Month: December 2005

Fantastic 4 (2005)

Amazing how much two different comic book franchises can be. The Fantastic 4 was one of the grandest comic book series, second only to Spiderman, but the movie derived from the former was worth only a fraction of the latter’s spinoff. Actually, even the X-Men series works much better in movies.

There is something about the characters of the series that doesn’t work as well. In both other franchises, the heros are derelicts fighting for survival and hiding from a cruel society that wants to get rid of superfreaks. Oddly enough, we seem all to be able to empathize with superfreaks, and we’d wish we had the superpowers. Easy transition to believing the story.

With the Fantastic 4, the pity element is not as strong. Just as in the case of Captain America, another franchise soon to make it to the silver screen, this group was constituted by a privileged family, who manages to be well-received by their normal surroundings. Not the classical plot for a pity tale.

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Confessions on a Dance Floor [Madonna] (CD)

She’s done it again! Madonna has continued amazing me since her first album, Madonna, was released in 1983. Back then, my idea of music was classical, and her songs sounded wildly exotic to me.

Over time, she was always able to capture my imagination, with songs like Like a Virgin, Like a Prayer, Vogue, Ray of Light. Lately her albums had been a little on the thin side, artistically, but with this latest one, she’s outdone herself.

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Dress Your Family … (D. Sedaris)

… In Corduroy and Jeans. David Sedaris’s 2004 book continues the series of stories from the author’s family, including early childhood memories and recent memories of life in France with his partner, Hugh.

I find it astonishing how the same man can write 5 books on his family life and still have more to say. I guess everyone else would run out of things to tell, but Sedaris’s family can be counted on for one more little funny story every single time. Or maybe the commentator on the jacket is right: even when given the phone book as material, David Sedaris would know how to make that sound funny.

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Storm incoming!

It’s after midnight, I can’t sleep because of shoulder pains, and I was checking the web (thanks, wireless networks!) There was a little star next to the weather forecast for SLT, which usually indicates severe weather alert. I clicked, and to my surprise, this is what I found:

RAIN AND SNOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO THE SIERRA SUNDAY. SNOW
LEVELS WILL LOWER TO 7000 FEET BY EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON AS LIGHT
SNOW MOVES INTO THE SIERRA. BY SUNDAY EVENING...SNOWFALL WILL
BECOME HEAVY AND CONTINUE THROUGH MONDAY MORNING. HEAVY SNOW IS
EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO SNOW SHOWERS MONDAY AFTERNOON AS THE FAST
MOVING SYSTEM PUSHES EAST OF THE AREA. SNOW LEVELS WILL LOWER TO
NEAR 5000 FEET IN THE NORTHERN SIERRA TO 6500 FEET IN MONO COUNTY
BY MONDAY MORNING. SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF A FOOT OR
MORE ARE EXPECTED.

Hooray!!!!
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The China syndrome

So I was rushing down the mountain when a guy starts weaving back and forth on his skis. I patiently wait behind him to find his rhythm, and when I think I’ve got it, I start passing him to the right. That’s when he suddenly decides to stop dead in the middle of the run, and not catching himself right he slowly moves back towards the edge.

I had no chance to avoid him, so I sliced over his skis and fell badly into the snow. I called him an idiot, and he gave me a lecture on "keeping your distance behind fellow skiers." I didn’t call him any more names, but wondered why he behaved the way he did.

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A South Lake Tahoe hotel roundup

This is going to be a little of an ongoing effort. I realized that I have been to a number of accomodations in SLT, and maybe it could be useful to pass on a little information about the hotels and inns of the place if you find yourself in need of advice.

The location: South Lake Tahoe is the biggest city around the lake, and is backed by the highest and largest ski resort in the area (actually, in all of Northern California). SLT, as it is abbreviated locally, is right on the Nevada state line, which means there are casinos aplenty on the other side of the "border."

SLT is great if you are an all-around person that wants to do a lot of different things and is happy with average Joe features. The best skiing is probably found in Squaw Valley (they tend to look down on boarders, though), while Kirkwood is reputed to be less crowded and more powdery. Squaw has probably the most upscale clientele, too, so if you are into the Finer Things In LifeĀ™ (a.k.a expensive and pretentious), that’s where you want to go.

The person: I am a pretty low key, early morning riser with lots of energy once I am on the slopes. When I get down, it’s time for the hot tub, a walk through town, a glass of wine, a round of cuddling if available, and then it’s sleep, coffee, and repeat.

SLT suits me best, because it’s an all around town. It has a 24h supermarket where I can get everything I need at the time I need it. It has a movie theater, restaurants, gyms; heck, it even has schools, high speed Internet access, and all.

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White Christmas???

Guess where I am typing from? Sitting on my bed in Holiday Lodge, Heavenly Village, South Lake Tahoe, California. I got here late in the morning (actually it was already after lunch) and was expecting an exciting day on the slopes.

First impressions:

  1. More people were coming down the mountain (at noon!) than going up
  2. The bottom of the slope was bare
  3. A giant puddle had formed under the lift

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Heaven [DJ Sammy] (CD)

Dance versions of pop songs are DJ Sammy’s specialty, and with Heaven he gets quite a few right. I first heard about him when watching a few kids play Dance Dance Revolution on a Playstation 2 (at the Metreon in the City). The dance version of the Bryan Adams hit "Heaven" is included in the game.

Aside from accelerating the old pace of songs of the sixties and seventies, DJ Sammy adds a lot of riffs and beats, and makes the sound overall more danceable. It’s fun to listen to a new reading of "California Dreaming", and the old "The Boys of Summer" sounds amazing with a bit of beat behind it.

Waiting for more!
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Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Some movies are just not meant for you. Brokeback Mountain was certainly not meant for me, and I had a hard time separating the movie’s impact on me from the movie itself.

My friend J. and I went together to this remote theater, one of only two showings in the whole city of San Francisco. Stonestown Galleria is a suburban shopping mall, and the tiny theater on its edges seemed to be an unlikely place for what was hailed as a groundbreaking movie.

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