Friday, September 29, 2006

New Best at Buckhorn

My calendar tells me the summer is long over (it's week 6 of classes), but the North Carolina weather still allows me to get in some Disc Golf.

Towards the end of the Summer, I flirted with a personal best at Buckhorn several times, at least twice going to the 17th green below my best score only to put my approach in the water.

Well, I don't know if these are the dog days or the Indian days of Summer, but I managed to get out there around 5 on a Friday, and finally got over that hump.

As is so often the case with golf goals, I didn't do it the way I expected. In fact, I failed to birdie the three statistically easiest holes on the course (2, 5, 8), but I had only two fours (4 & 12), and managed birdies on 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, & 13. Most importantly, I finally got an approach over that darn lake/pond on 17 for an easy three. And it needed to be an easy three, because the nerves were getting tight.

So, having finally passed that milestone, I'm hoping that will free me up to try some other things to just work on my game. Maybe play the long tees a few times, start on different holes, work on a flick or a different approach to one or two holes, maybe even go play a few of the other courses in the area to get them back in the rotation.

Buckhorn: (White Tees)

2-3-3 4-3-2 3-3-2 (Out) 25
2-2-4 2-3-3 3-3-3 (In) 25 (50)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Web Host for Viewpoint

I've moved my movie review page to a different web host.

The interface is easier to update, it's cheaper, and I hope the button at the bottom isn't too distracting (I don't think it is).

I will be adding back some content shortly. Right now there is only the most recent reviews.

Monday, September 25, 2006

How to Rip Off Peerflix members...with the company's help.

So Peerflix is a DVD swapping service where you trade DVDs you don't want for credits that can be applied to for DVDs you do want. I got some decent service, but recently I was informed by customer service that I had been docked Peerbux because a DVD I sent was deemed to be a pirated/illegal copy.

Of course I've never sent a pirated copy of any DVD. Not coincidentally, the copy goes from the person it was allegedly sent to to Peerflix with the claim of "hey, this was the DVD I got in the mail." So, you want to rip off Peerflix...this is apparently how you do it...

1) Order a hard to find or valuable DVD.
2) Make a copy of it.
3) Send the copy of it to Peerflix with a note saying it was the DVD that was send to you by another user.
4) Get your cost refunded to you.
[Shame about the person who sent it to you and is now out both the DVD and the credit, but hey...]

Alternate method (this one just rips off the company).
1) Have a broken or unplayable DVD?
2) List it as tradeable.
3) Send it to the user who requests it.
4) They fill out a "broken in transit" claim and send it to Peerflix security.
5) You get credit (Peerbux) for sending the DVD but the other user gets his Peerbux refunded. Post office gets the blame.

So, I've given up on Peerflix for the time being. That's a shame, since I got some good trades.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

9/11 Rhetoric

In the wake of September 11, 2001, several of my friends who followed broadcast news noted how quickly the rhetoric surrounding the events escalated as they unfolded.

As the day progressed, the attacks went from being something like "the largest terrorist attack on American soil since Oklahoma City" to something "the largest foreign attack on America since Pearl Harbor" to something like "the worst disaster in the history of the world." These aren't exact quotes; I'm just trying to give examples of the nature of the tone.

Well, that was five years ago, and I think in the midst of an attack we can be forgiven a bit of hyperbole. One function of time is that it gives us greater room to place events within a context after their immediate emotional impact has subsided.

So this blurb over at IMDB.COM interested me. It seems American Airlines is protesting a scene in an upcoming miniseries called The Path to 9/11. Apparently one scene implies American was lax in its security procedures when the security lapse apparently took place at U.S. Airways.

If I had a business, I'd certainly want to make that same correction. Nothing wrong with that. What made me sigh was the rhetoric in the statement:

The American statement concluded: "That the film directly contradicts the findings of the 9/11 Commission is troubling. That it defames dedicated public officials is tragic. But the fact that it misleads millions of people about the most tragic and consequential event in recent history is disgraceful."

The most tragic and consequential event in recent history....

Yeah, I know, the words "tragic," "consequential," and "recent" are all ambiguous enough that this phrase is at least defensible from any parsing, but really, what does it say about us and our psyche?

