Tag Archives: movies

3485/500000 and 10th Day of the Baha’i Fast

My day of rest was good and I’m taking another ont tomorrow (one a week). This past week I set two new records: 100 reps of sit-ups in a single set (!!!) and 800 reps total for the week. The 100 reps was really hard and I felt awful afterwards. I also did another 150 reps day. However, I’ve added crunches to the traditional sit-ups, and I’m just calling them all “sit-ups”. So now, I will do 100 proper sit-ups per day and start working on increasing my crunches. I’ve also lost a bit of weight, about 7 lbs, mostly due to eating only one meal per day due to…

The Baha’i Fast has been great this year. It’s a little harder than last year, truth be told, probably because of my week off of work. I find it hard to ignore hunger and tiredness when I don’t actually have to do anything during the day. The part I’m having a hard time with is really getting some good prayer time in. There are distractions, but also I’m just having a hard time remembering. I have, however, been trying to spend time with each member of my family during this week. I have to do something with Ocean and Justice still. I went for dinner with Melanie, dinner with Haifa, and a movie with Verity (Captain America – good, but not great, btw).

I’ve tried doing a bit of pottery/ceramic art, but I feel like I haven’t got the hang of it right now. I tried an experiment for making tentacle sculptures, but it didn’t work out so well. And this evening I started a new “vase”, but it’s too early to say if it will work out.

I finished reading “Great North Road” by Peter F Hamilton. Fantastic sci-fi/detective/creature novel. Some really touching moments. Nice long read too, and completely self-contained. No sequel to wait for. No really unique ideas, but extremely well-written and enjoyable. I highly recommend it!

Archive Journal Entry: 20030324

I wanted to thank a couple people for putting comments about my Software Construction Analogy paper on their blogs: Seth Dillingham, and Eric Hancock. Thanks!

I went to see the movie “Dreamcatcher” today. It was okay. The real reason I went to see it was to see the Animatrix short that precedes the feature. I am very much looking forward to the Matrix sequals coming soon…

Yesterday I got the dance pad for the StepMania dance game for PC. I tried it out briefly last night and did about 20 minutes with it this evening in Jersey City. I love it!!! I fully expect to get really good at it and get lots of exercise in the bargain. There are a couple minor problems tho: the pad is a thin flexible plastic thingy that slips easily both on my carpet at home and on the hardwood in my apartment. Not only that, but in my apartment, jumping around on the hardwood is a bit tough on my feet. So, I’ll probably buy some stuff to make it better, like a thin dense foam underlay and some sort of system for holding it in place on both hardwood and carpet. I was also thinking of putting some sort of ridges under the pad so that I can feel when my feet get out of place.

Archive Journal Entry: 20030226

Today was a pretty good day. The second day of Ayyam-i-Ha, we had Melanie’s sister, Kristine, their dad, Benny, and his girlfriend, Linda, over for dinner. Melanie made an absolutely fantastic dinner including home-made bread, a great salad, her amazing squash and apple soup, and bruschetta (sp?). The meal was vegitarian, partly for Linda’s benefit. We opened some gifts. Melanie got me the Strictly Ballroom DVD (US$, CA$), one of my all-time favorites. I first watched it at Cory April’s mom’s house in Saskatoon. I’ll have to watch it again very soon 🙂

The other cool thing today was getting together with a bunch of friends from InSystems. I worked there back a little over a year ago from Oct. 2001 to Feb. 2002. Primarily I was working as the software architect for what became their eXterity products. In particular, I worked on their “Magic” authoring product (due to be released at the end of this month). Aparently it has continued to do very well as a project. Anyway, today a bunch of InSystems people came to have lunch with me at an Indian restaurant called Motimahal. The food was good and the company was excellent. It was so heartwarming to see my friends again. A big “THANKS!” to all of you!

Melanie has been reading “The Absorbent Mind” (US$, CA$) by Maria Montessori. She is incredibly inspired by it. I haven’t read it myself, but I certainly hope to!

I have been researching teaching the kids foreign languages. Two nights ago I did a big search for Arabic and Chinese online tutorials. I didn’t find anything amazing, but I did find some beginner material and some source material that I can use to make better stuff. As well, I’ve got to research some language learning methods. In particular, I want to find out more about “The Silent Method” and the “Power-Glide” materials – anyone have any experience with these, please email me. We are planning on teaching French (because Melanie and I know it fairly well), Chinese (because it is part of Melanie’s heritage and we expect our kids will go to China), and Arabic (so that they can read a substantial portion of the Baha’i writings in their original language, e.g. The Hidden Words). As well, the diversity in these languages we hope will improve their thinking skills.

Archive Journal Entry: 20030219

It’s almost 6am and I’m still up. Today has been odd. I won’t get into all the details, but there’s been some good stuff (including getting lots of good work done), and some bad stuff (including struggles with some spiritual disciplines that I am working on). I watched the Matrix (US$, CA$) again. Amazing movie!! Anyway, for anyone who reads this, please send some “assistance with tests” prayers my way!

Archive Journal Entry 20030109 (next evening)

I had a great day at work today. Nothing amazing all by itself, but I felt like I contributed and helped. Nevertheless, I’m darn lonely. I went to see “Catch Me If You Can” tonight with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks (who doesn’t seem to have an official web site). Anyway, “Catch Me If You Can” is a very interesting story about a young man who impersonates a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and is based on a true story. The movie is very well paced: the writing is great, the directing, the acting… all in all a fabulous time. I cried at the end 🙂 I’m a real sucker for happy endings. Anyway, it got me thinking about my life. Sometimes I feel like I am playing at life, and sometimes I feel like I am really in it. Tonight it is like I woke up. I’ve been playing for a while and I want to start living. All my life I’ve felt like my family is destined for greatness. What can I do to contribute? What can I do to make a difference in the world? My children, my job, my faith, my love… these are where I can start. I have them now.

