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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Monday, June 19, 2006

This Blogger's Gone To Sweden

Gone to Sweden. Be back soon. Updates (and pics) to follow.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

loudQuietloud

Tonight we saw our sixth and final 2006 SIFF film, a documentary on the Pixies titled loudQuietloud.

Disclaimer: If you know me you probably know that I'm completely unqualified to write something resembling a fair review of anything Pixies related. They are the bestest band in the world and everything they do is the bee's knees. So needless to say the movie was awesome-o.

In all seriousness though, I thought the film was very well done. The basic story follows the band through their recent reunion tour. It mixes great concert + crowd footage with a raw look at the band's trials and travails backstage. It's a true documentary in the sense that the director stays out of the way, using actual footage from the road to tell the story without any extraneous narration or interviews. At the end you'll be left shaking your head wondering how a group of people that are so discordant off-stage can sound so harmonius on it.

More reviews available here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Tonight we saw our fifth 2006 SIFF film, a documentary titled Who Killed The Electric Car?.

The film examines what happened to electric cars such as the GM's EV1 which were hailed in the mid-to-late 90's as the car of the future but which were then quietly taken off the market and eventually phased out altogether in 2004. Director Chris Paine (who was on hand for Q&A following the film) digs into why this seemingly viable technology received such a limited consumer response, and what factors may have lead to its demise. Amongst the possible culprits: a car industry uninterested in making a lower profit vehicle, an oil industry lobbying hard to maintain its stronghold, the lobby-pressured California Air Resource Board, the unsupportive U.S. Government, and undemanding American consumers. Included in the film are interviews with Phyllis Diller, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks (a clip from The Tonight Show), Ralph Nader, and Ed Begley Jr.

I found the film to be an entertaining and informative look into a topic that I had pretty limited knowledge of heading in. It raises some really interesting questions about the state of alternative fuel options and how we can drive real improvements in these technologies moving forward. The film definitely has a pro-electric car bias to it, but all in all it does a reasonable job of at least giving some insight on other view points about why the electric car market never took off (a must for any decent documentary). Definitely recommended.

More detailed reviews available here...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mariners Draft Gators

Day 2 of the 2006 MLB Draft ended today. Most Mariners fans (well the ones who follow this kind of stuff anyways) are busy debating the team's first round selection (#5 overall) of Cal pitcher Brandon Marrow over UNC hurler Andrew Miller. I on the other hand am thrilled as the Mariners netted two Gators! The M's picked CF Gavin Dickey in the 12th round and P Brian Ball in the 27th. I'm particularly excited about Dickey who's a former QB on the Gator football team (and who notably guided my XBox NCAA Football version of the Gators to an undefeated National Championship). Welcome to the squad boys.




You can find the full list of the Mariners draft picks in Baseball America's Draft Database.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What's You Domain Worth?

Leapfish is a cool site where you can see how much your domain name is worth. Probably not very accurate, but fun to play with nonetheless. My domain (www.jamiecampbell.name) came in at a whopping $2166. Sweet. I'm now taking offers :-)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bumbershoot Take 2

Bumbershoot just announced the musical line-up additions to their intially lackluster list. The newly added artists include:

Badly Drawn Boy • Zero 7 • Great Big Sea • Lady Sovereign • Rogue Wave • The Veronicas • Alejandro Escovedo • Sonya Kitchell • CocoRosie • Rock Kills Kid • Luther "Guitar Jr" Johnson • Blue Scholars • The Living Jarboe • Jose Gonzalez • Particle • Lila Downs • Rishi Rich Project • The Fall of Troy • Jeremy Enigk • Gokh-Bi System • Cloud Cult • The High Dials • Bitter:sweet • Rocky Votolato • mewithoutyou • Common Market • Crystal Skulls • Jacqui Naylor • Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands • Mountain Con • p:ano • Erase Errata • The Epoxies • Brett Dennen • Sera Cahoone

Nice to see Alejandro, Rogue Wave and Jose Gonzalez on there, but overall a pretty lackluster set of additions. Looks like Bumbershoot is going to be pretty weak overall this year. Hopefully we'll at least get nice weather.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ichiro as Murderer

Poking around YouTube I found this Japanese TV promo for Ichiro's appearance as a murderer on Furuhata Ninzaburo Final, a Japanese Law and Order style show this off season. Let's not kid ourselves here, he's no Reggie Jackson in Naked Gun, but it still looks pretty cool.

If anyone knows the translation here I'd love to hear it.

A Prairie Home Companion - The Movie

On Friday night we saw our fourth SIFF movie, Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion.

J-Casa picked this one as she's a big fan of Garrison Keillor's ubiquitous NPR show of the same name. We were both curious as to how the show would be adapted to a movie format. J-Casa was hoping for a straight-up concert style film, while I was just hoping that Altman would come up with something creative and Lindsey Lohan wouldn't be too unbearable.

The film turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Despite having a slew of big name stars (Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, the aforementioned LiLo, etc.) it plays more like an indie film than a Hollywood blockbuster. There's plenty of Prarie Home Companion variety style entertainment to keep the radio show fans happy, but it's mixed well with some great acting, and a compelling enough plot to keep things moving. Top that off with a surprise ending and absolutely hilarious performances by Harrelson and Reilly as singing cowboys and it makes for an entertaining movie.

You can find early reviews of the film here.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tony Batista Fight

I saw Tony Batista get plunked by Barry Zito in the Twins vs. A's game today and remembered this gem of a video clip from Batista's time in Japan. Hands down one of the funniest baseball clips I've seen.

BTW, I'm pretty sure that's now Mariners' catcher Kenji Johjima laughing at the pitcher from the dugout.

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The World Is Flat

Book #25 of my '06 reading list was Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.

I found the first half of the book to be very eye opening. It's the kind of book that can change the way you think about the world. It's not that Friedman is saying anything earth-shattering in and of itself, but what he does do well is sum up a number of interesting trends that tend to get lost unless you spend a lot of time thinking about this kind of stuff. In the first few chapter Friedman explains his assertion that the world has "flattened" over the last couple decades largely due to various technological and political advances. In the new flat globalized world everyone competes on an even playing field regardless of physical location. WikiPedia has an excellent outline of the book which you can skim to get a good overview of Friedman's basic thesis. I thought the second half of the book (focusing on how America and other countries can survive in this new world) trailed off as the topic starts to wear after a bit. On the whole though I thought it was an interesting read.

This is another one of those books that's been reviewed a bazillion times on the web already. The reviews seem to range from amazing to terrible, which I imagine is largely due to the fact that Friedman touches on some pretty sensitive political and social topics. At times he can come off as a bit too optimistic or pro-globalization, but on the whole I think he provides a nuanced position that is relatively even-handed.

You can read an excerpt from the first chapter of the book here.
Watch Friedman lecture at MIT
Listen to NPR story
New York Times review
Washington Post review
Bill Gates on the flat world


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