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OffWhite Knight

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About OffWhite Knight

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    Acolyte of the Shadow
  • Birthday 10/15/1972

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    the City of Lost Angels
  1. Wine

    Common misconception. Not only do Americans drink a lot of wine, but we produce mass quantities of it. I believe wine is produced in every state of the union, even Alaska and Hawai'i. Really, to the original question, just start buying and drinking. See what you like. Just go for it.
  2. Wine

    I'm afraid that my wife and I are both aspiring wine-snobs. Her preganancy has kind of put a crimp in those aspirations the last 8 months, but hey, it's worth it. Anyway. What it ultimately comes down to is Drink What You Like. Beyond that? As you explore wines, keep notes. If you like something from a particular region or vintner, make note of it and make sure to try something else from that particular vintner and/or region. Every vintner has their own style which will affect pretty much all of their varietals. Each region has their own terroir, which basically is the effect that weather and soil and sun have upon the grape; these all bring out characteristics unique to the grapes grown there. I would also find a good wine retailer, either brick and mortar or online. Online, a place like Beverages & More (bevmo.com) or Liquorama have pretty good descriptions of what the wine is like. They will be good sources of information on whatever you want to drink at whatever prices you can afford. And we were members of Cline's wine club for a while. Good if a bit too concerned with mass appeal sometimes. But we like spicy Zinfandels, bold Barberas, Chilean Merlot, Napa Cabernets and authentic porto (well, port for me, not for her).
  3. 30 Days of Night

    My wife and I saw the film last week for Halloween. Better than waiting at home for trick-or-treaters that weren't ever going to come... We both thought it was a fun movie. Great? Hell no. But a lot of fun. Some pretty nice suspense, a nice twist ending that I won't say anymore about, nice gore without being gruesome. On that last point, although there was a lot of bloody snow, and more than one arterial sprays, I didn't find the film to be overly gruesome, like the SAW films for example (or what I've seen of them). It was also very cool to see vampires as something other than the typical seductive and attractive imagery we've come to be accustomed to. Seeing *monsters* just revel in their own monstrosity was a kinda cool turn. So I'd say it was a fun movie. Worth at least a matinee price ticket.
  4. Bladerunner - The Final Cut

    Great news! The film apparently did so well, and demand was so high, the studio decided to roll out The Final Cut into other cities across America. So if you don't live in LA or NY, you aren't screwed! Only those places listed as Digital get to see it in full digital glory, but it's far better than nothing! Here's the list with roll-out dates (I don't have further info, like how long they will play or specific theatres or anything): October 26th: Seattle Cinerama, Seattle - AMC Washington DC Uptown, D.C. - AMC Portland Cinema 21, Portland - Indep. Salt Lake City, Utah Gateway Megaplex, SLC - Indep. - DIGITAL November 2nd: Chicago, IL Music Box, Chicago - Indep. Santa Barbara, CA Arlington, Santa Barbara - Metropolitan - DIGITAL Baltimore Landmark Harbor East, Baltimore - Indep. - DIGITAL November 9th Boston, MA Coolidge Corner, Brookline - Indep. November 16th Detroit, MI Main Art, Detroit - Landmar November 18th: Austin, TX Paramount, Austin - Indep. November 30th: San Francisco, CA Embarcadero, San Francisco - Landmark Dallas, TX The Inwood, Dallas - Landmark San Diego, CA Ken, San Diego - Landmark Minneapolis, MN Uptown, Minneapolis - Landmark December 7th: Denver, CO The Landmark @ Greenwood Village Landmark DIGITAL Philadelphia - The Ritz 5, Philadelphia - Landmark December 25th: Boston, MA The Brattle, Cambridge Indep. January 2nd 2008: Austin, TX The Paramount, Austin Indep. January 4th 2008: Nashville, TN The Belcourt, Nashville - Indep. January 18th 2008: Durham, NC Carolina, Durham - Indep. February 1st 2008: Columbus, OH Drexel Gateway, Columbus, OH - Indep. February 15th 2008: San Francisco, CA Castro, San Francisco - Indep. February 29th: Sacramento, CA Crest, Sacramento - Indep.
  5. Bladerunner - The Final Cut

