Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review: CSNY Deja Vu

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

Let's cut to the chase here. This movie will only play one more day in the Bay Area, and after that, you'll have to wait for the DVD. Martha and I went to see it tonight at the quirky Bridge Theater, with less than 10 people in the audience. So, you kind of already know if you like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and you probably already know if you are a fan of Young's savage/raw style of guitar. Tomorrow (Thursday July 31) is your last chance to experience it in a movie house. So...GO!

Now, back to the 2-bit review
This is not a concert film. It does document the 2006 CSNY Freedom of Speech tour, but there is lots of archival footage of older concerts and older wars. The premise is that Neil Young got journalist Mike Cerre to be an 'embed' journalist on the tour, and report positive and negative responses with unblinking honesty. Mike has already put in multiple tours as an embedded journalist in Iraq for ABC News, and there is a surreal touch of constant screen shots of the LWW Network, in CNN drag, running crawls across the bottom of the screen of war casualties, just like the stock quotes you see on TV.

The movie is quite emotional, and there is much tension as the tour heads towards the South. In Atlanta, it all boils over when the band starts singing "Let's Impeach The President." A significant number of the audience boos, and flips the band off. The embed reporter interviews many of these people as they are leaving, and it's pretty brutal. Definitely not PG.

There's any number of extremely emotional moments. Archival footage of Young singing "Ohio" was pretty intense for me. I loved hearing some of "Wooden Ships," a song I still dream of playing in church one day, and "For What It's Worth" sounds timeless, even though the song was originally written about the teenybopper riots on Sunset Strip.

The movie features a lot of war footage, and focuses on many veterans and their families. Like I said, this is far from a standard concert film. But I don't think anyone should be all that surprised. I wonder about those angry fans in Atlanta too; did they never listen to the lyrics back in the day? How can anyone be surprised that they would be against the war in Iraq?

BettiI would like to take this opportunity to thank our friend Betti Caramucci for reminding me that the movie was in town, and also that it would be closing after only one week. I don't think Betti is a CSNY fan, and probably just heard it was an anti-war movie. Bless her heart!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Miracle of the Neon Tetras

The Miracle of the Baby Fishes!

A good aquarium community is in balance, where the fish have enough food to eat, and the plants have enough fish pee to eat, and so on. Sometimes I'm successful at maintaining a healthy community, and sometimes I'm not. I'm not sure how often the teenager we hired to take care of the dogs fed the fish; I'm not blaming anyone, I just don't know.

A couple of days ago, I noticed 3 teeny little fish with bright blue stripes. You can see the small fish in the lower right hand corner of the photo, in comparison to a White Cloud Mountain minnow (hardy enough to survive my care.) The minnow is a little over an inch long. There were no adult neon tetras to be found! The adults apparently perished after laying the eggs. I never even could tell if I had male and female neons in the tank. I have never successfully raised any egg-laying fish (live-bearing guppies don't count!) This is really weird. Things look real disastrous in the tank, but here they are, three baby fish that should have been eaten days ago by the bigger fish! I have no idea what will happen next. There must have been some weird combination of conditions to yield this result, and I don't know how long I can keep the babies alive. If any of you know anything about neon tetras, please let me know!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review: Mamma Mia!

Meryl Streep's Joyous March Through the ABBA Catalog

IMDB link

We went out to the movies last night as part of Martha's birthday celebration, to see the film version of the musical based on ABBA songs. On one hand, it's about as well marketed as anything can hope to be in a theater world dominated by The Dark Knight, since Mamma Mia is generally skewed towards female viewers, but it cannot escape the shadow. I think crowds are smaller than they would be otherwise.

And just like the stage play, the audience is part of the show. For some, ABBA is anything but pleasant. For me, I think it's a form of perfect music, perfect Euro-pop. The movie is full of ABBA classics, and with the possible exception of when Pierce Brosnan tries to sing, one can't help but sing along out loud. This is where it would have been nicer for us if the theater had been packed. Perhaps it was because it was a Monday night, perhaps because it was Daly City; I don't know. If I could make sure I was attending a sold-out show in the City, I would see it again in a minute. I see a future in ABBA parties at home when the DVD comes out!

Roger Ebert, who didn't care for the movie much aptly puts it this way:
The plot is a clothesline on which to hang the songs; the movie doesn't much sparkle when nobody is singing or dancing, but that's rarely.
Meryl Streep is quite an accomplished singer, and Pierce Brosnan, is, er, not.

Bottom line, if you like ABBA, go this weekend, on a Friday or Saturday night, when large crowds are most likely. That is unless Batman has taken over all the available screens!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Danger! Family Vacation Photos ahead!

Who really wants to see travel pics?

So, one of the oldest clich├ęs is being stuck in a friend's house, watching slides of their family vacation. I understand, so I've come up with a more voluntary way to see some pix from our travels in Kauai. I started a new blog at:

where my random iPhone pictures are thrown up as I take them. The only text is the title. I'm not going to send announcements out for every little picture, so, if you want to see some occasionally interesting pix, check it out. If you've been here or are interested, leave a comment in the regular place.

You'll see the 4 posts just prior to this one are this kind of thing, before I setup the new location. I'd be curious if anyone looks at them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Oh, By The Way...

<--Grace and Peter up at Richardson's Grove back in 2003

Sometime in 1975 Martha and I visited my parents down in Cupertino, and sometime during dinner, I casually let it slip that Martha and I planned to get married in December. It was a great gag, and we replayed a version of it later with Martha's parents.

We're flying to Kauai tomorrow on a family vacation, and Grace and Peter are already there. Grace called today to make plans to meet tomorrow, and at some point, simply said "Peter proposed to me last night."

I guess turnabout is fair play. I am pretty surprised, and am running pictures through my head of Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin playing Father of the Bride. I'm trying hard to not be real obnoxious. We'll see how that goes!

Smoky Sunset 2

Smoky Sunset