media, movies comments edit

Saw the latest Harry Potter on Sunday. Figured I’d fill you guys in.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, based on the book of the same name by JK Rowling, is about… hang on. You know what? Go read the book. Seriously. I’ll wait.

Okay, now while those folks are off reading the book, the rest of us will continue.

Minor refresher: A believed dangerous individual named Sirius Black (played by Gary Oldman) escapes from the wizard prison of Azkaban and comes after Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). Harry ends up finding Black and uncovers some interesting information about his (Harry’s) past, particularly in regards to his parents.

Now that we’re all up to speed, here’s the deal: There’s a new director, there’s a new Dumbledore, and there’s a new way of looking at the Harry Potter series.

From a direction standpoint, I think Alfonso Cuarón did a decent job. I’m not sure what I would have done differently, and most of the beefs I had with the movie could just as easily have been blamed on the screenplay. I’ll give the guy credit where credit is due.

The new Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) did an outstanding job, enough that it was an entirely seamless transition to him. Can’t ask for much more than that.

As for the new way of looking at these movies… In the previous two books, there was some certain amount of introspection but not so much that it affected the plot; which is to say, the movies were able to come out and, even leaving out certain elements from the book, the story was sufficiently conveyed. In this one, the book contained a lot more in the way of subtle plot points and things that took place as internal realizations or dialogue, which would have either been impossible to show on screen or would have made it drag so slowly as to be unwatchable. That’s a hard thing to put on film, I’ll admit, but there were a few things they left out that I really think they should have left in.

The Patronus: When Harry manifests his patronus (expecto patronum!), it manifests as a stag because his father was an animagus who could turn into a stag. Not only did the film not mention any of this, but the patronus didn’t really manifest as an animal except for one quick shot about a second long. Every other time, it only ever seemed like a white “shield” of some nature. They never did address the fact that it looked like an animal. I think that’s an important point.

The Knight Bus: Didn’t the Knight Bus show up more than once in the book? Yeah, I thought so, too. Too bad it was only a very tiny part of the movie.

Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs: Harry gets the Marauder’s Map and uses it for about five seconds in the movie; it was much more important in the book. Anyway, when Professor Lupin gets the map in the movie and talks about it like he knows exactly what it is… they never really explain why he knows what it is, nor do they explain the significance of the names “Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs” that show up on the map. Those names, which represent Professor Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and Harry’s father, respectively, illustrates the relationship between them and sort of provides some insight into their background. We didn’t get any of that. For a story about getting to Harry’s background, they sure left a lot of that out.

We’ll let all of that go, though. It was still a good story and a lot of fun. I’ll get it when it’s out on DVD… I just have to keep in mind it’s a movie and not a book on film.

personal, humor comments edit

Greg was having some problems with SP2 for Windows XP yesterday (he’s beta testing) and had to reinstall. He decided to do the installation in an unattended fashion and used the command line option “/passive” to accomplish that. I started thinking about that particular command line option and how it’s almost like a clinical diagnosis of the behavior of the installer rather than a technical option and then decided that in future programs I need to follow that same standard. As such, here are some command line options I’m contemplating for programs I write in the future:

/passiveagressive: Install unattended and force overwrite of any old file versions without asking.

/obsessivecompulsive: Verify all data written… twice.

/histrionic: Confirms every disk I/O operation.

/masochistic: Deletes any trace of itself on uninstall.

/sadistic: Deletes all user data. Display delete notification message after operation completes.

/dependent: Only installs if you’re installing other, related products at the same time.

/paranoid: Require authentication prior to performing any action.

/avoidant: Run in “standalone” mode; ensure no communication between itself and other programs.

/antisocial: Allow incoming communication with other programs but never send outgoing/response messages.

/schizoid: Display terse messages.

/schizotypal: Display all messages like standard Windows messages, particularly with regard to errors. Refer user to incomplete or nonexistant documentation if they want more information.

/narcissistic: Set process priority to highest possible setting.

/cyclothymic: Simulate unreproducible, periodic errors to test system fault tolerance.

Release 1 of the death-march project I was working on was completed yesterday, so now I’m taking a little time to recoup and finally put things away in my cubicle since the move (right in the middle of that project, everyone in my department shifted cubicles around and I basically chucked all of my stuff in boxes and kept working… up until yesterday it was all a huge chaotic mess).

