Friday, December 28

Bob(the cat), meet Rico the cat, movie star.

This is a movie I ran across on TMC thursday night. It's a well made documentary about people living in The Century Plaza.

The people living there are mostly down on their luck. I can't believe how candid some of them are - just like there wasn't a camera present. It makes you appreciate how well you have it in life. The movie has some very good special effects (time lapse) and is well edited. I liked it.

Rico the cat ties everything together as he takes you around in the hotel. He is almost a dead ringer for our Bob (the cat).

Anyway, it's worth looking for if you have cable.

The Century Plaza

The Century Plaza

Kevin Crust calls it "expressionistic and compassionate." - LOS ANGELES TIMES

more reviews

Director's Statement

When most people walk their familiar paths each day, they travel from point A to point B, never connecting with those around them. The buildings and landmarks they pass are the only constants. Everything else is a blur. Arthur Libin said it well, "The homeless have always been pretty much irrelevant; they are like characters in play." A character is something you see on television, read in a book, watch on a stage. We like to experience characters because it is easy: they evoke an emotion, and then we go home and forget about them.

My hope is that my film lingers just a few moments longer. Long enough for people to look at their own world and check out a perspective not often seen on our familiar paths.


Built at the turn of the twentieth century, the Century Plaza was at one time as elegant as it was esteemed. Indeed, businessmen, and those simply passing through the city, made a point to patronize this five-story complex sandwiched in the heart of industrial Portland. Sadly, as the century gave way to the development of high-rise and commercial lodging, the Plaza began a downward spiral into the shadow of its towering competition. By the 1960¹s, the future of the plaza appeared as bleak as that of the nomads and vagabonds who had come to inhabit it: A decaying remnant of the past in which to conceal the likewise inferior members of society.

Rico the Cat

Through Rico the cat, the only enduring resident of the hotel, the untold stories of this nebulous culture slowly unfold as he wanders his urban enclave.

Bob, a convicted pedophiliac on parole, resides in a cramped room of the plaza. Struggling fruitlessly to find more suitable housing, his throne is a dirty mattress and his only source of entertainment a television alight with 1970¹s technology. A rusted sink substitutes for a toilet in the corner; his four walls represent more an early prison than home. On the other side of the chicken-wire laced window, and not ten feet away, squats a family of three; Manuel, Chaz, and Devon. Devon is a five year-old boy who spends his time playing alone, while his father Manuel recovers from ear surgery. Should an argument erupt between the two, Bob will inadvertently hear every word, as conversations criss-cross in the light well between apartments. Privacy is a commodity not afforded to these tenants.

Other residents of the Century Plaza include a prostitute, a stripper, an alcoholic, a poet, and a recluse. For some, it is a meeting place, a safe haven for the exchange or abuse of illicit drugs; for others it signifies a luxurious break from the streets and a heated room and bed. Quality is of little importance. Although the conditions may seem appalling to the general population, the patrons are concerned with more important matters than their standard of living. The plaza affords refuge and survival.

Stories unravel by those gripped with mental illness, drug addiction, and disease. Through spontaneous conversations, their captivating tales and diverse personalities will draw your attention, and engross you in their private world. Their contentment with simple pleasures is remarkably humbling. The Century Plaza shows us that there are myriad ways to be, and personalities that are, homeless. Homelessness is not a title and should not be treated as one. Similar to the word homosexual, or Christian, homeless is thrown around as if it encompassed everyone who identifies with the title. The Century Plaza illustrates how truly complex such a title can be.


Bob(the cat):

Tuesday, December 18

Cold shot.

Icicles at work.. Metaphorically I suppose they could remind me of prison bars - but they don't really. Anyway, a short  four (4) shot slide show:

We have big glass windows facing the east. Monster size icicles grow from the roof and gutters because our building wastes heat, which rises and in turn melts the snow on the roof.

I tried taking some pictures around lunch time but by then the sun was overhead / west. Anyway, how many different pictures of icicles can one look at before getting bored? I'm guessing three (3). Ha.

I may try taking some more tomorrow when the sun is still in the east.

Wednesday, December 12


(rated R)

I enjoyed it. Violent, sexy, well cast with interesting, mostly believeable characters. It is about 100 minutes of action and character driven performances. For a direct to DVD movie I felt it is better than many that have made their rounds in theaters. Thanks HBO. (Of course, having Milla in it didn't hurt any.

Kat (Milla) is a beautiful bad girl who has hunger for danger. Kat's boyfriend Big Al (Angus) sell handguns on the streets of New York.

Kat is smart and self-confident but loses that around Big Al. She likes the sex (he is named Big Al for a reason) but also has to endure beatings when he goes off in his jealous rages.

