Wednesday, November 29, 2006

All of this fuss...

...over a movie with no cast, no script, no budget, no production date.
Peter Jackson posted a letter on a website saying that NewLine had passed on him as director of The Hobbit, siting reasons of timing. To complicate matters, Jackson is suing New Line over profits from The Fellowship of the Rings. Apparently, Mr. Jackson wants to make sure that there were enough zeros at the end of his big paycheck for that movie. Given that the LOTR trilogy grossed in the three billions of dollars, I assume he's not hurting. Not scratching to try and get the kids to the dentist, or pay the past-due hospital bills.
Do you sense a lack of sympathy?
Certainly, Jackson is due whatever his contract calls for, but his demand for NewLine to submit to an audit is just Never. Going. To. Happen. Accounting in the film industry is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a conundrum, and they don't want to reveal the charlatan behind that curtain.
Having said all of that, I doubt I would see a Hobbit remake that wasn't directed by Jackson, and didn't include at least Andy Serkis as Gollum and Ian Mckellen as Gandalf. The LOTR movies were more than mere cinema, they were events of the first caliber. My top five movies of all time would include all three. I am to this day astounded at the technological leaps that were taken in those movies, the breathtaking battle scenes. The moment when the Rohirrim swarmed into Sauron's army at Minis Tirith is perhaps my top movie moment, ever. I nearly came up out of my seat with excitement.
The Hobbit is not nearly the story that LOTR is. It's mainly a series of adventures on the way to retrieve some treasure and kill a dragon. Individually, the scenes make good bedtime reading for the kids. When Bilbo first meets Gollum, or first encounters Smaug, or gets caught by the trolls... my kids love to hear them. The book as a whole, however, is lacking in depth.
I've been looking forward to a new attempt at The Hobbit. There has been at least one animated attempt that fell flat. I'll be thrilled again if the time comes to visit Middle Earth with Peter Jackson as our guide.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Living the Dream

One of my dreams is to bike ride a significant distance across the country. I've got my route planned to several destinations, including the next big commute for work. Sometime when the weather gets warm I'd like to ride to Madison, but first I have to find two weeks to spare.
Anyway, here's a link to a blog from a husband and wife that rode a tandem from Bar Harbor, Maine to Key West, Florida. That's about 2300 miles or so, a long way to pull a trailer. A lot of continuous time to spend with your wife, as well. I don't think my marriage would survive it.
I would have liked more pictures, but the blog takes us on a wonderful historical tour along the nation's coastline, without getting bogged down in the mundane. I've often wondered if our narrator is a history teacher by trade.
If you have some time to kill (and you must, otherwise why would you be reading this?), head on over to Olga and Bob's Most Excellent Adventure and read your way from the bottom to the top. You won't be dissapointed, especially if you envy them every crank of the pedals like I did.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just a little blast from the past

I'm a movie geek. Some seminal periods in my life are marked by movies that I saw at the time: 2001, Stand by Me, It's Alive, Star Wars, Star Trek II, and on.
And for various reasons, this song and the movie it's from (which is FULL of great songs) will always hold a special place for me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rocky Mountain Redux

I've said this before, but... once again I'm back in Denver. Definantly NOT where I want to be at the moment. But we do what we have to most of the time, and what we want to only some of the time.
So here I am.
I finally had a sunny day and a window seat for the flight, so I got to look down upon the land that I well know, and was able to track our progress across the state.
I first spotted the Wabash, winding it's way south through Indiana. With that as a benchmark I quickly found Terre Haute, and then Paris a few minutes later. I spent five years working in Paris, and it's been the best five years of employment I've spent to date. I learned more at that local computer / internet / wireless/ microwave provider than all the jobs I've held before or since. In many ways, little shops like that are further towards the cutting edge than I'll be again in a long time. Small shops and the small businesses that they serve can turn on a technological dime, but a big organization turns like an aircraft carrier. Deploying an Office patch can take change requests and multiple chains of permission, and testing, and deployment.... days and days.
I could follow Route 16 down through Kansas and Ashmore, and down into Charleston. I was surprised to see Quality Lime from the air, a place where I have blown many inches of rock dust out of many computers and printers. You have to know what you're looking for, but it's there. As is the Charleston Speeday, scene of many great dirt-track races and crashes.
Through Charleston and into Mattoon, I could see the airport and a nice view of Charleston lake.
What I was really looking for the entire time was a little two lane nothing that runs from north of Mattoon to Assumption. From nowhere to nowhere, really. I loved that road every time I drove it. It's always in good repair, and straight as an arrow. It goes over Lake Shelbyville, through Findlay, and then down the big hill to Assumption.
I'm unsure why I'm so enamored of that road. Perhaps it's because I always wanted to ride a bike down it, and never got to. Perhaps because the people in Assumption were always exceedingly nice, and exceedingly appreciative of my work. Whatever, I got a strange gratification in seeing it from the air, since I haven't even driven it in nearly eight years.
I gave up watching after that, having acheived my goal. I glanced up later and saw the Missippi, and right on the other side was Hannibal, MO. I grew up on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I distinctly remember reading Tom Sawyer again and again as I grew up, and longing to see the caves, and the river, and the picket fence. Years later I got to go to Hannibal with #1 son as a chaperone on a school trip, and had a fabulous time exploring the area. I think I got more out of it than the kids did. When the cave guide pointed out the "Number Four, Under the Cross" to the gasps of the kids, I got goosebumps. I can't wait to go back there.
So now here I sit in Denver, and I won't have time to see anything but the hotel, the rental, the office. I'd love to come back here when I have more time, but with tickets at $600 a pop I'm thinking it's not likely.


It's suddenly February and I have a cast. All of them are people I know or have seen onstage, none of them are the people I thought wou...