This is the place to find out what new and exciting events are unfolding in the life and times of Je Kemp.

Friday, September 17, 2004

As luck goes yesterday, as I was leaving my place of employment, the biggest feeder band of Ivan decided to pay a visit to intown Atlanta. I only live 6 miles from downtown and it took me almost an hour to get home. You may be thinking it took this long because of the power outages, nope, all the lights were working. It seemed that when people discovered that a tornado warning was in effect, it was time to get into the car and drive around aimlessly with their emergency flashers on and drive 10 miles per hour. Sure, there was some standing water but it was only a few inches deep. The longer you sit thinking about driving across, the deeper and deeper the water is surely going to get, so make a move or get out of my way because I know what my course of action is going to be.

We had almost gotten back home when a tow truck driver tried to close Sylvan road by parking across most of it. He had come to pull some crazy redneck's chevy truck out of a ditch. I am sure that the driver of the truck was operating his vehicle in a reckless manner so why should I have to stop and wait for his mistake to be corrected? By the time we encountered this scene, this tow truck driver had taken it upon himself to personally close the road despite the fact that there was little more than two inches of standing water over the road. We could not turn back at this point and sitting there for a half an hour was not an option. After waiting a few moments, we took the car over into the oncoming lane and blasted around him despite is cries for us to stop.

What comes over people when the weather turns foul? It seems everyone turns into monsters, stupid monsters.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

George Lucas first film, THX 1138 The directors cut was released on dvd yesterday and I had the opportunity to see it with all that digitally re-mastered glory. This film is pure science fiction drama and contains many inspired shots and sequences and getting to see it for the first time without commercial interruptions and in a 16:9 aspect ratio is wonderful but, I do have a few issues with this revamped release.

First off, a little history. THX-1138 was first reluctantly released by Warner brothers in 1971. It marked the first film for American Zoetrope. Francis Ford Coppola had remarkably managed to sign a seven picture contract with Warner Brothers Studios and when the Warner executives saw THX 1138, they did not like it at all and attempted to shelf the project. Young George Lucas and Coppola, the executive producer, would not let that happen and the movie did eventually manage to go into limited release. This initial "bomb" for American Zoetrope almost brought the fledgling company to the straits to bankruptcy but it did manage to once again right itself with the subsequent hit the "Godfather." I suppose due to the subsequent success of Star Wars, THX 1138 made it onto the television by the eighties. This is the medium from which I was first able to see this particular film.

THX 1138 screams film school art film. Lucas seemed very idealistic at the time and took no compromises in the writing of his screenplay. Since the film basically was an adaptation of one of his earlier film school works, much of the essence of those days and techniques and style carried over into this project. Like any film school project, many low-budget techniques were utilized to keep the film from going over budget. These tricks included the use of guerilla film making tactics at various locations around San Francisco and the use of architecture that was already in place as opposed to the traditional use of elaborate and expensive sets. The movie is on the short side at 95 minutes long but contains enough content to correctly deliver the message of the film. It is funny to me that a few years later, a similar film came out in 1976. It seems that the more campy Logan's run could very well have been inspired by the plot of THX 1138. Logan's run, however, lacks the high brow film school pretense that seems to saturate this first film by Lucas.

The dvd release itself is beautifully done, it has great cover work and contains a really great bonus disc that contains among other items, Lucas' original student film from his days as a film student at USC. The whole movie has been remastered in digital "THX" sound. This is probably the best and only thing Lucas should have done to his film but he did not stop there. Much like his earlier Stars Wars re-releases for theater and VHS, Lucas for some reason decided to insert little CGI animals into a few of the scenes. At one point I was expecting to see Jar Jar Binks show up but thankfully he must have just stayed hidden away back in the shadows. I still think that current CGI technology looks awful and does not look real enough and actually cannot compare at this point in time to traditional composite "stop motion" techniques. A positive addition of CGI, however, came with the improved car chase sequence. Lucas added some very video game-like CGI shots of THX 1138 driving aggressively through a busy freeway of the future. This was good and well done but still felt a slight bit out of place. I really did enjoy it however. Maybe he will release a videogame to complement this film at some point. I also came to notice that he takes the time to add several CGI landscapes of the underground city here and there with the hopes of adding a bit more depth to the stark white future that is in the end, THX 1138.

All in all, I think this film was well-made and superbly shot. It contains a powerful message and thankfully lacks any sense of a traditional Hollywood formula. Far from being a money maker even as a new dvd release, it will hopefully find its place sitting among the other science fiction greats in the collections of future film makers and among the die hard fans of the Star Wars series.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Georgia's lake levels are looking great this year!

Allatoona (840.0) 838.9
Blackshear (237.0) 234.9
Blue Ridge (1690.0) 1679.5
Burton (1865.0) 1864.9
Carters (1072.0) 1067.2
Chatuge (1927.0) 1922.4
Goat Rock (400.0) 402.6
Harding (521.0) 520.1
Hartwell (660) 660.5
Lanier (1071.0) 1071.0
Lloyd Shoals (530.0) 526.4
Nottely (1779.0) 1771.1
Oconee (435.0) 434.7
Sinclair (339.8) 338.5
Thurmond (330.0) 328.6
Tugalo (891.5) 884.1
West Point (635.0) 634.1
Yonah (744.2) 741.8

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I am finally taking food from home to eat instead of going down and spending $$$ in the atrium. What is strange, however, is that I am actually enjoying my home-built lunches over the $5-8 dollar fare that I have been used to getting.

I really miss the public school cafeteria at times, for a small amount of monetary outlay, one could eat a balanced meal. I remember the fresh baked rolls and how I longed to just gobble up a trayful. Thank goodness I never did that or I would be the size of a whale today.

Today I had Swedish chicken and onion balls with a small side of herb mashed potatoes, a gala apple I picked up last weekend in Elijay and a Big K sparkling water. Oh and a sliver of cheese from Switzerland added an element of dairy to the meal. It seemed to be a rather well rounded lunch and it did not cost me any extra than dinner cost me last night.

Here is the news item that I have to report today: The Kroger Citi Center on Cleveland avenue in intown Atlanta has been selling expired food. Instead of pulling these expired items like other grocers, it seems our friends at Kroger feel that the hard working people who shop at their store are not good enough to deserve the freshest products available.

In other news, as in the news from Iraq that no one seems to be concerned with any longer. The U.S. military said it was investigating an incident in Baghdad today in with American helicopters opened fire on civilians who were standing around an abandoned Army transport on Haifa Street. At least five people were killed, including a producer for Al-Arabiya television. It was a bad incident for journalists working in the area as a Reuters cameraman was also among those hurt in the attack. What is most disturbing about this death to me was that the producer was doing a live shot at the moment of his demise.

Monday, September 13, 2004

An Atlanta sunset

Atlanta sunset, originally uploaded by jekemp.

A temperate calm settled into the city this evening. Nights once thick with balmy indifference now give way to the practical cool and collected reason of impending autumn.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sunday, at the lake

lake allatoona, originally uploaded by jekemp.

There is nothing finer than a day spent out at the lake. Now what did I do with my sailboat?