Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day #21,743

Walk km 7825-7834: from Patterson Station to Marine @ Elliott with the Meetup group

geese on the Fraser
approx km 7830 Fraser River

another day, another train song: The Wabash Cannonball (Hank Thompson)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day #21,742

Walk km 7814-7825 (13,917 to go): around Burnaby Lake with the Meetup group

Another day, another train song: Wreck Of The Old 97 (Johnny Cash)

Movie #1733: Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)

Not one of Lumet's best. Two ideas are trotted forth for network television: make the news an entertainment show and create reality TV. I don't think they've done anything with making the news entertaining but they did finally catch on to reality TV and it now rules the ratings. The love affair part between Dunaway & Holden wasn't required. But, it did keep me watching without ever checking the time or wondering if there was anything edible in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day #21,741

Walk km 7803-7814 (13,927 to go): Joyce Station to Marine @ Elliott via Sparwood, Captain Cook & Everett Crowley parks

an Austin
approx km 7809 Boundary Road

Maddox Brothers & Rose: Old Black Choo Choo (1955)

Here's another one of my favourites from the days of vinyl that I recently got back. I have a soft spot for songs with nonsense lyrics. So unless
"so the fa fa fa so so la la so the fa fa fa so la so the fa fa fa so the fa fa fa so la"
(or whatever they're singing) means something, this would be another example.

Book #384: Salt River (2007, James Sallis)
More of a short story than a novel. But it's very short on story. Every page is just so chock full of amazing insights into the human condition that it makes you wanna vomit. It's a good thing that this book is so short - otherwise I never would have been able to finish it.
Update: I went to list this book on my spreadsheet only to find I'd read a Sallis back in 2007 - and hated it! I'd better start checking (what I think are) new authors against this spreadsheet before I waste even more time.

Day #21,740

Walk km 7801-7803: running errands

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day #21,739

Walk km 7792-7797: to T&T and Safeway
Walk km 7797-7801 (13,937 to go): Commercial/3rd/Cotton/Gravely/Clark/Charles/Clark/William/Parker/Venables/Glen/Georgia/Vernon/Frances/Clark

Book #383: Murder Must Advertise (1933, Dorothy L Sayers)

I goofed. I was in the Salvation Army looking for reading material for my upcoming vacation. There I confused Dorothy L Sayers with Dorothy B Hughes. A reasonable mistake since they're both named Dorothy, both use their middle initial, both write crime novels and I'm quite old.
But, what the heck, I'll read it anyway: it might be good. That would be my second mistake. The type of crime novel this is is a whodunit. Whodunits are totally useless. Not only was this a whodunit but it was a 388 page whodunit. I was 3 weeks in Vegas (with 100+ temperatures outside) and I still couldn't finish it.
Actually it's not badly written (certainly better than Agatha Christie) and she does have a wonderful vocabulary. But it is a whodunit.

Movie #1732: Strangers With Candy (2005, Paul Dinello)

Looks like I've already hit bottom with Netflix Canada.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day #21,738

Movie #1731: The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes)

Of all 21 Netflix movies I watched in the States, none are available in Canada. This is one I would have watched if I had had more time. Unique film experience of Ben Gazzara (strip club owner) getting mixed up with the mob. The mob is out to get him. Is he worried? Maybe a little but it's his crappy strip club that always comes first. Let's hear it for Mr. Sophistication!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day #21,737

Walk km 7789-7792: to the In-And-Out Burger

Movie #1727: John Rabe (2009, Florian Gallenberger)

I read the book about John Rabe a few years ago. So, why did the filmmakers add extra "facts"? To add dramatic affect. But the trouble is, if you add extra "facts" then your whole premise of this being a true story is destroyed. They might just as well have invented a fictitious character on which to base the movie. A waste of time.

