Spring Break

Things have been in a bit of turmoil the past few days.

Shawn’s little car, which I had hoped would last at least another month, has decided to become very ill. We still don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it at this point, but at the moment it has the terrifying characteristic of feeling like it’s going to tear itself apart if you get it much above 50 mph. So it’s not exactly comforting to drive. And if there was an automotive equivalent to laryngitis, this car would sound like it had it.

This has, of course, put me in a bit of a position, since I require vehicular transportation to get to work, 30 miles away.

Luckily I’ve been able to secure some financing for a vehicle, and though I’m not completely happy with the terms, it’s the only avenue I have available at the moment. The financing does dictate that I have to get a newer vehicle, which I wasn’t intending to do, as I just wanted something simple that I could commute with, but I have to admit the thought of a newer vehicle which I won’t have to worry about as much is nice. And, looking over my budget, it should fit into the big financial picture without any issues.

All I need now is for the financial packet to arrive in the mail, and to start shopping for a vehicle. Unfortunately, I’ll have to do my shopping over the phone for the most part, though it helps that I know what I want. I’m looking for a Nissan Altima, or possibly a Maxima. I’ve always liked the Nissan vehicles, and Altima and Maxima have an excellent record. Plus they make excellent commuter vehicles, with low gas consumption and a rock solid service record. I had thought about looking into a Toyota Prius, the hybrid vehicle which has been hyped quite a bit recently, but the prices for one are extravagantly high here. I’m not entirely sure why this is, especially after talking to my overseas friend and confidant. The conspiracist part of my brain says that it’s probably due to some sort of price locking by the oil companies. The rational part says that its simply what the market here will bear. At any rate, they are simply out of my budget.

That pretty much covers my car woes for now. This next week is going to be… interesting. I have to find some way to get to work without a vehicle, and shop for a car at the same time. I’m lucky that this week was actually spring break, so it wasn’t necessary to go in to work for most of the week. Shawn and I will be borrowing a car for tomorrow so that we can at least get a day in. Then next week… I’m not sure yet what will happen.

It gives me something to stress about for the weekend, at least.

In happier news, this week has given me the opportunity to catch up on a few movies.

First up, I watched Gattaca. This is one of those movies I’ve been meaning to watch for some time, and has been popping up repeatedly on my recommend list in places like Amazon and Netflix. So I took the plunge and finally rented it. And was quite pleased by what I saw. Now, I’m not a big fan of Ethan Hawke. For some reason, he just grates me the wrong way. But I was able to tolerate his acting as the lead in this film. I think it helps that the story was something I find incredibly intriguing, and was presented in a very compelling way. Jude Law’s character was also fascinating, and he truly does steal the scene when he’s given the chance to act. This is very well done science fiction, set in the not too distant future. It’s also good to say that I’ve finally found a movie that doesn’t completely genuflect at the audience at the end. The characters stay true to their convictions. And that’s something.

Next up, I watched Cronos, the first movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. I have to say up front that I absolutely love The Devil’s Backbone. Enough that it would possibly be in my top ten most liked movies of all time. Cronos isn’t quite in the ranks of Devil’s Backbone, but it was thoroughly entertaining, and a recommended watch if you like del Toro’s work. It’s a well thought out, sometimes touching, vampire piece. The movie is a little slow in places, and has a few things that don’t completely make sense if you start picking it apart, but is balanced quite well by some fantastic imagery and a cast of characters that you actually grow quite fond of as the movie progresses. And it has Ron Perlman. Definitely worth a rental, though I don’t think I’ll be adding it to my DVD collection.

And finally, I watched Lord of War, an entertaining commentary on guns and the people that sell them. I actually wasn’t expecting much from this movie, as I’d heard mixed things about it… and you generally never know what you’re getting into with something as volatile a subject as gun running to countries in a state of unrest. The story is told very much from the point of view of a gun salesman, though. And Nicholas Cage actually plays the part quite well. To him, it’s not about what the guns are being used for. It’s not his war, or his fight, or his concern. This brings up a lot of moral conflicts in the film, some of which are presented better than others. But it does point out that even if one gun runner is stopped or put away, it wouldn’t stop the killing, as there are plenty of others out there that would take his place. You could say that the movie advocates gun control in a way, but leaves a lot of the interpretation to the viewer. I was a bit dissatisfied with the ending, though that might possibly be because its likely how it would of ended realistically. This is more of a scathing commentary on American government than anything else in this film. I’d say this is another movie that I think is worth a rental, and is actually more likely to be added to my DVD collection than Cronos. It is controversial however, so don’t expect to always enjoy or agree with the views presented. Oh… and Ethan Hawke is in it. And I did find his morally heavy-handed character as annoying as usual.

So… three movies… and all three of them I’d recommend for at least a single watch through.

I guess I could say this was the spring break of cars, stress, and movies. I’ve also started reading Enchanter, the second book of the Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglas. I can tell that I’ll be spending some quality time with it over the weekend.