Weatherpocalypse 2K7/8

On Friday, Brugos and I drove two hours East to a cabin outside of Leavenworth (the Bavarian town, not the prison) to spend the weekend with some friends for a birthday. Snow was in the forecast, which isn't unusual for that area, but we, like all Seattle kids, are inexperienced and unprepared when it comes to snow, so we drove with trepidation on Friday. Friday's trip was uneventful. We arrived at the cabin (Which was effing HUGE and full of the most awesome random yard sale kitsch ever. Pictures forthcoming.) and didn't really worry about the weather again, until Sunday when we realized that it has actually snowed about THREE FEET since our arrival. We had chains, (well, some of us) but that didn't change the fact that the huge front yard, driveway, and roads leading to the main one weren't plowed. Eventually, we learned that they weren't planning to plow the roads till Monday morning. This was after our friend with whom we drove attempted to put on his chains, only to learn that THEY WERE TOO BIG. Les Schwab screwed us. Two people, who had fitted chains, decided to risk it anyway, and got home, but they said it was touch and go. The rest of us decided to wait till morning when they plowed the roads. Overnight, another FOOT of snow fell, so they were behind on plowing, but it helped that it started pouring down rain. At least it helped us get out of the cabin and onto the road. But the rain washed snow down from the mountains onto the passes and so one pass was completely closed, and another was closed temporarily. We spent the day either backtracking or waiting for major highways to re-open. It took about 8 hours to get back to Seattle where apparently it had also snowed (NSFW snow sculpture), then flooded, but to a lesser degree. I know that part of this is people being unprepared for this kind of weather, but Eastern Washingtonians ARE used to snow. They just aren't used to 4 feet of it in 48 hours followed by torrential downpours. This shit is WEIRD people.

When we got home, we wondered why poor Tobe, usually the picture of cleanliness, was covered in gunk and filth, until I checked his food station and found that it was surrounded by an inch-deep puddle of gross basement water.

Weatherpocalypse, ya'll.

NFT Radar: Greenlake Pitch n' Putt

X-Posted from Not For Tourists

This ain’t your daddy’s golf course. The atmosphere of this 9-hole course is somewhere between that of a mini-golf course and the country club, but without the windmills of the former and the expensive stuffiness of the latter. If you’re like me, and you can’t drive a golf ball to save your stylish checkered pants, you’re in luck. The longest drive is 105 yards and the average is 65 yards. Putting alongside breezy Greenlake is the perfect way to spend an afternoon outside. Bring your own driver and putter or rent a set (only $2) and fill a backpack with beer for an extra special time. At $5 per game, you will have plenty of money left over to make a friendly wager with your buddies, or have a nice, affordable day out with the family. Just don’t bring any serious golfers with you. They will lose patience quickly with the easy-going amateur atmosphere and the snug course layout. Don’t forget to yell “Fore!”

5701 E Green Lake Way N 98103
206-632-2280
http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Athletics/golfcrse.htm#green

Film Threat Review: Escape From the Fire

Originally posted on FilmThreat.com (now defunct)

2007, Un-rated, 13 minutes
One and a half stars

Oh crap. Is this really a low-budget indie short about the Holocaust? It is? Ugh.

Escape from the Fire begins with a little boy (Jordan Goldberg) running through the woods. He’s got curly hair and he’s wearing a Star of David band on his beige uniform sleeve so right away you know you’re in for a Farrelly-esque laugh-riot. The little boy seeks refuge in a house where he finds a little girl (Allison Sparrow). The two of them hide from Nazis and other bad men and everybody learns an important lesson about, you know, genocide and stuff.

Perhaps director Joel Dunn assumed that if he made a movie about cute little children hiding from Nazis, there was no way anyone could criticize it. Well, I’m not going to let him get off that easily. For a 13-minute movie, the little boy sure does a lot of running. He runs through the woods. He runs around the house. He runs through more woods. The good thing about a movie in which there isn’t really any dialog (there’s some un-subtitled German and lots of gesturing) is that you can fast forward through it without missing anything. Yes, the Holocaust was a horrible tragedy. But that doesn’t mean that we needed another movie about it. Especially if it doesn’t have anything new to say on the subject that we didn’t already learn from Anne Frank.

In short, “Escape from the Fire” is nothing special. But that little boy is pretty cute.

Film Threat Review: Johnny Berlin

Originally posted on Film Threat (now defunct) 

2007, Un-rated, 56 minutes
Three and a half stars

 

It makes perfect sense that Dominic DeJoseph would want to document the man called Johnny Berlin. We’ve all encountered eccentrics like Berlin at the bus stop or in a near-empty bar. They have interesting stories and opinions but, as you have unwittingly become their intimate live audience, you are at their mercy, and it’s difficult to sneak away to use the bathroom or just read the book you brought, should things get uncomfortable. A documentary gives you an intimate look into the life of one of these guys with a nice, protective fourth wall to ease the tension. Unfortunately, “Johnny Berlin” is just a little bit too slice-of-life. The story lacks flow and is never really tied together.

“Johnny Berlin” follows the titular train porter (a cross between a maid and a bellboy) as he carries out his tour of duty aboard a refurbished 1930s luxury train traveling up and down the West coast. He makes it clear from the start, however, that while he takes pride in his work (such as gingerly hand-brushing the pubes from a dirty bed for the next guest) this isn’t a career for him. He is a lost soul in a dying industry. Though nothing much happens to Johnny, during the 56 minutes we meet him, nor during his lifetime, he is filled with dreams; rock and roll dreams, dreams of writing the great American novel, dreams of meeting the right girl. It sounds romantic enough, but looking at the middle-aged man telling you these things, one is left with the distinct notion that most, if not all of these dreams will remain elusive.

Working on a luxury train must be a lot like working on a submarine. The quarters are close and claustrophobic, lonely and dark with no ventilation. Johnny is clearly disturbed by it because he frequently mentions the excessive dander floating in the air with no means of escape. He must relate a bit to the dander as he himself floats aimlessly, trapped in his life with no recourse. He is dissatisfied with the workaday world, even though his day job is unusual. He has artistic designs but is he eccentric or just loony? His novel pitches are curious enough. The one he wants to write in Cambodia is about a world-weary protagonist who decides to trek around the world…by rolling on the ground. But would the end results be brilliant (a la “A Confederacy of Dunces”) or utterly un-publishable.

While the subject of “Berlin” is documentary gold, director DeJoseph doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. We are plunged into the world of this tragic character without the text introduction or narration. We don’t know if he ever made it to Cambodia. Our time with Johnny simply begins and ends. For that reason, watching “Johnny Berlin” is a lot like getting stuck next to the chatty weirdo on the bus, but without the pesky fear that he may pull out a knife and stab you at any moment. He’s a fascinating character, but the short time you spend with him is quite enough. Maybe even just a little bit too much.