“Rent” really lights my candle

I just saw a commercial for Rent, the Broadway musical– the tour cast has come to San Francisco! For anyone who hasn’t seen it and has the chance, go see it! Even if you aren’t into musicals. I must admit, despite growing up near enough to NYC to see a Broadway musical every now and again and even being in a high school musical production or two, I’m usually not that into musicals. Often, when I’m watching a musical, I’m going along with the story, learning about the characters, but then when everybody starts singing suddenly, I say, “What the hell? Why is everyone singing?” And then I remember: oh yeah, it’s a musical.

But I have no snarky comments for Rent. Written by Jonathan Larson, it’s a remake of La Boheme, but in true twentieth century, rock opera style. The story focuses on a group of young people living in the Lower East Side of New York City and fighting to keep the industrial loft space they live in. It’s a celebration of the Bohemian lifestyle they all pursue, but the story also focuses on three main relationships– gay, straight and lesbian. It touches on HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, sexuality, and more. It’s got a little something for everyone! I cry like a little girl every time I see it.

And don’t forget– the original Broadway cast included Taye Diggs as Benny and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins. And yes, it’s them singing on the original Broadway cast recording!

It’s a heart-wrenching tale and it’s full of pop culture references from the nineties. Unfortunately, Larson passed away from an aortic aneurysm the night before the show’s Broadway debut, but Rent has gone on to be one of the most successful shows on Broadway and people keep coming back for more.

Harry Potter is scary

So, I went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night. Even before the movie started, the night was eventful– the line to enter the theatre was wrapped around the outside and into the parking lot. So, there’s over a hundred people standing in line outside waiting to get in and some people from the show that just ended go to leave. Cars are parked all along the side of the road that leads into the parking lot and they decide to pull out of the parallel parked spot and try to back up all the way out of the lot. Unfortunately, the driver swings too far as she starts to back up and ends up hitting the minivan parked in front of her. She only knocks the side of the car, but ends up having the bumber to her little Civic just ripped off completely. It was so very sad and everyone in line saw it. There was a collective “Oh, damn!” when it happened. There was no damage to the other parked car, but damn, they don’t make Civics like they used to. Of course, they never made Civics like they used to.

Another pre-movie adventure: we tried to use the bathroom before the movie started, but the usher at the front said that they were going open the doors in like 2 minutes. But we really had to go! The guy almost gave in, but then the San Jose police officer sitting in the lobby jumped in and put the smack down on our little bathroom trip. Unbelievable! Two minutes my ass. We didn’t go in until at least 15-20 minutes later and then when we got into the theater, the po-po was watching over us as we all took our seats. Like the San Jose police doesn’t have anything better to do than make sure kids don’t sneak into Harry Potter? It’s Harry Potter for chrissake, not 8 mile. Which was a great movie, btw, and I don’t recall there being any problems with that movie. Bunch of minorities get together to watch a movie and people get all bent out of shape.

In any case, so the movie was a little on the long side (personally, I think they should have made it into a mini-series), but the book does cover an entire year at school. And they stuck pretty close to the book, which I always appreciate (especially after the way they fucked up Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned). I think it was better done than the first– they are finally getting the hang of it when trying to recreate this wizard world.

But, I must say that it was kind of dark at times. I mean, at the end of the day, the Harry Potter series is about a little boy who survived the brutal murder of his parents by an evil wizard and the evil wizard’s quest to finish the job. I love the books– they’re magical!– and I think that the topics they touch on are important ones that mirror issues in our real world and the books are a great way to teach kids about those issues. The whole Muggle-born versus pureblood issue. Ron’s issues with being poor. The house elves’ slavery. But the imagery you come up with in your head as you read the books and the visuals plastered on a huge movie screen are two different things and I could easily see how some of the scenes in the movie would be scary. I mean, come on, Tom Riddle? He’s creepy.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie and can’t wait to see the next one. Although, I’d much rather finally get to read the next book in the series. Come on, JK Rowling, get on that!

Not everyone sees the beauty of the blog

So, my blog fascination has been going on for a while– especially since I have been reading this one. It’s by someone I knew in college and I find him totally entertaining! His longer rants are even more entertaining. My blog fascination only grew when I researched blog software and was very enamored by Movable Type.

I only finally sacked up and started my own blog though when I was talking about it with my boss and he suggested we use a blog to track how students use wireless in the dorms that are participating in our new wireless project. So, we installed Movable Type on our server and tried it out. Very cool piece of free software that is pretty easy to setup and configure.

So, since we were at it, we decided it would be a cool service to offer to our student employees for their dorm Web sites and personal sites as well. Blogs have been a pretty popular thing on the Web for a while and thought it would be a cool service to offer to our students. They wouldn’t have to worry about setting up the Perl app themselves– they could just take advantage of the work we did! Sure, there are sites on the Web that also offer blog services, like Blogger, but from my experience, they don’t always work the way you want them to and it’s nice to have software running on your own server. We even one-upped the larger IT organization by setting it up and offering it to our students first.

Of course, when I presented it at one of the student meetings, most of them did even know what a blog was! And when I explained what it was and how people use it on their personal Web sites and how it could possibly be used in a dorm setting, they were not impressed. They just said, “But why would somebody want to do that?”

Of course, why would somebody want to watch a bunch of people they don’t know doing nothing through a Web cam? Who knows, but it happens. A lot.

So, not everyone sees the beauty of the blog, but hey, I find it entertaining. And if you’re reading this, so must you. At least a little bit.