    Technically, there were three released versions. There were one, or two, I can't recall, alternate versions that were run in certain art house theatres and the like, but they were limited and not known to the general public and to my mind, don't really count as releases. Version One: first run theatrical release. Version Two: markedly similar to v1.0, but drops the voice-over and does make some other small changes. This version was *called* The Director's Cut, but Ridley Scott never actually did the editing for this version. Version Three: The Final Cut, edited by Scott himself, makes further minor changes from V2.0, including cleaning some things up and reshooting the infamous window crashing sequence in which it is obviously a stunt double. That was reshot with the original actress for better continuity. I doubt the wife will let me get the briefcase 5 DVD set, but you gotta make sure whatever version you get includes the documentary (I *think* all releases will) about the making of it. I've seen parts of it and it's a great behind the scenes documentary film.
  6. Bladerunner - The Final Cut

    Hey all. I saw Bladerunner - The Final Cut last Monday for my birthday. Wow. First of all, Bladerunner is my favorite film. Of all time. I wholeheartedly endorse Citizen Kane's greatness, but Bladerunner is a film for me. Changed my life when I saw the first time. I saw it on the big screen back around 1992 or so when the supposed Director's Cut was released and I knew I had to see it again when the true Director's Cut, the "Final Cut" came out. It's been playing all month in one screen in New York and one screen in Los Angeles. Luckily enough, I live in a suburb of LA. It's awesome in full digital glory at the awesome Landmark Theatre LA. IF you are close enough and can get to the theatre in the next day or two, and love Bladerunner, you NEED to go. Some of those scenes just don't have their full majestic awe without the giant silver screen. OTHERWISE, and this is likely for most of the fans of the film here, you'll have to wait for the DVD release in December. And as one who has seen the Final Cut, it's worth the purchase. Sorry to the fans about not saying anything earlier, been busy, but better late than never.
  7. Bladerunner - The Final Cut

    Sorry, nothing to see here, move along to the Reviews section (which I only just saw...)
  8. Suicide

    Thanks guys. She was a quiet one, but there's always a lot of them. As in, this kid is quiet because he's got an accent that is embarassing. This one is quiet simply because she's introspective. That one is quiet because he's not good at vocabulary and know's he'll stumble over the words. Etcetera. And then there are some that just are quiet. She seemed like one of those. Just a quiet kid. It does provide a good perspective from those of you that have made attempts. I still can't really claim to understand the mindset, but I have a better one now thanks to a few of you. The hardest part right now is that I'm not supposed to be talking with the kids about it right now. The family wants to keep things as quiet as possible, so even when kids in her class were asking why the seat was empty, I wasn't allowed to say. At least not yet. I didn't know what to do. I know it's not my fault, but I do keep asking myself if there was something I could have done. It's nonsensical, I know. But I can't help but keep thinking if maybe I could have said or done something that might have altered her life path. It's tough. Nowhere near as tough as it must be for her mother and older brother. Not by a country mile as tough. But it is tough. I held it together long enough, until the end of the day. Then when my wife walked in the door, I lost it. But thanks to those of you that have commented. It's helped me to understand just a little bit better what must have happened.
  9. Suicide

