Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Update

Hey! I just thought I'd check in and say hello. So... hi!!
Things have been clicking along since ACL Fest at their usual, semi rapid pace. The past weekend was good. Amy made some really good lasagna on Friday, and we watched The Lives of Others, which I had never seen. It was a really interesting movie. For those who don't know, it tells the story of a Stasi officer in East Germany in the early 80's as he carries out surveillance of a writer and his girlfriend, an actress, during a period when blacklisting and government oppression has begun to take a heavy toll upon their friends and colleagues within the artistic/literary community.
The movie is both well written and well acted. [spoilers] I was especially impressed by the manner in which the movie conveyed a sense of the damage done by government oppression and censorship. The movie didn't just turn all Stasi officers into monsters (just the opposite in one important case), and it doesn't turn all writers and artists into wild eyed, subversive revolutionaries who were just dying to get a shot at overthrowing the government (one of the film's key protagonists, a writer, starts out as a well known government loyalist who's sympathetic to the Stasi and East German nationalism as a cause). So the movie makes its points through the unfolding lives of its characters- characters who are surprisingly well developed.
There were moments when the movie really reminded me of The Conversation, a pretty strong 1974 Gene Hackman movie (nominated for 3 Oscars) in which a surveillance investigator suffers a crisis of conscience as he struggles with a decision about whether he should intervene in the lives of a couple of his surveillance targets. Both movies deal with isolated, paranoid surveillance experts who become personally involved with their subjects and who struggle with the ethical implications of their work.
Anyway, The Lives of Others was good. Thanks to Amy for bringing it over and sharing it!

Saturday I watched the UT game (hooray for a win over Nebraska! Wasn't the prettiest game ever, but I was happy).
Saturday night Amy and I went to see The Social Network. I thought that it was a pretty good movie. Since I didn't see the movie right away when it came out, I guess I'd been exposed to a whole lot of media coverage about it by the time I finally got around to seeing it, and, to be honest, I left the theater feeling that the whole thing had been over hyped just a bit. It was an interesting movie about a guy who made a whole lot of money designing a web site. Very short on ninjas and/or robots (which would have really spiced things up). Did the movie convince me that Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook, and the movie's central character) was a genius and one of the most important minds of our his generation? Not even close. I still tend to think of Zuckerberg more as a "right place, right time" kind of guy- a programmer who hit the jackpot in America's giant web site design lottery- as opposed to someone who came up with something truly revolutionary and/or innovative. Still, in terms of watching his story play out, it really doesn't matter. It's fascinating to watch the way that the guy caught the waves of already developing social trends and rode them out to almost unimaginable financial success.
Anyway, interesting movie.
Sunday I went to Heather Wagner's birthday brunch and had band practice with Mono Ensemble. Everyone showed up, and things sounded pretty good. So that was nice.
On Monday night I went over to Jackbart's place with Ryan and Amy, and we continued to celebrate October/Halloween Scary Movie Month with Dawn of the Dead out in Jackbart's courtyard theater (last week we watched The Blob from 1958). Jackbart has a movie projector and speakers mounted outside, and it was a really cool, fun experience to hang out with the gang and watch some zombie action (shooting zombies looks fun). Something about that movie made me want to go to the mall...
Anyway, I gotta run, but there's the update!
I hope everyone is doing well,

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