I finished up Alex's training and put him off the truck last Thursday before going home for the weekend. I have a new student named Don. He's 40 and from Flint, Michigan. He's a bit of a talker, so hopefully he doesn't take my generally quiet nature personally. So far he's doing okay; really rough on the shifting, but we'll iron that out in a couple of days. Otherwise, decent lane control and he's reasonably bright so I don't anticipate the Qualcomm or maps/directions/routing being any big deal for him. Hopefully I can get him up to speed in a week or so and begin putting down some miles again. Between Thomas, Alex and myself, the three weeks I was out prior to my home time, Sally saw 16,200 miles. I need some more of that.
Sally has been running great for the past couple of months. Her turbo is leaking oil, I get some compression in the cooling system, and she has some creature-comfort annoyances, but she takes everything I give her. She recently ticked past the 900,000 mile mark. Only 32 more weekly payments and she's all mine. Hopefully, if I can keep Sally stocked with quality students and roll like I have been, I can get her paid for sooner. I'll be so glad when I'm done with the lease. Maybe by this time next year I'll be able to give her a much deserved engine overhaul. Maybe by the first quarter of 2009 I can have an additional truck on the road and someone working for me.
My home time was relaxing and enjoyable. Of course, it's hard for it not to be when I have such good company as welfy. In addition to puttering about the house in a manner that an old codger like me is supposed to, we went to a folk dancing class on Friday night and had my parents over for Sunday dinner. Also, I'm beginning to think I'll never get past "Freya" on Expert.
A dear friend of mine who I regrettably don't make enough effort keeping in touch with since she moved to the far-off land of Pennsylvania, has begun a LiveJournal. So now I have no excuse as long as she keeps writing. She's also good friends with aloneinky who I pimped on these pages a while back. The journal name is slhorsfield, and I'm sure she would appreciate having a few starter friends to get her in the swing of the social aspect of LJ. Take a peek and see if it's for you if you're in the market for a new friend.
While we're on the subject of livejournal.friends: tequilaprophet ... wtf? I hate to see the good ones give it up.
And now... some quick movie reviews:
Cinderella Man (2005)
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti
A biopic about the astonishing, if brief, championship boxing career of James J. Braddock. Great story, an okay script and fantastic set/costumes (Depression era New York City, the estimated budget for the film is nearly $90 million), but, unfortunately the acting is stiff and contrived, even from Giamatti who has been known to steal the show with his character work (Private Parts, anyone?). How he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for this role is beyond me. The real problem with this movie is the pacing, though. Howard has such a great set and props to work with that he lingers too much to show how pretty it is and many of the boxing scenes are too long, repetitive, and tedious.
Dark Star (1974)
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter, Dan O'Bannon
A collaboration by two men who would make a considerable mark in the sci-fi/horror hybrid genre just a few years later. It's laughably low-budget (there's even a beach ball masquerading as an alien) and the acting is horrible. It is more of a comedy than a dramatic film and has its moments, but won't be of interest as anything more than a historical curiosity in their early careers. Starting in 1978, Carpenter would direct Halloween, Escape From New York, Christine, Starman and The Thing in a four year period and O'Bannon would write the screenplay for Ridley Scott's Alien in 1979.
First-time director Simon Brand and first-time screenplay writer Matthew Waynee get everything right and attract a small ensemble cast of quality character actors for a no-frills thriller worthy of being called Hitchcockian. The film has a unique premise: five men wake-up in an abandoned factory and can't remember who they are or how they got there. There are obvious signs of a previous power struggle: two of them have been restrained and one has been shot. The factory is locked-down by security doors and they can't get out. Over the next 98 minutes, the characters gradually regain pieces of their memory, while trying to escape. There is nothing spectacular about the script, but it is tight as is the editing. Little is wasted and it is compelling through the very last frame.
Three Days Of The Condor (1975)
Director: Sydney Pollack
Cast: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow, John Houseman
This often over-looked film yields some great performances and on-location filming in New York City. Without giving too much away, Redford is a bookworm for the CIA, code-named The Condor. When he unwittingly stumbles into a conspiracy within the agency, he has 72 hours to unravel it and try to stay alive. A film like this could easily sprawl and become a mess, but it stays tight and gripping (it was nominated for an Academy award in the Best Editing category). Redford is his usual charming, somewhat-fumbling self and Dunaway gives a decent turn as the obligatory eye candy. Houseman is on-screen far too little for my tastes, but von Sydow's supporting role is top notch. Probably not worth going out of your way, but if you're a fan of solid, gritty 70s-era cinema, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Not in the same league as All The President's Men or a weird, gem like Dog Day Afternoon but better than, say, Marathon Man.
Unbearable Lightness of Being, The
Basketball Diaries, The
Wild One, The
Simple Plan, A
End Of The Century: The Story of the Ramones