Hello, how are you? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Don’t take it personally; it’s not you, it’s me. Seriously. You see, I’ve just been having too much fun with my newfound freedom. I get out of work sometime between noon and 5pm, depending on how bored I am, and then watch tv and movies, or play Wii until it’s dark outside. I also occasionally cook. Last night I made broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions with white rice. My pride in the food didn’t match the taste, but that’s okay. I still made Katie eat all of the leftovers.
I also made Katie and new roommate Monte watch There Will Be Blood, which was glorious. I loved it even more the second time, and I picked up on a lot more. I have definitely warmed up to Paul Dano’s performance, but I think there’s still something keeping it from being great. No Country remains my favorite of 2007, but TWBB is dangerously close to overtaking it. I’ll get back to you once I see No Country again. Anyway, thanks to Brandon for providing the beautiful DVD Screener of TWBB, and TiVo for inventing TiVo Desktop Plus, thus allowing us to watch the film on my huge TV. There Will Be Blood is the type of movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen, but at least a large TV is better than my (relatively) small monitor. Louder, too.
Speaking of There Will Be Blood, the 80th Annual Academy Awards was last weekend. I attended the exclusive viewing party in Symbiosis. Overall, I was very happy with the Oscars this year. Jon Stewart did a great job in the WEEK he had to prepare, and I enjoyed him even more than the last time he hosted. There weren’t many surprises, but that’s not a bad thing for me. Too often surprises are bad when it comes to the Oscars. In hindsight, Crash should not be a Best Picture winner, and don’t even get me started on Million Dollar Baby. I’ll continue to disagree with Tilda Swinton’s win, but her acceptance speech was awesome, so she’s forgiven. Also, is it just me, or does everyone else love when British people use the slang “man”? I feel like it’s a very American thing, but it makes certain Brits, like Paul McCartney, seem much cooler for adopting it. Marion Cotillard also shocked Julie Christie to win Best Actress. I can’t comment on her performance, but I am now in love with her as a person. Come to think of it, this was a pretty great year for acceptance speeches. Javier Bardem’s message to his mother was beautiful, and Glen Hansard’s speech was my favorite of the night. Finally, as if I needed more convincing, Jon Stewart proved his Jesus-ness by bringing Marketa Irglova back on stage to finish her acceptance speech, in complete defiance of the Oscar orchestra. Can we elect him President, yet?
I was happy that No Country won so many awards, because the Coens deserve the recognition, but it’s sad to see There Will Be Blood only walk away with two Oscars. At least Daniel Day-Lewis won for his perfect performance. I probably would have broken something if he didn’t win, so I’m sure Brandon and Leahanne are thankful that it didn’t come to that. In the end, I was very happy with the results this year, despite only getting 10 predictions right. For the record, that makes this my worst Oscars ever.
In non-Oscars news, I have been quite the traveler this semester, trying to visit people or have people come visit me every week since I got back from Belgium. I think I’ve made it down to College Station four times, and they’ve come up to Austin twice (only once for Brandon..he still owes me another visit). I’ve also been home once, to see the parents and pick up my diploma. Turns out I need to get some string in order to hang my diploma, and that additional step has kept it atop my bookshelf since I returned from Friendswood. This traveling will continue, with three consecutive trips back to Friendswood, culminating with my 13-day trip to Maui, Hawaii! Prepare for a major update on that trip, filled with as many pictures as I can take, right after my birthday.
Hi. I know that you’ve been reading these paragraphs seemlessly, but I’ve been away from this update for two days. What have I done in the meantime? I played pub trivia one day, and got the number of stars of the EU flag wrong (12…I thought it was 13). I spent yesterday getting TexMex, and then helping my friend Andrew record sound for a class project he is doing. He has to take 15 black and white still images, and then add sound and dialogue to tell a story. I helped him with the lighting last week when he was taking pictures, which officially makes me a gaffer. When you download movies, you’re hurting me. Anyway, I’ll post his pictures as soon as his project is done, but they turned out pretty awesome. It’s a chase scene, but very film noir, and therefore awesome.
What else is there to talk about? Obama is sweeping the nation, which is exciting. What’s more exciting is that this week I cast a ballot in a competitive election for the first time in my life. (No, local politics doesn’t count.) I’m not quite sure how the caucus works after the primary, but I’m pretty sure my apathy will keep me from attending. That, and the local crazies who are way more invested in Democratic politics than they should be. Still, it’s great that the candidates actually have to spend some time in Texas, and with McCain universally hated by the religious right (i.e. Texas), maybe it will be a competitive state in the general election. Hey, don’t laugh! Rush Limbough is convinced that he can influence the Republican base, and he’s voting for Hills. Has he said whether he’d also vote for Obama over McCain? Those radio assholes are always a few weeks behind the latest poll numbers, so we might need to wait until they’ve completely given up hope for Mike “I don’t believe in politics, I believe in Jesus” Huckabee.
Unlike Brandon, I unfortunately don’t have blogs for each of my entertainment sections, so I’m going to continue using this space to highlight what I’ve been consuming.
The Wire season five is off and running, and I’ve seen the first five episodes. It’s the usual level of greatness, but the journalism side hasn’t been as important as I thought it would be (so far). I’m sure it will become an integral part of the story by the end of the show, but we’ve just scratched the surface. Additionally, HBO released three shorts about the back stories of Omar, Prop Joe, and McNulty that are incredible. I love how HBO is willing to completely embrace this show, despite terrible ratings and an astonishing lack of awards recognition. It will go down as a classic, and they know that.
I finally finished Weeds season three, after leaving off at episode 12 a few months ago. Overall, I was very happy with this season, and the finale leaves the show completely open-ended. It’s a far cry from the cliff-hanger of season 2, and will allow the writers to do whatever they want with the characters. Nancy held all of the storylines together, so it will be interesting to see how the other characters will continue if/when she leaves Agrestic. Also, Silas’s reaction to Tara on the news at the end of the episode was priceless.
Picnic at Hanging Rock: Peter Weir’s early film about a group of students who get lost on a class trip, and the aftermath of their disappearance. This is a gorgeous film, with large patches of dialogue-free imagery and symbolism. I’ll admit that I wasn’t able to completely understand the film without some help from the IMDb forums, but I have a better understanding of what happened now, and generally thought it was a surprisingly engaging film.
The Big Chill: This is the type of movie that I would have loved if I was alive in 1981. It launched the careers of a bunch of famous actors, and features a group of thirty-something, affluent high school friends who return home for a friend’s funeral. Stepping back 27 years, the film loses a lot of its edge, but it was still an entertaining movie, and definitely worth checking out.
Into the Wild: This movie probably would have been third or fourth on my 2007 list if I had seen it earlier. An absolutely beautiful tale of Alexander Supertramp’s trip across the U.S. and into the wilderness of Alaska. Director Sean Penn doesn’t fault once, and I sat in silence for a long time after the movie ended. Two and a half hours of near isolation only drives home the film’s message that true happiness can only be found through others, and it’s haunting.
I’m gonna quickly post this update before I leave today. I have to go to San Antonio to pick up Taylor, and then drive home so we can judge the regional Odyssey of the Mind competition tomorrow. That’s right, kids, it’s gonna be 1998 all over again! Maybe I’ll invite Sarah McCulley…
P.S. Happy Leap Year!