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stematwork's Blog | JoshWay.com | digital tomfoolery
 
posted by stematwork Fri Oct 06, 2006
 
Music Review: Toad the Wet Sprocket
Rating:5 star(s)

How can you rate an album as perfect? Well, in my opinion, it can happen when you put a disc in and never skip a song. You are compelled to listen to every song sequentially because each song grabs you in the first 5 seconds. You never get the feeling that they needed a couple of "filler" songs and threw together some crap in the studio (and lets face it, this is exactly what most bands today are doing).

I first heard this album on my way home from our senior trip in high school (circa 94). I had the fantastic experience of listening to the whole disc through. I was amazed when it ended...and left wanting more. So, i started it over and listened to it again. Amazing stuff. I mean, how many times in life do you run across an album that you feel compelled to listen to all the way through TWICE? 

Every song is valuable and an experience unto itself, but "Stupid", "Something's Always Wrong" and "Fall Down" are cult classics.  

If you like to think, reflect and maybe even mourn a little, this disc is perfect.

stem



 
 
DVD Review: Primer
Rating:5 star(s)

I absolutely loved this movie.  If you're a geek like me, read on.


 Here's what you'll find in Primer:

* The mother of all movie puzzles. You'll have to watch this thing a couple of times.  I've never watched a movie that i didn't feel i couldn't figure out (whoa nelly!  double negative!) in about 30 minutes.  I kept waiting and waiting and waiting to figure this sucker out.  By the end of the movie, i was furious/delighted/amazed that i STILL didn't "get it".  So, i immediately watched it again.  Now let's be honest: how many of you have ever done that with a movie?
Me either.
But i felt compelled to not only watch it several more times, but to also watch it with the directors commentary and the actors commentary.  Multiple times.  In fact, i think i've seen Primer about 13 times so far.
I love this sort of thing.  Granted, i'm a geek of titanic proportions, but i think there's plenty of folks here that would enjoy the film for this very reason.

*  Coolest dialogue in history. These guys sound like they're actually talking, not giving us one lined zingers from a script. The dialogue does gets techy...but that didn't bother me at all. There are some gems hidden in the script if you already have a good understanding of techy-speak...but it's not important for you to grasp the puzzle.

*  Best use of U-Haul in a movie.

*  A fresh look at time travel and the effects it would have on friendship. In fact, that's what this movie is really all about:  friendship and the strain of power time travel introduces.

*  Spoiler that isn't a Spoiler:  The movie must be viewed from Abe's perspective.  (as per the writer)  Normally, i would never insult the public by making this statement...but it will really help out if you go into the movie with this in mind.


ps...did i mention it was made for a whopping $7000.00?!?!?  it really is an artistic gem.  it won the 2000 Sundance Film Festival award.


 
posted by stematwork Thu Aug 24, 2006
 
At the risk of having Josh shut down the site, i submit the following question.

I'm in the market for a new computer.  I've ALWAYS used Windows and a PC.  Though not a complete idiot, i'm not really a computer wizard.

I need it for simple stuff...internet use...money management software...probably a lot of church work.  My kids are getting older as well, and i'd like some software that's educational.

A friend of mine uses MAC at work...it doesn't seem that different to me.
What am i missing?

So, if you were me, what would you be buying?

stem
 
posted by stematwork Thu Aug 24, 2006
 
Book Review: Crossroads of Twilight
Rating:0 star(s)

I started this series before i could shave:
2 kids
1 wife
college
3 jobs
2 major moves
and a bit of hair loss later, I'm still reading about Rand, Matt and Perrin (and 312,456 other characters that I've filed away under "i hate that i have to remember you and your blasted, nonsensical name. especially since you'll probably not pop up again in the story until book 17, and by that time you will share the same syntax, syllable length and letter configuration as 457 other characters of similar importance introduced since. In addition to not remembering who you are and why you suddenly interrupted an Aes Sedai tea party complete with serenity, dignified reserve and calm surface chatter about ice peppers from Saldea, i have to read a 7 page description of your feelings about the said Aes Sedai's choice of tea." And while that appears to be a long mental file to keep characters confined in, you should actually try reading these books and keep every freaking character straight!)

I once watched a PBS special about cab drivers in London. Doctors had discovered that there is a part of our brain that stores the necessary details we need to travel about our little corner of the world. For London cabbies, who have to recall VAST amounts of detail in a city that seems to have been designed by drunken Lugarders, this part of their brain was CONSIDERABLY larger than average. So much so that when compared side by side to that of a "normal" brain, i gasped at the difference. Then something occur ed to me that had me quickly regaining a sense of serenity; i realized that this portion of my brain must now fill up my entire skull due to the amount of detail necessary to keep up with the story. Jordan himself must have two separate heads just to store all that detail in. Mensa here i come!

Then another thought occur ed to me that shattered the icy calm of the void: The doctors said that this part of the brain grew because of NECESSARY detail. That leaves me with only one conclusion: If cab drivers in London NEED all the detail that causes their brains to swell, then the inverse must also be true; filling the brain with useless detail must in turn SHRINK it. If after reading Crossroads of Twilight i have even a raisin left in my skull, I'll consider it a victory. TOO MUCH DETAIL that does nothing for the story. It is NOT "rich" storytelling to embellish every single page with line upon line of fashion, food and mood descriptions while relegating important plot advancements to a paragraph or two. That is called fleecing the sheep. And like sheep, we're stupid enough to keep reading to find out, one day, what actually happens at the end.

My advice to anyone who loves fantasy:
If you must read this series, become a cabbie in London to fight off the effects of the brain shrinkage. It's what I've chosen to do.


 
 
Check this story out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14464907/



I'm not smart enough to make that a clever-looking link.  I'm only smart enough to mock people who solve theories i'm not sure i can even comprehend.

I'll tell you one thing, though...my eyebrows are much more fashionable than this dude's.


 
posted by stematwork Wed Aug 04, 2004
 
me...in all my efulgent glory...
 
actually, the important thing about this photo is the paint job on the walls
it took me and my wife FOREVER to do it
 
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