Saturday, February 12, 2005

At least its not reverse

We seem to have encountered the first, er, glitch with the car. I managed to get it stuck in 2nd gear today. It cranks fine, and it will even go in reverse, but it is in 2nd gear when I move forward. I'm hoping that the problem will be no more when we try to go to church tomorrow. But, if we are stuck in 2nd for the time being, its only 3 miles or so to church and I doubt I would have exceeded 30mph anyway.

On the Top 10 movies:
I'm dumping Somewhere in Time and replacing it with Memento. One of the most cleverly crafted plots ever.

To Capes: I wish I had the words to describe exactly what "Napoleon Dynamite" is. I assure you, any review you read of it, good or bad, will not exactly prepare you for the actual thing. Rent it and let it develop. Trad will love... And about Raising Arizona - a top 20 no doubt, but the Coen brothers already took my second place.

BK gave us his list:
with about three minutes of thought, my current top 10 is...

1. Baraka
2. Koyaanisqatsi
3. Schindler's List
4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Glory
6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark
8. Hoosiers
9. Fletch Lives
10. Seven

...but as you can observe, I'm not much of a movie connoisseur.

I'm tempted to point out that one would expect a less than normal list from BK, and even a couple most people has never heard of, a la #'s 1 and 2, but the online reviews of them both seem good, and I doubt my own list qualifies as typical. Who can disagree with Fletch, Hoosiers, or Raiders? Schindler's List was definitely monumental, but I must admit that its subject matter was so intense that I couldn't think about anything else for a couple of days. It troubles the soul. SS Redemption was top-notch. One Flew is just a glimpse into BK's alter ego, and Glory was good... but 10 dollars is alot of money. Seven is more or less poop. I speculate that BK might have the same to say about a few of mine.

It is worth mentioning that at least one American movie comes the BBC channels EVERY night, and most of the time they were pretty big hits in their days. Tonight there is Evil Dead II (?), Joan of Arc ( the one with Dustin Hoffman), Copycat, and Far and Away.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Top 10 Movies

BK's interest in the top 100 books of all time has gotten me to thinking about my list of best movies. Here's my top 10:

1. Papillon
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
3. The Running Man
4. Napoleon Dynamite
5. The Gods Must Be Crazy
6. UHF
7. The Explorers
8. Better Off Dead
9. Real Genius
10. Somewhere in Time

Yep, the last one is sappy. I might amend the last 3 soon. Yes, the list is loaded with 80's movies. I tend to idealize (ise) that decade. I have a theory that every man looks back on the period in which he was 12 years old as the peak of human civilization, assuming he had a decent life, even if he didn't particularly enjoy being 12. So I gravitate toward 1986. But note that two of the movies are older and two are newer, with one being a recent release.

What thinks ye?

And in this corner...

Of the internet, Clifford Road in Bearwood, Birmingham, UK is the broadband internet service we've all been waiting for. It only took 1 month and 7 days to make it happen!!

Commenter O.P. asks a few interesting questions:

1. Yes, the tv license is similar to a cheap cable bill... except you have to pay it even if you have cable or satellite.

2. There is no law REQUIRING child seats in cars, though they are encouraged and everyone I've met with small kids has one. The fact that there is no law seems odd in this legislative happy place. There all about big brother in many ways, but not when it comes to child seats. Hmmmm? Our baby seat fits fine using the seatbelt. O.P.... do not forget that we drive old cars back home and don't even have latch systems in our cars there. I'd assume new cars here have the latches.

3. Tax is on income, not wealth... so, no, there is not an annual tax on one's possessions. Though there may be a land tax. The minimum income threshold for income tax is £5,000, so I won't have to worry.



Now that I have my insurance and paid my car tax (£60 for 6 months) I am street legal, so I took the car out for a little spin today. It is a little rough on the startup, but fine otherwise. And now it has £11 worth of gas in it (about 4 U.S. gallons), which should last until Mary's parents get here in late March.

Our broadband internet modem should arrive today and hopefully we'll be online very soon. That will mean that I will stop blogging about that problem and get back to more of my experiences over here with the language, people, etc.. I'll post pics of the car when I can.

Yesterday the dept of theology at the Uni of B'ham had our once-a-term seminar. I was able to make most of it after I taught my hermeneutics class. After an interesting presentation by Helen Ingram and some helpful pointers by Mark Goodacre on using Unicode Greek font, I introduced myself to faculty and students and quickly reviewed my research. Incidentally, there were 2 other Americans there(Maryland and Minnesota), one of whom I had already met. We spent a little time comaplining about the high prices and small milk containers in England.

And let me give a shout out to Capes and Tim B. for further comments. I appreciate each and every comment.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Even less than expected

Yes, I did buy a car. Yes, it was cheap. How cheap you ask? £170. That's right, £170. What kind of car could possibly run and cost roughly $320? This one. Okay, I wish mine looked that good, but its a Seat Marbella. With a 843 cc engine and gets around 40 mpg. It seems to run alright, but I've only driven it a mile or so because I have to pay the taxes. I got insurance today for £19 a month so it should be legal by tomorrow.

In a saga that won't end... our DSL modem did not come today as it was due to. Our internet service is supposed to be available tomorrow but that won't do much good without a modem. Mary is in touch with them trying to find out when we can expect it.

Encountered my first true bit of America bashing today. Not that I feel the need to defend everything America does, but when a guy makes a comment like "the healthcare and educational systems in Cuba are better than America" you have to wonder what he's smoking. Of course he was under the impression that the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 was banned in America because it was anti-Bush. Where has this guy been anyway? But it is nice to note that our country is apparently the source of all the evils in the world. I guess Saddam was right, we are the great Satan. I'm going to (rhetorically) puke now...

Sorry for that.

Monday, February 07, 2005


It would be a new record for me... on cheapness. Let the record show that the least I have ever paid for a vehicle is $500 - a 1991 Mazda B22 truckfrom TAC enterprises with 170k miles and no air, radio, comfort, etc. It was a great help when we moved our stuff into storage. Its at the in-laws right now adding to the decor (but runs well). BUT...

I'm looking at a road-legal Fiat Panda for sale for £180, abouyt $350 or so. It supposedly gets about 40 miles to the American gallon (50 British!) and runs fine. I've seen it from the outside, and while its no show car, it is in good shape. And if it runs alright it will be ours. Then we drive to church in 10 minutes instead of riding in a bus for in an hour and we can take our guests to various places here for the prices of gas (as opposed to buying bus and train tickets for everyone). I'm going to try to drive it this afternoon and will report back...

Some of my students are coming over for a visit soon... actually to play various musical instruments for my family's listening pleasure. Get this, one of them plays the banjo... bluegrass style! I can't wait.

And, yes, the Super Bowl did come on here. And yes, Mary and I watched it. And yes, it was over at about 3:20 am. And yes, I had to teach class at 9:00 am. And yes, I sleep-taught (or is it slept-taught?).