I suppose I could hammer this point by inviting a list of events more "consequential" than 9/11 or, possibly, even one of those more tragic. But why does tragedy have to be a contest these days? Why do we have to be more put upon and victimized than our neighbors? Why is there no room for us to recognize that being able to recognize the suffering of others does not diminish our own?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lake of Fire Review at Looking Closer

My full review of Lake of Fire is now up at Jeffrey Overstreet's Looking Closer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

TIFF: Shot in the Dark and MacBeth

My Sunday was a bit less successful than the Saturday, but it still made for some interesting viewing. Notes below:

Picture of Light (1994): This retrospective entry allowed me to catch up on the work of Peter Mettler who had been a consultant for Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes. I love the photography of the Northern Lights, but I did find the set up a bit long.

Shot in the Dark (2006): Adrian Grenier of Entourage and The Devil Wear's Prada entered a documentary about his attempts to reconnect with his biological father. I may try to write more about this one. It started fairly conventional but increased in complexity as it revealed more of itself. A solid first effort that managed to go over what could have been well picked ground and still offer a few surprises. It included some interesting reflections on fatherhood and the timeless nature/nurture debate.

Born and Bred (2006): This entry from Argentinian Pablo Trapero was not my favorite. It involves a man in paint who retreats emotoinally and geographically from in order to heal and his eventual decisions about whether and how to try to reconnect.

MacBeth (2006): Geoffrey Wright directs an amped up, violent version of the Scottish play with the characters in a mob-like setting. Undeniably stylish, the film may border on nihilistic (I'll have to think about it some more before I decide). It does a good job creating its own world rather than relying on the shock value of the anachrnistic, but I felt it lose momentum in the second half...though I'm not sure why. (It was the last film I saw, so I'm still processing it). It's worth pointing out for Christians that there is some heavy violence and prolonged nudity. Both worked within the context of the film (though the latter was a bit over-the-top), but it's not directed toward the study hall crowd, methinks.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

TIFF: Of Perverts and Rescues

Well yesterday was packed. As expected the first weekend was busier than even the Friday with the lines growing. I pretty much went non-stop from one film to the next.

Some bullet comments below:
The Pervert's Guide to Cinema--Fun and funny, I've equated this to a college class with a loopy, entertaining professor who doesn't grade hard. You walk out going, "I really enjoyed that class" but when asked what you learn you ramble incoherently about his rambling points. Not that Zizek was incoherent. It wasn't an emperor with no clothes experience. He knew the movies and the individual points were followable and interesting. But structurally it was like ADD on crank.

Manufactured Landscapes:
The artistry was great, and I've said I'll like it more as I get distance from it and some of the "this is neutral" spin going on. When did having an ideology become such a bad thing?

The Lake of Fire:
Tony Kaye's 135 minute, excrutiatingly long abortion documentary. Ends up being more about the debate than the subject. Being called balanced (which it is, but which isn't necessarily the same thing as being fair). I wondered if it achieved that by simply not being selective in inclusion. Everyone has their say...and then has it again.

Rescue Dawn
Werner Herzog's "unfinished business" with the Dieter Dengle story. I preferred Little Dieter Needs to Fly, but it was an interesting film to think and talk about. Like Lord of the Rings, I imagine I would have liked it more had I not had a previous relationship with the subject matter.

In terms of festival experience, directors were at last three films and stars at Manufactured Landscapes and Rescue Dawn. I wish I had scheduled more time for the Q&As (learned something for next year), but it was interesting to see (especially with Herzog) the fanboy side of the slightly more sophisticated audience.

I'm very, very, tired though. Will definitely write more as I get time and distance.

Friday, September 08, 2006

TIFF: Take the Good, Take the Bad

Any first time travel experience is partially about learning.

The good...the dinner was great. Such nice company...finally got to meet Darren, Michael, Girish, and have a great time of fellowship and food. I even liked the Ethiopian food.

The not so good...I've been priding myself on how lightly I packed. But I guess any venue that includes much waiting in line should also include a hat and an umbrella in your luggage. Got rained on trying to rush tickets for The Host. It was borderline whether or not I would get in, but I finallly called it. Figured if I did I would be cold and miserable all through the film.