Movie #1728: The Big Caper (1957, Robert Stevens)

This one really delivers. A whole set of odd-ball criminal types are contrasted against 1950s suburbia. The key roles go to Robert Harris as a pyromaniac who loves to drink gin and Corey Allen as a sociopath who loves to drink milk.
Best bit: Rory Calhoun gets slugged with a gun butt, kicked out of a car and rolls down an embankment. As the car pulls away it passes a sign: "No Dumping".

Movie #1729: Down Three Dark Streets (1954, Arnold Laven)

This may be the vacation to end my poker playing but maybe it'll end my movie watching too. How in the world can I go back to hit and miss movie watching after such a run of great movies like this. This was another winner. Broderick Crawford is the FBI man assigned to solve three cases so that they can find the killer of an FBI agent. Broderick was great and Ruth Roman and Martha Hyer were perfect examples of 50s pulchritude.

Movie #1730: Spoilers Of The Plains (1951, William Witney)

Weird. Witney is credited with creating the movies that made Roy Rogers a star. I figured I'd watch one. This movie is very odd. They've created a weird 19th/20th century hybrid. The plot concerns the Russians trying to steal America's rocket technology and yet..................... everybody rides horses! They transport the rockets on buckboards pulled by horse teams! It appears that they figure the kids will go for westerns more if they're contemporary. It's a strange idea but it seems to have worked because Roy became America's #1 cowboy star.
Also, thanks to the folks at Republic studios for not spreading the red scare to the kids. Although the adults would know that Roy is fighting commies, they only mention an "unfrienldly world power" in the movie. Could be Ecuador or maybe Luxembourg!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day #21,736

Walk km 7782-7789: to the Golden Nugget from Sahara

Movie #1726: Ladybug Ladybug (1963, Frank Perry)

Alarm sounds at a rural school warning of an immanent nuclear attack. The second worst thing that can happen does happen. I haven't seen a Frank Perry since The Swimmer which was probably 20 years ago. This one is just as good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day #21,735

Walk km 7775-7782: Rancho/Sahara/Highland/Red Oak/Highland/Edna/Westwood/Capelle/Highland/Desert Inn/Industrial/Sahara/Rancho

approx km 7777 Treasure's Gentleman's Club

Movie #1720: Deadhead Miles (1972, Vernon Zimmerman)

A nice change of pace from this long line of 50s b&w films I've been watching. This is one of those jibberish movies that Hollywood made in the late 60s/early 70s. Hollywood knew the youth market wasn't interested in surf and hot rods anymore. They were into mind expanding experiences. This one combined that concept with a truck drivin' movie complete with an authentic Dave Dudley soundtrack. Way ahead of it's time.
Alan Arkin stars and keeps up a steady stream of jibberish from start to finish. Excellent.

Movie #1721: Lure Of The Swamp (1957, Hubert Cornfield)

Even Netflix screwing around with the aspect ratio couldn't ruin this one. "simple" Simon makes a modest living as a guide in the swamp. Then one day, criminals begin popping up everywhere he turns looking for that $290,000 from a Miami bank robbery that's hidden in the swamp. Simon can't resist taking a grab for it too. This was Cornfields first and probably best movie (although IMDB rates it only 48).

Movie #1722: Private Hell 36 (1954, Don Siegel)

Hmmmm.... not really as good as IMDB's 68 rating would have one think. Couple of cops decide to go dirty and of course that causes everything to go haywire. I like the style but I don't see that this one is anything special.

