Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Great Quake remembered

Not sure how much national press this is getting, but today the City is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake that devastated not only San Francisco, but towns up and down the coast. This site has some very interesting articles, photos, and videos about not only the earthquake, but also the resulting fires that destroyed the City, and the subsequent rebuilding efforts.

And, just to add the element of fear, here is an article that estimates the amount of damage a similar quake would have today, and here is a link to some new maps that show the liquefaction (when solid ground becomes sandy liquid due to the shaking of a large quake) risk when the next big one hits. Neat.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Celebrating the resurrection of Christ with hot man-on-man action

The subject line is one way of looking at my trip to the ballet on Easter Sunday to see the touring company of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. This version puts an new twist on the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, and while I admit that I have not seen the old version, after having read the synopsis, I am glad that I never did. The classic version sounds pretty stodgy, and while the new version certainly had its slow moments (the second act looked like a recital at a dance school, with various groups of swans running on stage to do their act, then running off, and the third act had a similar scene at a party where various groups of dancers had to get in their "solo" time), it had funny parts, sad parts, kept my interest, and even included what had to be the best dance combination ever: disco ballet!

Maybe if Antonio Banderas had taught that combination to sassy inner-city kids, his movie wouldn't have flopped.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Is it just me?

Any time I don't really enjoy something that seems universally praised, I have a bad habit of asking myself: did I just not get it? But then I also sometimes wonder: when art is so widely praised, is it because others have asked themselves that same question, and continue said praise so as to avoid looking like they didn't get it?

I call this the Thin Red Line syndrome.

I have shades of this syndrome after finishing The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. I really liked Leo, one of the main characters, but have to admit to being tired of the lots-of-different-storylines-coming-together-at-the-end thing that seems to have plagued literature in recent years. I was not overly impressed by the book as a whole, and certainly never found myself "vertiginously excit[ed]," but again, maybe you have to be a critic to get that excited about a novel? Tough call.

For me, I'll give this book a C+; I finished it, and I enjoyed looking at the world through Leo's eyes, but overall, I feel this book is overhyped.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


What happened this year? There are always some fun upsets and buzzer beaters in the first round, but I don't remember a year of March Madness where the Final Four and championship games were all so god-awful boring. Twenty-point routs I expect in a 1-16 matchup, not in the Final Four.

But no worries, NCAA...we'll be back next year.