Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Best Films of 2007

I know most people do their “best of the year” movie reviews at the end of the year, but I see most of my movies on DVD. Blockbuster online is such a bargain and it’s not exactly comfortable to snuggle with my wife in those theater seats but my couch works just fine. Besides, everyone else does their reviews at the end of the year so perhaps this one will be at least a little more interesting by virtue of its novel timing. In fact it’s such a good idea (if I do say so myself) that I may do a best of the year music blog in a later addition.
So here are my favorite flicks of last year in no particular order.

I Am Legend: Kind of like Cast Away but with zombies and explosions. I also loved how the Bob Marley music broke up the tension. “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Seriously, something about his music just slows your heart rate the second it comes on.

Rescue Dawn: Werner Herzog’s films have this overwhelming sense of reality and this one is no exception. There’s this one scene I can’t get out of my head. It’s where one of the characters is sitting there playing with these plants that close up when you touch them. So natural, so real.

Enchanted: Amy Adams was great.

The Simpsons: I laughed a lot. Plus it was a whole event in and of itself. They even converted the 7-Eleven down the street into a KWIKI MART.

As you can see April was very exited to be there. Here I am as a Simpsons' charachter. You can try it yourself at

The Company: My brother and his wife gave me the DVD’s of this movie/mini series. It’s a great spy thriller with a lot of accurate and some inaccurate history that follows some fictional and some historical figures through almost the entire history of the CIA. Well acted (especially by Michael Keaton who plays James Jesus Angleton the real life “spy hunter”), extremely well written, and historically accurate. I also happen to be reading Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes, a very well written informative albeit somewhat biased history/op ed piece of the CIA.

Ratatouille: Great animation, great voice acting, great story.

The Bourne Ultimatum: I liked the first Bourne but I didn’t think it was anything special but the second and third installments have had a lot of depth as spy thrillers and have done so somehow without sacrificing any action.

In the Shadow of the Moon: I was absolutely fascinated with the in depth personal descriptions of what it was like visit the moon. I felt as if I somehow experienced the trip myself. Also the collection of foottage is fantastic.

Breach: I know this the third spy movie on the list but it was a good year for spy movies (The Good Shepard almost made the list as well but not quite). This one is a true story.

Live free or die hard: A lot of fun, as always.

Spider man 3: Liked way it was solved. The protagonist and antagonist actually worked their differences out instead of settling them in some abandoned factory.

Harry Potter 5: Not as good as #4, but still had a good time. April and I saw it Imax 3-d, Fun.

Dan in Real Life: A great little comedy.

Rocky Balboa: Redemption for the series after #5.

No Country For Old Men: I've liked every film the Coen brothers have made. The scenery was stunning, the villain was a modern classic, and the suspense level was up to eleven for much of the movie.

Juno: There were a few things that bugged me about this film but it was cleverly written and I laughed a lot.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Running for fun---what kind of fun is that?

Most people (including but not limited to my husband) think I am absolutely nuts. They're probably right. I've run several marathons, and my latest challenge is an Ultramarathon. This is a race in which I will run 50 miles. Without stopping.
I've been running religiously for several years. It's made me a little obsessive. I wrote a 15-page paper on the addiction of running back in college. Not surprisingly, I discovered my own addiction. I even named my puppy after my first pair of running shoes. But what really makes me seem odd is the mileage I log for no apparent reason (or so it sometimes seems).
All I do anymore is sleep and run. Last week I logged over 70 miles, all of them with my very tired dog, Nike. This dog would run to the edge of the world for me. Literally. We live on the coast and usually run along the bike path at the edge of the world that goes from Marina Del Rey down past LAX. Sometimes I feel bad about running so much. Especially on days like yesterday. We ran 26.2 miles (a marathon), and then walked another 3 at the beach. Nike is dog tired. We come home, and I will fill the bathtub with cold water and he will soak his muscles and drink until he's sick. I took him out to go to the bathroom and he limped the whole 20 feet to the lawn. It kind of makes me feel bad, until I take him out for the next run and he's smiling at me like he couldn't be happier.
Everyone knows that some excercise is good for you. Real runners don't care. They run because they feel like it and because they enjoy it. As a self-proclaimed running addict (and only a moderate one at that), I run over 10 hour a week. When I don't run, it's like there's something missing, and I don't know how to fill the void. I run to stay healthy, but I also run because it's a part of me. Doctors recommend running 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes at a time. Joe Henderson, a runner/writer stated, "This [15 miles/week] you do for the body. What follows is self-indulgence."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A three Hour Trip?

