extra time to allow for traffic, but between the extra stops for my passenger and an accident on the road, I ended up being a few minutes late for the movie; they had already resold my seat. Nevertheless, I saw all but the first few minutes of my movie. It was good.

Returning to Salem, I drove straight to a bowling alley to meet up with some derby peeps. There were seven of them there when I arrived and they were mostly through their first game. It was good to socialize with these folks, but I found that bowling alley very off-putting. It was quite expensive and the employees were rather snotty. I will not go there again. I give AMF Firebird Lanes a thumbs-down.

 

Saturday I attended a roller derby boot camp put on by the CCDG travel team, 8 Wheel Assassins. It was a beginner group, but I was far and away the only true beginner there. Also the only guy. 🙂 The other students were much steadier on their wheels than me, and I’m sure got a lot more out of the session. I do think I learned some things, and I look forward to practicing those skills and getting better. I’m signed up for the next two sessions (in March and April) but I am embarrassed and frustrated at my lack of coordination and feel guilty that so much individual attention needed to be given to me. Not that the other students were short-changed, but I am super uncomfortable being the center of attention and even more so when it’s while doing something I’m not good at. Really, I’m just embarrassed.

After boot camp, I met with the other folks from the production team for The Forum on KMUZ. I’d call it a fruitful meeting.

Saturday evening was a bout and it was the first time I wasn’t an NSO for a bout at the Mad House since I started with derby. I did have a job; I was assisting Hitman with the event coordinator duties. One sour note, a friend had asked for a ticket on Thursday and I’d purchased one for her. She’d made the request for the ticket on facebook and within 10 minutes I confirmed that I would acquire one for her. I said that I’d leave it at will-call unless she wanted to make other arrangements. Anyway, during halftime on Saturday night, I go and check to see if she’s picked up her ticket. She had not. Turns out that after asking me for a ticket, she didn’t check back to see if I’d done as she requested and just went ahead and bought one for herself. WTF?? It’s not that I mind spending the money, but I went out of my way for her and in return I get treated like something she needs to scrape of the sole of her shoe. Plus, it means that someone who wanted to attend the bout didn’t get to because the event was sold out. Not cool.

Post-bout, I went to the afterparty, which was pretty anemic. Oh well, I got to chat with a few of the Kittens.

 

Sunday I got up early in the morning to attend the 8:30 Mass. I was scheduled to sing at 11 AM, and going to the earlier Mass allowed me to learn the songs. 🙂 I got home from church by 1:00 and after a little TV, took a nap. That was nice. That evening, back to Portland for another Oscar nominee, Kon-Tiki. This time I was plenty early and got a good seat. Had a nice chat with fellow attendees too, including one woman who shared my disdain for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Kon-Tiki was an EXCELLENT movie! It’s my pick for Best Foreign Film. Didn’t get home until 11:00 that night.

 

Monday was a holiday and I took advantage of the day off by sleeping in a little. In the late morning I went shopping and bought a couple of shirts and pairs of pants. (I’m getting fat again. 🙁 ) I then saw the last of the foreign films for this years Academy Awards, Amour. The movie was good, and Emmanuelle Riva was great, but the best movie of the year it was not. I was feeling a little tired so I opted not to see a second film, Warm Bodies. I’ll shoot for next Saturday. I finished off my weekend with more tv. (I’ve really been falling behind.)

Transformers 3, dethroned!

Tonight I saw not only the worst movie I’ve seen this year, but probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen. As part of the 13 Days of Halloween and the Salem Film Festival, I went to go see The Oregonian. I’d love to provide a synopsis, but there really wasn’t a story. Or perhaps it’s up to the viewer to imagine what the story may have been.

I’ve seen some bad movies. Last year alone I saw several movies that were bad in various ways. Biutiful was so, SO depressing. Winter’s Bone was as bleak as they come. Dogtooth was pure, concentrated awful. And this year’s Transformers 3 was crap on a screen.

Think back to Evil Dead. Evil Dead was a pretty bad movie imo, but there were hints of good film making to come; it just felt like a student project (and maybe it was). But it did have a story; a beginning, middle, and end. You got the feeling that Sam Raimi was working out some ideas, but for a horror genre picture, it holds together.

This movie? Imagine Sam Raimi never went to film school and made a movie while high on a combination of acid and psychedelic mushrooms. Imagine further that he was extremely passive-aggressive and secretly wanted his movie to be a big F you! to anybody who unwisely went to see it. This movie is supposed to be a horror (I think), but none of it was coherent or made sense in any way whatsoever. It was just one disjointed scene after another. The only way I can think to explain it all is to imagine that it was like a series of thoughts/images that might go through a person’s mind at the instant of a traumatic death. At no point can I say with any confidence that what we were seeing was a bit of “reality” (the real world in the film that is) or if it was, beginning to end, in someone’s mind, or if it was just all an excuse to try out different camera angles, lighting setups, scene ideas, or makeup techniques on film.