This coming Monday is the project post-mortem, so we’ll go over the things that worked, the things that didn’t work, and decide where we want to go from here. There’s still a lot to do on that project, so I don’t anticipate I’ve seen the end of it. That said, I feel a sick sort of ownership for it now that I’ve spent all this hard time with it. It’d be a little difficult to just give it away cold turkey; I’d like to see it grow. (I just don’t want to spend what’s left of my sanity and patience on it, is all. If we can come up with a reasonable schedule and some reasonable expectations, I’m all over it. That’ll never happen, though, so I’m in a quandary.)

I’m studying for my last Micrososft certification exam now, which will make me a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator. Then I’ll have both my “Solutions Developer” and “Database Admin” certifications, and I think I’ll call it good. It’s been a long road to get here and I’m glad to be close to the end of it. You’re supposed to “renew” your certifications whenever new versions of the products come out… I don’t know. I mean, I like to keep current and all, but it’s a lot of work to get a piece of paper, and studying for tests is nothing like actually doing the work on a day to day basis. Nothing substitutes for experience.

Seems that lots of folks are excited for the next installation of Harry Potter, including Jenn, who says we’re definitely seeing it this weekend. I dunno. I’ve loved the last two, but I need to maintain a clean slate when it comes to being excited and/or having expectations for movies. All too often I go in expecting a great show and it turns out to be just “pretty good.” We shall see.

home comments edit

With the help of Toiletology 101, I fixed my toilet on Friday - no more leak! Turns out the flapper wasn’t making a good connection with the flush valve. All better now.

I’m feeling a little feisty today. A cross between restless and irritated with a hint of hyperactivity. One of those moods where you need to fidget and can’t focus. Big surprise there.

The weekend: I fixed my toilet Friday… rented a couple of movies Saturday (nothing to write home about)… played some Prince of Persia on Sunday… hung out with my parents on Monday… that’s about it.

Listening to the iPod this morning on the way to the eye doctor I started thinking about all the different songs that have meaning in my life. Listening to the different stuff on the iPod I can tell you where I was in my life when a given song came out or a particular event that happened when that song was playing. It’s almost better than a journal; it’s like reliving the past in the present.

I happened to hear a cut by Pop Will Eat Itself and it reminded me of high school. Mom got on sort of a “wholesome” kick and decided that PWEI was “devil music” (yes, the words “devil music” were actually used to describe it) so she confiscated all of my PWEI tapes and CDs. At the time, it seemed that use of the word “fuck” in music pretty much qualified it immediately as “devil music.”

We had a discussion - nay, a heated argument - about what constitutes “devil music” that went something like this:

Mom: The music you’re listening to is devil music! Trav: What makes it devil music? Mom: Every generation has its own new music, designed to push boundaries. This is no different. It’s made to corrupt your mind. It’s trash! Trav: So every generation has devil music. Mom: Yeah. Trav: And the new music in each generation is usually it. Mom: Yeah. Trav: And the new music in your generation was The Beatles. Mom: So? Trav: So by your logic, The Beatles is also devil music. Mom: Go to your room!

Yeah, I thought it was crap, too. I mean, if you don’t like the language, I guess that’s one thing, but don’t accuse me of listening to devil music unless you have a strong case. Anyway, my PWEI CDs got confiscated, which was an extraordinary inconvenience because at the time they had gone out of print. In particular, the Cure For Sanity disc was hard to find, and that was problematic because that was my favorite CD of the time. (For the record, she was also pissed off about my Nine Inch Nails CD, but I don’t recall her taking that one.)

Anyway, it took me a couple of weeks to scour the downtown Portland area and find a small dance record store who happened to have the last copy of Cure For Sanity. I still have that CD to this day and it’s still one of my favorites. (Mom’s probably going to be pissed when she reads this one, but this was like 13 years ago, and I’m a little older now, so I’m sure she’ll cope. I’m also still a NIN fan, but I think Pretty Hate Machine was the best album Reznor’s put out to date.)

Ah, memories. I’m sure you all have those music memories. Maybe one of these days I’ll put out a few more of them on the site, so they might not be forever lost.