    I'm hoping that someone here can make sense of things for me. I'm a high school English teacher in California. I'm used to dealing with moody, hormonal kids teens that seemingly bring a lot of baggage with them. It's a middle to upper-middle class neighborhood, but that doesn't stop the broken homes, the parachute parents (the immigrants that leave their kids here, but go back home (usually China) to continue working), the helicopter parents (the ones that monitor every single thing and question any "negative" decision of ours), the drugs, just the general teen loneliness and angst. I just got the news, about an hour ago, that one of my students committed suicide over the weekend. Don't know any details. But she wasn't one that I would have guessed. She was a quiet, shy girl that loved to draw pictures of dogs. She wasn't popular, but no one seemed to pick on her either. I don't get it. What in the fuck would make someone, anyone, decide to just end it all? How much does it have to hurt before you decide oblivion is better than a chance at something better? I mean, haven't we all hurt? Haven't we all felt emotional pain that felt like brutal, physical pain? Haven't we all been stressed out and even hopeless? So what the hell happens that makes someone decide to end it all? Especially sweet 14 year old girl that had a wonderful smile and a talent for art? I just don't get it. I just don't. Right now, my students are just doing desk work while I wait for the bell to ring so my wife can pick me up and take me home. I don't think I know what else to do right now. This isn't even the first suicide I've dealt with. There were a few when I was a student. A kid brought a gun to school and shot himself dead about 50 feet outside my classroom a few years back...that could be chalked up as a kid with mental issues...he was on medications and was due to have them modified in a few days...unfortunately at that time they magnified the pain of breaking up with his girlfriend (who I had as a student later and who essentially tried to forget things with alcohol...at least). I lost a former student to a sudden accident earlier in the year, just a freak occurance. But I'm realizing that I'll never see her sweet innocent smile in my class again. Fuck, what must her mother be going through right now? Sorry for rambling. Thanks for a place to vent. I know I'm not here often, but it's nice to be able to come here anyway.
  10. 300 - Like it or no?

    Sorry, but no. I know a few people that are actors or working in some vague behind-the-scenes capacity, but I'm a High School English Teacher. I simply said that I studied film (which I did) to provide a miniscule amount of credibility to my small review.
  11. 300 - Like it or no?

    Okay, so there's a thread about the previews, and a thread that has devolved into the supposed political message of the film. But did you actually like the film? I'm a history buff of sorts, so normally the massive historical disconnect would be a problem for me. But I knew going in that it was Frank Miller's 300, not the Historically Accurate Battle of Thermopylae (sp?). So I knew it was one man's stylized vision of a historical event, and the historical inaccuracies didn't bother me. But did they bother you? I honestly didn't feel the film was 2 hours of non-stop violence as some reviewers have claimed. It seemed very well paced, with nice tension breaking moments at the right time and the right amplitude (a chuckle to break the tension, not a full-fledged guffaw which might ruin the drama). The costuming was excellent and the fully-digitized background weren't the distraction that, again, some reviewers claimed they were. I thought the issue of fighting for freedom was a bit forced; after all, they follow a king that issues orders. The love story was well executed, all things considered, and brought a lot of humanity to Leonidas. Which is necessary, so he doesn't seem like a tyrant himself, and so the ending is more poignant. Will this go down as a Oscar-winning Best Picture? No. In the top-10 of most critics? Probably not. But was this one hell of an enjoyable ride? F*$% yeah. And to add to things...I paid the extra money to see this on an IMAX screen...and yes, I did study film in college. So did you like it?
  12. 300

    Stuff snipped out... If you think they "waited" 8 years to release the movie, then I'm sorry, you are clueless about the movie making process. Frank Miller has been very distrusteful of Hollywood, and rightly so. It wasn't until Robert Rodriguez with "Sin City" that he realized that the right director could bring his visions to life in a way he'd be happy with. The film itself wasn't complete until a few months ago; preview versions running around a few months back were incomplete. So timing isn't a very relevant argument here, especially since the source graphic novel was written a number of years back, prior to our current issues. And Frank Miller has said that the Battle of Thermopylae has always interested him. So there is no real intentional timing here, it's people looking for politics when Snyder and Miller have said there is none. As for the political viewpoint of the film, sorry, but this is a film that doesn't really take (modern) sides. I have read that some German reviewers of the film walked about because they saw the film as a pro-America, pro-war in Iraq piece of propaganda. I've also read of people that see the opposite, that it is anti-America, pro-Iraq. To wit, some see GW Bush as King Leonidas, willing to sacrifice everything for freedom, no matter the cost. Others see GW Bush as Xerxes, attempting to crush the native (Iraqi) peoples as they bravely stand against him. But I argue it's neither. The film is almost a melodrama, in that the costume choices, set design, et al is all about making it clear who we are to cheer for and boo for. It's a more exotic variation on the old western black hat/white hat concept. Do we cheer for the masked monsters or the clean, muscled men? Do we cheer for the man that loves his wife or the man that thinks he's a god with a harem of bizarre women? See what I mean? This isn't meant to be a film about modern politics. It's more indicative of our times that we impose politics upon it than anything else.
  13. Intoxicants and how much we like them!

