Archive for January 2006

City of God

9. City of God
City of God

What an excellent movie. Beautifully filmed, great story. It opened my eyes to a part of the world that I knew next to nothing about. Just go see it. Even the DVD extra documentary was better than some movies I’ve seen.

Wedding Crashers

8. Wedding Crashers
Wedding Crashers - Uncorked (Unrated Full Screen Edition)

I started watching this days ago and wasn’t feeling it. I finished it today and it got better. There were some funny bits, but I don’t see what all the fuss was about.

Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room

7. Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room
Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room

Another Saturday morning on the couch with the wife, this time with slightly more serious fare. At 110 minutes, this doc makes quick work of some aspects of the story, but it’s a good overview nonetheless. It barely touches on links to the Bush family, but I came away from the film wondering if GW may have been a one-term president if 9-11 hadn’t been there to distract from the fall of Enron.

If the movie leaves you wanting more, read Conspiracy of Fools : A True Story. I listened to the audiobook version last August, and it was a fascinating. I highly recommend it.

(Not) Smoking

Yesterday was the first full day of my step-down to Camel Ultra Lights, and it went much better than I expected… until this morning. I guess the drop in my body’s nicotine level took a day to register, because this morning I’m starting to feel some of the withdrawal effects – lethargy, mental slowdown and a general blah feeling, like a bit of the color has been leeched out of everything. I guess the idea is that this will last a few days, my body will normalize, and I’ll step down again in a week and do it again. Why am I doing this again? Oh yeah, the cancer and the carrot.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who left some encouraging words in my last post. I appreciate it.

Groundhog Day

6. Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day (Special Edition)

Saturday morning on the couch with The Lovely Wife, a cup of coffee and a good movie. Good times. I’ve probably seen this a dozen times, and if you haven’t you’re a blood sausage eating moron.

Quitting 5.0

So I’m quitting smoking again. I’ve now been a smoker for 20 of my near 36 years, and enough is enough. Also, they quit distributing my brand in the US, so my favorite smokes are now unavailable. I started the QuitSmart program at work yesterday. The idea is wean me off of smokes over the next two weeks by smoking successively crappier cigarettes until my quit date. Starting Monday I’m on Camel Ultra Lights, the following Monday I go to Carlton Ultra. By the end of that week I’ll probably be glad to quit, Carltons are nasty.

The biggest problem I always run into is not the physical addiction, which is a bitch at first but always subsides, but the social addiction. Having smoked since the age of 16, I don’t know how to not smoke.

Smokers find one another and are more likely to start talking to one another because you know, right off the bat, that you have something in common. You share a vice, you are, in many places, the unwanted other, and there is camaraderie in that. My social network at work spans many different departments because I smoke, which can be helpful when you need to get something done. When you go to a party or a bar, and there are mostly people you don’t know, you can always talk to the people who smoke. Young or old, male or female, straight or gay, conservative or liberal, you share at least that one thing, you are part of a community sharing a common experience.

On the other end of the social spectrum is the alone time. Have to walk 20 blocks? Have a smoke. Stuck at the airport for awhile? Have a smoke. Someone in the group at work said they like to walk around their apartment complex at night to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Do that with a smoke and you have a purpose, do it without and you’re a creepy guy sulking in the bushes.

All of this leads me to an open question for all my 3 non-smoking readers. What the hell do you do with yourselves? Are you all creepy night sulkers who only know the people in your row of cubes at work? Do you find yourselves sitting at your desks for 10 hours at a stretch because you have no reason to get up? Do you sit at parties and stare into your drink, not knowing if the guy next to you loves fly-fishing as much as you? Do you ever feel that sense of community and shared experience?

I’m starting to wonder if I can even communicate what it’s like to a non-smoker, looking over the above it all looks like shit, so if you are a smoker and would like to add your two cents, please do.

Movies 2006

I’ve added a page where I intend to list every movie I see in 2006 and give my impression of it in a couple of sentences. No in-depth reviews here, but you’ll know if I liked it or not, and maybe what I was wearing when I saw it. I’ll probably do the same for books once I finally finish one.

Dry Humor

There hasn’t been much rain here in Austin for awhile, and driving to work this morning I saw, appearing on one of the highway signs, that we are currently operating under an Arson/Burn Ban. It does look like we might get some rain today, which means that with any luck, my plans to burn down the empty strip mall by my apartment this weekend might not be ruined. Keep your fingers crossed.

Dirty Pretty Things

5. Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Pretty Things

I was expecting a dark comedy/thriller, but it was mainly just dark. I didn’t see the plot twists coming from a mile away, but they were plainly visible from about 10 yards. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou both do great jobs, and it is an engaging movie, but it didn’t seem to warrant the 94% tomatometer rating on which I based it’s rental. I’d give it a 75%.

Broken Flowers

4. Broken Flowers
Broken Flowers

Every review of this movie said it, and it’s true, Bill Murray is one expressive guy. He is great at silently conveying feeling. This movie made me laugh, made me uncomfortable, was enjoyable to watch and had a bunch of great actors, but it seemed somehow insubstantial.