the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Saturday: Photo Progress, DVD Recap

I spent most of the day doing the first big pass through the photos from our trip to Washington, doing some color correction and putting a rating onto everything. The next step will be culling through the good stuff--of which there is a surprising amount!--to find the things worth uploading to share. I can tell I've really improved with the DSLR; I made a point of never taking it out of 100% manual mode for the trip, and more than ever I am getting what I consciously want from what I'm shooting. Although I'm perfectly willing to enjoy the happy accidents, or the tragically awful shots that become beautiful after radical post-production alteration.

As a side bonus, I've also been plowing though a bunch of the music that I'd ripped but not really gotten around to listening to. I finally picked up a copy of the Cranes latest disc, Particles and Waves, which for the past couple of years has been import-only or completely unavailable (and which now seems to finally have some stock in the US). It's mellow and quite enchanting, and I'm really digging it.

Meanwhile, Liz and I are fighting a desperate battle to get caught up on library DVD's... Last weekend we watched For Your Consideration (better than I had expected) and Stranger Than Fiction (quite good but definitely not a comedy, no matter what the trailers would have you believe).

Thursday we watched Children of Men, which (in my estimation) is possibly the best science fiction film in the last ten years, and easily the equal of Blade Runner and Twelve Monkeys. Michael Caine's performance (apparently inspired by John Lennon) was a particularly nice surprise, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise grim and gritty world. I was especially amazed by some of the very, very long shots--including a nine-minute shot during an ambush and chase early in the film, and a mind-blowing six-minute shot near the climax (this article discusses the VFX work involved; use BugMeNot to skirt the mandatory registration). It's a bit heavy, so it might be some time before I can rewatch it, but it's so richly detailed that I think I'll definitely have to see it again at some point.

Last night was This Film Is Not Yet Rated, an entertaining, infuriating, often-humorous, strongly biased, and somewhat ethically dubious documentary that attempts to penetrate the veil of the MPAA's super-secret and rather arbitrary movie ratings system.

Tonight's film was Curse of the Golden Flower, a stunningly beautiful (and rather melodramatic) family tragedy that unfolds in the early 900's within the Imperial Palace. Truly, this is a movie with everything: Swords! Poison! Rebellion! Incest! Revenge! Ninjas! Embroidery! Betrayal! Gong Li's boobs! Suicide! Horticulture! Moral ambiguity! Janitorial staff like nothing you've ever seen before! Good stuff.

Unfortunately, in between photos and movies today, Liz and I took a two-hour nap, and now it's almost 0200 (again) and I'm wide, wide awake. I always have a terrible time readjusting to Eastern time after being out west, but this is really starting to hurt...

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