I think I resolved the conflict for tomorrow. I'm going to try to buy Doug's ticket for Manufactured Landscapes so that I can see it instead of Deliver Us From Evil. At least that's the plan. But first up...The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.

Man, I just like typing that title.

TIFF: Requiem and Climates

Had plenty of time this morning, and it was a good thing. The walk to the box office turned out to be a little longer than it looked on the map.

Toronto was covered with some campaign called "Shinefest" trying to raise money for cystic fibrosis, which meant I had someone offer to shine my shoes on every corner. (I was wearing sneakers, but never mind).

Once I got the tickets it was back south to the theater long last...the first film.

I met up with Doug and we saw Requiem. I was engaged by it and found it to be a serious psychological drama. The comparisons to Emily Rose are inevitable, I guess, but Requiem was a far superior film. I had a few reservations which I'll put in a review when I get back, but overall it was a great start.

One real pleasure of the festival is talking about the films. So Doug and I grapped crepes for lunch (me: apple, banana, cinammon; he: bananna and nutella), talked about the film and worked our way to the Ryerson for Climates.

Boy talk about an agressively quiet film. There were a lot of long takes. I mostly liked it but my sleep cycle was catching up with me and I struggled in a few places to keep concentration. I'm tempted to call it a 100 minute object lesson on the pathetic fallacy and setting, but that isn't right. It was good but it didn't engage me as much as Requiem.

I also checked at the Ryerson for same day tickets of The Host but they were sold out, so I'll have to either try the rush line or let it go. I'm still waffling about whether to see Manufactured Landscapes tomorrow or Deliver Us From Evil.

Arrived in Toronto

Despite a series of obstactles, I have finally arrived in Toronto.

I thought I might miss my flight when there was a car accident on the way to the airport, but once I got to the airport, thinks went smoothly.

Russ picked me up in downtown Pittsburgh, and the pleasure of meeting a long-time acquaintance helped the drive from Pittsburg to Toronto go smoothly.

We arrived about 11 p.m. and Doug met us at the hostel with the keys. It probably would have been a good idea to turn in, but I was wired and so we found a place to chat for awhile. Toronto is a nice city, and the hostel is a new experience.

The only slip up was that it said on the Internet that I did not need a passport if I was driving into Canada but they asked for one anyway. Fortunately Russ had mentioned something on the phone, so I brought it with me just in case. Good thing I did.

Now...let the films begin.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My 2006 TIFF Schedule

Well, I got my confirmation of my advance tickets. Here's my tentative schedule--it could still be supplemented by rush tickets or trades.

Final Film List

Friday September 8, 2006
Requiem PARAMOUNT 1 11:45 AM
Climates RYERSON 3:00 PM

Saturday September 9, 2006
The Pervert's Guide to Cinema CUMBERLAND 3 12:15 PM
Deliver Us From Evil VARSITY 8 2:45 PM
Lake of Fire VARSITY 8 5:30 PM
Rescue Dawn RYERSON 9:00 PM

Sunday September 10, 2006
Picture of Light AL GREEN THEATRE 10:00 AM
Shot in the Dark PARAMOUNT 3 1:00 PM
The Prisoner or: How I Planned ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM 5:30 PM
Macbeth PARAMOUNT 1 7:00 PM

I hope to have a dinner at the Ehtiopian restaraunt with some friends on Friday night.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses (5-10)

Well The Life of Moses is short, but like many of the Spiritual Classics, it is slow reading. Also, I've been a bit busy and sporadic in my reading.

Recently, I've been thinking about this quote from the biography section entitled "The History of Moses":

This man saw in one act--the attack on the shepherds--the virtue of the young man, how he fought on behalf of the right without looking for personal gain. Considering the right valuable in itself, Moses punished the wrong done by the shepherds, although they had done nothing against him.

How many of us truly consider "the right" valuable in itself, I wonder, and are willing to fight for it without looking for personal gain?

Then again, is it possible to be too ready to punish the wrong, even if it is not against us? How certain we are that we correctly see and know "the right" and that our anxiousness to fight is based on finding the right valuable and not on protecting our interests.