Thursday, November 17, 2005

BJFF - Wrap Up

So we enjoyed seeing Only Human so much, we decided to take in more screenings of the Boston Jewish Film Festival.  We did a little research, and decided that we would probably enjoy Campfire, Live and Become, and Monsieur Batignole.  Each of the four films we watched happended to be foreign.  There were plenty of English language films in the festival, but for some reason the four that we chose were most appealing.  I don't think I have ever seen as many subtitled films in such a short period of time.  It was a new, and enjoyable experience.
Campfire was about an Israeli widow and her two daughters coping with life after the death of the husband.  It deals with issues of Israeli settling, adolescence, social structures, etc...  It had some dark moments, and coming after our screening of Only Human, it was a bit of a downer.  Well worth watching, just difficult at times.  After the film, the actress who played the younger daughter held a Q&A session.
Live and Become tells the story of an Ethiopian boy who's mother sends him off to Israel with a Jewish Ethiopian woman who pretends he is her son.  In 1984/1985 a rescue mission dubbed Operation Moses was carried out to relocate thousands of Ethiopian Jews who were facing both famine and persecution at home.  The story follows the life of this boy as he assimilates into Israeli culture and deals with his "secret" that he is not really a Jew.  Three actors played the boy in three stages of his life: child, teen, and adult.  The film was fantastic, and won this year's Best Feature Fiction Film award.  After the film, the actor who played the boy as an adult held Q&A session.  It turns out that his own story was quite similar to that of the main character, and his role in the film went far beyond playing a role.  He was a primary consultant on cultural and historical aspects of the film, and really put a lot into getting the film made.  It was really inspirational to listen to him and to see what he had accomplished.
Monsieur Batignole was last years Best Feature Fiction Film winner, so they decided to screen it again.  It deals with Nazi occupied France and one man's unintentional involvement in hiding and saving three Jewish children.  This was also difficult to watch at times, but well worth the discomfort.  And every hard moment was balanced out by a comedic moment, so there was some pleasure with the pain.
I'm so glad we made an effort to see these films.  Well worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Difference 1,738,943 Between Boston And New York

The mall near work has both a Dunkin Donuts and a Starbucks.  Every morning there is  a line 12 people deep at Dunkin Donuts.  The line at Starbucks is usually  only 1 or 2 people deep.  In New York the exact opposite would be true.  Starbucks is usually jammed, and Dunkin Donuts is a far second choice.  A big reason for this might be that NYC Dunkin Donuts franchisees do not know how to run their stores.  They are usually dingy and dirty, and their coffee tastes like crap.  I know that DD is a New England empire, but NYC is not so far that they can't send some folks down from corporate to show the NYC guys how to get it right.  One of the joys of living in Boston is that you can choose either vendor with the confidence that you will get a tasty cup of Joe.  I myself am simply a coffee addict.   I don't care which coffee I drink, as long as it is tasty.  I love me some Java.  Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts brews each have their strengths and weaknesses, but I enjoy them both.  Thank you Boston, for coffee equality.  NYC Dunkin Donuts hacks - get your shit together.

Friday, November 11, 2005


We obviously live in a country of morons and half-wits. Arrested Development has been cancelled!!!!

I'll miss you dearly Buster, George Michael, GOB, Michael, Lindsay, Maeby, Tobias, George, Lucille, Annyong, Steve Holt, and Bob Loblaw.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flippin Sweet

Just booked flights to Colorado for New Year's Week.  Going out to Breckenridge with the New York crew.  Gonna ski a lot, drink a lot, laugh a lot, and eat a lot.  Hopefully there will be some repeats from last year.  I'm talking about shrimp and chicken stuffed fried avocados.  I'm talking about Fleabag passing out and getting pickle faced.  I'm talking about skiing A-Basin on a sunny day.  That's what I'm talking about.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Canon Sucks

Looks like I will need a new digital camera.  I bought a Canon Powershot S400 in May '03.  I was really happy with the camera, its portability, the quality of its pictures, etc...  Then when it turned about 2 years old I started getting "Memory Card Error" messages, and losing some pictures.  Once or twice I was able to recover lost pics by using a card reader to mine for them using Windows explorer.  On other occasions they have simply been lost.
I thought perhaps the problem was my fault.  Maybe I had dropped the camera.  Perhaps I exposed it to water or sand one too many times.  Turns out it is built this way.  This is a known problem that many digital Elph owners have experienced.  In fact, most people see the problem at 18 months.  So I was lucky to get 2 years out of this $450 investment.
And I liked the camera so much that we bought the S410 for my cousin for a graduation present.  And I recommended it to Pegg's sister and parents, and they each bought one.  I can't believe that a major company would put such a shoddy product on the market.  I will never buy anything from Canon again.

