October Happenings

When the weather was warmer, we went bicycling, covering almost 50 miles in six weeks’ of rides, mostly on the bike trails from the National Airport to Falls Church. But unless it gets warm again soon, it looks like we’ll fall 30 miles short goal of 100 miles for the season. It’s just as well, my bikes needs new brake pads.

We went to see The Guardian, which was a good drama. This and Butterfly Effect show that love him or hate him, Ashton Kutcher really can act. Of all the branches of the military, I’ve always had the most respect for the Coast Guard, which is why Evelyn and I wanted to see this film, and we weren’t disappointed. Taut drama and adventure combine well with solid characters and acting and some very impressive wave tank work to create a good heroic struggle between man and nature. Just three things I’d change. 1) Cast different women for supporting actresses. The women who played Costner’s and Kutcher’s love interests looked disturbingly similar! "Hey, isn’t that Costner’s ex-wife that Kutcher’s hitting on in the bar?". Kutcher’s girl looked about ten years older than him, in a creepy way. 2) Drop the love interest tangents altogether. The film appeals to Coast Guard veterans and fans, but that’s about it. Nobody watches these kinds of films for romance. The tangents are just filler in between the scenes I cared about, and The Guardian would have been more interesting with this filler excised. 3) They missed the perfect spot for an ending right at that final voiceover. Had the movie faded to black right there like they did and just stopped right there, it would have been a great finale, but it keeps going for about a minute, which is a minute too long. I hope the DVD lets me bypass that last bit. (Return of the King had the same problem an unforgivable *four times*!) Aside from that, I’d give the film a solid 7 of 10.

We visited the National Portrait Gallery last weekend, which just reopened after 6+ years of renovation. I did not expect to read that much. Nor was I expecting such a history lesson. I went for the art, not the text! I really tried NOT to read, but it’s hard to look at a portrait without asking "Okay, who is this?", drawing my eyes toward the text description. We only covered one third of the place, and we look forward to going back someday to view the rest of the exhibits.

I tried out two new games this week, Zarcana and Mythos. I’ve only played one game of each so far, ot enough to pass strong judgement of them yet. Mythos is neat (and faster than I expected it to take), but I think Zarcana has more staying power. We’ve also been enjoying lots of Naval Battles and Volcano lately, both of which are very good games.

Today in Alternate History ran my article last Friday. Don’t worry if you missed it… you can read it here.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: the Sarawak Chamber

Music of the Moment: "Tremolo" by My Bloody Valentine

What I’m Reading: "Lost Chance in China: the World War II despatches of [U.S. Foreign Service agent in China] John S. Service"


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