Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Compulsive Virtual Aviation

"Ha! Men can't be friends with women, Howard. They must possess them or leave them be. It's a primitive urge from caveman days. It's all in Darwin. Hunt the flesh, kill the flesh, eat the flesh - that's the male sex all over." --Katharine Hepburn, The Aviator

I've been on a real aircraft for only two trips in my lifetime; one of my earliest memories, high in the clouds, looking out over the world on my way down south.

It was one of my favourite Simpsons episodes, before I even knew a thing about Howard Hughes: $pringfield (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love Legalized Gambling), with Mr. Burns becoming an isolated germaphobe designing "model" aeroplanes with tissue boxes on his feet.

This Simpsons Episode, a little documentary on SBS Friday, both coinciding with a chance article in the book I was reading at the time about the fascinating character, Howard Hughes, prompted me to take a look at The Aviator once more. So I picked up the two disk widescreen edition, which strangely enough was the same price as the standard single disk edition. Watched it once, but then realised I'd had the sound set only in stereo and for some reason - a kind of strange compulsion I sometimes get - I felt the real need to see it again in proper six channel audio.

The second time around, I noticed the scene when Hughes is locked in his screening room reminded me a lot of a similar - and much better in my opinion - section from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, talking through the door, the human psyche. Also Martin Scorsese's rushed and messy steadicam shots in the bathroom of one of the parties - a chance for some quality cinematography - almost had me cringing in horror the way Leonardo DiCaprio does in the scene, though I did quite like the film effects from all the different ages. A touch difficult to sympathise with a character with all the money and girls he could ever want, but a decent picture all in all, though could have done with a little of Howard's own obsessive compulsiveness in some aspects.

Yesterday I installed Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 again; thought I'd give it another try after becoming frustrated with the intricate controls last time around. I think I'll stick with it a little longer this time, start at the beginning too instead of rushing in to fly the big 747's. I'm enjoying the beginner's lessons and have just completed my first unaided take off and landing. Next step is the real thing, not for a while though I think, but I'll get there. Things just take a little longer without millions of dollars of Daddy's drill bit money, that's all.

Now, to the plant! We'll take the Spruce Moose! Hop in! I said hop in...


Blogger Jay said...

I liked the movie, but can't imagine rewatching it...it was just so expansive.

8/03/2005 01:19:00 pm  

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