    Begging your pardon Skeloric, but that's 90% untrue. At least the stuff not about your personal preference. Now, let me preface this by saying that I've loved good microbrewed beers for well over a decade now and have sampled literally hundreds of different ones. Most of the major breweries are simply those that were economically able to survive Prohibition. Obviously, the vast majority were unable to do so. Until that point, the US was quite like what the UK and Germany had been until recently; that is, damn near every town had their own speciality brew usually made by the pub/bar in town. Now to be fair to the macrobrewers like Anheiser-Busch, what they make today *isn't* radically different from what they made 100 years ago. The cost to the consumer was an irrelevant point, it was the cost of keeping the brewery alive in some legal fashion. Fast forward to today. The major breweries have done taste test after study after taste test and the large majority of Americans prefer a lager, usually of the Pilsen variety. And Americans generally have had that preference since being introduced to Pilsners by brewers such as Anheiser-Busch, *before* the Prohibition. That's why they got so big and were able to survive the prohibition; the "piss-water" was popular even when people "knew better." To say that a preference of a Pilsner equates to ignorance or stupidity is well, stupid and ignorant. What you do have is a general consumer awakening. Speciality beer, hard liquors, wine, etc is a growing market. Consumers want the opportunity to try something different, sellers want another way to make money. I mean hell, I just went to a free sake' tasting last Friday because Gekkeikan (sp?) is apparently going to make a more aggressive move into the market, to get more people drinking sake'. Okay, rant aside. Personally, as is obvious, I love beer. I love a good whiskey or scotch. Can't hardly wait to try the bottle of Welsh Gold I got for Christmas. My wife and I both love wine, red varietals in particular. Our honeymoon was a wine tasting trip to Napa and Sonoma. I have a fetish for good ports (both portos and port-style wines). I kinda like a good high grade tequila. Rums are quite good, that's a newer market worth exploring if you like heavier stuff. Used to smoke cigars, but between having skin cancer and a wife that would like to keep me around for a few decades, those are long gone. I guess that's about it I think.
  14. Pan's Labyrinth

    Okay, just saw the film yesterday. It's been in limited release here in the States for a few weeks now I think (at least). Amazing movie. I feel lucky to have seen two great films in a row, Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth in such a short space of time. Beautiful, moving film. The best part, perhaps? The ending. In that, without giving anything away, it's an ending that is left up to you. Depending on what you bring to the table, you can see the ending in at least one of two ways. Depending on your faith and beliefs, you will come away with at least two different endings. Being something of an agnostc, I really felt confused because I didn't know what to believe, didn't know which ending was the "real" ending. Great movie. You owe it to yourselves to track this down while it's still out in limited release.
  15. Techniques for Character Development

    Something to get them started might be to play with stereotypes. As in, what is the stereotype for a, say, cleric. (staying with the D&D references) Now, make that cleric into a...fighter. Play the cleric stereotype, but with the fighter stats. That's the easiest way, I think, to get people new to roleplaying to dig a little deeper. I'm also fond of the whole 20 questions business. And with the right people, you can do light RP with no dice and just have everyone interact In-Character and see what they make up. I did a murder-mystery dinner with friends a month ago and because are all experience role players, we just started making stuff up about our "characters." I said something about tree-climbing crabs that became Flying Bearded Lobsters of Chthulhu...and everyone ran with it.