Saturday, April 30, 2005

Duck Season

Today I watched the Duck Season at the San Francisco International Film Festival (here's the festival's blurb about the film). Even though the film was about nothing, I quite liked it. The movie was about a single day of two bored adolescents, their neighbor and a pizza delivery guy. It is pretty much all set in an apartment and not much is happening but you feel how it could all be true. This not to say that it was a boring, uninteresting film. It was actually a very funny comedy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Word Wars

Two days ago I watched the Word Wars (also try the Google review page). I found this movie about serious Scrabble players quite fascinating although some might say that after watching the Spellbound (about the National Spelling Bee competition), Word Wars is not that new. I found it quite interesting to find out how a word game could become such an obsession to so many people who seemingly don't do anything in life but play and study for it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Death Valley and Las Vegas

Last weekend I went for a trip to Death Valley. The most convenient way to get there is to fly to Las Vegas and rent a car there, so we also spend one evening in Vegas.
We arrived to the Furnace Creek Ranch around 11pm on Friday night. Road 190 east of Furnace Creek was closed which limited what we can see but of course the Death Valley National Park is so big that even the rest of the park is too big to visit on a single weekend.
On Saturday we decided to drive northwest from Furnace Creek. We stopped at the Harmony Borax Works. Borax was excavated in Death Valley in 19th century. Initially it was transported out of Death Valley using these 20-mule teams that pulled carriages like this:

At some point there was a plan to replace them with a steam tractor but it turned out that it was less reliable than mules and it was soon retired. Here's a picture of the "Old Dinah" with snow-capped mountains in the background:

The views along the park were wonderful:

According to this story on MSNBC there haven't been so many flowers there in 50 years.

We also went to the Salt Creek, Titus Canyon, Scottys Castle and the Ubehebe Crater. Here's the gate at the Scottys Castle:

And here's the Ubehebe Crater:

On Sunday we drove south and stopped at the Golden Canyon, Devils Golf Course and Natural Bridge. I took this picture at the Devils Golf Course:

and this picture of the Natural Bridge Canyon:

If you plan to visit the park, have a look at their daily morning report that describes road conditions and weather.
On Sunday evening we arrived to Vegas. We had just enough time to watch Cirque du Soleil's O before going back to our hotel because we had to catch an early flight on Monday that would take us straight to work. Watching O reminded me of this funny "review" of it I read many years ago on the cool McSweeneys web site.

Recent films

Today I have watched The Yes Men, a very funny (but at the same time a little scary) documentary about the Yes Men (their web site).
Recently I also watched Iron & Silk. The film was interesting although of course it is a little simplistic and outdated.
I also watched Decalogue: One. This is the first of ten films based on the Ten Commandments. I watched a few many years ago on Polish TV and maybe now thanks to Netflix I will be able to see all ten.

Move to California

I haven't written for a while since my move to California and my new job made me a little busy. I will try to find time to resume blogging now but I am still in the process of finding a place to live and I haven't even shipped my things from the old house in Bellevue.

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