I promise that’s the only Gilligan’s Island pun that I’ll use. So Dawn ”Mary Anne” Wells got busted with marijuana on the way home from a party in Teton Valley Idaho. She was reportedly observed swerving before she was pulled over. I recommend ingesting that statement with a medium to large grain of salt. Cops in Teton County look for any excuse to pull you over. One time my brother and I got pulled over just outside of Driggs for passing an undercover officer at five over the limit. We experienced a pretty good harassing my two favorite parts of the experience were when they asked me for my identification even though I was a passenger and when after learning that we worked as counselors at a local boy’s ranch one officer asked us if we counseled the boys to obey the law (Hilllllarious!). In the not too far distant past (the 90’s) it was different. Partly because it was more like the very distant past, the cops were cool and more reminiscent of Old West lawmen and even led by a real one-eyed sheriff.
But most shocking of all; I had no idea that they even had those kind of parties in Teton Valley. Dawn certainly never invited me to any ( though we weren’t exactly chums but I did do some work on her house as well as for “Spud Fest” the independent film festival that she heads up I miss my summers in Teton Valley working on The Bennion Boy’s Ranch and with the good people of Victor and Driggs.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ok hippies, you can put your chains away

Boy, am I relieved. I actually like this tree a lot. You can’t tell from the picture but it’s a giant eucalyptus. I walk past it every weekday and on some unhappy Saturdays too (I also walk past the spot where Reese Witherspoon got dumped in Legally Blonde). UCLA has some really cool trees and plenty of squirrels and even some possums to fill them. The school has a 3 out of 5 rating on The Campus Squirrel Listings Quite frankly I had expected it to be a little higher. I mean I know we’ve got nothing on Berkley but to be out ranked by University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign! At least we got them beat in U.S. News and World Report.
I guess the reason for this sign is to stave off the massive protests that would likely plague the campus if people thought that the tree may not be fine. Personally my fears are not fully assuaged. Here’s a list of some other reassurance signs I would like to see around campus:
The guy tasered inside Powell Library is fine
The conservatives on campus are fine (all three of them).
The 1L’s are fine. Well, maybe not.
The people who live near campus are fine because students can’t park in front of their houses
The Basketball team is fine. Football? Not so much

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hello World

Welcome to The world According to Garff. My experiment in blogging is up and running. April and I have been saying we were going to create a blog of our happenings for some time and I have always wanted a medium in which to channel my ranting. So here we have a sort of hybrid chronicle/op ed blog. The title, of course, comes from the John Irving novel as well as the Nes Poeter, a.k.a. Ernesto Bello poem, The World According to GAR-F-F-F-F about the 2000-2001 revolution in the Philippines. I feel perfectly justified in borrowing Bello’s title for my blog since he borrowed my name for his poem. So, World meet Garff, Garff meet World.

Can I Park Here?

I would really like to have a Urim and Thummim mostly so I can decode the parking signs here in L.A. I’m a law student so I would like to think that I’m able to interpret the complex phraseology and technical constructions that lawyers love so much. But these signs have me stumped. And it’s not as if I’m back in Salt Lake where I could park illegally with virtual impunity (except at the U of course). Here if you are parked improperly, “illegal” is so pejorative, for more than 2 minutes you will be caught. And you get no sympathy from the meter maids. Not that I blame them they run into a hundred people like me every day with some desperate sob story or well crafted excuse. That’s why what happened to me is so incredible. April, Katie, and I were at the beach in Santa Monica. We were about 30 seconds late getting back to the meter and so as Murphy’s Law would have it the parking guy was writing up a ticket at that very moment. And guess what, when I told him I must have just missed the expriation he said “don’t worry about it.” I still can’t believe it! I have polled my friends and no one has ever had that happen to them before. In L.A. parking fines are just something you come to expect like traffic, good weather, and smog.