April 30th, 2003


Comic books and ex's boyfriends

Yesterday afternoon I went into Seattle, as I do nearly every Tuesday. Picked up the latest issues of Vertigo's Lucifer and Marvel Ultimate's Ultimate Spider-Man, and then went over to Tobi's and met her new boyfriend, visiting from Oregon. He seems to be a nice enough guy, tho not all that talkative. Not that I blame him for that, I mean, what do you talk to your girlfriend's ex-husband about, anyway?

Do Ra Me Fa So

Yesterday evening I went to Mr Henry's for my weekly piano lesson. It's been a fun and interesting change of pace, to concentrate very heavily on the fundamentals I've been stumbling over, instead of just the more ordinary cycle of "learn this piece, practice this piece, here's a new piece".

The 3 fundamentals we're working so hard on are note reading, placement (knowing the "feel" of the keys and the intervals), and sound (recognizing intervals by sound (recognizing absolute notes by sound is "perfect pitch", and it's a very rare skill, and fortunately, is not really necessary)).

I'm getting noticeably and surprisingly better at note reading. A few years ago, I wrote a Perl script that drives GNU LilyPond to generate sheets of random notes, and carry them around with me to drill with. I'm now to move from verbally reading these random strings to playing them. Because there is no structure, pattern, or coherency to these things, actually playing them is Hard!

Anyway, we worked a lot on recognizing the sounds, and to that end, actually did singing exercises! We'd start with the low C, and sing up to G and back down again, by seconds, and then bounce around in that range by seconds and thirds, checking with the piano, and then doing the same thing while just playing the low C, so I could hear the harmonies, and so forth. And yes, we did it with the classic Do Ra Me Fa So vocal scale. It was pretty fun, tho I was starting to get a raw throat by the end.

Bulletproof Monk (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0245803), thumbs down

Yesterday evening, after spending 45m on an Elliptical Trainer, I walked around the corner to the Kirkland Parkplace Theater to watch "Bulletproof Monk".

It was a disappointment.

The characters, especially the villain, were cardboard cartoons, but that was to be expected. The plot was very thin, but that was to be expected, as well.

The only good fight moments, and all the visually cool bullet-time FX shots in the entire movie, you've already seen in the trailers.

All the rest of the fight scenes were clunky, and poorly edited. In fact, it was all badly edited. You know how when editing is done well, or even just competently, the operative term is "seamless", to the point where you don't notice the fast cuts? This was the opposite of that. The fast cuts were badly placed, cut backs made people jump in position, and they didn't even keep the color and intensity of the lighting consistent, so you could actually tell that the scenes were shot in pieces and stitched together. Hell, you could even see effects cuts in the middle of punches and jumps.

And the cinematography! I could never stop remembering that I was looking through a camera. Every time I just about got to the point where I would forget, the director would do something stupid with the cinematography that would just scream "Hey! You're looking through a camera!".

The "surprise twist" at the end was obvious and overly telegraphed. The first of the cyclic "ancient prophecies" depends on a bad pun that works only in English, which means that this isn't going to translate well for the non-English markets.

Don't bother. Don't even bother renting it.

Gym. Legs.

Twenty sessions down, one hundred and four to go.

Did legs today. Lunges. Oh how I hate lunges. I really really really hate lunges. Free squats. Inclined leg press (my heaviest exercise, several big plates). And then 3 different leg machines. Again, I set personal records for weights. We're starting to pile on the weight at the cost of reps (15 down to 12 down to 10 down to 8), and training almost to failure. I only failed once tho, on the squats. I don't trust my back, and when it starts to bow I panic a bit.

I'm really getting into the rhythm of the schedule I've set for myself. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at noon. Scheduled out as far as their books will go.

Jeff tells me that a lot of clients come in inconsistently, or even worse, blow off appointments. What a waste of agony, sweat, time, and money! It seems really stupid to do something so expensive and unpleasant, and then do it in such a way that it doesn't even work!