small d, Big J

What Steven desJardins is interested in.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
The week after my operation, I got a summons for a six to eight week jury trial. I got a note from my doctor saying that that would interfere with necessary physical therapy and sent it in. The trial starts tomorrow, so I called the automated system to make sure I'd been excused. The first two times I got somebody's answering machine, but eventually I got the automated system and typed in my nine-digit ID number.

It turns out I don't exist. I'm taking that as a "don't come in".

Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Monsoon Wedding is about an Indian wedding and the family reunion that accompanies it. It's the sort of movie that I wouldn't have given a second look if it had had an American setting, and I would have been right.

Charade is an old Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant movie about a group of villains chasing Hepburn because they think she has a quarter of a million dollars. There are secrets within secrets within secrets, and it's all amiable enough, and never really surprising.

Monday, March 17, 2003
Dept. of Missing the Point: "James C. Kopp, right, with attorney Bruce Barket, feared his trial would be a circus centering on the question of guilt, rather than his antiabortion beliefs."

Sunday, March 16, 2003
I've been renting DVD's of several TV shows lately. The best of these is Sports Night, the show Aaron Sorkin did before West Wing. It's not as good as West Wing, but it's still very witty with good dialogue and it's fun to watch. I don't think I'll ever be tempted to watch these episodes a second time, but they're worth renting.

Stargate: SG-1 has some good points. The characters mostly do sensible things, when they disagree they argue intelligently, and the soldiers act like soldiers. They are often huge logical holes in the episodes, though, and the science can get pretty rubbery. (Did you know everyone in the universe speaks English? Except for the ones who speak ancient Sumerian.) Worst of all, the episodes seems afraid to change the status quo. Whenever they have the chance to get some new technology or some advantage over their enemies, something improbable happens to prevent it. A storm destroys an alien library hours after the Stargate team visits a destination for the first time, for instance. It seems like a failure of imagination, since there seems to be no reason why the show couldn't stay interesting if they just won a few victories every once in a while.

Six Feet Under is an HBO series about a family that owns a funeral home. It's well-written with good acting and interesting characters, but I just can't seem to care very much. Part of it is that I don't like the show's use of fantasy sequences, but mostly this show just doesn't click with me. You might well have better luck.

I haven't mentioned any movies in a while. I had planned when I started this blog to comment on all the DVD's I watch, and I still think that's a worthwhile ambition. I'm going to try to get through the backlog in the next few days.

The best of the movies I've seen is Lagaan, set in colonial India. A dastardly British official doubles the lagaan (land tax) during a drought, basically because he hates Indians and is constitutionally incapable of treating them decently. When a group of villagers come to petition for a reduction, they interrupt a cricket game, and the British captain challenges them to a cricket match: if they win, he'll cancel the tax, but if they lose, he'll triple it instead. His sister thinks this is unfair and secretly teaches the villagers how to play. And his superiors think this is a damned stupid idea, and tell him that if he loses the match, he can pay the cancelled tax out of his own pocket. Plus, there's singing. (It is an Indian film, after all.)

Aside from a politically correct subplot involving an untouchable, this movie is a lot of fun. I think I even figured out most of the rules to cricket by the end of the film. Worth seeing.

My DSL service was activated on Thursday, so web browsing has gotten a lot faster.


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