Monday, February 20, 2006

Computer Woes

Boy Kid has successfully built a new computer, and got the internet working on it, but in the process made it so the Powerbook doesn't access the 'net. This time, a call to Linksys tech support (in New Delhi), didn't fix the problem. Since Boy Kid has been deprived of World of Warcraft for over a month during the computer parts aquiring and building phase, he's been monopolizing the PC most of the time, so I haven't had a chance to post. Hopefully both problems will be fixed soon. Sorry!

In the meantime, go rent some movies:

Good For The Soul Category
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Motorcycle Diaries
Hotel Rwanda

Big Stupid Fun Category:
Pirates of the Caribean
Flight of the Pheonix

(These last three are pretty violent):
The Transporter
The Transporter 2
Sin City

Love, Your Mistress

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Computers, Valentine's Day And Three Short Movie Reviews Plus One Long One

Why Does Bill Gates Exist?
Do to a power outage that made its way past the surge protector, Boy Kid is building a new computer from scratch. This is pretty much a new experience for him, but he thinks he can do it. The jury is still out on that. Why is everything in the World of Windows OS so retarded and complicated? Windows machines suck enormous flaming glowing radioactive balls of putrid donkey dung, is all I'm saying.

Valentine's Day is for Greedy Bitches
Joy to the world, here it is, only six weeks after the Holiday Season of Enforced Consumption, and already again people are expected to fork over large sums of money to pay for diamonds, chocolates, flowers, expensive underpants, and dinners for their special snoogums. The sad fact of Valentine's Day is that the people who are paying the most for this event tend to be men, and the money grubbing hose-beasts who demand that they do so tend to be women. (Yes, we're talking in generalizations here...but just look around to see my point.) Despite the societal attitude that women are "romantic" and men are "pragmatic", I think the complete opposite is true—look at all the expensive stuff we women have conned men into thinking of as expressions of love—roses, diamonds and La Perla lingerie. How often have I heard women crowing that they will only date men who, "Have a nice car, dress well, and of course, have a job." Why does any of that really matter? How many nice guys with shabby clothes and no car are women stepping over on their quest for that "big catch"? My point is that, generally speaking, men are the ones idealizing the opposite sex, flying to the moon, and metaphorically sailing over the horizon in pursuit of the unknown, whereas women are the ones fretting about the size of their thighs while lobbying for symbolic declarations of financial stability. Sure, it's all down to biology, I get that, but still—we're not cave people anymore, can't we step out of our lizard brains for just a minute here? Or maybe I'm just bitter because no deluded chump is buying me diamonds and underpants today. (Not that I'm a diamonds sort of girl. Or underpants.)

I've been watching #1 Single, with Lisa Loeb. The entire show is about Ms. Lisa's attempts to find, date and land a marriageable man. Lisa is often accompanied around town by a greek chorus composed of her sister and a forty-something friend of hers. All three of them dress and act like little girls, even though they are all pushing the shady side of thirty-five. Note to women everywhere: you are not children, and this in not the 1950's. Now, I'm all for not acting your age; but, please, please spare us—if you are over the age of 30, being "into" Hello Kitty and wearing pigtails and poodle skirts is not cute, it's beyond pathetic. Grow up. Lisa's sister is adamant in her belief that, "the man always pays." Lisa attempts to follow this rule on a second date. She and the guy are shopping for stuff for her spanking new NYC apartment. At the cash register the total for Ms. Thing's purchases comes to almost $300, and Lisa looks coyly up at the poor guy, and, after an awkward pause, he volunteers to pay! For her stuff! And she lets him! I was so embarrassed for my gender I had to pause for a moment to freak out (yeah TiVo). Lisa at least has the grace to feel bad about making him pay...and to give him his money back later when she dumps him on a third date for being "too young". Despite all this, I'm totally addicted to #1 Single. I'm such a slut.

God, I just heard that someone was offering a heart-shaped potato on eBay...and that the bids topped out at over a thousand dollars! Damn, I need to pay a lot more attention to my vegetables.

Anyway, to make a long rant short—I wish you all love, lace and chocolates, and I hope you all get laid. (And I wish I'd managed to get this post up yesterday when I started it.)

• • •

Three Short Movie Reviews, and One Long One

Mrs. Henderson Presents
Is it now automatic that if Judi Dench acts during the current year, she'll be nominated for an Oscar? Yeah, she's a great actress and all, and is well deserving of that "Dame" in front of her name, but...I don't think she deserved it for this. It's a fine movie, but a bit boring. Okay, it's got some nice naked boobies, and the always goblin-like Bob Hoskins, but still.... Verdict: Take your grandmother maybe.

The White Countess
Actually, this may be out on DVD already. We saw it at the local three dollar discount house, so it's likely that it is. This movie sneaks up on you, by the end of the two and a half hours of run-time, I was enchanted. Visually, it's very rich, and the acting is good. If you ever wanted to get a feel for the fall of Shanghai in the 1930's, this will do it. Plus, how often do you get to see three members of the Redgrave clan acting together (Vanessa, Lynn, and Natasha Richardson)? Verdict: Tragic and lovely in an old-world velvet, jazz and cigars sort of way.