I almost feel bad judging this movie. It is inconceivable that the writer/director intended for anyone to take the movie seriously. There’s no plot, no character development, no story! The movie ends, but I couldn’t tell you what happened or if any of the characters were real or imagined or what.

So, my advice. See this movie if you want the absolute low mark by which to compare every other movie you ever see. After this one, nothing will seem nearly as bad as it might have otherwise.

Hump day roundup

Stayed home from work today. Was feeling a little poorly when I woke up and a sick day was too attractive to pass up.

After sleeping several more hours, I got up to do a bunch of laundry and play on the computer. Spent time running Haelindir around Evendim. It was not the best use of play time. Oh well. Got some rep with the Wardens of Annuminas but that’s about it. All grey quests.

About the only other thing I did today was begin week 7 of my 10K training. Did 5 miles in just about an hour. My quads are feeling it!

This evening, I watched Tora! Tora! Tora!. I am so pissed off right now. If I could, I’d probably go enlist tomorrow.

I wish I would have been up to going into work today. There are some things that I wanted to get done. Today’s absence will likely mean that some of those things get delayed by several weeks. Ah well.

All good things…

(Not just a Star Trek episode.)

And so comes to an end a very laid back weekend. Didn’t do much, but that was just about right. Today I went to the church to assist with a Memorial Mass for a man who died last week. I enjoy assisting at Mass, but it would have been just fine if I hadn’t had to leave the house today. As it was, I also stopped at the ATM for some cash, got gas, and bought a few groceries. Efficiency!

Got Haelindir up to 41. Did it mostly by skirmishing with Colred. That went well. But I’m a bit bored with the hunter. There’s not enough going on to make it interesting. We shall see if I can stand to press on.

I’m really short of money this month. 🙁 So I’m abandoning my effort to see a movie every week of the year. I may try to make up the time in July, but I kinda doubt it. The Modesto AmBadAssAdors never really materialized. Tant pis.

Sunday is a normal training day but I took this one off after the race. I wanted to make it up today, but I never got around to it. So tomorrow it is. I will begin transitioning to 10K training. But rather than start on week 1, I’ll begin with week 8. I am of two minds with the running. I am thrilled that I am doing it, and I look forward to it between sessions. But when I’m actually running, I don’t much like it. I sure hope that changes!!

I think I’m going to be trying something different. I’m going to try to get up a little earlier in the morning. Instead of 7:15ish, I’m going to try for 6:30. I’m sure I will hate it. And that means I have to go to bed. Good night.

Oregon, Day 3

Got up this morning and the first thing on the agenda was to do my 5K training. Today was 5 minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of jogging, and 5 minutes of cool-down. I started off from my hotel and made my way to the Broadway Bridge. I managed to do the jog up the incline and coming down the other side was a breeze. I jogged past the train and bus stations and began my ascent of the Steel Bridge. By this point, I’d been jogging for 15 minutes, almost double my previous time, and I was feeling it. And I was jogging uphill. I though if I could make it to the top of the bridge, I could finish out my alloted time. Alas, it was not to be. I was out of gas. I forced myself to get to the 17 minute mark, then I hit pause and walked for a few minutes. I did resume jogging after a bit, and finished out the 20 minute total.

After a shower and breakfast, I went to Mass at St. Pius X. Overall I was pleased. If I had to make this my parish, I think I could tolerate it. I’ll keep looking but I sure could do worse. Here are some salient pros and cons:

Pros

  • Layout of the church – Tabernacle was to the side, worship space was wider than long.
  • People sang!
  • The worship resources in the pews were acceptable
  • There are a good variety of active ministries at the parish
  • The parish is growing
  • There were lots of families at Mass
  • The Presider sang the Eucharistic Prayer (and did it well)
  • Music group consisted of piano, organ, guitar, bass, and choir
  • During the Prayers of the Faithful, we prayed that people find it within themselves to forgive Osama Bin Laden and others who would do us harm. – This was really moving to me. I think forgiving isn’t so much for the transgressor as for those who have been wronged. It’s hard to forgive but so good for us if we can.

Cons

  • Marian songs were sung during Mass (twice!)
  • Only 1 verse of the Preparation Song and Closing song were sung
  • Some strange, unfamiliar Eucharistic Prayer was used
  • Psalm was a paraphrased version
  • The Fraction Rite was a little odd. – It looked like the Precious Blood was poured into cups held by each of the EMHC that were assisting.
  • There was poor line of sight to from the back of the church to the sanctuary
  • There was a long delay before singing started at Communion
  • The Presider directed us to hold hands for the Our Father
  • The Presider directed the assembly to stay seated for the Prayer After Communion

 

In the afternoon, David and I went to meet Suzanne and Mike at Powell’s Books. As advertised, the place is quite large. After this, we all went to see Thor. It was pretty good. Only a couple of story/continuity problems which I am willing to overlook.