Movie #1723: Young And Wild (1958, William Witney)

This is the other JD movie by Witney available on Netflix. Once again Witney has hit another home run despite Netflix screwing around with the aspect ratio. One of the main differences with these two Witneys is that the punks are just punks - no sob story about it's their parents'/societies' fault.
Also, this one has a plot hole that you could drive a whole herd of trucks through but it still didn't matter: it was still exciting. Tarantino was right.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day #21,734

Walk km 7766-7775: Kings/Merritt/Richfield/Alcoa/Rye/Sahara/San Bernardino/Arville/Sahara/Arville/Tara/Valley View/Sirius/Rigel/Mead/Rancho

a Rolls-Royce
approx km 7773 Rigel Street

Movie #1717: Sis Hopkins (1941, Joseph Santley)

This is the second Judy Canova vehicle I've seen and although it's an improvement over the first, it's still no great shakes. The problem is they just don't dare to let Judy loose. Some of her numbers are just by-the-numbers crooning. Speaking of crooning, Bob (brother of Bing) Crosby is on board to also sing a few lacklustre numbers. However, his band does throw in a few excellent swing numbers.
I wonder if there are any good Canova films out there?

Movie #1718: The Fearmakers (1958, Jacques Tourneur)

Dana Andrews on a plane with a commie (all commies in this picture are ugly and have bad manners)

This was certainly interesting. Dana Andrews has a scoop: lobbyists in Washington are using phony organizations who distort the facts to swing public opinion in their favour for their own nefarious purposes. Pretty old hat today but maybe a revelation in 1958. But now for the big surprise: it's the commies that are behind all this! Gee, imagine that: today it's the extreme right but then it was the extreme left. How times have changed. And this movie drags out all the cliches about patriotism to seal the deal (final fist fight with the head commie takes place before the statue of Abraham Lincoln). Disgusting propaganda.

Movie #1719: The Naked Street (1955, Maxwell Shane)

My kinda movie. Anthony Quinn is head of organized crime in New York but has a soft spot for his family. Family troubles cause his downfall. It's a noir!

Day #21,733

Walk km 7754-7766 (13,967 to go): To the Golden Nugget and return

Movie #1716: The Party Crashers (1958, Bernard Girard)

This one is a little weird. Teens get their kicks by crashing parties. Then they crash a party that has middle aged partyers instead of teens. They freak out! I'm not sure why.
The whole thing is blamed on their parents/society.
One of the more bizarre scenes is where they outdo Rebel Without A Cause by having one of the teen's father being purse-whipped by his wife!
The other is where it appears that the same wife makes advances towards her son.
A little weird.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day #21,732

Walk km 7749-7754: to the laundromat

Movie #1712: Edge Of Fury (1953, Gurney & Lerner)

Psychological thriller made on a shoestring budget. And they don't attempt anything easy either. The lead character's condition is relayed by all kinds of small quirks that he has until we realize just how sick he is. Of course we realize this before the other characters in the movie do so we have a rooting interest in the safety of Richard's "friends". An excellent attempt that maybe isn't totally successful but is much better than one should expect from a no-name cast and crew.

Movie #1713: Juvenile Jungle (1958, William Witney)

Netflix screwed up with this one. This is a 1.85/1 ratio movie but they chopped off the ends of the picture to make it "full screen". However, I can't complain too much since it was free.
Witney does it again. Not sure how he does it but so far all of his movies have been great without there being any obvious reason. Quentin Tarantino is a big fan so I'm sure his reasons can be found on the web somewhere.
This one has a gang of juveniles (looking a little old for the part) scheming to kidnap the daughter of the owner of the local drug store. Everyone is in fine form and the action just rolls right along.

Movie #1715: Santa Fe Passage (1955, William Witney)

We continue with the William Witney/Netflix movie festival. However, with this one I have a problem. Most of the characters in this movie are racists. John Payne is racist as concerns Indians. The half-breed is a racist against half-breeds and the Indians are racist against Indians. Sees pretty one-sided to me.
Sure is a pretty movie though (gorgeous colour).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day #21,731

Walk km 7735-7743 (13,988 to go): Kings/Merritt/Rye/Sahara/Bronco/Laredo/Tenaya
Walk km 7743-7749 (13,982 to go): Eastern/Exley/Burnham/St Louis/Maryland/Sahara

a sidewalk for drunks?
approx km 7742 Laredo Street

Movie #1708: Confidence Girl (1952, Andrew L Stone)

Definitely a lesser Stone. It was "written, produced and directed" by Stone so he can't blame anyone else. Lightweight account of scam artists at work. The picking of Tom Conway (debonair lead of many '40s whodunits) as his lead actor was probably his first mistake.