The Matador
This flick maybe has one too many gratuitous (and totally unnecessary) fucking scenes, but was fun anyway. Gritty, over-lit fun. Pierce Brosnan blows up his Bond persona in fine style, while Greg Kinnear mugs along gamely as a clueless businessman who meets hit-man Brosnan in a bar in Mexico City, with quirky results. Hope Davis is more animated than usual as Kinnear's wife. Verdict? Worth a look, or wait for the DVD.

Here's another movie I normally wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot pole, but yet again, I was acting as chauffeur while Girl Kid and her friends were out on a group date. My choices were either this, or Final Destination 3. Now, while watching teenagers get horribly killed in inventive ways does sound like a great way to spend Valentine's, due to traffic and such, I ended up at Firewall. Let's just get one thing out of the way first: Harrison Ford is too old to be acting in action movies anymore. Sorry, Harrison. Watching him squint and shuffle around like the geezer he is right before he kicks the butts of dudes half his age was more than the willing suspension of my disbelief could allow. Also, Mr. Ford is starting to look more and more like my dad, so at one point it was like watching my own father scream "You'll get your money when I get my family!" while creaming a guy with a blender. And my dad is a pacifist. In the movie's favour, Firewall does have Paul Bettany as the bad guy, and I do loves me some Bettany. He's dreamy. The movie is a standard thriller complete with the too-perfect house and the too-perfect wife (Virginia Madsen squandering her success from Sideways) and the two perfect kids in peril. In other words, the usual fare, but mostly due to the smarmy charms of Mr. Bettany, thrilling enough for mid-week. I wasn't expecting much, and the movie just barely outstripped my expectations. The usual movie-going mob will probably find Firewall to be a satisfying night out that won't tax their brains to the slightest degree.

And while we're pointing out flaws, I've worked with and known geeky UNIX-compliling nerd types of all ages, and not one of them wore a suit to work. Even in the ϋber-corporate world, no self-respecting geek would wear a business suit to work—it would be tantamount to admitting he didn't know his Linux from his lunch meat. UNIX geeks don't have to toe the corporate dress code, because the corporation can't run without them and they know it. So, right there, Harrison's character lost credibility as a guy who has the techie chops to be the designer of the digital security system for a major bank.

Of course, in the tradition of fine Hollywood movies everywhere, Harrison and family live in an Architectural Digest waterfront mansion that would cost at least five million dollars plus in the real world (and probably did). Sure, Mr. Ford is supposed to be the Veep of Security and his wife is an architect, but give me a break. Working stiffs don't live like this. This leads me to the really funny part of the movie—the setting is supposed to be Seattle, (and to the film maker's credit, the film was peppered with references to real Seattle streets and landmarks), but I live in Seattle, and I grew up in Vancouver BC, and I can tell you without any hesitation that Harrison's office window looks out over downtown Vancouver, even if they did Photoshop the Space Needle into the background. In fact, taking note of the locations is one of the pleasures to be had from this flick. I chortled along happily whilst ol' Harrison leaves his house on Orcas Island and drives across the Burrard Street Bridge (going west no less) to get to his office in downtown Vancouver. Later in the movie (spoiler alert), when the bad guys are driving into the countryside with the kidnapped family, and our intrepid Mr. Ford is following them via the plot devise of a new GPS tracker on the dog's collar, we are shown a map that depicts the evil-doers leaving Duvall, Washington, going east. We cut away to the the evil-doers, and I immediately recognized the dry scrub hills of the Canadian Okanagan passing by the car windows. Please, ten miles due east of Duvall is still on the west side of the Cascades, and therefore the landscape consists of green forest, not dry hills. And what kind of bad guy kills two of his own men but takes along the dog when driving the family out into the boonies to kill them? And why even bother taking this step when you can just kill them in the comfort of their own home? I think the screenwriter just couldn't let go of the GPS idea. Really, it wasn't that clever. I'm also getting truly sick of cell phones, and also of abandoned warehouses or (as here) abandoned old cabins, being used as plot devices in today's movies. Still...the dog was adorable. Verdict: God, surely you have something better to do?

Coming Soon
Girl Kid's List of People She Wants Shot to the Moon or Otherwise Spanked. Check it out...probably tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Things That Piss Me Off Today: The Shrub, Exxon Mobil, Alito Ass-Hito, Oprah Winfrey

In recent years, I have become more and more news-phobic and escapist. Unless I happen to hear it on NPR whilst driving around, or it's delivered to me by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert (or even David Spade), I don't know about it. Ever since the "events of the year 2000" (yeah, I mean 2000), I have been increasingly imitating an ostrich—I bury my head in the sand in case I hear something that might make me go crazy go nuts. Pick your subject: how the idiot prince Bush and his family's cronies are turing our government into a personal home shopping network for oil and corruption, the total lack of affordable healthcare in this "first world" country, the puss festering maggots that are the whole insurance industry in general, our general lips-on-butt status with Saudi Arabia ("come on baby, you can hold my hand...") while Osama runs free, the BushRovian's deception campaigns of "look, over there!" while they run roughshod over ANWR, etc., and...brain heating up...Squidia angry...Squidia smash. You get the idea. You can see why I might need to avoid the news, for my mental health and for your health in general. Still, a few bits do get through, and so I have always have some things that are getting under my skin. Here's todays list:

