Tuesday, January 30, 2007

old Portland tv clips

Oregon Media Insiders posted a link to someone's great collection of old Portland TV clips from the 80s and 90s. The 1982 clip describing Mt. St. Helens as a lactating breast is unbelieveable. Check these out: For Portlanders Only

Monday, January 29, 2007

cat show

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by nojam75.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Also on Saturday, the four of us went to a cat show. I had never been to a cat show before, but we thought it would be fun because we all love kitties.

Yes, there were a lot of "cat people" (including ourselves) and the old airport hotel conference space reeked of cat pee. However, it was interesting to see the different cat breeds and their fussy owners (so many cat sweatshirts). The judging was interesting and I especially liked the big Maine Coons.

It was a little uncomfortable walking past each pet owner's table and their many do-not-touch signs ("I don't bite, but my owner does.", etc.). Scott even said someone glared at him for taking pictures. I think we all preferred the Chapple Hill Cat Sanctuary corner which seemed to encourage people to pet (and adopt) their cats.

(I'll post more pictures later)

Babel: C


Ma, Sheena, Scott and I saw Babel (IMDB.com) Saturday. Yes, Scott and I are trying to see all of the Oscar-nominated films before the awards.

Babel portrays four storylines: two teenage brothers in rural Morraco get into trouble after using the family's newly purchased gun to shoot at cars; an illegal Mexican nanny in southern California takes her two young charges to her son's wedding in Tijuana; an American man in Morraco tries to find medical help for his wife who is accidentally shot by the Morracan brothers; and a deaf urban Japanese teen girl tries to find love after her mother dies. The stories are indirectly related and the film switches from each story throughout. While each story is told linearly, the timelines start within a few days of each other.

The film seems to be about how people in four different cultures are effected by a single event and the differences in each groups setting. A poor Morrocan family that can barely afford a gun; a well-off American couple that takes a bus tour of Morroco to sort out their marital problems; a suburban California illegal nanny attempts a day trip across the border to Tijauna; and a well-off Japanese teen girl tries to deal with her disability and loss of her mother.

While the contrast of the four settings is interesting and the film's editing takes full advantage by switching stories at each story's lull, the movie is about 45 minutes too long (2 hours 22 minutes). All of the characters' life situations are sympathetic; however, all of the characters make poor decisions and reactions. Each of the four stories have a conclusion, but none of the stories are very compelling individually. Over all, the film was not very satisfying -- which was probably the filmmakers' intentions. (Also, Brad Pitts' old man make-up job was really distracting.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

""ex-exgay"" actor revealed?

Over the past several days, there are have been several theories about who Donnie Davies really is. Practically any husky unknown actor/musician/performer has been suspected, but none of the photo comparisons seemed to match until yesterday. A JoeMyGod blog reader has matched actor Joey Oglesby's photo to Donnie Davies.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

shockingly hilarious (& offensive?) ""ex-gay"" music video (updated)

The Bible Says

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Reformed homosexual Donnie Davies is spreading the word with his band, Evening Service, and his ministry, Love God's Way. Davies has also developed a program for those struggling with same-sex attractions: CHOPS: CHANGING HOMOSEXUALS into ORDINARY PEOPLE. Also, his ministry offers a help list of gay bands like Frank Sinatra so parents can keep track of what their kids are listening to.

I'm pretty sure this is a parody of some sort. It should be interesting to find out who is really behind it.

(Hat tip: WThrockmorton.com)

01/25/2007 UPDATE: "Donnie Davies" seems to be succeeding in getting attention (Andrew Sullivan) and provoking controversy over whether his parody is funny and/or offensive. Dan Savage has an interesting thought about this parody:

. . .
Donnie Davies is a kidder and an asshole.

Are you with me? It’s a hoax but Davies—or the man playing him—mean every last word. Davies is trying to be funny—heaven’s “back door,” thanking Andrew Sullivan for “getting behind [him],” kneeling next to the guy at the control board—but he means it when sings “God hates a fag.” He may not be ex-gay (those desperate dudes don’t have a sense of humor about their predicament), but a straight religious bigot with a sense of humor. We’re watching this video—all of us secular urban hipsters—because it’s hilarious. Which means that Donnie, through the use of humor, is reaching people that he might not otherwise. And his message is this: Laugh your asses off, sinners, but the bible says a man should not lay with a man.
. . .

Although Davies may be an asshole, I'm not sure a self-parody is very effective.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

stupid Portland drivers known internationally

By internet standards, this is old forgotten news already. However, clips of the scene just a few blocks from my place last week have finally made it to YouTube. The video clip is now known internationally. Even my sister's former boyfriend called from Germany to ask her about it.

