Der Haus der Flying Butter Knives
While it lacks the visual splendor of Hero and the unabashed romanticism of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The House of Flying Daggers has its own rewards. It is scaled against a much smaller canvas than those previous two films (which causes the ending to seem somewhat anti-climactic in context of those other two pictures), essentially concentrating on a chase. The narrative is basic but effective, blithely propelling the characters from each setpiece to the next. The performances are outstanding, and the film offers some great action (featuring those titular flying daggers - funky!) and operatic drama (this latter aspect is what seems to have caused Raz to react negatively to it, but I, having just come off that grand soap opera of the fantastique, Buffy, found myself quite receptive to it. The theater I saw this film in was horrendous, with nasty warbling sound and misaligned projection, but the beauty of the photography - and it is beautiful in a very earthy way, very different from the breathtaking surrealism of Hero's images - and the simple eloquence of the sound shone through the lousy presentation.
Cost Effective Compromise
My rabid tracking of the iRiver H140 has come to a close. There is no point anymore. I can't find it for a decent price anywhere (I'm not willing to blow five to six hundred dollars on it). I found, however, a 40 gig Nomad (Creative) for dirt cheap, so I swallowed my pride and bought it. I figure I'll make a serious upgrade when I finally get around to getting a Mac, but this should tie me over for now. The interface is vaguely iPod-like, which isn't ideal but can be worked with, and it seemed to be pretty easy to pick up. It's a little smaller than the iPod, and comes with a little leather case. It kind of feels like my old Aiwa Walkman in my pocket. Talk about an old school feeling...
Color image of the surface of Titan
Steven is next to me playing the sound recorded by the Huygens Probe as it landed on Titan. It was awesome to hear something that was recorded on another planet... okay, moon... you can find a whole lot of information here.