Instant

Check-in procedure at my Boston hotel: insert credit card. Wait. Receive receipt and key card. Time from walking in the door to walking in the room: 37 seconds. Impressive.

Frequency

I had avoided seeing the movie Frequency for a long time. Although I came close several times, both in theatres and standing in front of the DVD rack, there was always something in the back of my mind that associated the film with duds like The Rocketeer and Fearless.

Well, last night, with the free digital period on our Eastlink about to run out, I took the plunge.

I like smart movies with a tricky plot. I loved The Spanish Prisoner, for example. Frequency doesn’t quite rise to this level, but the premise — basically “son talks to dead father, 30 years in the past, used ham radio tricked out by northern lights” — was clever, and for something this far-fetched it was carried off well. I meant to watch for 10 minutes, then half an hour, and finally stayed up until 3:00 a.m. watching the entire thing.

Recommended.

Just In Tokyo

Just In Tokyo Cover My copy of Just In Tokyo arrived this week, and I’ve read it from cover to cover.

The book is a new travel guidelette from prolific web impresario Justin Hall. Written in much the same style as his web writings about Japan, Hall covers the basics of travel to Tokyo in a quick and entertaining fashion.

It’s a new sort of travel book this: it’s not as ponderous as the travel essays of people like Paul Theroux, not as granola comprehensive as the Lonely Planet books. And it certainly ain’t no Fodors.

The book is more a incomplete practical précis of Tokyo from the perspective of what Hall calls an urban nomad. Which means that you learn about everything from where to find the good “capsule hotels” to how to deal with food that has the consistency “of snot” (one of Hall’s favourite food words).

If you have a passing interest in visiting Tokyo, or even just in understanding more about it through the eyes of someone younger, braver and more sexed than the usual travel writer, this would be a good place to start.

Kudos to David Mackenzie

You’ve got to hand it to David Mackenzie. Not only has he taken on the thankless job of Executive Director of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, but he’s done so even though the Centre’s adjunct theatre building is called the David Mackenzie Building.

I first worked with David when I was on the Victoria Row board and David was at CADC, and found him to be an intelligent and effective organizer. He is in no small way responsible for getting Confederation Landing Park built, and Victoria Row renovated. And it looks like he’s managed the speedy and difficult task of getting the Centre renovated with the same efficiency.

Oliver and I attended the Centre’s Renovation Celebration yesterday, and the place looks fantastic.

So kudos to David (and his staff) for pulling this off.

PMU and iPhoto Hang

I upgraded my iBook to Mac OS 10.1.5 this week and somehow lost the ability to put it to sleep by simply closing the lid. It would appear to nod off, but would then spring back to life, and then turn on and off over and over and over again. I found the solution was to reset the power management unit. Everything’s back to normal now.

In other Apple news: I have about 4,000 photos in iPhoto now and find that if I try to delete a lot of photos at the same time, iPhoto hands with a “spinning rainbow” cursor. Forever. I found that if I leave it in the catatonic state for about 20 minutes, and then Force Quit, I can restart iPhoto and the photos are gone as I intended. Certainly not graceful, but it works.