movies comments edit

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the Harry Potter movie series. The first (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) sort of set a precedent for the visual effects, imagery, and ability to stick closely to the book, so going into this one I had certain expectations.

Now, I hate going into movies expecting anything. Nine times out of ten, I’m going to come out disappointed.

I came out loving this movie.

Understand that this is not just more of the same. This movie is better than the first. The effects are better. The characters are better. Everything you liked about the first one is back, and it’s better than ever.

The first movie was criticized for sticking too close to the book it was based on. I don’t understand that; isn’t that the point of making a movie out of a book - to bring the book to life on the screen? Well, apologies to the other critics out there, but this one stays close to its book, too, and I’m glad it does. Seeing the movie play out on the screen the way it did in my mind when I read the book… it was brilliance.

All of the original actors return to reprise their roles from the original (though slightly older and showing the signs of puberty; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry has a noticeably deeper voice than before, and you even get a bit of a crack out of Rupert Grint as he plays Ron Weasley). Radcliffe is a likeable Harry, and every kid always wanted friends like Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).

The new characters were also wonderfully cast. Kenneth Branagh does a perfect job as Gilderoy Lockhart and Miriam Margolyes is exactly as I pictured Professor Sprout. The only character I wasn’t too fond of was Moaning Myrtle, played by Shirley Henderson. I’m not sure if it was Henderson’s annoying voice or the fact that she really wasn’t how I pictured Myrtle that bothered me. Oh well - a small price to pay for such fun.

Sadly, this will be the last time we see Richard Harris in his role as school headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The role will need to be re-cast due to his passing. He was a perfect Dumbledore, and he will be missed. This will also be the last time we see Chris Columbus directing; he has passed the reins on to a new director, Alfonso Cuarón.

Anyway, what this basically boils down to is that you should see this movie. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this. If you haven’t seen the first one, what have you been doing? Go rent (or buy!) the first one, enjoy it, and promptly see the second. You won’t be disappointed.

gaming, playstation, music comments edit

Last week was, for lack of a better word, paradise. Short story even shorter, except for Tuesday, I pretty much just stayed home and played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Tuesday I took my kitty in to get her spayed and declawed. She came out a little drugged, but otherwise no worse for the wear.

As for Vice City, I won’t bore you with a big diatribe about how awesome it is, or all the things they’ve improved on since the last game, or all the cool new things available to do in it. If you don’t have it, go buy it. If you don’t have a Playstation 2, this is the reason you need to buy one. Trust me here, it’s worth it. I played the whole week and I’m only like 65% done with the game.

I will say there are two complaints I have with the game, and these are the only real bitches I have about it: First, there are some levels that are waaaaaay too hard. I played one racing mission for like six hours before I beat it. It’s a two minute long stupid race, but the AI that you race against doesn’t make any mistakes. Ever. It was ridiculously hard and I almost gave up. I even tried to beat it with a cheat code and couldn’t do it. I finally won with a lot of luck and prayer. Which brings me to my other gripe: If you enable a cheat code, even if you disable it again, once you save your game the cheat code is permanently enabled. Even on your other saved games. That’s crazy. The real kicker is, I didn’t know that until after I beat the ultra-difficult race mission (without a cheat code, mind you). Was I going to start all over (with like 30 hours of play up to that point) or just leave the cheat in place?

I left the cheat. Screw it.

Other than that, it’s the bomb. Check it out.

Friday was Fred Meyer employee double-discount day, so I went shopping with my mom and got two CDs: Elton John’s Greatest Hits 1970-2002 and The Rolling Stones Forty Licks. Both rock hardcore, but I have to say - Elton John songs have been running through my head since I bought them. I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Saturday morning I saw the latest installment of the Harry Potter movie series. Very cool. I still maintain that Hermione is a hottie.

And now I’m back at work. After a full week off, I’m tense. Not just a little tense, either. My entire back is tense, from the top of my head down to my ass crack, and I don’t think it’s going away. I’ve sifted through my 200+ emails (about 100 of which actually were things requiring action on my part) and I’m getting back in the swing of things. I’ve got more crap queued up to do than I think I can reasonably handle.