Archive Journal Entry: 20021225

I finally finished the "Liveship Traders" series… WOW! That is one cool series, and it is really neet how it ties in with Robin Hobb‘s previous series. I don’t think I have been so affected so many times by a work of fiction.

I bought a few DVD’s: "Lilo & Stitch", "Monsters, Inc.", "Ice Age", "Monster’s Ball" and "Amelie". I haven’t watched any of them yet on DVD, but I have seen both "Ice Age" and "Monsters, Inc.". My brother recommended "Lilo & Stitch" and I heard from a magazine article about Netflix that "Monster’s Ball" was very well regarded. "Amelie" just intrigues me… I watched "Lilo & Stitch" I loved it. It’s quite the tear-jerker, but then I’m a real sucker for loyalty movies.

Melanie, Justice, Haifa, Alexei and I are all visiting my dad’s family in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We got here on the 20th. We arrived at the Edmonton airport. My dad picked us up at the airport in his Suburban. That was at midnight Ontario time. We then drove for five more hours north of Edmonton to get to Fort McMurray. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get much sleep. Melanie and Haifa both got sicker. Haifa actually has had a pretty bad fever for the last three days (around 39 degrees Celsius). It was mostly better today, but this evening it came back. If it stays bad much longer, we’ll probably take her in to a doctor since she also isn’t drinking as much as she should be.

I’ve looked all over Fort McMurray for a hard drive enclosure. I want to get an enclosure that has both Firewire and USB2.0 so that I can transport a small hard drive between Toronto and Jersey City instead of a heavy laptop. I found one at Staples for CA$149 that is decent, but it is just USB2.0. Still, maybe I’ll get it.

I’m hoping that Melanie, Alexei and dad (Garry) will make an agreement so that Melanie will do work to promote Lex and dad’s careers. Alexei and dad don’t know too much about promotion, and they are particularly blind to the methods when they try to apply them to themselves. I’m hoping that Melanie can spend a couple hours each week for both of them to help do some basic stuff. I’ve got some ideas: apply for grants, look for speaking/exhibition opportunities, work on websites and other marketing materials, do cold-call promotion to corporations, etc. The problem seems to be that Melanie also has no sense of what to do for them. Personally, I don’t think it really matters: an extra few hours a week of almost anything will help 🙂 I hope that I can get involved a little as well. I also hope that she will be able to spend some time working on my business needs such as a web site, looking for side contracts, doing taxes and other paperwork and working on financial management (investing a float).

Archive Journal Entry: 20021218

Here are two interesting online questionnaires: about philosophy and politics – very thought provoking, about religion and belief – this one got me pegged.

Here’s a diary entry I posted on kuro5hin:

I love movies. A movie can be inspiring, enjoyable, challenging, funny, instructive… or it can be depressing, unpleasant, meaningless, boring or deceptive. But either way, a movie can still be “good”. So what makes a good movie? Poll and discussion…

I have personal preferences regarding the genre of movies I like (action, sci-fi, romantic comedy) and don’t like (horror, suspense, most drama, mystery). I have some favorites that don’t really fall into those categories (“Run
Lola, Run
“, “The Last Emperor“, “Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
“, “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover“). Please add your own favorites to the discussion. Why did you like them?

But what about qualities? I tend to like films that have good music and sound effects. For example, “Run Lola, Run”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Cook…” all have music and sound effects that turn good, cool movies into hair-raising excellent movies that I will watch over and over and over again.

My younger brother is a film-maker (no-one famous, yet). He has sensitized me to many other aspects of a film. For example, every good film rests on a good script. If the dialog and story structure suck, or even are just mediocre, then it is difficult to become fully immersed in the story. An excellent script can even make a good movie out of poor actors. Acting quality is important, but lets face it: most Hollywood actors are… actually quite good! Sure some of them have a limited repertoire, but within that range, they are well-honed.

Now plot… one of the interesting things about plot is that it is usually all exactly the same: one character goes through the “hero’s journey” (do a google search) either literally or symbolically. I personally find that I am more affected by a movie when that hero’s journey is represented in a movie at more than one level.

Other factors: I tend to like any movie with cool special effects. But special effects can be over-done (“Attack of the Clones” springs to mind). On the other hand, “Spiderman” was the perfect mix of special effects and story (I absolutely loved how the everyboy’s dream of becoming a super-hero was presented). I really dislike visually dark movies. The darkness (for example in “The
“) seems to detract from my ability to become caught up in the movie. It annoys me and I keep noticing that I’m watching a movie instead of being enthralled by the plot and characters and imagery. Despite its other excellent features, “Blade Runner” is also like this for me.

I also love the pure escapism of romantic comedy, but I’m getting pickier. I still love “Forget Paris“, but some of the others are starting to annoy me. I tend to like the things Steve Martin does but they tend to focus more on the comedy than the romance. FWIW, I tend to watch only Hollywood movies.

So what do you think?

Here are some of the things I would do to clean up the story:

1. Work on the implied hypothesis in the intro (movies can be good even if they are "negative") and emphasize it more in the body
2. A more interesting poll perhaps about the most important qualities of a movie
3. More clearly separate my own personal tastes vs. a discussion of the hypothesis

I was partly inspired to write this because I re-watched much of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" last night.