BJFF Update

Only Human is playing again this Wednesday night.  If you have even the teeniest, tiniest sense of humor you need to see it.  We laughed so hard we were on the verge of tears.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pizza, Movie, Pizza, Movie. Now Let's Go To NYC.

Heading to New York for the weekend.  Going to celebrate the birthday of Pegg's roomate from college and her first two years in NYC.  This friend had been living out in LA for the past few years, but recently moved back to New York with her boyfriend.  We're going out to dinner in Brooklyn near their place.  Should be fun.
I haven't been keeping in touch with my parents as much as I should be, given that I moved away from New York after having been there for seven years.  Boston is not far, when you think about it, but apparently it feels far to them.  So my mother has been sensitive lately about me not calling enough, about not visiting enough, etc...  We had a long, drawn-out battle on the phone about how it takes two people to keep in touch, and how she should not be afraid to call if she misses me rather than standing on ceremony and waiting for me to call.  But ultimately she is right.  I don't call enough.  Period.  I know she is having a rough time in certain areas of her life, and I am not making enough of an effort to be there for her.  So we're making a detour on our way to NYC this weekend, and driving to Long Island tonight to see her.  We'll stay over, have breakfast together, get some talking and hugging in, and then head to the city.
We'll crash with Brother, who is flying solo for a few days while my sister-in-law is on a business trip.  It will be good to see him, though we won't have that much time to spend together.  He has some plans for the weekend, and we'll be out all of Saturday night.  Sunday we have breakfast plans with one of my friends from college.  He and his wife actually live around the corner from Brother.  They had a baby girl a few months back, and we have yet to meet their daughter or give them the gift we bought.  Looking forward to seeing them.  I'm down with O.P.K. (Other People's Kids).  It's great to be around kids in short bursts.  Like grandparent mode.  Drop in, play a bit, get the kid riled up, and just as they start to get cranky, get the hell out of there.  I guess I'll need to change this attitude when it comes time to having our own little rugrats.  But that's a ways off from now...
Last night we went to see a movie at the Boston Jewish Film Festival.  We saw Only Human.  It was great.  It's a Spanish film about a dysfunctional Jewish family in Madrid, and the hijinks that ensue when one of the daughters comes to visit with her new boyfriend who, while Spanish, happens to be a Palestinian.  This was honestly one of the funniest films I have ever seen.  I could obviously relate to some of the Jewish elements in the film, but by no means do you have to be Jewish to appreciate it.  I don't want to give too much away, but let's say that there is a scene involving the Palestinian boyfriend, the blind Jewish grandfather Dudu, and a toilet that had the audience roaring.  Try to see it if you can.  The combination of doing something "kinda Jewish", laughing throughout the film, and getting to munch on some Upper Crust pizza before the movie made last night great.
The night before last we went out with some friends to Emma's Pizza in Kendall Square.  (Never in a million years could I imagine Pegg letting us have pizza two nights in a row, but we were in a rush before the BJFF movie last night).  Dinner was great.  These were friends of Pegg's from high school, and they are all friends with the owner of Emma's, so it was good to see him, and support his business.  The fact that he didn't charge us for our drinks made it easy to enjoy offering this support, but the food there is honestly so good that it would be somplace we would frequent even without the connection.  We shared two pies - the number 10 (Scallions / garlic / gorgonzola / traditional sauce with mozzarella) and the number 18 (Artichoke hearts / baby spinach / roasted sweet potato / rosemary sauce with mozzarella).  Both were fantastic.  The pizza there is possibly the best in Boston, and on par with New York and New Haven pies.
After Emma's we all went to see Shopgirl, the new film by Steve Martin.  I enjoyed it, and thought it was an interesting character piece that was well written and well acted by the three leads (Steve Martin, Claire Danes, and Jason Schwartzman).  Pegg, who would typically enjoy this type of film more than me, had a more critical view on it.  She thinks that Steve Martin is full of himself and pretentious, and is sometimes annoyed by his pieces in the New Yorker.  This film did not help his reputation in her eyes.  She also felt the music was a bit harsh and overdone, and this hampered her enjoyment of the film.  So there's our review - take it for what it's worth.  And have a nice weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fort Point Afternoon

Two weeks ago we went to walk around the Fort Point Open Studios. Saw a lot of interesting art. Didn't buy anything, but now we have a better sense of what we both like. Got a lot of exercise climbing multiple staircases during the day. And managed to take a couple of nice Boston shots, and one that I like on the T platform in South Station (where I was playing with black and white and shutter speed. The people are still, but the train is moving. Cool...)