There is no defense for these drivers. What's not very clear from the overhead perspective of the clip is that this is a very steep hill. Even on wet days, I get a little nervous about driving up that hill -- especially at the four-way stop featured in the clip. I assume that most of these drivers are residents of the pricey hilly neighborhood who couldn't be bothered with hiking to the nearest bus stop like the rest of the city.

BTW, the Volvo SUV driver at the beginning of the clip is 79-year-old Broughton Bishop. He only suffered a gash to the head and was able to get to his family's business. Not surprisingly, he has declined interviews about the incident. (KGW.com)

HYPOCRISY DISCLAIMER: I should admit that I've committed my own stupid driving errors including, but not limited to, hydroplaning on I-5 and spinning out of control on a busy, leaf-covered street with my sister (at least I got her to pray, "Oh God, oh God, oh God!") -- slighty excessive speed being a factor in both incidents. Fortunately, these near-catastrophic accidents were miraculously without collision or video evidence.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth: D C (updated)

Pan's Labyrinth

Scott, Sheena, and I saw Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) (IMDB.com) on Saturday. This highly rated Spanish-language movie has been described as a fantasy movie for adults -- it's rated R for violence (there's no sexual content). The movie takes place in 1944 at the end of WWII in a rural area of Spain. The movie follows a young girl who loves fairy tales. Her mother is pregnant with her sadistic step father's child. They move-in to the step father's military base in which he commands. The girl's nightmarish fantasies involve her discovering that she is really a immortal princess who is to return to the kingdom after accomplishing three challenges as directed by a horned beast. I'm sure there is a more complicated relationship between the girl's fantasy world and her real world predicament, but I really didn't care.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of fantasy films, so I probably just didn't "get" or appreciate this movie. It really didn't make sense to me. Also, the pace of the film was so slow. I suppose we were suppose to appreciate the setting and suspense, but I just never got into it. It is a dark adult movie in that there are gruesome real and fantasy scenes and it has a real world ending that this foreshadowed at the film's opening.

01/25/2007 UPDATE: Okay, I've changed my mind. It's been a few days and I realize that the movie has made an impression on me. So I have to give credit for the movie's excellent production and even the dark, pointless story is rememberable. I also heard Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with the movie's writer/director, Guillermo Del Toro, yesterday, which made me more sympathetic to his purpose. However, I still don't like the movie. I suppose I really don't like horror or fantasy movies if they don't make sense to me. After all, why waste your life imagining nightmares?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

gma's funeral

Grandma's funeral was Friday. We didn't have a graveside service due to the cold weather. The snow days actually caused a backlog, so the VA cemetary will inter her some time next next week. We'll probably visit the cemetary next weekend.

Since Gma was 94, we were not sure how many of her friends would be able to attend. However, I'm thankful so many people from her church paid their respects even though she has not attended for at least six years when she moved to Alaska. It was great to see so many familiar faces from Grandma's church which I haven't attended in at least ten years. Although I didn't regularly attend her church, I practically grew-up there. I was part of their bicycling group for several years and cycled most of the Oregon coast with them.

Gma's pastor gave a sermon and reminded us that Gma would have wanted us to know the Lord. (I later joked that the pastor's invitation was directed at those of use who either don't attend church or attend the wrong church.) The pastor's 'old school' sermon reminded me how important Gma's faith was to her. During the reception, some relatives reminded us that Gma would give bible tracts in lieu of tips at restaurants and would sign her checks with "John 3:16" under her signature. She gave-up these eccentricities after her husband's death in '83. However, she often freely shared her faith with strangers and always prayed before meals.

There were also several couples from Gideons International (you know, the motel room bible people) of which Gma and Grandpa were volunteers. I remember I was surprised to learn that not all grandparents' basements were filled with boxes of tiny New Testament bibles. I had assumed Gideons was just something all grandparents did.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Six Feet Under ending on YouTube

I'm feeling a little meloncholy with my grandmother's funeral coming-up on Friday. So I was glad to find the last ten minutes of the end of the HBO series Six Feet Under on YouTube. This had to be one of the most satisfying ways to end a really great show about death and family.

(WARNING: Obviously this contains spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched or finished watching the series.)

surprise snow storm?


DowntownSnow.jpg SurpriseSnowStorm.jpg

I unexpectedly woke-up to snow this morning. I'm pretty sure the last forecast I heard yesterday was for "freezing fog", which I thought was an odd forecast. Apparently, the weather system passing through is much stronger than the forecasters had predicted.

UPDATE: Well, apparently everyone else had heard the snow forecast, but only a small chance of snow was forecast.

