miscellaneous commentary

Archive for May 2011

Summer Movie Malaise

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I got to thinking how summer movies, by and large, don’t entertain me anymore. There are only a few movies I’m looking forward to this summer: “The Tree of Life”, “Super 8” and the final Harry Potter installment. Otherwise, I don’t care for what’s out right now and I don’t see anything on the horizon that trips my trigger.

This is, in part, the fault of the studios. The summer has turned into a money-making machine, bankrolled on the hopes that an endless line of sequels, prequels and remakes will shore up Hollywood’s bottom line by year-end. Ebert wrote a nice article for the Daily Beast about this summer’s record 27 sequels:

…there will be the highest number of fourth sequels ever: Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Scream 4; Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One), with its own sequel set for 2012. […] This year includes five fifth sequels (Fast Five; Final Destination 5; Puss in Boots; X-Men: First Class; Winnie the Pooh), two seventh sequels (The Muppets; Rise of the Apes), and the eighth Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two), itself a sequel.

Okay, now that I’m reminded, I am kinda tempted by the new “Apes” movie…

For now, I rely on Hulu, Crackle, YouTube and Classiccinemaonline to provide free streaming films, as well as for copyright-free silent and foreign films I wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Once I’ve exhausted those resources, I’m going to look into a Roku player and subscribing to Netflix and Hulu Plus — I found out last week the latter has nearly every Criterion-issued DVD available for hi-def streaming. Dozens of films that have lingered on my film list for years finally at my fingertips!


Written by camcarlson

May 30, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Posted in Cinema

No sir, I don’t like it

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Oh Ren & Stimpy, how I miss you…

Written by camcarlson

May 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Posted in video

Pottered out

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*whew* Finished Deathly Hallows last night. A good read, and perhaps my favorite of the series alongside Goblet of Fire. I liked the entire series… all 4,195 pages. Rowling has a natural flare for vivid storytelling and she creates great characters — I only wish Snape’s true motives weren’t revealed at the very end in a tidying-up-loose-ends sort of way. I will state I’ve never been a fan of deus ex machinas, and these books have them in spades. The Room of Requirement is nothing but one, used over and over. But it doesn’t really diminish the overall effect of the story.

So now I’ve got the Naria and Potter books under my belt. I’m going to take in a few non-fiction titles before I consider re-reading something by McCarthy, then maybe I’ll re-read the LOTR series later this year. Then I can put the fantasy genre behind me for several years.

After a ten-hour day at work, I came home and stayed put. Thunderstorms prevented a much-desired bike ride. Tonight was my first movie-watching night in weeks. “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” and “Everything is Illuminated”.

Written by camcarlson

May 24, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Posted in Cinema, Literature

Student Loans

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With fingers crossed, I’m about a year away from paying off my student loans, the only debt I have to my name. I lived at home during the four years I went to UNI, only living on my own during a semester of out-of-state student teaching, and I only accepted enough financial aid to cover tuition and various student “fees”, choosing to pay for my textbooks with my JDEW income. So my loan balance after graduation was considerably less than what most people are saddled with.

I began paying off the loans in July 2004 — right after I had moved back from Oxford OH. My bank account was nearly empty, so I paid the minimum payment until I was working full time the following summer. That allowed me to rebuild my savings a bit. Now I’m sitting pretty on a eight-month safety net. Since January, when I received a big fat raise at work, I’ve been diligently devoting most of the additional income towards the loans, making significant headway towards paying them off by the time Obama is re-elected next November.

Anyway, here’s an interesting graph I found online today that spells out the dangers student loans pose to a lot of college students. Thankfully, it does not apply to myself. –>

Written by camcarlson

May 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Posted in Finance

The Order of the Phoenix

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I’ve embarked on reading all seven Harry Potter novels, and re-watching the first seven films, before the final film comes out in July. Knowing the later books in the series were longer than the first few, I wanted to give myself plenty of time to read them. Now it seems I’m way ahead of schedule — I intended to have Books 4 and 5 read by the end of May, but with yesterday’s continuous downpour and today’s cool breezy temps I was able to plow through more than half of Book 5, giving myself over seven weeks to finish the last two. So now I’m going to intentionally go slow with Book 6, since my weeklong vacation is coming up and I’ll need something (Book 7) to read while I’m outside every day.

My impression so far is that the books are excellent reads, but incredibly long. I can’t remember ever reading a book that was 870 pages when I was a kid. The entire Chronicles of Narnia series was a mere 750 pages long. I’m going to tally up the HP series when I’m done… that and the Naria books will put me on pace of having done more reading in five months than in any other comparable period in my entire life.

Written by camcarlson

May 15, 2011 at 11:36 PM

Posted in Literature

Tiny but stylish apartment

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I’m fascinated by people who find ways to make due with small spaces…

Written by camcarlson

May 12, 2011 at 9:08 PM

Posted in Simplicity, video

Accuracy check

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It turns out my bike’s odometer was set correctly. And the mileage between my apartment the gym is 1.5 miles, making a round-trip 3 miles. Which means all the times I biked to the gym over the previous two years and read 3.22 on the display was an error. Which means just about every biked outing over the previous two years was in error. Oops. But at least I know it’s set correctly now.

However, I did have to reset it last Wednesday when it wouldn’t register me going any faster than 11 mph. I lost my year-to-date odometer reading, but thankfully I had written it down from the previous Friday (150.3). So that plus my Wednesday miles (11.41) plus this weekend (30.85) plus my February miles (6.31) equals 198.87 for the year. Not too shabby.

Written by camcarlson

May 8, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Posted in Bicycling