Thursday, November 30, 2006


A few weeks ago I finally watched The Color Purple. Good movie.

Now I understand that Oprah named her production company after her character's husband. I was always confused by what I took to be a Marx brothers tribute.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lego #1 Tire manufacturer

"...the LEGO Group is producing 15 billion components a year—that's 1.7 million items an hour, or 28,500 a minute. Tire production accounts for some of that number; the factory also produces 306 million tiny rubber tires a year. In fact, going by that number, LEGO is the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer."

From this beautiful story about how LEGOs are made.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Daybreak is my favorite show

I love Daybreak.

I can't wait for another episode.

And yet I must.

Time travel is always one of my favorite themes. I recently enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife a great deal. That love story emphasizes the inexorable march of time in a relationship. I have wondered what my girlfriend was like as a child. The time traveler can know.

In Daybreak, a detective has the unusual ability to be able to question a murder VICTIM. Like Groundhog Day, he experiences the same day over and over. Twice now he has missed an opportunity, and muttered that he would just come back "tomorrow". Also, the actors do fantastically good work. But the writing is super awesome.

I like Desperate Housewives

I have a confession. I really liked this week's Desperate Housewives.

It was really quite something.
Ethically tangled. Brilliant plot and nuanced acting.

Massive spoilers:

One neighbor's exboyfriend was in a coma and doesn't remember whether
he killed a French flight attendant, Monique. We all think another
neighbor's husband, the dentist, did it, since we think he killed his
wife who has vanished. The revelation that dentist cheated on his
missing wife with Monique causes his current wife to throw him out,
but he tells her a tale and she takes him back. And casts out
dentist's mother who hates him. And mother has a late midnight
meeting with the missing wife, who is very much alive.

Coma man's ex girlfriend is dating a man she met at the hospital,
whose wife is in a coma. She has moved on, is seeing this British
man. But her ex has awoken from the coma, been arrested for murder,
and she feels he's innocent. She wants to defend him, but her
boyfriend is threatened. She promises that she's committed to him,
but he demands that she never see coma-ex again, in exchange for him
funding the best possible legal defense.

Finally, Felicity Huffman's character chased her son into the basement
of a neighbor. Neighbor saved her life in the hostage crisis.
Neighbor has basement full of video games, electric trains, cool toys,
and photos of boys wearing swim suits. He coaches the swim team at
the local fitness center. But he has a lot of photos of half-naked
boys. He has a sister in a wheelchair who's ill.
Two days later all the pictures and toys are gone. The toys are at
the local children's hospital. Felicity tells all the neighbors to be
vigilant and watch their kids. Neighbor shows up at christmas block
party dressed as Santa, giving away toys. No one lets their kids take
a toy. Wheelchair sister dressed as elf is distressed. Sister
accosts Felicity, Felicity says "better safe than sorry". Sister
says, "well, you're safe. Doesn't matter who's sorry. Did you
consider you might be wrong?"
There's still no proof. Felicity calls a neighbor meeting. She
arrives to a gathering mob, with picket signs and pitchforks. After
20 minutes, and ambulance arrives, and takes wheelchair sister to the
hospital. She dies.
Next day, Felicity is wracked with guilt, tries to atone with
neighbor. Neighbor says, wow, you must feel guilty. THEN!
He thanks her. He knew that with his sister to care for, he couldn't
slip, couldn't let his dark side out. But now he's free. Time to
move to a new town, and be true to himself.

Best intentions gone totally and completely awry. I love the
uncertainty. The dentist may or may not have killed Monique, we
really don't know. We suspect, the camera and script point us in a
direction, but we don't have evidence. And we were led to believe the
pedophile was guilty, then to believe it was a misunderstanding, and
then unswitched with some brilliant acting and musical score.

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

I just had an insight into the difference between Trek and Wars. It's
TV vs. film.

Sure, I'd always noticed the darkness of Star Wars. Star Trek has an
essential optimism, can-do, everyone will get along once we find out
that woman is a salt-sucking alien. Star Wars is about the endless
struggle between good and evil.

Both tell stories, but with very different flavor. Both use
Campbell/Jung archetypes, but in different ways.

This great story tutorial explores how stories always use Campbell archetypes.

And this tutorial explores how film and TV stories are essentially different.

So, Star Wars is movies. Movies can kill characters. Movies can
transform their own universes essentially. Entire planets can be
destroyed. Lives can be changed, people can lose limbs, values,
Star Trek is TV. The regular cast is on contract. Only the redshirts
can die, so a totemic price can be paid. At the end of 44 minutes,
the struggle of this particular planet will be put to bed, and our
heroes will fly off to the next planet and the next struggle.

Which isn't to say I don't like Star Trek. I actually prefer it. But
it's to note that the difference in tone between the two sagas isn't
inherent in their authors, or characters, or stories. It's
technological. TV has a structure that causes a type of story. And
film has a different structure that causes a different type of story.
TV is soothing, daily, sucking your thumb linus security blanket.
Cinema can be much more. And usually isn't.