UPDATE 2: Scott uploaded some great snow pictures today:

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Notes on a Scandal: A++


Scott, Sheena, and I met Scott's co-workers yesterday to see this movie. Note to Regal Cinemas (or whoever places previews): The gray-haired Judi Dench fans (including myself) at Notes on a Scandal are really NOT interested in sitting through a long, gruesome, and distrubing trailer for The Hitcher (IMDB.com).

Notes on a Scandal (IMDB.com) stars Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett as UK public school teachers. The story is told through the journal notes of Dench's character, Barbara Covett, which feature acerbic observations about her colleagues, students, and society. Covett is surprised to be befriended by the new, young, and naive art teacher, Blanchett's Sheba Hart. Covett discovers Hart's affair with a 15 year old male student, but instead of turning Hart in, she uses the potential scandal to manipulate her way into Hart's life.

Interestingly, this movie doesn't focus on the sex scandal. The filmmakers are careful to portray the student as a willing participant who stalks Hart into having the affair. However, this isn't a Mary Kay Letourneau type of love affair. In fact, there is a scene in which the student states that he only want to have fun and appears overwhelmed when he learns more about the reality of Hart's life.

Dench's performance is amazing. There are few scenes in which she somehow turns her eyes so black that she reminds me of an angry cat. This is definitely the best movie I've seen this year.

Children of Men: B


Last weekend, Scott, Sheena, and I saw the much anticipated Children of Men (IMDB) starring Clive Owen. Unfortunately, I screwed up the showtime, so we missed the first few minutes of the movie. I was a little nauseous toward the end because we had to sit in the third row and the entire movie was filmed in the jerky handheld camera style. The scenes on the rocking row boat didn't help either.

The apocalyptic sci-fi movie takes place in the near future, 2027, after the youngest person in the world dies at age 18. I loved how it showed what people of my generation and younger will look like at middle age (old wrinkled tattoos and piercings). Since we missed the beginning, we probably missed some of the set-up. However, I read and heard several reviews and interviews, so I think I know what happened. This movie will definitely be something I'll re-watch on DVD.

I loved the movie's detailed setting. However, the movie is a little too sci-fi in that so much of the movie is about showcasing its premise. The story is predictable and the ending was unsatisfying (no great mysteries solved). I'm not sure if Owen's performance of the central character was too unemotional or whether he was attempting to convey the detachment of someone living life through the end times. The backstory of Owen's former wife (Julianne Moore) and death of their son didn't add anything to the story. Also, I was surprised that there was a lack of any mention of religion (other than new age spirituality) since certainly there are Christian fundamentalists who would definitely have seen the setting as the end of time.

Over all, a good movie that either needed to widen its scope or develop a more satisfying ending.

Friday, January 12, 2007

defending my geeky congressman

I feel obligated to defend my geeky congressman, David Wu, who represents my district which I'm sure includes many Star Trek geeks. I suppose to someone who is unfamiliar with Star Trek and its races, Representative Wu's comments sound silly, but he was making a valid point. The chickenhawk Republicans (excluding Richard Armitage) who are advocating this war have no right, dignity, or honor to order 20,000 additional Americans into the battle.

Unfortunately, Wu's point is getting lost in his distracting and somewhat inaccurate metaphor. (Supposedly, Bush's Vulcans are named after a Roman god -- not a Star Trek race.) So here's his comments:

"Mr. Speaker, four years ago this administration took America to war in Iraq without adequate evidence. Since that time, the administration hasn't listened to the American people. It hasn't listened to our professional military. And it certainly hasn't listened to this congress.

You know, it's said of a prominant businessman in downtown Portland that he never listened to anybody. And that if he was ever drawn in a cartoon, he'd be drawn without ears. Now, this president has listened to some people the so-called Vulcans in the White House -- the idealogues. But you know, unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek who made the decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on idealogy. These aren't Vulcans. They're Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own. Don't let faux Klingons send real Americans to war. It's wrong. . . . "

Thursday, January 11, 2007

puppy pic makes my day

Wilbur Likes Leaves
Originally uploaded by mommamia.

I tease Scott for his puppy/kitten porn-like addiction. When he's not taking photos of his cats, he searches craigslist free ads and Flickr for the cutest kitten and puppy photos (although I disagree with his rat fetish). He found this puppy photo a few days ago which has consistently put a smile on my face each time I've seen it.

Snowless Downtown


Unlike the rest of the Portland-metro area and the Pacific Northwest, Downtown Portland is snowless and iceless. So, I really don't know what the big deal is on the TV news' winter storm coverage. Even Portland Public Schools closed for the day.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

a little numb

I don't usually post very personal thoughts on this blog, but I just found out my grandma passed away this morning in her sleep. She was 95. She was moved to hospice earlier this week, so I was expecting to get the call. I'm not sure why I'm posting this. I guess I'm still processing the news.