Finally, we all went to the Brazil Grill where I, for one, had WAY too much meat to eat.

Pretty good day.

Wins for everyone

I saw a wonderful film tonight, Win Win. This was a festival movie so I hope that means that it will get nominated this year. It really was a great movie with a stealth message that I didn’t see coming. I totally encourage everyone to go see this movie.

Got together with the regular Monday night group to run some mid-50s content with Aluatis. Good group of people. I think it’s going to work out well.

Here are a couple of photos from the belly dancing thing I went to on Sunday night.

The band
Clarion - Natural High - 15

Rose
Clarion - Natural High - 36

Robin
Clarion - Natural High - 41

A movie and some photos

Tuesday night I went to see Source Code. I rather liked it! As my buddy Tim says, if you ever watched 7 Days back at the turn of the millennium, this will seem pretty familiar. But there was a Timeline-esque aspect to the movie too. I wish that more of the quantum physics angle could have been explored. But overall, I thought it was pretty good.

Today was a surprise bridal shower for Ana at the parish offices. I was invited (I’m quite pleased and honored by that) and I took a couple of photos.

The bride to be upon discovering us waiting for her entrance.

Some of the revelers

Lastly, I only completed a one mile walk today, but tomorrow is day two of my 5K training regimen.

What’s in a name? Nothing if we’re talking film titles.

Tonight, I joined my friend Donna and we saw a Freedom French flick at the college, Un Prophete. A longish movie, very violent, about a young Arab man sent to prison in France. There, he falls in with the Corsican mafia. I thought the movie was pretty good, but like my earlier review of The Lincoln Lawyer, the title of this movie really seemed to have nothing to do with the story. I think we need better headline writers.

Anyway, I was a little sad about the movie tonight because it will be the last Freedom French film shown at MJC for the foreseeable future. This is because the Freedom French program is being eliminated. 🙁 Mme Bucknam, the Freedom French instructor has been there for over 2 decades. She was my instructor when I took classes right out of high school.

I retire early-ish as I am serving as sacristan at a funeral tomorrow morning.

Suckerlawyer Lincolnpunch

I’ve seen a pair of movies this week.

First up was SuckerPunch. This movie was gorgeous, a visual feast. The amazing scenery and action and hot girls and colors kept coming in a relentless orgy of style and art direction. It really looked great! But like some other feasts, there comes a point when not only have you had enough, but you’ve over-indulged to the extent that you feel rather icky and honestly, the very sight of food is unpleasant or repulsive. Yeah, it was kinda like that.
But the soundtrack was terrific! I love the remake of White Rabbit! And the music went so well with the visuals!! I’m almost certain I’ll have to see this movie again. It really is one of those movies that should be seen on the big screen.
Oh, and I really like Jon Hamm.
On the down side, the story was at worst incredibly lame and at best quite thin. But really, I wasn’t expecting Shakespeare so I’m absolutely prepared to overlook the plot and narrative deficiencies.
Bonus though. This movie may have the most occurences of a particularly silly (but awesome looking) manuever by an action character. You know how ONLY in movies would a character fall from a height and somehow land on one knee and one foot? SO overused. Well, the girls in this movie must have done that move a dozen times. It was happening so often that it became distracting.

Next came The Lincoln Lawyer. I’d had no interest in seeing this but one of my movie-watching companions wanted to see it, and I’m nothing if not fair, so we went.
I really liked it! Good story, well acted. I very much like movies (or books or whatever) that you really have to pay attention to. I love twists and turns and I hate when they don’t make sense. This story worked. I have no idea what was so special about driving around in a Lincoln. It really had nothing to do with anything. It could have been the Cadillac Lawyer or the Winnebago Lawyer and it all would have made no difference. Heck, he could have worked out of an office like every other lawyer in the world and it wouldn’t have any effect on 98% of the story. It was incredibly minor. Oh well. I suppose the book was really good. I should read it.

Limitless & Liturgical Strategic Planning

So I found a new toy. Thanks to Paul Berger for introducing me to xtranormal.

I did some research on liturgical strategic planning and liturgy committees today. Got some good stuff. I’m thinking of asking Eloisa to join us as she has some organizational communication background. I may be pushing my luck though. I’ll have to think about it some more.

I saw Limitless tonight. It was pretty good. I loved the camera work and editing. There were moments when the camera was zooming down a street or down to street level from a height, and my brain was briefly tricked into feeling the movement. On Thursday nights, Brenden Theatres sells hot dogs and Polish dogs for $2 each. I had planned on getting a Polish Dog, but when I ordered one, it turned out they weren’t ready. So I got a hot dog. It was quite good, but I had been looking forward to that Polish dog. So I got one after the movie. It was yummy.

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