It's Always Something

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Yet another frickin’ typical Monday morning.

I tried to add my blog entry around 9:00a to find that the scripts that I use for administration of the blog are now getting “Internal Server Error #500” when you try to run them. So are all of my other scripts. Looking at the error log for the web server, it’s saying something about “premature end of headers” (now doesn’t that sound dirty). Interesting that this would work on Friday and not work today. I sent a note to the support people at PSU to see if they did anything. By the time this becomes readable for folks on the web site, I’ll have (hopefully) fixed the problem (or gotten them to fix it).

The weekend was action packed. Friday night Jenn and I went to an “Escaping Party” for a friend of mine from Lattice Semiconductor. Apparently she’s going to Guatemala for five weeks to volunteer and go to school simultaneously. It was good to see her again, but I’ve been out of that loop for quite some time now so I knew probaby five of the 40 people there. That got a little tiresome. I’m not really a mingler so small talk with strangers doesn’t do much for me. At least I got out, which is something I promise myself I’ll do but never quite get around to.

Saturday we washed my car (ooooooo) and watched part of So I Married An Axe Murderer at my parents’ house (aaaaaaaah). For the most part it was a kick-back day and I enjoyed that portion of it because I like days when I don’t have to do anything. I can do stuff if I want to, but I don’t have to do anything.

Oh, we also rented Resident Evil, Shallow Hal, and Amélie.

Resident Evil, for a video-game-based movie, was decent. Don’t look for a real deep plot or anything, but it was entertaining and, might I add, better than most of the other video game movies out there. Milla Jovovich did a good job as an amnesiac soldier attempting to stop the spread of a virus that turns people into zombies. Of course, they left it totally open for the sequel, which I expected and will probably see when it’s out on video, too.

Shallow Hal was funny, but I guess I expected it to be funnier. The idea was there, the material was good to go, but I found this one to be more of a light romantic comedy than a rolling-in-the-aisles sort of thing. Jack Black always cracks me up with his Chris Farley-esque comedy (though you really can’t beat Chris) and Jason Alexander is pretty funny as his friend. But other than that, nothing too spectacular here. If you’re bored and just want something light, this was pretty decent.

Amélie is another story entirely.

I loved Amélie. Maybe it’s my recently reinstilled love of French art. Maybe it’s the way the camera angles and the dialogue was so much different (and much more fresh) than the other movies I go see. Maybe it’s the story with its lovable, idiosyncratic characters. Probably all three. But it was darn good, and I’d recommend it to anyone willing to give it a chance.

Audrey Tautou as the title character was perfect. She has a very cute, pert, French look about her that just makes her totally adorable and lends itself to the character.

Anyway, I could go on and on about the weird stuff that was there or how cute certain scenes were or whatever, but I’ll just leave it with this - it’s one you don’t want to miss.

Sunday Jenn and I went to Oak’s Park for the company picnic. (Actually, it was just the picnic for the group I work for, not the whole company.) It was odd weather, raining for a few minutes then sunny for a while and raining again. It was fun to ride the bumper cars and go-carts, though. Since a lot of people said they were coming but didn’t show up, there were extra go-cart tickets so Jenn and I got to go twice. Can’t complain about that.

Mom got a Tori Amos CD for me at a Fred Meyer sample sale, so I was listening to that this morning. The CD in question is the one titled Strange Little Girls.

Let it be known now that Tori Amos is fucked up.

I used to love her stuff. I bought Little Earthquakes when it came out. I thought that, not only did it display well the talent she has, but it also made some good statements about who she is. It made you feel what she was feeling and sort of, for me, embodied how the youth of the time were feeling - a little confused with just a bit of that gothic sort of darkness going on.

I also bought Under The Pink, though, admittedly, that one had to grow on me a bit. She was starting into this bitter hate phase of hers and I’m more of a “subtle pain” than a “bitter hate” person. But I still dug her. I went to see her live for her Under The Pink tour.

Then came Boys For Pele and From The Choirgirl Hotel and the hate was on. Admittedly, I didn’t get much past Pele since I just couldn’t stand the whole hate thing, so I can’t give an entirely informed opinion on Choirgirl. But the hate-on was a-happenin’, and I wasn’t into it. I did, however, see her live again when she came around for Pele. She put on a good show and, while I wasn’t as into it this time as I was the first, it was still a good show.

I saw her a third time in concert after Choirgirl, though I can’t really remember exactly when. This time, though, the show had lost its magic. She didn’t have the repoire with the audience she had with Under The Pink and, honestly, I was bored because the songs all started to sound the same. I promised myself I wouldn’t go see her again because it was a waste of $40. But I didn’t give up on her music; I thought she still had some promise.

Then I get Strange Little Girls. This should have been called Bad Cover Songs becuase it seems that most of the songs are covers of songs from other bands. When I heard her butcher the Depeche Mode song “Enjoy The Silence,” I got mad and started listening to the first few bars of each track. Seems to me the edge is lost, or at least dulled, for her. She used to have this way of getting all the music to work together, to provide a rich tapestry of music that, coupled with her unique voice, helped you feel what she felt. Every once in a while, you’d get a sort of “haunting” track that was more like a cappella or spoken word where you’d feel that song, in stark contrast to the rest of the album, and the powerful emotion that went along with it.

Now she abuses that “stark contrast” thing so there’s no contrast at all anymore. She tries too hard to get the hate and the pain in there and forgets that it’s music she’s making and not some lame performance art.

So that’s that. The close of another chapter of my musical life.

Okay, then.

Friday Mom sort of sideswiped me this weekend with the fact she wants me to film my sister Tai’s wedding reception this coming Friday. (Yeah, that’s a week’s notice.) So I got the video camera from her and took it home to play with it.

While filming my cats doing basically nothing (figures that they’d be wired when I didn’t have the camera out, but when I pull it out they instantly become lethargic; maybe I should have a camera out all the time), I realized something:

I hate it when people making home movies offer commentary during the movie.

How many times have you watched someone’s video of, say, a birthday party, where the person filming is watching someone blow out candles on the cake, and the person filming offers some flimsy commentary like, “Okay, the cake is here… now they’re setting it down… and she’s going to blow out the candles… There we go! The candles are out!”

What, like I can’t see that? Is that commentary for the blind people trying to watch your home movie? Somehow I think the blind people are the lucky ones in that regard since they don’t have to watch some video they don’t care about, but that’s another issue.

I think that’s also why I hate Bob Saget. Shut the fuck up, buddy. I’m trying to watch some of America’s Funniest Home Videos. I so don’t need to listen to you while I do it.

The point here is that since I discovered that, I believe that I’m going to do my best to refrain from talking while I’m filming since that can only lead me to being a hypocritical dumbass.

Well, I just got an email from the support people at PSU CS and apparently something’s hosed with their server configuration. They’ve found a temporary fix, though, and hopefully they’ll root out the whole problem shortly. In the meantime, I’d best post this before things go down again.