Piano Teacher

Finished watching The Piano Teacher, a Netflix rental, on DVD. It's a movie that you can only imagine the French making. Or perhaps the Japanese. No one in America would. And I could only imagine Isabelle Huppert playing the lead. To take a role like this ensures you'll never get a shot at a romantic comedy, and she's okay with that.
The movie won all the major awards at Cannes in 2001--best movie, best actress, best actor. Plays like modern or contemporary art: serious, intellectual, unflinching, pedantic. In other words, even though I think it's a really good movie, I'd only recommend it to one or two of my friends, and they're the ones that none of my other friends like.
Huppert's cold, precise disciplinarian of a piano teacher reminded me of every frightening music teacher I've ever had. You wonder how great musicians like Itzhak Perlman or Yo-Yo Ma endure years of harsh competition and training to emerge with such cheerful personalities. I, for one, would crack like a glass going from hot to cold.

I, Robot

Crippled by the upgrade to Windows XP, my computer can no longer play any sounds. It can only beep. It takes me back to the days when the only sound a computer would make was a beep, when it encountered an error, for example. Windows XP is Tereus, and it cut the tongue out of my computer, Philomena. Now all my computer can do is grunt at me like an idiot.

Giant squid

These people don't know how lucky they are. To be attacked by a giant squid? That's straight out of Jules Verne. Someday I'd like to see one alive, in person. Do they hang out in the Great Barrier Reef?

Not bad

Yao vs. Shaq, round one. Yao acquitted himself alright. The first few minutes of the game were awesome. First series. Shaq wins the tip, then immediately posts Yao up and calls for the ball. Shaq spins baseline to throw up a shot, and Yao stuffs him. At the other end, they immediately go to Yao on the left block. Jump hook is good, and the crowd at Compaq center goes crazy. Two more Yao blocks of Shaq shots and a Yao layup in transition and I'm waving a towel in the air.
Settled down from there. Yao has handled his public persona (or is that really his personality?) beautifully. He graciously sought the high ground and brushed off Shaq's silly comments, and in doing so he came out looking like a dignified veteran forgiving the silliness of a brash young kid when Shaq is actually his senior by many years.