Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movie Review: There will be Blood

I've come to the conclusion that I'll see any sort of movie by the following directors: PT Anderson, Michel Gondry, The Coen Brothers, or Spike Jonze.

There will be Blood was AMAZING. For starters, it's long and it wouldn't be an easy movie to watch over and over, but holy crap, it was so well-acted and shot photographically. Daniel Day Lewis is by far the best actor ever to grace the screen. The movie is about the early oil boom in southern California (most of the time I thought we were in Texas, but later found it was in CA). It basically shows the greed of man and how some people will give up on everything (family, friends, their soul) to have what they want. Greed was a big focus in this movie and it wasn't only greed for oil, it also focused on religion (pastor played VERY well by Paul Dano).

Speaking early of PT Anderson's photography (I know he didn't film it, but he's the director, so I'm giving him credit), I LOVE how he has LOOOOOOONG drawn-out shots where you either see the character staring and waiting for a response (sometimes almost painfully long), or how he keeps the camera rolling on a scene moving around from place to place for minutes at a time (most shots cut from scene to scene or angle to angle very quickly and rarely last more than 15 seconds).

I loved the movie and it even makes me want to read Upton Sinclair's "Oil", which the movie was adapted from. I highly recommend seeing it if you don't mind a long movie and a great story. I guess I would not recommend seeing it if you're one of those people that only like movies like "Blades of Glory", "High School Musical", "Not another teen movie", and all the Jackie Chan movies :-).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A moment I regret not bringing my camera to

Today was Alene's first check-up for her pregnancy. I went with her. It's at the new IHC towers in Murray. It's nice to be at a brand new facility.

Anyway, Alene went through all the usual questions about her medical past, etc. They even asked me some questions about whether I had syphilis or gonorrhea. I said, "no comment". No, seriously, I said "no".

The best part though was when they placed that microphone thing on alene's belly and moved it around a bit until you could hear the most beautiful heartbeat in the whole world. I know Alene is pregnant, but hearing that precious heartbeat made me misty-eyed. I'm so happy to finally be having a baby with her. I cannot wait for it to be in our lives so we can hold it and Caiden can learn/feel like what it's like to be a big brother.

Next visit: Bring camera and record precious moments like that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The braces are off, man

they're not perfect, but I didn't care, I wanted them off!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I can't wait to see these films

warning, one f-bomb at the very end, but the rest is completely tame (good old Samuel Jackson from Pulp Fiction):

Actually, I'm excited to see this movie by one of my favorite directors, Michel Gondry:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Scouting memories

With Caiden starting up with the Scouting program, I've dug up some old memories in my brain about some of the best times I had as a scout. By far, my favorite was going to Camp Winton, which was in the vicinity of where I lived, but far enough out to make it a good 2 hour drive to get to (maybe even 3 hrs??) It was located in the high Sierra Nevadas and along a lonely highway (Hwy 88).

Camp Winton was located on the South Eastern edge of Lower Bear River Reservoir, which oddly enough, doesn't show up on Google maps, but it's a HUGE reservoir. Across the reservoir (on the North side) was an LDS owned girls camp called Camp Ritchie, which I recall my mom spending a lot of summers there when she worked with the Young Women's.

The Camp generally ran for a week. We arrived on a Saturday and loaded whatever we couldn't carry on our backs, into a boat (you could only access the camp via boat or on foot). They would then drive us to a trailhead for the "GASP" 1.5 mile hike into the camp (when I first went to the camp at 13, I thought that was a LONG hike, hehe).

The camp was fun. There had to be 300 plus scouts there at a time. Each troop was assigned a campground, which was usually on the side of the mountain (which reached up from the shore of the lake). There were a bunch of merit badges we could work on through out the week. I remember taking water skiing, wilderness survival, astronomy, basket weaving (yes, basketweaving), archery, canoeing, and a few others that I can't remember.

I have great memories too. Even though it was the hot summer, the nights got cold. For our last night of wilderness survival we were taken out away from our camps to a desolate spot (about a mile away) with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We could not bring food, or a sleeping bag. They fed us a small meal and then we had to partner up and build a shelter out of the surroundings. A guy from my ward, Sean Smith, was my partner. I remember building an A-frame type of shelter between two trees. We then covered it with branches and thick pieces of bark. We thought we were so smart. We had TONS of room inside. Later that night, we understood what they meant when we were taught to make it really tight-fitting. We were both SOOOOO cold. Our teeth were chattering all night and Sean said I was saying something about me wanting my mommy. I don't remember that, but I remember him making the suggestion that we should rub our bodies together for warmth. I was desperate, but I was also a little homophobic, so I pretended like I didn't hear him. Nevertheless, we made it through the night.