Movie #1709: Pressure Point (1962, Hubert Cornfield)

the tic tac toe scene

I had quite a bit of trouble with "Confidence Girl" (picture breakup and freezing) but this one was better. A pleasure to watch mostly due to the performances of Poitier and Darin. The psychology seemed a little shaky (but then, what do I know?).

Movie #1710: The Girls On The Beach (1965, William Witney)

This one had to be embarrassing for The Beach Boys. A Beach Boys movie where the whole plot concerns all the kids on the beach being crazy about the Beatles. Ouch!
However, I really enjoyed it but I'm not sure why. It's the same inane plot as all the other teen movies of the 60s. Just a quick knock off to cash in on the current trends of the day (although by '65 the beach was kinda old hat). Lesley Gore did sing three songs. There was Brian Wilson singing "The Lonely Sea" by a bonfire on the beach. Lotsa girls in bikinis. I guess that was enough for me.
Also, I used to have a 6-sheet poster of this movie on my wall. I didn't think I'd ever get to see it. Thanks Netflix.

Movie #1711: Hot Cars (1956, Don MacDougall)

Just another enjoyable 50s B-flick until that doozie of a roller coaster ending. And that Joi Lansing.............she's a regular Alison Hayes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day #21,730

Walk km 7727-7735 (13,995 to go): Rancho/Meade/Penwood/Edmonds/Tara/Mohawk/Eldora/El Camino/Sahara

a couple of trees
approx km 7732 Eldora @ Westwind

flowers in the desert
approx km 7733 Eldora Ave

Movie #1706: Undertow (2004, David Gordon Green)

Thriller about some folks with family troubles. Plenty of talent went into this one. Not sure what it lacks but it's just not very compelling.

Movie #1707: Plunder Road (1957, Hubert Cornfield)

I may have hit the motherload. I've joined Netflix here in the States. I should have access to their whole catalogue until I cross back into Canada. The first was this Hubert "Night Of The Following Day" Cornfield B-flick about transporting stolen gold across country with roadblocks everywhere. Neat.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day #21,729

Walk km 7721-7727: to Big Lots on Decatur

an Oldsmobile
approx km 7723 El Camino ave

Movie #1704: Burn After Reading (2008, Coen brothers)

See, even the characters in the movie thought the film was pretty funny

I thought this was supposed to be a stinker. I just bought a copy because it's the Coen brothers. It's got a 7.2/10 on IMDB so people seem to like it.
Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt come across a CD with what looks like highly classified CIA information on it. They are not too bright so blackmail is their first thought. That sets the ball rolling with everybody acting dumber and dumber as the plot thickens. It's a hoot. Not as good as "The Big Lebowski" because it doesn't have a likable central character but pretty darn funny nevertheless.

Movie #1705: Shaft (1971, Gordon Parks)

Not much to speak of. Remembered more because it started the blacksploitation genre than because of the quality of the picture. Standard TV type production values and Richard Roundtree doesn't really have the ability to project that "mean mother" persona required for this role.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day #21,728

Walk km 7717-7721: running errands

Movie #1701: That Uncertain Feeling (1941, Ernst Lubitsch)

Fairly amusing screwball comedy. The "slapping" scene is especially silly.

Movie #1702: The Ugly American (1963, George Englund)

This one was interesting. It's a Vietnam War movie made before the real war started. As I watch, I wonder: which side will Hollywood be on? The wrong side of course. But wait: this isn't a John Wayne movie, it's a Marlon Brando movie. Anyway, Hollywood gets it all wrong. It turns out that the voice of reason is the puppet leader that the U.S. has propped up! Didn't see that coming. Loved the ending. Kept my interest throughout.
One problem with this one though will be its short shelf life. Because no background is supplied, as soon as people forget the Vietnam war, this movie will no longer be relevant.

