Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

October 16th, 2005

Pursuit by Happyness

One evening last week, Morgen and I went to a theater in downtown San Francisco—just a few blocks from where she works—to see a play featuring our friend Christopher in the role of (among other things) a homeless man. On our way, we walked down a block that had been closed to traffic and was full of moviemaking apparatus. Someone said they’d heard Will Smith was filming a movie there. Other than the barricades and a few glimpses of lights and cranes and so on, we didn’t see much, and I didn’t think anything of it. I’m not a particularly big Will Smith fan, and I’ve seen other movies being filmed here in town. Walked right past Robin Williams on the street one day, for example.

Then yesterday afternoon we noticed that all the billboards in our local BART station had been replaced with ads from ca. 1980. And in the evening, we saw tons of large white trucks unloading equipment, setting up tents and porta-potties, and generally taking over that block of our neighborhood. Today, we happened to pass through the station a couple of times, as the subway is our usual mode of transit around the city. And sure enough, the entire Glen Park station, just a few blocks from our home, had been converted into a movie set—with loads of cameras, lights, cables, and other gadgetry. It was quite fascinating (from a purely gadgety point of view, of course). The directors’ chairs were all silk-screened with the logo for The Pursuit of Happyness, coming next year to a theater near you. Will Smith stars as (among other things) a homeless man named—I’m not making this up—Christopher.

I might also mention, just as a passing observation, that the last name of Smith’s character in this movie is Gardner, and our two visits to the BART station today were on our way to and from watching The Constant Gardener.

In yet another random coincidence, today’s entry on my friend’s blog But She’s a Girl, titled “Imagining Nothing,” concerns both Bill Bryson (one of Morgen’s favorite authors) and the Big Bang, a topic I’ve been discussing a fair bit recently. And on our way down the street from our home this morning (right after reading that entry), we passed a garage sale where one of the featured items was a huge children’s book called Big Bang: The Story of the Universe.

These are the sorts of events that really shake my faith in the indeterminacy of life. I can only take so many coincidences without suspecting someone, or something, is behind them. In this case, I think it’s pretty clear what’s going on. I’m being pursued by Happyness. Or Will Smith is stalking me.

April 29th, 2005

Day of the Tiger, and then some

Well, it’s a big day for Mac fans, sci-fi fans, and authors.

Today (technically, this evening at 6 p.m. local time) marks the official world-wide availability of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, though some customers received their copies more than a week ago. This is a huge release with lots of amazing new features, about which you can read more on any of a thousand other Web sites.

Also at 6 p.m., my new ebook Take Control of Upgrading to Tiger goes on sale. If you’re a Mac user who’s planning to upgrade, that ebook will be the smartest $5 you can possibly spend. There’s also an excerpt from the ebook on the Macworld Web site. In addition to my new ebook, three other new Take Control ebooks will go on sale today: Take Control of Customizing Tiger by Matt Neuburg, Take Control of Users & Accounts in Tiger by Kirk McElhearn, and Take Control of Sharing Files in Tiger by Glenn Fleishman. These four ebooks will also appear in print Real Soon Now as Take Control of Tiger from Peachpit. (And yes, my ebooks on Apple Mail and Backups will be updated for Tiger in the near future too.)

Shortly after 6 p.m. my time, I will be about three blocks away from the nearest Apple Store in San Francisco, watching The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with Morgen and some friends. I’m a huge fan of the late Douglas Adams—even met him once at a book signing. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for years, and I certainly hope it does the story justice.

Last but not least, today is my mom’s birthday!

March 3rd, 2005

Frackin': My new favorite word

OK, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve gotten sucked into the new Battlestar Galactica series. I had to watch at first just to see what the SciFi Channel had done to the series I knew and loved as a kid. (A female Starbuck?! What in the gods’ names could they be thinking?) I’ve been genuinely impressed with almost every aspect of the show—the amazingly realistic visual effects, the interesting story lines, the clever twists. But most of all, I’ve enjoyed hearing the characters cuss.

Rather than simply sanitizing the scripts of all four-letter words, the writers wisely chose to assume that, this being a different time and place, different vocabulary could be considered profane. Hence: frack. In every episode, you’ll hear things like “No frackin’ way!” and “Oh man, we’re really fracked!” and “What the frack are you doing?” And because these lines are delivered without the slightest irony or humor, we buy them as real swearing. Improbably, it works extremely well.

Thus, I’m giving up “flippin'” for “frackin'”—at least for the time being. Oh, you think that’s silly? Go frack yourself.