die-hardMy family celebrated Christmas on Sunday this year, so when the time came for the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there was no anticipation of the gathering that makes the holiday special. But even though that gathering is 90% of the total for me, I do have a few other minor traditions that complete my Christmas. I don’t bother with a tree or anything like that (bah, humbug) but I do watch what I consider to be Christmas movies.

On the 24th I started with the Kulla family¬†Christmas classic, Die Hard. While it may not seem right for the part, it does take place during the holidays. Yes it’s a violent action movie, but it’s also very funny. Who can forget “Ho-Ho-Ho. Now I have a machine gun.”

The closer that night is also non-traditional, though perhaps less so. Love Actually¬†gives the holiday a larger role than Die Hard, and I like the loosely connected multiple story lines. It has the usual romantic comedy silliness about fairy tale style love, but also some depth. My favorites are Colin Firth and the Portuguese girl and the little kid’s crush. Normally I despise little kids in movies since they can’t act and tend to be annoying, but this time it works.

Yesterday was the big day, and I treated myself to a trip to the theater to see The Hobbitt. I’m a big fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga so I knew I’d like it. The theater was full and the movie didn’t disappoint. One thing I really like is that they didn’t try to “one up” the original trilogy visually, a mistake almost all sequels and prequels make. There were a couple of scenes clearly meant for 3D (I find 3D a bit distracting rather than enhancing) but they were brief, and one scene recalled the absurdity of Jackson’s dinosaur stampede in King Kong, but otherwise it was excellent and I look forward to next year’s installment.

To complete the double feature I fired up the projector last night for The Holiday. Yeah, another romcom (no, I’m not handing in my guy card). I’m a bit surprised that I like this movie so much considering I generally don’t like Cameron Diaz or Jack Black, but they’re both pretty good in this one. But what I really enjoy is the interaction between Kate Winslet’s character and old Hollywood writer. They give each other strength (or in her case, gumption) and that truly is a gift.

December 12, 2012

12-12-12

Cool date. Too bad nothing memorable happened today (so far).

Even though I haven’t been posting, I’ve been learning stuff:

I’ve started a top secret learning project that won’t be unveiled until it’s complete.

SYSK taught me about how Meth works (backed up by a few eps of Breaking Bad)

They also had a cool episode about genetic engineering of children, which led me to…

A happiness gene has been identified in women. Should we crank it up for all babies in the future? It sure would make dating easier for the men of the future.

On ArsTechnica I’ve learned that photosynthesis is nearly 100% energy efficient in an article about how biology may use quantum mechanics.

Any of these could make a full post, and maybe they will if the world doesn’t end on the winter solstice. We shall see!