Friday, July 30, 2010

Movie review Friday. (Warning: spoilers about Robin Hood, Benjamin Button, and Inception)

I'm watching the old Disney version of Robin Hood. I remember watching it as a child with my family, in the room of our house that we called "the cold room," because it was always cold for some reason. The movie starts out so happy and playful. Then it gets very sad and miserable in the middle (not only is everyone in prison, but the rooster sings a sad song, and it's raining!). And then it ends on a happy note. It's an emotional rollercoaster for a child. I'll get this for my niece in four or five years.

I watched Benjamin Button last week. It was a snoozefest. I actually fell asleep about 2/3's of the way through. Imagine the most boring romantic non-comedy ever, and then have one of the characters grow younger like Merlin, but without the magic or the mystery. Also too much emotionless Brad Pitt narration like in the beginning of Interview with a Vampire. Not recommended.

I saw Inception last weekend with Rachel, Peter and Leslie. It was good. Good effects, pretty interesting environment and story. The problem was that a lot of it didn't really make sense. Peter said that once you're accepting that one person can enter another's dream, then you have to accept whatever. But somehow I don't. There was that 80's movie Dreamscape, where Dennis Quaid was going into people's dreams, and this was sorta similar. But Dreamscape was more like the Matrix and less like, umm, star trek.

-Is there really such a thing as a dream within a dream? I've never had one. One morning in college I turned off my alarm and then went back to sleep and dreamt that I was going through my morning routine. That was kinda disappointing when I woke up and discovered I had to brush my teeth and shower all over again.
-Isn't no gravity the same as a falling sensation that supposedly wakes you up? It seems like having no gravity would be a pretty major thing that would echo back through the layers of a dream. Also falling into water.
-They said that time passes 20 times slower in a dream because you're using all of your brain, but why should the time dilation compound for a dream within a dream? You can't use more than 100% of your brain.
-I could tell what was going to happen at the end. Kate said she could too. It all got pseudo-dreamy and surreal. Maybe they were too clear, before the end, about the kicking out of the different layers of the dream, so when they suddenly started skipping through the end in a montage it was clear what the director was going to do. And did they pull the A Beautiful Mind trick and have the kids not age? I guess it depends how old his memory of them is.

It was a good movie, but doesn't hold water quite as well as most science fiction movies that I prefer. Maybe it's because they explained all the rules too explicitly about the dreams within dreams. They need to gloss over the less-realistic aspects and not expound on them.

(11:54:32 PM) me: i saw that bomb squad movie that won the academy awards. that one was really good
(11:54:58 PM) Dan: f that movie. i won't see if on principle
(11:55:07 PM) me: cause you loved avatar?
(11:55:13 PM) Dan: since when did we let woman direct movies?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let me start by saying that I'm not super picky about my friends. I'm usually not all that judgmental and I don't think you need to have the same tastes or a super similar personality to be my friend.

That being said, I'm unfriending someone today for the first time ever. It's this dude-bro I met on craigslist. I don't have a lot of local guy friends and he wrote an ad saying that his guy friends were all busy with relationships so he was looking for some normal guy friends to just hang out. I wrote back saying how normal I am (and I am very normal) and he responded "you sound cool. what's your facebook?" Next thing I know, I'm facebook friends with a d-bag frat guy. He writes in slang and every single one of his photos is of him with a slightly unbuttoned shirt posing with either alcohol or bar girls. His favorite tv show is Entourage and his favorite book is, and I quote, "Does Men's Health Magazine Count?" This isn't a real person, this is a compilation of two dimensional characters from teenage comedy movies. Unfriended.

JP Blackford (the old GTA from my probability class at GWU, who is strangely facebook friends with Mark, Kate's sister's boyfriend) fell for it too. He was this guy's other new friend for like a day before one of them unfriended the other.

