Monday, December 19, 2005

Miscellaneous: Our Modern Push-Button Age

Technology is the only area of life where I become openly spiritual. If something works, it will continue to work, long into the foreseeable future. So why change it?

Fortunately, Rosemarie is far more pragmatic than I am. She's wanted to upgrade our home computer for ages. When she landed a major promotion at work, that's how she decided to celebrate. We spent the weekend setting up the new machine, and when I say 'we' I mean 'she.' She even replaced our coal-fired printer.

This marks the first post I've written at a flat-screen monitor using a wireless keyboard and mouse. I feel like I'm living in the not-too-distant future. I expect my robot maid to roll in here and sass me any minute.

The conversion didn't go perfectly. They never do. Turns out if you buy a PC at one store and a printer at another, you should remember to throw in a cable that connects the two. And for want of a code printed on a back-up disc that didn't ship, we can't use software that's already installed on the machine. I can hear it even now, calling out to me.

The biggest disappointment is personal. Switching computers, like moving, is a chance to get rid of clutter. I was all set to purge my roll of bookmarks and make a fresh start, exploring the web in a more efficient fashion.

Then Rosemarie showed me how to transfer the old list. So I'm looking at the same old crap, only faster.

Movie: King Kong (2005)

I'd have positive feelings toward Peter Jackson's film just for ushering the landmark 1933 original onto DVD. But this overstuffed movie is ridiculously entertaining in its own right, and makes a more-than-worthy successor. I even loved the first hour, dismissed by some as slow. It's packed with retro moments that are like gifts from one die-hard movie fan to another.

For all the FX genius on display, the most memorable feature of the remake - what really makes the movie work - is the performance of Naomi Watts. Let's see a computer conjure up a beautiful and talented actress who's also a world-class screamer and who knows how to run like she's being chased.

The hand-wringing over the box office has me baffled. We're talking about a three-hour-plus movie opening on the Wednesday before a non-holiday weekend. Was it supposed to spark a massive outburst of absenteeism? I'd consider it a harbinger if the video game, with the "Play as Kong!" option touted in the ads, outgrosses the film. If that happens, then humanity as a species is circling the drain.

Miscellaneous: Link

In the Sunday Times Arts & Leisure section, A.O. Scott suggests that a system that prevents truly bad movies from being made also stifles truly great ones.