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Under Construction

Ladies and Gents Who Lunch photos
A recent lunch in Oakland

April 17th, 2004

Do You Ever Get?
The vet down the street says Ms. Emmy is as healthy as, well, a horse. She didn't use the term "horse". I'm not certain Ms. Emmy would appreciate the comparison, but she's seemingly in good shape. Her need to rub her head against my head in the morning (to get me up and out to prepare her breakfast) is normal in cats. I knew this, but it seems Ms. Emmy takes it further than many a cat as she began rubbing her head against the vet once she'd figured out the vet wasn't there for bad purposes in this strange stainless steel appointed examination room she'd found herself in. My duty is done for another year - here! here! - and it wasn't even noon yet.

I saw Kill Bill, Vol. 2, at the late matinee today. Tarantino writes and shoots wonderful scenes, puts together odd jogs of narrative that keep me surprised and impressed. Technique out the ass. The story line? Girl get double crossed, girl gets revenge? Been there, done that, what could possibly be done that hasn't been done badly in a thousand attempts? Well, you know, there are only so many dramas, I believe the Greeks made a list, so how to retell them is the secret. Some of the images and the moments in Bill are fascinating, some of them left me limp.

Bill's brother, played by Michael Madsen, why the scene at the strip club where he's a bouncer? He arrives twenty minutes late as he always, it seems, arrives twenty minutes late; he takes a tongue lashing from the owner, he's meted out punishment - no work for a week - and told by the woman to clean the toilet on his way out, all to which he does meekly acquiesce. His character is a drunk and a sleaze ball of sorts, but he's Bill The Killer In Capital Letter's Brother, he's got a hot rod Japanese sword he's chopped people into pieces with in his past so what's this "take your shit like a good boy" at the strip club bit? Tarantino is good at this. The fight scenes, the staging, the dialogue is often wonderful in a way that seems to make the critics go bonzo left and right and where the story line is, well, left to fend for itself.

Is this a great movie? I don't know. Probably not. Who cares? There are pieces that are tasty. There are pieces that are broad brush comic book dumb, although I might argue are occasionally saved by the out of left field Tarantino touch. I didn't really believe the burial scene, even though Tarantino spent quite a bit of time setting it up - the Kung Fu master bit was fine - but so what? It's a patchwork. The dumb parts are dumb, the brilliant parts are brilliant. How much "brilliant" do you ever get?

The photograph was taken at a recent lunch in Oakland with a Nikon D2H mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor (Nikon) lens.