Posting (and working) in the kitchen today. It's barely after 8am and the painters are already here, taking down the window blinds, laying drop cloths and getting ready to paint. I asked them to do my office first so I could move back in as quickly as possible.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Kristin and I spent it at the childhood home of a friend of ours. She grew up on a small farm about 90 minutes northeast of Seattle. Last year our friend had to go up a few days early to slaughter the turkey. There was no killing this year -- the family farm is currently without pigs, turkeys, and cows -- but livestock weren't the only things being shown some mercy this holiday. Thanks to our hosts not having a television, Kristin and I were spared the horror of watching the Cowboys trounce the Seahawks. The Seahawks haven't played on Thanksgiving Day in 20 years. Way to make the wait pay off, boys.
Kristin had a pretty bad cold all weekend and had a ton of schoolwork to get done so I spent most of the weekend playing Gears of War 2 with friends and watching a bunch of movies through the Netflix streaming service on Xbox Live. Not sure what happened, but the picture quality has increased dramatically over the past few days. We watched "Rushmore" one night last week and the quality was borderline unwatchable. Not so this weekend.
Here's what we watched:
Unforgiven - I'm probably the last person to finally see this western starring Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman, but it's worth giving a tip of the ten-gallon hat to. It's not my favorite western -- "Tombstone" still takes that honor -- but it was certainly a good movie. Only thing I thought was a bit odd was how introspective Eastwood's character seemed at the start of the movie. He didn't seem the type to sit around a campfire and talk about his feelings so much, but the writers used these fireside chats as a mechanism for providing the backstory. It works, but it was a bit awkward. People don't often provide detailed accounts of their past when they're sitting next to the person they lived through it with.
Supersize Me - Yes, we all know that eating McDonalds 3 times a day for a month is not good for you. Anybody with two brain cells and a spark can tell you that. Nevertheless, this documentary is still a good watch. The facts and figures were rare, but adequately shocking (i.e. premium salad with dressing has more calories than a Big Mac) and thanks to the filmmaker's decision to go on a nationwide tour of Mickey D's while making the movie, he was able to squeeze in plenty of local tales from around the country without them seeing out of place. Personally, I try to limit my consumption of fast food to just 1-2 times a month. I know it's not good for you and it's very high in fat and calories, but gawdam is it good. Those 99-cent double cheeseburgers at McDonalds are just too damn good and cheap to avoid forever. Skip the Coke.
Fifty First Dates - This was actually on USA, a channel neither Kristin nor I could remember watching in about ten years. There's something about Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore that really makes for a nice rom-com. They were perfect in "The Wedding singer" and they were equally adorable in this movie. That aside, I never had any interest in watching this on account of the marketing for it making it seem far more goofball and "zany" than it really was. The trailers made the movie look really stupid and shallow (and it was to an extent), but we thought it was a lot better than that. Barrymore's character has short-term memory loss and essentially relives the same day over and over every day with the help of her father and brother who painstakingly recreate the same day for her every time she wakes up. This changes when Sandler's character falls for her at a diner. Unfortunately for him, everytime she goes to sleep she wakes up with no recollection of what happened the previous day and with no knowledge of who she met. You can see how this would pose a problem for a guy falling in love with her. Anyway, it's a stupid lighthearted movie with plot holes galore, but it was actually quite enjoyable... at 1am at least.
Life & Debt - Wonder why people get so passionate about the World Trade Organization and "Fair Trade" policies? If so, watch this movie. This documentary covers decades of decline in Jamaica on account of the WTO, International Monetary Fund, and a wealth of bad decision-making and greed on account of Jamaican leaders, international corporations, resorts, and tourists. It's a pretty one-sided portrayal and a bit heavy-handed with the guilt-trips, but it's also very easy to understand the Jamaicans bitterness: they can't possibly compete. I sat there watching the movie and thinking how "easy" the solution is: the Jamaicans simply need to boycot international products and buy local, but that's pretty naive. They live on $2/day and everything that comes off a ship is sold at a fraction of what it would cost to produce it locally. They're in a tough spot, for sure, and while the movie offers no solutions (other than wishing international companies would go away), the movie will definitely help those who don't bring their conscious on vacation with them perhaps travel with a bit more of an open-mind and bit more fairly. Recommended to those who care about what goes on outside our borders.