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small red square Saw "Enemy Of The State" today, and had a good time, especially the chase through my old neighborhood <1>: down Columbia Road and ending with tragedy when the cyclist was forced into opposing traffic on Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle. Also liked Gene Hackman's (perhaps unintentional) homage to the J. Frank Parnell character in "Repo Man". Some clichés I'd like to see abolished from the techno-action genre of films would be:

  • The non-descript van jammed with techie guys and hardware, who can do omnipotent things while parked somewhere surveilling a target
  • Satellite imagery with a straight down POV when the "bird" is clearly not directly overhead
  • The big control centers with numerous flashy displays including the huge screen covering one wall showing something distracting - and nobody's watching any of it
The command room in this film had those banks of obviously non-functional 9-track tape drives (traditional in this type of set since the 1960s). An added bit of foolishness was the rows of manned, NASA-style consoles, decorated with Christmas garlands for the season <2> (since the film happened during the holidays). Previews:
  • "The Thin Red Line" (World War 2 in the Pacific with many top stars)
  • The new Star Trek ("Insurrection") which looked like fun
  • The imminent Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks romantic comedy involving e-mail, which physically drove me from the theater <3>
  • A drama with John Travolta as lawyer: "A Civil Action" (made for the airplane)

small yellow square Tomorrow morning I'm driving down to LA. Between Januaries 1987 and 1994 I lived there; since then I've made annual pilgrimages back. Here's a summary of those:

July 1994
Dinner at the elegant "Yamashiro" restaurant atop the Hollywood Hills with B, F and another friend; visit to the company's Newport Beach office some co-workers wound up at, which led to a luncheon with TRW people from previous job; "Forest Gump" at the Santa Monica where a festival was crowding up the 3rd Street Promenade.
October 1995
Drove the rental car down to San Diego (my first trip there) to visit F - drinks at the Hotel Coronado; then back at LA, films: "Theremin" and later, "To Die For" with B; a night at the Hotel Bonaventura and a job interview downtown.
November 1996
Dinner with F down in Mexico; Malibu with David's sister; job interview at Candle Corp.
November 1997
Party with blue lights in the backyard tree with B; late-nite ride on the elevated Green Line.
This trip I'll try to post something from a cyber-café.

small green square Nice holiday tradition I heard of:
An empty place is always set at the feast table for the Unexpected Guest, that no one showing up should ever be turned away. And imagine the gusto when a Guest finally happens!

small violet square Last night I cooked veggies for dinner; somehow I came across this recipe, which is quite good especially for the sweet potatoes and garlic.

LA - Los Angeles
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
POV - Point Of View
TRW - Thompson, Ramo, Wooldridge (the company's founders)
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<1> Even though most of the airborne imagery shown didn't match that territory, and although the "lingerie shop staffed by modeling-salesclerks" is a pleasant Hollywood fantasy I doubt that even Will Smith could find one in Adams-Morgan.

<2> When I worked in a NASA control room we never decorated - that stuff only happened (was only allowed) back in the office. I can only imagine that a facility devoted to Security would be even more uptight.

<3> I've seen this trailer before (for "You Got Mail") and it induces nausea; fortunately my seat location and the cinema geometry at this screening were such that I could easily bolt for a minute and then regain my chair.