Monday, January 18, 2010

Paranormal Activity: Step in 70 min after the show begins

Finally watched this over the weekend after meaning to since last Oct. Yes, there's been a lot of hype for Paranormal Activity, and that brought me in too. The movie is best watched in a theater, at night, and with an audience that knows to shut up.

And then - go home to try and resist imagining the same things happening in your house. Oh, yes - you will imagine it all - just about the time you turn off the lights before trying to sleep.

And then you'll turn them on again. It's very, very difficult to shake off PA when home.

That said, I recommend this, to save prospective viewers a lot of
  1. Step into the theater an hour and ten minutes after the show begins. Until then, pretty much nothing happens(Now that everyone kinda knows about the story,the couple and the presence in their house -getting up to speed is no problem)
  2. Take a few minutes to get a feel for the situation on screen, and then...
  3. Focus from the time Katie wakes up, goes over to his side of the bed, and stares at him for a couple hours. This is about 3 minutes before the film ends.
That's all there is to this movie. The last 2.5 minutes of PA will have the impact that everyone's raving about. Save the first hour for anything else you had planned, outside the theater.

Trust me. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten years ago: At the dawn of 2000

The start of 2010 made me think back to what I was doing ten years ago, at the 'dawn of the millennium'. A decade already.

(Like now, everyone was going on about the new mil/century/decade, but here goes anyway: 2010 is still in the first decade, like 2000 was part of the 20th century)

NYE'00 - Nothing

On New Year's Eve for 2000, I was at no grand party, no huge celebration. It was at this nondescript pub in the equally nondescript town of North Adams, MA. There were several middle aged couples swaying to 'YMCA' and similar numbers, and the whole atmosphere was a total let down. And there was a lot of ice and snow on the ground outside. The only spot of cheer was we got to take home a free bottle of champagne.

To this day, I've failed to understand how I ended up there of all places, despite all the excitement in the run-up - months of it - to that night. What'd happened to all those grand plans?

That morning thro' February
The previous day, we'd watched other time zones ring in the new year on TV. Pacific island cultures that had no concept of the Gregorian calendar were doing artificial celebratory dances to welcome the rising sun. A friend stood up to announce it was the year 2100-something in some southeast Asian calendar, and if they didn't care about the year 2000, neither did he.

The world didn't seem any different in the morning. The ATMs and gas stations worked fine on January 1. There was some wonderment at finally being in the Year 2000.

Then it quickly all wore off. Suddenly it was like any another year. The same old work schedule, weekly Wed drives to Boston headquarters starting at 6am, Friday dance lessons - normalcy struck back very very quickly. Or so I thought...

Spring Onward: Rapid Change | All Smiles
However, 2000 turned out to be exciting overall for me - not for many millennial reason, but the pace of change in my life. That March, I was moved from Williamstown to the Boston area because of the nature of my work, and was compensated well for it. Like I needed an incentive to move to Beantown. I got to live in, and discover Boston that spring onward. (Pah-tay!) I discovered the bounty of stock options that vested early, and actually had value - major value. For a recent graduate that didn't care about stock options - because of the excitement of finishing school at SU and landing a dream job - I was suddenly holding the biggest check ever in my life.

I traveled around the country - Seattle, DC, VA, NC, took road trips to wildernesses in Vermont and NH, walked on frozen lakes in the moonlight, attended MLB games, went again to Britain and India. Toward the end of the year, I made a down payment on a brand new BMW, figuring if not now using the stock option bonanza -then when? It was customized and delivered five weeks later.

2000, from a slow start, was an exciting year at the turn of the century (let's also not forget the presidential election:'Gore wins Florida!', recants, recounts, Kathleen Harris, the Supreme Court). Here's wishing for myself - the same for this year, and onward.

(Images: 1. Cat from the year 2000. My apartment, 22 Arnold St, Williamstown, MA.
2. 325xi, day of delivery, Norwood, MA)