Friday, July 27, 2007

Bad news day for space travel

Ok, first off, late last night just before bed I read that an explosion occurred at the Mojave aerospace site of Scaled Composites LLC (makers of the SpaceShipOne that won the Ansari X-Prize), killing two [edit: a third died today] and injuring four others. My heart sank as I read this news. I am a big fan and proponent of private space flight, and I am saddened by the death of these two [now three] contributors and the hurt to the others. I hope this does not set back Scaled Composite's efforts too much, though.

I was also very disappointed with MSNBC (as I so often am) to see that the report was buried by this morning, replaced by the news that NASA has admitted to letting astronauts fly after they'd been drinking. From the article:

"The report said NASA was not equipped to deal adequately with episodes of flying after drinking. 'The medical certification of astronauts for flight duty is not structured to detect such episodes, nor is any medical surveillance program by itself likely to detect them or change the pattern of alcohol use,' it said."

....ummm, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest: maybe it should. Hello. A little pre-flight breathalizer could solve this problem.

To top that off, NASA also admitted there had been at least one case of hardware sabotage of a part destined for the International Space Station by a contractor that it refused to name.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Of concerts and getting old

So I was chatting on IM with a friend who just attended Ozzfest, and I said it used to be cool but I have no interest in going anymore. Then this followed:

ME: Besides, I've seen Ozzy 6 or 7 times, at least

He says: this was my first time
He says: rocked, still don't have all of my voice back

ME: heh, I know that feeling
ME: Ozzy was the first rock concert I ever went to

He says: really? right on

ME: I still have the tshirt, with a rip in it from the fence I was against

He says: that is awesome. Family Heirloom

ME: that was 19 years ago. I may have to go cry now

He says: You are old.

ME: no doubt about it

He says: practically ancient

ME: thanks, asshole

And in weird news:
In Washington DC, an armed robber broke up a dinner party, but then just drank some wine and asked for a hug. Hey kids, can you say "High as a kite"? I knew you could.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 4: Laurel Canyon

So, when Wiwille posted his "Movie Review" challenge offer, I suggested he review the little-known indie film Laurel Canyon. I also said that once he posted that I would respond with my own review. I'm a little late.

Written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, director of another great indie film High Art, Laurel Canyon centers on the relationship of a couple of young doctors (played by Kate Beckinsale and Christian Bale) who move out to L.A. for the husband's internship. The couple plans on living in what is supposed to be the vacant home of his record producer mother (played by Frances McDormand). Unfortunately, she is still in the house recording a record with a rock band. Her loose rock'n'roll lifestyle does not jive with her son's rather straightlaced outlook, but proves tempting to the sheltered wife. Add to the mix his sexy co-worker (played by Natasha McElhone) who is tempting to him, and life gets messy.

The foundation of the film is the writing. Many a story has been drawn around relationships and the stupid things that people do to screw them up. This one, however, rang true to me. It's not something everyone can relate to, but having been the conservative, uptight type (I was once, yes) I can relate to Bale's character's conflict with what he views as the irresponsible lifestyle his mother leads. Having also been somewhat sheltered, I can relate to the temptation of Beckinsale's character when she gets close to that other kind of life. Jealousy, temptation, and lack of communication are all relationship factors most of us have experienced, and they are the foundation of the well-written characterization in this story.

The acting is also top-notch. Cholodenko clearly found herself an amazing cast, and must have known how to help them do their job well. Some of the actors, like Bale and Beckinsale, were not nearly as famous then as they are now, so perhaps part of it was luck. Either way, I felt the performances were excellent.

The cinematography was so-so. Nothing fantastic. It's the story and acting that make this movie great.

The biggest criticism I can give this movie is that it delves into experiences that maybe not many viewers can relate to. But if you can look past the face of it and see the truths of relationships that it addresses, you can find something in this film to relate to. Rent it!

Previously on The Inexcusable:

Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 3: the Jason Priestley double-feature

Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 2: A Shock to the System

Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 1: Diggstown

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reverend Mattbear presiding

If you're a long time reader of this blog (and I think all two of you who still read this are) you may recall me complaining that while I am an ordained minister, I have never had the opportunity to perform a wedding ceremony. Well, I've finally been asked to officiate a wedding in November. Yay, me!

It's going to be especially interesting since the union is between one nominally Christian and one nominally Wiccan, and they want to incorporate elements from both traditions. I'm going to have to consult the only Wiccan priest I know.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Crazies and the Woodwork they come out of

While some may want to discuss real political issues, I'd rather talk about the crazy mofos that inevitably come out when an election is coming. Even if it's a year and a half away. And I'm not even talking about psycho-bitch Hillary.

I can't believe I'm linking to MTV, but they do have a funny blurb on some of the crazier Presidential candidates. I've heard of ol' Sharkey (beware: web site seems designed by 13 year old goth) before, so I was unsurprised to see he is officially running. My favorite? To quote the MTV article:

"Jackson Kirk Grimes — 56, a single pagan with a GED who once portrayed Hitler on 'Star Trek,' this director of the United Fascist Union (which promotes the economic theories and political ideologies of Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein) and two-time presidential candidate promises to abolish paper money and create a global government if elected."

Between him and Sharkey, they're really giving pagans some good press.

I'm not quite progressive enough to vote for the vampire (or perhaps he would prefer vampyre), and not quite militant enough to vote for the fascist. But this guy might get my vote:

"Warren Roderick 'Bob, Warren G.' Ashe — 50, ran for president in 2000 and 2004, former U.S. Navy pilot and 'Earth Ground Computer Specialist' in the Army National Guard, president of the Air Force's U.S. Anti Drug Task Force (2000-2007) and president of the Marijuana Legalization Committee."

In any case, it's always nice to see that being sane isn't a prerequisite for running for President. I expect a TomKat ticket come 2012.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Still here

To the two or so people who still read this: Yes, I will be posting more soon. The last few weeks have been very hard on me, despite the fact that I have returned to work - in fact, I'm happiest when I'm at work. How fucked up is that?

Anyway, expect more posts soon.