30 January, 2005

Bad movie weekend

Out to Wycliff. Quick left onto Glen Burnie. Up the hill, around the bend and onto a rolling road. Left again onto Morningside, quick left onto Blue Ridge. Slight uphill, then right onto Millbrook.

That's the route I take to the video store when I ride my bicycle, which I was crazy enough to do yesterday. I say crazy because here in the States that's what people consider you if you commute by bicycle when the weather is below freezing. I was bundled for it, but I did have to loosen my helmet significantly in order to get it on around the green ski cap.

I feel as if I've spent most every waking moment of the past week working or worrying on the thesis. Currently it stands at 109 pages, with three more chapters to write, all of which will be significant. Even that will only be a first draft, in spite of a lot of revision I've already made, so one can expect that large swaths will be removed. I'm pretty sure my advisor will tell me to add more examples, to write more clearly, etc. Then there's the complexity analysis he wants me to do... the experimental results my PhD committee requested... one of those is running as we speak. I keep the workstation pretty busy.

The weathermen had predicted ugly weather this weekend, and even though I've been calling for their heads on sticks for years, most of us believed them, especially after the fiasco last Wednesday when Raleigh made the national news for unpreparedness in the face of snow. So, I decided to rent some movies.

I, and half of Raleigh. There was a loooooooooong line at the video store. Nevertheless, I found three movies that I actually wanted to watch:

  • Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • The Village
For the record, I'm not proud of this. Standing in line, I saw Cold Mountain on sale and realized I should probably rent something that at least pretended to be a serious film. (Then again, I'm still sore about Chicago! The fact that it was contender for best movie that year shows how pathetically bad the Academy of Motion Picture blah blah has gotten. See also this page on that score.) However, I have no intentions of buying a film — especially not a DVD, since I don't have a DVD player — and I didn't want to get out of line and have to wait longer. Bad movie weekend it would be!

I am one of the few, apparently, who will confess to having enjoyed Attack of the Clones three years ago in the theater, although the two friends accompanying me didn't enjoy it at all. I fully intend to watch Revenge of the Sith when it comes out in May — well, probably not precisely when it comes out. In any case, I needed to prepare myself for the upcoming film with a review. I'd watched Episode I a few months ago, and was fairly disappointed, since it was worse than I remembered. I braced myself for another disappointment last night.

Wow! I'm glad I did. I know a lot of people hate the film, and hate Lucas for making it; so be it. If they want to stay away come May, let 'em. I had loads of fun; it was better than I remembered it. It could be the cherry cola talking, but I thought Anakin was well-portrayed as a sullen, selfish teenager (that was his character, after all), and the romance didn't seem so hokey to me the second time around. Maybe it's just John Williams' score. Even Lucas' infamous dialogue wasn't half-bad, and just in case you missed them, I picked up a few instances of foreshadowing:
  • Why do I think that you're going to be the death of me? (Obi-wan Kenobi, to Anakin Skywalker)
  • I'm good at fixing things. ... I'll be the most powerful Jedi ever! ...I will even learn to stop people from dying! (Anakin Skywalker, to Padmé Amidala — guess which person he's talking about)
If you haven't already given up in disgust, you can read the introductory narrative to all six films over at the official site. The third one seems to contain a plot twist I've been expecting for a while: I don't think Chancellor Palpatine is the bad guy after all. I hope that turns out to be the case.

I'll conclude my rambling about Star Wars with this thought: Lucas should consider renumbering the series, and re-editing it somewhat. I think it would work better in the following sequence:
  • A New Hope (the original Star Wars)
  • The Empire Strikes Back — then, after the big, shocking secret is revealed,
  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith, concluding with
  • Return of the Jedi
However, since I haven't seen the last film yet, maybe it will work in the order Lucas has laid out. If he doesn't give away the big, shocking secret in this film.

Anyway, today being Sunday, I won't work on my thesis. I find myself wondering what to do. What else is there, besides the thesis? What do people do, besides mathematics? I have no idea. ;-)

I can't watch movies all day. I suppose I could work on my translation of The Spiritual Combat. Now that I think of it, there are a few things I'll have to take care of, some documents to prepare for a visa application.

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