White Noise

I haven’t done a movie review in quite some time, but I did manage to get out with my better half to see White Noise, starring actors Michael Keaton, Chandra West, Debra Unger and Ian McNiece.

The film begins with the tragic death of author Anna Rivers under mysterious circumstances. Her husband, Jonathan Rivers, is distraught, but begins to receive strange phone calls from his dead wife’s cell phone. He then meets Raymond Price, a self-made psychic investigator who uses EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, to contact the dead. Rivers becomes obsessed with trying to contact Anna and to resolve the situation surrounding her death.

The problem is that it isn’t always safe to talk to the dead.

To give much more of the plot would probably give away too much, but I’ll just say this: while the performances were credible, I really didn’t find the movie that scary, nor did I find the use of EVP to be in anyway critical or central to the story. It could have just been a conventional ghost story, and it would have been just as effective. I give the movie about a C+: no nightmares or glancing over my shoulder as I exit into the dark parking lot.

By the way, EVP is something that some people take very seriously, including concerns about its safety, although they note:

We believe that working with EVP and ITC is fundamentally safe. It is difficult to find a single example in which an individual has been harmed because of their communication across the veil. Yes, people have occasionally been “bothered.” It is known that the time we spend carefully listening too hard to hear EVP examples seems to enhance our clairvoyant and clairaudient senses. To many people, this is exciting and something they want. To others, it can be disturbing. This enhanced sensing has been reported to fade if one takes a break from EVP or other development work.

Indeed.

Personal Achievement

I ran a mile today. A real mile, at a real run. I probably last did that at age 25. It probably doesn’t mean much to anyone but me, but I think I should view it as quite an achievement.

One of my New Years’s goals is to actually run a 10K race in 2005. When I was in graduate school I could do one in just under 50 minutes. If I can get to the point where I can hold a 12 minute mile pace in 2005, I’ll consider it miraculous, but very cool.

The Hipster PDA

I’m 40 years old now, and I’ve realized two things:

  1. I’m much wiser than I was when I was 25, or even 35.
  2. My raw talent, ambition and enthusiasm only carries me so far.

Toward that end I’ve made some changes in the last couple of years. I’m exercising, I’m trying to keep more regular sleep hours, and I’m trying to become more organized. When the Palm Pilot first came out a few years ago, I bought one, and tried to use it. After a month or two it sat unused on my shelf. It was just too much of a hassle to keep it up to date.

My friend Tom keeps a “poor man’s PDA”: a small notepad and a pencil. He’s constantly jotting down little notes to himself which get acted upon in seemingly random order. Not a bad idea.

Over at 43 Folders a similar idea, The Hipster PDA was presented, with some additional hints. I’ve used stacks of 3×5 cards during long weeks of debugging to keep track of individual action items, discarding them as they are processed. I’ll probably try this when I’m back to work (on Monday, sigh, vacation almost over).