The Shrub
State of the "Union" my ginormous ass. I didn't watch it, because...well...I just can't. Seeing Bush's squishy monkey face bunch up as he attempts to listen to the little voice in his ear and follow the teleprompter makes my brain inflate and steam to come out of my ears. Just like in Psychonauts..."[It] is so tacky, so hideous...I can' But, I know he blathered on last night about "freedom" and "staying the course" and all the usual scripted drivel of the last few years. Please, spare me! When we are spying on our own citizens without warrants, and when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refers to American citizens as "enemies" (as he did on NPR recently), we are no longer free! Freedom has left the building and is skipping down the street laughing like a maniac. God, 9/11 must have been a wet dream for Karl Rove and his minions: they wanted to spy on us and control us and Osama and friends made it so easy! Now we bend right over and say, "Please Sir, take away our constitutionally protected rights. Thank you Sir, now can you take away some more?" Face it people—Brave New World is here. We are living in a police state right now. Move over Malaysia or the Sudan, Big Daddy is coming. You know what else cracks me up? When The Shrub talks to the pre-screened audiences, "Oh President Bush, I was so honored to be able to vote for you, how does it feel to be our greatest president?" Remember that old Saturday Night Live episode with the asian chick going "Oh, Meester Presideent!". I'm telling you, we're taking it up the butt with no end in sight. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

Exxon Mobil
Hmm, gas and heating oil costs somewhere between $2.25 and $3.00 a gallon and Exxon Corporation has announced that it posted 10.7 billion dollars in profits for the last quarter of 2005 alone? That is 116 million dollars per day! For all of 2005, Exxon Mobil took in profits of 36.1 billion. 36.1. Billion. Dollars. The mind boggles. I think something is seriously wrong here. I'm just saying. I know, I know, Canada and Europe, quit your whining, I know we still pay less for gas and oil than you do; but, we pay tons more than you do for house, health and car insurance (that does basically nothing for us). So there. Think of all the dying old ladies who can't afford to heat their houses. Exxon Mobil, how can you sleep at night? For shame, for shame.

Samuel Alito Can Bite Me, (And Probably Will)
Well, I knew it had to happen, but I had deluded hopes that this ultra-conservative would not make the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O' Connor, why couldn't you just hold on for another couple of years? (And what does she know that we don't?) For the office pool—how long before abortion is illegal again? I've got 27 months, three days. Girl Kid thinks birth control will become illegal too, but I can't see that happening, I mean, my god! So, it will be back to the days of wire hangers and dead women in bathtubs. I can hear Europe laughing at us again. Rich women will just go to Canada to get abortions and birth control. Canada will soon become our official drive-thru doctor anyway, not just our pharmacist. They should consider offering low-cost Canadian health insurance for Americans, there's loads of us who need it. And don't give me a song and dance about the quality of Canadian health care either, 'cause I grew up there and I know the score. (I'll have to do post someday on how and why I'm not in Canada right now.)

Oprah Winfrey is a Dick
Oh puh-lease! So some dude got a little creative with his memoirs. I pretty sure EVERYBODY does that. Yeah, maybe Mr. Frey embellished a bit more than is typical, but if you can't jazz up your own life for the public, who can you jazz it up for? If every life is an act of self-creation, then your memoirs are the perfect place for a bit of razzle-dazzle. Come on! Damnation and hellfire to Oprah for withdrawing her support of the book and being such a jerk to Mr. Frey when he had the guts to come back on her show. What, the book's inspirational message somehow goes away just because it's only partially based in fact? That doesn't seem to bother anyone when it comes to the Bible, which is a whole hell of a lot less factual than A Million Little Pieces. Grow a spine Oprah! Of course, the press all leaped on this like hungry angry jackals. What, the Alito confirmation or today's death toll in Iraq is not sexy enough for you anymore? Dear God. So, James Frey, you have my vote. Write whatever you want, you magnificent bastard.

Kudos to Google
And now for something positive—snaps to Google for refusing to release our search data to the government (and "boo" to MSN and Yahoo! for caving like wet paper), we salute you! What is the Bush administration thinking? They can't process all the intelligence they get now! Bushels and tons and heaps more data will not make that backlog any smaller. In fact, I think that if our intelligence agencies are being distracted by the porn downloading habits of middle Americans, it will probably be all that much easier for Al Qaeda to attack us again. (Great, now I have a file with the NSA.)

Well, I'm off to watch a Lost rerun. Apparently there is a clue with Hurley (I love Hurley!) that we'll need for the next new episode, so we're watching it again. Toodles, my darlings. Until next time.