That sort of hits on this thought that I had on Sunday. You’ve heard the saying that if you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life, right? Implying that if you find a job that you have fun at, it doesn’t really feel like work. Well, I thought about that, trying to think of a job that I could get where it wouldn’t feel like work. You know what I came up with?

Jack-fucking-squat.

I can’t think of a single job that wouldn’t become repetitive. Or have too much structure. Or have not enough structure. Or just get boring. I told the guys at work about that, and they came up with, like, video game tester. No way - getting stuck playing the same game over and over to find all the bugs? Forget it.

The closest jobs I could think of that I could do would be either video game reviewer or movie reviewer. Less on the video game reviewer - I’m really not all that great at video games, so I would get all pissed off at the hard levels. But movie reviewer… I could probably do that. I doubt people would agree with my reviews, but that’s not the point, is it?

Basically, it all boils down to the fact that I don’t want a job. Millions in the bank, sitting at home doing whatever I want, whenever I want. That’s my ideal. Travel, learn stuff, play games, watch movies, and just generally loaf. That’s what I want to do. If someone out there knows a job that sounds like that, sign me up. Until then, I’ll be sitting here with my tense back, ready to pass out from my migraine headache, and dream.

gaming, playstation comments edit

Well, gang, I’m out of here for a week (I’ll be at home playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City if you need me).

It’s my first vacation in a long time, so it’ll be good. I’ll be getting my cat declawed and spayed, but the primary reason for this one is the playing of the game.

A quick link before I go: For those who loved the old Atari games, check out this product from Avon. 10 classic Atari games, all packed into an Atari joystick that plugs right into your TV! And only $20!!!

I may have to get one of these.

gaming, playstation comments edit
   
Status: In Transit
Scheduled Delivery: Nov 7, 2002
Shipped to: PORTLAND, OR, US
Shipped or Billed on: Nov 5, 2002
   
Tracking Number: XX XXX XXX XX XXXX XXX X
Service Type: 2ND DAY AIR
Weight: 3.00 Lbs

PACKAGE PROGRESS

Date Time Location Activity
Nov 7, 2002 6:05 A.M. PORTLAND, OR, US OUT FOR DELIVERY
  4:16 A.M. PORTLAND, OR, US ARRIVAL SCAN
Nov 6, 2002 7:10 P.M. ROSEBURG, OR, US DEPARTURE SCAN
  6:10 P.M. ROSEBURG, OR, US ARRIVAL SCAN
  8:14 A.M. SACRAMENTO, CA, US DEPARTURE SCAN
  1:40 A.M. SACRAMENTO, CA, US ARRIVAL SCAN
Nov 5, 2002 10:43 P.M. SPARKS, NV, US DEPARTURE SCAN
  3:27 P.M. SPARKS, NV, US ORIGIN SCAN
  10:35 A.M. US BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

Tracking results provided by UPS: Nov 7, 2002 2:03 P.M. Eastern Time (USA)

gaming, playstation, music comments edit

Jenn sent me the following note just now…

Your UPS delivery was there when I left to come to work. I am prepared for you to drive me nuts for the next few weeks.

It’s there! It’s there!

I’m stoked. In case you didn’t already know. I shall be playing a bit of the old ultraviolence tonight with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City!

While we happen to be on my current favorite topic, I have been listening to the soundtrack box set continuously and have arrived with some critiques:

There are several great songs on there, but in some cases, the song on the album is not, in my opinion, the best song by that artist. For example, Spandau Ballet’s Gold is on the album, while everyone knows damn well that Spandau Ballet’s big hit was True. There is a certain underrepresentation of the mainstream. By that I mean: where are the songs by Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac, Cyndi Lauper, Wham!, and Madonna? None of those entities are represented on this set, and I think they should be.

Aside from that, I still recommend the whole set. I’m diggin’ it hardcore.

One random thought to post at the end, here: I saw a Schwan’s truck today and realize that they’ve been delivering groceries to your door since 1952. I wonder if HomeGrocer and such services feel like they’ve been beaten to the punch?