Movie #1703: Blazing Stewardesses (1975, Al Adamson)

There are two things wrong with watching a movie made by people who have absolutely no talent. First, it's a crappy movie. Second, you feel sorry for the people who made it. In this one it's even worse. First, this thing is 95 minutes long. Huh? Why waste all that extra film stock. You only need to film 60 minutes to get your movie played. What did Al think he was making here: Gone With The Wind? Second, there were some old people in this who used to be somebodies. The worst example: the Ritz Brothers. These guys used to be bargain basement Marx Brothers in the 30s. In this, they are excruciatingly unfunny. It would make anyone cringe to have to look at them. I hope they died of old age before they saw themselves in this one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day #21,727

Walk km 7703-7710: to the Rio and back
Walk km 7710-7717: to the Rio and back (again)

the Rio
approx km 7706 from rio parking lot

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #19: Stud hi/lo ($1500, Rio)
OK, that's it. It was a fun seven years but I'm saying goodbye to poker. I went out in 2 1/2 hours. 2 1/2 hours!!!! That's almost impossible. And (as far as I know) I didn't make any mistakes. Those cards were definitely trying to tell me something and I heard it loud and clear.
So, the second half of this vacation will be a more normal vacation. Unfortunately I don't gamble and the entertainment here is crappy. What's left? Buffets!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day #21,726

Walk km 7693-7703: to Golden Nugget and return

Movie #1700: Here come the Waves (1944, Mark Sandrich)

Propaganda picture from Paramount trying to get women to enlist in the Waves. All very lightweight with Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton singing a few tunes. Plot is of the idiotic "misunderstanding" variety. The songs are nothing special although seeing Bing Crosby in "black face" when he sings one of them is a little creepy. A waste of Betty Hutton's talents.

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #18: Stud hi/lo ($240, Golden Nugget)
Hohum. Another tournament, another loss. Maybe I should switch my Vegas vacation away from poker and more towards more traditional Vegas recreation options.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day #21,525

Walk km 7682-7693: to Golden Nugget and back

Movie #1699: The Night Of The Following Day (1968, Hubert Cornfield)

I was beginning to think that all the DVDs I bought here were stinkers. This one was a nice change. Excellent caper flick with Marlon Brando and a bunch of losers trying to kidnap a rich teen for ransom. Things start unraveling right from the start. Excellently executed.

Farewell Poker Tour #17: Stud hi ($240, Golden Nugget)
This is working out well. I'll never want to play poker again after this. I was out in just 6 hours. Embarrassing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day #21,524

Walk km 7679-7682: to the laundromat

Movie #1698: A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (1968, Franco Giraldi)

The only good thing I can say about this one is the DVD picture was beautiful because this is the official MGM edition.
The worst thing about it is the lead actor, Alex Cord. What's the problem, couldn't they get Barry Manilow? This is the weakest spaghetti western anti-hero I've ever seen. Must have been the producer's son.
IMDB update: It turns out that the MGM DVD was severely cut: the ending has been removed.

Day #21,523

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #16: HORSE ($1500, Rio)
The tournament that almost wasn't. All the non-holdem tournaments start at 5PM but just in case I had a look at my ticket to confirm. NOON! This was Friday morning and I was just getting ready to go back to bed! I went to the Internet to confirm that start time but I found a virus had disabled my laptop. Also, I had planned to do some shopping before 5 because one of my shoes had fallen apart the day before. So, I hopped on the bus to the Target store, bought a pair of shoes and then went straight on to the Rio. I got there just before they started.
Now, my brain doesn't work all that well with a good night's sleep so you can imagine how well it was running with only a partial night's sleep. I was out in only 6 hours (I thought last year was bad when I only lasted 8 hours). One more kick at the WSOP cat on Tuesday when it'll be stud hi/lo. And yes I've already looked at my ticket and it starts at 5.
My next tournament will be on Sunday when the Golden Nugget has a Stud Hi only.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day #21,522