(Eric and I are driving behind Dave in his newly bought used car)
me: do we still need to pick up beer?
Eric: I don't know. Maybe we're stopping.
me: Or maybe Dave forgot.
Eric: Call and ask.
(I call Dave's cellphone)
Huyen: hello.
me: hi Huyen? It's Joe. Are we stopping along the way for beer?
Huyen: umm. yes.
me: Also, did you guys know that your car is leaking oil out the bottom?
Huyen: what?
me: (I repeat it but Eric starts laughing and drowns me out)
Huyen: Umm...
(a few seconds later)
Dave: hello, Joe?
me: oh Dave, I was just asking whether we were going to stop for beer.
Dave: yeah we'll stop at a place. Like 10 minutes.
me: okay. Also, did you know that your car is leaking oil all over the road?
Dave: what?
me: Did you know that your car's leaking a stream of oil?
Dave: what?
me: (loudly) Did you know that your car is leaking oil!
(moment's pause)
Dave: this is a terrible practical joke that isn't working at all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The wine tasting on Saturday started early, and I had a mild stomach ache and head ache but those went away after we got started. I'd been tasting once with Eric and Dave in California, and that was pretty similar except this time we had a bus and everything was much more organized. People liked some wines and there were a few wines that people complained were too sweet, and one that Lem and Sarah said smelled like manure. I can taste the differences in the wines, but none of them really appeal to me and it's probably irrelevant whether one is slightly less bad tasting than another.

We went to 3 wineries, and I think Rachel's blog post describes each one better than I could. I'll just add some random things.

At the second winery Lem wanted to get the one cute worker girl to do our tasting, so while everyone else in the group was still finishing lunch he randomly was like "let's go!" because a free spot had opened in front of her. So he and I ditched the rest of the group and started our tasting early. I think I saw Julie give us a "what are you doing" look.

Lem flirted with the girl but it didn't really go anywhere. I think this was about an hour before, at the next winery, Lem was making fun of another guy named Chris for him being asexual, and Julie responded by calling Lem a "man-whore," and Lem protested that he's a changed man and his whoring days are over.

There were some heavy criticisms of our bus driver's soul patch. Our driver had both heavily styled, spikey hair and the soul patch, which is a tough combination to pull off if you're not a part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

There was a lot of making fun of me because I don't eat fresh fruit. I don't really see the big deal, plenty of people don't eat fruit. Do they even have fruit in Africa? And that's huge continent! And I eat fruit it my strawberry icecream or milkshakes, or if it comes in my pancakes or something. I'm really very normal. I just don't pick stuff off trees or wander around in the produce section.

There was a pregnant wine taster at one of the wineries. It got some whispers from within our group, but I'm not a doctor so I have no opinion. Maybe she just wanted to hang out (like I did), maybe she was tasting and spitting, maybe she was European.

And I think I accidentally mooched sangria at the third winery without chipping in for the cost. Sorry.

After the wine tasting we went swimming at Rachel's building. Well, everyone else went swimming but I just dangled my legs in. I didn't have a swimming suit and, call me old fashioned, but I didn't want to borrow Peter's. It was still fun just dangling my legs and hanging out. Leslie had a great story about a girl fight she once saw at this same pool over the use of a pool chair (does a towel reserve a pool chair when the towel owner leaves the pool vicinity? The lifeguard had to hear both sides and issue a ruling). And Sarah talked to me while she did ballet and leg stretches in the water. Her ballet makes the memory seem kinda surreal, almost like a scene out of a movie.

(a user comment on the news article about Joe Biden saying that he wouldn't characterize the tea party as racist)
It's not a racist organization... Just 97% its members are white. They don't have any friends or partners of color. They don't socialize with people of color. They don't like seeing a black family in the white house. They think the AZ law is cool and just. They think all people of color get a free ride. They don't think the term "lynching" has any racial overtones, nor do they think the confederate flag means anything racial.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It was Rachel's birthday last weekend. Rocket bar on friday and I went out wine tasting on saturday. Both were pretty fun. I had a hard time finding Rachel's group in the bar, and nobody was responding to my text messages, so I watched some arena football on the bar's tv. Okay, so that part was kinda boring, but after a while I did a third tour of the bar and happened to spot Julie and Jordan. They're engaged now, which I had to find out through randomly going to her facebook page and seeing a bunch of strange congratulatory messages. Oh, Rachel got engaged too! I didn't believe Rachel when she told me because she said it so casually. But I guess she just has a good poker face because it happened right before rocket bar.

