Saturday, June 14, 2008

I spent the entire week at the California Bluegrass Association's Music Camp, where I am a volunteer/teaching assistant, and the following Father's Day Bluegrass Festival.

The highlight of the festival was the second set by the new Dan Tyminski Band. The first set was well played, but the song selection wasn't too my taste. The second set had a lot more hard driving bluegrass songs, and a few great instrumentals.

The second best thing was the first Crooked Still set. They complained during the set that they were tired since they were still recovering from being in Europe, but it seemed much more high energy than the other two sets I saw.

And the third best thing was the new stage, Vern's. It was a trial run this year, was fully launched this year and it was great. Overall, I liked the bluegrass coming from the bands on the Vern's stage more than the too polished sound of the bands on the main stage. There were sets by Angelica Grim's new band, the duo of Keith Little and Jim Nunally, Blue and Lonesome, and friends of mine in Kitchen Help.
A few days ago I finished The Last Legion by Chris Bunch.

I don't have much to say about this novel - it's an example of pretty generic military science fiction without much to recommend it. I picked it up at the library because I wanted a paperback to read while camping, and I doubt I'll pick up anything else by this author.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

We saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yesterday. It's not bad - better than Temple of Doom, but not as good as the other two.

It was neat to see them use the pulp elements from the 50's - Roswell, atomic bombs, Soviet agents, McCarthyism - and the action sequences were good. Surprisingly, the worst element of the movies is the acting. Harrison Ford looks fine in the action sequences but looks uncomfortable in the dialogue scenes, as if he had difficulty getting back into this character. The worst acting comes from Karen Allen, who doesn't look convincing or comfortable in any scenes. She looks like she is just too happy to be working again to not let it show, no matter what is going on around her.