Walk km 7661-7668: shopping on Las Vegas Blvd
Walk km 7668-7679: to Binion's and back

Industrial Avenue
approx km 7662 from Sahara overpass

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #15: Omaha hi/lo ($210, Binion's)
I'm seeing a pattern here. Finishes in 27th, 32nd and now 28th place. Well into the top 50% without really getting close to the money. Tomorrow is the $1500 HORSE at the Rio. Chance of cashing there? About 0%.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day #21,521

Walk km 7652-7664: to the Golden Nugget and back

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #14: Stud8/Omaha8 ($240 Golden Nugget)
Not quite as long as Monday night. I finished 32nd (out of 112) and was out of there by 10:50PM.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day #21,520

Walk km 7643-7652: to the Rio via Decatur

fake railroad wheels
approx km 7652 Palace Station Casino/Hotel

Movie #1697: A Fine Madness (1966, Irvin Kershner)

I think it's safe to say that 99% of the critics of the day renamed this one "A Fine Mess". But it's much worse than that. Normally, this would be a horrible movia. But when you think that it stars Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward & Jean Seberg, it's simply jaw dropping how utterly disgusting this movie is. How could these people have been talked into this.
Surely they didn't need money that bad?

Farewell Poker Tour: day off
Yesterday's tournament finished so late that I decided to take the day off. I did some shopping and bought my ticket for Friday's HORSE tournament at the Rio. Celeb spotted at the Rio: Steve Zolotow.

Day #21,519

Walk km 7627-7643: Palace Station to Golden Nugget and return

Farewell Poker Tour tournament #13: Stud hi/lo ($240 Golden Nugget)
I lasted until 12:30AM (12 1/2 hours of play). There were 129 entered and when I left there were about 27 left. Big names Mel Judah, Marsha Waggoner, Chip Jett and Walter Smiley were still alive on the last break.

Day #21,518

Walk km 7624-7627: Paradise to Palace Station (Las Vegas)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day #21,717

Walk km 7609-7624: Pacific Spirit Park & Stanley Park with Meetup group

meeting horses on the trail
approx km 7612 Pacific Spirit Park

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day #21,716

Walk km 7601-7609: Stanley Park

skunk cabbage?
approx km 7605 Stanley Park

Farewell Poker Tour: Remembering 2009
I looked through the PokerNews site to see if they still had the table listing for Day 2 of the 2009 WSOP $1500 Stud8 tournament. Yep, there I am, table 162 seat 6 with 5300 chips. I'll try and better than this year (I leave on Sunday).
(table 162)
Seat 1: James Yoo - 12400
Seat 2: Allie Prescott - 52500
Seat 3: Margot Friis - 13900
Seat 4: Donna Varlotto - 13200
Seat 5: Alexander Dovzhenko - 5000
Seat 6: David Spencer - 5300
Seat 7: JW Smith - 15200
Seat 8: Tianxiong Fu - 2100

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day #21,715

Walk km 7597-7601 (14,114 to go): running errands

Movie #1696: Inner Sanctum (1948, Lew Landers)

"you're very pretty, when your lips aren't movin'"

Grade Z movie about a murderer standed in a small town. Ruined by too many comedy routines. Quite impressed by Mary Beth Hughes. Her character kinda goes for the murderer but she does have her limits - she won't go along with murdering children. Best line: murderer to Mary Beth "you're very pretty, when your lips aren't movin".

Movie #1695: Ne Le Dis A Personne (2006, Guillaume Canet)

the French "Dustin Hoffman"

A reasonably thrilling thriller until the end. Then it's endless tying up of loose ends that causes the movie to lose all momentum. The first 80% was OK.
Lead actor Francois Cluzet sure does look (and act) like Dustin Hoffman.