Like 5 years ago when I went to the first parties with Rachel's friends I didn't like any of them. It seemed like people were only interested in hooking up or otherwise finding out how you could further their hookup-agenda. I guess a lot of it may have been because the parties were at bars with a $10 cover charge (for guys at least). If I pay a $10 cover fee, I want at least 2 phone numbers at the end of the night to make it worthwhile. That's not really how I roll, but I could see most guys thinking that. You want to get your money's worth. (Maybe 2 phone numbers isn't being very ambitious because I've heard that the new thing these days is for girls to give out their phone numbers to everybody and then weeding people out by not responding to your voicemail. So maybe you should try to get like 10 phone numbers, just to play the odds. But I've also seen girls get super pissed when they give a guy their phone number and he doesn't call. Dating culture is a strange fig.) But my point is that the fun level has definitely increased since Rachel has settled on rocket bar. Or she's just weeded out the undesirable people. The two are probably related .

There wasn't anyone annoying there on Friday. Even Diana was courteous enough to not show up! I should hope for a DMB concert overlap every year! Leslie is still cool. Julie is still funny. Jordan was more talkative than I'd ever seen him. Mehrnaz was watching her blackberry most of the time until her friend showed up and they kinda wandered off. Puja was too tired to go and Kate Reid couldn't make it because she lost her wallet on the metro and she couldn't get into the bar. And for the first time I met Charlotte, who I'd heard about before (due to her having multiple kids, I think), and Sarah who used to be part of Rachel's friends who threw February parties. But I never met her at any of them and she seems cooler than I remember those parties being. (I just did an email search for any old evites for those feburary parties to see if they were called the fab five, or if that was my imagination. No luck, maybe I deleted them. Though I did find an email to Rachel where I tried to assert a matter-of-fact justification for my comments on the evite about girls being ugly. Wow, I was a jerk 5 years ago, I'm surprised Rachel talked to me. I wonder if, 5 years from now, I'll look back on my current emails and be embarassed.)

I'm going to cut this entry off now because I know that nobody likes a long posting. Tomorrow I'll write about Saturday's wine tasting and my newfound wine expertise. (Will I use it for good or evil...) And I still want to write about my recent viewings of The Room, Benjamin Button, and Inception.

I think Dave is in town for the next few weeks before his 2-year island vacation in the south pacific. If you can call Clarendon being "in town." I should give him a call. Maybe he'll be up for trivia if we're short handed again.

(This quote is from a few years ago but it's appropriate. Right after my coworker Jeremy got engaged we were talking about the engagement ring)
Jeremy: They say it's supposed to cost a couple months salary.
me: Yikes.
Spittle: Man, I sure hope I never love a girl that much!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The facebook pressure is on from James to write something here about my birthday. I showed up at One Lounge way too early, because Ravi Shah told me he and Rupal would be getting there at 5:45, but then he never showed. That slacker. After a while Jamie showed up and we talked about places around dc and I got a strawberry mojito. I'd read raving reviews of the strawberry mojitos at one lounge, but the one I got was pretty terrible. So I kinda nursed it. Then when we were leaving I asked for the check and the waitress, who had an eastern european accent said "Oh the check... there is no check..." I gave her a surprised look, and she awkwardly just walked off without explaining. I was kinda worried that she had heard me complaining about the disappointing mojito, but then it turned out that Rachel and Kate had secretly paid for my drink.

We went to the new Madhatter for a while. It's a pretty nice place with a decent food menu and it was surprisingly quiet for a friday. And then I met up with Kate Reid and some of her friends out at RFD where I drank lots of unpleasant dark beers because the lady would give me judgmental looks when I ordered a light beer. But that was fun, Kate's friends are very lively. I didn't know the back room at RFD is really just a large tent over the back patio. We got stormed on a little.