She attempts to strike out on her own. As Kat begins to make her own deals on the street, she finds that Big Al's right-hand man (Stephen Dorff) has deep feelings for her.

And added to this, Reilly (Sara) also wants to be Kat's lover along with Liz (Aisha), the counselor assigned to hers from a battered-women's program.

Kat must try to use her smarts and beauty to get what she ultimately wants, rid of Big Al.


Milla Jovovich: I remember in first seeing her in The Fifth Element. She plays kick-ass, tough characters quite well; Leeloo in The Fifth Element, Alice in Resident Evil, Violet in Ultraviolet, Joan of Arc, The Messanger: The Story of Joan of Arc.

Angus MacFadyen: He looks a little like a blend of Russel Crowe and Tom Sizemore to me. He was in Braveheart, as Robert the Bruce. Also he was in Blackbeard, Saw III and Saw IV.

Stephen Dorff : I saw him in Shadowboxer with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren. Strange movie.

Aisha Tyler: She is beautiful. She has appeared in Friends, 24, CSI, Ghost Whisper, and Balls of Fury.

Sara Strange: Love her big eyes. She reminds me a bit of Illeana Douglas. She has been in Stargate SG-1, Men in Trees, and my favorite late Saturday Night Canadian fare, Da Vinci's Inquest.

Thursday, December 6

Morning fare (faire).

I always have liked Barbara Walters (though how she thinks Posh Spice is one of the world's top 10 most interesting people totally escapes me).
Quick bit of text from Richard Roeper's column, "...there have to be at least 748 public figures that are more fascinating than the Beckhams. The only thing fascinating about an interview with them would be if David could explain the attraction of a balloon-breasted stick figure who "sang" with one of the worst pop groups of all time."

I thought that was more funny than mean.


Sometimes I wish I was home mornings to watch "The View". Ha.

Kidding on the view, but I really do like Barbara.

This is about new panel member's (Sherri Shepherd) view on Christians and ancient history:

In her defense, I think she was thinking about Adam and Eve.

Saturday, December 1

Zooey, Tin Man.

I see another TV conflict is coming up.

Most Sunday nights I sample from the following: the cartoon block of shows (Simpson’s, Family Guy, American Dad) on Fox, ABC’s Desperate Housewives (no, I can’t stand Ty and Extreme Makeover or Grey's), (and if I'm doing well in the pools) football on NBC, Amazing Race on CBS, Planet Earth on Discover, Dexter on Showtime, plus whatever movies are on cable.

I’ll be watching the Tin Man on the Sci-Fi channel (at least the beginning - it's a mini-series - hope it plays out well). It’s gotten mixed reviews and has been mentioned as being very dark. Sounds interesting to me. Plus, Zooey's in it. I enjoy most of the parts she plays.

I’ve seen her in a couple movies and have always liked her odd, quirky characters she plays. She seems to have a “there’s no tomorrow with tons of confidence in herself” attitude about her. She reminds me of Jodie Foster's character in Stealing Home.

Her more well known appearances have been in Weeds, Elf, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and Almost Famous.

Someone who seems to agree with me and puts it much more eloquently is Ginia Belafonte of the NY Times reviewing Tin Man:

Quoting from her review:

Nearly from the first glimpse, DG, a woman-child with pigtails and a soul-squelching job as a waitress in a rural nowhere, seems like someone who would be happier almost anywhere else. She has a sketch pad and some vague artistic ambition, slouchy trousers and a voice so flat you could lay a lounge chair on it. “This town, that job, taking other people’s orders,” DG tells her parents like an emo-style Stella Dallas, “that’s just passing time.”

DG occupies the psychic center of the mini-series “Tin Man,” the Sci Fi Channel’s splashy, high-tech refashioning of “The Wizard of Oz,” which begins on Sunday. She is played by Zooey Deschanel, an actress whose expressions so vividly convey someone peculiarly out of sync with her surroundings that those words almost seem redundant.

Ms. Deschanel is a pleasure whenever she pops up; her brief tenure on “Weeds,” as an accidental kidnapper and keeper of spirit pets, only created a hunger for more of her. She has made a mark portraying young women whose oddness the world cannot quite accommodate, and “Tin Man” would be a lot less — or perhaps, more accurately, way too much — were it not for the presence of her disillusioned placidity.

By the way, if she seems like she looks familiar, her sister, Emily Deschanel is Bones on the TV show Bones.

Tin Man Trailer:

Tin Man Promo, SciFi Channel

Almost Famous, as Anita Miller.

Weeds, Showtime as Kat. (R-rated cut)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Trillian.