August 30, 2009

I'm Buying a House!

Friday I signed the purchase agreement on a small 2-story house in Bristol PA.

Now the 45 day settlement begins. I'm scheduled to close on October 16th, then it's move in time. My plan is to take a week off for this, move most of the stuff myself and just get help for the couple of things that I can't move myself (couch and TV mostly).

I can't wait!

August 26, 2009

Reading Glasses

I've heard it described as if someone flicked a light switch, one day your vision just doesn't work like it used to. While my experience is not so sudden or dramatic, it does seem like it happened suddenly.

It used to be that I could read in even the worst conditions, including twilight and by passing street lights (I used to read in the car as a kid when we went on long trips). I still retain much of this ability. Indeed, as far as distance goes I've still got 20/20.

It's the damned fine print, you see.

I used to be able to read even the smallest print, even up close to my face. Now stuff's gotta be a little bit away from me, not at the end of my arm or anything crazy, just away from my face. And the tiny print, case in point the date on my Stauer watch, seems indistinct unless I catch it just so.

I've looked at reading glasses one or two times before, not because I had a problem but more out of curiosity. So about a week ago, I was in the supermarket and having trouble reading something fine on a product off the shelf or the date on my watch (I can't remember), when I remembered that they sold reading glasses. When I got there I tried the lowest power setting +1.00


Not only could I read the date on my watch with ease (I'd forgotten that it should be that easy), but I noticed for the first time that the numbers printed on the face were not in a normal font, but in a retro 1920s style (fitting the style of the watch).

So now I've got reading glasses, which I wear on the rare occasion that I just can't make something out for the life of me.

August 24, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

I just finished watching the newest Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds. Set in WWII, the film focuses on the exploits of a group of American soldiers who kill Nazis.

Or so I thought.

(the following is spoiler-free)

Don't get me wrong, it's a funny film, but in a weird way. It has the usual Tarantino quality of excellent conversation. Granted, much of it is subtitled French or German, but it's done well and still captivating.

It is missing the usual Tarantino touch of character redemption.

The movie does drag in some parts, getting bogged down in long, tension-filled setups with underwhelming or confusing payoff. At one point in the middle of the film, extensive character buildup is wasted in the sudden death of the subject.

While that may be considered just whining or nit-picking, it's aggrivated by the fact that the third act goes way, waaay off in left field.

On the other hand, at times this story is masterful. Nazi Germans, often portrayed aristocrats capable of great intelligence as well as great evil, are exactly that. The French resistance is respectably crafty, Amercians the typical gung-ho cowboys, and the British are absolutely nailed.

So while this film's good for a laugh, it's hard to take seriously, especially given the ending. All told, not Tarantino's best.

August 16, 2009

District 9

I've just been totally blown away by the new movie District 9.

This is one of those rare science fiction films that is not only entertaining, it's also very well written, has great acting. I went in with mediocre expectations and was unprepared for a movie this good.

The film is bookended by documentary-style footage and features a good deal of hand camera work. But, unlike Blair Witch Project and various other copycats, the entire film is not devoted to this type of shooting. In fact, the director smartly switches between documentary, hand camera, and traditional film shooting...the right technique at the right time.

The characters (especially the lead) act logically. Indeed, the main character takes actions that fit his personality, given the choices presented to him. So yes, there is action and stuff that blows up, but it's all for good reason.

While I'm sure Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will have a higher gross, District 9 is the film to see.

August 09, 2009

Class of 84

So last night was our 25th high school reunion.

It was a bit strange, cause back in high school I was not one of the 'cool kids'. I wasn't a jock, a prep, or even a burnout. Nerds were not cool back then, the term being synonymous with geek or dork, but I wasn't one of those either. Nor was I a goth, though we had one or two of those (who were cool people once you talked to them, but goth wasn't 'in' at all back then). I was someone outside the normal social classes, though not an outcast by any means (hell, back in elementary school I was voted 'Class Clown' more than once!)

The upside to that was, due to my ability to listen as well as talk clearly, I was able to interact with anyone, despite which group they belonged to, but without having to fit in (wear the right jeans or sneakers, have the permed hair, be on a team or in honors).

I went to the 5 year reunion and it was still all the same groups as in high school, it was like nothing had changed.

Last night was a totally different story. While people did naturally fall in with those they new best, we were all talking to each other very freely. And there were plenty of those awkward "Um...Who are you?" moments (I know I had a few). But the night was full of renewed friendships, new friendships, news on those not present, and lots of laughter.

The plan is to do this once a year, same week in August at the same location (probably followed by an invasion of the same diner afterwards, the OB Diner at Rts. 88 and 35 in Point Pleasant). And I'm sure some of us will be getting together sooner.