Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Had a Busy Weekend

First off, last week's Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club's session report is up, in which they play Train of Thought too seriously.

Thursday evening was my my only niece's bat-mitzvah. I picked up my kids and we drove out to the boondocks to their little community of Kochav Hashachar. The bat mitzvah was small but nice. Sis-in-law gave a heartfelt speech. Niece read a nice dvar torah (written in part or more by other sis-in-law).

Saarya, Tal, and me; pic by sis-in-law
After the bat-mitzvah, I slept in Jerusalem. Friday morning I was supposed to meet someone, but she cancelled. I found myself with some free time in Talipot right next to the wedding of a Facebook friend, a wedding I didn't think I would be around for. I dropped in to say hi and stayed to see the reception.

Friday evening I went to my old Carlebach shul and said hi to half the community that I had left when I moved to Raanana. Nadine joined me at my mom's house for dinner. After dinner, I read the first two chapters of Another Fine Myth to Tal, whereupon she finished the rest of the book. Classic.

Sat I went to the other shul I used to frequent and said hi to the other half of the community. Lunch was at Nadine's with the games gang and sundry: Nadine, me and Tal, Bill and Shirley (visiting from the US), Eitan and Emily, Shani and Shachar, Adam, and some moms. After lunch, a couple played Glen More, a group played Small World Underground, and I taught Shirley, Adam, and Nadine to play Inca Empire.

I hoped IE wouldn't take more than two hours, just like the people playing SWU hoped it would be a short game. Each of them took about 3.5 hours. I won IE with some major road playing at the end (I was forced to do this, since I was low in workers, but I was receiving a number of bonus roads from the played cards). I netted a good 20 or so points from this.

Nadine looked like she was winning for most of the third age, having played the card that let her (and only her) net 7 points a round from one of the temple/cities. But in the end she only ended the third age a few points ahead of me, and my board was stronger.

Adam suffered greatly from the loss of many roads in undiscovered areas (I warned everyone, and most of us (including me) lost a bunch of roads to this card several times). Shirley was pretty close to Nadine's position.

Sat night I went to see a showing of The Golem, the 1920 movie, playing alongside a live trio playing musical accompaniment to the silent film. The Golem is a good movie from a historical perspective, much in the way that a talented five year old can produce something quite enjoyable to look at, but not really be in the caliber of something objectively good.

The acting and direction is beyond bad; it's that stereotype of old silent films that is so weird that you wonder if the actors on film are actually Martians. They exhibit emotions and make movements that I've never seen any humans make in real life. What were they thinking? This was probably the height of good acting and directing in its day, and it looks ridiculous (I will mention in contrast that Charlie Chaplin films hold up quite well, even today). I was trying not to laugh out loud during the smoldering romantic or hysterical wailing scenes.

The story is well formed, though entirely straightforward and unsubtle. The cuts are kind of erratic, and, of course, they knew little about smart camera work or sensible lighting. It's supposed to be a horror movie, but it's not scary in the least. Except for its insulting portrayal of Jews.

And why is everyone, even the romantic leads, so ugly?

The live music was nice, though a few parts were kind of loud. The musicians are brilliant players; I prefer to simply hear them play their music without them having to sync it to a movie.

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