Friday, March 28

Narrow Stairs.

Death Cab for Cutie has a new single out, I will possess your heart.

I like it.

Death Cab definitely has a pop sound, enhancing it with catchy tunes and engaging lyrics.

I got their last album, Plans, and enjoyed every song on it.

Narrow Stairs comes out in May.

Tuesday, March 25


These are some pictures I took the other day playing with the camera.

That is our old camera. I think it still works but I don't have any film for it.

I should find some and try it out.

The camera was used to take those Christmas card pictures.

Aren't we all dressed up? I've never felt comfortable with a tie. Ever.

Garage doorknob. Another cold snowy day with nothing to do.

More old camera pictures.

We got these cards back in the mail last year from the family we had sent them to originally.

It was nice they had kept them all these years. They were probably tucked away in a desk drawer.

I have a drawer like that - a catch all for things I don't want to throw away. I have stuff older than my kids in my drawers - and I know the day after I throw something out, I will need it for something.

Monday, March 24

March Madness.

I have a handle on it this year.

I hardly watch any NCAA basketball during the regular season but I love March Madness. I have brackets at Yahoo, Chicago Tribune's, and a couple lesser known pools.

My best one so far is the one below (it is a pick each round only as you go - as compared to most where you pick all the games at once.) My other brackets are doing okay, but I need another round of games to sort out the ones I want to cheer on for the finals. (I have different teams picked to win.)

My Ranking


1 out of 1,673 100%


62 out of 87,073 99%

Monday, March 17

Happy St. Paddy's Day.

When I think Irish music and celebrating St. Patrick's Day, I think Thin Lizzy:

Sorry U2.

Friday, March 14

Don't share rides with strangers.

I had Wind Chill on my list of movies I wanted to see at Rotten Totmatoes' web site. I found it's a good way to keep track of something I would otherwise forget.

Wind Chill was on last night on Encore but because it was on a digital movie channel, I missed the last 15 minutes of Survivor and all of Lost because I couldn't record another channel at the same time - which I can with regular stations. (I like VCR recording over TiVo because I can keep the tapes as long as I want and lend them to people. If a movie is really good, I'll buy the DVD anyway.)

By the way, I added Kalifornia to this movie review because it also used a college ride board to pair up strangers for sharing travel expenses.

Wind Chill takes the conventions of the haunted house film and transplants them to a dangerous stretch of road where the unfortunate victims of prior events haunt those unwise enough to drive on it.

Director Greg Jacobs's film is the tale of an unnamed young student (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada) at a Northeastern College in need of a ride home to Delaware for Christmas break.

Deciding to check the ride board, she finds a fellow student (Ashton Holmes, A History of Violence) going her way, though an impending blizzard promises to make their ride treacherous.

Very early into their journey, he opts for a scenic route, only to be run off the road by a reckless driver.

This happens not much after she finds out he had set up the whole ride scenario just to meet and to get to know her (he doesn’t live anywhere near where he is supposedly taking her).

A substantial part of the movie takes part in and around their snow bound car.

I really liked how the movie started out but I think the last third “drifted” too far away for my tastes.

(Martin Donovan, Weeds Season 2) adds a familiar character actor face to the movie.

Executive producers are: George Clooney, Ben Cosgrove and Steven Soderbergh

Wind Chill trailer:

Using a college ride board for finding mates made me think of another movie, Kalifornia.

David Duchovny has written a book about serial killers that was just published. He and his girlfriend (Michelle Forbes) decide to celebrate by taking a cross country trip to California (where they plan on living once they get there), visiting infamous murder sites along the way.

To share expenses, they paired up with Pitt and Lewis off the college ride board. Little did they know they were sharing their ride with a homicidal maniac (Brad Pitt).

This was another movie that started out well but got a bit off the wall at the end.

Excellent cast: Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny, and Michelle Forbes.

Kalifornia trailer:

Wednesday, March 5

The Prestige.

This movie has been out awhile but I finally got around to watching the DVD. I enjoyed it and will have to watch it again to pick up some of the things I missed.

There is some great imagery in it: like the field with a number of top hats all sitting askew in the dirt with black cats milling around.

Michael Caine serves as the narrator and also plays Cutter, a designer of illusions used by magicians.

Cutter: "Every great magic trick consists of three acts.

The first act is called The Pledge: the magician shows you something ordinary, but of course, it probably isn't.

The second act is called The Turn. The magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary. Now, of you're looking for the secret. . . . you won't find it.

That's why there's a third act, called The Prestige. This is the part with the twists and turns, where life hangs in the balance, and you see something shocking you haven't seen before."

The basic plot concerns the rivalry between two magicians in early 20th-century London.

The movie gives you perspective from the magician’s eyes. You see how things are done. Early into the movie, a magician makes a canary disappear from its cage; we're shown how he did it and what the fate of that poor bird was.

Hugh Jackman is Robert Angier, an American exile pursuing a career in the magic trade in turn-of-the-century London.

Christian Bale is a local, Alfred Borden. He is more inventive and less charismatic on the stage.

They were young magician apprentices together, but became split apart after a terrible accident claimed the life of Robert's wife. They become direct competitors, trying to outdo each with magic.

Alfred creates the ultimate trick:The Transported Man.’ He walks through a door on one end of the stage and instantly appears in a similar door on the other end of the stage.

Robert becomes wildly jealous of Alfred's trick and superior talents, so in an attempt to steal the secret, he sends his assistant, Olivia (Scarlett Johansson), over to Alfred to deceive him.

The obsessed Robert even travels to Colorado to see Colorado Springs scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla (David Bowie). Telsa’s specialty is electricity. He powers the city from his house and being an inventor, has created an electro-magnetic machine that may or may not be the secret to Borden’s trick.

Robert wants his help and money is no object.

There are great scenes during some of the magic tricks with impressive electrical arcs flashing all over and the lingering question as to whether the machine works or not.

Christopher Nolan’s film has a lot of twists and turns, creating a movie that needs to be watched closely and probably more than once. He is most known for directing Memento and Insomnia.

Note: real magician Ricky Jay has a small part in this movie. I always enjoy his character acting.