It was a fun, but kinda subdued birthday. In the future don't make plans around expectations of a couple friends (in this case Puja or Ravi)- I probably would have preferred to start the drinking later.

Yesterday it was just Rachel and me at trivia night, but we kicked ass!! Our team, appropriately named the Better Half, got 46 points out of 80 possible, while normally we score something like 55-60 out of 80 when we have all four people on the team! Apparently our team is carrying a lot of dead weight! And if you had asked me last week, I probably would have suggested that I was the dead weight, but there was a movie slogans round yesterday that I totally rocked! And I correctly guessed that the first thing people think when they wake up is "what time is it?" Because that's what I usually think.

Tonight I'm going to watch the room out at Rachel and Adam's. I have high hopes for it.

(my mom talking about giving final exams for her math class)
mom: and you can't use a calculator on the test so students have trouble
me: ouch. Can't you a calculator.. That's terrible. It's not like you'll ever not have a calculator on you as an adult.
mom: you can't have a calculator on you all the time, Joseph.
me: I think i have one on my cellphone, it comes with me everywhere.
mom: Even in the shower?

Monday, July 12, 2010

If you're around dc but not on facebook for some reason (weirdo), you can come out to my birthday on Friday. Happy hour at One Lounge, and then maybe moving on to somewhere else.

I bought an xbox 360 for myself as a birthday present. More videogames. I considered getting a new computer with better graphics but I spend too much time looking at the computer screen already. (I think the 10 foot viewing distance of my tv is better for my eyes than the 2 feet computer viewing.) I used to really love videogames when I was a kid and wasn't allowed to play them. Since then they've been less entertaining, but I'm still hopeful that something will recreate that same fascination I once had.

Anyway, you can find me on xbox live as PrimeDJoe if you want. The usename comes from my PSN username of PrimeDirective, but that was taken on xbox live.

And with the capitalized DJ in the middle of this new username, maybe some online hotties (the kind that probably lurk around xbox live) will be attracted to me because they'll think I have DJ skills. I'll have to work on my freestyle rapping.

(about Dana's fiance)
Dave Shapanka: He's not as out there as Dana, but I think you can't have a relationship where both people are outrageous.
Eric: Yeah.
Dave Shapanka: Then it just ends up like Rav and Liza sharing a car.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I went to Reynoldstock for the long weekend. I got a bunch of mosquito bites, saw more college kids at once than I've seen since college, played a little badminton, ping pong, lost my mp3 player, drank some beers, ate some barbecue, went to the beach, took a fair number of naps, and tried to defend Nicholas Cage against an onslaught of negative remarks made by unqualified movie critics. It was a good time.

One of my friends from high school's mother is on facebook and she posted a photo of a bunch of my hs friends and some townies hanging out in the local bar. She captioned it "fun times with great people" and the elitism of it disgusts me. Reynoldstock was mostly full of people whose company I happen to enjoy. But it isn't an elite club of better people. I'd probably enjoy your company too, if I met you. And if I was drunk.

College kids tend to bring out the pessimist in me. I think it's because Eric is so enthusiastic about so many things. I feel like I need to bring the general consensus back to reality. Goonies was great 20 years ago when I saw it as a pre-teenager, but it is definitely not a good movie. And if you rave about it I'm going to tell you that it sucks. The same goes for Willow, Teen Wolf, Duck Tales, and almost everything you liked as a kid. If you rewatch something like Duck Tales, and then want to rave about how it is still great, well then you have a skewed view of movies. So around Eric and college kids who mistakenly love things that should not be loved I'm a pessimist, but around Kate and those DC kids who dislike a lot of things I end up being more of an optimist. I guess it's the contrarian in me.

Joseph Gribble: Lori broke up with me though. It hurts so much! It's like my heart is a really sad man.