It is not much fun to come home to an apartment empty of dogs and Jenny. Not much fun at all.
House hunting was not quite as productive as we had hoped; we saw about 20 houses on Saturday, revisited 5 on Sunday, and picked 3 we wanted to make offers on. Made the first offer on Sunday night, and Monday the fellow came back with an offer that was a) more expensive than his original asking price (?!) and b) wouldn't appraise anyway. People are weird about selling their house. To make a long story short, we passed on even trying to negotiate with him. Made the second offer yesterday; haven't heard back yet. Hoping for the best, but trying not to be too hopeful in case we get shot down. :-P
I had a job interview Saturday as well—a completely informal not-really-an-interview-but-really-an-interview lunch, anyway. Came out of it very excited about the job. I was the first person they'd talked to, as they had seized the opportunity to talk to me while I was in town anyway. Like I said, I would be delighted to take this job if it were offered. Again, trying not to be too hopeful…
Tonight I went and finally saw Matrix Reloaded. As for whether it was a worthy successor or not, I'm reserving judgement; I just don't think anyone can really say until the third movie comes out. It's possible that some of the slightly disjointed stuff will make more sense once some of the meta-mysteries get resolved (assuming they do). Overall it was reasonably enjoyable.
Okay, I have to respond to Lileks' post about M:R. I actually have two parallel responses to his criticisms, one of which spoils the plot twist and one of which doesn't (for the spoiler versions, hit this).
- His complaint about giant underground complexes. The complex could have been constructed after the humans went all nuclear winter on the planet; no sense in building aboveground after that, really.
- The dirty people dancing ecstatically. I think one of the themes of the Matrix movies is that the computers want[ed] life to be neat, and clean, and just-so; the first version of the Matrix was that way, and all the people went nuts. The Matrix's idea of reality is clean, brightly lit cubicle farms, where people arrive at 8:00am sharp and leave right at 5, and which doesn't smell of human sweat and mistakes. Reality ain't like that, as anyone with a small child should know all too well. Humans are dirrty [yes, that's intentional]; even the act of replication is noisy, sweaty, and messy (at least if you're doing it right). I don't have much trouble imagining that these people have few reasons to party; the impending end of the world might well induce a frenzy of partying. "Eat, drink, and be merry/for tomorrow we'll die," as the Dave Matthews Band song has it.
- Okay, the spunky kid was annoying. He wasn't really any less believable than the "please watch over my son/brother/sister/mother crowd, just more insistent about it, though. Personally I spent a lot of the movie wondering if he was a setup for something.
- I didn't think the expositions on the philosophy of the Matrix were all that annoying. There was plenty of action in the first half of the film, and if you don't care about the talky bits, then either go wait for T3 instead (cause we all know they don't give a damn about a self-consistent mythos) or just let your eyes glaze over during those bits.
- The CGI during the mega-agent fight was pretty rough, but I think they were probably pushing the limits of current hardware there. As for Neo the super-hacker having unexpected difficulties with the agents et al, well, the very first thing Neo says to an agent is "Huh. Upgrades." You could think about this as Neo's abilities being the cause of loopholes in the software—sort of the ten ton equivalent of buffer overflows and race conditions. The Matrix goes around trying to plug these holes, and then Neo has to find new loopholes to exploit. In any sufficiently complex system, fixing a loophole will introduce roughly another loophole; this must surely be true of the Matrix.
- I thought the freeway scene was tolerable. Yeah, it didn't have the "oh my god wow" factor of Neo dodging bullets, or Neo stopping bullets and then literally flexing his newfound muscles, or of the lobby scene, but then we've all been subjected to Matrix wannabees for several years now, and the novelty is a little thin. Still well-choreographed.
- I did like the Architect scene. I didn't notice Bush and wouldn't care if I had; while it's possible the Wachowskis meant it in the purest "Bush is evil" sense, it's also possible that they were merely showing a lot of video clips of evil times (and thus clips of 9/11, for instance, would qualify). As I said, I really don't care one way or the other.
Anyway, that was my take. I give it about a 3/5 (the original Matrix being a 4.5/5), and may upgrade it to 4/5 later if the third movie improves it overall. I think the reason it's not doing great at this point is that a lot of people were more interested in the visuals and whatnot the first time around, where the second time around it's at least as much about the story and the concept. Or perhaps it's just a slower, not quite as popular movie; I can't tell.
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