Another great memory was an over-night trip our troop made to the upper reservoir (it was above the lower reservoir, dammed up). We got some canoes and loaded food and our sleeping bags in and canoed up to the foot of the dam. From there we carried our stuff to the top via a trail, then went back down and carried our canoes to the top. From there we canoed out to an island on the upper reservoir to set up camp. It was seriously awesome. We spent some time taking the canoes over to the Western shore of the upper reservoir and hiking up a dry fall and across the top. It was here that I think I had my first real brush with death. I remember climbing up a steep rock face above the falls, but the further I got, the steeper it became and I knew I wasn't going to make it up and I could feel my body wanting to slide back down. If I had slid, I know my momentum would be too hard to stop and I would have for sure gone over the edge of the dry fall. Of course, as a 13 year old, you're embarrassed to admit you need help, so I just kind of attached myself to the rock, like a spider, but eventually I started to slide and I asked someone for help. I just remember feeling an arm reach out and grab me and pull me into the upper water run-off ditch and like that, I was alive. I remember looking back at the cliff face I almost fell off and it was a good 60' tall. That would have sucked.

I have good memories of really learning to water ski there too.

I wonder why this reservoir doesn't show up on Google Maps? I mean, I can find it on google maps with the satellite map showing, but that is about it.

Either way, here is a picture of the Lower Reservoir

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Here is a picture of the Upper Reservoir

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Cowboys and Astronauts

I saw a GREAT short animation film at Sunance (along with 6 others) this past weekend. This one was particularly amusing to me because Russ and Jeff have been working on a movie called "Adventures of Hick Johnson: Space Cowboy" for about 8 or 9 years. If they ever finish it, I'll be the first to post it on youtube :).

Anyway, this is just the trailer to the short film so you can get an idea of what it's like. There really isn't a lot of dialog, just cool spaghetti western styled music and barely audible dialog here and there.

Here is where you can download the actual movie. It's about 30 minutes long and plays in itunes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saw a good sundance movie last night

alene got me in to see the Tom Hanks produced movie, The Great Buck Howard. It starred Colin Hanks (his son, who some may say this reaks of nepotism, but Colin really is a good actor), John Malkovich, who was AMAZING, and some chick named Emily Blunt (who alene knew of, but I had no idea who she was).

It's basically a story about a has-been magician/illusionist (Buck Howard) who's claim to fame was that he was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 40+ times. The funny part is he has no idea he's a has-been and lives his whole life as if everyone knows who he is. Malkovich does an amazing job at it.

Colin Hanks plays a law school drop-out who is trying to find out what he really loves to do (not law obviously) and he becomes Buck Howard's road manager. It just takes them on a journey of small-town stops where eventually Hanks' character falls for a woman (Blunt) who was brought on for a weekend to help promote Howard's biggest trick ever.

The audience was laughing non-stop through out the movie. Some other people played minor rolls like Steve Zahn (his facial expressions as a stupid person are HILARIOUS).

One of the great things about Sundance is being able to see, first person (most of the time) the cast and crew. Tom Hanks was brought out to present the movie and he has the audience in the palm of his hands. He was so witty and hilarious as he would introduce all the cast and crew. He had little funny stories for each person's introduction that almost seemed on the verge of "inside", but you still got them. He finally ended (he was standing behind a podium by the screen) by saying in order to make room for those in front, his longtime dear friend Robert Redford would be coming out to move the podium. He then turned and said come on out Bob, and an older stagehand with long blond hair came out to move it. It was hilarious.

Anyway, so far a great experience at Sundance. This movie will likely be out in the regular theaters soon (I believe it was already bought).

Alene and i also just saw the short animation movies mid-day today. Most of them were REALLY great. Some good stop-motion, and some other great animation pieces. It ended with this great film called "Cowboys and Astronauts: a History of America". I don't have time to describe it, but it got me really excited about finishing Russ and Jeff's film "Hick Johnson: Space cowboy".

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Habits when you become "One"

Since being married, I noticed I use my emergency brake more. I believe I picked up this habit from Alene. The only time I recall ever using my emergency brake before I married her was when I was parked on a steep hill or something like that. Now I find myself using it ALL THE TIME! Well, at least in the Subaru....

The Subaru has a hand emergency brake, so it's obviously easy to remember to take off. I still forget about the truck when I get in it (it has the foot break).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If something makes you laugh un-controlably

You have to share it with your friends.

Friends, be prepared to laugh un-controlably:

Laugh, uncontrolably

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I hope our new baby get's into this show

I've never watched a whole episode, but this youtube clip has convinced me I'd rather have my kids watch this than Barney.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A (plagurized) poem...

"Back to school, Back to school. To prove to Alene that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight."

I've got two lousy classes to pass for my Associates degree. Biology 101 and Math 103. The thing that sucks is for my schedule, they are both at the same time on the same night, so I'll have to take one this semester and the other during the summer. Oh well, it will just be nice to finish that up and then figure out what I want to major in. I hope my major goes more quickly.