Weekly Rochester Events #276: Keep Your Bering's Straight
Thursday, April 22, 2004First up, this feels like a short month since it ends on a Friday—we'll be at On the Rocks (1551 Mount Hope Ave., formerly Michael's and before that Trios) for lunch on Saturday. Conveniently located right by my house, the food is indeed pretty good. I had a bit of the fish fry last week and it was probably the best I've had (comparable to Captain Jim's Fish Market (2329 Main St. E.)... and I don't really like fish fry's) although the bleu-cheese-topped (not dressing) half-pound "Trump" burger was cooked rarer than I ordered and really didn't live up to how good it sounded.
Anyway, a few years ago I had this idea to help people recover things they lost. I was going to call it "TruOwner." The idea was that you'd buy tags with an ID number and the TruOwner website address. The tags would be durable and have a good adhesive. The idea was that if someone found something you lost, they could check the website and determine how to contact you for a reward and such.
Well, I shelved the idea because it would be difficult to set up, difficult to get an infrastructure in place so police and lost-and-found's would recognize it, difficult to find a way to print and manufacture the tags, and I'd have to hire people and such. Fortunately, I just have to come up with these ideas and wait because there's a company called StuffBAK who essentially does all that stuff. Plus, the tags are pretty cheap ... about $2 each or so and include the registration and essentially a lifetime of sitting in the database. When items are lost then returned, StuffBAK provides $20 worth of their stickers to the finder.
In another project, I've had a bunch of PC's lying around ... a mix of 120MHz-range Pentiums ... and I finally decided to try and make them into working computers. So far I got two of them working with Linux (RedHat 6 ... the only CD I had lying around.) I mostly wanted to find out if they worked, because I'd like to use them in a project in the car. I think I can get one more working from the parts I got from rummaging through junk this week.
That, and I started my garden, which I guess is a "build stuff" kind of project ... it's more of a "do stuff for a short time and wait" kind of project, but it's on its way now. This year I will most likely have tomatoes, and if I'm lucky, basil and sweet corn, and if even more lucky, potatoes will magically appear because they were still in the ground when I tilled.
Also, I decided to pick up stuff to make wine. I want to make blackberry wine like my dad did a few years ago. I started at Beers of the World (3450 Winton Plaza) but I ended up going to The Wine Press and Hops (50 State St., Pittsford) instead because the selection and variability was better. While Beers of the World offered mostly beer-making kits, Wine Press offered better personal service and more versatility. I decided to get one-gallon jugs to make batches—this was against the owner's strong recommendation that I start with at least a three-gallon kit because one-gallon batches will get annoying too quickly. We'll see if that happens (the annoyance or the wine making.)
As for going out and about, I stayed in a lot this week. I went to see The Big Empty at The Little (240 East Ave.) on Thursday when the writer and director, Steve Anderson (a Rochester native) was there to speak about it. The "Curse of the Little" struck again as it was a somewhat important showing and there were lots of people there, so I was expecting some kind of problem. The right speaker kept cutting out, and I thought that'd be the worst of it, but the coup de grâce was when the film broke right at the climax of the film. And I mean really broke: bring-up-the-house-lights-and-get-a-complimentary-drink kind of broke.
Anyway, once they fixed the problems, the movie was pretty good ... it gets a solidly average rating in my book. The good thing was that I'm still trying to figure out alternative interpretations of it. My idea is that John Person (the lead character, played by John Favreau) is a guy trapped in day-to-day existence. He's given a way to escape that existence and comes right to the brink where he must choose between two outcomes, neither of which seem to have any real relevance to his day-to-day life, and neither of which provide him with enough information to make an informed decision—he's just got to have faith in whatever he decides. Essentially, I think it's a metaphoric journey representing the possible ways to escape your day-to-day problems by looking at them from such a perspective that their magnitude seems small. That is, the spectrum of everything in your life from "good" to "bad" can be changed entirely if you experience an event that resets one of the endpoints—an event better than the best thing you've experienced, or worse than the worst.
Thus my quandary: I have already spread a thick layer of Jayce-philosophy all over my interpretation of the film, so I'd like to try and undo that so I can see some other interpretation.
Don't get me wrong, though: the film wasn't all good, either. I thought it felt a lot like The Big Lebowski (which I need to go see again so I can be sure) to which it owes a lot of its story about a mysterious suitcase and a fetish for bowling, and like 29 Palms (the one also starring Rachael Leigh Cook, not the other, slightly more recent Twentynine Palms) because of its rural desert setting and quirky feel.
The other problem is twofold: the characters seemed to be roughly drawn in the script, and the actors didn't have the skills to fill them out. Steve Anderson said he designed the film with film noir in mind, so the characters are pretty well established by the genre. The minor characters, such as Kelsey Grammer's "Agent Banks" of the FBI or Daryl Hannah's "Stella" (the bar owner) were acted effectively—I thought I was watching the characters, not the actors playing the characters. However, the principal actors, John Favreau and Rachael Leigh Cook just didn't seem to be much more than John Favreau and Rachael Leigh Cook reading the dialog of the characters they're supposed to be. Thankfully John Favreau was mostly effective—his role was especially challenging because his character was utterly a bore (but a nice guy) and had so much screen time. As for Rachael Leigh Cook ... dang ... I adore her, but I've yet to see her be her character instead of "Rachael Leigh Cook playing her character" as she has in this and past movies (although she came closest in 29 Palms where I had moments where I believed she was "The Waitress.")
Immediately after the movie, there was a wine-and-cheese reception which I indulged in a bit. Well, at least the cheese ... I wasn't up for the wine. I was glad I didn't get a chance to talk with Steve Anderson because I hadn't fully formed my opinions yet and didn't want to imply the movie sucked outright (like the other locally produced movie, Checkout.)
Right after that, I headed straight to Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) I missed Carbonic save for a song and a half, but got to see namelessnumberheadman who are this great synth/effects heavy, rock-ish band who were just ambient enough that my mind drifted a little bit. Kelli Hicks played as well and kept the otherwise odd mix of people pretty much mesmerized by with her simple melodies, airy vocals, and poetic and metaphoric lyrics.
Coming up ... yeesh ... have you scrolled down? Thursday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday have some touch choices, but Saturday is just plain insane. If you break it down into chunks of time, it's still a mess. Late morning you can clean up the canal trail or check out the Genesee Center for the Arts sales; in the afternoon you can go out to D-Day at UofR or stay in and play on the WXXI auction; early evening you can see Slasher with John Landis or check out the experimental music show at the All-Purpose Room; and late evening you've got to pick between five shows. Ordinarily I'd say I'll try to do it all, but I don't think even I could pull that off—and that's not even counting the few things I didn't mention.
If anyone says there's nothing to do in Rochester, you are hereby obligated to punch them in the head.
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On this day ... April 22
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