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November 30, 2003

Fire Alarm

Just after work on Friday evening I was at home, planning to pick Kerry up from school, when the fire alarm went off in our building. It turns out that somebody accidentally knocked one of the sprinkler heads in an apartment just around the corner from me, activating the sprinklers and the building alarm. It was tense for a few minutes, but more than anything I'm reminded to check my insurance policy for protection against water damage. When I moved from a basement to a fourth-floor apartment, I took the extended water damage and sewer overflow coverage off my tenant's insurance, but perhaps I'll second guess that.

When I picked Kerry up and told her what happened, she was a little worried that sprinklers may have gone off in her apartment. We didn't know until after we got back here that it was only the one apartment, but when we found out, Kerry was really relieved.

Crack

From metafilter.com: The girl who played dead is a fascinating and sobering story of a young teenage firl involved in a gruesome Dallas crack-house shooting, and what has happened to her and the others involved in the incident in the 10 years since it happened.

November 24, 2003

I'm mobile again

Took Kerry to Future Shop today, and while I was there I found out that Rogers AT&T has a good deal on cell phones right now, so I finally have a cell phone again. The number is (902)449-2647. I can receive SMS messages for free, and Rogers provides a convenient www-SMS gateway. Messages can be up to 125 characters, so friends and family from far away head on over to the Rogers Send a wireless message page and let me know that you've read this! Do it now! Just say hi and don't forget to sign your name...

November 19, 2003

MTV Cribs

I don't watch the MTV show cribs, which evidently tours the homes of the stars of entertainment and music. Ian Oeschger makes a really astute observation in his blog post about the show. Apparently the high point of most shows is when the stars show off their TV rooms. The irony is quite delicious - the stars spend their free time watching the same tripe we all do. I love Ian's last line: "Justin and Cameron learn about important late-breaking news from Inside Edition. Drew falls asleep in front of WTBS Baywatch marathons or wee-hour paid programming. Tres chic!"

November 17, 2003

Mozilla Shirt

T-shirt at the new mozilla store. Me wantee!

November 16, 2003

Rocky, finally...

I liked it.

Funny that Rocky's shy girlfriend was wearing glasses similar to ones that are trendy these days.

November 15, 2003

A Saturday Night Out

For a change I wasn't working on a Saturday night, so Kerry and I joined the youth adults from Faith Tabernacle at a Halifax Mooseheads game. There were a lot of penalties in the second period, and the home team lost on a late goal in the third, but it was still fun.

Before the game we had a decent (though not exceptional) meal at The Argyle Restaurant, and caught a little bit of the Santa Claus parade. I think it's the same one that will be televised tomorrow on ATV.

Tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday I'm working on the TIANS awards. It should be a fairly enjoyable run.

Maybe I'll watch Rocky before I go to bed. I've never seen it...

November 14, 2003

Comment Spam

I've only had a few comment spams on my weblog yet, but I suspect they won't be the last.

Adam Kalsey wrote a Manifesto on Comment Spam that deserves attention. When everybody pitches in to do a small part, we can smack those spammers down good. Read it.

November 13, 2003

Big Brother Notes

Two interesting notes on government: one local and one international.

First, I can't believe that with the international pressure and criticism at home, the US is still calling their crackdown in Baghdad "Operation Iron Fist". Sounds an awful lot like a police state, but I guess that's what Iraq is right now. Perhaps I overestimate American dissent at home, as well.

Second, last Sunday morning, on the way home from church, the Halifax Metro police had all south-bound traffic on Barrington North stopped to check licence, registration, inspection and insurance. I'm fine on all counts, of course, but it still seemed vaguely invasive...

November 08, 2003

Walmart Commercials

I'm glad that Wal-mart makes people happy, but if you're going to get on a national commercial and say that some of the happiest times of your life have been at your local Wal-Mart, I hope you're getting paid an awful lot of money.

November 06, 2003

MTV Europe

Tonight I turned on the first few minutes of the MTV Europe Music Awards. Mainly to see the lighting, but also because the rapper Ludacris is performing, and I'll probably be lighting his show here on Monday. I have two observations:


  1. The song by Biance was almost completely pre-recorded. I guess they wanted her hands free to do her dance thing instead of holding a mic, but it just struck me as dumb. Yeah, awards shows are just big music industry ego trips and album ads, but do they have to remove every pretense of anything musical?
  2. How in the world do The White Stripes get these high profile gigs?!?! They suck!

My time was better spent watching When Harry Met Sally.

