Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Master and Commander

I watched Master and Commander three nights ago, my 11th movie in a theater this year.

I saw the trailer for Master and Commander while watching Mystic River last month. At the time, I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes. Another pirate movie, I thought. Another Russell Crowe vehicle. Then the reviews came out. One after another, the critics were gushing about Master and Commander.

As the media revealed more about the film, I learned that the movie was based on Partrick O'Brian's naval history novels. I learned that the director, Peter Weir, directed two of my favorite movies: The Truman Show and Fearless. And even though I was going to give it pass because of Russell Crowe, I kept reminding myself that his acting in The Insider is a stellar acting performance that I keep revisiting on DVD.

The movie lived up the billing. Big action scenes. Sweeping vistas. This is a movie meant for the movie theater. It demands a theater viewing to properly enjoy the magnificent sound effects ("sound design"). It seemed as if your ears were constantly filled with the creaking and groaning of the old boat as it sailed the seas. Your ears were buffeted by the wind and sea in their highest rage. The music was often introduced by the two lead characters who played instruments (violin and cello) in the evenings.

Russell Crowe positively eats up the lead role of Captain Jack "Lucky" Aubrey. He is the captain of the English sailing ship, the HMS Surprise ("Surprise is on our side!"). He plays the big moments very big and very brash. He projects leadership, and by the end of the movie you can see why his crew followed him on his prideful, foolhardy endeavor of chasing after a much faster and more potent sailing ship, the French Acheron.

Paul Bettany played Dr. Stephen Maturin, the ship's surgeon. He was Captain Aubrey's confidant, and they fought like rival siblings. Dr. Maturin provided the movie's gruesone, eye-averting footage of early 19th century medical practices.

Anyone with even a passing interest in life on the open seas would enjoy this movie. The seascapes were fantastic. The close quarters and the inevitable "cabin fever" of 200 men on one small boat were clearly depicted. And lessons in leadership were on display, as the film explored the hierarchies of commanders and subordinates, and the strict price when leadership over men cannot be obtained.

I agree with the critics. This is a grand film. There are some slow moments, but thankfully it's in the middle. The beginning, the climax, and even the denouement showed big movie making at its best.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Connection Timed Out

For the past few days, I was seeing this message:
001 Connection timed out

when I tried to publish this BLOG using Blogger to my host (Tripod). For the past two days, my previous entry sat in my "posts" queue. I sent a note to Blogger technical support. I posted a note to Tripod's message boards. Fortunately, after leaving the problem alone for a few hours, I attempted to publish again, and now things are working. The Tripod message boards suggest an issue on the Tripod side. Perhaps. I just hope things are resolved.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Blogging is Dead

John C. Dvorak, the noted computer columnist from PC Magazine, declared the blogging revolution dead. He points to a survey which states that 60% of a randomly surveyed 3700 hosted web logs were not updated in more than two months. The survey also states that the average length of these hosted blogs was four months. After that, the sites are moth balled.

John Dvorak opines "Writing is tiresome. Why anyone would do it voluntarily on a blog mystifies a lot of professional writers." His column (titled "Co-opting the Future", in the December 9, 2003 issue of PC Magazine) goes on to suggest that "Big Media" is taking over blogging.

I can agree that writing is hard. Half the time, I'm not even sure what I'm doing, or why I'm doing it. But despite the mysticism, I continue to write here. I don't know if I'm an exception to the rule. I don't know if I even care. All I know is that I'm glad I hopped on this band wagon. It's an outlet for me, one that I'm glad to have.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Breaking Holiday Stress

So it's November already. The chill is indeed in the air. And with that comes the holidays.

I confess that I often find myself stressed out during the holidays. All the rushing around, buying gifts, wrapping, keeping the house clean for guests. The weekends before November seemed to be relatively unstructured, but between now and New Year's, it seems as if something has to get done each weekend (holiday cards, holiday pictures, cookies). The holidays become a chore, and unfinished chores cause stress.

The key to breaking the stress is to start some of the planning now, and stay ahead of it. For the record, I have already purchased some holiday gifts. Jenn has already started to bake cookies. We're stocked up with wrapping paper and formulating our lists.

Don Wetmore's newsletter, Timely Time Management, featured a few tips for avoiding holiday stress. I was glad to read it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

P. Diddy and the Marathon

"It has always been a personal goal of mine to run in the New York City marathon." "I just want to be at the start like the rest of the runners, and respect the tradition."

The author of these statements: Sean Combs, aka P. Diddy, aka Puff Daddy, one of the great names in rap music, as a business man and as a front man. He finished the marathon in 4 hours, 14 minutes, and 54 seconds. is once again up for sale. This time the price has gone down. It's now selling for $299.

When I last wrote about this, the price was $950!

I just put in a bid for the domain ($200). We'll see what happens.