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Friday January 23, 2004, 02:10

I just finished watching "Once Upon A Time in Mexico," and while I am certainly a fan of the action movie genre, and I am certainly a fan of that super-saturated and stylized type of movie, the thing that I enjoyed the most was watching all of the featurettes included on the DVD.

I was a long-time hold-out against the DVD, which is surprising considering my profession and personal involvement with advancing technology. An interest and fascination with technology does not lead to an unconditional embrace of said technology, however. The thing is that I am remarkably cheap, but with the unfortunate tendency to have an enormous appetite. So I would much rather have the biggest and the best, but am completely unwilling to spring for it. This means that I will take whatever I have at hand and just consider it "good enough" until I can get it together enough to get the "absolute best" which, in the world of technology, will always be surpassed by the next better thing which leads me to, of course, hold off until that better thing comes out and well, yes.

I would be much better off with either lower standards or looser purse strings.

I am, however, a convert, after my girlfriend arrived with a DVD surround sound system in tow. Besides the obvious technological advantages of the digital format, and the fact that you don't have to rewind, and that there is less of a chance1 that you will end up with some mysterious "tracking" problem (a function of the technology that I never did understand), there is all of the flexibility that the format offers! Rather than just re-packaging the film into a smaller package, the re-distribution becomes an entirely new product with far more value than just a couple of trailers and the movie itself. Just the menus alone serve to bring the at-home audience into the experience before the feature begins, and the features! Oh the features. I sound like someone who has never before experienced the joy of a DVD, and yet this was the first time that I've ever actually started thinking about everything that I'm getting out of watching a DVD, as opposed to conventional video tape.

The point. The point. I appear to have lost the point...

Ok, the point was that watching the features that described the moviemaking process, that described the director's transition to high definition digital video, that described the technical process from the technical shooting point of view as well as the artistic point of view and taking a tour through his garage studio, really showed me someone who loves what he does. This comes on the heels of my path to self-discovery in which I am ever learning that the current path that I have taken is not the right one for me, though I do enjoy the work (that of the ever-popular-in-the-90s-but-sort-of-out-of-fashion-now web programmer) and do enjoy being able to bend the computer to do my bidding, I feel that in a work environment I would far more enjoy knowing that I know how to do it than actually doing it.

There is part of me that wonders whether I really am completely and absolutely cut out for the work that I'm doing. I watched the short of Robert Rodriguez talking with one of his editors about the editing studio that he has in his garage and realized that he spoke with the same sort of passion that I reserve for speaking with my friends about computers. If I'm sitting here, envious of his passion for his work, and can draw parallels between his enthusiasm and my own, then haven't I already tracked down my dream? Isn't this it?

And I hope that the answer is no. And I know that the answer is no. But it is at moments of transition that we really do consider what it is that we're looking for and how we will know when we've found it. And whether we wouldn't be better off staying where we are, where there is a particular comfort level and a particular safety in knowing how to react, in being an expert in the way that life happens around us.

And there is that moment of clarity when we realize that the change is the important part. That the safety is just a mask and that by marching forward, the change itself is the turning point. The destination may or may not be the end goal and it may in fact be far less luminous than it looked before. But my taking those steps and seeing the goals up-close, we grow.

And that is worth leaving everything we know behind.



1. There is, however, a non-zero probability that after you rent a movie from the local video store (or large national video rental chain), you will get home, pop open the DVD case, stick the plastic disc into the DVD player, watch nine-tenths of the movie in question and have the last track skip, and skip, and skip, and jump back to the begging of the movie. I have had this happen to me on more than one occasion which has, to be perfectly fair, resulted in a string of two or three movies that I did not have to pay for, but still, do we really want to miss the big brain bug scene in "Starship Troopers?" I think not.

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