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15:07 CST Wednesday 11/05/2003

Just got back from seeing The Matrix Revolutions with some co-workers. I think I still want to see it again before passing final judgment, but I think it has mostly redeemed the series in my mind. The end was a little unsatisfying to me, but still an entertaining movie. I think my theory ended up holding a lot of water.

I spent the weekend out east, visiting the states of Missouri (duh), Illinois, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia all in one day. Spent a fun afternoon with Kathleen at the Olsson's in Laurel and then on to Guster with Kathleen, Lisa and Hideki in DC. The guys played every song off the new album except Keep it Together, I Hope Tomorrow is Like Today and the super-secret Two at a Time. During Jesus on the Radio, they unplugged and sang without microphones in the small club, and everyone was respectfully quiet. Still, you could hear the slight murmur of most everyone quietly singing along. It was more than a thrill, and I think the other folks enjoyed it as much as I did.

This weekend is my cousin Regan's wedding, so we're all heading to Chicago for the surely raucous festivities. It'll be swell, and I'll get pictures. And, I should have a few pictures from last weekend up soon. Ciao for now.

17:29 CST Tuesday 11/11/2003

John and I got back from Chicago late-ish last night, and he promptly got to work. It was a fun weekend with the fam, and a side of good times with my gracious host, Todd. Some pictures forthcoming.

The reception kicked off at the swanky University Club in downtown Chicago with cocktails in a library that had a huge fireplace. I started off with a Royal Crown on the rocks and moved to beer. For dinner we headed upstairs to a room that was universally agreed to look like the Great Hall from Hogwarts, except with a band and dance floor in the middle. The food was good, and I even ate all of the crab-cake. :) The band started up with your favorite pop/pseudo-jazz standards (Somewhere, Beyond the Sea, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick and the like..) and that was fun. I stepped out to make a phone call, and by the time I got back, they had moved on to some fun stuff, including a surprisingly great rendition of Nelly's (yes, Nelly..) It is Getting Hot in Here (the name's gotta be something like that). Another song I hate that they played, but was suddenly cool, was a Beyoncé Knowles song that I've never heard the name of, but Michelle at work is always humming, so I guess it's popular. The lead vocalist was mingling with the crowd, and the backup singers were fantastic. All in all, a hell of a party.

Saw The Matrix Revolutions again with John and Todd. Todd had seen it before also. I liked it even a bit better this time, but I still don't think the trilogy as a whole is better than the first one on its own. A point that I picked up from a coworker that I found that I agree strongly with is the films' idea of a hero. Neo is truly special, chosen, The One, better than other people. That makes him a hero in the movie. Real life heroes, on the other hand are just regular people, not special. The difference between heroes and everyone else in real life is that heroes make heroic decisions and choices. This flaw is also apparent in the heavy use of fate and pre-destination in the film, which I personally find utterly wrong. On the other hand, Hollywood is full of fate and pre-destination crap up to its eyeballs, because lots of people find it romantic. Some of us find it kind of disgusting. Fortunately though, I can still find entertainment value in a work that doesn't convey deep Truths of life to me, or even if they get it dead wrong. So I still liked the movies.

Live long and prosper.

23:24 CST Wednesday 11/12/2003

With all the discussion here recently of The Matrix movies, it sparked discussion of another terribly disappointing trilogy: the prequel Star Wars trilogy. I read some good reviews and interesting takes on the potential outcome of this series back when Episode II came out. I've mentioned the interesting ideas in them before, but I've never been able to find them... until now.

The author is David Brin, and he writes science fiction and plenty of commentary. His review of Episode I is quite biting, and his review of Episode II is just as insightful. He actually gives a sketch of how Lucas could save the series by showing that Yoda is the bad guy. Sound crazy? Follow those links and see for yourself. Then read about the case for the Empire (also linked from his second review). For further reading of Brin's on his interesting ideas on popular myth, read his articles on the first (focuses more on general sci-fi and fiction), and the second (more about Star Wars).

So, if you've had enough of The Matrix brouhaha, enjoy ragging on a universally derided series.

22:55 CST Tuesday 11/25/2003

Well, thanks to difficulty getting my shiny-new Windows XP installation working right, I'm having trouble getting the pictures off of my camera from the wedding in Chicago. Yup, WinXP is soooo easy to use... I'm not bitter. I think it's just as difficult to configure new hardware in Windows as it is in Linux, but maybe I'm just not the target audience.

More UNIX geekiness.. Looks like I've just gotten a Sun Blade workstation to play with at work. It's a beautiful huge screen and looks to be a fairly recent system. Pretty exciting, in a geeky kinda way. :) Pretty exciting start to what promises to be a way cool week.

What's going on this week, you ask? Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh, Part Deux. Seeing Kathleen is always great, and this time I'm meeting a few more of her relatives before she gets the Christmas onslaught in Peoria. Much fun.

Okay, so maybe the Matrix was trying to do the whole free will vs. fate thing.. I don't think they did a very good job. He was fated to have a free will against fate.. or something.

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