November 05, 2003

Revolutions

The Matrix: Revolutions

First, on feature films in IMAX: worth it. I think it's more immersive, and the IMAX transfer process seems to add adequate clarity to make use of the additional resolution of the 70mm IMAX prints over the 35mm standard film size. The IMAX screen is closer to a TV aspect ratio of 4:3, so the film is letterboxed, and I think they may crop a little off the left and right edges to get the best compromise between losing sides of the original film, and taking advantage of the HUGE screen.

Ok, on to the movie itself. I'm totally satisfied. The early reports on the net seem to be somewhat negative, but I can only imagine those reviewers really didn't get the premise of the whole trilogy. The final chapter is a little more of an action movie than the others, but it still has plenty of food for thought.

I think there is very little to critisize in the first 80% of the movie. Kerry found the battle in the Zion Dock to be have too many repetitive gun shot sounds, but I wasn't as bothered by that. At first I felt like the ending was somewhat of a let-down - a little too typical Hollywood. However, on the way home in the car Kerry and I had a great discussion about what different scenes and subplots meant and how it all tied together. Just the fact that we had that much discussion tells me that it was a good way to end it after all.

I'll warn you that if you read past here, you WILL find plot details and spoilers, so don't say you weren't warned.

I was hoping for more clues or information on the matrix-within-a-matrix theory. It seems that the film deliberately doesn't answer that question, however I'm more convinced than ever that that is what the writers had in mind when they worked out the story.

The only alternate theory I can think of is that Neo has some magical perception in the Zion-world, that allows him to interact with the machines and stop them at the end of Reloaded, during the trip to the source in Revolutions, as well as allowing him to see after he is blinded by the Zion-world version of Smith. However, this goes against the idea of the Matrix as a story about a superhero who's powers make sense and aren't magically bestowed on him. In addition to that, if Neo's vision is a magical perception, and the Zion-world is the real world, then why does Neo see yellow code?

No, the Zion-world is really the yellow matrix. The yellow matrix exists to contain and placate those humans that have the mental capacity to see beyond the green matrix.

There are no clues that I can see to what's beyond the yellow matrix. I think that was intentional - a subtheme of "what is real" and perhaps even the main theme of the movie. My best guess is that Zion, the machines and the architect are somewhat equal characters in the yellow matrix. Outside the yellow matrix perhaps the machines have already won, and there is some more sensible reason for the yellow matrix than the laws-of-thermodynamics-defying human battery theory given by Morpheus. Anyway, back to Revolutions.

I had not seriously considered the possibility that Neo was not human at all, but in fact a program, however that seems to be logical now. At the end of Reloaded, the Architect even says that Neo is a program designed to take care of the errors in the equations of the Matrix.

Kerry had a great theory for the way that Smith self-destructed when he tried to kill Neo, which makes more sense if Neo is a program. The Oracle created Smith specifically to be megalomanical and try to take over the matrix. If Smith suceeded he would have taken over the green matrix, making the machine energy source for the yellow matrix useless. She knew that this was perhaps the only way that both the humans and the machines could be dependent on each other for survival, which forced the machines to accept Neo's offer for peace. The chance she took was that Neo would realize that his code could destroy Smith when Smith tried to take him over, and that Smith was right when he said that the purpose of life was to end. The purpose of Neo's life was to end.

I hadn't considered that the Oracle created Smith intentionally as he was, but that explains why the Architect tells the Oracle that she walked a fine line, at the end.

Anyway, I forgot the other stuff Kerry and I talked about, and I'm tired of typing, but I certainly enjoyed TM:R. I'll probably watch it again in the theatre, and perhaps get the DVD box set when it comes out next year, which I can't say about many movies.

Stick it to blockbuster, man!

It would be cool if there was a Blockbuster club. Not their Rewards (TM) program, but say a group of people in my apartment building that put those free popcorn coupons into a communal pot. See, every time you rent you get this coupon for free popcorn with your next rental. Almost worthless, but because Blockbuster charges something outrageous for popcorn, you feel like it's a great deal that you should take advantage of. The catch is that the coupon is only valid for the following week (right around the time you'll be returning the current rental).

It's such an obvious manipulation strategy, which is why it would be neat to beat them at their own game. So if anybody I know in Halifax reads this and wants to get a movie between Nov 10 and 16, I've got your free popcorn coupon in my wallet. In return, you can give somebody else free popcorn when they go rent the week after.

Ok, that's so complicated that I wouldn't ever go through the trouble to actually do it, but it's fun to think about.

Oh, yeah - I'm seeing the Matrix premiere tonight - on IMAX. I'll try to post a first impression here tonight.