Monday, July 21, 2008

Dark, only slightly muggy, night

As I've said many times before, I don't miss having a car. I really can get to almost everything I need on the bus with advanced planning. Or even spur of the moment. After reading several enthusiastic reviews last night, I immediately wanted to see The Dark Knight. One series-of-tubes search later and I had a ticket to the Angelika downtown. After one bus and a few minutes walk, I was ensconced in a nice seat in an only half-full theater. Hooray for working nights and therefore seeing movies at 9:15 on a Sunday when few jerkwads clog the theater with talking or rampant cell phone use!

Anyway, the movie was great, really pushes out the boundaries of superhero movies. I recommend it. Be prepared though, it's long (2.5 hours) and densely plotted. There's enough plot for two films really, which actually detracts from the last 30 minutes as it introduces a new element, though anyone with a basic knowledge of Batman lore will see it coming. Let me also jump on the pile-on of praise for Heath Ledger's performance. Astoundingly, creepily awesome. I went in with high expectations and he blew me out of the water. Multiple times I audibly, involuntarily horror-giggled.

Though I was prepared for this via a review, it was still remarkable how much of an ensemble film The Dark Knight is. Bruce Wayne/Batman is decidedly *not* foregrounded in either plot mechanics or screen time. I won't take away from the story by explaining further, you'll know what I mean when you see it. Also great is the degree to which the citizens of Gotham are involved in the story. Multiple, nameless Gothamites are essential to the theme of ordinary people taking responsibility for creating civility.

Some elements that distracted me:

- That goofy, scary-voice Bale employs as Batman.

- Why is Nestor Carbonell (the Mayor) wearing so much mascara and eyeliner? (Also, is
his casting a fun nod to him playing Bat Manuel on The Tick?)

- A certain medical aspect of the last bit drove me up the wall. Can't say what it is without spoiling, but argh! No.

- Is the minor character Berg Ramirez (or as his nametag says, Ramirez, Berg) an
obscure shout-out to UT Austin Film/Latin American Studies professor Charles Ramirez-Berg? Cause Berg is not really a first name.

So go see it and then we can talk about it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

At last, poker night

For the first time since moving to Houston I made it back to Austin to play poker with my McJo's buddies. As was clear from my play, I really wasn't paying attention to the game. I'd build up a nice little stack then piss it away while I chatted with everyone, just happy to be surrounded by snarky, opinionated, politically-aware, ego-hammering, magnificent bastards. Regardless, I held on and finished third.

Slept well then had a late breakfast before Mick convinced me to make a specialty shoe purchase. Some other folks at work have Z-coil shoes (spring in the heel) and swear by them. Haven't broken mine in sufficiently to wear them to work for 12 hours and now I'm having a touch of buyer's remorse just from the price. I'm still in the refund window though. We'll see.

Lastly (for Corrosion), shark wants a taco.

Monday, July 14, 2008


ABC has been airing a six-part miniseries documentary about the staff and patients at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Though it delves a little too much into the personal lives of the doctors (more medicine please!), the ballad-heavy soundtrack is egregious (apparently husky-voiced singer-songwriters = emotion depth), and more nurses should have been profiled (duh), I recommend it as an interesting look at medicine being practiced today.

Thankfully, the episodes are available to watch online.